Healthy birthday

Today is a rather important event in my life. It is the first anniversary of the site. This site is my first real attempt at writing a professional blog. In the past I have held a public blog menu as part of my weight loss journey and I have even dabbled in a smaller scale natural health site. But it was only late last year that I was approached about the fact that a part of something bigger. It was an uncertain time in my life. I ended my long-term employment with a major entertainment company and I was not sure where I would go from there. All I knew is that I am not entirely satisfied with the work I was doing. I’ve always loved film, but I did not feel I have enough to contribute to the world around me. It was this confluence of events that lead to the development of this site. My goal, simply put, was the science-based natural health information with a heart that was suitable for both patients and doctors. I think I manage to do that, but I know I have a long way to go.


I think this might be a good time to be a part of the varied topics I’ve covered in the past year to work. In March, I described a number of natural ways to the effects of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux) and Barrett’s esophagus (BE), a potentially dangerous condition that reduce stomach acid to back up and harmful / irritating the delicate tissue of the esophagus is limiting.

A study released on 23 November 2009 provides a cheap, natural option that can help mitigate the damage caused by BE. 25 patients received 1000 mg vitamin C for 4 weeks. Esophageal tissue samples were taken before and after supplementation through endoscopic biopsies. The level of inflammation were also evaluated by means of a “proof Investigator biochip array”. All participants increased concentrations of “pro-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors” is at the beginning of the process. However, the end of the study, 35% of the patients experienced reduction in markers of inflammation referred to by the vitamin C supplementation. This is the first study specifically the influence of vitamin C test BE patients. But a large number of previous studies laid the foundation for this current research. Most of those scientific studies found that people with BE have lower than average levels of important antioxidants such as selenium, various carotenoids and vitamins C and E. (1,2,3,4,5)

It has been almost a year since I first covered the topic of guided imagery. This is a powerful mind-body technique that is safe enough to use as a complement to almost any form of medical treatment. The December edition of the journal Archives of Psychiatric Nursing documents the latest success for this alternative therapy. “60 Short-term hospitalized depressed patients’ part to the current process. Part of the group listened to a guided imagery CD once a day for a total of 10 days. Tests to as “The psychiatric patients Comfort Scale” and “The Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales (DASS-21)” were administered before the guided imagery intervention and the completion of the process. According to the authors of the study, “repeated measurements showed that the (guided imagery) treated group was significantly improved comfort and reduced depression, anxiety and stress over time”. Two other recent studies support the success of guided imagery in reducing vibration in patients with Parkinson’s disease and discomfort in children with “functional abdominal pain.” In both cases, the effects as “better than medical therapy alone” and resulted in improvements “were sustained over a long period”. (6,7,8)

Long time readers know all too well that I’m “nuts” about nuts (and seeds). It does not matter whether we talk about almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, Sacha Inchi or walnuts. I love them all. But more importantly, they love us back by providing a wide range of health benefits. In November, a study published in the journal Obesity which examined the effects of walnuts on satiety. 20 men and women were asked to eat a standardized diet, along with one of the two shakes for breakfast: a) a shake with added walnuts or b) a shake with exactly the same nutritional profile that excluded walnuts. The duration of the experiment was 4 days. By the 3rd day, the recipients of the walnut shakes demonstrated “an increased level of saturation and the feeling of fullness” as documented by questionnaires that were completed prior to the meal that followed. But there is more to the story than just nut but eating nuts. If you really want the most out of nuts you eat, buy them with their skin. Recent laboratory research indicates that a large part of the health-promoting properties of the nuts is derived from the skin. For this reason, I always buy unblanched almonds and Spanish peanuts with their red covers. (9,10,11,12,13)

Guided imagery as an adjunct to conventional pain treatment in childrenSource: Pediatrics Vol. 124 No. 5 November 2009, pp. E890-e897 (a)

One of the most exciting and interesting parts of my job is foraging for new and relatively unexplored research into exotic foods, herbs and spices. It is true that I usually do this from the limitations of my office, instead of in a remote, tropical jungle, but still gives me a kick. My plan for the coming years is to continue to find hidden treasures in the scientific literature that can help improve our understanding of how and why of natural medicine works. I believe this is an important key to bridging the gap between conventional and naturopathic medicine.

In September I briefly discussed an herbal tea known as Yerba mate. In that piece, I focused on its potential to improve cardiovascular health. But many supplement manufacturers also promote yerba mate as a weight loss aid. I am rather cautious about promoting weight loss supplements, because I think they probably have no major role in weight loss programs for most people. But I also understand that it is important not to get in my own personal prejudices. A newly published, preliminary study (in rats) suggests that yerba mate may, in fact, deliver on its weight loss claims. Reductions of body fat and weight have been reported in a group of 30 rats yerba mate in the course of 12 weeks. Brazilian researchers found that an extract of this plant demonstrated “a modulating effect on the expression of several genes related to obesity.” Another cup of this experiment is that some improvements were noted in various health markers, namely a decrease in blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides. I will closely monitor the possibilities of yerba mate in the near and distant future. (14)

One of the first columns I wrote was about a rather obscure berries known as amla or Indian gooseberry. A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that amla one day become a powerful natural medicine in the management of heart health. In this experiment, a group of lab rats fed a diet rich in fructose for 2 weeks. Part of the animals were also given a “polyphenol-rich extract amla”. Blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides were monitored before and after the test. The rats supplemented with amla extract showed significant reductions (34% and 25%) in the hepatic concentration of triglycerides and total cholesterol. Other markers of liver stem such as increased inflammation and oxidative stress were also reduced in the rats fed amla. The Korean scientists who led the research commented that “fructose-induced metabolic syndrome is reduced by polyphenol-r
ich fraction of amla.” If these results can be demonstrated in humans, may cost many lives and a huge amount of health expenditures are stored. (15)

I hate to get all sentimental after a year “in practice”. But I will say that I really the level of support that so many of you have shared with me kindly appreciate. I know only too well how busy life can be. That is why I am so grateful for you spending some of your precious time on this site. Your attention, comments and emails never go unnoticed and they really help to fuel my passion for the goal I hope to achieve. I hope that I served you well in our short history together. In that spirit, know that I am completely open to your suggestions on how I can make better in the days, weeks, months and years. Your opinion and thoughts on this and all health related are always welcome. Due to the second year!

Be good!

Posted in Alternative Therapies, nutrition.