Naturopaths: Scam Artists or Miracle Workers?

naturopathy

Naturopathy is centered on natural medicine that helps to assist the body in its natural state for better functioning and healing. It is said to be a pseudo-scientific approach to healing and health maintenance. It is a strong profession reemerging, as we all strive for better, natural and healthier lifestyles. But what can the assistance of a naturopath really do for you?

What you can expect when you first see a naturopath doctor is that both naturopaths and doctors have a lot in common. They both have attended accredited schools, gone through much of the same coursework and have a general interest in helping others achieve better health. Your visit will likely range from 60 to 90 minutes, you will be asked what the desired outcome for yourself is. You will be asked about your diet, sleep patterns, and health conditions. They will then develop a natural treatment plan for you that includes natural remedies and other lifestyle changes to help you meet your goals. Yet, visiting a naturopath is not the same as visiting a regular doctor. As we mentioned, they focus a lot on lifestyle and sleep changes to help with your current state for better health and healing.

According to Gaia.com, they can help you establish the foundations for health. One of the biggest challenges we face when we take on a natural healthier lifestyle is the foods we eat. The type of foods we eat can really dictate how our body works. If you want to lose weight a naturopath can help, but if you have some sort of disease like celiac, IBS or anything else that is aggregated by food, a naturopath can help.

Although it sounds a lot like that of a nutritionist, the services you will receive from a naturopath are far different. They will get to the core of what outcome you want to achieve while evaluating in great detail the food that may be creating havoc on your body. Most importantly, if you just want to be healthy, a naturopath can certainly help guide a person that is unsure of the proper foods to eat to help maintain a healthier lifestyle and body weight.

Secondly, the site notes that the help of a naturopath can help a person treat an ailment that they didn’t even really know was initially an ailment to begin with. People experience headaches all of the time, but for some those become chronic. The help of a naturopath can help you get to the natural, root cause of what is causing the problem without having to experiment with potential harmful prescription medication that you would receive from a regular doctor. If you suffer from lack of energy, or you tend to bloat more often times than not, again, a naturopath can detail your lifestyle down to a “T” to further get to the root cause of what is ailing you.

Third, the site notes that the help of a naturopath can naturally help you with disease maintenance. If you suffer from disease and found that the medications prescribed have too many side effects, the help of a naturopath can certainly help you maintain your disease tenfold with natural ingredients and herbal supplements that will react with your body’s natural state much better while helping you maintain your condition. They do this by aiming for the cause of the disease and starting treatment from there to minimize symptoms.

Another reason a naturopath may be beneficial for you personally would be that they can offer a valued second opinion. Sure, so you have seen a doctor already, they have diagnosed you with something and now have written a prescription for something to help treat it. But do you really need it? Doctors do a great job at diagnosing and writing prescriptions, but do they really do a good job at answering our questions as to how it happened or why we suffer from it? A naturopath can do just that. Not only can they answer all of your questions, but they have the ability to look at your case objectively to identify whether or not the medication that was initially prescribed is truly needed and necessary. Again, just the simple detailing of a day in your life can actually give many answers and clues as to why you are experiencing the things you are experiencing. More often than not, we get sick and suffer from things because our bodies become unbalanced. The truth is, there are naturally occurring chemicals that are found in our bodies that we may be lacking, and we can often get from over the counter to improve our body’s chemical balance to maintain health issues. That’s where a naturopath can do wonders. So, if you are ever wanting a second opinion about treatment options or an illness you are experiencing, a naturopath can certainly help.

If you already live a healthy lifestyle and already take supplements as it is, another benefit from seeking the help is a naturopath would be that you can alter your regimen to your own specific needs. It never hurts to have a trained professional in on the game. Seeking the help of a professional in the daily supplements you buy and consume already from a natural health food store can help you tailor and personalize what you should and shouldn’t be taking to further help your body balance out for optimum health.

Lastly, the site notes that probably the most exciting part of seeing a naturopath if you really want to do things naturally is that they can act as your primary care physician. They go through the same biological science coursework and other coursework that doctors do before submitting themselves to a naturopath college. They can perform physical exams, diagnostics and lab testing, they can assess cases to make judgments or rulings on illnesses and disease by interpreting lab tests and results, and they can execute treatment plans and do all of the things that a normal doctor would do. The only difference is, it’s all natural.

As you can see, there are several benefits from seeking the help of a naturopath. It is a telethon profession as we mentioned before, and although we understand that people still have reservations because of horror stories once told over the internet about negligent providers, you shouldn’t let that scare you away from seeing one. It’s always good to have a regular doctor and a naturopath on your health care team to really get down to the bottom of why your body is reacting and is as symptomatic. It is also helpful to further decide what the best treatment options and courses of action are for your own personal needs.

AHCC Benefits – Cancer, HPV, and More

AHCC

Active Hexose Correlated Compound is a mushroom extract used in traditional Eastern Medicine. Though the mushrooms were used for centuries as antioxidants, the derivative was really only “discovered” a few decades ago in Japan. The shiitake mushroom from which AHCC is derived, is thought to be an organism with origins over one hundred million years old. The Chinese began cultivating it around the year 1400, although it grew wildly throughout the region for centuries prior. The mushroom was traditionally used to prolong life and boost the immune system.

In 1987, AHCC was developed from the shiitake mushroom as a treatment for high blood pressure. Surprisingly, however, it soon became known for its immune boosting effects and was used against infections, viruses and even autoimmune issues such as cancers and AIDS. It has since also been used to combat diabetes and hepatitis, while still being effective for many with high blood pressure. After researching the effects on rats, it was also used to fight the negative side effects from chemotherapy and other anticancer drugs, including methotrexate which is used for many autoimmune diseases. AHCC helped patients cope with nausea, improved bone marrow suppression and protected against kidney and liver damage.

What it Does

Active Hexose Correlated Compound is a supplement most known for its cancer-fighting effects. Used primarily in areas of Asia, particularly Japan, this therapy has been thought to increase the cells in the body that naturally kill cancer, natural killer cells and cytokines. Not only is it thought to kill cancer cells, but it is also thought to decrease the side effects of chemotherapy. Some patients find success in preventing nausea and other gastrointestinal side effects with AHCC. In Japan, AHCC is the second most popular alternative medicine among those with cancer.

In addition to its benefits for cancer patients, AHCC is also used as an overall immune system booster. Put simply, the immune system support provided to cancer patients is also found to be helpful at preventing influenza and strengthening the immune system in general.

Scientific Studies

The AHCC Research Association has done multiple studies on AHCC and its various effects. In 2008, the Association published findings of a retroactive study that compared survival rates in the American Society of Clinical Oncology data and found that survival rates increased for stage IV lung cancer. The one-year survival rate was up to 77.1%, two-year survival up to 54.3% and up to 31.4% in year three. This confirmed what researchers expected, an increased survival rate when taking AHCC.

One of the more fascinating studies, published in the International Journal of Medicine in 2011, found that all patients surveyed had no added symptoms when taking AHCC, and 20 of the patients reported feeling better than they did upon starting chemotherapy. In addition, only 25% of those requiring blood transfusions continued to need them after AHCC treatment, and tumors even regressed in 11 patients. Twenty-two of those who continued chemotherapy also noticed decreased side effects.

In the International Journal of Integrative Oncology, however, a study was published that surveyed patients with breast cancer. Researchers used the data from the national breast cancer patient registration and found no significant difference among those who used AHCC and those who did not. The study could be viewed as less significant than others, however, as comparisons could not be made due to the recurrence of cancer in some data sets.

Suggested Usage

AHCC is usually seen as a capsule, with various dosage. The recommended daily dosage is up to 3 grams. For better tolerance, it is suggested to split this into three doses, taking a gram 3 times daily. While AHCC is also available in a liquid form, many report having more side effects when consuming liquid AHCC. Drugs.com reports that phase I trials showed minimal adverse effects in those consuming 9 grams daily, so accidental overdose seems unlikely when daily recommendations are followed.

Vitamin D Deficiency – More Dangerous Than We Thought?

vitamin d

Believe it or not, all vitamins play a vital role in the level of our health. Most often than not, people tend to take daily vitamins as a way to make sure they are getting the supplementation that they need to help the body function properly and to give the body nutrients we are not be getting from our daily diets. Vitamins in no way shape or form are ever able to replace a meal, but they can help stimulate and supply the nutrients that we desperately need to maintain a level of health and even weight loss.

More than three million cases in the United States are reported each year when it comes to vitamin deficiencies. Usually, medical tests are needed, such as lab work and the evaluation from a medical professional. However, the outlook is very good as it remains treatable and can be controlled within months of treatment. Vitamin D is important for the body, because we need it to help absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Without vitamin D, we can experience adverse health effects that we may not know could be happening, especially since early deficiencies show no symptoms.

It is said that most people with darker skin and people over the age of 65 are at more risk for the condition. What’s most compelling is that most people who are vitamin D deficient, have no idea they suffer from the condition, as early stages of deficiency show no symptoms at all. However, for more severe deficiency, it can lead to brittle, bone thinning and even misshapen bones. But that’s stunningly not all. In other cases, vitamin D deficiency can lead to seasonal depression, fatigue, muscle weakness, brain fog, pain within the bones, bone fractures and weakened immune system. Even short-term deficiencies can have a profound effect on long-term complications (1,2,4).

With that said, it comes as no surprise that vitamin D is very important to the body. It is responsible for “promoting calcium absorption, maintaining normal calcium and phosphate levels, promoting bone and cell growth, and reducing inflammation” (2).

According to healthline.com, there are several risk factors that can cause and have been attributed to the rising incidences of vitamin D deficiency cases. Because we can naturally absorb vitamin D through sunlight, wearing sunscreen, which blocks our skin from being able to produce vitamin D, is definitely a risk factor, in addition to not participating in outdoor activities. For women, if you breastfeed your children for longer periods of time, exclusively, you too, also run the risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. We all know that being obese can have many negative effects on your health, and when it comes to vitamin D deficiencies, being obese can raise your body’s vitamin D requirements. Sometimes, people can be born with vitamin D deficiencies or have diseases or medical conditions, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases, that cause them to be deficient as well (2, 4).

Luckily, should you find yourself suffering from a vitamin D deficiency or symptoms, there are several things you can do naturally to aid in resolving the issue. As we mentioned, spending time in the sun without sunscreen for short amounts of time can help your body naturally produce vitamin D. As it turns out, just simple sunlight can be the cure to your vitamin D woes, because according to Dr. Axe.com, our bodies are pretty good at producing all of the vitamin D we need, just from sunlight alone. If being in the sun without sunscreen is just not an option for you, something as simple as spending time outside in the sunlight, like taking a simple walk in the sun, or going to the park may work. There are also several foods that you can add to your diet that have vitamin D.

According to Dr. Axe.com, “Top Ten Vitamin D Rich Foods,” these foods include cod liver oil, salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna, raw milk, mushrooms and caviar (4). Healthline.com also adds, egg yolk, cereal, orange juice and yogurt. Luckily, if in the event none of these sound appetizing to you, a simple trip to the grocery store or health food store can offer a wide array of different vitamin D brand supplements that you can add first thing in the morning. The recommended daily dose, as reported in 2012 through the Mayo Clinic is 600 IU daily, however, it is important to note that vitamin D supplementation is included in all vitamin supplements that exist on the market. So, even taking a multivitamin alone, can help you get the vitamin D you need.

Aside from the fact that vitamin D supplementation, vitamin D rich foods and simple sun exposure can help fight depression and fight against the disease, it can all do wonders for weight loss as well! According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, those who took a Vitamin D supplement in addition to a calcium supplement lost a significant amount of more weight than those who took a placebo supplement. The study showed that both supplement combinations were able to aid in controlling and suppressing appetite (5).

Whether you are vitamin D deficient or not, whether or not you fear of the possibility of even becoming deficient and desire to prevent it, the benefits of ensuring that your body is getting the adequate amounts of the daily requirement is substantial. It is important to make sure that you do supply your body with enough vitamin D for better bone health, and if you are wanting to lose weight or help suppress your appetite, vitamin D in conjunction with a calcium supplement may just do the trick. Either way, it’s always important to of course, to consult a doctor if you are concerned that you may have a vitamin D deficiency, regardless, because all vitamins are essential to our health.

Sources:

  1. https://g.co/kgs/Rtt6k8
  2. http://www.healthline.com/health/vitamin-d-deficiency?m=1#symptoms2
  3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/vitamin-d/dosing/hrb-20060400
  4. https://draxe.com/top-10-vitamin-d-rich-foods/
  5. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/calcium-plus-vitamin-d-supplementation-and-fat-mass-loss-in-female-very-lowcalcium-consumers-potential-link-with-a-calciumspecific-appetite-control/623D71E0A965E910C48903089FA7B56C

Health Gimmicks: What You Need to Know

health gimmicks

If you don’t live under a rock, and you have social media, chances are you’ve heard of self-proclaimed products that promise significant weight loss and a new lease on life from your friends. Either they have tried it or they are selling it. That’s right, we are talking about belly wraps, Herbalife and other products that claim to help you rapidly lose weight with no extra effort from you. These products fill our Facebook newsfeeds with high promises and even sometimes promise an income in addition to health. But do they really work, are they really safe, do they help keep the weight off, or are they just a scam? We will uncover the truth of health gimmicks, to further help you decide which of these options, if any, are right for you.

Belly wraps are said to be a contouring tool that will help tighten, tone and infuse your belly with high-intensity chemicals that are said to create ultimate results. These claims are intriguing because these claims come with mesmerizing before and after photos that would make anyone take notice and want to try for themselves. They don’t necessarily even have to be placed around the belly, as they can be placed around your neck, arms, thighs etc. and are said to encourage inches upon inches lost during your journey for a better body. For $15 to $25 a pop, you can pick up one of these bad boys to try for yourself. But do they really work?

According to realself.com, the results from body wraps are actually temporary. They say that sure, it would be great to use to look slimmer before a big event, but they have not yet been proven for long-term weight loss. If you go to the “it works” wrap site itself, they note that their product can minimize cellulite appearance, improve skin tightness, and tighten, tone and form the targeted area. Although all of that sounds promising, they do have a disclaimer that notes that results may vary and they are not guaranteed. The FDA notes that “There is no scientific or clinical evidence to support the use of body wraps or sauna suits for controlling weight. Nor is there any data to back up promoters’ claims that these products will eliminate cellulite and bulging fat, or make ‘spot reductions’ possible, or improve the ‘calorie burn rate,’ or control appetite. Accordingly, there are no FDA-approved body wraps or sauna suits”. Furthermore, the “FDA had previously notified the body wrap companies that their products’ labels were false and misleading and that they had failed to register or list their products with FDA as required by law. Listings in the Enforcement Report will not necessarily be the end to FDA dealings with these quacks, as the agency will still be free to use regulatory or legal actions in the cases,” per their website.

When it comes to Herbalife, it is easy to want to take part in such a product that claims to help you significantly reduce weight with no added effort to you. Even Zija falls under this category, as sort of a sister to Herbalife. Let’s face it, our daily activities force us to not have enough time in the day sometimes to really focus on ourselves and health. We may not have time to exercise or even meet the three meal a day requirement. So, by nature, taking supplements and shakes said to help you lose the pounds with no extra effort, sounds divine. The level of Herbalife products range from far and wide. They harbor everything from meal replacement shakes, to vitamins, energy supplements, health supplements and even a line of products for athletes that encourage further bulking and performance enhancement. What people don’t know, is that a lot of the ingredients found in Herbalife and products alike, can be bought over the counter at a health and nutrition store for half the cost. Okay, we get it, having to do research to find out what those supplements are that you would personally need for your personal goals might be challenging, which makes Herbalife all more appealing. The company creates all you ever need into one product in a perfectly wrapped bow, with no research or physical exertion from you to help you meet your weight loss goals.

However, is it too good to be true? Well, according to hesca.org, fructose is a naturally occurring sugar that can be found in Herbalife products. Of course, because the sugar is found in fruits and other natural sources, it’s pretty safe, but not at the level of which you would find in an Herbalife product. Herbalife serves you with 9 grams of sugar, which is much higher than what you would find in products over the counter. Not only do their products exhibit high levels of sugar, but low levels of protein and fiber. In addition, there have been several complaints from those who have tried it, that it took several months to lose just five or six pounds. However, there have been several clinical trials conducted on their products that claim that their products are legitimate and can be of some benefit to you. Yet, Herbalife has been sued and lost and has been investigated as a pyramid scheme as well.

Regardless of your weight loss journey and goals, and whether these products sound appealing to you or not, we always encourage that you take an active part in your health by doing avid research into the products you use. Sometimes, products can be misleading and ineffective. We don’t discourage or encourage the use of any products like these. The point is to make sure you remain knowledgeable and informed about the things that you put in your body, especially when they come with a hefty price tag like Herbalife and body wraps. Yet, we would never discourage anything that would take away from building a better lifestyle for yourself. Anything that will help catapult a person into a healthier lifestyle when it comes to eating right and exercising, even supplementation, we can definitely get behind.

Vertical Climber vs Treadmill: Which is Better?

merax vertical climber

When regular cardio workouts just don’t do it for you, machines like treadmills, bike machines and most importantly, vertical climbing machines are great alternatives to take to get a fulfilling cardio workout that gets the heart pumping, blood flowing and calories burning. All the while improving fitness and health. If you are a part of the growing population struggling with obesity (36.5% of Americans), as noted by the center of disease control and prevention, then chances are, you are or will at some point in your lifetime, suffer from one of the several health related conditions that stem from obesity, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and or certain types of cancer. These are all great reasons to work on getting in shape. With the right diet and exercise, you can accomplish all of your fitness goals from maintaining a healthy body weight or improving your stamina and cardio endurance, if you are already at a healthy body weight and an avid gym goer. As a result, regardless of your current BMI, the vertical climbing machine can do wonders for your body, performance, and fitness.

There are several benefits to using a vertical climbing machine that you will find attractive as you embark on an exciting, yet fulfilling cardio journey. The biggest benefit that is most attractive to those seeking a healthier lifestyle, that machines like the vertical climbing machine can accomplish is, if you don’t necessarily want to immediately join a gym just yet, you can purchase a climbing machine and add it to your home gym, just to get you started as a beginner who may be too embarrassed or inconvenienced to go to the gym. Vertical climbing machines by no means, are for the weak, however. Although it’s a great way to get started quickly, you must be ready to feel the burn if you are a beginner. If cost is a factor to you, yes, these machines can be pricey, but the benefits outweigh the damage done to the bank account. The center of disease control and prevention also notes that obesity can be quite costly, the average cost for Americans in 2008 on medical expenses alone was $147 billion, which averages out to over $1,000 per individual, which on occasion, is far more money spent on medical costs than a basic vertical climbing machine.

As we mentioned, it is said that cardio exercise is a great way to lower your body fat by blasting it away and helping you keep it away. It’s no secret that calories give your body the energy it needs to sustain a rigorous workout like cardio or the use of a climbing machine. Mayoclinic.com tells us that 1 pound is equal to 3,500 calories, and as a result, they say that “you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound”. According to menshealth.com, the vertical climber or “versaclimber,” burns more calories than any other machine out there, which is exciting, because all you would really need to do is burn 500 calories a day in conjunction with a healthy diet, just to lose one pound a week. Using a vertical climber for just 30 minutes a day, will probably burn more than 600 calories a day, getting you on the right track for fat burning success, which in turn can lead to faster results. This is just another added benefit that everyone can get on board with.

What makes this machine such a calorie burner? It’s the fact that it requires full body movement and delivers a full body workout, whereas most machines like a treadmill or bike machine, only offer a lower body cardio workout. When you engage your entire body in such a workout, this alone aids in maximizing the burning of calories, since you are using all of your muscle groups. This can help you tone, sculpt and shape every aspect of your physique as your upper body is challenged just as much as your lower body, while using your own body’s resistance.

Another added benefit from using a vertical climbing machine is that it offers a low impact cardio workout to your body. Treadmills and other machines alike, along with cardio class, can put strain on already tired joints and muscles, and it can even aggravate preexisting conditions such as arthritic conditions, back problems, or other physical ailments that may make it hard to endure a high impact cardio workout. The use of a vertical climber is a sure way to get in a good cardio workout without inconveniencing your joints or muscles any further.

Using a vertical climber is also beneficial for the fact that it is adjustable and versatile. It is easy to adjust to help maximize your workout, not only for your needs but for a sense of customization. You can speed up or slow down your progress based off of what works for you. This can also make it a progressive machine. Sure, you can adjust your speed on other machines as well, but the type of workout you get from the vertical climber, trumps that of other fitness machines.

All in all, yes, vertical climbers do work, the results people have gotten from the use, based off reviews and stories alone, is astounding, and most personal trainers recommend its use, overwhelmingly for cardio, calorie burning and weight loss. Whatever your fitness goals may be from picking up some sort of cardio workout, you will see fast results, with a low impact cardio workout, comfortably from your own home or in a gym, all from the vertical climber.

TUDCA (Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid) Benefits and Medical Uses

TUDCA

TUDCA has been a part of Chinese medicine for at least hundreds of years, although its beginnings are not quite clear. It is naturally produced by our bodies as a water-soluble bile salt, in order to protect our liver from acids produced in our body. Though only trace amounts are found in our bodies, animals such as bears have large amounts of TUDCA in their bile. In fact, up to 75% of the bile in the Asian Black Bear is TUDCA. Because Chinese medicine has used animal bile to assist with ailments for hundreds of years, we can only assume this is how the usage of TUDCA began.

Put simply, TUDCA is the taurine conjugate form of UDCA or ursodeoxycholic acid. While TUDCA is not FDA approved in the United States, UDCA actually is, particularly for the treatment of autoimmune disease in the liver. In 1954, Japan began producing synthetic TUDCA and UDCA, making it easier to obtain and also study.

It is a water-soluble bile salt, which is in contrast to regular bile salts possessing both water soluble and fat soluble ends and conferring a detergent effect. When bile acids back up in the liver, a clinical state called cholestasis which occurs when the liver is unhealthy, these bile salts can be damaging to cells by destroying the membranes and signaling for cell death. TUDCA and other bile salts like UDCA compete with this toxicity, and thus indirectly protect cells from death, making it a treatment option for those with this liver disease.

It was also used to improve vision in the past, which is still reflected in many recent studies that show its role in protecting the retina, rods, and cones. One can only imagine how complex it seemed during that era to protect one’s vision, so TUDCA was held in quite a high regard. In 1263, the first remedy for sight weakness was merely mentioned, corrective lenses, but it wasn’t until 1286 that spectacles were even invented, and it took until 1604 for Johannes Kepler to describe the function of the retina, demonstrating lenses to correct both near and far cited issues. As one can easily determine, before this time, it was extremely important to be proactive with one’s eye care, as there were virtually no solutions to fix bad vision.

What Does TUDCA Do?

TUDCA has shown to be effective at treating a variety of health issues, but primarily it is used for decreasing liver enzymes and treating cholestasis. TUDCA has been shown to improve liver healing rates in both steatotic and non-steatotic livers via ER stress reduction. In one study, TUDCA resulted in less cell death via alleviating a mechanism known to accelerate cell apoptosis and also suppressed the actions of IRE-1and PKR-like ER kinase. This cell protective effect has also been seen in the epithelial cells of bile ducts, which are damaged during chronic hepatitis.

TUDCA has also been shown to be what is called an “anti-apoptotic agent” for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and other more rare conditions. For retinal disorders, it can reduce stress associated with increased glucose levels, and maintain healthy vision while protecting the cones and rods.

Finally, TUDCA has also been shown to help with obesity, strokes, spinal cord injuries and even myocardial infection in limited studies. It is also used for improving the immune system in general, as well as protecting skeletal muscles and organs, including the heart. Because of this, it is often beneficial in protecting the gallbladder. Because of the way TUDCA works, it can actually promote healthy cholesterol levels while protecting the liver.

However, it should be noted that any effects from usage of TUDCA beyond the liver are preliminary, whereas studies showing its impact on liver enzyme levels and cholestasis are quite reliable, as TUDCA is already being used in clinical settings for these purposes.

Scientific Studies

In 2010, Stanford University published a summary of scientific findings on their “HOPES” website, which showed promising results for tauroursodeoxycholic acid, or TUDCA, particularly among those suffering from Huntington’s. Because one of the major ailments of Huntington’s is caused mostly by the death of nerve cells in the brain, stopping or delaying these cell deaths can cause major disease improvement. Part of this cell death has been concluded to be initiated by apoptosis, a programmed cell death. As Stanford concluded, research shows that TUDCA is able to prevent apoptosis in liver cells, suggesting that this effect may be able to be replicated in the brain. By protecting mitochondria, TUDCA is able to decrease degeneration while preventing cell death. Because animal studies have proven to be so effective, Stanford suggests that more clinical trials involving humans should be performed, particularly concerning cell death.

In Beijing, they began doing just that. On clinicaltrials.gov, one can see that in 2013, the Beijing Trendful Kangjian Medical Information Consulting Limited Company began recruiting for a study whose results have not yet been published. In China, TUDCA is approved by the state food and government association for cholesterol stone treatments. The study, that is now complete, aimed to evaluate the efficacy of TUDCA in patients with Cholestatic Liver Disease, and the findings are expected by many to be positive when released.

How to Take TUDCA

Doses as low as 10mg daily have shown to improve liver regenesis in clinically ill patients. To improve bile salt composition, a dose of around 15-20mg/kg bodyweight is ideal according to early studies.

For most people, dosages of 200 to 300 milligrams twice daily can be taken. It is worth noting, however, that dosage should correspond with weight, so women, or men who weigh less than average, should adjust their dosage accordingly. The maximum recommended dose for treatment of fatty liver disease is 1.7g per day.

TUDCA is often sold in powder form, which can be added to shakes or water, and many find that the powder form is more affordable and may even make their own capsules based on the recommended dosage. It is easily found in capsule form, however, and the suggested daily intakes are the same regardless of the method. For extra precaution, check with the manufacturer’s directions, as your product may contain different levels of concentrations.

For those specifically looking for liver benefits, such as those who want to maintain a healthy liver while treating ailments with modern medicine, it is highly suggested to pair this supplement with milk thistle, as the two work well together for protecting the liver.

Amazing Health Benefits of Chlorella

chlorella

Chlorella is a fascinating plant with more than 20 species, with each species also having a variety of strains. Interestingly, the different strains and species have virtually the same benefits as one another once they are processed into foods and supplements. The whole plant is usually used to make supplements and medicine, and the plant is found in abundance in fresh water, as it is considered an algae.

It also interesting in that even though it has been around since virtually the beginning of time, it took the invention of the microscope for humans to notice its existence. Because of its small size, it could not be seen outside of a microscope, and was therefore not discovered until the late 1800s. A Dutch microbiologist is responsible for its name and discovery, and was named Chlorella in 1890 by Dr. Beijerinck.

Later, in World War, Germans used the plant as a protein source. By the 1920s, Japan had learned how to cultivate this microscopic plant, and by the end of World War II, the United States, Japan and Germany were working together to understand it.

This led to an understanding of its medicinal effects on several ailments, and even led NASA to study it as food in space because of its nutrient supply. Researchers also found that the plant had a growth promoting factor among animals. By the 1970s, however, many were reluctant to continue using Chlorella when some patients began suffering from blisters when exposed to sunlight. Put simply, this was caused by chlorophyll remaining in the body and reacting with sunlight.

The few who continued to research, however, soon noticed promising results against cancer, particularly as technology advanced with research methods. This discovery led to Chlorella becoming popular once again.

What it Does

Chlorella is raved about for its anticancer properties, and it is said to reduce side effects from radiation and increase white blood cell count among those with cancers, AIDS and similar ailments. Aside from cancer related treatments, Chlorella is still quite promising. It has shown to improve the response to flu vaccinations, stimulate immunity, prevent colds and even protect the body against metal toxicity from metals such as lead. Studies have also revealed promising results for the treatment of diabetes, and the general antioxidant level of Chlorella is considered to be quite beneficial, particularly in those who smoke.

Some have used Chlorella to treat stomach ulcers, constipation, menstrual ailments, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, improve fatigue, relieve asthma and reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. It is used to improve general digestion by providing “good bacteria” similar to a probiotic, and has even been used to treat colitis, Chrohn’s and other similar diseases.

Because it is also a source of magnesium, it can sometimes relieve symptoms of magnesium deficiency, such as joint pain or constipation.

Scientific Studies

Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College of Virginia published a study in 2001 which reviewed evidence of the supplement’s benefits. In double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials, 55 patients with fibromyalgia, 33 with hypertension and nine with ulcerative colitis were studied. Subjects took variations of pure chlorella and chlorella extract for a period of two to three months, administering the supplement daily. Results concluded that the supplement may reduce blood pressure, accelerate the healing of wounds, enhance the immune system and lower cholesterol levels.

In 2003, more research was performed and then published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology when a powder form of chlorella (7%) was administered to rats with diabetes for 11 weeks. Results showed lipid peroxide values decreased, decreased blood glycated hemoglobin and reduced cholesterol levels. In summary, the study concluded that chlorella not only can be beneficial in preventing diabetic complications, but it was also rich in antioxidant activity.

Perhaps the most fascinating findings were that chlorella could attenuate lipid peroxidation in cigarette smokers, preventing disease and lowering mortality rates associated with smoking. These findings, published in the peer reviewed journal of Clinical Laboratory in 2013, were supplemented with the reaffirmation that chlorella’s high antioxidant levels were beneficial for almost any ailment.

While official clinical studies are somewhat lacking, the small findings published so far in peer reviewed journals, combined with personal testimonies, look very promising for a number of ailments. While more human studies specifically are needed to determine what, if any, side effects may be present in humans, animals studies have paved the way for this supplement to be further studied and potentially be life changing for humans.

Suggested Usage

One will quickly find that most of the Chlorella sold in the United States is produced in Taiwan or Japan. Before you purchase a supplement, it is important to read about the manufacturer’s reputation, as the cultivation method can cause protein levels, carbohydrates and fat levels to differ drastically, often over 70%.

Because of these differences, one should consult manufacturers’ directions for proper dosages, but a good supplement will likely include guidelines similar to those listed below. Chlorella should always be taken with water or juice, half an hour before consuming food.

Like most supplements, it is available in both powder and capsule form. Capsules should be taken as recommended with dosage guidelines in mind. Powders can be added to foods such as salads and yogurts, mixed with smoothies, juice or water. Keep in mind that adding it to cold foods and drinks is beneficial, but the warmth from warm meals or hot drinks can greatly diminish effects, and is therefore not recommended.

While the recommended dosage is considered safe, it is recommended to begin with a smaller dose, working up to the recommendation to ensure the fewest side effects and best tolerance. Mild headaches, gas and diarrhea can occur due to intolerance, and these symptoms can be relieved by more gradually introducing the supplement to your regimen. They also generally subside within just a few days, but if they continue or concerns arise, contact a physician.

Adults should consume about 3 to 4 grams of powder or supplements per day, with a suggested dosage of 1 to 2 grams for children. Care should be taken to avoid vitamin C within three hours of these supplements, as it can cause toxins to enter your tissues due to the binding of heavy metals being loosened by the vitamin. In addition, it is best to split recommended doses into two or three doses throughout the day. If taking only one dose, it should be done before breakfast.

7 Wall Sit Benefits You Need to Know

wall sit benefits

If you’re a serious gym goer, chances are you have been grasping at straws to find the perfect exercise that will enhance the muscles within your thighs. Most leg day exercises are known to give you increased strength in the legs but typically fall short of a full leg workout that gives you the results you want. That’s where the benefits of wall sit exercises come in.

A wall sit exercise is not hard to execute at all, which you will find to be the first notable benefit, aside from the fact that you can do them anywhere, whether you are at home, a hotel room, or wherever your life takes you, all you need is a wall and your body weight, as wall sits are a body weight bearing exercise. All you have to do is plant those feet on the ground, two feet from the wall, shoulder-width apart, with your knees in line with your ankles, slowly slide down and hold for 30 seconds to a minute, depending on your abilities and whether or not you’re a beginner, and then raise yourself back up, and stand up from there, and your exercise is complete.

Isometric Strength

The benefits of wall sits are never ending. The biggest benefit from wall sits (aside from being easy to perform) is that they increase your isometric strength. What exactly is isometric strength? Well, isometric exercises or any type of isometric training means that the exercise you’re doing does not change your muscle length and joint angle at the point of contraction. This means, that if you have any problems with a particular joint at any given angle when lifting or moving, Isometrics allows you to isolate that joint, further improving your condition. Further according to makingmuscle.com, the body is also able to use isometrics to activate all of its available motor units, which is actually very hard to achieve without isometrics or any other training methods. Isometric training is also a form of not only isolation but a form of using your bodyweight for strength and endurance enhancement that allows you to train with your body against a sitting still object. Any form of isometric training can increasingly improve the health of your heart because this exercise requires your resting heart rate to stay a normal pace. Wall sits can, in turn, allow your heart to not work as hard and it is said that “a heart that does not work as hard all of the time, can stay healthier for longer.”

Stamina

Because wall sits allow you to focus on your muscles as a whole, you can see how it can not only improve your leg strength but further improve your stamina by increasing leg strength. This allows you to execute other exercises more efficiently and easily that you wouldn’t normally be able to perform as easily from just a regular squat or lunge.

Focus

Wall sits are all said to increase your mind’s ability to focus. Because wall sits inherit a form of martial arts with a side of yoga principles, when performing a wall sit properly, it requires an extreme level of focus and awareness of what you are doing. With that type of focus and concentration, wall sits can easily allow your body to be more flexible, in the sense that your posture improves and gets used to the wall sit movement. This can make you feel a little more light and airy once you have included the wall sit into your regimen more frequently.

Balance

Now that we have established that wall sits make you stronger, increase flexibility and can further improve focus and concentration, it will come to no surprise that another added benefit that comes from performing wall sits is that you can improve your balance. Because you have to lean up against a wall with no support at all and perform the exercise on your own, the level of focus and concentration aiding you in balancing can improve your body’s ability to balance as a whole as your go through daily life.

Build Muscle

In addition to the laundry list alread discussed, wall sits are also known to strengthen and tone your calves and abs. This exercise focuses on transferring your body weight to your calves and thighs. That means that all of your weight is transferred to those areas, and you must use your calves and thighs to raise yourself back up in an upward position, further toning those thighs, and because this workout calls for those abdominal muscles to be held in place with force while performing this exercise, with regular breathing and no slouching, your abdominal strength will improve tremendously.

Multi-Task

Wall sits are also versatile and can allow you multitask. You can change up your routine by adding weights or even change the way that you perform a wall sit in general to amp up your exercise, whether you choose to use one leg or the other at a time to improve weakness imbalances, you will certainly be able to get the most of your wall sit exercises through versatility alone. As far as multitasking is concerned, with a wall sit you can easily “watch tv, listen to music or even do curls with a dumbbell as you sit up against a wall”. Getting creative to get the most of your wall sit exercise while decreasing your stress through multitasking activities that you find enjoyable can tack on the added benefit of stress relief.

Burn Fat

Wall sits, of course, aren’t exactly cardio, but any exercise that increases the muscles to use energy can in fact burn calories, so when it comes to weight loss goals, although you won’t burn as many calories as you would through other exercises, wall sits still allow the burning of some calories while the focus remains to strengthen and tone.

Wall sits definitely allow the leg day boost you need by really toning the thighs, glutes, hamstrings, abs, lower back and calves while improving your focus and self-awareness as you perform your hold. In order to reap all the rewards from the benefits we mentioned, the one thing you must always make sure of is that your form is pristine and your efforts consistent. Starting your hold for 30 seconds and slowly increasing over time will definitely help you achieve your leg day goals.

Ashwagandha for Anxiety and Immunity

ashwagandha

The sacred texts of Ayurveda in India predate those of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Because Ashwagandha is mentioned in Ayurveda, we know that its usage dates back about four thousand years. It is mentioned in the sacred texts of Charaka and Sushruta Samhitas. It was originally used to promote longevity in life, and to provide energy for strenuous work.

It possesses adaptogenic properties, meaning it is part of a species that increases tolerance to stressors, whether physical, psychological or chemical. Put simply, it is thought to help maintain homeostasis when the body has trouble doing so. It is also thought to help the body reduce cortisol levels, which in turn can lower stress, improve concentration and prevent excess weight gain. These benefits, combined with other recent discoveries, make it easy to see why Ashwagandha was such an integral part of Ayurveda, particularly when mixed with other substances of similar composition.

The plant itself is a member of the Solanaceae family, and although Ayurveda was practiced mostly in India, it was also used in areas such as Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The plant is native to Australia, Africa and Eastern Asia. In African tribes, Ashwagandha was used to fight inflammation, much like today, and it was also used to treat fevers.

Because of its traditional use for concentration as well as an aphrodisiac, it is often called “Indian Ginseng.” While this once was likely a very accurate description, today, we know of an ever expanding list of benefits that Ashwagandha can provide.

What Does Ashwagandha Do?

The number of ailments treated by Ashwagandha is virtually endless, as it can prohibit the toll stress often takes on our bodies. Because we can’t always know what ailments are direct results from stress, the following is a list of ailments that this supplement is said to prevent or treat.

  • Sexual function – Treats many fertility issues (men and women), increases sexual desire, prevents uterine fibroids, improves sexual performance and promotes healthy menstruation in women.
  • Inflammation – Treats pain, inflammation, arthritis, fibromyalgia
  • Stress – Reduces the body’s response to stress in general, lowers cortisol, helps alleviate anxiety
  • Immunity – Decreased response to stress helps body fight its own battles more efficiently, increases immunity to infections and colds.
  • Cancer – Slows tumor growth, shown to prevent cancers, improves immunity for those at risk, serves as an alternative treatment for cancer.
  • Other – Can improve cognitive functions  in those with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even head trauma, improves insomnia, bronchitis, asthma, chronic liver disease, improves physical abilities, muscle and nerve center relaxant, regulates blood sugar, reduce cravings, balance thyroid and reduce cholesterol.

Scientific Studies

The African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines published a study in 2011 documenting many of the effects that have been scientifically proven with Ashwagandha. When testing rats in a swimming pool, stamina was increased with use of Ashwagandha, and it also prevented adrenal gland changes and cortisol content. It was also found to prevent stress induced ulcers before they began, and even treated and controlled uterine fibroids in mice. In children with deficient memories, the herb improved cognition, and it prevented loss of memory in those with old age.

Suggested Usage

Both Ashwagandha and Physalis alkekengi are known as “wild cherry,” so one should be careful to first select a product with the proper ingredients. Typically, manufacturers’ directions should be followed as recommended, as higher doses can cause the supplement to act similarly to creatine or steroids.

Ashwagandha is available as a topical oil, and can be used to increase stamina and endurance, or reduce pain and inflammation. Most topical oils are suggested to sit on the affected area for half an hour, and then be removed with a cloth, although individual products may vary. As an oral supplement or tea, the recommended daily dosage is 600 to 1000 milligrams, twice daily. Liquid extract can be added to water, and many teas already contain the extract.

For insomnia, older, more traditional methods are recommended. Simmer the root (often sold in a powder form) in milk, and sweeten with honey before bedtime.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Hoax or Real Deal?

apple cider vinegar

Perhaps one of the world’s most ancient remedies, Apple Cider Vinegar is also one of the simplest and most fascinating. It is said that Hippocrates prescribed it along with a dose of honey for general good health, and this “elixir of life” has been used since about 3000 BC. Most modern day research involving the vinegar has focused on metabolism and joint pain, two common ailments that show promising improvement when treated with apple cider vinegar.

While there are very complex debates about the exact origin of Apple Cider Vinegar, the best way to understand its origin is by understanding vinegar itself. Because virtually anything can be turned to vinegar by a process that resembles wine, we can conclude that apple cider vinegar was produced in areas where apples were abundant. Apples were a popular fruit in ancient Greece, so it is assumed that when Hippocrates wrote his remedies regarding vinegar, apple cider vinegar was one of the common forms used. The ailments he discussed alongside vinegar were various infections and wounds, and as time went on, vinegar was used for more and more ailments.

What Does Apple Cider Vinegar Do?

Perhaps the most well-known ailment for which apple cider vinegar is effective is diabetes. Though it can also boost a metabolism, which is a major concern for many with diabetes, it can also improve insulin sensitivity in high carb meals, reduce blood sugar with consumption of carbs, and even help blood sugar levels remain stable through times of sleep.

In addition to helping those with diabetes maintain healthy blood sugar and weight, it can also help with everyday life. It helps people feel fuller after a meal so they avoid overeating, as well as providing the much discussed boost in metabolism, tackling excess weight from two perspectives. Of course, healthy weights help support healthy hearts, and apple cider vinegar can also lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce blood pressure and even prevent the oxidation process in LDL cholesterol (which can lead to heart disease), leading to an overall healthier heart.

Of course, anyone who has seen articles on the internet lately knows that one of the most popular suggested uses for apple cider vinegar is protecting against cancer. While studies have not been scientifically conclusive regarding apple cider vinegar’s role in cancer treatment, it is worth noting that most studies involved animals and rice vinegar, so more research is most certainly needed. Many studies, however, showed the rice vinegar to kill or shrink cancer cells and tumors in test tubes, so future research could be promising.

Scientific Studies

A Dutch study published in 2012 focused on a 15 year old girl who suffered an erosive tooth after regular consumption of Apple Cider Vinegar. The same study found that the culture in North Africa promoted the use of the remedy, and it was often used to aid in weight loss in both males and females. The study showed the women who consumed the apple cider vinegar lost more weight than those who did not consume it.

Another study published by authors in Greece found that ingesting vinegar before a meal did actually improve blood flow to the muscles. Glucose uptake by the forearm was improved, reducing hypertriglyceridaemia and postprandial hyperinsulinaemia. In short, the study found that vinegar could improve insulin resistance and metabolic function in the atherogenic prediabetic state.

In 2015, the Journal of Diabetic Research concluded similar findings, as they found a decrease in postprandial hyperglycaemia, hyperinsulinaemia and hypertriglyceridaemia. Increases in glucose uptake were observed, where insulin action in skeletal muscles were also observed.

In Sweden, however, more side effects were found and were published in 2007 in BMC Gastroenterology. Ten patients, all with type 1 diabetes, were studied along with their gastric emptying rate, using ultrasonography. The study concluded the gastric emptying rate was reduced by apple cider vinegar, which could further complicate type 1 diabetes.

Because of some of the side effects discovered in these scientific studies, such as tooth erosion, care should be taken to consume the proper dosage, and to drink enough fluids after consumption. In addition, one should consult his or her physician and/or naturopath to monitor potential side effects.

Suggested Usage

Because the modern day practice of pasteurization can remove many of the benefits from fermented foods, it is important to recognize a good, raw, apple cider vinegar, from those that are overly pasteurized products. These often have little nutritional value and diminished anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. A good vinegar will contain amino acids as well as antioxidants. Apple Cider Vinegar most helpful for ailments will be raw, unpasteurized, unfiltered and have a cloudy appearance. This cloudy appearance is due to the “mother,” or healthy bacteria, still being present in the vinegar. This healthy bacteria is probiotic and antimicrobial.

The suggested daily dosage is one to two tablespoons daily, and it does not have to be taken straight, but can mixed with water and other ingredients. Depending on the ailment one seeks to treat, however, other dosages may be more suitable. Because apple cider vinegar is high in acidity, caution should be taken to protect tooth enamel. This may mean diluting the dose, rinsing with coconut oil after consumption, or even consulting a dentist in severe cases.