Monday, February 27, 2017

Artichokes, leeks and onions could improve sleep and relieve stress by boosting levels of gut bacteria

Eat onions, leeks and artichokes if you're stressed and struggling to sleep. For scientists have discovered that the popular vegetables could help humans to relax - allowing them a better night's sleep.

They are known to be high in prebiotics, dietary fibers that act as food for good stomach bacteria.

And a groundbreaking new study has found these help to boost gut health by aiding the growth of beneficial bugs.  They also release metabolic byproducts which influence the brain into overcoming worry and fear, research shows. 

Experts believe the findings strengthen the ever-growing link between gut bacteria and overall health.

A lot is already known about probiotics - live bacteria designed to improve gut health - but research on prebiotics is relatively scarce. 

To test their effects, a team of US scientists fed three-week-old male rats a diet of either standard chow or chow that included prebiotics.

The rodents are often used in scientific research due to their close genetic and behavioural resemblance to humans. 

They then monitored the rodents' body temperature, levels of stomach bacteria and sleeping cycles using a brain activity testing. 

Those on the prebiotic diet spent more time in non-rapid-eye-movement sleep (NREM), the researchers from University of Colorado Boulder found.

This form is more restful and restorative is where the body gets the chance to repair itself.   

After being exposed to a stressor, the rats on the prebiotic diet also spent more time in rapid-eye-movement sleep (REM).

REM sleep is when dreams occur, and is believed to be critical for promoting recovery from stress.

Stress has previously been shown to reduce healthy diversity of gut bacteria and to lead to a temporary flattening of natural fluctuations in body temperature.

But rats on the prebiotic diet were buffered from these impacts, the scientists discovered.

They maintained a healthy and diverse gut microbiota and normal temperature fluctuations even after stress exposure. 

Writing in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, the researchers said: 'It is possible that a diet rich in prebiotics started in early life could help improve sleep, support the gut microbiota and promote optimal brain/psychological health.'

But the researchers said that it's far too early to recommend prebiotic supplements as a sleeping aid.

Further studies are needed to confirm the effects that prebiotics can have in promoting a good night's rest or buffering stress.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Old food accelerates aging at a cellular level, study reveals

Harvard University scientists have found mice fed older meat had a 13% shorter lifespan than those fed younger meat. They claim it is because the set-in damage of the meat damaged the mice's cells. Cellular damage is the reason we age, become weary and eventually die. 

Though it sounds dramatic, researchers at Harvard University insist they have concrete evidence old food accelerates aging at a cellular level.

Our youthfulness fades as our cells get damaged: wear and tear to DNA protein interaction, lack of aerobic respiration, or slowing enzyme function start to grind everything down. Eventually the body becomes so weak that we die. 

Now, scientists claim old food is one of the factors that adds to the damage.

The team, led by Vadim Gladyshev, was looking primarily at the age of meat when it is farmed - for example, three-year-old deer meat versus 25-year-old deer meat. 

Over its lifetime, that deer has accumulated so much damage that its meat is far less nutritious than that of its young. 

Experts suggest this could also translate to food that has been left too long after being farmed, allowing for the nutrients to deteriorate. 

For the study, Gladyshev and colleagues examined three different organisms - yeast, mice and fruit flies - and how they reacted to different aged foods over a period of years.

They found those that were fed 'younger food' - i.e., fresh produce - consistently suffered less cellular damage.

'That shows us that these age-related changes that accumulate are truly deleterious,' Gladyshev said. 'And that provides a fundamental insight into the aging process.'

For the yeast, they grew two batches of yeast - one on young yeast cells, one on old yeast cells.

The fruit flies were fed either young dead flies or old dead flies. To achieve this, the team collected 5,000 dead fruit flies who had lived around 45 days. They also killed 5,000 young fruit flies.

They then split a batch of living fruit flies in half, feeding one group the old flies and feeding the other group the young flies.

The mice were fed deer meat, either three-year-old deer or 25-year-old deer, instead of the worms and insects they would usually eat.

Fruit flies on an old diet had a 13 per cent shorter lifespan than those on a young diet.

In mice, the damage was most acutely witnessed in females compared to males - though the researchers warn this could boil down to sample size.

Female mice on an old diet had a 13 percent shorter lifespan than their female peers eating younger food. Males saw barely any different.

Glayshev said the study surprised him; he expected the damage to be more acute. 

But the data suggests he is on the right track.

'So the question is, how do we slow down this process? How do we restructure cellular metabolism so that this damage accumulates at a slower rate?'

He insists the study cannot yet be applied to humans, since it was only a study in animals. However, this is something he will explore in further research.  

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The secret to a line-free complexion could come from within your own cells

Many women spend hundreds of dollars on different lotions and potions in their quest for youthful-looking skin. But the secret to a line-free complexion could come from within your own cells, according to scientists.

Crow’s feet and creases may be reversible using a treatment to regenerate the fatty cells – which are lost with age – that keep skin looking smooth. The technique could also pave the way for the scar-free healing of wounds, the US researchers said.

Fat cells found in skin, called adipocytes, are lost when scars form and as a result of aging. Lack of adipocytes is one of the main reasons deep wrinkles become etched on our faces as we get older.

Research on tissue grown in the lab found that hair follicles were crucial in keeping healing skin scar-free and smooth, by releasing a signalling molecule called bone morphogenetic protein, or BMP.

This was found to instruct scar-forming cells called myofibroblasts, often seen in healing wounds, to transform themselves into adipocytes. And although the research focused on scarring, the discovery, reported in the journal Science, could have much wider implications.

Professor George Cotsarelis, of the University of Pennsylvania, explained: ‘Our findings can potentially move us toward a new strategy to regenerate adipocytes in wrinkled skin, which could lead us to brand new anti-aging treatments. 

Essentially, we can manipulate wound healing so that it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring.

‘The secret is to regenerate hair follicles first. After that, the fat will regenerate in response to the signals from those follicles.’

Adipocyte loss is a natural part of aging, but can also be a complication of certain medical conditions, such as HIV infection. Professor Cotsarelis added: ‘Typically, myofibroblasts were thought to be incapable of becoming a different type of cell.

‘But our work shows we have the ability to influence these cells, and that they can be efficiently and stably converted into adipocytes.’

Tests were conducted on both mouse and human scar-forming tissue, grown under laboratory conditions.

The study’s lead author Dr Maksim Plikus, of the University of California, Irvine, said the discovery could also lead to new treatments to stop scarring after someone sustains an injury.

‘The findings show we have a window of opportunity after wounding to influence the tissue to regenerate rather than scar,’ he said. Professor Cotsarelis’s team is now carrying out further research on the mechanisms that promote skin regeneration, especially with respect to hair follicles.

Meanwhile, Dr Plikus’s laboratory is studying additional aspects of cell reprogramming in skin wounds. Researchers are examining the role of other signalling molecules beyond BMP, as well as conducting further studies using human cells and scar tissue.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Anti-aging pills that increase the life of mice by 35% provide hope for human trials

A fountain of youth drug is within reach, scientists have revealed, after a series of successful trials in mice. 

They claim a pill that extends life and keeps old bodies youthful is no longer 'far-fetched' and anti-aging medicines are on their way.

They made the tantalizing prediction after they extended the life of mice by as much as 35% and delayed the onset of cancer, heart and kidney damage and even cataracts. 

What is more, the creatures were more active and inquisitive in old age and even looked healthier, the journal Nature reports.

The remarkable effects were achieved by giving the creatures a drug that cleared away old and worn out cells.

Known as senescent cells, they no longer divide and multiply, making the new cells needed to help keep the body and its organs young.

Instead, they pump out chemicals and hormones that damage neighbouring cells and while the immune system regularly clears them out, it is thought it finds this harder to do as we age.

The researchers from the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, used a drug to kill off the senescent cells in lab mice.

The drug was injected fortnightly from when they were 12 months old, or middle-aged in mouse terms.

The benefits were dramatic and remarkably, there weren't any side-effects.

Both males and females benefited, as did mice from different strains and creatures on different diets.

Researcher Darren Baker said it shouldn't be necessary to eliminate all senescent cells for people to feel the benefits.

He said: 'Senescent cells that accumulate with aging are largely bad, do bad things to your organs and tissues and therefore shorten your life and also the healthy phase of your life.

'The advantage of targeting senescent cells is that clearance of just 60 to 70% can have significant therapeutic effects.

'A drug could quickly eliminate enough of them to have profound effects on healthspan and lifespan.'

The drug he used wouldn't be suitable for people because the mice had to be genetically modified for it work. 

However, other medicines are within reach.

Dr Baker said: 'There are a variety of groups specifically looking for compounds that can selectively eliminate these senescent cells, so it is not a far-fetched idea to think that these things are coming through the pipeline.'

In an accompanying commentary piece, British experts in the biology of aging cautioned that senescent cells have important functions, including helping with wound healing and protecting against cancer. They also pointed out that removing senescent cells didn't ease all the ills of old age. 

For instance, the treatment didn't affect memory or muscle strength. But, despite this, the approach holds promise.

Professor Dominic Withers, of Imperial College London, commented: 'The ability to fight the aging process has been a long-held human desire.

'Although this quest often seems to be driven by vanity, aging is the major risk factor for many of the disease that plague modern society.

'A search for compounds that can selectively eliminate senescent cells is underway and could be an important step in translating the findings to combating diseases of aging in humans.'

Professor Withers said the research suggests senescence is one of the root causes of aging.

He said: 'It is a pretty important study. Of course, it's a mouse study but there is evidence that senescence occurs in humans.'

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

10 Benefits of cabbage juice for skin, hair and health

Being rich in insoluble fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins (like B1, B6, K, E, C etc.) and a number of minerals (such as calcium, iodine, magnesium, iron, sulphur and so on), cabbage is considered as an extremely beneficial vegetable for your health, skin and hair.

If you want to take utmost care of your health, nothing can be better than cabbage juice. It is considered as a ‘superfood’ for its amazing medicinal properties. Check out some of cabbage juice health benefits here:

1. Raw cabbage is highly anti-carcinogenic. According to medical experts, the juice of raw green cabbage contains isocyanates, a group of chemical compounds which accelerate the process of estrogen metabolism in your body and help to stay away from breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer and colon cancer. It also speeds up the healing process in cancer patients.

2. Cabbage works as a great bowel cleanser and hence, cabbage juice is used for treating colitis. It holds two essential minerals – chlorine and sulphur, which are effective in treating inflammation of large intestine and colon. You would experience an unpleasant, foul gas right after drinking the juice. This is important as it indicates that the remedy has started working for you.

3. Are you trying hard to get rid of those extra kilos? You should opt for raw cabbage juice as it is an excellent natural cure for obesity. Basically, it purifies the upper section of your intestine so that the elimination of waste materials becomes easy and the digestion of food gets facilitated. Moreover, it does not contain many calories, which is also a big plus for overweight people.

4. Acute ulcers can also be treated with cabbage juice. As said previously, it helps you take great care of your intestine and upper bowel by detoxifying them. At the same time, it also contains a large amount of Vitamin U (popularly known as ‘cabbagen’), which is capable of strengthening the inner layer of your stomach and making it resistant to ulcers.

5. The anti-inflammatory property of cabbage juice is also very beneficial. Raw cabbage is known to have certain essential amino acids, which can help you fight against skin inflammation.

6. Folic acid is one of the most vital constituents of cabbage juice. When it comes to treating anemia, folic acid is considered as an important nutrient as it helps build new blood cells. Therefore, cabbage juice is also used for curing anemia.

7. Being a vegetable loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals, cabbage can do wonder for your skin. Both of these help you combat harmful free radicals which cause a number of skin disorders like acne, pimples and blackheads. Moreover, it is full of Vitamin C, which speeds up the procedure to a great extent.

8. Antioxidant content of this juice is very helpful in reducing dryness of skin as well as preventing premature aging. So, use cabbage juice in your regular face mask and see how fast your wrinkles disappear.

9. Cabbage is also widely used for improving the tone and texture of skin. Apart from potassium, which is extremely beneficial for detoxifying your body and making your complexion fairer, this vegetable is also rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin E. These two vitamins can rejuvenate the tissues and help you look fair, soft and supple significantly.

10. The high sulphur content of cabbage is really helpful in making your hair stronger and averting hair loss. It is one of the most effective ways to stop hair fall and deal with weak hair. You can drink raw cabbage juice everyday in the morning or include it in your hair mask for external use.

Apart from reducing frequent hair fall, cabbage juice can also promote hair growth by nourishing the roots properly. As it contains Vitamin E and silicon, the regular intake of this juice can also make your tresses long and lustrous.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Taking an hour's nap after lunch can keep your brain five years younger

Taking an hour's nap after lunch can keep your brain five years younger, according to a new study.But researchers found that a longer or shorter nap did not produce the same results.

The study involved around 3,000 Chinese adults over the age of 65 - with 60 per cent reporting that they had a nap after lunch ranging from 30 to 90 minutes. 

Participants were given basic maths problems and memory tests to complete to assess their cognitive ability. 

The research, published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that people who took an hour-long nap after lunch did better on the tests compared to the people who did not nap.

In fact, those who took shorter naps, longer naps or no naps at all showed decreases in their cognitive skills that were four to six times greater than those taking hour-long naps.  

Dr Junxin Li, who led the research, said: 'These people also experienced about the same decline in their mental abilities that a five-year increase in age would be expected to cause.

'Cognitive function was significantly associated with napping. Comparisons showed that moderate nappers had better overall cognition than non-nappers or extended nappers.

'Non-nappers also had significantly poorer cognition than short nappers.'   

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Friday, February 10, 2017

My Iluminage Copper Infused Sleep Mask review

What it is:

A copper-infused sleep mask that covers eyes with advanced care to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as you sleep. 

What it is formulated to do:

This invigorating sleep mask covers your delicate eyes during sleeping hours with advanced care to minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Beyond blocking all visual stimuli to quiet your mind and senses, this silky, soft, smart textile is carefully embedded with Cupron's copper oxide technology, derived from a well-known essential mineral. This technology is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles for smoother, younger-looking skin in as little as four weeks—with a continuous effect over time. 

What else you need to know:

The iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Eye Mask is specially woven with Cupron's copper oxide fibers, clinically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles for smoother, younger-looking skin is as little as four weeks with continued results over time. It is crafted from satin-soft yet durable materials and a safe, non-irritating thread embedded with copper oxide fibers. Skin gets the beauty sleep it needs to help maintain a youthful appearance and minimize the visible signs of skin aging—including fine lines, wrinkles, and lack of smoothness. This one-size-fits-all, 249 thread count mask features an adjustable Velcro strap and makes a great travel companion. 

Benefits of copper technology: 

-Copper is a well-known essential mineral with skin enhancing properties. 
-Copper is naturally found in skin and known to play an important role in skin’s natural renewal process. 
-Copper has been used in makeup, face creams, and other skin care products for many years. 
-One of the natural properties of copper is its ability to promote the natural growth of proteins in the skin.

I have been using my Iluminage Copper Infused Sleep Mask for 2 months now, so here is my personal review:

The mask is soft, comfortable and fits well. I like how the mask is adjustable and it does a good job of blocking the light thus improving my sleep quality a lot. 

This is not just a eye mask. It has padding placed right where your under eye area is so that there is a little cushion keeping the delicate skin padded. I noticed a definite reduction in eye puffiness in the mornings after only one week using it, and I look more rested.

After one month I noticed that my skin looked more luminous, softer, and my under eye dark circles lighter.

Now, two months later, I've noticed that my eyelids got lifted, and my forehead is smoother.

Here are three possible down points:

1.  The strap is made of velcro, I don't have trouble getting my hair caught, but I can see others having issues with that.

2. After a week of using it I noticed a weird odor (I suppose it's the copper). It didn't really bother me, and now I can't really smell it that much. But if it's an issue, you can spray it with some essential oils -- like lavender which is known to help improve sleep.

3. The price, $35.00

Overall I think that is a great product, and effective.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Clean sleeping - the latest preachy trend

There's no doubt you've heard of the concept of clean eating - eating as many whole, or minimally processed, foods at possible. And now, in our desire to live in a 'clean' world, this method has crept into our sleeping habits in the form of 'clean sleeping'.

Gwyneth Paltrow, actress and founder of lifestyle publication goop, coined the phrase in an exclusive article for Daily Mail Online in December.   

But you will need to rest your head on a $60 copper pillow and don some $45 heated socks.

Quality sleep is insurmountably important; numerous studies lay bare how important it is for adults to get at least seven hours sleep to keep our immune system strong, our brains alert, and even fend off disease. 

A great deal of the body's repair work happens when we sleep. Our muscles repair, our glymphatic system washes away brain toxins, immune support.

This is because human growth hormone (HGH) is released by the brain into the bloodstream during sleep, and its release is part of the repair and restoration function of sleep.

There are five principles that make up clean sleeping:

  • Getting at least eight hours of sleep per night, ideally 10
  • Getting into bed by 10pm (the sleep between 10pm and 12am is some of the most restorative) 
  • Eating clean throughout the day and limiting caffeine intake to support the gut and adrenals 
  • Regular exercise – ideally first thing in the morning or at lunchtime – to reset your body's circadian rhythm 
  • Making your bedroom a sanctuary by separating it from work, and keep it as dark as possible 

Studies have shown that lacking sleep has the power to alter our hormones, triggering issues for both mind and body.

Sleep deprivation can disrupt the metabolism and lead to hormone imbalance, but it can also lead to a weakened immune system, mismanagement of stress and an increased risk of heart disease.

Dr Lefkowitz explained that tiredness is a stressor and stress stimulates the hormone cortisol and insulin, which triggers your body to store fat. Stress also reduces glucagon, the hormone that instructs your body to burn fat.  

The experts warned that another consequence of lack of sleep is that the hormone ghrelin, an appetite stimulant hormone, can go into overdrive and that getting less than eight hours of sleep every night can lead you to consume an extra 385 calories per day.

Dr Robert Oexman, of the Sleep Institute, said that people may criticize the idea of being told when and how to sleep.

He said:  'You may say to me, 'Hey Bob, I've slept just six hours today and I'm not dead' and here's I say to that.

'We can tell you what is good for you and your body and it's up to you to follow it. But if you don't, you're at a higher risk for certain diseases.

'Americans in particular today are on so many medications for some many things: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, depressing. Getting enough sleep can be a very effective thing to helping get rid of a lot of these things.'

The goop experts say that there are a few tips and tricks to getting yourself some quality shuteye.

1. Consistency 

The doctors recommend going to sleep and waking up around the same time as often as possible to get your body into a rhythm. Getting a consistent pattern is better than just making up for it on the weekends. 

2. Avoid foods and drinks

Make an effort to avoid caffeine and energy drinks later in the day, and resist the urge to have a midnight snacks because the digestive system can interrupt sleep.

3. Keep your room dark

Don't keeping your phone on your bedside table, the experts say. The light it emits during the night can interrupt the body's production of melatonin, meaning sleep is more likely to be interrupted.

Research has shown we need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. 

The experts say there might be many signs you're not getting enough sleep including feeling irritable, anxious, depressed, loss of mental clarity, or a tendency to gain weight.

Dr Oexman added: 'Beauty sleep is very much a real thing. Not only does it change your collagen levels but if you look at a before and after picture of someone who's had little sleep, you can see massive changes in their physical appearance.'

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