Recently in Healthy Thinking Category
Like many women in their late twenties, I have found myself becoming more interested in being healthy and learning how to take good care of myself. With this in mind (and taking Reisa's advice!), I am cultivating the habit of reading ingredient labels and making sure I take note of exactly what I am putting into -- or onto my body. While this is so important with our food, it is equally as important with skin care products, since whatever you put onto your face or body gets absorbed directly into your skin. Knowing this, I want to do my body good and make sure I am putting in only the best ingredients!
During my research, I found that grape seed oil was a very common ingredient in many skin and body care products-- and when I checked the face wash and moisturizer that I was already using, it was there too! I decided to learn why. What exactly is grape seed oil and is it beneficial to use on my skin?
What is grape seed oil? The basics:
Grape seed oil is one of the lightest body care oils. It is a nutrient rich oil derived from-you guessed it- grape seeds. The oil itself is made by cold pressing the grapes after they have already been used to make wine.
What makes grape seed oil good for your skin?
This oil is very rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants. The antioxidants in grape seed oil are known as PCO's (procyanidolic oligomers) which are known for their health giving properties and are more powerful than BOTH Vitamin C and E.
We all know that antioxidants are great for our our bodies and our skin, and due to grape seed oil's high antioxidant count, it combats the free radicals in the environment that cause damage and premature aging of the skin. It also stops some of enzymes that destroy collagen, elastin and other connective tissues.
The antioxidant proanthocyanidin found in grape seed oil provides anti-inflammatory protection and helps maintain healthy collagen. Collagen is the structural protein found in tissues and is essential for maintaining healthy skin. As we age, we produce less collagen and our skin begins to sag. Hence why using products which contain grape seed oil would be beneficial to maintain a healthy and youthful appearance. Grape seed oil also contains polyphenols-which are what we need when it comes to looking younger. Polyphenols help slow the process of aging.
In addition to fighting free radicals, grape seed oil can also lessen allergic reactions on the skin. Unlike other oils, which may tend to sit on top of the skin and leave a greasy film, grape seed oil penetrates the easily and quickly; therefore, it doesn't readily clog pores. Due to these properties, grape seed oil can often be found in skin care products used to help acne.
For those of us who have a hard time with scents, grape seed oil has almost no odor and is non irritating. For these reasons, grape seed oil is commonly added to many hypoallergenic products. Since it doesn't have a scent, it doesn't need to have other scents added to cover. The flavanoids contained in grape seed oil inhibit allergic reactions in skin and may even be able to help with eczema or psoriasis.
A 2010 study by the International Journal of Medical Science found that the flavanoids resveratrol and anthocyannis in grape seeds are phytonutrients (nutrients from plants) which, when ingested provide anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and anti-microbial properties.
Grape seed oil also contains a high amount of linoleic acid-a fatty acid essential for the health of skin and cell membranes. Linoleic acid has also been linked to being anti-inflammatory, acne reductive and moisture retentive.
Wow! See all the things you can learn by picking one ingredient in your beauty care products and doing a little research? Grape seed oil is a wonderful ingredient to be using on my skin. It can help me look younger, fight free radicals, and even protect my collagen and reduce acne. With all these benefits, why wouldn't you pick a product that contains grape seed oil?
Like me, as the seasons change, you may notice changes in your skin's tone and pigmentation. More often than not, when my golden tan from summer fades, I notice certain spots on my skin that stick around. What's up with that?
Well, the answer is simple: hyper-pigmentation. Those "sun spots" that just won't go away? That's also known as hyper-pigmentation.
So, what is hyper-pigmentation anyway?
It is a usually harmless condition where patches of skin can become darker in color than the other "normal" colored surrounding skin. This occurs when an excess amount of melanin is produced.
Huh? What's melanin?
Melanin is a class of pigment responsible for producing color in our bodies. Think: hair, skin and eyes.
Now, let's talk about the melanocytes. These are melanin producing cells located in the bottom layer of the epidermis. Melanocytes are the reason our skin changes color for good or bad, better or worse. When these melanocytes get damaged, they lose their ability to function normally, which results in the hyper-pigmentation of our skin.
Causes of hyper-pigmentation include: unprotected sun exposure, certain medications, hormonal changes, past acne problems, inflammation and other skin injuries.
Symptoms of hyper-pigmentation include : leathery skin texture, dry or rough skin, uneven skin tone and dark spots.
When the remains of inflamed acne scars or lesions are visible, this is something called PIH (Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation). The more inflamed the breakout, the larger and darker the PIH can be. Picking at or popping your pimples (as tempting as that may be) can also lead to PIH. Acne scars are the indentations or protrusions left behind on our skin by acne, while acne marks are flat red or brown dots left behind by pimples. Either way-dont pick, pop or scrape at your skin. If you do, you are welcoming higher chances for post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.
The good news?
We can in fact lighten these spots on our body with the use of products such as hydroquinone, retinoids and antioxidants. I had never heard of these remedies before so I decided to do some research.
Hydroquinone-this is a skin lightener that has actually been banned in Europe and Asia because of all the cancerous risks associated with it. (No thanks!) However, it is still available in the US, but only by prescription. Here at Living Well, we don't like to use products that contain questionable ingredients. So, let's move on!
Retinoids-these can be topical or oral products. They are chemically related to Vitamin A and help with acne, anti-aging and hyper-pigmentation. Retinoids help get rid of dead skin cells at a "normal" rate so the dead skin cells do not bind together and clog your pores.
Antioxidants-these are molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. For example Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants in skin care. It slows down the aging process and prevents free radical damage. Also, with long term use, it can regenerate collagen, improve the appearance of wrinkles, lighten skins pigmentation and even brighten all over skin tone. If applied topically it can also provide a small amount of UV protection. Vitamin C is one of Reisa's favorite ingredients - and she even has Vitamin C facial!
So, there you have it. Hyper-pigmentation is treatable, so you can work to restore an even skin tone and lessen those acne marks or scarring. For more information, please contact Reisa at Living Well. As a certified aestheticism she can diagnose and treat your hyper-pigmentation skin problems!
You may be getting sick of all my yummy cookie recipes by now, but these came out so good, I just couldn't help myself. If you like monkey ice cream or monkey chocolate bars, you are going to love these GUILT-FREE MONKEY COOKIES! Each cookie has only 47 calories and I kid you not, they taste just as good as all of their high calorie competition.
What you need: (you can go organic or gluten free for all ingredients depending on dietary needs.)
3 ripe bananas
2 cups oats
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1 dash of cinnamon
What you need to do:
Almost nothing at all! Preheat your oven to 350. Mix all the ingredients together and spoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, let them cool and enjoy!
One thing I love
about functional and naturopathic medicine is the belief that everything in the
body is connected. This week's fun facts provide some fun
Specifically, I highlight three top read picks that include:
- The Sugar-Cancer Connection
- The Immune-Brain Connection
- The Environmental-Heart Connection
Read on to learn more.....
Low Sugar Diet Can Starve Cancer Cells (UCLA)
The following excerpt explains how low sugar diets protect against cancer growth:
Now, in a unique study, a UCLA research team
led by Thomas Graeber, a professor of molecular and medical pharmacology, has
investigated the reverse aspect: how the metabolism of glucose affects the
biochemical signals present in cancer cells.
In research published June 26 in the journal
Molecular Systems Biology, Graeber and his colleagues demonstrate that glucose
starvation -- that is, depriving cancer cells of glucose --activates a metabolic
and signaling amplification loop that leads to cancer cell death as a result of
the toxic accumulation of reactive oxygen species, the cell-damaging molecules
and ions targeted by antioxidants like vitamin C.
Marcus, J. Glucose deprivation activates feedback loop that kills cancer cells,
UCLA study shows. 6/26/12. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/researchers-discover-that-glucose-235478.aspx
Immune System Health Linked to Alzheimer's Risk (Eurekalert)
Here's another neat research report on how the
immune system may affect cognitive function! Read on:
Recent work in mice suggested that the immune
system is involved in removing beta-amyloid, the main Alzheimer's-causing
substance in the brain. Researchers have now shown for the first time that this
may apply in humans.
Researchers at the Peninsula College of
Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter with colleagues in the National
Institute on Aging in the USA and in Italy screened the expression levels of
thousands of genes in blood samples from nearly 700 people. The telltale marker
of immune system activity against beta-amyloid, a gene called CCR2, emerged as
the top marker associated with memory in people.
Professor David Melzer, who led the work,
commented: "This is a very exciting result. It may be that CCR2-associated
immunity could be strengthened in humans to slow Alzheimer's disease, but much
more work will be needed to ensure that this approach is safe and
A. Immune system may protect against Alzheimer's changes. Eurekalert. une 15,
Real Contributors to Heart Disease (Holistic Primary Care)
Finally, here's some excerpts from one of my online journals
regarding some not so common considerations of heart disease.
A (BPA): This
compound, used in the manufacture of plastic food containers and can liners,
has insulinogenic effects on human islet cells at very low doses. It can
modulate insulin secretion in microgram, and even nanogram concentrations.
Several investigators have linked BPA to increased risk of CVD, diabetes and
liver dysfunction (Lang IA, et.al. JAMA.
Rej R, Carpenter
DO. Environ Health Perspect. 2007
Oct;115(10):1442-7). This is in addition to BPA's documented estrogenic effects.
Lead: Lead exposure, even as low
as 2 mcg/dl, is associated with a 55% increase in CVD, an 89% increase in
myocardial infarction and a 151% increase in stroke. What's really disturbing
is that an estimated 39% of the US population has serum lead levels in the
range that increases risk (Menke A, et al. Circulation. 2006;
Celiac Disease & Leaky Gut:
People with latent celiac disease, characterized by positive antibodies or
inflammation without villous atrophy, have a 19-35% increased risk of
developing CVD. Likewise, people with the so-called "leaky gut syndrome" are
also at increased risk.
& Altered Gut Flora:
At first glance it might seem like a stretch that the microbial ecosystem
within the GI tract could increase cardiometabolic risk, but a growing body of
data is showing just that (Tsai F, Coyle
WJ. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2009
risk of obesity increases 200% with regular use of artificial sweeteners, and
the risk of diabetes increase by 67%, said Dr. Hyman. People who use
non-nutritive, non-sugar sweeteners may consume fewer "calories" but they tend
to gain more weight because the perception of having consumed sugar still
triggers insulin release and the full cascade of fat-storage signals. Heavy
consumption of artificially-sweetened sodas has been linked to increased
abdominal fat and to increased risk of stroke.
Not-So-Obvious Cardiometabolic Risk Factors Worth Considering. Holistic Primary
Care. June 28, 2012.
First it was Atkins, then came Weight Watchers, and now there is juicing! With millions of Americans looking for a quick-fix, juicing has become another trendy way to lose weight fast. What I'd like to know is: Is juicing actually even good for you? Is it safe? Or is it just another hyped up way for us to feel better about skipping the gym and eating the right foods?
Lets be honest. Most of us don't eat nearly enough fruits and veggies these days (and certainly not enough to reap their bennefits). The National Cancer Institute recommends 5 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables per day. Am I supposed to eat an apple or a handful of carrots along with every meal? Do I have time for this? Well, even though the answer might be yes, I'm not sure that I want to do that.This is where juicing comes in.
What is juicing?
The type of 'juicing' I'm referring to is a diet plan in order to lose weight, eating only the juice from fruits and vegetables and nothing else for a period of time, such as 3-5 days. Juicing is a way of extracting the juice from a whole fruit or vegetable while leaving the fiberous skin behind. This is where the great debate begins. Some experts say that leaving the skin behind is a bad idea because this is where all the nutrients are. This is the idea that nothing beats eating the whole food. On the other hand, proponents of juicing say that the average American eats only 1.5 servings of veggies and no fruit per day so jucing is an easy and healthy way to introduce them into your diet. Also, many nutrients are trapped in the fiber of fruits and vegetables so jucing removes the fiber, therefore letting our bodies absorb them.
Lets break it down. For example, if you eat a whole carrot, you would only absorb about 1% of the beta carotene. However, if you juice a carrot, your body is able to absorb nearly 100% of the beta carotene. Another reason juicing can be benneficial to your diet is water. Water is essential for good health and most of us don't drink enough water every day either. The Institute of Medicine states that an adequate intake of water is about 13 cups for men and about 9 cups for women. If you're like me, you don't necessarily meet those requirements on a daily basis. Fruits and vegetables are full of fresh clean water. By jucing them, you are making them that much easier for your body to absorb and digest that water.
By now, you might be thinking, "so what's the down side?" Exactly. Just like everything else in life, juicing isn't perfect. First of all, you are depleting your bodies calorie intake, at times taking in fewer than 1,000 calories a day. As a general rule, one pint (16 oz.) is the minimum amount of juice you need to ingest in order to provide any perceptible results. And on top of that, any juice squeezed should be consumed within 30 minutes. If you're like me and have the urge to clean up right away, you can forget about that! And don't plan on making juice ahead of time and saving it for later either. Drink your juice right away and dont save it for more than one day. Fresh squeezed juice is breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Yuck!
So, is juicing good for you? In my opinion, juicing is a great way to introduce fruits and veggies into your diet. Also, with juicing, you are more likely to try new fruits and veggies since you'll eventually get bored of using the same recipe over and over. So far, so good. Now come the side effects. Wah, wah.
If you do in fact decide to juice, here are some things you'll want to be aware of:
1. Decrease in Energy Level: You may notice a drop in energy levels the first day or so. This is because you're not consuming all the carbs and protein your body is used to.
2. Headaches: You may also experience headaches. If you are used to having caffeine and sugar on a regular basis, this type of headache is a result of your body simply craving the stuff it's used to.
3. Nausea and Vomiting: Another possible issue is nausea and vomiting. Ingesting higher doses of nutrients than you're normally used to without the accompanying fiber and protein, might cause you to feel queasy. A good tip for beginners is to dilute your juice with water to prevent this overdose.
4. Bad Breath: is also an another unpleasant side effect of changing your diet to include juicing. This is due to your body flushing out waste and toxins through your skin and exhalation. And last but not least, we have
5. Constipation and/or Diarrhea: which is attributed to the lack of fiber. You aren't eating many solid foods and your digestive track is being cleansed.
After reading all this, you may want to run for the hills--as I did. But, remember, all those side effects are just temporary. It's up to you to decide whether or not jucing is for you. I leave you with these parting thoughts. There is no sound scientific evidence that shows juice from juicing is any healthier for you than the juice you get from eating the whole food itself. Juicing removes the pulp and fiber from all fruits and vegetables which--if you have an appetite like me, will leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. You could always add the pulp back in, but then why not just stick to eating the whole darn apple?
I wake up, turn over, and see the same three glowing numbers I've been seeing for weeks now. It's 4:30 a.m. and it's like my alarm clock is taunting me. All I can think is, "Here we go again..."
If you're like me, sleep has become more of a privilege than a right. And well, I'm just not that privileged. Funny thing is, I never used to have trouble sleeping at all -- either that or my body simply requires much more sleep then than it did. What's going on?
Currently, I am 26 years old and lucky when I can get four peaceful hours of sleep. And even that's a stretch. Throughout the night, I wake constantly and then it's no wonder that I greet the morning with sleepy eyes and a groggy feeling of total unrest. Otherwise, I am healthy, lead an active lifestyle, work out at least five days a week, stick to just one cup of coffee every morning and generally try to go to bed around the same time every night. So, why can't I sleep? I decided it was time to do a little research and get some answers.
Experts say that there is no "magic number" of hours slept that will guarantee us to wake up well rested and feeling refreshed. Sleep needs are individual and what works for one person, may not work for another. However, experts can agree on one thing: mood and sleep are very closely related - which translates to: when we're getting the right amount of sleep, we feel the best.
Last year, the Center for Disease Control declared "insufficient sleep" a public epidemic. Apparently, poor or inadequate sleep can lead to increased irritability, stress, anxiety and even depression. The less you sleep, the less time your body and mind have to regenerate and recharge, leaving you feeling grouchy and often times tense.
This begins a really negative cycle since the less sleep you get, the more stressed you become and here's the really bad part: stress causes your body to release cortisol -- our body's "wake-up" hormone.
As it is, cortisol levels jump 50-60% within minutes of waking up each morning, which explains why you may feel energized after a fitful night of sleep upon waking, yet be lagging during the afternoon and evening hours.
So, here are a few helpful tips I've discovered that you (and I!) may want to try to keep cortisol levels down and get our sleep habits back on track:
Niacinamide- this is a vitamin B supplement that works by replacing the vitamin B3 in your body. It is a water soluble tablet and has also been known as a sleep inducer. Many studies have shown that it induces a feeling of calmness. However, this product can have varying side effects for individuals depending on what other medications you're taking or health risks you may have. Be sure to see a doctor before trying this product.
Chamomile-plant best known for being made into an infusion (i.e.chamomile tea) commonly helping with sleep.
Keep a diary-keep track of what you did that day, what you ate and what medicines you are taking then make a note of how well you slept the next morning.
Get on a schedule-set a regular bed time and wake up around the same time everyday to help your body clock stay regulated.
Do something stimulating-be active! Get moving and tire yourself out, this could be as easy as taking a walk after dinner or taking an exercise class at your local gym. Just get moving!
Avoid alcohol-although many people may think a nightcap will help you to slumber, this is not the case. Recent studies have shown that drinking alcohol before bedtime can disrupt sleep and increase wakefulness.
Increase melatonin production naturally-turn off your TV and computers! Light suppresses melatonin production and watching TV can easily stimulate your mind rather than relax it.
How you feel and what you do throughout your day effects how well you sleep at night. Be conscious of what you're putting into your body. "Toughing it out" and powering through your day will only make you more exhausted later. Since I'm already quite active and on a pretty regular sleep schedule, it's time to try something new. Usually, I watch TV in bed until I fall asleep and apparently that has to stop! Let's see if this melatonin theory works: for the next two weeks, I'm committing to only watching TV in my living room at night. Once I go into the bedroom, it's because I'm going to sleep. My mind won't be stimulated and there will be no light to suppress melatonin production. I will post my results. Wish me luck! (Actually wish me sleep!)
Give yourself the gift of success!
"I can't." "I won't." "I would, but..."
Hold on a moment. Hit pause.
When, how and how often do you use these three phrases? Now think about what you're really saying ...
In essence, each of these three phrases says "stop." They create a block that keeps us from moving forward, from making changes, or from allowing growth and mobility by anchoring ourselves to a particular outcome. When we use one of these sentences, we cut off possibility with others, and more importantly, ourselves!
Case in point: I have a girlfriend who is ill. Just yesterday -- even though she's better today than she was several weeks ago -- she said, "I'm never going to get better." Now, I understand how depressing it can be to feel sick and lose hope, but she *is* getting better and will continue to in all likelihood.
What saddens me is that worse than telling this to me and the world, she's telling this to herself! Instead of giving her immune system support for her healing, she's flooding herself with negativity. Can you imagine your beautiful, living, breathing, cells' confusion as they cry: "But we are getting better!" How can anything prosper in a negative environment?
If we look at any situation in our lives, whether its healing or any other issue, and we hear or we believe that there is no hope, it's much easier to give up the fight, rather than struggle to overcome our obstacles and challenges.
Why not set up the best possible scenario for your own betterment by encouraging yourself to heal? None of us know what tomorrow will bring. So, use the tools that bring health: Visualization, laughter, positive reinforcement. Find your strength in happiness. It's just common sense.
The other night I was out to dinner with my friend, Rob and he put it this way: "If you think you can, you possibly will, but it you think you can't, you definitely won't!"
I've been on a course of self love - learning to embrace myself - my strengths and weaknesses and while it's not always easy, I firmly believe that this enhances my life and my health. There is power in our words, power in our beliefs, our thoughts. So let's give ourselves the best possibility for healing and say, "I can!" and "I will!"
By Sarah A LoBisco, ND
Here's the continuation of my homepage blog on the power of Nurture over Nature!
Curcumin for Cancer Prevention & Cardiovascular Health
If America doesn't start spicing up soon, we are losing out on our health!
Including Curcumin in our diet will have a positive effect on how our genes affect our health. Specifically, this Indian spice works at the cellular level by regulating signals related to inflammation and cellular programming for death (AKA CANCER CELLS)!
Curcumin seems to down-regulate expression of Stat3 and phospho-Stat3 proteins, as well as genes that encode anti-apoptotic signals. In other words, it inhibits cellular signals that under ordinary circumstances prevent malignant cells from going into apoptosis. It also suppresses the binding of NF-KB, a strong inflammatory signal, in two of the three peripheral blood samples. Dr. Zhang said the current data rightfully raise hope that curcumin could play a role in treatment of CTCL, Sezary syndrome, and other hematologic malignancies.
Researchers at the Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, believe they have discovered mechanisms by which turmeric exerts its cholesterol-lowering effect. Norbert Nass, MD, and his team looked at the impact of curcumin at doses ranging from 2-50 micromoles on gene expression in human hepatic cells. They found that once the dose exceeds 10 micromoles, curcumin exposure induces an up to seven-fold increase in expression of LDL-receptor mRNA, which, from a functional viewpoint, means a marked increase in hepatic uptake of LDL. The greater the hepatic uptake, the lower the circulating levels of LDL will be, thus reducing potential for atherosclerotic buildup.
Source: Peschel D, Koerting R, Nass N. J Nutr Biochem. 2007; 18 (2): 113-119.
Excerpted from Holistic Primary Care: A Golden Wonder: Turmeric Compounds Trigger Apoptosis in Lymphoma, Lower LDL Cholesterol. By Erik L. Goldman | Editor-in-Chief - Vol. 8, No. 1. Spring, 2007
Ginger and Prostate Cancer (Br J of Nutriton)
Another spice with cancer-punch-out- power:
It is appreciated far and wide that increased and regular consumption of fruits and vegetables is linked with noteworthy anticancer benefits. Extensively consumed as a spice in foods and beverages worldwide, ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is an excellent source of several bioactive phenolics, including non-volatile pungent compounds such as gingerols, paradols, shogaols and gingerones. Ginger has been known to display anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiproliferative activities, indicating its promising role as a chemopreventive agent. Here, we show that whole ginger extract (GE) exerts significant growth-inhibitory and death-inductory effects in a spectrum of prostate cancer cells. Comprehensive studies have confirmed that GE perturbed cell-cycle progression, impaired reproductive capacity, modulated cell-cycle and apoptosis regulatory molecules and induced a caspase-driven, mitochondrially mediated apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells. Remarkably, daily oral feeding of 100 mg/kg body weight of GE inhibited growth and progression of PC-3 xenografts by approximately 56 % in nude mice, as shown by measurements of tumour volume. Tumour tissue from GE-treated mice showed reduced proliferation index and widespread apoptosis compared with controls, as determined by immunoblotting and immunohistochemical methods. Most importantly, GE did not exert any detectable toxicity in normal, rapidly dividing tissues such as gut and bone marrow. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to demonstrate the in vitro and in vivo anticancer activity of whole GE for the management of prostate cancer.
Source: Karna P, Chagani S, Gundala SR, Rida PC, Asif G, Sharma V, Gupta MV, Aneja R. Benefits of whole ginger extract in prostate cancer (abstract). Br J Nutr. 2012 Feb;107(4):473-84. Epub 2011 Aug 18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21849094
Death by Skin
Showing how our choices in beauty affect our risk for diseases:
- Recent research found higher concentrations of parabens in the upper quadrants of the breast and axillary area, where antiperspirants are usually applied, suggesting they may contribute to the development of breast cancer. One or more paraben esters were detected in 99 percent of the tissue samples collected from mastectomies. In 60 percent of the samples, all five paraben esters were present
- Overall, topical application of personal care products containing parabens appear to be the greatest source of exposure to these estrogen-mimicking chemicals, far surpassing the risk of the aluminum in antiperspirants
- Aluminum chloride--the active ingredient in antiperspirants--has been found to act similarly to the way oncogenes work to provide molecular transformations in cancer cells. Like parabens, aluminum salts also mimic estrogen, and bioaccumulate in breast tissue, which can raise your breast cancer risk
- Despite the fact that parabens are used in such a wide variety of products, their safety is primarily based on a rat study from 1956, as modern toxicology studies are lacking, and not a single study on the chemicals' carcinogenity follow acceptable regulatory standard carcinogenity study protocols, according to a recent review
- Estrogens, whether synthetic or natural are a primary risk factor for breast cancer. Approximately 20 different studies have established that parabens have estrogenic activity, which makes them relevant when it comes to estrogen-sensitive cancers. A common excuse used to defend the absence of toxicological studies is that parabens are weak in terms of potency. For example, propylparaben and butylparaben are approximately 30,000 and 10,000 less potent than estradiol, respectively.
"However, estradiol occurs in breast tissue in the pictogram per gram of tissue range... but the results reported by Barr et.al. [the featured study] show tissue concentrations of parabens, in the worst cases, in the microgram per gram of breast tissue range, which is one million-fold higher than that of estradiol. Clearly, the magnitude of exposure would seem to more than compensate for the reduction in potency," Harvey and Everett write.
But that's not all. A 2011 study reported that methylparaben promotes cell cycling and makes human breast cells more resistant to apoptosis, which, according to the authors can provide the molecular basis for malignant tumor proliferation. Harvey and Everett also cite another study from 2007, which found that propylparaben and butylparaben cause detectable DNA damage.
Source: Dr. Mercola. May 24, 2012. 99% of Breast Cancer Tissue Contained This Everyday Chemical (NOT Aluminum). http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/24/parabens-on-risk-of-breast-cancer.aspx?e_cid=20120524_DNL_art_1
Read more at: www.dr-lobisco.com
Decrease Aging by Avoiding Fattening Fructose
We've heard of the dangers of fructose and how it's linked to
everything from obesity to liver disease. How can such a sweet thing be
so bad for us? Dr. Mercola recently explained the biochemistry of this
liver harming, appetite affecting, weight gaining substance:
Fructose Metabolism Basics
Anyone who still insists that "sugar is sugar" is way behind the
times... There are in fact major differences in how your body processes
different sugars, and it's important to understand that when you
consume fructose, your body packs on pounds at a much higher rate than
it does when you consume glucose. The following summary details the
main metabolic differences between fructose and glucose to help you
understand how fructose can wreak such havoc with your health, and why
it's considerably worse for you than glucose:
- After eating fructose, nearly all of the metabolic burden rests
on your liver. But with glucose, your liver has to break down only 20
- Every cell in your body, including your brain, utilizes glucose.
Therefore, much of it is "burned up" immediately after you consume it.
By contrast, fructose is primarily converted into free fatty acids
(FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides,
which get stored as fat.
- The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as
fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing
insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Insulin resistance progresses to metabolic syndrome and type II
- Fructose is the most lipophilic carbohydrate. In other words,
fructose converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p), which is directly used
to turn FFAs into triglycerides. The more g-3-p you have, the more fat
you store. Glucose does not do this.
- When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is
stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being
stored as fat. Fructose is essentially largely converted into fat!
- The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of
waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which
triggers your "fat switch," causing you to gain more weight.
- Glucose does not do this, as it suppresses the hunger hormone
ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose
has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain's communication
with leptin, resulting in overeating.
Good news, there are ways to handle your sweet tooth. Dr. Mercola offers more suggestions on:
How to Tame Your Sugar Cravings
As mentioned earlier, I recommend
that you avoid as much sugar as possible. Do your best to keep your
fructose consumption below 15-25 grams a day. This is especially
important if you are overweight or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or
high blood pressure.
Sugar is highly addictive, so cutting
down can be a real challenge for some, especially if you're consuming
very high amounts. If you're struggling with sugar addiction, I highly
recommend trying an energy psychology technique called Turbo Tapping,
which has helped many "soda addicts" kick their sweet habit. If you
still want to use a sweetener occasionally, here's what I recommend in
lieu of sugar:
- Use the sweet herb stevia.
- Use organic cane sugar in moderation.
- Use organic raw honey in moderation.
- Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners, which can damage your health even more quickly than fructose.
- Avoid agave syrup
since it is a highly processed sap that is almost all fructose. Your
blood sugar will spike just as it would if you were consuming regular
sugar or HFCS. Agave's meteoric rise in popularity is due to a great
marketing campaign, but any health benefits present in the original
agave plant are processed out.
Source: Mercola, J. Avoid this Food to Help Slow Aging.
February 22, 2012.
Reducing EMF Exposure
There's a great debate in medicine on exactly how EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) affect our health. I wrote about this in a past blog
on my website (see contact information). Below is another excerpt from
Dr Mercola on his perspective on how modern technology is affecting our
It's worth remembering that the
telecommunication industry is much larger than the medical industrial
complex, and they have far more influence than the drug companies.
They're also mirroring many of the same tactics as the tobacco industry
to pedal their wares. This includes attempting to discredit
researchers who publish unfavorable cell phone studies.
According to Camilla Rees, MBA of ElectromagneticHealth.org:
"We have seen a recent steep increase
in disparagement of scientific research where the research
demonstrates risks to public health from telecommunications
technologies. It is very clear that in the name of "debate" certain
parties are aggressively creating confusion and doubt about the
biological and health risks, shamefully supporting the interests of the
There is already robust scientific
evidence that cell phones and other wireless devices pose significant
health risks to all of us, and especially to children and pregnant
women. So while these findings are not being widely publicized as of
yet, it makes sense to take action now to protect yourself and your
children. You can help to minimize your exposure to electromagnetic
radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices by heeding the
- Children Should Always Avoid Using Cell Phones:
Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell
phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more
vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner
- Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone
off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As
long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even
when you are not actually making a call. If you're pregnant, avoiding
or reducing your cell phone use may be especially important.
- Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Although more
and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive
phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of
the madness. SKYPE offers a portable number via your computer that can
plug into any Ethernet port while traveling.
- Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices:
You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with
cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really
need to use them as often as you do. And most importantly, do not even
consider having any electronic or wireless devices in the bedroom that
will interfere with the quality of your sleep.If you must use a
portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They
are not safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast
constantly even when no call is being made.Note the only way to truly be
sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure
with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the
frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won't help much). As
many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF
meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz, the highest range now available in a
meter suitable for consumers.Alternatively you can be very careful with
the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since
it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren't talking. So if you can
keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend
most of your time, and especially your bedroom, they may not be as
damaging to your health. Another option is to just simply turn the
portable phone off, only using it when you specifically need the
convenience of moving about while on a call.Ideally it would be helpful
to turn off your base station every night before you go to bed.You can
find RF meters as well as remediation supplies at www.emfsafetystore.com.
But you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if
the technology is DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.
- Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good:
The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to
transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and
the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally,
you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.
- Also Seek to Avoid Carrying Your Phone on Your Body
as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your
purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the
heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man's pocket if he
seeks to preserve his fertility.
- Don't Assume One Cell Phone is Safer Than Another: There's no such thing as a "safe" cell phone.
- Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On:
The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is
within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any
part of your body within that area.
- Respect Others Who are More Sensitive: Some people
who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others' cell phones
in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a
meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public
places, such as a doctor's office, keep your cell phone turned off out
of consideration for the 'second hand radiation' effects. Children are
also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near
- If you are using the Pong case, which redirects the cell phone
radiation away from the head and successfully lowers the SAR effect,
realize that in redirecting the radiation away from your head this may
be intensifying the radiation in another direction, perhaps toward the
person next to you, or, if in your pocket, increasing radiation
intensity toward your body. Caution is always advised in dealing with
any radiation-emitting device. We recommend cell phones be kept 'Off'
except for emergencies.
- Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will
certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body.
However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded -- and most of them
are not -- the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient radio
waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.Make sure that
the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded.The best
kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube
headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information
to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that
still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to
Makeup Basics Advice from A Holistic Aesthetician
Time and again, I'm asked for my opinion about the ideas surrounding beauty and whether it is a question of conforming to societal pressure, selfish vanity or, as I choose to believe: the desire to look and feel healthy. As a holistic practitioner, I believe in the connection of mind, body and spirit and so, how we look and how we feel are connected and add to our sense of worth, joy, happiness, self confidence, and self esteem.
Too often, I hear women express themselves in a way that seems as if they are embarrassed to take care of themselves - thinking that this is a selfish thing to do. (Yes, we all know people who are fixated on appearance, but we're focusing on beauty in balance!)
Caring for ourselves contributes to our quality of life. It alters the way that we feel about ourselves, boosting our self respect, self image and concept of ourselves. What we wear, how we carry ourselves and how we feel becomes who we are - which begs the question, "How do I see myself?"
It's not about whether you color your hair, or you don't; whether you wear makeup, or not - it's about how you feel about yourself and the choices that you make. I know women who look absolutely gorgeous who allow their natural hair color to shine; women who don't wear makeup and are beautiful; women who do wear makeup and are beautiful. It's personal choice and what makes you feel good about yourself.
Having said this, I am motivated to talk a bit about makeup, since I see a lot of faces! These days, I see many cases of rosacea, broken capillaries, the result of too many chemicals, too much sun, too many irritants, too little vitamins and a lack of knowledge based upon myth and commercials. Amazingly, though this can sound a bit grim, it's not difficult to change. Our skin's health is resilient and can be helped. In fact, one of the statements I hear that makes me so happy is when clients say, "This is the best that my skin has ever been!" Yes, it's possible to better the condition of your skin with good home care, the right product and professional care. So, back to makeup!
Choosing the healthy path.
What I mean by "healthy" is makeup that doesn't contain parabens or other preservatives known or suspected to be harmful; and does contain beneficial ingredients like anti-oxidants and vitamins. And, while you can find these types of products at specialty stores, don't be fooled by the words "natural" or "mineral" - which don't necessarily mean what you may think. The best thing to do is take a look at the ingredients if you are so motivated, or buy from a licensed professional who can do all this legwork and knows what to look for in products.
Today, there is makeup available that is called "treatment" makeup. That means that the ingredients in the makeup actually aid your skin. Many times this makeup is found at a spa, your skin care provider's office or through a dermatologist. This product is generally no more costly than that which you would find at a department store counter or specialty store. Since this product is sold by skin care professionals, the quality and quantity of active, beneficial ingredients are usually higher.
While I understand the difficulty and expense of replacing all your makeup with healthy choices, I'd recommend that if you can't do it all at once, you make better choices as you replace your old makeup.
What works best? The basic how-to:
In most cases, when it comes to makeup less is more. The most common mistakes I see are: the wrong color foundation, the wrong type of foundation and too much bronzer. The wrong type of foundation will cake in your pores or make your skin look either too dry or too oily. The right makeup blends with and into your natural tones producing more even color and a smoother look. Generally, liquid makeup is better for more mature and dryer skin; powder works well for those with oilier complexions. You should test foundation color along the jaw line making sure that it blends closely to your own shade.
To cover more difficult areas, like scars or sun damage, camouflage-type concealers work best to even out color, rather than loading up the foundation. Under eye concealers, which are great for dark circles, should blend with the skin tone and be a shade or so lighter than the overall face color, but not so light as to stand out and detract from the overall enhancement.
It is generally best to choose one area to have more color - eyes or lips, not both. So, for daytime wear, my recommendation is the following: concealer if needed, foundation if desired, blush, lip color and eyeliner; shadow if wanted. For evening, a heavier look has a more formal, dressy look.
For those who want a nice light dusting of makeup, there are tinted foundations which afford less coverage, while still evening out skin tone.
As always, moisturizer and sunscreen are very important, as are the right skin care products.
Makeup doesn't have to be overpowering or frightening. Once you find a beneficial treatment makeup line, you can work with a professional to find the right colors. It's important to express the kind of look you want to achieve, so that you are comfortable and confident. Best of all - have some fun!
Questions? Feel free to ask me or schedule an appointment for a skin analysis and consultation!
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As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.
"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle."