Know about Cholesterol

The public has been misinformed. Our blood vessels can become damaged in a number of ways—through irritations caused by free radicals or viruses, or because they are structurally weak—and when this happens, the body’s natural healing substance steps in to repair the damage. That substance is cholesterol. Cholesterol is a high-molecular-weight alcohol that is manufactured in the liver and in most human cells. Like saturated fats, the cholesterol we make and consume plays many vital roles:

  1. Along with saturated fats, cholesterol in the cell membrane gives our cells necessary stiffness and stability. When the diet contains an excess of polyunsaturated fatty acids, these replace saturated fatty acids in the cell membrane, so that the cell walls actually become flabby. When this happens, cholesterol from the blood is “driven” into the tissues to give them structural integrity. This is why serum cholesterol levels may go down temporarily when we replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated oils in the diet.
  2. Cholesterol acts as a precursor to vital corticosteroids, hormones that help us deal with stress and protect the body against heart disease and cancer; and to the sex hormones like androgen, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
  3. Cholesterol is a precursor to vitamin D, a very important fat-soluble vitamin needed for healthy bones and nervous system, proper growth, mineral metabolism, muscle tone, insulin production, reproduction and immune system function.
  4. The bile salts are made from cholesterol. Bile is vital for digestion and assimilation of fats in the diet.
  5. Recent research shows that cholesterol acts as an antioxidant. This is the likely explanation for the fact that cholesterol levels go up with age. As an antioxidant, cholesterol protects us against free radical damage that leads to heart disease and cancer.
  6. Cholesterol is needed for proper function of serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is the body’s natural “feel-good” chemical. Low cholesterol levels have been linked to aggressive and violent behavior, depression and suicidal tendencies.
  7. Mother’s milk is especially rich in cholesterol and contains a special enzyme that helps the baby utilize this nutrient. Babies and children need cholesterol-rich foods throughout their growing years to ensure proper development of the brain and nervous system.
  8. Dietary cholesterol plays an important role in maintaining the health of the intestinal wall. This is why low-cholesterol vegetarian diets can lead to leaky gut syndrome and other intestinal disorders.

Cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease but rather a potent antioxidant weapon against free radicals in the blood, and a repair substance that helps heal arterial damage (although the arterial plaques themselves contain very little cholesterol.) However, like fats, cholesterol may be damaged by exposure to heat and oxygen. This damaged or oxidized cholesterol seems to promote both injury to the arterial cells as well as a pathological buildup of plaque in the arteries. Damaged cholesterol is found in powdered eggs, in powdered milk (added to reduced-fat milks to give them body) and in meats and fats that have been heated to high temperatures in frying and other high-temperature processes.

High serum cholesterol levels often indicate that the body needs cholesterol to protect itself from high levels of altered, free-radical-containing fats. Just as a large police force is needed in a locality where crime occurs frequently, so cholesterol is needed in a poorly nourished body to protect the individual from a tendency to heart disease and cancer. Blaming coronary heart disease on cholesterol is like blaming the police for murder and theft in a high crime area.

Poor thyroid function (hypothyroidism) will often result in high cholesterol levels. When thyroid function is poor, usually due to a diet high in sugar and low in usable iodine, fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients, the body floods the blood with cholesterol as an adaptive and protective mechanism, providing a superabundance of materials needed to heal tissues and produce protective steroids. Hypothyroid individuals are particularly susceptible to infections, heart disease and cancer.

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM TOXIC CHEMICALS IN PERSONAL CARE AND SKIN CARE PRODUCTS

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM TOXIC CHEMICALS IN PERSONAL CARE AND SKIN CARE PRODUCTS

Have you ever wondered what “NATURAL” actually meant when you read it on the bottle of “natural” or “organic” shampoo or skin care product you just bought? Or did you assume because the words “natural” and/or “organic” were used that it must be good for you and safe? You get the product home and then you find you can’t even read the long chemical names on the label let alone pronounce them! Why on earth do they say it is “NATURAL”? How can this be if the chemical names are so long I can’t even begin to pronounce them?

Would you be shocked to find what manufacturers can claim is “natural and organic” is actually so far removed from natural it isn’t funny.

Would you like to know more about these “natural” SYNTHETIC chemicals you are putting on your skin rather than the hype and lies that most products are described with. Well – you will have to do a little undercover work.

This is relatively easy to do now we have the Internet and the world’s best search engine Google. Virtually every synthetic chemical produced has a MSDS Material Safety Data Sheet published with the facts about the chemical and the potential dangers to human health. So if you think you are using safe, non-toxic approved safe chemicals in your skin care products, then perhaps you should think again.

The MSDS will not only list a summary of the chemical facts but will also summarize the little known things like hazard identification, first aid measures, chronic toxicity, precautions when handling the raw material and exposure limits and what medical action should be taken if the chemical is accidentally spilt on the skin. You will be surprised to learn many of these co-called safe non-toxic “natural” chemicals have skull and crossbones warning signs on the bulk drums of chemical to warn the handlers of the dangers and what emergency actions to take if spilt on the skin.

Animal Testing

You may also be even more surprised to learn that EVERY synthetic chemical has been tested on animals until 50% of them have been deliberately killed with agonized suffering. This is so the scientists can determine the LD50 rating! Yet I bet you have heard so-called animal friendly companies claiming THEY DON’T test their products on animals. What a gratuitous use of the English language this is! Well no, of course THEY haven’t carried out the testing procedures themselves using their own products, because someone else has already done it for them, using all the individual synthetic chemicals contained within their products. You can rest assured every single synthetic chemical in your so-called safe and natural non-animal tested products has actually been tested extensively on hapless animals to determine how toxic the chemicals are for human use!

Do you still feel good about using products that claim not to be tested on animals, knowing now that every single synthetic chemical contained in them has been applied to the eyes, the skin, injected into the muscle tissue, and fed to rabbits, rats, mice, and often monkeys, cats and dogs until 50% of them have died?

Why is this if the “natural” products really are safe and natural?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires an MSDS be prepared for chemicals that are hazardous according to the criteria described in the HCS. In fact hazardous chemicals all have to be indexed and a safety data sheet published for them. Now if you think that that the cream you just smoothed onto your face is safe and “natural” then start by keying some of the chemical names into the Google search engine and see what safety data sheets come up. You just may be shocked at what you read.

Here is something for you to look at – try keying in “paraben” or “methyl paraben” followed by “breast cancer” into the Google search engine and see what you think about using this highly suspect chemical! Now check your own products for these ubiquitous synthetic preservatives!  Did you find them in your so-called safe deodorant or skin care cream?

An excellent website to do research on some of these ingredients is: www.hazard.com/msds Why don’t you take a note of this website and do some research on the cosmetics and skin care products you use to see how “safe” and “natural” they are?

You are given three search options when you get onto the site

  1. Search by the manufacturer, which you may not know
  2. Search the website database by keying in the chemical ingredient
  3. There is another database for chemical toxicity data not found in the MSDS section which you can search through too.

For example, if we use the database search (2nd option) to look for information on phenoxyethanol, which is used as a preservative in many so-called “natural” skin care products we see five different MSDSs on file. A sample of information found on this ingredient included:

Hazards Identification

EMERGENCY OVERVIEW WARNING!

  • Harmful if swallowed.
  • Causes skin irritation.
  • May cause central nervous system depression.
  • May cause kidney damage.
  • May cause respiratory and digestive tract irritation.
  • Target Organs: Kidneys, central nervous system.

POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS

Skin Contact:

  • Severe irritation or burns.

Eye Contact:

  • Severe irritation or burns.

Ingestion:

  • May cause gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • May cause central nervous system depression,
  • May cause headache, dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea.
  • Advanced stages may cause collapse, unconsciousness
  • May cause coma and possible death due to respiratory failure.
  • May cause kidney failure.
  • May be harmful if swallowed.
  • Lesions may appear in the brain, lungs, liver, meninges and heart.

What do think about putting the above chemical on YOUR skin?

ANIMAL TESTING DATA

Lethal Dose 50 (LD50) indicates the quantity of the chemical necessary to kill 50% of the animal test subjects and is measured in units per kilogram or PPM (Parts per Million) of the animal’s body weight.

  • Oral, mouse: LD50 = 933 mg/kg;
  • Oral, rat: LD50 = 1260 mg/kg;
  • Skin, rabbit: LD50 = 5 mL/kg;
  • Skin, rat: LD50 = 14422 mg/kg.

By arming yourself with independent information about the many toxic chemical ingredients found in today’s skin and personal care products, you can make an informed decision to protect the health of you and your family.

Composition of Different Fats – Oils We Eat

Here we examine the composition of vegetable oils and other animal fats in order to determine their usefulness and appropriateness in food preparation:

Duck and Goose Fat are semisolid at room temperature, containing about 35% saturated fat, 52% monounsaturated fat (including small amounts of antimicrobial palmitoleic acid) and about 13% polyunsaturated fat. The proportion of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids depends on what the birds have eaten. Duck and goose fat are quite stable and are highly prized in Europe for frying potatoes.

Chicken Fat is about 31% saturated, 49% monounsaturated (including moderate amounts of antimicrobial palmitoleic acid) and 20% polyunsaturated, most of which is omega-6 linoleic acid, although the amount of omega-3 can be raised by feeding chickens flax or fish meal, or allowing them to range free and eat insects. Although widely used for frying in kosher kitchens, it is inferior to duck and goose fat, which were traditionally preferred to chicken fat in Jewish cooking.

Lard or pork fat is about 40% saturated, 48% monounsaturated (including small amounts of antimicrobial palmitoleic acid) and 12% polyunsaturated. Like the fat of birds, the amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids will vary in lard according to what has been fed to the pigs. In the tropics, lard may also be a source of lauric acid if the pigs have eaten coconuts. Like duck and goose fat, lard is stable and a preferred fat for frying. It was widely used in America at the turn of the century.

It is a good source of vitamin D, especially in third-world countries where other animal foods are likely to be expensive. Some researchers believe that pork products should be avoided because they may contribute to cancer. Others suggest that only pork meat presents a problem and that pig fat in the form of lard is safe and healthy.

Beef and Mutton Tallows are 50-55% saturated, about 40% monounsaturated and contain small amounts of the polyunsaturates, usually less than 3%. Suet, which is the fat from the cavity of the animal, is 70-80% saturated. Suet and tallow are very stable fats and can be used for frying. Traditional cultures valued these fats for their health benefits. They are a good source of antimicrobial palmitoleic acid.

Olive Oil contains 75% oleic acid, the stable monounsaturated fat, along with 13% saturated fat, 10% omega-6 linoleic acid and 2% omega-3 linolenic acid. The high percentage of oleic acid makes olive oil ideal for salads and for cooking at moderate temperatures. Extra virgin olive oil is also rich in antioxidants. It should be cloudy, indicating that it has not been filtered, and have a golden yellow color, indicating that it is made from fully ripened olives.

Olive oil has withstood the test of time; it is the safest vegetable oil you can use, but don’t overdo. The longer chain fatty acids found in olive oil are more likely to contribute to the buildup of body fat than the short- and medium-chain fatty acids found in butter, coconut oil or palm kernel oil.

Peanut Oil contains 48% oleic acid, 18% saturated fat and 34% omega-6 linoleic acid. Like olive oil, peanut oil is relatively stable and, therefore, appropriate for stir-frys on occasion. But the high percentage of omega-6 presents a potential danger, so use of peanut oil should be strictly limited.

Sesame Oil contains 42% oleic acid, 15% saturated fat, and 43% omega-6 linoleic acid. Sesame oil is similar in composition to peanut oil. It can be used for frying because it contains unique antioxidants that are not destroyed by heat. However, the high percentage of omega-6 militates against exclusive use.

Safflower, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean and Cottonseed Oils all contain over 50% omega-6 and, except for soybean oil, only minimal amounts of omega-3. Safflower oil contains almost 80% omega-6. Researchers are just beginning to discover the dangers of excess omega-6 oils in the diet, whether rancid or not.

Use of these oils should be strictly limited. They should never be consumed after they have been heated, as in cooking, frying or baking. High oleic safflower and sunflower oils, produced from hybrid plants, have a composition similar to olive oil, namely, high amounts of oleic acid and only small amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids and, thus, are more stable than traditional varieties. However, it is difficult to find truly cold-pressed versions of these oils.

Canola Oil contains 5% saturated fat, 57% oleic acid, 23% omega-6 and 10%-15% omega-3. The newest oil on the market, canola oil was developed from the rape seed, a member of the mustard family. Rape seed is unsuited to human consumption because it contains a very-long-chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions.

Canola oil was bred to contain little if any erucic acid and has drawn the attention of nutritionists because of its high oleic acid content. But there are some indications that canola oil presents dangers of its own. It has a high sulphur content and goes rancid easily. Baked goods made with canola oil develop mold very quickly. During the deodorizing process, the omega-3 fatty acids of processed canola oil are transformed into trans fatty acids, similar to those in margarine and possibly more dangerous.

A recent study indicates that “heart healthy” canola oil actually creates a deficiency of vitamin E, a vitamin required for a healthy cardiovascular system. Other studies indicate that even low-erucic-acid canola oil causes heart lesions, particularly when the diet is low in saturated fat.

Flax Seed Oil contains 9% saturated fatty acids, 18% oleic acid, 16% omega-6 and 57% omega-3. With its extremely high omega-3 content, flax seed oil provides a remedy for the omega-6/omega-3 imbalance so prevalent in America today. Not surprisingly, Scandinavian folk lore values flax seed oil as a health food. New extraction and bottling methods have minimized rancidity problems. It should always be kept refrigerated, never heated, and consumed in small amounts in salad dressings and spreads.

Tropical Oils are more saturated than other vegetable oils. Palm oil is about 50% saturated, with 41% oleic acid and about 9% linoleic acid. Coconut oil is 92% saturated with over two-thirds of the saturated fat in the form of medium-chain fatty acids (often called medium-chain triglycerides).

Of particular interest is lauric acid, found in large quantities in both coconut oil and in mother’s milk. This fatty acid has strong antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Coconut oil protects tropical populations from bacteria and fungus so prevalent in their food supply; as third-world nations in tropical areas have switched to polyunsaturated vegetable oils, the incidence of intestinal disorders and immune deficiency diseases has increased dramatically.

Because coconut oil contains lauric acid, it is often used in baby formulas. Palm kernel oil, used primarily in candy coatings, also contains high levels of lauric acid. These oils are extremely stable and can be kept at room temperature for many months without becoming rancid. Highly saturated tropical oils do not contribute to heart disease but have nourished healthy populations for millennia. It is a shame we do not use these oils for cooking and baking—the bad rap they have received is the result of intense lobbying by the domestic vegetable oil industry.

Red palm oil has a strong taste that most will find disagreeable—although it is used extensively throughout Africa—but clarified palm oil, which is tasteless and white in color, was formerly used as shortening and in the production of commercial French fries, while coconut oil was used in cookies, crackers and pastries. The saturated fat scare has forced manufacturers to abandon these safe and healthy oils in favor of hydrogenated soybean, corn, canola and cottonseed oils.

In summary, our choice of fats and oils is one of extreme importance. Most people, especially infants and growing children, benefit from more fat in the diet rather than less. But the fats we eat must be chosen with care.

Avoid all processed foods containing newfangled hydrogenated fats and polyunsaturated oils.

Instead, use traditional vegetable oils like extra virgin olive oil and small amounts of unrefined flax seed oil. Acquaint yourself with the merits of coconut oil for baking and with animal fats for occasional frying.

Eat egg yolks and other animal fats with the proteins to which they are attached. And, finally, use as much good quality butter as you like, with the happy assurance that it is a wholesome—indeed, an essential—food for you and your whole family.

Organic butter, extra virgin olive oil, and expeller-expressed flax oil in opaque containers are available in health food stores and gourmet markets.

The Treatment and Cause of Heart Disease

The cause of heart disease is not animal fats and cholesterol but rather a number of factors inherent in modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetables oils and hydrogenated fats; excess consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour; mineral deficiencies, particularly low levels of protective magnesium and iodine; deficiencies of vitamins, particularly of vitamin C, needed for the integrity of the blood vessel walls, and of antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E, which protect us from free radicals; and, finally, the disappearance of antimicrobial fats from the food supply, namely, animal fats and tropical oils. These once protected us against the kinds of viruses and bacteria that have been associated with the onset of pathogenic plaque leading to heart disease.

While serum cholesterol levels provide an inaccurate indication of future heart disease, a high level of a substance called homocysteine in the blood has been positively correlated with pathological buildup of plaque in the arteries and the tendency to form clots—a deadly combination. Folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and choline are nutrients that lower serum homocysteine levels. These nutrients are found mostly in animal foods.

The best way to treat heart disease, then, is not to focus on lowering cholesterol—either by drugs or diet—but to consume a diet that provides animal foods rich in vitamins B6 and B12; to bolster thyroid function by daily use of natural sea salt, a good source of usable iodine; to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies that make the artery walls more prone to ruptures and the buildup of plaque; to include the antimicrobial fats in the diet; and to eliminate processed foods containing refined carbohydrates, oxidized cholesterol and free-radical-containing vegetable oils that cause the body to need constant repair.

Higher Heart Attack Risk from Broken Heart

LONDON – A broken heart can prove to be a serious health threat, say Australian researchers who found that people mourning the loss of a loved one are six times more likely to suffer cardiac arrest.

As per a Heart Foundation study of the physical changes suffered immediately after a profound loss, grieving people were at significantly higher risk of heart problems, said lead researcher Thomas Buckley.

The study was conducted to “shed fresh light on why people traumatized by the loss of a loved one are more susceptible to having a heart attack”, reports The Daily Express.

A team at the University of Sydney, Australia, studied 80 bereaved adults to reach the conclusion.

Lead author Dr Thomas Buckley said: “Emotional and mood changes were greatest during this time.

“Overall, the bereaved had -increases in anxiety, depression and anger, with elevated stress hormones and -reduced sleep and appetite.

“They also showed increases in blood pressure and heart rate, – together with immune and blood -clotting changes – all changes that could contribute to a heart attack.”

The study was published in the -Internal Medicine Journal.

Drinking Green Tea May Improve Bone Health

HONG KONG – Green tea may help improve bone health, researchers in Hong Kong have reported.

The researchers found that the tea contains a group of chemicals that can stimulate bone formation and help slow its breakdown.

The study has been published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

In the study, Ping Chung Leung and colleagues noted that many scientific studies have linked tea to beneficial effects in preventing cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.

To reach the conclusion, scientists exposed a group of cultured bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) to three major green tea components – epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG) – for several days. They found that one in particular, EGC, boosted the activity of a key enzyme that promotes bone growth by up to 79 percent. EGC also significantly boosted levels of bone mineralization in the cells, which strengthens bones.

The scientists also showed that high concentrations of ECG blocked the activity of a type of cell (osteoclast) that breaks down or weakens bones. The green tea components did not cause any toxic effects to the bone cells, they noted.

Using Innovative, Low-Cost, Medical and Diagnostic Tests

In the developing world, the availability of many medical technologies is limited by cost, durability, and ease-of-use. This is especially true of expensive diagnostic devices, which are critical for detecting diseases that are endemic in developing countries. However, researchers are working to develop low-cost, user-friendly alternatives that could improve the ability of healthcare providers to diagnose a range of conditions.

Harvard researchers have developed an alternative microfluidic device that replaces standard silicon, glass, or plastic substrates with treated paper. Fluids flow through the microchannels in the paper device in the same way that they would in a standard chip. Researchers have used the device to test for glucose and protein in urine, but hope to adapt it for the possibility of testing blood samples for HIV/AIDS, dengue fever, or hepatitis. While a traditional microfluidic device costs between $10 and $1,000USD, the materials to create the paper devices, known as microPADS, cost only three cents. The design of the microPAD device allows for several tests to be conducted simultaneously, furthering the cost and resource savings.

To help better diagnose infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, researchers have developed a microscope that attaches to any cellular telephone with a camera feature. The device, known as a Cell Scope, is able to illuminate pathogens in a sample treated with fluorescent molecular “tags.” It is estimated that the production of first Cell Scopes will cost roughly $1,000 each, but with further developments the price could drop to just a few hundred dollars, including the cell phone. Not only can an individual use the microscope to view the pathogens, but they can also send an image to a healthcare facility for assistance making an appropriate diagnostic determination.

Efforts have also been made by scientists at the Burnet Institute to improve HIV-testing procedures. A prototype monitoring test has been designed for use in remote settings. The new test, which uses a finger-prick blood sample, allows individuals to determine their CD4+ T-cell count within 30 minutes. The CD4+ T-cells are critical for healthy immune system function and their levels are a deciding factor with regard to starting anti-retroviral therapy. Standard CD4 tests are often not available in the developing world due to their cost, the need for specialized equipment and trained personnel, and the long wait period to obtain test results.

Though these diagnostic technologies offer improvements in the developing world, as The Wall Street Journal reports, acceptance may be slower in the United States. Some researchers have found success when applying African healthcare models to rural areas of the U.S., and results using low-cost technologies originally conceived for use in the developing world may follow this trend. The use of innovative low-cost testing methods may also assist with telemedicine initiatives, as they allow healthcare providers to conduct necessary tests and provide better diagnostic information to consultants. Through discussion among global health experts – as allowed by telemedicine initiatives like icons in Medicine – innovative diagnostic tools and other cost-saving measures may become more popular, and help to provide improved care worldwide.

Head and Neck Cancer Study Marijuana us at Brown University

Researchers at the Departments of Community Health, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA, have found that Cannabinoids, constituents of marijuana smoke, have been recognized to have potential antitumor properties. They wrote, “However, for the subjects who have the same level of smoking or alcohol drinking, we observed attenuated risk of HNSCC (head and neck squamous cell carcinoma ) among those who use marijuana compared with those who do not. Our study suggests that moderate marijuana use is associated with reduced risk.

H1N1 Flu Prevention

There is growing concern for everyone’s health and safety as the H1N1 virus (swine flu)
becomes more widespread. Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A
influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. Normally, people are not
affected by swine flu, but human infections can happen and as we have seen recently,
have happened.

H1N1 in particular is a unique combination of four different strains of
influenza, of which two strains are swine flu, one is an avian flu, and one is a human flu.
The symptoms of H1N1 flu include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache,
chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting, as well.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warn that people may be able to infect others
beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming
sick. That means that the flu is contagious before you even know you are sick, as well as
while you are sick.

Our bodies are under constant attack from microbes, allergens and environmental
conditions, and it is the job of our immune system to serve as our protector or buffer
against these elements. Given the recent flu outbreak and with allergy season upon us,
supporting your immune system is more important than ever if you want to stay healthy.
The best way to strengthen your immune system is with a comprehensive approach that
involves healthy lifestyle practices, stress management, regular exercise, a healthy diet,
and nutritional supplementation.

The skin is the body’s first line of defense. Since many viruses are airborne, avoiding
them completely may be impossible because germs, viruses and bacteria live on
surfaces for a short time and can enter the body through the mucus membranes in the
mouth, nose and eyes. This is why it is important to wash your hands before touching
your face. Good health habits alone can be natural ways to boost the immune system or
at least prevent the immune system from having to work so hard.
Viruses can survive for several hours on hands, tissues, or hard surfaces. A healthy
person can contract a virus by touching a contaminated surface and then touching his or
her own mouth or nose. Using an antibiotic soap may help prevent the spreading of
germs, but these soaps can also contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant
bacteria, so it is best to use them only when necessary.

Your immune system is greatly impacted by your dietary habits and nutritional status.
Dietary factors that depress immune function include nutrient deficiencies, excess
consumption of sugar and unhealthy fats, and the consumption of allergenic foods.
Sugar can significantly reduce the ability of white blood cells to destroy foreign particles
and microorganisms. The negative effects start within 30 minutes and last for over 5
hours.

Optimal immune function requires a healthy diet that is rich in whole, natural foods –
such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds, and nuts – low in bad fats and refined
sugars, contains adequate protein levels, and plenty of water and other fluids (soups,
herb teas). Fresh, nourishing foods are great for your immune system. Think salads,
soups and stews. Yogurt also provides important beneficial bacteria that helps to keep
your digestive system and immune system healthy.

Core Nutrition
Nutritional deficiencies are the most frequent cause of a depressed immune system.
Therefore, we recommend that everyone incorporate the following 5 key supplements
into their daily routine to build a solid foundation.

1. Multivitamin
Unfortunately, even the best diet cannot protect you from nutrient deficiencies.
Stress, poor food choices, and illnesses can further deplete your body of
important nutrients. Support your body by giving it the nutrients it needs in order
to function at its best. A good multivitamin provides a broad range of vitamins
and minerals to fill in nutrient gaps in your diet and protect against nutrient
deficiencies.
2. Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6)
Healthy fats are necessary for good health, have anti-inflammatory properties,
and cannot be manufactured by the body. EFAs support hormone balance,
cardiovascular, reproductive, joint, brain, immune, and nervous system health.
3. Antioxidants
Antioxidants are natural compounds that protect the body from harmful free
radicals and play a role in disease prevention. Antioxidants protect the body’s
tissues against stress and inflammation and enhance immune function.
4. Probiotics
A healthy immune system begins in the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, the
digestive system produces up to 75 percent of the immune system’s cells.
Beneficial bacteria is vital for digestion, preventing the overgrowth of yeast and
other pathogens, and for manufacturing B-complex vitamins and vitamin K.
5. Vitamin D
Beyond its role in bone health, new research shows that vitamin D3 also
improves immune function and can reduce the risk of some cancers, including
breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. Vitamin D also seems to play a
role in cold and flu prevention.
It is estimated that over 70% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. And, during
the fall and winter months when sunshine is less available, your vitamin D levels
fall to their lowest point. Vitamin D regulates the expression of more than 1,000
genes throughout the body, including genes contained in macrophages, immune
system cells that attack and destroy viruses. Vitamin D “switches on” genes in
macrophages that make antimicrobial peptides, natural antibiotics that the body
produces. Like antibiotics, these peptides attack and destroy bacteria; but unlike
antibiotics, they also attack and destroy viruses.
Beyond Core Nutrition
A healthy lifestyle goes a long way toward establishing a healthy immune system.
Factors that increase immunity include: not smoking, increasing your intake of green
vegetables, eating regular meals, maintaining a proper body weight, getting more than 7
hours of sleep, and exercising regularly.
Stress/Sleep
While short-term stress – such as playing sports, experiencing stage-fright, or dealing
with an immediate threat – is a temporary natural immune system enhancer, numerous
studies have shown that chronic stress reduces immune activity. Those who deal with
chronic stress, such as a high-pressure job or a troubled relationship, typically have
lower-than-average white blood cell counts.
Sleep
Good sleep is very important to a healthy immune system. During deep sleep, immuneenhancing
compounds are released, and many immune functions are greatly increased.
Aim for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep nightly.
Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Getting Sick
1. SCRUB. Wash your hands with soap for at least 30 seconds – and wash them
often. If you can’t wash, then use a hand sanitizer. Use sanitary wipes to clean
phone mouthpieces, door knobs, computer keyboards, and other hands-on
surfaces.
2. COVER. Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands, where germs will be spread
onto everything you touch. Instead, use a tissue or the crook of your elbow.
3. HANDS OFF. Don’t touch your face. Cold and flu viruses enter your body
through the eyes, nose, or mouth. If you travel or are exposed to lots of people,
you may increase your resistance by using throat sprays and zinc lozenges.
4. FLOSS. What does flossing have to do with virus prevention? Plenty. Over 300
species of bacteria live in your mouth, and viruses use bacteria as “factories” to
grow and multiply. So be sure to floss at least once and brush at least twice daily,
and give those viruses fewer options.
5. EAT RIGHT. Cut down on sugar and eat more fruits and vegetables to boost
your immune system. If you should get infected with a cold or flu, you’ll be in
better condition to help fend it off or shorten its stay.
6. DRINK WATER. Drinking plenty of water helps flush out toxins and keeps you
hydrated.
7. WORK OUT. Aerobic exercise speeds up the heart, helps transfer oxygen from
your lungs to your blood, and makes you sweat – all of which can help increase
the body’s natural virus-defending abilities.
8. QUIT SMOKING. Statistics show that heavy smokers get more severe colds and
more frequent ones.
9. SUPPLEMENT. Key vitamins, minerals, and herbs can help to keep your
immune system strong so that you can fight off infections. A comprehensive
formula such as Pathway Immune System Support is designed to strengthen
your defenses. We also recommend supplementing with extra vitamin C and
vitamin D.
Copyright Village Green 2009

This Century Most Babies Born Live to 100

Most babies born in rich countries this century will eventually make it

to their 100th birthday, new research says. Danish experts say that

since the 20th century, people in developed countries are living about

three decades longer than in the past. Surprisingly, the trend shows

little sign of slowing down.

In an article published Friday in the medical journal Lancet, the researchers write that the process of aging may be “modifiable.”

James

Vaupel of the Max Planck Institute in Germany and colleagues in Denmark

examined studies published globally in 2004-2005 on numerous issues

related to aging. They found life expectancy

is increasing steadily in most countries, even beyond the limits of

what scientists first thought possible. In Japan, for instance, which

has the world’s longest life expectancy, more than half of the

country’s 80-year-old women are expected to live to 90.

“Improvements in health care

are leading to ever slowing rates of aging, challenging the idea that

there is a fixed ceiling to human longevity,” said David Gems, an aging

expert at University College London. Gems was not connected to the

research, and is studying drugs that can lengthen the life span of

mice, which may one day have applications for people.

“Laboratory

studies of mice, including our own, demonstrate that if you slow aging

even just a little, it has a strong protective effect,” he said. “A

pill that slowed aging could provide protection against the whole gamut

of aging-related diseases.”

While illnesses affecting the elderly like heart disease, cancer

and diabetes are rising, advances in medical treatment are also making

it possible for them to remain active for longer. The obesity epidemic,

however, may complicate matters. Extra weight makes people more

susceptible to diseases and may increase their risk of dying.

In

the U.S., data from 1982 to 2000 showed a major drop in illness and

disability among the elderly, though that has now begun to reverse,

probably linked to the rise in obesity.

The

graying population will slowly radically transform society, and

retirement ages may soon be pushed back, said Richard Suzman, an aging

expert at the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

“We

are within five to 10 years of a watershed event where there will be

more people on earth over 65 than there under five,” he said. “Those

extra years need to be financed somehow and we need to start thinking

about it now.”

Women’s Lungs Health Improves with New Patsari Stove

MEXICO CITY – Using a vented stove instead of the traditional indoor open fires might improve respiratory health of women, according to a new study.

An estimated two billion people around the world rely on biomass fuel for cooking, typically over unvented indoor fires.

These indoor fires generate high levels of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.

One recent analysis put exposure to indoor biomass smoke among the world’s top ten environmental causes of mortality and morbidity.

The “Patsari” stove designed to address this problem has been found to reduce indoor air pollution concentrations by an average of 70 percent.

During the study, lead researcher Horacio Riojas-Rodrmguez, of the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pzblica, followed women in more than 500 households from Central Mexico, who had been randomized to receive the new Patsari stove.

The study showed that fewer than a third of women assigned to receive the Patsari stove reported “mainly” using it, and another 20 percent reported that they used it in conjunction with the open fire, and fully half reported mainly using the traditional open wood fire, despite having been assigned to the intervention group.

When the researchers analyzed those who used the Patsari stove versus those who did not, they found strong evidence that use of the Patsari stoves was associated with marked improvements in respiratory health.

“Over 12 months of follow-up, the use of the Patsari stove showed a protective effect on respiratory and other symptoms, and a trend to improve lung function that was comparable to smoking cessation,” said Riojas.

In fact, women using the Patsari stove had half the decline in a key measure of lung function-forced expiratory volume in one second, or FEV1-than women using open wood fires. Among those who used the Patsari stove, the loss was 31 ml over a year, versus the 62 ml over a year for the open fire users, a similar effect as what is seen in tobacco cessation.

“These findings each help support the notion that stove intervention programs in the developing world can improve health when the women adhere to the intervention,” wrote Luke Naeher, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Georgia, in an accompanying editorial.

He added that the study “helps to highlight both the tremendous potential of these programs in the developing world to improve health and the quality of life, and also the great need for continued research to help us understand how to best implement these programs.”

The study appears in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Some People Maintain Weight Loss, Others Don’t

WASHINGTON – Ever wondered how some people successfully maintain a significant weight loss, while others tend to regain the weight? Well, researchers at The Miriam Hospital attribute such tendencies to a difference in brain activity patterns.

The researchers showed that when individuals who had kept the weight off for several years were shown pictures of food, they were more likely to engage the areas of the brain associated with behavioral control and visual attention, as compared to obese and normal weight participants.

The findings of the study suggest that successful weight loss maintainers may learn to respond differently to food cues.

“Our findings shed some light on the biological factors that may contribute to weight loss maintenance. They also provide an intriguing complement to previous behavioral studies that suggest people who have maintained a long-term weight loss monitor their food intake closely and exhibit restraint in their food choices,” said lead author Dr. Jeanne McCaffery.

Long-term weight loss maintenance continues to be a major problem in obesity treatment.

Participants in behavioral weight loss programs lose an average of 8 to 10 percent of their weight during the first six months of treatment, and will maintain approximately two-thirds of their weight loss after one year.

However, despite intensive efforts, weight regain appears to continue for the next several years, with most patients returning to their baseline weight after five years.

The researchers used functional magnetic resource imaging (fMRI) to study the brain activity of three groups- 18 individuals of normal weight, 16 obese individuals (defined as a body mass index of at least 30), and 17 participants who have lost at least 30 lbs and have successfully maintained that weight loss for a minimum of three years.

When the participants were shown pictures of food items after a four-hour fast, it was found that those in the successful weight loss maintenance group responded differently to these pictures compared to the other groups.

Specifically, researchers observed strong signals in the left superior frontal region and right middle temporal region of the brain – a pattern consistent with greater inhibitory control in response to food images and greater visual attention to food cues.

“It is possible that these brain responses may lead to preventive or corrective behaviors – particularly greater regulation of eating – that promote long-term weight control. However, future research is needed to determine whether these responses are inherent within an individual or if they can be changed,” said McCaffery.

The study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The Difference to Know between Cold and Swine Flu Symptoms

Symptom Cold Swine Flu
Aches Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold. Severe aches and pains are common with the flu.
Chills Chills are uncommon with a cold. 60% of people who have the flu experience chills.
Tiredness Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold. Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.
Sneezing Sneezing is commonly present with a cold. Sneezing is not common with the flu.
Sudden Symptoms Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days. The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.
Headache A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold.. A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases.
Sore Throat Sore throat is commonly present with a cold. Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu.
Chest Discomfort Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold. Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.

U.S. 1 in 5 Kids found Deficient in Vitamin D

Chicago-At least 1 in 5 U.S. children ages 1 to 11 doesn’t get enough vitamin D and could be at risk for a variety of health problems including weak bones, the most recent national analysis suggests.

By a looser measure, almost 90 percent of black children that age and 80 percent of Latino kids could be vitamin D deficient – “astounding numbers” that should serve as a call to action, said Dr. Jonathan Mansbach, lead author of the new analysis and a researcher at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital in Boston.

The deficiency is a concern because recent studies suggest the vitamin might help prevent infections, diabetes and some cancers.

The new analysis, released online today by the journal Pediatrics, is the first assessment of varying vitamin D levels in children ages 1 through 11. The study used data from a 2001-06 government health survey of almost 3,000 children who had blood tests measuring vitamin D.

F.E.A.S.T. Launches Comprehensive Eating Disorders Dictionary for Parents

F.E.A.S.T. has launched a free online dictionary for parents that explain the complex terms and concepts used in the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders, eating disturbances and a wide range of co-existing conditions.

An international eating disorders organization has launched the world’s first comprehensive dictionary on eating disorders for parents and caregivers.

The F.E.A.S.T. Eating Disorders Glossary provides definitions and explanations for more than 400 terms and concepts used in the eating disorders field. F.E.A.S.T. (Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders Treatment) is an international non-profit organization supporting parents and caregivers of children suffering from eating disorders.

The new free online reference — http://glossary.feast-ed.org — contains entries for 35 different eating disorders and disturbances, along with 25 disorders or conditions that often are associated or co-exist with a clinical eating disorder. In addition, detailed explanations are provided for hundreds of terms used in the modern science of eating disorders, including diagnosis, psychological and therapeutic approaches, medical management of symptoms and complications, biology, pharmacology and clinical research.

The aim of the glossary is to give parents facing an eating disorders crisis an authoritative, easy-to-use reference that will help them quickly “get up to speed” on the technical terms and concepts they will encounter as they consider various treatment options for their child or adolescent, said Laura Collins, executive director of F.E.A.S.T.

“The eating disorders field is filled with arcane vocabulary and very complex concepts,” Ms. Collins said. “Parents need to understand these terms and concepts so they can understand what their doctors are telling them. This will enable them to ask the right questions and will ultimately empower them to play a productive role as a key member of the treatment team they put together to manage their child’s recovery.”

Though edited for a lay public, the F.E.A.S.T. eating disorders dictionary may also prove useful to non-specialist professionals and general practitioners, Ms. Collins said, noting that many nutritionists, psychologists and generalist doctors have not received formal training in the modern science of eating disorders.

Among the eating disorders explained in the glossary are: Anorexia Nervosa, Binge eating disorder, Bulimia nervosa , Compensatory Behaviors, Compulsive or compensatory exercise, Compulsive Overeating , Diabulimia, Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), Extreme exercising, Feeding Disorder of Infancy or Early Childhood , Female Athlete Triad , Food avoidance emotional disorder, Food refusal , Functional dysphagia, Hyperphagia, Marasmus , Muscle dysmorphia (also called Reverse anorexia or Bigorexia), Night Eating Syndrome (NES), Obesity, Orthorexia, PANDAS , Pathorexia, Pervasive refusal syndrome, Pica, Picky eating, Prader Willi syndrome (PWS), Purging disorder, Restrictive eating, Rumination disorder, and Selective eating.