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Archive for July, 2018

Can’t shake that queasy feeling? Here’s how to feel better in no time.

There’s nothing worse than when you start to get that sick, queasy feeling deep in the pit of your stomach. If you’re not already puking (the absolute worst), it can leave you feeling dizzy, disoriented, and down for the count until you get to the root of the problem.

“Nausea is a very general symptom that can occur in a wide variety of illnesses and as a normal process of your body’s regulation,” says Jayme Hoch, DO, a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System.

That’s the tricky part: It seems like everything and anything can make you feel nauseous. Stomach flu or food poisoning, motion sickness, early pregnancy, and overeating are common causes.

When your stomach starts rumbling, anti-nausea medications—like Emetrol and Dramamine-N—can help you find relief fast in most cases. If you don’t want to go for meds, some people also find relief from mildly scented oils such as peppermint, lavender, or ginger. (These 15 stomach-soothing remedies are a safe bet, too.)

Still, there are lots of other stomach-turners that may need a little extra attention. Here, eight reasons you can’t shake that queasy feeling—and how you to keep your stomach feeling happy moving forward.

You’re about to get a migraine

Why migraines occur is not fully understood. But they are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. There are multiple theories on how migraines cause nausea, however.

Experts believe the brain chemical serotonin plays a role. The theory? Serotonin sends signals to the blood vessels in your brain, telling them to grow bigger, which can sometimes activate the part of your brain responsible for nausea and vomiting, explains Christine Lee, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

“Another theory is that migraines influence the part of the brain that is linked to inner ear disturbance, hence the strong correlation with vertigo and dizziness with the symptom of nausea,” Dr. Lee explains.

✖️Nix the nausea: “To prevent migraines, you should avoid common triggers that cause your migraines, including emotional stress, bright lights, strong odors, lack of sleep and not eating,” Dr. Hoch says.

You’re anxious

anxiety nausea
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Anxiety can increase activation of your autonomic nervous system, specifically your ‘fight or flight’ reaction,” Dr. Hoch says. When this happens, more of your blood flows to your muscles instead of the organs that make up your digestive system, which causes nausea.

Stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and others also get dumped into your blood, which spikes the number of contractions in your stomach, creating that queasy feeling, Dr. Lee says.

✖️Nix the nausea: The best thing you can do to avoid future bouts of nausea is to find a way to manage your anxiety, says Dr. Hoch. That might mean practicing self-relaxation techniques, going to counseling, exercising, or taking medications prescribed by your doctor. These eight natural anxiety remedies are a good place to start.

You’re dehydrated

dehydration nausea
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Dehydration occurs when your body doesn’t have enough water to carry out its normal processes—meaning the symptoms go beyond feeling super thirsty.

“When you have less fluid circulating in your body, your body preferentially sends that fluid and your blood flow to the organs it sees as most important—your brain and your heart,” says Dr. Hoch. “This can cause decreased blood flow to the organs of your gastrointestinal tract, causing nausea and abdominal pain.”

✖️Nix the nausea: Filling up on lots of fluids is key. While the ideal amount of water needed varies from person to person, most adults should get anywhere from 11 to 16 cups per day, says Dr. Hoch. That may sound like a lot, but you don’t need to chug from a water bottle to hit that amount. Tea and coffee, seltzer, vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes, as well as fruits like watermelon all count toward your daily water intake.

Your blood sugar is too low

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Your hormones work to regulate your blood sugar levels. But if your blood sugar starts to dip too low (known as hypoglycemia), certain hormones (like glucagon and epinephrine) spike to help your body produce more glucose. When this happens, your stomach experiences a surge in signals that can create the sensation of nausea, says Dr. Lee.

“Low blood sugar can also affect your autonomic nervous system, similar to the mechanism of nausea associated with anxiety,” says Dr. Hoch.

✖️Nix the nausea: To help keep your blood sugar steady, go for foods on the lower end of the glycemic index (GI), says Dr. Hoch. The GI measures how quickly the carbs in various foods are broken down to sugar and released into your blood. Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables, legumes, and oats are all great options, according to the American Heart Association.

The timing of your meals matters, too. “Hypoglycemia can be prevented by consuming small frequent meals throughout the day,” says Dr. Hoch. Keep your portion sizes under control, include a mix of lean protein, quality fats, and low-GI carbs (like bulgar, sweet potatoes, and corn), and aim to eat every 3 to 4 hours.

You have acid reflux

acid reflux nausea
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According to Dr. Lee, “gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause nausea due to the splashing of gastric acid up and out of the stomach into the lower esophagus,” the tube that connects your mouth and stomach.

This acid can damage the lining of your esophagus, which can make you feel nauseous. Other common symptoms of acid reflux include chest pain, heartburn, trouble swallowing food, or feeling like you have a lump in your throat.

✖️Nix the nausea: Avoid overeating, smoking, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, and eating spicy, fatty, or acidic foods. These things can make all of the symptoms associated with your acid reflux feel worse, says Dr. Hoch.

It can also be helpful to stay upright for at least 30 minutes following meals. Medications, like Zantac or Nexium, also work to tame your heartburn. (These six natural remedies for acid reflux can help you find relief, too.)

You may have peptic ulcers

Peptic ulcer nausea
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Peptic ulcers—most commonly caused by an infection from an H.plyori bacteria—occur when acid penetrates deep into the mucosal lining of your stomach, causing an open sore. This can lead to burning stomach pain, bloating, heartburn, and nausea, says Dr. Lee.

✖️Nix the nausea: To heal your ulcers, your doc will typically describe antibiotics or drugs to slow the production of stomach acid to aid in the healing process. You might also need to avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen and naproxen) and steroids since they can increase your risk of peptic ulcers, says Dr. Lee. Alcohol, smoking, and spicy foods can also make your symptoms worse.

To prevent peptic ulcers from coming back, remember to keep things clean. “Good hand washing hygiene is important to avoid contracting an H. pylori infection, which is contracted through fecal or oral transmission,” says Dr. Lee. This means you should lather your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds (be sure to get between your fingers and under your nails).

Your allergies are getting the best of you

Along with watery eyes, an itchy throat, and constant sneezing, seasonal allergies can cause post-nasal drip, meaning excess mucous in your nose trickles down the back of your throat rather than out of your nostrils. This can easily irritate your throat or cause a cough, but when that mucous makes it’s way down your esophagus and into your stomach, nausea may hit.

✖️Nix the nausea: First thing’s first—try to avoid anything that seems to trigger your allergies (sorry, early morning farmers’ market). Keeping your mucous under control with some over-the-counter allergy meds—like NasalCrom Spray and Claritin—can also help. Just be sure to discuss with your doc. If your allergies become unbearable overall, he or she may recommend prescription-strength medication or even an allergy shot.

You popped a pill on an empty stomach.

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“Nausea is a common side effect of many different medications including antidepressants, blood pressure medications, oral contraceptives, pain medications, antibiotics, and many more,” says Dr. Hoch. Your gut processes food by releasing stomach acid—so when you take a pill before you eat, that acid will still be released, causing irritation or nausea, says Dr. Hoch.

✖️Nix the nausea: First, try taking your meds with food to see if it helps settle your stomach. If the medication itself is actually making you nauseous, talk to your doc about testing out the lowest dose. You may also need to cut out other unnecessary medications or supplements, says Dr. Hoch.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/a22548362/what-causes-nausea/

 

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Remember that time you ate too much birthday cake as a kid (…or maybe that was last week)? For a few minutes you were flying high, happy as can be. Then came the equally intense crash, leaving you exhausted, cranky, and craving another sweet treat.

We’ve all experienced the profound impact our blood sugar levels have on energy and mood, and it’s no fun. But beyond being an energy-draining annoyance, imbalanced blood sugar can seriously impair your ability to meet the demands of daily life, and—if chronically elevated—wreak havoc on your long-term health.

Even if you think you lead a relatively healthy lifestyle and have your blood sugar levels under control, not everyone’s good at spotting the warning signs. In fact, a staggering one-third of Americans have prediabetes—higher than normal blood sugar levels that aren’t yet considered type 2 diabetes—but 90 percent of them don’t even know it.

With prediabetes, instead of fueling your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream. High blood sugar occurs when your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, or both. Among other complications, prediabetes puts you at greater risk for stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Even for people who aren’t necessarily at a high risk for developing diabetes, poorly managed blood sugar can lead to common complications, including fatigue, weight gain, and sugar cravings.The good news: With the right lifestyle and dietary tweaks, lowering your blood sugar and avoiding complications is easier than you think.

Here’s how to tell if your blood sugar is out of whack and simple ways to lower your blood sugar naturally and effectively.

Signs your blood sugar is out of whack

When you don’t manage your blood sugar levels appropriately, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can occur as levels rise and fall drastically. This comes with number of unpleasant side effects, including:

  • Dry skin
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent peeing
  • Blurred vision
  • Nerve damage or tingling sensations
  • Slowly healing cuts and bruises

15 ways to lower blood sugar naturally

If the above symptoms sound all too familiar, consider implementing the following strategies to lower your blood sugar to healthy levels and keep it balanced.

1. Follow a minimally processed diet.

Your first dietary step towards more balanced blood sugar: ditching (most of) the packaged foods and focusing on high-quality whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and quality meats and fish. Many processed foods are high in sugar, refined grains and carbs, and artificial ingredients and flavorings, while being low in blood-sugar-stabilizing fiber and protein. Of course, it’s also important to be realistic. You’re probably not going to be able to nix packaged foods completely, so just make a point to select those that are made from mostly whole-food ingredients, like a bar that lists just nuts, seeds, and dried fruit on its label.

2. Load up on fiber

Your minimally processed diet should be heavy in non-starchy, fiber-rich vegetables and (to a slightly lesser extent) fiber-rich fruit and whole grains. That’s because fiber slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and the absorption of sugar, which means you experience a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels after meals. Fiber has also been associated with a reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Good sources of fiber include leafy greens, brussels sprouts, broccoli, artichokes, raspberries, pears, beans, lentils, peas, avocados, pumpkin seeds, and oatmeal.

3. Eat plenty of high-quality protein.

Like fiber, protein tempers insulin secretion, leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar after a meal. It also fills you up better than any other nutrient. Eating a protein-rich breakfast may be particularly important, as it helps set the tone for the rest of the day. The amount of protein you need in your diet depends on a number of factors, but general protein recommendations for healthy adults are 0.8 to 1.0 gram per kilogram of body weight (55 to 68 grams per day for someone who’s 150 pounds). Good animal sources include wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, and pasture-raised chicken and eggs. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, load up on these eight plant-based protein sources.

4. Consume healthy fats.

Like fiber and protein, fat buffers blood sugar spikes. In fact, unsaturated fats have been specifically linked to improved insulin resistance. Just be sure to avoid refined fats, including trans fats and processed vegetable oils, like corn, soybean, and safflower oils, which can be pro-inflammatory. Sources of quality fats to consider adding to your diet include: nuts, olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, avocado, and fatty fish like salmon.

5. Switch up your carbs.

Lowering your overall intake of carbohydrates is also important for balanced blood sugar, but you don’t need to cut them completely (they’re still a crucial source of fuel for your body). Simply swap out refined carbohydrates like bread, white pasta, and candy for fiber-rich, whole-food sources such as whole grains, sweet potatoes, and fruit, which contain a number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants essential for health.

6. Balance your meals.

Eating some protein, fiber, and healthy fat with all of your meals can help stabilize blood sugar and manage your appetite, especially when your meal also contains carbohydrate-dense foods like high-sugar fruits (mangos, grapes, cherries) or starchy vegetables (potatoes). Each of these nutrients helps balance blood sugar on its own, but they’re even better together. We love a good kale salad topped with avocado and grass-fed steak.

7. Eat bigger meals earlier in the day.

A giant, late-night dinner is your blood sugar’s worst enemy. That’s because our bodies become more insulin resistant as the day goes on—so a meal that you eat in the evening will cause a greater spike in blood sugar than a meal you eat in the morning. Because of this, many nutrition experts advise front-loading your meals, or eating bigger meals earlier in the day and having a smaller dinner at least three hours before bed.

8. Sleep more, stress less.

Both sleep deprivation and stress can cause elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which raises blood sugar. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and adopt stress-busting habits such as exercise, meditation, or yoga. One study found that nursing students who did meditation and yoga experienced lower blood sugar spikes after meals. If you’re ready to start your meditation practice, check out mindbodygreen’s 14-Day Guide to meditation with mbg Collective member Light Watkins.

9. Drink plenty of water.

Drinking water helps your kidneys flush out excess blood sugar through your urine. One study found that people who drank more water had a lower risk of developing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Can’t seem to drink enough? If water is just too plain for your taste buds, add slices of citrus, or sip on a flavored seltzer or herbal tea throughout the day to hit your hydration quota.

10. Exercise regularly.

Your muscles need blood glucose for fuel, which means that when you take that barre or CrossFit class, you’re helping move blood sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles where it’s then burned up. Over time, this can lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity (i.e. how well your cells are able to absorb glucose from the blood and use it for energy). Intense exercise can temporarily raise blood sugar, so if you have poor blood sugar control, it make sense to start moderate (think: walking, jogging, or yoga), and then work your way up.

11. Take a shot of apple cider vinegar.

Swigging ACV may not sound appealing, but it could help keep blood sugar in balance if taken before you eat. Some research has found that consuming apple cider vinegar before meals reduced blood glucose levels of patients with prediabetes by nearly half. The theory is that acetic acid, a component of the vinegar, slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar in the bloodstream. Pro tip: Mix a tablespoon or two into a glass of water—taking it straight will burn!

12. Sprinkle on some cinnamon.

Research on cinnamon’s blood sugar-stabilizing powers is a little mixed, and it may not be a wonder spice. But if you’re adding it to an already healthy diet, it may have a subtle benefit. Some studies suggest that cinnamon lowers blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity, or making insulin more efficient at moving glucose into cells. Try sprinkling it onto oatmeal or into low-sugar smoothies. Bonus: It tastes delicious!

13. Eat magnesium-rich foods.

Magnesium seems to be of particular importance when it comes to keeping blood sugar balanced. Deficiencies in this mineral have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, and one study found that people with the highest magnesium intake were 47 percent less likelyto develop diabetes. Supplementing with magnesium has also been shown to lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. Making a point to consume plenty of magnesium-rich foods—leafy green veggies like spinach and Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, black beans, dark chocolate, and avocado—is smart in general, as magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Nosh on some chromium-rich foods like broccoli, barley, and oats, while you’re at it. One study found that the combined effects of chromium and magnesium were more beneficial than either mineral alone.

14. Get familiar with l-glutamine.

L-glutamine, an amino acid needed in large amounts by your body, has been shown to help build lean muscle by suppressing insulin levels and stabilizing blood sugar. One study found that supplementing with L-Glutamine for six weeks improved body composition in patients with type 2 diabetes. L-glutamine has also been shown to help heal a leaky gut, which is important for digestive health and immunity. In addition to supplements, you can find L-glutamine in foods such as bone broth, grass-fed beef, cottage cheese, spirulina, asparagus, broccoli rabe, salmon, and turkey.

15. Pop a probiotic.

Probiotics are an obvious supplement for digestive health, but they may play an important role in lowering blood sugar, too. One small study found that people who were following a heart-health DASH diet and also consumed probiotics experienced a decrease in fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C levels (a marker for testing long-term blood sugar levels). Start by adding healthy, probiotic-rich foods to your diet such as kefir, plain yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, or even a little low-sugar kombucha. And, to help probiotic bacteria to thrive, eat plenty of prebiotic foods such as fiber-rich leafy greens and vegetables.

The bottom line: Take a whole-body approach to lower blood sugar

No single food, supplement, or workout session is going to be the magic bullet. To lower blood sugar (and keep it balanced for good), start eating a minimally processed diet that contains fiber, protein, healthy fats, and high quality carbohydrates; get regular exercise; make sure you’re hydrated and well rested; play around with meal composition; and experiment with research-backed superfoods and supplements.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-to-lower-blood-sugar

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Utah and Idaho, the last two states to allow women to feed their infants in public, finally folded.

Utah and Idaho—the last two states in the country that lacked clear legislation protecting breastfeeding mothers from obscenity laws—recently passed legislation that puts them on-pace with the rest of the country.

As reported by the Salt Lake City Tribune, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law on Monday a bill that makes it “crystal clear” breastfeeding is legal in public in the state. Though, because even devastatingly slow progress doesn’t come without qualifiers, the Salt Lake City Tribune notes that a (male) state representative complained about the wording in the bill, which originally said breast-feeding was allowed “irrespective of whether the woman’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.”

Utah state Rep. Curt Webb said the language “seems to say you don’t have to cover up at all,” adding: “I’m just not comfortable with that, I’m just not. It’s really in your face.”

In light of Webb’s complaints, the bill passed without the “controversial” language that he was “not comfortable with.”

The Idaho legislature passed its bill with less drama from the men. Which is reportedlya big step-up from a previous attempt in the state 15 years ago, in which male legislators raised concerns that public breastfeeding protections would encourage women to “whip it out and do it anywhere.”

As the Idaho Statesman reports, Idaho’s breastfeeding law passed unanimously, though it doesn’t state as clearly as other, similar laws that women explicitly have the right to breastfeed in public. Hmm.

It’s now official: All 50 states, including the District of Columbia, have laws protecting mothers who breastfeed in public. As People notes, this lobs the United States up to the same level as the United Kingdom and Australia, two countries that already had nationwide protections of the sort.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/a22575023/breast-feeding-legal-united-states/

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When we’re not feeling our best—maybe we’re suffering from chronic bloat, migraines, fatigue, or insomnia—it’s tempting to search for that one hidden illness, dysfunction, or deficiency. The truth, however, is that every system of our body is inextricably connected to others, and health problems are almost always multifactorial—due to a number of different dysfunctions and imbalances that, over time, finally show up as various symptoms.

As a functional medicine practitioner, I run a lot of labs. They are great for pinpointing specific problem areas and help guide my treatment recommendations in a major way. And while it is important to remember that every person’s health case and biochemistry is unique—and health issues are often caused by a lot of small problems rather than one big one—talking to your doctor about testing is a great place to start.

Unfortunately, many of these test won’t be covered by insurance (although you should always call and check to be sure!), and unless you have a particularly open-minded conventional medical doctor who is willing and has the time to explore these tests with you, the typical general practitioner probably won’t be ordering these tests on the reg or be comfortable making them part of your treatment plan. Because of this, I’d recommend working with an integrative or functional medicine doctor who is well-versed in these labs and how to read them from a holistic perspective.

If that’s not in the cards for financial or other reasons, another option would be to order the labs yourself. Companies like ThorneEverlyWell, and Found My Fitness all have at-home tests you can purchase, administer yourself, and send in to be processed. These can also be pricey and time-intensive, but if you’re feeling less-than-optimal and you’ve explored the standard options offered by conventional medicine without any success, they can be great options. Many of them come with a detailed description of your results or a health plan based on your results.

Whatever path you take, these are the tests I recommend looking into:

1. A 24-hour adrenal stress index

Your adrenal glands release several hormones, including your body’s main stress hormone (called cortisol) through a complex web of communication between your brain and adrenal glands, known as the HPA-axis. Adrenal fatigue occurs when there is an imbalance in cortisol due to miscommunication in the HPA-axis. This causes cortisol to be low when it should be high, high when it should be low, always low, or always high. Since your hormones play a large role in the rest of your health, this imbalance can throw off other hormones, as well—causing blood sugar imbalances, brain fog, weight gain, irritability, decreased sex drive, and trouble sleeping. The 24-hour adrenal stress index is a saliva test that looks at your HPA-axis quality by tracking your cortisol levels throughout the day.

2. A full thyroid panel

Every cell of your body needs thyroid hormones to function, and unfortunately for us, many underlying thyroid problems don’t show up on standard labs because conventional medical doctors typically only run TSH and T4. A full thyroid panel is a blood test that looks at TSH and T4 but also at T3 uptake, total T3, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies to give you the most accurate picture of your thyroid health and rule out possible autoimmune thyroid problems. Functional medicine also has a narrower reference range for what constitutes a “healthy” thyroid, which can explain why you may still be experiencing symptoms but haven’t yet been diagnosed with a thyroid problem.

3. Gut permeability labs

Hippocrates was right when he said many years ago that the gut is the foundation of our entire health. Research is finally starting to show that many chronic and autoimmune diseases can be connected to gastrointestinal problems. When your gut lining is damaged due to stress, poor diet, medications, and other triggers, it can cause undigested food particles and bacterial endotoxins to pass into the bloodstream leading to a cascade of chronic inflammation to all areas of the body. This is commonly known as leaky gut syndrome. A gut permeability lab test will help determine if leaky gut syndrome is a factor in your specific health case. It will check for:

  • Zonulin and occludin: These two proteins control gut permeability, and antibodies could mean the intestinal tight junctions have been compromised.
  • Actomyosin antibodies: These could indicate that the gut lining was damaged.
  • Lipopolysaccharides LPS: These are bacterial endotoxins in your gut. If they are in your blood, it could mean there was enough destruction of the gut lining to let them pass.

4. Sex hormone labs

Both men and women need balanced levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone to maintain optimal health. When these are imbalanced, either too much or too little in either sex, it can lead to weight gain, anxiety, depression, erectile dysfunction, mood problems, low sex drive, infertility, acne, and more. A female salivary panel as well as blood and saliva testosterone and DHEA panels look for ratios of these hormones.

5. Inflammation labs

Inflammation is a factor in almost every health problem we face today, including autoimmune conditions, cancer, heart disease, brain fog, fatigue, and even weight gain. Even though a certain amount of inflammation is healthy to fight off infections, viruses, and injuries, inflammation becomes a problem when it doesn’t go away after the threat is gone and continues to perpetuate throughout the body. A blood test can look at three different markers of inflammation in the body, according to the functional medicine reference range (which is stricter than that followed by conventional doctors). It will test for:

  • CRP: C-reactive protein is an inflammatory protein and is tested alongside another pro-inflammatory protein IL-6.
  • Homocysteine: This inflammatory amino acid has been implicated in brain problems, heart disease, and autoimmune conditions.
  • Ferritin: This is a measure of stored iron levels in the body. It is considered an acute phase reactant and a sign of inflammation when high.

6. Genetic testing

Your DNA influences many aspects of your health, and certain genetic mutations can make you more susceptible to certain imbalances and health problems. 23andMe and other specialized genetic labs will lay out all of your possible genetic weaknesses for your functional medicine practitioner to interpret and help you mitigate risk factors with natural medicines and lifestyle changes. You can read about the nine genes I take into consideration most often in my patients, but one of the main dysfunctions I look for is a methylation impairment. Methylation is your body’s biochemical superhighway that assists in keeping your gut, brain, hormones, and detox pathways healthy. Methylation happens a billion times every single second, so if it isn’t working well, it can greatly affect your overall health.

It’s important to remember that since each person is unique, the specific combination of labs your practitioner runs may be different based on your doctor’s assessment of your health case, health history, and previous lab work. This is a foundation that you can build on to work toward sustainable, lasting healing.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/the-most-important-lab-tests

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This Friday, July 27, a rare lunar event could set off a summer 2017 solar eclipse-level frenzy (who could forget those glasses?) across the globe. While it won’t be visible to the naked eye in the U.S., the upcoming total lunar eclipse will cast most of the rest of the world in a red-tinted shadow.

Here’s the story behind this exciting excuse to sneak out of the house, blanket in hand, and look up at the night sky.

What causes lunar eclipses?

Lunar eclipses happen when the earth sits directly in between the sun and full moon, blocking the sun’s light from hitting the moon and therefore shifting how the night sky appears on Earth. Total eclipses—like the one we’re due for—happen when the trio is in a completely straight line, and no light from the sun can directly reach the moon.

While you might imagine that this phenomenon leads to a dark sky, the way the sunlight travels through Earth’s atmosphere means that it actually casts the moon in a reddish orange hue—hence the nickname “blood moon”.

Rare lunar events like these are something to look forward to now, but you can imagine that they were pretty spooky spectacles in the old days. Historically, ancient civilizations were thought to see these dramatic nights as a sign from a higher power, and they never knew when they were coming. Fun fact: Legend has it that Christopher Columbus, tipped off by an astrologist, told an indigenous Caribbean tribe that the Christian god would soon make the moon disappear because they would not share resources with Columbus’s crew. Sure enough, three days later a total eclipse blanketed the sky in darkness, convincing them to change their tune.

How to see it this week.

Stargazers in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and Australia might be able to catch the spectacle on Friday, July 27, depending on weather conditions. (Space.com has a detailed map of the moon’s path if you want to check out when it’s due over your area.) While total lunar eclipses aren’t all that rare—there was one this Januaryand another will come in January 2019—what’s special about this one is its length. In certain areas, the blood moon will appear for one hour and 43 minutes, making it the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century so far and the second-longest in recorded history.

If you’re lucky enough to be in this lunation’s path, consider it an opportunity to grab a journal and pen. The full moon is thought to be a pivotal moment of the lunar cycle, when all the energy that has been building since the new moon comes bubbling to the surface. Use this extra special one as a moment to sit, meditate on what the last few weeks have brought up for you, and metaphorically let go of anything that’s weighing you down.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/july-2018-blood-moon-total-eclipse

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Photo: Cinemalist

By the year 2050, the United States will have 14 million people in need of full-time care for Alzheimer’s disease, a number equal to the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago combined. There’s no doubt about it: Preventing and treating Alzheimer’s and dementia is more urgent than ever, and every piece of information we have is vitally important to solving the puzzle that is dementia and neurodegenerative disease.

This is just one reason why new research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference that showed a link between Alzheimer’s and female sex hormones is something we should all pay attention to. According to recent studies, women are less likely to develop dementia if they begin to menstruate early, have more than one child, and go through menopause at an older age. In fact, going through menopause at age 45 or younger seemed to increase a woman’s risk of developing the disease by as much as 28 percent.

We’ve long known that women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s (at the age of 65, women have a 1 in 6 chance of developing Alzheimer’s, compared to a 1 in 11 chance for men), and for a long time it was thought that this connection exists simply because women tend to live longer. But now, researchers have homed in on this link to hormones like estrogen and progesterone as a possible explanation. Experts are still puzzled as to why this connection exists, and there are a few theories out there. One posits that it’s less about the hormones themselves and more about the dramatic changes in hormone levels a woman experiences throughout life.

The research in this area is still in the initial phases, but one possible solution to the Alzehiemer’s-hormone problem could be hormone replacement therapies (think creams, gels, and patches infused with hormones like estrogen and progesterone). These therapies come with their own set of risks and unknowns; some experts swear by it for age-related hormone symptoms like vaginal dryness and hot flashes, and others caution against them since a study linked them to an increased risk for certain cancers and other illnesses (including, ironically, dementia). But now, researchers are thinking it could help temper the dramatic hormone fluctuations that occur during menopause, specifically to help prevent Alzheimer’s.

So what can we do to prevent Alzheimer’s today? For starters, we can tend to our gut health and microbiome. Of all the organs, experts think that the brain suffers most from a poor diet, and studies have shown that certain gut microbes act directly on brain cells to quell inflammation and keep us healthy. So ditch sugar, refined grains, and processed foods in favor of healthy, gut-friendly foods like nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and fruits. And keep your ears tuned in, the research in this area is moving quickly so better brain health may be right around the corner.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/alzheimers-disease-estrogen-levels

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Even though fevers are a literal pain to deal with, think of them as your body’s early warning system. Most fevers are caused by infections—so your body jacks up the temperature by moving blood from the surface of your skin toward the interior of your body instead. This puts your immune system in overdrive, making it harder for the bacteria causing the infection to thrive. With blood so far from the skin, your body loses less heat and voilà! You have a fever.

Although 98.6°F is considered a normal temperature, that can be flexible. Everyone has their own “normal” temperature, which actually fluctuates up and down throughout the day—eating food, wearing excess clothing, feeling really excited, and vigorous exercise can all spike your body temperature.

But if your temperature hits 100°F, consider it a mild fever, says Nita Parikh, MD, an internal medicine specialist with Community Care Physicians in Latham, New York. Read on to find out what you can do to feel better ASAP.

First, wait it out

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If you do have a fever, remember this: Fever itself is not an illness—it’s a symptom of one. So, in essence, your body’s natural defenses can actually shorten an illness with its quick response and increase the power of antibiotics. These natural processes should be weighed against the discomfort involved in not medicating a slight fever and letting it run its course, says Stephen N. Rosenberg, MD, author of The Johnson & Johnson First-Aid Book.

  • Wait at least 15 minutes after eating or drinking anything, smoking, or taking a hot bath before taking an oral reading, since this can alter mouth temperature and cause inaccurate readings.
  • Before using a glass thermometer, hold it by the top end (not the bulb) and shake it with a quick snap of the wrist until the colored dye is below 96°F. If you’re concerned about dropping and breaking the thermometer, do this over a bed, suggests Dr. Rosenberg.
  • Place the digital or glass thermometer under your tongue in one of the “pockets” located on either side of your mouth rather than right up front. These pockets are closer to blood vessels that reflect the body’s core temperature.
  • Hold the thermometer in place with your lips, not your teeth. Breathe through your nose rather than your mouth so that the room temperature doesn’t affect the reading.
  • Leave the thermometer in place for at least 3 minutes (some experts favor 5 to 7 minutes). After use, wash a glass thermometer in cool, soapy water. Never use hot water or store it near heat.

How to Get Rid of a Fever

If you feel discomfort while you wait it out, try the following steps for extra relief.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

When you’re hot, your body sweats to cool you down. But if you lose too much water—as you might with a high fever—your body turns off its sweat ducts to prevent further water loss, making it more difficult for you to cope with your fever. The moral of this story: Drink up. In addition to plain water, doctors favor the following:

  • Watered-down juice. Straight juice, no matter how nutritious, is too concentrated to drink in any quantity when you have a fever, and may cause diarrhea. Always dilute 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with 1 part juice to 1 part water to make it easier for your body to absorb.
  • Linden tea. Although any tea will provide needed fluid, several are particularly suited for fever, says Gale Maleskey, MS, RD. One combination she likes is thyme (antibacterial), linden flowers (promotes sweating), and chamomile flowers (reduces inflammation). Steep 1 teaspoon of the mixture in 1 cup of freshly boiled water for 5 minutes. Strain and drink warm several times a day. Linden tea by itself is also good, she says, and can induce sweating to break a fever. Use 1 tablespoon of the flowers in 1 cup of freshly boiled water for 5 minutes. Strain and drink hot often.
  • Willow bark tea. This bark is rich in salicylates (aspirin-related compounds) and is considered “nature’s fever medication,” Maleskey says. Brew into a tea and drink in small doses.

Opt for ice

If you’re too nauseated to drink, you can suck on ice. For variety, freeze diluted fruit juice in an ice-cube tray.

Cool down

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Wet compresses help reduce your body’s temperature output. Ironically, hot, moist compresses can do the job as well. If you start to feel uncomfortably hot, remove those compresses and apply cool ones to the forehead, wrists, and calves. Keep the rest of the body covered. If the fever rises above 103°F, don’t use hot compresses at all. Instead, apply cool ones to prevent the fever from getting any higher. Change them as they warm to body temperature and continue until the fever drops.

Sponge off

Evaporation also has a cooling effect on body temperature. Try dabbing cool tap water onto the skin to help dissipate excess heat, says Mary Ann Pane, RN, a nurse clinician in Philadelphia. Although you can sponge the whole body, she says, pay particular attention to spots where heat is generally greatest, such as the armpits and groin area. Wring out a sponge and wipe one section at a time, keeping the rest of the body covered. Body heat will evaporate the moisture and cool the skin.

Pop an OTC pain reliever

If you’re very uncomfortable, take an over-the-counter pain reliever. For adults, aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen can be taken according to package directions. The advantage of acetaminophen and ibuprofen over aspirin is that fewer people experience side effects.

So which one should you take? All are effective, but some work better for particular ailments. For example, aspirin and ibuprofen are common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), so they’re effective at reducing muscle pain and inflammation. Acetaminophen is recommended if you have gastrointestinal sensitivity or are allergic to aspirin. It doesn’t work as well as NSAIDs for inflammation and muscle aches; however, it’s a safer drug to use and has minimal side effects, as long as it’s taken in the proper dosage.

Dress the part

Use common sense as far as clothing and blankets go, says Pane. If you’re very hot, take off extra covers and clothes so that body heat can dissipate into the air. But if you have a chill, bundle up until you’re just comfortable.

Drown it out

Don’t fret over whether you should feed a fever or starve one. Just drown it. “Most people don’t want to eat when they have a fever, so the important thing is fluids,” Maleskey says. Once your appetite starts to return, eat what appeals to you. Toast, scrambled eggs, chicken soup, and vanilla pudding all go down easy as part of your recuperation.

When should you see a doctor?

Temperatures of 102°F or higher may be serious, particularly if you are also feeling sick with the following symptoms. Adults with chronic illnesses, such as heart or respiratory disease, may not be able to tolerate prolonged high fevers. At this point, you have a good reason to call your doctor.

  • Stiff neck
  • Severe coughing or vomiting, or pain on taking a deep breath
  • Yellow or green discharge from the nose, and facial pain
  • Temperature higher than 101°F that lasts more than 3 days or fails to respond at least partly to treatment
  • Temperature higher than 103°F under any condition

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/a20429676/10-fever-remedies/

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