Iodine: An in-depth guide to its potential benefits

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Iodine is abundant in foods like sea vegetables and grass fed yogurt, but it can also be found in high-quality supplements
  • This mineral is needed by your body to produce thyroid hormones essential for optimal function. Iodine also helps ensure proper fetal and infant development
  • Sadly, iodine deficiency is a rising problem in many parts of the world due to multiple environmental and lifestyle factors

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Five Tips to Soothe and Relieve Dry Skin during Cold Months

 

mmCold weather, low humidity levels and wind are factors that can really dry out and damage your skin, especially when central heaters are used at home. How can one alleviate dryness and help skin stay moist and healthy through the coldest months of the year? Continue reading

How to Find Out if You’re Deficient in Vitamin D

Vitamin D is extremely important to your health. You’ve likely heard a lot about it-that it comes from the sun and you should try and get as much of it as you can-but many are still unsure as to why it’s so essential.

Vitamin D plays a multi-faceted role in the overall functioning of a healthy body. It strengthens bones and muscles, kills harmful bacteria in the mouth, and has been shown to have positive effects on chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and even cancer. Furthermore, it allows a host of other vitamins to effectively do their job within the body. Vitamin D works in unison with other vitamins Continue reading

How Chinese Medicine Practitioners Can Diagnose Based on Touch

How will a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner discover precisely what is wrong with your health and how to heal it? They use a special brand of diagnosis. In part three of this series, we look at touch and, in particular, what your pulse reveals.

The practitioner will feel and tap certain areas of the body, on the arms, legs, shoulders, and midsection, to figure out what’s happening in a few specific areas: Continue reading

Recovery from H1N1 Using High Doses of Vitamin C

Did You Know…

… that a common vitamin brought an Australian farmer back from the brink of death in a 1-in-a-BILLION recovery?

In King Country, New Zealand, a dairy farmer named Alan Smith earned himself the nickname Miracle Man due to his Continue reading

Seven Ways to Use Honey for Whatever Ails You

Lots of us may like to use a little honey as a sweetener for our morning coffee, toast or tea, but there are several uses for this tasty little treat – in its pure, raw, non-pasteurized form, it can do more than just bring a smile to our face.

Manuka honey as the new ‘superfood.’ What is Manuka honey, Continue reading

Five Foods for Healthy Skin

Although the cosmetic industry would have us believe otherwise, beautiful skin doesn’t come from a jar full of perfumed chemicals. Beyond being born with great genes, the best thing you can do for your skin is to eat a healthy diet. Learn how to enhance your skin from the inside out by eating foods that will make your epidermis glow with health. Try adding these foods to your diet to both feel and look better.

Chia Seeds: Chia offers a multitude of health benefits. The word chia derives from the Aztec word for oily. Chia seeds offer high levels of omega-3 acids which the human body needs but cannot produce and which only come from a few dietary sources.

Without omega-3’s, people can suffer from poor circulation and dry skin, as well as heart problems, fatigue, Continue reading

8 things your Hair tells about your Health

Our hair says a lot more about us than how closely we follow the latest styles and its health could be a major tip-off to a wide variety of health conditions,say experts.

“We used to think hair was just dead protein, but now we understand that a whole host of internal conditions affect the health of our hair,” said dermatologist Victoria Barbosa, Millennium Park Dermatology in Chicago.

Here are the eight things that would tell you it’s time to pay more attention to the health of your hair and to your overall health in general.

1. Dry, limp, thin-feeling hair

What it means: Many factors can lead to over-dry hair, including hair dyes, hair blowers, and swimming in chlorinated water. But a significant change in texture that leaves hair feeling finer, with less body can be an indicator of an underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism.

More clues: Other signs of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, slow heart rate, and feeling cold all the time, said Raphael Darvish, a dermatologist in Brentwood, California.

What to do: Get the levels of thyroid hormone checked. The most common blood tests measure the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and T4.

2. Scaly or crusty patches on the scalp, often starting at the hairline

What it means: When a thick crust forms on the scalp, this usually indicates psoriasis, which can be distinguished from other dandruff-like skin conditions by the presence of a thickening, scab-like surface, said Lawrence Greene, a spokesperson for the National Psoriasis Foundation.

More clues: Psoriasis often occurs in concert with other autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. If you have another autoimmune disorder, it’s that much more likely you’ll develop psoriasis.

What to do: There’s a long list of ingredients that help relieve psoriasis, and treatment is often a process of trial and error. Topical treatments include shampoos containing coal tar or salicylic acid, and creams or ointments containing zinc and aloe vera. Hydrocortisone cream works to relieve inflammation. Prescription creams include vitamin D, vitamin A, and anthralin. Many patients also have great success treating the scalp with UV light therapy, and systemic medications such as cyclosporine work better for some people than topical medications.

3. Thinning hair over the whole head

What it means: When you notice considerably more hairfall, a common cause could be a sudden psychological or physical stressor, such as a divorce or job loss. Another could be having a high fever from the flu or an infection. Diabetes can also cause hair to thin or start to fall out suddenly.
A number of medications and hormonal changes also cause hair loss as a side effect.

What to do: If you have what experts call temporary hair loss-to distinguish from hereditary hair loss, which is likely to be permanent-you’ll need to discontinue the medication or treat the underlying condition that’s causing the problem. Vitamin D can help hair follicles recover.

4. Overall hair loss that appears permanent, often following traditional pattern baldness

What it means: Both women and men are subject to what’s formally known as androgenetic and androgenic alopecia. It’s usually caused by a change in the pattern of the sex hormones, but diseases and other underlying conditions can cause this type of hair loss by affecting the hormones.

Men’s hair loss nearly always follows a pattern of thinning along the hairline, at the temples, and in the back of the scalp. Some women’s hair loss also follows this pattern, but more typically women experience thinning over the entire head.

More clues: Many drugs taken long-term to control chronic conditions can have a side effect, in some people, of causing or contributing to hair loss. They include beta blockers such as propranolol and atenolol, anticoagulants like warfarin, and many drugs used to control arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions.

What to do: If you suspect a medication is causing or exacerbating your hair loss, try and find an alternative for it.

5. Dry, brittle hair that breaks off easily

What it means: When individual hair litters your pillow in the morning, this typically indicates breakage rather than hair falling out from the follicle, said Chicago dermatologist Victoria Barbosa. Breakage is most frequently the result of hair becoming over-brittle from chemical processing or dyeing.

However, certain health conditions also lead to brittle, fragile hair. Among them: Cushing’s syndrome, a disorder of the adrenal glands that causes excess production of the hormone cortisol. A condition called hypoparathyroidism, usually either hereditary or the result of injury to the parathyroid glands during head and neck surgery, can also cause dry, brittle hair.

More clues: If the cause of your dry, brittle hair is an underlying health condition, you’ll likely notice additional symptoms, such as dry, flaky skin. Overly dry hair also can signify that your diet is lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in salmon and fish oil, as well as many nuts and seeds, particularly flaxseed.

What to do: No matter what the cause of your dry, brittle hair, minimizing heat and chemical treatment are necessary for it to get healthy again. If an underlying condition is throwing your hormones out of whack and in turn affecting your hair, talk to your doctor. The symptoms of hypoparathyroidism, for example, are often reduced or eliminated with supplemental vitamin D and calcium.

6. Hair falling out in small, circular patches

What it means: The body’s immune response turns on the hair follicles themselves, shrinking them and causing hair to fall out entirely in small, typically round patches. This kind of hair loss — which experts call alopecia areata-can also occur at the temples or at the part line.

More clues: Alopecia areata can also cause the eyebrows or eyelashes to fall out, which in addition to the circular pattern can distinguish it from other types of hair loss.
What to do: The treatment most proven to work against alopecia areata is cortisone shots delivered directly into the scalp in the spots where the hair is falling out. “If you don’t get steroid injections, the circular patches will get larger and more cosmetically noticeable,” said California dermatologist Raphael Darvish.

7. Yellowish flakes on the hair and scaly, itchy patches on the scalp

What it means: Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory condition of the scalp that causes skin to develop scaly patches, often in the areas where the scalp is oiliest. When the flaky skin loosens, it leaves the telltale “dandruff” flakes.

More clues: One way to differentiate seborrheic dermatitis from plain dry skin: When skin is dry, you’ll typically also see dry, scaly skin between the eyebrows and by the sides of the nose, said Darvish. Also, seborrheic dermatitis tends to be seasonal, flaring up during the winter and disappearing in the summertime. It may be triggered by stress as well.

What to do: If it’s seborrheic dermatitis “there are great prescription shampoos and creams that can correct this,” said Darvish. The most effective treatment for yeast overgrowth is ketoconazole, a newer drug that works by damaging the fungal cell wall, killing the fungus.

8. Gray hair
What it means: Many people perceive gray hair is an indication of stress or trauma. Many researchers now believe that stress may trigger a chain reaction that interferes with how well the hair follicle transmits melanin, the pigment that colors hair.

More clues: The schedule and pattern by which you go gray will most likely follow your parents’ experience. However, if you suspect stress is graying you prematurely, keep careful track of stressful events.

What to do: If you believe that stress or trauma is causing your hair to go gray, boost your coping strategies by working on your reactions to stressful situations. Yoga and meditation, for example, are effective stress-management tools.

Home Remedies Series – Dry Skin

Home Remedies Series – Dry Skin

So how do you determine if you have dry skin? Here are some things to look out for:

• Your skin feels tight and stretched, especially after washing.

• You get a frequent urge to itch your skin.

• Your skin has visible white marks on it, or these white marks appear when you itch your skin.

Causes of Dry Skin

Dry skin is primarily caused due to a lack of natural oils (sebum) being secreted by the pores of the skin. It may also be caused due to an insufficient intake of water and other fluids. Prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures or harsh chmilk bath, emicals can also result in dry skin. An improper or insufficient diet may also lead to dry skin. Prolonged exposure to the sun or prolonged submersion in water, especially sea water, can also dry out your skin.

There are a number of simple home remedies that can be used to combat dry skin. Let us take a look at some of them.

• The best way to ensure that your skin doesn’t become dry is to keep it moisturized. Use a moisturizing cream and apply it liberally over the affected areas of your skin, especially after you bathe.

• A hot water bath may feel wonderful in the winters, but it also dries out your skin more than normal water. Keep these hot water baths to a minimum or apply some body oil before you bathe so that your skin doesn’t lose all its precious moisture.

• An occasional bath in milk is a royal treat and also does wonders for dry skin.

Diet for Dry Skin

Here are some dietary tips that will help to keep your skin moisturized in these cold winter months.

• Drink plenty of water and fluids. This is the best thing you can do to keep dry skin at bay.

• Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol. Although alcohol might make you feel all warm during these cold winter months, it doesn’t do good for the rest of your body, including your skin.

• Vitamins A,D, and E can do wonders for your skin. Consume them in the form of capsules or through your diet.

 Other Suggestions for Dry Skin

These tips will ensure that your skin stays moist and supple in the coldest of days.

• Smoking is an absolute no-no when you’ve got dry skin. Smoking further dries out the skin and makes it parched and leathery.

• Avoid keeping the temperature setting in your room too high. Also use a humidifier to keep the air moist.

• Harsh chemicals such as those used in detergents and soaps can really play havoc with your skin. Use natural soaps to bathe and wear gloves when you’re washing dishes or clothes.