Thursday, February 27, 2014

PROBIOTICS FOR OVERALL GOOD HEALTH

I have mentioned the benefit of using a probiotic as part of a natural treatment plan for diverticulosis and that is when it first became included in my vitamin/supplement regiment. Seventeen years ago, I didn't realize how beneficial it would be to my health in other ways. 
Many brands and forms are available for infants through adults. Different strains of "good" bacteria target different areas of the digestive tract and the ones most often used in probiotics are lactobacillus, acidophilus and bifidobacterium.  Kyo-dophilus by Wakanuga of America contains; lactobacillus, bifidobacterium bifidum, bifidumbacterium longum and has been my brand of choice all this time. It is produced by a reputable company, has the bacteria strains I need and is affordable. Some brands can be very pricy but are probably worth the cost when dealing with a serious issue such as "C.difficile" (a condition caused by the imbalance of good/bad bacteria in a person's intestines usually from prolonged antibiotic use). There is much good information available on probiotics and Prescription for Nutritional Healing   is an excellent source.
But I virtually "stumbled" on to other health benefits while taking a probiotic. Besides helping me become regular, I noticed my tongue was no longer "coated". If I had any kind of yeast overgrowth, the problem was corrected and the coated tongue symptom vanished. Keeping yeast overgrowth in check also benefits the vaginal tract as well as fungal problems such as athlete's foot. By keeping bad bacteria under control, I noticed, my mouth health improved. Going every six months to the dentist, I was still experiencing 1 or 2 cavities a year along with being told my gums were becoming a little spongy. After about 5 years on the probiotic, this all changed; no cavities and healthy gums! The dentist said that whatever I am doing, keep on doing it. In another post, I will be covering the benefits of taking Co Q10 which is very good for your gums. But I didn't start taking that until about 7 years ago, so it is probably the probiotic that started the improvement on my gums.
As the bad bacteria already present in the gut and invading bad bacteria from sources outside the body are kept in check, for me, it also means hardly ever experiencing a bacterial caused illness. This includes sinus infections which up to 15 years ago, affected me on almost a monthly basis. It has been been about 5 years since I needed an antibiotic for anything. So I would say my overall health greatly improved since my first introduction to probiotics and it will remain one of my "top" supplements on a daily basis.

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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.
© 2014
 

Monday, February 24, 2014

DIVERTICULITIS, TREATING IT NATURALLY 
In the over 60 population, as many as 50% will develop diverticulosis, (pouchlike protrusions of the intestinal wall the size of a pea or grape) and many of them will never have symptoms of diverticulitis. Seventeen years ago, I wasn't that lucky. I awoke in the morning feeling fine. In fact, my energy level was high. So an attack of diverticulitis really took me by surprise, at least at first, because I didn't even know I had the condition to begin with. By the time I decided to call our family doctor, I was experiencing blood with bowel movements and an achy pain in my lower left abdomen. It was the weekend so he called in an antibiotic for me because he said it sounded like classic symptoms of diverticulitis. 
When a diverticula becomes inflamed, it can also be infected and left untreated, may rupture into the abdominal cavity. As a person ages, the large intestine walls often weaken. Through years of frequent constipation and inadequate fiber to keep stools soft, this pressure causes diverticula to develop. They themselves do not cause any symptoms unless inflamed, but never go away either. My years of not maintaining a good diet brought me to this situation. Two months later, I had my first colonoscopy and it confirmed the condition. The list given to me about foods to avoid was extensive and discouraging including; corn, popcorn, nuts, seeds, whole grains. While the list of foods to eat was more like baby food and using over the counter fiber powders was suggested. That was it! There was no talk of anything to possibly sooth the digestive tract, the benefits of probiotics or a healthy diet for regular elimination.
During an attack, it is important to have a very simple diet and avoid the foods mentioned. But I felt somehow an overall improved eating plan and some help with supplements, held the key to improving my odds of not having another attack of diverticulitis again. Research led me to my first encounter with probiotics. Everything I read about their benefits, made so much sense. They are essential for having a "healthy gut", good absorption of nutrients from the intestines, fighting off bad bacteria and keeping the elimination process running smoothly. The product I decided on was, Kyo-Dophilus, from Wakunaga and to this day, it is still the first thing I take in the morning. The multi strains of bacteria it contains are important to the different areas of the digestive tract. This will be further covered in a separate post on probiotics. My diet was in for big changes too. It became a priority for me to eat more vegetables, whole grains, fruit and no red meat, just poultry, fish and tofu. I don't deprive myself of the occasional dessert made with few and natural ingredients. In fact, making sure everything in my grocery cart comes from either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods and is organic as much as possible, assures me that the food I am eating is more natural and wholesome.
A wonderful product, DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) has also been a daily addition to my routine. A chewable tablet, I use the German Chocolate by  Enzymatic Therapy DGL. Licorice is helpful for so many reasons. But I like the fact that it is beneficial to the mucus lining of the digestive tract and actually promotes healing of gastric and duodenal ulcers. Peppermint tea is my "go to" for aiding in digestion and soothing bloating/gas. Putting a little ground flax on my breakfast English muffin is a good and easy source of fiber with a nutty flavor. There are so many supplements/herbs available for good digestive health and we each have to find what works best for us. I just know that what I have been doing works for me, keeping me regular and protecting my digestive tract. And yes, I do eat nuts, seeds and popcorn and have not had another bout of diverticulitis since the first time, seventeen years ago.

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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.
© 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

LYSINE/ARGININE RATIO IN FOODS

It has certainly been a challenging winter here on the east coast, as with many other parts of the country, and has definitely added to my stress level! I have also found myself eating more of the foods that make me feel better such as dark chocolate and nuts, including peanut butter. this seems to have set me up for the "perfect storm" as far as shingles/herpes is concerned. So I felt it was good to share my latest episode and course of action. 
Ten days ago, I felt that all too familiar twinge of sensitivity on the left side of my head. Being away from home at the time, I just had two 500 mg lysine caps on me and immediately took them. But it was 6 hours before I was again home and the virus had taken hold on the side of my head and face. All through the night, I took 1,000 mg of lysine every 2 to 3 hours. By the next day, the outbreak was subsiding. But not without the usual reminders; canker sores at the back of my gums on the right side and an achy, wiped out feeling to my body. Feeling much better by the second day, though still very tired, I cut back on the amount of lysine. That was a mistake because a day later, the virus then shifted to the right side of my head and face with all the same symptoms! I hadn't experienced this before and was not happy about it. But again upping my lysine intake, I also started thinking about the ratio of lysine/arginine in the foods I had been eating. On line, my research brought me to a site, http://www.herpes.com/Nutrition.shtml, which has a pretty extensive chart with that information. I also wanted to find out if taking large amounts of lysine on a daily basis was at all harmful and found this from livestrong.com, "Doctors commonly prescribe lysine supplementation to treat and prevent cold sores and genital herpes outbreaks. The University of Michigan Health System notes most doctors suggest regularly supplementing with 1,000 to 3,000 mg daily if you suffer recurrent outbreaks of either form of the herpes virus. The University of Maryland notes doses of 3,000 mg to 9,000 mg daily might help treat active outbreaks." Also, "In a review of studies on lysine supplementation published in the February 1997 issue of the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition," the author noted that very high doses -- 15 g to 40 g daily -- caused side effects like diarrhea and abdominal cramping." The amounts I took during this last episodes were not even close to the 15 g. So I am not concerned about taking too much and decided to take 1,000 mg three times a day for the next couple weeks. Being on a higher dosage, I'm sure I will be eating some dark chocolate and nuts but also increasing lysine rich foods in my diet and doing things such as yoga to help manage my stress

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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.
© 2014
 

Monday, February 3, 2014

ATLAS ORTHOGONAL CHIROPRACTIC FOR GOOD HEALTH

It has been a while since my last post as some art projects and the holidays kept  me very busy.
But now we are in a new year and it is time for me to share more of my health experiences in hopes that the information may be helpful to others.
I decided to start with Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic. I feel it has truly helped me with my overall well being by keeping the foundation of my body in proper alignment. Most everyone is familiar with and/or may have had chiropractic treatment. But this is a very different form of chiropractic treatment. About 7 years ago I was listening to my favorite radio station out of NYC, WOR710. At that time, it was a wealth of health information with various radio hosts, but has since changed the format and offers less from the hosts that were important sources of knowledge for me. But luckily, on a particular morning, the female host was talking about a chiropractor she had been going to for over a year and how much he had helped her. It wasn't an ad and she didn't mention any names. Instead she enthusiastically told about Atlas Chiropractic and highly recommended it. 
That was good enough for me to start a search for this type of treatment in the area where I live and happy to find one 30 minutes from my house. Up to this point in my life, I had never been to a chiropractor and my only experience with one was taking my daughter, at the age of 13, for neck pain problems. Neither she nor I were happy with the results and the often times painful treatments. I had been dealing with my own lower back issues through the years along with hip, and other joint problems. Seeking out this new technique was right in line with my transformation into alternative medicine.
Quoting from a brochure, "Atlas Orthogonal is a chiropractic technique, based on the vertical relationship of the body, where the head is centered over the pelvis and feet. This positioning is established to support the body from the stresses of gravity. The atlas orthogonal chiropractor studies the alignment of the atlas, the top vertebrae of the spine. The first cervical vertebra is the foundation of the spine, supporting the head, the equivalent in weight to that of a bowling ball. If the atlas foundation becomes unleveled, the head shifts away from its vertical position, and in turn moves the lower spine away from vertical, as well. When this misalignment, defined as a subluxation, occurs, a light force instrument is utilized to correct the condition. This restores the vertical balance to the body. A secondary effect of a subluxated spine is interference with the nervous system." I will skip to this last piece of important information, "Complex musculoskeletal conditions (back pain, stiff neck, etc.) may occur, as well as obstructed neurological function, which can potentially affect every system in the body. Re-establishing the vertical balance of the spine and skeletal framework, is a major component to your health." I wish I could give access to the entire brochure which was written and produced by Evan Greller, D.C. But hopefully from the segments I provided, it is made clear how a spine out of alignment, can negatively affect so much in our bodies.
This is what had been going on with me. My first visit included a few x-rays of the atlas vertebrae to determine its position, which of course, was off. I received a treatment with the light force instrument (a device that involves no discomfort and is done in seconds) and some massage to tight muscles resulting from my misalignment. I went every two weeks for a while because at that time, I was still experiencing a torn meniscus of my right knee which developed a few months after I fractured the big toe on my right foot. It was all starting to make sense to me. The fracture on my big toe temporarily changed the way I walked and my alignment. It became a perfect set up for damaging another part of my body, my right knee.
During the months that followed, the treatments always included a correction for my alignment and various other treatments to gently stimulate blood flow and healing to areas experiencing inflammation, muscle spasms, etc. As time passed during the first year, I noticed my body responding to the corrections and treatments. Even if I occasionally over did it physically and felt my back hurting, arnica and a good night sleep would find me fine in the morning! This is the way it should be, not like in the past, back and muscle pain lasting a week or more. My visits changed to once a month unless I had an issue which needed more intense treatment. But now, more than six years later, I visit the chiropractor every six weeks for maintenance. I truly feel so much better than I did decades ago and as the saying goes, "I'm not getting any younger"! My 67th birthday was last week and I am very grateful to Atlas Orthogonal chiropractic for the pain free, active life I lead. My children and their children also receive treatments from the same chiropractor and are equally pleased with the results.  

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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.
© 2014