5 Ways to Complete and Escape From the Stress Cycle

Modern life, with its fast-paced demands and constant connectivity can lock you in a perpetual fight-or-flight stress cycle. This constant stress response can take a serious toll on your health as it does not allow for the necessary periods of rest and recovery.

Continuous exposure to stress and the release of stress hormones can weaken your immune system, and increase the risk of numerous health issues such as heart disease, depression, and obesity.1 You can improve your mental and physical health by breaking free from this cycle.

Three Phases of the Stress Cycle

There are three phases to the stress cycle. The alarm phase acts as your body’s immediate reaction to a perceived threat. The second phase is known as the resistance phase, as your body attempts to return to a state of balance by resisting or adapting to the stressors.

The final phase is the exhaustion phase. Decreased immunity, fatigue, and a higher susceptibility to illness are associated with this phase, as the wave of stress hormones and cortisol take their toll. Without proper intervention, this stage can result in significant and chronic health issues.

Triggering the Stress Cycle: Alarm Phase

The stress cycle commences with the alarm phase, where your eyes, ears or both send information to the amygdala, an area of your brain that contributes to emotional processing.2

This hormonal surge results in increased heart rate, blood pressure, and energy supplies, gearing your body up to either confront or flee from the threat.3 This phase is characterized not only by a heightened state of awareness but also by a significant boost in physical capabilities.

Your liver releases additional glucose into the bloodstream to provide extra energy, while certain bodily functions that are non-essential in immediate danger, such as digestion and immune system activities, are temporarily suppressed. Your body is now focusing all of its resources on addressing the immediate threat.4

The heavy lifting here is being done by the HPA-Axis, which consists of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and the adrenal glands. As your brain perceives dangers, it releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) prompts your body to release cortisol. These levels fall when the perceived threat has abated, activating the parasympathetic nervous system and beginning the resistance phase.5

Your body’s stress response is meant to be short-lived, and when prolonged, it can contribute to a range of chronic health issues linked to inflammation and stress. These include cardiovascular dysfunctions, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune syndromes, anxiety disorders and mental illness.6

The transition from the alarm to the resistance phase in the fight or flight response is your body’s attempt to adapt to stress and restore equilibrium. Unfortunately, the stress cycle can be triggered by events that are not life threatening.7

The Hazard of Getting Stuck in a Prolonged Resistance Phase

During the resistance phase, your body lowers stress hormone levels slightly, though they remain high enough to keep the body on alert. This shift allows you to deal with stress more effectively, maintaining a state of readiness without the intense energy expenditure of the alarm phase.8

This adaptation process is critical for prolonged periods of stress, ensuring that your body can continue functioning under pressure. Having recovered from the initial shock, with lowered cortisol levels, your blood pressure and heart rate begin to normalize.

However, staying in the resistance phase for too long without adequate rest can lead to exhaustion. Even during the resistance phase, your body is ramping down its response but still remains on alert. The resistance phase may not have the acute intensity of the alarm stage but your body is still dealing with a cascade of heightened hormonal and physiological responses.

Escaping the Stress Cycle

Constant stress and an inability to exit the heightened resistance phase can lead to depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment, and heart disease. Stress is a known risk factor for drug addiction, relapse, and other maladaptive stress responses.9

But a certain level of stress is unavoidable in life. If you find yourself struggling with acute or prolonged stress, there are a number of healthy and proactive behaviors that can help you escape the stress cycle.

Clean Carbs and the Cortisol Glucose Link

One of the primary “stress” hormones is, of course, cortisol, and diet has a lot to do with chronically elevated cortisol levels. If you don’t have enough glucose in your bloodstream, your body makes glucose by secreting cortisol, which breaks down your lean muscles, bones and brain to make amino acids that then convert to glucose in your liver.

What this means is that if you’re not getting enough healthy carbs in your diet, your body will produce cortisol to make the glucose it needs for optimal function. This is one of the reasons why I do not recommend chronic fasting or time-restricted eating. While it can be very beneficial in the short-term to aid in weight loss, over time, it can result in chronically elevated cortisol, which will age you prematurely.

As noted in a study in the journal Nutrients,10 “A diet high in carbohydrate was shown to reduce cortisol and negative mood after stress and carbohydrate loading was shown to increase performance and inhibit the typical cortisol increase in response to prolonged exercise.”

Exercise to Increase Endorphins and Reduce Stress Related Cortisol

Engaging in regular physical activity is another potent strategy for reducing stress. Exercise prompts your body to release endorphins, often referred to as the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.11

Exercise can improve overall mood and counters the detrimental effects of stress by lowering cortisol levels, your body’s primary stress hormone. Exercise also promotes proper sleep. So, overall, physical activity can significantly contribute to your emotional and physical equilibrium.12

Exercise is also key to a longer life, in part because it lowers the impact of stress on your body. Decreasing cortisol levels with regular physical activity will help you reduce your risk of stress-related health complications.13

The Power of Positivity and Cognitive Activity Can Protect Against Stress Cycle

You can also avoid some of the most the damaging effects of the stress cycle on both physical and mental health with a bit of positive thinking and maintaining a hopeful and optimistic outlook. This shift in perspective encourages your brain to produce chemicals that can break you out of the stress cycle.14

There are activities that can guide you towards a more positive mindset. These include mindfulness, gratitude journaling15 and spending time in nature. Taking a proactive approach can reduce current stress levels and reduce your susceptibility to falling into the stress cycle when life gets more hectic.

Creative Solution to the Stress Cycle

Creative thinking and hobbies can provide therapeutic escape from the stress cycle, offering mental diversions that rejuvenates both your mind and body. Activities like painting, writing, or playing a musical instrument stimulate your brain’s creativity centers, reducing the production of stress hormones and increasing feelings of happiness and satisfaction.

Creative thinking can also go beyond hobbies, and be directly applied to avoiding future stressful situations. This approach not only aids in developing innovative solutions to stress-inducing problems but also enriches the mind and can offer a sense of purpose and control over your environment.16

Is Laughter the Best Medicine?

The old adage that laughter is the best medicine exists for a reason. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, your body’s natural stress-relievers, making it a potent antidote to stress. Compare this with cynical distrust, which is associated with increased risk for dementia.17

Laughing sparks a brief period of action in the cardiovascular system followed by muscle relaxation. This physical change in the body mirrors the beneficial effects of physical exercise when it comes to reducing stress.

Incorporating humor into daily life can transform a dour and stressful atmosphere of stress into one of lightheartedness. By seeking out comedy in life or in the content you consume, individuals can create opportunities for laughter, offering a simple yet effective escape from the cycle of stress.18

Manage the Stress Cycle by Taking Care of Yourself

Self-soothing techniques are essential tools for managing stress and navigating through difficult emotions. Many benefit from meditation and mindful observation, which can reduce the intensity of stress responses.

Controlled nasal breathing activates your body’s relaxation response, helping to slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure. Progressive muscle relaxation and autogenics can also help you cope with stress and facilitate a pathway out of stress.19

Autogenics, developed by German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz in the early 20th century, it is based on the principle that physical relaxation can lead to mental calmness. The technique involves a series of exercises in which you focus on sensations of warmth and heaviness in different parts of your body to induce a sense of deep relaxation.

Practitioners often use phrases like “my arms are very heavy” or “my heartbeat is calm and regular” to help deepen the relaxation experience.

Even crying can serve as a natural and therapeutic release valve for pent-up emotions and stress. While often viewed as a sign of weakness, crying is, in fact, a sign of emotional intelligence and resilience, offering a means to self-regulate and cope with stress.20

Proper Breathing Is Crucial for Optimal Health

Dysfunctional breathing habits are typically developed in response to some type of emotional trauma. The trauma gets embedded in your brain circuits, and when you encounter triggers, they activate specific breathing habits, some of which may significantly lower your carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration level.

Unfortunately, many popular deep breathing methods exacerbate the situation, as they promote overbreathing and can trigger a wide range of physiological changes. CO2 serves as a vasodilator that is critical for oxygen transport and gut health but is overlooked in many deep breathing methods.

That so much of what you have learned about breathing and popular breathing methods are offbase may seem like yet another stressor but and my interview with Dr. Peter Litchfield will help you build better breathing habits and also explain the importance of CO2.

Other Stress Busting Tools

Optimizing your sleep is another essential tool in your toolbox. Quality sleep does much more than simply alleviate tiredness, it helps to repair and rejuvenate your brain and body, enhances cognitive function, improves mood, and promotes greater stress resilience.

During sleep, your body undergoes various recovery processes, including the consolidation of memories and the regulation of hormones that influence stress and emotions, such as cortisol and adrenaline.

Lack of adequate sleep can exacerbate stress levels, making it harder to handle daily pressures and disrupting the body’s natural ability to recover from stress. Establishing a regular sleep schedule, and creating a conducive sleep environment are essential strategies in breaking the stress cycle and enhancing overall health.21

The Healing Power of Hugs

Last but not least, remember the importance of physical contact. Hugs offer more than immediate comfort in a stressful situation; they can release oxytocin, a hormone that plays a crucial role in reducing stress and increasing emotional bonding.

The interpersonal touch, especially through hugs, fosters a sense of belonging and support, key components in managing stress and overcoming emotional turmoil. Studies indicate that individuals who receive hugs more frequently are less likely to experience severe stress and depression symptoms.

So, incorporating regular, consensual hugs into your daily interactions can serve as an effective strategy in stress management. On a larger scale, doing our part to encourage a culture that values kindness and compassion could pave the way for healthier, more emotionally connected communities, which would lower stress for everyone.22

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Is BPA Making You Sick?

Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published February 22, 2017.

Just when you thought you knew how dangerous bisphenol-A (BPA) was to your health, research demonstrates both BPA and substitute chemicals are able to cross the placental barrier, increasing the toxic load on a growing infant.1 When tested, over 200 chemicals were found in umbilical cord blood of newborns.2

First created in 1891 by a Russian chemist, BPA didn’t make an appearance in the manufacture of products until the 1950s, when it was used to produce resilient, and often transparent plastics. Despite strong scientific evidence that BPA has a negative effect on health, the industry was valued at over $18.1 billion in 2018, and is expected to reach $30 billion by 2030.3

BPA is found in countless personal care and plastic products, from the lining of canned goods to plastic wraps, water bottles and cashier receipts. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims BPA is safe for human consumption, it has been banned from sippy cups and other baby products.

Unfortunately, substitute chemicals being used to increase the strength and resiliency of plastics are probably no safer than the BPA they replaced, as they are near-identical chemical compounds.

BPA and BPS Cross the Placental Barrier Increasing Risk to Children

In 2010, researchers discovered BPA does cross the placental barrier.4 But, more importantly, the researchers found while the active form of BPA stays active in the developing infant, the inactive form can be converted to an active form, indicating pre-birth exposure to BPA was greater than originally anticipated.

In the movement toward the removal of BPA from products, manufacturers have been using bisphenol-S (BPS) and bisphenol-F (BPF) instead. These substitute chemicals are as hormonally active as BPA and are both strong endocrine disruptors.5 Both demonstrate adverse effects on the physiological functioning of humans and rats.6

Canadian and Chinese scientists have demonstrated what environmentalists have long believed — BPS and BPA can both cross into the placenta, affecting the pre-birth growth of infants.7 BPS had already been found in urine samples of over 80% of infants from China, U.S. and six other Asian countries.8

Previous studies had reported behavioral differences in rodent mothers exposed to BPS during pregnancy and in their female offspring. A 2011 study measured levels of BPS and BPA in 61 pairs of maternal and cord blood samples, proving “the first evidence that BPS crosses the human placenta.”9 BPA metabolites in cord blood were also higher than found in maternal blood.

Current biomonitoring usually relies on the detection of total BPA in the urine and not the metabolites, BPA-sulfate and BPA-glucuronide. Monitoring metabolites of BPA is limited and even less is known about the metabolites of substitutes BPS and BPF. Lead author Dr. Jonathan Martin from the University of Alberta explained:10

“The [fetus] has more difficulty excreting BPA than the mother. The mother can easily pass metabolites through urine, whereas the [fetus] excretes to the amniotic fluid and, to some extent, back to the mother’s circulation. The human [fetus] is known to have a different metabolic capacity.

It’s known to have a very immature glucuronidation pathway, whereas sulfation begins earlier. So it’s not uncommon for the human [fetus] to produce more of the sulfate than the respective glucuronide.”

How Endocrine Disruption Works

BPA metabolites may not have the strong estrogenic chemical activity of total BPA, but they are also not biologically inactive. Several studies have identified different types of biological activity between cultured cells and one BPA metabolite, and total BPA is a known endocrine disruptor.

Through widespread exposure and multiple effects on human cells, BPA represents a complex risk to human health.11 Exposure to rodents in the perinatal period, during the weeks just prior to and after birth, BPA had a significant effect on the neuroendocrine stress response.12

Researchers theorized this exposure may be associated with the development of stress-related disorders later in life. Endocrine disruptors work by mimicking, or partially mimicking, hormones that occur naturally in the human body. This may produce overstimulation.

Some interfere or block the way receptors or hormones are made or controlled. This interruption in the endocrine system may produce negative results in infant development or in the reproductive, neurological and immune systems of children and adults.

There is a wide range of chemicals and substances that may cause endocrine disruption, of which bisphenol chemicals are only one. Pesticides, pharmaceutical interventions, dioxin-like compounds and polychlorinated biphenyls are just a few of these endocrine disruptors that are found in products, water supply and food supply affecting your health.

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), research demonstrates these endocrine disruptors carry the greatest risk when humans are exposed during prenatal and early childhood development.13 This is the point during which organ and neurological system formation is being completed.

Increases Long-Term Risk of Illness and Adds Billions to Health Care Cost

While exposure during prenatal and infancy periods may hold the greatest risk, adolescents and adults are also at risk from endocrine disruptors and the subsequent health conditions that may develop.

A 2015 study of the health care cost impact in Europe demonstrated endocrine-disrupting chemicals contributed to the development of disease and illness.14 The study found the subsequent health care cost from only the chemicals with the highest probability of causation resulted in a cost of at least $175 billion each year. The researchers estimated a broader analysis would have resulted in a greater burden of disease and health care cost.

The research detailed costs related to obesity, neurological disorders and male reproductive disorders. The study evaluated the effect of only 5% of the known endocrine disruptors, making this only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., former microbiologist and director of the NIEHS, commented:15

“The point is that there is a wide variety of effects being seen in the general population related to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. We have increasing amount of data raising concerns about their use. We are seeing effects from [chemical] levels that are present in the general population.”

As your endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes, it is not surprising BPA and substitute chemicals are associated with a number of different health conditions, including:

Structural damage to your brain; hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness and impaired learning

Early puberty, stimulation of mammary gland development, disrupted reproductive cycles, ovarian toxicity and infertility16

Breast cancer17

High blood pressure and heart disease18,19,20

Increased fat formation and risk of obesity

Increased prostate size, decreased sperm production, hypospadias (penis deformation),21 erectile dysfunction22 and stimulation of prostate cancer cells

Altered immune function

Preterm birth23

Diabetes

Reduced efficacy of chemotherapy treatment24

BPA and Substitutes Increase Your Risk of Obesity and Diabetes

As obesity is a primary factor in the development of many of the health conditions listed above, it is important to note that nearly 67% of women and 75% of men are either overweight or obese today.25 These numbers represent a rising trend and significant public health risk.

While it is tempting to blame an increasing waistline on one or two factors, metabolism and weight control are complex and are dependent on different influences. In a 2016 study, researchers discovered that in order to maintain the same weight in 2006 as in 1988 you would have to eat less and exercise more.26

The logical conclusion is that an environmental factor more prevalent after 1988 is influencing your metabolism. Research from Health Canada demonstrated the human body doesn’t safely metabolize and excrete BPA, but instead transforms it into something that grows fat cells.27 This confirmed the results of multiple past studies linking BPA to increasing obesity.28,29,30,31

One study was also able to demonstrate BPA not only increased the number of fat cells that differentiate from pre-adiposity cells, but also increased the amount of fat inside the cells.32

Research demonstrates the nearly identical BPS has some of the same characteristics. Interestingly, in this study, all cells exposed to BPS created fat, but those exposed to the least and greatest amount grew greater amounts of fat than those exposed to moderate amounts.33 Senior author of a 2016 study on BPS, Ella Atlas, Ph.D., of Health Canada, commented on the results, saying:34

“Our research indicates BPS and BPA have comparable effects on fat cells and their metabolism. The study is the first to show that BPS exposure can induce the formation of human fat cells.

Since BPS is one of the replacement chemicals used in consumer products that are marketed as BPA-free, it is important to examine whether BPS acts as an endocrine-disrupting chemical. This study shows that BPS and BPA have similar effects on fat cell formation, lipid accumulation and expression of genes important for lipid metabolism.”

Is ‘BPA-Free’ Meaningless?

Concerns about the health effects of BPA have caused many consumers to seek out products that are BPA-free. However, research indicates the substitute compounds used to increase the strength of plastics also interfere with hormones and pose a public health risk. In a study evaluating the risks of both BPS and a secondary substitute chemical, BPF, researchers concluded they are both as hormonally active as BPA.35

The structure between these three chemicals is remarkably similar, they provide the same stability to plastics and create similar health risks to humans.36 Study author Johanna Rochester, Ph.D., researcher at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, commented:37

“According to pretty much all the literature there is on these two substitutes, they are hormonally active in ways similar to BPA — similar mechanisms, similar potencies.”

Products labeled “BPA-free” have also been found to leach chemicals with estrogenic activity after undergoing real-world testing. Plastics labeled “BPA-free” were microwaved and exposed to ultraviolet lights and other common stressors.38 Almost all the commercially available products tested released chemicals with estrogenic activity, including those labeled “BPA-free.”

The researchers pointed out that manufacturers now have the ability to produce plastics without estrogenically active compounds in a cost-effective manner that would significantly reduce public health risks.39 So why don’t they?

Take These Steps to Reduce Your Risk

BPA is used in an amazing number of products in your home. In this short video, results from a study on canned foods are described. As it turns out, the researchers found more than just BPA. Until manufacturers place a higher value on human health than on profit, consider taking these steps to reduce your exposure to BPA and all the substitute compounds that also contain endocrine-disrupting features:40,41,42

Eat mostly fresh whole foods — Processed and packaged foods are a common source of BPA and phthalates — particularly canned, but also foods packaged in plastic wrap. Real food is always your best option.

Consider taking progesterone — BPA and its substitutes are known as xenoestrogens, meaning they mimic the hormone estrogen in your body, potentially disrupting hormonal balance. To counteract their effects, you can use progesterone, which acts as an antagonist to estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors, thereby reducing the estrogenic effects.

I generally recommend a daily dose of 30 to 50 milligrams of bioidentical progesterone, ideally taken in the evening before bed, as it can also promote sleep. Combine it with natural vitamin E (look for supplements labeled “d alpha tocopherol”) to increase its bioavailability. You can also dissolve about 1/32 teaspoon of pure USP progesterone powder into one capsule of high-quality vitamin E, and then rub the mixture on your gums.

Buy and use glass — Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans. Store your food and beverages in glass and use glass containers if heating food in your microwave, as heat tends to increase the release of chemicals from plastic. Be aware that even BPA-free plastics typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad as BPA.

Use glass baby bottles for your infants. Never drink coffee or tea from plastic cups and replace all your plastic cups with glass. Avoid plastic utensils and don’t use drinking water packaged in plastic. Filter your own water and store it in glass containers. Don’t use plastic grocery bags from the store. Bring your own reusable canvas or cloth variety.

Avoid plastic wrap — If you are using it to cover a glass container, don’t allow it to touch the food and don’t use it in the microwave.

Be careful with cash register receipts — If you go to the store regularly, encourage the management to switch to BPA-free receipts. I shop at Publix for my food and when I called them about the receipts it turns out they had already switched. Nevertheless, it is wise to limit your contact with all these receipts.

Use sustainable, certified organic, GMO-free products — Look for products that are earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses and more.

When redoing your home, look for “green,” toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paint and vinyl floor coverings, the latter of which is another source of phthalates. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one. Don’t use nonstick cookware.

Choose children’s toys carefully — Choose toys made from natural materials to avoid plastic chemicals like phthalates and BPA or BPS, particularly for items your child may be prone to suck or chew on.

Breastfeed for at least a year — Breastfeed your baby exclusively, if possible, for at least the first year (as you will avoid phthalates exposure from infant formula packaging and plastic bottles or nipples). Breastfeeding has additional advantages for your child as well.

Avoid commercial cleaning products — Use natural cleaning products or make your own. You can clean most of your home with white vinegar and baking soda. There are options for dryer sheets and fabric softeners.

Switch to organic toiletries — Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.43

Switch feminine hygiene and urinary incontinence products — Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) and urinary incontinence products with safer alternatives. While most ingredients in feminine hygiene products are undisclosed, tests suggest they may contain dioxins and petrochemical additives.

Opt for fragrance-free — Look for fragrance-free products; phthalates are often used to help the product hold its fragrance longer. Artificial fragrances can also contain dozens of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners, dryer sheets, air fresheners and scented candles for the same reason.

Test tap water — Check your home’s tap water for contaminants and filter the water if necessary. You may also want to use an alternative to PVC pipes for your water supply.

Don’t drink from the hose — Teach your children not to drink water from the garden hose, as many are made with phthalate-containing plastics.

Check with the dentist — Verify any dental sealant used is BPA-, BPS- and BPF-free.

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Spotting the Signs of Vitamin B1 Deficiency

Thiamine (vitamin B1) is used by nearly all your cells and is essential for several functions in the body. Thiamine is considered an “essential” vitamin because your body can’t produce it on its own; it must be obtained from outside sources; be it diet or supplementation.

Health Benefits of Thiamine

Thiamine’s key health benefits and mechanisms of action include:

Energy production — Thiamine plays a central role in metabolizing glucose to produce energy for the body. It is essential for the proper functioning of the Krebs cycle, a critical energy-producing pathway that converts proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into energy.

Nerve function — Thiamine is sometimes referred to as an “antistress” vitamin for its positive influence on your central nervous system. It aids in the maintenance of healthy nerve cells and supports the proper functioning of your nervous system.

Thiamine deficiency has been implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), with ALS patients having about 60% lower thiamine levels in their brains and peripheral nervous systems, resulting in severely impaired glucose metabolism.1 There’s also limited evidence suggesting high doses of thiamine and biotin can help reverse the pathology seen in Huntington’s disease, again by restoring glucose metabolism.2

Heart health — Thiamine contributes to the correct functioning of the heart. It is involved in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is used to relay messages between the nerves and muscles and is essential for normal heart function.

Cognitive function — Adequate levels of thiamine are associated with improved cognitive function. It helps in maintaining a healthy brain, particularly in older adults, and can help prevent disorders related to cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s.3,4

As explained by the Alzheimer’s Association,5 “Thiamine helps brain cells produce energy from sugar. When levels fall too low, brain cells cannot generate enough energy to function properly.”

Indeed, impaired glucose metabolism is a known hallmark of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and researchers have postulated that this reduction in glucose metabolism is caused by a “decline in thiamine-dependent processes.”6

Digestive health — Thiamine assists in the production of hydrochloric acid, which is essential for proper digestion. Adequate thiamine levels ensure efficient digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.

Prevention of diabetes complications — Research suggests thiamine can help prevent complications in people with diabetes by protecting against oxidative stress and possibly improving glucose tolerance.

Immune function — Thiamine is also important for healthy immune function. In addition to nutrients such as zinc and vitamins C and D, it helps protect against infectious respiratory illnesses.

Thiamine deficiency syndrome (beriberi) has also been implicated in other types of severe infections and bears many similarities to sepsis. This is one of the reasons why thiamine is such an important part of Dr. Paul Marik’s sepsis treatment.7 Sepsis, in turn, is a major contributor in influenza deaths in general, and a primary cause for COVID-19 deaths specifically.

Thiamine in Alcohol Addiction and Autoimmune Conditions

Thiamine is frequently recommended and given to people struggling with alcohol addiction, as alcohol consumption reduces absorption of the vitamin in your gastrointestinal tract. An estimated 80% of alcoholics are deficient in thiamine and therefore more prone to the side effects and conditions listed above.8

Thiamine is also very important for those with autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and Hashimoto’s (a thyroid autoimmune disorder).9 In case studies,10,11 thiamine supplementation has been shown to improve fatigue in autoimmune patients in just a few days.

Interestingly, in one of these studies,12 which looked at patients with IBD, patients responded favorably to supplementation even though they all had “normal” baseline levels.

The authors speculate that thiamine deficiency symptoms in such cases may be related to enzymatic defects or dysfunction of the thiamine transport mechanism (opposed to being an absorption problem), which can be overcome by giving large quantities of thiamine.

Thiamine Deficiency May Be Underestimated

While thiamine deficiency is often the result of alcohol misuse, chronic infections, poor nutrition and/or malabsorption, research suggests vitamin B1 availability has dramatically declined throughout the food chain in recent years,13 and that naturally affects your ability to get sufficient thiamine from your diet.

Adult men and women need 1.2 and 1.1 mg respectively each day.14 If you have symptoms of thiamine deficiency, you may need higher doses.

Considering both plants and wildlife are becoming increasingly thiamine-deficient,15 it’s logical to suspect that this deficiency is becoming more common in the human population as well. Unfortunately, statistics on thiamine deficiency in the U.S. population are not readily available in a direct, comprehensive format, so it’s hard to assess how widespread it might be.

Considering how crucial thiamine is for health and optimal biological functioning — and the rapid increase in conditions associated with thiamine deficiency — it’s important to evaluate your intake on an individual level. One way to do that would be to use an online nutritional calculator such as Cronometer. Another way to assess your status is by looking for signs and symptoms of deficiency.

Signs and Symptoms of Thiamine Deficiency

Early symptoms of thiamine deficiency include:16,17

Fatigue/getting easily exhausted, due to its role in glucose metabolism and energy production

Muscle weakness, as thiamine is required for proper contraction and relaxation of muscles

Poor appetite and/or digestive problems, due to its impact on your digestive function

Brain fog, confusion and/or memory problems, as thiamine is essential for healthy brain function and cognition

Mood swings and irritability

Eye-related issues such as sensitivity to light, eye fatigue and involuntary eye movements

Nutrient malabsorption, as thiamine is involved in the absorption of other nutrients

As your deficiency grows more severe, it can progress into one of four types of beriberi:18

  • Paralytic or nervous beriberi (aka “dry beriberi”) — Damage or dysfunction of one or more nerves in your nervous system, resulting in numbness, tingling and/or exaggerated reflexes
  • Cardiac (“wet”) beriberi — Neurological and cardiovascular issues, including racing heart rate, enlarged heart, edema, breathing problems and heart failure
  • Gastrointestinal beriberi — Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and lactic acidosis
  • Cerebral beriberi — Wernicke’s encephalopathy, cerebellar dysfunction causing abnormal eye movements, ataxia (lack of muscle coordination) and cognitive impairments. If left untreated, it can progress to Korsakoff’s psychosis, a chronic brain disorder that presents as amnesia, confusion, short-term memory loss, confabulation (fabricated or misinterpreted memories) and in severe cases, seizures

Are You Getting Enough B Vitamins?

If you have any of the signs listed above or discovered that your daily intake is insufficient using Cronometer, the solution is to eat more foods high in thiamine, such as wheatgerm and acorn squash, and/or take a supplement.

Evidence suggests thiamine insufficiency or deficiency can develop in as little as two weeks, as its half-life in your body is only nine to 18 days.19 Ideally, select a high-quality food-based supplement that contains a broad spectrum of B vitamins to avoid creating an imbalance. The following guidelines can also help protect or improve your thiamine status:

  • Eat fermented foods — The entire B group vitamin series is produced within your gut provided you have a healthy gut microbiome. Eating real food, ideally organic, along with fermented foods will provide your microbiome with important fiber and beneficial bacteria to help optimize your internal vitamin B production as well.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as alcohol inhibits thiamine absorption, and frequent use of diuretics, as they will cause thiamine-loss.
  • Avoid sulfite-rich foods and beverages such as nonorganic processed meats, wine and lager, as sulfites have antithiamine effects.
  • Correct any suspected magnesium insufficiency or deficiency, as magnesium is required as a cofactor in the conversion of thiamine.

Daily Intake Recommendations

While individual requirements can vary widely, the typical daily intake recommendations for B vitamins are as follows:

Nutrient Supplement Recommendations
Thiamine (B1) Adult men and women need 1.2 and 1.1 mg respectively each day.20 If you have symptoms of thiamine deficiency, you may need higher doses.

Thiamine is water-soluble and nontoxic, even at very high doses, so you’re unlikely to do harm. Doses between 3 grams and 8 grams per day have been used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s without ill effect.

Riboflavin (B2) Suggested daily intake is about 1.1 mg for women and 1.3 mg for men.21
Niacin (B3) The dietary reference intake established by the Food and Nutrition Board ranges from 14 to 18 mg per day for adults. Higher amounts are recommended depending on your condition.

For a list of recommended dosages, see the Mayo Clinic’s website.22

I recommend taking 50 mg of niacinamide, a form of B3 that plays a crucial role in energy metabolism, three times a day.

Niacinamide is also a precursor to NAD+, which is essential in the conversion of food to energy, maintaining DNA integrity and ensuring proper cell function.

Vitamin B6 Nutritional yeast (not to be confused with Brewer’s yeast or other active yeasts) is an excellent source of B vitamins, especially B6.23

One serving (2 tablespoons) contains nearly 10 mg of vitamin B6, and the daily recommended intake is only 1.3 mg.24

Inositol/Biotin (B8) B8 is not recognized as an essential nutrient and no recommended daily intake has been set. That said, it’s believed you need about 30 mcg per day.25

Vitamin B8 is sometimes listed as biotin on supplements. Brewer’s yeast is a natural supplemental source.26

Folate (B9) Folic acid is a synthetic type of B vitamin used in supplements; folate is the natural form found in foods. (Think: Folate comes from foliage, edible leafy plants.)

For folic acid to be of use, it must first be activated into its biologically active form (L-5-MTHF). This is the form able to cross the blood-brain barrier to give you the brain benefits noted.

Nearly half the population has difficulty converting folic acid into the bioactive form due to a genetic reduction in enzyme activity.

For this reason, if you take a B-vitamin supplement, make sure it contains natural folate rather than synthetic folic acid. Nutritional yeast is an excellent source.27 Adults need about 400 mcg of folate per day.28

Vitamin B12 Nutritional yeast seasoning is also high in B12 and is highly recommended for vegetarians and vegans. One serving (2 tablespoons) provides about 67 mcg of natural vitamin B12.29

Sublingual (under-the-tongue) fine mist spray or vitamin B12 injections are also effective, as they allow the large B12 molecule to be absorbed directly into your bloodstream.

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9 High-Protein Foods for Energy, According to a Dietitian

If you follow fitness influencers on social media, chances are you’ve heard them all sing the praises of protein no matter what kind of nutrition plan they follow. 

Even if you aren’t plugged into Instagram and TikTok, you’ve likely heard that protein is one of the key nutrients you need for good overall health.

Eating high-energy foods that are rich in protein throughout the day can help increase and preserve muscle masskeep you feeling fuller for longer, and stabilize your blood sugar levels throughout the day. 

With so many benefits, it’s no wonder fitness gurus are showing so much love for protein.

If you’re looking to sneak a little more protein content into your meals throughout the day, here are nine high-protein foods for energy, as recommended by registered dietitian and MyFitnessPal scientific advisor Erin Palinski-Wade. 

How Does Protein Impact Your Energy Levels?

Protein is one of the macronutrients that your body needs to keep your body working at its best. 

Having quality protein spaced out throughout the day at each meal and snack is a great way to optimize energy levels,” says Palinski-Wade.

Studies show that eating a high-protein diet helps to maintain a balanced level of energy in your body. It can also help with weight loss, muscle function, and muscle growth.

“Protein helps to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, providing a more steady energy balance throughout the day. Protein also helps to curb hunger and cravings, helping to prevent cravings for simple sugars that can lead to energy crashes during the day,” Palinski-Wade confirms.

Food and energy go hand-in-hand. Carbs, especially complex carbohydrates, play an important role in energy production

Mixing complex carbs with good sources of protein and fat can keep your energy up for longer, powering you through your day.

Top 9 High-Protein Foods for Energy According to a Dietitian

High-quality protein is a powerhouse when it comes to your health. So, what are some good sources of protein in food? 

Here are nine excellent foods for energy that anyone can try, including options for vegans and vegetarians.

1. Eggs: Obtain Essential Amino Acids

Eggs are a complete protein that have an impressive nutrient profile. 

In addition to containing all of the essential amino acids our bodies need, one large egg has just 71 calories and 6.3 grams of protein.

“Starting your day off with quality protein within an hour of waking can help to steady energy and appetite for the day ahead,” says Palinski-Wade. 

Having eggs for breakfast is an easy way to get in some protein. There are so many tasty ways to prepare them and they only take minutes to make. 

Here are some recipes to try: 

2. Beans and Legumes: Benefit From Plant-Based Proteins

Beans and legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, and edamame, are a rich source of plant-based protein. 

These high-fiber and high-protein foods are complex carbs, meaning they take longer to digest and won’t spike your blood sugar.

Healthy adults need 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day, but most only eat about half of that. 

Fun fact: Tracking nutrients like fiber and protein in the MyFitnessPal app helps nearly 1 million members reach their nutrition and fitness goals every year.

3. Fatty Fish: Obtain Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Oily fish, like salmon, tuna, and sardines, are great sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. 

These healthy fats are essential for well-being! They can help improve your heart health and may lower inflammation—both of which can support optimal energy levels.

Your body can’t make omega-3s, so it’s important to eat foods that contain them. 

4. Almonds: Enjoy Sustained Energy Throughout the Day

Looking for a natural energy booster? Try almonds!

“Almonds are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, which can help provide sustained energy throughout the day,” says Palinski-Wade. 

Studies show that snacking on almonds can also help you maintain a healthy weight. Since they are so nutrient-dense, they can satisfy you for longer while lowering blood glucose. 

They’re also a good source of magnesium, which helps ward off fatigue.

5. Greek Yogurt: More Energy Plus Probiotics

Greek yogurt has double the protein of regular yogurt, as well as less sugar and sodium. It’s a good source of gut-healthy probiotics and often easier for people to digest. Since it’s packed with protein and complex carbs, you digest yogurt slowly, which helps you sustain energy.

You can add it to a number of different dishes! Try some of the following recipes: 

6. Quinoa: Eat a Complete Protein With Complex Carbs

Quinoa is a type of seed that can be a great substitute for carbs like rice or pasta or as a side to a number of different dishes. It’s a plant-based complete protein that has all of the essential amino acids that you need.

Since quinoa is a complex carb, it has a slow release of energy compared to simple carbs, as complex carbs take longer for your body to digest. 

Even better, quinoa contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber and is gluten-free.

7. Oats: Benefit From Slow-Releasing Energy

Oats are excellent energetic foods that you can enjoy any time of day. Another complex carb, your body digests oats slowly and then releases energy slowly. 

Oats are whole grains, have 26 grams of protein per dry cup, and are loaded with fiber.

Some people are hesitant to try oats because they remember the lumpy hot cereal from their childhood. To help you out, MyFitnessPal has a treasure trove of healthy and tasty oats recipes.

8. Chia Seeds: Balance Your Blood Sugar

Palinski-Wade says that “with a balance of protein, fiber, and fat, chia seeds can provide balanced blood sugar resulting in steady energy levels.” 

Just 2.5 tablespoons of chia seeds contain 5 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of heart-healthy fats.

Chia seeds are a vegan source of protein that you can add to just about anything, like salads, oats, and smoothies. Chia pudding is also a great option for a protein-packed breakfast or snack.

Recipe you might like: https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/pbj-coconut-chia-pudding/

9. Spelt: Enjoy Long-Lasting Energy All-Day

Spelt is an ancient grain, which is a whole grain that hasn’t changed much over the centuries. 

Whole grains are great foods to increase energy because they take a long time to digest. Spelt, specifically, has a whopping 25 grams of protein per dry cup, as well as a nice mix of complex carbs and fiber.

This grain works great topped on salads, mixed into stews, or even as part of a stir fry. Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen!

high-protein-foods-at-costco

The Bottom Line

Adding high-quality proteins to each meal can help you meet your daily goals. 

“For consistent, long-term energy, focus on quality protein at each meal and snack versus having the majority of your protein at just one meal,” says Palinski-Wade.

To help you keep an eye on how much protein you’re getting with each meal, track your intake on MyFitnessPal. This way, you can see in real time how much closer you are to meeting your daily target with each meal and snack. 

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How To Get Sciatica Relief in 8 Minutes: Most Effective Ways | Credihealth

Sciatica is the pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling sensation in the leg. This discomfort can be distressing, impacting your day-to-day activities and quality of life. So, if you are experiencing sciatic pain and looking for “How to get sciatica relief in 8 minutes”, fortunately, there are some practical methods to get relief in some minutes. Whether you are at the office or home, several effective remedies can provide needed comfort from pain. Let’s directly explore the article and learn about those top effective ways to get sciatica relief in 8 minutes. But before, have a brief about Sciatica and the causes and symptoms associated with it!

Glance At The Topic:

  • Sciatica is a common condition that causes pain in the sciatic nerve.
  • The symptoms of sciatica are sharp pain, tingling sensation, radiating pain, etc.
  • The potential causes are slipped or herniated disk, pelvic injury, tumors, and more.
  • However, you can get rid of sciatica pain in 8 minutes with some effective approaches such as hot and cold compresses, massage therapy, brisk walking, stretching exercises, etc.

Understanding Sciatica

Sciatica is a distressing or painful, common condition that causes pain in the sciatic nerve. Typically, the sciatic nerve runs down from the lower back to the toes. Around 10%-40% of the U.S. population experiences such pain once in their life. The chance of its occurrence is before age 20 unless such kind of pain is related to some injuries.

Sciatica Symptoms

Wondering, “What does sciatica feel like”?. The common symptoms may seem like:

  • Discomfort with Leg Movement

Sciatica Causes

The following can be the possible causes of sciatica:

  • Slipped disk
  • Piriformis syndrome (a disorder in which narrow piriformis muscle present in the buttocks hurts the sciatic nerve.)
  • Pelvic injury or fracture
  • Tumors or cysts

Can Sciatica Be Cured?

Typically, you can get rid of mild cases of sciatica nerve pain with some self-treatment options. From ice packs to over-the-counter pain medications, there are several immediate sciatica pain solutions. These are the effective methods you can use yourself to treat sciatica pain. However, for severe cases, sciatica medical procedure like surgery is the permanent solution. If you are experiencing pain in your sciatic nerve and looking for quick sciatica pain relief methods, the section below holds the key to your concerns!

What Are The Effective Ways To Get Sciatica Relief in 8 Minutes?

Wondering, “how to treat sciatica”? Well, the following are the quick tips for sciatica relief in 8 minutes or less:

1. Apply Ice Packs

The fastest way to relieve sciatica pain is an ice pack. Applying the ice pack for about 8 minutes to the pain-affected area can numb the area and lower the inflammation. It also reduces swelling and pain caused due to sciatica.

2. Use Heat Therapy

You can also switch to heat therapy which helps calm down cramps or tense muscles and reduce pain and stress. Just apply a heating pad on the painful area for about 8 minutes. It will boost the circulation of blood and provide quick relief from pain or discomfort.

3. Taking a Brisk Walk

Taking a brisk walk for about 8 minutes can improve blood flow and loosen tense muscles. It typically facilitates the mobility of the muscles which helps get rid of discomfort or pain. Moreover, walking also reduces the pressure or strain on the sciatica nerve and provides quick pain relief.

4. Practice Stretches

You can practice some of the effective sciatica exercises for instant relief that ease the constriction of muscles and keep them working. They help improve the flexibility and strength of your muscles and also prevent sciatic symptoms from becoming worse. Those effective sciatica stretches for quick relief are:

5. Try Alternative Therapies

These are some of the alternative sciatica therapies that might give quick relief from pain:

  • Acupuncture: As per one study, acupuncture is one of the rapid sciatica treatment techniques to relieve pain. It boosts blood flow, prevents muscle tension, and reduces sciatica-associated pain or discomfort.
  • Massage: Massage can help stimulate blood circulation, reduce stress, and calm muscles which can relieve sciatic pain.
  • Yoga: Yoga also helps in great stretching of the body. It improves strength, flexibility, and awareness which help relieve sciatic distress.
  • Stress Management: Due to stress, your body gets tense and in turn, the muscles become tired. Preventing stress by practicing meditation can relax your sciatic nerve and reduce pain.

Final Thoughts

Finding how to get sciatica relief in 8 minutes does not have to be challenging. Simply add these effective immediate sciatica pain solutions to your everyday routine and get rid of pain in about 8 minutes. It is important to mention that always listen to your body and use or practice the remedies that work excellently for you.

 

Discover Related/ Similar Topics: 10 Effective Stretches for Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief | Can a Chiropractor Help With Sciatica?

Frequently Asked Questions

How to cure sciatica in 8 minutes?

Massage therapy can cure sciatica in about 8 minutes by relieving tense muscles and facilitating relaxation.

What is the best immediate relief for sciatica?

Over-the-counter medication is the best immediate relief for sciatica.

How to stop sciatica pain ASAP?

Apply an ice pack, use heat therapy, practice stretching exercises, and take pain relief medications to stop sciatica pain ASAP.

What to do when your sciatica is so bad you can’t walk?

Better to rest for some days and notice if the symptoms subside. You can also use a cold or hot compress or massage therapy to relieve symptoms.

How to open sciatica nerve?

You can perform sciatica pain relief stretches to open the sciatica nerve.

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I’m Ankit Singh, a B Pharma graduate with over 5 years of experience as a medical content editor. I’ve completed internships and certified editing courses to hone my skills in simplifying complex medical information. My focus is on translating intricate medical content into clear, engaging material. Projects like revamping medical journals and creating educational materials have bolstered my confidence in this role. With certifications in hand, I’m committed to making medical knowledge accessible to all.View Profile

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Why is my vagina dry during sex?

If you’re too embarrassed to ask your doctor (or anyone) the question: ‘why is my vagina dry during sex?’ we’ve asked leading gynaecologist Dr Vanessa Mackay for you.  Good news is, it can often be an easy fix

If getting wet before intercourse has never been a problem for you before and suddenly, things have changed, you may be experiencing hormonal changes such as approaching the menopause.

But then again you might not be, but it’s still normal. In fact, there are plenty of reasons women experience vaginal dryness during sex. Trouble is, no one ever talks about it, so few of us know the heartening truth – it’s easily fixed.

surprisingly, the most at risk were women in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties

Research last year by Vagisil found that vaginal dryness affects a staggering half of British women. Even more depressingly, two in five women in a relationship who have suffered from it don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone – not even their partners – about this and one in 20 have even ended a relationship because of issues with vaginal dryness.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the most at risk were women in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties, not those who were experiencing menopause.

If you’re one of the large proportion of women who are too embarrassed to talk to their doctors about this, we’ve quizzed Dr Vanessa Mackay of the Royal College of Gynaecologists about the reasons and what you can do about them…

READ MORE: I’m a Gynae – here’s what nobody really tells you about your vaginal health

Reason #1 You’re approaching menopause

The most common reason for vaginal dryness is the menopause or the years leading up to it. For the average British woman, menopause occurs at around 52 but the perimenopausal years can begin up to a decade earlier.

‘The hormone oestrogen is responsible for keeping the vagina lubricated but during menopause and the years leading up to it, oestrogen levels can fluctuate and then dramatically drop leading to symptoms such as mood changes, hot flushes, tiredness, night sweats, weight gain and indeed, vaginal dryness,’ says Dr Mackay.

oestrogen is responsible for keeping the vagina lubricated

Your first stop should be your GP. Your GP can examine you and do any necessary tests to work out what’s at the root of the problem. If your oestrogen levels are low, your doctor might prescribe topical oestrogen medication which can come in the form of creams, tablets or rings that you apply internally that deliver a low, local dose of oestrogen to your vagina.

They may come with side effects though, including breast pain and vaginal bleeding. Oestrogen therapy of any kind should also be avoided by women who have had or have a family history of breast or endometrial cancer and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Reason #2 You’re not aroused enough

If you’re not aroused enough during sex, the vagina may not produce enough of its own natural lubricants. One word people: foreplay!

Research shows we want more foreplay than we’re getting. In 2012, a team of researchers from the University of New Brunswick measured the duration of  foreplay by asking men and women in relationships to report how long an ideal foreplay session should last as well as ideal intercourse.

Then they timed their actual sex lives in the comfort of their own homes. They reported an average of 11 to 13 minutes of foreplay, and seven to eight minutes of intercourse.

Interestingly, women wanted eight more minutes of foreplay and seven more minutes of intercourse; men wanted five more minutes of foreplay and 11 more minutes of sex.

READ MORE: Why sex hurts – the gynaecologist’s guide 

why-is-my-vagina-dry-during-sex-woman-on-her-period.jpg

Reason #3 You’re on your period

‘Oestrogen levels dip while you’re on your period,’ says Dr Mackay.

‘As with menopause, when oestrogen levels are depleted. vaginal dryness can be a side effect’.

The good news is that oestrogen levels steadily start to rise again after your period, so this effect will usually be temporary.

Reason #4 You’ve just had a baby

‘Breastfeeding or childbirth can cause vaginal dryness and this is something not many women are aware of,’ says Dr Mackay.

‘Oestrogen levels can temporarily decrease after giving birth, making the vagina feel dry.’

Additionally, according to the NHS website, if you’re breastfeeding, this dryness can feel even more pronounced.

READ MORE: 8 pelvic floor exercises that will spice up your sex life

why-is-my-vagina-dry-during-sex-postpartum.jpg

Reason #5 Your medication is not helping

‘Although it’s uncommon, the combined contraceptive pill or the contraceptive injection can cause vaginal dryness,’ says Dr Mackay.

Other medications such as cold medicine can dry up vaginal moisture in the same way they dry up the mucuous membranes in your nose – though this will be temporary (and let’s face it, if you’ve got that nasty flu, fooling around is probably the last thing on your mind).

medications such as cold medicine can dry up vaginal moisture

The most commonly prescribed type of anti-depressant medication, Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors or SSRIs can also cause vaginal dryness and a decreased sex drive so talk to your doctor about perhaps switching if this is a problem for you.

Reason #6 You’re stressed

Stress can also cause vaginal dryness, says Dr Mackay. Which makes sense because it’s another one of those things that can kill or seriously damage your desire for your partner to start with, and can certainly distract you from the task at hand once you’re actually in bed.

Reason #7 You’ve got a medical condition that’s to blame

Common conditions affecting the reproductive area might also be to blame for vaginal dryness such as endometriosis, fibroids or a a urinary tract infection.

On a less obvious note, problems such as diabetes or treatments for cancer such as radiotherapy to the pelvic area, hormonal cancer treatments such as those given after breast cancer and chemotherapy, can all cause vaginal dryness, explains Dr McKay.

What you can do

Once you’ve ruled out medical causes – or you don’t think using hormone therapy in your intimate area is for you – you could try a hydrating gel.  But make sure it’s one formulated for the vaginal area.

‘Trying to treat dryness with creams or gels unsuitable for the sensitive area of the vagina can actually make things worse,’ says Dr Mackay.

‘Vaginal lubricants are liquids or gels that you apply to your vagina before having sex, offering an immediate moistening effect.’

1_UK_ProhydrateInternal_main_0

Vaginal moisturisers on the other hand can also be applied to the inside of the vagina every few days and their effects are more long-lasting, she explains.

The Vagisil Prohydrate range is entirely hormone-free and has been specifically created after five years of research and clinical testing, so they’re proven both effective and safe (nine in ten women who tried it would recommend it to someone else suffering from intimate dryness).

The active ingredient is ProHydrate Complex which includes a substance called hyaluronic acid, a type of moisturising agent that mimics the body’s own natural moisture. This coats the vaginal wall and slowly releases moisture over time to relieve dryness so you can feel comfortable and ready whenever the moment is right.

For long-lasting relief:  Vagisil Prohydrate Internal Hydrating Gel, £11.34 comes in six pre-filled applicators with five grams of gel in them which can be applied internally to release moisture over time – a bit like a maintenance measure for your vagina’s moisture. This product is hormone-free.

Before sex: Vagisil ProHydrate External Hydrating Gel, £8.55 is a gel that can be used externally to keep skin feeling hydrated and supple.  This product is hormone-free.

Vagisil is also available at Boots and Superdrug.

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Eating Spicy Food May Trigger Hiccups

Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published July 22, 2017.

I love spicy foods and enjoy the benefits of the spicy chemical in peppers — capsaicin — that may improve health. Chili peppers, one of the main sources of capsaicin, are a staple in diets of Central America, Asia and India. Even in the U.S. there are many who believe “the spicier the better.”

One food industry report found the number of people who enjoy spicy foods is growing, up to 54% from 46% in 2009.1,2 The same report found those between 18 and 34 were the most likely to order spicy food from a restaurant menu. Interestingly, the heat you experience from the chili pepper is a protection for the plant, designed to make you not want to eat them.

As far as scientists know, humans are the only animal who willingly chooses to eat chili peppers.3 On some level you may have learned to tolerate the heat, and may even crave the peppers. This ability to desensitize to the heat in peppers is well-documented, but other studies also demonstrate it may not play as large a role in your desire for spicy peppers as once thought.4

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University dug further and discovered people who enjoyed hot peppers also enjoyed sensation-seeking, including activities like riding roller coasters or exploring. Interestingly, individuals who enjoyed the peppers didn’t feel any less heat from the capsaicin than those who didn’t enjoy hot foods. In other words, this study group didn’t demonstrate desensitization to the peppers.

Your preference for spicy foods may be determined by not only your personality type, but also your genetics.5 Using identical and non-identical twins from Finland, researchers evaluated their responses to capsaicin-laced jelly. Genetic factors accounted for a wide range in variation between people who perceived the spicy jelly as pleasant or unpleasant. Those who did find the experience pleasant shared a genetic variance.

Spicy Food May Trigger Hiccups

If you love a bit of heat with your meal, you’re in luck, as spicy foods are some of the best for your health. The capsaicinoid found in the in the food has been linked to the prevention of chronic diseases. Coupled with their high concentration of vitamins and antioxidants, those spicy peppers are a unique superfood, if you can tolerate the heat. However, while tasty and healthy, these little spice bombs may also trigger the hiccups.

Hiccups may be triggered from stomach distension or irritating the nerve to your diaphragm when you drink too quickly. Spicy peppers don’t trigger hiccups in this way though. Although the exact way in which the pepper triggers hiccups has not been definitively established, scientists do know that not everyone gets hiccups from chili peppers.

Although some people get hiccups just anticipating eating hot peppers, others never get them. The chemical in peppers, capsaicin, that generates the heat, is believed to irritate the nerve that triggers hiccups.6 Others believe the chemical is released in the mouth in a fine spray that enters the lungs and disrupts the normal rhythm of the diaphragm.7 As your diaphragm begins to contract and relax to expel the substance from your lungs, it triggers a hiccup.

What’s Happening When You Have Hiccups?

Hiccups are an involuntary spasm in your diaphragm, the muscle separating your chest from your abdomen, which plays a significant role in breathing.

In this short video, you’ll see how hiccups may start after an irritation to nerves that service your chest and lungs. When your diaphragm contracts the space between your vocal cords closes and creates the characteristic “hic” sound. In order to draw breath, your diaphragm pulls down toward your abdomen, creating negative pressure in your lungs causing air to enter.

During the hiccups your diaphragm spasms, causing you to draw in an involuntary breath. In the simplest cases your stomach may get overdistended or you may have drunk fluid too quickly, irritating the nerve that innervates the diaphragm. Although the true reason for hiccups has not been determined, some believe an irritant triggers the diaphragm to contract helping to rid your gut of air that is trapped, or to draw food down your esophagus to your stomach.

Hiccups are usually self-limited and are nothing more than an uncomfortable nuisance. However, sometimes they can last for a long period of time, or be a signal that something else is wrong. A disturbance in the nerve pathway between the brain and the muscles involved can also trigger hiccups, which explains why you may get hiccups with an emotional situation and why they may be stopped when you are shocked.8

Hiccups are an involuntary movement triggered in part by your autonomic nervous system, the part of your nervous system that controls your breathing, heartbeat and other involuntary functions. Even unborn babies hiccup, which may perhaps prepare them for breathing. But, while virtually everyone gets hiccups, the reason you do has not been established and there is no hard and fast cure you may use each time you get them.

Hiccups That Last Longer Than 48 Hours May Need Attention

Most cases of hiccups are self-limiting, lasting no more than several minutes to a day. However, in some cases hiccups may last for days — or even years. A persistent case of hiccups lasting more than 48 hours may signal a cause for concern. Hiccups that last more than one month are called intractable hiccups. In some cases, hiccups also persist during sleep.

Since the condition is uncomfortable, some who suffer with persistent or intractable hiccups seek medical care in the hospital. In one study of a community hospital between 1995 and 2000, 54 of more than 100,000 visits were related to hiccups. Most of these patients were over 50 and had other health conditions.9 According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine:10

“Chronic persistent hiccups can be debilitating and have been associated with weight loss, insomnia and fatigue. They can be caused by a wide variety of medical conditions, including central nervous system abnormalities, metabolic imbalances, and chest and abdomen pathology. Among the medications known to cause hiccups, the most common include corticosteroids, antidepressants, dopaminergics, and opioids.”

Irritation to the nerves that serve your diaphragm is often the cause for long-term hiccups and may be triggered by gastroesophageal reflux, laryngitis, a tumor, cyst or goiter in your neck or even a hair touching your eardrum.11 Other causes may be related to infection, damage or trauma to your central nervous system, including stroke, head injury, tumor or multiple sclerosis. Long-term hiccups may also be triggered by:

Alcoholism

Anesthesia

Barbiturates

Diabetes

Electrolyte imbalance

Kidney failure

Steroids

Tranquilizers

How Capsaicin Interacts With Your Body

Your body has transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) pain receptors which are activated by capsaicin, opening the floodgates to pain. This is one of the reasons your mouth likely feels as if it’s on fire when you eat something spicy.12 However, while the chemical does trigger pain, it also has a unique side effect. After exposure, your TRPV1 receptors go through a period of rest.

During this time, the receptors cease transmitting pain signals to your brain, and while your body may continue to experience the pain, your mind won’t recognize it. This is one of the ways capsaicin pain creams help treat peripheral pain. Scientists call this process “defunctionalization.”13 These creams are produced from highly purified capsaicin and also deplete the neurotransmitter, substance P, which sends pain messages to your brain.14

Although you may experience an increase in the intensity of pain when you first use capsaicin cream, it usually decreases with the second use.15 In some cases, it may take a week or more to help treat pain originating in your joints, as your levels of substance P must be depleted and the cream must be continued to keep the substance from building up again.16 The cream has been used to relieve pain from neurological pain, cluster headaches, surgical pain and arthritic disorders.

Capsaicin has also been used as a dietary supplement as there is evidence it may improve digestion, help reduce diarrhea triggered by bad bacteria in your intestines and fight bacterial infections in your body.17 As a supplement, it may help thin the mucus in your lungs and is an antioxidant that may help fight free radicals.

The Benefits of Spicy Foods

Capsaicin’s interactions in your body explain many of the benefits you may experience when you eat spicy foods. Eating spicy foods helps increase your satiety, or feelings of fullness after a meal. You often feel full faster eating less food, and the peppers may rev your metabolism a bit, helping you to burn more calories at rest. Researchers have discovered including spicy foods may help shrink fat cells and lower blood fat levels.18

Past research has suggested that thermogenic ingredients, or those compounds that increase your body’s heat production, may increase your metabolism by up to 5% and the ability of your body to burn fat by up to 16%.19 Capsaicin is a thermogenic substance that may temporarily increase the ability of your body to burn fat to produce heat.

In fact, when eating spicy foods, you may feel your internal heat rising, even though the temperature in the room has remained the same. The heat you’re feeling is the result of the activation of the TRPV1 receptors.

Although the activation of TRPV1 helps to reduce pain, it may also be responsible for many of the other health benefits you experience. In a journal article in Open Heart, scientists explored a mechanism that may explain the favorable results researchers have found in animal studies using capsaicin-rich diets, including a positive effect on health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, hypertension, atherosclerosis and stroke.20

As capsaicin thins mucus, it may help to clear your lungs during an illness, strengthen your lung capacity and may help prevent or treat emphysema.21 Various studies also demonstrate that capsaicin may effectively help your body fight prostate cancer.22

Animal studies have found oral supplementation is effective against H. pylori, the bacteria that triggers gastritis and ulcerations of the stomach wall. Capsaicin has also demonstrated some effectiveness against breast cancer, lymphoma and some lung tumors.

The continued application of capsaicin cream may help reduce the proliferation of skin cells common to psoriasis.23 Participants in this study did report the initial week of application caused skin irritation. Men and women with diabetes experienced some improvement in their blood glucose levels, and women who suffered from gestational diabetes (altered blood glucose/insulin resistance during pregnancy) also experienced improvements.

Different Peppers Produce Different Levels of Heat

The intensity of the heat you experience is measured in Scoville units, first developed by William Scoville in 1912.24 Human tasters used to identify the different levels of heat in peppers that originates from the amount of capsaicin in the pepper. Today, machines do that job.

To put the heat in your peppers into perspective, pure capsaicin would have a Scoville unit rating of 16 million.25 Police pepper spray has a unit rating of 2 million and the hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, has a unit rating of 2.2 million.26 As of August 2013, the Guinness World Record book states this is the hottest pepper known to man. Well down the list is the Chocolate Habanero, ranking between 300,000 and 577,000 Scoville units.

Scotch Bonnet chili peppers, often used in spicy Caribbean foods, measure between 100,000 and 350,000 Scoville units. Jalapeno peppers, common in the U.S., measure 2,500 to 8,000, while Cubanelle peppers are a mild 100 to 1,000 Scoville units.27

Control Your Hiccups

There are a number of different methods you may have read or heard about to get rid of hiccups. Dr. Tyler Cymet, head of medical education at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, conducted a five-year study on 54 patients hospitalized for hiccups to evaluate treatment methods.28 What he found was that despite using a variety of treatments, from breath holding to strong medications, none of his patients successfully got rid of their hiccups.

He has continued to use a variety of treatments for patients who suffered from hiccups long enough to seek medical attention and found his patients may experience a 20% to 25% success rate.29

Those treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, breathing exercise, yoga and Pilates. Each of these treatment options help reduce anxiety and control breathing, which seems to be the modalities that worked best for persistent hiccups. Other alternative remedies that appear to have success with people who don’t suffer from persistent or intractable hiccups include:

  • Having someone squeeze your pinky fingernail for 10 seconds30
  • Gargling with ice water or sipping cold water
  • Hypnosis
  • Acupuncture

Additionally, there are a surprising number of hiccup remedies that have been studied, albeit using small participant numbers. For instance:31

  • Eating a spoonful of sugar eliminated hiccups in 19 of 20 patients, possibly by stimulating the vagus nerve32
  • Eating a lemon wedge soaked in bitters worked to eliminate hiccups in 14 out of 16 individuals33
  • Triggering your gag reflex by blowing up a balloon may also work, possibly by causing a temporary break in respiration34
  • Rectal massage using a finger cured intractable hiccups in 7 out of 7 patients, possibly by stimulating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves35

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How Junk Food Can Affect the Memory of Adolescents

Many parents are aware of the negative effects of alcohol and drugs on their children’s brains and take the necessary steps to protect them from these dangerous substances. However, there’s another stealth element that could be putting them at high risk of future memory issues — and it’s likely in your kitchen pantry right now.

A study1 conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California found that consuming a junk food diet during adolescence can lead to long-term memory impairment in adulthood. Even more alarming is that the effects could be irreversible.

Animal Study Shows Junk Food Can Lead to Poor Memory

The featured animal study,2 published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, sought to determine the effects of feeding a junk food diet on adolescents’ brains. While conducting the study, the researchers considered previous findings that a poor diet can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.3

They found that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine plays a role, as it is crucial to memory, as well as other brain functions like attention and learning. People who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have lower levels of this neurotransmitter in their brain.4

The researchers then wondered if adolescents who consumed the same type of processed food diet — loaded with unhealthy fats and refined sugar — could also experience similar effects, especially as their brains are still going through significant development.

To test their hypothesis, they fed one group of rats a “junk food cafeteria-style diet” consisting of potato chips, chocolate-covered peanut butter cups, and soda, and gave a control group a standard diet.5 They then observed the animals’ acetylcholine levels and analyzed their brain responses by having them undergo tasks to test their memory.

One test involved allowing the subjects to explore new objects in different scenarios. After a few minutes, they repeated the test but added a new object to the scene. The researchers observed that the rats who ate the junk food diet were unable to recall which objects they had seen before, as well as their location. The control group, however, was more familiar with their surroundings.

In a StudyFinds article, Anna Hayes, a postdoctoral research fellow who is a member of the research team, explained:6

“Acetylcholine signaling is a mechanism to help them encode and remember those events, analogous to ‘episodic memory’ in humans that allows us to remember events from our past. That signal appears to not be happening in the animals that grew up eating the fatty, sugary diet.”

A Junk Food Diet ‘Rewires’ Your Brain and Makes You ‘Stupid’

This isn’t the first study that showed the negative effects of a junk food diet on your brain. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Psychology7 found that just six weeks of bingeing on sweets and sweetened beverages could slow brain function, memory and learning — to put it simply, it makes you “stupid.”8

In a UCLA article,9 Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine and one of the study authors, said, “Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think. Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information.”

A 2023 study published in Cell Metabolism also revealed that junk foods like chips can cause the brain to “rewire” itself, and subconsciously learn to opt for foods that are loaded with fat and sugar.10

Considering that adolescence is a very sensitive time for a child’s developing brain, these findings should be a cause for concern. Scott Kanoski, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Southern California (USC) Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences and co-author of the feature study, comments:11

“What we see not just in this paper, but in some of our other recent work, is that if these rats grew up on this junk food diet, then they have these memory impairments that don’t go away.

I don’t know how to say this without sounding like Cassandra and doom and gloom, but unfortunately, some things that may be more easily reversible during adulthood are less reversible when they are occurring during childhood.”

Teens Who Frequently Eat Junk Food Are at a High Risk of Depression

In the U.S., an estimated 5 million teens aged 12 to 17 — or 20% of the overall age group — have experienced at least one episode of depression,12 with symptoms of a loss of interest in daily activities and struggling with sleep, energy and appetite. Depression among teens has increased by 30% in the last 10 years, and while many aspects are being considered, one potential factor could be eating a junk food or fast food diet.13

According to a study14 from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, two dietary elements could be contributing to depression in adolescents: having high levels of sodium and low levels of potassium.

High sodium levels are associated with salty snacks and fast food items like fries and burgers, while having low potassium levels means there aren’t enough potassium-rich foods in the diet, including fruits and vegetables. These can influence neurotransmitters and neural function.

“Given the substantial brain development that occurs during adolescence, individuals in this developmental period may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of diet on the neural mechanisms underlying emotion regulation and depression,” the researchers said.15

Junk Food Manufacturers Use Persuasive Marketing Tactics to Hook Your Kids

Healthy eating habits begin at home, and as adults, we must set an example for children and encourage them to shift to healthier food choices. However, this can be difficult, since junk food has been designed to be addictive.

Manufacturers use carefully orchestrated flavors, textures and aromas to make them as appealing as possible — a stark contrast to whole foods whose taste and consistency are made by nature and designed to satiate hunger and address your nutritional cravings.

What’s more, junk food is aggressively marketed to children, with manufacturers using various persuasive techniques to pique your child’s interest. When researchers conducted a systematic review of eight online databases, they found the most reported marketing techniques used to promote these foods to children on television. These included:16

  • Premium offers
  • Promotional characters
  • Nutrition and health-related claims
  • The theme of taste
  • The emotional appeal of fun

A review of studies17 published by the Australian website Obesity Evidence Hub further illustrates the pervasive nature of junk food marketing. According to the studies they referenced:

  • Young children watch at least 11 junk food ads for every 2.5 hours of TV per day18
  • Adolescents encounter 99.5 junk food promotions from online platforms weekly19
  • Majority of food and drink ads found near schools and school routes are of unhealthy products20
  • There’s a higher proportion of junk food ads in lower socioeconomic areas21

Unfortunately, these manipulative marketing tactics are effective. A 2016 study published in the Obesity Reviews journal found that intake of junk foods increases after exposure to junk food ads. According to the researchers:22

“The evidence indicates that unhealthy food and beverage marketing increases dietary intake (moderate quality evidence) and preference (moderate to low quality evidence) for energy-dense, low-nutrition food and beverage. Unhealthy food and beverage marketing increased dietary intake and influenced dietary preference in children during or shortly after exposure to advertisements.”

More Health Risks Associated With a Junk Food Diet

At any age, consuming a junk food diet can put your health at risk, but as the studies mentioned above demonstrate, children are particularly vulnerable due to their developing brain and body.

Childhood obesity is one of the most common effects of a junk food diet. From 2017 to 2020, 19.7% of children and teens 2- to 19-year-olds in the U.S. were considered obese — that’s approximately 14.7 million U.S. adolescents and children.23 This is alarming, as childhood obesity can increase the risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.24

Another study also found that eating fast food three or more times per week can increase your child’s risk of inflammatory conditions like eczema, rhinitis and severe asthma.25 Consuming junk food has also been associated with poor performance at school — children who eat more fast food progress slower academically, with lower test score gains in children who ate the most fast food compared to those who ate none.26

Ultraprocessed ‘Lunchables’ Are Now Being Served in School Cafeterias

Speaking of schools — did you know that U.S. school canteens are now serving Kraft’s Lunchables? Two versions of these ultraprocessed “meals” — Turkey and Cheddar and Extra Cheesy Pizza — were introduced to schools at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year.27 Students can either purchase them or get them via the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).28

With nearly 30 million children in public and private schools and childcare institutions getting their lunch from NSLP29 daily, this rollout can spell disaster for children’s health. Ultraprocessed foods are among the worst things you can eat, and children in particular may have their future health sabotaged by consuming them. According to a Washington Post article:30

“Kraft Heinz said the company spent nearly two years reformulating its store-bought Turkey and Cheddar Cracker Stacker Lunchables to meet USDA Food and Nutrition Service standards — lowering the amount of saturated fat, increasing the protein, and adding whole grains to its crackers.

But the school version contains roughly 25 percent more sodium than the store version, according to Kraft Heinz’s nutritional data.

‘It is too easy for food manufacturers to reformulate sugar, salt and fat to meet standards for those nutrients and still produce a junk food,’ said Marion Nestle, a retired professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.”

In April 2024, the advocacy group Consumer Reports rolled out a petition urging the USDA to remove Lunchables from the NSLP. According to an NPR article,31 this action came after they conducted an independent analysis of ultraprocessed meal kits and found high amounts of sodium and elevated levels of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and phthalates.

“Even in small amounts, lead and cadmium can cause developmental problems in children, with risks increasing from regular exposure over time. And eating too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure: about 14 percent of children and teens have prehypertension or hypertension.

Please take the necessary steps to ensure these processed food kits aren’t eligible for the lunch program, and offer our children healthier choices,” their petition reads.32

Talk to Your Teens About the Dangers of Junk Food

As I mentioned, good eating habits start at home. Encouraging an open discussion about healthy food choices is a key factor in preventing your children from being manipulated by sly food manufacturers whose primary goal is to make money — they couldn’t care less about the health of your family.

If you have younger children, try to get them involved in meal planning, shopping for healthy foods and cooking. You can even plant a vegetable garden together. Ultimately, when kids are young, you’re the best role model for a healthy diet, so choose to eat real foods, and your kids will follow suit.

Older children and teenagers may be more of a challenge. However, telling them that they are being manipulated is often effective. No one likes to be deceived, even in adolescence. Enlightening them about the profit-driven motives behind junk food ads may be enough to help trigger a newfound desire for healthier eating.

Research conducted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that when eighth graders were given materials that explained the manipulative practices and deceptive product labels used by food manufacturing companies, they ended up eating less junk food and choosing water instead of soda. They also ended up choosing healthier foods for the remainder of that school year.

“These findings suggest that reframing unhealthy dietary choices as incompatible with important values could be a low-cost, scalable solution to producing lasting, internalized change in adolescents’ dietary attitudes and choices,” the researchers explained.33

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Negative Effects Of Portobello Mushrooms: The Hidden Dangers | Credihealth

Portobello mushrooms have been used in many recipes due to their earthy flavor and meaty taste, making them the most popular choice among plant-based eaters. Though they are nutritious, they can raise the risk of side effects, especially in people living with digestive problems or allergies. So, it is crucial to be aware of the potential negative effects of portobello mushrooms before adding them to their daily diet. Here, this article will help you explore the possible health risks of portobello mushrooms in detail!

Glance At The Topic:

  • Portobello mushrooms, also called Agaricus Bisporus, are a type of edible mushroom species.
  • Though their high-fiber content makes them nutritious, they also come with some negative side effects for most people such as digestive problems, allergies, kidney issues, etc.
  • These mushrooms are generally considered safe to be eaten raw. However, people finding it difficult to digest them can experience some digestive discomfort such as gas, bloating, or abdominal pain.
  • If you have conditions like gout (a type of arthritis), consuming portobello mushrooms is bad for your health. Purines in them can cause a high production of uric acid in the body which can worsen the symptoms of gout.
  • Moreover, portobello mushrooms don’t cause cancer. No evidence supports this. In fact, the compounds found in them have shown a decrease in the growth and spread of cancerous cells due to their anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.

Understanding Portobello Mushrooms

Also called Agaricus Bisporus, Portobello mushrooms are an edible species of mushrooms. They are highly consumed because of their high-fiber content, earthy flavor, and meaty taste. Their meat-like flavor makes them the best replacement for meat in vegetarian recipes. Also, they are less spongy as compared to other types of mushrooms. They are typically grilled, fried, or stuffed in a variety of dishes.

Nutritional profile

Portobello mushrooms are highly nutritious, containing several minerals like selenium, zinc, and copper and vitamins such as vitamin B. They are low in calories with approximately 22 calories per 100 g, as per the U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA). Moreover, these mushrooms have a great composition of macronutrients, including fibers, proteins, and carbs. Besides this, they have significant amounts of antioxidants.

Though portobello mushrooms are nutritious, their negative effects should always be considered before consuming them, particularly, if you have any type of food allergies or digestive issues.

Know Some Potential Negative Effects of Portobello Mushrooms

Let’s explore the possible side effects of eating portobello mushrooms:

1. Allergic Reactions

This is one of the common health risks of portobello mushrooms. People living with allergies or sensitivities to mushrooms can experience allergic reactions after their consumption. The portobello mushroom allergy symptoms may include difficulty in breathing, skin rashes, swelling, itching, or even severe allergic reactions. High fiber content or polyols in mushrooms can be the cause. In such cases, avoid consuming these mushrooms and if any symptoms are found, seeking professional help is crucial.

2. Digestive Issues

Certain digestive issues can be the adverse effects of portobello mushrooms. After consumption, people might experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, or abdominal pain or cramps. These symptoms can emerge due to the high content of fiber or certain specific components present in these mushrooms. If you find any of these symptoms, limit the intake or see a doctor.

3. Interactions with Medications

There is a possibility of interaction of portobello mushrooms with certain medications. They may interfere with the activity of the enzymes that are responsible for drug metabolism (breakdown of drug in the stomach). This, in turn, might change the effectiveness of the medication or increase its side effects. So, when you are on certain medications, always consult the healthcare professionals before adding these mushrooms to your diet.

4. Purine Effects

Purines can contribute to one of the potential dangers of portobello mushrooms. They are the natural compounds found in these mushrooms that can produce uric acid in the body after digestion. These compounds can affect the health of people suffering from gout (a form of painful arthritis that occurs due to high uric acid levels). Excess consumption of these mushrooms leads to an increased level of uric acid in the body, worsening the symptoms of gout. So, people should consume such mushrooms in moderation and also seek professional advice.

5. Kidney Problems

Portobello mushrooms are a high source of potassium. As per the study, excess potassium in the body causes hyperkalemia (too high a potassium level in the blood) and hyperkalemia contributes to kidney issues. This, in turn, leads to nausea, irregular heartbeat, numbness, vomiting, muscle weakness, and even sudden cardiac arrest. So, always be careful about portobello mushroom intake if you are living with kidney problems. Better to have a medical consultation.

6. Vitamin K Interference

Being rich in vitamin K, portobello mushrooms play a major role in blood clotting. So, if you are on blood thinning medications (to prevent blood clots) and need to maintain a vitamin K intake, it is crucial to be aware of the consumption of portobello mushrooms. So, always consult with your doctor for a personalized dietary plan that also considers your blood thinning medications.

Can You Eat Portabella Mushrooms Raw?

It is generally considered safe to eat portabella mushroom raw. However, it is also crucial to know that for some people digesting the raw form of these mushrooms can be difficult. They may cause certain digestive discomfort such as gas, bloating, or abdominal pain. So, cooking the mushrooms can be the better idea as it helps split down their hard cell walls, making it easier to digest them. In addition, it enhances the aroma and flavor of these mushrooms.

Are Portobello Mushrooms Bad For You?

Portobello mushrooms can be bad for you if you are struggling with gout (a painful form of arthritis marked by intense pain, tenderness, or redness in joints). Gout occurs when there is an extra level of uric acid in the body. Here, portobello mushrooms have a contribution in causing gout. Purines present in these mushrooms can produce uric acid in the body after digestion and increased uric acid levels can lead to gout or kidney problems like kidney stones.

Can Portobello Mushrooms Cause Cancer?

No evidence strongly supports portobello mushrooms as the cause of cancer. In fact, these mushrooms are rich in compounds such as carotenoids, polyphenols, and polysaccharides, all having anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. As per a study, these components of mushrooms have revealed promising results in the stimulation of immune cells and inhibition of the growth and spread of cancerous cells in mice. Moreover, according to research, phytochemicals in these mushrooms have shown the results of breast and gastrointestinal cancer prevention.

Final Thoughts

Though portobello mushrooms have several nutritional benefits, they also have some side effects like allergic reactions, digestive issues, medication interactions, etc. People with mushroom allergies or digestive issues need to be aware of such negative effects of portobello mushrooms. If you have any health problems or are taking certain medications, always consult the healthcare professionals first. They will help you with a personalized diet plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the controversy with portobello mushrooms?

The controversy is that the portobello mushroom industry is covering information about the possible adverse effects of consuming raw or undercooked portobello mushrooms. However, large studies are needed to confirm such a claim.

Do portobello mushrooms contain hydrazine?

Hydrazines are the toxic compounds in portobello mushrooms which on cooking effectively get lower. This ensures the safe consumption of these mushrooms.

What are the symptoms of portobello mushroom poisoning?

The portobello mushroom intolerance symptoms may include swelling, skin rashes, or itching after consumption. Other symptoms may include diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.

What types of toxins are found in mushrooms?

The toxins found in mushrooms may include psilocybin, amatoxin, gyromitrin, coprine, muscarine, allenic norleucine, etc.

Are portobello mushrooms good for you?

Yes, portobello mushrooms are good as they contain several essential vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, etc. However, it can have some side effects as well if taken in excess quantities.

What’s the problem with portobello mushrooms?

The problem with portobello mushrooms is that it is rich in purines that produce uric acid in the body after digestion. High uric acid production can lead to certain health issues such as gout or kidney stones.

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Two Conditions That Are Often Misdiagnosed As Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | Credihealth

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common medical condition that affects both wrist and hand, causing tingling, pain, and numbness sensation. However, the misdiagnosis rates for this condition are terribly high.

However, the other two conditions that are often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome as they also share some of the same symptoms are rheumatoid arthritis and tendonitis. Misdiagnosis of CTS with these two other conditions can cause severe consequences on the health of an individual, leading to worsening symptoms, delayed treatment, and in some cases unneeded surgery. Therefore, patients as well as doctors need to be aware of the possibility of misdiagnosis and take action to ensure a precise diagnosis. So, here, this article will help you explore both the conditions that are frequently misdiagnosed as CTS and how to differentiate these two conditions from CTS.

Glance At The Topic:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common medical condition that causes tingling, pain, and numbness sensation in the wrist, hands, and fingers.
  • However, some people often misdiagnose CTS as rheumatoid arthritis and tendonitis.
  • The location of the symptoms and how they feel can help distinguish these conditions from each other.
  • Once diagnosed, CTS can be prevented with some lifestyle changes such as gently stretching or bending the hands, avoiding wrist bending, etc.
  • Moreover, other holistic treatments such as home remedies, therapies, medications, and even surgery in severe cases can be helpful options.

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition that consists of 90% of neuropathy cases. It is often caused by the pressure or strain on the median nerve caused by repetitive movement. Typically, the median nerve moves through your forearm towards the wrist via a passageway called the carpal tunnel. The condition can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensation in the wrists, hands, and fingers. It may affect one or both hands. If it occurs in one hand, this condition is called unilateral CTS and if it impacts both hands, this is called bilateral CTS. As per research, carpal tunnel syndrome more often affects women compared to men.

Do you know?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) might affect around 1.9 million people and between 300,000-500,000 surgeries are executed yearly to treat this condition.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms:

The following are the potential symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Numbness or pain in fingers, wrist, or hand
  • Burning or tingling in the wrist
  • Loss of grip strength
  • Numbness and tingling sensation that makes you awake from sleep
  • Pain that goes up to the arm

CTS usually develops gradually and you might experience mild symptoms. But, over time, the symptoms might worsen if left untreated. So, if any of the symptoms last for a longer period, seek professional help.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Causes:

The main cause of CTS is repetitive use of the wrists and hands that exerts a huge pressure or stain on the median nerve. However, there are many other surprising causes of carpal tunnel syndrome that may include:

  • Obesity or overweight
  • Hormonal Fluctuations
  • Genetic Factors
  • Certain medical conditions

CT Syndrome Diagnosis:

For the diagnosis of CTS, doctors perform:

  • Physical exam: Professionals closely examine the symptoms a person is experiencing to determine the right causes. They will look for tingling, pain, and numbness in the hands, wrists, or fingers, and weak muscles around the thumb.
  • Further testing: Even if these symptoms are present, doctors will perform further testing to confirm the diagnosis of CTS. Those tests may include nerve conduction tests to detect nerve damage issues, blood tests to see whether the causes of numbness, pain, and tingling feeling in wrists and hands are other conditions like arthritis, diabetes, etc., and imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan to see the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. This helps check the exact position and extent of the nerve compression.

What Are The Two Conditions That Are Often Misdiagnosed as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Though Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition, it is important to consider that the symptoms associated with it might be caused by other conditions too. So, you need to be aware of those conditions to prevent misdiagnosis. Are you wondering, “What is the common misdiagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome”? Well, the two conditions that are often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome are rheumatoid arthritis and tendonitis.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

Wondering, “What’s the difference between carpal tunnel and arthritis”? Let’s distinguish between both conditions to prevent any misdiagnosis. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is typically an autoimmune disorder that mainly affects the joints of the hand and wrist. This can result in joint damage, inflammation, and pain. This condition is frequently misdiagnosed as CTS as they have many similar symptoms. Those may include numbness, tingling, pain, weakness, and reduced functions of the wrists and hands.

The only difference between carpal tunnel and arthritis is the location of their symptoms. Carpal tunnel syndrome affects only the wrists and hands. Alternatively, rheumatoid arthritis is initially experienced in the small joints of the wrists and hands which can impact the joints of the whole body over time. Moreover, unlike CTS, rheumatoid arthritis is a kind of systemic disorder that means it can affect one or more systems of the body such as the heart, joints, eyes, lungs, and skin. It comes with general systemic symptoms like fever, weight loss, and fatigue. On the other hand, CTS is limited to only joints in the hands and wrists.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome vs Tendonitis

Tendonitis is another medical condition that is also often misdiagnosed with CTS as it shares the same symptoms with CTS. Well, this condition occurs when tendons in the hand and the wrists undergo inflammation, resulting in swelling, pain, and limited motion. These tendonitis symptoms can be the same as the pain, reduced function, and weakness associated with CTS.

Wondering “How to tell the difference between tendonitis and carpal tunnel?” Well, The location and severity of the associated symptoms of both conditions can differentiate them. CTS primarily affects the palm and fingers of the hand and the symptoms usually worsen at night time or during repetitive movements of the hand and wrist. Alternatively, tendonitis is generally localized near impacted tendons and becomes more severe by specific movements.

So, these are the two conditions that are often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome due to their similar symptoms. For accurate diagnosis and the right treatment, consult the best orthopedic specialists around your location.

Can Carpal Tunnel Cause Shoulder Pain?

Though carpal tunnel syndrome is associated with wrist issues, many people ask, “Can carpal tunnel cause shoulder pain”! In most cases that are actually very rare, CTS can lead to shoulder pain. A person can feel referred pain (a pain which you feel somewhere else rather than the injured area) that rises rapidly up from the wrist to the shoulder and sometimes to the neck. This pain or discomfort can feel similar to an electric shock.

Why Does Carpal Tunnel Hurt More at Night?

Carpal tunnel usually hurts more at night because the tissue fluid present in the arms gets redistributed when the muscle pump is not in action. In other words, when we sleep during the night, our body is not moving and due to the increased fluid in the arms, there is pressure on the carpal tunnel which causes symptoms to emerge more at night time.

Can I Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

As many factors such as obesity, medical issues, hormonal fluctuations, etc. can contribute to Carpal tunnel syndrome, prevention can be challenging. However, you can follow some of the lifestyle measures to reduce the development and progression of such a condition those may include:

  • Practice hand and wrist stretches regularly before, during, and after repetitive movements: Regular hand and wrist stretches can help enhance the strength of the wrist and lower the pressure or strain on the carpal tunnel.
  • Maintain appropriate hand and wrist positions while working on a computer or using any tools: This is particularly necessary if you work more at computers and often use keywords and a mouse. Better to use ergonomic office chairs, a mouse, and keyboards that are designed to improve the posture of hands and wrists.
  • Wear wrist splints, particularly at night: When you sleep, wrists and elbows are bent which can put pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.

Can a Chiropractor Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Yes, a chiropractor can help in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. People often look for chiropractic care as it provides a non-medication approach to get relief from the symptoms of CTS. Specialists closely look at your situation and try to customize a treatment plan according to your health needs. They focus on your spine and neck as both parts of the body also contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. Using some techniques such as stretching, gentle massage, and electrical stimulation on the spine and neck, a chiropractor can help give relief.

What Are The Other Holistic Treatment For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

You can follow some home remedies, medications, and alternative therapies. However, if the symptoms of CTS become more severe, drug treatment and surgery are the only options.

Home Remedies:

The following are a few home remedies that can help treat mild to moderate symptoms of CTS:

  • Massage your palms, wrists, and back side of your hand.
  • Apply heat to your affected wrist to relieve pain.
  • Use an ice pack to reduce swelling.
  • Use a wrist splint to reduce pressure on the median nerve.
  • Perform gentle wrist, hand, and finger stretching exercises.
  • Wear work gloves to cover the wrists and hands.
  • Give rest to your affected wrist and hand for about 2 weeks.
  • Place extra fabric or cloth on the utensils or tools for a more comfortable grip.
  • Have over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers like naproxen or ibuprofen.

Alternative Therapies:

These are some therapies that can help provide relief from symptoms associated with CTS in the short term:

  • Yoga with strengthening and stretching exercises might lower the pain and improve wrist grip.
  • Ultrasound therapy can increase the temperature of the injured hand or wrist area, potentially relieving pain and facilitating recovery.
  • Hand therapy methods such as joint mobilization, massage, etc. may relieve symptoms.
  • The application of topical anti-inflammatory medications might also help.
  • Low-level laser therapy may also relieve symptoms, as per research, but the evidence is limited.

Note: Make sure to always consult the healthcare professionals before planning for any alternative therapies. Doctors never advise replacing conventional treatment with unproven alternative therapies.

Drug Treatment and Surgery

Drug treatment: Prescription medications or injections are the effective drug treatment. Oral corticosteroid medications can lower swelling and inflammation, helping to reduce pressure or strain on the median nerve. These medicines are also available in the form of injections and are more effective than oral medications for CTS treatment.

Surgery: When medications do not work and symptoms become more severe, doctors recommend surgery. According to a study, CTS improves more after surgery than non-surgical treatments (such as home remedies, lifestyle changes, or therapies). Here are the 2 types of surgery for CTS:

  • Open surgery: During the process, surgeons perform a single cut over the palm side of the patient’s wrist. Then, they make a cut in ligaments that presses on the nerve, thus, relieving the pressure on the median nerve.
  • Endoscopic surgery: The doctors make a small cut on the wrist and pass the endoscope (a tiny device with a small, attached camera) through it to cut the ligament.

Final Thoughts

This article examines two conditions that are often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome. Early medical care is crucial for effectively managing carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, the right diagnosis will guide in determining the appropriate treatment. If misdiagnosed, it can lead to suffering for a long period and delay in the right treatment. So, if you’re experiencing pain, numbness, or tingling in the hands or wrists, consult the best orthopedic doctors available at Credihealth.

Glossary:

  • Menopause: It is the end of the menstrual cycles (periods) of the women.
  • Autoimmune Disorder: A disorder in which the immune system of the body accidentally attacks healthy cells instead of protecting them.
  • Neuropathy: It is a condition that results in nerve damage caused by many diseases like diabetes.
  • Differential Diagnosis: It is a method to differentiate one condition from another that shows similar symptoms.
  • Systemic Disorder: It is a health condition that affects one or more systems of the body like digestive, respiratory, neurological, or circulatory systems.

 

 

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