Sunday, September 20, 2020

Vision and Herbs

There are eye diseases that can lead to blindness, and very little is considered in preventing these problems.  Stresses of environmental chemicals, cigarette smoke and radiation, hormonal levels, and even emotional stress can affect eye inflammation and cell death,  These stressors cause the production of a reactive oxygen species that can not only damage the retina, cornea, and other structures of the eye, but can also damage kidneys, peripheral nerves, joints, heart, and other organs.


There are six safe herbs, considered “super herbs,” that may help stop this type of damage.  Many supplements for vision or ocular support contain these herbs.  They work to protect eyes as well as other organs and body parts


·         Curcumin – stable in stomach acid, helps control some enzymes that cause inflammation

·         Saffron – a kitchen spice that can block enzymes that cause cell damage

·         Lutein and Zeaxanthin – plant based antioxidants for the eye, in yellow-colored fruits and green leafy vegetables

·         Quercetin – a flavonoid found in vegetables, berries, and tea that acts as an antioxidant

·         Resveratrol – helps to prevent formation of reactive oxygen species,improves heart health and slows diabetes

·         Danshen – Chinese herb containing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory micronutrients that can significantly improve eye health


Friday, August 7, 2020

Danger: Unattended Children/Pets Left in Cars

 Children are less able to regulate their body temperature, and extremes will adversely affect them, whether they  result from natural or manmade causes. According to national data, heatstroke deaths are the leading cause of noncrash related auto fatalities for children ages 14 and younger, more than half under 2 years old.  The body of a child heats up faster than that of an adult and most of these deaths occur in the summer.  Even if the outside temperature is 72 degrees, in less than 30 minutes the interior of a car will have reached a deadly temperature.  It does not matter whether the windows are open or closed.  Symptoms of heatstroke require immediate attention and include shock, collapse, a temperature of over 104 degrees, fainting, seizures and inability to walk.  

 Children and pets left in cars can die of heatstroke in minutes.  However, in this country, hundreds of pets also die after being left in hot cars.  The American Veterinary Medicine Association reminds us that before a pet is put in a vehicle, ask if you really need to take the pet with you.  If the answer is no, leave the pet safely at home.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Insect Repellents

People should use insect repellents to protect themselves and their children while outdoors. The ideal repellent should be efficient against a large number of arthropods (insects), have long duration of effect, be nonirritating and nontoxic, acceptable cosmetically, cost effective, chemically stable, and should not damage or stain clothing.  Problem insects and results of stings and exposures to them vary widely across the United States.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends products should be applied to clothing and exposed skin only. To minimize inhalant exposure, spray formulations should be applied outdoors.  When children return indoors, their skin should be washed with soap and water and their clothing should be laundered before wearing again.  READ LABELS CAREFULLY  BEFORE USING ANY PRODUCT.  AAP product recommendations are below.

·         DEET - most widely used and data on safety and efficacy.  Effective against ticks, fleas, chiggers, mosquitoes, gnats, and some flies. Products containing no more than 30% DEET are recommended for children. Can damage clothing and plastics in high concentrations.

·         IR3535 - 7.5% not effective against mosquitoes. Many products also contain sunscreen that decreases the efficiency of the sunscreen.  Avoid products that contain both.

·         Picaridin - products containing no more than 10% picaridin for children.

·         Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus – not recommended for use in children under 3 years old.

·         Catmint, essential/botanical oils, and Citronella - inferior to DEET, picaridin or IR3535, data for use in children is limited.  Good safety profile, varying evidence of efficacy, last only for short periods. Higher concentrations can cause skin irritation.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Vitamin D Supplementation

Vitamin D is very important to human health.  It plays a crucial role in disease prevention and maintaining optimal health. It also has a role in calcium homeostasis and metabolism.  Vitamin D first became famous when it was realized that it would prevent rickets in children and since 1933 has been added to milk in this country.  Rickets is still a problem in many countries because breast milk is low in vitamin D, and exposure to the sun may be limited by social customs and climatic conditions.  Low vitamin D levels are a worldwide problem in the elderly and common in children and some adults.

Supplementation of vitamin D is controversial, and some estimates place levels of insufficient vitamin D in up to 85 percent of people.  In a study of Hawaiian surfers, 60 percent were deficient in vitamin D. Most people are unware they have a deficiency.  Supplemental vitamin D comes in two forms, ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3).  The body must convert either form into a more active form.  Magnesium is required for the activation of vitamin D.  In people who are magnesium deficient, vitamin D is stored in its inactive form.    

Some in the medical world feel that D3 is converted 500 percent faster than D2.  D2 is prescribed by most physicians and must be obtained by prescription.  It will be converted into D3 and then the more active form in the body.  D3 is available without a prescription and as a nutritional supplement.  Some people do not absorb the tablet form of vitamin D, but will absorb the liquid form.  There are physicians who believe by taking vitamin D the demand for vitamin K2 is increased, and that for every 1,000 IUs of Vitamin D you will benefit from about 100 to 200 micrograms of vitamin K2.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Did You Know That?

·         An anti-inflammatory diet protects women against fractures and bone loss.
·         Drinking wine is associated with increased possibilities of melanoma.
·         Half of adults and two-thirds of children drink one or more sugary drinks every day.
·         Processed food and fast food tend to be high in salt and sugar and low in fiber.
·         More than a third of injury-related emergency room visits are attributed to falls.
·         Peppermint oil has been shown to reduce tension headaches when applied to the temples.
·         Sesame oil has significant cardiovascular benefits.
·         Urinary bladders can hold more than two cups of urine.
·         Most people blink about 15 times a minute, which amounts to around 15,000 times a day.
·         Although used culinarily as grain, amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat are not grains. Grains are seeds of the plants in the grass family, and these plants are not in the grass family.  They are more accurately classified as pseudograins.
·         A berberine herbal supplement works as well for lowering blood sugar for some diabetics as metformin.  Research suggests it may also reduce risk in developing diabetes.
·         Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Laundry: The Eternal Chore

Laundry is the eternal chore that must always be done.  Many of us make mistakes regarding how we handle our laundry, and it can affect our health.  For example, TV has lead us to believe that unless our clothes smell “spring fresh,” they are not clean.  This affects those of us who are adversely sensitive to fragrances.  Even “masking fragrances,” designed to cover unpleasant chemical smells of a product will negatively affect the sensitive person and cause them to have symptoms.  Fabric softeners are scented and contain over five chemicals that are neurotoxic and carcinogenic.  Reading labels is of extreme importance to avoid harmful exposures.  Watch for the words “scent, fragrance, or masking fragrance” anywhere in the label.

The temperature at which clothes become clean during washing has changed over the years.  Washing machines now operate at higher temperatures, and in today’s world detergents are formulated with enzymes that become active at 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  Above 75 degrees they are less effective and, at this heat, blood stains will be set and some fabrics and colors will be damaged.  Washing clothes at around 65 degrees will clean them, but it will not sanitize them.  Chlorine bleach will sanitize them, but can wipe out the color of a fabric.  Nonchlorine bleaches will not bleed colors, but they will not sanitize laundry.  Sanitizing may be important if washing baby diapers or the sheets and bedding of a contagious sick person.

In most cases people do not need sanitized laundry.  They just need clean clothes.  Many people in the US wear an item of clothing only once and then wash it.  People are washing clean clothes.  If clothing does not have visible stains, hanging it up and airing it out is all that is necessary before wearing it again.  Clothing worn when exercising is a different situation as our bodies sweat and detoxify while we exercise.  This clothing should never be worn numerous times as rewearing it can cause these toxins to be absorbed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene deals with all factors that may interfere with sleep.  It is a series of habits and activities that will improve ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.  It will increase the chances of getting better sleep, and can be of some help for virtually every type of sleep problem.

The bedroom is very important in sleep hygiene and combating sleep problems.  It should be clean, quiet, and at times an air cleaner may be helpful.  The bed should have a comfortable mattress and pillows, and both should be replaced whenever they are no longer comfortable.  Bedding should all be washable.  Clock watching, reading, and television in bed can occupy attention and prohibit sleep.  The only two activities for which the bed should be used are sleeping and sex.

Reduce all types of noise and dim light sources in the evening.  Sleep in total darkness and avoid exposure to a bright light if you have to get up.  Try to get sunlight in the mornings.  Keep the bedroom at a temperature comfortable for sleeping.  Allow enough time for sleep and keep a regular sleeping schedule, even on weekends.  Diet, exercise too close to bedtime, caffeine, and alcohol can all adversely affect sleep, as can smoking.  If you practice good sleep hygiene and still do not wake up feeling refreshed and alert more help is required.  See a physician for more help.