Showing posts with label Health advice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health advice. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Egg-cellent advice


I was reading the short story of Andy Weir, where he expresses his point of view on a philosophical sense, stating that the universe is "An Egg". Eventhough I think that the story is inspiring I am not going to discuss this theory in here. Neither am I going to try and find an answer  to the ancient question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Instead, I am going to be very practical and let you know the key points you need to know to convince yourself to profit as much as you can from this excellent and easily available superfood, which by the way is very similiar to the planet we are living on. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why you shouldn't use eyeglasses with false UV filter


Why do some types of sunglasses damage your eyes? Why is it very essential that sunglasses must have ultraviolet protection (otherwise it is better not to use them at all)? What are ultraviolet rays?...




The UV rays are not visible to our eyes, but they are emitted from the sun together with the visible and non visible spectrum. In other words, they are sun rays that we don't see, but are pretty damaging to our skin and eyes. When we stay too long in the sun we get sunburn from these rays. 

Now imagine these rays inside your eyes, or like it is otherwise called, in the retina. Retina is one of the most sensible part of our eyes. The light is captured there and thanks to the retina it is translated in neurological messages, which are deciphered by our brain and voila the images are seen. Do not think that the ultraviolet spectrum is bad, by any means! It is also good and thanks to it, we can produce the vitamin D in our skin.) 

The lenses of sunglasses are composed of filters that form a barrier to a part of the sun’s visible spectrum rays, so in this way we can comfortable see in sunlight. But, when we put on the sunglasses the amount of light entering in our eyes is, in this way, reduced, resulting in the eyes being physiologically dilated. The major part of the sunglasses are so dark that even when our pupils are fully dilated, the amount of visible sunlight entering into our eyes doesn't make us uncomfortable. 


The problem is the absence of ultraviolet filters in some cheap sunglasses, because if these kind of rays are not stopped and the pupils are dilated, the amount of UV-rays entering the retina will increase dramatically, resulting in damaging it! So, you can get retina burn just like sun burn of the skin! Especially if you use sunglasses without UV-filters in high latitude and snowing areas. Because the higher we are, the bigger is the amount of sun radiation that we take, especially UV-rays. 

So, when you go skiing, sunglasses with UV protection are a must and if you like to wear normal sunglasses, be sure that they have the UV- protection filters, or don't use them at all.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Warning signs, days before a heart attack

Warning signs days, or weeks before a heart attack


Do not neglect these signs the body is giving to warn you of a possible heart attack. 

1. Rapid and irregular heartbeat

Sudden, unexplained episodes of rapid, irregular heartbeat and pulse can predate a heart attack by days, or even weeks. An irregular heartbeat accompanied by an increase in the number of beats per minute (more than 120 beats per minute) can indicate a serious problem. The symptoms are easy to confuse with a panic attack. Your heart may feel like it’s pounding, as if you’d just run for the bus or had a terrible fright. The episodes are likely to come on suddenly. Typically, there’s no obvious trigger for the sudden heartbeat acceleration and arrhythmia. Just call the doctor right away.

2. Nausea or stomachache 

This symptom is particularly common in women, over the age of 60. Although most people associate angina with chest pain, in many cases the body sends those pain signals down into the abdomen. Poor circulation and lack of oxygen circulating in the blood (caused by a weak heart or blocked arteries) can lead to ongoing nausea, indigestion, or vomiting. Watch your symptoms for a few days to rule out a stomach virus or food poisoning. If symptoms persist, get a checkup for gastrointestinal illness, but make sure to ask your doctor to consider heart health as well.

3. Exhaustion

A sense of crushing fatigue that lasts for days, weeks, or even months can signal heart trouble months before a heart attack occurs. This isn’t run-of-the-mill fatigue but the debilitating kind you’d typically associate with having the flu. Fatigue comes on suddenly, without any clear explanation such as extreme exertion, lack of sleep, or illness. Typically you’ll start the day with close to normal energy but become increasingly tired, feeling exhausted by afternoon. A heavy feeling in the legs is another sign. Women should be particularly alert for unexplained, long-lasting fatigue.

4. Insomnia and anxiety

Sudden onset of insomnia when you haven’t experienced this problem before is a signal to watch out for. It may be the way of your body telling you that something is not right. Ask yourself whether the anxiety is related to recent events or triggers, or whether it seems abnormal in proportion to life events. Sudden, unexplained anxiety or insomnia should be discussed with your doctor.

5. Pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw or arm 

The pain may travel up the neck to the jaw and even to the ear, or radiate down the shoulder to the arm and hand, or it may center between the shoulder blades. The pain may feel sharp, or it may be a dull ache such as you’d feel with a pulled muscle. The pain comes and goes, rather than persisting unrelieved, as with a pulled muscle. Pain that doesn’t go away after several days merits a medical checkup. If the pain seems to move or radiate upward and out, this is important to tell to your doctor.

6. Breathless, or difficulty taking a deep breath

When you can’t draw a deep breath, you probably assume it’s your lungs, but it could be the result of too little oxygen circulating in your blood from a weakened heart. Officially known as dyspnea, shortness of breath is often the first sign of serious heart disease. 

7. Excessive sweating

Flu-like symptoms, like clammy skin or sweatiness, that aren’t accompanied by a fever, that last longer than a week, or that come and go over a long period of time, are signs that there’s some other underlying cause, which may be heart disease.

These are the 7 warning signs your body gives you before a heart attack. Understanding the language your body talks to you, is vital. 

Stay well!

Monday, July 22, 2013

How to manage stress?

Stress... When I was a child and heard the word 'stress', I was like: 'How can it be that everyone seems not to be able to control stress... How come this 'stress' is so powerful. . What is this feeling I don't have?'

Though I was lucky enough, not to know at those times what stress was like, I was curious and I though of stress as a game that only adults were allowed to play... In fact, later on I found out that indeed stress in excess, is a very dangerous state of mind... The only way for me to deal with stress, is to imagine what my inner child would do with it and act upon in.

Think of stress not like an enemy to combat, but as an ally that will help you to play the chess of life.  BUT, do not give it any power... Stress is just a soldier in your inner field. 

If you are torn out because of your stress and you seem to lack energy and determination, or you are fed up the the situation life put you in, just pause everything in your head, clear your thoughts and take it slow. Try to find the cause of your problems... Is it you, or is it that the behavior of other people around you is not up your league and is causing you to feel drained? You can not control how others act, but you are in charge of you! No one can control your life, except you. Know this and do not give other people more power than they should have. Learn to say "No" and avoid the unnecessary stress. Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you’re close to reaching them. Taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress.

Avoid people who stress you out. It is as simple as that. If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or end the relationship entirely. 

Avoid specific topics that you repeatedly argue about. If it is the same subject, the topic of your arguments with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.

Also, don’t take a backseat in your own life. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them.

When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for inner growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes. 

And the best advice I can give you on how to manage stress is to develop your sense of humor. I am not saying to make fun of everything, just to be able to see the lighter side of them...Having a sense of humor will help you to diffuse even the most difficult of situations. 

Oh, and do not forget to pamper yourself!!!

Stay well!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Myths about Ulcerative Colitis

Hey guys, check out this list below! In this list, which you can find in nearly all the web pages that talk about this disease, you can see the foods to avoid in order to not aggravate your colon condition! The source of this list seems to be the WHO (World Health Organization).



The list of foods to avoid: 

· alcohol
· caffeine
· carbonated beverages
· dairy products, if lactose intolerant
· dried beans, peas, and legumes
· dried fruits, berries, fruits with pulp or seeds
· foods containing sulfur or sulfate
· foods high in fiber, including whole-grain products
· hot sauce, pepper
· meats
· nuts, crunchy nut butters
· popcorn
· products containing sorbitol (sugar-free gum and candies)
· raw vegetables
· refined sugar
· seeds
· spicy foods, sauces

Now let me explain you something. First of all, the etiology (cause) of the Ulcerative Colitis is not very well known to us. We know what happens in the large intestine (colon) and the rectum, but we don't know what caused this syndrome or disease, when it is in its aggravated form. We don't know if the cause is some kind of bacteria, a virus, a genetic disorder, social conditions, climacteric conditions, if it is autoimmune or not (which is one of the main hypothesis) or some of these things altogether. 

But, we do know that some of the patients become very irritated, when they take one or some of the foods mentioned in this list. 

Usually all who suffer from this disease, know very well the foods that cause them problems, so they tend to avoid them, but what I am trying to say in this post is this:

You know your body better than your doctor, so if you are suffering from this disease and you have one special food that triggers your illness, then try to avoid it as much as possible, but do not avoid all the foods in that list at once, because it is nonsense! 

In that list there are some of the most indispensable foods that you will need for your well being. How can we live if we don't eat raw vegetables, meats, seeds, hot soups, spices and don't drink a little of wine?!

To not eat these things is like a second illness for all who suffer from this disease! So what can you do then?

Like I said, it is not the food that causes ulcerative colitis and if you did find out that a special kind of food triggered the condition of your disease, than avoid only that kind of food , but I will advice you another technique. 

For example: Does coffee trigger your colitis? Find out if it does, when you are drinking it in the morning, without eating the breakfast or not, or in any other situation when you are on empty stomach. If this is the case, then try to drink coffee after breakfast, or when you are full. 

The same logic applies to any food. If nothing happens when you eat/drink the "dangerous" food this way (on full stomach), then "bon app├ętit"! The basic logic here, is that you avoid the "dangerous" food for you, to enter in contact with your bowls all alone. Instead you firstly eat the food that doesn't cause you problems and then you can eat the "forbidden ones" for you. Hope this advice helps. But it is important to note that if you are sure that a kind of food may cause you problems then it is wise to eat it in low quantities or even avoid it, if the way I showed you doesn't help.

But we know one thing for sure about this disease! The stress factor! In all of the chronic bowl problems (ulcerative colitis, crohn disease, irritated bowl syndrome) the stress factor is the number one trigger! 

When the patients suffering from one of these diseases are under stress conditions (lets say something negative happens in their life) their disease becomes active and more problematic.

So, first of all try to reduce the stress factor as much as possible, the only true cure for these kind of diseases, is life style change. Basically you have to get away from the factors that cause you stress. 

There are a lot of techniques to reduce stress and I can't list all of them now , but try to do some sport. You can do sport by just walking in the street or in the park, just walk a little away from your problems and if you can jog than jog. You will find out that physic activity is the best way for your bowl to feel better, because it enhances not only your activity, but even the activity of your intestines. 

Stay well!

Monday, July 15, 2013

How to cure Athlete's foot

Athlete's foot, or scientifically known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection of the foot’s upper skin layer that causes scaling, flaking, and itching of affected areas. This infection is caused by Trichophyton fungi and it occurs by picking up the fungi while walking bare footed in an contaminated area, using contaminated towels and most commonly by using contaminated shoes. After you pick up this fungus, it requires a warm moist environment, such as the inside of a shoe, in order to incubate. 


Now, I want to keep this post constructive, because i am aware that if you are reading this post either you suffer or you have suffered in the past from this infection and you want to get rid of it.

Although there is a cure for this disease, which is usually given even by a general practitioner, not even by a dermatologist, you have to remember same basic rules in order to get rid of this fungus from your feet!

Seems that some of us tend to have this problem and some not. These doesn't mean that those who have this dermatological infection have problems with their immunity or do not care very well for their body or feet. The real reason for this to happen, is that the fungi, in order to grow, needs an incubation time and very specific conditions, such as a warm moist environment, like the inside of a shoe of a person who is wearing it for an entire day, especially if this shoe is not on the quality side and does not let the air circulate. 

If you are wearing nylon socks, this will help the fungus to grow, as well. But, most of all, the main cause of this problem (like we said the fungi needs moisture) is your sweat! And you can't do anything about that! Some people's feet tend to sweat a lot and there is nothing substantial they can do to stop it. But they can prevent the athlete’s foot from occurring to them.

If you are suffering from the symptoms that I mentioned, the skin on the foot, especially between the toes, becomes itchy and there is also a sensation of stinging or burning. The skin may also become dry, flaky, red, scaly and may also crack, there may be oozing or crusting blisters, and swelling. The sole and the side of the foot may develop scaling patterns. In sever cases the toes, soles and the sides of the feet may be affected. 

- In the majority of cases, athlete's foot symptoms are mild and the patient does not need to see a doctor. OTC (over-the-counter, no prescription required) medications can be bought at pharmacies which are effective in clearing up the infection. I recommend you to go to a doctor to examine the severeness of the infection and take the medication if needed. In some cases, especially if the toes are affected, you will need to take the antimycotic drugs, even for three months. After that, you will need to take special care of your feet, in order to not allow the infection to repeat itself.

- After you are diagnosed with athlete’s foot take special care for the others that are living with you, or if you are in public places, because this is a contageous infection. Do not share your shoes, sandals, socks, towels... (anything that your shoes came in contact with) with no one! If the patient scratches the affected area and touches other parts of his/her body, the infection can spread. After touching the affected area, remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water

- The infection tends to repeat after some time if you do not change your habits. Try to wear as little as possible shoes and socks. And when you wear them wear quality shoes (loose-fitting, well ventilated shoes). Thick, tight shoes are more likely to trigger athlete's foot because they squeeze the toes together, creating ideal conditions for the fungus to thrive. Change the shoes you wear regularly, so that your footwear is relatively dry. Shoes need time to dry out between wearings. Never share footwear.

- When you come tired from work do not just take out your shoes but take out your socks too and wash your feet! Yes, daily wash of your feet is advisable. Make sure you clean between your toes each time. Make sure your feet are dry before putting your socks, stockings or tights on. 

- Wear socks made from material that draws moisture away from your feet, such as cotton, silk or wool.

- If it helps, apply (antifungal) talcum powder to your feet

- Try to stay as much bare footed as you can, change socks every day and every time you wear shoes for a long time and wash your feet daily. You have to do this because if you are suffering from this issue, you are a person whose feet sweat a lot and the things that I mentioned are the only ones you can do to minimize the ideal conditions for the fungus to grow.

Treatment 

Most topical medications can be bought OTC at your local pharmacy. Topical means it is applied directly onto the skin.your pharmacist may give you one of the following drugs:

- Clotrimazole

- Econazole

- ketoconazole

- miconazole

- terbinafine

- sulconazole

These oral medications may be prescribed by your doctor, either because your symptoms are severe, or perhaps the topical medicines did not work:

- griseofulvin

- terbinafine 

- itraconazole

Stay well!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How to reduce bloating?

How to reduce bloating?

I am going to tell you how to reduce bloating, which can be pretty uncomfortable... But firstly, what is bloating? 

Bloating is a swelling in the abdominal area. It happens because you may be overeating, or eating too fast. Here is a tip from me. Try to chew your food as much as you can and take your time. If you eat too fast, you will trick your body in thinking that you are not yet full and you will be still hungry, but if you eat slowly that will not happen. Try to chew your food at least 15-20 times, before swallowing it. Do not forget that it takes about 20 minutes for the signal that you are full, to reach the brain! So, if you eat faster, your brain will think that you are still hungry. 

Also eat in a smaller plate, because again, you will trick your mind that you are still eating a plate full of food, but on the other hand the portion size is much smaller. That's it for tricking your brain. :) Now comes the difficult part... Try to avoid junk food as much as you can and eat healthy. 

1. Try to minimize the consumption of carbonated drinks, because the air bubbles in them cause bloating. Instead of soda try ice tea, which is a diuretic and cleans your body from inside out.
2. Substitute chips for a healthier alternative. Snack on something healthier.
3. Avoid overeating refined carbs, such as white flour bread. Instead try brown rice,whole wheat grain and similar.
4. Avoid table salt as much as you can. The sodium in it is not good for your body.
5.The same is valid for canned food. If you can not avoid it, opt for low sodium ones and do not eat canned food every day.
6. Try Probiotic Yogurt (like Kefir) instead of your daily dairy products. I know I can not give up on cheese, but at least I can substitute milk and yogurt with a healthier alternative. Probiotic yogurt will boost the bacteria in your gut, helping you to digest in a healthier way.
7. Always remember that a good diet reduces bloating and do not neglect drinking plenty of water! 8 glasses a day should be enough. 
8. Add some lemon to your water and drink it first thing in the morning. It helps to clean your body. 
9. Again same with salt, try to avoid refined sugar and choose a healthier alternative, such as brown sugar, agave nectar or even honey.
10. Juice often.
11. Say farewell bloating! ;)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dangerous foods for your wellbeing


Artificial sweeteners 

Trying to skip the calories of sugars with artificial sweeteners? No, thanks! This shortcut is not as safe as you may think...

Think basics... In nature there are no artificial sweeteners, so first of all it is not natural! We have invented them with the idea of skipping calories and lowering the cost of the foods. No one can say for sure how healthy these sweeteners are. There are a lot of studies that put a loads of doubts in sweeteners like aspartame. 

According to these studies aspartame increased cancer risk in animals and affected the brains of the mices. Of course, we are talking of big amounts of this chemical. I do not think that taking a coke, which is known to contain aspartam, will have any undesired effect at all, but drinking tons of it every day ... We’ll have to see what happens... 

Artificial sweeteners are sweeter than the sugars, consuming a lot of them each day will increase the level of sweetness that we’ll want to eat with our food. Instead eating honey and brown sugar in low quantity would be the ideal choice for your health. 

On the other hand I think that artificial sweeteners are a good choice for the diabetics and the guys suffering from reactive hypoglycemia.

Table salt

A little salt sprinkled on your plates won’t do a anything bad, but remember that all the foods we use already have their own salt. Try eliminate salt as much as you can, because after all, the table salt is not like the natural sea salt. It is refined, meaning that it doesent have the trace minerals found in the sea salt, even the iodine found in it, is added. We need those trace minerals, found in the unrefined sea salt, if we want to be in good health, but we don’t need too much sodium chloride (found in the table salt) because it tends to increase the blood pressure.

Margarine 

Margarine is not like butter, which is a sub product of milk (basically you take out the fats that are in the milk). Margarine is made from vegetable oils, like the one we use to fry or cook. 

Many years ago, in some parts of the world, for example the eastern communist countries, margarine was prepared even from the crude oil. This is the oil from which diesel is made and is used to run the cars! 

But nowadays the problem with margarine is that it is just too full of trans oils. Beside that, margarine has so many calories that it increases the bad cholesterol. Cholesterol and trans oils accumulate in the blood vessels, especially in the coronaries, being so the cause of a cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or a myocardial infarct. Margarine is vegetable, but it is not a good choice for the vegetarians.

Microwave popcorn

Before you sit down to watch your new favorite movie, pop a bowl of kernels in the stove, not in the microwave . 

The bag's liner contains PFOA, a proven intoxicant and carcinogen in animals. This chemical clings on to popcorn and studies have linked it to infertility.

Microwave food

Use your microwave oven to heat and not to cook your foods. Drinking a hot soup from the microwave, is ok, but cooking with the microwave oven is not the same. It is belived that the microwaves tend to destroy the natural shape of the food molecules, because the range of these waves is at the molecular level. This is believed to happen only if you are cooking the foods for a long time, so be confident that nothing will happen, if you use the microwave ovens to just warm up your food. 

GMO-s (Genetically modified organisms or known as genetically modified food)

World population has passed 7 billion people and is still growing. All these people are hungry at one point or another. Feeding them is not easy, because it is well known that the earth resources have a limit. Plus the crops tend to be very vulnerable to diseases and aridity, or even wetness. 

So, the need for genetically modified crop, to resist these kind of challenges, has aroused. It is difficult these days to distinguish the GMOs from the natural food. They can be found in all kinds of processed foods, used to feed the animals, whose products we consume. In some countries, it is not even obligatory to write on the labels, if the food is GMO or not. You really can’t find out the truth, but there are countries where GMOs are forbidden to enter. If you live in Europe, avoiding GMO foods is easier, since laws require labeling. In the US and Canada, however, food manufacturers are not required to label if their food is genetically modified or not. 

Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals. The effects on humans that consume these new combinations of proteins, produced in GMOs, are unknown and have not been studied.

The only negative side proven about the GMOs, is the allergenic properties that these kind of foods have, to some people, causing even death. 

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
(riboflavin)
Almonds, mushrooms, egg yolks
Vitamin B3
(niacin)
Rice bran, wheat bran, peanuts (with skin), liver, poultry white meat
Vitamin B6
(pyroxidine)
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
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.

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. 

Potassium

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

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 

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. 

Nitrogen 

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

Phosphorus

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

Calcium 

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. 

Magnesium 

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. 

Sulfur

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.

Iodine

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.

Copper

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

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!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

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

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!

References:


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