Tag Archives: daylight savings time

Fetal Exposure to Pollutants Produces Childhood Obesity

Fetal Exposure to Pollutants Produces Childhood Obesity

Have you ever wondered why some infants seem to be naturally heavier than others, even though they may not necessarily be eating more? New research is confirming this may have something to do with a baby’s exposure to certain pollutants within the womb.

Research from Spain’s Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology has confirmed that exposure to certain environmental pollutants in the womb produces a greater incidence of obesity and rapid growth among infants and children.

In the most recent study, the researchers followed over 4,600 infants between 2003 and 2008 who were between the age of six months and fourteen months. Within this population they identified 1,285 children who had experienced rapid growth during their first year and 1,198 overweight babies by the time they were 14 months of age.

During the last trimester of pregnancy the mothers’ blood was collected and analyzed for a number of pollutants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB).

The researchers then collected data relating to the body mass index of each child – measuring that at six months and then again at 14 months.

The researchers found that DDE and HCB were both associated with rapid growth among the infants as well as being overweight at fourteen months.

The researchers concluded:

“Prenatal exposure to DDE and HCB may be associated with early postnatal growth. Further research is needed to evaluate the persistence of these associations at older ages.”

Other research finds similar results for older children

This study confirms an earlier study done by some of the same researchers. This study, however, focused upon children who were older – with an average age of 6.5 years.

This study followed 344 Spanish children between 1997 and 1998, comparing their body mass index at 6.5 years old with their exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and/or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) within the womb.

This study again found that the incidence of obesity among the children was significantly higher for those with higher exposures to PCBs and DDE. The increased obesity rate among th

Will Resveratrol Really Prevent Aging?

Will Resveratrol Really Prevent Aging?

Will Resveratrol Really Prevent Aging?

It’s almost impossible to avoid those internet ads urging you to buy resveratrol.  They claim it’s the fountain of youth in supplement form. News stories tout resveratrol as a cure for various diseases as well as a preventative against aging. Is it true or just hype?

Researchers from the University of Florida reviewed the available research and concluded that it may be some of each. Study authors say that the polyphenol compound known as resveratrol may not prevent old age, but it might make it more tolerable.

While acknowledging the search for an anti-aging cure in a pill, the researchers admitted that it doesn’t exist. But they did find that resveratrol may lessen many of the “scourges and infirmities of old age.”

Reviewing the body of human clinical research on resveratrol, they found it has “anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.”  But the authors admitted that more research is needed to determine its specific benefits.

The study, which appeared online in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, also examined results from thousands of laboratory studies with enzymes, cultured cells and laboratory animals.

The researchers found that despite numerous clinical studies on resveratrol’s beneficial effects on animals, there is little evidence that it benefits human health.  That’s because there haven’t been as many studies on humans.

Resveratrol is a chemical compound found in certain plants that acts as an antibiotic to fight off both bacteria and fungus.

Although red wine is the best known dietary source of resveratrol, it is also found in raspberries, mulberries, blueberries, and cranberries. Few people realize that resveratrol is also found in peanuts, pine trees and in Japanese knotweed, from which most resveratrol supplements are derived.

Scientists began exploring the potential health benefits of resveratrol in 1992 when it was first found in red wine.  It was thought to be a possible explanation of the “French Paradox,” or the observation that the French eat a high saturated fat diet and drink red wine, but do not suffer the same rates of heart disease as Americans.

Others disagree, attributing the cardiac health of the French to the very saturated fats that Americans fear. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, saturated fat has never really been proven to be linked to heart disease, despite the government’s consistent vilification of animal fats.

We do know that resveratrol acts as a powerful antioxidant. Oxidation causes cells to lose electrons and form “free radicals” that can cause cell damage.  That in turn leads to various diseases.

Resveratrol and Breast Cancer

Various clinical trials have indicated that as a polyphenol – an antibiotic substance produced by plants as a defense against microorganisms – resveratrol prevents the growth of some cancers in mice.

A team of American and Italian scientists have suggested that this “healthy” ingredient in red wine also stops breast cancer cells from growing by blocking the growth effects of estrogen.

In a study published in The FASEB Journal, researchers found that resveratrol inhibits the proliferation of hormone resistant breast cancer cells. This has important implications for the treatment of women with breast cancer whose tumors eventually develop resistance to hormonal therapy.

The researchers treated different breast cancer cell lines with resveratrol and compared their growth with cells left untreated. They found an important reduction in cell growth in cells treated by resveratrol, while no changes were seen in untreated cells. Additional experiments revealed that this effect was related to a drastic reduction of estrogen receptor levels caused by resveratrol itself.

The Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal called the findings exciting and said that “scientists haven’t finished distilling the secrets of good health that have been hidden in natural products such as red wine.”

Resveratrol and Alzheimer’s Disease

There are no human studies backing up the claim that resveratrol might extend life.  Many believe it may have anti-aging properties based on studies showing that it increases the life-spans of yeast, worms, fruit flies, fish and mice.

But it may help avoid some diseases associated with aging.  Research from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that resveratrol has the ability to neutralize the toxic effects of proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.  It shows that resveratrol selectively targets and neutralizes clumps of peptides or proteins that are bad and have been linked to Alzheimer’s, but leaves alone those that are benign.

Other research shows that resveratrol may:

Reason enough to enjoy a glass of red wine.

You can learn more about this article at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/will-resveratrol-really-prevent-aging

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The Power of Peppermint: 15 Health Benefits Revealed

The Power of Peppermint: 15 Health Benefits Revealed

Written By:

Sayer Ji,

The Power of Peppermint: 15 Health Benefits Revealed

A favorite herbal medicine of the ancients, peppermint leaves have been found in Egyptian pyramids dating back to 1,000 BC. Modern scientific investigations have now confirmed that this remarkable plant has over a dozen healing properties.

In our continuing effort to educate folks to the vast array of healing agents found in the natural world around us, we are excited to feature peppermint, a member of the aromatic mint family that you may already have squirreled away somewhere in your kitchen cupboard. While most have experienced peppermint as a flavoring agent, or perhaps as a comforting cup of herbal tea, few are aware of its wide range of experimentally confirmed therapeutic properties.

The ancients certainly were aware of the mint family’s medicinal value, having been used as herbal medicines in ancient Egypt, Greek and Rome thousands of years ago.[i]  Dried peppermint leaves have even been found in several Egyptian pyramids carbon dating back to 1,000 BC.

Today, modern scientific investigations are revealing an abundance of potential health benefits associated with the use of different components of the peppermint plant, including aromatherapeutic, topical and internal applications.

Most of the human research on peppermint performed thus far indicates this plant has great value in treating gastrointestinal disorders, including:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Since the late 90’s it was discovered that enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are safe and effective in the treatment of this increasingly prevalent disorder.[ii]  This beneficial effect extends to the pediatric community. In one children’s trial 75% of those receiving peppermint oil had reduced severity of pain associated with IBS within 2 weeks.[iii] Another 2005 trial in adults concluded that “Taking into account the currently available drug treatments for IBS Peppermint oil (1-2 capsules t.i.d. over 24 weeks) may be the drug of first choice in IBS patients with non-serious constipation or diarrhea to alleviate general symptoms and to improve quality of life.”[iv]  In another 2007 trial 75% of patients receiving peppermint oil saw an impressive 50% reduction of “total irritable bowel syndrome score.”[v] Most recently, a study published January of this year found that peppermint oil was effective in relieving abdominal pain in diarrhea predominant irritable bowel syndrome.[vi]
  • Colonic spasm – Peppermint oil has been studied as a safe and effective alternative to the drug Buscopan for its ability to reduce spasms during barium enemas.[vii] [viii]
  • Gastric Emptying Disorders – Peppermint has been found to enhance gastric emptying, suggesting its potential use in a clinical setting for patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders.[ix]
  • Functional dyspepsia – A 2000 study published in the journal Ailment Pharmacology and Therapy found that 90 mg of peppermint oil and 50 mg of caraway oil resulted in 67% of patients reporting “much or very much improved” in their symptoms of functional dyspepsia. [x]
  • Infantile Colic: A 2013 study found that peppermint is at least as effective as the chemical simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic.[xi]

Other studied applications include

  • Breastfeeding Associated Nipple Pain and Damage: A 2007 study found that peppermint water prevented nipple cracks and nipple pain in breastfeeding mothers.[xii]
  • Tuberculosis: A 2009 study found that inhaled essential oil of peppermint was able to rapidly regress tuberculous inflammation, leading the authors to conclude: “This procedure may be used to prevent recurrences and exacerbation of pulmonary tuberculosis.”[xiii]
  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever): A 2001 preclinical study found that extracts of the leaves of peppermint  inhibit histamine release indicating it may be clinically effective in alleviating the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis.[xiv]
  • Shingles Associated Pain (Post-Herpetic Neuralgia): A 2002 case study found that topical peppermint oil treatment resulted in a near immediate improvement of shingles associated neuropathic pain symptoms; the therapeutic effects persisted throughout the entire 2 months of follow-up treatment. [xv]
  • Memory problems: A 2006 study found that the simple aroma of peppermint enhances memory and increases alertness in human subjects.[xvi]
  • Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea: A 2013 study found that peppermint oil was found to be effective in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea, and at reduced cost versus standard drug-based treatment.[xvii]
  • Prostate Cancer: Preclinical research indicates that peppermint contains a compound known as menthol which inhibits prostate cancer growth.[xviii] [xix]
  • Radiation Damage: Preclinical research indicates peppermint protects against radiation-induced DNA damage and cell death.[xx]  [xxi]
  • Herpes Simplex  Virus Type 1: Peppermint has been found to have inhibitory activity against acyclovir-resistant Herpes Simplex virus type 1.[xxii] [xxiii]
  • Dental Caries/Bad Breath: Peppermint oil extract has been found to be superior to the mouthwash chemical chlorhexidine inhibiting Streptococus mutans driven biofilm formation associated with dental caries.[xxiv] [xxv] This may explain why powdered peppermint leaves were used in the Middle Ages to combat halitosis and whiten teeth.

Peppermint is actually a hybridized cross between Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata),[xxvi] the latter of which has also been researched to possess remarkable therapeutic properties, such as the ability to exert significant anti-androgenic effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome[xxvii] and ameliorating the related condition of mild hirsutism, marked by excessive hair growth in females.[xxviii]

Like all plant medicines, extreme caution must be exercised when using extracts and especially essential oils.  Also, remember that more is not always better. A recent study on the use of rosemary in improving cognitive performance in the elderly found that a lower ‘culinary’ dose (750 mg) was not only more effective in improving cognition (as measured by memory speed) than a higher dose, but the highest dose (6,000 mg) had a significant memory impairing effect.[xxix] This illustrates quite nicely how less can be more, and why an occasional nightly cup of peppermint tea may be far superior as preventive strategy than taking large ‘heroic’ doses of an herb only after a serious health problem sets in.

You can read this article and others at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/power-peppermint-15-health-benefits-revealed

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Study Shows Daylight Saving Time Change Increases Your Risk for Heart Attack

 

 

Study Shows Daylight Saving Time Change Increases Your Risk for Heart Attack

clock, daylight saving time

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=84aWtseb2-4

By Dr. Mercola

A number of studies indicate that springing ahead to Daylight Saving Time (DST) may be hazardous to your health. Although the one-hour time change may seem minor, when it comes to your body’s internal clock, it actually is a big deal.

The latest study suggests turning your clock ahead for DST may set the stage for a small increased risk of heart attack the following day.1

The findings were published in the March 2013 edition of the American Journal of Cardiology.2 The study showed a small rise in heart attack rates the Sunday following the shift to DST, the Saturday night when you lose an hour.

However, the study showed a small tick downward the Sunday following the change back to standard time, when you gain an hour. Given that heart attacks appear to increase following the shorter night, it is reasonable that sleep deprivation may be to blame.

There are numerous studies showing the adverse health effects of sleep deprivation. But the studies involving one-hour time changes point to just how sensitive your body is to seemingly insignificant changes in your diurnal rhythms.

The lead researcher of the featured study speculates that a more significant result may be found with a larger sample size—the population in this study was quite small. When you consider these results in light of prior studies, the issue becomes more of a concern.

Heart Attacks, Car Crashes, and Suicides ALL Tick Up After Springing Ahead

The scientific research paints a disturbing picture of what the “extra” hour of daylight may be costing us. The following studies are illuminating:

  • Heart Attacks: A 2012 University of Alabama study found that heart attacks increased by 10 percent on the Monday and Tuesday following the time change to DST. Heart attacks decreased by 10 percent on the first Monday and Tuesday after clocks are switched back in the fall.3
  • Heart Attacks: A 2008 Swedish study found your chances of having a heart attack increase in the first three weekdays after the switch to DST, and decrease after you set your clock back to standard time in the fall. Heart attacks increase by five percent the first Monday after the time change, and 10 percent on Tuesday.45
  • Suicides: Suicide rates for males rise in the weeks following the start of DST.6
  • Automobile Accidents: Traffic accidents increase by eight percent on the Monday following the changeover to DST.7 And fatal alcohol-related traffic accidents increase for the first week after setting the clocks ahead.8 Workplace accidents and injuries increase by 5.7 percent, and 67.6 percent more workdays are lost as a result of injuries following the change to DST.9
  • Productivity and Quality of Life: People are less productive once DST is implemented. Till Roenneberg, a Russian chronobiologist, reports that most people show “drastically decreased productivity,” decreased quality of life, increased illness, and are “just plain tired.”10

The “Monday cardiac phenomenon” has been recognized for some time, although not necessarily linked with sleep deprivation until recently. There are more heart attacks and other cardiovascular events on Mondays than any other day of the week, and the incidence of sudden cardiac death is markedly pronounced on Mondays.11 This was thought to relate to work stress, but it may have more to do with the changes in sleep associated with the transition from weekend to work week. Why would such a seemingly insignificant change in your schedule lead to such profound changes?

Circadian Rhythms are Tied to Immune Function

Every cell in your body has its own internal clock, including cells in your immune system. Each cell’s internal clock helps it prepare for a stress or stimulus. When we mess with that internal clock, your cells are not able to prepare for the usual stresses.

So, when you set your clock forward and miss an hour of sleep that your cells were expecting, the negative impact of stress worsens, having a detrimental effect on your body. Immune response and inflammation vary with the time of day. Your immune function is temporarily compromised while your body “resyncs”—even if your sleep is decreased by only an hour. This is why many people feel so discombobulated right after the time change.

Experts disagree about exactly how long it takes your body to recover. Some say two to three days, others say it’s more like five. Till Roenneberg says his research indicates most people never truly recover. The effects of a change in time/sleep schedule are worse if your health is already compromised. If your immune system is stressed by poor nutrition, lack of exercise, or high levels of stress, your risk for an adverse event will be amplified. Time changes could raise levels of stress hormones and inflammatory chemicals just enough to trigger a heart attack—especially if you are particularly vulnerable.

Sleep Is More Important than You Think

Sleep problems are present in epidemic proportions in this country. Forty-three percent of Americans report rarely or never getting a good night’s sleep.12 Short-term sleep deprivation is associated with:13

  • Memory and cognitive impairment
  • Impaired performance and alertness
  • Occupational injuries
  • Automobile injuries
  • Impaired relationships

Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with increased blood pressure, heart rate, blood clotting, and C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker associated with deadly heart attacks. According to Clinical Psychologist and sleep specialist Rubin Naiman, PhD, sleeping less than six hours per night (or sleeping more than nine) may double your risk of angina, coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke.

Sleeping less than six or more than nine hours per night may also increase your risk for diabetes by impairing the way your body responds to insulin. Impaired insulin sensitivity, also known as insulin resistance, occurs when your body cannot use insulin properly, causing your blood sugar levels to rise to unhealthy levels. Insulin resistance is a precursor to type 2 diabetes, as well as a risk factor in many other chronic diseases.

Ideally, you should sleep enough hours that your energy is sustained throughout the day without artificial stimulation—with the exception of a daytime nap. Humans are biologically programmed to nap during the daytime. Training your body to resist the urge to nap in the afternoon can lead to inability to easily fall asleep at night. Engaging in shift work dramatically increases mortality.

Is DST a Waste of Time?

The U.S. began observing Daylight Saving Time during World War I as a way to conserve energy, although many experts argue that the time change lacks any measurable benefits. More than one study shows DST results in an increase in energy use, rather than a decrease.14 Portions of Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands do not participate in DST. And in 2011, Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev cancelled DST due to the “stress and illness” it causes on human biological clocks.15

There is even a movement, including a petition, to end Daylight Saving Time for good.

There is very little good to be said about switching to Daylight Saving Time. Research is pointing to a long list of adverse effects, including increased heart attack risk, increased automobile accidents, lost productivity at work, increased chances of getting sick, and even higher suicide rates. There is also little evidence to suggest that DST reduces energy usage, which was its original intent. But there are some things you can do to mitigate the effects of the time change—at least until the powers that be decide to get rid of it altogether.

How to Protect Yourself During the Spring-Forward

University of Alabama Associate Professor Martin Young suggests the following natural strategies to help your body resync after the time change:

  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier on Saturday and Sunday, to minimize the impact of getting up earlier on Monday morning
  • Eat a nutritious breakfast
  • Go outside in the sunlight in the early morning
  • Exercise in the mornings over the weekend, in accordance with your overall level of health and fitness
  • Consider setting your clock ahead on Friday evening, allowing an extra day to adjust over the weekend

I generally agree with his suggestions, to which I would add the following:

  • Pay attention to your diet, making sure you are consuming plenty of fresh, whole foods, preferably organic, and minimal amounts of processed foods and fast foods; keep your sugar consumption very low, especially fructose; I invite you to review our total nutrition plan here.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene, including sleeping in complete darkness, checking your bedroom for EMFs, and keeping your bedroom temperature no higher than 70 degrees; for a full report about how to maximize the quality of your sleep, refer to our previous article on sleep.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels.
  • Manage your stress with whatever stress-busting techniques work for you.
  • Consider supplementing with melatonin if you have trouble sleeping.

You can read this article and other great articles at: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/03/07/dst-change-increases-heart-attack.aspx

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