Sunday, July 31, 2016

A surprising superfood: Learn the history and benefits of Aloe Vera

“O Love, what hours were thine and mine, In lands of palm and southern pine; In lands of palm, of orange blossom, Of olive, aloe, and maize and vine.” — Alfred Tennyson

Aloe Vera is one of the great survival plants in the world. Said to originate to fruition in Africa, it now flourishes across the global landscape in temperate and tropical climates. This plant has been passed down through the centuries for its unique healing and longevity enhancing properties. The Egyptians are the first people in recorded history to utilize Aloe. It is rumored that the two Egyptian queens, Nefertiti and Cleopatra, used Aloe Vera frequently as part of their beautification routine. This plant was highly revered by the Egyptians as well as other cultures as part of a larger longevity diet and lifestyle. The Mohammedans viewed Aloe Vera as a religious icon, hanging it in the doorway believing that it would protect them from negative spirits. The people would create a mixture of aloe and myrrh for embalming upon the death of a Pharaoh.  People were allowed to enter the funeral of the esteemed king so long as they brought at least one pound of aloe vera. The lure of this plant has only escaped a small portion of the planet. Aristotle is said to have persuaded Alexander the Great to conquer the land of Socotra (now Yemen) for their aloe vera plantations. In the times of the Crusades, the Knights of Templar concocted a drink made out of palm wine, hemp, and aloe pulp. They called this “the elixir of Jerusalem”, believing this would add considerable years to their lives. Arab traders had brought aloe to India and Persia by around 600 BC. The Arabs figured out how to separate the gel from the outer shell.  They called this plant the “desert lily” for its inner and outer uses.

The history of aloe vera continues to span far across continents, making it’s way to Great Rome, China, Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, and Britain. Every stretch of land that has had its hands on aloe began to revere it and incorporate it into their own healing systems. Christopher Columbus discovered aloe vera on his second voyage to America reporting, “Four vegetables are indispensable for the well being of man: wheat, the grape, olive, and aloe. The first nourishes him, the second raises his spirt, the third brings him harmony, and the fourth cures him.”

Aloe vera exhibits highly unique properties that make this a true longevity enhancing superfood in every way. The plant displays a husky green armor where inside of each one of these sturdy leaves lies a mucilaginous gel. The aloe leaves must be filleted off in order to consume this potent medicinal food. Aloe can be used topically and internally. It is not widely recommended here to use many of the store-bought aloe vera concentrates or drinks as many are filled with preservatives and do not even remotely contain the medicinal qualities this plant is known for. The soft gel is highly concentrated with the long-chain sugars known as polysaccharides, providing satiation, long-term energy production, anti-inflammatory properties, and informing our immune system with highly advanced “biological-data” in which to perform better. The white blood cells that make up our immune system operate more efficiently on certain types of nutrients such as these bitter polysaccharide sugars. These rare sugars help modulate our immunity, which helps fight back all forms of infection such as fungal, viral, and nano-bacterial(calcification). Viral infections, in particular, are a major concern in the world at large. They are even smaller than bacterial organisms and require a viable host to survive. They invade our cells and, once in the body, begin to replicate virus cells in place of what was once a healthy cell. Aloe vera is a powerful ally in the removal of these virus-producing organisms by restoring the delicate balance of our inner terrain.

The glyconutrients (polysaccharides) in aloe vera help to boost the immune system by producing antioxidants that help identify and eliminate free-radicals in the body and increase longevity. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and E are present in aloe along with increasing the production of the glutathione syntheses enzyme in the liver. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is important for the development of our white blood cells as well as preventing damage to other cellular capabilities that hinder as oxidation occurs. Every area in the body can be affected by the increased production of glutathione such as the liver, amino acid transport, enzyme activation, protein synthesis, and critical metabolic reactions that influence DNA repair.

Research studies done at the Medical Plant Information Centre, Mahidol University in Bangkok showed that aloe vera juice on its own could have significant effects on diabetic patients by lowering blood glucose and triglyceride levels. A study was conducted with two groups out of 72 patients with diabetes mellitus. One group took one tablespoon of aloe juice (not even the whole gel) twice a day and the other was administered a placebo. Their results showed that after two weeks, the fasting blood glucose levels of the patients who drank the aloe juice was generously reduced and continued to improve as the study progressed.

In the book, Sugars that Heal, Emil I. Mondoa, MD, Mindy Kitei attests to a case where Aloe Vera was used to help stabilize a cancer condition where traditional medical treatment was ineffective.

“In a 1998 study conducted in Milan, Italy, twenty-six patients with advanced solid tumors (including cancers of the breast, gastrointestinal tract, brain, and lung) who hadn’t responded to traditional therapy were treated daily with 20 milligrams of melatonin, which has been shown to induce some benefits in untreatable metastatic cancer patients. Another twenty-four patients received 20 milligrams of melatonin daily plus a tincture (alcohol-based liquid) of Aloe vera, 1 milliliter twice a day. A partial response was achieved in two of the twenty-four patients treated with melatonin plus aloe, whereas none of the patients treated with melatonin alone improved. In addition, the cancer stabilized in fourteen of the aloe patients, compared with only seven of the melatonin patients.”

This plant is best known for it’s topical uses along with it’s astounding digestion-enhancing properties. Aloe aids the body in calming the digestive system and can be helpful for many digestive disturbances such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. Our internal surface structure is lined up with epithelial cells that are responsible for connective tissue maintenance where aloe vera supports the replication of these cells, making it a key component of any longevity diet. When our inner environment is clean and functioning optimally then our outer environment begins to show it. The topical application can be remarkable for sunburns, scars, psoriasis, open wounds, and fire burns.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sins of skin aging

Pro-inflammatory foods (sugar and starches)

Foods can be pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. Avoid pro-inflammatory foods—these will promote wrinkles, a host of diseases, accelerate aging and cause the storage of body fat. Eating pro-inflammatory foods such as sugary and starchy foods shows up on the skin as a loss of radiance, dark circles under the eyes, the loss of tone, puffiness, an increase in fine lines and wrinkles, the loss of facial contours and increased pore size. These foods can also exacerbate acne, which is a systemic, inflammatory disease. I am not exaggerating when I say that sugar can rob you of your youth, health, and beauty.

Excessive exposure to the sun
Although we have all heard it a million times, excessive sun exposure will accelerate skin aging and cause skin cancer. We need to get some sun in order to absorb Vitamin D and keep our bones strong and healthy. However, baking out in the hot sun at the beach or by the pool is very destructive to your skin, as well as to your immune system. Excess sun exposure will cause photoaging, resulting in the following:

  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Thinner, more translucent-looking skin
  • Wrinkles
  • Dry, rough, leathery skin
  • Broken capillaries on the face
  • Freckles,
  • Liver spots on the face, back of hands, arms, chest and upper back
  • Spots or blemishes on the lower legs and arms
  • Skin Cancer

Stress causes certain hormonal changes in your body, which rapidly alters the function of the cells in your vital organs. Not surprisingly, these effects are reflected in the appearance of your skin.

Stress causes the release of the hormone cortisol. When we have large amounts of cortisol circulating in our blood streams for extended periods of time, it is extremely toxic. Our brain cells, or neurons, are extremely sensitive to the effects of cortisol. When it is circulating at a high level, cortisol causes brain cells to die. Excess cortisol can destroy your immune system, shrink other vital organs, decrease your muscle mass, and cause thinning of the skin, accelerating skin aging and wrinkling and making blood vessels under skin more prominent.

Smoking cigarettes and/or exposure to second hand smoke
Cigarette smoke is highly damaging and aging to skin. When we inhale just one puff of a cigarette, over a trillion free radicals are produced in our lungs, which then trigger an inflammatory response that circulates throughout our body. When we inhale tobacco smoke, the result is activation of white blood cells which line our arteries, causing an inflammatory response, predisposing us to heart disease.

In addition, there is a tremendous inflammatory response in all organs of the body —including the skin. Cigarette smoking depletes the skin of oxygen and vital nutrients including Vitamin C, critical in keeping skin youthful, moist and plumped up. Tobacco also acts as a vasoconstrictor, which means that it causes constriction of blood vessels. This reduces local blood flow to an area, and temporarily raises blood pressure. When the blood flow is reduced to the skin it results in a gray, pallid, lifeless and unhealthy looking complexion. Smoking also causes dry, leathery looking skin, premature deep lines, wrinkles and loss of radiance.

Resist the temptation to ease off of traditional cigarettes using electronic cigarettes. The aerosol devices are under Food and Drug Administration scrutiny for various health threats. E-cigerettes often spew benzene, the same aging compound emitted from most scented candles. Plus, carcinogens and reproductive toxins like formaldehyde, lead, cadmium, and nickel have also been detected in e-cig aerosols.

Excess alcohol
People generally think that alcohol is bad for the skin just because it dehydrates the body. They incorrectly assume that increasing our water intake will counteract the problem. Unfortunately, alcohol creates inflammation throughout the body including the skin, resulting in effects that far outlast dehydration. The metabolites of alcohol are molecules known as aldehydes. Aldehydes are destructive in that they cause damage to the cell plasma membrane, as well as other parts of the interior of the cell.

Alcohol causes small blood vessels in the skin to widen, allowing more blood to flow close to the skin’s surface. This produces a flushed skin color and a feeling of warmth which can lead to broken capillaries on the face. The alcohol-induced dehydration also makes the skin more prone to fine lines and wrinkles.

Dullness, enlarged pores, discoloration, sagging and lack of resilience are some of the short and longer term effects. Because alcohol alters blood flow to the skin, it will give you an unhealthy appearance that can last for days. An occasional glass of red wine can confer some health benefits for a number of reasons. But as with everything from eating to exercise, moderation is the key. Too much alcohol is highly destructive.

Lack of sleep
A good night’s sleep will ensure that you awake refreshed, looking radiant and youthful. Adequate sleep is vital to avoid eye area puffiness and maintain vibrant skin. When we look at the hormone parameters during sleep, we find that sleep turns down the negative effects of cortisol and the “bad” neurotransmitters, like epinephrine and norepinephrine that can be elevated during stress. Growth hormone is released during sleep—and growth hormone is the youth hormone. The hormone melatonin is also released, which has a positive effect on the immune system and the skin. It is during sleep that we rebuild energy reserves and regenerate the body as our cells undergo a process of repair.  Studies also show that inadequate sleep leads to unwanted weight gain and a craving for fat laden and carbohydrate-heavy foods.

People who exercise regularly enjoy improved sleep quality. They fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer.

Lack of exercise
There are mountains of studies proving that exercise can take off pounds, reduce incidence of heart disease, lower blood pressure, improve mood, solve sleep problems, and even cut risks of certain cancers.  Exercise will also ensure that you have beautiful skin. Studies have indicated that exercise benefits the skin in much the same way it improves bone and muscle quality. Without regular activity, bones become fragile and muscles atrophy. When the skin of those who exercise regularly is examined under a microscope, the impact of their high fitness levels is clearly apparent. The clear skin is thicker and has more and healthier collagen, the fibers that give the skin its strength and flexibility. Exercise increases circulation and gives the skin a healthy and radiant glow. As long as we use moderation and don’t overdo it, exercise of almost any kind has a powerful, positive, and anti-inflammatory effect on all our cells.

Not eating enough protein
This ongoing lack of protein is first notable in the face, as the features become soft looking. The sharp definition, contoured cheekbones and that great jaw line all becomes blurred. When the supply of protein is depleted, the body is then forced to feed upon itself. This causes both tissue and muscle to breakdown. Protein cannot be stored in the body. Because it is essential for cellular repair, the days that we don’t eat enough protein are the days that we are accelerating aging.

Going fat free
Healthy fats, especially omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat, have powerful anti-inflammatory effects improving skin’s moistness, texture, suppleness and smoothness. We need good fats, such as those found in salmon, sardines and other cold water fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado and açai (a Brazilian berry whose fatty acid ratio resembles that of olive oil). These “good” fats will help us absorb nutrients from our vegetables and fruits, keep our cells supple, our skin glowing and wrinkle-free, our brains sharp and our mood upbeat. We also need dietary fat to burn fat.

Not drinking enough water
Remember these key facts:  Water is important—If you do not drink water, your organs and cells cannot function. You don’t have to overdo it—but if you don’t drink water, you cannot metabolize fat, nor can you flush wastes out of the cells.

A dehydrated body provokes the development of aging, inflammatory compounds.  Water has great anti-inflammatory properties and will help you skin to be radiant, soft and supple—the key difference between a grape and raisin is water.

Wearing too much makeup
A 2013 study appearing in the journal ‘Environmental Health Perspectives’ found that paraben chemicals commonly used in personal care products and pharmaceuticals act as estrogenic hormone disruptors, throwing normal female fertility into a premature aging process. Women with higher urine levels of parabens experienced changes in ovarian functioning on par with accelerated aging of eggs.

Burning scented candles
Researchers from Trends in Molecular Medicine have discovered several probable “gerontogens,” environmental factors that speed up the aging process. Your favorite scented candle could be making you age faster than normal. Most scented candles are made with paraffin wax and scented with synthetic fragrances, both of which are derived from petroleum. By burning paraffin wax or scented soy wax candles inside of a house, various cancer-causing, age-accelerating chemicals like benzene (dubbed a gerontogen) and toluene are released. Toxic candle soot can linger for extended periods of time all around your house, even accumulating in your air filter. To avoid this, skip candles and simply open windows to fill your home with fresh air. When you do burn candles, make sure they are made of 100 percent beeswax with cotton wicks for much cleaner burning.

Also read: 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Do Easter Island's statues hold the secrets of the fountain of youth?

It’s been nearly 50 years since scientists first discovered the natural drug hiding within the soil at Easter Island, and now, it’s been hailed by some as the ‘fountain of youth.’

The drug - rapamycin - is a bacterial by-product found in the shadows of the island's famous statues, and has shown to increase lifespan or improve some of the conditions related to aging. These ‘anti-aging’ capabilities have been demonstrated across a range of organisms, from fruit flies and mice, to dogs and even humans.

Rapamycin is named after Rapa Nui, the Polynesian name for Easter Island, which sits isolated in the Pacific Ocean. The soil containing rapamycin was first collected in 1964 by Georges Nógrády, a microbiologist from the University of Montreal. But, this wasn’t the object of the expedition, so the compound itself wasn’t discovered until five years later when the samples were analyzed by scientists at Ayerst Pharmaceutical, Chemical & Engineering News reports.

In 1969, these researchers discovered the powerful immunosuppressant which targets a protein called mTOR, a ‘central hub for nutrient signalling,’ and can stop cancer cells from dividing. Since then, scientists have unravelled far more information on the drug, finding it could help to fight solid tumors, and can prevent organ rejection in transplant patients.

The compound, which binds the proteins FKBP12 and mTOR, blocks the activity of mTORC1, which coordinates nutrient information, according to C&EN.

Later studies on yeast, nematode worms, and fruit flies determined that suppressing the activity of mTOR extended lifespan.

And in a 2009 study, it was found that administering rapamycin to fully grown mice led longer lives in both males and females – an extra six months for male mice, 9% longer than those without the drug, and 14% longer in females.

The drug has since been tested on marmosets, and even humans.

These trials have yielded some positive results, showing improvements in certain aspects of aging, including learning and cognitive function in humans, along with response to the flu vaccine, and proteostasis in marmosets, the maintenance of proteins.

Recently, it was revealed that scientists from the University of Washington are testing the effects of rapamycin on dogs to see if it will slow down the aging process. Researchers were shocked by results of the initial trials, which were revealed this past May, finding that some dogs showed improved heart functionality after just a few weeks.

The study is led by biologist Matt Kaeberlein and his colleague, Daniel Promislow. According to Fusion, the researchers began clinical trials this year.

Dogs age very quickly compared to a human lifespan; most live between 10 and 13 years. This allows researchers to study the entire aging process in a short amount of time.

The team recruited 40 dog-owners, who were each to give their pets three tablets of rapamycin a week, Fusion reports.

After the researchers weeded out dogs with heart conditions and other medical factors, they were left with 24 middle-aged dogs, who would each receive low doses of the drug. This continued over the course of 10 weeks, and the researchers took echocardiograms throughout to determine any changes in the animal’s heart function.

The team discovered that dogs receiving rapamycin showed improved heart functionality, or showed no change. Those who had come in with worse conditions initially saw the most improvement.

But, as research on the ‘fountain of youth’ drug continues, scientists warn that it isn’t yet clear if mTOR inhibitors are safe for long-term use. Rapamycin’s immune system-suppressing capabilities also mean it could leave its user susceptible to infection, scientists warn.

Now, many are working to develop compounds that don’t have a negative effect on the immune system.

‘It’s not optimized for what we want – which is treating disease or slowing aging,’ Brian Kennedy, president and chief executive officer of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging told C&EN, ‘but it’s pretty darn good at what it does, and if we can tweak it in ways that make it better, I think there’s a really exciting opportunity.’

Also read:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

That youthful glow? It's in your genetic makeup

If you look a little older than your age, your DNA may be to blame.

People who carried a specific gene looked 2 years older on average than those who did not carry this gene, according to a study, which was published in the journal Current Biology.

The study is the first time that "a gene has been found that explains, in part, why some people look older and others younger for their age," Manfred Kayser, a professor of forensic molecular genetics at Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands and a senior author on the study, said in a statement.

The study was funded in part by Unilever, and although no specific products were tested by the researchers, the results could be used in the future to promote anti-aging products for Unilever.

Genetics and lifestyle factors, such as sun exposure and smoking, have long been known to affect how old a person looks. The new study aimed to examine the role of genetics in aging.

The researchers studied nearly 2,700 older Dutch adults. The researchers showed photos of the study participants to "assessors" who were asked to estimate the ages of the people in the photos. The researchers also analyzed the participants' DNA, looking at about 8 million tiny variations in total.

They found that one gene variation appeared to be associated with a slightly older appearance, even after age, sex, skin color, sun damage and wrinkles were taken into consideration, according to the study.

The researchers confirmed their results by looking at the DNA and appearance of participants in two additional studies.

The gene may affect inflammation in the body and the repair of damaged DNA, which could have an impact on how old a person looks, according to the study.

The researchers noted, however, that this is just one gene variant related to aging — there are likely many more genes that are involved in how old a person looks, they wrote in the study.

Friday, July 22, 2016

10 Secrets from a Shaolin Monk on how to stay young

If you ask people what is most important to them, many will respond with “health.” But how many people actually live by this belief? Here is a translated list from the Shaolin Classics. Complied by a monk who was also an amazing scholar and martial.

1. Don’t think too much. Thinking takes energy. Thinking can make you look old.

2. Don’t talk too much. Most people either talk or do. Better to do.

3. When you work, work for 40 minutes then stop for 10 minutes. When you look at something all the time, it can damage your eyes and also your internal organs and peace.

4. When you are happy, you need to control your happiness, if you lose control then you damage your lung energy.

5. Don’t worry too much or get angry because this damages your liver and your intestines.

6. When you eat food don’t eat too much, always make sure you are not quite full as this can damage your spleen. When you feel a bit hungry then eat a little.

7. When you do things, take your time, don’t hurry too much. Remember the saying “Hasten slowly you will soon arrive.”

8. If you only do physical exercise all the time and you never do Qigong this makes you lose your balance and you will become impatient. You lose the Yin of your body. Exercise balances the Yin and the Yang.

9. If you never exercise, just peace, meditation, soft training, Qigong, then this doesn’t give you Yang energy so you use up your Yang energy.

10. Shaolin Gong Fu gives you everything. The purpose of our training is to balance our Yin and Yang. How many hours is not important. It’s down to knowing what your body needs.

Also read:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Firm buys DNA data of Ogliastra locals to find out why many live past 100

While the average life expectancy worldwide is currently 71 years old, in one area of Sardinia, a huge number of residents are living past their 100th birthday. The reasons behind their longer lives are currently unknown, but scientists might soon be getting some answers.

A British biotechnology company has bought the genetic data of almost 13,000 residents in the Ogliastra area of Sardinia, Italy, in the hopes of unravelling the mystery.

Tiziana Life Science, which is mainly focused on cancer and immune diseases, has bought biological samples of residents to create a 'biobank' of data.

In Ogliastra, roughly one in every 2,000 people lives to celebrate their 100th birthday. This is about five times the rate in most developed countries, such as the UK and USA. 

To understand why this is the case, the company has bought more than 230,000 biological samples - such as frozen blood - from 12,600 residents. The samples have also been matched with medical reports, and official records such as death certificates dating back more than 400 years.

Mr Gabriele Cerrone, Tiziana's chairman and founder told the Financial Times that he hoped the data will provide information on how a long life expectancy is linked to both genetics and the environment.

Mr Cerrone said: 'Sardinia is renowned as one of only three regions in the world with an exceptionally high proportion of centenarians.

'The opportunity is to generate valuable insights into gene regulatory networks, genotype-phenotype linkage and gene-environment interactions that will feed into and inform our drug discovery and diagnostic programmes.'

Previous studies have suggested that people from certain parts of Japan and the Mediterranean live longer because of healthy diets rich in fish and vegetables and low in fats. However, some scientists are now challenging this theory, and are researching communities to explore what else could be the cause.

For example, another study is looking at centenarians who live in Acciaroli, a remote fishing village in the south of Italy. 

While the village has an extremely high proportion of people living past 100, many residents are overweight and smoke which suggests the reason they are living longer goes beyond diet. 

The explanation as to why people live longer in the Ogliastra is not going to be simple.

But with the company's background in cancer and immune diseases, a good start will be to search for genetic traits related to various diseases. 

Mr Cerrone said: 'We believe our management team have the capability, expertise and insights to discover new drugs and diagnostics to address important unmet medical needs using this biobank resource.'

Despite living long lives, the people of Ogliastra on average have a higher incidence of several diseases including asthma and osteoporosis.

Most of Ogliastra's residents are directly descended from the same group of people which should make it somewhat easier for scientists to pinpoint genetic patterns related to these diseases.   

Mr Cerrone told the Financial Times that the company would mine the biobank to see if specific genetic variations were responsible for the illnesses. 

This should help the company design specific drugs to treat them, or diagnostic tests that might be able to predict whether someone is likely to develop the conditions. 

Cinnamon may help us learn new information quicker

Scientists claim cinnamon could actually make us smarter by improving our understanding. A study has found slow learners who consumed the household spice could process new information quicker by affecting proteins in the brain.

Little is known about why some people don't understand concepts as quick as other people, or how the brain's ability can be improved. But experts believe understanding lies in the hippocampus - a small part of the brain which generates, organizes and stores memory.

Slow learners tend to have less CREB - a protein involved in memory and learning - in their hippocampus than good learners. They also have more GABRA5 - a protein which prevents new information from going into the brain. 

But a new study by the Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, conducted on mice, found cinnamon balanced out the protein levels to those found in good learners.

Mice in the study were fed ground cinnamon, which their bodies converted into sodium benzoate - a chemical used in drugs to treat brain damage. When the sodium benzoate entered their brans, it increased the amount of CREB and decreased GABRA5. These changes in turn led to improved memory and learning among the mice.

Professor Kalipada Pahan, lead researcher of the study, said: 'This would be one of the safest and the easiest approaches to convert poor learners to good learners.

'Understanding brain mechanisms that lead to poor learning is important to developing effective strategies to improve memory and learning ability.' 

Researchers used a Barnes maze - a standard elevated circular maze consisting of 20 holes - to identify mice with good and bad learning abilities. 

After two days of training, the mice were examined for their ability to find the target hole. They were then tested after one month of eating cinnamon.

The researchers found after consuming the spice, the mice deemed as poor learners had improved their memory and learning to a level found similar to those with good learning abilities.

However, they did not find any significant improvement among good learners. 

Professor Pahan added: 'We have successfully used cinnamon to reverse biochemical, cellular and anatomical changes that occur in the brains of mice with poor learning.

'Individual difference in learning and educational performance is a global issue.

'We need to further test this approach in poor learners. If these results are replicated in poor learning students, it would be a remarkable advance.'  

Also read:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Type 1 diabetes 'takes 12 years off your life'

Type one diabetes knocks 12 years off a person’s life, according to a major study. Alarming figures reveal life expectancy has not improved in two decades

The shocking toll of the condition, which 78,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with every year, has not improved since the 1990s.

Researchers examined the life expectancy of type one diabetic patients in Australia from 1997 to 2010.

Although life expectancy improved marginally throughout the period, it rose no more than life expectancy for the rest of the population, meaning the gap stayed the same.

The team, from the Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, found that people with type one diabetes had a life expectancy of 68.6 years, which was 12.2 years less than the general population.

Type one diabetes is an irreversible autoimmune disease which usually strikes in childhood, and stops the body producing insulin.

Its cause is unclear, but it is thought to be genetic. Unlike type two diabetes, type one, has nothing to do with lifestyle.

The authors, writing in the journal Diabetologia, said: ‘Early onset of diabetes tended to be a predictor of premature mortality.

‘Deaths from circulatory disease and endocrine and metabolic disease contributed most to early mortality in type one diabetes.

‘For improvements in life expectancy, greater attention must therefore be paid to both the acute metabolic and chronic cardiovascular complications of type one diabetes.

‘A failure to address either one will continue to leave type one diabetic patients at risk of premature mortality.’

They added: ‘As this is a contemporary nationwide registry-based cohort study of type one diabetes, the results are likely to be applicable to other similar Western countries.’

In a linked comment article, Dr Lars Stene, of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, said: ‘It seems that the gap in life expectancy has remained largely unchanged since the turn of the millennium…

‘There have been remarkable increases in life expectancy in the general population of Sweden, Australia and other countries, in part because of a reduction in cardiovascular mortality.

‘Cardiovascular risk management is an integral part of diabetes care, and it is likely that patients with type 1 diabetes have enjoyed some of the beneficial developments that do not involve blood sugar control alone.’

Karen Addington, UK chief executive of the type one diabetes charity JDRF, said: ‘Life expectancy for people with type one diabetes has improved in recent years, thanks to medical research driving innovations in treatment like new insulins, pumps and continuous glucose monitors.

‘But the impact of these won’t be seen on life expectancy figures for some years.

‘However, these numbers show the gap between people with type one and the general population is not closing as quickly as we, and everyone with type one, want it to.’ 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Essential oils and brain injuries

Did you know that our sense of smell is the only sense directly tied to the limbic area of the brain, which is considered the emotional control center? This means that when essential oils are inhaled, they go directly to the brain. Our other four senses — taste, sight, touch and hearing — are first routed through the thalamus before reaching designated areas of the brain. Because the limbic system is directly connected to the parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance, therapeutic-grade essential oils can have unbelievable physiological and psychological effects. Each of the essential oils has therapeutic stimulating, calming, sedative, balancing  properties. When we inhale an essential oil molecule, it travels through the nasal passage to a receptor neuron that transports it up to the limbic brain, especially the hypothalamus.  The limbic center in your brain is responsible for controlling all the physical, psychological, and emotional responses that your body performs based on stimulus coming from the outside. Thus, the ability of essential oils to target your limbic center, make them a powerful tool in treating many health ailments

When essential oils are inhaled through the nose, tiny nerves send an immediate signal to the brain and go straight to work on the systems that moderate our minds and bodies. Inhalation can be the most direct delivery method of these incredibly nurturing components in essential oils, since the chemical messengers in the nasal cavity have direct access to the brain.

In studies performed at Vienna and Berlin Universities, researchers discovered that sesquiterpenes, a natural compound found in essential oils of Vetiver, Patchouli, Cedarwood, Sandalwood and Frankincense, can increase levels of oxygen in the brain by up to 28 percent (Nasel, 1992). Such an increase in brain oxygen may lead to a heightened level of activity in the hypothalamus and limbic systems of the brain, which can have dramatic effects on not only emotions but on learning, attitude, and many physical processes of the body such as: immune function, hormone balance, and energy levels. High levels of sesquiterpenes also occur in Melissa, Myrrh, Cedarwood, and Clove essential oils.

In 1989, Dr. Joseph Ledoux , at New York Medical University, discovered that the amygdala plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma. From the studies of Dr. Hirsch and Dr. Ledoux we can conclude that aromas may exert a profound effect in triggering a response.

Essential oils can provide many benefits to the human body without side effects, whether it is through diffusing or simply inhaling the aroma straight from the bottle. Proper stimulation of the olfactory nerves may offer a powerful and entirely new form of therapy that could be used as an adjunct against many forms of illness. Therapeutic essential oils, through inhalation, may occupy a key position in this relatively unexplored frontier in medicine.

The ability of essential oils and its molecular properties to affect both physical and psychological functions in the body is one reason why it is currently being evaluated for brain injury treatments.

Frankincense Essential Oil and Your Brain

The human brain is the most complex organ within the body.  Injuries to the brain range from mild concussions to more serious head trauma. Usually,  various brain injuries are slow to heal, but frankincense oil can aid greatly in this process. Frankincense works by aiding oxygenation of blood going to the brain.  This, in turn, will aid in oxygen absorption.  When oxygen is absorbed effectively, it allows the brain to process and retain information, heal, and function correctly.

Frankincense is the Essential Oil of choice for any kind of brain disorder. Frankincense has a molecular makeup that includes sesquiterpenes, that is able to cross the blood/brain barrier. These sesquiterpenes stimulate the limbic system of the brain and other glands within the brain, promoting memory and releasing emotions. Frankincense slows down and deepens the breath. The therapeutic properties of Frankincense oil are antiseptic, astringent, carminative, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine, vulnerary and expectorant.

Research from the universities of Berlin and Vienna found that sesquiterpenes increase oxygenation around the pineal and pituitary glands. This allows for ideal balance of emotion-regulating and memory-stimulating hormones.

The bottom line is that essential oils can penetrate not only the blood-brain barrier, but they can also penetrate the skin, follow nerve pathways, follow the meridians, and provide healing and balance even at the cellular level such as cellular memory and DNA.

Diffusing and Inhaling

Diffusing certain  oils using a cold air diffuser may have these benefits according to research:

  • Relax the body, clear the mind, and relieve tension.
  • Help with weight management.
  • Reduce bacteria, mold, fungus, and odors.
  • Improve hormonal balance.
  • Improve the secretion of antibodies that fight candida.
  • Relieve headache.
  • Stimulate neurotransmitters.
  • Improve concentration, mental clarity and alertness.
  • Stimulate secretion of endorphins.
  • Improve digestive functions.
  • Stimulate growth hormone production and receptivity.

Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

The level of purity and therapeutic value of an oil is closely tied to its chemical constituents, which can be affected by such things as the soil from which the plant was grown, the soil condition, fertilizer (organic or chemical) climate, distillation process, etc.

In aromatherapy, the quality of your oils is everything so to achieve healing benefits, it is important to use undiluted therapeutic grade essential oils. Look for the term “100% therapeutic grade essential oil” on labels. You need to understand that  essential oils may be labeled as l00%  organic essential oil, but this does not mean that they are pure.

Therapeutic quality essential oils are laboratory tested and certified to be free from impurities. A therapeutic-grade essential oil is one that is both complete in its chemical constituents, giving it a rich, deep aroma, and is kinetically alive and able to raise the frequency of the human body, restoring balance and normal function to weak body systems.  This is important, because the oil’s fragrance, frequency and chemistry all contribute to its unique therapeutic effects.  If any of these properties is compromised, as a result of poor production practices, an essential oil cannot rightly be called therapeutic-grade.

Friday, July 15, 2016

9 healthy FATS that can help you live longer

If you have fat phobia, it’s time to get over it.

Eating a diet that includes healthy fats can increase your chances of living for longer, research suggests.

The 30-year Harvard University study found people who frequently consume unsaturated fats have a much lower risk of dying early.

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are found in fish and vegetable oils and provide many health benefits. 


Chocolate? Healthy? Who would have thought it. But as long as it’s eaten in moderation, chocolate can actually be beneficial.

Dark chocolate is 11% fibre and contains iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. It is also packed with antioxidants – more than blueberries to be exact. Some of the antioxidants in dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and protect you from harmful cholesterol.

Studies also show that people who eat dark chocolate five or more times a week are less than half as likely to suffer from heart disease, compared to people who don’t eat dark chocolate.

There are also some studies showing that it can improve brain function and protect your skin from damage when exposed to the sun.

So, the good news is we don’t have to scrap chocolate from our diets. Just make sure to choose quality dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa.


One cup of ground flaxseed contains a huge 48 grams of fat, but it’s all of the healthy, unsaturated kind and you actually only need one to two tablespoons to reap its benefits.

Flaxseed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation and improves heart and brain health. 

It’s also suggested that flaxseed can help to prevent some types of cancer as it contains plant nutrients that have estrogen and antioxidant properties.

And finally, flaxseed contains plenty of fibre, meaning it helps you to feel fuller for longer so you end up eating less.

Try mixing a tablespoon into your morning porridge, add it to yoghurts or include it when baking.


Soybean oil - which is extracted from the beans - is known for its neutral flavour and well-balanced fatty acids. This makes it a great ingredient for a variety of uses, from baked goods to salad dressings.

High in both poly and monounsaturated fats, it is one of the the few non-fish oils that supplies a great source of omega-3.

It also offers plenty of vitamin E, preventing cell damage that could lead to diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Overall, soybean oil can improve cardiovascular health, blood pressure, heart disease and cholesterol levels, research has shown.

Soybean oil can be wonderful when used as a salad dressing or dipping oil.


Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, you name it – nuts are high in healthy fats and fibre and are a great plant-based source of protein. 

They’re also high in vitamin E and magnesium – a mineral that most people don’t get enough of.

It’s also suggested that nuts can lower the risk of various diseases such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

If you want to mix things up, try making a nut butter or spread.


Chia seeds aren't generally perceived as a ‘fatty’ food but an ounce of them actually contains nine grams of fat. But that’s nothing to worry about as almost all the carbohydrates in chia seeds are fibre, meaning the majority of calories in them actually come from fat.

This makes them a fantastic high-fat plant food packed with nutrition, minerals and protein. 

In fact, most of the fats in chia seeds are heart-healthy and full of an omega-3 fatty acid called ALA.

Health benefits include lowering blood pressure and anti-inflammatory effects. 


Rapeseed oil contains half the amount of fat found in olive oil, meaning it’s high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and has a healthy blend of omega-3, 6 and 9.

It can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease.

Not only that, but rapeseed oil also has a ‘high smoke point’ so when used at high temperatures it still maintains its natural benefits.

Rapeseed oil can be used to replace other fats like butter and cheese. Or used as a dipping oil.


As if avocados couldn’t get any better, they are also classed as a healthy fat. Unlike many other fruits, avocados are packed with healthy fats rather than carbohydrates.

‘Avocados are among the most nutritious foods you can eat,’ says Heather Thomas in her new book, The Avocado Cookbook.

‘Not only are they rich in protein and fibre but they are also a good source of potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, folic acid and vitamins A, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, E and K.

‘Because they are relatively high in fat, many weight-conscious people avoid them, but in fact they contain healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated vegetable fat.’

The main fatty acid found in avocados is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which is also the predominant fatty acid found in olive oil.

They are particularly good for healthy skin, digestion and preventing anaemia.

‘Indeed, some studies have shown that eating avocados regularly may help to lower harmful cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of developing heart disease,’ said Ms Thomas.

The oil can also be extracted from the fruit and be used for cooking or salad dressings.


Extra virgin olive oil is the queen of healthy fats and an essential component of the Mediterranean diet. Shown to have numerous healthy benefits, olive oil is definitely something you should include in your diet.

Extra virgin olive oil contains vitamins E and K and is packed with powerful antioxidants that can fight inflammation. 

It has also been shown to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

You can swap your butter for olive oil and use it for frying, a dip for breads, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even use it in your dessert.


Salmon, mackerel and herring – these types of fish are loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high quality proteins and important nutrients.

Studies show people who eat fish tend to be much healthier, with a lower risk of heart disease, depression, dementia and other common diseases.

If fish isn’t really your thing, then try taking a fish oil supplement instead. Cod fish liver oil contains all of the omega-3s you need as well as vitamin D.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

What drinking alcohol REALLY does to your skin

Regular drinkers are in danger of looking beyond their years. 

Have you been on a boozy night out in the last month? Your skin may still be feeling the effects of it. From the pounding headache to the feeling of regret, we all know that alcohol isn't good for our bodies but most of us don't think about the effect it's having on our face whilst we're knocking back that third glass of wine.

Many people regularly exceed the government's daily drinking guidelines of 2-3 units a day which, as well as putting their health at risk, also means they are in danger of looking beyond their years due to the effects long-term drinking can have on the appearance. 

Alcohol undoubtedly has an effect on our appearance in the short and long-term. As well as causing bloating and dark circles under your eyes, alcohol dries out skin and can lead to wrinkles and premature aging. 

Indeed, as LA-based dermatologist Dr Lancer, who treats the Beckhams and Kardashians, warns, it can take the skin up to 30 days to truly get over a hangover.

‘It takes about two to four weeks for that to regulate,' he told The Telegraph. 'Think about it, someone who has been on birth control pills is not usually totally hormonally static for three to six months after coming off them. 

'So when you have a hormonal jolt caused by a sugar fest – let’s say at a pizza party – there’s salt, dairy, carbohydrates and alcohol. It will take about 30 days for that to naturally calm down. A glass of the finest red wine is 400 calories of sugar.’

He also goes on to explain that your hangover cure isn't any better; claiming you may as well 'shoot yourself' if you're going to mop up the night before's alcohol with a fry-up.

'You might as well paint blemishes on your face,' he says, instead recommending a bowl of kale with balsamic vinaigrette and grilled organic chicken. 

Building on Dr Lancer's comments, Caroline Hithcock, Simple Skin Expert and Facialist, warns: 'Alcohol dehydrates the body generally and the skin causing dryness and wrinkles. Too much alcohol can deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients needed for a healthy glowing complexion.

'It can also cause the blood vessels to dilate, sometimes permanently, leaving broken capillaries and red spots, as well as cause under eye and general puffiness due to the toxic effects on the body.

'Alcohol depletes vitamin A, which is essential for cell renewal, leaving the skin with a dull gray appearance, and it can trigger breakouts, and bring on outbreaks of rosacea, eczema, psoriasis.' 

Many people forget that alcohol also affects their sleep, which doesn't do skin any favours. 

'But cutting down a glass size, or having a break some nights, the result could make a huge difference to how they look and feel.' 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The little-known dangers of EMFs and how to protect yourself

The average person usually doesn't realize they are jeopardizing their health by innocently clicking away on the computer or talking on a cordless phone. Linked with cancer, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, miscarriage and a host of other devastating diseases, electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are a serious modern concern. And exposure is almost impossible to avoid. But with diet and a measure of awareness, the dangers of EMFs can be reduced.

But first, what are Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)? 

Electromagnetic fields are areas of energy that surround electronic devices. The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that the electric fields are created by differences in voltage and magnetic fields are created when the electric current flows.

According to WHO, electromagnetic fields affect us because our human bodies have their own electric and biochemical responses (e.g., nervous system, digestion, brain function, heart function). So exposure to EMFs can interact with your body in adverse ways.

Where Do Electromagnetic Fields Come From?

Simply put, EMFs come from electricity:

In your home – DECT cordless phones, hairdryers, vacuums, refrigerators, microwave ovens, irons, televisions (the flat panel TVs are much better than the old box-style TVs), main ring and lighting circuits, dimmer switches, electric blankets, electric razors, electric toothbrushes, WiFi, etc.
In your office – computers, fluorescent or halogen lighting, fax machines, photocopiers, scanners, cell phones and WiFi.
Outside – power lines (high voltage cables either overhead or buried in the ground), transformers (the gray cylinders raised up on poles that look like trash cans), electrical substations, cell phone towers, cities that provide citywide wireless Internet (WiFi) and electromagnetic radiation from near neighbors’ electronic equipment.

If you are sensitive to EMFs, you may experience symptoms like:
  • Nervous system symptoms, like fatigue, stress and sleep disturbances
  • Skin symptoms, like facial prickling, burning sensations and rashes
  • Body symptoms, like pains and aches in your muscles
  • Eye symptoms, such as burning sensations
  • Foggy thinking and depression
  • A variety of less common symptoms, like ear, nose, and throat symptoms and digestive disorders
  • Infertility
  • Leukemia in children, breast cancer or cancer clusters have been linked to high exposure to EMFs2

Unplug and preserve wellness

Completely avoiding electromagnetic radiation is impossible. Yet minimizing exposure lessens the damaging impact on health. The first rule of thumb is to turn off and unplug appliances when not in use. Next, avoid Wi-Fi networks -- especially in the home. Fully charging laptops and then unplugging when ready for use is another way to minimize EMF exposure. If the computer needs to be connected to a power source, make sure plugs and power strips are located far away from the body. Steer clear of halogen and fluorescent lighting. Both technologies produce substantial EMFs. LCD lighting is a safe alternative. Cordless phone? Avoid DECT technology -- it transmits a strong radio frequency signal, even when idle. Keep the handset away from the body by activating speaker mode. The same for cell phones. If this isn't possible, use a tube headset. Even with lower levels of exposure, it is still important to fortify the body in order to avert health issues.

Prevent and repair damage

Grounding the body as well as using key foods and supplements improves resiliency to EMFs. Earthing is an excellent practice to ward off the harmful effects of electromagnetic fields. Simply stand barefoot on a dewy patch of grass or walk along a sandy beach for at least ten minutes each day. Learn more here. A nutrient rich diet is also essential. Below is a list of edibles and superfoods that protect against EMFs:
  • Iodine
  • Vitamin D3
  • Sea vegetables
  • Spirulina
  • Noni
  • Curcumin
  • B-complex vitamins
  • Melatonin
  • Tulsi (Holy Basil)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Glutathione
  • Sulfur
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
In addition, consuming high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) foods is vital to prevent and heal DNA damage from EMFs. Good choices include: artichokes, cranberries, red beans, pecans, pomegranate seeds, rosemary, asparagus, blueberries, walnuts, prunes, cruciferous vegetables, cinnamon, dates, broccoli and cilantro. Always remember to select organic for ultimate nutritional power.

Even though living in an age of Wi-Fi and all sorts of EMF spewing gadgets is hazardous, we don't have to be victims of this invisible menace. Tend to the diet, ground the body and unplug appliances whenever possible. By taking these precautions and proactive steps, modern living need not be so dangerous.

Why some diets might NOT work for you, 'success of different plans depends on your DNA'

Scientists say that when it comes to losing weight, there is no one-size-fits-all set of instructions. Instead, different diets suit different people, depending on their DNA.

This means that while the latest miracle diet might help your friend drop a dress size, it could do you a fat lot of good.

And official weight loss advice may not help as many people as hoped.

Researcher William Barrington told a conference in Florida: ‘There is an overgeneralisation of health benefits or risks tied to certain diets.

'Our study showed that the impact of the diet is likely dependent on the genetic composition of the individual eating the diet, meaning that different individuals have different optimal diets.'

To make the find, Dr Barrington, of Texas A&M University, fed mice one of five different diets for six months.

Some were given a typical Western diet, others a traditional Japanese diet, a Mediterranean diet, a high-fat low-carb Atkin’s-like diet or normal mouse food.

Importantly, he used four different strains of mice, to mimic the genetic differences in four unrelated people.

All were allowed to eat as much as they wanted and their meals were made as realistic as possible, with rice and green tea extract part of the Japanese diet and red wine extract included in the Mediterranean plan.

Tests showed the creatures’ health varied greatly, with some strains faring better on some foods than others.

For instance, while a fatty, sugary Western diet fuelled obesity, the severity depended on the strain.

And one lucky strain seemed immune to the effects of eating badly, The Allied Genetics Conference heard.

Plus, some mice were healthier on everyday Western food than on the plan similar to the fat-heavy, carbohydrate-light, Atkin’s diet that has long been popular with slimmers.

Other mice liked the fatty food in the Atkin’s-like diet so much that they gorged on it and became obese.

Dr Barrington said: ‘Given the metabolic and genetic similarity of humans and mice, it is highly likely that the level of diversity of diet response seen in our study will also be observed in humans.’

‘We’ve largely viewed diet the same way for the last 100 years - assuming that there is one optimal diet.

‘Now that we’ve identified that this is likely not the case, I think that in the future we will be able to identify the genetic factors involved in the varying responses to diet and use those to predict diet response in humans.’

In other words, it might eventually be possible to pinpoint the best diet for an individual person by giving them a genetic test.

In the meantime, the researcher says we shouldn’t use his results as an excuse not to diet. Instead, we should persevere and if the first diet we try doesn’t work, try another one.

Dr Barrington said: ‘If one tries a diet and the results are not as they had hoped, it could be that particular diet is changing metabolism in a way that is not conducive to fat loss.

‘So, one should be open to changing diets if the results are not as expected.

‘What we are finding is that a diet may be great for one individual, but terrible for another.’

Matthew Capehorn, of the Rotherham Institute for Obesity, echoed the advice, saying ‘the secret to successful weight loss is to find what works for you’.

However, he cautioned that human obesity is much more complex, with everything from emotions to cooking skills affecting a person’s diet.

Dr Capehorn said: ‘In humans we have to face psychological hunger.

‘If after an evening meal we get the munchies after an hour or two, in front of the TV, this is psychological hunger, as physiologically we should be full for 6 to 8hrs.

‘Equally in a restaurant, we may actually be full after the starter but, because we have paid for the meal, we still eat the main course.

‘After that, and even although we are stuffed, we often give in to the temptation of the dessert.’

Also read: