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OMEGA 3 SUPPLEMENTS AND PROSTATE CANCER: WHATS NEW?

The findings of a new review suggest that dietary omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil fight prostate cancer on several levels. Although this is not the first study to show a positive relationship between fish oil and the growth and progression of prostate cancer, it does, according to the authors, “underscore the potential of fish oil in modulating the clinical course of human prostate cancer through the immune system.”
Immunotherapy, or utilization of the immune system to repair, enhance, or stimulate the body’s natural immune responses to fight cancer, is a rapidly growing field of research. In addressing the challenge of prostate cancer, scientists have developed or are developingvarious immunotherapeutic approaches(e.g., Provenge, checkpoint therapies). However, natural substances also may have potential, includingomega-3 fatty acids.

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How can omega-3 fatty acids fight prostate cancer?
In a recentUniversity of California study, a research team explored the idea that a fish oil-based diet would inhibit infiltration of immune system cells called tumor-associated macrophages, which play a significant role in the development of prostate cancer. They tested their hypothesis using mice in whom prostate cancer tumors were grown. Half the mice were fed a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) and the other half were given omega-6 fatty acids (corn oil).
Tumor volumes were significant smaller in the mice fed the fish oil diet. The animals fed fish oil had lower levels of factors associated with cancer growth and progression, including markers for M1 and M2 macrophages, tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6, interleukin-10, and the chemokine CCL-2. When the team conducted in vitro experiments, the findings were similar.
The authors concluded that their findings highlight the “potential of fish oil in modulating the clinical course of human prostate cancer through the immune system.” Although further studies are needed to better identify the role of fish oil in inhibiting factors involved in prostate cancer, now is the time to include more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, given the findings of this study andprevious researchshowing a lower risk of prostate cancer associated with greater intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil.

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Good sources of dietary omega-3 fatty acids include wild salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, and mackerel as well ashigh quality fish oil supplements. It’s important to choose fish and supplements from unpolluted sources. If you don’t regularly eat fish two to three times a week, you should consider an omega-3 supplement, which also should be made from unpolluted sources and be free of unnecessary additives.

Omega 3 rich foods and Supplements; The difference:
The omega-3 fats in fish have been linked to all sorts of health benefits, including protection against prostate cancer. Recently though researchers have found a link between high levels of omega-3 fats in the blood and prostate cancer.
The latest report comes from researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle. Their case-control study compared blood samples from 834 men diagnosed with prostate cancer with samples from 1,393 men who didn’t have the disease. The blood samples had been collected as part of the SELECT trial designed to find out if taking selenium or vitamin E could prevent men from developing prostate cancer. (Selenium had no effect and vitamin E was associated with an increase in risk.)
The researchers tested the samples for their omega-3 content. Men whose blood samples were in the top 25% of omega-3 fat content were 43% more likely to have been diagnosed with prostate cancer than men whose blood samples were in the lowest 25% of omega-3 content. The finding were published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute .
The results didn’t differ much when the three different types of omega-3 fats found in fish and fish oil—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)—were analyzed separately.

In May of this year, Italian researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that omega-3 fatty acid supplements did nothing to reduce heart attacks, strokes, or deaths from heart disease in people with risk factors for heart disease.

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Could it be fish oil and not fish that’s to blame?

Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory effects, and that’s part of the reason they have been seen as dietary good guys and possibly having an anticancer effect. Why they might have a dark side that increases prostate cancer risk is simple enough
One important point to keep in mind, though, is that there may be a difference between eating the main thing and taking fish-oil supplements. Over and over again, nutrition research has shown that diets full of food and drink that supply vitamins, minerals, and healthful fats are correlated with good health, whereas studies of supplements that try to isolate what are believed to be the healthful constituents of the food have consistently been disappointing.

Just to be clear: this latest study correlated blood levels of omega-3 fats to prostate cancer. It wasn’t able to prove that omega-3 fats cause prostate cancer, nor did it go into how those blood levels came about and whether men with high blood levels were big fish eaters, took fish-oil supplements, or both.
One should consider eating fish and other seafood as a healthier strategy as opposed to supplements and isolates. If we could absolutely, positively say that the benefits of eating seafood comes entirely from omega-3 fats, then taking fish oil pills would be an alternative to eating fish. But it’s more than likely that you need the entire orchestra of fish fats, vitamins, minerals, and supporting molecules, rather than the lone notes of EPA and DHA.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may be good for the heart, but you can obtain enough from your diet. Supplements are never better options than a whole meal.
A healthy diet should include at least two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish (such as mackerel). Babies, children and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to have children should have no more than two portions of oily fish a week. Those not in these groups can eat up to four portions a week. This maximum level is recommended to avoid overexposure to marine pollutants.

Sources:

http://m.cancer.org/cancer/news/omega-3-fatty-acids-linked-to-increase-in-prostate-cancer-risk

http://www.harvardprostateknowledge.org/high-intake-of-omega-3-fats-linked-to-increased-prostate-cancer-risk

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25787237

http://www.prostate.net/2016/latest-news-articles/omega-3-fish-oil-helps-fight-prostate-cancer/

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PLACENTOPHAGY: RIGHT OR WRONG?

I have learnt of plenty quasi-medical cures and remedies but this particularly hit me as odd. Personally something didn’t sit right about the idea of munching down on a person’s after birth (termed placentophagy these days). I decided to delve a bit into it and not surprisingly to me, here is what I found.
So, first..
What Does the Placenta Do?

The placenta, or afterbirth, is the first organ that forms — even before any of th baby’s organs — after conception. It plays an important role in pregnancy: It connects mother baby in the uterus and delivers oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to her. It also takes away the waste that she makes.

The placenta grows throughout pregnancy. It is also the only organ the body makes and then gets rid of. After birth, it’s not needed anymore. If the baby arrived through vaginal delivery, it would be pushed out vaginally. If there is a C-section, the doctor will remove the placenta from the uterus. The placenta is a baby’s in-utero power pack, providing the fetus with all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients — not to mention oxygen — to grow from just a few cells to a full-fledged baby. The placenta is also loaded with iron and vitamins B6 and B12, as well as estrogen and progesterone, both important postpartum hormones. Fans of the practice say that eating the placenta can protect against postpartum depression (PPD) — but only if you eat your own (never eat another woman’s since there’s a risk of disease). Proponents also point out that most other mammals routinely eat their placenta!

The truth is there’s not much evidence to say whether the practice benefits humans. A few small studies have connected placenta-eating with increased breast-milk supply and pain relief (the latter only in rats). But no studies have looked at the possible risks, if any, of ingesting human tissue. In the case of some pregnancy conditions — preeclampsia, for example — the placenta may harbor stress proteins. No one really knows what effect, if any, these proteins have if consumed them. The bottom line: Overwhelmingly, mainstream medical experts believe that there’s no proven reason to eat your afterbirth.

What Is Placenta Encapsulation?

Placental encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been steamed, dehydrated, ground, and placed into pills. Traditionally, this is taken by the mother and is believed to impart numerous health benefits. It is frequently taken shortly after giving birth, during a woman’s menstrual period, or during menopause with the belief that it helps counter some of the symptoms of menopause

Placental Encapsulation Safe?

Placental encapsulation appears to carry no inherent risk if ingested solely by the mother. Some mothers have reported experiencing negative symptoms such as dizziness or jitteriness after taking the pills. Again, most of the information regarding this practice is amassed from anecdotes, and not from research. In addition, if taken by other family members or friends, one must be aware of the possibility of passing along blood-borne diseases.
But despite the fact that this piece of tissue comes directly from inside your own body, there could be some real risks to ingesting it. Think about these concerns before you take a bite.

It could be contaminated:

Even before you give birth, the placenta serves as a filter, keeping some dangerous things away from your baby–some of which could still be contained in the placenta. “While the placenta is in-utero, it’s almost like a filter, filtering out things the baby shouldn’t get, including bacteria–and then you’re going to ingest it,” says Titi Otunla, a certified nurse midwife at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in Houston. “It doesn’t sound right.” And let’s face it: Even if you deliver in a germ-conscious hospital, the birth process involves an awful lot of bodily fluids and chances for contamination. “The placenta can become infected, and the vagina isn’t sterile either,” says Marra Francis, M.D., an ob-gyn in Woodlands, Texas, and an author of the Mommy MD Guides. “Women often defecate during labor, and there’s even more bacteria in feces, which can contaminate the placenta during birth. Why would you want to risk introducing these infectious agents back into you?”

It may be hard to keep it “food safe.”

You probably wouldn’t eat a steak that’s been left out on a counter all day, right? Unless you bring a cooler and ice with you when you go into labor, you may not have access to proper refrigeration fast enough to preserve the placenta. “You’ll need to make sure someone comes within an hour or two and takes it home to a freezer or refrigerator,” Otunla says.

You may not even get the benefits you were seeking.

Most moms today don’t take a bite of the raw placenta; it’s often cooked and either dehydrated and ground into a powder that’s placed in pill capsules, or frozen and used in fruit smoothies. But many of these processes, especially cooking, can damage the very nutrients you’re hoping to receive. “You have to cook at sterilization levels, and at that point, you’ve denatured all of the proteins and the hormones that you think are going to help you heal,” Dr. Francis says. “You have to cook at such high levels to kill bacteria that you will kill everything you think is good, too.”

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You may not like the taste.

Placentas are rich in blood, lending it a coppery flavor. Chefs who have cooked it, like Daniel Patterson of Coi and several other San Francisco restaurants, compare it to squab. Others suggest it’s like liver, and a few compare it to chicken. In any case, you may be doing a whole lot of prep for a less-than-stellar eating experience.

Consider :

Any hormones still left in the placenta are destroyed by the digestive system. Oxytocin for example is not bio-available via eating. That’s why it is always given by injection (or occasionally inhalation) to bypass metabolism by the liver. Placenta encapsulation is such a monumental rip-off in my view. Cynical value-adding which costs the mother a lot of money for little or no benefit. To avoid postnatal depression (PND), the mother should be well-nourished (ensuring her iron stores are good), try to give birth in as undisturbed way as possible, have good postnatal support in the home, and be educated about what having a new baby is like. Many mothers put unrealistic pressures on themselves (that is aside from all the pressure from society!). PND is skyrocketing but eating placenta is not the answer. There are foods and supplements which can help tremendously in amelioration of. PND without side effects or health risks. Its always better to be safe than sorry.

Some Sources:

http://placentabenefits.info/articles.asp

bbc.com/news/health-33006384

http://americanpregnancy.org/first-year-of-life/placental-encapsulation/

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-08/no-health-benefits-from-eating-placenta/6530106

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PHYTOTHERAPY AND PROSTATITIS

Prostatitis happens to be one of the most prevalent conditions in urology. It is the most common urologic problem encountered in young men and accounts for a significant portion of men older than 50 years of age. Unfortunately, the etiology, natural history and appropriate therapy for these patients is very unclear and poorly understood. While there is little controversy over the therapy for documented acute or chronic bacterial infections, the large majority of patients fall into the ‘‘nonbacterial’’ or ‘‘prostatodynia’’ group [chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), NIH prostatitis categories IIIa and IIIb]. Patient and physician dissatisfaction with these syndromes is high, making it an area ripe for patient interest in non-traditional and alternative therapies. However, a major criticism of these alternative therapies is the common lack of properly designed scientific clinical trials. In fact, even those therapies considered as ‘‘standard’’ treatment for nonbacterial prostatitis have also not been evaluated in an accepted scientific fashion. For example, antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed therapy for nonbacterial prostatitis/prostatodynia, yet there is not a single prospective randomized placebo controlled trial documenting their effectiveness.

Phytotherapy for prostatitis is a natural treatment that combines two supplements for prostatitis, quercetin and pollen extracts, in specific formulations. Phytotherapy is helpful for men suffering from chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) and other prostate disorders such as enlarged prostate. Pollen and quercetin work well in combination to help restore prostate health. Both supplements are anti-inflammatories that can be helpful in reducing prostate inflammation. In addition, quercetin is a bioflavonoid nutrient that you can find in apples, red grapes, red wine, onions, berries, and tea. It has antioxidant properties and plays a role in inhibiting the production and release of inflammation-causing substances in the body. Pollen extracts have a slightly different mechanism of action from quercetin, and that is why the two work well in combination. Pollen fights inflammation and causes the bladder to contract, making it helpful for relieving urinary symptoms associated with prostatitis. One of the more common pollen extracts, called Graminex, contains pollen from timothy, rye, and corn. It is also commonly referred to as “Cernilton”.

Category I prostatitis (acute bacterial)

The standard evaluation and therapy of category I prostatitis is straightforward and non-controversial. This is a serious bacterial infection with systemic cytokine release that can be fatal if not treated with appropriate antibiotics and supportive measures. Herbal or other alternative approaches to therapy, particularly those that prevent or delay conventional therapy, should be strongly discouraged.

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Category II prostatitis (chronic bacterial)

In patients with documented recurrent bacterial prostatic infection, the mainstay of therapy is long-term antibiotics. Prolonged antibiotic use can create undue discomfort by altering intestinal flora. The use of probiotics, such as active culture yogurt, lactobacilli and other similar preparations, may reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal side effects. Many men with category II prostatitis also have recurrent UTI, and there is considerable interest in phytochemical therapy to prevent and treat cystitis. In current practice, cranberry juice has been used in women with cystitis. The theory is that cranberry juice may reduce Escherichia coli adherence and biofilm load in uroepithelial cells, however, there is a lack of randomized placebo controlled data. On a further note, there is no published data on the efficacy of cranberry juice in prostatic infections, and in fact it is possible that the acidity of the product could actually exacerbate symptoms.
Another well known supplement is zinc. It was one of the earliest factors identified in seminal plasma with an antimicrobial effect. The initial discovery that many men with chronic bacterial prostatitis have low levels of zinc in the semen has led to the longstanding recommendation for zinc supplements in men with all forms of prostatitis. Unfortunately, oral intake of zinc does not appear to raise zinc levels in semen. Furthermore, more recent studies question whether zinc levels are actually abnormal in prostatitis There are no published clinical trials that demonstrate the efficacy of zinc supplements for either treating or preventing prostatitis.
Prostatic drainage or ‘‘massage’’ was the mainstay of therapy for chronic prostatitis long before effective antimicrobials were available. In some patients whose prostates are congested with inflammatory debris, prostatic massage may drain obstructed areas not accessible to antibiotics. With the advent of antibiotics, prostatic massage has fallen out of favor to the point of being considered an ‘‘alternative’’ therapy by many urologists. There is some evidence that at least a subset of patients who do not improve with antibiotics alone get durable sterilization of prostatic secretions and symptom relief with the combination of antibiotics and prostatic massage.

Category III prostatitis (chronic pelvic pain syndrome)

CPPS is by far the most common symptomatic prostatitis syndrome. The etiology and pathophysiology is controversial and in fact the disorder likely represents different underlying etiologies which produce a common symptom complex. In the absence of infection, there is evidence for an inflammatory or autoimmune component to CPPS. Even in the absence of visible WBC (white blood cellsy, EPS (Extracellular polysaccharides) and semen of men with CPPS have elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress. Furthermore, the symptomatic response to antibiotics in CPPS patients may be due to direct anti-inflammatory effects of these drugs rather than their antimicrobial effects. Finally, much of the pain of CPPS is likely related to pelvic muscle spasm, which may be secondary to the infective or inflammatory conditions mentioned above.

Treatment:

Typical therapies include antibiotics, alpha blockers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants and thermal therapy. Scientific proof for the efficacy of these approaches is surprisingly weak. Phytotherapy has been used most commonly in this category of prostatitis and evidence for efficacy is actually more compelling than for other standard therapies.

Phytotherapy in CPP

Cernilton, an extract of bee pollen, has been used in prostatic conditions for its presumed anti-inflammatory and anti-androgenic effects. In a small open label study, 13 of 15 patients reported symptomatic improvement. In a larger more recent open label study, 90 patients received one tablet of Cernilton N tid for 6 months. Patients with ‘‘complicating factors’’ (prostatic calculi, urethral stricture, bladder neck sclerosis) had minimal response with only one of 18 showing improvement. In the ‘‘uncomplicated’’ patients, however, 36% were cured of their symptoms and 42% improved. Symptomatic improvement was associated with improved uroflow parameters, reduced inflammation and a decrease in complement C3/coeruloplasmin in the ejaculate. Side effects in studies of cernilton for BPH and prostatitis have been negligible.
Quercetin is a polyphenolic bioflavonoid commonly found in red wine, green tea and onions. It has documented anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and inhibits inflammatory cytokines implicated in the pathogenesis of CPPS such as IL-8. Finally, quercetin shows in vitro inhibition of androgen independent prostate cancer cell lines.

Several mechanisms may contribute to the beneficial effects of quercetin in CPPS. CPPS is associated with elevated oxidative stress in EPS and semen and patients who improve with quercetin have a reduction in oxidative stress metabolite F2-isoprostane in their EPS.
Furthermore, quercetin therapy reduces inflammation as measured by prostaglandin E2 levels in EPS and increases the levels of prostatic beta-endorphins . Finally, quercetin does have weak antibacterial and antifungal properties which might conceivably play a role in CPPS.

Other alternative therapies

An important concept regarding CPPS is the notion that there are specific anatomic areas that are centers for pain and discomfort. Specific causes could be linked to muscle spasms in the perineum or pelvic floor muscles, anatomic abnormalities such as hip arthritis, trauma, or previous surgery. CPPS may also be secondarily linked to voiding dysfunction, constipation, or unusual sexual activities. More difficult to evaluate are those associated with psychologic issues such as anxiety or stress. Consequently there are numerous physical therapies to address these issues. Examples are yoga, heat therapy, neural modulation, acupuncture, meditation and even self-hypnosis. Although interesting, these have yet to be evidence based.

Conclusions

Prostatitis and in particular CPPS can be frustrating for both patient and physician. For documented bacterial infections, antibiotics are still the therapy of choice, but probiotics are useful in dousing their side effects. In CPPS, there is credible clinical and scientific evidence that phytotherapy with cernilton or quercetin is safe, well tolerated and effective in the majority of patients. Other agents such as saw palmetto, Pygeum, and stinging nettle either have been shown to be ineffective in CPPS or lack credible evidence in this patient population.

References

1. Aziz NH, Farag SE, Mousa LA, Abo-Zaid MA (1998) Comparative antibacterial and antifungal effects of some phenolic compounds. Microbios 93:43–54
2. Buck AC, Rees RW, Ebeling L (1989) Treatment of chronic prostatitis and prostatodynia with pollen extract. Br J Urol 64:496–499
3. Chen C, Gao Z, Liu Y, Shen L (1995) Treatment of chronic prostatitis with laser acupuncture. J Tradit Chin Med 15:38–41
4. Gerber GS, Kuznetsov D, Johnson BC, Burstein JD (2001) Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of saw palmetto in men with lower urinary tract symptoms. Urology 58:960–965

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SOUR-SOP LEAVES: A PLEASANT SURPRISE

The entire tree of the sour sop– leaves, fruit, bark, and root – is valued for its medicinal properties that have been used to treat an incredible number of ailments, maladies, and diseases, ranging from backaches to cancer. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York also confirms that graviola (sour sop), particularly graviola extract, does have beneficial elements including anti-rheumatic, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and emetic. Sour sop leaves happen to be the most beneficial part of the tree. They contain the Acetogenin compounds; bulatacin, squamosin and asimisin. Acetogenins act as anti-feedants which kill insects and pests when consumed in even small amounts. Extensive research has proven that soursop leaves can be used to treat and prevent cancer and other health conditions.

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Nutrient Content:

Both the leaves and the fruit of the soursop tree contain high levels of Vitamins A and B, and C, fiber, iron, potassium,calcium. Soursop leaves also contain gentisic acid, annonacin, annocatalin, and anonol that strengthen the immune system. Sour sop leaves contain calcium, fructose, fat, Vitamins A and B among others, in high quantity which make them very nutritious and a potent medicine and prophylactic (used to prevent diseases). For those suffering from back pain and rheumatism, you can benefit from the use of graviola extract obtained from its leaves, by drinking it hot once a day.

Heart Disease and Nerve Disease Prevention
Because soursop can aid in proper blood circulation, boost metabolism and prevent damage to your nerves, you will have a better functioning heart and your nervous system will also be less likely to get damaged as you grow older if you consume sour sop leaves tea. Although there has not been enough scientific evidence to back up some claims, it’s been widely believed that sour sop leaves can also treat gout by lowering the uric acid in the body. Simply boil 6 – 10 leaves with 2 cups of water and drink one cup twice a day.

Hair and Skin Problems:

Sour sop is good at treating a number of hair problems such as split ends, dandruff, and falling hair, greying, and head lice. To derive these benefits make a tea from the leaves and use it as a hair rinse. The natural ingredients in the leaves, when mashed until soft and applied directly to the affected area, are good at treating eczema as well as skin infections such as acne. It is also effective in treatment of boils and acne. Grind some fresh leaves and rub them on areas of concern and leave for 10 – 15 minutes and rinse. Do this in the morning and at night and see marvelous results within a week.

Treating Blood Disorders:

Because the tree is rich is rich in iron, teas made from soursop fruit and leaves are great for treating anemia and increasing red blood cell count. It is also good for reducing hypertension; and because of its antibacterial properties, it is very effective in curing infections. Placing a whole fresh leaf on a cut, sore, or wound should help healing progress more quickly than when left untreated.

Treating Cancer:

An online article published by Cancer Centers of America discussed a study released in in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, published in 1997, indicated that chemical composites extracted from soursop fruit were more effective at destroying culture breast cancer cells than chemotherapy. Soursop leaves have beenshown to kill cancer cells10,000 times more effectively than other treatments, with the added benefit that it does not harm healthy cells. Soursop has also been found to be very effective in treating the side-effects of chemotherapy. The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry was not alone in its findings. The Health and Sciences Institute has published more than one paper pronouncing that soursop leaves were very effective in killing cancer cells without harming the rest of the body. The National Cancer Institute came to the same conclusion, even the University of Purdue and other universities around the world found similar findings. It can also be used to cure prostate, lung and skin cancers! For this cure, boil 10 leaves of sour sop in 3 cups of water until 1 cup is left let it cool down. Drink this every morning for 3-4 weeks. Goodluck!

Disorders of the Organs:

Sour sop leaf tea can treat gall bladder problems,liver ailments, and it can even lower glucose levels in diabetics by stimulating increased insulin production by aiding the beta cells in the pancreas.

Immune System Booster:

Sour sop tea can be used to perk up and feel better quicker when getting over a cold or flu. It is even suspected to slow the progress of AIDS although this lacks substantial evidence. Sour sop has a lot of excellent properties that are necessary to keep the immune system strong. These properties kill free radicals and ensure your immune system is at optimum health so it can effectively perform its functions such as warding off diseases.

Sleep Aide:

In the Caribbean sour sop tea has been used for centuries as a treatment for insomnia, or one can just put a few fresh leaves into their pillow for that effect.

Painful/ Swollen feet:

To reduce the discomfort brew some sour sop tea and use as a foot soak.

Arthritis :

For an effective treatment for arthritis, mash sour sop leaves until smooth and apply on affected joints thrice a day.

Diabetes:

Sour sop leaves have been found to stabilize blood sugar in its normal range (70-120mg/dL). Just boil 6 leaves in 3 cups of water until one cup is left and let it cool. Drink this twice a day.

Gout:

Arthritis and gout are caused by uric acid accumulation in the tissues of joints which cause them to flare up. Soursop is rich in calcium and phosphorous to help strengthen the bones and prevent bone and joint diseases such as osteoporosis. Take 6-10 sour sop leaves which are old but still green and wash them clean. Boil in 2 cups of water until 1 remains and allow to cool. Take this twice a day (in the morning and evening) for maximum results.

Other Benefits

Sour sop leaves are also effective against viruses, bacteria, parasites and tumors. Their amazing attributes also make them an effective remedy for seizures, as an anti-hypertensive and an antipyretic. These amazing leaves also alleviate inflammations, feet swelling and boosts appetite. It also facilitates recovery from diseases.

Graviola Side Effects:

But like most remedies and treatments, there are also some side effects to using graviola. Medical experts warn pregnant and lactating women against the use of graviola pills, graviola capsules and fruit. The safety of this supplement to babies and fetus has not been determined.

In addition, there are reports that consuming soursop regularly may put a person at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. However, keep in mind that these findings were obtained using cultured neurons and not human test subjects so the data is not completely accurate.

Sources:

http://aleonutrition.com/wonderful-health-benefits-graviola/

https://sites.google.com/site/cancercuredeasilywithsopursop/services

http://www.thehealthcure.org/benefits-of-soursop-leaf/

http://viralcreek.com/soursop-leaves-benefits-cancer/

http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-soursop-leaves-for-skin-hair-and-health/?spa_post=220040

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FRAGRANCES AND THEIR DIRTY LITTLE SECRET

Fragrances – in soap, shampoo, body wash, aftershave, deodorant, moisturizer, scented body spray, basically anything that is used at home to introduce fragrance – come with seriously unpleasant consequences for your health. And although you may think the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, NAFDAC e.t.c) has your back when it comes to disclosing the ingredients in your personal care products, think again. The manufacturers of such products use a huge loophole in the FDA’s federal law that allows them to keep the ingredients (aka, “toxic chemicals”) used in a “fragrance” a secret. Unlike most of the food we eat, there’s no disclosure requirement for chemicals, additives and other toxins that are in common personal-care consumer products. Those unknown ingredients have a secret of their own, and it’s pretty scary.

Fragrances and their dirty secrets

The fragrance industry has about 3,100 stock chemical ingredients in its arsenal. Which ones they use and how much is a deep, dark secret in the highly competitive world of fragrances. But what you don’t know can hurt you.

For example, in laboratory tests conducted in a collaboration between the Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the researchers discovered 38 chemicals not listed on the product labels of 17 popular fragrances, including Old Spice, Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, and Bath & Body Works. Their findings, published in a report entitledNot So Sexy, also noted that 66 percent of the chemicals used by the fragrance industry have not been tested for safety.

According to the report, among the chemicals found that were not listed on the personal care products evaluated were those “associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products.” It goes on to note they also discovered “chemicals with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues.” One category of those hazardous chemicals are phthalates.

What are phthalates and why are they so dangerous?

Phthalates are chemical compounds used to make plastics flexible and as lubricants in personal care products. You won’t see them listed on ingredient panels because the FDA doesn’t require it – but they should because they are dangerous. In fact, they are often referred to as endocrine or hormone disruptors, and they also pose a danger to the immune system as well as other bodily systems.

Among the many phthalates are diethyl phthalate (DEP, prominent in personal care products), monoethyl phthalate (MEP), and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP). An example of how quickly exposure to phthalates can be noted in the body can be seen in aHarvard study. A research team examined the urinary levels of phthalate metabolites in 406 men who were part of an ongoing semen quality study. Men who used aftershave or cologne within 48 hours before urine was collected had higher median levels of monoethyl phthalate (MEP) than men who did not use these products. For each additional type of product containing phthalates the men used, their MEP levels increased 33 percent.

Here’s a few reasons to avoid them:

They damage your sperm and affect fertility.

In astudyof 168 men who were selected from the general population, researchers found that exposure to diethyl phthalate was associated with DNA damage in human sperm. Anotherstudythat involved 379 men who had sought help at an infertility clinic uncovered a similar finding: two phthalates (DEP and DEHP) were associated with DNA damage to sperm.

They ruin testosterone levels.

Testosterone levels have been declining in men over the past few decades, and one thing that may be contributing to this drop is exposure to phthalates. The authors of a recent report in theJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolismlooked at the urinary concentrations of 13 phthalate metabolites and total testosterone levels among men, women, and children. They found that both di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate and dibutyl phthalate were associated withlow T levelsamong men ages 40 to 60 years.

They increase the risk of asthma.

Phthalates and related metabolites have been associated with inflammatory conditions, including the risk of asthma. A number of studies have shown that phthalates can have a direct impact on airway epithelial cells and cause structural changes resulting in chronic asthma. In onerecent review, the authors noted that “phthalates have been recognized as important environmental factors in the pathogenesis of asthma.”

They can cause inflammation and possibly cancer.

When experts reviewed data concerning phthalates in The Comparative Toxicogenomics Database, they found that these chemicals played a role in inflammation “with evidence for pathogenic effects for prostate, uterus, ovary and breast, all sites of common human cancers.” A recent review pointed out that phthalates (DEHP and several others) were associated liver cancer in rodents. The authors noted that phthalates likely have this ability because they generate ROS (reactive oxygen species, associated with cell damage) and cause cell damage that may lead to cancer.

They increase insulin resistance.

We’ve already mentioned that phthalate exposure is associated with low testosterone in men, and low T is also associated with insulin resistance, obesity, and a risk of diabetes. In a group of men who participated in theNational Health and Nutrition Examination Survey(NHANDS) 1999-2002, investigators looked at six phthalate metabolites known or suspected of having a negative impact on male hormones.

In this case, however, the researchers were exploring their effect on waist circumference (obesity) and insulin resistance. They found that four of the phthalates were associated with increased waist circumference and three were linked to insulin resistance. If these findings are verified by further studies, the authors concluded that they “would suggest that exposure to these phthalates may contribute to the population burden of obesity, insulin resistance, and related clinical disorders.”

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How to avoid phthalates.

First of all, it’s virtually impossible to avoid phthalates completely. They’re in so many products you use or are in contact with every day–from your car to items in your home and office–that the best you can do is reduce your exposure as much as possible. Here are a few tips. They may seem like small changes to make, but the evidence is that the cumulative affect of long-term exposure to phthalates is what causes the most health problems.

Choose fragrance-free personal care products and ditch the aftershave.Look for natural, scent-free products or those made from natural plant-based oils. Basically, any personal care products that smell (soaps, shampoo, etc) usually contain phthalates. I use raw coconut oil to shave and moisturize, and a natural coconut based soap. And I never wear aftershave or cologne.

Don’t use plastic wrap;

Avoid foods wrapped in plastic (e.g., meats, dairy, produce) and don’t use plastic wrap at home. That raw chicken wrapped in plastic at the supermarket is just a festering soup of E.coli bacteria and phthalates.

Microwave in glass containers:

Avoid containers that say “microwave safe” unless they are 100% glass. Non-glass containers may also contain phthalates, BPA, and other chemicals that can leech into your food.

Don’t perfume your car:

Those scents they spray in your car when you get it cleaned are just sucking away at your and testosterone as you drive. Same with those scented “hang tags” that attach to your car rear mirror. You don’t need your car smelling like a pine forest at the expense of your manhood. Avoid both of them.

Avoid using plastic sex toys:

Most of them contain phthalates or are made from plastics containing BPA (Bisphenol-A). “Sex toys” aren’t regulated by the FDA, so manufacturers (mostly Chinese) can put anything they want in them. The companies that make them have avoided a bunch of lawsuits surrounding their toxicity by claiming they are “novelty items”, and therefore not subject to any product liability.

Change your plastic shower curtains to cloth:

Plastic shower curtains contain phthalates that can be activated with heat.

Avoid perfumed household products:

Items such as laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaners, air fresheners, and dryer sheets all contain phthalates. Laundry detergent is one of the worst offenders. It’s a toxic mass of chemicals that are absorbed into our bodies when we wear the clothes. Look for non-synthetic fragranced detergents that also don’t contain the toxin 1,4 Dioxane.

Choose organic foods:

This is a no-brainer. Conventionally grown produce is sprayed with pesticides, which contain phthalates. If you eat meat and/or dairy, choose organic products here as well.

Filter your water:

Tap water can contain phthalates from industrial waste. Consider a nanofiltration system, which is an effective way to filter out phthalates from water.

Don’t use processed sexual lubricants like KY Jelly.These products contain chemicals linked to lower sperm counts, cancer, and infertility. Try coconut oil instead. It tastes much better and has many other health benefits aside from being a great sexual lubricant.

Decline in Testosterone!

Male testosterone levels are in a precipitous decline – taking with it our masculinity and the foundations of our manhood.
A 60 year-old man today has less testosterone than a man his same age had 20 years ago. It’s a generational threat and is partly the result of our sedentary lifestyles, environment, diet, nutrition, and the cumulative, lifetime exposure to toxins like phthalates and BPA.

Culled from:

Aftershave and Other Men’s Skincare Products Can Decrease Testosterone and Make You Infertile

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BOOST YOUR HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE

A consistent, planned, and often intense workout routine is a key ingredient for a body that not only looks great but is healthy on the inside as well. However, there’s nothing that says you can’t have a little outside help—but I’m not talking about steroids.

I’m talking about how you can raise your HGH (human growth hormone; aka somatotropin) levels naturally and safely. HGH is manufactured by the pituitary gland and is essential during childhood for growth and for helping maintain tissues and organs throughout your lifespan. However, starting at around age 30, the amount of HGH produced by the pituitary begins to decline.

This period of decline is also known as somatopause. Here’s what begins to happen next as men age:
*HGH levels decline by about 14 percent every decade
*Lean body mass declines by 30 to 50 percent
*Body fat increases about 10 to 50 percent
*Bone density declines around 3 percent per year
*Men experience a reduction in immune function and. disturbed sleep cycles
HOW HGH WORKS
HGH is made from amino acids and secreted by the pituitary gland, the control center for most hormone production that lies at the base of the brain. HGH is released in short bursts every three to five hours and dissipates rapidly—the highest levels occur about an hour after falling asleep. Its peak secretion rate is during puberty, increasing muscle mass and bone density. This happens mainly when HGH stimulates the release of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone that’s the main driver of tissue growth. By itself, growth hormone helps get more protein into your muscles to increase growth and grabs the fat from your reserves and puts it into the bloodstream to be burned for energy. Other benefits include deeper sleep, stronger bones, and increased sex drive.
Around that time men often start to think about how they can boost their HGH levels. The potential benefits are seductive: an increase in muscle growth, reduction in fat storage, enhanced sex drive, improved sleep, and stronger bones. However, there are a few other factors to consider.
HGH is prescribed for children with short stature (e.g., Turner’s syndrome) and for adults who have diagnosed HGH deficiency, short-bowel syndrome, or muscle wasting associated with HIV.
Use of too much HGH can result in serious side effects, including development of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, organ enlargement, muscle weakness, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fluid retention, along with possible increased cancer risk. HGH that is acquired illegally may also be impure or tainted.
Raising HGH naturally
The safe and effective solution is to increase HGH production naturally. A few lifestyle modifications may be all it takes to boost your HGH levels. At the top of the list are exercise and sleep.

Exercise for a natural HGH high:
Use of high-intensity interval training (HIIT; short, intense exercise intervals with short rest periods in between) has been shown to stimulate production of HGH. For example, a recent study in theAmerican Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolismevaluated levels of HGH and other factors after HIIT and moderate-intensity continuous exercise. The authors found that HGH levels were higher immediately after HIIT.
Another exercise approach for boosting HGH is resistance training. Use of weights and other forms of resistance training can hike HGH levels. In a recent issue ofGrowth Hormone & IGF Research, a team of US experts found that heavy resistance exercise raised HGH levels in both men and women. While the increases were greater in women, the men had a more sustained response. In another study, 16 healthy men were evaluated after doing free weight bench press exercises at slow eccentric velocity and fast eccentric velocity. HGH increase was greater after the slow versus the fast velocity.

Sleep is critical for HGH release:

If you want to ensure healthyrelease of HGH, be sure to get 7 to 9 hours of natural (no meds!) uninterrupted sleep on a regular basis. Of course, there are occasions when this sleep cycle might be altered, but be sure to get back on tract ASAP.One way to naturally increase your melatonin production during the night is to sleep in a completely dark room. By this I mean completely dark, as it has been studied that even a single led light in a microvawe oven or similar is able to interfere with the pineal glands ability to produce melatonin troughout the night.

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Amino acids may stimulate HGH secretion. Certain amino acids are known to stimulate the secretion of HGH. Also known as secretagogues, these amino acids include arginine, glutamine,lysine, and ornithine.

In a study from Syracuse University, the author explained that at a dose of 5 to 9 grams of arginine, resting HGH increases. Most studies also have shown thatargininealone can raise resting HGH levels at least 100 percent, compared with an increase of 300 to 500 percent with exercise alone.
In another study, 2 grams of glutamine were given to nine healthy men. Within 90 minutes of ingesting the amino acid, the men showed an elevation in HGH levels.
Some foods kick up HGH production. Foods high in protein can help support and improve HGH production in your body. Although meat and dairy foods typically top the list, plant proteins come without the saturated fat, cholesterol, and harmful additives (e.g., hormones, steroids, and antibiotics) unless you stick with organically produced items. Green peas, lentils and other legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds, along with clean fish (e.g.,mussels,sardines) are healthy choices.
Choline can boost HGH levels. The nutrient cholinein a form known as CDP-choline (found naturally in the body) was shown to boost HGH levels in several studies. In onereport, there was a fourfold increase among healthy elderly adults, while anotherstudyshowed a significant increase in the hormone in healthy males. As a bonus, choline also promote brain cell health.
Although it may be tempting to seek out HGH to get the physique of Thor or fight off aging, you also need to protect your health. Make a few lifestyle modifications and you’ll soon see the changes to your body and your health that you desire.
Foods high in amino acids may also bump up HGH production in your body. Your basic protein-packed meats (such as chicken, beef, pork, and fish) are good places to start, and dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt) can also provide the nutrition you need to encourage HGH secretion. A 2008 study published in theJournal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reported that choline, a neurotransmitter, may boost production of growth hormone, so be sure to add foods that are high in choline, such as eggs and shrimp, to your training table.
Fasting:
Many people in general believe that you have to eat more to grow. However in a study conducted at the University of Virginia, researchers saw that after 24 hours of fasting growth hormone levels increased 2000% from the baseline!
Laughter:
In a study conducted back in 1989 researchers found out that men who had been shown 60 minutes of comedy film received a nice 87% increase in growth hormone levels.

Avoid sugar after workouts. Consuming sugar (especially fructose) within 2 hours post workout will cause your hypothalamus to release somatostatin, which will decrease your production of HGH. Simple sugars that are high-glycemic also spike insulin levels. Not only does this lead to body fat storage, but it severely decreases the release of growth hormone.

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PHYTOTHERAPY: THE SCIENCE OF HEALING IN PLANTS

What is phytotherapy?

Phytotherapy is the use of plants, either in whole food form or in the form of standardized extracts and supplements, for healing purposes. Its roots trace all the way back to the beginnings of time and still stand strong in much of the world today.

It’s not surprising that the study of plants for medicinal purposes led to what we now know as pharmaceuticals. Most of the drugs conventional practitioners prescribe today have roots in the plant world. The difference is that pharmaceutical companies change the chemical structure of the compound not only to specialize and magnify its actions, but also to patent the medication and sell it as their unique product. Since plants found in nature can be used and sold by everyone, phytotherapy is more accessible to the general world. It is also, in most cases, much gentler on our bodies than pharmaceutical medications.

The amazing thing about phytotherapy is that it’s used to prevent health concerns as well as treat them — which is much more in line with a functional approach to healing. Sadly, conventional medicine has moved into the dangerous habit of treating symptoms as they arise instead of looking at an individual’s whole health picture. Phytotherapy uses cell signaling to affect our bodies early on in the processes of disease and imbalance, which is ultimately far less disruptive to the system. For this reason the results often last longer. What’s particularly fascinating is the way phytotherapy works in conjunction with the endocrine system.

Phytotherapy: Familiar with the endocrine system

The endocrine system is basically the command center for your hormones. It consists of numerous small organs scattered throughout the body — such as the pituitary gland, thyroid, adrenal glands and ovaries — as well as diverse tissues such as the gut, breast and skin. These various glands secrete hormones that take action in the brain, liver, heart, bone, skin and blood vessels as well as the reproductive organs — in other words, everywhere.

The word endocrine is used to define a cellular response to a hormone that originates from an endocrine gland located in another part of the body. Basically, hormones are messengers. They carry instructions from the brain and endocrine glands to other parts of the body. Plant molecules can also communicate these messages. In fact, they do so extremely well.

Responses within the cells that originate from the plant world are known as phytocrine. And phytocrines are the bioactive molecules in plants that share features with our own hormones and “connect” with our endocrine system. Phytocrines can be broken down into three broad categories:

Phytohormones structurally resemble the body’s native hormones, and can weakly or temporarily bind to hormone receptors in the body, promoting or countering actions similar to the hormones in your system.
Phytohormonogenicsgently encourage the body’s tissues to generate more of their own native hormones.
Functional mimetics of hormonesmimic hormone functions and can cause the same physiological response of the hormones native to your body.
It’s amazing that plants can interact so intimately with the hormones mad in the body. But as a matter of thought, we evolved alongside the plant world. So it makes sense that the human body is fluent in their language. The other important aspect of phytotherapy is that the cells of the body and the plant molecules can communicate — which separates this kind of therapy from many prescription drugs.

Phytoestrogens — a misleading term

The word phytoestrogen literally means “plant estrogen.” But phytoestrogens are not estrogen. They do not behave the same way as the body’s own estrogens or like estrogen replacement drugs (ERT).

This is something many women — and their healthcare practitioners — are confused about. They worry that taking soy or red clover or other isoflavones will increase estrogen in their bodies, putting those with a personal or family history of breast or other cancers at increased risk.

The National Cancer Institute currently defines the word “phytoestrogen” as an estrogen-like substance found in some plants and plant products. They also state that phytoestrogens may have anticancer effects.

Phytoestrogens are part of the phytohormone class, which means they structurally resemble the body’s native estrogen. Their chemical structure is such that it allows them to weakly bind to an estrogen receptor, potentially blocking excess estrogen, or, when estrogen is low, quieting the system’s need for estrogen. But they are not estrogen.

What’s important?

the phytoestrogens used and recommended today in botanical and nutritional medicine do not increase endogenous estrogen production in the body. And there are no studies confirming that phytoestrogens increase the risk for cancer.

In fact, new research suggests that phytoestrogens commonly used in nutritional and botanical medicine may protect women from breast and other cancers.

Phytoestrogens may also decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, and protect your bones. A 2007 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine confirmed that the phytoestrogen genistein protects against bone loss. All of this while calming the symptoms of menopause! Scientists are discovering more benefits of phytoestrogens every day, and we plan to write more about this in the future, so stay tuned.

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The adaptogenic effect — a more efficient and safe way to restore balance

In communicating with the plant molecules in herbal therapies, the body can oftentimes get what it needs — and only what it needs. Instead of slamming the system with large doses of medication — the cells talk to the plant molecule upstream of the disease process to communicate what and how much they need. We call this an adaptogenic effect, meaning our bodies can respond to and use plant molecules in various ways, depending on how much and in what proportions we have of our own hormones on board and how smoothly we’re regulating and metabolizing them. So there is an astounding back-and-forth dynamic between plant cells and human cells that a man-made substance could never mimic.

Stronger pharmaceutical drugs do their work later, or “downstream” in the physiological process, leaving little to no opportunity for the body to communicate its needs. This can sometimes leave the body with too much or too little of the hormone or medication on board, which can ultimately leave the body more vulnerable.

Think about caring for a house plant. If you had a set amount of water to give your plant every time it needed water, on certain days it would most likely end up with too much or too little. Plants, like our cells, are living things and depending on the air, the sun and the soil they’re growing in, they may need more or less water on any given day. These factors, like our own internal and external environments, are constantly changing. We can grow healthy plants when we water them based on their needs, and they communicate those needs to us by how much water they suck in or let pool above the soil, by the texture and color of their leaves. It’s a give and take process, depending on the plant, as opposed to a standard “prescription.” Phytotherapy works in a similar way with our bodies. Like the plant caretaker, it watches and listens to our cells to gauge what is needed so your body has the right amount of the hormone in need. For example, for some women Estrasorb works wonders, but others react differently. This is where conventional medicine often falls short, because it treats all women with hormonal imbalances relatively similarly. When in reality, we are all different and require different treatment. Phytotherapeutic agents give your body a chance to say something before it is forced to accept — or reject — a treatment.

Phytotherapy and menopause

Here are some of the plants that have been widely used for menopausal symptoms.

Black cohosh(Actaea racemosa)a plant native to Eastern North America, has been used by women all over the world for generations to help with hormonal balance. It is thought to act as a functional mimetic, primarily by binding to opioid receptors in the brain to affect tissues in the body.
Red clover(Trifolium pratense) is rich in phytoestrogens including lignans, coumestans, and isoflavones. As described above, isoflavones can weakly bind to estrogen receptors in the body. This makes red clover a helpful herb for menopausal symptoms.
Chastetree(Vitex agnus-castus)has active molecules that may affect our neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine, which acts in the brain and other parts of the body. Recent studies are showing that properties of this herb may mimic the soothing actions of progesterone.
Passionflower(Passiflora incarnata) has strong Native American roots and contains natural monamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s), which are known to have antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties.
Ashwagandha(Withania somnifera)is an herb with aphrodisiac and mood-stabilizing properties. Recent studies suggest this Ayurvedic herb can act in an adaptogenic fashion when androgen levels are low, activating the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis to increase the production of androgens.
Wild yam(Dioscorea villosa) is native to North America and has been used for both menopause and menstrual-related symptoms. Research suggests that it acts as a functional mimetic of progesterone.
Soy(Glycine max), like red clover and kudzu, is a member of the legume family and contains phytoestrogens. It has been extensively studied and found to be supportive for improved insulin regulation, weight loss, bone health, and nail, skin and hair health. It has also been shown to decrease frequency and severity of menopausal discomforts, particularly vaginal dryness, hot flashes and night sweats.
Even though these remedies have been used around the world for centuries, unfortunately many women remain skeptical.

Herbs and Menopause

There is a lot of negative news about about certain herbs for menopause. One of the biggest complaints is that they don’t work. This argument arises for two different reasons: first, the desire for a one-size-fits-all cure and second, our own impatience. The honest truth is that the-one-size-fits-all cure for menopause simply doesn’t exist. Menopause is highly subjective. While one woman may have hot flashes and insomnia, another may have anxiety and fuzzy thinking or mood swings and night sweats or any combination of these symptoms. And though the root cause of your hot flashes is hormonal imbalance, the specific hormones that are high or low are unique to each woman, and vary over time.

So it stands to reason that what works for one woman may not work for another.In this way, diversity gives you the benefit of trying several plants in small doses, instead of trying one at a time in larger doses. Science also suggests that combination formulas work in an adaptogenic and synergistic way to restore hormonal balance within a range of variable circumstances.

Phytotherapy often requires some time to have an effect than most pharmaceuticals. This is because it is gentler than the drugs manufactured today — and I don’t think this is a bad thing. The more gently our bodies are coaxed from hormonal imbalance to balance, the better. Shock isn’t good for any system.

Returning the power to your hands

Today, scientific advances are providing a much better understanding of why phytotherapy works and the quantity and form of the plants that act most reliably and safely.

What conventional medicine does is takes something that’s oftentimes soft and gentle and makes it into a sledgehammer. Pharmaceutical companies do this because they want to make sure a drug works and they want to make sure it works for the “average” person in their studies. In part this also has to do with creating something foreign enough to the human body that they can “own” the rights to it in order to make money. But it also stems from the very real problem that we all face in medicine. And that is that most practitioners today cannot spend more than five to seven minutes with each of their patients, which makes the one-size-fits-all approach even more appealing.

Here are some guidelines to using herbal medicine that our patients have found helpful along the way:

Know your body. We are all different, and research shows that there is a subset of the population (upwards of 30–40%) who detox at a slower rate than the rest of the population. This group is generally highly sensitive to most therapeutic agents and needs a lighter dosage. If this is something you’ve learned about yourself, honor that and vary your dosages accordingly.
Monitor your progress.Though negative interactions and side effects are relatively sparse with herbal remedies (most of the truly harmful herbs have been eliminated from the herbal pharmacopoeia), we recommend monitoring yourself carefully when trying any new therapy.
Don’t take herbs and drugs in the same sitting. This can change the rate at which a drug is absorbed. In other words, take them at different times of the day, and ask your healthcare practitioner if you need to know what time to take your regular medications. Always be sure to update your healthcare practitioner on what you are taking.
Look for standardized extracts. Although some may argue that using standardized extracts takes away some of the whole-herb qualities and strays from the roots of herbal medicine, we feel that standardized extracts can help decrease some of the unpredictability of using plants for healing. Consult a dietitian or any other professional if need be
In diversity there is strength.Finding a phytotherapeutic remedy that combines a range of plant constituents is oftentimes more effective in quelling symptoms than a single herb.
Have patience.In most cases, using herbal remedies takes time to build up an effect in the body. This is because they do their gentle work at the source of the imbalance and it may take time to heal metabolic pathways that have been off-balance for many years.
A gentler path to health

Phytotherapy is an emerging aspect of nutrition and medicine. Everyday new studies are emerging, suggesting newer effects on health and our bodies. They can help boost digestion, cool an overactive inflammatory response, rebalance hormones, build immunity, facilitate stable blood sugar, improve adrenal reserve, detoxify the liver, slow our heart rates, tone our blood vessels, conserve our bones, soothe our nervous systems, restore a healthy sleep cycle, and live longer happier lives. Drawing on the gentle healing qualities of plants allows us to reconnect and reintegrate ourselves with the natural order of things. Herbs are a century long remedy!

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THE BLACK BEAUTY

There are so many chemicals that are used in nearly all ‘cleansing bars’ sold in stores today. An ancient belief holds it that anything you put on your face you should be able to eat.If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!Whatever soap you use gets absorbed into your bloodstream through your skin. This is why African black soap and other natural soaps are suddenly getting more recognition today.

The same women who make black soap choose to use only black soap on their babies, as its purity makes it gentle and non-drying for babies’ sensitive skin.

African black soap is revered for having skin nourishing benefits due to an abundance of antioxidants. The soap is made from the ashes of plantain skin, cocoa pod and palm leaves, and palm oil from leaves or kernels. Some additional ingredients, depending on the makers of the soap, could behoneyto soften skin andshea butter or cocoa butterfor extramoisturizing properties (some black soap are more potent than others and can be drying).

Some Common Ingredients in Black Soap:

Plantain skins and leaves have a high concentration of iron and vitamins A and E. Vitamin E helps with tissue structure, is healing and helps moisturize the skin improving texture and tone. Vitamin A benefits collagen production. Allantoin in the leaves of plantain stimulates the growth of new skin cells.

Cocoa powder softens and firms the skin and has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to fight against free radicals,repair damaged skin and renew skin cells.

Cocoa butteris a natural fat extracted from the cacao bean. It’s been used for years as a moisturizer. It has vitamins A and E to fight against environmentaldamage and therefore the signs of aging. It helps the skin retain moisture and improves elasticity. Cocoa butter is also said to improve the appearance ofstretch marks. It has also beenused to ease skin conditions like rashes, eczema andpsoriasis.

Shea butter(karite butter) made from the nuts of the karite tree, also has vitamins A and E to strengthen skin and repairs damage. It has been used toheal burns,sores andscars, and to treat psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. It helps promote cell renewal and diminish appearance of wrinkles. It is also good for treatment of acne scars because it is non-comedogenic and has anti-microbial properties.

Palm oilis rich in antioxidants and two forms of vitamin E tocopherol and tocotrienol, which are useful in the treatment of acne and eczema and reduce cell damaged caused by environmental toxins and free radicals.

Palm kernel oil is extracted from the fruit seeds of the African palm tree. It is high in lauric acid giving it anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Coconut oil The fatty acids in coconut oil work to reinforce the skin’s lipid barrier and lockin moisture. Coconut oil is also helpful for repairing skin damage, dry skin and eczema, and toreduce the appearance of wrinkles. Ithas cleansing and antibacterial properties,which makes it useful for removing grime and makeup,and when combined with other ingredients works as a natural deodorant.

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Steps On How To Use Black Soap:

To combat irritation (burning, stinging, redness), take off a small amount of soap (liquid or solid), knead it into a ball and work it into a lather by rubbing it between your fingers. Be gentle if applying directly to the skin, because there may still be particles that can scratch and damage the skin.

To prevent dryness, wash and rinse skin with cool water to help skin retain more moisture and use a lightweight, non-comedogenic (not tending to clog pores) moisturizer after use.

Because raw black soap contains high concentrations of fats, waxes and fat-soluble vitamins, but no lye, beware of high concentrations of chocolate and/or caffeine. Also be cautious of high concentrations of latex from the plantains, palm oil and/or coconut oil.

African black soap is great for oily and acne prone skin. It’s efficient for deep pore cleansing because of its natural exfoliating qualities. For some oily skin types it seems to keep the skin hydrated without increasing oil.

Source:

http://blackdoctor.org/449133/qa-what-are-the-benefits-of-black-soap/2/

http://multiculturalbeauty.about.com/od/Skincare/fl/8-Top-Skin-Care-Benefits-of-African-Black-Soap.htm

http://africaimports.com/black-soap-benefits.asp

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RISE TO THE OCCASION

Erectile dysfunction is a hidden menace to many men today. Many have turned to herbs, supplements and even Viagra on advice of unprofessional individuals and friends. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by improperly treated STD’s, weak pelvic muscles, deficiencies in some nutrients such as vitamin D among others. Some drugs like Viagra could help on the short term but they cause dependence on the long term. Dietary and lifestyle adjustment, appropriate exercise and herbal supplements help better and provide permanent solution to erectile dysfunction.
Let’s see some long term solutions.

Recent Discovery (Vitamin D):

The list of possible causes of erectile dysfunction is long, yet one option is often overlooked, until recently. The results of numerous studies have indicated that vitamin D deficiency is linked to erectile dysfunction. If that’s the case, men who are living with this sexual challenge can take immediate action to help remedy this problem by taking vitamin D supplements. First, however, you should determine your vitamin D status to see if you have a deficiency.

Could vitamin D deficiency be causing your erectile dysfunction?

Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are common around the world.Deficiency of vitamin D(levels of 20 ng/mL or lower) has been reported in more than 80 percent of some adult populations. TheVitamin D Councilrecommends a level of 40 to 80 ng/mL as healthy. If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, you should talk to your doctor about having a blood test to determine your vitamin D levels.

What do studies say about vitamin D deficiency and erectile dysfunction?

In one recent study, the investigators noted that endothelial dysfunction is a major player in erectile dysfunction. This is a condition in which the endothelium (the inner lining of blood vessels) is in a state of imbalance and can result from and/or contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, septic shock, and high cholesterol, or it can result from smoking, exposure to air pollution, and other environmental factors.

Since it’s known that a deficiency of vitamin D promotes endothelial dysfunction, correcting the deficiency could be a positive step toward helping men who have erectile dysfunction (ED). Therefore, a team decided to evaluate the role of vitamin D in 143 men: 50 who had arteriogenic ED, 28 with borderline ED, and 65 with non-arteriogenic ED.

Arteriogenic ED is when the arteries do not supply enough blood to the penis to allow for an erection. This can be caused by various factors, such as narrowing of the arteries, diabetes, or injury to the penile artery.

What about vitamin D deficiency, ED, and diabetes?

We already know that diabetes is a risk factor for ED, since it involves a reduction in endothelial function. A 2016studylooked at the relationship between vitamin D levels, erectile dysfunction, and vascular disease in 2 men with type 2 diabetes. After extensive evaluation, the experts demonstrated a “significant association” between vitamin D deficiency and erectile dysfunction in men with type 2 diabetes, and they believe it may be due to the impact of the deficiency on testosterone levels, endothelial dysfunction, and cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides).

If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, it’s important to ask your doctor for a simple blood test to determine your vitamin D levels. How much vitamin D should you take?That’s a question you should discuss with a knowledgeable health professional who considers your personal needs. Adequatevitamin D supplementationcould be the answer you are looking for.

Flavonoids:

Studies indicate that antioxidant compounds called flavonoids help improve cardiovascular health by increasing blood flow and the concentration of nitric oxide in the blood. Chocolate, particularly the dark variety, is rich in flavonoids. Milk chocolate is lower in flavonoids and contains higher amounts of sugar and fat.

Reach for Watermelon

This favorite picnic fruit may actually improve your sexual function. Research from Texas A&M University found a connection between watermelon and ED. A compound found in the fruit called citrulline helps to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow, much like ED medications do.

What About Herbal Supplements?

Using herbal supplements to treat any condition is controversial, as their efficacy and safety are not always rigorously investigated. There are a few herbs, however, that have shown promise in treating ED. According to the Mayo Clinic, the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) has been shown to improve libido in women and to help with ED in men. L-arginine, an amino acid, may help widen blood vessels to improve blood flow but side effects like nausea and diarrhea are associated with it. Ginseng also has been shown to help improve ED. Always speak with a professional before trying any supplement.

Green Vegetables:

Leafy green vegetables, like bitter leaf, ugu, scent leaf and spinach, may increase circulation because of their high concentration of nitrates. Beet juice has been found to be high in nitrates. Nitrates are vasodilators, which means they open up blood vessels and increase blood flow. The ED drugs used today are based on the relaxing effects of nitrates on the blood vessels that supply the penis.

Note:

Pay attention to your vascular health. High blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides can all damage arteries in the heart (causing heart attack), in the brain (causing stroke), and leading to the penis (causing ED). Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and obessity also contribute. Check with a doctor to find out if your vascular system — and thus your heart, brain, and penis — is in good shape or needs a tune-up through lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medications.

Exercise (kegels):

A strong pelvic floor enhances rigidity during erections and helps keep blood from leaving the penis by pressing on a key vein. A three months of twice-daily sets of Kegel exercises (which strengthen these muscles), combined with biofeedback and adjustment on lifestyle changes — quitting smoking, losing weight, limiting alcohol — works far better than just advice on lifestyle changes. But do not expect to see immediate improvement, these adjustments gently heal you, thereby making it more permanent. Continue for a period of two to three months and you won’t regret it!

Goodluck!!

Sources:

Barassi A et al .Vitamin D and erectile dysfunction.Journal of Sexual Medicine2014 Nov; 11(11): 2709-800

Caretta N et al. Hypovitaminosis D is associated with erectile dysfunction in type 2 diabetes.Endocrine2016 Jan 12 Epub ahead of print

http://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/5-natural-ways-to-overcome-erectile-dysfunction

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ALCOHOL: BAD GUY OR MISUNDERSTOOD?

Alcohol has received a thousand bad raps by nutritionists and dietitians all around the world, and I want  to pile a bit on the rubble.  Alcohol is basically empty calories which the body perceives as “Poison”. Why people even enjoy the bitter stuff beats me. Down to the issue at hand, why is alcohol such a bad guy and what risks does it portend to its ardent users?

Alcohol Packs on Fat:

It’s pretty simple: if you want to lose weight and decrease fat, cut out the alcohol and give your liver a rest. Among the many critical tasks the liver performs, two of them are the metabolism of testosterone and fat. However, when a person drinks it overloads the liver and causes it to metabolize the alcohol as a priority rather than fat. That extra fat just hangs around in the liver and piles on the extra weight. This process is a risk factor for development of liver diseases associated with excess alcohol intake.These include alcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic hepatitis, two conditions characterized by fat deposits in liver cells. Alcoholic cirrhosis, the most advanced type of liver damage associated with alcohol, involves severe scarring and disruption of liver structure and function.

Alcohol Lowers Testosterone Levels:

When you’re partying, your liver is hard at work breaking down the alcohol, and that process interferes with one of the liver’s other jobs: producing testosterone.
In a four-week study, normal, healthy men who consumed 220 grams (7.7 oz) of alcohol daily saw their testosterone levels decline significantly after only five days — and continue to drop throughout the whole period of the study.

Drinking can Contribute to Prostate Cancer:

Alcoholic beverages, especially beer, wine, and bourbon, contain congeners— substances that have estrogen-like properties that can play a role in the development of cancer. (Clear alcoholic beverages have the least amount of congeners; e.g., gin, vodka, white rum, and white wine.) Those estrogen-like traits in your drink can contribute to the development of prostate cancer by damaging genetic information in your cells and causing inflammation, two classic factors involved in the birth of cancer, even if a person just has a few drinks

Alcohol Promotes Conversion of Testosterone to Estrogen:

As one ages, Testosterone levels decline and estrogen levels tend to rise, as do levels of the enzyme (aromatase) that converts T to estrogen. Drinking alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to get rid of excess estrogen, because the liver, which is responsible for eliminating extra estrogen, has to focus on metabolizing the alcohol instead. That leads to an accumulation of extra estrogen, which contributes to extra weight and fat cells as mentioned above. And these fat cells are where aromatase converts testosterone to estrogen.

In case you were wondering what higher estrogen levels mean for men — think, low testosterone, man boobs, increased body fat, an increased risk of prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, heart attack and stroke, as well as a higher risk of bone loss and fracture. That’s just for starters. All stuff you want to avoid as you age.

Drinking Reduces Libido and Sexual Performance:

Excessive drinking is a common cause of erectile dysfunction. As the amount of alcohol in the blood increases, the alcohol decreases the brain’s ability to sense sexual stimulation. As a depressant, alcohol directly affects the penis by interfering with parts of the nervous system that are essential for sexual arousal and orgasm, including respiration, circulation, and sensitivity of nerve endings, according to Health Promotion at Brown University.

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In regard to circulation, alcohol causes the blood vessels to dilate, which influences the way the blood moves in and out of the penis. A good blood flow regulates the relaxation and contraction of the penis, so it can get and maintain an erection.

Alcohol is just wasted calories:

Alcohol contains virtually no nutritional value, and drinking can contribute to malnutrition because some people get a large percentage of their daily calories from alcohol (and sodas) rather than food. So the message is “don’t drink your calories” — get them from nutritious, plant-based organic sources — not beer and wine.

Alcohol and the Nervous System:

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol doesn’t actually kill your brain cells, says David Sack, M.D., CEO of addiction-treatment company Elements Behavioral Health. “But hooch does alter levels of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that control your mood, perception, and behavior”, he says.
Alcohol impairs brain areas such as the cerebellum—the control site for your balance and coordination—and your cerebral cortex, which is responsible for thinking, memory, and learning, says Kimberly S. Walitzer, Ph.D., deputy director of the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions.

Plus, University of Michigan researchers found the amygdala—an area of the brain involved in fear and anger—showed less of a reaction to threatening faces after a single drink, potentially explaining why you’re prone to risky behavior (like fighting a bouncer) under the influence.

Effect of Alcohol on the Muscles:

Alcohol tinkers with hormonal and inflammatory responses to exercise, making it more difficult for the body to repair damaged proteins and build new ones (essential steps in getting ripped), according to a recent review in the journal Sports Medicine.

You’ll compound this effect if you reach for a beer before a recovery snack or shake, says study author Matthew Barnes, Ph.D., of Massey University in New Zealand.

So take the time to get some protein, carbohydrates, and non-boozy fluids into your system post-workout before cracking open your first cold one.

Some Sources:

http://www.menshealth.com/health/your-body-on-booze

https://www.everydaymale.com/30-day-alcohol-fast-increased-testosterone/

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