Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Emotions have a direct connection to disease...

I have always believed that our emotions have a tremendous affect on our health and wellbeing and Emotional Medicine is a huge part of my practice and definitely my passion. I have personally experienced many shifts and changes in my health and life, once I have cleared emotional blockages.
I love this article from The truth about Cancer....it sheds light on the subject....
"The connection between the emotions and disease has been known for thousands of years in cultures all around the world. In the Bible, Proverbs 17:22-23 says: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acknowledges the “7 Emotions” that are thought to have a direct correspondence to disease states. And in Yogic traditions, the term samskara means the “subtle impressions of our past actions” and it is thought that these impressions can form into patterns that can affect health.
And now modern science is discovering in astonishing detail how certain emotions can have a direct effect on disease − and healing − in the body.

What Science Says about the Emotions

The profound effect that emotions have on health and lifespan can be evidenced by a groundbreaking series of 10-year-long studies published in the British journal Psychology and Psychotherapy in 1988. The study, which is just as relevant today, concluded that“emotional stress was more predictive of death from cancer or cardiovascular disease than from smoking.” It also found that individuals who were the most affected by stress had an overall death rate that was 40% higher than non-stressed participants.
So just how do emotions have such an effect on our bodies?
The term psychosomatic is normally associated with “imaginary illnesses.” In fact, the term simply relates to the physiological connections between mind and body. In modern scientific terms, this connection happens through tiny molecular structures called neuropeptides.
Peptides, a form of ligand, are tiny bits of protein that are produced throughout the body. They are found in hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, and insulin, for example, and are key elements for life. Neuropeptides pave the way between the brain (i.e. our emotions) and the body.
When a thought triggers an emotion, neuropeptides transmit those feelings through neuropathways and extracellular fluid. Eventually these peptides will connect with cellular receptors throughout the body where they will have an impact on the functioning of body systems at all levels.
The late Candace Pert, author of Molecules of Emotion and one of the pioneers of psychoneuroimmunology, states:
“…the chemicals that are running our body and our brain are the same chemicals that are involved in emotion.”

How Your Emotions Affect Your Body

Here are just a few ways in which specific emotions affect specific bodily functions:
  • A University of Arizona study found that expressing affectionate feelings towards your loved ones can lower cholesterol;
  • A study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology discovered that when subjects simply recalled the situation that had been the initial cause of stress, their blood pressure rates raised significantly. Another study at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that just the anticipation of laughter began to reduce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
  • A study at Loma Linda University in California found that when individuals laughed at a funny movie, the levels of beta-endorphins, responsible for mood elevation, rose as well. In addition, Human Growth Hormone, which aids in sleep and contributes to cellular repair, rose by 87%.

Emotional Clearing for Better Health

Clearing emotions and managing stress go hand in hand. Before you can truly clear emotions, you must learn how to manage stress in order get cortisol levels down. Remember, there is a direct and proven correlation between chronically high cortisol levels (i.e. chronic stress) and cancer.
When you are in a relatively calm internal space memories and feelings associated with stressful situations can rise to the surface in order to be dealt with and cleared. Here are four basic things you can do NOW to manage stress, lower cortisol levels, and clear stressful emotions so that true healing can occur:
  1. Reflect on what keeps you stressed in your life and DECIDE to make a change. Divorce, the death of a loved one, finances, even happy occasions like getting married can add to the stress factor. A major source of on-going stress for many Americans is work-related. An Oxford Health Plans study found that 1 in 5 Americans will go to work even if they are ill, injured, or seeing a doctor that day. Reflect on what is causing you stress right now. On a scale from one to ten, how would you rate this stress? Decide if you want this number to go down. Then make a commitment to yourself and your health by determining to make a positive change towards lower stress overall.
  2. Consider tried and true modalities to manage stress. Once you have decided to lower stress and clear emotions for health, decide on some modalities that will help you get there! Consider EFT Tapping, reflexology, tai chi, massage, chiropractic care, meditation, prayer, journaling, exercise, and eating healthier. These are all things you can do STARTING NOW to lower stress responses and add a little more self-care to your life. Remember that self-care equals emotional care! And you don’t have to do them all. Simply choose one or two modalities, then give it a try. Even taking 10 minutes on your lunch break for a leisurely stroll can sometimes do the trick.
  3. Don’t go it alone. Study after study has shown that those who have the support of a caring group of loved ones have a better chance of coming out of a cancer diagnosis than those who “go it alone.” And according to Lissa Rankin, MD, “Individuals who attend religious services regularly live 7.5 years longer than those who never or rarely attend religious gathering.” So whether it is a church group, a cancer support group, or a group of loving friends, make a list of who you want on your “Healing A-Team” and the get the help and support that you need!
  4. Don’t be afraid to “sit” with your emotions. As we begin to take a break from the “24/7 stress fest” and begin to make room for reflection and healing, it is natural for deeper issues, memories or events to rise to the surface. Emotions may come out of nowhere, and this is very normal. Practice sitting with emotions as they rise to the surface and always remember that no matter how bad you may feel, these emotions are coming up to be released. They won’t last forever. In fact, there is a good chance that you will feel better after the tears come and go! Studies have found that emotional tears contain high numbers of stress hormones and neurotransmitters, leading researchers to conclude that crying is one way that the body removes stress chemicals.
In a way, modern science is discovering what the ancients knew long ago: emotional clearing is part of living a healthy, vibrant life and a part of the healing process. The reward for doing the work of emotional clearing is good health all around." 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Eggs Linked to decreased Stroke...

Eggs Linked to Decreased Stroke, No Increase in CHD Risk

New research has reopened the debate on whether eggs are beneficial or harmful in terms of stroke or coronary heart disease (CHD) risk.
Combined results from a new meta-analysis of seven prospective cohort studies suggest that eating approximately one egg a day is associated with a 12% reduced risk for total stroke compared with eating fewer eggs. On the other hand, no significant associations between egg consumption and CHD risk were found.
Lead author Dominik D. Alexander, PhD, principal epidemiologist at EpidStat Institute, Seattle, Washington, noted that more research is now needed into understanding the underlying mechanisms of these associations. Although eggs contain antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, Dr Alexander told Medscape Medical News, "that's just one postulated mechanism" that needs to be explored further.
"Using our systematic approach, we were able to estimate the magnitude of the association among egg consumption and stroke and [CHD], but I would suggest that future research focus on intake levels. And we will then continually update the state of that type of science," he said.
"I'm not saying anything is a 'magic bullet'," he added. "I believe in a well-balanced diet and lifestyle. And, based on this study, I believe that consumption of eggs can fit into a well-balanced dietary pattern."
The findings are published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. (J Am Coll Nutr. 2016;35:704-716.)
When asked for comment, J. David Spence, MD, director of the Stroke Prevention and Atherosclerosis Research Center at Western University, London, Ontario, Canada, told Medscape Medical News he's skeptical of the results for several reasons, including that the study was partially funded by the Egg Nutrition Center.
"Eating egg yolks is not okay. Another problem with the studies in the review is one of reverse causality," said Dr Spence, who is not involved with the research but has been critical of egg consumption in the past.
"People who have bad arteries are warned by their doctors to stop eating eggs,” he said. "But to stop eating egg yolks after having a heart attack would be like stopping smoking after a lung cancer diagnosis."
The investigators note that eggs are a common source of dietary cholesterol, and that a single large egg contains about 186 mg of cholesterol. However, because it also contains such components as protein and essential fatty acids, it "should be evaluated based on total consumption rather than specific constituents, such as cholesterol," they write.
They add that although a possible link between dietary cholesterol and coronary outcomes "has been scrutinized for decades," recent reviews have downplayed the concerns.
In addition, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that "available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol" and "cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption," report the investigators.
They note that because of the publication of several newer studies, they wanted to conduct their own comprehensive and updated review "to estimate summary associations" between egg intake and cardiovascular outcomes.
"I specialize in systematic review methodology and putting the evidence together — synthesizing the data across studies to make an informed decision on a body of epidemiological literature," added Dr Alexander.
His investigative team searched the literature through August 2015 and included 17 prospective cohort studies in their "qualitative synthesis." The final count was 15 studies.
This included 7 studies, with 308,000 total adult participants, that assessed egg intake and stroke risk, and 7 studies, with 276,000 participants, which assessed egg intake and CHD risk. Although most studies were conducted in the United States, some took place in Japan, Australia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
"Real Time" Science?
Results showed that the summary relative risk estimate (SRRE) was 0.88 for stroke in those who ate 1 egg daily vs those who ate fewer than 2 eggs per week (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.81 - 0.97).
Although one study provided 50% of the relative weight in this analysis model, removing it still provided an SRRE for stroke of 0.87 (95% CI, 0.74 - 1.03). On the basis of 4 studies, the SRRE for fatal stroke was 0.78 (95% CI, 0.52 - 1.19).
Just eating up to 3.5 eggs per week was also associated with significant stroke reduction (SRRE, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.86 - 0.95).
However, the SRRE was a non–statistically significant 0.97 for total CHD (95% CI, 0.88 - 1.07). Although egg consumption didn't lower the risk for CHD, it also didn't increase the risk, note the investigators.
There were no "clear dose-response trends" found in either the meta-analyses or meta-regression analyses for CHD risk.
"Our findings are relatively consistent with 2 previous meta-analyses of egg consumption and CVD [cardiovascular disease], CHD, and stroke," write the researchers.
However, because data from cohort studies were used, "the validity of a meta-analysis is not immune to the limitations of data generated from observational research." In addition, there was no way to assess whether the participants with a higher egg intake engaged in favorable lifestyle habits that could have contributed to the favorable results.
"Still, we were able to advance the science," said Dr Alexander. That said, "I presume that more cohorts will have data and a new meta-analysis will be published on this topic area within the next couple of years," he added.
He acknowledged that egg consumption has been a controversial dietary area. "I think what we thought we knew isn't what we know now. It's an evolution of science. And I think clinicians should make informed decisions based on the science in real time."
The meta-analysis was supported in part by the Egg Nutrition Center. The study authors and Dr Spence have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. 
J Am Coll Nutr. 2016;35:704-716.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Curcumin: Miracle or Myth

Curcumin: Miracle or Myth?
01/23/2017 By Craig Weatherby with Jason Boehm

Ancient remedy is seen as a promising ally against diverse diseases; How credible are the claims? 

Unlike synthetic drugs, natural products are difficult to patent.

And it takes hundreds of millions of research dollars to gain FDA approval for a health claim.

The difficulty of obtaining patents and FDA approval explains why few dietary supplements are backed by robust — and extremely costly — clinical evidence.

Every so often, promising lab results on a natural product will prompt a university to spend money on a preliminary clinical trial.

Curcumin is one of the few supplements to have received even preliminary clinical study, and the results of those are very promising.

Those results probably would have been much more promising, except that most of the published studies were conducted using older, very poorly absorbed curcumin supplements.
What is curcumin?
Curcumin comes from turmeric, a tropical plant (Curcuma longa) that’s closely related to ginger and lemongrass.
Its bold color comes from three polyphenol-type antioxidants called curcuminoids, which — like the polyphenols in other colorful plant foods — possess beneficial properties.
All three of turmeric’s colorful antioxidant pigments are collectively referred to as “curcumin”.
Foods made with whole turmeric are a wonderfully tasty way to get curcumin, but turmeric only contains about five percent curcumin.
To enjoy curcumin’s full benefits, you’ll need to take it in supplement form. And as we’ll explain, not all curcumin supplements are created equal.

Curcumin’s rise to prominence
Harvard chemists discovered curcumin in turmeric in 1815, and its chemical structure was defined in 1910.
The first evidence of curcumin’s benefit for a human disease (cholecystitis) was published in 1937, and its ability to inhibit the growth of staphylococcus, salmonella, and tuberculosis was documented in 1949.
In the 1970s, scientists documented cholesterol-lowering, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties of curcumin.
And in the 1980s, research revealed that curcumin exerts anticancer effects in isolated cells and in animals.
Since then, curcumin has been studied in hundreds of cell and animal experiments, and its effects in humans have been probed in more than 70 preliminary clinical studies.
Antioxidant/antiinflammatory star 
Curcumin’s rise to prominence really began in 1995, when scientists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center discovered curcumin’s potent anti-inflammatory properties and related antioxidant effects.
Those scientists discovered that curcumin exerts strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects via its so-called “nutrigenomic” effects on our working genes.
Curcumin can also enhance the production of internally produced antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione.
Importantly, those particular genetic effects suggested that curcumin might offer exceptionally broad health benefits.
Curcumin’s health promise
Curcumin has probably been subjected to more clinical studies than any supplements other than vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fish oil.
However, as is the case with many supplements, few of these trials have been rigorous enough to permit statistically sound conclusions (i.e., randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and of sufficient size and duration).
And, as we'll explain, most — though not all — of the human studies published to date have used "raw" cucumin, which is very poorly absorbed. (See “Absorption problems muddy the evidence”, below)
That said, preliminary clinical trials testing the effects of curcumin in people have generally produced positive results.
The clinical results suggest that curcumin may improve inflammatory conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, arthritis, and various inflammatory bowel disorders.
Four years ago, scientists from the MD Anderson Cancer Center published the most extensive literature review to date.
They found substantial clinical evidence that curcumin benefited participants suffering from a variety of health conditions (Gupta SC et al. 2013):
As they wrote, “Some promising effects have been observed in patients with various pro-inflammatory diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, uveitis, ulcerative proctitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel disease, peptic ulcer, gastric ulcer, gastric inflammation, psoriasis, diabetes, renal conditions, AIDs, cholecystitis, hepatic conditions, and chronic bacterial prostatitis.”
To that long list we’d add these observations, including findings from clinical studies published since their 2013 evidence review:
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Lab and animal studies show that curcumin possesses neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing properties, which suggests that hypothetically, it should help prevent or ameliorate Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The few clinical trials conducted to date have not detected significant benefits from supplemental curcumin. However, as the researchers behind the negative studies emphasized, the curcumin used was unenhanced and very poorly absorbed, and some trials involved people with advanced disease, so the jury remains out.
  • Cancer. As MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers wrote in 2013, “… curcumin has exhibited activities against numerous cancer types in human clinical trials,” and as researchers from Italy’s University of Messina wrote earlier this year, “Curcumin is a promising molecule for the prevention and treatment of cancer.” More clinical studies are underway to determine whether curcumin — alone or with chemotherapy — can benefit people with common cancers.
  • Diabetes. Oxidative stress (free radicals) and inflammation play major roles in Type 2 diabetes and its cardiovascular complications. Laboratory and preliminary clinical evidence shows curcumin provides antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and glucose-lowering benefits that might help prevent or treat Type 2 diabetes.
  • Obesity. Low-grade chronic inflammation promotes weight gain, and vice versa, especially if you gain weight around the midsection. Curcumin can help regulate fat metabolism and mimic the anti-inflammatory benefits of caloric restriction. Experimental evidence suggests that curcumin may help people lose weight and reduce the severity of obesity-related diseases.
  • Osteoarthritis. Preliminary clinical evidence suggests that enhanced forms of curcumin may improve osteoarthritis symptoms.
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Two recent clinical studies from Iranian universities found that curcumin alleviated PMS symptoms, and identified the specific ways in which it probably produced those benefits.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)Researchers in one trial compared curcumin with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in 18 patients with RA. Two weeks of taking 1.2 grams of curcumin per day improved morning stiffness, walking time, and joint swelling as well as an NSAID. A more recent study among 45 RA patients found curcumin comparable to a commonly prescribed NSAID (diclofenac sodium) for reducing tenderness and joint swelling.
Absorption problems muddy the evidence
Curcumin in its "raw" state is very poorly absorbed.
As researchers put it a few years back, “The potential health benefits of curcumin are limited by its poor solubility, low absorption from the gut, rapid metabolism and rapid systemic elimination.”
Most of clinical trials published to date employed raw curcumin, so the true health potential of curcumin awaits full revelation.
Fortunately, the absorption problem has been overcome using several different approaches, but most methods of enhancing absorption make curcumin very costly.
The simplest — and most cost-effective way by far — to enhance absorption is to combine curcumin with turmeric’s own “volatile” compounds, which may also provide some health benefits.
When you compare the cost of various “enhanced” curcumin supplements, the only one that combines curcumin with turmeric’s volatile oils called Curcumin BCM-95 from Nutri-Dyn (catalog # P814) comes out on top.
(We hope that all clinical trials from now on will use enhanced forms of curcumin, which would provide a much fairer test of this extraordinary plant extract.)
In addition, curcumin is absorbed much better when it's consumed along with fats, either from foods, or from supplements such as fish oil, which also delivers beneficial omega-3s.
That’s why, for optimal absorption, it’s wise to take curcumin supplements with a meal that provides significant amounts of fat.
Curcumin dose and safety considerations
Human studies suggest that curcumin is generally safe, even at high doses.
Specifically, they’ve found curcumin safe at doses of up to 10-12 grams daily a day over periods of up to three months.
That said, curcumin can affect the efficacy or toxicity of pharmaceutical drugs that are either transported by P-glycoprotein (PCP) or are substrates of cytochrome-type enzymes, including some cancer chemotherapy drugs.

So if you’re taking prescription drugs, check with your doctor or integrative physician before taking curcumin.
Along with these precautions, we should note some myths about curcumin safety including false allegations that it promotes kidney stones and gallstones.
Although the oxalates in turmeric promote formation of kidney stones, these compounds are virtually absent from curcumin.
Curcumin actually prevents gallstone and kidney stone formation in rodents, in part by promoting contraction of the gallbladder. However, that contracting effect may worsen the symptoms of existing gallstones.

People with bile duct obstruction, gallstones, and GI disorders including stomach ulcers and hyperacidity disorders should not take curcumin without the guidance of a physician.
Likewise, a doctor should monitor anyone with ulcers or GI inflammation who uses curcumin.
Finally, although there are no specific contraindications for pregnancy — and some evidence that curcumin may promote a healthier pregnancy — it makes sense for a pregnant women to check with her physician.

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Toxic Chemicals is one-third of fast food packaging

Toxic Chemicals in One-Third of Fast Food Packaging

(Reuters Health) - Fast food isn't exactly known for its health benefits, but a new U.S. study suggests even the packaging may be harmful.

The study found one-third of fast food packaging contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) that give it stain-resistant, water-repellant and nonstick properties. But these fluorinated chemicals have also been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, hormone problems, high cholesterol, obesity and immune suppression in human and animal studies.

"Our study is the most comprehensive assessment of how common fluorinated chemicals are in fast food wrappers in the U.S., and which types of wrappers are most likely to contain them," said lead study author Laurel Schaider of the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts.

"We found that nearly half of paper wrappers, for instance wrappers for sandwiches and burgers and flat bags for cookies and pastries, contained fluorinated chemicals, and that around 20 percent of paperboard packaging, for instance boxes for French fries and fried foods, contained fluorinated chemicals," Schaider added by email.

PFASs aren't found naturally in the environment. These man-made chemicals have been used for decades in products ranging from food wrappers to clothing, nonstick cookware and fire-fighting foams. People may be exposed to PFASs from direct contact with these products, through the air they breathe, the food they eat and the water they drink.

For the study, Schaider and colleagues tested for PFASs in more than 400 samples of paper wrappers, paperboard and drink containers from 27 fast food chains across the U.S.

More than half of the tests were done on food contact paper, including 138 wrappers for sandwiches or burgers, 68 wrappers for dessert or bread and 42 wrappers for Tex-Mex foods.

Overall, 46 percent of paper wrappers tested positive for PFASs. This included 38 percent of sandwich and burger wrappers, 56 percent of bread or dessert wrappers and 57 percent of wrappers for Tex-Mex food, researchers report online February 1st in Environmental Science and Technology Letters.

Tests of 30 samples from paper cups didn't turn up any of these chemicals. But in tests of 25 other beverage containers, 16 percent did have PFASs.

Researchers also did more extensive testing on a subset of 20 samples to see what types of PFASs were in the food packaging. Six of these samples contained a type of PFASs called PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid, or C8) that many U.S. manufacturers voluntarily stopped using in 2011 due to concerns about the potential health risks.

One limitation of the study is that researchers were unable to assess how often people came into contact with these chemicals in food packaging, the authors note.

Still, the results show that even chemicals being phased out due to health concerns are still widely used, said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an environmental medicine researcher at New York University School of Medicine who wasn't involved in the study.

"This study reinforces the reality that these chemicals are highly persistent in the environment, and may find their ways into people's bodies for years after they are no longer intentionally added," Trasande said by email.

"This study adds to concerns about chemicals that contaminate highly processed or packaged foods, potentially magnifying health effects above and beyond the effects that may result from their high-fat or high-sugar content," Trasande added.

Avoiding fast food is one way to limit exposure.

Serving food in wax paper instead of grease-resistant wrappers typically used in food packaging might also reduce contact with the chemicals, Trasande said.

Diners can also limit exposure by avoiding oily food, high-temperature food and taking food out of wrappers right away so it has less contact time with any chemicals, said Xindi Hu, an environmental health researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston who wasn't involved in the study.

Whenever possible, customers should avoid disposable packaging, Hu added by email.

"If they are dining in, then it is not necessary to use paper plates," Hu said. "Some restaurants do not provide regular dishes for logistical reasons, but from the perspective of reducing exposure to chemicals in food packaging, it is actually encouraged that restaurants use more regular dishes."

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2jw5p4s

Environ Sci Technol Lett 2017.