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Dark Chocolate Prevents Obesity and Diabetes

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
Dr. Helene Pulnik
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on Thursday, 03 April 2014
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New Science shows Dark Chocolate helps prevent Obesity, Diabetes, and more!

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Key Chocolate Ingredients Could Help Prevent Obesity, Diabetes

Improved thinking. Decreased appetite. Lowered blood pressure. The potential health benefits of dark chocolate keep piling up, and scientists are now homing in on what ingredients in chocolate might help prevent obesity, as well as type-2 diabetes. They found that one particular type of antioxidant in cocoa prevented laboratory mice from gaining excess weight and lowered their blood sugar levels. The report appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry.

Andrew P. Neilson and colleagues explain that cocoa, the basic ingredient of chocolate, is one of the most flavanol-rich foods around. That’s good for chocolate lovers because previous research has shown that flavanols in other foods such as grapes and tea can help fight weight gain and type-2 diabetes. But not all flavanols, which are a type of antioxidant, are created equal. Cocoa has several different kinds of these compounds, so Neilson’s team decided to tease them apart and test each individually for health benefits.

The scientists fed groups of mice different diets, including high-fat and low-fat diets, and high-fat diets supplemented with different kinds of flavanols. They found that adding one particular set of these compounds, known as oligomeric procyanidins (PCs), to the food made the biggest difference in keeping the mice’s weight down if they were on high-fat diets. They also improved glucose tolerance, which could potentially help prevent type-2 diabetes. “Oligomeric PCs appear to possess the greatest antiobesity and antidiabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa, particularly at the low doses employed for the present study,” the researchers state.

Source: American Chemical Society

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An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
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on Sunday, 16 March 2014
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by Sayer Ji, Green Med Info

appleThis commonly overlooked superfood protects the body from nuclear fallout, kills a wide range of cancers, and keeps the arteries unclogged -- to name but a few, experimentally confirmed ways in which the apple awakens your inner physician.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

This age old saying has never rang with greater promise and authority than it does today. As in the modern era, doctors bring with them a battery of tests, drugs, and interventions, all of which carry unintended, adverse health risks that often outweigh their purported benefits, and are therefore best avoided whenever possible.  

Also, apples are also far cheaper than doctors, and in the worst case scenario of coerced or mandatory treatment can be thrown as a non-deadly (downright nutritious) form of self-defense.  

While some might take this opening aphorism as mere folk medicine fantasy, the reality is that the medicinal properties of apple are well-documented within the biomedical literature.

For instance, apple consumption has been the subject of quite a few studies on colorectal cancer risk reduction. [i] [ii] [iii]  Other cancers that apple constituents have been studied to kill in pre-clinical research include:

  • Liver Cancer: apple juice, apple pectin and apple peel has been experimentally confirmed to kill liver cancer,[iv]
  • Breast Cancer: apples have been found to both prevent and to suppress mammary cancers in the animal model.[v]
  • Multi-Drug Resistant Cancer: carotenoids extracted from apple have been found to inhibit drug resistant cancer cell line proliferation.[vi]
  • Esophageal Cancer: An apple-derived procyanidin has been found to suppress esophageal cancer. [vii]
  • Stomach Cancer: One of the ways in which apple constituents prevent stomach cancer is through their inhibition of Helicobacter pylori, one of the main infectious agents linked to both ulcer and gastric cancer.[viii]  But apple procyanidin has also been studied for its ability to directly induce programmed cell death within stomach cancer cells.[ix]

It is likely that many of the fundamental processes involved in cancer initiation and promotion are inhibited by apples and their constituents, and therefore apples may protect against far more cancers than referenced above. It appears that no matter what part of apple is studied, it has anti-tumor properties. Apple cider vinegar, for instance, has been found to contain an anti-tumor compound which results from the acetic acid fermentative process known as alpha-glycan.

Another proven way in which apples reduce the risk of cancer is through their ability to remove carcinogenic radioisotopes that have accumulated in our bodies as a result of the fallout from nuclear weapons, depleted uranium munitions, and nuclear energy and disaster-associated pollution, e.g. Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Post-Chernobyl, for instance, apple pectin was used to reduce Cesium-137 levels in exposed children, in some cases by over 60%.[x] From 1996 to 2007, a total of more than 160,000 "Chernobyl" children received pectin food additives. As a result, levels of Cs-137 in children's organs decreased after each course of pectin additives by an average of 30-40%.[xi] Significant reductions were noted in as short a time period as 16 days.[xii]  Apple pectin has even been found to prevent the most deadly, and entirely man-made radioisotope, Plutonium-239, from absorbing in the gastrointestinal tract of animals fed it.[xiii]

We could, therefore, modernize our apple aphorism by saying "an apple a day keeps the nuclear fallout away." And truly, there are very few other substances, natural or synthetic, that have ever been found to protect against plutonium exposure. Apples, therefore, are truly super-foods in this respect.

Other noteworthy "evidence-based" medicinal properties of apple include:

  • Diarrhea: Apple, in combination with chamomile, shortens the course of unspecific diarrhea in children.[xiv]
  • Hardening of the Arteries (Atherosclerosis): Preclinical research indicates that apple contains compounds which prevent the formation of plaque within the arteries.[xv] One rabbit study, for instance, found that apple juice was capable of preventing the progression of atherosclerosis in a high cholesterol diet induced model of atherosclerosis.[xvi]
  • Overweight: A human study found significant weight loss associated with a daily intake of three apples or three pears among overweight women.[xvii]
  • Anti-Aging (Brain): Apples have been found to prevent oxidative damage and impaired maze performance,[xviii]as well as decreases in cognitive performance in aging mice.[xix] Also, a study performed on mice found that apple juice actually reduced the production of pathological amyloid-beta levels (associated with Alzheimer's disease) in the mouse brain.[xx]
  • Bowel Inflammation: Preclinical research has found that apple procyanidins [xxi]reduces bowel inflammation.[xxii]
  • Vaccine-Induced Toxicity: Many natural substances, including breast milk, have been found to decrease the synthetically-produced immune reaction associated with vaccines, and their adjuvants. Apple polyphenol counts among these, and has been found to prevent cholera toxin when used as an immune stimulant within vaccines from doing as much damage than it would otherwise do.
  • Periodontal Disease: We all know the sensation that follows eating an apple – that astringent property, where our gums feel squeaky clean. This is due, in part, to quercetin, which is found in apples, tea and onions, for example. It bears significant antimicrobial properties.[xxiii] Apple polyphenol also protects against periodontal ligament cell destruction associated with Porphyromonas gingivalis, a pathogenic anaerobic bacteria, infection.[xxiv]
  • Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs): AGEs are associated with the oxidation of blood sugars, primarily. These sugars becomes caramelized when exposed to oxidants, and then binds to cell structures, e.g. fats/proteins, causing damage. Apple leaves have been found to have significant anti-AGE activity, including the vasoconstriction associated with AGE-induced endothelial dysfunction.[xxv]
  • Hair Loss: Remarkably, a procyanidin, labeled B-2, from apples promotes hair growth, in the cell model.[xxvi]
  • Staphylococcal Infections: Apple pectin has been shown to inhibit synthesis of types A and B staphylococcal enterotoxins, which can cause profound bodily damage.[xxvii]
  • Influenza Infection: Over 60 years ago researchers found that the complex carbohydrates that make up apple pectin inhibit the infectivity of influenza A virus in chicken blood, as well in embryonated eggs, indicating its potential anti-influenza properties.[xxviii]

The list of evidence-based therapeutic properties of apple is rather extensive. To view the full range of experimentally confirmed benefits view them here: Apple's Health Benefits.

Ultimately, this research on apples indicates how important whole foods are to our overall health. Apples are not medicine, rather, they are the means by which medicines become unnecessary. It is through authentic nourishment and detoxification – both functions which are provided to us through most fruits - that we prevent and treat disease (note: these statements likely will never be evaluated or approved by the FDA, because they are true). Also, fruit are archetypally beneficial foods for the human species; we have indexed over 300 experimentally confirmed health benefits of fruit on our database so far. Our evolutionary legacy (confirmed through modern genetic testing*) indicates that our pre-human ancestors lived in a jungle setting, where fruit would have been available year round.

This would, in fact, explain why we no longer synthesize vitamin c from glucose – we were so "spoiled" by the abundance of fruit available for so long that we gave up (via genetic mutation or atavism) our ability to provide it to ourselves.  Plants and animals live in symbiosis. For the same reason that our lungs take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide (which is live-giving to plants), the fruits of these same plants provide a seed (which we help disperse), and a flesh to entice us to consume it. Fruit, therefore, is a food source that is as ancient as human origins itself. Could this be one reason why apples seem capable of these amazing feats of healing? Perhaps.

Next time you crunch into a crisp, fresh, organic apple, consider all that it has to offer, not theoretically, but viscerally. Experience the joy (the word fruit, etymologically, comes from the Latin word frui, meaning ENJOY), on a first hand basis. Also, if you have never done an apple mono-diet before, consider it. It is not so much a fruit fast, as a feast. Grab a bag of organic apples, and whenever you are hungry eat one. You will be surprised by how immediate you are satiated, and how cleansing and liberating on the body the exclusive consumption of such a simple, perfect food like the apple really is. One can easily go a day or two using this approach, often with the result of feeling completely renewed and refreshed.

 

 

Resources

*Note: It is a little known and under-appreciated fact that all humans are born with a serious, life-threatening genetic defect: namely, the inability to manufacture Vitamin C.

This defect occurred approximately 63 million years ago, when our haplorrhini ("simple nosed") primate predecessors lost the gene (Gulnolactone oxidase pseudogene – GULOP), responsible for the manufacture of Vitamin C from glucose.

The ability to synthesize Vitamin C, in fact, has been lost several times in vertebrates, e.g. in guinea pigs, some bats, some fishes, passeriform birds and in primates of the suborder Haplorrhini, which includes monkes, apes and humans.

 

 

 

[iii] H Deneo-Pellegrini, E De Stefani, A Ronco. Vegetables, fruits, and risk of colorectal cancer: a case-control study from Uruguay. Nutr Cancer. 1996;25(3):297-304. PMID: 8771572

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dry Skin Brushing

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
Dr. Helene Pulnik
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on Wednesday, 19 February 2014
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DryBodyBrush-850x400

What if I told you there's a simple wellness trick that only takes five minutes a day, costs nothing, and helps cleanse your body, inside and out? Dry skin brushing has a number of health benefits and is so simple to do.

So how does it work?

Your skin, the largest organ in the human body is an organ of elimination. One third of your body’s toxins are excreted through the skin and dry brushing helps to unclog pores and excrete toxins that become trapped in the skin.

To get started, follow the simple steps below:

1. Purchase a natural (not synthetic) bristle brush with a long handle so can reach all areas of your body.

2. Get naked and stand in a bathtub or tiled surface to catch the falling skin. (It's a bit gross, I know.)

3. Begin brushing by starting at your feet and moving in long sweeping motions toward your heart. Always brush toward your heart.

4. Brush several times in each area, overlapping as you go.

5. Take care as you brush over more sensitive areas, like breasts. Your skin will become less sensitive the more you dry brush.

6. Once you've brushed your entire body, jump in the shower. (I like to alternate between the hottest water temperature I can tolerate and the coldest. This stimulates blood circulation, bringing more blood to the top layers of the skin.)

7. After getting out of the shower, pat dry skin and apply a natural fruit oil like rose hip or coconut oil.

8. Continue to dry brush your entire body every day. Twice a day is recommended for best results. Remember to clean your brush with soap and water once a week. Leave to dry in a clean, sunny spot to avoid any mildew accumulation on your brush.

Try this for 30 days and see the results for yourself!

Some benefits of dry skin brushing:

1. You'll exfoliate dead skin.

Forget your in-shower loofah and body scrubs, this will ensure you have silky-smooth skin all year round!

2. It stimulates your lymphatic system.

Dry brushing your skin will kick start your lymphatic system, which helps you remove toxins from the body. The stiffer the bristles on the brush, the better the lymphatic stimulation you’ll create.

3. Dry brushing helps to reduce cellulite.

Cellulite is simply toxic materials that have accumulated in your body’s fat cells and are trapped, unable to be eliminated from the body. Forget lipo, dry skin brushing helps to break down any trapped toxins from within the body and help your body eliminate them through its usual elimination channels.

4. It unclogs pores and de-congests skin.

Dry skin brushing unclogs your skins pores and helps your skin absorb more nutrients. Daily skin brushing promotes healthy, breathing skin. It's a real treat for the largest organ in our bodies!

 

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Green Veggies Protect Your Heart in Many Ways

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
Dr. Helene Pulnik
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on Wednesday, 19 February 2014
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Green Vegetables Protect the Heart

By Dr. Joel Fuhrman MD

 Green Veggie Heart

 

Green leafy vegetables are superior to other foods in their nutrient density, and unsurprisingly, greater intake of leafy greens is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.1, 2 Greater consumption of cruciferous vegetables (a family of vegetables known for their anti-cancer effects, it includes many leafy greens such as kale, cabbage and bok choy), are similarly associated with lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and from all causes.3

Oxidative stress is known to be a significant contributor to the development of cardiovascular disease. Our antioxidant defenses are a combination of dietary compounds and the body’s own antioxidant enzymes, and there is evidence that when we eat cruciferous vegetables, their phytochemicals signal the body to produce its own protective antioxidant enzymes, by activating a protein called Nrf2.

Nrf2 is a transcription factor, a protein that can increase or decrease the expression of certain genes. Nrf2 works by binding a specific sequence present in genes called the antioxidant response element (ARE). In the presence of certain phytochemicals, Nrf2 travels to the nucleus of the cell to induce that cell to produce natural antioxidant enzymes and protect against inflammation.4, 5 Essentially, Nrf2 is a messenger through which beneficial phytochemicals from the diet turn on the body’s natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection mechanisms.

For example, one study on sulforaphane (a phytochemical found in broccoli) showed that once activated, Nrf2 suppresses the activity of adhesion molecules on the endothelial cell surface to prevent binding of inflammatory cells and therefore retard atherosclerotic plaque development.6 Another study showed that sulforaphane and other isothiocyanates (cruciferous vegetable phytochemicals), by activating Nrf2, blocked inflammatory gene expression and oxidative stress in endothelial cells inhibiting aging of the vascular tree.7 Sulforaphane also helps maintain the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, a vascular system that is crucial for proper brain tissue function, via activation of Nrf2.8 The point is that cruciferous vegetables are essential for excellent health and promotion of maximum lifespan.

Other phytochemicals that can activate Nrf2, iunclude anthocyanins (found in berries), EGCG (found in green tea) and resveratrol (found in grapes and peanuts).5, 9, 10 Exercise may also activate Nrf2.11 In contrast, smoking suppresses the protective actions of Nrf2; human endothelial cells exposed to the blood of smokers compared to non-smokers showed decreased Nrf2 expression, reducing antioxidant defenses.12 Not surprising that smoking and green vegetables have opposite effects!

Research on phytochemicals and the protective effects Nrf2 is still in its early stages, and as we learn more, we can expect exciting advances in the understanding of how phytochemicals work to promote health and extend lifespan.

 

References:

1. Hung HC, Joshipura KJ, Jiang R, et al: Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of major chronic disease. J Natl Cancer Inst 2004;96:1577-1584. 
2. Joshipura KJ, Hu FB, Manson JE, et al: The effect of fruit and vegetable intake on risk for coronary heart disease. Ann Intern Med 2001;134:1106-1114.
3. Zhang X, Shu XO, Xiang YB, et al: Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:240-246.
4. Donovan EL, McCord JM, Reuland DJ, et al: Phytochemical activation of Nrf2 protects human coronary artery endothelial cells against an oxidative challenge. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2012;2012:132931.
5. Han SG, Han SS, Toborek M, et al: EGCG protects endothelial cells against PCB 126-induced inflammation through inhibition of AhR and induction of Nrf2-regulated genes. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2012;261:181-188.
6. Zakkar M, Van der Heiden K, Luong le A, et al: Activation of Nrf2 in endothelial cells protects arteries from exhibiting a proinflammatory state. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2009;29:1851-1857.
7. Huang CS, Lin AH, Liu CT, et al: Isothiocyanates protect against oxidized LDL-induced endothelial dysfunction by upregulating Nrf2-dependent antioxidation and suppressing NFkappaB activation. Mol Nutr Food Res 2013;57:1918-1930.
8. Zhao J, Moore AN, Redell JB, et al: Enhancing Expression of Nrf2-Driven Genes Protects the Blood Brain Barrier after Brain Injury. J Neurosci 2007;27:10240-10248.
9. Cimino F, Speciale A, Anwar S, et al: Anthocyanins protect human endothelial cells from mild hyperoxia damage through modulation of Nrf2 pathway. Genes Nutr 2013;8:391-399.
10. Ungvari Z, Bagi Z, Feher A, et al: Resveratrol confers endothelial protection via activation of the antioxidant transcription factor Nrf2. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2010;299:H18-24.
11. Muthusamy VR, Kannan S, Sadhaasivam K, et al: Acute exercise stress activates Nrf2/ARE signaling and promotes antioxidant mechanisms in the myocardium. Free Radic Biol Med 2012;52:366-376.
12. Fratta Pasini A, Albiero A, Stranieri C, et al: Serum oxidative stress-induced repression of Nrf2 and GSH depletion: a mechanism potentially involved in endothelial dysfunction of young smokers. PLoS One 2012;7:e30291.

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Know what You're Made Of! What is Body Composition Analysis (BIA), and how Can it Help Me?

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
Dr. Helene Pulnik
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on Monday, 27 January 2014
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BIA

 

What is A BIA, and Why Do I need One?

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis, or BIA, is a method of assessing and following changes in your Body Composition-the measurement of BODY FAT in relation to LEAN BODY MASS.  It is an important part of your health and nutrition assessment, and it tells you how healthy your body is, inside. BIA (Body Composition Analysis) can also tell us if you are dehydrated and how healthy your cell membranes are, and much, much more.

Why is Body Composition Important to My Health?

Research has shown that Body Composition is DIRECTLY related to HEALTH.  A normal balance of fat is associated with good health and longevity.  

Excess fat in relation to lean body mass, known as "altered body composition", can greatly increase your risks for lower life expectancy, heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, liver disease, cancer and more.

The BIA (Body Composition Analysis) provides early detection of an imbalance in your body composition, which allows for earlier intervention and prevention.  BIA gives measurements fluid and body mass that can be a critical assessment tool for your current state of health.

BIA (Body Composition Analysis) also measures your PROGRESS as you IMPROVE your health.  Improving and maintaining a healthy BIA measurement can keep your body functioning properly for healthy aging.  

Your BIA results can help guide us in creating a Personalized Dietary Plan, including the correct nutritional supplements, and exercise to help you maintain optimal health and wellness for a lifetime.

How Does a BIA (Body Composition Analysis) work?

A BIA reading is non-invasive, and done in our office with the help of sophisticated computer analysis.  BIA is much more sophisticated than your bathroom scale, and very quick in giving results.

The analyzer "Calculates" and estimates your tissue and fluid compartments-using an imperceptible electrical current passed through pads placed on your hand a foot as you lie comfortably clothed on an exam table.  In just minutes, we'll have detailed measurements to help create an effective, personalized program for YOU!

HOW to Prepare for your BIA

1. Please fill out the BIA Form before coming into the office, or arrive 15 minutes early and fill it out here (request from us at 860-657-4105).

2.  Prepare for your BIA test be following these instructions:

a.  Do not eat any food for 4 hours prior to your BIA test.

b.  Do not exercise for 4 hours prior to your BIA test.

c.  Do not drink any  beverage containing caffeine for 4 hours prior to your BIA test.

d.  Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours before your BIA test.

e.  Drink your usual amount of water the night before and the day of your BIA test.

f.  Wear socks that can be removed, do not wear pantyhose or compression stockings.

g.  Do not apply lotion on your feet or hands the day of your BIA test.

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The Problem of Toxicity

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
Dr. Helene Pulnik
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on Thursday, 09 January 2014
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In recent history, mankind has managed to drastically change the chemistry of the environment in which we live. For example, in 2010 alone, more than 4 billion pounds of chemicals were released into the ground, threatening a portion of the soil we grow our food in and the natural underground water tables that supply some of our drinking water within the U.S.  Over 226 million pounds of chemicals were also discharged into surface waters such as lakes and rivers, according to the federal government’s Toxic Release Inventory.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2010, toxic chemical releases had rising 16% from previous year.  These numbers continue to grow each year.

To compound the problem of our toxic environment, we have refined away much of the nutritional value of our food supply and replaced it with artificial colorings, preservatives, flavorings, conditioners, etc. This poor quality diet, combined with extensive use of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture, may have predisposed many of us to experience a kind of "internal" pollution. Internal pollution occurs when unhealthy bacteria overcome the healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract.

These unhealthy bacteria release toxic by-products into our circulation, which can negatively impact many aspects of our overall health.

Low-level, long-term exposure to toxins is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), fibromyalgia (FM), neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, and many types of cancers. Common signs and symptoms of environmental toxicity include acne, rashes, headaches, aches and pains, fatigue, muscle weakness, tinnitus, fertility problems, memory loss, and chronic immune system depression.

Benefits of a 28 Day Metabolic Detox include:

  • Elimination of stored waste products and toxins
  • Healthy weight loss
  • Increased energy and vitality
  • Clear thinking
  • Less aches and pains
  • Better bowel function and elimination

How It Works:

Basic 28 Day Detox Program $355 

Includes:

Complete Guided 28 Day Metabolic Detoxification Group Program

Weekly Group Sessions

Before and After Body Composition Readings

Medical Food

Detoxification Supplement

Guidebook

Recipes& Menus

Daily Support Emails

 

Give Yourself the Gift of Renewal this New Year!

Sign up for the January 28 Day Metabolic Detox, which starts on Tuesday January 21, 2014.       Your Body will thank you!

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3 Ways to Survive Daylight Savings Time

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
Dr. Helene Pulnik
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on Friday, 01 November 2013
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3 Ways to Survive Daylight Savings Time

Acupuncture during these few days will help get you back on track more quickly.
 

It's time to "fall back" this Sunday, November 3 and set your clocks 1 hour back. As the days get shorter, it can sometimes make us feel sluggish. If you're having an especially difficult time adjusting, acupuncture may help you reset your body. Call us at (860) 657-4105 for a quick "reboot" acupuncture treatment. Other tips for adjusting more quickly:
1.) Starting tonight, got to bed 15 minutes earlier to give yourself a few days to adjust to the time change.  After all, your body is used to a certain schedule.  Rising or going to bed 15 minutes earlier for a few days is one of the best ways to avoid problems with sleep disturbance.

2.) Start cutting back or removing the caffeine and the alcohol.

3.) On Sunday, eat breakfast near a window or take an early walk outdoors. Bright light exposure in the morning helps regulate the body’s internal clock.  By getting sun in early, your alertness peaks when it counts and you will be appropriately sleepy by nightfall.

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Organic Skin Care and Facials by Colleen Mallone

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
Dr. Helene Pulnik
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on Thursday, 31 October 2013
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by Colleen Malone, Certified Esthetician

When it comes to choosing the best skin care products, there are certain things you should consider.  Organic skin care products are recommended because they don't rob your skin of any nutrients. Organic brands use natural ingredients to restore your skin’s natural ability to combat free radicals and stay healthy.

This means that they are not stripping the skin of its natural oils in order to "dry up blemishes". This usually causes your skin to overproduce oil, causing further breakouts. 

Chemicals from skin care products can be absorbed through the skin, and can cause damage to it at a much deeper extent than we care to realize. Using organic skin care products as opposed to synthetic-based products can eliminate the possibility of toxic substances from getting into our body.

Organic skin care product should work with any and every kind of skin care concern, deficiency and disorder. Often people are hesitant to use skin care products because they have "sensitive skin". These people will especially benefit from proper skin care products. The right products should calm, hydrate, and balance the skin to a healthy state.

The first step to take is to schedule an appointment to determine your skin type, and get you started on a skin care program that will benefit you and give you the results you are looking for.

Here at Wholistic Spa, Eminence Organics is the product of choice.  Fresh fruit pulps, plants, and exotic spices from organic environments make them incredibly nutrient rich, making them an effective, results oriented skin care product. Schedule an appointment today to get started on the road to healthy skin!

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Do You Have Leaky Gut Syndrome? Naturopathic Medicine Can Help!

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
Dr. Helene Pulnik
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on Saturday, 19 October 2013
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Leaky Gut Syndrome In Plain English – And How Naturopathic Medicine Can Help Fix It            

Leaky Gut can be so confusing, but it’s becoming more and more of an epidemic.  Many of the causes and cures of Leaky Gut are widely debated, but Naturopathic Physicians are more aware of the condition and ways to treat it.

This article is meant to shine some light on how to treat Leaky Gut Syndrome and why the SCD Diet is such a critical component to it.   

Leaky Gut Explained:

The term Leaky Gut Syndrome is used to describe the condition of “Hyperpermeable Intestines”.  A fancy medical term that means the intestinal lining has became more porous, with more holes developing that are larger in size and the screening out process is no longer functioning properly.  The fallout results in larger, undigested food molecules and other “bad stuff” (yeast, toxins, and all other forms of waste) that your body normally doesn’t allow through, to flow freely into your bloodstream.

So now that we have the general essentially meaningless definition out of the way let’s find out what is really going on…

The intestinal lining is the first mechanism of defense for our immune system.  The outer layers of intestinal cells (epithelial) are connected by structures called tight junctions.  At the tips of these cells are the microvilli, which absorb properly digested nutrients and transport them through the epithelial cell and into the bloodstream.  During normal digestion process the tight junctions stay closed, forcing all molecules to effectively be screened and only pass into the blood stream through the mucosa cells (think of them like bouncers at the front of a classy bar).  For reasons we will discuss later these tight junctions can become “open” or permeable allowing un-screened molecules to flow directly into the bloodstream (think of it like a fish net with very small holes).

 Graphic From: www.leakygutcure.com

So Then What Happens?

The first reaction your body has to these “foreign” bodies in your blood is to fight like hell.  Initially, your Liver is called into action to work overtime and try to screen out all the particles that your intestinal lining was supposed to be taking care of.  In most cases, the liver has no chance of keeping up with the constant flow of waste into your blood and all the toxins, undigested food molecules, yeast, and other pathogens start to accumulate in your body.

Now the sleeping giant wakes up (your immune system) and it is not happy.  It goes into full battle mode to fight the evil intruders and get them out of the body ASAP.  More often than not, the body cannot keep up with the task at hand and the majority of these foreign bodies absorb into tissues throughout the body… causing them to inflame.

Inflammation is also an immune response and causes even more stress on your system.  Now that your body is focused on fighting the large war, the little battles are starting to be ignored, like filtering out the blood, calming inflamed areas of the body, fighting bacteria, regulating the gut, etc.  This process flow can lead to your body fighting itself and an array of autoimmune diseases such as Chronic Fatigue, MS, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, and Fibromyalgia.

Now your body will begin to produce antibody soldiers designed to fight against these foreign objects (which can be things such as the Casein protein from the milk you’re drinking, or other proteins in nuts, grains, or eggs).  Even chemicals normally found in foods such as Phenols and Glycerin can now trigger immune responses when they enter the body.  For instance, I immediately react to diary of any kind.  I get instant brain fog, a headache, sore throat, and horrible sinus drainage.  A similar reaction happens when I eat foods high in phenols such as tomato juice.  I am confident that it is all part of a reaction as a result of years with leaky gut from my Celiac Disease.

A great article at EnzymeStuff points out that, if you are having any food sensitivities to more than a dozen foods, you likely have leaky gut.  Any undigested foods that are absorbed into the blood stream are now considered enemies of the state, and your immune system will develop reactions to many of them, leading to food intolerances.  When you have a Leaky Gut condition, the damaged microvilli along the intestinal lining cannot manufacture the digestive enzymes they need to break down the food for proper digestion.  The resulting condition allows food molecules to flow into the bloodstream that have not been completely broken down into the nutrients your body needs. 

Bottom Line: The foods that you’re eating are not the root of the problem; it’s the leaky gut letting the food molecules into your bloodstream.  Of course, the caveat is severe food allergies such as gluten to a Celiac or deadly peanut allergies.

How Do I Know If I Have Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Symptoms of Leaky Gut can vary from person to person depending on the level of damage and the tissues being affected.  A good article at AllergyScape describes multiple food sensitivities as a sign that your immune system is developing antibodies to everything you’re eating.  Nutritional deficiencies are a sign of lacking vitamins and minerals from the improper breakdown of food in your intestines.  Chronic diarrhea and constipation are signs of inflammation of the intestinal walls from Leaky Gut.  Skin rashes are your body’s way of trying to dump the toxins through the skin perforations.  A poor immune system will result from your body trying to wage war on itself and ignoring all the virus and bacteria we encounter on a daily basis, allowing you to get sick more often.  Headaches, brain fog, memory loss, and excessive fatigue are a result of the inflammation of tissue and toxin build up.  Yeast overgrowth (Candida) will cause cravings for sugar and carbs, gas, bloating, and anxiety.  All of these things add up to a host of symptoms with a myriad of explanations… all leading back to one thing: the constant river of foreign objects being allowed to enter your bloodstream.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

The cause of Leaky Gut is widely debated in the medical community.  However, there is some level of consensus that the following are the basic contributors:

-  Diet: Consuming high amounts of refined sugars, processed foods, preservatives, refined flours, and flavorings introduces massive amounts of chemicals into the body that is seen as toxic.  If your body has a hard time keeping up the toxins start to build up and cause inflammation (like we talked about earlier).

Chronic Stress: Chronic stress almost always results in a suppressed immune system.  A weakened immune system cannot handle doing it’s normal job and gets overrun with pathogens very quickly.  This increases overall gut inflammation leading to increased permeability of the intestinal lining.

Inflammation: Any type of inflammation in the gut can lead to leaky gut.  This can be brought on by low stomach acid (which passes undigested food into the small intestine irritating everything it passes by), yeast overgrowth (Candida), bacteria overgrowth, infection, parasites and excessive environmental toxins.

Medications: Any medication prescriptions or even over-the-counter pain relievers with Aspirin or Acetaminophen irritate the intestinal lining and decrease the mucosal levels (a membrane produces mucus on the intestinal lining as a natural protective measure).  This can start or help to continue the inflammation cycle (more bacteria, yeast, and digestion issues) and promotes an increase in permeability.

Yeast: Yeast is found in normal gut flora but as soon as it begins to get out of hand it mutates into a multi-celled fungus (usually Candida) that grows tentacles to grab onto the intestinal lining and stay put, consequently making its own holes in the lining.

Lack of Zinc: Zinc is a critical piece of maintaining a strong intestinal lining.  A deficiency of the vitamin can lead to the mucosal lining losing strength and becoming more permeable.  There are studies that show that supplementing with Zinc when it is deficient can dramatically improve intestinal lining integrity.

How To Fix Leaky Gut Syndrome…

The medical community is also still rather divided about the methods used to alleviate leaky gut.  Treating Leaky Gut is a multi-faceted approach that requires many different pieces of the puzzle to fall into place.  If each one is utilized, the holes in the sinking ship will plug up and allow the body to return to a more normal state.  Here are a few of the most agreed upon avenues and also where the SCD Diet comes into play:

-Specialized Testing: Ask your Naturopathic Physician (ND) to order stool testing for digestion and overgrowth of bad bacteria, yeast, fungus and parasites.  Also, it is very important to rule out gluten sensitivity and fool allergies.  Gut inflammation can be tested by your Naturopathic Physician as well.  Your ND can then create a personalized treatment plan for you which will re-balance your gut flora, heal inflammation, and get you feeling better, naturally!

- Diet Restrictions: Eliminating sugars, starches, grains, and any other irritating foods alleviates the inflammation and starves out the yeast overgrowth (this is where the SCD diet takes over the healing process).  Reducing both of these allows the intestinal tract to slowly return to its normal permeability, stopping the flow of foreign objects into the blood, which will stop food intolerance symptoms and eventually help stop the vicious cycle just as the book described it.  I would argue that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is the foundation of curing leaky gut, but it does need some help from the next three pieces.

Here’s a free guide to get started on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet: “How To Start The SCD Diet In 24-Hours

-      Nutritional Supplementing: The conditions that lead to leaky gut can also cause mal-absorption and improper digestion, both of which are going to leave you with nutritional deficiencies. 

-      Your Naturopathic Physician will create a personalized supplement program for you based on specialized testing for nutritional deficiencies.

-      First and foremost: supplementing with a good multi-vitamin, large amounts of vitamin D, and Zinc will help the intestinal lining return to normal (assuming the irritants from the diet are removed by following the SCD diet).  Essential fish oils have also been shown to really help improve the condition of the intestinal mucosal lining (omega-3’s greatly reduce inflammation among a host of other benefits).

-  Probiotics: Now that the Candida is being knocked down by your adherence to the SCD diet, mixing in a solid foundation of probiotics, and more specifically, the friendly bacteria Lactobacillus Acidophilus is a must.  The diet gets rid of the bad bacteria and you need a constant feed of the good bacteria to replace it.  Friendly bacteria stop the inhabitance of bad bacteria and yeast, heal the gut lining, help nutrients get absorbed, and keep the vicious cycle in check.  Studies suggest that keeping a ratio of 85% good to bad bacteria in the gut will stop the cycle from starting back up.  A good non-dairy SCD legal lactobacillus acidophilus will be very beneficial.

-  Digestive Enzymes: Digestive enzymes are critical to properly breaking down the foods we eat.  They are found naturally in the raw form of foods to help break them down, unfortunately, in the beginning stages of the SCD diet we have to cook all of our fruits and veggies, rendering them useless for enzymes.  The have multi-faceted skills to help alleviate leaky gut.  First, plant based enzymes will break down food into very small particles before it leaves the stomach, preventing large undigested molecules from irritating the intestinal lining and increasing nutritional uptake.  They also work through your intestines acting as garbage collectors by removing toxins, bacteria, and damaged cells of the mucosal lining.  The whole process gives the gut a clean slate of healthy cells to rebuild with.  While the leaky gut permeability remains, they do the same garbage collecting in the bloodstream if they are passed through the intestinal lining.  The bromelain and papain enzymes are shown to reduce inflammation in the gut lining and throughout other tissues in the body, allowing the immune system and the liver some reprieve.     

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Resistance and Lessons in Yoga

Posted by Donna Grimm
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Resistance and Lessons in Yoga

Yoga-Woman

By Donna Grimm, R.N., Spiritual Counselor, Biofeedback Specialist, Advanced Allergy Therapist at Glastonbury Naturopathic Center. Donna sees clients for Counseling Biofeedback,  and Non- invasive Allergy Treatments, helping those clients shift their energy to a positive, balanced state of health and well- being. Donna  is also is a Raw Food Chef and enjoys a regular practice of Bikram Yoga.

Today I attended my Bikram Yoga class, a regular yoga practice for me in the past 10years. I took a long time to come out of a pose called “Fixed Firm”. Part of the class instruction is to listen to the instructor and stay with that instructors pace, keeping with the moment of the pose and the positive energy created by the group.  I know the routine, but I have a tendency to be a bit obstinate or stubborn or resistant at times in class. I have noticed this tendency I have in class, but until today didn’t really connect it with my life. One thing about yoga is that you can do it only in the yoga room or you can bring it into your life.

I justified my obstinate resistance to the positive energy of the yoga group in many ways:

  1. 1.I have been doing this yoga for so long… I know better than anyone else.
  2. 2.I have not gone to the practice enough this week, so my body needs to stay

In the pose longer than the others.

  1. 3.I want what I want and I should get it.
  2. 4.I FEEL like doing it MY WAY.
  3. 5.I think the pose should be held longer for everyone and I can do this class in a better way, even though I have made a choice not to become a teacher.

I have talked myself into the fact that it is ok to go against the positive group effort of the class. So a bit later in class, once again, I notice more of this similar behavior. My legs extend at least a foot off the mat at the bottom. My mat is large enough for my body to fit on and I know that that is an understood rule of the class, to stay on your mat so that no one gets in the others space. But once again, I am going down the road of making my own rules. I really don’t feel like hiking myself up to be totally on my mat, and it doesn’t appear that anyone is affected by my choices.  And then it happens, the teacher trips on my feet that are in her path of walking as she is teaching. She doesn’t fall down, but somewhere in my awareness I came to the point of seeing my own resistance, my own stubborn resistance to the flow. I just felt like doing it my way and I DID affect others with my choices. I realized that when I resist the positive flow of life, that things can go off course and negatively affect others

(Ive seen this negative affect thousands of times with others at fault). I ended up affecting the teacher and therefore the energy of the whole group that she was in charge of.  My teachers name is Abby and she kept going on with the class and didn’t miss a beat. Because she is such a nice and kind person, it allowed me to reflect on my own behavior.

I have strong criticism of others stubborn behavior and how it affects the group. I have a lot of witness to others resistance and have had a constant wonder as to how others can be so resistant to all the awesome information that I offer them.  But today, all of a sudden, as a beautiful healing, I see my own resistance and it shines awareness, empathy and understanding on the previous frustration of others resistance. I am now a part of them and they are a part of me. This is unity, this is

Real Yoga. This is what I have read about in books. I am now getting it, after many years of yoga practice.

I am so grateful for my studies on Emotional components and my Biofeedback machine that helps to identify our emotional issues.  I am grateful for my keen awareness that everything we do entails our thoughts, feelings and emotions which

Is our energy. I am grateful for my formal and informal teachers.

Today I am so grateful for my regular yoga practice that always gives me more learning than the physical poses. Mostly, I am grateful for seeing my own emotional contribution to the whole instead of being righteous and pointing to others.

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Is Ragweed Making You Sneeze?

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
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10-20% of Americans suffer with a reaction to Ragweed. For the people who are reactive to pollens, 75% of them will be reactive to ragweed.

 

Symptoms can include runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes, nose and throat.  The unofficial kickoff of ragweed season starts August 15th.  The season can last until the frost finally kills the plant.  So the season can be longer in some areas than others. 

 

There are 17 species of ragweed that grow in the US.  Ragweed grows in every state in the US, but the East coast and the Midwest are the hardest hit by ragweed season.  It grows in fields along roadsides, in vacant city lots, yards, etc.  Whether you are in the city or in the country, you will most likely get exposed to ragweed as it is found in abundance in every region of the US, to some degree.

 

Pollen released from ragweed is the most responsible substance for late summer and early fall runny nose and sneezing symptoms. Towards the end of summer, as nights grow a bit longer and the plants have matured, they are ready to release the pollens. The warmth and humidly after sunrise ensure the release of the pollen into the wind where they can travel for miles.

 

The pollen grains are very small and lightweight so can travel great distances. Ragweed pollen has been measured in the air 400 miles out to sea and 2 miles up in the atmosphere, but the concentrations are highest near the source of the pollen, which can grow anywhere. Most people will have some exposure to ragweed pollen, even those who do not have it growing in their immediate area.

 

The good news is that the plant will only live for one season. However, it must release pollen in order to live to the next season in a new plant, so will produce a very high level of pollens to ensure its survival. An average ragweed plant can produce over one million-pollen grains every day and up to one billion pollen grains in the single season of its lifetime. Ragweed seeds can live for decades in the soil and then begin to grow when conditions are right.

 

If you suffer from symptoms when exposed to ragweed, be prepared for the upcoming ragweed season. Peak pollen times are between 10am - 4pm so try to do any yard work outside of these times to reduce your exposure when outside. Keep your windows closed with the air conditioning on to further reduce your exposure but be aware that ragweed pollen can also get inside your house by sticking to your clothing, shoes, bags, and pets. 

 

There are numerous websites available that will list the pollen levels for different parts of the country. If you want to see what the levels are in your immediate area, pulled up by zip code, try www.pollens.com for a complete listing of pollens and the daily level.

Ragweed season will only last for a few months and then it will be gone again, until next year.

 

At Wholistic Allergy Solutions, we offer an advanced therapy that can help to relieve or significantly reduce the symptoms associated with ragweed allergies.  It is a non-invasive treatment that does not include needles, supplements, or medications.  It is completely pain free and available to all ages, including infants. If you suffer from ragweed allergy symptoms, please call our office today at 860-657-4105 and find out how we can help. 

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Try Detox for a Healthier, Happier You

Posted by Dr. Teresa Spano
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With summer we have a tendency to trade in our healthier lifestyles for BBQ’s, parties, and eating poorly on vacations.  September is the perfect time of year to settle back into healthy ways, or for some, to begin this transition into a healthier lifestyle.  For those unfamiliar with the idea of detoxification support, let me explain.


In our current society, our bodies are constantly being exposed to various toxins, from chemicals we knowingly apply such as cosmetics, to those we are unaware of via food, and through the air.  Our body generally has the ability to eliminate toxins, however, we are becoming overexposed, and our bodies now need assistance in order to effectively clear all we burden it with.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to live a life outside of toxic exposure, but there are ways to encourage clearing of toxins, as well as to set our bodies up to eliminate them more effectively on their own in the future.


Many people do not realize the symptoms they are experiencing, could indeed be related to excess toxins and an inability to eliminate them.  Feelings of fatigue, bloating, gas, achiness, skin ailments, headaches, are a few of the most common symptoms of inadequate detoxification.  These are all symptoms we have all experienced in the past, or continue to on a regular basis.  While the cause could be due to other ailments, or multifactorial, it is worth the effort to explore detox support.  Whether you are aware or not, many people are living with a more toxic load than they realize.


Detoxification is a complex processes.  We are exposed to elements that need to be processed in order to pass through our system.  There are different organs, and co-factors responsible for this to operate smoothly.  The liver, kidney, skin, digestive system, all need to be properly functioning, with all of the co-factors (such as Vitamin A, B Vtamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, among many others) they require to complete this process.  If there is an issue with one or more portions of this process, a build-up can take place. 


There are a variety of different products and programs developed to allow people to have better detoxification.  The problem with many is that they do not support each phase, and the toxins remain stuck in the system.


The process of a detox program generally incorporates eating a clean diet, which consists of eating only organic, easily digested foods that do not burden the body further.  Foods containing gluten, dairy, soy, caffeine, alcohol, added sugar, artificial products are all along the foods eliminated.  During the process it is generally recommended to limit strenuous exercise and replace it with more calming exercises such as yoga or meditation.  Part of detoxification involves not only the body, but the mind as well.  Taking extra care to sleep well, and relax are among some of the most important aspects.


This sounds difficult at first, but becomes easier when people realize how much better they feel with clean, nutrient rich foods.  A successful detox support program will be a building block to a healthier lifestyle. 

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Top 5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Add to Your Shopping Cart

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
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Spinach poto

Inflammation

While the word itself sounds daunting, inflammation is actually a natural response by your body to a stressful situation. Inflammation is the first response as your immune system protects your body from infections, irritation and allergies. Even good sources of stress—such as exercise—can increase inflammation in your body. Unfortunately the swelling, redness, and pain that inflammation can cause is not always wanted, and chronic inflammation can cause more serious illnesses. Help your body protect itself by adding foods that promote health, while reducing unnecessary inflammation.

Here are 5 anti-inflammatory foods to add to your grocery list today:

1. Spinach

Want to reduce inflammation after exercise? Popeye knew what he was doing with his spinach consumption! Spinach contains antioxidants vitamin C, and E, as well as carotenoids and flavonoids—all which fight against inflammation.

2. Tart Cherries or Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherries contain compounds called anthocyanins, which can block inflammation while helping to prevent muscle damage.(1) Add tart cherry juice to your post-workout drink to gain benefits, or eat a couple as an after-dinner treat.

3. Garlic

It’s no wonder that garlic is loved by many countries around the world—it’s rich in anti-inflammatory compounds diallyl sulfide (DAS) and thiacremonone.(2) Just one clove of garlic offers many compounds that are known to help lower inflammation and increase circulation, such as phosphorus, selenium, zinc, polyphenols, arginine and vitamins B6 and C.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

When you consume Omega-3s, your body makes resolvins. Resolvins help fight inflammation by inhibiting the production and regulating the movement of inflammatory chemicals.(3)Top plant-based sources of Omega-3s include flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, SaviSeeds (sacha inchi).

5. Kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha

Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha contain probiotics that help to support your immune system and fight inflammation.(4) Probiotics help to support immune system by nourishing your good gut bacteria while crowding out of bad bacteria.

References

1. Connolly, DA et al. (2006).Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 40(8):679-83. Accessed 7/1/13 from  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2579450/

2. Ban JO, et al. (2009). Anti-inflammatory and arthritic effects of thiacremonone, a novel sulfur compound isolated from garlic via inhibition of NF-kappaB. Arthritis Research and Therapy. 11(5):R145. Accessed 7/1/13 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2787296/

3. Serhan, Charles N. and Petasis, Nicos A. (2011) Resolvins and Protectins in Inflammation-Resolution. Chemical Reviews, October 12; 111(10): 5922–5943. Accessed 7/1/13 from  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3192290/

4. Jirillo E, Jirillo F, Magrone T. (2012). Healthy effects exerted by prebiotics, probiotics, and symbiotics with special reference to their impact on the immune system.) International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 200-8

Source:

http://myvega.com/vega-life/vega-blog/top-5-anti-inflammatory-foods/?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=1&utm_content=Aug+1+2013+-+Vega+News+-+Split+A+-+Anti-Inflammatory+Foods&utm_campaign=Aug+1+2013+-+Vega+News+-+Split+A+-+Anti-Inflammatory+Foods&_bta_tid=3.ZbM.BvU2YQ.C_yx.AQXRBw..AXd0Hw.s.NPU.l.BOSj.a.Uf0wCA.Uf0ylw.kbB4Cg&_bta_c=bj8s8mztekt64ang5cxnzfh596guo

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The Many Health Benefits of Tumeric

Posted by Dr. Teresa Spano
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TumericTurmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today.  Its medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies.  In fact, our five-year long research project on this sacred plant has revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects. This entire database of 1,585 ncbi-hyperlinked turmeric abstracts can be downloaded as a PDF at our Downloadable Turmeric Document page, and acquired either as a retail item or with 200 GMI-tokens, for those of you who are already are members and receive them automatically each month.

Given the sheer density of research performed on this remarkable spice, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including medications for: cholesterol, inflammation, depression, diabetes, and more.

Read the entire article here....

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/science-confirms-turmeric-effective-14-drugs

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Acupuncture for Chronic Pain

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
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For more than 2,500 years, acupuncture has been one of the world's most popular forms of health care to treat all types of chronic pain.  The ancient technique of acupuncture helps relieve chronic back pain better than standard care such as medications or physical therapy.  According to recent studies, acupuncture outperformed sham treatments and standard care when used by people suffering from osteoarthritis, migraines, and chronic back, neck and shoulder pain.

Acupuncture, which involves inserting needles at specific “acupoints” on the body, is among the most widely practiced forms of alternative medicine in the country and is offered by many hospitals.  Most commonly the treatment is sought by adults looking for relief from chronic pain, although it is also used with growing frequency in children. According to government estimates, about 150,000 children in the United States underwent acupuncture in 2007.

In clinical practice, the most common types of pain that patients turn to acupuncture for are neck pain, upper/mid back and low back pain, arthritis pain, knee pain, shoulder pain migraine pain, tendonitis, carpel tunnel syndrome, menstrual pain, and even cancer pain.

So exactly how does inserting acupuncture work to relieve pain?  Acupoints are tiny areas on the skin that contain relatively concentrated levels of nerve endings, lymphatics, and blood vessels.  Acupoints can be readily identified by their lower electrical resistance, and are usually located in small palpable depressions detectable by trained acupuncturists.  Stimulation from placing acupuncture needles in acupoints initiates pain relief, relaxation, and healing.

There are several theories as to how acupuncture relieves pain.  It is widely accepted that acupuncture stimulates the secretion of endorphins in the body (specifically enkephalins). Endorphins are our bodies’ natural painkillers.  They are 1000 times stronger than morphine.  Also, certain neurotransmitter levels (such as serotonin and noradrenaline) are affected by acupuncture.  This is why acupuncture is so successful with depression, mood disorders, and weight loss, and often why many people feel so amazing after an acupuncture treatment.

The pain-gate theory explains that pain signals must pass through a number of high traffic gates as they move from the area of injury upward through the spinal cord into the brain. Like a road or a highway, these nerves can only handle a limited number of nerve signals at one time.  Acupuncture generates competing stimulus and effectively interrupts the neurotransmitters of the pain signals from reaching the brain.  This results in the patient never getting the pain signal and therefore never getting the pain.  This is the most popular theory among Western scientists.

In summary, it seems that there are several systems in the body involved in carrying the effects of acupuncture and that there are messages being delivered to both the brain and body that promote health and pain relief.  Acupuncture is truly an amazing drug-free medicine, with no side effects.

The cost of treating chronic pain with surgery, narcotic pain killers, NSAIDS, injections of cortisone, and other short-acting analgesics is extremely high when compared to the cost of an acupuncture treatment, which can cost only $85.00.

It is important for medical physicians and patients with pain to recognize that acupuncture is extremely effective in regard to pain relief.  So many people with pain, whether from low back pain, headache or a chronic, unexplained condition, rely on prescription NSAIDS and narcotic pain killer medications, which can become addicting and cause serious side effects.

Acupuncture has no side effects, and studies have shown the pain relief it provides can last for months, not to mention the improved quality of life for individuals suffering from chronic pain.

References:

  1. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(19):1444-1453. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654
  2. Pediatrics. 2000 Apr;105(4 Pt 2):941-7.
  3. Pain 1999;83:235-241. Kleinhenz J, et al. Randomised clinical trial comparing the effects of acupuncture and a newly designed placebo needle n rotator cuff tendonitis.
  4. Susman E. Bran scans show acupuncture dulls pain. Excite News, December 1, 1999

Dr. Helene Pulnik is a board-certified, licensed Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Physician with a private practice in Glastonbury, CT for over 13 years.  She has helped many patients become pain free; often eliminating the need for drugs and surgery for chronic pain.  She is now accepting new acupuncture patients.

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Infertility Treatment with Acupuncture and Natural Medicine

Posted by Dr. Helene Pulnik
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The fertility rate in the United States has been declining for the past few decades.  The fertility rate is the number of children an average woman bears over the course of her life. The replacement rate is 2.1. If the average woman has more children than that, population grows. Today, America's total fertility rate is 1.93, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; it hasn't been above the replacement rate in a sustained way since the early 1970s.

BabyYY

Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after a year or more of sperm insemination or well-timed, unprotected vaginal intercourse. Infertility may be a temporary or a permanent condition; this depends on the available treatments, the cause, and the fertility of the partner at any particular point in time.

Infertility is often incorrectly considered "the woman's problem". To improve the couple's chances of conception a child together, both the man and the woman should be evaluated, and treated, if necessary, Because conception is a complicated process, it depends upon several factors.

There are many potential causes for infertility or reproductive problems.  Chronic illnesses, as well as their treatments, can lead to fertility problems.  Illnesses like diabetes and hypothyroidism can cause fertility problems. Insulin, antidepressants, and thyroid hormones may lead to irregular menstrual cycles, for example.  Premature ovarian failure has become a common cause of infertility in younger women, often diagnosed as “unexplained infertility”.

Environmental toxins and xenoestrogens in foods are known to cause hormone disruption, and free radical damage to both ovaries in women and sperm production in men.  Certain toxins such as phthalates may be linked to genital abnormalities in boys. Products that contain phthalates include food packaging, cosmetics, make-up, soaps, fragrances, shampoos, hairspray, nail polish, pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, building materials, vinyl flooring, paints, adhesives, detergents, solvents, lubricating oils, plastic bags, garden hoses, automobiles, children’s toys, modeling clay, glow sticks, cleaning products, and as inert ingredients in insecticides. In many instances phthalates are not identified on product labels.

40% of infertility can be due to male factors, and acupuncture also treats male partners of women trying to conceive. Medication used to treat peptic ulcers or hypertension can cause male factor infertility, including problems with sperm production or their ability to fertilize the egg.  In men, average sperm concentration went from 72 million/ml in 2001 to 52 million/ml in 2011. When sperm concentration drops below 40 million/ml, conception becomes difficult. Researchers agree that diet, lifestyle, and exposure to chemicals are causing the worldwide decline. Fertility issues are environmental issues

Couples experiencing difficulty conceiving may be referred to a fertility specialist for evaluation.  Typically, blood testing, genetic testing, and sperm testing are done to determine if there are any medical or hormonal abnormalities that need to be treated.

Currently, there are several medical treatments for infertility performed by MDs who specialize in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).  These treatments are typically hormones to induce ovulation, IUI or intrauterine insemination, which is a procedure in which sperm are placed directly into the uterine cavity near the time of ovulation and IVF, or in-vitro fertilization, which is a procedure that involves retrieving eggs and sperm from the bodies of the male and female partners and placing them together in a laboratory dish to enhance fertilization. Fertilized eggs are then transferred several days later into the female partner's uterus where implantation and embryo development will hopefully occur as in a normal pregnancy.

Success rates with IUI can vary from 5% to 20% for a single cycle, depending on the age and health of the couple.   With several IUI cycles, the conception rate can be even higher. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the success rate of conception with IVF is 10%-35%, again depending on the age and health status of the couple. Both IUI and IVF procedures can cost several thousand dollars per cycle or treatment, and are not always covered by insurance.

From the viewpoint of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine, other factors contributing to infertility include imbalances in the energy meridians of the body, toxic overload, and lifestyle factors such as poor diet, stress, and lack of proper sleep.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are affordable therapies that have been used safely and effectively alongside with IUI and IVF, as well as a stand-alone treatment for infertility. Studies have shown that acupuncture can improve the success rate of IVF by 40%-60%.  The typical cost for an Acupuncture session is only $85.00.

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help improve fertility and the success of IVF in a number of ways:

1.         Improve the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs

2.         Restore hormonal balance and blood flow to the ovaries to produce a large number of follicles

3.         Increase blood flow to the uterus to increase thickness of the uterine lining

4.         Reduce stress, increase relaxation and improve sleep

5.         Lessen the side effects of drugs used in IUI and IVF

6.         Balances the immune system

7.         Improves sperm count, motility, and morphology.  

Using proven Acupuncture techniques, Chinese herbal medicine, detoxification, nutritional counseling, nutritional supplementation, and stress reduction can help to restore balance and overall wellness. Restoring balance allows the body’s hormones and natural cycles to become more regular, and increases the body’s response to IUI and IVF, thus improving fertility.

Traditional Acupuncture involves inserting extremely thin, sterile, stainless steel, disposable needles into specific points on the surface of the skin, restoring balance to the body, mind, and spirit along with the correction of infertility-related imbalances and deficiencies. This age-old system of medicine has stood the test of thousands of years and yet continues to rise above and improve health even in our modern western culture.  This sophisticated yet subtle method of treatment is so effective because of its focus on each individual's particular needs. At the same time, acupuncture is a very relaxing and rejuvenating treatment.

Dr. Helene Pulnik is a board-certified, licensed Naturopathic Physician, and Licensed Acupuncturist.  She is also a Registered Pharmacist and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition.

She has studied infertility treatment using acupuncture, herbs, nutrition, and stress reduction with Mike Berkley, Lac. In New York, and Dr. Randine Lewis, author of The Infertility Cure.

Integrating the wisdom of proven acupuncture techniques and natural medicine, Dr. Pulnik treats couples by supporting the body’s natural cycles to enhance fertility. Dr. Pulnik provides Acupuncture, detoxification, herbal, and nutritional counseling for infertile couples.

References:

  1. Acupuncture & IVF: Increase IVF Success by 40-60% by Lifang Liang
  2. The Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, Updated Tables, September 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility: Handbook for Clinicians (pocket sized) by Dan I. Lebovic, John David Gordon and Robert N. Taylor
  4. The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies, by Randine Lewis, Ph.D.
  5. Declining Sperm Counts, BMJ. 1996 July 6; 313(7048): 43–45, 

 

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  • New Science shows Dark Chocolate helps prevent Obesity, Diabetes, and more! Key Chocolate Ingredients Could Help Prevent Obesity, Diabetes Improved thinking. Decreased appetite. Lowered blood pressure. The potential health benefits of dark chocolate keep piling up, and scientists are now homing in on what ingredients in chocolate might help prevent obesity, as well as type-2 diabetes. They found that one particular type of antioxidant in cocoa prevented laboratory mice from gaining excess weight and lowered their blood sugar levels. The report appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. Andrew P. Neilson and colleagues explain that cocoa, the basic ingredient of chocolate, is one of the most flavanol-rich foods around. That’s good for chocolate lovers because previous research has shown that flavanols in other foods such as grapes and tea can help fight weight gain and type-2 diabetes. But not all flavanols, which are a type of antioxidant, are created equal. Cocoa has several different kinds of these compounds, so Neilson’s team decided to tease them apart and test each individually for health benefits. The scientists fed groups of mice different diets, including high-fat and low-fat diets, and high-fat diets supplemented with different kinds of flavanols. They found that adding one particular set of these compounds, known as oligomeric procyanidins (PCs), to the food made the biggest difference in keeping the mice’s weight down if they were on high-fat diets. They also improved glucose tolerance, which could potentially help prevent type-2 diabetes. “Oligomeric PCs appear to possess the greatest antiobesity and antidiabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa, particularly at the low doses employed for the present study,” the researchers state. Source: American Chemical Society
  • by Sayer Ji, Green Med Info This commonly overlooked superfood protects the body from nuclear fallout, kills a wide range of cancers, and keeps the arteries unclogged -- to name but a few, experimentally confirmed ways in which the apple awakens your inner physician. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. This age old saying has never rang with greater promise and authority than it does today. As in the modern era, doctors bring with them a battery of tests, drugs, and interventions, all of which carry unintended, adverse health risks that often outweigh their purported benefits, and are therefore best avoided whenever possible.   Also, apples are also far cheaper than doctors, and in the worst case scenario of coerced or mandatory treatment can be thrown as a non-deadly (downright nutritious) form of self-defense.   While some might take this opening aphorism as mere folk medicine fantasy, the reality is that the medicinal properties of apple are well-documented within the biomedical literature. For instance, apple consumption has been the subject of quite a few studies on colorectal cancer risk reduction. [i] [ii] [iii]  Other cancers that apple constituents have been studied to kill in pre-clinical research include: •Liver Cancer: apple juice, apple pectin and apple peel has been experimentally confirmed to kill liver cancer,[iv] •Breast Cancer: apples have been found to both prevent and to suppress mammary cancers in the animal model.[v] •Multi-Drug Resistant Cancer: carotenoids extracted from apple have been found to inhibit drug resistant cancer cell line proliferation.[vi] •Esophageal Cancer: An apple-derived procyanidin has been found to suppress esophageal cancer. [vii] •Stomach Cancer: One of the ways in which apple constituents prevent stomach cancer is through their inhibition of Helicobacter pylori, one of the main infectious agents linked to both ulcer and gastric cancer.[viii]  But apple procyanidin has also been studied for its ability to directly induce programmed cell death within stomach cancer cells.[ix] It is likely that many of the fundamental processes involved in cancer initiation and promotion are inhibited by apples and their constituents, and therefore apples may protect against far more cancers than referenced above. It appears that no matter what part of apple is studied, it has anti-tumor properties. Apple cider vinegar, for instance, has been found to contain an anti-tumor compound which results from the acetic acid fermentative process known as alpha-glycan. Another proven way in which apples reduce the risk of cancer is through their ability to remove carcinogenic radioisotopes that have accumulated in our bodies as a result of the fallout from nuclear weapons, depleted uranium munitions, and nuclear energy and disaster-associated pollution, e.g. Chernobyl and Fukushima. Post-Chernobyl, for instance, apple pectin was used to reduce Cesium-137 levels in exposed children, in some cases by over 60%.[x] From 1996 to 2007, a total of more than 160,000 "Chernobyl" children received pectin food additives. As a result, levels of Cs-137 in children's organs decreased after each course of pectin additives by an average of 30-40%.[xi] Significant reductions were noted in as short a time period as 16 days.[xii]  Apple pectin has even been found to prevent the most deadly, and entirely man-made radioisotope, Plutonium-239, from absorbing in the gastrointestinal tract of animals fed it.[xiii] We could, therefore, modernize our apple aphorism by saying "an apple a day keeps the nuclear fallout away." And truly, there are very few other substances, natural or synthetic, that have ever been found to protect against plutonium exposure. Apples, therefore, are truly super-foods in this respect. Other noteworthy "evidence-based" medicinal properties of apple include: •Diarrhea: Apple, in combination with chamomile, shortens the course of unspecific diarrhea in children.[xiv] •Hardening of the Arteries (Atherosclerosis): Preclinical research indicates that apple contains compounds which prevent the formation of plaque within the arteries.[xv] One rabbit study, for instance, found that apple juice was capable of preventing the progression of atherosclerosis in a high cholesterol diet induced model of atherosclerosis.[xvi] •Overweight: A human study found significant weight loss associated with a daily intake of three apples or three pears among overweight women.[xvii] •Anti-Aging (Brain): Apples have been found to prevent oxidative damage and impaired maze performance,[xviii]as well as decreases in cognitive performance in aging mice.[xix] Also, a study performed on mice found that apple juice actually reduced the production of pathological amyloid-beta levels (associated with Alzheimer's disease) in the mouse brain.[xx] •Bowel Inflammation: Preclinical research has found that apple procyanidins [xxi]reduces bowel inflammation.[xxii] •Vaccine-Induced Toxicity: Many natural substances, including breast milk, have been found to decrease the synthetically-produced immune reaction associated with vaccines, and their adjuvants. Apple polyphenol counts among these, and has been found to prevent cholera toxin when used as an immune stimulant within vaccines from doing as much damage than it would otherwise do. •Periodontal Disease: We all know the sensation that follows eating an apple – that astringent property, where our gums feel squeaky clean. This is due, in part, to quercetin, which is found in apples, tea and onions, for example. It bears significant antimicrobial properties.[xxiii] Apple polyphenol also protects against periodontal ligament cell destruction associated with Porphyromonas gingivalis, a pathogenic anaerobic bacteria, infection.[xxiv] •Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs): AGEs are associated with the oxidation of blood sugars, primarily. These sugars becomes caramelized when exposed to oxidants, and then binds to cell structures, e.g. fats/proteins, causing damage. Apple leaves have been found to have significant anti-AGE activity, including the vasoconstriction associated with AGE-induced endothelial dysfunction.[xxv] •Hair Loss: Remarkably, a procyanidin, labeled B-2, from apples promotes hair growth, in the cell model.[xxvi] •Staphylococcal Infections: Apple pectin has been shown to inhibit synthesis of types A and B staphylococcal enterotoxins, which can cause profound bodily damage.[xxvii] •Influenza Infection: Over 60 years ago researchers found that the complex carbohydrates that make up apple pectin inhibit the infectivity of influenza A virus in chicken blood, as well in embryonated eggs, indicating its potential anti-influenza properties.[xxviii] The list of evidence-based therapeutic properties of apple is rather extensive. To view the full range of experimentally confirmed benefits view them here: Apple's Health Benefits. Ultimately, this research on apples indicates how important whole foods are to our overall health. Apples are not medicine, rather, they are the means by which medicines become unnecessary. It is through authentic nourishment and detoxification – both functions which are provided to us through most fruits - that we prevent and treat disease (note: these statements likely will never be evaluated or approved by the FDA, because they are true). Also, fruit are archetypally beneficial foods for the human species; we have indexed over 300 experimentally confirmed health benefits of fruit on our database so far. Our evolutionary legacy (confirmed through modern genetic testing*) indicates that our pre-human ancestors lived in a jungle setting, where fruit would have been available year round. This would, in fact, explain why we no longer synthesize vitamin c from glucose – we were so "spoiled" by the abundance of fruit available for so long that we gave up (via genetic mutation or atavism) our ability to provide it to ourselves.  Plants and animals live in symbiosis. For the same reason that our lungs take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide (which is live-giving to plants), the fruits of these same plants provide a seed (which we help disperse), and a flesh to entice us to consume it. Fruit, therefore, is a food source that is as ancient as human origins itself. Could this be one reason why apples seem capable of these amazing feats of healing? Perhaps. Next time you crunch into a crisp, fresh, organic apple, consider all that it has to offer, not theoretically, but viscerally. Experience the joy (the word fruit, etymologically, comes from the Latin word frui, meaning ENJOY), on a first hand basis. Also, if you have never done an apple mono-diet before, consider it. It is not so much a fruit fast, as a feast. Grab a bag of organic apples, and whenever you are hungry eat one. You will be surprised by how immediate you are satiated, and how cleansing and liberating on the body the exclusive consumption of such a simple, perfect food like the apple really is. One can easily go a day or two using this approach, often with the result of feeling completely renewed and refreshed.     Resources *Note: It is a little known and under-appreciated fact that all humans are born with a serious, life-threatening genetic defect: namely, the inability to manufacture Vitamin C. This defect occurred approximately 63 million years ago, when our haplorrhini ("simple nosed") primate predecessors lost the gene (Gulnolactone oxidase pseudogene – GULOP), responsible for the manufacture of Vitamin C from glucose. The ability to synthesize Vitamin C, in fact, has been lost several times in vertebrates, e.g. in guinea pigs, some bats, some fishes, passeriform birds and in primates of the suborder Haplorrhini, which includes monkes, apes and humans. •[i] Wieslaw Jedrychowski, Umberto Maugeri. An apple a day may hold colorectal cancer at bay: recent evidence from a case-control study. Rev Environ Health. 2009 Jan-Mar;24(1):59-74. PMID: 19476292   •[ii] Wieslaw Jedrychowski, Umberto Maugeri, Tadeusz Popiela, Jan Kulig, Elzbieta Sochacka-Tatara, Agnieszka Pac, Agata Sowa, Agnieszka Musial. Case-control study on beneficial effect of regular consumption of apples on colorectal cancer risk in a population with relatively low intake of fruits and vegetables. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2009 Mar;104(3):262-71. Epub 2009 Jan 20. PMID: 19926998     [iii] H Deneo-Pellegrini, E De Stefani, A Ronco. Vegetables, fruits, and risk of colorectal cancer: a case-control study from Uruguay. Nutr Cancer. 1996;25(3):297-304. PMID: 8771572     •[iv] GreenMedInfo.com, Apple's Anti-Liver Cancer Properties     •[v] GreenMedInfo.com, Apple's Anti-Breast Cancer Properties     •[vi] Péter Molnár, Masami Kawase, Kazue Satoh, Yoshitaka Sohara, Toru Tanaka, Satoru Tani, Hiroshi Sakagami, Hideki Nakashima, Noboru Motohashi, Nóra Gyémánt, Joseph Molnár. Biological activity of carotenoids in red paprika, Valencia orange and Golden delicious apple. Phytother Res. 2005 Aug;19(8):700-7. PMID: 16177974     •[vii] Roberto Pierini, Paul A Kroon, Sylvain Guyot, Kamal Ivory, Ian T Johnson, Nigel J Belshaw. Procyanidin effects on oesophageal adenocarcinoma cells strongly depend on flavan-3-ol degree of polymerization. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Dec;52(12):1399-407. PMID: 18683822     •[viii] GreenMedInfo.com, Helicobacter Pylori and Apples     •[ix] Hiroshige Hibasami, Toshihiko Shohji, Ichirou Shibuya, Kazuko Higo, Tomomasa Kanda. Induction of apoptosis by three types of procyanidin isolated from apple (Rosaceae Malus pumila) in human stomach cancer KATO III cells. Int J Mol Med. 2004 Jun;13(6):795-9. PMID: 15138614     •[x] V B Nesterenko, A V Nesterenko, V I Babenko, T V Yerkovich, I V Babenko. Reducing the 137Cs-load in the organism of "Chernobyl" children with apple-pectin. Swiss Med Wkly. 2004 Jan 10;134(1-2):24-7. PMID: 14745664     •[xi] Vassily B Nesterenko, Alexey V Nesterenko. 13. Decorporation of Chernobyl radionuclides. Phytother Res. 2009 Apr;23(4):564-71. PMID: 20002057     •[xii] G S Bandazhevskaya, V B Nesterenko, V I Babenko, T V Yerkovich, Y I Bandazhevsky. Relationship between caesium (137Cs) load, cardiovascular symptoms, and source of food in 'Chernobyl' children -- preliminary observations after intake of oral apple pectin. Swiss Med Wkly. 2004 Dec 18;134(49-50):725-9. PMID: 15635491     •[xiii] V S Kalistratova, G A Zalikin, P G Nisimov, I B Romanova. [Study of the effect of a food additive Medetopect on metabolic kinetics of transuranic radionuclides in animal body]. Radiats Biol Radioecol. 1998 Jan-Feb;38(1):35-41. PMID: 9606404     •[xiv] Brigitta Becker, Ulrike Kuhn, Bettina Hardewig-Budny. Double-blind, randomized evaluation of clinical efficacy and tolerability of an apple pectin-chamomile extract in children with unspecific diarrhea. Arzneimittelforschung. 2006;56(6):387-93. PMID: 16889120     •[xv] GreenMedInfo.com, Apple's Anti-Atherosclerosis Properties     •[xvi] Mahbubeh Setorki, Sedighe Asgary, Akram Eidi, Ali Haeri Rohani, Nafiseh Esmaeil. Effects of apple juice on risk factors of lipid profile, inflammation and coagulation, endothelial markers and atherosclerotic lesions in high cholesterolemic rabbits. Lipids Health Dis. 2009;8:39. Epub 2009 Oct 5. PMID: 19804641     •[xvii] Maria Conceição de Oliveira, Rosely Sichieri, Anibal Sanchez Moura. Weight loss associated with a daily intake of three apples or three pears among overweight women. Nutrition. 2003 Mar;19(3):253-6. PMID: 12620529     •[xviii] Flaubert Tchantchou, Amy Chan, Lydia Kifle, Daniela Ortiz, Thomas B Shea. Apple juice concentrate prevents oxidative damage and impaired maze performance in aged mice. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2009 Jul-Sep;21(3):148-61. PMID: 16340085     •[xix] [No authors listed]. Apple juice concentrate maintains acetylcholine levels following dietary compromise. J Alzheimers Dis. 2006 Aug;9(3):287-91. PMID: 16914839     •[xx] Amy Chan, Thomas B Shea. Dietary supplementation with apple juice decreases endogenous amyloid-beta levels in murine brain. Int J Mol Med. 2010 Oct;26(4):447-55. PMID: 19158432     •[xxi] Naoto Yoshino, Kohtaro Fujihashi, Yukari Hagiwara, Hiroyuki Kanno, Kiyomi Takahashi, Ryoki Kobayashi, Noriyuki Inaba, Masatoshi Noda, Shigehiro Sato . Co-administration of cholera toxin and apple polyphenol extract as a novel and safe mucosal adjuvant strategy. Vaccine. 2009 Jul 30;27(35):4808-17. Epub 2009 Jun 17. PMID: 19539583     •[xxii] GreenMedInfo.com, Apples and Bowel Inflammation     •[xxiii] F Geoghegan, R W K Wong, A B M Rabie. Inhibitory effect of quercetin on periodontal pathogens in vitro. Phytother Res. 2009 Dec 2. Epub 2009 Dec 2. PMID: 19957242     •[xxiv] Hiroaki Inaba, Motoyuki Tagashira, Tomomasa Kanda, Takashi Ohno, Shinji Kawai, Atsuo Amano. Apple- and hop-polyphenols protect periodontal ligament cells stimulated with enamel matrix derivative from Porphyromonas gingivalis. J Periodontol. 2005 Dec;76(12):2223-9. PMID: 16332233     •[xxv] Thomas Dugé de Bernonville, Sylvain Guyot, Jean-Pierre Paulin, Matthieu Gaucher, Laurent Loufrani, Daniel Henrion, Séverine Derbré, David Guilet, Pascal Richomme, James F Dat, Marie-Noëlle Brisset . Dihydrochalcones: Implication in resistance to oxidative stress and bioactivities against advanced glycation end-products and vasoconstriction. Phytochemistry. 2009 Dec 18. Epub 2009 Dec 18. PMID: 20022617     •[xxvi] A Kamimura, T Takahashi. Procyanidin B-2, extracted from apples, promotes hair growth: a laboratory study. Sci Total Environ. 2010 Feb 13. Epub 2010 Feb 13. PMID: 11841365     •[xxvii] F S Fluer, D D Men'shikov, E B Lazareva, V Ia Prokhorov, A V Vesnin. [Influence of various pectins on production of staphylococcal enterotoxins types A and B]. Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol. 2007 Nov-Dec(6):11-6. PMID: 18277535     •[xxviii] R H Green, D W Woolley. INHIBITION BY CERTAIN POLYSACCHARIDES OF HEMAGGLUTINATION AND OF MULTIPLICATION OF INFLUENZA VIRUS. J Exp Med. 1947 Jun 30;86(1):55-64. PMID: 19871655    
  • What if I told you there's a simple wellness trick that only takes five minutes a day, costs nothing, and helps cleanse your body, inside and out? Dry skin brushing has a number of health benefits and is so simple to do. So how does it work? Your skin, the largest organ in the human body is an organ of elimination. One third of your body’s toxins are excreted through the skin and dry brushing helps to unclog pores and excrete toxins that become trapped in the skin. To get started, follow the simple steps below: 1. Purchase a natural (not synthetic) bristle brush with a long handle so can reach all areas of your body. 2. Get naked and stand in a bathtub or tiled surface to catch the falling skin. (It's a bit gross, I know.) 3. Begin brushing by starting at your feet and moving in long sweeping motions toward your heart. Always brush toward your heart. 4. Brush several times in each area, overlapping as you go. 5. Take care as you brush over more sensitive areas, like breasts. Your skin will become less sensitive the more you dry brush. 6. Once you've brushed your entire body, jump in the shower. (I like to alternate between the hottest water temperature I can tolerate and the coldest. This stimulates blood circulation, bringing more blood to the top layers of the skin.) 7. After getting out of the shower, pat dry skin and apply a natural fruit oil like rose hip or coconut oil. 8. Continue to dry brush your entire body every day. Twice a day is recommended for best results. Remember to clean your brush with soap and water once a week. Leave to dry in a clean, sunny spot to avoid any mildew accumulation on your brush. Try this for 30 days and see the results for yourself! Some benefits of dry skin brushing: 1. You'll exfoliate dead skin. Forget your in-shower loofah and body scrubs, this will ensure you have silky-smooth skin all year round! 2. It stimulates your lymphatic system. Dry brushing your skin will kick start your lymphatic system, which helps you remove toxins from the body. The stiffer the bristles on the brush, the better the lymphatic stimulation you’ll create. 3. Dry brushing helps to reduce cellulite. Cellulite is simply toxic materials that have accumulated in your body’s fat cells and are trapped, unable to be eliminated from the body. Forget lipo, dry skin brushing helps to break down any trapped toxins from within the body and help your body eliminate them through its usual elimination channels. 4. It unclogs pores and de-congests skin. Dry skin brushing unclogs your skins pores and helps your skin absorb more nutrients. Daily skin brushing promotes healthy, breathing skin. It's a real treat for the largest organ in our bodies!  
  • Green Vegetables Protect the Heart By Dr. Joel Fuhrman MD     Green leafy vegetables are superior to other foods in their nutrient density, and unsurprisingly, greater intake of leafy greens is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.1, 2 Greater consumption of cruciferous vegetables (a family of vegetables known for their anti-cancer effects, it includes many leafy greens such as kale, cabbage and bok choy), are similarly associated with lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and from all causes.3 Oxidative stress is known to be a significant contributor to the development of cardiovascular disease. Our antioxidant defenses are a combination of dietary compounds and the body’s own antioxidant enzymes, and there is evidence that when we eat cruciferous vegetables, their phytochemicals signal the body to produce its own protective antioxidant enzymes, by activating a protein called Nrf2. Nrf2 is a transcription factor, a protein that can increase or decrease the expression of certain genes. Nrf2 works by binding a specific sequence present in genes called the antioxidant response element (ARE). In the presence of certain phytochemicals, Nrf2 travels to the nucleus of the cell to induce that cell to produce natural antioxidant enzymes and protect against inflammation.4, 5 Essentially, Nrf2 is a messenger through which beneficial phytochemicals from the diet turn on the body’s natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection mechanisms. For example, one study on sulforaphane (a phytochemical found in broccoli) showed that once activated, Nrf2 suppresses the activity of adhesion molecules on the endothelial cell surface to prevent binding of inflammatory cells and therefore retard atherosclerotic plaque development.6 Another study showed that sulforaphane and other isothiocyanates (cruciferous vegetable phytochemicals), by activating Nrf2, blocked inflammatory gene expression and oxidative stress in endothelial cells inhibiting aging of the vascular tree.7 Sulforaphane also helps maintain the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, a vascular system that is crucial for proper brain tissue function, via activation of Nrf2.8 The point is that cruciferous vegetables are essential for excellent health and promotion of maximum lifespan. Other phytochemicals that can activate Nrf2, iunclude anthocyanins (found in berries), EGCG (found in green tea) and resveratrol (found in grapes and peanuts).5, 9, 10 Exercise may also activate Nrf2.11 In contrast, smoking suppresses the protective actions of Nrf2; human endothelial cells exposed to the blood of smokers compared to non-smokers showed decreased Nrf2 expression, reducing antioxidant defenses.12 Not surprising that smoking and green vegetables have opposite effects! Research on phytochemicals and the protective effects Nrf2 is still in its early stages, and as we learn more, we can expect exciting advances in the understanding of how phytochemicals work to promote health and extend lifespan.   References: 1. Hung HC, Joshipura KJ, Jiang R, et al: Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of major chronic disease. J Natl Cancer Inst 2004;96:1577-1584. 
2. Joshipura KJ, Hu FB, Manson JE, et al: The effect of fruit and vegetable intake on risk for coronary heart disease. Ann Intern Med 2001;134:1106-1114.
3. Zhang X, Shu XO, Xiang YB, et al: Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:240-246.
4. Donovan EL, McCord JM, Reuland DJ, et al: Phytochemical activation of Nrf2 protects human coronary artery endothelial cells against an oxidative challenge. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2012;2012:132931.
5. Han SG, Han SS, Toborek M, et al: EGCG protects endothelial cells against PCB 126-induced inflammation through inhibition of AhR and induction of Nrf2-regulated genes. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2012;261:181-188.
6. Zakkar M, Van der Heiden K, Luong le A, et al: Activation of Nrf2 in endothelial cells protects arteries from exhibiting a proinflammatory state. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2009;29:1851-1857.
7. Huang CS, Lin AH, Liu CT, et al: Isothiocyanates protect against oxidized LDL-induced endothelial dysfunction by upregulating Nrf2-dependent antioxidation and suppressing NFkappaB activation. Mol Nutr Food Res 2013;57:1918-1930.
8. Zhao J, Moore AN, Redell JB, et al: Enhancing Expression of Nrf2-Driven Genes Protects the Blood Brain Barrier after Brain Injury. J Neurosci 2007;27:10240-10248.
9. Cimino F, Speciale A, Anwar S, et al: Anthocyanins protect human endothelial cells from mild hyperoxia damage through modulation of Nrf2 pathway. Genes Nutr 2013;8:391-399.
10. Ungvari Z, Bagi Z, Feher A, et al: Resveratrol confers endothelial protection via activation of the antioxidant transcription factor Nrf2. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2010;299:H18-24.
11. Muthusamy VR, Kannan S, Sadhaasivam K, et al: Acute exercise stress activates Nrf2/ARE signaling and promotes antioxidant mechanisms in the myocardium. Free Radic Biol Med 2012;52:366-376.
12. Fratta Pasini A, Albiero A, Stranieri C, et al: Serum oxidative stress-induced repression of Nrf2 and GSH depletion: a mechanism potentially involved in endothelial dysfunction of young smokers. PLoS One 2012;7:e30291.
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