Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Study: Why Yoga Works

Most people  agree that yoga makes them feel better, and a new study has just been published that explains why.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine discovered that practicing yoga increases the level of GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, a chemical in the brain that regulates nerve activity. While running and other sports have a similar affect, yoga induces this beneficial reaction on a larger scale. Those who regularly practice yoga know of the reduction in anxiety and improved mood that comes as a result, but now they can make the connection at the biochemical level of understanding. “This is important work that establishes some objective bases for the effects that highly trained practitioners of yoga therapy throughout the world see on a daily basis. What is important now is that these findings are further investigated in long-term studies to establish just how sustainable such changes can be in the search for safe non-drug treatments for depression,” says Kim A. Jobst, MA, DM, MRCP, MFHom, DipAc, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

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Fast Food Wrappers Coated With Dangerous Chemicals

A recent study has shown that the chemicals widely used in producing the paper food wrappers used in fast food establishments is making its way into the general population’s blood stream.

The research was done at the University of Toronto with the specific intent to identify whether or not the chemicals called perfluoroalkyls are ending up in humans. These chemicals (abreviated as PAPs) are synthetic chemicals designed to repel oil, grease, and water, which makes them very hand for food packaging. “PAPs are applied as greaseproofing agents to paper food contact packaging such as fast food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags,”said Jessica D’eon of the University of Toronto. Environmental chemists Scott Mabury and Jessica D’eon of the University of Toronto led this study, as well as a preliminary study in 2007. They concluded that perfluoroalkyls, or perfluorinated chemicals are migrating from wrappers into the population’s blood streams. “We suspected that a major source of human PFCA exposure may be the consumption and metabolism of polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters, or PAPs,” explained D’eon. “In this study we clearly demonstrate that the current use of PAPs in food contact applications does result in human exposure to PFCAs, including PFOA,” said Mabury, the lead researcher. According to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances, elevated levels of these chemicals in the blood have been associated with changes in cholesterol and sex hormones.

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Prostate Cancer Natural Remedy: Soy

A newly discovered component that naturally exists in soy has just been found to prevent the spread of cancer cells. New research from Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University shows the positive results of an ongoing study regarding the natural soy chemical called Genistein’s ability to stop and prevent the spread of prostate cancer.

The natural chemical triggers an increase in activity from cancer suppressing genes and a decrease in activity by cancer promoting genes. In the past most prostate cancer drugs in the past failed to yield positive results. “The first step is to see if the drug has the effect that you want on the cells and the prostate, and the answer is ‘yes, it does,’” explained Bergan, a professor of hematology and oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “All therapies designed to stop cancer cell movement that have been tested to date in humans have basically failed have because they have been ineffective or toxic,” Bergan continued.

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The Dangers Of…Shampoo?

Have you ever wandered through the local health food store and observed the selection of natural hair care products? Have you noticed that the shampoo’s and conditioners have more labeling about what ingredients are NOT in them then there are for what ingredients ARE in them? Here are ten reasons why:

1. Of the twenty or so ingredients in the average shampoo, only about three of them actually have anything to do with cleaning your hair. 2. Roughly two-thirds of the average bottle’s volume serves a purpose other than cleaning your hair. 3. Nearly one-fourth of the ingredients are there simply to thicken the shampoo. Some of these thickening ingredients are benign, others not so much. Here are some commonly used thickeners: Glycol distearate, salt, cetyl alcohol, ammonium xylene sulfonate and others. 4. Some of the non-cleansing ingredients are put there to increase lather. Chemicals such as cocamide MEA and the plastic PEG-7M. 5. Coloring and sparkling agents are added as well. Chemicals used for coloring have a tainted history. Remember good old red dye no. 3 that was finally banned in the 1990′s? 6. Inorder to create a desired smell, shampoos are laced with ingredients that manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients for. Some may be toxic, while others are benign. 7. A silicone-based chemical called dimethicone that is found in caulking, Silly Putty, and herbicides is used in many shampoo’s as a conditioning agent to replace some of the natural oils removed while washing. 8. Countless ingredients like fruits, vitamins, herbs etc. are added for what may or may not be beneficial health reasons. They certainly don’t add much utility to the cleansing properties. 9. All of the differen’t non-detergent additives need to be preserved, and so preservatives are added to the mix. Sodium Benzoate ring a bell? 10. Natural shampoo manufacturers focus on creating a product that cleans your hair and then only has minimal, and natural additives to improve smell etc. These are ten reasons why it matters what isn’t in your shampoo. I hope you find them helpful.

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Probiotics Study Reveals Health Benefits

Natural health promoters have been touting the health benefits of probiotics for years. New research has just given probiotic fans scientific reasoning to back up what to them already seemed obvious, that they are good for human health.

A new study from the Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University, of Sweden, shows that the probiotic called Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri) is beneficial to human health. The bacteria L. reuteri naturally exists in around 30% of Americans and can be found in various foods like Kefir (a fermented milk similar to yogurt). The bacteria works with the intestines to improve overall health. This research, as well as other studies, show that L. reuteri has beneficial effects on everything from allergies to immune system response to dental health. “Studies show that L. reuteri is highly effective. We have multiple studies underway that directly address oral health and allergies,” concluded Gabriela Sinkiewicz, a researcher at the Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University.

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Colon Cancer’s Natural Remedy: Black Rasberries

Black rasberries can now be considered a serious contender for fighting colon cancer. New research has just been released showing how black rasberries can be used as a natural colon cancer remedy. The study was published in the November issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

“We saw the black raspberry as a natural product, very powerful, and easy to access,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Wancai Yang, assistant professor of pathology at the UIC College of Medicine. Colon cancer is the second highest cause of cancer-related death, and the third most common cancer. Results from the study found that the antioxidants in black rasberries reduced tumors by 60%. This study is on of the first to look at the connection between black rasberries and will be instrumental in motivating further research on the topic.

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Olive Oil Linked To Heart Disease & Cancer Prevention

Most people have heard that olive oil is good for human health, and many see it as a key reason that cultures that eat a “Mediterranean diet” have better health than most other cultures. A new study has just made these beliefs a little less speculative, and a little more factual.

The study was led by Mohamed Hammami from the University of Monastir, Tunisia and King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and a team of researchers. The study was published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism. “Olive oil is an integral ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. There is growing evidence that it may have great health benefits including the reduction in coronary heart disease risk, the prevention of some cancers and the modification of immune and inflammatory responses. Here, we’ve shown that extra virgin olive oil and its extracts protect against oxidative damage of hepatic tissue,” explained Mr. Hammami. In conclusion, Hammami stated, “The hydrophilic fraction of olive oil seems to be the effective one in reducing toxin-induced oxidative stress, indicating that hydrophilic extract may exert a direct antioxidant effect on hepatic cells. However, more detailed studies about the effect of antioxidant compounds separately and/or their interactions are necessary to substantiate these observations.”

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Medical Placebo Controversy

A study has just been published that looks into the mostly overlooked ingredients of placebo pills used in clinical trials and medical testing. The results are stirring controversy.

Researchers directed by the University of California Foundation Fund examined the data from several major medical journals for a two year period. The intent of the researchers investigation was to ascertain exactly how many medical studies list the ingredients of the placebo on average. “Most studies did not disclose the composition of the study placebo,” the study revealed. The researchers found that nearly 92% of the studies did not list their placebo ingredients. The danger of not knowing the ingredients of a medical study’s placebo are obvious. If the pharmaceutical company wants their new drug to yield benefits to the test subjects, they simply have to use placebo ingredients that adversely affect the condition that the new drug is supposed to mitigate. For a new drug to be considered a success it must simply be of more benefit to the test subjects than doing nothing, which is what the placebo is intended to represent. “Placebos were seldom described in randomized, controlled trials of pills or capsules. Because the nature of the placebo can influence trial outcomes, placebo formulation should be disclosed in reports of placebo-controlled trials,” concluded the research group.

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Study: Everyday Chemicals Harm Fish

Long standing theories about the effects of man made chemicals on wildlife have been validated by a new study on fish in the United Kingdom. A four year study, led by the universities of Brunel and Exeter, shows the resulting damage brought about by EDC’s (endocrine disrupting chemicals) on fish populations. EDC’s are found in everyday products like hand soap, plastic containers, birth control pills and hormone replacement drugs, among others.

Fish in the study were found to have their ability to reproduce diminished by nearly 80% due to exposure to the endrocrine disrupting chemicals. “Clearly this raises concerns about the implications on the future for wild fish populations living in UK rivers, but there’s also much wider issues raised by these findings. Some of the effects seen in fish could occur in other animals too as hormone systems are quite similar across all vertebrates,” said Charles Tyler, from the University of Exeter’s Biosciences department. “EDCs have been tentatively linked with human health impacts too, including, falling sperm counts and cardio-vascular disease. These findings remain more controversial,” Added Tyler. “In contrast, we have shown, unequivocally that environmental oestrogens alter sexual development in fish and now, through this study, that this can impact on their ability to breed”. “Fish still share many biological links with humans and the fact that their reproduction has the potential to be affected by EDCs is certainly a cause for concern. From a risk assessment point of view, these results are very significant,” concluded Tyler.

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Asthma Linked To Vitamin D Deficiency

Researchers have been looking for possible links between vitamin D and asthma for years. New research has just emerged that shows a strong connection between the two. The report was published in the online journal American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Results from the study showed that “after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, income, and treatment group, insufficient vitamin D status was associated with a higher odds of any hospitalization or emergency department visit.” We measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in sera collected from 1024 children with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma at the time of enrollment in a multicenter clinical trial of children randomized to receive budesonide, nedocromil, or placebo (as-needed β-agonists): the Childhood Asthma Management Program. Using multivariable modeling, we examined the relationship between baseline vitamin D levels and the odds of any hospitalization or emergency department visit over the 4 years of the trial,” continued the study’s authors. Studies linking asthma to deficiencies in vitamin D are not new, but each round of research paints a clearer picture of how the two are linked. At HEALTHandMED we carry a very popular product that many of our long time customers have found helpful in mitigating the issues surrounding asthma. The Himalayan Salt Air Inhaler has been found to be a useful tool for combating asthma when used either in conjunction with vitamin D or by itself.

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