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Zinc Reinforces Your Defenses Against the Common Cold

Posted: March 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

A study published by The Cochrane Collaboration revealed that taking zinc supplements can reduce the severity of cold symptoms and shorten the length of the illness.

Your Body’s Natural Defense

The body is naturally built with its defense mechanism against infection and diseases. From the day that we were born, the immune system is already a little familiar with the things that can harm the body. After the detection of such threats, the immune cells immediately act to destroy and remove the threat from the body. This process of familiarization with the different disease-causing bacteria, virus and other antigens will take time. In the case of the common cold, for example, you would oftentimes need to get sick first before the immune system can effectively fight the virus causing the illness. But there are hundreds of cold strains and new strains evolve from old strains every time that it is impossible to come up with a universal vaccine that would repeal all cold viruses. The best approach is to keep the immune system in pristine condition in order to reduce the severity and length of the symptoms if the illness cannot entirely be avoided.

How Common is Common Cold?

The common cold is considered as a seasonal epidemic that can be transmitted through direct contact with droplets from an infected person, objects and surfaces. People are advised to avoid contact with people and surfaces that could possibly be infected with the common cold virus, especially during an outbreak. Keeping the body healthy, on the other hand, will serve as your first line of defense. Proper diet and sufficient exercise will help strengthen the immune system and help it better fight infection. Certain nutrients from food can also help boost the immune system. A study from The Cochrane Collaboration observed that the supplementation of zinc can reduce the severity and length of the common cold symptoms.

Zinc Against The common cold

The Cochrane Collaboration published a study suggesting that the intake of zinc-enriched syrup, tablets and lozenges during the onset of the common cold can reduce the length and severity of the symptoms. The study consisted of 15 clinical trials and found that, after a week, study participants who took zinc supplementation had cleared their common cold symptoms compared to the group taking placebo pills.

Head researcher Meenu Singh of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in India said that the results of their study indicated that the intake of zinc supplements within 24 hours from catching the common cold reduced the severity and duration of the symptoms. He added that taking the supplement for no less than five months can reduce the incidence of the condition, use of antibiotics and school absenteeism in children. The results of the study further provided evidence of the efficacy of zinc as a treatment for common cold. But Singh also added that it is difficult to recommend zinc at the present due to the lack of studies regarding optimum dose, length of treatment and formulation.

Health Benefits of Zinc

The production of more than 300 enzymes relies on the sufficient amount of zinc in the body. With the deficiency of this micro-mineral, health conditions like connective tissue disorder can develop. A study conducted by researchers from UC Davis found that pregnant mice with deficient amounts of zinc produced offspring with a dysfunctional immune system. Deficient levels of zinc has also been linked to cataracts, muscular degeneration, defective connective tissue, acne, high risk of  pneumonia, diarrhea, short stature and dwarfism, mental lethargy, rough skin, subsequent infection, slow skeletal maturation and weight loss. Though a few of these observations were acquired in animal studies, zinc deficiency still poses as a great threat to human health.

The various health benefits of zinc, on the other hand, include the prevention and reduction of the severity of flu. Several studies have found that zinc has the ability to enhance the function of immune cells and reduce the body’s susceptibility to infection. Zinc is also essential in maintaining taste and smell sensitivity, preventing osteoporosis, promoting healthier skin, better weight management, keeping a balanced blood sugar level, promoting healthy eyesight, and preventing prostate diseases.

The richest natural source of zinc are oysters, peas, nuts, chicken, eggs, liver, meats, mushrooms, oats, sardines, whole grain, wheat germ and bran and soy beans. The RDA or Recommended Dietary Allowance of zinc for adults is 10 to 15 milligrams. Anything in excess to this can result to zinc poisoning. Too much zinc in the system can lead to gastrointestinal disturbances, chills and uncontrollable shaking, fever, liver dysfunction and skin irritation.

Natural Ways to Prevent and Reduce the Incidence of the Common Cold

The key to common cold prevention is living healthy – nutritious diet, regular exercise and avoiding unhealthy habits. The Centers for Disease Control said that people with the highest risk of catching cold are pregnant women, children aged 5 years and younger, older adults aged 50 years and above, people with chronic medical conditions like diabetes and asthma, people living in long-term care facilities like nursing home, and health-care workers who are frequently in contact with flu-infected individuals.

Proper nutrition and eating foods rich in vitamins and other nutrients that had been found to help protect the body from infection is essential in keeping the body cold-free. Eating food with cold-fighting nutrients is more effective than taking dietary supplements. This way, you are getting all of the health benefits that the food has to offer; you’ll just have to know which foods are rich in what nutrient. Green vegetables, oranges and other citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C which has been proven to help in boosting the immune system’s ability to repeal diseases.

Getting enough exercise also strengthens the immune system. People without or with less exercise had been found to get sick more often that those who exercise in most days of the week. In addition, The National Sleep Foundation has found that people with poor sleeping habits are more likely to get sick than those who always get a good night’s sleep. And lastly, being defensive about getting in contact with the virus is essential in keeping you cold-free. Wash your hands with soap or use a sanitizer as often as you can.


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Fenugreek Found to Boost Male Libido

Posted: March 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

A study published in the Phytotheraphy Research journal showed that the daily supplementation of fenugreek extract can maintain normal testosterone level and boost libido in men.

Your Sex Drive

Although testosterone is not the only enzyme that is responsible for a man’s performance and sex drive, low testosterone can lead to sexual problems like erectile dysfunction which can have a direct negative effect on a man’s self-esteem and his relationships. The first and most common approach to treating sexual problems is by increasing the amounts of testosterone in the body; male libido and testosterone goes hand in hand.  Knowing the various negative effects of low libido will help in better understanding and accepting the problem as a medical condition that needs expert medical attention.

Keep Your Pistons Going

People don’t usually talk about sex as an important aspect in keeping a relationship, and marriage, alive. Clinical psychologist Kevin Leman said in his book Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage that intimacy between two married individuals is very important. He also addressed the problems of most married people who have become too stressed and tired to have a love life. The lack of intimacy can begin when the man starts to lose his libido which tends to naturally decline as the person ages. Other sexual problems like erectile dysfunction can become a huge hindrance in maintaining an intimate relationship.

Most men will refuse to see a doctor to treat their sexual problems. Knowing that there are various natural herbs and food supplements that promise to bring back their sex drive tends to make them believe that they can treat the problem alone. But sometimes, these over-the-counter natural food supplements may contain certain compounds that have not been proven to be safe for human consumption.

Proper nutrition and regular exercise will help in keeping your sex drive going and can aid in maintaining sufficient levels of testosterone in the body. Studies show that low testosterone levels will not only affect your libido but it may lead to other more serious sexual problems. Other factors like stress can also affect a person’s sex drive.

Low testosterone and Common Sexual Problems in Men

The body needs more than 300 nanograms of testosterone per deciliter of blood in order to keep the sex drive going and avoid other problems like mood fluctuations, sleeping disturbances and erectile dysfunction. Though a few men with low testosterone levels do not experience any sex-related symptoms, the greater percentage suffers from its adverse effects. In cases wherein low testosterone is affecting the person’s quality of life, medical experts will recommend testosterone replacement. This is done by using patches, oral tablets, skin gels and injections that introduce more testosterone in the body. The known long-term effects of low testosterone include the higher risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes and obesity. These health conditions are also some of the risk factors of erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction is commonly caused by atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries. The small blood vessels that drive and hold blood in the male genital area, when they are damaged, will fail to dilate and maintain a strong blood flow. The main causes of atherosclerosis are high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

A study conducted by researchers from Massachusetts had found that 28 percent of men with low testosterone levels had decreased libido. And the study participants who were found to have this condition had an average age 47 years. The other causes of low libido are chronic medical illnesses, depression, lack of sleep and stress.

Fenugreek to Boost Sex Drive and Testosterone Levels in Men

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Clinical Trials, and the Applied Science and Nutrition found that the daily supplementation of fenugreek extract can improve the male libido and help in keeping normal levels of testosterone in the body. The formulation containing minerals ad fenugreek extract was found to improve libido of more than 80 percent of study participants while more than 60 percent reported an improvement in their sexual performance after taking the supplement.

The researchers from Australia gathered a group of 60 healthy participants aged 25 to 52 and randomly asked them to take the supplement containing fenugreek extract or a placebo pill everyday for a period of 6 weeks. Note that none of the study participants had erectile dysfunction at the start of the study. In addition to the primary findings of the study, 56 percent of the participants also reported an improvement in overall well-being and 82 percent had higher energy levels. The results were published in the Phytotheraphy Research journal.

Health Benefits of Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a strong aromatic plant that belongs to the legume family. It is rarely used in cooking but it is more often applied as an herbal treatment for certain health conditions. The most active components of fenugreek are protein, fiber, lysine, steroidal saponins, flavonoids, phosphates, vitamin C, vitamin B1, Vitamin A and iron. The sapogenins in fenugreek can help in preventing the synthesis and absorption of cholesterol. At the same time, it contains diosgenin that act like steroidal hormones and estrogen. The soluble fiber in fenugreek also helps in maintaining healthy glucose metabolism. It contains 50 percent fiber that can inhibit the rate of postprandial glucose absorption.

The medicinal property of fenugreek is traditionally considered as a laxative, expectorant, demulcent, carminative, and stomachic. It is used as a topical treatment for ulcerations of the skin, gout, eczema, burns, boils and abscesses due its anti-inflammatory benefits. People with diabetes have also been using fenugreek seeds as a natural alternative to orally taking insulin.

Top Things that can Impair Your Libido

  • Stress is the number one killer. If you have been taking too much load at work and are noticing a decline in your sex life, you might as well link them together and find a way to fight the stress. Find healthy avenues to release your stress like going to the spa regularly, participating in sports activities more often or anything that you find effective in relieving stress. Seeking the advice of doctors and counselors in finding a suitable stress management technique will also help you a lot.
  • Avoid too much alcohol. Drinking alcoholic drinks will not always put you in the mood. It can kill your sex drive and make you less interested about sex. This is also true for recreational drugs.
  • Insufficient sleep and sleeping disorders can decrease your sex drive. The factors that are preventing you from getting enough sleep are also interfering with your used-to-be healthy sex drive. You can seek the assistance of a medical expert on how you can conquer both problems.
  • Some other sex drive killers are low self-esteem, certain medications like oral contraceptives, antihistamines, blood pressure medications and antidepressants, as well as relationship problems, obesity and depression.


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Dark Roasting Coffee Beans Can Optimize Its Antioxidant Content

Posted: March 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that roasting coffee beans can further improve its antioxidant content.

Drinking too much coffee can be harmful to your health. This can result to insomnia, heart palpitations and anxiety. But the moderate intake of coffee can offer some preventive health benefits. Studies have found that drinking a few cups of coffee in a day can reduce the risk of certain cancer and even dementia.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that dark roasted coffee beans offer the most antioxidants than other coffee varieties. They observed that roasting the coffee beans releases their antioxidant content. The researchers added that antioxidants are important because they inhibit the oxidative processes and protect cells from the damage caused by unstable free radicals; the damage caused by free radicals can lead to chronic diseases and cancer.

The study was headed by David Kitts and Yazheng Liu, and is scheduled to be published in the Food Research International. The researchers found that when raw green coffee beans are browned by exposing them to high temperatures, a chemical process called the Maillard reaction occurs which optimizes the antioxidant content of roasted Java coffee beans.

The Various Health Benefits of Coffee

More than 90 percent of the world’s population drinks coffee, and there is a reason behind this. Coffee is a rich source of essential nutrients and strong antioxidants. It also contains compounds that help in keeping people awake and alert, especially while at work. Health professionals recommend limiting coffee intake. There are several studies showing that too much caffeine can lead to health complications like increased blood pressure. But moderate drinking of coffee can actually produce beneficial health results. Studies show that the antioxidants and other compounds in coffee can counter the risk factors of stroke and heart attack like heart rhythm disturbances and diabetes.

Against Arrhythmia. A study consisting of around 130,000 Kaiser Permanente health plan members found that study participants who drank around 1 to 3 cups of coffee in a day are 20 percent less likely to be hospitalized for arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythm than non-coffee drinkers. A study on 83,700 nurses enrolled in the Nurse’s health study found that participants who drink two or more cups of coffee in a day can lead to a 20 percent lowered risk of stroke than those who drink less. This finding was independent of other risk factors like diabetes, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

Against Liver Cancer. Japanese researchers found that people who drink coffee are less likely to develop liver cancer.  The study consisted of more than 61,000 participants. The researchers believed that this is due to the chlorogenic acid content of coffee. Arabica coffee contains up to seven percent of chlorogenic acid while robusta coffee contains up to 10 percent. With the help of caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid protects the cells and cerebral neurons from the damage caused by oxidation.  It also normalizes colon function and promotes cellular differentiation. This effect has also been found to inhibit the growth and induce the death of breast cancer cells.

French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard was first to investigate the effects of heat towards proteins, sugars and carbohydrates in food; thus, the process was named after him. During the heating process, different flavored compounds are produced and are broken down to form other compounds. Different foods produce different compounds during the Maillard reaction. As for roasting coffee beans, it produces more antioxidants.

Researchers said that other studies suggest that the antioxidants in coffee can be traced to its chlorogenic acid and caffeine content that is found in green coffee beans. But he added that the Maillard reaction is responsible for creating coffee’s antioxidant content.

Against Prostate Cancer. According to their findings, drinking dark roasted java coffee supplies the body with more antioxidants than other coffee varieties. The benefits of coffee include cancer and chronic disease prevention. A study conducted by a team of researchers from Harvard University found that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. They observed that men who drank the most amount of coffee are 60 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer that those who were not in the habit of drinking coffee.

Against Alzheimer’s Disease. A study published in the January issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease revealed than drinking coffee can have a long-term effect in maintaining cognitive function and reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia at old age. The researchers from Finland randomly selected study participants from a population-based cohort who previously participated in a related study. The participants were observed for an average of 21 years. More than 1400 participants who were 65 to 79 years old completed the study. They observed that coffee drinkers had lower risk of developing dementia at midlife and Alzheimer’s disease at old age. Participants who were in the habit of drinking 3 to 5 cups in a day had a 65 percent lesser chance of developing dementia of Alzheimer’s disease.

Against Depression. A related study published in the Nutrition and Neuroscience investigated the link between coffee consumption and people’s cooperative behavior and sociability. The researchers gathered a group of 77 moderate coffee drinkers and were asked to play a game with an imaginary person. After drinking coffee, the participants displayed fewer signs of sadness and were more open and responsive to their imaginary player. Other studies had found that men and women who drank coffee are less likely to develop depressive symptoms and have lower tendencies of committing suicide.

Coffee: A Richer Source of Antioxidants

Researchers had found that coffee is the primary source of antioxidants of Americans. Studies show that there are more antioxidants in a normal serving of coffee than in a typical serving of oranges, raspberries, grape juice and blueberries. In addition, a cup of coffee has four times more antioxidants than a cup of green tea.

A Fair Warning to Coffee Drinkers

Despite the piling evidence showing that coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, James Lane from Duke University Medical Center said that there hasn’t been any study investigating whether the antioxidants from coffee can indeed reach the bloodstream. He, however, added that there is enough proof to show that caffeine from coffee can reach the blood stream and can lead to hypertension and increase levels of adrenaline.


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Fight Depression by Using Olive Oil

Posted: March 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

A study found that the high intake of foods rich in trans fat can result to an increased risk of depression while eating foods rich in healthy fats like olive oil helps in reducing the risk.

Trans Fat

Trans fats can come from different sources and they naturally occur in meats and dairy products. They are commonly formed when vegetable oil is partially hydrogenated which converts it into semi-solids for a variety of uses and food applications. Food manufacturers have been using trans fat since it has a more stable flavor and longer shelf life. But different studies had found out that trans fat can increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and result to health problems like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic illnesses and obesity.

A few cities in the United States, including New York, had banned the use of trans fat in the preparation of food in restaurants and other food establishments. In addition to the known adverse effects of trans fat, a study from Spain includes a higher risk of depression to the list.

Trans Fat Can Increase the Risk of Depression

Researchers from the University of Navarra in Spain found that the consumption of foods and other source rich in trans fat can result to an increased risk of depression while eating foods rich in healthier fatty acids like olive oil can have the opposite effect. The study was based on the results of the SUN project which consisted of the more than 12,000 Spanish volunteers. The researchers found that study participants with the most amount of trans fat intake had a 48 percent greater risk of developing depression than participants who had less or no trans fat consumption. Their findings were published in the open online access journal PloS One. The study also found that monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil can lower the risk of depression.

The study was led by a professor of preventive medicine, Miguel Martinez. He noted that their study was based on a population with a very low trans fat intake. He added that, despite their limited trans fat consumption, they showed higher risk of suffering depression of about 50 percent. The trans fat consumption of the study participants only amounted to 0.4 percent of the total energy intake. Martinez explained that their findings are important especially to countries with high trans fat consumption like the United States which is at 2.5 percent.

The study participants consisted of more than 7000 women and 5000 men, whose ages averaged at 37. 5 years old. They were all part of the SUN project of the University of Navarra. The data gathered from the participants showed a strong link between trans fat intake and the risk of depression. The researchers said that the link was persistent and robust in each variation of the study. They were also able to observe the effects of healthier fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids from olive oil to the risk of depression and found that these can help in lowering the risk. But despite the promising results, Martinez and his team said that their study will need further support from more studies and trials.


Depression is a serious health condition that causes drastic changes in mood, behavior and physical well-being. It has been found to significantly affect a person’s life as well as the lives of other people around him.  It is thought to be caused by different environmental, psychological and physical factors. In most cases, depression develops after physical and/or psychological trauma. But it can also happen for no apparent reason. Most people experience depression only once in their entire lifetime but others may suffer from a series of episodes with short intervals in between. For severe cases, medication may need to be taken permanently. Though depression can cripple a person’s ability to function properly, it is relatively more treatable than other psychological conditions.

The symptoms of depression includes unexplainable physical problems like headaches and back pain, sudden urge to cry for no clear reason, suicidal thoughts, difficulty in remembering, making decisions, concentrating and thinking, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, moments of self-pity and self-blame, tiredness, fatigue and lack of energy, edginess and increased indecisiveness, restlessness and agitation, excessive sleeping or insomnia, reduced sex drive, and feelings of frustration, unhappiness and sadness due to small things. The symptoms can vary depending on the person’s age and gender.

Medical professionals look at different possible causes of depression. The condition can be caused by changes in brain chemistry, dysfunction of neurotransmitters, hormonal imbalance, genetic make-up, early childhood trauma and sad life events like the loss of a loved one.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive oil is good for the heath. It is one of the richest sources of healthy fatty acids like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. People living in the Mediterranean regions who have high olive oil consumption had been found to have better health and healthier hearts than people from other regions.

A study consisting of more than 5600 study participants found that following a Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of death from all natural causes. The researchers followed the participants for more than 6 years. They observed that people who are following a Mediterranean diet had 50 percent lower mortality rate than those who consumed foods rich in trans fat. They concluded that diet plans for the elderly needs to include more olive oil to promote longevity.

In 2004, the US Federal Drug Administration permitted the publication of claims saying that using olive oil can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Olive oil is not only rich in healthy fatty acids but it also contains health-promoting nutrients like phenolic compounds and antioxidants. The other compounds in olive oil like oleic acid and vitamin E prevents the oxidation of cholesterol and prevents it from creating plaques on the walls of the arteries. Olive oil also reduces the amount of free radicals in the body and the occurrence of inflammation. Health professionals recommend the regular use of olive for those with hypertensive conditions and people with high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Olive oil has also been found to improve the cell’s response to insulin, making it a good recommendation for people with diabetes.


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Poor Sleep Worsens Rheumatoid Arthritis Problems

Posted: March 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

A study conducted by a team of researchers from Illinois found that poor sleep can increase the risk of disability due to rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

The immune system is responsible for protecting the body from viruses and other pathogenic organisms. But a disorder in the immune system can cause it to confuse healthy tissues and cells as foreign materials. This results to an autoimmune disease which leads to the development of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. RA, or rheumatoid arthritis, is a condition that causes the inflammation of joints and the tissues surrounding it. It can also affect other organs in the body.

Rheumatoid arthritis can happen at any age.  However, women are more often affected compared to men. RA usually affects the joints of the ankles, feet, knees, fingers and wrists. The severity and course of the disease can vary on a case-to-case basis. The primary contributors of the disease are hormones, certain genetic markers and infection. Various studies also show that certain habits like the lack of sleep can contribute to the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

Poor Sleep Can Increase the Likelihood of Disability from Rheumatoid Arthritis

A study published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine revealed that poor sleep is linked with higher risk of depressive symptoms, higher levels of pain and fatigue, and more functional disability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers suggest treating sleeping problems through the help of behavioral and other forms of intervention to better overcome the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

The study aims to investigate the relationship between functional disability in more than 16 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and their quality of sleep. The study participants had an average age of around 58 years and over 70 percent of them were women. All of the study participants were clinically diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis for no less than 2 years, and they all had been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for 14 years on an average.

The researchers asked the study participants to complete the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Medical Outcomes Study Short Form, the Health Assessment Questionnaire, and the Beck Depression Inventory. The results provided much needed information regarding the study participants’ quality of sleep, pain severity, functional disability, fatigue, and their depression levels. The participants were also asked to give their medical history and socio-demographic information.

The results of the study showed that a person’s quality of sleep has an indirect effect on functional disability after removing other factors like age, number of co-morbidities and gender. The results of the PSQI showed that more than 61 percent of the patients had poor sleep and 33 percent reported sleeping disturbances caused by joint pain in most days of the week.

Lead researcher from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing, Faith Luyster, said that the primary result of their study suggests that poor sleep was linked to worse cases of rheumatoid arthritis. She added that it is important to properly address the sleeping problems of rheumatoid arthritis patients through pharmacological and behavioral intervention.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects more than 1.3 million American adults and which causes stiffness, swelling, pain and loss of function in the joint area. People with rheumatoid arthritis normally complain about sleep disruptions and poor quality of sleep. Luyster added that not being able to sleep well at night can contribute to the severity of fatigue and pain which, in turn, bi-directionally affects their quality of sleep.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Risk Factors

It has been found that women are more at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis than men. Adults aged 40 to 60 years are more likely to be infected with the condition. Genetic inclination and family history also plays a major role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Though medical experts say that the disease can’t be directly inherited, predispositions to rheumatoid arthritis can be passed on. Lastly, one of the adverse effects of smoking is a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Natural Ways to Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk

Though the real cause of rheumatoid arthritis remains unknown, medical experts say that the key to preventing the disease is protecting the joints from damage. The joints are built to perform the stress of basic tasks but joints with arthritis cannot take the stress of twisting, pulling and pushing.

A tip to protecting the joints from too much strain is by moving the joint to its full range of motion. This can help maintain the active motion of your joints. But remember not to overdo the exercise and keep the movement to where it is pain-free and in the range of your flexibility. Keep the movements gentle and slow. Forcing the joints to make movements beyond its range of motion can only result to damage and injury.

Doing basic tasks will, more often than not, require the movement of the joints. Another tip to prevent the risk of rheumatoid arthritis is knowing which tasks cause joint pain and by finding a way to avoid it. Lifting heavy objects can cause sudden jolts of pain. And if this happens, try to find a better way of doing it without experiencing the same pain, especially with tasks that you do every day. Remember to observe proper body mechanics when doing things.  This will not only make the task easier to complete, but it helps you avoid injuries as well.

Rheumatoid arthritis pain is common in the hand area. The hands are full of joints and pain in this area can result to functional disability. Try to use your hands more carefully. Avoid tasks that will need prolonged pinching and gripping. The motion of the fingers needs to be in the direction of the thumb and not the little finger. Opening jars for example will direct the force to the palm instead of just in the fingers. Try to use jar openers rather than doing it barehanded. Using tools with ergonomically designed handles will help prevent the onset of pain.

Different joints can endure different levels of tasks. The joints in the fingers can only do so much but other joints can do so much more. When doing certain heavy tasks for example, try to use your strongest joints. Avoid keeping the joints in the same position for an extended period of time. When writing, try to give your hands some rest for 10 to 15 minutes. When driving long distances, try to stop for a few minutes. Move out and stretch your joints.


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A Warning to Weight Loss Supplement Users

Posted: March 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency found that a certain brand of traditional Chinese medicine contains an unspecified and unauthorized pharmaceutical ingredient.

Looking beyond the obvious, having excess weight contributes to a higher risk of developing certain diseases like diabetes and chronic illnesses. Different weight loss products and food supplements promise fast results without the need for exercise and restricted diet. This is alarming since some people are putting their trust on products that has not been duly recognized as 100 percent safe by medical experts.

Most weight loss supplements are commonly bought and used by people without the advice of physicians. It is alarming to find out that these health dangers are sold over-the-counter, with no prescriptions needed, and with no questions asked. The weight loss supplements market has become a multi-billion dollar industry and almost everyone seems to want to jump in and join the bandwagon.  Because of this, despite the strict regulations, some manage to sneak past laid out rules – and this explains the availability. This can be dangerous especially to people with pre-existing health conditions.

The UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency ordered for the recall of the product Herbal Xenical, or also known as Herbal Flos Lonicerae, after a doctor reported the hospitalization of a patient after taking the product.

MHRA Warns Public from Taking Non-prescribed Weight Loss Supplements

After taking the product Herbal Xenical, a patient from UK reported gastritis, palpitations, insomnia and abdominal pain, and was hospitalized for severe symptoms. The UK MHRA ordered the immediate recall of the product. Though they refused to name the contaminant responsible for producing the effects, previous reports had sibutramine to blame. The MHRA said that they will be subjecting the product for lab testing to determine the real cause of the patient’s complaints.

The MHRA has also issued a warning to people who are taking the product to stop using the product and to consult a doctor. The MHRA also took the opportunity to promote the THMPD or the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive which aims to more effectively regulate weight loss supplements.  Richard Woodfield from the MHRA said that since 2005, their department has discovered more than 280 weight loss food supplements that contain significant amounts of pharmaceutical substances that produces adverse effects to the body. He added that situations like what happened to the person taking Herbal Xenical is the reason why they are promoting the Traditional Herbal Registration to the EU in order to better regulate herbal weight loss food supplements. He also said that people have the right to know what they are taking in and that they are not treating a certain health condition only to result to a more severe side effect.

In a recent update, the MHRA confirmed that Herbal Xenical highly contains a banned pharmaceutical ingredient called sibutramine. The tests revealed that the product contains twice the amount of sibutramine that is allowed by the EU before the ingredient was totally banned due to alarming findings such as the increased risk of stroke, heart attack, seizures and hypertension. The UK agency strongly encouraged people who had bought the product prior to the recall to stop using it. They also appealed to people who had experienced side-effects to report to the MHRA through its Yellow Card Scheme.

Sibutramine has been found in botanical products sold as herbal weight loss food supplements long with other harmful substances like lignocaine, vardenafil, tadalafil, glibenclamide and sildenafil. These substances had also been promoted to fight erectile dysfunction.

Natural Ways to Lose Weight

Not all natural weight loss products are safe for the body. Numerous clinical studies had found that certain herbal weight loss supplements contain compounds that can be harmful to a person’s health and which can also increase the risk of certain health conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and even stroke. There is too little evidence showing that these products can be effective without resulting to severe side effects. Medical experts and health professionals encourage people who want to lose weight to just rely on the tried and tested natural means and methods.

The best approach to losing weight is by exercising more and by eating healthy foods. Limiting your calorie intake to a healthy level prevents the further storage of fat in your body and encourages stored fats to be used. Certain diet plans may work for others but this will not be the case for everyone. It’s easy to make your own diet plan as long as you know your body’s nutritional needs, the nutritional and calorie content of different foods, and the calorie restriction to help you lose weight without making you feel weak. Make sure to keep every meal low in calorie but rich in nutrition. Eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in minerals, vitamins and fiber can be the best option.

But the burning of fats and shedding of excess weight can’t happen without the help of exercise. Finding time and the right motivation is key to helping yourself stick to the habit. Some people will often lose their enthusiasm to exercise in most days of the week. But with the right approach and reason to keep on moving, you’ll be reaching your weight goal even before you start noticing it.

Make a commitment to yourself. But before anything else, understand that losing weight will take time and a lot of effort. Make permanent changes to your lifestyle and do it for the right reasons. Be focused and stay committed to your weight loss plan. For your plans to work, you will need to have the physical and mental energy to change your habits. You may also need to address certain stressors that are probable contributors to your gaining weight.

Setting a realistic goal can also help in making it happen. Aiming to lose a few pounds per week is better than hoping to lose so much in a month. Initially setting out short-term goals will help you understand your goals and your ability to lose weight. You can always make adjustments but try to set a threshold and set the bar higher each time.

Consistency is the key. Be consistent with your diet plan, exercise habits, and lifestyle change and understand that it is not a temporary commitment that you can abandon once you reached your desired weight.


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