Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Chiropratic Care & MS: Perfect Together!


Multiple sclerosis, also known as MS, is an autoimmune disease where the immune system begins to destroy the outer layer of tissue that surrounds and protects the nerves, also known as myelin, in the brain and spinal cord. The deterioration of the myelin obstructs any communication between the nerves and brain. When the myelin is attacked, not only is the brain/body connection completely disrupted, but the nerves are eventually destroyed, resulting in debilitating complications.

Some of these symptoms include muscle spasms, stiffness, paralysis, problems with the reproductive organs concerning bathroom and sexual behavior, changes in brain function, including memory loss, erratic emotions, depression and even epilepsy. What is most unsettling about the disease is that it has the ability to affect virtually anyone at any age.

However, although it is unknown why multiple sclerosis affects certain people over others, there are certain trends that the disease seems to follow concerning infection. Caucasian women between the ages of 15 and 60 seem to be affected more than anyone else. There are is also evidence that suggests that if your parent or sibling has had the disease, then you have a greater chance of also coming down with it. The disease has also been found to occur more in southern Canada, northern United States, New Zealand, southeastern Australia and Europe. There has also been a link between multiple sclerosis and thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. 

Living with multiple sclerosis is often described as debilitating due to its crippling symptoms. Many people suffering from MS become interested in alternative care in order to find some relief from the daily pain they experience. Although there is little scientific evidence as of right now, there have been many people living with MS that report getting alleviation from their incapacitating symptoms through chiropractic treatment. Patients claim to have higher energy, better muscular control and the ability to be more active in their daily life. Being able to diminish the pain plays a huge part in building confidence in patients with multiple sclerosis, which then aids in better management of the disease, according to doctor Nesanet Mitiku, MD, PhD. Mitiku encourages chiropractic care for patients who are interested in trying treatments, since it gives them a better outlook on living with the illness.

Although chiropractic doesn’t have the ability to treat the mental aspect of the disease, it  may be able to help with the physical side of MS. The nerve damage that occurs during the progression of multiple sclerosis can cause the spine and pelvis to become misaligned. Chiropractic manipulations may be able to realign both these skeletal areas, allowing the muscles to work more efficiently. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Eating Raw Organic Produce Can Give Your Gut a Healthy Boost

 When choosing organic or conventional produce, there's no simple comparison, even if it's apples to apples.

However, in a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, researchers found that when comparing conventionally grown apples to their organic counterparts, organic apples harbored a significantly more diverse bacteria population.

Conventional apples and organic apples both contained about the same amount of total bacteria, about 100 million per apple. But, that's only if you eat the whole thing — stem, seeds and all.

The production method dictated the types and variety of bacterial colonies.

And that can mean good things for gut health.

Raw Organic Fruits and Vegetables May Be Better for Your Gut

"Vegetables and fruits, especially when consumed raw, represent the most important source for a diverse microbial community, which is mandatory for a healthy gut microbiome and our immune system," said Birgit Wassermann, a PhD student at the Graz University of Technology in Austria, and first author of the study.

Wassermann and her fellow researchers chose to look at apples because of their immense popularity throughout the world.

About 83 million apples were grown in 2018 and production continues to grow. Raw fruits and vegetables are an important source of gut bacteria — cooking tends to kill off all the bacteria.

In the comparison of organic and conventional apples, not only was bacteria more diverse in organic production, but it was also associated with the presence of so-called "good" bacteria Lactobacillus, a common probiotic.

Conversely, conventional apples were more likely to have potentially pathogenic bacteria like Escherichia and Shigella, which are known to cause food poisoning symptoms like diarrhea and cramps.

"The highly diverse microbiome of organically managed apples might limit or hamper the abundance of human pathogens, simply by outcompeting them," said Wassermann. "Probably, the microbial pool organic apple trees are exposed to is more diverse and more balanced and potentially supports the plant also in resistance during pathogen attack."

When it comes to gut health, however, Wassermann explained that it's not as simple as choosing organic over conventional apples.

Such a simple inference can't be drawn from her work alone. Instead, she emphasizes that diverse populations of bacteria — whether found in nature, apples, or the human gut — tend to be more beneficial no matter the environment where they are found.

And for most people, simply eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is a more important first step than discriminating between apples.

"Organic or conventional? Pretty irrelevant. The main thing is that people eat more fresh produce in general," said Wassermann.

With a focus on bacteria and by extension, gut health, the research adds yet another lens through which to view the ongoing debate for consumers on how they choose to buy produce.

And the organic versus conventional debate is far from settled.

But as questions about the benefits of either method have become more nuanced — it's not as simple as saying one is "better" than the other — consumers now have more awareness about what they want out of their produce.

The debate over organic and conventional fruits and vegetables has primarily focused on four aspects: nutrition, environmental impact, cost to consumers, and pesticides.

Depending on how important these factors are to you should inform your purchasing choice rather than strictly choosing one over the other.

What Do ‘Organic’ and ‘Conventional’ Even Mean?

Organic is a label conferred by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on foods that are grown in accordance with certain federal guidelines. These guidelines include things like what kinds of pesticides can be used, soil additives, and how animals are raised.

Conventional refers to modern, industrial agriculture which includes the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms.

Some studiesTrusted Source have found that organic produce likely isn't any more nutritious than conventional, but it will reduce exposure to pesticides and harmful bacteria.

However, that's not to say that organic produce is completely free of pesticides — it's not.

Your choice should also be impacted by other health factors as well, such as pregnancy or other chronic conditions.

Studies in recent years have looked at the prevalence of pesticide exposure among pregnant women via produce, as well as the potential for prenatal pesticideTrusted Source exposure to lead to intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder.

For most consumers, a practical place to start is identifying which fruits and vegetables are more prone to having exposure to high amounts or different varieties of pesticides.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental and consumer advocacy group, annually publishes their list of the Dirty Dozen, which are the fruits and vegetables with the highest rates of pesticide contamination, and the Clean Fifteen, which are those with the lowest rates.

The worst offenders from 2019 include:

  • strawberries (coming in at #1)
  • spinach
  • kale
  • nectarines
  • apples

For the produce with the least amount of pesticide exposure, reach for:

  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • frozen sweet peas
  • onions

"I usually follow the EWG Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen designations," said Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, the manager of Wellness Nutrition Services at Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

"There are also certain things that I always recommend to purchase organic, like dairy productsTrusted Source and strawberries, as well as foods that I usually tell my clients to skip the cost and go with conventional, like produce with a significant outer layer such as pineapples or bananas," she said.

Organic foods may offer some health benefits, but they'll also cost more, and that's a major consideration for most families.

A 2015 study from Consumer Reports found that organic apples were anywhere from 20 to 60 percent more expensive than their conventional counterparts. Milk was similarly 20 to 64 percent and for things like organic strawberries and zucchinis, consumers could end up paying twice as much.

In short, choosing how and why to pick conventional or organic produce is a serious balancing act. But one thing is for certain: You should be eating more fruits and vegetables no matter how they are grown.

"The most important thing I tell my patients is this: Increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption is far more important than organic versus non-organic. If you choose not to eat fruits and vegetables because you can't afford organic, that's the wrong choice. Any fruits and vegetables are better than none," said Kirkpatrick.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Have a cuppa for your heart: Research shows regular tea drinkers maintain better cholesterol levels as they age

Natural News) Tea is a widely popular aromatic beverage that is consumed around the world. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN) claims that tea is the most widely consumed beverage worldwide, second only to water. 

But this beverage is more than just a drink to warm you up during cold weather. Tea is also highly appreciated for the plethora of health benefits it provides. For example, research has found that drinking a cuppa every day can bring with it some heart benefits.

Previous studies have established tea’s ability to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by decreasing blood levels of low-density lipoprotein or LDL – the so-called “bad” cholesterol that builds up in arteries. However, these studies have not answered how drinking tea affects “good” cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which helps carry LDL away from the arteries.

But a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that a daily cup of tea can slow down the natural decrease in HDL that is associated with aging.

The connection between drinking tea and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels

For this study, researchers from Pennsylvania State University (PSU) analyzed the relationship between tea consumption and blood HDL levels. They observed more than 80,000 people from the Kaliuan community in Tangshan, China over a six-year period. The researchers found that those who drank tea exhibited significantly slower age-related decreases in HDL levels. They associated this with an eight percent decrease in cardiovascular disease risk.

The researchers also discovered that green tea had a significantly stronger effect on heart health than black tea. This was despite both types of tea containing large amounts of polyphenols and catechins, compounds that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. (Related: A cup of tea or a handful of berries a day can help prevent heart disease.)

The link between increased tea consumption and the slower decline in HDL levels was observed in all participants, though it was more prominent in men and in those aged 60 and above who smoked, were obese or lived a sedentary lifestyle.
“We still observed a significant association in these people, which suggests that the observed association cannot be totally interpreted by someone’s overall healthy lifestyle,” said senior author Xiang Gao, who is also the director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Lab at PSU.

But the study had several limitations. The researchers’ findings were mostly based on self-reported information about general tea consumption (either monthly or weekly). The study also did not include dietary information like the consumption of meat, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, the study exclusively analyzed people from a particular Chinese community who don’t necessarily represent the nation’s entire population.
According to Judith Wylie-Rosett, a professor at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the study took “a cautious approach to endorsing the benefits” of drinking tea while analyzing its impact on HDL levels.

“We don’t tend to talk much about the decline in HDL cholesterol with age, and our main lifestyle strategies for trying to increase it are vigorous physical activity and losing weight,” she added. It’s nice to know that other lifestyle choices can help support these efforts.
Learn more about the health benefits of drinking tea at Superfoods.news.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A potential cholesterol-lowering agent in olive leaves?

(Natural News) Diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes, is now considered a global pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, the global prevalence of diabetes among adults has risen from five percent to nearly nine percent in 2014. Diabetes is a chronic condition that can cause blindness, heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke and even death. Statistics show that in 2016, diabetes directly caused the death of about 1.6 million people worldwide.

In recent years, studies involving plants with anti-diabetic properties have yielded significant results. One such study, which appeared in the journal Nutrition Research, focused on the health benefits of olive leaves, especially for prediabetics. Olives (Olea europaea) are widely known for their antioxidant, anti-cancer and cardioprotective properties, but researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan found that their leaves can also help with lipid metabolism.

Oleuropein, a phytonutrient that can lower blood lipid levels, is the most abundant antioxidant found in fresh, unripe olives. The study revealed that oleuropein is also present in olive leaves and has beneficial effects against dyslipidemia, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The link between obesity, diabetes and blood cholesterol

Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Research suggests that being overweight stresses the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), a cell organelle responsible for processing proteins. When the ER is overwhelmed by the influx of nutrients caused by overeating, it signals the cell to dampen down its insulin receptors. This causes the cell to become less responsive to insulin, eventually resulting in insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.

Besides blood sugar, diabetes is also known to affect blood lipid levels. People with diabetes tend to have lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and high levels of triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL). This condition, known as diabetic dyslipidemia, increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Diabetic dyslipidemia is a treatable risk factor for cardiovascular disease; however, people can develop atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease before they are diagnosed with diabetes.

Drinking olive leaf tea lowers blood lipid levels in prediabetics

In their previous study, the researchers reported that olive leaf tea (OLT) benefits obese and diabetic individuals but not healthy ones. They thus hypothesized that OLT may have a more pronounced effect on abdominal obesity, as well as glucose and lipid metabolism, in prediabetics.

 To test this hypothesis, the researchers recruited individuals 40 to 70 years old with a body mass index of 23 – 29.9 kilograms (kg)/square meters (m2). They randomly assigned the participants to either the OLT group or the low-concentration OLT (LOLT) group. The intervention, which involved consumption of 330 milliliters (mL) of OLT or LOLT thrice daily during mealtime, lasted for 12 weeks.

The researchers found that after the intervention, serum levels of triglycerides and LDL significantly decreased in the OLT group. These reductions were higher than those found in the LOLT group. Although body weight, waist circumference and insulin levels did not significantly change in both groups, the fasting blood sugar levels of the OLT group were more significantly reduced than those of the LOLT group. (Related: Olive Leaf Extract Proves Effective for Diabetes Treatment.)

Based on these results, the researchers concluded that OLT can effectively lower the blood lipid levels of prediabetics. Further studies, however, are needed to accurately determine the effect of olive leaves on abdominal obesity and glucose metabolism.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Spices and memory: Is garlic the key to improving cognitive health among the elderly?

(Natural News) Garlic is a popular spice known to have many health benefits. One of these benefits is the ability to improve cognitive health among older people. An animal study conducted by researchers from the University of Louisville found that a compound in garlic called allyl sulfide could help prevent age-related memory loss experienced by people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In particular, the compound helps counteract age-related changes in gut bacteria associated with memory problems.

The gut contains trillions of microorganisms collectively called the gut microbiota. These microorganisms are known to play an important role in maintaining human health. However, there is not much known about the health effects associated with changes in gut microbiota that come with age. As a person gets older, the diversity of the gut microbiota declines.
In the study, the researchers wanted to better understand how gut microbiota changes influence age-related cognitive decline. To do so, they fed 24-month old mice, which is equivalent to the age of people between 56 and 69 years, with allyl sulfide orally. Then, they compared these mice with four- and 24-month-old mice which did not receive the dietary allyl sulfide supplement.

The researchers saw that the older mice that received the garlic compound exhibited better long- and short-term memory, as well as healthier gut bacteria, compared with the older mice that did not receive the treatment. The two-year-old mice that did not receive the garlic compound also had impaired spatial memory.

In additional experiments, the researchers found that the reduced gene expression of neuronal-derived natriuretic factor (NDNF) in the brain was likely responsible for the cognitive decline. This gene, which was recently discovered by the researchers, is needed for long-term and short-term memory combination.
Moreover, the team found that mice that received allyl sulfide exhibited higher levels of NDNF gene expression. Recombinant-NDNF protein therapy in the brain also restored the cognitive function of the older mice that did not receive the garlic compound. Moreover, they found that the administration of allyl sulfide produced a hydrogen sulfide gas, which prevents inflammation in the intestines, in the gut lumen.
Taken together, the findings indicated that the intake of the garlic compound could enhance memory consolidation by restoring gut bacteria. The team continues to conduct experiments to better understand the relationship between the gut microbiota and cognitive decline. They also plan to look at whether garlic could be used as a treatment for age-related cognitive problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. They presented the current study’s findings at the American Physiological Society‘s annual meeting held in Orlando, Florida.

Other brain health benefits of garlic

For thousands of years, garlic has been used both for culinary and medicinal purposes. And over the years, scientists have uncovered and proven its health benefits, especially its benefits for the brain.

For one, garlic may help prevent brain cancer. It contains another compound called dilly trisulfide (DATS), which plays a role in reducing tumor growth in individuals with glioblastoma, the deadliest form of brain tumor. In a study published in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, the compound effectively prevented tumor progression and induced apoptosis or cell death in active human glioblastoma, without harming the liver.

Garlic can also improve blood flow to the brain by preventing blood clot formation. Blood clots are masses that occur when liquid blood hardens. A blood clot can block an artery or vein in the heart, which may also affect the neck or brain and lead to stroke. Eating garlic can help because it is an effective blood thinner, which works like aspirin, and can help regulate blood circulation.

Aside from garlic, there are many other spices that can boost brain function. These include turmeric, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and holy basil.

Sources include:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Used for eons, researchers study how red yeast rice prevents CVD

(Natural News) Red yeast rice is a traditional Chinese food commonly used for lowering cholesterol. It is also believed to help prevent cardiovascular disease. A review published in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicinesconfirmed that red yeast rice and its products could be used as a healthy functional food for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque or fatty deposits build up and clog the arteries, resulting in a thicker and narrower artery wall. Endothelial injury continues throughout the disease. Therefore, improving endothelial function is of essential in the prevention of the disease.

Researchers from the University of South ChinaThe Second Affiliated Hospital of Henan University of Science and Technology, and Beijing Anzhen Hospital of Capital Medical University reviewed existing evidence on the potential of red yeast rice and its related products in preventing and treating atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

Based on the evidence they have gathered, red yeast rice and its products help in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases because of their effectiveness and safety in improving lipid levels. Red yeast rice also reduces oxidative stress and inflammation while increasing nitric oxide (NO), which maintains normal vasodilatory function and helps prevent platelet aggregation and adhesion. These beneficial effects may be attributed to its compounds: polyketides, monounsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, isoflavones, condensed tannins, coenzyme Q10, microelements, and pigments, including ankaflavin, monascin, rubropunctatin, monascorubrin, rubropunctamine, and monascorubramine.

Other health benefits of red yeast rice

In addition to improving heart health, red yeast rice offers other health benefits. These include:
  • Helping to treat metabolic syndrome: Red yeast rice consumption may help reduce several risk factors for metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Human and animal studies have shown that supplementing with red yeast rice can help control levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, as well as prevent excessive weight gain.
  • Reducing inflammation: Although inflammation is a normal immune response that products the body against acute infection and foreign invaders, too much and prolonged inflammation can do more harm than good. Human and animal studies have shown that supplementing with red yeast rice may help reduce inflammation and fight oxidative stress in the body, promoting better health.
  • Warding off cancer: There is also some evidence on red yeast rice having anti-cancer properties. Animal and test-tube studies have reported that red yeast rice may help fight against cancer, particularly prostate cancer, by reducing tumor growth and the spread of prostate cancer cells.
For more studies on heart-healthy foods like red yeast rice, visit FoodCures.news.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Delicious medicine: Compounds in chocolate are good for your heart

(Natural News) Chocolates are some of the world’s best-loved sweets. They’re a comfort food for some and a guilty pleasure for others. But no matter how or why you choose to eat chocolates, you should know that they’re doing you more good than just making you feel happy or satisfying your cravings. According to a 2018 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutritioneating chocolates every day keeps your heart healthy.

Chocolates are good for your arteries
The study involved 45 male volunteers who were divided into three different groups. Each group was assigned a capsule to take with their breakfast every day for one month. Two of the three capsules contained different amounts of the two most studied compounds found in chocolate: (-)-epicatechin and procyanidins. Both compounds are flavonols or flavan-3-ols, a class of flavonoids found in many fruits and vegetables, including cocoa. (-)-Epicatechin and procyanidins are known antioxidants.

(-)-Epicatechin lowers blood pressure and reduces stiffness in arteries

When researchers from the University of Dusseldorf in Germany examined the effects of the compounds, they found that (-)-epicatechin improved endothelial function in the volunteers. It also lowered their blood pressure and reduced arterial stiffness. These results aligned with those of previous studies, particularly one made in the Netherlands which reported that men who consumed large amounts of (-)-epicatechin had a 38 percent lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease than men who consumed less (-)-epicatechin.

In contrast, the volunteers who took capsules with less (-)-epicatechin and more procyanidins did not receive the same benefits. “This demonstrates that the impact of CF (cocoa flavonols) on vascular health is linked to (?)-epicatechin and not to CF procyanidins,” wrote the researchers. (Related: Chocolate lowers blood pressure and slashes risk of heart disease.)

Procyanidins lower blood cholesterol levels

Procyanidins are not without their health benefits. Although volunteers who took large amounts of procyanidins did not experience a decrease in blood pressure or arterial stiffness, they did enjoy a reduction in blood cholesterol levels. This demonstrated that procyanidins still support heart health, albeit in an indirect way. The impact of procyanidins may not be immediately felt, but it’s still massive in the long run.
The researchers also explained that the role of procyanidins may have to do with the effect size of flavonols – that is, they protect and preserve (-)-epicatechin and other flavonols from degradation during food processing and storage, and in the gastrointestinal tract during digestion. The researchers noted that this might explain the results of other studies, which used only pure (-)-epicatechin and reported no significant effects on cardiovascular function.

Other reasons to eat chocolate

Research shows that (-)-epicatechin can also decrease blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. (-)-Epicatechin increases insulin sensitivity and decreases insulin resistance, suggesting that eating (-)-epicatechin-rich foods like chocolate can help prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
(-)-Epicatechin also has anticancer effects. Several studies reported that it can stop angiogenesis or the formation of new blood vessels, which is one of the ways cancer cells grow and spread to other parts of the body. High concentrations of (-)-epicatechin also prevent cancer cell proliferation in vitro.
Procyanidins, together with (-)-epicatechin and other flavonols, may have anti-inflammatory properties. One study found that these compounds can inhibit enzymesinvolved in inflammation and the formation of tumors. Procyanidins are also used in connection with health conditions such as chronic venous insufficiency, capillary fragility, diabetic retinopathy, sunburn, pancreatic insufficiency, and varicose veins. In terms of anticancer activity, procyanidins target components of intracellular signaling pathwaysimportant for regulating cell survival and death and mediating metastasis.