The Importance of Temperature

Temperature – One of the most essential measurements of our existence. But how many of us stop and think about the importance of temperature?

From measuring our air temperature outdoors to making chocolate, temperature is an important factor in our lives.

What is Temperature?

In the most straightforward terms, temperature is an indicator of how hot or cold something is—the measure of hot and cold.

More specifically, it is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in an object, which is a type of energy associated with motion. The more heat, the faster the particles move. However, how hot is hot and how cold is cold? This is determined by measuring temperature in degrees with an instrument known as a thermometer.

Why is Temperature Important?

Temperature is important because we rely on it for so many aspects of our lives but broadly speaking our comfort and safety. These are numerous, but a few are listed as follows.

Food

Temperature holds significant importance for food manufacturers as well as individuals who are merely looking to cook at home. Whether barbecuing, broiling, frying, or waiting for water to boil, the proper temperature is important in preparing a meal; it affects the quality, flavor, and freshness of food.

Proper temperature is crucial for both the storage and cooking of food. Temperature is a major factor that controls the formation of bacteria (microorganisms) in food.

For safety, fresh foods must be held at suitable cold temperatures to restrain bacterial growth or cooked to temperatures high enough to kill harmful microorganisms.

This applies especially to meat, poultry, and egg products. Therefore, it is essential to use a food thermometer to prevent undercooking, and as a result, prevent food borne illness. These illnesses include Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes.

For storage, use an appliance thermometer to be sure the temperature of the refrigerator is constantly 40 °F (4.4 °C) or below and the freezer temperature maintains 0 °F (-17.8 °C) or below.

For more information on cooking meat, read the article, The Healthiest way to Cook Meat on this website.

Beverage

In beer and winemaking, temperature plays a major role in the quality of the final product. Atmospheric temperature alone could have a positive or negative effect during the winemaking or brewing process, as well as the temperature at which fermentation takes place.

In milk pasteurization, the temperature is essential for ensuring the removal of the harmful pathogens listed above (i.e. Listeria, Salmonella, and Escherichia commonly known bacteria, E. coli).

Agriculture

In agricultural and greenhouse applications, the temperature can be the variation between life and death for food, plants, and other cultivated products. Should a greenhouse produce too much heat, plants can become stressed or even die

As the fall temperature gradually changes downward, it is essential to remember the important effect that temperature has not only on our health but also on the quality of foods and beverages we make and consume.

Medical-MedicineThe Importance of Temperature - Medicine

Temperature plays a crucial role in medical care for both humans and animals. Our overall health is often reliant upon the correct temperature in many ways as well.

Maintaining proper temperature levels in medical cold storage areas is vital. Incorrect temperatures can negate the medications or vaccines kept in medical refrigerators. Excess temperatures and high humidity are the two most crucial factors in drug deficiency. When subjected to these conditions, the medications can weaken. Furthermore, medical institutions can face fines and or penalties if their medical refrigerators are not performing properly as this poses a health hazard.

The CDC (center for disease control) carried out a study that addressed the improper storage and handling of vaccines. Unfortunately, 76 percent of the chosen 45 providers in the study had some of their vaccines exposed to temperatures that were not within the required cold chain range for a period-of-time. This study prompted the CDC to make changes and illuminations in guidance and requirements for vaccine care.

HealthThe Importance of Temperature - Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An important barometer for health is body temperature. What we know as body temperature is the average temperature of the human body. In humans, this average temperature is estimated at around 97 to 99F or 37°C, although this can vary depending on the time of day. This is measured with a body thermometer.

Body heat is generated by the normal metabolic processes that occur within the body. The majority of our body heat is created in organs, for example, the liver, brain, and heart. Additionally, the muscles create a lot of heat, especially when they are active. The hypothalamus and the autonomic nervous system continuously adjust the complex activities in the body so the body temperature is generally near the normal range.

When the body temperature rises above the normal range, this is usually an indication of a fever caused by some kind of inflammation. This is an indication of the body’s defense system taking action.

A fever is a reaction to a specific-disease stimuli. The body regulates its temperature to support the body’s own defense mechanisms. Fever is the most widespread form of a disease-related (pathological) increase in body temperature.

When the body temperature lowers below the range (below 95F), it is indicative of a condition known as hypothermia and is a medical emergency.

Measuring body temperature is very crucial in medicine. A number of diseases are recognized by a change in body temperature. With other illnesses, the track of the disease can be monitored by measuring body temperature. This allows the physician to analyze the efficiency of treatments based on body temperatures.

Temperature is crucial, as it is something we feel. Adjustments have to be made to our housing and clothing to it if we live in different places or at different times of the year. If we get too cold or too hot, survival is impossible. However, the heat from the sun also evaporates water
from the ground and drives the water cycle. Water is a necessity.

The EnvironmentThe Importance of Temperature - The importance of temperature on the environment

Temperature is among the most all-encompassing and crucial physical factors in the environment. Elements such as viscosity or fluidity, and changes in conditions from solid to liquid to gas, depend on temperature.

The temperature of the earth has an extraordinary impact on our environment. Our use of greenhouse gases has caused the earth’s temperature to rise. As the Earth warms up, heat waves are becoming more frequent in some places, including the US. Heat waves occur when a region experiences exceedingly high temperatures for a number of days and nights.

Heat waves can be hazardous, and cause such illnesses as heat cramps and heat stroke, or even death.

Warmer temperatures can additionally lead to a chain reaction of other changes around the world. This is because increasing air temperature also affects the oceans, patterns in the weather, snow, and ice, and plants animals, and humans. The warmer it becomes, the harsher the impact is on people, and the environment will be.

Below are the major effects that higher temperatures can have on people and the environment:

  • Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Forests
  • Health
  • Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems
  • Recreation
  • Water Supplies

On the other hand, temperatures in the other direction can have a strong impact on the environment as well.

For starters, the average number of deaths ascribed to cold is considerably higher than the number ascribed to heat.

Just as it is with warmer temperatures, colder temperatures long-term can affect a host of life’s necessities.

TransportationThe Importance of Temperature - The importance of temperature for transportation

There is a variety of transportation effects due to prolonged cold weather. Diesel engines are stressed and, often fuel gels in extremely cold weather, which has an impact on trucking and rail traffic. Rivers and lakes can freeze, halting barge and ship traffic. Consequent ice jams stress bridges and can close major highways.

Cold temperatures take their toll on vehicle batteries. Shear cold temperatures stress metal bridge structures. Transportation losses for one extreme winter totaled $6.5 billion. That amount would be higher in today’s dollars.

Farming

The Importance of Temperature - The importance of temperature for farming
Soil temperature is crucial for optimum harvests

Cold temperature impacts on agriculture are usually discussed in terms of frost and freeze impacts early or late in the growing seasons. Zero temperatures and duration of extreme cold can have destructive effects on trees and winter crops as well.

Prolonged cold snaps can affect livestock that is not protected from the frigid temperatures. In one winter of 1983-84, a single cold snap around Christmas damaged over $1 billion of the citrus crop in Florida. In Louisiana, 80% of its citrus crop was destroyed. Tennessee lost an estimated $15 million in agriculture losses. Texas additionally encountered hundreds of millions of dollars in crop ruin.

Energy

Energy consumption rises significantly during extremely cold weather. This includes increases in the costs of electricity, fuel oil, and coal.

Water Resources and Infrastructure

The Importance of Temperature - The effects of freezing temperatures
Prolonged sub-freezing temperatures can play havoc on infrastructure.

Prolonged extreme cold temperatures will cause significant ground freezing problems, especially if there is little snow cover. Buried water pipes can burst and cause massive ice problems and loss of water pressure in metropolitan areas.

This creates an assortment of public health and public safety problems. For example, one case of a broken water main in Denver, Colorado required the total evacuation in sub-zero temperatures of the medically fragile patients of the Veteran’s Hospital. Other similar cases of broken water mains have caused the shutdown of subway systems and financial centers.

Schools are generally closed during extreme cold snaps to protect the safety of children who wait for school buses affecting the education process.

As you can see, temperature has a tremendous impact on our environment and well-being and an extreme in either direction can have a divesting impact on our quality of life. Therefore, we must do all we can to avoid having an adverse effect on our climate.

All questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed below.

Good health!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Healthiest Way to Cook Meat

Meat is an important component of western diets. It tastes good; it is satisfying and is an excellent source of high-quality protein and other crucial nutrients. However, different methods of cooking can have an effect on the quality and healthiness of meat. So, what is the healthiest way to cook meat? The purpose of this article is to reveal an answer to that question.

Temperature and Meat

As mentioned earlier, meat is an excellent source of protein. These sources contain many nutrients and include chicken, lamb, and beef, and others. On the other hand, these meats can also comprise bacteria, including Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes, which can bring about serious foodborne illnesses. For this reason, it is important to cook meat to safe temperatures before eating it (Reference link).

Food safety experts affirm that meat is deemed safe to eat when cooked for a long enough duration and at a temperature high enough to kill harmful organisms.

So how can we know when the meat is cooked long enough to be safe? The key is not appearance, odor, or taste. The key is the internal temperature. Meat needs to reach the proper internal temperature to kill foodborne bacteria. The internal temperature of meat cannot be determined by external methods.

Studies have shown that using a food thermometer is the sole way to determine if harmful bacteria have been destroyed. However, despite that, only about 15% of people consistently use a food thermometer.

Different cooking methods and different meats require different safe internal temperatures. A reliable and accurate meat thermometer is a handy tool to know for sure if the proper temperature is attained by taking out the guesswork. It can also avoid overcooking which can rob meat of the juices and flavor often desired.

Cooking meat to the proper internal temperature is one of the healthiest ways to cook meat.

It is important to note that different meats require different safe internal temperatures. This will be covered in a subsequent article on this website.

Different Cooking Methods

How we cook our meat matters. Cooking breaks down any tough fibers and connective tissue in meat, making it easier to chew and digest. It additionally leads to better nutrient absorption.

On the other hand, cooking meat can reduce its antioxidant capacity, which depends on how it is cooked and for how long. (Reference link).

Another fact to note is nutrients can also be lost during the process of cooking meat. The extent to which this occurs is strongly influenced by the cooking method.

What’s more concerning is heating meat to high temperatures for long periods can lead to the formation of harmful compounds that may increase disease risk.

Therefore choosing cooking methods that minimize nutrient loss and produce the lowest amounts of harmful chemicals can maximize the health benefits of consuming meat.

The point to remember is that even though cooking meat makes it easier to digest and kills harmful germs, it can also reduce the nutrient content and create harmful chemicals that potentially increase disease risk.

Next, a look at how different cooking methods affect the meat we eat.

Roasting and Baking

Both roasting and baking are similar forms of healthy cooking using dry heat. Dry heat cooking differs from moist heat methods, which is where meat is cooked in water or another liquid.

The term roasting usually refers to cooking meat in a large pan known as a roasting pan. A roasting pan frequently incorporates a rack to keep the meat elevated above the juices that drip down as it cooks.

This can also be done with a device that allows meat to cook on a slow-turning spit known as an oven rotisserie. This method is usually reserved for cooking large pieces of meat or entire animals, such as chickens or turkeys.

In comparison, baking is generally used for chicken, poultry, or fish rather than red meat. The meat is cooked in a baking dish that can be enclosed or open.

Temperatures for roasting and baking range from 300–425°F (149–218°C) and cooking time may fluctuate from 30 minutes to an hour (1) or more, The healthest way to cook meat - roasting meatdepending on the type and cut of meat.

In general, roasting and baking are healthy forms of cooking that result in minimal losses of vitamin C.

On the other hand, during long cooking times at high temperatures, up to 40% of B vitamins may be lost in the juices that drip from the meat.

These juices can be gathered and served with the meat, which is sometimes called au jus on menus. This can help minimize nutrient loss.

Grilling and BroilingThe Healthiest way to Cook Meat - Grilled and Broiled Meat

Grilling and broiling are especially similar dry heat, high-temperature cooking methods.

Grilling involves cooking with a heat source directly below the food, for example, an open grill or barbecue. Grilling temperatures usually range from 375–450°F (190–232°C).

With broiling, the heat source comes from above, such as the broiler in an oven. Broiling occurs at very high temperatures, typically 500–550°F (260–288°C).

Grilling is particularly popular because it imparts a delicious flavor to meat, in particular steaks and burgers.

Unfortunately, unbeknown to most, this method of cooking often leads to the production of potentially harmful chemicals.

When the meat is grilled at high temperatures, the fat melts and drips onto the grill or cooking surface. This in turn creates toxic compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (aka PAHs) that can rise up and seep into the meat (Reference link).

PAHs have been linked to several types of cancer that include breast and pancreatic cancer (Reference link, Reference link, Reference link, Reference link).

However, studies have discovered that removing drippings can reduce PAH formation by up to 89% (Reference link).

Another concern with both grilling and broiling is that they promote the formation of compounds known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

AGEs have been linked to an increased risk of several diseases, including heart disease, kidney disease, and skin aging. (Reference link, Reference link).

They are produced in the body as by-products of a chemical reaction that occurs between sugars and proteins. They can additionally form in foods during the course of cooking, especially at high temperatures.

One study found that broiled beef had higher levels of AGEs than beef cooked by other methods (Reference link).

Keeping cooking times short and removing meat from high heat prior to it becoming charred can help reduce the amount of AGEs produced.

Poaching, Stewing and SimmeringThe healthest Way to Cook Meat - Poaching, Stewing & Simmering

Poaching, stewing, and simmering are similar moist heat methods of cooking.

Although cooking times are generally longer than for many other cooking methods, this is because temperatures are lower.

The three methods are classified by the temperature of the cooking liquid:

  • Poaching: 140–180°F (60–82°C)
  • Stewing: 160–180°F (71–82°C)
  • Simmering: 185–200°F (85–93°C)

Prolonged cooking in liquids at temperatures above 200°F (93°C) can cause meat proteins to toughen.

Poaching entails shorter cooking times than stewing or simmering and is kept for delicate foods like duck, chicken and, fish,.

Research has shown that cooking with moist heat at low temperatures can minimize the formation of AGEs (Reference link).

On the other hand, the lengthy cooking times for stewing and simmering can lead to a loss of B vitamins, nutrients that are typically high in meat and poultry.

Up to 60% of thiamine, niacin, and other B vitamins may be lost from the meat as its juices runoff. Luckily, consuming the meat’s juices as part of a stew or soup can significantly reduce these vitamin losses. [FOR MORE INFORMATION ON B VITAMINS]

Stir-Frying and Pan-fryingThe Healthiest Way to Cook Meat - Pan-fry and Stir-fry Meat

Stir-Frying and Pan-frying both refer to cooking meat with fat in a skillet, wok, or pot.

Throughout stir-frying, food is continuously flipped or stirred with a spatula as it cooks, while pan-frying usually does not involve this type of constant movement.

While these methods use high heat, cooking times are very short, which helps maintain tender meat with good flavor.

These two cooking techniques also promote the retention of nutrients and are less likely than many other methods to cause cholesterol in fatty meats to oxidize. Oxidized cholesterol is considered a risk factor for heart disease (Reference link).

On the other hand, Stir-Frying and Pan-frying have some drawbacks.

Heterocyclic amines (HAs) are compounds capable of causing cancer. They are produced when the meat reaches high temperatures while cooking. Studies have established that HAs frequently transpire during the pan-frying of meat and poultry

Marinating or soaking meat in mixtures containing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices high in antioxidants can help reduce the formation of HAs. One study found that adding herbs to a marinade decreased HAs by about 90% (Reference link, Reference link).

Also, it’s important to choose a healthy cooking oil when pan-frying or stir-frying. For more information on cooking oils, read the article, Facts about Cooking Oil on this website.

Most vegetable and seed oils are high in polyunsaturated fats that are prone to damage at high temperatures. Heating these oils also promotes the formation of oxygenated aldehydes, potentially cancer-causing chemicals found in cooking fumes (23).

Palm oil and olive oil have been shown to develop fewer aldehydes than vegetable and seed oils during stir-frying and pan-frying.

Other healthy cooking oils that are steady at elevated temperatures include coconut oil, lard, and tallow.

Deep-FryingThe Healthiest way to Cook Meat - Grilled and Broiled Meat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deep-frying involves completely immersing food in fat or oil while cooking.

Meat and poultry are sometimes, although not always, breaded or coated in a batter before being deep-fried.

The benefits of deep-frying meat include improved flavor, crunchy texture, and excellent preservation of vitamins and minerals.

However, it is important to note that this cooking method also causes potential health risks.

Deep-frying has been shown to result in higher levels of toxic by-products like AGEs, aldehydes, and HAs than most other cooking methods.

The amount of fat absorbed by the meat during deep-frying can also be considerable, especially if it is breaded or battered.

Additionally, the unhealthy vegetable and seed oils usually used for deep-frying can do more than increase calorie intake. This method of cooking has been linked to increased cancer and heart disease risk (Reference link, Reference link).

Slow CookingThe Healthest Way To Cook Meat - Slow Cooking Meat

Slow cooking involves cooking for several hours in a slow cooker, also known as a Crockpot. This is basically a large, electronically heated ceramic bowl with a glass lid.

Cooking temperature settings on a slow cooker range from 190°F (88°C) for the low setting to 250°F (121°C) for the high setting. These minimal temperatures minimize the formation of potentially harmful compounds.

The chief advantage of slow cooking is its ease and convenience. Meat can simply be seasoned and placed in the slow cooker, allowed to cook for six (6) to eight (8) hours without requiring it to be checked, then removed, and served at dinnertime.

Slow cooking is comparable to simmering and stewing meat. Unfortunately, it additionally results in the loss of B vitamins that are released in the juices as the meat cooks. There is always a catch!

Slow cooking tougher cuts of meat, such as brisket results in them becoming tender, and flavorful.

However, it may sometimes cause poultry and other delicate meats to become overly tender and soggy, particularly with longer cooking times.

Pressure CookingThe Healthest Way to Cook Meat - Pressure Cooking Meat

Pressure-cooking is a form of moist heat cooking that has returned to popularity in current years because it permits food to cook very rapidly and uses less energy than other methods.

A pressure cooker is a pot with a sealed lid and a safety valve that manages the pressure of steam that builds up inside.

The steam’s pressure raises the boiling point of water from 212°F (100°C) to as high as 250°F (121°C). This higher heat yields faster cooking times.

The main advantage of cooking in a pressure cooker is that it significantly decreases the time it takes to cook meat or poultry.

What’s more, pressure-cooking directs to less oxidation of cholesterol than some other cooking methods, provides flavor and tenderness to meats, and minimizes vitamin losses.

**One disadvantage is that if the cooker needs to be opened to check the food for doneness, this temporarily stops the cooking process.

Also, similar to slow cooking, pressure-cooking can result in some types of meat becoming overly soft.

Sous VideThe Healthest Way to Cook Meat - Sous Vide

Sous vide is a French term that when translated means “under vacuum.”

In sous vide, meat is sealed in an airtight plastic bag and cooked for one (1) to several hours in a temperature-controlled water bath.

With certain varieties of meat, such as steak, sous vide cooking is followed by quick pan searing to provide a brown crust. Some crunch is good!

Sous vide employs the lowest temperature ranges of all cooking methods: 130–140°F (55–60°C). Cooking at these temperatures can help reduce the formation of possibly harmful chemicals.

Additionally, because the cooking time and temperature can be exactly controlled, the meat is reported to be more tender and evenly cooked than meat cooked with other methods.

Also, all juices produced during cooking remain in the bag with the meat, resulting in better retention of B vitamins and other nutrients.

On the downside, cooking steak sous vide may take an hour or more, which is considerably longer than grilling. But conversely, the meat can be safely held at the desired temperature for several hours.

What’s more, according to one manufacturer, all sous vide cooking bags have been independently tested and found to contain no bisphenol A (BPA) or other potentially harmful chemicals.

What Is the Healthiest Way to Cook Meat?

Strictly from the standpoint of health, the best ways to cook meat are slow cooking, pressure-cooking, and sous vide. Then again, all methods of cooking meat have advantages as well as disadvantages.

Some of the most popular ones, which include grilling and deep-frying, are cause for concern due to the high levels of toxic by-products they create.

Poaching and other forms of moist heat cooking at lower temperatures produce fewer of these compounds but may result in the loss of vitamins.

It is best to choose healthy cooking methods, including slow cooking, pressure-cooking, and sous vide, when possible.

However, for individuals who love to grill or deep-fry their meat, they can reduce the risks by removing the drippings by placing the meat on a paper towel to drain, avoid overcooking the meat, and using fats and marinades that are healthy.

Remember, no matter what method is chosen,be certain of the proper internal temperature!

It would be great to hear from you with any questions, comments, or concerns below.

Good Health!!

 

Depression: the facts

Mental illnesses are states of mind that affect mood, feeling, thinking, and behavior. They may be long-lasting (chronic), occasional, or they can affect the ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis. This article is going to cover one specific mental illness, depression. Depression is a widespread mental disorder that affects more than 264 million individuals of all ages worldwide. It is the leading cause of worldwide disability and a major purveyor to the burden of disease overall. Because of the enormity of depression, it is important to know about depression: the facts.

What is Depression?

Depression is a form of mental illness that is a mood disorder. It causes a perpetual feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Additionally called a major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how one feels, thinks and, behaves, and can lead to a range of emotional and physical problems.

What Causes Depression?

Several factors can increase the chance of depression, including the following:

Substance abuse – Nearly 30% of individuals with substance abuse issues additionally have major or clinical depression. Even if drugs or alcohol temporarily makes one feel better, they will ultimately aggravate depression.

Death or a loss – Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, even if by natural means, can increase the risk of depression.

Abuse – Previous sexual, physical, or emotional abuse may increase the susceptibility to clinical depression later in life.

Certain medications – Certain drugs, for example, isotretinoin (used to treat acne), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, can increase the risk of depression.

Conflict – Depression in an individual who has a biological susceptibility to develop depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with friends or family members.

Genetics – A family history of depression can increase the risk. It is commonly thought that depression is a complex trait, which means that there are probably many different genes that each exerts minor effects, rather than a single gene that contributes to disease risk. The genetics of depression, as with most psychiatric disorders, are not as simple or straightforward as in solely genetic diseases such as Huntington’s chorea
or cystic fibrosis.

Key events – Even positive events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married may advance to depression. This can also include moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring. Nevertheless, the syndrome of clinical depression is never just a “normal” response to stressful life events.

Serious illnesses – On occasion depression can co-exist with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition.

Additional personal problems – Problems such as social isolation because of other mental illnesses or being ostracized from a family or social group can contribute to the risk of developing clinical depression.

Types, Symptoms, and Treatment of Depression

Everybody feels down from time to time, but should an individual feels that way most of the time and it affects their daily life, chances are he or she may have clinical depression.

There are several different types of depression. Events in one’s life can cause some, and chemical changes in the brain can cause others. Therefore, it takes a specialist to determine which type of depression an individual may have and the best course of treatment.

Major Depression (major depressive disorder) – An individual who feels depressed most of the time for a majority, or all of the days of the week may have this type.

Some other symptoms might include:

  • Being tired and without energy
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Feeling on edge and disturbed, or else very lethargic and sluggish physically or mentally
  • Lack of attention or pleasure in activities
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Problems going to sleep or feeling sleepy during the day
  • Weight loss or gain

A physician may diagnose a patient with major depression if the individual has five (5) or more of these symptoms on most days for 2 weeks or longer. At least one among the symptoms must be a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities.

Treatment for major depression:

Meeting with a therapist can be of assistance. One can also meet with a mental health specialist who will assist in finding ways to manage the depression. Medications known as antidepressants can also be helpful.

When medication and therapy are not working, other options the physician may suggest are:

  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

ECT makes use of electrical pulses, TMS uses a unique type of magnet, and VNS makes use of an implanted device. All are designed to accelerate particular areas of brain activity. This assists the parts of the brain that control one’s mood to work better.

Dysthymia (mild, chronic depression) – Dysthymia is less critical and doesn’t have as many symptoms as major depression. On the other hand, the symptoms can linger for a longer period of time, often two years or Depression: the facts - Dysthymialonger. Individuals who suffer from dysthymia can additionally experience periods of major depression–sometimes known as double depression. In modern diagnostic classification systems, dysthymia and chronic depression are now both mentioned to as clinical depression disorder.

The symptoms of dysthymia are the same as major depression but fewer in number and not as intense. They include the following:

  • Being physically restless or rundown in a way that is noticeable by others
  • Exhaustion or loss of energy almost daily
  • Feelings of despair or insignificance or excessive guilt almost every day
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
  • Loss of enjoyment in once pleasurable things
  • A major change in weight (gain or loss of more than 5% of weight within a month) or appetite
  • Difficulty with attentiveness or making decisions almost daily
  • Frequent thinking of death or suicide, a suicide plan, or suicide attempt
  • Sadness or down mood a majority of the day or almost daily

Treatment for Dysthymia

Although dysthymia is a serious illness, it is very treatable. As with any chronic illness, early detection and medical treatment may reduce the extent and duration of symptoms and in addition reduce the likelihood of developing an episode of major depression.

To treat dysthymia, physicians may use psychotherapy (talk therapy), medications such as antidepressants, or a mixture of these therapies. Frequently, dysthymia can be taken care of by a primary care physician.

Although Dysthymia is not as disabling as major depression, it can keep an individual from feeling their best and functioning optimally. Dysthymia can begin in childhood or adulthood and seems to be more common in women. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly 1.5% of adult Americans are affected by dysthymia.

Atypical Depression – Atypical depression is a subtype. It can be an “identifier” for either major depression or dysthymic disorder. Individuals with atypical depression have usually experienced depression initially at an early age, during their teenage years.Depression: the facts - Atypical

Despite its name, atypical depression is extremely widespread. It is compared with “melancholic” depression, another subtype of depression that involves symptoms of insomnia (as opposed to oversleeping), loss of appetite (as opposed to increased appetite), a comparative lack of mood reactiveness to environmental circumstances, and a strikingly diminished ability to feel pleasure.

One of the main characteristics of atypical depression that differentiates it from melancholic depression is mood reactivity. In other words, the individual with atypical depression will see their mood improve if something positive occurs. On the other hand, with melancholic depression, positive changes will seldom yield a change in mood. Additionally, diagnostic standards call for at least two of the following symptoms to accompany the mood reactivity:

  • Having a feeling of being weighed down, paralyzed, or “leaden”
  • Having a more intense reaction or increased sensitivity to rejection, resulting in problems with social and work relationships
  • Increased appetite or weight gain
  • Sleeping too much (hypersomnia)

A physician will investigate physical causes for any of these symptoms. This would include a physical exam and diagnostic tests to look for a different issue such as hypothyroidism. With that condition, having low levels of thyroid hormone can lead to indicators that include depression and weight gain.

Treatment for atypical depression

Physicians are most likely to recommend psychotherapy (talk therapy) and/or medications for atypical depression, depending on the seriousness of the symptoms. There are various types of psychotherapy and medications available for treatment. An individual may be directed to a specialist such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other licensed mental health professional for treatment.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) – Postpartum depression (PPD) is a complicated combination of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in some females after giving birth to a child. According to the DSM-5, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, PPD is a form of major depression that commences within 4 weeks after delivery. The diagnosis of postpartum depression is established not only on the length of time between delivery and commencement but also on the seriousness of the depression.Depression: the - postpartum depression

Postpartum depression is linked to chemical, social, and psychological changes that happen when having a baby. The term describes a range of physical and emotional changes that many new mothers experience. PPD can be treated with medication and counseling.

The chemical changes involve a rapid drop in hormones after delivery. The actual link between this drop and depression is not clear. However, what is known is that the amounts of estrogen and progesterone, the female reproductive hormones, intensify ten times over during pregnancy. Then, they drop severely after delivery. By three (3) days after giving birth, the levels of these hormones drop back to what they were before pregnancy.

In addition to these chemical changes, the social and psychological changes involved with having a baby create an increased risk of depression.

Most new mothers encounter the “baby blues” after delivery. Approximately 1 out of every 10 of these women will develop a more acute and longer-lasting depression post-delivery. About 1 in 1,000 women will develop a more severe condition called postpartum psychosis.

Symptoms of postpartum depression can be hard to detect. Because Scores of women have these symptoms following childbirth:

  • Appetite changes
  • Decreased libido
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Frequent mood changes

With PPD, these are also accompanied by other symptoms of major depression, which are not typical after childbirth, and may include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness
  • Loss of pleasure
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Thoughts of hurting someone else

New symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) rarely occur during the postpartum period (about 1%-3% of women). When they do occur, the obsessions are generally related to concerns about the baby’s health or irrational fears of harming the baby. Panic disorder can also occur. A woman can have these conditions and depression at the same time.

Treatment for postpartum depression

Postpartum depression is treated differently depending on the type and intensity of a patient’s symptoms. Treatment options include anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, and involvement in a support group for emotional support and education. For extreme cases, intravenous infusion of a new medication called brexanolone (Zulresso) can be prescribed.

In the case of postpartum psychosis, drugs used to treat psychosis are usually added. Hospital admission is also frequently necessary.

If a woman is breastfeeding, medication can be a solution for depression, anxiety, or even psychosis. Under a doctor’s supervision, many women take medication while breastfeeding. This is a decision to be made between the patient and her doctor.

Untreated postpartum depression can be dangerous for new moms and their children. A new mom should seek professional help when:

  • Feelings of extremely anxiousness, scared, and panicked most of the day
  • Not able to cope with everyday situations
  • Symptoms persist beyond 2 weeks
  • Thoughts of harming herself or her baby
  • Unable to function normally

Bipolar Disorder – Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression is a form of major affective disorder, or mood disorder, defined by manic or hypomanic episodes (changes from one’s normal mood accompanied by high-energy states).

Bipolar disorder is a grave condition. Mania often involves sleeplessness, sometimes for days, together with hallucinations, psychosis, grandiose Depression: the facts - Bipolar-Depressiondelusions, or paranoid rage. Also, depressive periods can be more harmful and harder to treat than in individuals who never have manias or hypomanias.

The seriousness of mood incidents can range from vastly mild to extreme, and they can happen slowly or suddenly within a period of days to weeks. When discrete mood incidents happen four (4) or more times per year, the succession is called rapid cycling. Rapid cycling should not be confused with very frequent moment-to-moment changes in mood, which can occasionally happen in individuals with bipolar disorder or other conditions such as borderline personality disorder.

Along with manic or depressive episodes, individuals with bipolar disorder may have disturbances in thinking. They may additionally have distortions of perception and impairment in social functioning.

The clinical depression symptoms seen with bipolar disorder are identical to those seen in major depressive disorder and include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Lack of attention or enjoyment in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Fatigue, decreased energy, being “slowed down”
  • Lasting physical symptoms that will not respond to treatment, like headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
  • Persistently sad, anxious, or “empty” moods
  • Decreased desire for food and/or weight loss, or overeating and weight gain
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts

The signs of mania in bipolar disorder include:

  • A reduced desire for sleep
    due to high energy
  • Disconnected and very fast (racing) thoughts
  • Grandiose beliefs
  • Inappropriate elation or euphoria
  • Inappropriate irritability
  • Inappropriate social behavior
  • Increased sexual desire
  • Increased talking speed or volume
  • Markedly increased energy
  • Poor judgment and risk taking

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Treatment for bipolar disorder may involve the use of mood stabilizers such as lithium. Selected anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines may additionally be used to calm mood. Occasionally antidepressants are given in combination with mood stabilizers to give a boost to the depressed mood, although antidepressants are frequently not as effective as some mood stabilizers or specific atypical antipsychotics for treating depression in bipolar disorder.

Seasonal Depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder—SAD) – Seasonal depression is a mood disorder that occurs annually at the same time. An uncommon form of seasonal depression, known as summer depression, begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall. In general, the seasonal affective disorder commences in fall or winter and terminates in spring or early summer.Depression: the facts - Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]

While the specific triggers of SAD are not known, some scientists believe that certain hormones produced deep in the brain trigger attitude-related changes at certain times of the year. Experts believe that SAD may be linked to these hormonal changes. One (1) of several theories is that reduced sunlight during the fall and winter seasons leads to the brain generating less serotonin, a chemical linked to the brain pathways that control mood. When nerve cell pathways in the brain that regulate mood do not perform normally, the result can be feelings of depression, along with symptoms of fatigue and weight gain.  For more information serotonin, please read the article, Serotonin: the facts on this website.

SAD usually begins in young adulthood and is more widespread in women than men. Some individuals with SAD have mild symptoms and feel out of sorts or irritable. On the other hand, others have worse symptoms that interfere with relationships and work.

Due to the fact that not enough daylight during wintertime is related to SAD, it’s less often found in countries where there’s plenty of sunshine year-round.

Individuals with SAD have many of the normal warning signs of depression that include:

Winter Symptoms

  • Less energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Greater appetite
  • Increased desire to be alone
  • Greater need for sleep
  • Weight gain

Summer Symptoms

  • Less appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight loss

Treatment for SAD

There are diverse treatments, depending on the seriousness of symptoms. Also, if an individual has another type of depression or bipolar disorder, the treatment may be different.

Conventional antidepressants are frequently employed to treat seasonal depression. Bupropion XL is presently the only medication that is FDA-approved explicitly to prevent major depressive episodes in people with SAD.

Many physicians advise that people with SAD get outside early in the morning to get more light that is natural. If this is not possible for the reason of the dark winter months, antidepressant medications or light therapy (phototherapy) may help.

Psychotic Depression – Psychotic depression is another subtype of major depression that takes place when a severe depressive illness includes some form of psychosis (a condition that causes one to lose touch with reality).

The psychosis can be hallucinations (such as someone hearing a voice Depression: the facts - Psychotic Depressiontelling them that they are worthless and no good), delusions, or some other break with reality. They may also have strange and illogical ideas. Psychotic depression affects roughly one (1) out of every four (4) individuals admitted to the hospital for depression.

Usual symptoms for patients who have psychotic depression include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Hypochondria
  • Insomnia
  • Intellectual impairment
  • Physical immobility

Treatment for psychotic depression

Generally, treatment for psychotic depression occurs in a hospital setting. This allows the patient to have close monitoring by mental health professionals. Different meds are used to steady the person’s mood, usually including combinations of antidepressants and antipsychotic medications.

Antipsychotic drugs affect the neurotransmitters that permit communication between nerve cells in areas of the brain that control our ability to comprehend and manage information regarding the world around us. There are numerous antipsychotic, or neuroleptic, medications used regularly today. Each drug has distinctive side effects and may differ in its clinical efficiency profile. However, these drugs are better tolerated than the antipsychotics of the past.

Treatment for psychotic depression is very successful. Individuals are generally able to recover, usually within several months. However, continual medical follow-up may be needed. If the medications are unsuccessful in ending the psychosis and depression, occasionally electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used. It is crucial for the patient to work closely with the physician to find the most effectual drugs with the least amount of side effects, because psychotic depression is quite serious, and the risk of suicide is great also.

Treatment-Resistant Depression – Regrettably, depression treatments do not work always. As much as two-thirds of individuals with depression are not helped by the initial antidepressant they try. Up to a third, do not respond to many attempts at treatment.

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) can leave one feeling despondent and disheartened. Months or even years can go by with no relief. In addition, after considering the effort it took to get help, it can be demoralizing with no sign of getting better.

However, there is hope. It is simply an issue of finding the right approach. This can include different drugs, therapy, and other treatments.

It is important to note that untreated clinical depression is a critical problem. Left untreated depression increases the chance of dangerous behaviors like drug or alcohol addiction. It can also ruin relationships, cause problems at one’s place of work, and make it challenging to overcome serious illnesses.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, you or they must get help as soon as possible.

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below.

Good Health!!

 

 

 

All about Vitamin B

When it comes to vitamins, vitamin B is high on the spectrum. This is mainly because it covers a broad range of bodily functions. So let us take a look at this as we cover all about vitamin B.

What is Vitamin B?

Vitamin B is actually a class of vitamins. B vitamins are a class of vitamins that are water-soluble and play important roles in cell metabolism. Even though these vitamins share like names, they are chemically distinct but often reside in the same foods. This is the reason why dietary supplements containing all eight are referred to as vitamin B complex.

The Benefits of B Vitamins

B vitamins play a crucial role in sustaining good health and well-being. As the building blocks of a healthy body, B vitamins have a straight impact on an individual’s energy level, brain function, and cell metabolism. Vitamin B complex aids in the prevention of infections and helps support or promote cell health.

A Look at the B Vitamins

Let’s take an in-depth look into the B vitamins:

  • B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6
  • B7 (biotin)
  • B12
  • Folic acid

B1 (Thiamine) – Thiamin helps to change glucose into energy and has a role in nerve function.

Thiamin deficiency

Thiamin deficiency is generally found in countries where the dietary basic is white rice. Deficiencies in Western culture are usually caused by extreme alcohol intake and/or a very poor diet. Symptoms include – irritability, confusion, poor arm or leg (or both) coordination, fatigue, lethargy, and, muscle weakness.

A condition known as Beriberi is caused by thiamin deficiency and affects the cardiovascular, muscular, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. It can be recognized as ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ beriberi. ‘Dry’ beriberi affects the nervous symptom while ‘wet’ beriberi affects the circulatory system.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (aka ‘wet brain’) is an additional thiamin-deficiency disease linked to alcohol excess and a thiamin-deficient diet. Alcohol reduces thiamin absorption within the gut and increases its secretion from the kidneys.

B2 (Riboflavin) – Riboflavin is principally involved in energy building and helps vision and skin health.

Riboflavin deficiency (ariboflavinosis)

Riboflavin deficiency (or ariboflavinosis) is rare and is generally seen along with other B-group vitamin deficiencies. Individuals at risk include those who drink extreme amounts of alcohol and those who do not use milk or milk products.

Niacin (B3) – Niacin is vital for the body to convert carbohydrates, fat, and alcohol into energy. It helps sustain good skin health and maintains the nervous and digestive systems. Unlike other B-group vitamins, niacin is very durable against heat, and little is lost in cooking.

Niacin deficiency (pellagra)

Individuals who drink large amounts of alcohol or live on a diet almost exclusively based on corn are most at risk of pellagra. Other causes are linked with digestive problems where the body does not absorb niacin proficiently.

The main symptoms of pellagra are commonly referred to as the 3 D’s – dementia, diarrhea, and dermatitis. Pellagra can lead to death if not treated.

It is important to note that large doses of niacin produce a drug-like effect on the nervous system and, on blood fats. While favorable changes in blood fats are seen, side effects include – itching, nausea, flushing, and potential liver damage.

Pantothenic acid (B5) – Pantothenic acid is required to metabolize carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and alcohol as well as produce steroid hormones and red blood cells.

Pantothenic acid deficiency

Because pantothenic acid is found in such a wide variety of foods, a deficiency is extremely rare.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – Pyridoxine is required for the formation of red blood cells, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and certain brain All About Vitamin B - B6chemicals. It powers brain processes and development, steroid hormone activity, and immune function.

Pyridoxine deficiency – Pyridoxine deficiency is rare. Individuals who drink extreme amounts of alcohol, women (especially those on the contraceptive pill), the elderly, and individuals with thyroid disease are the most at risk.

Excessive Pyridoxine intake can lead to Pyridoxine toxicity and is mostly due to supplementation, which can lead to injurious levels in the body that can damage the nerves.

Biotin (B7) – Biotin is required for fat synthesis, energy metabolism, amino acid metabolism, and glycogen synthesis. High biotin intake can contribute to increased blood cholesterol levels.Vitamin B - B7

Biotin deficiency – Biotin shortage is extremely rare – it is widely dispersed in foods and only required in minute amounts. However, over-consumption of raw egg whites over a period of several months could generate deficiency because a protein in the egg white inhibits biotin absorption.

Folate or folic acid (B9) – Folate or folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) which is used broadly in dietary supplements and food fortification) is necessary to form red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. It helps the growth of the foetal nervous system, as well as DNA synthesis and cell growth. Females of childbearing age require a diet rich in folate for this Vitamin B - B9very reason.

If planning a pregnancy or in the first trimester of pregnancy, an individual should visit their doctor to make sure they are getting enough folate. This is essential to reduce the risks of neural tube defects such as spinal bifida in the child.

Although folic acid is generally considered to be non-toxic, excessive intakes above 1,000 mcg per day over a long period can lead to irritability, depression, and, intestinal dysfunction. The main risk with excessive folate intake is that it can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency, so it’s best to consume these two vitamins within the recommended amounts. B12 is next.

Cyanocobalamin (B12) – Last but not least, Cyanocobalamin aids in constructing and maintaining the myelin surrounding nerve cells, mental ability, red blood cell formation, and the breaking down of some fatty acids and amino acids to produce energy. Vitamin B12 has an intimate Vitamin B - B12relationship with folate, as they both depend on the other to function properly.

Vitamin B12 deficiency – Because vitamin B12 is exclusively found in foods from animal sources, people following strict vegan diets, and also breastfed babies of vegan mothers, tend to be most commonly affected.

Absorption of B12 from the gut also tends to decrease with age; therefore, the elderly are another group of the population who are more in danger of deficiency.

Although each one of these vitamins has unique functions, they collectively help the body generate energy and make important molecules within the cells.

Where to Find B Vitamins

Foods

Vitamin B - Foods
The B vitamins are found in a host of foods!

With the exception of B12, the body cannot store B vitamins for long periods, so we need to replenish them regularly through food.

A host of foods provides B vitamins; however, to be considered high in a specific vitamin, a food must have a minimum of 20% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) per serving. Alternatively, a food that contains 10–19% of the RDI is well-thought-out to be a good source.

Below are some healthy foods high in one or more B vitamins.

Salmon – This highly nutritious fish is high in several B vitamins. Also, salmon is known to be a low-mercury fish that’s additionally high in beneficial omega-3 fats, and also in protein and selenium.

Salmon is rich in riboflavin, niacin, B6, and B12, as well as a great source of thiamine and pantothenic acid.

Leafy Greens – A number of leafy greens stand out for their folate (B9) content. These are among the very best vegetable sources of folate. They include Spinach (raw and cooked), collards, and turnip greens, romaine lettuce (raw).

It is important to mention that some folate is eliminated by heat during the cooking process, and quantity can be transferred to the cooking water also. Therefore, to reduce folate loss during cooking, it’s best to steam the greens until partway between tender and crisp.

Liver and Other Organ Meats
Though not especially popular, organ meats — especially liver — are packed full with B vitamins. This is true whether they are from beef, pork, lamb, or chicken.

Eggs – One large egg contains 33% of the RDI for biotin spread between the yolk and white. Eggs are one among the highest sources of biotin —the liver only contains more.

Eggs additionally have smaller amounts of other B vitamins. One large (50-gram) cooked egg contains Riboflavin (B2): 15% of the RDI, Pantothenic acid (B5): 7% of the RDI, Biotin (B7): 33% of the RDI, Folate (B9): 5% of the RDI, Cobalamin (B12): 9% of the RDI.

For individuals who don’t eat eggs, meat, or other animal products, they can meet their biotin needs by consuming foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, which all contain small quantities of biotin.

Milk – One 8-ounce cup (240 ml) of milk provides 26% of the RDI for riboflavin, as well as smaller amounts of other B vitamins.

As with other animal foods, milk also is a very good source of B12, supplying 18% of the RDI per 1-cup (240-ml) serving.

Beef – Beef can make a big contribution to our B vitamin intake. Beef contains high amounts of B3, B6, and B12. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving supplies about a third of the RDI for each of these vitamins, in addition to smaller amounts of other B vitamins.

Oysters, Clams, and Mussels – Oysters, clams, and mussels are an all-star source of B12 and an excellent source of riboflavin. They additionally supply smaller amounts of thiamine, niacin, and folate.

These shellfish are additionally rich in protein and several minerals, including iron, zinc, selenium, and manganese. They are also a good source of omega-3 fats as well.

Legumes – Legumes (beans) are most notable for their high folate content. They additionally provide small amounts of other B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and, B6. For pregnant women, folate is a B vitamin that is important for reducing the risk of certain birth defects. This is true of most legumes such as pinto beans, black beans, and lentils.

Other legumes include chickpeas, edamame, (green soybeans), green peas, kidney beans, roasted soy nuts.

There is a synthetic form of folate called folic acid.

Chicken and Turkey (fowl) – Chicken and turkey are most noteworthy for their niacin and pyridoxine content. White meat — like the breast — supplies more of those two vitamins than darker meat — like the thigh.

It is important to mention that the majority of the B vitamins are within the meat, not the skin.

Yogurt – Yogurt is known for its riboflavin and B12 content. Though nutrition varies by brand, a serving of yogurt
averages a substantial amount of these valuable nutrients but non-dairy yogurt alternatives aren’t good sources of these vitamins unless they’re fortified. It is advisable to limit the intake of sugar-sweetened yogurt as they contain 3–4 teaspoons of added sugars per 2/3-cup serving.

Nutritional and Brewer’s Yeast – Nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast are inactive, meaning they cannot be used to make bread. Rather, they are used to boost the flavor and nutrient profile of products.

These yeasts naturally have B vitamins and are frequently fortified with them as well, particularly nutritional yeast. If nutrients are added, they are listed in the ingredients on the label.

Vegetarians and vegans generally use nutritional yeast, because it is fortified with B12, which is difficult to obtain if an individual doesn’t consume animal products.

Pork – Like other common meats, pork is packed full of several B vitamins. It is particularly known for its high amount of thiamine, of which beef contains little.

In order for pork to be a healthy choice, it is best to choose loin cuts that are much lower in fat and calories than shoulder cuts, spareribs, and bacon.

Trout – Trout is a freshwater fish that is closely related to salmon and is high in several B vitamins. Trout is high in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B12.

Also, trout is an excellent source of protein, rich in omega-3 fats and low in mercury.

Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds are one of the best plant resources of pantothenic acid. This B vitamin got its name from the Greek word “pantos,” which means “everywhere.” This is because it is found in most plant and animal foods but usually only in small amounts.

Surprisingly, 1 ounce (28 grams) of sunflower seeds carries 20% of the RDI for pantothenic acid. Sunflower seeds are additionally a good source of niacin, folate, and B6.

Sunflower seed butter, common among individuals with nut allergies, is a superior source of pantothenic acid also.

Supplementation

For those who are unable to maintain a healthy diet for one reason or another, they can go the supplementation route. Supplements are a Vitamin B - Supplementsconvenient way to ensure an individual that they are taking in an ample supply of nutrition, including B vitamins.

To see what is available at a reputable online vitamin source, you may click here.

Vitamin B Deficiencies and Symptoms

For overall good health, which includes a sound mind and body, B vitamins play a crucial role.

Vitamin B1
deficiency is unusual, and also vitamin B2 deficiency is very unusual, in the United States.

This is because many foods, such as milk and whole-grain cereals, are equipped with these vitamins.

It can however become an issue with individuals that misuse alcohol, presenting symptoms such as confusion and cracks along the sides of the Vitamin B - Deficiencymouth.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency is very unusual in the United States. A lack of niacin can cause digestive issues, such as nausea and abdominal cramps. Severe deficiency may also cause mental confusion.

Severe deficiency can result in a condition called pellagra, with symptoms such as:

  • a bright red tongue
  • aggressive, paranoid, or suicidal behavior
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • hallucinations
  • skin that is rough and turns red or brown in the sun
  • vomiting

Vitamin B6 shortage of this key B vitamin can be the cause for an individual to experience flaky, oily rashes on their upper body or face.

Vitamin B9 (folic-folic acid) deficiency is unusual in the United States, but it does appear.

Low levels of vitamin B9 can result in the following symptoms:

  • changes in skin, hair, or fingernail color
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • heart palpitations
  • irritability
  • megaloblastic anemia, that causes weakness
  • open sores in the mouth
  • shortness of breath
  • trouble concentrating

Pregnant females with a B9 deficiency could result in their infants being born with neural tube defects.

However, excessive supplemental folic acid during pregnancy may lead to an infant developing neurological problems.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to disruption in the nervous and circulatory systems.

Additionally, deficiencies can lead to megaloblastic anemia, a condition where the bone marrow generates large abnormally shaped red blood cells that do not work properly.

Psychological conditions such as dementia, paranoia, depression, and behavioral changes can result from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Neurological damage sometimes cannot be reversed.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause the following symptoms:

  • balance problems
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • numbness and tingling within the hands and feet
  • poor memory
  • soreness of the mouth or tongue
  • tiredness or fatigue
  • weakness
  • weight loss

Vitamin B12 deficiencies affect between 1.5 and 15% of the population in America.

The B vitamins play a crucial role in our health and quality of life. Therefore it behooves us to be sure we are consuming ample amounts this and all of the necessary vitamins and minerals from both food and supplements.

For more information on supplements, see the article, Dietary Supplements: The Facts on this website.

Feel free to leave any questions, comments and concerns below.

Good health!!

 

 

 

Microplastics in the Body – We live in a plastic world—literally!

We live in a plastic world—literally! Plastic is everywhere! But did you know that there is plastic in our bodies as well? Read this article to find out about microplastics in the body.

For any individual living in the United States, plastic is nearly impossible to avoid: It is in the lining of canned goods, is hidden in household dust, seeps out of storage containers, contained inside of toys, electronics, shampoo, cosmetics, and countless other products. Numerous single-use items are continuously produced from forks and grocery bags to candy wrappers with plastic.

The purpose of this article is to bring awareness of this potentially serious situation.

So, reader beware!

What are Microplastics?

Microplastics are very tiny (micro) pieces of plastic that pollute the environment.Microplastics are not a specific kind of plastic, but more precisely, any plastic fragment that is less than 5 mm in length, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Microplastics can result from both commercial product development (primary) and the breakdown of larger plastics (secondary).

Primary
microplastics are tiny particles intended for commercial use, such as cosmetics, in addition to microfibers shed from clothing and other textiles, for example, fishing nets. Secondary microplastics are particles that result from the breakdown of larger plastic items, such as liquid (e.g.water) bottles. This breakdown, which is caused by exposure to environmental factors, consists mainly of the sun’s radiation and ocean waves.

These particles can be harmful to the environment and animal health.

Why is Microplastics a Problem?

It is a known fact that plastic is a big problem. For example, there has been a drive to curb the use of the plastic bags we have become so used to and the concern of the copious amounts of plastic bottles we use. However, in recent years, what has become clear in recent years, is that there is additionally a significant consequence of plastic that is not so obvious. These tiny pieces of plastic are a big problem. Even though they are smaller, that doesn’t mean that we should ignore them because they cause devastating harm to marine life and health. Additionally, the plastic can remain in the water forever!

The problem with microplastics is that as with any size plastic, they do not easily break down into harmless molecules. They can literally take hundreds or thousands of years to decompose, and in the meantime, wreak mayhem on the environment. On beaches, microplastics are visible as tiny multicolored plastic bits in the sand. In the oceans, this microplastic pollution is consumed by marine animals.

Some of this environmental contamination is from littering. Still, a large amount is the result of storms, water runoff, and winds that carry plastic, both whole objects and microplastics, into the oceans. Single-use plastics, plastic items meant to be used only once and then discarded, such as straws, are the primary source of secondary plastics in the environment.

Microplastics have been identified in marine organisms from masses of tiny animals and plants to whales, commercial seafood, and even in drinking water. Unfortunately, standard water treatment facilities are unable to remove all traces of microplastics. To additionally complicate matters, microplastics in the ocean are capable of binding with other harmful chemicals before being ingested by marine organisms.

Microplastics in the Body

The situation of microplastics is insidious. Most of us don’t realize it, but we are ingesting plastic. Whether we are drinking water or eating food, we are most likely taking in small particles of plastic along with it. These particles are ubiquitous and unavoidable. There is such a massive amount of plastic around that we even breathe in tens of thousands of tiny plastic fibers fragments or every year.

One research analysis released in June calculated that merely breathing, eating, and drinking, Americans ingest at least seventy-four thousand (74,000) microplastic particles every year. Additionally, another recent study commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund and managed by researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia projected that individuals consume about 5 grams of plastic a week — roughly comparable to that of a credit card. However, that research is still under examination.

There has, for quite some time, been worry that the chemicals in plastics could have a wide range of health effects. A new lab study suggests that microscopic bits of plastic have in all probability taken up residence in all of Microplastics in the Body - What are microplastics?the significant filtering organs in our bodies,

Researchers have found evidence of plastic pollution in tissue samples removed from the spleen, liver, lungs, and kidneys of donated human cadavers.

The research is new; therefore, there isn’t enough information available to conclude precisely how microplastics affects human health. However, logic dictates that there are issues, looking at the big picture.

It is probable that ingesting microplastics can further expose the population to chemicals found in some plastics that are known to be harmful. These chemicals have been linked to a variety of health problems, including obesity and reproductive harm, plus issues such as organ problems and developmental delays in children.

How Microplastics Affect Health

In animals, there is evidence that microplastics have the ability to cross the hardy membrane that protects the brain from many foreign bodies that get into the bloodstream. Additionally, there’s some evidence that pregnant women may be able to pass microplastics to a developing fetus through the Microlastics in the Body - The Effects of Microplasticsplacenta, according to research that has not yet been published but was presented at a spring conference at the Rutgers Center for Urban Environmental Sustainability.

Some of these microplastic particles could leak bisphenol A and phthalates. Bisphenols are known to intervene with hormones, and there are studies connecting bisphenol exposure to reduced fertility in men and women. Phthalates are also additionally known to disrupt hormones, and prenatal exposure to phthalates is linked to lower testosterone in male offspring.

Styrene, another chemical found in plastic and some food packaging, has also been linked to several health issues, including nervous system problems, hearing loss, and cancer.

These microplastic particles can also accumulate polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Other chemicals that link to harmful health effects include various cancers, a weakened immune system, reproductive problems, and more.

Once these chemicals are inside of the body, even low doses may affect us.

In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement advising that families reduce exposure to these chemicals.

The American Chemistry Council, another industry group, said in a statement to Consumer Reports that plastics used for food packaging must meet strict FDA (Food and Drug Administration) safety standards. The statement reads: “To help evaluate the safety of our food, FDA reviews safety information on food packaging materials, including whether tiny amounts of substances could potentially migrate from a package into its contents. Through rigorous analysis, the health experts at the FDA have determined these products to be safe for their intended use.”

But there isn’t total agreement that there’s sufficient oversight. Companies can designate substances that come into contact with food as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) without providing peer-reviewed safety evidence to the FDA; a policy Consumer Reports has formerly identified as something that can subject consumers to risk. The 2018 AAP report criticized the long list of chemicals that come into contact with food; that report states these chemicals should be more strictly regulated.

So we must be aware!

How to Mitigate Exposure to Microplastics

While we are unable to avoid microplastics or the chemicals found in plastic wholly, these simple steps can help prevent unnecessary extra exposure at the least:Microplastics in the Body - How to Avoid Microplastics

Drink tap water. Drinking water is one of the most significant contributors to microplastic ingestion. Still, bottled water has about double the microplastic level of tap water, according to Sherri Mason, sustainability coordinator at Penn State Behrend, and a chemist who has studied plastic in bottled water, tap water, sea salt, and beer.

Avoid heating food in plastic. Heated plastics are known to leach chemicals into food. The American Academy of Pediatrics additionally recommends not putting plastic into your dishwasher.

Avoid plastic food containers with known issues. The AAP report documented that recycling codes “3,” “6,” and “7” in that order indicate the presence of phthalates, styrene, and bisphenols. It added that if these products become labeled as “biobased” or “greenware,” they do not contain any bisphenols.

Consume more fresh food.
Although the levels of microplastics in fresh produce have been mostly untested, they are least likely to expose one to unwanted chemicals, according to the AAP, especially when contrasted with items wrapped in plastic.

Minimize household dust.
Even household dust can expose individuals to chemicals, including phthalates, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, and flame retardants. Dust can also contain microorganisms. Vacuuming often can help reduce household dust exposure, according to the Silent Spring Institute.

Consider the big picture. We can take action to limit our plastic exposure. But effective, large-scale solutions will require minimizing the quantity of plastic used overall. The experts say that individuals should select products packaged in glass instead of plastic, use reusable nonplastic containers whenever possible, and support policies limiting the use of single-use plastic.

Scientists are actively researching the impact of plastics on the environment and the human body. In the meantime, we must be aware of this situation and minimize our exposure to microplastics until more definitive information becomes available.

Just as we must be concerned about the chemicals in our homes, we must be worried about the chemicals that are leaching from our containers.

Please leave all questions, concerns, and comments below.

GOOD HEALTH!!

 

 

 

Facts on Colon Cancer

The death of Chad Bosman, the actor, has raised awareness and concern for Facts On Colon Cancer - What is Colon Cancer?colon cancer. The purpose of this article is to inform readers about the facts on colon cancer.

What is Colon Cancer?

Cancer is abnormal cell growth. Colon cancer is cancer that starts in the colon, also known as the large intestine. The colon is the closing stretch of the digestive tract.

Colon cancer is occasionally called colorectal cancer, which is a term that links colon cancer and rectal cancer, which commences in the rectum.

Causes of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer typically starts as small, benign (noncancerous) masses of cells called polyps that develop on the inside of the colon. Over time, a few of these polyps can become cancerous, forming colon cancers. Colon cancer usually affects older adults, although it can happen at any age.

Actually, physicians are not sure what the cause of most colon cancers is.

Generally speaking, colon cancer begins when healthy cells in the colon develop changes (mutations) in their DNA. Within a cell’s DNA is a set of instructions that instruct it on what it should do.

Healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly and systematic way to keep the body functioning normally. However, when a cell’s DNA is flawed and becomes cancerous, cells continue to divide — even when new cells aren’t needed. As the cells accumulate, they form a tumor.

Over time, the cancer cells can increase to invade and destroy normal nearby tissue. Also, these cancerous cells can travel to other parts of the body to form deposits there (metastasis).

Risk Factors

There are some factors that can increase the risk of developing colon cancer which include:

  • Age. Colon cancer can be detected at any age, but a more significant number of people with colon cancer are older than 50. The rates of colon cancer in people younger than 50 have been on the rise, but doctors are not sure why.
  • Race. African-Americans have an increased risk of colon cancer individuals of other races.
  • Personal history. If an individual has already had colon cancer or noncancerous colon polyps, there is a greater risk of colon cancer in the future.
  • Inflammatory intestinal conditions. Chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, can add to the risk of colon cancer.
  • Inherited syndromes. Some gene mutations passed through generations of a family can increase the risk of colon cancer considerably. It is only a small percentage of colon cancers linked to inherited genes.
  • Family history. An individual is more likely to develop colon cancer if he or she has a blood relative who has had the disease. If more than one family member has or previously had colon cancer or rectal cancer, the risk is even greater.
  • Diet. Low-fiber, high-fat. Colon cancer and rectal cancer links with a typical Western diet, which is low in fiber and high in fat and calories. Research conducted in this area has had mixed results. Some studies have found an increased risk of colon cancer in individuals who consume large amounts of red meat and processed meat.
  • A sedentary lifestyle. Inactive individuals are more likely to contract colon cancer. Getting regular physical exercise may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  • Diabetes. Individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance have a heightened risk of colon cancer.
  • Obesity. People who are obese have an increased risk of colon cancer and an increased risk of dying of colon cancer when compared with people considered average weight.
  • Smoking. People who smoke may have a heightened risk of colon cancer.
  • Alcohol. Heavy consumption of alcohol amplifies the risk of colon cancer.
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy for cancers directed at the abdomen to treat previous cancers increases the risk of colon cancer.

Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Most individuals with colon cancer do not experience any symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms appear, they tend to vary, Facts on Colon Cancer - Symptoms of Colon Cancerdepending on the size of the cancerous cells and the location in the large intestine.

Signs and symptoms:

  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t clear out entirely
  • A persistent change in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a difference in the consistency of the stool
  • Persistent abdominal discomforts, including cramps, gas or pain
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness or fatigue

Treatment of Colon Cancer

Screening

Physicians recommend specific screening tests for healthy people with no signs or symptoms to look for signs of colon cancer or noncancerous colon polyps. Finding colon cancer at its earliest stage provides the most excellent chance for a cure. Screening has proven to reduce the risk of dying of colon cancer.

Doctors, in general, advise that people with an average risk of colon cancer begin screening around age 50. The American Cancer Society recommends

All About Colonoscopy - diagnosing colon cancer Colon
The Colononscopy Scope in action!

age 45. Additionally, individuals with a heightened risk, for example, those with a family history of colon cancer or African-American heritage, should consider screening sooner.

Several screening options exist — each with its benefits and drawbacks. A patient should discuss the options with their doctor, and together they can decide which tests are appropriate. If a colonoscopy is used for screening, polyps can be easily removed during the procedure before they turn into cancer.

Diagnosing

If a patient’s signs and symptoms indicate that they could have colon cancer, the doctor may recommend one or more tests and procedures, including:

  • Colonoscopy. A colonoscopy uses a long, flexible, and slender tube attached to a video camera and monitor to view the entire colon and rectum. If any suspicious areas are located, the physician can pass surgical tools through the tube to take biopsies (tissue samples) for analysis as well as remove polyps. For more information on colonoscopy, please see the article, All About Colonoscopy, on this website.
  • Blood tests. A blood test cannot tell a patient if they have colon cancer. But the doctor may test the blood for clues regarding overall health, for example, kidney and liver function tests.

The doctor may additionally test the blood for a chemical occasionally produced by colon cancers (carcinoembryonic antigen, or CEA). Tracked over time, the level of CEA in the blood may assist the doctor in understanding the diagnosis and whether the cancer is responding favorably to treatment.

If a patient has been diagnosed with colon cancer, a doctor may recommend tests to determine the extent (stage) of cancer. Staging helps decide what treatments are most appropriate.

Staging tests may incorporate imaging procedures such as abdominal, pelvic, and chest CT scans. In most cases, the stage of cancer may not be Facts on Colon Cancer - Treatment for Colon Cancerentirely resolved until after colon cancer surgery.

The stages of colon cancer are indicated by Roman numerals that range from 0 to IV (4), with the lower stages representing cancer that is limited to the lining of the inside of the colon. By stage IV, the disease is deemed advanced and has spread (metastasized) to other areas of the body.

To summarize, if colon cancer develops, many treatments are available to help control it, including surgery, radiation therapy, and drug treatments, such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.

Prevention

Lifestyle changes

An individual can take steps to reduce the risk of colon cancer by making changes in his or her everyday life. It is advisable to:

  • Diet. Eat a wide array of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fruits, whole grains, and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which could play a role in cancer prevention. It is wise to choose a variety of Facts on Colon Cancer - preventing colon cancerfruits and vegetables to enable one to get an array of vitamins and nutrients.
  • Alcohol. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If an individual chooses to drink alcohol, he or she should limit the amount of alcohol they drink to no more than one (1) drink a day for women and two (2) for men.
  • Quit smoking. If an individual smokes, they should talk to their doctor about ways to quit that may work for them.
  • Exercise. An individual should exercise most days of the week by getting at least thirty (30) minutes of exercise on most days. But it is crucial to keep in mind that if you’ve been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, consult with your physician before commencing any exercise program.

Maintain a healthy weight.
If you are at a healthy weight, work to maintain that weight by joining a healthy diet with regular, daily exercise. If you need to reduce weight, ask your doctor about healthy ways to achieve your goal. Endeavor to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise you perform and reducing the number of calories you eat.

Prevention for people with a high risk

Some medications are found to reduce the risk of precancerous polyps or colon cancer. For example, some evidence ties a reduced risk of polyps and colon cancer to regular use of aspirin or aspirin-like drugs. But it is unclear what dose and what length of time would be required to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Additionally, taking aspirin on a daily basis has some risks, including gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.

These options are reserved for people with a high risk of colon cancer. There isn’t enough evidence to recommend these medications to individuals who have an average risk of colon cancer.

If you have an increased risk of colon cancer, discuss your risk factors with your heal care practitioner to determine whether preventive medications are safe for you.

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below.

Good Health!!

 

 

 

 

Osteoporosis: The Facts

There is a disease that creeps upon us after age 50, especially in women. This is a bone disease known as Osteoporosis. For those looking for answers regarding this disease, this article should shed some light as it explores Osteoporosis: The Facts.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease. It is a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle. This can eventually lead to bone fractures from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps. Osteoporosis means “porous bone.”

What is Osteoporosis Caused By?

Osteoporosis occurs when the body doesn’t make enough bone, loses excessive amounts of bone, or both. Our bones are in a perpetual state of renewal — new bone is produced and old bone is discarded. In our youth, the body produces new bone faster than it tears down old bone, and the bone mass increases. After the early 20s, this process slows down, and a majority of individuals reach their maximum bone mass by age 30. As individuals age, bone mass is diminished faster than it is produced.

How viable we are to develop osteoporosis depends somewhat on what amount of bone mass we accumulate in our youth. Peak bone mass is to some extent inherited and varies additionally by ethnic group. The higher our peak bone mass, the more bone we will have in reserve, the less likely we are to develop osteoporosis as we age.

Risk Contributors

Several markers can increase the likelihood that an individual can develop osteoporosis — including race, age, lifestyle choices, and underlying medical conditions and treatments.

Some of these are out of our control, these include:

  • Race. There is the greatest risk of osteoporosis if an individual is white or of Asian descent.
  • Sex. Women are considerably more prone to develop osteoporosis than men are.
  • Age. The older an individual gets, the greater the risk of developing osteoporosis.
  • Body frame size.
    Individuals, both men, and women who have small body frames are likely to have a higher risk because they may have less bone mass to draw upon as they age.
  • Family history.
    Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts one at greater risk, especially if their mother or father fractured a hip.

Other risk contributors some of which we can control include:

Hormone Levels – Osteoporosis is most likely to occur in people who have an excess or deficiency of certain hormones in their bodies. Examples are:

  • Thyroid problems.
    Excessive amounts of thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. This can occur if the thyroid is overactive or if an individual takes a disproportionate amount of thyroid hormone medication to treat an underactive thyroid.
  • Sex hormones.
    Decreased levels of sex hormones tend to weaken bone. The reduction of estrogen levels in females during menopause is one of the greatest risk factors for developing osteoporosis.

Men, as they age, have a gradual reduction in testosterone levels. Treatments for prostate cancer that diminish testosterone levels in men and treatments for breast cancer that diminish estrogen levels in women are likely to hasten bone loss.

  • Additional glands.
    Osteoporosis has additionally been linked with overactive parathyroid and adrenal glands.

Diet – Osteoporosis is in all probability to occur in individuals who have:

  • Low calcium intake.
    A lifelong deficiency of calcium plays a part in the advancement of osteoporosis. Low calcium intake contributes to weakened bone density, premature bone loss, and a heightened risk of fractures.
  • Eating disorders.
    Strictly restricting food intake and being underweight diminishes bone in both men and women.
  • Gastrointestinal surgery.
    Surgery to reduce the size of the stomach or to remove part of the intestine restricts the amount of surface area accessible to absorb nutrients, which includes calcium. These surgeries include those to help an individual lose weight and for other gastrointestinal issues.

Medications – Long-term use of corticosteroid medications either oral or injected, such as prednisone and cortisone, impedes the bone-rebuilding process. Osteoporosis has also been linked with medications used to fight or prevent such conditions as:

  • Gastric reflux
  • Seizures
  • Transplant rejection
  • Cancer

Underlying Medical conditions

The probability of osteoporosis is higher in individuals who have specific medical conditions, including:

  • Cancer
  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Lupus
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Lifestyle choices – Some lifestyle habits can increase the risk of osteoporosis. These include:

  • Inactive (Sedentary) lifestyle. Individuals who spend a lot of time sitting have an elevated risk of osteoporosis than do those that are more active. Any weight-bearing exercise and activities that advance balance and good posture are beneficial for the bones, but in particular, walking, running, jumping, dancing, and weightlifting seem especially helpful.
  • Excessive alcohol intake. Regular intake of more than two (2) alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Tobacco usage.
    The specific part tobacco plays in osteoporosis is not apparent, however, it has been shown that tobacco use contributes to weakened bones.

What are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

There usually are no symptoms in the early phase of bone loss. However, once the bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, an individual might have warnings and symptoms that include:

  • A stooped posture
  • Back pain, produced by a cracked or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of height over time
  • A bone that fractures a great deal more easily than expectedOsteoporosis: The Facts

Even without symptoms, an individual may want to consult with a doctor about osteoporosis if they have gone through early menopause or took corticosteroids.

What are the complications of Osteoporosis?

Bone fractures are the most serious complications of osteoporosis, particularly in the spine or hip. Hip fractures are frequently caused by a fall and can subsequently result in disability and even an amplified risk of death within the first year after the injury.

In some cases, spinal fractures can happen even without a fall. The bones that make up the spine (vertebrae) can weaken to the point of crumbling, which can result in back pain, shortened height, and a bent forward posture.

Treating Osteoporosis

Diagnosis

The first step in diagnosing osteoporosis is to test the density of the bones. Bone density is measured by a machine that makes the use of low levels of X-rays to establish the proportion of mineral in the bones. During this Osteoporosis: The Facts - Diagnosispainless test, the patient lies on a padded table as a scanner passes over the body. In a majority of cases, only a few bones are checked — generally the hip and spine. A score of -2.0 or lower indicates an osteoporosis condition.

Treatment

Treatment recommendations are usually based on an estimate of the risk of breaking a bone in the next ten years using information such as the results of the bone density test. If the risk is not high, treatment may not include medication and instead might focus on modifying risk factors for bone loss and falls.

For both males and females at increased risk of fracture, the most widely prescribed osteoporosis medications are called bisphosphonates. Some common names include:

  • Alendronate (Binosto, Fosamax)
  • Ibandronate (Boniva)
  • Risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia)
  • Zoledronic acid (Reclast, Zometa)

You may recognize some of these names from television commercials.Osteoporosis: The Facts-Treatment

Side effects can include abdominal pain, nausea, and heartburn-like symptoms. These are less probable to occur if the medication is taken correctly.

There are intravenous forms of bisphosphonates that do not cause stomach upset but can cause headache, fever, and muscle aches for up to three (3) days. It may be easier to schedule a quarterly or yearly injection than to recall taking a weekly or monthly pill; however, it can be more expensive to do so.

Another class of drugs is Monoclonal antibody medications.

In comparison with bisphosphonates, denosumab (Prolia, Xgeva) generates comparable or better bone density results and decreases the chance of all types of fractures. Denosumab is delivered via an injection under the skin every six (6) months.

If denosumab is chosen, the patient may have to continue to do so for an indefinite period. Recent research denotes that there could be a high risk of spinal column fractures after terminating the drug.

A very rare complication leading to a combination of bisphosphonates and denosumab is a break or crack in the middle of the thighbone.

A second rare difficulty is delayed healing of the jawbone (osteonecrosis of the jaw). This can come about after an invasive dental procedure such as a tooth extraction.

Patients should have a dental examination before commencing these medications, and continue to take good care of their teeth and see the dentist regularly while on them. Therefore, they must make sure their dentist knows that they are taking these medications.

Another form of treatment is hormone-related therapy

Estrogen, especially when started shortly after menopause, can assist in maintaining bone density. On the other hand, estrogen therapy can heighten the risk of endometrial cancer, breast cancer, blood clots, and possibly heart disease. Consequently, estrogen is normally used for bone health in younger women or in women, whose menopausal symptoms also need treatment.

Raloxifene (Evista) imitates estrogen’s favorable effects on bone density in postmenopausal women, without some of the risks connected with estrogen. Engaging this drug can reduce the risk of some types of breast cancer. Hot flashes are a common side effect. Raloxifene additionally may increase the risk of blood clots.

In men, osteoporosis might be coupled with a gradual age-related decline in testosterone levels. Testosterone replacement therapy can help in lessening the symptoms of low testosterone, but osteoporosis medications have been better studied in men to treat osteoporosis and therefore are recommended by them or in addition to testosterone.

Lastly, there are bone-building medications.

If an individual cannot tolerate these more common treatments for osteoporosis — or if they do not work well enough, a health-care practitioner might suggest trying one of these:

  • Teriparatide (Forteo).
    This powerful drug is comparable to parathyroid hormone and stimulates new bone growth. It is administered by daily injection under the skin. After two (2) years of treatment, another osteoporosis drug is used to maintain the new bone growth.
  • Abaloparatide (Tymlos) is an additional drug comparable to parathyroid hormone. It can only be taken for only two (2) years, which will be followed by another osteoporosis medication.
  • Romosozumab (Evenity).
    This is the most recent bone-building medication to treat osteoporosis. It is administered by injection every month at a physician’s office. It is limited to one (1) year of treatment, followed by other osteoporosis medications.

How to Prevent Osteoporosis

Proper nutrition and regular exercise are vital for keeping bones healthy throughout life.

Protein

Protein is one of the structure blocks of bone. However, there is conflicting evidence regarding the impact of protein intake on bone density.

Most people get ample amounts of protein in their diets, however, some do not. Vegetarians and vegans can get ample protein in the diet if they purposely seek suitable sources, such as nuts, soy, legumes, and seeds for vegans, vegetarians, and eggs and dairy for vegetarians.

Older adults may eat less protein for a variety of reasons. If you think you are not getting enough protein, ask your doctor if supplementation is an option. For more information on protein, you may read the article, The Facts about Proteins,
on this website.

Weight

Being underweight multiplies the chance of bone loss and fractures. Additional weight is now known to increase the risk of fractures in the arm Osteoporosis: The Facts - Preventionand wrist. As such, maintaining appropriate body weight is good for bones just as it is for health in general.

Calcium

Both males and females between the ages of 18 and 50 require 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. This daily amount rises to 1,200 milligrams when women turn 50 and men turn 70.

Excellent sources of calcium include:

  • Calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice
  • Canned salmon or sardines with bones
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Soy products, such as tofu

If an individual finds it difficult to get enough calcium from their diet, they should consider taking calcium supplements. However, they must keep in mind that too much calcium has been linked to kidney stones. Although yet uncertain, some experts propose that too much calcium especially in supplements can increase the risk of heart disease.

The Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) recommends that the sum of calcium intake, from supplements and diet, combined, should be no more than 2,000 milligrams daily for individuals older than 50.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D improves the body’s ability to take in calcium and improve bone health in other ways. Individuals can get some of their vitamin D from sunlight, but this may well not be a good source if people who live in high latitude, if they are housebound, or if they regularly use sunscreen or avoid the sun because of the risk of skin cancer.

To get enough vitamin D to maintain bone health, it is recommended that adults between the ages 51 to 70 get 600 international units (IU) and 800 IU a day beyond age 70 by way of food or supplements.

Individuals without other sources of vitamin D and especially those with limited sun exposure might need a supplement. Most multivitamin products contain between 600 and 800 IU of vitamin D. Up to 4,000 IU of vitamin D a day is safe for most people.

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 plays a key role in the metabolism of calcium, which the primary mineral found in our bones and teeth. It triggers the calcium-binding actions of two (2) proteins — matrix GLA protein and osteocalcin, which aid in building and maintaining bones.

There is additionally substantial evidence from controlled studies that K2 may provide major benefits for bone health.

Vitamin K2 is produced by gut bacteria in the large intestine. There is some evidence that suggests that broad-spectrum antibiotics contribute to a K2 deficiency. However, the average intake of this important nutrient is incredibly low in the modern diet.

Vitamin K2 is principally found in specific animal and fermented foods, in which most individuals do not consume a large amount. Abundant animal supplies include high-fat dairy products from egg yolks, grass-fed cows, as well as liver and other organ meats. Vitamin K is fat-soluble, meaning low fat and lean animal products do not contain an abundance of it.

Animal foods have the MK-4 subtype, while fermented foods such as sauerkraut, natto and, miso pack more of the longer subtypes, MK-5 to MK-14.

If these foods are inaccessible, taking supplements is a valid alternative. The benefits of supplementing with K2 may be improved even further when combined with a vitamin D supplement since these two vitamins have synergistic effects. An excellent selection of vitamin D and K2 supplements can be found at THE VITAMIN SHOPPE.

Exercise

Exercise can assist in building strong bones and slow bone loss. It is never too late to start, but the most benefit will be gained if regular exercise is started during one’s youth and continues throughout life.

It is advisable to combine strength-training exercises with weight-bearing and balance exercises. Strength training aids in strengthening muscles and bones in the arms and upper spine. Weight-bearing exercises such as jogging, stair climbing, walking, running, skipping rope, skiing, and impact-producing sports — affect mainly the bones in your legs, hips and, lower spine. Balance exercises such as tai chi can reduce the risk of falling especially as one gets older.

Swimming, cycling, and exercising on machines such as elliptical trainers can yield a good cardiovascular workout, but they do not improve bone health.

Please leave any questions, comments, and concerns below.

Good Health!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress: The Facts

Stress is something we all know about. But how much do we know? Perhaps only knowing when we have it, right? Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will know all about, stress: the facts.

What is Stress?

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to what may be perceived as an extreme situation or circumstance. Everyone experiences stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities such as work and family to grave life events such as a new diagnosis from the doctor, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. For urgent, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to our health. It can help an individual cope with possible serious situations. The body responds to stress by releasing hormones
that increase the heart and breathing rates and ready the muscles to respond.

Is Stress Bad?

Stress isn’t inevitably a bad thing. It can be healthy in cases where it helps one avoid an accident, meet a certain deadline, or keep our intellect intact in the midst of chaos.

Everybody feels stressed at times, but what one individual finds stressful may be very different from what another individual finds stressful. An example of this would a long transcontinental flight. Some love the thrill of it and others may be paralyzed at the very thought of it.

Although stress isn’t always bad, the important element in the equation is that it should be temporary. Once the emergency/crisis moment has passed, the heart rate and breathing should slow down and the muscles should relax. In a short period of time, the body should return to its natural state without any lasting negative effects.

But we know what too much of a good thing is. Therefore, in contrast, acute, recurrent, or extended stress can be mentally and physically damaging.

Unfortunately, it’s somewhat common. A survey revealed that 80 % of Americans reported that they had at least one symptom of stress in the past month. Twenty percent (20%) reported being under extreme stress.

Because of the busy lives we lead, it’s impossible to eliminate stress altogether. But there are ways to avoid it when possible and also manage it when it’s inescapable.

Causes of Stress

Some standard causes of acute or chronic stress include:

  • Surviving a life-threatening accident or illness
  • Being the victim of a crime
  • Living through a natural or manmade disaster
  • Living with a chronic illness
  • Experiencing familial stress situations such as:
    • an unhappy marriage
    • prolonged divorce proceedings
    • child custody issues
    • an abusive relationship
  • Working in a dangerous profession
  • Being a caregiver for a loved one with a chronic illness.
  • Being homeless or living in poverty
  • Having negative work experiences
  • Deployment in the military

The conditions that can cause a person’s stress are endless because they are as diverse as individuals are.

Whatever the source, the effect on the body can be serious if left untreated.

Forms of Stress

There are several kinds of stress. They include:

  • acute stress
  • episodic acute stress
  • chronic stress

Acute stress – Everyone experiences acute stress. It is the body’s instant response to a new and challenging circumstance. It is the kind of stress one may feel when narrowly escaping a car accident.

Acute stress can additionally result in something that you actually enjoy. It’s rather frightening; yet exhilarating feeling one may get on a roller coaster or perhaps when skiing down a vertical mountain slope.Stress: The Facts

Acute stress incidents such as these don’t normally result in any harm to the body. They might even be beneficial to an individual. Stressful situations give the body and brain practice in formulating the best reaction to future stressful situations.

Once the danger passes, the body’s systems should return to normal.

However, severe acute stress is different. This type of stress, such as when one is faced with a life-threatening situation, can be the forerunner to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health problems.

Episodic acute stress – Episodic acute stress is when an individual has frequent incidents of acute stress.
This can happen if someone is often anxious and worried about things he or she suspects may happen. The individual may feel that their life is chaotic and seemingly go from one crisis to the next.

A variety of professions, such as law enforcement or firefighters, may additionally lead to recurrent high-stress situations.

Similar to severe acute stress, episodic acute stress can affect physical health and mental well-being.

Chronic stress – Chronic stress is when you have high-stress levels for an extended period. Long-term stress like this can have a negative impact on an individual’s health. It can contribute to:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • anxiety
  • high blood pressure
  • depression
  • a weakened immune system

Chronic stress can additionally lead to recurrent ailments such as headaches, an upset stomach, and sleep difficulties. Acquiring knowledge of the various types of stress can help.

Symptoms of Stress

Just as there are a variety of things that can cause stress, symptoms can be different also.

Even though it is unlikely for an individual to have them all, below are some symptoms you may experience if you’re under stress:

  • insomnia and other sleep problems
  • chronic pain
  • digestive problems
  •  lower sex drive
  • over or under eating
  • difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • fatigue

One may feel overwhelmed, irritable, or fearful. Also, one may unwittingly be drinking or smoking more than they used to.Stress: The Facts - Stress of symptoms

Headache – Stress headaches, also known as tension headaches, are caused by tense muscles in the face, head, and neck. Some of the symptoms of a stress headache are:

  • feeling a band of pressure around the forehead
  • tenderness of the scalp and forehead
  • mild to moderate dull head pain

Various triggers that can spark a tension headache. But tight muscles could be due to emotional stress or anxiety.

Ulcer – A stomach ulcer — a type of peptic ulcer — is a sore on the lining of your stomach that’s caused by:

  • Infection with a stomach bacteria—helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
  • Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil, moltrin, and alleve.
  • rare tumors and cancers

Research as to how physical stress interrelates with the immune system is currently ongoing. It is believed that physical stress may affect how one may heal from an ulcer. Physical stress can be due to:

  • serious long-term illness or injury
  • a surgical procedure
  • trauma or injury to the brain or central nervous system

Consecutively, the heartburn and pain of a stomach ulcer can lead to emotional stress.

Eating excessively – Some individuals act in response to stress by eating, even if they’re not hungry. If one should find themselves eating without thinking, eating heavily in the middle of the night, or generally eating much more than usual, they may be stress-eating.

When individuals stress eats, they take in a lot more calories than they need and they’re probably not choosing the healthiest foods. This can lead to fast weight gain and several health problems. Additionally, it does little to nothing to resolve the stress.

Work Stress – Work can be a cause of great stress for a variety of reasons. This type of stress can be occasional or chronic.

Stress at work can come from:

  • The feeling of a lack of power or control over what happens
  • Feeling stuck in a job that one dislikes and seeing no alternatives
  • Being made to do things an individual doesn’t think he or she should do
  • Involved with a conflict with a co-worker
  • Being overworked or having too much asked of an individual

If one is in a job they hate or are constantly responding to the demands of others’ without any control, stress seems unavoidable. Finding balance and managing stress is important to maintain optimal mental health.

Anxiety – Stress and anxiety frequently go hand in hand. While stress comes from the demands placed on the brain and body, anxiety is when an individual feels high levels of worry, uneasiness, or fear.

Anxiety can certainly be a consequence of episodic or chronic stress.

Having both stress and anxiety can have a severe negative impact on health, making an individual more likely to develop:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Panic disorder

Stress and anxiety both can be treated. There are varieties of strategies and resources that can help with both.

The Effects of Stress on the Body

As mentioned earlier, stress is helpful. It’s a natural physical and mental reaction to life occurrences. However, if the stress response doesn’t stop reacting, and the stress levels stay raised way longer than is necessary for survival, it can seriously affect health by causing problems with the following bodily systems.

Central nervous and endocrine systems – The central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of the “fight or flight” response mentioned earlier. In the brain, the hypothalamus starts the process by telling the adrenal glands to Stress: The Facts - The effects of stressrelease the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase the heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas where it is needed the most in an emergency, such as the muscles, heart, and other crucial organs.

When the fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell the systems to go back to normal. If the CNS does not to normal, or if the stressor doesn’t depart, the response will continue.

Respiratory and cardiovascular systems – Stress hormones affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During the stress response, breathing increases to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to the body. If an individual already has a breathing problem such as asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.

While under stress, the heart additionally pumps faster. Stress hormones trigger the blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to the muscles enabling more strength to take action. However, this additionally raises blood pressure.

Consequently, frequent or chronic stress will cause the heart to work too hard for too long. When the blood pressure rises, so does the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Digestive system – Under stress, the liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to produce a boost of energy. When under chronic stress, the body may not be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge. Therefore chronic stress may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

This shot of hormones, increased breathing, and elevated heart rate can additionally upset the digestive system. It is also more likely to have heartburn or acid reflux due to an increase in stomach acid. Stress doesn’t bring about ulcers (a bacterium called H. pylori often does), but it can increase the risk for them and cause existing ulcers to worsen.

Stress can also affect the way food moves through the body, leading to diarrhea or constipation. One might additionally experience nausea, vomiting, or a stomachache.

Muscular system – The muscles tense up to guard themselves against injury when the body is stressed. They tend to release again once an individual relaxes, but when constantly under stress, the muscles may not be able to relax. Tight muscles bring about headaches, back and shoulder pain, and body aches. Ultimately, this can set off an unhealthy cycle as to discourage exercising and instead opting for pain medication for relief.

Reproductive system – Stress is draining on both the body and mind. It’s not unusual to lose sexual desire when under constant stress. While short-term stress can cause men to produce more of the male hormone testosterone, this effect doesn’t usually last.

Conversely, if the stress continues for a long time, a man’s testosterone levels can commence to drop. This can hinder sperm production and cause erectile dysfunction or impotence. Chronic stress may also increase the risk of infection for male reproductive organs such as the prostate and testes.

For females, stress can affect the menstrual cycle. It can lead to irregular, heavier, or more painful menstrual periods. Chronic stress can additionally increase the physical symptoms of menopause.

Immune system – Stress fires up the immune system, which can be a benefit for immediate situations. This stimulation can help avoid infections and heal wounds. But over a period of time, stress hormones will weaken the immune system and reduce the body’s response to foreign invaders. Individuals under chronic stress are more vulnerable to viral illnesses such as the flu and the common cold, in addition to other infections. Stress can also increase the time it takes to recuperate from an illness or injury.

How to Manage Stress

The goal of stress management isn’t to remove it completely. Because it’s not only impossible but as mentioned, stress can be healthy in some situations.

To manage stress, first, one would have to identify the things that cause the stress — or the triggers. Then figure out which of these things can be avoided. Then, find ways to cope with those negative stressors that can’t be avoided. Sometimes a change in attitude towards something or a situation is helpful.

Over time, managing stress levels may assist with lowering the risk of stress-related diseases. And it can help one feel better on a day to day basis, also.

Here are some fundamental ways to start managing stress:Stress: The Facts - How to Manage Stress

  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Get ample sleep – aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night
  • Get exercise regularly
  • Minimize the use of caffeine and alcohol
  • Stay socially active so you can receive and give support
  • Take time for rest and relaxation, or self-care
  • Gain knowledge of meditation techniques such as deep breathing

If you’re not having an issue with chronic or episodic acute stress and if you want to keep the effects of everyday stress to a minimum naturally, hemp oil may be worth a try. For more on hemp oil, read the article, All about Hemp Oil on this website.

However, if you can’t manage your stress, or if it’s accompanied by anxiety or depression, see your physician as soon as possible. These conditions can be managed with treatment, as long as you get help. You might also think about conferring with a therapist or other mental health professional. Learn about stress management tips.

Any questions, comments, or concerns can be left below. You will receive a response.

Good Health!!

 

 

 

What Foods Boost the Immune System?

During these days of the Covid19 pandemic, nothing concerning our bodies The Facts of the Immune System - How does the Immune System Workis getting more awareness than our immune system. Although the body doesn’t have a natural defense against covid19, a strong immune system will help minimize the effects of this virus. The best way to keep our immune systems strong is naturally though our diet. Therefore, this is a perfect time to take a look at what foods boost the immune system.

What is the Immune system?

The immune system is an intricate defense system powered by blood (five liters) and lymph. Lymph is a transparent and neutral (colorless) fluid that passes throughout the tissues of the body. Together, these two liquids transport all the elements of the immune system enabling them to do their jobs. For more information on the immune system, please read the article, The Facts about the Immune System on this website.

What Foods Boost the Immune System?

Supplying the body with certain foods may help keep the immune system strong. This is the way to prevent the flu, colds, and other infections. Therefore, it is wise to plan meals to include these powerful immune system boosters that follow.

Broccoli – Broccoli has the reputation of a super
food because it is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Jam-packed
with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and numerous additional
antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables one can
ingest.

The basis of keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as
possible — or even better yet, not at all. Research has indicated that
steaming is the best way to keep more nutrients in the food.

Spinach – Spinach is on the list not just because
it’s rich in vitamin C — it is additionally packed with abundant amounts
of antioxidants and beta carotene, which both increase the
infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.

Comparable to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as
little as possible so that it maintains its nutrients. However, light
cooking makes it easier to absorb vitamin A and allows other nutrients
to be released from oxalic acid, an antinutrient.

Red Bell Peppers – While most may think citrus
fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, one may need
to think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain roughly 3
times as much vitamin C (127 mg) as a Florida orange (45 mg). They’re
also a rich source of beta carotene, an antioxidant that plays a crucial
role in the body’s fight against free radicals. For more information on
free radicals, please see the article, What are Free Radicals and why are they bad on this website.

Beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, helps to keep the eyes and skin healthy.

Citrus fruits – Most individuals head straight for vitamin C after they’ve Foods that Boost the Immune Systemcaught a cold. This is because it helps build up the immune system. Vitamin C is believed to increase the building of white blood cells, which are crucial to fighting infections. In addition to boosting the immune system, vitamin C may assist in maintaining healthy skin.

Practically all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a pinch of this vitamin to any meal.

Common citrus fruits include:

  • limes
  • tangerines
  • grapefruit
  • clementines
  • oranges
  • lemons

Since the body doesn’t produce or store it, it is necessary to intake vitamin C daily for continued health. The recommended daily amount for most adults is:

  • 90 mg for men
  • 75 mg for women

If supplements are preferred, one must limit to taking no more than 2,000 What Foods Boost the Immune Systemmilligrams (mg) a day.

Also keep in mind that while vitamin C might help to recover from a cold faster, there’s no evidence yet that it’s effective against the covid19 virus.

Garlic – Garlic is very popular and is found in almost every cuisine in the world. It adds vigor to food and it’s a necessary nutrient for optimal health.

Early civilizations discovered its value in fighting infections. Garlic may additionally slow down the hardening of the arteries, and there is some evidence that it helps lower blood pressure.

Garlic’s immune-boosting properties appear to result from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. Allicin is a compound produced whenever garlic is crushed or chopped. It has been found to reduce inflammation and offer antioxidant benefits.

Ginger – Ginger is an additional ingredient many turns to after getting sick. Ginger may assist with decreasing inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may assist with nausea as well.

While it is used in various sweet desserts, ginger packs some punch in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin.

Ginger may additionally decrease chronic pain and might even have cholesterol-lowering properties.

Yogurt – Yogurt has cultures that are the bacteria yogurt is comprised of. These cultures can stimulate the immune system to help fight diseases.

It is favorable to get plain yogurts rather than the kind that are flavored and weighed down with sugar. One can sweeten plain yogurt themselves with healthy fruits and a sprinkle of honey instead.

Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, therefore select brands fortified with this vitamin. Vitamin D helps normalize the immune system and is believed to boost the body’s natural defenses against diseases.

Clinical trials
are currently being conducted to study the possible effects on COVID-19.

Almonds – Almonds contain vitamin E. While vitamin E tends to fall behind vitamin C when it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, it is a powerful antioxidant that is crucial to a healthy immune system.

It is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, like almonds, are jam-packed with the vitamin and additionally contain healthy fats.

Adults only need about 15 mg of vitamin E every day. A half-cup serving of almonds, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides around one-hundred percent of the recommended daily amount.

Vitamin E is important in regulating and maintaining immune system function. Additional foods with high amounts of vitamin E include avocados and dark leafy greens.

Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds are filled with nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamins B-6 and E.

Sunflower seeds are additionally extremely high in selenium. Just 1 ounce contains almost half the selenium that the average adult requires daily. A variety of studies, mostly performed on animals, have looked at its potential to combat viral infections such as the swine flu (H1N1).

Turmeric – Turmeric is known as a key ingredient in curry. This bitter,

Foods that Boost the Immune Ststem
Turmeric Curcurmin

bright yellow spice has been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Research
shows that high applications of curcumin, which also gives turmeric its distinctive color, may assist in decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage. Curcumin has great potential as an immune booster (based on findings from animal studies) and an antiviral. However, additional research is needed.

Green Tea – Equally green and black teas are loaded with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea genuinely excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another powerful antioxidant.

In research, EGCG has been shown to increase immune function. The fermentation procedure black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG. Green tea, in contrast, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved.

Green tea is additionally a good supplier of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in the T cells.

Papaya – Papaya is an additional fruit loaded with vitamin C. In it can be found double the daily suggested amount of vitamin C in a single medium fruit. Papayas additionally have a digestive enzyme called papain that contains anti-inflammatory properties.

Papayas have adequate amounts of potassium, magnesium, and folate of which are beneficial to overall health.

Kiwi – Similar to papayas, kiwis are naturally full of a plethora of vital nutrients, including potassium, folate, vitamin C. and vitamin K.

Vitamin C enhances boosts the white blood cells to fight infection; while kiwi’s additional nutrients keep the rest of the body performing properly.

Poultry – Yes, believe it or not. Tradition says when we’re sick reach for chicken soup. Just know that it is more than just the placebo effect that makes one feel better. The soup can help lower inflammation, which could improve symptoms of a cold.

Poultry, like chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains approximately 1/3 of the daily recommended amount of B-6.

Vitamin B-6 is an important contributor to many of the chemical reactions that occur in the body. It’s also crucial to the formation of new and healthy Foods that Boost the Immune Systemred blood cells that carry oxygen to the cells of the body.

Stock or broth produced by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients that are beneficial for gut healing and immunity.

Shellfish – Last but not least, although shellfish may not jump into the mind of those who are trying to boost their immune system, certain types of shellfish are jam-packed with zinc.

While zinc doesn’t get as much attention as various other vitamins and minerals, our bodies need it to enable our immune cells to function as planned.

Brands of shellfish that are high in zinc include:

  • crab
  • oysters
  • mussels
  • lobster

Bear in mind that it is not advisable to have more than the daily recommended amount of zinc in the diet:

  • 8 mg for most adult women
  • 11 mg for adult men

Too much zinc can in reality inhibit immune system function.

An excessive amount of a good thing is a bad thing!

Eating right may be a great start, and there are other actions you can take to safeguard you and your family from the flu, cold, and other illnesses.

One of these things is supplementation. In today’s busy environment, it isn’t easy to always eat correctly to ensure we’re getting all of the nutrients our bodies require.

There are all-natural supplements available that provide key immunity-boosting ingredients such as zinc, elderberry and, vitamin C, as well as vitamin D and l-lysine. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below.

Good Health!!

 

 

 

The Facts about the Immune System

During these days of the Covid19 pandemic, nothing concerning our bodies The Facts about the Immune Systemis getting more awareness than our immune system. Therefore, this is a perfect time to get the facts about the immune system.

What is the Immune System?

The immune system is an intricate defense system powered by blood (five liters) and lymph. Lymph is a transparent and neutral (colorless) fluid that passes throughout the tissues of the body. Together, these two liquids transport all the elements of the immune system enabling them to do their jobs. For more information on the lymph system, please read the article, All about the Lymphatic System on this website.

The immune system is made up of a system of cells, tissues, and organs that collaborate to protect the body against infection and sustain health on the whole.

The human body is the most favorable environment for pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites to thrive. The immune system works to keep a tight rein on these microbes (microorganisms) access to the body and prevent them from growing and causing illness.

While most people know the basic function of the immune system, there are many intricacies about the body’s natural defense system that we may not be aware of.

As long as the immune system is running properly, one never notices that it’s around. But if it discontinues working properly – either because it’s weak or can’t fight especially aggressive germs – one will become ill. Germs that our bodies have never come across before are additionally likely to make one ill. Some germs will only cause illness the first time an individual may come into contact with them. These involve childhood illnesses such as measles.

Without the immune system, there would be no way to fight harmful substances that enter the body from the out

side or harmful changes that occur inside the body.

How Does the Immune System Work?

There are several parts involved with the immune system and each part has a unique function of defense to protect the body.

The Facts about the Immune System
The immune system in action – Amazing!

 

The key parts of the immune system are:

  • white blood cells
  • antibodies
  • complement system
  • lymphatic system
  • spleen
  • bone marrow
  • thymus

The first line of defense is the white blood cells, which are the earliest to recognize pathogens and fight off infection. Lymphocytes, a specialized type of white blood cells, act to allow the body to remember the invading microbes to fight them faster in future infections.

They are made in the bone marrow and are part of the lymphatic system.

White blood cells travel through blood and tissue throughout the body, searching for foreign invaders (microbes) such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. When they discover them, they commence an immune attack.

White blood cells consist of lymphocytes (such as B-cells, T-cells, and natural killer cells), and numerous other types of immune cells.

Next, we have antibodies. Antibodies aid the body to battle microbes or the toxins (poisons) they generate. They do this by recognizing substances called antigens on the surface of the microbe, or in the chemicals they create, that mark the microbe or toxin as being foreign. The antibodies then symbol these antigens for destruction. There are numerous cells, proteins, and chemicals included in this attack.

Next, we have the lymphatic system which is a network of delicate tubes throughout the body. The main role of the lymphatic system is to react to bacteria.

The spleen is a blood-filtering organ that eliminates microbes and destroys old or damaged red blood cells. It additionally produces disease-fighting mechanisms of the immune system that includes antibodies and lymphocytes).

Bone marrow is the spongy tissue found inside the bones. It generates the The Facts of the Immune System - How does the Immune System Workred blood cells the body needs to carry oxygen, the white blood cells we use to combat infection, and the platelets needed to help the blood clot.

The thymus cleanses and monitors the blood content. It also generates white blood cells called T-lymphocytes.

In addition to the direct action of the immune system, the body has other ways to defend itself against microbes such as

  • Skin – provides a waterproof barrier that emits oil with bacteria-destroying properties.
  • Lungs mucous contained in the lungs (aka phlegm) entrap foreign particles, and small hairs (aka cilia) sway the mucous upwards enabling it to be coughed out.
  • Digestive tract – has a mucous lining which contains antibodies, and the acid in the stomach can eliminate most microbes
  • Other defenses – bodily fluids like skin oil, saliva, and tears contain anti-bacterial enzymes that aid in reducing the risk of infection. The constant flushing of the urinary tract and the bowel helps additionally.
  • Fever – An increase in body temperature, or fever, will happen with some infections. This is in fact an immune system response. A rise in temperature can actually destroy some microbes. Fever additionally activates the body’s repair process.

Disorders of the Immune System

It is generally common for individuals to have an over or under active immune system. Over activity of the immune system can take several forms, including:

Allergic diseases – This is where the immune system makes an excessively robust response to allergens. Allergic diseases are very regular. They include allergies to foods, medications or stinging insects, anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergy), hay fever (allergic rhinitis), sinus disease, asthma, hives (urticaria), dermatitis and eczema

Autoimmune diseases
These are diseases where the immune system launches a response against natural components of the body. Autoimmune diseases range from frequent to infrequent. They encompass multiple sclerosis, autoimmune thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic vasculitis.

Under activity of the immune system, also known as immunodeficiency, can:

be inherited – These conditions include primary immunodeficiency diseases such as common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), x-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), and complement deficiencies.

occur as a result of medical treatment – this can develop because of medications such as corticosteroids or chemotherapy

be triggered by another disease
such as HIV/AIDS or specific types of cancer.

An under active immune system does not function correctly and causes individuals to be vulnerable to infections. It is capable to be life-threatening in severe cases.

Individuals who have had an organ transplant usually need immunosuppression treatment to prohibit the body from attacking the transplanted organ.

Treatments

Immunoglobulin therapy – Immunoglobulins (commonly known as antibodies) are used to treat individuals who are unable to make enough of their own, or whose antibodies work improperly. This remedy is known as immunoglobulin therapy.

Until recently, immunoglobulin therapy in Australia mostly consists of the The Facts about the Immune System - Treatments for the immune systemdelivery of immunoglobulins through a drip into the vein – known as intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) treatment. Now, subcutaneous immunoglobulin (SCIg) is often delivered into the fat under the skin, which can offer benefits for a few patients. This is known as a subcutaneous infusion or SCIg therapy.

Subcutaneous immunoglobulin is similar to intravenous immunoglobulin. It is made up of plasma – the liquid portion of blood containing important proteins like antibodies.

Download the SCIg introduction fact sheet to read more about this manner of treatment.

Numerous health services are now offering SCIg therapy to qualified patients with specific immune conditions. If you are interested, please discuss your particular requirements with your physician.

Immunization – Immunization works by replicating the body’s natural immune response. A vaccine (a small amount of a specially treated virus, bacterium or toxin) is inserted into the body. The body then produces antibodies to it.

If a vaccinated individual is exposed to that particular virus, bacterium or toxin, they will not become ill because their body will recognize it and will have the knowledge to attack it successfully. Vaccinations are obtainable against numerous diseases, including measles and tetanus.

The immunizations that are needed are decided by health, age, lifestyle, and occupation. Together, these factors are referred to as the acronym HALO, which is defined as:

  • health – some health conditions or factors may make an individual more vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. For example, the conditions, premature birth, asthma, diabetes, heart, lung, spleen or kidney conditions, mongolism, and HIV will mean an individual may benefit from additional or more frequent immunizations
  • age – at different ages, people need defense from different vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • lifestyle – lifestyle choices can have an impact on your immunization needs. Traveling overseas to certain destinations, planning a family, sexual activity, smoking, and playing contact sports that perhaps may expose an individual directly to another person’s blood, may yield benefit from additional or more frequent immunizations.
  • occupation – An individual may likely to need extra immunizations, or need to have them more often if they work in an occupation that exposes them to vaccine-preventable diseases or puts them in contact with people who are additionally vulnerable to problems from vaccine-preventable diseases (such as babies or young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with chronic or acute health conditions). For example, if an individual works in aged care, childcare, healthcare, emergency services or sewerage repair and maintenance, discuss your immunization needs with your physician. Several employers may help with the cost of applicable vaccinations for their employees.

How to Boost the Immune System Naturally

In order to protect the body from harm, every component of the immune system is required to perform exactly according to plan. The best way one can ensure that happens is to practice the correct behaviors every day that the immune system runs on. Below are a few key ones.

A Healthy Diet – The nutrients get from food — in particular, plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices — are crucial to keeping the immune system functioning properly. Many plant-based foods also have antiviral and antimicrobial markers, which help fight off infection.

With the fast-paced lifestyle we live today, it is difficult to maintain healthy eating habits as we should. Not to mention that the way food is currently mass-produced we may not receive the nutrients intended. This is where supplementation comes in to supplement
the foods we consume.

There are natural supplements on the market that ensure that we receive the nutrients we need in the right quantities. For more information on an all-natural immune support supplement, CLICK HERE.

Control Stress – According to a review published in the October 2015 issue of Current Opinion in Psychology, long-term stress directs to persistently elevated levels of the steroid hormone cortisol. The body banks on hormones like cortisol during short-term bouts of stress (when the body goes into “fight-or-flight” response); cortisol has a beneficial effect of actually preventing the immune system from responding before the stressful event is over (so the body can respond to the urgent stressor). However, when cortisol levels are continually high, it basically hinders the immune system from kicking into gear and performing its job to protect the body against potential threats from germs like viruses and bacteria.

Proper Sleep – The body heals and regenerates itself during sleep, making sufficient sleep essential for a healthy immune response.

When the body doesn’t get enough sleep, the immune system may not perform as well, causing it to be less able to defend against harmful invaders opening the door for illness. One study published in the July–August 2017 issue of Behavioral Sleep Medicine discovered that compared with healthy young adults who did not have sleep problems, healthy young adults with insomnia were more vulnerable to the flu even after getting vaccinated.

Sleep deprivation additionally elevates cortisol levels, which evidently is also not good for immune function.

Regular Exercise – Regular exercise lowers the risk of acquiring chronic diseases (i.e. obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease), in addition to viral and bacterial infections, according to a review in Frontiers in Immunology in April 2018.

Additionally, exercise increases the discharge of endorphins (a group of hormones that reduce pain and create feelings of pleasure) making it a great way to manage stress. Given that stress negatively impacts the immune system, this an additional way exercise can improve immune response. For more information on endorphins, please see the article, Facts about Endorphins: the Happy Hormone on this website.

Adults should be receiving at least 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) of moderate- force aerobic exercise (i.e. walking, jogging, or cycling) or 75 minutes (1 ¼ hours) of high- force aerobic exercise (i.e. running) every week. Also, one should be doing strength training at least twice a week.

For even more immune system benefits, it’s a good idea to perform the exercise outside. Spending time in the outdoors has been shown to buoy up mood, decrease blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and maintain the health of the immune system.

Keep I mind that the sun additionally boosts vitamin D in the body, which plays a key role in immune health as well.

Facts about the Immune System
In order to key microbes at bay, we must keep our defense system in an optimal state.

Consume Alcohol in Moderation – Consuming large quantities of alcohol is linked to a range of negative health effects, together with lowered immune function. When high amounts of alcohol are consumed, the body is preoccupied with trying to detoxify the system to be concerned with normal immune system function.

According to a review published in the journal Alcohol Research in 2015, highly elevated levels of alcohol consumption can weaken the body’s ability to fight infection and slow down recovery time. Consequently, individuals who consume high amounts of alcohol face a greater likelihood of pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, alcoholic liver disease, and certain cancers, according to the review.

It is best to consume alcohol occasionally if at all and limit consumption to one drink (equivalent to a 4-ounce glass of wine) per day if for a woman and two drinks per day for a man, as recommended by the NIH.

Quit Smoking – As with alcohol, cigarette smoking can affect immune health as well. Any toxin can compromise the immune system and cigarettes contain a plethora of toxins.

Especially, the chemicals released by cigarette smoke — carbon monoxide, nicotine, nitrogen oxides, and cadmium — can interfere with the growth and function of immune cells, like cytokines, T cells, and B cells, according to a November 2016 review in Oncotarget.

Cigarette smoking additionally worsens viral and bacterial infections (especially those of the lungs, such as flu, pneumonia, and tuberculosis), post-surgical infections, and rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the joints), according to the CDC.

Please note that in addition to not smoking, it is best to avoid secondhand smoke whenever possible.

Control Chronic Conditions – For individuals with chronic conditions, it is imperative to keep them under control.

Persistent conditions such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes can affect the immune system and increase the risk of infections.

For example, when individuals with type 2 diabetes fail to manage their blood sugar properly, this can generate a chronic, low-grade inflammatory response that weakens the body’s defense system, according to an October 2019 review in Current Diabetes Reviews.

In the same way, individuals with asthma are more at risk to catching — and even dying from — the flu, and frequently encounter worse flu and asthma symptoms as a result of the infection, according to a study published in the July 2017 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

When chronic conditions are managed better, more reserves are free up to help the body fight off infection. Therefore, an individual must be sure to stay on top of any medications, doctor visits, and healthy habits that keep symptoms at bay. It will pay off in the long-run.

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns below.

Good Health!!