11 Natural Powerful Antibiotics Hiding In Your Kitchen

ooAntibiotics are medicine used to treat and prevent bacterial infections. They are the most over-prescribed medicines today. This is dangerous because too much use of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance. Nature is full of natural antibiotics as well, including herbal remedies, Continue reading

Curry Dilates Arteries With One Serving

29612960_mDid you know that a single culinary serving of spices in the form of curry can dilate your arteries, preventing the cardiovascular harms associated with eating common foods? Continue reading

Reasons Why You Bruise Easily

imagesW8YMAEKNStory at-a-glance −

Your skin bruises more easily as you get older and may also be due to straining during exercise, certain medications, or underlying medical conditions

A deficiency in bioflavonoids and vitamin C may also lead to easy bruising Continue reading

Reverse Aging With Organic Sulfur

No one ever talks about the health benefits of organic sulfur.

It truly is the forgotten mineral – yet the third most abundant in your body. Only phosphorous and calcium can be found in higher quantities. Did you know that sulfur is present in every living organism?

Even the United States Food and Nutrition Board has neglected sulfur; its last update on organic sulfur’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) was more than twenty years ago.

Why is this a concern? Because your body needs organic sulfur, Continue reading

Cultured or Fermented Food?

Recipe of the Month – Basic Sourdough Bread

This recipe can be used to make a basic loaf of bread for sandwiches or just eating fresh from the oven.
Ingredients:
2 1/3 cups fresh sourdough starter
3 1/3 cups flour
1 to 1 ½ cups water (approximate) Continue reading

How to Prevent Tooth Decay with Chocolate

[singlepic id=280 w=320 h=240 float=left]Strengthen Teeth and Prevent Tooth Decay…with Chocolate

In ancient times, people tried many different methods to keep their teeth clean – many of them were downright dangerous.

Egyptians in 5000 BC created tooth powder that contained ground ox hooves, myrrh, eggshells and pumice stone. The Romans and Greeks used shells and crushed bone in their version. Continue reading

Getting a Grip on Childhood Obesity

American adults are overweight and obese, which is a huge problem for our healthcare system, tax dollars, productivity and quality of life. But the fact that our kids are increasingly obese means we may be dooming the next generation to an unhappy lifetime of chronic disease. We have to take action now to halt the juvenile obesity epidemic, or the consequences will be tragic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States — triple the rate from just one generation ago.” That 17 percent equates to 12.5 million obese children, ages 2 to 19.

In its 2011 “Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report,” the CDC blames a good part of this problem on the serving and advertising of “sugar drinks and less healthy foods on school campuses.” Ads sell junk foods to kids, while parents feed their children what they ask for instead of providing balanced meals. Added to that, kids are eating supersized portions of foods containing too much sugar and fat.

If we consider the alarming numbers of inner-city children with weight problems, it’s obvious that kids don’t get enough exercise and don’t have access to safe places to play. Even for those interested in outdoor activity, finding a safe place or even getting to one is an issue. In its “State Indicator Report on Physical Activity,  Continue reading

Improve your Eyesight with these Helpful Tips

May is Healthy Vision Month, established by the National Eye Institute to boost awareness about eye health and undetected vision problems. Follow these tips to sharpen your own vision so you can see your way to a future of longevity.

1. Eat for bright eyesight

Protect your peepers with a vision-ary diet! Our eyes require multiple nutrients to function optimally. Start with these:

• Vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like copper and zinc are essential to eyesight. Continue reading

Scientists Developing Probiotics to Ambush Disease-Causing Gut Bacteria

Scientists Developing Probiotics to Ambush Disease-Causing Gut Bacteria

ADELAIDE – Scientists from University of Adelaide are working on developing diversionary tactics in a bid to fool disease-causing gut bacteria that often lead to infections, such as cholera.

According to Professor James Paton, bacteria produce toxins that damage human tissues when they bind to complex sugar receptors displayed on the surface of cells in the host’s intestine.

In the new study, researchers have shown how they had added molecular mimics of these host cell receptors onto the surface of harmless bacteria capable of surviving in the human gut.

If given during an infection caused by a toxin-producing bacterium, these “receptor-mimic probiotics” will bind the toxins in the gut very strongly, thereby preventing the toxins from interacting with receptors on host intestinal cells and causing disease.

An advantage of this approach to treatment is that the pathogenic bacteria are unlikely to develop a resistance to it, as that would destroy the basic mechanism by which they cause disease.

Moreover, receptor-mimic bacteria bind toxins more strongly than previous technologies.

They are also more cost effective, as the bacteria can be grown cheaply in large-scale fermenters.

“We initially developed this technology to prevent disease caused by strains of E. coli bacteria that produce Shiga toxin. These include the infamous E. coli O157 strain, which causes outbreaks of severe bloody diarrhoea and the potentially fatal haemolytic uraemic syndrome,” said Paton.

“Our prototype receptor mimic probiotic provided 100% protection against otherwise fatal E. coli disease in an animal model. We have also developed similar receptor mimic probiotics that are capable of preventing cholera and travellers’ diarrhoea.

“As well as being able to treat disease, these probiotics could be given to vulnerable populations following natural disasters to help prevent outbreaks of diseases like cholera,” he added.

The findings were presented at the Society for General Microbiology’s meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Home Remedies Series – Cough

A person who is going to cough first draws a deep breath in. This action causes his glottis to close and his muscles to contract, thus building up pressure in the chest. Then suddenly, the glottis opens, an explosive discharge of air sweeps through the air passages and carries with it the excess secretions or, in some cases, foreign matter, which has irritated the larynx, trachea, or bronchi.

Causes of Cough

A cough may be caused by inflammation of the larynx or the pharynx. A cough can develop in the chest due to change in weather or seasonal changes.

Clogging of the bronchial tubes with waste matter

The real cause of this disorder, however, is clogging of the bronchial tubes with waste matter. This is due to wrong feeding habits. The reason for higher incidence of cough during winter than in other seasons is that an average person usually eats more of catarrh-forming foods such as white bread, meat, sugar, porridge, puddings, and pies during the colder months of the year. Being overclothed with heavy undergarments and other garments during this period also prevents proper aeration of the skin.

Cough treatment using Grapes

Grapes are one of the most effective home remedies for the treatment of a cough. Grapes tone up the lungs and act as an expectorant, relieving a simple cold and cough in a couple of days. A cup of grape juice mixed with a teaspoon of honey is advised for cough relief.

Cough treatment using Almonds

Almonds are useful for dry coughs. Seven kernels should be soaked in water overnight and the brown skin removed. They should then be ground well to form a fine paste. A quantity of twenty grams each of butter and sugar should then be added to the paste. This paste should be taken in the morning and evening.

Cough treatment using Onion

The use of raw onion is valuable in a cough. This vegetable should be chopped fine and the juice extracted from it. One teaspoon of the juice should then be mixed with one teaspoon of honey and kept for four or five hours-it will make an excellent cough syrup and should be taken twice daily. Onions are also useful in removing phelgm. A medium-sized onion should be crushed, the juice of one lemon added to it, and then one cup of boiling water poured on it. A teaspoon of honey can be added for taste. This remedy should be taken two or three times a day.

Cough treatment using Turmeric

The root of the turmeric plant is useful in a dry cough. The root should he roasted and powdered. This powder should be taken in three gram doses twice daily, in the morning and evening.

Cough treatment using Belleric Myroblan

The herb belleric myroblan is a household remedy for a cough. A mixture comprising two grams of the pulp of the fruit, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of long pepper, and 2 teaspoons of honey should be administered for the treatment of this condition twice daily. The dried fruit covered with wheat flour and roasted , is another popular remedy for cough condition.

Cough treatment using Raisins

A sauce prepared from raisins is also useful in a cough. This sauce is prepared by grinding 100 gm of raisins with water. About 100 gm of sugar should be mixed with it and the mixture heated. When the mixture acquires a sauce-like consistency, it should be preserved. Twenty grams should be taken at bedtime daily.

Cough treatment using Aniseed

Aniseed is another effective remedy for a hard dry cough with difficult expectoration. It breaks up the mucus. A tea made from this spice should be taken regularly for treating this condition.

Dietaries for Cough

Orange juice and water

In the case of a severe cough, the patient should fast on orange juice and water till the severity is reduced. The procedure is to take the juice of an orange diluted in a cup of warm water, every two hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

All-fruit diet

After the juice fast, the patient should adopt an all-fruit diet for two or three days. In case of a mild cough, the patient can begin with an all-fruit diet for five to seven days, taking three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits such as apples, pears, grapes, grape-fruit, oranges, pineapples, peaches, and melons. For drinks, unsweetened lemon water, or cold or hot plain water may be given.

Well-balanced diet with emphasis on wholegrain cereals, lightly cooked vegetables

After the all-fruit diet, the patient should follow a well-balanced diet, with emphasis on wholegrain cereals, raw or lightly cooked vegetables, and fresh fruits.

Avoid tea, coffee, refined and processed foods

The patient should avoid meats, sugar, tea, coffee, condiments, pickles, refined and processed foods. He should also avoid soft drinks, candies, ice-cream, and all products made from sugar and while flour.

Introducing – Garlic

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a plant closely related to onions, leeks, and chives. Extracts of the bulb and clove are sometimes used medicinally.

In herbal medicine, garlic is typically used to treat or prevent these conditions:

 Heart disease

 Cancer

 Infections

 Colds

 

Research suggests that garlic may help fight the following health problems:

1) High Cholesterol

A number of studies have shown that regular intake of garlic may lead to moderate changes in cholesterol levels. In a 2009 review that analyzed the results of 29 clinical trials, for instance, researchers found that garlic appears to reduce total cholesterol to a modest extent. A study published in 2000, however, indicates that although garlic is superior to a placebo in lowering total cholesterol levels, the use of garlic in treatment of high cholesterol is of “questionable value.”

2) High Blood Pressure

Garlic preparations are more effective than a placebo when it comes to reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension, according to a 2008 review and analysis of 25 studies. However, another review (published in 2009) concluded that garlic should not be recommended as a blood pressure-lowering remedy for hypertensive patients.

3) The Common Cold

Garlic may help fend off colds, suggests a 2001 study. For 12 weeks during cold season, 146 volunteers took either a daily garlic supplement or a placebo. By the end of the study period, 24 colds were reported in the garlic group, compared to 65 in the placebo group.

4) Colorectal and Stomach Cancer

In a 2001 review of 19 studies on garlic consumption and cancer incidence, researchers found that regular intake of garlic (in raw, cooked, or supplement form) may help prevent stomach and colorectal cancers.

While garlic is generally considered safe, possible adverse effects include:

 Upset stomach

 Headache

 Fatigue

 Diarrhea

 

Since garlic thins the blood, it’s important to discontinue use at least seven days before undergoing surgery. Garlic may also interact with a number of medications, including insulin, anticoagulants, immunosuppressive agents, and protease inhibitors.

How to Use Garlic

Garlic supplements (as well as topically applied garlic oils, often used in treatment of ear infections) are sold in many health food stores and drugstores. Eating chopped or crushed raw garlic may also offer medicinal benefits.

FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL ISSUES  

PLEASE SEE THE POST ON “POLICOSANOL” – NATURE’S STATIN

Could This Forbidden Medicine Eliminate the Need for Drugs?

By: Amy Lansky, PhD    www.impossiblecure.com

    Perhaps the most derided of alternative medicines is my own favorite – homeopathy. Over the past few years, detractors have focused their efforts in the United Kingdom and have succeeded in crippling homeopathic hospitals and clinics funded by the National Health Service, as well as the practices of many homeopaths.

    A few well-placed editorials in prominent newspapers have done the trick, despite the fact that Prince Charles and the rest of the royal family are ardent supporters of homeopathy.

    It now seems that some of these folks are taking their show on the road. Two key UK players, Michael Baum and Edzard Ernst have published a commentary in the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Medicine [1] in which they state, “a belief in homeopathy exceeds the tolerance of an open mind. We should start from the premise that homeopathy cannot work and that positive evidence reflects publication bias or design flaws until proved otherwise.”

    Not surprisingly, their commentary also reflects a complete ignorance of homeopathy and the range of studies that support its effectiveness. For example, their article incorrectly uses the term “potentation” instead of “potentization” for the method used to create homeopathic remedies (more on this later). The authors also insist on citing a single negative meta-analysis study that has already been shown to be methodologically flawed [2], while ignoring many positive studies in respected publications, including two other meta-analyses that showed positive results [3—8].

    So why do the skeptics love to hate homeopathy? Perhaps because it is one of the most threatening alternative modalities – financially, philosophically, and therapeutically. Actually, homeopathy has been a threat to allopathy ever since the 1800s, when German physician Samuel Hahnemann developed the homeopathic system.

Founder of Homeopathy

    Hahnemann, a respected doctor and chemist who helped to pioneer the importance of hygiene as well as homeopathy, was forced to move frequently during his life because the local German apothecaries objected to the fact that he created his own medicines rather than use theirs.

    A fierce battle was also waged against homeopathy in the United States during the 1800s, where homeopathy had achieved a strong presence by 1840. In fact, in 1847, the American Medical Association (AMA) was formed specifically to fight the battle against homeopathy.

    Most homeopaths of the 1800s were former allopaths who had abandoned their brethren because they found Hahnemann’s system to be more successful in battling cholera, typhus, yellow fever, diptheria, influenza, and other epidemics of the 1800s. In retaliation, the preamble to the AMA’s charter forbade its members to associate with homeopaths or to use their medicines, and many doctors were expelled for failing to comply.

    But does homeopathy really pose such a threat to conventional medicine today? To see how the little David of homeopathy could take down the Goliath of big pharma, we need to take a closer look at what homeopathy is all about.

Like Cures Like – – Law of Similars

    Homeopathic practice is based on a single law of therapeutics called the Law of Similars. This law states that a substance that can cause the symptoms of a disease can also cure it. In fact, that’s exactly what word “homeopathy” means: similar (“homeo”) suffering (“pathy”). For example, one reason that the remedy Coffea Cruda (made from coffee) can be curative for insomnia is that coffee can cause sleeplessness. Interestingly, allopaths sometimes utilize the Law of Similars, but are unaware of it when they do and are perplexed by the phenomenon.

    Ask any conventional doctor why Ritalin (a substance that would normally cause hyperactivity) can treat hyperactivity in children, and they’ll scratch their heads in confusion. Ask a homeopath, and it’s a no-brainer: the Law of Similars.

    The reason why homeopaths run into trouble with the skeptics, though, revolves around how homeopathic remedies are prepared. Obviously, many of the substances that can cause the symptoms of disease are toxic. This inherent toxicity poses a challenge if you want to administer these substances safely.

    In an effort to deal with this problem, Hahnemann tried various methods of diluting his medicines so that they would become less harmful to his patients. This proved unsuccessful until he also incorporated vigorous shaking or succussion into the process. The result was a method that he called potentization, in which a substance is serially diluted and succussed over and over.

    Much to Hahnemann’s own surprise, these ultradilutions – so dilute that they cannot possibly contain a single molecule of the original substance – were still potent therapeutically. In fact, they were even more potent than low levels of dilution.

    Of course, this was and still is too much for the skeptics to bear. It turns much of accepted science on its head!

    What the skeptics keep ignoring, however, are an increasing number of scientific studies that indicate that some kind of signature of the original substance is embedded in a potentized ultradilution. In a 2007 paper by Professor Rustom Roy, the founding director of the Materials Research Laboratory at Penn State and one of the world’s leading experts on the structure of water, it was demonstrated that lab instruments could pick up energetic signatures in ultradilutions that were not only specific to individual homeopathic remedies, but to specific potencies of these remedies [9, 10].

    Indeed, science has backed up the phenomenon of potentization for over 20 years. In 1988, Nobel Prize nominee and medical researcher Jacques Benveniste turned the course of his life upside down when he discovered that ultradilutions could retain substance-specific properties. In particular, he found that a certain antibody could be serially diluted and succussed beyond the point where a single molecule could remain, but still cause the same effects [11].

    Naturally, the skeptics quickly attacked Benveniste. But he continued his work and further demonstrated that the electromagnetic signature of an ultradilution could be recorded electronically, transmitted via Email, replayed into water, and still achieve the same substance-specific effects in the laboratory [12]. Eventually, Benveniste’s results were replicated [13]. Most recently, a 2009 paper by Nobel Prize winner Luc Montagnier underscored the power of ultradilutions too [14].

Drug Companies are Running Scared

 Now think about it. This is what big pharma is scared of.

    What if an expensive drug could be potentized to create billions of effective doses at essentially no cost? It would destroy big pharma entirely. Medicines that cost essentially nothing? Nontoxic ultradiluted medicines that cause fewer side effects? How could the coffers of big pharma be sustained? Forget about the Law of Similars. It’s potentization – the process of creating effective ultradilutions – that big pharma is scared of! No wonder Baum and Ernst got the word “potentization” wrong. This one word is the small stone that could take Goliath down.

    Of course, homeopaths add fuel to the fire. The fundamental philosophy of homeopathy implies that the primary tools of allopathy are harmful. In particular, homeopaths believe that suppressing symptoms with anti-pathic drugs – drugs that oppose the symptoms of a disease rather than mimic them – cannot cure and can even do harm. If a symptom is suppressed – for example, if a seasonal allergy is suppressed by an antihistamine – it is only temporarily palliated.

    A patient still has allergic tendencies and his or her symptoms will eventually return. That’s why suppressive drugs must be taken again and again. And of course, big pharma loves that! It’s good for business.

Deceptive Cures

    Unfortunately, if a substance succeeds in completely suppressing a symptom, there may be an illusion of “cure,” but the real result is more sinister. Another key tenet of homeopathy is that the true result of suppression is a deepening of the underlying disease state – because the energy of the disease is now forced to manifest in a more serious way.

    That’s why repeated application of cortisone cream to eczema can lead to asthma. That’s why the suppression of arthritis pain can lead to heart disease. That’s why teenagers who take acne drugs sometimes develop suicidal depression.

    Doctors call this phenomenon a “side effect” or a “natural disease progression.” But that’s because they don’t understand the effects of suppression or the signs of true cure.

    Over the past two hundred years, homeopaths have discovered that homeopathic medicines – drugs that mimic a person’s symptoms rather than oppose them – can lead to genuine cure of chronic disease, not mere palliation or suppression. Rather than creating a deeper disease, a homeopathic medicine that is similar to a patient’s disease can not only cure it, but reveal previously suppressed layers of disease that can be treated too.

    That’s why good homeopathic treatment can often cure asthma – and also reveal and treat previously suppressed eczema. That’s why it has the potential to cure arthritis and chronic bladder infections, not simply palliate them with endless medications. Indeed, homeopathy can effectively treat acute diseases like influenza and bacterial infections too. With its ability to successfully treat both chronic and acute disease with low-cost medicines, homeopathy really could be a threat to big pharma, given half a chance.

Ideal for Poor Countries or Rich Ones with Declining Economies

    Poor countries with less access to expensive drugs have already discovered this. That’s why homeopathy is the second most widespread form of medicine in the world. In India, homeopathy is a full-fledged medical system with its own medical schools and hospitals. Homeopaths in India successfully treat the full range of diseases, including AIDS, cancer, and malaria.

    In Cuba, a poor country with a health care system that often does better than our own, homeopathy is being used more and more. In 2008, 2.5 million Cubans were given a homeopathic remedy to prevent Leptospirosis, an infectious disease also known as swamp fever.

    This disease has plagued the country for several years in the aftermath of flooding, but the year in which homeopathy was used, in contrast to previous years, there were no fatalities and very few cases of the disease [15].

    But here’s the rub. Homeopathy is harder to practice than allopathy. There are no cookie-cutter cures, especially for chronic disease. (Luckily, however, effective treatment of epidemic diseases like the flu is easier; see Resources.) Each patient’s health pattern is unique, so each patient must be treated as an individual.

    A homeopath must find a single remedy (among thousands of possible homeopathic remedies) whose associated symptoms match those of the patient – not just their main complaint, but their entire symptom picture that includes emotional, mental, behavioral, as well as the physical symptoms of the entire body. It’s a daunting task. A practitioner who practices classical homeopathy (the kind of homeopathy I advocate) typically needs at least two hours for an initial case interview and may spend just as long deciding upon a remedy.

    And sometimes it takes a homeopath several tries to find just the right remedy – the one that homeopaths call the simillimum. This process also requires patients to engage in their own treatment, because symptoms are gathered not by machines or by using tests, but through direct communication between patient and homeopath.

    Of course, this is not something big pharma, conventional doctors, or insurance companies would be happy about. No expensive medicines or tests or equipment needed? No five-minute appointments reimbursed at $300 a shot? A medical system that requires long appointments, time for case analysis, and patients who must participate in the healing process? Not very lucrative.

How I Broke Out of the Mold and Reliance on Failed Medical Therapies

    Of course, I used to be a lover of conventional medicine like most people. Back in the early 1990s, my husband Steve Rubin and I were both computer researchers in Silicon Valley and followed our doctors’ instructions obediently, loading our kids up with every recommended vaccine on schedule. Our allopathic trance began to break in 1994 when our 3-year-old son Max began to show signs of autism.

    I first read about homeopathy in the January 1995 issue of Mothering Magazine, which contained an article about the successful homeopathic treatment of ADD and other children’s behavioral problems [16]. Steve and I decided to give it a try and found a practitioner in our area. Within a week we began to see small and subtle improvement in Max – improvement that became a slow and steady trend. After two years of treatment, he was testing normally and was released from eligibility for special education benefits.

    His speech and language therapist told the county representative that she had never seen an autistic child recover like Max had, and she fully credited homeopathy for his recovery. By the time he was eight, nearly all signs of Max’s autism were gone. Today he is 18, a freshman at a leading university, completely autism free, and without restrictions of any kind.

    Needless to say, this experience was both mind-boggling and life-transforming. I began to study homeopathy myself and ultimately wrote what became the best-selling patient education book in the USA – Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy [17] – a comprehensive introduction to homeopathic history, philosophy, science, and experience, sprinkled with dozens first-person cure stories for a variety of ailments, along with a chapter about Max’s cure.

    In the end, I left my work in computer science and devoted myself to letting others know about the healing powers of homeopathy. I got involved in the successful campaign for health freedom legislation in California too [18]. Steve also got involved and developed the National Vaccine Information Center’s online interface to the VAERS database [19] (the CDC’s public record of vaccine injuries). I guess Max’s healing led us both to become alternative medicine activists, and we haven’t looked back.

Conclusion

    So why not take a look at homeopathy for yourself? Make it your New Year’s resolution to find a good classical practitioner and to learn more about this amazing medical modality. The skeptics manage to create a lot of smoke in an effort to hide homeopathy from public view. But where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Find out about how this powerful healing system – a system that packs a lot of firepower into an infinitesimal punch – can help you and your family.

Resources

    (1) Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy – www.impossiblecure.com.

    This website includes: book ordering information; autism help page; free archive of Amy’s show on AutismOne Radio – There’s Hope with Homeopathy; Cure Stories Database; helpful links.

    (2) National Center for Homeopathy – www.nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org.

    Leading open-membership organization for homeopathy in the USA that organizes the yearly national conference. Membership buys a quarterly magazine, Homeopathy Today, monthly eNewsetter, online chats with leading experts, extensive online resources and social network. Website includes many free resources, including practitioner and resource referrals lists and flu treatment information.

Statin Use Reduces Heart Attacks, Deaths After Surgery on Blood Vessels

ROTTERDAM – Score another victory for the cheap, cholesterol-lowering wonder drugs known as statins. People getting an artery unclogged or repaired were much less likely to die or have a heart attack afterward if they took preventive doses of the pills before and after their operations, a Dutch study showed.

Patients given Lescol had half the risk of having a heart attack or dying of a heart problem in the following month compared to those given dummy pills, the study found.

“You get a bonus with the treatment of statins,” said Dr. Don Poldermans, who led the study at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The results are in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Statins are widely prescribed to reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Doctors wanted to see if statins could also protect against heart problems that are a common complication of blood vessel surgery — operations like repairing a bulging abdominal artery or unclogging arteries in the neck.

The stress of surgery on arteries can destabilize plaque buildup, causing it to rupture and blood clots to form, particularly in heart arteries. Statins are thought to help by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the plaque.

The researchers enrolled nearly 500 patients who were not on statins and were going to have operations on their aorta or leg or neck arteries. For about a month before and a month after their surgery, half the patients took a statin; the rest got a dummy pill.

Within a month of the operation, 12 patients in the statin group, about 5 percent, had died or had heart attacks, compared to 25 patients, or 10 percent, of those who took a dummy pill. Other signs of heart damage also were less common among those who had taken statins. There was no difference in side effects between the two groups.

When the study began in 2004, Poldermans said, statins were not as widely recommended as they are today for people with peripheral artery disease — stiff and narrow arteries, often in the legs. The patients in the study probably weren’t on statins before their surgery because their cholesterol levels were normal or near normal, he said.

“There’s no reason whatsoever to withhold statins anymore” from these patients,” Poldermans said.

Current guidelines recommend the drugs for everyone with peripheral artery disease, regardless of the need for surgery.

The Dutch study was partially funded by Swiss drug maker Novartis, which makes and supplied Lescol, also known as fluvastatin. Poldermans has received grants and consulting fees from Novartis; two other researchers have received fees and grants from medical companies.

Other statins on the market would likely achieve a comparable effect, said Dr. Alan T. Hirsch, director of the vascular medicine program at the Minneapolis Heart Institute and a spokesman for the American Heart Association. He said statins aren’t being used enough in people with peripheral artery disease, and he hopes the study draws attention to their benefits at the time of surgery, as well as throughout the lifetime of the patient.

“A statin is a seat belt when you drive a damaged artery,” he said.

US TELEMEDICINE RECOMMENDS “POLICOSANOL” AS A NATURAL STATIN.

SEE THIS BLOG FOR POSTING ON “POLICOSANOL”.

Males Experience Loss of Libido During Hepatitis-C Therapy

WASHINGTON – Loss of libido and impaired sex is common among those undergoing antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis C, according to a new study.

This is the first time a study evaluating the combination therapy, peginterferon and ribavirin, has identified sexual dysfunction (inability to fully enjoy sexual intercourse) as a side effect.

The therapy has the potential to affect all three components of sexual health: desire, function and satisfaction.

Before therapy, 37 percent of men reported at least some degree of diminished desire, while 44 percent reported dissatisfaction with their sexual life. Besides, 22 percent reported poor erection and 26 percent reported poor ejaculation.

The average onset of sexual dysfunction appeared to be within four weeks of starting antiviral therapy, and many patients reported a gradual worsening over time.

At the end of therapy (24 or 48 weeks), an estimated 38 percent to 48 percent of men reported that overall sexual function was worse than before treatment.

As part of the Study of Viral Resistance to Antiviral Therapy of Chronic Hepatitis C (VIRAHEP-C), 260 men treated with peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin completed self-administered questionnaires concerning sexual desire, sexual function – including erectile and ejaculatory function – and sexual satisfaction before, during and after treatment.

These findings were presented in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

Reduce the Side Effects of Antibiotics

If you’ve got a bacterial infection, taking a course of antibiotics should help restore you to health. But these powerful drugs (which include penicillin, amoxicillin, and tetracycline, to name a few) can cause some unpleasant side effects, such as yeast overgrowth and gastrointestinal trouble.

The first step in protecting yourself from these adverse effects is to avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics. Since antibiotics can only treat bacterial infections (like strep throat, urinary tract infections, and severe sinus infections), they won’t be effective against viral infections that cause the common cold, flu, or bronchitis. In addition to the risk of unnecessary side effects, inappropriate use of antibiotics can promote the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and leave you vulnerable to incurable infections later on.

If you find yourself in need of antibiotics, however, you might want to consider ways to reduce your risk of side effects.

Complementary Care for Antibiotics Users

Here are three ways to support your system while you’re on antibiotics.

1) Probiotic Supplements

Antibiotics don’t just kill the bacteria causing your sickness; they also wipe out beneficial bacteria (called probiotics) that contribute to a healthy digestive system. Taking a probiotic supplement could help prevent gastrointestinal problems resulting from antibiotic use, according to a research review published in 2008. Probiotics, also found in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, can help stave off yeast infections as well.

2) Herbal Tea

If you experience nausea while taking antibiotics, try sipping ginger tea to soothe your stomach. Another common complaint among patients on antibiotics? Loose stools, which may be relieved by drinking raspberry leaf tea.

3) Milk Thistle

Taking antibiotics can tax your liver, which is responsible for breaking down the medications you ingest. The herb milk thistle has been associated with protective antioxidant effects on the liver.

Prevent Bacterial Infection

To reduce your risk of bacterial infections and lower your chances of having to use antibiotics, strengthen your immune system by following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and managing your stress with the help of relaxation techniques.