Link Between Sickness And Thyroid ?

It’s time to learn more about thyroid disease according to experts. Even when a patient has all the classic symptoms of a thyroid problem, doctors often still make the wrong diagnosis, an experience that’s far too common for comfort according to the Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). The organization estimates that 30 million American have some form of thyroid condition, but more than half of these remain undiagnosed.

Another key number… the American Thyroid Association estimates that one in four residents in nursing homes have hypothyroidism that’s undiagnosed but is contributing to loss of memory and declines in thinking.

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped organ found at the base of your neck, just below the Adam’s apple. It’s not large in size, but the impact of this organ on the body is impressive – from weight to mood, to heart rate and energy level. Think of it as the engine that sets the pace for the body to operate – your thyroid makes enough hormones to prompt your cells to do certain functions at certain rates. The “gas” for the engine is the iodine that comes from your diet and in extracted from the bloodstream by the thyroid gland.

Women (especially those over 50) are 7 to 10 times more likely to have hypothyroidism, where the gland isn’t producing enough thyroid hormones. The symptoms of this condition can be vague and develop over time so they can escape notice for a bit. Often they mimic things most of us associate with getting older – hair and skin changes, forgetfulness, constipation, trouble dealing with cold. Sore muscles and lack of energy are all easily blamed on increasing years.

The other extreme, an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), features symptoms that are far easier to spot. Weight loss, even though you’re not trying, anxiety, sensitivity to heat, and an accelerated or irregular heart rate are all clues that your thyroid might be producing more hormones than your body can use.

Though you’ve often heard otherwise, experts agree that weight gain can’t always be blamed on a thyroid problem. Eating too much junk food and not exercising enough are not the symptoms of a thyroid disorder; they are the symptoms of an unhealthy lifestyle. Thyroid induced weight gain is typically 10 to 20 pounds; hardly the same as carrying around a well settled 300 pounds.

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Link Between Sickness And Thyroid ? Continued…

Thyroid problems aren’t an easy fix, even once you have the correct diagnosis. Hormone levels can sometimes fall in the borderline/normal range, making even the decision to treat controversial… a judgment call on the part of your doctor. Hormone replacement drugs are tricky in terms of dosing, usually needing to be fine-tuned and regularly monitored so that you don’t take too much, or too little. You’ll be taking the same dose of the same medication at the same time each and every day. It’s not an easy balancing act to maintain, but with care and effort it certainly can be done and will help to restore proper function to your body.

If you’re a woman over 50, talk to your doctor about screening for thyroid function as this is part of a rather simple blood test (for thyroid stimulating hormone, TSH and thyroid antibodies), one you’d likely be having anyway. Repeat the screenings every year or two as you get older. Because thyroid disease is less common in men, they can wait to get screened until age 65 or earlier if they develop a symptom or have other risk factors.

To your good health,

The 3 Steps to Protect Yourself From Phthalates And Bisphenol

Some chemicals are good… others, not so much. We’ve seen bisphenol A, also known as BPA, be removed from many things, water bottles, baby products and food containers, in recent years. Phthalates, another dangerous chemical, are no longer part of personal care items like shampoo or lotion. Both substances have been identified as synthetic endocrine disrupters. Earlier work has linked prenatal exposure to phthalates to problems with the male reproductive system. Fetal exposures to BPA have been associated to hyperactivity, depression and anxiety in girls.

Recognizing the danger and taking steps to eliminate it may not be enough. According to recent research appearing in the Nature Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, we may all be exposed to these two harmful chemicals from what we eat… even if foods are organically grown, prepared, stored or cooked in non plastic containers. Those most at risk are children.

To conduct the work the team of researchers compared the exposure to chemicals of ten families, half who got written instructions on how to reduce both phthalate and BPA exposure developed by the national Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units. For five days the other subject families were supplied with a diet of local, fresh, organic catered food that wasn’t prepared, cooked or stored in containers made from plastics.

When the team tested the urinary concentrations for the metabolites of the two chemicals they found something quite remarkable. While they had expected the levels of metabolites to go down in those getting the catered foods, the opposite happened. The concentration for phthalates was 100 fold higher than the levels seen in the general population (from figures from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, NHANES). The concentrations were also higher for children than adults.

When the researchers tested the phthalate concentration in the organic foods they found concentrations well above acceptable limits. Dairy and spices both had more than their share of worrisome chemicals, substances you’d not expect to find.

It appears that the things experts currently suggest may not be enough to bring down exposures to potentially dangerous chemicals according to Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana who is the study lead author as well as an environmental health pediatrician at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Even when we try, it’s hard to control exposure to these troubling chemicals as we have little control over what’s in our food, even, it seems, if we buy organic and cook smart.

Using the study results, the team estimates that the average 3 to 6 year old child was exposed to 183 milligrams per kilogram of body weight each and every day. In case you’re wondering, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommended limit is 20 mg/kg per day. To limit your exposure, or that of your children, here are some steps to take that are a start.

Continues below…


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The Biggest Loser’s Twins Proven Weight Loss Techniques

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The 3 Steps to Protect Yourself From Phthalates And Bisphenol Continued…

1. Eat less processed foods; even though this study used organics, we know food processing involves these chemicals, or ones like them as yet unchecked, being part of the mix.

2. Airflow is important because indoor air tends to have higher loads of dangerous chemicals (from products and construction materials) than does the fresher air outside.

3. Be an informed shopper as many products are now free of the dangerous chemicals, but not all. You should still wash everything you buy, under warm water with soap, before your family (especially children) uses it. Also if you don’t see the chemical name, but you see “fragrance” steer clear, as this may contain some of these substances.

To your good health,

5 Things To Know About Olive Oil…

You’ve heard time and time again about the benefits of extra virgin olive oil. We know that it naturally has lots of monounsaturated fats that are good for your heart, lower cholesterol levels and control levels of insulin… all impressive benefits to your body.

Only recently researchers have found that sticking to a Mediterranean style eating plan (one that’s heavy in olive oil) can help bring down some heart health risks. Taking in more than 4 tablespoons a day can significantly lower your risk of dangerous heart attack, suffering a devastating stroke or even losing your life to heart disease. The findings on the benefits of this eating plan appear in a study just published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

Here are five things you probably didn’t know about this staple of the Mediterranean diet…

1. Good for your heart, and more. Olive oil is naturally full of polyphenols, a kind of antioxidant that helps to protect body cells from damage, while also being known to have anti-inflammatory properties. They may help both your bones and digestive health, and researchers are investigating if they help cognitive function and your memory.

2. Your oil may not be “extra virgin” as the U.S. doesn’t have regulations about what type of olive oil can be labeled this way. Low quality oils and artificial coloring can be passed off as the good-for-you kind of oil to an unsuspecting public. Virgin means oil that is made with physical processes, not chemical means. Tainted oil isn’t giving you the benefits you think you’re getting.

3. How you store olive oil matters. Look for olive oil that comes in a bottle of dark green glass or another packaging method that protects it from the light. Heat and light can damage the oil by allowing oxidation, which alters the beneficial chemical components. Store your olive oil in a room temperature cupboard or in the fridge. The bottle in your cupboards will last about a year.

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The “secret” to losing belly fat…

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-> You should eat plenty of whole grains to stay healthy and lean
-> Losing fat is a slow & steady process

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5 Things To Know About Olive Oil Continued…

4. American buy a lot of olive oil, making it one of the fastest growing industries the world over. Spain and Italy top the list of producers and consumers, American’s appear to have jumped on the bandwagon in full measure and rank third on the list of the largest olive oil consumers.

5. You don’t have to eat olive oil to benefit, as beauty products made from this oil are a multibillion-dollar business. It’s a beauty secret proponents say, as the antioxidants in the oil may help protect your skin cells from damage. You’ll find it in skin moisturizers and nail care items. You can make these items yourself to save money.

As you’ve seen, olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) and they do many good things for the body. These beneficial fats are also a natural part of foods like avocados, olives, nuts (almonds cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias and pecans) and some types of fatty fish. These foods also tend to have lots of calories, so you can’t go overboard eating them. So as always, enjoy in moderation.

To your good health,

Stress Management To Prevent Chronic Pain

If you’re dealing with chronic pain, your search for relief probably seems endless, perhaps hopeless. You doctor will tell you that being anxious or stressed can make pain worse, and set in motion a vicious cycle as the pain causes more anxiety and stress. It seems that avoiding the affects of stress might play an important part in managing pain according to work that appears in the journal Brain. This finding is particularly important for those with a smaller than typical hippocampus as these people seem to be more vulnerable to the effects of stress than the rest of us.

The research by Dr. Pierre Rainville, Ph.D. of the Research Centre of the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM) and his team included 16 subjects who had chronic back pain and a control group of 16 healthy participants. The team was looking for relationships between 1) cortisol levels, 2) assessment of clinical pain reported by subjects before their brain scan, 3) hippocampus volumes measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 4) brain activations using functional MRI that followed thermal pain stimulation. The subjects with chronic pain generally had higher cortisol levels than healthy people.

Cortisol is a hormone that’s made by the adrenal glands (sometimes known as the stress hormone) and the study shows that having a small hippocampus volume is linked to higher cortisol levels. This makes you more vulnerable to pain and having that pain become chronic.

Looking more closely at the data, the team saw that those with a smaller hippocampus had higher cortisol levels and stronger reactions to acute pain in a part of the brain involved with anticipatory anxiety that relates to pain. The response of the brain to the pain during the scan reflected, in part, the intensity of the patient’s current pain levels. This supports the idea that those with a smaller hippocampus end up with a stronger response to stress, and this in turn increases their pain and the risk of having that pain become chronic.

The research sheds more light onto the neurobiological mechanisms involved in stress and pain. No matter the reason, pain is often associated with high levels of stress, and there is value to be found in managing stress to help in treatments for those who are dealing with pain that lasts. Add stress management to your medical treatment plan by talking with a counselor, using relaxation techniques or practicing meditation.

Stress management won’t take away the pain, but it will help you get it under your control, help muscles release, while both breathing and heart rate slow down. When you relax, the mind slows and focuses on other things… becoming distracted from pain sensations so that they drop into the background.

Here are some simple stress management techniques to try…

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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

Ever lain awake at night and counted the hours till dawn? Isn’t frustrating to be in bed and be unable to sleep?

With around 18 million prescriptions written every year for expensive sleeping pills…

…it’s clear that there’s a national epidemic.

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Stress Management To Prevent Chronic Pain Continued…


Breathe deeply, inhale and hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale. Do this at least three times in a row while you close your eyes and focus only on the sound of your breath.

” Distract yourself by bringing to mind an image that is peaceful and relaxing. Imagine doing something you enjoy that’s calming, like taking a bath, walking along the beach, resting in a hammock or just relaxing in a peaceful garden… visualize this place as vividly as possible with all sights, sounds, smells you can and take yourself there any time you need to escape.

” Sing or listen to music you find pleasant. Singing helps release tension.

” Walk away as taking a little break from a tense environment can be all you need to ease the tension building in you. Grab a water, or get some fresh air. Count to ten before you go back inside.

If these aren’t enough, you might want to look into more regular stress management techniques like practicing yoga, getting a massage, daily mediation or just schedule some down time for yourself, doing something you enjoy.

To your good health,

Should We Take Vitamin Supplements ?

Ever wonder about taking a supplement? You’ve been told to take that calcium supplement to help protect against osteoporosis, and yet the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has examined many studies and finds that regular doses of vitamin D (400 IU) and calcium (1,000 milligrams) doesn’t appear to prevent fractures in women after menopause who have healthy bones. What’s more, taking these supplements may raise the risk of kidney stones.

The new recommendations don’t apply to the 30% of women who have osteoporosis. They also don’t apply to anyone with low vitamin D levels or who is prone to falls. There wasn’t enough evidence to say if supplements would be helpful to men or younger women.

The findings on calcium come on the heels of two recent studies that found men and women who had high calcium levels due to supplements were more likely to die of heart disease then those who got their calcium from diet alone or who got less calcium overall. This makes calcium the latest supplement to struggle a bit when under scientific examination as other work has questioned the benefits of supplements everyone seems to be taking, things like fish oil and beta-carotene.

There’s ample research that eating fish that’s naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids brings down the risk of heart attack and stroke. The evidence on fish oil supplements is rather mixed. A large review published in 2012 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those taking fish oil pills didn’t have lower rates of stroke, heart attack or death compared to those who took a placebo.

Natural sources of beta-carotene include leafy greens as well as orange/yellow veggies have been associated with a lower risk of cancer and heart disease; but the supplements don’t give these benefits to healthy adults and actually raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers and those exposed to asbestos.

So should you stop taking supplements altogether?

The experts are divided, and continue to suggest that some people take supplements, depending upon individual nutritional needs. It may be that the risks appearing in the latest batch of studies don’t apply to everyone. Certainly women planning a pregnancy should be getting at least 400 micrograms of folic acid from either fortified foods or supplements. This nutrient has been conclusively shown to prevent birth defects of the spine and brain, as well as reduce the risks of autism.

Supporting the connection between folic acid and autism is some research in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found women who started taking folic acid at least a month before conception and continued for the first 8 weeks of the pregnancy had a 40% lower risk of having an autistic child than those who didn’t take folic acid. That’s important news.

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For the first time ever…

Bill and Jim Germanakos (The Weight Loss Twins) are publicly revealing the secrets of their fat burning techniques…

Which allowed them to shoot past the competition and win The Biggest Loser, Season 4!

Between them they lost 350lbs, and learnt how to boost their metabolism and burn fat even while they slept

Click Through Now To Discover The Exact Fat Loss Program they Used to Lose 10 Pounds Every 14 Days!
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Should We Take Vitamin Supplements ? Continued…

There’s also a case to be made for vitamin B12, known to help your body make red blood cells, as well as assisting nerve and brain function are a natural part of the protein in animal products. Young adults usually get enough of this nutrient by eating meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk and fortified cereals; while older people lose the natural ability to separate B12 from protein, which can bring on a deficiency. The Institute of Medicine suggests hat adults over 50 take B12 supplements, as they are easier to absorb.

In all the talk about supplements versus natural food sources, there are two messages people need to get, loud and clear, says Carol Haggans, a registered dietitian who stays current on the latest research for the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health.

1. Whole foods top pills just about every time. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing when she puts foods together, and the combinations and biologically active compounds have consistently shown themselves to be better for the body.

2. More isn’t better, that is, taking individual supplements at higher doses than recommended can get you into trouble, cause uncomfortable side effects and unintended harmful consequences to the body.

To your good health,

Mediterranean Diet Best For Diabetes

What diet plan might be best for helping with weight loss and improving blood sugar control for diabetes? It’s a question many have asked but until now the answer hasn’t been all that clear. In a review of evidence from the last decade appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition researchers have found that diets without lots of meat, but rich in good fats (think olive oil) were most effective in helping with weight loss as well as bringing down blood sugar among subjects who had diabetes. Benefits to blood sugar, but not weight, also came from eating plans low in carbs, high in protein and low in simple sugars.

Over 24 million Americans are living with type 2 diabetes today. This is a disease where the body can’t store glucose in the cells efficiently and thus blood sugar levels can rise to dangerous levels. Untreated there can be some rather unpleasant complications to your eyes, your feet, and even your skin from the disease.

The review included 20 studies that compared the effectiveness of seven popular diet plans for adults with type 2 diabetes and was conducted by Dr. Olubukola Ajala, a diabetes specialist at Western Sussex Hospitals in the UK. Mediterranean diets, low carb diets, high protein diets and low glycemic index diets all worked well to bring down the study subjects blood sugar levels.

After sticking to the eating plan for at least 6 months, those following a Mediterranean diet also lost, on average, 4 pounds, while none of the other eating plans brought this kind of impact on weight. The researchers had expected low-carb diets to be the best for weight loss, but the Mediterranean diet outperformed.

You’ve heard about this eating plan before. It emphasizes fruits, veggies and legumes, as well as whole grains, fish and using olive oil and herbs instead of butter and salt in cooking. Saturated fats from red meat and dairy are usually less than 8% of total calories for those who eat this way. What’s more, there’s lots of research on the Mediterranean diet, linking it to lower risks of cancer, death from heart attack, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

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Are Your Genetics Keeping You Fat? (1 tip to change fast)

Ever heard the excuse “I’m overweight because of my genetics”?

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Mediterranean Diet Best For Diabetes Continued…

Other diets that might hold promise in terms of blood sugar control include vegetarian, vegan and high fiber diets, though there was no evidence from the latest review that they aided in weight loss.

Another health benefit identified in the review? In terms of cholesterol numbers, the low carb, low glycemic index and the Mediterranean diets all brought increases in good cholesterol (from 4-10%) and sent triglycerides down by as much as 9%. That’s good news for the heart, which is great news for the rest of the body.

When it comes to eating to manage diabetes, patients need to find an eating plan that focuses on quality nutrients served in moderately sized portions that’s sustainable over the long haul. This might explain why the Mediterranean diet was so successful here -this is a way of eating that people can stick with, one that’s easier to manage day in, day out than more restrictive diets.

To your good health,

Using Your Brain To Slow Aging

Everyone agrees that aging is not well understood, though there are lots of opinions out there, often stated as fact. There are many theories, some very intriguing, but few facts to back them. In California ads that promote brain training (or brain workouts) are touted as a way to reverse the effects of aging. Can there be something to this?

One approach to counter the affects of aging on the brain is advanced by Dr. Daniel Amen, a well-known California based psychiatrist who says that his brain scanning programme can spot a problem that would keep you from living longer, looking younger. He is the author of a book entitled Use Your Brain To Change Your Age, and believes that the brain starts deteriorating years before you see a symptom. The program includes blood tests, cognitive exams, exploration of family history and a brain scan called a Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) that shows how blood flows in the brain. Patients end up with a three dimensional image where areas of low blood flow are shown as holes on the brain surface. From this recommendations can be made for lifestyle changes to improve things, to have your feeling better, sleeping better.

As you might expect, there are experts who find little value to the SPECT scans. Dr. Helen Mayberg, a professor of psychiatry, neurology and radiology at Emory University in Georgia is one of those. While she admits Dr. Amen is an engaging speaker, the advice he gives is simple good common sense that resonates because it echoes our general sensibilities. As to the SPECT scans, there’s just no evidence that these types of procedures can be used to do general screenings to confirm health or highlight potential illness. They act as a prop, adding a level of science gloss to the process.

No matter how you feel about what Dr. Amen does, it’s hard to ignore the idea that the more you use the brain, the stronger, more adaptive and more resilient it will be, no matter what your age. A brain workout can be as simple and fun as doing a crossword puzzle or remembering bits of trivia, to the more practical keeping track of phone numbers or email addresses. The lingering question is; can such techniques help a mind stay young, or impact an age related memory condition like Alzheimer’s disease? Debate continues, with lots of promising theories but little data to back them.

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The Biggest Loser’s Twins Proven Weight Loss Techniques

For the first time ever…

Bill and Jim Germanakos (The Weight Loss Twins) are publicly revealing the secrets of their fat burning techniques…

Which allowed them to shoot past the competition and win The Biggest Loser, Season 4!

Between them they lost 350lbs, and learnt how to boost their metabolism and burn fat even while they slept

Click Through Now To Discover The Exact Fat Loss Program they Used to Lose 10 Pounds Every 14 Days!
*Disclosure: compensated affiliate*


Using Your Brain To Slow Aging Continued…

Experts do agree that memory problems are not a normal part of aging, even at 70, so if you’re starting to forget, your brain is starting to struggle. Those who’ve had one of the SPECT scans say seeing your brain can prompt you to make those healthy lifestyle changes you’d been putting off. Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, avoiding overindulging… all these will have you feeling better, and can only be beneficial for your brain as well.

Certainly there’s no shortage of opinions on aging and the brain; nor has this area been well studied. It’s important to understand there are wide variations in brain health among different people of the same age, and discoveries in the lab often don’t translate to the real world. What’s more, there are positives in the aging brain, improvements in creativity, having a greater capacity for empathy and being better able to find patterns and see the “big picture” are all benefits that only come with the years.

To your good health,

How Zinc Fights Infection

Many of you have probably tried a zinc cold lozenge in hopes of fighting off a cold, and now a new bit of research in the journal Cell Reports may explain how this essential, relatively simple mineral might work. The study, led by Daren Knoell who is a professor of pharmacy and internal medicine at Ohio Statue University uncovered just how zinc works to balance the immune systems response to infection, tapping the brakes (so to speak) to prevent out of control inflammation.

On the cellular level zinc stops the activity of a protein that plays a key role in our natural immune response to infection. It acts to keep inflammation in check, inflammation that can be damaging, even deadly.

Surprisingly, a deficiency of zinc affects almost 2 billion people the world over, and this figure includes about 40% of the elderly in the United States. The lack of this mineral can have some unpleasant consequences for vulnerable people, or at the time of an infection could be very serious according to the researchers. If you don’t have enough zinc your immune system is amplified, and not in a good way.

After looking at animal studies and human cell cultures of those with sepsis (a dangerous systemic response to infection), Knoell and his team saw that a specific protein draws zinc into key infection fighting cells, first responders in the fight against infection. Here it balances the immune response. This is the first time this pathway has been studied. In earlier work in animals, Knoell found that mice deficient in zinc developed significant inflammation in response to sepsis than did the mice fed a normal diet.

Continues below…


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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

Ever lain awake at night and counted the hours till dawn? Isn’t frustrating to be in bed and be unable to sleep?

With around 18 million prescriptions written every year for expensive sleeping pills…

…it’s clear that there’s a national epidemic.

So, what do doctors do when they can’t sleep?

Here’s the answer.

Learn how a retired M.D. Laney Chouest from New Orleans broke his 5-year addiction to Ambien, and now sleeps peacefully without medication.

Also, discover how a Licensed Psychologist, Sharon Stein McNamara, Ed.D.fromMinnesota broke her insomnia cycle.

Click through today to discover the 7 mistakes that are killing your sleep, and how overcome them…
*Disclosure: compensated affiliate*


How Zinc Fights Infection Continued…

This might explain why taking zinc supplements at the beginning of a cold seems to ease your symptoms. In the future, there may be therapeutic benefit to giving zinc supplements to some patients with certain conditions. But no one is saying that if very ill patients in hospital ICS’s, where sepsis can be life threatening, would benefit from supplements of zinc. Not all patients might need them, perhaps only a portion.

The team also believes that the findings are applicable to other diseases and will continue to study this pathway, inflammation and zinc deficiency. Without enough zinc to start with, perhaps people are more likely to pick up an infection.

Most healthy adults should be getting from 8 (for women) to 11 (for men) milligrams of zinc each day. The U.S. National Institutes of Health tells us that natural sources of zinc include red meat and poultry. Other rich sources of zinc include nuts, beans, some shellfish (oysters, crab, lobster), whole grains, dairy products and fortified cereals. It’s also available as an affordable, easy to take dietary supplement.

If you’re looking for ways to help your immune system, living a healthy lifestyle is one of the best. This includes getting regular exercise (20 minutes with your heart rate up, three times a week), eating more natural sources of antioxidants (besides zinc, vitamin C, and E and beta carotene), being sure you’re getting enough sleep as fatigue increases your susceptibility to illness. Rounding out the list, manage your stress levels as cutting stress brings down levels of cortisol and helps you sleep better. Perhaps most fun of all… laugh as this brings down the levels of stress hormones and increases a type of white blood cell that fights infection.

To your good health,

Cutting Salt May Save Half A Million Lives

The number is impressive. As many as 500,000 American lives could be saved if we ate just a little bit less salt each day according to new research appearing in the journal of the American Heart Association, Hypertension. The study found that a slow decrease in the consumption of salt over a ten year period, ending up as a 40% reduction from where intake is today, would cut the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and prolong the lives of from 280,000 to 500,000 people. The study operated under the assumption that daily salt intake was lowered to 2,200 milligrams; most Americans take in 3,600 milligrams of sodium each day, more than double the recommended amount.

The study results clearly demonstrate the value of cutting the consumption of sodium according to Michael Jacobson who is executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a well-known consumer watchdog group. What makes this work so important is that there were three groups of researchers, each using different models and approaches to their computer simulations, who all came to the very same conclusion.

Cutting sodium intake prolongs health, saves lives.

The recommended amount of sodium intake – 1,500 milligrams a day – according to figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is far lower than the typical intake of 3,600 milligrams of sodium most of us get each day. Those who need to be especially careful about their sodium intake are people with high blood pressure, a condition that most of us have by the time we reach our later years.

The good news if you’re into flavor (and who isn’t?) is that you don’t have to remove the saltshaker from every table in America to achieve sodium reductions. Food makes need to reduce the amount of salt they are putting in the commercially prepared or pre-packaged foods sold in stores. These foods are the source of 80% of our sodium intake.

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Cutting Salt May Save Half A Million Lives Continued…

Working with the industry is key according to the study lead author Kirstin Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D. who is an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California at San Francisco. Yet there seems little chance of that as industry spokesperson Morton Satin, science and research director at the Salt Institute, blasted the research as too narrow. He feels that too much focus over the last 30 years has been on high blood pressure, as if there were no other serious disease. Plus a low salt intake can be trouble for those with diabetes and some other conditions. He claims that the industry sells more salt during a winter snowstorm than they do to food makers the whole year through.

It’s certainly true that a healthy body does need a balance of sodium and water so that body systems work properly. Too much of either salt or water and you upset the balance. Too much salt causes your body to hold onto water, and this puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels. In some this becomes or raises existing high blood pressure

Yet, look at what’s on supermarket shelves and you’ll quickly see that the U.S. food supply doesn’t make it easy to choose lower salt products so that we might get close to those recommended intake levels. We need more low salt options. We need to be more aware. In the meantime, reading labels, and taking care as you prepare foods are your best options for getting your intake to where it should be.

To your good health,

Does Nutrition Impact On Sleep?

Eating and sleeping may well be connected, though till now there’s been little science to back the idea. Now a new study appearing online ahead of print in the journal Appetite finds that what you’re eating might affect how well you sleep. The team of researchers saw that some nutrients play a part in the duration of sleep, and that subjects who ate a wide mix of foods (what’s considered a healthy diet) had the most healthy sleep patterns as well.

We know that most Americans take in too many calories and not enough of the vital nutrients the body needs to stay healthy. Our diets are very typically low in fruits, veggies and whole grains, while being loaded with bad-for-you saturated fats, salt and sugar. It’s what has more of us than ever falling into the overweight, or even obese category, putting many at risk for dangerous, life altering chronic diseases.

Sleep, so vital to life and functioning, is getting more attention than ever, as experts begin to see the value it has, just like nutrition and exercise, to our overall health and well being. As a rule, those who get from 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night report they are in better health both physically and mentally. So the researchers, including Michael Grandner who is an instructor in psychiatry as well as a member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, wondered if there were differences in the diet of those who sleep for shorter or longer periods, or follow a more standard pattern. Grandner and his team used data from the 2007-2008 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

They saw that short sleepers (5-6 hours/night) ate the most calories; followed by the normal (7-8 hours/night) sleepers, very short sleepers (under 5 hours/night) and long sleepers (9+ hours/night). When it came to eating a varied diet, normal sleepers did best, and short sleepers ate the least varied diet.

Continues below…


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Does Nutrition Impact On Sleep? Continued…

In fact, very short sleep was associated with a lower intake of a substance known as lycopene, a chemical that’s naturally part of red and orange colored foods, as well as total carbs and tap water. Short sleep was linked to lower intake of vitamin C, tap water, selenium (a mineral in nuts, meat, shellfish) as well as higher levels of the nutrients known as lutein and zeaxanthin, found in leafy greens. Long sleep was associated with a lower intake of a chemical known as theobromine that’s in chocolate and tea, a saturated fat known as dodecanoic acid, choline (in eggs and fatty meats), total carbs and a higher intake of alcohol.

The take home message? Those who sleep for the typical 7 to 8 hours a night differ in terms of what they eat compared to those who sleep less or who sleep more. Short and long sleep are associated with less variety of foods in the diet. What no one knows, yet, is if someone changed their diet, would this impact their sleep? Surely a key area to investigate moving forward, especially since short sleep is linked with poor health conditions like weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

But those who sleep too long also experience some negative consequences to their health.

If science could come up with the ideal mix of naturally occurring nutrients and number of calories to ensure healthy sleep, doctors everywhere would have a powerful weapon against obesity and some other major health issues. And patients would find themselves feeling better, sleeping better in no time.

To your good health,