General Health | MIGRELIEF

General Health Category

How to Prevent Muscle Loss Due to Aging and Retain Youthful Appearance and Performance

August 31st, 2020

It is an established fact that both men and women lose muscle and experience increased body fat percentages as they age.  Muscle mass makes us look slimmer, better toned, and allows us to perform better physically.  Experts agree that the imbalance that leads to muscle loss begins around age 50, although some studies suggest it might start earlier.  While it is important for middle-aged and older adults to stay active and eat properly to maintain muscle mass, it is also very important for young adults to get a jump on their health to preserve muscle strength over time. Working out and weight training helps to retain or even add muscle mass, but this will only happen if enough protein is consumed.

PROTEIN CONSUMPTION IS KEY

It’s important that we eat enough protein each day to cover our body’s needs and maintain muscle mass, especially as we age. Protein helps your body to maintain a proper fluid balance, builds and repairs tissues, transports nutrients, and provides other essential functions.  Each protein is made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. Because the body cannot store amino acids, it must get a regular supply from the diet.

The U.S. government’s RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is less than ideal and you will fall short if you follow it.

A good general guideline is for women to consume approximately 75 grams per day and for men to consume approximately 100 grams per day.  You can double each of those amounts if you consistently engage in heavy exercising.  Not only will this help you avoid the loss of lean muscle mass as you age (sarcopenia), but consuming the right amount of protein will also help with controlling weight and appetite.

protein and muscle mass

 

Lean meats like chicken or turkey breast are excellent sources of protein.  For those of you who like smoothies or shakes, adding 25 grams of protein powder to your shake from a source like whey protein is a good choice.  Whey protein has also been found to enhance immune function.

Protein Before and After a Workout

The evidence from research is mixed when it comes to consuming protein before or after a workout for best absorption and muscle gain.  Many experts suggest you should consume protein within a certain window of time. such as within 2 hours of a workout.   

For muscle and fitness gains, the timing is not as important as the overall amount of protein you consume in a day.

GOOD SOURCES OF PROTEIN

When it comes to consuming adequate amounts of protein, variety is important to ensure you get all the essential amino acids your body needs. Some foods that are high in protein, with all essential amino acids, include:

  • Three ounces of skinless chicken – 28 grams
  • Three ounces of steak – 26 grams
  • Three ounces of turkey – 25 grams
  • Three ounces of tuna or salmon – 22 grams
  • Three ounces of shrimp – 20 grams
  • Six ounces of Greek yogurt – 18 grams
  • Four ounces of one percent fat cottage cheese – 14 grams
  • One ounce of soy nuts – 12 grams

Nuts and seeds are also good sources of protein as a one-ounce serving has between four and seven grams of protein.  There is also a variety of plant-based protein on the market today:

Resource Link:  Protein Content of Common Foods PDF 

Popular plant-based proteins include:

Quinoa – an ancient grain that looks similar to couscous but has a crunch texture and nutty flavor. It is a great rice substitute and can be added to many dishes or salads.  More about quinoa.

1 cup of cooked quinoa = 8 grams of protein. It is also a good source of magnesium, iron, zinc, and fiber.

Tofu, tempeh, and edamame (derived from soybeans)

Tempeh is much chewier and nuttier than tofu and made from fermented soybeans, which are often combined with other seeds and grains to form a firm, dense cake.

3 oz of tempeh = 11 grams of protein). Also a good source of fiber, iron, potassium, and calcium.

Tofu is made from coagulated soy milk pressed into white blocks and comes in a variety of textures from soft to firm. It is a little bland in taste and picks up the flavor of the foods with which it’s cooked.

3 oz tofu = 8 grams of protein.

Edamame beans are whole, immature soybeans, usually steamed or boiled, and can be eaten as a snack or mixed with salads, soups, and grain bowls.

1/2 cup of edamame = 11 grams of protein. Also a great source of fiber, iron, calcium, and vitamin C.

Amaranth – a great gluten-free grain alternative. It is a grain that can be boiled and eaten as porridge or a side dish. Adds texture to salads or granola bars.

1 cup cooked = 9 grams protein. Ground into a flour, it can be used for gluten-free baking.

Buckwheat – a grain whose hulled kernels or groats can be cooked as you would oatmeal.

1 cup cooked = 6 grams protein. Also a good source of essential minerals, including phosphorus, manganese, copper, magnesium, and iron.

Ezekiel Bread – made from sprouted whole grains and legumes including barley, soybeans, wheat, lentils, millet and spelt.

2 slices of bread = 8 grams of protein.

Spirulina – blue-green algae and supplement that can be consumed in tablet form or powder to be easily added to smoothies, soups, salads, or granola bars.

1 tablespoon = 7 grams of protein.

Chia Seeds – tiny black or white seeds that can absorb liquid and form a gel-like substance. May be used to make puddings or jams or as an egg substitute for vegan cooking. Seeds can also be used raw as a topping for oatmeal or salads, and mixed into baked goods or added to smoothies.

2 tablespoons = 4 grams of protein. Also a good source of omega-3s, iron, calcium, magnesium, and selenium.

Rice and Beans – Good to eat together. Combined they contain all 9 essential amino acids. 1 cup = 12 grams of protein ( and 10 grams of fiber).

Pita and Hummus – a popular middle eastern dish, pita bread combined with hummus (a dip made from chickpeas) is a delicious snack or appetizer.

1 round pita bread plus 2 tablespoons of hummus = 7 grams of protein.

Peanut Butter – a popular lunch sandwich, contains 14 grams of protein (two slices of whole wheat bread + 2 tablespoons of peanut butter).

Remember protein plays a key role in the creation and maintenance of every cell in our bodies. It fuels our cells and powers our bodies.  Consider some of the options above to make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet.  It is also important to watch your calories, sugar, and salt intake for overall good health

STAYING ACTIVE IS A MUST

The best way to stay strong and limit muscle loss over time is to stay physically active throughout your entire life.  Nevertheless, if you have been sedentary and have lost strength, the answer is still to stay active and exercise. Both aerobic and strength-training exercises will improve muscle health and muscle mass.  If you are just starting a new regimen, go slow and never overdo it.

Weight-Resistance Training

One of the most common recommendations fitness experts provide is to do some type of weight lifting or other weight-resistance training.  A weight-lifting program three to four times a week should be geared for your level of training and current strength so you can slowly build your strength without injury.  If you’re new to weight lifting, you must proceed with caution to avoid hurting yourself. Talk to your doctor before embarking on a new workout regimen, and consider working with a fitness professional to help you develop a program that helps you gain strength and get the best results without putting you at risk for injury.

Go for Walks (aerobic activity)

Keep active by going on regular walks.   Walking and moving a little more each day helps you apply positive stress to the systems in your body, including your bones, cardiovascular system, and muscles. Walking will help you keep your muscles active so you slow down the atrophy that comes with a more sedentary lifestyle.

Eating healthy and a little exercise every day can lead to big results over time.  You may not feel results for several weeks so be patient and keep up the good work.

Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds for Healthy Eyes, Heart, Skin, Hair, Weight Loss & More!

August 30th, 2020

Commonly viewed as a vegetable, pumpkin is scientifically a fruit, as it contains seeds. Nutritionally it is more similar to vegetables than fruits. Pumpkin has a range of fantastic health benefits, including being one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene.

Eye Health:  Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant. It also gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color.  The body converts any ingested beta-carotene into vitamin A.  Vitamin A is essential for eye health and helps the retina absorb and process light. One cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of most people’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A, making it an outstanding option for optical health.  Studies show that vitamin A can also strengthen your immune system and help fight infections. (1) (2)

High Antioxidant Content:  Free radicals are molecules produced by your body’s metabolic process. Though highly unstable, they have useful roles, such as destroying harmful bacteria.  However, excessive free radicals in your body create a state called oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. Pumpkins contain antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These can neutralize free radicals, stopping them from damaging your cells.  Pumpkin may lower you risk of cancer. (3)  (4)

Heart Health:  Pumpkin contains a variety of nutrients that can improve your heart health.  It’s high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber, which have been linked to heart benefits.  For instance, studies have shown that people with higher potassium intakes appear to have lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of strokes which are both risk factors for heart disease. (5)

Weight Loss:  Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer.  It is low in calories as it is 94% water and contains only 50 calories per cup (245 grams).

Healthy Skin:  Pumpkin is great for the skin for many reasons.  Studies show that carotenoids like beta-carotene can act as a natural sunblock. (6)
Once ingested, carotenoids are transported to various organs including your skin. Here, they help protect skin cells against damage from harmful UV rays (7).
Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, which is essential for healthy skin. Your body needs this vitamin to make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy. (8).
Moreover, pumpkins contain lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and many more antioxidants that have been shown to boost your skin’s defenses against UV. (9) (10)

One cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains:

Calories: 49
Fat: 0.2 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Carbs: 12 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
Potassium: 16% of the RDI
Copper: 11% of the RDI
Manganese: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
Iron: 8% of the RDI
Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins.

When making pumpkin dishes… Don’t throw away the seeds!

PUMPKIN SEEDS ARE POWER SEEDS

Pumpkin seeds were discovered by archaeologists in caves in Mexico back in 7,000 B.C.  North American Indian tribes were the very first to observe the dietary and medicinal properties of pumpkin seeds.  The nutrition in pumpkin seeds improves with age; they are among the few foods that increase in nutritive value as they decompose. Pumpkin seeds stored for more than five months increase in protein content. They can be consumed raw or toasted, plain or tossed in salads and other fresh or cooked dishes.  Containing a variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are extremely healthy and are a good source of B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates), magnesium, iron and protein.  100 grams of pumpkin seeds contains about 30 grams of protein. They are the most alkaline-forming seed.

PUMPKIN SEED BENEFITS

Heart Healthy:  Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of healthy fats, fibers and various antioxidants that are beneficial for the heart.  The high levels of essential fatty acids help maintain healthy blood vessels and lower unhealthy cholesterol in the blood.  Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.

Healthy Sleep:  Pumpkin seeds contain Serotonin, a neurochemical which promotes health sleep.  They are also high in Tryptophan, an amino acid that further converts into Serotonin in the body, to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Prostate Health:  High in zinc these seeds are useful for promoting men’s fertility and preventing prostrate problems. The oil in pumpkin seeds alleviates difficult urination that happens with an enlarged prostate.  Pumpkin seeds also have DHEA (Di-hydro epi-androstenedione) that helps reduce the chances of prostate cancer.

Stabilize Blood Sugar – Pumpkin seeds help improve insulin regulation in diabetics and decreases oxidative stress. These seeds are a rich source of digestible protein that helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Hair Growth:  Pumpkin seeds consist of cucurbitin, a unique amino that may be responsible for hair growth. They also contain vitamin C that also plays a crucial role in hair growth. Apply pumpkin seeds oil on scalp to see the results or just consume a handful of them daily.

Bone Protection:  High in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis, since zinc deficiencies can lead to higher rates of osteoporosis.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source vitamin E; they contain about 35.10 mg of tocopherol per 100 g.

Other benefits:  According to studies, pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.  These seeds reduce inflammation and counter arthritis pain without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.  They are also used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites.

Take advantage of the abundance of pumpkins during the fall season and give your health a boost. Enjoy these healthy pumpkin recipes.

 

PUMPKIN PIE SMOOTHIE

Tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass and will satisfy all your pumpkin cravings.  It combines pumpkin purée with almond butter, milk, delicious spices, and honey. It’s an excellent source of filling protein and fiber, plus it provides eye-helping beta-carotene. (Can’t get enough pumpkin?

Ingredients:

1 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
4 ice cubes

Directions:  Blend ingredients together, and enjoy! Serves 1.

 

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HEALTHY PUMPKIN MUFFINS (No Flour, Sugar Free, Oil Free, Dairy Free Gluten Free)

Healthy pumpkin muffins are a better-for-you alternative to traditional pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread.
Gluten free, sugar-free, oil free, and dairy free. Your taste buds will love the healthy fall flavors.

Prep Time – 20 min
Cook Time – 20 min
Total Time – 32 mins
Servings: 14 muffins
Calories: 123  calories

 

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (toasted & ground) * 9.3 ounces
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats (toasted, 2 Tbsp reserved for muffin tops) * 2.8 ounces
1 1/8 cups pumpkin puree * 10.7 ounces
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
6 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
3/4 cup canned coconut milk or dairy milk (full fat, skim or 1 %,)
2 tsp real vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 ½ tsp pumpkin spice (or 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 ground nutmeg)
½ cup walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 325. Place all oats on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, stirring once (about 4 to 6 minutes).
Let cool to room temperature. (If you are in a hurry you can skip this step and use plain old-fashioned oats, however the toasting adds flavor.)
Place 2.5 cups of oats in a food processor and blend/pulse until they reach a rough, flour like consistency.
Combine pumpkin puree, eggs, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla. Mix to combine.

Add both ground and unground oats to wet ingredients and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes (this allows the oats to soak and soften).
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just incorporated. (The batter will be very thick.)

Optional: Fold in approximately 1/2 c walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips, or dried cranberries.

Scoop batter into muffin tin, lined with muffin wrappers (makes 12-14 muffins). Fill the muffin tins 7/8 full.
Bake at 350 for about 23 – 25 minutes, a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean and the top of the muffin should feel firm.
Recipe Notes
Use parchment muffin liners or lightly spray liners lightly with oil to make the baked muffins easier to remove.

 

GREAT PUMPKIN SOUP

Ingredients
1 small pumpkin
1 onion
3 to 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1.5 cups of vegetable broth
1.5 cups of coconut milk
1/4 tsp turmeric
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
Olive oil (to brush on pumpkin flesh)
Pumpkin seeds and fresh rosemary (to garnish)

Instructions
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F before cutting your pumpkin in half. Spoon out the strings and seeds, saving the seeds for roasting.

2. Using olive oil, brush the flesh of the pumpkin and place the halves skin-side up on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately one hour — a fork should be able to pierce the skin. When cooked, allow to cool.

3. On your stove top, saute garlic and onions until translucent — then add turmeric to toast slightly.

4. Add all remaining ingredients (pumpkin flesh, broth, coconut milk, salt and pepper) and bring to a simmer.

5. Once incorporated, use an emulsion blender to create a smoother consistency and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes.

6. When ready to serve, garnish with rosemary and pumpkin seeds. If you’d like to roast your own, simply toss seeds in olive oil and salt, baking for around 40 to 45 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

Enjoy!

For more great recipes, visit BrenDid .com

Sleep Like Your Life Depends on It…Because It Does!

August 26th, 2020

Poor Sleep Habits Can Rob Years From Your Life

Downloadable White Paper – Insomnia_PDF – CLICK HERE

REESTABLISHING HEALTHY SLEEP PATTERNS IS THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL YOU CAN RELY ON FOR HEALTH, HAPPINESS AND LONGEVITY.

If you were to ask 10 people what they thought the most important things they should do to maintain good long-term health, no doubt the vast majority would answer:

1.  Eat Healthily
2.  Maintain a Healthy Weight
3.  Exercise Regularly

Though there is no doubt all three of these statements are correct, the one response that is every bit as important as any of these three that few people would mention is:  Correct any SLEEP DISORDERS and get at least SIX or more hours of quality sleep most nights of the week.

 Many of the significant health benefits associated with doing Numbers 1, 2 and 3 can, in fact, be undone by chronic sleep disorders and depriving the body of  “therapeutic sleep”.  Therapeutic sleep is more than just rest, and relaxation.

When sleeping, many parts of our body and bodily functions are not relaxing but are busy working hard to refresh and rejuvenate ourselves both physically, psychologically, cognitively, hormonally, and enzymatically.

Possibly as dangerous to your health as smoking or poor diet… over 50% of adults do not get enough quality therapeutic sleep and don’t realize how serious it may be.

Maintain good long-term health by getting at least six hours of quality sleep most nights of the week.

Sleep is required for human life, enabling critical functions such as those involved in cellular regulation and repair, detoxification, immune health, and hormone level modulation. (1-4)  Our physiological homeostasis depends on sleep, yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults in the United States does not get enough of it. (5)  Given the inextricable linkage between sleep and health, the CDC has warned about the health risks of inadequate sleep, and federal and industry dollars continue to fund research that can help elucidate the roles of sleep in disease and quality of life and to provide solutions for those who struggle with poor sleep.

Developing and maintaining healthy sleep habits may empower people to reduce their risks of illness and disease. Indeed, poor sleep is associated not only with greater risk for developing a host of health problems, including degenerative diseases, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but also with a greater risk for suffering debilitating symptoms like migraine headaches and for living a shorter lifespan. (9-16)

Sleep Affects All Aspects of Life  – Sleep allows your body to heal and rejuvenate while sleep loss activates undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage

Sleep….

• Improves your immune function and protects against cell damage

• Supports proper brain function and improves focus, memory, concentration, learning, and productivity

• Lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, dementia and obesity

• Increases ‘healthspan” (living longer in a healthier state as opposed to living longer in a debilitated, degenerative state

• Affects glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk

• Short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity.

• Poor sleep is linked to depression (sleep affects emotions and social interactions)

One degenerative disease for which there is a growing wealth of research into the role of sleep is the neurodegenerative disease, Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent cause of dementia in the older population, accounting for 65 to70% of the cases. The formation of amyloid-β (also known as beta-amyloid or Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles are the hallmarks of the disease.

People with healthy sleep habits are at a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. (10) Those at lower risk are those who do not suffer from insomnia and who do not experience sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), which includes snoring, sleep apnea, and obstructive sleep apnea. The specific role that sleep plays in protecting against dementia is unclear, but studies have shown that insomnia increases both the production and secretion of amyloid-β, leading to higher levels of amyloid-β in those with insomnia as compared to those with healthy sleep patterns. (17)  Research showing that cerebrospinal levels of amyloid-β and its precursor, amyloid precursor protein (APP), are higher at night suggests that it is during sleep that the brain clears itself of these substances. (18) These findings offer some insight into why sleep seems to protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The Sleep Migraine Connection:  Migraines and other forms of headache can be associated with a variety of diseases and conditions, but they are also known to be associated with a lack of sleep. Though the relationship between sleep and migraine is complex,(19) it is clear that the two often co-occur. Indeed, disturbed sleep is more common in adults and children with migraines than those without migraines, with between 30% and 50% of migraine patients experiencing disturbed sleep or poor sleep quality. (20-23)  Further, the severity and prevalence of sleep problems increase proportionally with headache frequency, such that the vast majority of chronic migraineurs (68% to 84%) suffer from insomnia on a near-daily basis. (20)

There is evidence that lack of sleep causes migraines and that, conversely, migraines cause loss of sleep. It is therefore likely that migraineurs with disturbed sleep experience a negative feedback loop where migraines and loss of sleep reinforce one another and relief from either condition becomes harder and harder. (20-22)  Nonetheless, restful sleep has been shown to be effective in relieving migraine attacks, strongly suggesting that insufficient sleep causes or exacerbates migraine headaches.

Consistent with this view is the finding that those with migraines are less likely to possess the ability to flexibly adapt their sleep/wake cycles (24) and are thus more likely to become sleep deprived. Even more telling is that lack of sleep is the most commonly reported trigger of headaches. (25,26)

NATURAL ALTERNATIVES FOR SLEEP

Alternative headache and migraine therapies include psychological counseling, biofeedback, and physical therapy, which work by making lifestyle changes. Non-pharmacological treatments for the management of migraines and headaches have a growing field of science to support their use. Biofeedback techniques teach patients to control certain responses of their body to help reduce pain. For example, a patient can learn diaphragmatic breathing, heart rate, muscle tension, and how to control the temperature to enter a relaxed state, which may bring about better pain control.

Alternative treatments for insomnia and disordered sleep include background music, acupuncture, prayer, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and massage.

Non-pharmacological nutritional therapies include natural supplements for sleep which avoids the serious side effects of prescription drugs. Drug-related side effects include kidney damage, ulcers, dependence, addiction, tolerance development requiring higher doses, rebound insomnia, withdrawal symptoms, and daytime grogginess. (19, 20, 21)

Another aspect of over-the-counter NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and prescription drugs is that analgesic over-use can cause chronic headache syndrome, where the drug increases the number of migraine episodes per month. Nutritional supplements have never been reported to cause this effect. (22, 23)

FORMULA FOR SLEEP – Nutritional ingredients that have been proven in clinical studies to be of great benefit for people who have difficulty sleeping include:

Hops extract comes from the flowers (seed cones) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus. Hops has long been recognized for its relaxation and calming effect. Studies suggest Hops extract may help to improve sleep quality, shorten the time to fall asleep, and improve sleep brain wave patterns.

Valerian extract is a perennial herb native to North America, Asia, and Europe. Studies show valerian may improve sleep quality with fewer night awakenings and greater sleep duration. Valerian is also known for stress reduction and is among the eight most widely used herbal supplements in the world.

Zizyphus Jujube extract is a fruit most frequently used for sleep problems in Traditional Chinese Medicine with little side-effects. It is also used for purposes related to gastrointestinal health and digestion and is also known for its relaxation and calming effect.

Glycine is an amino acid that enhances sleep and supports whole-body health. Early research on glycine and its essential role in sleep was published in 1989 and later in 2008. One of the ways in which glycine aids in sleep was clarified when it was discovered that glycine is responsible for the profound muscle relaxation that occurs during various stages of REM sleep. In another study, glycine improved sleep efficiency, reduced difficulty in falling asleep, and enhanced sleep satisfaction.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCL) Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCL) helps your body convert food energy into glucose, metabolize fats and proteins, and ensure proper function of your nervous system. With these various effects, there are ways in which your vitamin B-6 status may cause or contribute to your sleeping difficulties, or insomnia. Pyridoxine is considered adequate for neurotransmitter production to support sleep. Studies show that vitamin B6 positively impacts aspects of sleep and is essential for promoting and maintaining a good mood.

Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzyme-related biochemical processes and appears to influence sleep in a variety of ways. Those who are deficient in magnesium are more likely to have abnormal EEG readings during sleep, more nocturnal awakenings, less time spent in stage 5 REM sleep, and self-reports of poor sleep quality. On the other hand, those taking dietary magnesium supplements are more likely to experience better sleep efficiency, the ability to fall asleep faster, and the ability to reduce cortisol levels. Magnesium supplementation also helps to restore normal EEG patterns during sleep.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps to control our body’s biorhythms and thereby helps to regulate sleep. It has become one of the most frequently used non-prescription sleep aids. Melatonin helps to promote total sleep time and can help balance circadian rhythm disruption.

All of these ingredients are included in a new sleep supplement by Akeso Health Sciences called “Sleep All Night.” 

Sleep All Night is an effective dietary supplement and powerful sleep aide to promote deep restorative sleep.

Healthy Sleep Benefits Include:
• Allows your body to heal and rejuvenate
• Improves immune function
• Protects against cell damage and reduces inflammation
• Supports proper brain function
• Improves focus, memory, concentration, learning, and productivity
• Lowers risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, dementia and obesity
• Increases ‘healthspan” (living longer in a healthier state)
• Reduces stress and may reduce depression

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

Vitamin B6 (Pyridozine HCL) 50 mg
Magnesium (Citrate & Oxide) 250 mg
Glycine 1200 mg
Valerian Root Extract (0.8% valerenic acids) 500 mg
Zizyphus Jujube Extract (2% saponins) 200 mg
Hops Extract 4:1 100 mg
Melatonin 3 mg

For more information visit MySleepAllNight.com

 

References

 

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Homemade Ginger Tea – Recipes and Health Benefits

August 9th, 2020

 

Ginger is one of the most widely used herbs in the world and has many health benefits.  It is native to Asia but cultivated in the West Indies, Jamaica, and Africa.

Tea is the most gentle form of consuming ginger. Ginger tea is a spicy, invigorating and healthy beverage made by peeling and grating fresh ginger root, immersing it in boiling water, and simmering the tea for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the desired strength.

Ginger contains more than 200 substances in its oils, which is why it has so many different uses.

Ginger tea is commonly used as a home remedy for indigestion, nausea, and to ward off colds, flu, and sore throats.

Ginger is known to have an affect on a variety of conditions and diseases due in part to its impact on excessive inflammation which is an underlying cause of many illnesses.

Inflammation is the body’s natural healing response to illness or injury, and it subsides as the body heals. However, in some conditions, including arthritis, diverticulosis, gallbladder inflammation, and heart disease, the inflammation does not go away. It becomes chronic and leads to many other problems. Ginger has often been useful in treating chronic inflammation.

It is believed that ginger may block prostiglandins, which stimulate some muscle contractions, control inflammation and impact some hormones.  Therefore migraines may be prevented and stopped by ginger stifling the action of prostiglandins.  Ginger, with all its anti-inflammatory properties, is a potent herb that is good for any type of pain or swelling of the tissues. Ginger tea for headaches is a proven remedy.  For maximum effect, it is best taken at the very onset of a headache or migraine attack. It is also a popular home remedy to stop the nausea that many people experience with migraines.

Healing & Preventive Benefits of Ginger

  • Multiple benefits include – Circulation booster, blood sugar reduction, increase perspiration, soothes menstrual pain, weight-loss, helps reduce sinusitis and throat soreness
  • Treating Colds: Drinking ginger herbal tea is sometimes recommended for relief of cold symptoms because it is said to loosen phlegm and fight chills by spreading a warm feeling throughout the body
  • Treating Nausea:  Ginger tea has been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat nausea. Pregnant women report relief from morning sickness after consuming small amounts of ginger root, ginger tea, and ginger ale. When given in large doses, ginger also relieves chemotherapy-related nausea.
  • Relieving Joint Pain: Ginger has been used to treat joint pain by stimulating blood circulation and has been used to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and Raynaud’s syndrome.
  • Digestive Disorders: Ginger has a warming and soothing effect on the stomach. Whether it’s gas, sea sickness, indigestion, diarrhea or the flu, ginger will help.  It does this by mimicking some digestive enzymes used to process protein in the body.
  • Promoting Heart Health: As little as 5 grams of dried ginger a day has shown to slow the production of triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol in the liver.

GINGER TEA RECIPES

The secret to making a really flavorful ginger tea is to use plenty of ginger – more than you think you will need.  Everyone’s taste is different however so adjust the amount of ginger and honey to your liking.

#1 Honey Ginger Sweet TeaGinger Honey Sweet Tea

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 family-size tea bags
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 7 cups cold water
  • Garnish: lemon slices

Preparation

  1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan; add tea bags. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes.
  2. Discard tea bags. Stir in honey and ginger. Pour into a 1-gal. container.

 

#2 Homemade Ginger Tea (Serve Hot or Cold)

IngredientsGinger Tea Recipe - best

  • 4-6 thin slices raw ginger
  • 1  1/2 – 2 cups water
  • juice from 1/2 lime, or to taste (may use lemon instead of lime)
  • 1-2 tbsp honey or agave nectar, or to taste

Preparation:

Peel the ginger and slice thinly to maximize the surface area. This will help you make a very flavorful ginger tea. Boil the ginger in water for at least 10 minutes. For a stronger and tangier tea, allow to boil for 20 minutes or more, and use more slices of ginger. Remove from heat and add lime juice and honey (or agave nectar) to taste.

For stronger ginger flavor…

Simply slice ginger into paper-thin slices, without peeling it, bring it to boil, then turn it down and let it simmer for 30 mins then cover it and let it sit overnight. It will develop a really strong ginger flavor and a lovely brown color.  The next morning, strain it and either bottle it or, add the lemon juice and serve.   You can sweeten with honey, brown or white sugar,  or artificial sweetener.   The ginger will have a strong, deep flavor and spicy, heat you simply can’t get by pouring hot water over it, or letting it steep for a short time.

Note: Keep in mind that if you are making ginger tea as a home remedy during cold and flu season, sweeteners are not recommended.

 

#3 Ginger Honey Green Teaginger green tea

Ingredients

  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 regular-size green tea bag
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup boiling water

Preparation

  1. Grate ginger, using the large holes of a box grater, to equal 1 Tbsp. Squeeze juice from ginger into a teacup; discard solids. Place tea bag, lemon juice, and honey in teacup; add boiling
    water. Cover and steep 3 minutes. Remove and discard tea bag, squeezing gently.

 

#4 Ginger Tea (1 quart)ginger in a pan

Ingredients:

  • Water, 4 cups
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root or 1/4 cup freshly grated ginger
  • Juice of 1 lemon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional)
  • Thin slices of lemon or lime (garnish)

Peel the ginger root and slice it into thin slices. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it is boiling, add the ginger. For a more lemon taste, add the lemon juice and the whole squeezed lemon to the boiling water as well.    Cover it and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Instead of adding lemon to boiling water, you may also add it “to taste” after the boiling process.

Line a strainer with a thin wet cloth and strain tea into a pitcher.  Stir in honey and lemon to taste. Serve hot or chill thoroughly and serve on ice with thin slices of lemon and lime.

 

#5 Cranberry Ginger Teacranberry ginger

A tangy blend of ginger and cranberries. This tart tea recipe will make your taste buds
jump for joy, and wake you up in the morning.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tea bags
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup ginger, fresh and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Preparation:

Steep tea, ginger and cranberries in water for 15 minutes. Strain and add nutmeg and cranberry juice.  Serve warm.

 

#6 Cranberry Ginger Punch

Ingredientsginger cranberry tea

  • 1 pieces (3-inch) fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups cranberry-raspberry juice
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 6 slices lemon 6 slices orange

Directions Make the ginger tea: Bring the ginger and 3 1/2 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and steep for 2 hours. (Tea can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated.)

Mix the punch: Strain the tea into a large pitcher and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Serve over ice.

 

Invent you own ginger tea concoction…

Mix your favorite ingredients into the basic ginger tea recipe, for example fresh mint leaves, a bag of chamomile and half a lime.

To make different variations of ginger tea, you can add just a few slices of ginger tea to a variety of teas. Here are some examples.

  • Ginger White Tea
  • Ginger Black Tea
  • Ginger Green Tea
  • Ginger Chamomile Tea
  • Ginger Lemon Balm Tea
  • Ginger Osmanthus Tea
  • Ginger Cinnamon Tea
  • Ginger Clove Tea

Note:  Store fresh ginger  in a cool, dark, dry place. Do not keep them in the refrigerator, even after cutting them, or they will shrivel up.

Stay healthy and enjoy!

 

 

Can Drinking Alcohol Trigger Migraines?

July 28th, 2020

Sipping a nice glass of red wine during a romantic date or gulping down a beer or two on a hot summer day with friends can be a harmless, relaxing activity. But when you are prone to getting migraines, having a single drink can be enough to trigger a head-splitting headache.Migraines and Drinking Alcohol

 

Drinking alcohol is as embedded in our society as having a cup of coffee in the morning. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an astonishing 70 percent of respondents 18 years and older reported having at least one drink during the past year, and more than half (55.3 percent) claimed that they drank in the past month.

You’ve probably heard more conflicting information about alcohol than any other substance. On the one hand, moderate amounts of it have been associated with potential health benefits, like reducing the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and ischemic stroke. On the other, heavy alcohol use can increase your likelihood of developing serious health issues, including several types of cancer, liver disease, pancreatitis, and ironically, heart disease.

But, what about headaches and migraines? Alcohol has long been associated with the development of headaches, with many migraine sufferers cutting back on its consumption in hopes of reducing the frequency and severity of their attacks. The connection between alcohol and headaches is well-known, and there is mounting evidence that confirms that this connection may be particularly true for headache and migraine-prone people. However, recent studies indicate that it may be the type of alcohol, rather than just drinking, what most likely triggers a migraine in some people.

The Link Between Alcohol and Migraines

Alcohol is a liquid produced by fermenting certain foods such as grains, fruits, or vegetables. While people often use the word ‘alcohol’ to describe any substance that can make you drunk, ethanol, the main psychoactive ingredient of alcohol, is responsible for its intoxicating effects.

Although alcohol’s exact mechanism in triggering a migraine isn’t completely understood, several components of alcoholic drinks may contribute to headaches. However, more research is needed to fully understand the links between these compounds and migraine sufferers’ brains.

Histamine

If you have allergies, you are probably familiar with the word ‘histamine.’ It is a chemical made by the immune system that protects you against foreign invaders. When the body secretes it, it triggers an immediate inflammatory response, expanding your blood vessels and making you itch, cough, sneeze, and tear up.

Histamine is also naturally present in several foods and drinks, including alcoholic beverages and particularly red wine. Several problems can occur when histamine levels stay too high for too long, including a histamine intolerance. Histamine intolerances happen when there is an overproduction of histamine in the body. When levels are too high, people often experience headaches, migraines, sinus issues, digestive issues, and fatigue, among others.

Tyramine

A naturally-occurring byproduct of protein-rich foods, tyramine is produced when the tyrosine of certain protein-rich foods breaks down during the preservation, fermentation, or aging processes. The relationship between tyramine and migraines has been widely studied, and research shows that this organic compound may activate specific neurotransmitters in the brain that could induce headaches.

Darker alcoholic beverages, including tap or homebrewed beer, red wine, vermouth, sherry, and others, are higher in tyramine than clear drinks like vodka and gin.

Other Alcohol Byproducts

Although more scientific proof is needed to establish which, if any, alcohol byproducts trigger migraines, sulfites, flavonoid phenols, and tannins are also thought to cause headaches in some people.

Is Red Wine a Migraine Trigger?

Alcohol doesn’t seem to be a migraine trigger for every migraineur, but many do find red wine especially triggering for them. Red wine contains between 20 and 200 times more histamine than white wine, depending on its individual characteristics (type, age, etc.). It is also rich in tannins, which may change serotonin levels in the brain and may trigger headaches in susceptible individuals.

That doesn’t mean that red wine is the only alcoholic beverage that triggers headaches. Darker color spirits like whiskey and brandy tend to have more byproducts than clear alcohols and are more likely to cause migraines in sensitive people.

Bottom Line

Alcohol is a migraine trigger for some people. While not every migraineur will get a headache from having a few drinks, migraine or headache-prone individuals should avoid drinking excessively.

If you suspect that alcohol might be behind your migraine attacks, consider cutting back entirely or switching your drink of choice. And because summer is here and everybody wants to cool off with a refreshing drink, here are two non-alcoholic cocktail recipes that are so delicious that you won’t even miss the alcohol!


Virgin Frozen Margaritas

Ingredients:

  • Lime wedge
  • 1/3 cup coarse sugar
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons agave or honey
  • Fresh strawberries for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Prepare margarita glasses: add coarse sugar to a shallow bowl. Wet the rim of the glasses with the lime wedge and dip the glass top in the sugar to coat the rim.
  2. Place frozen strawberries, orange juice, lime juice, and agave or honey into a blender. Blend until combine and taste, add more agave or honey if necessary.
  3. Pour drink into prepared glasses and garnish with a sliced strawberry on top.

 

Non-alcoholic Piña Colada

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-oz.) bag frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup ice
  • Pineapple wedges for garnish (optional)
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place all the frozen pineapple chunks, coconut milk, pineapple juice, and ice into a blender.
  2. Puree until smooth.
  3. Pour drinks into glasses and top with a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.

Vitamin D – Essential Nutrient for Overall Health

July 27th, 2020

Often referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for overall health.

 

A, B, C, D, E, K… these are not your typical ABCs – they are just a few of the 13 vitamins that your body needs to grow, develop, and work properly. Vitamins are a group of compounds that allow you to function normally and to stay healthy and strong. Each vitamin has one or more important jobs: from helping the bone marrow form red blood cells, to being a vital ingredient for making one of the most important molecules for life – DNA, and more.

Depending on how the body absorbs them, vitamins are classified into two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins, as the name suggests, dissolve in fat. They are similar to oil in that they don’t dissolve in water, and your body absorbs fat-soluble vitamins better when you eat them with fat. There are four fat-soluble vitamins in the human diet: vitamin A, D, E, and K.

The rest of the vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that they dissolve in water. Contrary to fat-soluble vitamins, which stay in the body for up to six months, water-soluble vitamins are generally not stored in the body. Instead, they pass through the bloodstream before the kidneys eliminate any excess vitamins that aren’t needed.

It is no secret that vitamin C is one of the most popular essential nutrients. Celebrated for potentially treating and preventing the common cold, approximately half of adults in the U.S. take nutritional supplements that typically contain vitamin C.

But another vitamin has slowly been claiming vitamin C’s spot as one of the most beneficial vitamins you could take. Vitamin D is both a vitamin and a hormone. Among other things, it promotes calcium absorption and maintains appropriate phosphate levels, two nutrients that work in tandem to keep your bones strong. Read on to find out about the roles and benefits of vitamin D in more detail.

Benefits

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s naturally present in many natural and fortified foods. The human body also makes vitamin D when the skin is directly exposed to the sun. Recent research has shown that taking vitamin D supplements reduces the risk of developing certain respiratory infections, like the influenza virus. Other studies have shown that vitamin D may protect against some types of cancer, including colon and breast cancer.

Here are three more benefits of vitamin D.

1.  Healthy bones

You probably already know that calcium is essential for bone health. It helps form and maintain bones, and adequate levels of this mineral can protect you against osteoporosis later in life. But what many people don’t know is that without vitamin D, your body can’t absorb the calcium that you ingest.

A vitamin D deficiency in adults can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, fractures, and can also present as osteomalacia, a softening of the bones that can lead to serious health complications. In children, vitamin D deficiencies can cause rickets, a rare condition that results in weak bones, stunted growth, and muscle weakness.

2.  Immunity

Supplementing with vitamin D3 may protect against acute respiratory tract infections, according to a 2015 systematic review and analysis of previous studies. Published by the British Medical Journal, the reviewers looked at 25 clinical trials with over 11,000 participants in total to see if vitamin D supplements could potentially prevent respiratory infections.

The results showed that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of getting at least one respiratory infection, and was particularly effective at preventing respiratory infections among those who already had a vitamin D deficiency.

Other reviews of existing evidence have found similar results, like this 2018 meta-analysis, which concluded that vitamin D supplements may have a protective effect against the influenza virus, though some of the studies that they analyzed had no relevant results.

Based on these findings, a number of recent studies have started looking at the potential role of vitamin D in the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), from helping prevent the virus by making its symptoms less severe. So far, the results have been mixed. There hasn’t been enough time to conduct in-depth studies that could establish a strong causal relationship, and many of the reports are preliminary and have not been thoroughly reviewed.

One study led by researchers from Northwestern University compared COVID-19 data from 10 countries to each country’s average vitamin D deficiency rates. They found that countries with more vitamin D deficiency had higher mortality rates, whereas countries with higher vitamin D levels were not affected as severely by the virus. However, a review by U.K.’s National Institute for Health Care and Excellence concluded that there is not sufficient evidence to determine whether vitamin D can prevent or treat COVID-19.

Still, many experts believe that the new and growing evidence linking vitamin D deficiencies to COVID-19 is compelling. Observational studies conducted at South Asian hospitals show that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was significantly higher among patients with severe coronavirus cases. And an investigation – which has not been peer-reviewed yet – from researchers at the University of Chicago found that people who had vitamin D deficiencies before the pandemic were 77 percent more likely to get COVID-19 than people with normal levels.

3.  Depression

There may be some association between vitamin D and certain mood disorders, including depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – a type of depression that typically occurs during the fall and winter and ends in spring or early summer. A 2018 meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, investigators found that low vitamin D levels are associated with depression.

On the other hand, another study led by Danish researchers looked at vitamin D levels in relation to SAD. The research team looked at 34 healthcare workers with symptoms of SAD that took either a vitamin D supplement or a placebo for three months. Unfortunately, the investigators didn’t find any significant associations between supplementing with vitamin D and reducing the symptoms of SAD.

Vitamin D3 benefits are far more extensive and in fact decrease the risk of all cause mortality (death regardless of the cause).  Although vitamin D is made by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, the majority of people have below optimal levels of D3.  In fact a study showed below optimal levels of vitamin D3 in many people from a group of outdoor workers.  Also, sunscreen, protective clothing, limited exposure to sunlight, dark skin, and age may prevent getting enough vitamin D from the sun.  So even if you are in the sun a lot, that is no guarantee your vitamin D3 levels are sufficient.  Almost everyone should be supplementing with vitamin D3 for the following reasons:

Vitamin D3 supports

  • Supports a Healthy Nervous System
  • Supports Immune System
  • Healthy Teeth
  • Healthy Bones
  • Healthy Lung Function
  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Improves Brain Function
  • Regulates Insulin Levels
  • Aides in Diabetes Management

Vitamin D3 Lowers risk of 

  • Flu
  • Diabetes (Type 1 & 2)
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Eczema & Psoriasis
  • Bone Fractures
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s
  • All Cause Mortality

Optimal levels of Vitamin D3 range between 60 – 90 nanograms/ml. 

If you fall below this range, consider supplementing with 2,500 -5,000. If you fall below 30 ng/ml, consider taking 10,000 I.U. daily.  Some people, even with additional daily D-3 supplementation, do not easily increase their vitamin D-3 levels, so you may need to double your daily intake.  If  your vitamin D-3 levels did not increase much upon having them  tested a second time,  (despite having doubled your daily dose), discuss this with your doctor.  You may have to take as much as 50,000 IU of vitamin D-3 a day (or more) to get up to 60-90 ng/ml. I know that going to your doctor’s office or a lab can be inconvenient but it is extremely worth it to decrease your risk of death from all causes as well as specifically from heart disease and cancer!

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is fairly common. About 1 billion people have vitamin D deficiency worldwide, and nearly 50 percent of the entire world’s population has vitamin D insufficiency. In the United States, it is estimated that almost 40 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D deficiencies can happen for several reasons, including not getting enough sunlight, being lactose intolerant, eating a limited diet, or having a medical condition like kidney disease or cystic fibrosis. Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency might include fatigue, mood changes, bone pain, and muscle aches.

Sources of Vitamin D

You can get vitamin D in different ways, including:

  • Ultraviolet B rays (aka sunshine)
  • Fatty fish and seafood, like:
    • Tuna
    • Salmon
    • Oysters
    • Shrimp
  • Mushrooms
  • Egg yolk
  • Fortified foods, including:
    • Cow’s and plant-based milk
    • Tofu
    • Boxed cereal
    • Orange juice
  • Nutritional supplements

 

Opioids and Migraine Treatment

July 27th, 2020

Opiod Alternatives

While the coronavirus pandemic has taken center stage during most of the year, there is another epidemic wreaking havoc in the United States: the opioid epidemic. In 2017 alone, more than 70,000 Americans died of opioid-related drug overdoses – a 45% increase from the previous year.

The opioid epidemic has become such a big problem that in 2017 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared it a public health emergency and proposed a 5-point strategy to address the crisis that’s still going strong.

Synthetic (man-made) opioids are prescribed to manage pain after surgeries and are sometimes prescribed to patients who suffer from chronic or severe pain. And since the 1990s, illicit opioids manufactured by illegal pharmaceutical laboratories became a popular recreational drug.

The main problem with these drugs is that they are highly potent and very addictive; one of the most powerful synthetic opioids, fentanyl, is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. In the United States, more fatal drug overdoses are caused by fentanyl and synthetic opioids than any other type of drug.

But despite years of data showing that opioids are incredibly addictive, and not as safe as we once thought, many healthcare practitioners continue to prescribe these drugs for problems like mild to severe pain, and migraine headaches.

The issue? In addition to being highly addictive, long-term use of opioids can lead to tolerance. That means that the longer your body is exposed to opioids, the less effective they will be at relieving your migraine. It also means that regular opioid use can make your migraines longer and more painful.

Opioids as a Migraine Treatment

When researchers in the 19th century first isolated the specific compound of the poppy plant that alleviates pain and makes people ‘high,’ they named it morphine after Morpheus, the god of dreams. At the time, it was a revolutionary discovery. Experts weren’t aware of the dangers that the new class of drugs posed, and many people, including hundreds of thousands of soldiers who received morphine for pain during the Civil War, became addicted.

As early as 1900, Americans – and people in places where opioids were prevalent – were already abusing these medications, crushing pills and inhaling them for recreational use. In 1914, the Harrison Narcotics Act in the U.S. banned the recreational use of opioids and made them available by prescription only. By 1986, the World Health Organization recommended opioids only as a last resort painkiller and advised medical professionals to look for non-addictive treatment options for pain.

Migraines have always been tricky to treat. Partly because there hasn’t been enough research to fully understand the mechanisms that cause these headaches, and partly because only recently new classes of medications are becoming more effective, over the years, opioids became one of the most common migraine treatments prescribed by doctors.

According to a 2014 review published in the medical journal Headache, opioids are used and prescribed to migraine patients in over 50 percent of emergency department visits. That is despite evidence suggesting that dedicated migraine drugs like triptans are more effective at treating these headaches.

But it is not just the emergency department where opioid use is still prevalent. Another study published in 2017, found that out of 2,866 migraine patients who visited their doctor for headache relief, 15 percent were prescribed opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Opioid use is associated with poor health outcomes. At lower doses, opioids can make you feel tired and sleepy, which increases the risk of motor vehicle and workplace accidents. At higher doses, however, opioids may slow down your heart rate significantly, which can lead to death. They also tend to worsen migraine pain down the line by changing how your brain reacts to pain.

Drug-Free Natural Remedies

When a migraine strikes, most people reach for a prescription or over-the-counter medication for quick migraine relief. But multiple natural remedies can also help you manage migraine attacks. These are a few drug-free alternatives to reduce migraine symptoms:

Magnesium

Magnesium is an abundant natural mineral that can be found in different kinds of foods and dietary supplements. It is necessary for healthy bodily function as it promotes heart health, stabilizes blood pressure, regulates nerve and muscle function and builds bone, DNA and protein. Magnesium is intimately involved in the control of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptors which play an important role in pain transmission in the nervous system and in the regulation of cerebral blood flow.  Low levels of magnesium have been shown to contribute to headaches and migraines. In fact, research shows that many migraine sufferers also have lower levels of magnesium and that taking magnesium supplements can be effective at reducing the frequency and severity of attacks.

Riboflavin

Also known as vitamin B-2, riboflavin plays a vital role in red blood cell formation and other essential functions. Riboflavin is present in many foods, especially dairy products, and red meat, although it can also be found in salmon, tuna, almonds, and grains. Research suggests that supplementing with high dose riboflavin can decrease the severity of migraine attacks among chronic migraineurs. In fact, in a review of 11 clinical trials testing the effectiveness of riboflavin at preventing migraines, nine studies confirmed that this vitamin, both by itself and combined with other nutraceuticals, was successful at avoiding migraines in many patients.

Research has shown that a mitochondrial defect may reduce an individual’s threshold to migraine triggers and lead to migraines. A deficiency of mitochondrial energy reserves has been observed in many people exhibiting poor cerebrovascular tone. Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body convert food to energy.  It is a precursor of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and flavin mononucleotide (FMN ) which unlike CoQ10 are involved in all three cellular energy production processes; glycolysis, Krebs cycle and electron transport. At the proper dose, riboflavin helps maintain healthy mitochondrial energy reserves which is very beneficial to migraine sufferers.

Feverfew

Feverfew is a flowering plant native to the Balkan peninsula and has been a popular herbal remedy for centuries. Historians believe that Ancient Greeks used feverfew to reduce inflammation and treat cramps, and this member of the daisy family was once dubbed the “medieval aspirin” because of its ability to reduce fever and ease pain. Feverfew is also a popular natural remedy used to improve migraine symptoms, arthritis, and it can even help eliminate certain types of intestinal parasites.

Commonly recommended for its ability to support cerebrovascular tone and function, this plant contains parthenolide, which studies suggest are very beneficial to migraines sufferers. Feverfew has been known to inhibit blood platelet aggregation (the clumping/sticking together of blood platelets). Over aggregating of platelets in the blood appear just before a migraine, forcing a release of serotonin. Serotonin causes the blood vessel to constrict, leading to head pain.

Boswellia

Also known as Indian frankincense, Boswellia extract is a known natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic that has shown promising effects on patients suffering from chronic headaches. Boswellia extract comes from the Boswellia serrata tree, and it is extracted by tapping the tree and drawing out the resin inside.

Ginger

Ginger is a popular cooking ingredient in Asian cuisines that gives foods and beverages a pleasant warm taste. As a natural remedy, research studies have shown that ginger can help reduce inflammation and ease pain in people with arthritis and joint pain. There is also evidence that ginger is very effective in treating  nausea, making it an ideal natural alternative for easing the characteristic upset stomach symptoms that come with migraines.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated botanical extracts. They are made by pressing or steaming the most aromatic part of the plant until they are left with a reduced extract. It often takes several pounds of a single plant to make one essential oil bottle, which means that these liquids are incredibly potent.

People often use essential oils in one of two ways: inhaled or applied to the skin topically. Because oils release scent molecules, they travel through the nose to the brain, triggering emotional responses from the amygdala. Depending on the plant, diluted essential oils may help reduce inflammation, manage pain, and help with relaxation.

Lavender, peppermint, and spearmint essential oils have been shown to reduce stress, induce sleep, and improve migraine and headache symptoms.

Cold Compresses and Ice Packs for Migraine Relief (Do-It-Yourself Gel Ice Pack Recipe)

Applying an Ice Pack to the head or back of the neck is an effective migraine remedy for many migraine sufferers and there are no known side-effects.  Ice is often the ‘go-to’ to treat pain and inflammation, so it makes to apply it to your head for soothing a migraine.  Put the compress on your head for 15 minutes, then remove it for 15 minutes.

Recipe for slushy and flexible COLD PACKS:

Ingredients

  • 1 part Rubbing Alcohol
  • 3 parts Water

Instructions

  1. You can make each bag separately, pouring directly into the bag, or you can mix up your parts into a large mixing bowl, stir and fill each bag.
  2. Fill bags 3/4 full and zip lock trying to avoid trapping too much air.
  3. Place in your freezer.
  4. Ready for use in 8 hours.

Notes – Do not leave small children unsupervised. Rubbing Alcohol is toxic if consumed.

This cold pack is recommended by physical therapists, is inexpensive, works perfectly, stays flexible and slushy, is less messy if there is a leak and is very inexpensive.
You can double bag (two zip lock bags) to be extra cautious or just double bag if the first bag begins to leak.

The Bottom Line:

Finding natural remedy to help you avoid opiate use, and treat the symptoms of a headache or a migraine can mean the difference between experiencing manageable and severe pain.  It is always best to speak with your doctor before starting a new regimen and if  over-the-counter treatments and home remedies don’t provide headache and migraine relief to your satisfaction.

 

Fruit Infused Water – A Great Way to Stay Hydrated and Beat the Heat

July 1st, 2020

 

Recipes Fruit Infused WaterSummer is in full swing and with rising temperatures comes the need for everyone, especially migraineurs to stay well hydrated.  Helping to prevent migraines is only one of the benefits to drinking plenty of water.  Water helps with controlling calories, energizing muscles, and keeping your skin looking good.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water helps keep your body temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and gets rid of wastes through urination and perspiration.

Your body needs more water in hotter climates, on hotter days and when your more physically active.  If you think you are not getting enough water, carry a water bottle with you throughout the day. Choose water over other beverages when eating out and freeze water in a freezer safe bottle for icy cold water all day long.  To jazz it up a bit, make your own fruit infused water.

Fruit Infused Water

Making your own fruit-infused waters is a great alternative to drinking sugary sports drinks and sodas with additives and dyes. Fruit infused water doesn’t really require a specific recipe. You can experiment by making small or large batches and adding as much or as little fruit as you would like to increase flavor and sweetness.  Let your concoction stand for 2 to 8 hours then enjoy!  Popular fruits:  raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, pineapple, oranges, lemons, limes, and cucumbers.Popular herbs:  mint, basil and rosemary.  Slice strawberries but keep other berries whole and press lightly with a spoon to release some of the flavors.  Add your favorite ingredients to a 1/2 gallon pitcher of water, cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.  Or make by the glass.

Star Spangled Frit Infused Water – Red, White & Blueberry

Ingredients:  1 pint of blueberries, 1 pint of strawberries, and a pineapple.
Cut pineapple with star cookie cutter and combine in a pitcher with strawberries and blueberries for star-spangled beverage.  You can infuse water or mix fruit with white sangria or lemonade for a festive punch.

Mango-Ginger Water
This is a delicious drink that boosts your metabolism, acts a natural pain reliever for migraines to menstrual cramps, aides in digestion and boosts your memory.
Ingredients:  1 inch Ginger Root, peeled and sliced + 1 cup Frozen Mango (or fresh)
Drop into a pitcher of water and cover with 3 cups of ice.  The ice is important to hold down the ingredients to help infuse the water.  Chill 1-3 hours and enjoy!

OTHER GREAT FRUIT AND HERB COMBINATIONS FOR FLAVORFUL WATER

Ginger-Lemon-Mint Water
1 lemon slice, 2 sprigs mint, slice of fresh ginger (2 oz)

Strawberry-Lemon-Basil Water
4-6 strawberries, 1/2 lemon sliced, and a small handful of basil, scrunched.

Blueberry Orange Water
2 mandarin oranges, cut into wedges, handful of blueberries.
Squeeze in the juice of one mandarin orange and muddle the blueberries to intensify flavor.

Raspberry-Lemon
1 cup of raspberries and 1/2 lemon sliced.

Mango-Pineapple
1 cup cubed mango and 1 cup cubed pineapple.

Cucumber-Lemon
Cucumber slices and lemon wedges.

Rosemary-Grapefruit Water
1/2 grapefruit sliced, several springs of rosemary.

Lemon-Jalapeno-Cilantro Water
1 lime sliced, 1 halved jalapeno, and fresh cilantro to taste.
Cover and let sit over night in the refrigerator.

Watermelon-Mint-Lime Water
1 lime sliced, 2 sprigs mint, 1 cup watermelon chunks.

Watermelon-Mint Water
1 cup watermelon chunks and 2 sprigs mint.

 

 

 

Many stores carry various “Infusion Water Bottles” but any container may be used.

 

Fruit infused water bottles

 

 

Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety

June 25th, 2020

Heat and Your Health

With summer comes sun and warm weather—but rising temperatures also increase the risk of heat related illnesses.   Heat-related illnesses are responsible for more deaths per year than any other weather-related exposure, including tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Make sure you’re aware of how to best protect yourself and your loved ones from a heat related illness as it can creep up on you when you least expect it.

People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs. Several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly.

There are three types of heat-related syndromes:

  • Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat cramps usually occur during heavy exercise in hot environments. These painful, involuntary muscle spasms are more intense and prolonged than those nighttime leg cramps many are familiar with. Heat cramps are caused by a loss of fluid and electrolytes in the body.
  • Heat exhaustion is caused by exposure to high temperatures, especially in humid climates, humidity, and high-intensity physical activity. Severe heat exhaustion can cause heatstroke, a life-threatening condition. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, faintness, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and headache.
  • Heatstroke is the most severe type of heat-related illness, and the most dangerous. Heatstroke occurs when your body overheats, usually as a result of spending a long period of time in high temperatures. Untreated heatstroke can cause damage to the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles, and can even result in death. Symptoms to watch out for: a high body temperature (104 degrees or higher), altered mental state or behavior, confusion, slurred speech, alteration in sweating, nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate and headache.

Though the elderly (65+), infants and children are more susceptible to heat stress, even the best athletes can succumb to the health risks of hot weather. Certain conditions can limit the ability to regulate temperature as well including  obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, prescription drug use and alcohol use.

Understanding how and why the body cools itself, when faced with extreme temperatures, is the key to staying healthy and preventing injuries and even death.

Body temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus much as the temperature in your home is controlled by a thermostat: The hypothalamus responds to internal and external stimuli and makes any necessary adjustments to keep your body within a few degrees of 98.6.  But unlike a thermostat, which simply turns the heat or air conditioning on or off until a desired temperature is reached, the hypothalamus must regulate and fine-tune a complex set of temperature-control activities. It not only helps to balance body fluids and maintain salt concentrations, it also controls the release of chemicals and hormones related to temperature.

The hypothalamus works with other parts of the body’s temperature-regulating system, such as the skin, sweat glands and blood vessels. The middle layer of the skin, or dermis, stores most of the body’s water. When heat activates sweat glands, these glands bring that water, along with the body’s salt, to the surface of the skin as sweat. Once on the surface, the water evaporates. Water evaporating from the skin cools the body, keeping its temperature in a healthy range.

On most days, the hypothalamus reacts to increases in outdoor temperature by sending messages to the blood vessels, telling them to dilate. This sends warm blood, fluids and salts to the skin, setting off the process of evaporation.  Problems occur when a person is in the heat for a long time or in such extremes of heat or humidity that the evaporation process fails.  In prolonged heat exposure, the body sweats so much that it depletes itself of fluids and salts, leaving nothing to sustain the evaporation process. When this process stops, body temperature soars and heat illnesses may result.

According to the Center for Disease Control:

Muscle cramping might be the first sign of heat-related illness, and may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke. Here is how you can recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke and what to do:

Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting
What You Should Do:

  • Move to a cooler location.
  • Lie down and loosen your clothing.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
  • Sip water.
  • If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.
Heat Stroke

  • High body temperature (above 103°F)*
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness
What You Should Do:

  • Call 911 immediately — this is a medical emergency.
  • Move the person to a cooler environment.
  • Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath.
  • Do NOT give fluids.

To download  list of heat related illnesses and what to do about them, click on the link below.  Share this PDF from the Centers for Disease Control with your friends and loved ones.

Click Here – WARNING SIGNS OF HEAT RELATED ILLNESS & WHAT TO DO


Stay Cool 

A few ways to stay cool in the extreme heat:

  • Soak a t-shirt in the sink in cool water (not cold or chilled water), wring it out, put it on and sit in the shade or in front of a fan.
  • Fill a plastic spray bottle with water and freeze over night. You will have a cool mist that lasts for hours.
  • Soak your feet in cold water. The body radiates heat from the hands, feet, face and ears, so cooling any of these will naturally cool the body.
  • Wear light colors! Darker colors will absorb the sun’s rays and be warmer than light or white clothing, which reflects light and heat.
  • Minty fresh – use mint scented or menthol lotions and soaps to cool your skin.
  • Rubbing Alcohol – Put some rubbing alcohol on a damp washcloth and hold it on the back of your neck and sit near a fan. The evaporative effect can feel 30 degrees cooler!

 

FROZEN GRAPES – NATURALLY SWEET SUMMER TREAT
The perfect low calorie, naturally sweet summer treat!
These frozen bites always stay icy, but not frozen solid. They must be eaten as soon as they are removed from the freezer before they thaw completely.

1. Wash and dry green or red grapes.
2. Place in sealable plastic bag.
3. Keep in freezer for 2 hours or until frozen.
4. Fill a bowl with several ice cubes and place the bag in the bowl to keep cool while you enjoy!

 

Be safe and have a wonderful summer!

 

 

 

 

The Coronavirus and How to Fortify Your Body Against It

June 3rd, 2020

The corona virus has disrupted life as we know it and caused much concern and confusion. News reports are constantly updating us on the spread of the virus and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has closely monitored the situation since the coronavirus began spreading between people in America. The first confirmed person to person spread of this virus was on January 30, 2020. Previously all confirmed U.S. cases had been associated with travel to China.

Corona Virus

As of today, over 25,387,330 people have been infected worldwide and this number changes daily. While there have been at least 800,650 deaths, the vast majority of cases have not been classified as severe.  The elderly are particularly vulnerable, as they often have weak immune systems.  In addition to taking commonsense precautions such as hand washing, maintaining a strong immune system is very important, more now than ever.

Building Your Immune System

Becoming dehydrated weakens your immune system so be sure to drink plenty of water daily.  A vast majority of people are chronically dehydrated as they opt for more flavorful drink alternatives or consume caffeinated beverages and other drinks that act like diuretics and cause the body to expel water, further compromising the immune system and health over-time.  Lymphatic fluids, part of the immune system, make up four times the volume of blood and are designed to remove cellular waste products, including inflammation by-products from the body. Suffice it to say, to work properly and do its job of protecting you, your immune system needs the support of a continuous supply of water, so staying well hydrated is #1 in building and maintaining a strong immune system.  In addition, I recommend taking the following supplements:

Vitamin C – 2,000 mg/day

Zinc  – 50 mg/day

Vitamin A – 900 mcg/day

Vitamin D3 – 1,000 – 2,500 IU/day

Elderberry Extract – 500 mg/day (increase to 1,125 mg day if you show symptoms of flu or virus.)

Andographis Extract – 200 mg/day

Siberian Ginseng – 200 mg/day

Pelargonium Sidoides Extract – (Commonly used for upper respiratory infections including bronchitis). P. Sidoides is marketed in the U.S. as Umckaloaba – 1 dropper full twice a day in 2 oz. of water or juice.

To learn more about the ingredients above, enhancing your immune system and taking precautions against the coronavirus, continue reading.

If you show symptoms of the flu or virus, be sure to contact your physician.

Coronavirus – Nothing New, But Some Types Can Be Severe

Coronavirus has existed for a while and both animals and humans have been infected. It is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous, but sometimes, more serious strains develop. In the past few decades, the SARS and MERS outbreaks were examples of serious cases.   In early 2020, following a December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified a new type, 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Scientists are still assessing how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses tend to spread via cough and sneeze droplets.

But most coronavirus infections, in the past at least, have been mild and cause symptoms similar to the common cold. Although the concern for this new form of coronavirus, is that the symptoms and dangers can be severe for some people.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, vomiting

How Coronavirus Spreads:

It’s thought to have originally spread from an animal-foods market to humans. Now it’s known to spread from humans to humans. Scientists don’t know everything about how coronavirus is spread but it’s thought that it’s “likely that coughs or sneezes from an infected person may spread the virus.”

Fortifying Yourself Against the Coronavirus and Other Viral Infections

Maintaining a powerful immune system is the surest foundation of minimizing your chance of developing long and severe viral infections.

Naturally bolstering your immune system is the most you can do at this moment to fight the coronavirus, unless an effective vaccine is developed soon. And even in that case, many natural supplements have been shown to boost the effectiveness of vaccines.

Powerful Ways to Boost Your Immune System

It’s surprising to many people that sometimes the most effective and long-lasting ways of fighting infections have to do with natural methods.

Getting optimal amounts of immune-boosting nutrients and using herbs and other supplements to fight pathogens deeply boosts your body’s defenses and helps kill pathogens.

If you pour through research of the past few decades, you’ll find tons of cases of nutritional interventions effectively fighting the symptoms of stubborn “antibiotic-resistant” infections!

Boost Your Immune System, Fight Coronavirus

Coronavirus is another infection, similar to any other infection, that can be fought using immune-boosting practices. If fact, coronavirus is mentioned, along with other viruses,  in many studies that test immune-boosting methods.

Here are the methods that work and boost your immune system’s killing capacity in many ways.

1.  Astragalus

For at least 2000 years, Astragalus has been one of the most revered herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. Modern research has backed up its potential life-extending and strength-enhancing properties [1]

But most importantly to our conversation, astragalus is one of the most effective and straight-forward boosters of our immune systems. Research in humans has clearly indicated that astragalus boosts the number of many different types of immune cells (monocytes, neutrophils, and lymphocytes), and activates them to energetically kill pathogens [2][3]!

 2. Your Diet Should Be Mostly Whole (Unprocessed) Plant Foods

High blood sugar weakens your immune system response, causes immune dysfunction [4][5].

Eating plenty of fiber and antioxidants helps balance out your blood sugar levels and keep them within a normal healthy range. That’s why your diet should mostly consist of vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruit.  Avoiding excessive amounts of sugar in your diet is very important to maintaining a strong immune system.

All of these foods also help feed the good bacteria in your gut, which is critical for a healthy immune system [6].

3. Reishi

Reishi mushroom is another powerful immune-boosting tool. It’s a mushroom that has been shown to increase the number of immune cells in our blood and the amount of immune-stimulating cytokines (signals that activate immune cells)  [7][8][9].

Reishi may also help destroy biofilms – protective layers of mucus that pathogens hide inside of to protect themselves from being killed [10].

4.  Vitamin D3

This sunshine “vitamin” is actually a hormone that boosts the amount of your antimicrobial peptides  (substances that help kill viruses and bacteria) [11]. Your immune cells produce these killing peptides.

Also, some studies have shown that vitamin D3 reduces the incidence of flu viruses and other infections [12][13].

Approximarely 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D3, which humans synthesize from UV light. Now that most of us are sheltering in place, we’re probably getting even less vitamin D from sun exposure than before, so supplementing with vitamin D is important to strengthen the immune system, particularly of people whose Vitamin D levels are low. Vitamin D3 supplementation reduces the risk of respiratory infections, regulates cytokine production and can limit the risk of other viruses such as the flu.  A respiratory infection can result in cytokine storms – a vicious cycle in which our inflammatory cells damage organs throughout the body, which increase mortality for those with COVID-19. Maintaining healthy vitamin  D3 levels may potentially provide some protection for vulnerable populations.

5.  Zinc

Zinc deficiency leads to a weak immune system function because this mineral is involved in so many metabolic reactions in the body and helps create cytokines that the immune system uses to fight infection [14][15].

If you’re deficient in zinc, you won’t make as many immune cells as you should and your thymus gland, responsible for developing immune cells can actually shrink [16]!

Also, many studies have shown that zinc supplementation can shorten the duration of viruses and interfere with virus replication [17].

Researchers say to take 75 mg a day of zinc if you have virus symptoms [18].

6.  Vitamin C

Good, old-fashioned vitamin C is critical for immune health. Your immune cells use vitamin C as fuel for killing pathogens [19]. Extra vitamin C helps immune cells literally eat viruses and bacteria and also empowers the “oxidative burst” – (think of it as toxic bombs) that immune cells kill pathogens with [19].

Many studies have shown that vitamin C supplementation can reduce virus duration [20].

7.  Elderberry Extract

This special berry can interfere with virus replication and has been seen to handicap influenza virus [21]. Elderberry has even been shown to bind to the outside of viruses and prevent them from entering host cells – those could be your cells [21]!

In one incredible study in humans, flu symptoms “were relieved on average 4 days earlier” in elderberry users compared to non-users [22].

8.  Pelargonium Sidoides 

Common names for pelargonium are “African geranium” and often marketed as “Umckaloaba” and “Zucol”.  There has been some evidence for effectiveness in treating bronchitis/acute respiratory tract infections due to Pelargonium’s direct antibiotic effect and host immune stimulation. [23].  It is not recommended for anyone with kidney or liver disease.

9. Andographis Extract – This plant that is native to South Asian countries such as India and Sri Lanka. The leaf and underground stem are used to make medicine.  Andographis is frequently used for preventing and treating the common cold and flu (influenza). It is known for its ability to boost the immune system. [24]

 

Common Sense Precautions – Hand-Washing = First Line of Defense

Like all viruses, the coronavirus can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Hand-washing is a first line of defense. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they release droplets of saliva or mucus. These droplets can fall on people in the vicinity and can be either directly inhaled or picked up on the hands then transferred when someone touches their face, causing infection. Because it is also flu season, it is always a good idea to take sensible precautions everyday including:

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Keep your hands away from your face and far from your mouth and nose.  Viruses don’t infect the skin.  They have to make it to mucosal membrane in your mouth or nose to cause an infection.
  • Wash your hands after touching any communal surfaces. Wash with soap and water then use a clean towel or air dry.  You may also use hand-sanitizer (60% alcohol).

The Power of Sleep
 When it comes to immune defense, never underestimate the power of sleep. These are uncertain and confusing times for everybody, and it’s normal if you are finding it harder and harder to sleep at night. But getting a good night’s sleep is more important now than ever, as research shows that poor sleep is associated with increased vulnerability to infectious diseases and viruses.  Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

When you get a full night’s sleep (i.e., you go through all the stages of the cycle and reach deep sleep), your immune system gets the chance to produce and release cytokines, a type of protein that acts as a chemical messenger and is secreted directly into the tissues and bloodstream. Cytokines bind to immune cell receptors and trigger an immune response targeting infection and inflammation.

An overproduction of cytokines can result in an auto-immune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, where the immune system targets and promotes inflammation in healthy tissue. But when you don’t get enough sleep, and your body can’t secrete enough cytokines, you become more vulnerable to diseases.

Sleeping also increases T cell production, which play an essential role in protecting you against viruses. T cells contribute to the body’s immune response when a potentially harmful foreign body enters the system. These immune cells recognize pathogens then activate integrins, which are a type of protein that allows T cells to attach to and tackle their targets. In fact, research has shown that quality sleep can increase your T cell’s ability to fight off infections.  In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep. If you have difficulty reaching deep rejuvenating and protective sleep, consider Akeso Health Science’s Sleep All Night supplement.

Use Your Tools
Now that you know how many great tools you have at your disposal, build an incredibly strong immune system and fend off the nasty viruses all around us!

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
Chief Scientific Officer, Akeso Health Sciences

Corona Virus Updates & InformationCenters for Disease Control & Prevention