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HEALTH BENEFITS OF WHEY PROTEIN

While at the gym last Friday I encountered a young man who had heard plenty about the effect of whey proteins in muscle building. He asked me to affirm and I told him the much I could. It struck me then that plenty people don’t know much about whey and it’s health benefits. Where is whey contained and what does it do for you?. Milk is made of two proteins, casein and whey and right here we are going to focus on whey. Casein would come later. Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or formed as a by-product of cheese making.

Whey protein is considered a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids and is low in lactose content. People commonly use it as a supplement, alongside resistance exercise, to help improve muscle protein synthesis and promote the growth of lean tissue mass.

Whey protein is a mixture of the following:

*Beta-lactoglobulin
*Alpha-lactalbumin
*Bovine serum albumin
*Immunoglobins.

Whey Protein Types:

There are three primary types of whey protein :
Whey protein concentrate (WPC), 
Whey protein isolate (WPI), and 
Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH). 

Whey protein concentrate : WPC contains low levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates (lactose). The percentage of protein in WPC depends on how concentrated it is. Lower end concentrates tend to have 30% protein and higher end up to 90%

Whey protein isolate:  WPIs are further processed to remove all the fat and lactose. WPI is usually at least 90% protein

Whey protein hydrolysate: WPH is considered to be the “predigested” form of whey protein as it has already undergone partial hydrolysis – a process necessary for the body to absorb protein. WPH doesn’t require as much digestion as the other two forms of whey protein. In addition, it is commonly used in medical protein supplements and infant formulas because of it’s improved digestibility and reduced allergen potential.

How is whey protein produced?

When milk is left over and coagulates, it eventually turns into a 5% solution of lactose in water, loaded with minerals. This leftover by-product, called whey, makes up 20% of the protein in milk, the other 80% is called casein (the curds in cottage cheese). The liquid whey is separated from the casein and sent through filters to remove all non-whey ingredients. It is then purified in a process called “ion exchange”.

The final step is removing the water from the whey by turning it into a powder at a drying tower. The protein powder is then ready to be packaged and consumed.

Possible Health Benefits of Whey Protein

There are many benefits associated with the consumption of whey protein, and researchers are constantly finding new possible therapeutic properties. Please Note that many of these potential benefits are based on single studies and more evidence is required before making definitive judgement.

Whey Protein Promotes Muscle Growth

Muscle mass naturally declines with age. This usually leads to fat gain and raises the risk of many chronic diseases associated with obessity including high blood pressure and diabetes. However, this adverse change in body composition can be partly slowed, prevented, or reversed with a combination of proper exercise and adequate diet. Strength training coupled with the consumption of high-protein foods or protein supplements has been shown to be an effective preventive strategy. Particularly effective are high-quality protein sources, such as whey, which is rich in a branched-chain amino acid called leucine which is the most growth-promoting (anabolic) of the amino acids.

For this reason, whey protein is effective for the prevention of age-related muscle loss, as well as for improved strength and a better-looking body. Whey protein has been shown to be slightly better compared to other types of protein, such as casein or soy.

Lowering Cholesterol

According to a study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, “there was a significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol at week 12 in the whey group compared with the casein (group).”

Asthma

Whey protein could improve immune response in children with asthma. A study  published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, found that children with asthma who were supplemented with whey for one month had an improved cytokine response.

Whey Protein May Lower Blood Pressure

Abnormally high blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease and numerous studies have linked the consumption of dairy products with reduced blood pressure. This effect could been attributed to a family of bioactive peptides in milk, so-called “angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors” (ACE-inhibitors). In whey proteins, the ACE-inhibitors are called lactokinins. Several animal studies have demonstrated their beneficial effects on blood pressure.

A limited number of human studies have investigated the effect of whey proteins on blood pressure anyway, and many experts consider the evidence to be inconclusive. One study in overweight individuals showed that whey protein supplementation, 54 g/day for 12 weeks, lowered systolic blood pressure by 4%. Casein  has similar effects .

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Whey Protein May Enhance the Body’s Antioxidant Defenses

Antioxidants are substances that act against oxidation in the body, reducing oxidative stress and cutting the risk of various chronic diseases. One of the most important antioxidants in humans is glutathione.

Unlike most antioxidants we get from the diet, glutathione is produced by the body. In the body, glutathione production depends on the supply of several amino acids, such as cysteine, which is sometimes of limited supply. For this reason, high-cysteine foods, such as whey protein, may boost the body’s natural antioxidant defenses . A number of studies in both humans and rodents have discovered that whey proteins may reduce oxidative stress and increase levels of glutathione 

Whey Protein is Highly Satiating (Filling), Which May Help Reduce Hunger and Aid Weight Loss.

Satiety is a term used to describe the feeling of fullness we experience after eating a meal. It is the opposite of appetite and hunger, and should suppress cravings for food and the desire to eat. Some foods are more satiating than others, an effect which is partly mediated by their macronutrient (protein, carb, fat) composition of which protein is by far the most filling of the three. However, not all proteins have the same effect on satiety. Whey protein appears to be more satiating than other types of protein, such as casein and soy.
These properties make it particularly useful for those who need to eat fewer calories and lose weight.

A study published in the journal Clinical and Investigative Medicine1 found that whey protein may help reduce weight loss among HIV-positive patients.

Recent developments on whey protein:

The beneficial effects of whey on diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors in obese adults
New evidence shores up findings that whey protein, which is found in milk and cheese, could have health benefits for people who are obese and do not yet have diabetes. The study, which appears in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research, examined how different protein sources affect metabolism.
*Whey protein consumption may lead to significant decreases in body weight and body fat and significant increases in lean body mass .

*Research published in the March/April 2014 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that whey protein, either as a supplement combined with resistance exercise or as part of a weight-loss or weight-maintenance diet, may provide men and women benefits related to body composition.

*Researchers from Tel Aviv University have suggested that consuming whey protein before meals may reduce blood sugar spikes. Specifically, they state that a whey protein drink before breakfast can help control erratic glucose levels associated with type 2 diabetes.

Whey Protein Risks?

Generally, most of the complications associated with whey protein intake have to do with digestive issues, such as bloating, headaches, cramps and fatigue. None of these are generally considered life-threatening, more so than annoying complications. Most of the literature has shown that if you’re experiencing any of have these symptoms, they are most likely due to either the lactose (found more in Whey Protein Concentrate) or sweeteners used more so than the whey protein itself. With that said, there are different methods of whey production, such as ion-exchanged that can influence how well your body can utilize the protein, leading to improper digestion of the whey itself.

The biggest fear often expressed about whey protein intake is that too much protein is “bad for the kidneys.” Research though has shown this is not true at all in healthy individuals. For those with known kidney disease, high protein diets can exacerbate pre-existing conditions. Healthy individuals, without any underlying or unknown kidney disease have nothing to worry about with higher intakes of protein. What does occur with higher protein intakes is your body adapts to the increase in protein by increasing glomerular filtration rates (which means more fluid passes by your kidneys and there’s an increase in urine production).

Sources:

https://draxe.com/casein-protein/

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-health-benefits-of-whey-protein/

http://www.builtlean.com/2012/03/16/whey-protein/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263371.php?page=2

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CHALLENGES OF INFANT FORMULA FEEDING

Formula Feeding Challenges

There are some challenges to consider when deciding whether to feed. Okay this is purely to inform and not to castigate or dissuade. So please do read with an open mind.

Lack of antibodies:

None of the antibodies found in breast milk are in manufactured infant formula. The abundant immunoglobulins which are essential for building baby’s immunity are absent in formula. So formula can’t provide a baby with the added protection against infection and illness that breast milk does.

Can’t match the complexity of breast milk:

Manufactured formulas have yet to replicate the complexity of breast milk, which changes as the baby’s needs change.

Planning and organization:

Unlike breast milk — which is always available, unlimited, and served at the right temperature — formula feeding baby requires planning and organization to make sure that you have what you need when you need it. Parents must buy formula and make sure it’s always on hand to avoid late-night runs to the store. Also it’s important to always have the necessary supplies (like bottles and nipples) sterile, easily accessible, and ready to go — otherwis, you will have a very hungry, very fussy baby to answer to. With 8-10 feedings in a 24-hour period, parents can quickly get overwhelmed if they’re not prepared and organized.

Expense: Formula can be costly.

Powdered formula is the least expensive, followed by concentrates, with ready-to-feed being the most expensive. And specialty formulas (such as soy and hypoallergenic) costing more — sometimes far more — than the basic formulas. During the first year of life, the cost of basic formula can run into tens of thousands of Naira.

Possibility of producing gas and constipation:

Formula-fed babies may have more gas and firmer bowel movements than breastfed babies.

How do you make up for this?

Well, if you absolutely have to formula feed, here are some guidelines to making sure your child is getting the most available. Formula feeding poses immune and neurological drawbacks but there are strategies you can take now to improve your formula-fed baby’s health. These factors can have a life-long impact on your child’s overall health.

Consider hydrolyzed milk formula:

The best choice for a first formula may be a hydrolyzed milk formula, especially if any kind of allergies exist in the family. Cow’s milk proteins are large and difficult for young babies to digest, and are highly allergenic. In hydrolyzed formulas, the proteins are broken down into smaller, more tolerable pieces (lysis).
Many of the potential problems with milk intolerance can be avoided by using one of these hypoallergenic formulas from the beginning. Often, small but regular intestinal bleeding occurs in formula-fed infants (or breastfed infants not tolerating cow’s milk proteins in mother’s diet), even when dairy intolerance is not suspected. This common occurrence is usually undetected but can lead to anemia. It may be preventable by simply beginning with hydrolyzed formula for the first months of life, when formula is necessary.

Hydrolyzed formulas do not taste as good to infants who have tasted other formulas. Therefore, it’s sometimes difficult to switch to a hydrolyzed formula once you’ve begun with regular formula.

Some babies still react to the traces of intact proteins in these. There are alternative formulas made with only amino acids (the protein building blocks), but they’re very expensive. These formulas (Neocate AA, Nutramigen AA) are even more hypoallergenic and are good choices for the very allergic, formula-fed baby (although they still contain trace corn proteins).

Some mothers are erroneously told they should feed hydrolyzed or amino acid formula to their infant who is breastfeeding and is intolerant of dietary proteins in mother’s milk. This advice is absolutely wrong. A food-intolerant baby will fare far better on mother’s milk while mother avoids dairy and any other problematic foods in her own diet.

Don’t avoid lactose:

Many are mistaken about lactose tolerance when it comes to babies. Lactose is baby sugar. It’s available only in the milks of mammals to provide for their offspring and it provides valuable immune-protective properties and more importantly energy.

A baby born with the extremely rare defect causing total inability to digest lactose quickly suffers brain damage and would not survive prior the rather recent development of lactose-free infant feeds. It is, however, common for an infant reacting to cow’s milk proteins or recovering from some other intestinal irritation to suffer a temporary reduction in lactase enzyme, needed for lactose digestion. This may cause some babies to test positively for lactose intolerance via laboratory assessments. While these babies may appear to fare slightly better with lactose-free formula, this condition will reverse as soon as a child recovers from illness or is given a feed without cow’s milk proteins or other problematic proteins in it.

Use acidophilus:

Formula-fed infants develop adult-type flora in their intestines. These flora are part of the cause of formula-fed babies’ increased incidence of intestinal illnesses. Providing a daily dose of friendly bacteria (the kind found in yogurt) may help to maintain a gentler flora for baby. Don’t give your young infant yogurt though. Instead, provide a twice-daily dose of a good quality powdered or liquid combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, and some other good bacteria. You can add the powder directly to the formula when preparing it (after warming), or place drops of the liquid directly in baby’s mouth. Store these friendly bacteria, known as probiotics, in the refrigerator.

Formula companies are currently studying the addition of probiotics to store formulas. They have been found to be safe for infants and to possibly reduce colic and diarrhea, although occasional constipation has been reported with probiotic-fortified formulas. Daily use of probiotics may reduce your baby’s potential for developing allergies, as formula-fed babies have a greater risk.

Consider DHA and ARA:

There has been much research lately in regards to certain fatty acids known as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid), important nutrients for brain and vision development. These long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids found in breast milk have traditionally been very low in infant formulas. It is known that babies are able to make their own DHA and ARA, but it has been found that they are unable to create optimal amounts. This discrepancy explains in part the slight neurological and visual deficits linked with formula feeding. Studies show some possible visual and cognitive benefits when these fatty acids are supplemented in formula-fed infants. Several recently released studies and ongoing studies are working to find the optimal levels and forms of these to add to infant formulas.
Study results so far are mixed but mostly positive. Oxidation of these fatty acids during storage may be a problem and may account for some of the mixed results. Some infants experience diarrhea from these formulas. The chemicals used in the extraction process are under scrutiny today. Fresh forms of these fatty acids might be more beneficial to infants. Some consultants are recommending adding these directly to infants’ diets. Cod liver oil is an excellent source of DHA and ARA, as well as EPA, another important fatty acid. An eighth to a quarter teaspoon per day may be appropriate for a small infant. Vegan DHA supplements are available as well.

ARA, DHA and EPA are found only in animal sources.Egg yolk is an excellent source for babies, but it’s not something to give newborns. Some nutrition consultants suggest providing one rinsed yolk plus a teaspoon of cod liver oil daily after 4 months. Since egg white is the part of eggs that can cause allergy, you should avoid using them with infants. Cod liver oil may loosen the stools.

Keep formula in the diet for 18 months :

Studies show that children fare even better when infant formula is continued in the diet for 18 months or more, rather than switching to straight cow’s or goat’s milk, or other drinks at one year. “Follow-on” formulas are just cheaper versions of infant formulas. They contain more calcium only because they have not replaced as many cow’s milk ingredients with the more-balanced nutrients put into infant formulas.

Consider avoiding the vitamin K injection:

Babies are purposely born with low levels of vitamin K, which is meant to increase gradually through feedings of breast milk, which is deliberately “low” in vitamin K. This tightly managed vitamin K level controls the rate of cellular reproduction. When infants are injected with the huge amount of vitamin K routinely given at birth, cellular reproduction may be allowed to get out of hand. Some very slight increase in leukemia cases is associated with these injections, and there are other very rare complications as well.

On the other hand, serious damage from a rare bleeding problem may be prevented by vitamin K injections at birth. A baby born with an undetected liver disorder can suffer damaging or fatal bleeding into the brain, and the clotting action of added vitamin K can reduce this bleeding.

Studies have shown that breastfed babies can be supplemented in smaller oral doses spread out over the first weeks of life and still safely avoid this rare but dangerous bleeding complication. Formulas are already supplemented with much higher levels of vitamin K than are natural or proper. Studies suggest that this gradually supplemented amount of vitamin K is adequate to prevent bleeding problems, negating the need for routine injection at birth in formula-fed babies. All babies need to be watched for signs of liver disorders, including advanced jaundice, or pale colored stools.

Take immuno-protective measures:

Because formula-fed infants miss out on the daily provisions of immunities and chemical defenses from mother’s milk, you should do all you can to assure your baby gets the best possible dose of antibodies from your body before birth. The greatest portion of these immunoglobulins are pumped into the newborn’s body during labor. A child born via scheduled cesarean section misses out on labor and its last-minute provisions unfortunately. Even when a C-section is recommended, natural labor can often be allowed to happen first, giving your baby a big, important immunity boost.

A maternal diet high in antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, and nuts, can provide baby with good stores of antioxidants before birth. These stores can help for a while with some of the oxidizing effects of infant formula. A little liquid vitamin C may be added to formula to provide some extra antioxidant protection to formula-fed babies.

Newborns are more susceptible to illness when not receiving an exclusively breastmilk diet. The first weeks of life are the most dangerous. Simply keeping your baby close to home and screening visitors for any illnesses can help a great deal. Visitors should wear a snug mask if they’ve recovered from a virus less than 3 days prior to their visit.

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Premature Milk:

Mothers of premature babies produce breast milk that is slightly different in composition, at least for the first several weeks, and this difference is designed to meet your baby’s particular needs. The premature milk is higher in protein and minerals, such as salt, and contains different types of fat that she can more easily digest and absorb. The fat in human milk helps to enhance the development of the baby’s brain and neurologic tissues, which is especially important for premature infants. Human milk is easier for her to digest than formula and avoids exposing her immature intestinal lining to the cow’s milk proteins found in premature infant formula. Premature babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop intestinal infections than are babies who are formula-fed. The milk you produce in the first few days contain high concentrations of antibodies to help your baby fight infection. Even if your baby cannot breastfeed yet, expressing breast milk from the beginning will ensure that your milk supply is maintained until your baby is able to nurse.

Where possible please stick to the natural breast milk.. Its benefits far outweigh formula.

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF BREAST MILK

I consider it a single ruthless insult to nature when a healthy, sane, active woman refuses to EXCLUSIVELY breastfeed her baby. It should be in MOTHERHOOD MANUAL 101! I mean, if a woman cannot provide her child with that free, immensely healthy and convenient food then what else would she? We Nutritionist/Dietitians and indeed the whole health community have laid endless emphasis on the irreplaceable qualities of breast milk especially in getting the infant ready for a superb life so it beats me when globalization, over modernization and simple outright laziness prompts a mother to decline this offer. Yes, I am taking it personal and Yes I am infuriated. It Is a spit in the face of my profession and all foods adequate! Now, for sake of emphasis let me broaden your horizon on the benefits of breastmilk.

A number of health organizatons — including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) — recommend breastfeeding as the best choice for babies and for good reason too! Breastfeeding helps defend against infections, prevent allergies, and protect against a number of chronic conditions. It also readies the babys’ brain for life with just the perfect amount of brain building nutrients.
The AAP recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. Beyond that, breastfeeding is encouraged until at least 12 months, and longer if both the mother and baby are willin. Although experts believe breast milk is the best nutritional choice for infants, breastfeeding may not be possible for all women. For many, the decision to breastfeed or formula feed is based on their comfort level, lifestyle, and specific medical situations such as cancer amd HIV.
For mothers who are unable to breastfeed or who decide not to, infant formula is a healthy alternative. Formula provides babies with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
Some mothers worry that if they don’t breastfeed, they won’t bond with their baby. But the truth is, loving mothers will always create a special bond with their children the situation notwithstanding. And feeding — no matter how — is a great time to strengthen that bond.
The decision to breastfeed or formula feed the baby is a personal one. Weighing the pros and cons of each method can help you decide what is best for mother and baby.
We Dietitians always preach formula feeding as a fall back option where breastfeeding is impossible. First let me tell you why this nectar from God is factory fitted and perfect for you and baby.

About Breast feeding:

Nursing can be a wonderful experience for both mother and baby. It provides ideal nourishment and a special bonding experience that many mothers cherish.

Here are some of the many benefits of breastfeeding:

Fighting infections and other conditions:

Breastfed babies have fewer infections and hospitalizations than formula-fed infants. During breastfeeding, antibodies and other germ-fighting factors pass from a mother to her baby and strengthen the immune system. This helps lower a baby’s chances of getting many infections, including:

*Ear infections
*Diarrhea
*Respiratory infections
*Meningitis

Breastfeeding also may protect babies against:

*Allergies
*Asthma
*Diabetes
*Obesity
*Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Breastfeeding is particularly beneficial for premature babies.

Nutrition and Ease of Digestion:

Often called the “perfect food” for a human baby’s digestive system, breast milk’s components — lactose, protein (whey and casein), and fat — are easily digested by a newborn. As a group, breastfed infants have less difficlty with digestion than do formula-fed infants. Breast milk tends to be more easily digested so that breastfed babies have fewer bouts of diarrhea or constipation.
Breast milk also naturally contains many of the vitamins and minerals that a newborns require. One exception is vitamin D — the AAP recommends that all breastfed babies begin receiving vitamin D supplements during the first 2 months and continuing until a baby consumes enough vitamin D-fortified formula or milk (after 1 year of age).

Convenience:

With no last-minute runs to the store for more formula, breast milk is always fresh and available . As an added advantage when women breastfeed, there’s no need to wash bottles and nipples or warm up bottles in the middle of the night.

Smarter babies:

Smarter Fats:

One key ingredient in breastmilk is a brain-boosting fat called DHA (docasahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid. DHA is a vital nutrient for growth, development and maintenance of brain tissue. Autopsy analysis of brain tissue frm breastfed and formula-fed infants show that the brains of breastfed babies have a higher concentration of DHA, and DHA levels are highest in babies who are breastfed the longest. Most Infant formulas do not contain DHA except a few fortified only recently.

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Add More DHA to your Diet

To insure that babies get enough nutrients for their growing brains, it’s important that breastfeeding mothers get enough DHA in their diets. Rich sources of DHA are fish (particularly salmon and tuna). Increasing DHA consumption will benefit the mothers health too. Remember the nutritional rule of F’s: four ounces of fish a day keeps central nervous system degeneration at bay.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is another fat needed for optimal brain development. Breastmilk contains a lot of cholesterol, while infant formulas currently contain none. “Low in cholesterol” may be good news for adult diets, but not for babies–cholesterol provides basic components for manufacturing nerve tissue in the growing brain.

DHA, cholesterol and other breastmilk fats provide the perfect substances for manufacturing myelin, the fatty sheath that surrounds nerve fibers. Myelin acts as insulation, making it possible for nerves to carry information from one part of the brain or body to another. So important are these brain-building fats, that if mother’s diet doesn’t provide enough of them for her milk, the breasts can make them on the spot!!

Smarter Sugars

Lactose is the main sugar in breastmilk. The body breaks it down into two simpler sugars – glucose and galactose. Galactose is a valuable nutrient for brain tissue development and matrurition. Anthropologists have demonstrated that the more intelligent species of mammals have greater amounts of lactose in their milk, and human milk contains one of the highest concentrations of lactose of any mammal milk. Cow milk and some cow milk formulas contain lactose, but not as much as human milk. Soy-based and other lactose-free formulas contain no lactose at all, only table sugar and corn syrup.

Smarter Connections

During the first two years of your baby’s life, the brain grows rapidly, and baby’s everyday experiences shapes brain growth. Brains cells, called neurons, multiply and connect with each other until the brain circuitry resembles miles of tangled electrical wires. Every time a baby interacts with her environment, the brain makes a new connection. Because breastmilk is digested faster, breastfed babies feed more often and therefore probably interact with their caregivers more often. Breastfeeding itself, with its skin-to-skin contact, the variations in milk flow, and the closeness between mother and baby, is usually a more interesting, more interactive experience than bottle-feeding. This is nature’s way of insuring that babies get the stimulation they need for optimal benefits from breastfeeding and brain development.
Some studies suggest that children who were exclusively breastfed have slightly higher IQs than children who were formula fed. I actually NEED this to sink into my reader.

“Skin-to-skin” Contact:

Many nursing mothers really enjoy the experience of bonding so closely with their babies. And the skin-to-skin contact can enhance the emotional connection between mother and infant.

Benefits for Mummy:

The ability to totally nourish a baby can help a new mother feel confident in her ability to care for her baby. Breastfeeding also burns calories and helps shrink the uterus, so nursing mothers may be able to return to their pre-pregnancy shape and weight quicker. Also, studies show that breastfeeding helps lower the risk of breast cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and also may help decrease the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.

Premature Milk:

Mothers of premature babies produce breast milk that is slightly different in composition, at least for the first several weeks, and this difference is designed by nature to meet the baby’s particular needs. The premature milk is higher in protein and minerals, such as salt, and contains different types of fat that she can more easily digest and absorb. The fat in human milk helps to enhance the development of the baby’s brain and neurologic tissues, which is especially important for premature infants. Human milk is easier for her to digest than formula and avoids exposing her immature intestinal lining to the cow’s milk proteins found in premature infant formula. Premature babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop intestinal infections than are babies who are formula-fed. The milk you produce in the first few days contains high concentrations of antibodies to help your baby fight infection. Even if your baby can’t breastfeed yet, expressing breast milk from the beginning will ensure that your milk supply is maintained until your baby is able to nurse.

Easy Acceptance for Local Foods:

Nursing mothers usually need 500 extra calories per day, which means they should eat a wide variety of well-balanced foods. This introduces breastfed babies to different tastes through their mothers’ breast milk, which has different flavors depending on what their mothers have eaten. By tasting the foods of their “culture,” breastfed infants more easily accept solid foods.

Food and Drug Administrations usually regulate formula companies to ensure they provide all the necessary nutrients (including vitamin D) in their formulas. Still, commercial formulas can’t completely match breast milk’s exact composition. Why? Because milk is a living substance made by each mother for her individual infant, a process that can’t be duplicated in a factory.

Free breast milk doesn’t cost a cent, while the cost of formula quickly adds up. And unless you’re pumping breast milk and giving it to your baby, there’s no need for bottles, nipples, and other supplies that can be costly. Since breastfed babies are less likely to be sick, that may mean they make fewer trips to the doctor’s office, so fewer co-pays and less money are paid for prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.

Lawrence RM, Lawrence RA (2009). The breast and physiology of lactation. In RK Creasy et al., eds., Creasy and Resnik’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine, 6th ed., pp. 125-142. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

American Academy of Pediatrics (2011). SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: Expansion of recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics, 128(5): 1030-1039.

American Academy of Pediatrics (2009). Breastfeeding. In RE Kleinman, ed., Pediatric Nutrition Handbook, 6th ed., pp. 29-59. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/breast-bottle-feeding.html

http://www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/What-is-Baby-Friendly/benefits-of-breastfeeding/

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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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