Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Top foods for thyroid health

The thyroid gland is one of the most important glands in the human body. It controls the way you metabolize food, the way you use energy, lose and gain weight, how well or poorly you sleep, and much, much more.

It is well known, but worth mentioning that your thyroid simply can’t function without iodine, and if you are iodine-deficient, higher iodine intake could make all the difference for your thyroid. 

Selenium is another indispensable element to healthy thyroid function. An array of selenium-based proteins and enzymes help to regulate thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism and to maintain just the right amount of thyroid hormones in the blood and tissues, including the liver, kidneys, and thyroid gland, as well as the brain. Selenium-containing enzymes also function as a protective “detox”, preserving the integrity of the thyroid gland when we’re under all kinds of stress.

Zinc, iron, and copper play vital roles in healthy thyroid function as well. Check their levels for a healthy thyroid gland's function. 

In hyperthyroidism, oxidative stress can be particularly high. This happens because the thyroid is more active, and it is using more oxygen, which leads to an accumulation of oxygenated compounds that can harm your cells. 

This is why antioxidants are recommended, especially in hyperthyroidism. The B vitamins (B2, B3, and B6) are also important for thyroid function because they are involved in manufacturing T4.

Foods that support your thyroid gland's health:

IodinePrimary sources: sea vegetables, and seafood, as well as iodized sea salt.
Secondary sources: eggs, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, sesame seeds, beans, garlic
SeleniumBrazil nuts, tuna, organ meats, mushrooms, beef, sunflower seeds
ZincFresh oysters, sardines, beef, lamb, turkey, soybeans, whole grains, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, ginger root, maple syrup
CopperBeef, oysters, lobster, dark chocolate, tomato paste, nuts, beans (soybeans, white beans, chickpeas), sunflower seeds
IronClams, oysters, organ meats, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, white beans, blackstrap molasses, lentils, spinach
Vitamin A
(beta-carotene form)
Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, liver, lettuce
Vitamin CPeppers, kiwifruit, citrus, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, papaya, parsley, greens
Vitamin EWhole grains, almonds, soybeans and other beans, sunflower seeds, peanuts, liver, leafy green vegetables, asparagus
Vitamin B2
Almonds, mushrooms, egg yolks
Vitamin B3
Rice bran, wheat bran, peanuts (with skin), liver, poultry white meat
Vitamin B6
Sunflower seeds, wheat germ, fish, liver, beans, walnuts, brown rice, bananas

Stay well! 

How much protein is good for your heart?

When we think protein, the first food that comes into our minds is meat, but we tend to forget that along with proteins meat is full of fats. This can increase the levels of LDL, or known as the 'bad cholesterol' in our bodies, resulting in heart problems...

So, remember that meat is not always the best source of proteins for us...Try to choose low-fat foods with high levels of proteins such as skim milk and lean meat. You can even substitute lean meat with legumes, a cup of legumes gives you about 16 grams of proteins. When making a plate, it is best to combine meat with vegetables,  so you will be getting proteins from different food groups.

The daily recommended doze of proteins required by your body is in short known as RDA or recommended daily allowance and to calculate that, you will have to take into account your weight and age.

There are some special categories that require more proteins than normal. Pregnant women require 10 grams more protein than the amount they consumed before. Lactating women require 20 grams more than their usual consumption in order to support milk production. Athletes require 50% more proteins in comparison with normal people.

Stay healthy! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Essential nutrients for your diet

Essential nutrients are called all the nutrients needed for the normal function of our bodies that either can not be synthesized, or are made in small quantities in our bodies.  We need these nutrients in the right amounts at the right time, if we want to live a healthy life. 

Essential nutrients are divided in four big categories: 
  1. Vitamins,
  2. Dietary minerals,
  3. Essential fatty acids,
  4. Essential Amino acids.
Before entering in details on our needs for each class of nutrients, let's start with a brief explanation.

Vitamins can not be synthesized in our bodies, but they play a very important role in our metabolism. Without them we can not function, because of their role as enzymes and co-enzymes in chemical reactions,  and in the removal of free radicals from the cells. 

Without vitamins, chemical reactions in our body, can not happen. In other words, if the cell needs 'X' molecule, let's say, it gets this molecule, by combining A+B= X, with the help of enzymes. These enzymes work only if the specified vitamin exists. So, if low quantities of the needed vitamin are found in our body, then our organism can not satisfy its need with X molecules. The absence of these X molecules can even cause a disease or an unhealthy condition in our bodies.

The vitamins are never needed in big quantities, they are needed in small amounts at all times. Especially when we get sick, we need more of them, since our metabolism increases its rhythm, when fighting a disease or an infection. 

Dietary minerals

Dietary minerals, or mineral nutrients are the chemical elements required by all living species, other than the four elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen present in common organic molecules.

Minerals, in order of abundance in the human body include the seven major minerals calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. Important "trace" or minor minerals, necessary for our life, include iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, molybdenum, iodine, and selenium. For more information on this topic, you can read my other post entitled 'Elements of nutrition, indispensable for you', if you haven't already. 

Essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must eat, because the body requires them for good health but can not synthesize them. The term "essential fatty acid" refers to fatty acids required for biological processes but does not include the fats that only act as fuel. So, do not use this as an excuse to eat at MC Donald's... ;)

Only two fatty acids are known to be essential for humans: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid)

Essential Amino acids

An essential amino acid or indispensable amino acid is an amino acid that cannot be synthesized from scratch by our organism and therefore must be supplied in the diet.

Daily requirements

The amino acids regarded as essential for humans are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, lysine, and histidine. Additionally, cysteine (or sulphur-containing amino acids), tyrosine (or aromatic amino acids), and arginine are required by infants and growing children.

Stay healthy!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Anemia, causes and symptoms

Anemia is linked with iron and specific protein deficiencies. Broccoli is full of these nutrients, so it forms an excellent choice for anemia treatment through food. The components of broccoli are carbohydrates, fatty acids such as omega-3, proteins, A vitamin, B complex, C and E vitamin, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, chrome, potassium, manganese, water, fiber etc. 

According to statistics one in five people on earth, is suffering from anemia. The first anemia symptoms are the feeling of tiredness, fatigue, pale skin, a fast or irregular heartbeat,shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, cognitive problems, cold hands and feet, headache and similar. Firstly anemia can be so mild that it goes unnoticed. But symptoms increase as anemia worsens and the iron deficiency aggravates.

Since iron enters our body through food it is very important to eat regularly iron enriched foods, such as liver, red meat, mussels, ton fish, mushrooms, dried fruits, egg yolk, green vegetables etc. The absorption of iron increases with consumption of vitamin C, but the consumption of calcium decrease iron uptake by the body, so be careful about that.

It is very important to consult your doctor, if you think you have anemia. This disease is discovered by doing a blood test and a physical exam. The doctor then may give you iron medicine with some B complex vitamins, or similar,depending on how advanced is the stage of anemia you have. Sometimes even blood transfusions may be necessary.

If you have anemia, it means that your blood does not carry enough oxygen to the rest of your body. As I mentioned earlier, the most common cause of anemia is not having enough iron. Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, which is an iron-rich protein that gives the red color to blood. It carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

Anemia has three main causes, known to be:
  • blood loss, 
  • lack of red blood cell production, 
  • high rates of red blood cell destruction.
Conditions that may lead to anemia include heavy menstrual periods, ulcers, colon polyps, pregnancy, colon cancer, inherited disorders, a poor diet in iron, folic acid or B12 vitamins deficiency, blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia, or even cancer.

How much calcium should you consume daily?

The recommended daily dose of calcium is 700 milligrams in both women and men. Translated in the food language this means:

2 glasses of milk or,

2 cups of yogurt or,

approximately 80 grams of cheese.

The good news is that you don't have to eat greasy foods, to get calcium. The same amount of calcium is found either in the skimmed milk, or the natural one. This is the same, taking into consideration all the dairy products.

Some of the top calcium-rich foods are:

1. Cheese
2. Yogurt
3. Milk
4. Sardines
5. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens
6. Fortified cereals such as Total, Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes (They have a lot of calcium in one serving.)
7. Fortified orange juice
8. Soybeans
9. Fortified soymilk (Not all soymilk is a good source of calcium, so it's best to check the label.)
10. Enriched breads, grains, and waffles

Food is always the best source for calcium. Calcium is a key nutrient for your body to stay strong and healthy. It is an essential building block for lifelong bone health in both men and women, among many other important functions. Everyone can benefit from eating calcium-rich foods, limiting foods that deplete calcium, and getting enough magnesium and vitamins D and K, that help calcium to do its job.

Daily protein intake, calculate it

The daily protein need depends mostly on a person's weight. It is calculated that our body needs 0.8-0.9 gram for 1 kilogram of body weight. This amount depends also on the physical activity that a person does. For example, for bodybuilding, the protein intake should be an average of 1.5-2 gram per day.

Your daily protein intake (factor 1.8g/ kg/ day) should be:

45 kg: 81 gr per day
50 kg: 90 gr per day
55 kg: 99 gr per day
60 kg: 108 gr per day
65 kg: 117 gr per day
70 kg: 126 gr per day
75 kg: 135 gr per day
80 kg: 144 gr per day
85 kg: 153 gr per day
90 kg: 162 gr per day

The daily protein need, changes from person to person, depending on their age, sex (women need less proteins, because their muscular mass is lower than that of men). This daily needs can get fulfilled by consuming twice or three times a day food with animal origin or plants enriched in proteins.

Elements of nutrition, indispensable for you

In this post we will talk about the role of the elements of nutrition, where are they found and the advice you should follow to protect their effects. The most important elements for the human body are potassium, nitrogen, phosphor, calcium, magnesium, iron and sulfur, among which potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus are the indispensable ones. 


It is the element that is found in a big amount inside the human cell and it is very important for the electrical balance of the cell. Inside the cell there is a pump known as the Na-K pump that pumps sodium outside the cell and potassium inside. The balance of potassium and sodium ions for the body is extremely important, because once this balance is broken, diseases appear. Different scientific studies show that vegetables have a big amount of potassium and that's one reason more, to consume them.


Sodium is found in great amounts in the cell's interstitial fluid. Since it is found as an electrolyte in the fluid outside the cell, this ion helps to maintain the osmotic balance outside of the cell membrane and has the same effect as the potassium ion has inside the cell, to naturally protect the balance. Sodium daily needs have been calculated as 3-7 gram.


Iron is the element found in the biggest amount in the human body and it constitutes 0.004% of the human body weight. Naturally his amount in the body varies among 3-5 gram. But this amount is variable, because it depends on factors, such as age, sex, size, health and its reserved amount in the body. In reality iron is an element, in the color of blood that transports enough oxygen needed for breathing and carbon dioxide from the cells to the lung. Everyday our body should consume through food, 10-30 milligram of iron. 


Our body has big amounts of nitrogen. This element plays the most important role in the structure of proteins. 


It plays an important role to take and release energies in the human body.


It is a mineral that composes 1,5-2% of the human body weight in adults. From this amount 99% of calcium is found in bones and teeth. 


In a baby's body there is 0,5 gram magnesium, but an adult has 21-28 gram magnesium, 50-60% of which is found in bones and its most important role is to facilitate the function of neural cells.. It is very necessary for the skeleton and the limbs. It is found in an amount of more than 10 milligram in the human body, especially in the bones, liver and kidneys. 


It forms 0, 25% of the human body weight and this element is found in every cell of the human body. Mostly it is found in hair, skin and nails. Sulfur acts as a detoxifying agent, eliminating the dangerous components.


In the human organism there are 15-23 milligram of iodine. This element is found in all human cells, but 70-80% of iodine is found in the thyroid glands. This element is partially responsible in the synthesis of the thyroid hormones that play an important role in the metabolism of the human body.


It is known as the most important component of enzymes. It plays a crucial role in preventing the loss of blood. Especially children need this element a lot. You can find copper in considerable amounts in milk.


Water is the most important element found on earth that plays the most important role in transporting the base elements in the cells of living organisms. It composes 60% of the human body weight. Water is otherwise known as the vital element. He is the primary component of urine and blood plasma.

Blood in urine, first aid tips

Are you seeing your urine becoming red? First of all be sure not to confuse the color of your urine. Because when we exercise a lot or we are dehydrated at the same time, the color of the urine is very intense! In these cases, the urine takes a very strong orange color or even dark brown. So, be sure to distinguish the right color of it, before becoming a little anxious.

But if you see your urine becoming red, than no matter how you are feeling, you should go immediately to see your doctor.

The causes of hematuria (blood in urine) are numerous, ranging from any viral infections of the urinary tract, to severe problems of it.

In order for the blood to show in the urine, a severe problem must occur. The urinary tract is made of kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, prostate and urethra. The anatomical structure of the urinary tract must have suffered anatomical changes, in order for the blood to leave the blood vessels and mix with urine. 

These things don't happen with no reason and usually are accompanied with other symptoms like pain when urinating and urinating often or colic pain or after a severe trauma, such as falling from a height, a car accident, an injury done by sharp objects, or a bullet which must have destroyed the urinary tract.

Other causes of hematuria are the infections caused from some kind of viruses, or some types of bacteria that are responsible for some sexually transmitted diseases. Even the bladder, kidney and ureter stones are responsible for hematuria, usually accompanied by pain and fever. 

Malign or benign tumors in the urinary tract can be the cause for hematuria, especially in the old population and the benign prostatic hyperplasia can be a major cause of hematuria in older men, especially those over 50.

In women, who are in the middle of their menstrual cycles, when peeing, their urine is often mixed with the blood that is present in their genital organs or in the urethra. In this case, there is nothing to be afraid of. You are not suffering from anything. 

There exist some kind of drugs that can give red color to the urine, such as Rifampicine and Phenazopyridine. If you are taking these drugs and your urine turns red, contact with your doctor as soon as possible and stop taking them, until you see your physician.

If you just suffered from a trauma or a fall and you thought that nothing happened, but when you urinated, you saw your urine in a red color, than this is a red flag. Go immediately to the hospital.

The causes of hematuria are numerous, although some of them are very rare. The most important thing to keep in mind, is that this is not a normal thing and you should immediately go to see your doctor. This doesn't mean that you are suffering from a serious illness, since the major causes of hematuria are not serious ones.

Stay well!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Hair loss prevention and treatment

Are you experiencing hair loss? Are you seeing your hair falling in the towel every time you dry it, or in your fingers, when you run them through your hair? Are you seeing your hair on your pillow cases? And the most important thing, are you noticing your head slowly becoming bald?...  

Just relax!!!

Yes, I am saying relax, because if you haven't noticed baldness yet, you are in time. If you have, than you will have to get used to it...
95 % of hair loss is due to Androgenic Alopecia, or otherwise known as the male pattern baldness. It is a genetic syndrome, so we can not do anything about it, except to postpone the hair loss. 

So let's suppose you have a genetic tendency to become bald in your thirties. If you take good care of your hair, than you can postpone it until your forties, or may be fifties or even sixties! And may be at that time, some magic cure against genetic problems would have been found, or may be you would not care so much...

If you are suffering from serious baldness, there is nothing you can do about your hair, because the hair follicles do not exist any more. The easy way out is just to embrace the fact... It will not grow any hair in that part of your head. Even hair transplantation may be difficult, although consult your doctor about the severity of your baldness.

In the medicine world, hair loss is measured by two types of scales: The HAMILTON-NORWOOD scale is more detailed on the intensity of hair loss, and the BOUHANNA scale that determines the type of hair loss (temples or vertex) and is mostly used by plastic surgeons. 

Like I said, you can not stop your hair from falling, if this is hereditary to you (sorry...), but you can postpone it or even let your hair grow for a while, before the balance between the fallen hair and growing ones, becomes again nasty, after some years. It is up to your care and in what degree you are affected by the above mentioned genetic disorder, that will determine the density of your hair.

I will list below some hair care advice for you. Follow carefully.

1 . Pat dry . 

Do not rub your hair with a towel. I am saying this because the towel is the number one enemy of your hair! When you rub your hair with a towel, it becomes tangled, and most importantly, your hair will break. Use the towel just to take out the excess water and than use hair dryer, to dry your hair. In the summer time always dry your hair with the hair dryer, or let it air dry. Wet hair makes the ideal ground for mucus to grow, and you don't want to get affected by some type of disease, like tinea capitis. 

2 . Wash your hair often. 

I would say that washing your hair often makes it stronger, gives more volume, cleans the scalp from the oils that stick your hair together and makes it thinner and weaker. But, do not wash that often, 3 to 4 times a week is ideal.

3. Don't use very hot water on your head! 

Hot water damages the scalp, affecting in this manner, the hair growth and its strength. There are many folks that love really hot showers, but I will recommend to you, to avoid hot water on your head.

4. Don't brush your hair when it is wet. 

Or make sure to use a wide-toothed comb and use it gently.

5. Don't use tight hats.

Using continuously tight hats, can damage permanently your hair, even if you are not suffering from Androgenic Alopecia. Continuous distress done to your scalp from your hat can damage your hair follicles.

6. Cut your hair.

The shorter your hair is, the stronger it will be, and less stress will occur in the hair’s follicle The longer your hair is, the harder it is for the follicle to feed the hair, or the keratin body with essential oils. So, try to keep your hair trimmed.

Treatment methods 

For the moment, there exist two types of cures for Androgenic Alopecia. The first drug is Finasteride, known under the generic names of Propecia, Finpecia etc. This drug is taken orally once, every day, for a long period of time. 

It is expensive if you consider that you will take it for a long period of time and e pill has an average cost of 1 to 2 dollars. But, this is not all, it has a side effect that is a man's nightmare. There are case reports of persistent diminished libido or erectile dysfunction, even after stopping the drug. 

Of course, this side effect is a rare thing, but usually a sexual dysfunction occurs in the first days of use and than it all goes back to normal. While taking this drug, you will see your hair grow normally, because that genetic malfunction doesn't occur anymore in the hair follicle. When you stop taking this drug the situation turns back the same, after some months. 

The second drug is called Meloxidil. It is an anti-hypertensive drug that has a really unusual side effect! When you apply it topically to the skin it stimulates hair growth! No one knows for sure its mechanism of action, but it is believed that this drug stimulates the blood flow under the skin and in this manner indirectly the hair follicle takes more ingredients for it needs. 

It is very ironic to know that this drug was invented in the same way as viagra. By watching the side effects of these drugs, which were originally used for other purposes, but when the side effects are better than the intended ones, than you can just switch the use of that drug for another purpose! 

Animal's Bite, First Aid Tips

I am going to tell you a little a story that happened to my mother a while ago. She was walking down the street, when she saw a group of children running in front of her screaming and trying to hide behind her.

Then she felt a sharp pain down her leg. When my mother turned to see, there was this large street dog that was staring at her somehow surprised. It was like it bite her accidentally and it didn't mean to and then the dog ran away immediately. Later it was found that the children teased the dog, while it was eating something. That was the reason, why the dog was angry. But it was yet 'ashaimed', since my mother was just passing by and it confused its 'enemies'... 

Enemies or not, this can happen to anyone walking peacefully down the street. Not only from dogs, but from different types of animals ranging from, cats, hamsters, raccoons, ferrets, and squirrels can bite adults and children. Many times, bites are from the family pet. If the bite is from a wild animal or from a domestic animal whose immunization status is unknown, rabies is a concern. To end the story my mom had to get the rabies shots in her tummy done... :( 

If a person has been bitten by a rabid animal, the disease can be prevented by an injection of rabies immune globulin and a course of vaccinations. This must preferably be given within 48 hours to be effective. You should seek prompt medical attention from a physician, even if the bite is mild and the skin barely broken, because immediate vaccination can prevent tetanus and rabies from developing.

Rabies is a fatal viral infection carried in the saliva of warm-blooded animals. Symptoms in an infected animal include unusual behaviour, aggressiveness, excessive drooling and paralysis. Symptoms in humans appear about 20 - 60 days after being bitten by a rabid animal. Deep or multiple bites, particularly to the head and neck, result in symptoms appearing sooner. An early symptom is tingling, pain or intense itchiness at the bite site, even when the wound has healed. Other early symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and behavioral changes. 

While rabies in humans is rare, it is fatal.

First aid for minor bite wounds:

  1. Thoroughly wash the wound with soapy water.
  2. Apply an antibiotic cream (such as bacitracin) to the affected area.
  3. Cover the wound with a clean bandage.
  4. Watch for signs of infection (ie, the affected area is very red or warm to the touch, painful, oozing pus, or blood-filled).
  5. If the bite is on the hand or finger, call your doctor, as antibiotics are often given for bites in this area.

First aid for severe bite wounds:

(Severe bite wounds are wounds that are torn, deep, or bleeding badly)

  1. Attempt to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the affected area with a clean, dry cloth.
  2. Seek immediately medical assistance.

Stay safe and be well!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Abdominal Pain, First Aid Tips

Abdominal pain can range in intensity from a mild stomach ache to severe acute pain. 

Since there are many organs within the abdominal cavity, the pain is often nonspecific and can be caused by a variety of conditions. 

Sometimes the pain is directly related to a specific organ such as the bladder or ovary. Usually, abdominal pain originates in the digestive system. For example, the pain can be caused by appendicitis, diarrheal cramping, or food poisoning.

Home care for mild abdominal pains:

  1. Drink water or other clear fluids.
  2. Avoid solid food for the first few hours. If you have been vomiting, wait 6 hours. Then eat small amounts of mild foods such as rice, applesauce, or crackers. 
  3. If the pain is high up in your abdomen and occurs after meals, antacids may provide some relief, especially if you feel heartburn or indigestion. Avoid citrus, high-fat foods, fried or greasy foods, tomato products, caffeine and alcohol, because they may make the pain worse. 
  4. Place a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag on your abdomen.
  5. Soak in a warm bath. Take care not to scald yourself.
  6. Get plenty of rest.
  7. If you have stomach ache drink a glass of milk, because it will neutralize the acid in your stomach.
  8. Sometimes the abdominal pain is plainly caused by an accumulation of gas in the intestinal tract. When that is the case, the easy and immediate remedy is to drink a gas of soda, or aerated drink. The soda helps to bring out the accumulated gas, turning so in an immediate cure for abdominal pain.  
  9. You may also try H2 blockers (Tagamet, Pepcid, or Zantac) available over the counter. 
  10. If any of these medicines worsen your pain, CALL your doctor right away.
  11. AVOID aspirin, ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications, and narcotic pain medications unless your health care provider prescribes them. If you know that your pain is not related to your liver, you can try acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  12. If you suffer from PMS (premenstrual syndrome)  take immediately a pain killer, drink chamomile tea and try to have some sleep. You can put your feet in hot water. That would help, too. 

Acne treatment

Acne is just annoying. The best advice one can give you, is to go to the dermatologist, isn't it? Yeah, right... Some dermatologists give antibiotics like they are giving candy to a child. Most probably they will start you on a topical cream containing tetracycline/ benzoyl peroxyde/ salycilic acid or similar and some antibiotics. These are said to be wide spectrum antibiotics, meaning that they are effective against a wide variety of bacteria that causes acne and this cure should be effective to most people.  BUT, if it you are resistant to tetracycline, let's say, you are doing this cure for months and getting no results, of course except the side effects of destroying your intestinal flora. Antibiotics are not easy to deal with. You should take them with caution and you should not forget to take probiotics immediately afterwards. 

That's why my advice is not to go to any dermatologist,  but to find a GOOD dermatologist that is responsible. A good dermatologist, versus a dermatologist that is just interested in your pocket, will first ask for your bacteriogram,  which in other words means that they are going to find out to what kind of antibiotics you are sensitive, semi-sensitive and resistant to. This test is very easy to do and not painful at all. It takes just 5 minutes, but it helps a ton, because, after that, the doctor can give you a narrow spectrum antibiotic, that you are actually sensitive to. So, bacteriogram is very important. 

Another important advice that I will give you is that you must take your prescription antibiotics at the same time everyday. Not an hour early or half hour late..Not even 5 minutes late. Just set up your alarm clock or something, because if  you do not take them at the same time everyday the antibiotic's blood level changes and that gives the bacteria the possibility to defend itself, so you became resistant to that kind of antibiotic, which is in your disfavor... 

Again, in combination with antibiotics the dermatologist can give you a cream that contains retinoic acid. These kind of creams are generally very effective, but they are very strong in side effects, too. They peel your skin, make it dry and red, but that's the desired effect from them. If you are using these kind of cream ALWAYS use a cream with a high sunscreen protection factor. 

If your acne is hormonal then the doctor may prescribe to you an oral contraceptive pill that helps in most cases to clear acne with women. Just be cautious if you have cancer history in your family with these kind of pills. Just talk to your doctor and mention that. To find out if your acne is hormonal or not, you will need to get your blood tests done.

If the above methods haven't worked and your acne is coming back again there is always the possibility of Roaccutane (containing isotretionin as the main ingredient). Oh, the famous Roacuttane... 

It does clear up acne and it does have some pretty difficult side effects. If you are thinking of getting pregnant in the next 6 months, you must forget this medicine. Also during the treatment you have to do your blood tests to check the cholesterol levels, because Roaccutane is pretty damaging to your liver. It is said to have also psychological side effects such as depression, anxiety and similar. The most general side effects of this medicine, that in reality is just vitamin A in an excess amount (that's why you should be careful not to eat food containing vitamin A if you are having Roaccutane) are dryness of the skin, lips and mouth, you will have difficulties to see in the dark, your hair will become dry and so on. You will need to moisturize and often... 

This cure is in cycles of 6 months. If you get results from the first cycle yay to you, but if you don't you will have to continue as long as your dermatologist will say. Just don't give up and be patient. I have seen amazing results with Roaccutane. People with severe cystic acne and acne scarring have achieved a baby soft and clear skin. 

The problem with most acne regimes is that they need their time to show results. People tend to get impatient and change the regime before they see the effects. You need to be persistent and not to care a lot about it. Most of people have had acne or will have, at a point in their life, so just relax... It is not the end of the world and it does have some pretty effective acne treatments. 

If your acne is mild you can get use out of the over the counter creams. Just remember that creams containing salycilic acid do enter inside the pore and help to clean it out, so if you want to unblock your pores, clean your blackheads and ease the inflammation get these kind of creams.

If you want a good peeling cream that will help to boost your skin radiance and have anti wrinkle effect get creams containing glycolic acid.

Gosh, this post is getting really long. But I shouldn't forget to mention the OTC creams containing benzoyl peroxyde. Just start from 2,5% and then you can test 5-10%. 

Benzoyl Peroxide kills the bacterium that causes acne by inducing oxygen to the affected area, because the bacterium that causes acne (P. Acnes) is an anaerobe one, meaning it can live only where there is no oxygen. It works as a peeling agent, thus increasing the skin's turnover and clearing pores. It does dry out the skin, a lot... depending on its percentage, that's why you should use a good moisturizer along with it. Some people say they have had good effects combined with jojoba oil. Dermatologists on the other hand say you shouldn't use oils on your face if you have acne prone skin. So give or take... Clean with a mild soap to not irritate your skin and never forget the SPF cream!!!

That's my two cents for today, too. :) I hope I was of any help. Do not neglect a GOOD dermatologist if you have acne problems. It is worth it. 

Stay well!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hairstyle trick

There is no need for words I think. :) In this way you can get rid of that nasty bump that forms under your bun. ;) It is a pretty easy trick, isn't it?  

Cancer nanotechnology, challenges and achievements

Passive and Active Transport
Cancer is one of the world’s most life threatening diseases, with millions of new cases every year. The war against this disease is going on strong. Some battles have been won and others lost, but the weapons that this disease uses are really powerful. They are heterogenity, adaption and resistance. The scientific community has been actively researching on the development of new and improved weapons to overcome and finally win the battle against cancer. Here we will talk about the current approaches against this life threatening disease. 

It is widely known that current cancer treatments include: 

1. Surgical intervention 
2. Radiation 
3. Chemotherapeutic drugs, which often also kill healthy cells and cause toxicity to the patient. 

Unfortunately the effectiveness of current cancer treatments depends on the early diagnosis and the type of cancer. It is therefore needed to develop chemotherapeutics that can either passively or actively target cancerous cells and eliminate them effectively. 

In summary 'passive targeting' investigates the characteristic features of tumur biology that allows nanocarriers to accumulate in the tumor site by the Enhanced Permeability and Retention (EPR) effect

The EPR effect is a unique phenomenon of solid tumors related to their anatomical and pathophysiological differences from healthy tissues. Angiogenesis, which is a physiological process involving the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels, leads to high vascular density in solid tumors. Large gaps exist between endothelial cells in tumor blood vessels, and tumor tissues show selective extravasation and retention of macromolecular drugs, which is the desired effect in order to see the therapeutic efficacy and the shrinkage or elimination of tumors.

Impaired reticuloendothelial/ lymphatic clearance of macromolecules from tumor, or lack of such clearance, is another unique characteristic of tumors, resulting in intratumor retention of macromolecular drugs thus delivered. 

It has been found that the effective pore size in the endothelial lining of blood vessels in most peripheral human tumors ranges from 200 to 600 nm in diameter, and the EPR effect allows for passive targeting to tumors based on the cut-off size of leaky vasculature. 

But on the other hand there are a lot of limitations to the passive targeting, and one way to overcome these limitations is to program the nanocarriers so that they actively bind to specific cells after extravasation. 

This binding may be achieved by attaching targeting agents such as ligands, which are molecules that bind to specific receptors on the cell surface, to the surface of the nanocarrier by a variety of conjugation chemistries. 

Nanocarriers will recognize and bind to target cells through ligand–receptor interactions, and bound carriers are internalized before the drug is released inside the cell. In general, when using a targeting agent to deliver nanocarriers to cancer cells, it is imperative that the agent binds with high selectivity to molecules that are uniquely expressed on the cell surface, so that it minimizes the undesired and strong side effects of the cancer therapy. This is otherwise known as active targeting. 

But what are nanocarriers? Why are they important in cancer diagnosis and therapy? Why not just use the traditional chemotherapeutic drugs? What are their advantages over the current approved cancer treatments? How many types of nanocarriers have been discovered and what is the future perspective? If you want to know more specifics on nanocarriers you can read my other post on this topic entitled 'Nanocarriers for cancer therapy'. 

To simply define, a nanocarrier is nanomaterial composite, used as a transport mean for another substance, such as a drug or an imaging agent, which can be monitored by a specific machine. Such carriers should be targeted to the pathological area to provide maximum therapeutic efficacy while also providing diagnostic imaging. 

The family of nanocarriers includes polymer conjugates, polymeric nanoparticles, lipid-based carriers such as liposomes and micelles, dendrimers, carbon nanotubes, and gold nanoparticles, including nanoshells and nanocages. 

Several therapeutic nanocarriers have been approved for clinical use. However, to date, there are only a few clinically approved nanocarriers that incorporate molecules to selectively bind and target cancer cells. Cancer has been the most often investigated among the many potential targets for these nanocarriers. 

Integration of diagnostic imaging capability with therapy may be key to overcoming the challenges of cancer heterogeneity and adaption. In addition, codelievery of imaging contrast agent and chemotherapeutic drugs can provide real-time validation of the targeting strategy, resulting in an another step forward for individual-based therapy. 

If molecular targets became unavailable, imaging can be used to map out alternative targets. The advantage of this approach is that it can provide early feedback of therapeutic efficacy before detection by means of traditional diagnosis, such as tumor shrinkage. 

That is why “theranostic” was originally used as a term to describe a treatment platform that combines a diagnostic test with targeted therapy and which monitors response to therapy. We will talk more in deep about 'theranostics' in another post, because it is a fascinating and a very promising topic. 

In theranostic treatments imaging can be used to track nanoparticles systemically, prevalidate appropriate targeting, and track the expression pattern of surface markers for adaptive targeting, as well as provide real-time information on tumor response. It is very important to see how the therapy is going, because the canccer therapy has pretty strong side effects, that may be lethal and if it is controlled that the chemotherapeutic drug is not arriving at its tumore target, the treatment regime can be urgently changed, before the damage happens and shows the symptoms in the organism. The surface properties of the polymeric nanoparticulate drug delivery systems play a key role on the biological behavior that is shown in the organism by the drug delivery system.

Surface modification can be defined as the improvement and replacement of the surface properties of nano-sized drug delivery systems. In the field of pharmaceutical technology, surface modification provides several advantages to improve the physicochemical properties and pharmaceutical activities of many nanosized carriers particularly polymeric nanoparticles. 

By the modification circulation times are prolonged, especially the accumulation in the tumor tissues is improved to higher levels.

On the other hand lipid-based carriers pose several challenges, which represent general issues in the use of other targeted nanocarriers such as polymeric nanoparticles. For example, upon intravenous injection, particles are rapidly cleared from the bloodstream by the reticuloendothelial defence mechanism, regardless of particle composition. 

Moreover, instability of the carrier and burst drug release, as well as non-specific uptake by the mononuclear phagocytic system (MPS), provides additional challenges for translating these carriers to the clinic. 

Several anticancer drugs enter the cells in our body through diffusion method. But there are some integral proteins in the cell membrane that are known as MDR transporters, which transport a variety of anticancer drugs out of the cancer cell and produce resistance against chemotherapy. As a solution to this challenge the delivery of drugs through targeted nanocarriers that are internalized by cells, can provide an alternative route to diffusion of drugs into cells. 

It is very important not to forget that cancer drug resistance is very complex and has been linked to elevated levels of enzymes that can neutralize chemotherapeutic drugs. However, it is more frequently due to the overexpression of MDR transporters that actively pump chemotherapeutic drugs out of the cell and reduce the intracellular drug doses below lethal threshold levels. 

Since fortunately not all cancer cells express the MDR transporters, chemotherapy will kill only drug-sensitive cells that do not or only mildly express MDR transporters, while leaving behind a small population of drug resistant cells that highly express MDR transporters. But with new forming tumors, chemotherapy may fail because residual drug-resistant cells can dominate over the normal cells, resulting in a more aggressive tumor mass.

Among the MDR transporters, the most widely investigated proteins are: P-glycoprotein, the multidrug resistance associated proteins and the breast cancer resistance protein. These proteins have different structures, but they share a similar function of expelling chemotherapy drugs from the cells. 

Combination treatments with targeted nanocarriers for selective delivery of drugs and MDR pump inhibitors will likely address some of the problems posed by resistant tumors in the future.

Do not forget that it is always better to prevent than to cure, so do not neglect the regular check ups at the doctor and if you have familiar history with the cancer disease double them up to twice a year.

Stay well!


1. Couvreur, P. & Vauthier, C. Nanotechnology: Intelligent design to treat complex disease. Pharm. Res.23, 1417–1450 (2006).

2. Alonso, M.J. Nanomedicines for overcoming biological barriers. Biomed. Pharmacother. 58,168–172 (2004).

3. Matsumura, Y. & Maeda, H. A new concept for macromolecular therapeutics in cancer chemotherapy — Mechanism of tumoritropic accumulation of proteins and the antitumor agent smancs. Cancer Res. 46, 6387–6392 (1986).

4. Yuan, F. et al. Vascular-permeability in a human tumor xenograft — Molecular-size dependence and cutoff size. Cancer Res. 55, 3752–3756 (1995).

5. Torchilin, V. P. Recent advances with liposomes as pharmaceutical carriers. Nat. Rev. Drug Discov. 4, 145–160 (2005).

6. Hobbs, S.K. et al. Regulation of transport pathways in tumor vessels: role of tumor type and microenvironment. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA95, 4607–4612 (1998).

7. Gottesman, M. M., Fojo, T. & Bates, S. E. Multidrug resistance in cancer: Role of ATP-dependent transporters. Nat. Rev. Cancer 2, 48–58 (2002).

8. Peer, D. & Margalit, R. Fluoxetine and reversal of multidrug resistance. Cancer Lett. 237, 180–187 (2006).

9. Jain, R.K. Barriers to drug-delivery in solid tumors. Sci. Am. 271, 58–65 (1994).

10. Allen, T.M. Ligand-targeted therapeutics in anticancer therapy. Nat. Rev. Cancer 2, 750–763 (2002).

11. Hong, S. et al. The binding avidity of a nanoparticle-based multivalent targeted drug delivery platform. Chem. Biol. 14, 107–115 (2007).

Nanocarriers for cancer therapy

Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize cancer diagnosis and therapy. Advances in protein engineering and materials science have contributed to new nanoscale targeting approaches that may bring new hope to cancer patients. 

Active approaches achieve this by conjugating nanocarriers containing chemotherapeutics with molecules that bind to overexpressed antigens or receptors on the target cells. 

Nanocarriers can offer many advantages over free drugs. They: 

• protect the drug from premature degradation; 
• prevent drugs from prematurely interacting with the biological environment; 
• enhance absorption of the drugs into a selected tissue (for example, solid tumour); 
• control the pharmacokinetic and drug tissue distribution profile; 
• improve intracellular penetration. 

For rapid and effective clinical translation, the nanocarrier should: 

• be made from a material that is biocompatible, well characterized, and easily functionalized; 
• exhibit high differential uptake efficiency in the target cells over normal cells (or tissue); 
• be either soluble or colloidal under aqueous conditions for increased effectiveness; 
• have an extended circulating half-life, a low rate of aggregation, and a long shelf life. 

The use of different pharmaceutical nanocarriers has become one of the most important areas of nanomedicine. Nanocarriers first reached clinical trials in the mid-1980s, and the first products, based on liposomes and polymer–protein conjugates, were marketed in the mid-1990s. Later, therapeutic nanocarriers based on this strategy were approved for wider use and methods of further enhancing targeting of drugs to cancer cells were investigated. For a summary of this methods you can read the post entitled 'Cancer nanotechnology, the most important challenges and achievements'. 

Nanocarriers are nanosized materials (diameter 1–100 nm) that can carry multiple drugs and/or imaging agents. Nanocarriers can also be used to increase local drug concentration by carrying the drug within and control-releasing it when bound to the targets. 

Nanocarriers encounter numerous barriers en route to their target, such as mucosal barriers and non-specific uptake. To address the challenges of targeting tumors with nanotechnology, it is necessary to combine the rational design of nanocarriers with the fundamental understanding of tumor biology. 

Despite the variety of novel drug targets and sophisticated chemistries available, only four drugs (doxorubicin, camptothecin, paclitaxel, and platinate) and four polymers have been repeatedly used to develop polymer–drug conjugates. 

Lipid-based carriers have attractive biological properties, including general biocompatibility, biodegradability, isolation of drugs from the surrounding environment, and the ability to entrap both hydrophilic and hydrophobic drugs. Through the addition of agents to the lipid membrane or by the alteration of the surface chemistry, properties of lipid-based carriers, such as their size, charge, and surface functionality, can easily be modified. 

Liposomes, polymersomes, and micelles represent a class of amphiphile-based particles. Liposomes are spherical, self-closed structures formed by one or several concentric lipid bilayers with inner aqueous phases. They vary in size from 50 to 1,000 nm and can be loaded with a variety of hydrophilic drugs into their inner aqueous compartment and, sometimes, even with water insoluble drugs into the hydrophobic compartment of the phospholipid bilayer. 

They are biologically inert and biocompatible. Drugs included in liposomes are protected from the destructive action of external medium. Liposomal vehicles are very effective candidates for noninvasive imagining and targeted drug delivery. I have done my scientific master thesis on Pegilated liposomes for tumor diagnosis and treatment.

If you are interested to research further you can find my publication, along with other interesting researches, at the Journal of Liposome Research, entitled 'In vitro studies on 5-florouracil-loaded DTPA-PE containing nanosized pegylated liposomes for diagnosis and treatment of tumor'. Given their long history, liposome-based carriers serve as a classic example of the challenges encountered in the development of nanocarriers and the strategies that have been tried. For example, PEG has been used to improve circulation time by stabilizing and protecting micelles and liposomes from opsonization, which is a plasma protein deposition process that signals Kupffer cells in the liver to remove the carriers from circulation.

In addition to rapid clearance, another challenge is the fast burst release of the chemotherapeutic drugs from the liposomes. To overcome this phenomenon, doxorubicin, for example, may be encapsulated in the liposomal aqueous phase by an ammonium sulphate gradient. 

This method achieves a stable drug entrapment with negligible drug leakage during circulation, even after prolonged residence in the blood stream. 

In clinical practice, liposomal systems have shown preferential accumulation in tumours, via the EPR effect, and reduced toxicity of their cargo. I will not go into detail on the EPR effect, because we talked about it in the article 'Cancer nanotechnology, the most important challenges and achievements'. If you want to learn more on the EPR effect please read it. 

However, long-circulating liposomes may lead to extravasation of the drug in unexpected sites. The most commonly experienced clinical toxic effect from the PEGylated liposomal doxorubicin is the hand-foot syndrome, but that can be addressed by changing the dosing and scheduling of the treatment. 

Other challenges facing the use of liposomes in the clinic include the high production cost, fast oxidation of some phospholipids, and lack of controlled-release properties of encapsulated drugs. 

Polymersomes on the other hand have an architecture similar to that of liposomes, but they are composed of synthetic polymer amphiphiles. However, as with polymer therapeutics, there are still no clinically approved strategies that use active cellular targeting for lipid-based carriers. 

Micelles, which are self-assembling closed lipid monolayers with a hydrophobic core and hydrophilic shell, have been successfully used as pharmaceutical carriers for water-insoluble drugs. 

Organic nanoparticles include dendrimers, viral capsids and nanostructures made from biological building blocks such as proteins. 

Dendrimers are synthetic, branched macromolecules that form a tree-like structure whose synthesis represents a relatively new field in polymer chemistry. Polyamidoamine dendrimers have shown promise for biomedical applications because they can be easily conjugated with targeting molecules, imaging agents, and drugs, have high water solubility and well-defined chemical structures, are biocompatible, and are rapidly cleared from the blood through the kidneys, made possible by their small size (<5nm), which eliminates the need for biodegradability. 

In vivo delivery of dendrimer–methotrexate conjugates using multivalent targeting results in a tenfold reduction in tumour size compared with that achieved with the same molar concentration of free systemic methotrexate. This work provided motivation for further pre-clinical development, and a variety of dendrimers are now under investigation for cancer treatment. 

Although promising, dendrimers are more expensive than other nanoparticles and require many repetitive steps for synthesis, posing a challenge for large-scale production. 

Inorganic nanoparticles are primarily metal based and have the potential to be produced with near monodispersity. Inorganic materials have been extensively studied for magnetic resonance imaging and high-resolution superconducting quantum interference devices. Inorganic particles may also be functionalized to introduce targeting molecules and drugs. Specific types of recently developed inorganic nanoparticles include nanoshells and gold nanoparticles. 

Nanoshells (100–200 nm) may use the same carrier for both imaging and therapy. They are composed of a silica core and a metallic outer layer. Nanoshells have optical resonances that can be adjusted to absorb or scatter essentially anywhere in the electromagnetic spectrum, including the near infrared region, where transmission of light through tissue is optimal. Absorbing nanoshells are suitable for hyperthermia-based therapeutics, where the nanoshells absorb radiation and heat up the surrounding cancer tissue. 

Scattering nanoshells, on the other hand, are desirable as contrast agents for imaging applications. Recently, a cancer therapy was developed based on absorption of NIR light by nanoshells, resulting in rapid localized heating to selectively kill tumours implanted in mice. Tissues heated above the thermal damage threshold displayed coagulation, cell shrinkage and loss of nuclear staining, which are indicators of irreversible thermal damage, whereas control tissues appeared undamaged. 

A similar approach involves gold nanocages which are smaller (<50 nm) than the nanoshells. These gold nanocages can be constructed to generate heat in response to NIR light and thus may also be useful in hyperthermia-based therapeutics. Unlike nanoshells and nanocages, pure gold nanoparticles are relatively easy to synthesize and manipulate. 

Non-specific interactions that cause toxicity in healthy tissues may impede the use of many types of nanoparticles, but using inorganic particles for photo-ablation significantly limits non-specific toxicity because light is locally directed. However, inorganic particles may not provide advantages over other types of nanoparticles for systemic targeting of individual cancer cells because they are not biodegradable or small enough to be cleared easily, resulting in potential accumulation in the body, which may cause long-term toxicity. 

The choice of an appropriate nanocarrier is not easy, and the few existing comparative studies are difficult to interpret because several factors may simultaneously affect biodistribution and targeting. In addition, developing suitable screening methodologies for determining optimal characteristics of nanocarriers remains a challenge. Therefore, successful targeting strategies must be determined experimentally on a case-by-case basis, which is a pretty hard work. 

Systemic therapies using nanocarriers require methods that can overcome non-specific uptake by mononuclear phagocytic cells and by non-targeted cells. It is also not clear to what extent this is possible without substantially increasing the complexity of the nanocarrier and without influencing commercial scale-up. 

Improved therapeutic efficacy of targeted nanocarriers has been established in multiple animal models of cancer, and currently more than 120 clinical trials are underway with various antibody-containing nanocarrier formulations. 

For the doctor, in addition to enhancing confidence through the ability to image the type and location of the tumor, it is undoubtedly needed to construct appropriate therapeutic regimens. Similar to combination drug strategies that may be personalized to optimize treatment regimens, oncologists in the near future may be presented with the ability to choose specific nanocarrier/targeting molecule combinations which could lead to improved therapeutic outcomes and reduced costs. 

To further investigate how cancer develop and the pathways of cancer development you can read my post 'How does cancer develop?


1. Allen, T. M. Long-circulating (sterically stabilized) liposomes for targeted drug-delivery. Trends Pharmacol. Sci. 15, 215–220 (1994).

2. Duncan, R., Vicent, M.J., Greco, F. & Nicholson, R.I. Polymer-drug conjugates: towards a novel 
approach for the treatment of endrocine-related cancer. Endocrine-Relat. Cancer 12, S189–S199 (2005).

3. Wong, H.L. et al. A new polymer-lipid hybrid nanoparticle system increases cytotoxicity of doxorubicin 
against multidrug-resistant human breast cancer cells. Pharm. Res.23, 1574–1585 (2006).

4. Garcion, E. et al. A new generation of anticancer, drug-loaded, colloidal vectors reverses multidrug 
resistance in glioma and reduces tumor progression in rats. Mol. Cancer Ther. 5, 1710–1722 (2006).

5. Lee, E. S., Na, K. & Bae, Y.H. Doxorubicin loaded pH-sensitive polymeric micelles for reversal of 
resistant MCF-7 tumor. J. Control. Release 103, 405–418 (2005).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...