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Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
You’ve spent the summer swimming and diving in the pool, but did all that splashing around in chemically treated water harm your eyes? Optometrist Glenda Secor, chairwoman of the American Optometric Association’s contact lens and cornea section, takes a closer look.
People have been in contact with chlorinated water for generations—in fact, the water flowing from the taps in many communities is chlorinated. Yet there has never been documented evidence that continuous exposure to the diluted chemical can cause permanent harm to the eyes, says Dr. Secor.
“The purpose of pool chlorine is to reduce the bug count to what you could withstand without much harm,” says the Huntington, Calif., optometrist. “But there are so many factors affecting the effectiveness of the chlorine—how recently it was added to the water; the volume in proportion to the amount of water; the amount of contaminant in the water; how often the pool is used; [and] how many people are in it at a time.” So assume there’s a high bug count anyway, she says.
In the Short Term
Exposure to chemically treated water of any kind can temporarily affect the eyes, says Dr. Secor, because when the cornea is submerged in water, its protective tear film is washed away. That leaves eyes vulnerable to bacteria lingering in chlorine-treated water, since some contaminants aren’t killed by the trace levels of chlorine often used in pools.
The tear film “is our natural-defense mechanism,” she says. “Tear proteins help reduce infection rates from bugs still floating in the water, and when that is gone, the cornea is vulnerable to anything.”
She notes swimmers can get eye infections from bacteria in chlorinated water. Bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is the most common infection that can spread through pools. “Pool chemicals don’t address everything that lives in the water,” she says.
A typical response to being submerged in chlorinated water is red eyes and irritation, as well as blurriness, resulting from dehydration of the cornea, which may temporarily distort vision. These symptoms can go away in a few minutes, as the tear film returns to normal, Dr. Secor says, though the process may take a few hours for older people. “Lubricating drops are helpful to flush away any residual treated water in the eye and will bulk up the tear film faster,” she says.
Focus on Lenses
Contact-lens wearers face other issues, the least of which is losing a lens. A serious eye infection called acanthamoebic keratitis, caused by a certain genus of amoeba, “has been reported with people who swim with contact lenses, which may absorb water or trap it beneath the lens,” says Dr. Secor. Acanthamoebic keratitis can lead to ulcers on the cornea or even blindness. “I always tell my patients to take their contact lenses out and rinse them, and don’t sleep in them, even if they’re allowed to, if they’ve been swimming in any body of water.”
A pool’s chlorine level dissipates over time—day 1 is stronger than day 7—but there is no way to know how strong the chemicals are, shy of carrying a personal test kit. A tried-and-true preventative measure is to wear well-fitting goggles. “Swimming with goggles will keep the tear film from washing away in the first place,” says Dr. Secor, who lives near a beach but doesn’t swim in the ocean. “But if I did, I’d wear goggles then, too,” she says. Salt water also is “pretty full of contaminants.”From Natural health Alliance
Friday, March 22, 2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
As seen in Whole Health Insider:
Aspirin is one of the most widely used over-the-counter medications, with an estimated 120 billion tablets taken each year.1 Not only can it be an effective remedy for headaches, body aches and fever, but millions of people at high risk of heart attack due to atherosclerosis use daily aspirin therapy as a preventative measure, thanks to aspirin’s anticoagulant properties.
Because it’s so commonly used, many people assume that aspirin is pretty safe. And they’re right—aspirin does have a relatively good safety profile, especially when compared to other drugs on the market that have a myriad of toxic side effects, like statins. But that doesn’t mean aspirin use is completely free of risk.
The side effects most people associate with regular aspirin use include gastrointestinal bleeding, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hemorrhagic stroke caused by a burst blood vessel. And now recent research has uncovered a lesser known, but very eye-opening risk to long-term aspirin use—macular degeneration.
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In a study published in December 2012, researchers followed nearly 5,000 participants (aged 43 to 86 years) for more than 20 years. These participants, part of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, received eye examinations every five years. Results showed 512 cases of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and 117 cases of late AMD over the course of the study.
Additionally, at each exam, participants were asked if they had regularly used aspirin at least twice a week for more than three months. Researchers found that regular aspirin use 10 years prior to eye examination was associated with late AMD, with estimated incidence of 1.76 percent, compared to 1.03 percent in non-aspirin users. Researchers concluded that these associations, though small, were statistically significant.2
Interestingly, regular aspirin use 10 years prior to eye examination was significantly associated with the “wet” form of AMD, which accounts for 10 percent of all AMD cases, but is responsible for the majority of functional blindness attributed to the disease.
An even more recent study published in January 2013 confirmed this aspirin/AMD link. In this study, researchers analyzed data from a 15-year Australian population-based cohort.
At the beginning of the study, 2,389 participants completed a detailed questionnaire that assessed aspirin use, heart disease status and AMD risk factors. In addition, they received four eye examinations during the 15-year study period.
After analyzing data, 63 (out of 257) regular aspirin users developed wet AMD—an astounding 24.5 percent. Even after adjusting for other risk factors like age, sex, smoking, history of heart disease and body mass index, regular aspirin users still had a higher risk of developing wet AMD. Researchers concluded, “Regular aspirin use is associated with increased risk of incident neovascular [wet] AMD, independent of history of cardiovascular disease and smoking.”3
Alternatives to Aspirin
If you’re a regular aspirin user, you should get a thorough eye exam as soon as possible to determine your AMD status. This is extremely important because AMD often doesn’t show any symptoms until well after the condition has taken hold.
Even if your exam determines that your eyes are healthy and free of disease, we recommend discussing the cessation of regular aspirin therapy with your doctor. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural pain-relief and blood-thinning nutrients you can take that will not affect your eyes—or your gastrointestinal tract or ears for that matter.
One effective pain relief solution that you can find in most health food stores is white willow bark. In fact, aspirin was originally derived from the bark of this tree.
Its active ingredient, salicin, has been used for centuries to relieve all sorts of pain, including arthritis and headache pain. In the late 1800s, scientists developed a synthetic form of salicin called salicylic acid, and aspirin was born.
Fortunately, white willow bark suppresses pain without the risks associated with synthetic aspirin. In one study, researchers found that patients who took either 240 mg or 120 mg of salicin experienced significant relief from chronic lower back pain, compared to the placebo group.4
If you use aspirin as a blood thinner to prevent heart attack, you have natural alternatives, as well. Some of those options include nattokinase,5 garlic (in either food or supplement form), ginger (in either food, supplement form or consumed as a tea), fish oil and vitamin E.6
As always, consult your physician before discontinuing the use of prescribed medication—even if the prescribed drug is an over-the-counter one like aspirin. Then express your desire to try a more natural approach to heart attack prevention or pain relief.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Recent studies show that both girls and boys are entering puberty much earlier than before. Boys are reaching puberty up to 2 years early at age 9 or 10. Girls, on the other hand, are reaching physical maturity even much faster, up to 6 years earlier, with physical changes often seen before 8 years old.
This disturbing trend has been linked to exposure to environmental hormones or xenoestrogens in plastics, clouding agents, phthalates and cosmetics. Children are so easily susceptible to exposure because these xenoestrogens are found everywhere. Clouding agents are used in juices, sports drinks and fruit jams, among others. Babies are even more susceptible. For example, babies come in contact with adults wearing cosmetics, which contain lead and other xenoestrogens. These substances are then transferred to babies who have more sensitive systems and are therefore more vulnerable to the effects of xenoestrogens. Not only do these xenoestrogens promote the production of sex hormones that causes early maturity but also causes faster bone growth, both of which are irreversible.
Adults are not safe from the harmful effects of xenoestrogens either. Xenoestrogens also include phytoestrogens and pharmacological estrogens (e.g., synthetic estrogens found in hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills). While supplementing with these estrogens is necessary for those who are deficient, accumulation of excess estrogen is always a risk. Among women, excess estrogen can lead to ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, fibrocystic breasts, etc. Among men, xenoestrogens can lead to reduced sperm count, feminizing qualities, increased testicular and prostate cancer risk and more. In both men and women, xenoestrogens can lead to belly fat, insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk.
Once exposure to xenoestrogens is stoppped, further effects can also be halted. Steps must also be taken to reduce the effects of xenoestrogens already in the body.
Myomin's mechanism against xenoestrogens is two-fold:
H. Rodier, MD from Utah, always recommends Myomin to patients who have been exposed to xenoestrogens. Myomin's effect on estrogen is evident in the following new case reports:
G. Depke, ND from California, has a 52-year-old male patient taking Myomin. He initially had high levels of estrone and estradiol, both potents forms of estrogen. After 4 months on Myomin, both his estrone and estradiol levels reduced to within normal range.
Dr. Depke has another patient, a 47-year-old female, who was taking progesterone and DHEA for adrenal fatigue (progesterone and DHEA can eventually be converted into estrogen). Not surprisingly, her progesterone to estradiol (Pg/E2) ratio was low at 50.29, indicating estrogen dominance. After taking Myomin, her estradiol and progesterone levels reduced. Her Pg/E2 ratio increased to a normal 242.44, signifying that she is no longer estrogen dominant.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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Some new product releases include Minnows Omega-3 mini bursts. Children love the tutti frutti sorbet flavor. This is a great way to get the healthy essential fatty acids into your kids. Healthy fatty acids are important for brain function and hormone communication in between cells. Other systems include immune, cardiovascular musculoskeletal hair and nails.
Another novel new release is their liquid melatonin 10 mg in natural Black Cherry flavor. I find it helpful for my patients that suffer from jet lag to normalize circadian rhythms.
To save 20% on Solgar products click here:
Friday, December 14, 2012
As Read in:Whole Health Insider
By and far, smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer. In fact, up to 90 percent of the lung cancer cases in the U.S. can be attributed to smoking.1
But what about the remaining cases of lung cancer—the ones that affect people who’ve never smoked? What factors influence that cancer development? Furthermore, not all smokers develop lung cancer. About 15 percent are spared this dreaded diagnosis. What is it that protects this extremely high-risk group?
According to recent research, the intake of flavonoids may be the answer.2
What Are Flavonoids?
By now, you’ve probably heard of antioxidants—nutrients that protect the body from molecules called free radicals, which alter the DNA of cells and permanently damage them, potentially leading to disease. Well, flavonoids are a huge group of antioxidant compounds, found primarily in fruits, vegetables and some beverages like tea and wine.
Flavonoids are further broken down into six main subclasses:
As a whole, research has shown that flavonoids can be powerful disease fighters and preventers, thanks to their anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-proliferative properties.3 Some animal studies even indicate that dietary flavonoids exist in lung tissue, possibly playing a role in cancer prevention.4
Taking this into account, researchers in Montreal followed 2,486 male and female participants (1,061 lung cancer patients and 1,425 controls) between the ages of 35 and 75.
Researchers conducted interviews with all the participants to assess lifestyle behaviors (smoking, drinking, diet, etc.) and occupational history. Using a food frequency questionnaire, they also assessed dietary habits of all the participants—two years prior to lung cancer diagnosis in the cases, and two years prior to being interviewed for the controls.
After analyzing the data they collected, researchers found that total flavonoid intake was not associated with lung cancer risk. The results were similar, regardless of sex or smoking level. However, they did link low flavonoid intake from foods, but not from beverages, with a higher risk of lung cancer overall—specifically squamous cell carcinoma.
While the researchers did not find statistically significant evidence of positive flavonoid effect based on how much someone smoked, there were reduced risks in moderate to heavy smokers were seen in those who fell into the middle quartiles for total flavonoids, flavanols and flavonols, as compared to light or nonsmokers.
Overall, the researchers concluded that, although smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer, adding flavonoid-rich foods to your diet can offer an avenue for prevention and protection that otherwise would not be there.
Adding flavonoids to your diet is pretty easy. Simply increase your intake of all sorts of berries and other fruits, vegetables, legumes and dark chocolate (the highest percentage of cocoa with the fewest grams of sugar that you can find).
And even though the study did not find that flavonoid-rich beverages provided lung cancer protection, drinking tea (green in particular) and red wine offers many other health benefits, including significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.5-6 So it definitely doesn’t hurt to drink more green tea and enjoy a small glass of red wine a few nights a week.
If you prefer to take flavonoids in supplement form, there are several options available, including quercetin, citrus bioflavonoids and green tea extract.
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