Archive for the ‘nutrition’ Category

Yacon- The Enemy of Diabetes

October 27, 2008

I thought it would be helpful to post about this little root which has helped my grandparents, aunts and uncles lower their blood sugar and blood pressure.

Diabetes Natural Treatment
based on Yacon (smallantus sonchifolius)

Natural treatment for Diabetes and Liver Problems as well to reduce high blood pressure.

The Yacon roots its an excellent natural product actually used for the Diabetes and Liver treament.

Yacon Leaves are actually used for Hypertension natural treatment as well as a powerful antioxidant natural source learn more green teas.

The Peruvian Yacón (Llacon) grows at altitudes under 9,300 feet high, in climates that are warmer and more humid than those in which other tubers usually grow. Yacón usually grows in small farm orchards in mountains valleys. The area of the crop has not expanded much in recent decades. In some Andean valleys, yacón is sold at market fairs

The Peruvian Yacon has a crunchy texture like a water chestnut and is,refreshingly sweet and juicy. Left in the sun, its sweetness intensifies, and it can be eaten as a fruit, consumed in drinks, syrups, cakes or pickles or instir-fries.Though packed with sugar, its principal appeal to the health conscious lies in the fact that the sugar in question is mainly oligofructose, which cannot be absorbed by the body.That means yacon is naturally low-calorie — a jar of yacon syrup contains half the calories as a same-sized jar of honey — and its sugar does not raise blood glucose levels. In addition, oligofructose promotes beneficial bacteria in the colon. Certain modern health products, such as so-called bio-yogurts, have oligofructose added to achieve the same effect, but yacon already has that quality naturally. “It’s a diet food and a diabetic food.

Yacon — the root of a tall, leafy plant with tiny yellow sunflowers that Inca “chasquis,” or messengers, pulled from the pathside to slake their thirst is thought to have originated in a Andean region of Peru.

The root contains 86-90% water and only traces of protein and lipids. It is high in oligofructose (also called fructo-oligosaccharide), a dietary sugar, which the human body does not metabolize, hence its potential use for diabetics and in body weight control. Moreover, increased intake of oligofructose has been associated with improved gut health because of the stimulation of (beneficial) bifidus bacteria in the colon.
Uses. Yacón can be eaten raw, just like a fruit. Once the roots have been dried in the sun, they become sweeter. In Cusco, Peru, during the Inti Raymi festivities in June, yacón is traditionally sold under the name of “cocashka.”

Varieties. This root has little variability. It mainly has white or yellowish transparent flesh. Peru has the greatest number of varieties, and is the world’s biggest producer with an estimated 1,480 acres under cultivation.

Yacon is the ideal product for diabetics. The fructose in in the Yacon root consist of 35% free and 25% bonded fructose. Thus carbohydrates can be supplied even when the concentration of blood sugar is low. That prevents diabetics from hyperglycaemia (over-activity).

That means yacon is naturally low-calorie — a jar of yacon syrup contains half the calories as a same-sized jar of honey — and its sugar does not raise blood glucose levels.In addition, oligofructose promotes beneficial bacteria in the colon (prebiotics). Certain modern health products, such as so-called bio-yogurts, have oligofructose added to achieve the same effect, but yacon already has that quality naturally.“It’s a diet food and a diabetic food,” said yacon expert Michael Hermann, Research Project leader of the Andean roots and tubers

The effects :

The yacon’s oligofructose properties were discovered. by ancient peruvians but the modern medicine found out that if the leaves are used in tea, it has the effect of avoiding the peaks that you have when eating sugary or starchy food, when your blood sugar level goes up violently, one of the biggest problems of a diabetics person. who have high blood sugar levels and whose bodies do not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that would normally be released to process food.

It appears that the tea lessens the (sugary) peaks.

Benefits:

Research has proven that is beneficial for those with hypertension. By thinning the blood Yacon can lower blood pressure by 5 to 10 percent. It can also lower cholesterol and discourage clot formation. Unfortunately, Yacon has a reputation for being a Diabetes but it is also excellent to reduce the hypertension problems..

Dr. H Brams said yacon roots themselves had not been proven to have the same palliative effect as the Yacon leaves. Even so, yacon is now popularly associated in Peru with diabetes, though other benefits such as its laxative quality and ability to help prevent colon cancer and osteoporosis are less well known.

Contents:

Several carbohydrates: fructose, glucose, sucrose, low polymerization degree (DP) oligosaccharides (DP 3 to 10 fructans), and traces of starch and inulin (Asami et al. 1989; Ohyama et al. 1990). Oligofructans with a lower DP (average 4.3) may account for up to 67% of the dry matter content at harvest (Asami et al. 1991). Oligosaccharides purified from yacon have been identified as beta-(2 1)-fructooligosaccharides with terminal sucrose (inulin type oligofructans; Goto et al. 1995).

The root contains 86-90% water and only traces of protein and lipids. It is high in oligofructose (also called fructo-oligosaccharide), a dietary sugar, which the human body does not metabolize, hence its potential use for diabetics and in body weight control. Moreover, increased intake of oligofructose has been associated with improved gut health because of the stimulation of (beneficial) bifidus bacteria in the colon.

A jar of yacon syrup contains half the calories as a same-sized jar of honey and its sugar does not raise blood glucose levels. In addition, oligofructose promotes beneficial bacteria in the colon.

Certain modern health products, such as so-called bio-yogurts, have oligofructose added to achieve the same effect, but yacon already has that quality naturally.It’s a diet food and a diabetic food, said yacon expert Joel Kirsh,Research leader of the Andean roots and tubers project at the Potato Research Center.

showed potent free radical-scavenging activity and inhibitory effects on lipid peroxidation in rat brain homogenate. The most potent antioxidative activity focused on the 50% MeOH-eluted fraction on DIAION HP-20 column chromatography. The structure of the major component in the fraction was identified as 2,3,5-tricaffeoylaltraric acid (TCAA). The antioxidative activity of TCAA is superior to that of natural antioxidants such as (+/-)-catechin, alpha-tocopherol, and ellagic acid,. As the hypoglycemic activity of Yacon extract was described in a previous report, the present results showing that the aerial part of Yacon has strong antioxidative activity may encourage its potential use as a food supplement to prevent type II diabetes.

Radical scavenging and anti-lipoperoxidative activities of Smallanthus sonchifolius – yacon – leaf extracts.
J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Jul 13;53(14):5577-82.
Radical scavenging and anti-lipoperoxidative effects of two organic fractions and two aqueous extracts from the leaves of a neglected Andean crop- yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius Poepp. & Endl., Asteraceae) were determined using various in vitro models. The extracts’ total phenolic content was 10.7-24.6%. These results make yacon leaves a good candidate for use as a food supplement in the prevention of chronic diseases involving oxidative stress.

Subchronic 4-month oral toxicity study of dried Smallanthus sonchifolius (yacon) roots as a diet supplement in rats.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2005 Nov;43(11):1657-65.
The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of subchronic (4-months) oral consumption of dried yacon root flour as a diet supplement using normal Wistar rats. Two daily yacon intake levels were used, equivalent to 340 mg and 6800 mgFOS/body weight, respectively. Yacon administered as a diet supplement was well tolerated and did not produce any negative response, toxicity or adverse nutritional effect at both intake levels used. Yacon root consumption showed no hypoglycemic activity in normal rats and resulted in significantly reduced post-prandial serum triacylglycerol levels in both doses assayed. Conversely, serum cholesterol reduction was not statistically significant. Cecal hypertrophy was observed in rats fed only the high dose. Our results indicating lack of yacon toxicity and a certain beneficial metabolic activity in normal rats warrant further experiments with normal subjects and patients suffering metabolic disorders.

The effect of Smallanthus sonchifolius ( yacon ) leaf extracts on rat hepatic metabolism.Cell Biol Toxicol. 2004 Mar;20(2):109-20.
Smallanthus sonchifolius ( yacon ), originating from South America, has become popular in Japan and in New Zealand for its tubers which contain beta-1,2-oligofructans as the main saccharides. The yacon plant is also successfully cultivated in Central Europe in the Czech Republic in particular. Its aerial part is used in Japan and in Brazil as a component in medicinal teas; while aqueous leaf extracts have been studied for their hypoglycemic activity in normal and diabetic rats. We have already demonstrated the high content of phenolic compounds in yacon leaf extracts and their in vitro antioxidant activity. In this paper, we present the effects of two organic fractions and two aqueous extracts from the leaves of S. sonchifolius on rat hepatocyte viability, on oxidative damage induced by tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BH) and allyl alcohol (AA), and on glucose metabolism and their insulin-like effect on the expression of cytochrome P450 (CYP) mRNA. All the extracts tested exhibited strong protective effect against oxidative damage to rat hepatocyte primary cultures in concentrations ranging from 1 to 1000 microg/ml, reduced hepatic glucose production via gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis at 1000 microg/ml. Moreover, the effects of the organic fractions (200 and 250 microg/ml) and to a lesser extent, the tea infusion (500 microg/ml) on rat CYP2B and CYP2E mRNA expression, were comparable to those observed with insulin. The combination of radical scavenging, cytoprotective and anti-hyperglycemic activity predetermine yacon leaves for use in prevention and treatment of chronic diseases involving oxidative stress, particularly diabetes.

Yacon is a tender perennial, meaning that it lives for many years but needs to be protected from frost. Other tender perennials are potatoes
(which, along with Yacon, originates from the high Andes) and Dahlias.
Yacon is grown in nearly the same way as Dahlias, and if you’ve ever grown them before you’ll know how easy that is.

Yacon. It is a root vegetable looks like a Potato, that grows underground, and it has a very high inulin content..the Inulin is a non-assimilable sugar so products sweetened with yacon are suitable for diabetics.

Yacon is intensely sweet, with as much as 4,000kg of inulin resulting from a hectare of production. ‘We extract the inulin mechanically, then heat the extracted juice for five or six hours at 70°C,’

From:

Sweet and Dangerous

October 26, 2008

The Sugar-Coated Truth
Posted on Friday 24 October 2008

It is believed that cane sugar was discovered before the birth of Christ. As early as 500 B.C., India was said to have a “reed which gives honey without bees.” This reed would later become known as sugar cane.

The invasion of Arabs into India nearly 1,000 years later in 642 A.D. led to the spread of sugar cane to the rest of the world. The Arabs discovered sugar cane and learned how it was processed by the Indians. They brought the cane with them as they conquered much of Europe, introducing it to lands such as North Africa and Spain. For many years, however, the rest of Europe was stuck with honey, because sugar did not make it to the west until the crusades. The first record of sugar in England occurs in the year 1099.

Sugar was brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus. At the time, sugar was processed by boiling the cane juice and then harvesting the crystals left behind after the water evaporated. These crystals contained protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. While they were calorie dense, they provided essential nutrients. It was not until a few centuries later that the process of refining sugars, and stripping out many of these nutrients, was perfected and sugar became a profitable industry.

It is interesting to note that raw sugar is already refined. Only evaporated cane juice is truly “raw” sugar (of the cane variety – sugars can come from other sources as well, such as beets and fruit). Once the cane juice crystals are harvested, they are washed, boiled, centrifuged, filtered, and dried. The purpose of this is to remove all of the original plant materials (stalk, fiber, etc.) to produce the pure sugar. This process removes most of the fiber and nutrients that existed in the original crystals. The sugar then becomes refined, and is now a food high in calories with little nutritional value.

Several centuries ago, refined sugars were expensive to produce, and were also taxed at a higher rate. Therefore, only the affluent could afford them. Refined goods became a symbol of status. People who had access to these foods were called “refined” people. Interestingly, this affluent sector of the population also had a disproportionate rate of disease and illness as compared to the lower classes that only had access to unrefined, natural foods. There appear to be references to the evils of sugar as early as the 1800s when rations in the military were compared to standard civilian meals and it was determined that refined foods had a potentially negative impact on health.

Sugar has received a bad reputation lately – not just refined sugars, but all sugars. Many people go out of their way to avoid sugar in the diet, without understanding how sugar affects health. Artificial sweeteners are a common substitute for sugars, but are these synthetic chemicals truly safe? For many people, sugar-free and fat-free food is an artificial “crutch” – comforted in the knowledge that their food contains no sugar or fat, they over consume this “safe” food. In the end, sugar may not turn out to be the enemy that many people claim it is.

There are a few reasons why sugar has a bad reputation. For one, refined sugars provide easy food for oral bacteria, and can promote cavities and the accumulation of plaque. There is also a prevalent belief that all simple carbohydrates are bad. In reality, the digestive system is very complex and there is more to consider than just the number of molecules chained together in a food – one must consider enzymes, where the food is processed in the body, and what changes take place to the food before the body utilizes it.

All carbohydrates are technically sugar. Before your body will use the carbohydrate in table sugar, a baked potato, or a green bean, it must break this carbohydrate down to glucose, the form of sugar that your body can “burn” for energy. Glucose is also stored as glycogen in the muscle cells. So, since all carbohydrates eventually end up as a sugar, the mere fact that they begin as sugars is irrelevant. So what is relevant? The rate at which the sugar enters the bloodstream, which is exactly what the glycemic index measures.

Another concern some people express is the “ease” at which sugars are converted to fat. I read one “system” for getting into shape that did not offer scientific evidence, but claimed that in working with extremely lean body builders, the author figured out that sugars cause fat to be stored quickly and easily. Other books simply state that sugar is quickly and easily converted to fat. Again, we have to understand our biological systems to analyze those statements. How does a sugar get stored as a fat? The liver processes the glucose molecule and turns it into a triglyceride, or fat molecule. This, again, complicates matters: whether or not you eat table sugar or a green bean, guess what? By the time your liver “sees” it, it has been broken down to a glucose molecule. There is no practical way that your liver somehow “knows” that the glucose molecule came from a green bean instead of a grain of table sugar, except that your entire body benefits from additional nutrients when you consume the green bean.

The only real way the sugar may be more readily stored as fat is if it impacts blood sugar or creates some environment that would promote the conversion of glucose to triglycerides. Theoretically, a huge surge in blood sugar due to a rapidly ingested carbohydrate would cause the liver to convert most of that sugar to fat, regardless of whether or not you required it for energy.

The glycemic index demonstrates that refined sugars are indeed dangerous – they have some of the highest indexes on the list. Many manufacturers use a “complex carbohydrate” called maltodextrin to sweeten shakes. They can state “no sugar” or “low sugar” on the nutrition label because maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate, but it will impact blood sugar more than table sugar (table sugar is sucrose, which, by the way, is not a simple sugar – it is two molecules, glucose and fructose, bonded together). How do natural sugars fare? Fructose, the type of sugar commonly found in fruit; lactose, the sugar found in milk; and honey, the sugar produced from nectar by bees, all fare very well. In fact, if you are simply concerned about blood sugar, these three sugars will affect it less than brown rice, whole wheat bread, and baked potatoes!

We’ve determined that simply avoiding a sugar because it is a sugar has no real scientific foundation. One problem with sugars, however, is that many products add an extremely high amount of sugar to sweetener the products. This, in turn, causes the product to be higher in calories. Because consuming more calories means you must expend more calories to reduce or manage your weight, this can be of concern. The alternative to using a natural or refined sugar is to use a reduced calorie sweetener. There are five major reduced calorie sweeteners on the market today. These are Acesulfame Potassium (Acesulfame-K), Aspartame, Saccharin, Stevia, and Sucralose. Are these products the answer to your woes?

Acesulfame-K was introduced in 1967. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose). According to studies, this sweetener is not absorbed in the body but passes through unchanged. How many studies? Around 90 studies have been conducted on this sweetener, with no documented health risks. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), however, reports that the product can break down to acetoacetamide. This chemical has been shown to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits, and dogs. Administration of 1% and 5% acetoacetamide in the diet for three months caused benign thyroid tumors in rats.

Aspartame was introduced in 1965. It is a low-calorie sweetener that is also 200 times sweeter than sucrose. Aspartame is made from two amino acids (the building blocks of protein): L-phenylalanine and L-aspartic acid. More than 200 studies have been performed and the only documented health risks are to people who suffer from phenylketonuria (PKU), who cannot metabolize the L-phenylalanine. This is why there is a PKU warning on any product that contains aspartame. While there are no conclusive, formal, documented cases of adverse health affects, many people report headaches after consuming products that contain aspartame. Other adverse affects that consumers have reported (but have not been independently verified) include seizures, dizziness, tremors, migraines, memory loss, slurring of speech, confusion, fatigue, depression, nausea, and worse. Because children lack a “barrier” of protection that prevents the wrong nutrients from entering the brain (which adults have), some doctors have recently suggested that aspartame should not be given to children.

Saccharin was discovered 100 years ago. It is a low calorie sweetener. It is one of the most studied ingredients in the food supply. More than 30 human studies have been conducted with saccharin, and no adverse health effects have been reported. In 1997, a study using rodents reported a rise in bladder tumors, although this may be related to an increase in sodium and other products that were contained in the experimental diet. The CSPI reports several studies that may indicate a rise in tumor activity that correlates to saccharin intake.

Stevia is a plant that originated in the rainforests of Paraguay. It is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, does not impact blood sugar and has zero calories. The leaves have been used for over 1,500 years by the Guarini Indians of Paraguay. It was discovered and introducd to Europe by M. S. Bertoni in 1899. While Stevia has since become a very popular sweetener because it is “natural,” the FDA has yet to approve it as a food source – it remains classified as a dietary supplement.

Sucralose is a non-caloric sweetener made from sugar. It was discovered in 1976. A sugar molecule is modified to replace a hydroxyl (water) group with a chloride (chlorine) group. This creates a product on average 600 times sweeter than table sugar, which theoretically will pass through the body without being metabolized. Over 100 studies have been conducted using sucralose in order to approve it as a food additive.

Are these sweeteners really worth it? While there are many anecdotal reports of negative side effects, none of these have been confirmed through scientific investigation. In contrast, there is no anecdotal evidence whatsoever linking consumption of natural sugars such as fructose, honey, lactose, etc. with cancers, tumors, headaches, or other problems other than diabetes. Many diabetics use the glycemic index to control their food intake, and virtually many natural (unrefined) sugars fall within acceptable ranges for consumption based on those guidelines.

Do sugar free foods really help to control calories? I know many people who will avoid sugar like the plague, then purchase a box of sugar-free brownies and eat the entire box. What are they trying to achieve? Sugar-free may imply “reduced calorie” but when you over consume reduced calorie foods, you still create a problem! Do sugar-free brownies fit into a lifestyle, or are these a quick fix?

Adding one teaspoon of natural sugar to a bowl of oatmeal will add four grams of sugar or 16 calories and barely impact the rate at which that food is digested and released to the bloodstream (remember, your liver won’t know if the glucose molecule it is processing came from the oatmeal or the teaspoon of sugar). Remember the glycemic load? This would have a low load! Adding one teaspoon of an artificial sweetener won’t add any calories – but will introduce a new realm of possible side effects. On the other hand, if you avoid healthy food choices such as fruit due to the sugar content, you also miss out on thousands of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that don’t exist in any tablet or pill on the market – and have documented health benefits rather than risks! Oranges can reduce the risk of stroke. Bananas promote heart health by providing a tremendous amount of natural potassium. The list goes on and on.

What sugars are considered natural? A few natural sweeteners include: stevia (a herbal extract that is naturally sweet with no calories), barley malt, evaporated cane juice before it is refined (refined sugar is derived from cane juice, but is extremely processed with many of the natural enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and fiber removed), fruit juice (fructose), rice syrup, honey, and sugar alcohols. All-natural maple syrup is not only flavorful, but rich with iron and other micronutrients. Sugar alcohols have a “sweet” taste but are processed by the body as alcohol. This means that they are typically burned for energy and have a minimal impact on insulin and blood sugar, according to the latest studies. They are not known to be toxic like non-sugar alcohols.

I also recommend a product called Sucanat® that contains sugar cane molasses.

There is some confusion about what high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) actually is. You will find that the majority of processed foods contain this as a main ingredient. It is difficult to find bread in the supermarket that isn’t made with HFCS, and most sodas, treats, and non-natural juices contain this as well. HFCS is much sweeter than table sugar, which is one reason for its popularity in the food industry. HFCS can be misleading to consumers who are aware of natural sugars and the glycemic index. Knowing that fructose is a natural fruit sugar and low on the glycemic index, they may assume the HFCS falls under the same category. HFCS is actually hydrolyzed cornstarch, which means that cornstarch is mixed with enzymes and broken down. A chemical in the cornstarch converts some of the sugar in glucose form to fructose. The end result only contains 14% fructose – the rest is dextrose and other sugars and carbohydrates (so it is hardly “high” fructose, it is only “higher” in fructose than other corn products). HFCS has a glycemic index of 89, which is only slightly less than that of table sugar (92). In contrast, milk sugar (lactose) is 65 and natural fructose is 32, or almost 1/3 that of HFCS.

Sugar is certainly not your enemy. Refined and processed sugars are! Consume a protein and a whole, unprocessed carbohydrate with every meal, and add healthy fats to your diet. If these meals happen to contain some natural honey or cane juice, don’t sweat it! Eat 4 – 5 servings of fruit and or vegetables each day – there are far too many healthy compounds in these foods to pass them up out of fear of the natural sugar contained within. Make your own choice about artificial sweeteners, but keep in mind that you can easily control your portion sizes and use natural sweeteners instead. Are the potential risks worth the small benefit you may or may not be receiving from artificial sweeteners? Learn to let sugar work with you, not against you!
EzineArticles Expert Author Jeremy Likness

Jeremy Likness is an International Health Coach and motivational speaker. After losing 65 pounds of fat, he discovered his true vision to coach thousands around the world to better health. A Certified Fitness Trainer and Specialist in Performance Nutrition, Jeremy is the author of the internationally-selling e-Book, Lose Fat, Not Faith and the companion 5-CD set. Jeremy has been published in major online publications including Tom Venuto’s Fitness Renaissance and Bodybuilding.com. Jeremy’s approach is unique because he focuses on fitness from the inside out. Visit Jeremy online at Natural Physiques.

From:

Waiting your life away… for Doctors

October 24, 2008

Waiting for the doctor… and waiting and waiting


By Elizabeth Cohen
CNN Medical Correspondent
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To kill time in the obstetrician’s waiting room, Lora Jacobsen and her husband, Dustin, discuss names for their future child. Then they read old parenting magazines left in the waiting room. As the minutes tick by — 30 then 45 then more than 60 — they play games and check e-mail on their cell phones.
Dustin and Lora Jacobsen (with Maya) endured long waits at their OB’s office but chose to stay with the practice.

Dustin and Lora Jacobsen (with Maya) endured long waits at their OB’s office but chose to stay with the practice.

“One day I got so bored I took a video of myself circling around in the chair,” says Dustin, who posted the video and blogged about his wait.

“Really, what else are you going to do?”

His daughter Maya recently celebrated her first birthday, but Jacobsen, who lives in Leawood, Kansas, can still recall in vivid detail how maddening it was to spend so much time, month after month, waiting to see the doctor — and he isn’t the only one seething at the doctor’s office. Others have posted videos of their long waits, like one woman who documents her three-hour wait in an exam room, and this man who declares, “This sucks. I hate doctors’ offices.”

Long waits are also a common complaint on our weekly Empowered Patient “sound-offs.”

“Why has it become routine to make patients wait two to three hours to be seen?” asked one Empowered Patient reader.

“First, you wait in the main waiting area, then the nurse takes you into a small room, takes your vitals, and you are left in a holding pattern for another hour. You are treated rudely if you even dare to utter a complaint.”

“Am I seriously supposed to believe that every single one of my doctors have so many ’emergencies’ during the day that they are forced to be late seeing me?” asked another Empowered Patient reader. “Get real. It’s called over-booking.”
Don’t Miss

* Empowered Patient archive

One patient got so mad he even sued his doctor for being late — and won $250 in small claims court. By being four hours late, Aristotelis Belavilas says, his physician was giving the message that “I’m God and you’re not and I do whatever I want.”

It’s probably fair to say none of us ever wants to sit so long in a doctor’s waiting room that we resort to filing a lawsuit or videotaping ourselves. But there are strategies you can use to try and prevent frustrating waits. Video Learn how to avoid long waits at the doctor’s office »

1. Stage a revolt

“I ended up waiting two hours to see my gynecologist once, and I just went nuts,” says Joanna Lipari, who lives in Santa Monica, California. “I’m a New York Italian, and we don’t go well for this kind of stuff. I was so irritated that I gathered together the other eight ladies in the room and joked, ‘Let’s stage a revolt.’ ”

The other women took her seriously, and wrote letters to the doctor. “I told her she’s a wonderful doctor, but this really wasn’t cool. I told her it was inconvenient, uncomfortable and spoke badly for an otherwise exceptional medical practice,” says Lipari. “I was trying to change her behavior, and it worked. They changed the way they scheduled appointments.”

Lipari, a psychologist who herself works in a large medical practice, says sometimes doctors don’t even realize how long their patients have been waiting. She adds that her gynecologist still is late sometimes (after all, she does deliver babies), but when she is, the office calls Lipari ahead of time to alert her.

A letter from you might be the wake-up call your doctor needs, Dr. L. Gordon Moore, a family practice doctor in Seattle, Washington. “We’ve seen hundreds of practices turn things around,” says Moore, who’s on the faculty of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, which has some of these “improvement stories” listed on their Web site.

2. Ditch your doctor

Ditch your doctor and try one on this map from the Ideal Medical Practices Project. Moore is the director and says the physicians on this map are working towards being on time for their patients.

Unfortunately, there’s a limited number of doctors on this site, but you can always ask your friends if they have a doctor who doesn’t make them wait.

3. Don’t wait more than 15 minutes

When you’re in the waiting room, speak up sooner rather than later. “After 15 minutes, max, ask the receptionist what’s happening and if you’ve been forgotten,” Moore says.

4. Be a smart scheduler

Sean Kelley has diabetes and spends more than his fair share of time in doctors’ waiting rooms. In a recent blog for Health magazine, he offered these scheduling tips:

• Book the first appointment in the morning, or the first appointment after lunch

• Ask the scheduler to book you on the lightest day of the week (Kelley says for some reason his doctor’s office is nearly empty on Wednesdays).

• Avoid school holidays if your doctor or dentist sees kids.

For some more scheduling strategies from Lipari, read her blog.
Health Library

* MayoClinic.com: Health library

Kelley’s pet peeve: Drug reps who waltz into the doctor’s office when he’s been waiting for two hours. “They just wave at the receptionist and walk right in. And you can always spot a drug rep because they’re dragging luggage behind them and they’re always cute,” Kelley says. “They can see the doctor whenever they want. How’d they get the keys to the kingdom?”

5. Shut up and wait

This was the Jacobsens’ decision. They liked their obstetrician and didn’t want to switch in the middle of her pregnancy.
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During my third pregnancy, I made the same decision. I had several ridiculously long waits for my obstetrician, and learned to bring a good book and my laptop computer.

To their credit, during one three-hour-long wait, a nurse came out and apologized, explaining the doctor had run to the hospital to deliver a baby. Not wanting to incur the wrath of a roomful of hungry pregnant women, she brought us granola bars and bottles of water. I forgave them instantly, and went to him again for baby number four.

Hidden dangers in your food

October 23, 2008

Hidden Dangers in Food – Buyer Beware
Linda Hegstrand, MD, PhD

The evidence is compelling and conclusive that at least two specific food additives are poisons. Russell Blaylock, MD, a neurosurgeon, has dedicated his life to educating the public on the dangers of food additives. His book Excitotoxins The Taste that Kills is electrifying and well-researched – a must read to understand fully the impact of poisonous food additives on ourselves and our children. The two food additives I am speaking about are monosodium glutamate (MSG) and Aspartame – NutraSweet/Equal. Glutamate and aspartate are naturally occurring amino acids used in building proteins and also function as excitatory neurotransmitters. When they are present in excessive amounts, they stimulate neurons until they die which is why they are called excitotoxins.

MSG is a flavor enhancer causing cravings that contribute directly to obesity and diabetes. Worse yet it can damage your child¹s brain by effecting the development of the nervous system so that years later they may have learning and emotional difficulties (ADD/ADHD/Autism), and/or hormonal problems.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that may cause brain tumors and causes sugar cravings. It breaks down to form aspartate, an excitotoxin that can cause the same brain damage as MSG.

Furthermore excitotoxins can aggravate and possibly precipitate many neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer¹s, Parkinson¹s, ALS, and Huntington¹s. These excitotoxins are a risk if you have ever had a stroke, brain injury, brain tumor, seizure, or have suffered from hypertension, diabetes, meningitis, or viral encephalitis.

What can we do to protect ourselves and our children? There are Natural Solutions:
1. Read food labels. MSG is often present in foods that are not labeled as containing MSG, but do. Examples are hydrolyzed protein, gelatin (yes, commonly served in hospitals as a healthy dessert), yeast extract, textured protein, and more. For more information, go to http://www.truthinlabeling.org. If a food is labeled low fat, it almost certainly contains MSG in some form for flavor. Low carbohydrate processed foods most likely contain Aspartame.
2. Minimize consumption of processed foods – canned, boxed, bagged, and frozen.
3. Minimize restaurant foods, not just Chinese. They often contain MSG even though the waiter/waitress is not aware of it because MSG is often present in items listed that do not appear to contain MSG. When eating out tips: choose broiled, grilled, or steamed foods with butter, herbs, lemon, etc; oil and vinegar or lemon juice for salad dressing; and fresh fruits or sorbets for dessert.
4. Use stevia as a natural low calorie sweetener rather than Aspartame. Stevia can be purchased at health food stores as liquid or powder.
5. Increase your body¹s defense against excitotoxins.

Ways to defend against excitotoxins include:
1. Increasing cellular energy, ATP, improves the ability of specialized cells to take up excess glutamate and aspartate preventing these excitatory neurotransmitters from causing nerve cell death. ATP production is facilitated by supplementing with both carnitine and acetyl-l-carnitine.

2. Vitamin B6 lowers brain and blood glutamate. Glutamate receptors are blocked by Vitamin B12, pyruvate, and malate. The latter two also increase cellular energy.
3. Essential omega 3 fatty acids improve the health of mitochondria, the energy producing subcellular organelle, and cell membranes.
4. Antioxidants fight against this increase in free radicals formed by excess excitotoxins. There are three classes of antioxidants that form a network, all of which are essential in defending against free radicals: 1.) The Vitamin, Mineral, Flavonoid Network which includes Carotenoids; Vitamins C, D, E, and K; manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and plant flavonoids. 2.) The Enzyme Network which includes superoxide dismutase, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase. 3.) The Thiol (sulfur containing) Antioxidants which include albumin, alpha-lipoic-acid, and glutathione.
5. As Linus Pauling said: ³You can trace every illness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.² Having an appropriate blend of absorbable minerals including essential trace minerals is protective.
6. The ill effects of MSG and aspartate can be blocked by specific energetic frequencies.

Chronic conditions or symptoms may be MSG and/or Aspartame related. If the above suggestions do not improve your health, a visit to your natural health care provider is apt to help you optimize your health.

Continuing to allow MSG and Aspartame to be added to our foods with all the research that documents their ill effects is disturbing. It is clear that we must be conscientious in our food choices for ourselves and for our families.

From: Complete Wellness Center

Taipei Times: Are health officials fumbling again?

October 21, 2008

EDITORIAL: Are health officials fumbling again?

Monday, Oct 20, 2008, Page 8
News that the toxic chemical melamine was discovered in yet another food product imported from China, although shocking, should come as no surprise to consumers, given that country’s track record on food safety.

In light of this latest scare, in which imports of ammonium bicarbonate — a leavening agent used in cookies and pastries — were found to contain worryingly high levels of the industrial chemical, health authorities should take quick and effective action.

Instead of asking which other products may be contaminated, health authorities should be asking which products aren’t affected and how many other dangerous industrial chemicals in foodstuffs imported across the Taiwan Strait are being unwittingly consumed by shoppers.

A chemical industry report by Dutch company DSM states that China is one of the world’s largest producers and the world’s biggest exporter of melamine. There is a serious surplus of the chemical in China, the report notes, so it should come as no surprise that unscrupulous food manufacturers — of which there are obviously many — are coming up with innovative ways to use it.

The Chinese government clearly has little or no control over domestic food safety standards and cannot guarantee the safety of products its manufacturers export overseas.

It is therefore up to the Department of Health to guarantee the safety of imported foods from Chinese manufacturers. If it cannot do so, then all such imports from China should be banned regardless of the cost to local companies. Public health must be the first priority.

The government’s reaction to the tainted-milk scandal was woefully inadequate, but this was partly dictated by its new, low-key approach to the cross-strait relationship.

Hamstrung by its desire to curry favor with Beijing and its policy of denying Taiwanese statehood, it has been afraid to criticize China outright. Instead it has resorted to shady company-to–company dealings at the behest of Beijing, while holding meaningless international conferences to set non-binding and effectively useless “action levels” on safe quantities of melamine in food.

Speaking on the melamine scandal, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) recently said “it is absolutely impermissible to sacrifice people’s lives and health in exchange for temporary economic development.”

It comes to something when it is the Chinese premier, rather than the Taiwanese president, who says what people here have been waiting to hear: that companies should not put profits before people. But then five months in, this is what people have come to expect from our increasingly fumbling and unpopular administration.

Baking industry sources have said that health authorities knew about this latest scandal for several days before releasing the information. If this is true, this means the new administration has already lowered itself to the level of the Chinese communists, notorious for holding back news of health scandals.

The government has been in the news recently over its apparent attempts to limit the Central News Agency’s negative reports about China.

Any process that involves a democratically elected government holding back crucial information at the expense of its own people is a sign that the authorities are in dire trouble and need to rethink their priorities.

Summary of American Legal Actions Regarding Mobile Phones and Health Effects

October 20, 2008

Summary of American Legal Actions Regarding Mobile Phones and Health Effects– quite an interesting video to watch here. Very insightful that’s for sure.

Study: Google does a brain good

October 19, 2008

I thought this article was pretty interesting…

Study: Google does a brain good
(CNN) — Can Google make you smarter? Is the more you Yahoo, the better? A new study suggests that searching online could be beneficial for the brain.
Searching online triggers areas of the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning.

Searching online triggers areas of the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning.

A study at the University of California, Los Angeles, measured brain activity of older adults as they searched the Web.

“There’s so much interest in exercising our minds as we age,” said the researcher, Dr. Gary Small, a professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. “One result of this study is that these technologies are not all bad. They may be good in keeping our brains active.”

To study what brains look like when people are searching the Internet, Small recruited two groups of people: one that had minimal computer experience and another that was Web savvy.

Members of the technologically advanced group had more than twice the neural activation than their less experienced counterparts while searching online. Activity occurred in the region of the brain that controls decision-making and complex reasoning, according to Small’s study, which appears in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Small said he can’t pinpoint why there was more brain activity in the experienced users.

“The way I theorized is that when we are confronted with new mental challenges, we don’t know how to deal with it,” he said. “We don’t engage neural circuits. Once we figure out a strategy, we engage those circuits. ”

In the study, 24 people were divided into the two groups, who were similar in age ranging from 55 to 78 years old, sex and educational achievement. Their only difference was their technological experience.

The number of people in the study was small, “but adequate to see a difference between the groups. It was so significantly different,” Small said.

The subjects went into the magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scanner, which is like a large tunnel. The MRI monitored their brain activity while the subjects strapped on goggles, through which they saw a book page or an Internet search page.

They were given search tasks such as finding out how to choose a car or looking up the benefits of eating chocolate or drinking coffee. They had buttons and keyboards to conduct a simulated online search.

Their other task was to read pages laid out like a book.

“The bottom line is, when older people read a simulated book page, we see areas of the brain activated that you’d expect, the visual cortex, and areas that control language and reading,” he said. “When they search on the Internet, they use the same areas, but there was much greater activation particularly in the front part, which controls decision-making and complex reasoning. But it was only for the people who had previous experience with the Internet.” Interactive: See MRIs of study participants’ brain activity »

Liz Zelinski, a professor of gerontology and psychology at the University of Southern California, said the findings about the brain activity differences aren’t surprising and offered this analogy: “If you wanted to study how hard people can exercise, and you take people that already exercise and people that don’t exercise, aren’t they going to be different to start out?”

Research has shown that as the brain ages, its structure and function also changes. Such changes have been linked to declines in brain speed, control and working memory and other cognitive abilities.

Taking on mentally challenging tasks could improve brain health, according to recent studies. Brain teasers, such such as Nintendo’s Brain Age game and computer programs are geared towards boomers and aging adults. And everyone has different recommendations from crossword puzzles to Sodoku to video games as ways to keep the brain sharp, Zelinski said.

Her recommendation: “Do something hard and challenging that’s fairly unusual for them to do, something they haven’t done before. The idea is it should be difficult. If you do a crossword puzzle all your life, it’s not going to be challenging for you.”

For many aging Americans, learning how to use a computer is a challenge.
Health Library

* MayoClinic.com: Brain and Nervous System
* MayoClinic.com: Senior’s Health

The barrier for most seniors is the disinterest and intimidation, said Tobey Gordon Dichter, the founder of a nonprofit group, Generations on Line, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based organization that provides instructions and encourages seniors to get on the Web.

“It does so much for the mind,” Dichter said about searching online. “It allows for the mind to take where you where you want to go. It’s on-demand information.”

But it’s difficult at first, she added. “When you’re undertaking new frustrating tasks, like learning a language or how to use a computer, you’re pushing those neurons.”

The Pew Internet and American Life Project reported in a 2006 sample survey that about 32 percent of people who are 65 and older used the Internet.

Jewel Hall, 71, surfs the net on her laptop every other day. The Maryland resident said searching online forces her to think.

“It’ll make you think, ‘Do I have the right thing in there?’ ” Hall said. “Should I try to put something else in there? It makes you think, “What can I put in there to make the right things come up?’ You do use your brain a lot.”
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Small has written a book, “iBrain,” which examines the impact of technology on the human brain and said he wants to conduct further studies on the effects of technology on the organ.

Small encourages older adults to learn how to use search engines and said, “This could be exercising their brain and their neural circuitry in a way that’s helpful.”

From:

More on Radiation dangers

October 18, 2008

Cell Tower Protection
Cell Phone Ebook Cell Phone Ebook
I have been an active researcher on biological effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) for over twenty five years at Columbia University. I was also one of the organizers of the 2007 online Bioinitiative Report on the subject. Because of this background, I have been asked to provide background information regarding current discussions about the proposed cell tower.

There is now sufficient scientific data about the biological effects of EMF, and in particular about radiofrequency (RF) radiation, to argue for adoption of precautionary measures. We can state unequivocally that EMF can cause single and double strand DNA breakage at exposure levels that are considered safe under the FCC guidelines in the USA. As I shall illustrate below, there are also epidemiology studies that show an increased risk of cancers associated with exposure to RF. Since we know that an accumulation of changes or mutations in DNA is associated with cancer, there is good reason to believe that the elevated rates of cancers among persons living near radio towers are probably linked to DNA damage caused by EMF. Because of the nature of EMF exposure and the length of time it takes for most cancers to develop, one cannot expect ‘conclusive proof’ such as the link between helicobacter pylori and gastric ulcer. (That link was recently demonstrated by the Australian doctor who proved a link conclusively by swallowing the bacteria and getting the disease.) However, there is enough evidence of a plausible mechanism to link EMF exposure to increased risk of cancer, and therefore of a need to limit exposure, especially of children.
EMF Protection Products
Airtube Headsets

Source

There’s a video to watch on the site too..

Mobile Phone Use Causes Skin Problems

October 17, 2008

Mobile phone use causes skin problems
Press Trust of India
Friday, October 17, 2008, (New Delhi)
AdsSpy: 29 sites by this AdSense ID

Mobiles have become the ultimate necessity in our lives today. But researchers have warned that cell phone users are at risk of getting an itchy skin problem.

A team from the British Association of Dermatologists has found that mobile users are increasingly developing rashes on their faces and ears caused by an allergic reaction to the nickel on handsets.

And, according to the researchers, the phenomenon is being seen in people who do spend long periods of time on the phone, the British media reported.

As a large number of people are sensitive to nickel, which is used extensively in cell phone handsets, including buttons and surround of the screen, the team has dubbed the phenomenon “mobile phone dermatitis” where the skin becomes red, inflammed, blistered, dry and cracked.

Moreover, according to the researchers, women have a higher risk of developing mobile phone dermatitis, as they are more likely to have been previously sensitised to the metal following an allergic reaction to nickel-coated jewellery.

“The allergy results from frequent skin contact with nickel-containing objects. Prolonged or repetitive contact with a nickel-containing phone is more likely to cause a skin reaction in those who are allergic.

“If you’ve had a previous reaction to a nickel-coated

belt-buckle or jewellery, for example, you are at greater risk

of reacting to metal phones.

“In mobile phone dermatitis, the rash would typically

occur on the cheek or ear, depending on where the metal part

of the phone comes into contact with the skin. In theory, it

could even occur on fingers if you spend a lot of time texting

on metal menu buttons,” the Association’s Dr Graham Lowe was

quoted as saying. PTI MOT 

Worst Food Additives

October 16, 2008

Worst Food Additives

Wed, Oct 15, 2008

Health

Worst Food Additives

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Here is a list of some of the worst food additives. Check food labels to make sure that what you buy doesnot contain these ingredients.

  • Acesulfame-K – “Sunette”; may cause low blood sugar attacks; causes cancer, elevated cholesterol in lab animals.
  • Artificial colors – contribute to hyperactivity in children; may contribute to learning and visual disorders, nerve damage; may be carcinogenic
  • Artificial sweeteners – associated with health problems; see specific sweetener.
  • Aspartame – may cause brain damage in phenylketonurics; may cause central nervous system disturbances, menstrual difficulties; may affect brain development in unborn fetus.
  • BHA – can cause liver and kidney damage, behavioral problems, infertility, weakened immune system, birth defects, cancer; should be avoided by infants, young children, pregnant women and those sensitive to aspirin.
  • BHT – see BHA; banned in England.
  • Blue No. 1 – see FD&C colors.
  • Blue No. 2 – see FD&C colors.
  • Brominated vegetable oil – linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems; considered unsafe by the FDA, can still lawfully be used unless further action is taken by the FDA .
  • BVO – see brominated vegetable oil.
  • Caffeine – psychoactive, addictive drug; may cause fertility problems, birth defects, heart disease, depression, nervousness, behavioral changes, insomnia, etc.
  • Citrus Red No. 2 – see FD&C colors.
  • FD&C colors – colors considered safe by the FDA for use in food, drugs and cosmetics; most of the colors are derived from coal tar and must be certified by the FDA not to contain more than 10ppm of lead and arsenic; certification does not address any harmful effects these colors may have on the body; most coal tar colors are potential carcinogens, may contain carcinogenic contaminants, and cause allergic reactions.
  • Free glutamates – may cause brain damage, especially in children; always found in autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, enzymes, flavors & flavorings, gelatin, glutamate, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, plant protein extract, protease, protease enzymes, sodium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, yeast food and yeast nutrient; may be in barley malt, boullion, broth, carrageenan, malt extract, malt flavoring, maltodextrin, natural flavors, natural chicken flavoring, natural beef flavoring, natural pork flavoring, pectin, seasonings, soy protein, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, soy sauce, soy sauce extract, stock, whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, anything that is enzyme modified, fermented, protein fortified or ultrapasteurized and foods that advertise NO MSG; see MSG.
  • Green No. 3 – see FD&C colors.
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oils – associated with heart disease, breast and colon cancer, atherosclerosis, elevated cholesterol.
  • MSG – may cause headaches, itching, nausea, brain, nervous system, reproductive disorders, high blood pressure; pregnant, lactating mothers, infants, small children should avoid; allergic reactions common; may be hidden in infant formula, low fat milk, candy, chewing gum, drinks, over-the-counter medications, especially children’s, binders and fillers for nutritional supplements, prescriptiona nd non-prescription drugs, IV fluids given in hospitals, chicken pox vaccine; it is being sprayed on growing fruits and vegetables as a growth enhancer; it is proposed for use on organic crops.
  • Neotame – similar to aspartame, but potentially more toxic; awaiting approval.
  • Nitrates – form powerful cancer-causing agents in stomach; can cause death; considered dangerous by FDA but not banned because they prevent botulism.
  • Nitrites – may cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness; see nitrates.
  • Nutrasweet – see aspartame.
  • Olean – see olestra.
  • Olestra – causes gastrointestinal irritation, reduces carotenoids and fat soluble vitamins in the body.
  • Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils – see hydrogenated vegetable oil.
  • Potassium bromate – can cause nervous system, kidney disorders, gastrointestinal upset; may be carcinogenic.
  • Red No. 3 – see FD&C colors.
  • Saccharin – delisted as a carcinogen in 1997, however, studies still show that saccharin causes cancer.
  • Sulfites – destroys vitamin B1; small amounts may cause asthma, anaphylactic shock; dangerous for asthma, allergy sufferers; has caused deaths; banned on fresh fruits and vegetables, except potatoes.
  • Sweet ‘N Low – contains saccharin.
  • Yellow No. 6 – see FD&C colors.

The list can go on but for now these are the ones which I have summarised…..

Taken From: Nutrihealth