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General Research

FRUCTOSE: BAD GUY?

Fructose is a type of sugar known as a monosaccharide (single sugar), which is the building block of carbohydrates. All carbohydrates provide four calories per one gram, including fructose.

Fructose is commonly referred to as ‘fruit sugar’ because it primarily occurs naturally in fruits and other plants as sugar cane and vegetables. You can also get fructose from honey, sugar beets and sugar cane.
fructose is 1.2-1.8 times sweeter than the regular table sugar (sucrose). It is actually the sweetest naturally occurring carbohydrate.

During its breaking down process in the body, insulin is not required, and it tends to have a low impact on blood glucose.
It’s process of digestion differs from other types of carbohydrates.

Fructose and glucose are both single sugars and have been found to have the same chemical formula but different structures, making fructose sweeter than glucose.
Fructose occurs in plants and fruits but not alone, it always occurs with other types of sugars.

Where does fructose come from?


“Fruit sugar” as it is sometimes referred to, is a naturally occurring sugar found primarily in fruits (such as apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes), and also can be found occurring in vegetables (such as artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, onions and red peppers), honey, sugar beets and sugar cane. “Pure fructose is produced commercially from corn or sucrose into a crystalline form for use as an ingredient in packaged foods and beverages”.
Although fructose is in high fructose corn syrup (a 55:45 mixture of the monosaccharides fructose and glucose), crystalline fructose should not be confused with high fructose corn syrup.

Is fructose a natural or added sugar?
Fructose can either be a natural sugar or an added sugar, it all lies solely on the source. It is considered a natural sugar when we consume it directly from whole plant foods or fruits, then, it is considered an added sugar when we consume from packaged foods, beverages which high fructose corn syrup has been added to during manufacturing.
While there is really no recommendation for fructose consumption, current dietary guidance recommends limiting the consumption of added sugars to less than 10% of total calories—in other words, i.e < 50 grams of added sugars if you consume 2,000 calories per day.

How is fructose digested?
Fructose has raised so much dust and debates among nutrition scientists because of the unique way the body handles it. It is somewhat digested in a different manner from other sugars, leading scientists to question its role in health. A 2016 review concluded that while fructose does not appear to have a unique impact on health, “fructose-containing sugars can lead to weight gain, increase in cardiometabolic risk factors and disease only if it provides the excess calories.”
No matter the source of the fructose, be it directly from plants or beverages, fructose when consumed is handled by the liver. The liver converts it to energy sources for bodily processes and doesn’t require insulin for this process. Unlike glucose which is released into the tissues by the help of insulin.
Some people have trouble absorbing fructose when eating it in large amounts and some are unable to absorb fructose at all. About one in 20,000–30,000 people are born with HFI each year. Because individuals with HFI (hereditary fructose intolerance) cannot metabolize fructose, foods and beverages containing fructose, sucrose or the sugar alcohol sorbitol must be avoided totally.

Are there health implications of fructose?
The rise in concern of added fructose to carbonated drinks and its direct link with obesity has led to a huge questioning on the impacts of fructose.
Although fructose might not really have adverse impact on blood sugar, it would have very detrimental effects on weight, LDL levels, triglyceride levels if taken in excess as added sugar from beverages and packaged foods.
According to recent research, fructose intake has been linked to uric acid levels, higher risks of gout development in men.
Due to the increase in use of fructose as sweetener, overconsumption is inevitable, thereby leading to detrimental health effects.

Why is fructose added to foods and beverages?
One major reason for adding sugar to packaged foods and beverages is its sweet taste. To sell, you have to make the product appealing to the taste buds yes?
The sweetness of fructose also has a fading ability, meaning that it doesn’t last for a long period after consumption.
Well, this doesn’t stop the fact that it still contains calories like other carbohydrates.
Other reason why fructose is added to beverages includes:
– Its hygroscopic nature which helps it absolve water, thereby improving texture.
– Fructose is also a good humectant; it can help retain moisture which could help improve and extend shelf life.

SUMMARY
Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar found in fruits and plants. It can be beneficial to health if consumed from natural sources than when it is an added sugar. Overconsumption of beverages and carbonated drinks would have very adverse effects on the health than give benefits. Its better to stick to natural sources of fructose.

SOIURCES: https://foodinsight.org/what-is-fructose/
https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/molecule-of-the-week/archive/f/fructose.html
https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-7-82

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LifeStyle

GOUT

OVERVIEW
Ever felt a reddish and tender pain on your big toe or even both?
If yes, then you should go through this article.
Gout is a type of arthritis that forms as a result of formation of crystals in and around the joint.
It is actually the most common type of inflammatory arthritis. It affects one join at a time (especially the joint at the big toe).
Gout is actually an ancient disease; the Egyptians actually noticed it first.
Gout mostly occurs when there are excess amounts of uric acid deposited in the urine and kidneys.
There is no cure for gout, but it can be managed effectively with the right approaches.
It is most common in the big toe, and is also common in the mid foot, ankle, and knee

WHAT SYMPTOMS SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR?
Acute gout flare mostly come as a rapid onset of pain at the site of the affected joint followed by warmth, swelling, reddish discoloration, and marked tenderness.
Sometimes most people, the pain is so intense that even if a paper touches it, you feel so much paper.
Symptoms in the affected joint(s) may include:
• Pain, usually intense
• Swelling
• Redness
• Heat

CAUSES
the accumulation of uric acid known usually as hyperuricemia is the cause of gout. When this happens, uric acid crystals are formed then they build up in joints, fluids and tissues.
What increases your chances for gout?
You’re more likely to develop gout If the following is present:
• Being male
• Being obese
• Having certain health conditions, including:
• Congestive heart failure
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Insulin resistance
• Metabolic syndrome
• Diabetes
• Poor kidney function
• Using certain medications, such as diuretics (water pills).
• Drinking alcohol. The risk of gout is greater as alcohol intake goes up.
• Eating or drinking food and drinks high in fructose (a type of sugar).
• Having a diet high in purines, which the body breaks down into uric acid. Purine-rich foods include red meat, organ meat, and some kinds of seafood, such as anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna.

ARE THERE POSSIBLE TRIGGERS?
Sometimes these crystals might not go into your joint cavities, and sometimes they might. Possible reasons why they would include:
• a knock or injury to the joint
• an illness that may make you feverish
• having an operation
• having an unusually large meal, especially a fatty meal
• drinking too much alcohol
• dehydration
• starting urate lowering therapy, especially at a high dose, or not taking your treatment regularly each day.

ARE THERE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
Oh sure!
With self-management and medications, gout can be effectively treated. You can achieve this If you:
1. Manage the pain of a flare: Treatment for flares consists of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, steroids, and the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine
2. Get physically active: every minute of activity counts. It is at least better than doing nothing. It is recommended that you do at least 15 minutes of physical activities daily.
3. Eat a healthy diet: foods high in purines are most commonly the triggers for gout flares. Avoiding them could totally help to alleviate pains and soreness in gout. Foods that has high levels of purines includes red meat, seafood like shellfish, limit the intake of alcohol or totally give it up.
4. Protect your joints: low impact types of exercises which won’t lead to joint injuries are preferred. Swimming, bicycling and skipping are actually very good options for exercises.

SOURCES: https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/ss/slideshow-gout
https://www.hss.edu/conditions_gout-risk-factors-diagnosis-treatment.asp
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gout/
https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/gout/

 

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General Research

ALLULOSE: ALTERNATE SWEETNER?

OVERVIEW
Allulose is just like the new kid on the block.
Ever looked for healthy alternatives to sugar? Maybe you should give this a try.
Allulose is purported to have similar taste with refined white sugar, but contains minimal amount of calories and carbs when compared to sugar. It also claims to possess some health benefits.
Lets see with this write up the claims of allulose and how safe it is for consumption.

WHAT IS ALLULOSE
Allulose is a monosaccharide as glucose and fructose called D-psicose. It is in contrast to table sugar which has a combination of glucose and fructose.
In fact, fructose has the same chemical structure as allulose but they are arranged differently. This arrangement makes it possible for the body to metabolize allulose in a different manner from fructose.
It’s very rare and can only be found in some foods like figs, raisins, and wheat.
Nutritionally, allulose contains approximately 0.2 kcal/g, which should be about 5% of the calories of sugar. Allulose is absorbed in the small intestine without going through any type of metabolism. So, it goes out through the urine unchanged.
This phenomenon makes it possible for allulose to resist fermentation by the gut bacteria thereby avoiding bloating, and other gas related digestive problems.
There are some health benefits tied to using allulose and they include:

1. IT MIGHT BE USEFUL FOR DIABETICS: due ti its chemical structure, the body tends to metabolise allulose differently thereby leading to an insignificant raise in blood sugar.
According to a recent study, about 7.5g of allulose didn’t impact glucose levels in individuals used for the test.

2. CONTAINS LITTLE AMOUNT OF CALORIES: allulose is a very low calorie containing substance and can be used as sweetener by weight watchers. Allulose contains about 1/10th of sugars calories.

3. IT MAY PROTECT AGAINST FATTY LIVER DISEASE: since allulose is not stored in the body and converted to fat in the liver as fructose, its ability makes it possible for the liver to stay healthy.
Diabetes and insulin insensitivity has been linked to fatty liver diseases recently, with the use of allulose as substitute, the incidence of these might be reduced.
Research also suggests that allulose enhances fat oxidation.
Also, allulose could be used in baking and making of ice-cream as it has similar properties and feels like refined white sugar.

IS ALLULOSE SAFE?
The Food and Drug Administration has added allulose to the list of foods generally recognised as safe (GRAS). It is very rare in markets and not accepted in Europe yet.,
You can get it online but at a very expensive price.

SOURCES:

What is Allulose?


https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/allulose#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5
https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0119p32.shtml#:~:text=Allulose%2C%20a%20monosaccharide%2C%20is%20present,%2C%20beets%2C%20or%20other%20sources.

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Uncategorized

SIGNS YOU’RE LACKING SOME NUTRIENTS

INTRODUCTION 
A day or week off of your healthy routine diet wont be so bad. You get to make unhealthy food choices and all, but, when it becomes a habit, there would be obvious signs to show that some vital vitamins are lacking.
You should really pay attention to eating and living healthy to avoid these signs, but when they occur, then there is always a dietary solution.

HAIR LOSS
Normally, per day, you might lose about 100 strands of hair a day. But if you notice that each time after shower, you lose big chunks of hair, or, after sleep, you notice big chunks of hair on your pillow, then you might just be low on iron. Iron deficiency is about the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. You might need to do a blood test to check your levels. Recommended daily intake from diet per day is is 11.5–13.7 mg/day in children aged 2–11 years, 15.1 mg/day in children and teens aged 12–19 years, and 16.3–18.2 mg/day in men and 12.6–13.5 mg/day in women older than 19. Eat more iron-rich foods, like:
• Lean beef
• Poultry
• Spinach
• Beans
• Cashews

UNEXPLAINED FATIGUE
If you’re easily worn out even when the 3 S’s — sleep, stress, and sickness are not involved, then maybe it’s time to check your vitamin D levels. Your body doesn’t have the ability to make this vitamin, making it unique. The sun is the major source of this vitamin, but some foods can also help increase the availability of the vitamin and keep you from getting easily fatigued. They include:
• Tuna
• Salmon
• Fortified foods like milk, and cereal
Or talk to your doctor about a supplement.

BURNING MOUTH SYNDROME
This condition can make your gums, lips, the inside of your cheek, and roof of your mouth feel like there’s an inferno inside of you. Or your mouth might be dry or numb. One of the things that causes it is a shortage of B vitamins like folate, thiamin, and B6. To boost the B6 in your diet, eat more:
• Beans
• Bananas
• Spinach
• Fortified cereals

DRY SKIN
Is your skin always dry and scaly like a reptile’s? Maybe you are just low on vitamin A. One of vitamin A’s many jobs is to grow and maintain the tissues that cover every surface of your body, inside and out. Apart from your skin, your lips too might also be dry because of low levels of vitamin A. to make up for this, you should take more of these vitamin A food sources:
• Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale
• Orange vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots
• Orange fruits like cantaloupe and apricots

SPOON NAILS
When your body doesn’t have enough iron as it should, it literally show on the strength and shape of your fingernails. They may become soft and bend away from your finger at the edges, creating a spoon-like shape. This could also be a sign of hemochromatosis, a condition that causes your body to absorb too much iron. Infants’ nails may spoon at first, but it goes away as they get older. If this happens to you, see your doctor for a blood test to find the cause.
Foods rich in iron include
– Oyster
– Beef
– Cereals fortified with iron
– Vegetables
– Nuts
– Soy
– Chick pea
– Cashew
– Tuna fish etc.

CRACKS AT THE CORNERS OF YOUR MOUTH
Angular chelitis is the term for breaking or cracks at the corner of the lips. Sometimes, it starts as dry or irritated skin at one or both corners of your mouth and can turn into painful, bleeding sores.. If it doesn’t go away when you use lip balm, it could be a sign that you’re low in iron or B vitamins like riboflavin. Riboflavin-rich foods include:
• Eggs
• Lean meats
• Milk
• Green vegetables like asparagus and broccoli

SWOLLEN TONGUE
Your tongue can get swollen and have a glossy look when there is lack of some B vitamins like folic acid, niacin, riboflavin and B12. riboflavin, and B12. The condition is called glossitis. To get more B12, choose:
• Fish
• Meat
• Milk
• Eggs
• Fortified cereals

APATHY
The B vitamin folate, also called folic acid, helps your body make red blood cells and create the chemicals that regulate sleep patterns and mood. When you don’t get enough, you may feel forgetful, weak, and apathetic (which means you lack energy and enthusiasm). Step up your folate levels with these:
• Fortified cereal
• Chickpeas
• Asparagus
• Spinach
• Okro

BRUISES
The most abundant protein on your skin is collagen. It holds everything together, including your skin cells. If you notice more bruises than usual, you may be low in vitamin C which is a key element in collagen. You’re at of sustaining much bruises on your skin risk if you:
• Have an eating disorder
• Eat little due to illness
• Have a severe digestive condition
• Smoke
Focus on fruits and veggies, especially:
• Bell peppers
• Citrus fruit
• Tomatoes
• Broccoli

CONCLUSION 

The signs that you’re lacking nutrients are very glaring, and when you notice them, it’s adviceable to top your intake of those nutrients from natural food sources or supplements if its adverse.

SOURCES: webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-not-enough-nutrients

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Uncategorized

POSSIBLE REASONS WHY YOU OVEREAT

So many times we tend to eat when we’re not hungry due to emotional related issues.

By doing this, it might lead to dysfunctional hormones and weight gain which gets you sus
1. Stress
After a long day behind the system or a long day in traffic, cortisol levels are raised. Cortisol is a hormone released any time the body is stressed either for a fight or flight situation. When this happens, this hormone makes your body to want to eat more food to refuel the body even when you’re not hungry. If you know stress is always inevitable for you, you should watch and learn how to curtail constant stress.
2. Fatigue
When your activity levels are way above your caloric intake, tiredness sets in and your ghrelin hormone soars (hormone responsible for hunger). Meanwhile, your levels of leptin (a hormone that decreases hunger and the desire to eat) go down. Your body might need food but rest at that period, but these hormones would be sending signals to eat.
3. Nerves
Eating seems like a legit way to keep you distracted when you feel all edgy. But really, emotional eating doesn’t help at all. When this happens, you might just overeat because of its distraction from worry or whatever makes you nervous.
4. Anxiety
Binge eating can be a way to help manage your worries and stress. Sometimes, most people get angry ore worried and the only thing they can turn to is food. While at this, you wont know you’ve even overeaten because your emotions are in control and you’ve chosen food as a safe haven.

5. Peer Pressure
Sometimes when in the company of friends or in a group, its easy to get caught up in the mood and overeat or even over consume alcohol.
6. Alcohol
‘Booze lowers your inhibitions, and that includes good judgment about when and how much to eat’. Boozing also motivates you to eat more unhealthy things like sugary stuff and high fat containing foods. Studies show that drinking affects the part of your brain that monitors self-control, making it much harder to resist a tasty snack.
7. Pictures of Food
What motivates people more to eat is the pictoral presentation of a well garnished meal or snack. Some people just view, and order even when they’re not hungry.
The Cost of Mindless Eating
The cost of not being aware and intentional about your eating habits are weight gain and other chronic diseases. You should always be mindful of emotional eating at all times.
Must you Eat?
Real hunger actually comes slowly and is easy to ignore till later. Emotional eating on the other hand comes quickly and makes you crave specific foods. You may also respond to food availability and eat because the food is there. This opens you up to overfeeding.

How to Stop Mindless Eating
While shopping, keep junk foods out of the house. Make sure you’re always with friends who would encourage you to eat healthy. Create outlets for emotions ; try exercise, reading, taking a walk etc. make sure you’re not stressed.
SOURCE: https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/ss/slideshow-why-eat-when-not-hungry?ecd=wnl_faf_021921&ctr=wnl-faf-021921&mb=LUUQQ%40zicPGFTxGdm%40H60rXlTp2CSLJZzpl6SmvoMRc%3d_leadCTA

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General Research

LIPEDEMA:ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

OVERVIEW
Lipedema affects closely 11% of women globally. It occurs when fat distribution is in an irregular/uneven way beneath your skin, usually in the buttocks and legs. It can eventually cause pain and other problems. Most times, lipedema can be mistaken for regular obesity or lymphedema.
Education/awareness about lipedema is rare in the society today and due to this, there is lack of psychosocial support for women with lipedema, causing them to suffer from psychosocial disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Therefore, proper counseling and treatment of these conditions are important.

SYMPTOMS OF LIPEDEMA
The typical symptoms are a large lower half body size (from waist downwards), which are often tender and bruise easily. For example, the top half of your body may be a size 8, but the bottom half may be double.
As time goes on and the condition seems to progress, there is continuous buildup of fat, and your lower body grows heavier. The lipedemic fat can later collect in the arm.
Over time, excess fat cells block the vessels of your lymphatic system, which normally makes sure there is a balance in body fluid levels and protect against infection. This blockage prevents the proper drainage of lymph fluid, leading to a buildup of fluid called lymphedema (oedema in the lymphatic system).
If not treated, lymphedema can lead to problems such as infections, delayed wound healing, development of scar-like tissue called fibrosis, and hardened skin in the legs.
In comparison to obesity and lymphedema, it targets legs, thighs and sometimes arms and starts in the upper legs. It usually affects both legs.

CAUSES OF LIPEDEMA
The cause is not known, but doctors suspect female hormones play a role and also genes as people involved has a family history of it. This theory is based on the fact that it mostly affects women especially at their stages of menopause.

PATHOPYSIOLOGY
From the onset, swelling in lipedema is a result of both an increase in cell number and size in the adipocyte. Apart from the incidence of enlarged adipocytes, there is thickening of the interstitium with the presence of increased interstitial fluid, and this leads to a blockage causing oedema in the lymphatic vessels. Although interstitial fluid is increased, at least in early stages, the lymphatic system seems to be functioning normally.

LIPEDEMA TREATMENTS
Although managing lipedema fat with lifestyle modifications is almost futile, there is evidence to support the positive effects of exercise, particularly aquatic therapy, and lifestyle change on lymphedema, lymph flow, and overall health.
A treatment called complete decongestive therapy can ease painful symptoms. Complete decongestive therapy involves:
Manual lymphatic drainage: “A form of massage that uses gentle, rhythmic pumping movements to stimulate the flow of lymph around blocked areas to healthy vessels, where it can drain into the venous system. This helps relieve pain and prevent fibrosis”.
Compression: “The use of stretch bandages or custom-fitted panty hose, panties, or spandex shorts to increase tissue pressure in the swollen legs and lessen the odds of fluid building up again”.
Exercise: ” Helps to reduce fluid buildup, boost mobility, and maintain or improve how well your legs work”
Thorough skin and nail care: “Helps lower the risk of wounds and infection if you have lipedema associated with swelling”.
Liposuction: “specifically water-assisted liposuction and tumescent liposuction, can remove the lipedema fat. The procedure uses a hollow tube that is placed under the skin to suction the fat tissue. Several sessions may be needed depending on the amount of abnormal fat”.

MISCONCEPTIONS
One of the most common misconceptions about patients with lipedema is that they have excess fat stored up due to lifestyle or diet induced obesity. Although some patients with lipedema may also have obesity, lipedema should be diagnosed exclusively. Likewise, despite an elevated body mass index, the incidence of diabetes is relatively low among women with lipedema.

CONCLUSION
In a society where body shaming individuals with extra pounds’ flies easily, it’s very important to create awareness about this anomaly and make people understand its implications on individuals.
Sine it is also a condition with so many misconceptions, it should be taught about more in medical schools to avoid unnecessary laboratory tests and consultations.

SOURCES: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2653640/
https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/lipedema-symptoms-treatment-causes

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Diet Therapy of Diseases

NUTRITION IN HEPATITIS

OVERVIEW
Everything you eat and drink has to go through your liver in order to change food substances into stored energy and chemicals which are necessary for life. Your liver makes nutrients available so your body can use them to build cells, give you energy, and maintain normal body functions.

The liver is responsible for:
– removing toxins from drugs and alcohol from the body
– metabolizing fat
– excretion of bilirubin (a product of broken-down red blood cells), cholesterol, hormones, and drugs
– breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
– activation of enzymes, which are specialized proteins essential to body functions
– storage of glycogen (a form of sugar), minerals, and vitamins (A, D, E, and K)
– synthesis of blood proteins, such as albumin
– synthesis of clotting factors

HOW DIET AFFECTS THE LIVER
An unhealthy choice in diet can sometimes give the liver to much work to do thereby leading to a liver failure. If your diet provides too many calories, you will gain weight. Being overweight is linked to the buildup of fat in the liver, called “fatty liver.” Toxins, such as alcohol, damage the liver over time.
One very common liver disease (failure) is hepatitis.
Hepatitis refers to a common inflammation of the kidneys caused mostly by viral infections and other factors as toxins, auto immune diseases and alcohol.
There are different types of hepatitis and are all differentiated by Alphabets A-G.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, approximately 4.4 million Americans are currently living with chronic hepatitis B and C. Many more people don’t even know that they have hepatitis.
There are 5 types of viral infections with 5 distinct types of viruses:

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is caused by an infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). This type of hepatitis is most commonly transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated by feces from a person infected with hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infectious body fluids, such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen, containing the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Injection drug use, having sex with an infected partner, or sharing razors with an infected person increase your risk of getting hepatitis B.
It’s estimated by the CDC that 1.2 million people in the United States and 350 million people worldwide live with this chronic disease.

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C comes from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids, typically through injection drug use and sexual contact. HCV is among the most common bloodborne viral infections in the United States. Approximately 2.7-3.9 million people currently living with a chronic form of this infection.

Hepatitis D
Also called delta hepatitis, hepatitis D is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV). HDV is contracted through direct contact with infected blood. Hepatitis D is a rare form of hepatitis that only occurs in conjunction with hepatitis B infection. The hepatitis D virus can’t multiply without the presence of hepatitis B. It’s very uncommon in the United States.

Hepatitis E
Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV). Hepatitis E is mainly found in areas with poor sanitation and typically results from ingesting fecal matter that contaminates the water supply. This disease is uncommon in the United States. However, cases of hepatitis E have been reported in the Middle East, Asia, Central America, and Africa, according to the CDC .

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS
• fatigue
• flu-like symptoms
• dark urine
• pale stool
• abdominal pain
• loss of appetite
• unexplained weight loss
• yellow skin and eyes, which may be signs of jaundice

DIAGNOSIS OF HEPATITIS
Hepatitis can be diagnosed by liver function test, blood test, ultra sound, liver biopsy. The doctor always checks for risk before deciding what method to adopt in diagnosis.

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR HEPATITIS
All types of hepatitis require either anti-viral vaccination, hydration if there is diarrhea (especially in type A), and nutrition.
Currently, there is no vaccination for Hepatitis C. Those that develop cirrhosis during the course of this would require a liver transplant.
Acute cases like Hepatitis E usually don’t require vaccination or treatment as they go on their own if the individual heeds to lifestyle modification by a professional.

RISK FACTORS
These include contact with an infected person (either living in close contact or sexual contact), poor hygiene, traveling to areas with inadequate sanitation, contaminated food (especially shellfish), and illicit drug use. Also, Patients with underlying liver disease (e.g., autoimmune hepatitis, hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency) are at increased risk of developing symptomatic hepatitis.
Alcohol use, smoking, HIV infection, and fatty liver are risk factors for progression of hepatitis.

NUTRITION AND HEPATITIS
Dietary management in hepatitis involves more of a lifestyle modification and hygienic approach.
Hygiene and sanitation: you should be careful of what you eat as a travller as you can pick up the virus from under cooked and contaminated foods. Make sure you heat food appropriately.

Avoiding contaminated shellfish and game meats.

Avoiding high-iron foods and iron supplements. Hepatitis C progression occurs in patients as a result of accelerated hepatic iron uptake and the oxidative stress caused by iron-catalyzed free radical production. Along with phlebotomy, a low-iron diet helps lower the risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in these patients.

Nutritional supplementation may be required. Treatment with interferon (IFN) has shown to be very effective especially in Hep C patients. Research has it that it could help in weight reduction as it reduces appetite.

A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet may be helpful. Chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection increases the risk for hepatic steatosis. A higher intake of dietary cholesterol contributes to this problem and is associated with the progression of hepatitis C-related liver disease. A dietary regimen that is reduced in fat (23% of calories) and cholesterol (185 mg/d) is adviced to help in the management of this Hepatitis.

Adequate vitamin D status. Vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with chronic liver disease, and these patients may have a reduced ability to convert vitamin D to its active form. An inverse relationship seems to exist between vitamin D concentrations and viral load in patients with CHC. Deficiency significantly lowers the chance for a sustained virological response to pegylated interferon and ribavirin, and vitamin D supplementation improves the probability of response to treatment.

Avoidance of extremes in B12 status. Adequate B12 status helps with clearance of hepatitis C from the circulation of infected patients. However, overly high serum B12 levels may also foster viral replication and are associated with concentrations of hepatitis C RNA levels.

Coffee consumption and chronic hepatitis C. Coffee consumption may be helpful, reducing oxidative DNA damage, increasing death of virus-infected cells, stabilizing chromosomes, and reducing fibrosis.

HOW HEPATITIS C AFFECTS DIET
If you have hepatitis, you usually don’t need a special diet. Just trying to eat healthy, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid alcohol is all that is needed. Its mostly lifestyle modification. Though, in severe cases, there might be nutrient restrictions especially fat restriction.
There are special cases, however, when hepatitis C can affect the diet:
• Patients with cirrhosis
As liver disease progresses, patients may lose their appetite and become so tired they have a hard time eating. They may become very thin and poorly nourished and be less able to fight off disease. They may need to limit salt in their diet to prevent their body from putting fluid into their legs and abdomen.
• Other medical conditions and diet
People who have other medical conditions may need other specific changes in their diet. Conditions that warrant specific dietary restrictions include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, celiac sprue or chronic kidney disease.

EATING TIPS
People with hepatitis C don’t need to follow a special “hepatitis C diet.” The advice that an average, healthy person gets will work just as well for people with hepatitis C, unless those people also have cirrhosis or another condition, such as diabetes, HIV, or kidney disease.
General dietary advice:
• Eat regular, balanced meals
• Maintain healthy calorie intake
• Eat whole-grain cereals, breads, and grains
• Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
• Get adequate protein
• Go easy on fatty, salty, and sugary foods
• Drink enough fluids
• Reach and maintain a healthy weight
Cautions:
• Avoid alcohol
• Be careful with dietary supplements
Herbal products
Just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean it is harmless. Certain herbs, including Kava-Kava and pennyroyal, can cause liver damage.
Endeavour to always talk to your doctor before taking megavitamin therapy, herbal products, or any other dietary supplement. Remember, your first concern should be safety.
SOURCE: https://nutritionguide.pcrm.org/nutritionguide/view/Nutrition_Guide_for_Clinicians/1342052/all/Viral_Hepatitis
https://www.hepatitis.va.gov/hcv/patient/diet/single-page.asp#:~:text=If%20you%20have%20hepatitis%2C%20you,is%20all%20that%20is%20needed.&text=As%20liver%20disease%20progresses%2C%20patients,have%20a%20hard%20time%20eating.

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General Research

COVID-19: THE ROLE OF NUTRIENT SUPPLEMENTATION

OVERVIEW
It’s been established how nutrition plays a vital role in the in supporting and building a healthy immune system.
A new strain of the dreaded COVID-19 is out and so much research is going on about food supplementation and drugs to help in the management of coronavirus.
Apart from protein which helps to rebuild worn out tissues and support immunological functions, there are other micronutrients to consider while preventing against coronavirus.

Let’s take a close look at the possible nutrients which are implicated in immune defense and how to supplement them to avoid deficiencies during this pandemic.
These micronutrients include vitamin C, vitamin D, B complex vitamins, iron, zinc etc.

A little research claims that that people who suffer from infectious diseases will show abnormal low levels of vitamin C; this could result in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility of the immune system being attacked by the viral infection have an impact on vitamin C levels due to enhanced metabolic requirement.

A deficiency in other aforementioned nutrients might lead to high susceptibility of a breakdown in the immune system leading to high vulnerability to the virus and other infections.
As we all know, the virus comes in through the respiratory system and takes it route through the circulatory system to other organs thereby leading to multiple organ failure.

Since the onset of the virus, there has been so much speculations as to the roles of supplementation with various nutrients as mentioned above. Let’s see these speculations and how plausible they are:

Currently there is no robust research to support supplemental therapy for the prevention or treatment of patients with COVID-19. At this point in time, ascorbic acid, zinc, vitamin D, and N-acetylcysteine are noted as biologically plausible for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, however, additional research is needed to look at taking these agents for treatment. Here we take a look at their biologic plausibility, clinical data and potential role.

ZINC
Zinc is known to be important for immune function. It has a role in antibody and white blood cell production and fights infections, while zinc deficiency increases inflammation and decreases the production of antibodies. High-dose zinc has also been found to reduce the duration of symptoms of the common cold. It is not yet clear whether zinc supplementation benefits patients with lower respiratory tract infections such as COVID-19. Because of its role in immune function and potential to decrease coronavirus replication, zinc is currently being investigated for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

VITAMIN D
Vitamin D deficiency is common, with lack of sun exposure, older age, corticosteroid use and darker skin associated with lower concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This deficiency is associated with a higher incidence of acute respiratory infections. It is also hypothesized that there is a link between seasonal influenza and vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation has also been shown to decrease the incidence of acute respiratory infection. While it has yet to be studied for prevention of COVID-19 infection and should not be recommended to patients, some recent articles have recommended taking daily supplements to raise 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations to reduce infection risk.

VITAMIN C
Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is an antioxidant, with a number of studies suggesting that vitamin C supplementation impacts the immune system. Additionally, studies in birds have shown that vitamin C might protect against avian coronavirus infection, with human trials finding that vitamin C may decrease susceptibility to viral respiratory infections and pneumonia. New clinical trials are underway in China and the United States to determine if vitamin C might be used as a treatment for COVID-19.
Very high doses of ascorbic acid are being administered to patients to ascertain the effects of vitamin C in managing COVID-19 affected patients. Doses that are 10 times the normal 65mg-90mg daily.

N-ACETYLCYSTEINE
N-acetylcysteine is converted to glutathione, which is an antioxidant that is depleted due to oxidative stress or systemic inflammation. Administration in vitro and in vivo leads to anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant effects in a number of pulmonary diseases, including viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Because patients with COVID-19 have evidence of systemic inflammation, often have their course complicated by acute respiratory distress syndrome, and may have respiratory mucus buildup limiting adequate airflow, systemic or aerosolized N-acetylcysteine (or both) may be beneficial in this specific patient population.
There does not seem to be a role for N-acetylcysteine supplementation to prevent COVID-19. However, N-acetylcysteine administration may improve outcomes in patients with established COVID-19 and should be studied further.

CONCLUSION
These are still speculations and still ongoing trials. To keep a healthy immune system, your body needs loads of micro and macro nutrients to achieve that. These nutrients mentioned in the post are all embedded in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Endeavor you get optimum nutrition always and swap refined foods for vegetables and fruits.

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Sports

ANABOLIC STEROIDS: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

The tale about steroids is one that is known to all-good or bad? We’ll know from this write up.
From the steroid scandals that plagued major sportsmen both track and field, it’s quite obvious that steroids won’t be earning a reputation quite soon.

It’s true that using certain steroids in small amounts under medical supervision won’t hurt you. However, using large amounts of anabolic steroids for a long period of time can do you real harm.

This write up would help look closely into the usefulness of steroids both legal and illegal.

WHAT ARE ANABOLIC STEROIDS?
Technically called anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs) , steroids are a type of artificial testosterone. They can be taken as a supplement to replace or raise your body’s natural levels of testosterone.

Testosterone is a hormone typically associated with the male body. The average male has about 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) of this hormone in their body.
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for bodily changes in the male body during puberty, making the voice deeper and the body hairier. It also increases sperm production in the testicles.
The female body also produces testosterone. But it’s usually found in smaller amounts, where it’s used to keep bones strong and sexual function healthy.

And having testosterone levels that are higher than normal, such as through use of steroids, can help create proteins that are used to support:
• muscle growth
• hair growth
• sexual functions
• bone density
That’s why steroids are associated with athletes like bodybuilders. It’s thought that the more anabolic steroids you take, the more potential for strength and muscle growth you have. That’s why you may hear these referred to as performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

WHAT ARE ANABOLIC STEROIDS USED FOR?
Steroids aren’t always harmful when used appropriately. They’re used for a variety of both health and athletic purposes, including:
• gaining body mass from more protein production in the body (about 4.5 to 11 lbs)
• lowering your overall body fat percentage
• gaining muscle strength and endurance
• increasing how dense your bones are
• increased red blood cell production
• improve performance in strength-related sports, such as weightlifting
• “stacking” steroids with other substances, such as growth hormones and insulin, for increased muscle mass
• maintaining muscle mass when you have a condition like liver disease or cancer that causes your muscles to waste away

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF ANABOLIC STEROIDS?
In small doses for short amounts of time, when their use is monitored by a doctor, anabolic steroids have lower risk of long-term or harmful side effects.
Your genetic make up can influence how steroids affect you.
There’s also a ratio of androgenic to anabolic components for most steroids:
• anabolic components help grow muscle
• androgenic components affect male sex traits like body hair or sperm production
But using high amounts of steroids, even for a short time, or using them for a long period can lead to numerous side effects, including:
• raising your risk of heart disease and heart attacks
• making you act more aggressively and impulsively
• making you feel worse about your body
• damaging your liver
• causing fat tissue to grow in your breasts (called gynecomastia in men) because of a loss of hormone balance, especially if you stop taking steroids
• reducing how much testosterone your body makes naturally (hypogonadism), as your body gets used to the extra dose from steroids and stops producing as much
• reducing your fertility because of lower sperm production
• causing male-pattern baldness or making it start earlier in life

Side effects for women
Steroid use can have specific side effects in the female body in addition to the others listed above, including:
• deeper voice
• changes in face shape
• facial hair growth
• clitoris growing larger than normal
• period becoming irregular
• shrinking breasts
• infertility

How are anabolic steroids abused?
Many anabolic steroids come in supplement or injection form. These forms usually contain these substances in very high concentrations. Many people who abuse these steroids do so without medical supervision.

The way they’re abused can make them dangerous too:
• cycling: using a large amount of steroids and then stopping for a while before using them again
• stacking: use multiple types of steroids at once, or using different delivery forms (like injections and supplements together)
• pyramiding: starting with small doses and then taking more and more, followed by reducing the amount again
• plateauing: changing to another steroid suddenly to keep the steroid from become ineffective and then switching back
Some people can become used to the feeling of strength or endurance that steroids give them and become dangerously addicted.

ARE THERE SAFE ALTERNATIVES TO ANABOLIC STEROIDS?
There are plenty of safe, natural ways to get the performance, strength, and bulk you’re looking for:
• Eat a healthy, balanced diet high in proteins, fiber, and healthy fats.
• Work closely on different muscle groups. Focus on sets of muscles like biceps, triceps, or quads during a single workout. Alternate between muscles groups for the best long-term results.
• Get on a consistent exercise plan. Use a fitness app or work with a personal trainer to keep yourself on track and accountable whether you’re trying to get fit, compete, or bulk up.
When used in moderation under medical supervision, anabolic steroids aren’t dangerous.
But like any artificial supplement, they can be dangerous or even deadly when misused, whether you use too much or for too long a time.
Talk to a doctor before you add steroids to your workout routine or just because you want increase muscle mass. Steroids get the best results if your dosage is specifically recommended for your body by an expert.
People use performance enhancers to improve their performance during high-intensity physical exercise. A performance enhancer, or ergogenic aid, is anything that gives you a mental or physical edge while exercising or competing.

This can range from caffeine and sports drinks to illegal substances. There are a variety of both safe and harmful ergogenic aids.
Safe ergogenic dietary supplements
Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, “vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other botanicals that are taken by mouth and don’t also contain controlled substances can be labeled “supplements”.
Many of these supplements are marketed to boost athletic performance. However, scientific proof of their effectiveness is sometimes lacking.
There are other ergogenic aids that are generally recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Examples include naturally occurring compounds like: HMB, creatine, chromium, carnitine, CLA.

Hydroxymethylbutyrate (HMB)
HMB is an amino acid found naturally in the body. It’s purported to enhance and strengthen muscle as well as help slow muscle wear and tear during strenuous activities/exercise.
Research hasn’t proven that HMB will enhance athletic performance. When taken at standard doses of about 3 grams, the supplement is generally considered safe. However, in large doses, it can be harmful to the kidneys.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
CLA is a type of fat that athletes take to reduce muscle damage and increase lean body mass after exercise. The supplement is especially popular with bodybuilders, who use it to enhance recovery.
However, CLA can cause side effects, including upset stomach, nausea, and fatigue. It can also impact how well the body uses insulin for energy. CLA can interact negatively with certain medications, like antipsychotics.

Carnitine
Carnitine transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria. This allows them to be burned for energy, which can boost exercise performance. The body’s liver and kidneys naturally produce lysine and methionine, amino acids that break down into carnitine.
Carnitine hasn’t yet been scientifically proven to enhance athletic performance. Even so, many athletes continue to take the supplement. Taking more than 3 grams of carnitine per day can cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, and diarrhea. Carnitine can also interact harmfully with some medications, such as pivampicillin, an antibiotic.

Chromium
Chromium is a trace mineral in the body, but it’s essential to daily body functioning. The mineral is said to increase lean muscle mass, burn fat, and enhance a person’s energy levels. However, chromium hasn’t been proven to enhance athletic performance.
Taking too much chromium can be harmful because it’s associated with damaging DNA and healthy fats.

Creatine
Muscles use creatine to release energy, which enhances lean muscle mass and increases muscle energy. While creatine is a natural substance, it’s also produced in a laboratory and sold as a supplement. Those who take creatine often do so as a means to build muscle mass.
Taking creatine is also not without its side effects. For example, creatine can cause weight gain, muscle cramping, and stomach cramping. Additionally, the liver and kidneys must filter creatine. Taking an excessive amount can put too much workload on these important organs, which could potentially damage them.

HARMFUL OR ILLEGAL ERGOGENIC AIDS
The NCAA and the Olympics commission have banned some substances. This is because they offer an unfair advantage or can cause harm to the athlete.
Examples include androstenedione, stanozolol, axiron, and fortesta, diuretics.

 

THE TAKEAWAY
Steroids, legal or not, are never the best solution for building muscle or getting fit. They can cause many side effects that may threaten any progress you’ve made at all and have long-term health consequences.
It’s best to focus on sustainable, healthy ways to build muscle and stay fit. You’ll also prevent the possible physical and psychological harm of relying on artificial substances to achieve the level of fitness you want in the process.

To achieve optimum performance, focus more on a healthy diet and exercise routine supervised by sports nutritionist and physiotherapist, the high risk of abuse of these steroids come in handy.

 

Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/anabolic-steroids

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LifeStyleUncategorized

THE LINK BETWEEN YOUR GUT AND HORMONES

The talk about gut health and hormones isn’t yet hitting the internet as it should. Rather, everyone is more concerned about their shape and the size of their belly. Your gut and hormones are intrinsically connected and affect your health in ways you can’t imagine.
This write up helps explain the link between your gut and hormones.

What Is The Estrobolome?
The estrobolome is a collection of bacteria in the gut which is capable of metabolising and modulating the body’s circulating estrogen. It is the bacteria in the gut, and the estrobolome, that affects estrogen levels, which in turn can impact weight, libido and mood. The estroblome modulates the enterohepatic circulation of estrogens and affects circulating and excreted estrogen levels.

Hormones And Gut Health: Why should I care about my Gut Health?
Scientific research has demonstrated that gut microbes regulate many aspects of human physiology, including intestinal permeability, the absorption of nutrients from food, and immunity.

Optimising our gut health is key to keeping our hormones in balance. Gut health is so important because the microbiome has many functions as listed below:
• Aids the synthesis and regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters
• Facilitates absorption of macro and micronutrients
• Has an essential role in the immune system
• Contributes to regulation of estrogen levels in the body
Estrogens are primarily made in the ovaries and adrenal glands. There are three different types, which are Estradiol, Estriol, and Estrone. All of which have vital roles in the body. In women, estrogens help regulate body fat, are essential to female reproductive function, cardiovascular health, bone health, and brain function (including memory). In men, estrogens aid in the maturation of sperm and maintenance of libido, oh yes! Male folks has estrogen too.
When the gut microbiome is healthy, the estrobolome is producing optimal levels of an enzyme called betaglucuronidase – there is an imbalance in estrogen when there is too much production of this enzyme.
Betaglucuronidase also has an important role in breaking down complex carbohydrates and the absorption of bilirubin and flavonoids. A healthy, diverse gut microbiome with a rich collection of different bacteria is critical for hormonal balance.
A healthy estrobolome minimises reabsorption of estrogen from the gut allowing safe removal as waste in stool and urine again ensuring hormone balance.
Gut dysbiosis is an imbalance of the gut bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Elevated betaglucuronidase levels are associated with conditions including:
• Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Obesity
• Metabolic syndrome
• Estrogen-related cancers (breast and prostate)
• Endometriosis
• Infertility
• Mood swings (the feel good hormones are produced in the gut, if the gut is not healthy, it sends wrong signals)
• Heart disease
Unfortunately, gut dysbiosis and gut microbiome imbalance are very common and the delicate balance of the microbiome and estrobolome can be affected by many different factors which include genetics, age, weight, diet, alcohol, antibiotics, environmental pollutants and more.

Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
There are many signs of an unhealthy gut, which can often be misdiagnosed as something else.
• Digestive issues (bloating, gas, diarrhoea or constipation)
• Weight changes
• Food sensitivities
• Fatigue
• Skin irritation
• Autoimmune conditions
• Hormonal imbalance

Factors that affect Gut Health And Hormone Balance
To correct hormone imbalance, there are ways to ensure that the gut stays healthy and those ways include:
1. Dietary considerations
“The food we eat not only feeds our cells, but also determines what kind of inner garden we are growing in our guts.” – Dr. Mark Hyman.
Well, the saying “you are what you eat” comes to limelight here. Diet plays a vital role in shaping our gut microbiome. A low GI (glycaemic index) diet which contains a diverse range of fruit, vegetables and fibre, high in phytonutrients – the so-called ‘rainbow plate’ – can encourage microbial diversity.
It is important to go moderate on what is referred to as ‘white carbs’ such as pasta, rice and potatoes which contain resistant starch; a type that promotes healthy gut. Cutting them out totally would mean cutting out the sources of resistant starch.
Bear in mind that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, contain compounds that ease detoxification of estrogen. The supplement DIM (diindolylmethane) contains concentrates of such compounds and can be effective in lowering more toxic estrogen byproducts.
Prebiotics and probiotics should also be considered. Prebiotic foods such as garlic, onion, asparagus and bananas provide the material that gut bacteria like to feed on. Probiotic foods such as kefir, kombucha, kimchi, plain yoghurt and other fermented foods are really useful for introducing beneficial bacterial strains, like lactobacillus, to the gut.
It’s important to note that the supplement calcium D glucarate is a betaglucuronidase inhibitor and allows estrogen to remain conjugated, and therefore safely eliminated by intestinal detoxification.
2. Your environment matters a lot
Phytoestrogens from plants such as soya, tofu and tempeh are consumed as food while others are synthetically manufactured and called Xenoestrogens. These are found in common household products such as fragrances, pesticides and plastics, and can easily be obtained from the environment around us. It is important to find ways of reducing these toxic substances that impact our health and find more environmentally friendly solutions. Xenoestrogens are absorbed by the body and stored in liver and fat cells. They act synergistically with endogenously produced estrogens and influence cell proliferation and disrupt the delicate balance of hormones.
3. Antibiotics
So many people abuse antibiotics, if not prescribed, please desist from using them. The use of antibiotics disrupts the ecology of the gut microbiome, and can cause overgrowth or dysbiosis. A study by the University of Copenhagen found that six months after stopping antibiotics, most healthy people can recover the microbiome composition and function. However, the gut can still lack some of the beneficial bacteria and we then need to reintroduce the good guys!
4. Alcohol
No one really wants to hear that overconsumption of alcohol is detrimental to the health. Our society has made it look like consuming alcohol doesn’t make you vulnerable at all. But alcohol consumption can have a negative impact, not only on the gut microbiome but also on the liver and its ability to detoxify. This contributes to estrogen dominance symptoms and an increased risk of estrogen related cancers. Its festive season and you must unwind with friends and families, so we won’t put a knife to your throat not to take alcohol. 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men( 1 drink equates 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits and liquor). A single large glass of wine can contain up to 3 units of alcohol!
5. Physical activity
Physical activity can never be overemphasised. Exercise is an excellent way to support the detoxification that happens in the liver. Regular, moderate intensity exercise can lower levels of circulating estrogens. It can also reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, which can have a negative impact on our sex hormones. However, we do need to be mindful of individuality as different people have different stress levels/thresholds. Activities that stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system or the body’s ‘rest and digest’ mode, such as yoga, are also very beneficial to hormonal health and keeps the hormones balanced.
Summary
Lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity and stress management all play important roles in helping to balance your estrobolome and also ensuring that we keep our hormones balanced and optimal.

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