Archived Articles - May 2013

Study finds worrying toxic metal levels in lipstick

A latest study undertaken to determine the elements in lipstick and also lip gloss has detected toxic levels of metals that may make you temporary halt prior to puckering.

Scientists at the Berkeley's School of Public Health of the University of California examined 32 dissimilar lip glosses and lipsticks generally sold at department stores and drugstores. They found that these cosmetics contained chromium, cadmium, lead and five more metals, levels of some having the potential to cause health problems.

While metals were detected in cosmetics by earlier researches, scientists at the UC Berkeley determined the risks by examining the levels of these metals as well as the potential everyday intake of the metals by consumers and, subsequently, weighing the intake against the present health guidelines.

S. Katharine Hammond, principal investigator and a professor of environmental health studies says detecting the presence of these metals is not that vital, but the issue is their concentration. According to her, some toxic metals are present in such concentrations that they may perhaps have a long-term effect.

Why lipsticks and lip gloss of all things? The researchers say that they are of great worry as they are often absorbed or ingested gradually by the person using them.

Scientists worked out descriptions for standard and high usage of lip cosmetics depending on usage information mentioned in an earlier study. While the standard use was said to be ingesting 24 mg of lip cosmetic daily, individuals who spread lip color thickly and apply it frequently may be considered to belong to the high usage group ingesting 87 mg daily.

The study found that standard usage lip glosses and lipsticks might cause unnecessary contact with chromium - a carcinogenic substance related to stomach tumors. On the other hand, high usage may lead to potential excessive exposure to cadmium, aluminum, and manganese and over a period of time coming in contact with high levels of manganese may often harm the nervous system.

Researchers found lead in as many as 24 products, but usually its level was less compared to the accepted level of everyday intake. Nevertheless, it still remains a worry for children who at times play with cosmetics, because no level of this toxic metal is considered harmless for them.

The researches point out that it is not necessary for majority of adults to dump their lipsticks or lip glosses, but still the level of metals detected in them suggest that the health regulators need to be further watchful. Currently, the US does not have any standard for metals present in makeup. However, in the European Union, any level of chromium, cadmium and lead in cosmetics is considered to be unacceptable.

Lead author of the study and an environmental health sciences researcher at UC Berkeley Sa Liu said that she wants the Food and Drug Administration to be caution about this issue. Stating that their research was small, she said that depending on their findings there is a need for a more expansive and meticulous survey of lip cosmetics available to ensure the health of those who wear them.

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Systemic review finds citrus fruits reduce risks of breast cancer

A latest systematic review of earlier studies found that ingesting high amounts of citrus fruits may lessen risk of breast cancer by 10%. Significantly, one study mentioned high intake was just about 17 gm to 33 gm and it lowered the risk of breast cancer by 32%.

Citrus fruits enclose several phytochemicals like beta-cryptoxanthin, quercetin and limonoids - in trials conducted in laboratories all these have been found to be potent anti-cancer agents. Studies on humans demonstrated that consumption of citrus fruits provide protection from throat, stomach, pancreatic, breast, and colorectal cancers. Nevertheless, the findings of some studies showed marginal importance or the results were contradictory - primarily owing to consuming fewer amounts of these fruits plus the problem in detaching the defensive actions of citrus fruits from others.

These led scientists in Korea to undertake a systematic review combining earlier studies done in the US, China and Australia with a view to elucidate the function of citrus fruits in preventing breast cancer. The study comprises 8,393 subjects in the age group of 20-98 years. After all available data was combined it was found that the risks were less by 10% for those who consumed maximum citrus fruits in comparison to those who had fewer amounts of it. In case, the overall risk was lesser by 20% provided the researchers omitted one study undertaken two decades back.

It is interesting to note that the biggest research among those analyzed (having 3,015 subjects), which reached a statistical importance by itself (p=0.002), showed that consumption of citrus fruits lowered the risk of breast cancer by 32% - the highest defensive effect. The study undertaken in China also revealed that among all fruits, citrus provided maximum protection and this could be achieved by ingesting just 17 gm to 33 gm citrus fruits daily - equivalent to 1/8 cup of orange juice.

It seems that compared to American women, women in China require ingesting much less citrus fruits to avoid having breast cancer. An earlier research revealed that American women who consumed 1/2 cup (125 gm) servings every day experienced just 20% reduction in risk during menopausal and 17% in premenopausal stages. What could be the reason behind it?

The answer is not difficult to find - they drink lots of green tea. A latest study conducted in Japan revealed that women who drank green tea and also ingested citrus fruits everyday experienced a 17% reduction in cancer risk and have 26% less chances of developing breast cancer. This is important because these protective benefits were in addition to the advantages provided by green tea. Studies undertaken in China have not considered the protective effects of green tea separately.

The latest systemic review corroborates that citrus fruits definitely have a significant role in preventing breast cancer. Consumption of fewer amounts of citrus fruits reduces breast cancer considerably, but if women are keen to avoid this deadly disease, they ought to consume no less than 1/2 cup servings every day. Drinking green tea simultaneously will offer a synergizing effect!

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Diet, natural remedies for preventing, curing and reversing heart ailments

In a significant development, two cardiologists Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Dr. Dwight Lundell have declared that neither cholesterol, nor fat are mainly responsible for the stiffening of arteries and heart ailments.

While many other continue to believe otherwise, Dr. Sinatra, who penned the book 'The Great Cholesterol Myth', and Dr. Lundell, who wrote 'The Cure for Heart Disease', assert that fat, including saturated fats from good sources, is needed. In fact, taking diets low in fat content is unsafe and despite the craze for low fat diet, there has been a rise in heart diseases.

While epidermal cholesterol is responsible for converting UVB ray from the sun into vitamin D3, fats form a major portion of myelin covering which protects nerves to assist neuron impulse actions. Moreover, fats form a major portion of the cell walls and make up about 60% to 80% of the brain. This perhaps clarifies the reason behind people taking statin drugs having heart attacks accompanied by neurological issues like Alzheimer's disease. In fact, their nervous system and brain degenerate, as statin medications considerably reduce cholesterol.

It may be noted that in a groundbreaking lecture by Dr. Robert Lustig on HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and sugar elucidates the presence of a difficult LDL variety that can slip below the endothelium (the external covering of the arterial walls' inner side) causing inflammation - the original cause for arteriosclerosis. This specific LDL molecule has its origin in surplus sugars plus processed starches, particularly HFCS, and not unrefined saturated or unsaturated fats.

Prevention and cure of heart diseases

It is important to reduce intake of sucrose or processed sugar and processed starches, besides keeping away from HFCS totally. However, you may take fructose enclosed by whole fruits, but be careful not to consume it in excess. In fact, HFCS is a very unhealthy refined compound which the liver metabolizes poorly and amasses in the form of fats rather than using it as glucose for energy generation.

Also enhance intake of omega-3 fatty acids, as Dr. Sinatra and Dr Lundell mention that any imbalance of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 to be an inflammatory aspect of SAD or standard American diet. Various substances contain high amount of omega-3, including fatty fish, fish plus krill oils, hemp seeds, freshly pounded flax seeds, avocados, eggs and chia seeds, besides oils from specific plants, provided they are cold pressed.

Stay away from hydrogenated oils or those processed using heat, because they result in inflammation.

Augment intake of magnesium - a mineral most ignored despite being involved in over 300 metabolic processes. Most Americans have a deficit of magnesium, which promotes the health of the heart, particularly regulating the heartbeat.

Several studies have found that pomegranate juice assists in removing artery blockages by lessening the thickness of the arteries. Even consumption of cayenne is beneficial for the health of the heart valves and works as a tonic and provided it is sufficiently potent, it may even stop the progress of a heart attack!

Drinking Jamaica tea (also known as hu-my-ku) lowers blood pressure, while tea and extracts of hawthorn berry are traditionally used by Chinese as a heart tonic. Its efficacy has been proved by clinical research in the West.

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Whole walnuts and extracted oil from them lessen chances of cardiovascular disease

Findings of a study undertaken by a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts University and Penn State show that consuming whole walnuts or the oil extracted from them may possibly lessen the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases by other means; save for just reducing cholesterol.

According to Penn State eminent professor of nutrition Penny Kris-Etherton, although it is well known that walnut consumption is good for the heart, as it reduces cholesterol levels, thus far, scientists were in the dark regarding the walnut constituent that provided this health benefit. However, scientists are now aware of the mechanism by which walnuts and the oil enclosed by them are able to enhance the health of the heart.

During a randomized, controlled experiment, 15 participants having high levels of blood cholesterol were provided with either of these treatments - 85 gm whole walnuts, 34 gm fatless nutmeat, 6 gm walnut skin or 51 gm walnut oil extract. The physiological and biochemical reactions of the participants were assessed prior to providing the treatments and several times after giving the treatment - after 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours and 6 hours of the treatments. This process was repeated in all participants, who received all the four treatments in sequence.

The findings of the study, which are currently available online and will be published in the Journal of Nutrition (June 1 edition), reveal that consuming the walnut oil extract just once had a positive impact on vascular health. Moreover, eating whole walnuts enhanced the performance of HDL or 'good cholesterol' in transporting plus eliminating surplus cholesterol from our body.

A Penn State nutritional science graduate student Claire Berryman says that the study revealed that the oil present in walnut has the aptitude to sustain the functioning of blood vessels following a meal - something vital considering that the integrity of blood vessels is weakened often in people suffering from cardiovascular disease. Berryman pointed out that the walnut oil extract was especially effective in maintaining the endothelial cell functioning. These cells have a vital role in preserving cardiovascular health.

The researchers said that walnuts enclose chemicals like phytosterols, gamma-tocopherol and linolenic acid, which possibly explains the favorable consequence of treatment with walnut oil.

According to Berryman, the findings of their study suggest the need for enhanced dietary approaches to combat heart ailments. In fact, the science pertaining to the usefulness of HDL is relatively new and, hence, it is worth undertaking further studies to determine the impact of consuming walnut and its oil on the heart.

Even Kris-Etherton emphasized on the need for further researches to ascertain the mechanism by which walnut and its oil extract helps in reducing the risks of heart diseases.

She pointed out that the findings of their research suggest simple changes in diet, for instance, including walnuts and/ or the oil extracted from them in heart-friendly diet with a view to less the chances of developing ailments related to the heart.

Quacks say feeding sugar before vaccinations pacifies babies

Often the common quacks find it really frustrating to administer vaccinations to infants. It is apparent that infants loathe piercing their skin with metallic needles and, therefore, the screams as well as thrashing that follow generally hamper the process. Hence, such cheeky refusal to the pharmaceutical lobby's will actually led many medical researchers to look for means to appease infants before they take the painful injection. Well, they now seem to come out with a solution to the vexed problem and that is to feed the babies a solution mainly comprising sugar before administering the vaccination.

Cochrane Review of as many as 14 researches related to the numbing or analgesic attributes of sugar found that infants who are given a sugar solution before administering an injection do not cry as much as those who are given plain water. Most of the research findings that were appraised, counting one undertaken by The Lancet, used the duration for which an infant cried to determine the pain experienced by them. Nevertheless, a number of researches, like the ones that fed babies sugar-coated soothers all through the inoculation process, opted monitoring the facial reactions of the infants to measure the pain.

The lead researcher of the review Dr. Manal Kassab opined that feeding infants anything that tastes sweet prior to injections is likely to prevent them from crying for a prolonged period. Although the findings appear to be promising, he said that they are not completely sure that feeding sugar solutions lessen pain due to piercing needles.

Conclusions of Cochrane Review notwithstanding, allopaths generally do not feed sugary solutions to infants prior to vaccinations.

According to a Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health researcher, Dr. David Elliman, usually physicians advise that the mother holds and comforts the infant while they give the vaccination. In case of a nursing mother, she may even breast-feed the child during the immunization process. However, in the case of older children, the physicians distract them before giving the vaccine, as neither holding nor comforting them would be of much use, he said.

These days, it is very common for a baby to receive as many as 10 dissimilar injections, including vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella, by the time they have their second birthday. It may be noted that administering these injections has been associated with several health problems, such as autism, MMF and RSV.

Consuming peppers may help avoid Parkinson's disease

The findings of a latest study published in the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society journal 'Annals of Neurology' show that Solanaceae, some species of this flowering plant yields edible nicotine, may possibly help to protect from Parkinson's disease. The findings recommend that consuming foods containing small quantities of nicotine, for instance, tomatoes and peppers may help in lowering the chances of developing Parkinson's disease.

Loss of  brain cells that produce dopamine is responsible for the movement disorder called Parkinson's disease. The symptoms of this condition include trembling hands, arms, legs and facial muscles; lack of balance and usually, a sluggish movement. The Parkinson's Disease Foundation says that while there are one million Parkinson's patients in the US, as many as ten million people suffer from the condition worldwide. Besides, 60,000 new incidences are detected in America every year. Although Parkinson's disease is incurable currently, medicaments and procedures like deep brain stimulation are employed to treat the symptoms.

Earlier researches had discovered that smoking cigarette and using tobacco (including Solanaceae) in other forms comparatively lessened the chances of having Parkinson's. Nevertheless, scientists were not able to confirm if nicotine or any other constituent of tobacco protected from this disease, or people with Parkinson's used less tobacco owing to the disparity within the brain that arise in the initial stage of the disease, much before it is diagnosed.

As many as 490 patients with Parkinson's were recruited by Seattle-based University of Washington's Dr. Susan Searles Nielsen and her team for the new study. In addition, they also included 644 more unrelated people without neurological problems for the study to act as controls. They were asked questions pertaining to their diets as well as tobacco use - generally, using smokeless tobacco, cigars and pipes or smoking over 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.

It was found that Parkinson's risk was not augmented due to eating vegetables, but consuming more edible Solanaceae lessened the risks. The risks reduced considerably when people consumed peppers. The scientists discovered that apparently people who did not or used very little tobacco earlier were more protected from Parkinson's. In fact, among the foods examined, tobacco contained maximum nicotine.

According to Dr. Searles Nielsen, they were the first to probe into the relation between edible nicotine and chances of having Parkinson's disease. She said that like many previous researches, their findings also suggest that using tobacco may lessen Parkinson's risks - or possibly something comparable, but containing lesser toxic substances like peppers may be helpful in preventing this neurological disease.

Meanwhile, the study authors have suggested the need for additional researches on the topic to corroborate the findings of their study in order to find possible measures to avoid Parkinson's.

Six best fruits that provide energy

Many people think that consuming fruits might lead to obesity, fatty liver and additional harmful heath issues. This may possibly be contentious, as these health problems have been related to consuming HFCS (high fructose corn syrup).

While fruits do enclose fructose, it is present in very negligible amounts when compared to HFCS - present in high in processed foods as well as beverages or pharmacological doses that are extremely concentrated and extracted from the foods that contain it.

Every physician concurs that when in excess, fructose is mostly converted into triglyceride fats rather than glucose for generating energy. In fact, table sugar or sucrose is also transformed into glucose very effectively and creating no congestion in the liver.

In fact, the spurt in type-2 diabetes and obesity started following incorporation of HFCS in beverages and refined foods. Unlike sucrose, our liver is not able to use pharmacological fructose to generate energy. In their original solid structure, fruits enclose very little quantity of fructose compared to refined HFCS and even their fructose is blended with additional nourishments and dietary fibers. Hence, the body absorbs them slowly with no overdose of fructose and it lessens the burden on the liver.

Caution: It is advisable to consume whole fruits, as juices enhance the fructose amount without fiber, which aids in digesting fructose and lessening the burden on the liver. Since most fruits come in contact with toxic chemicals throughout cultivation, it is also advisable that you consume locally cultivated or organic fruits that are not exposed to excessive chemicals.

All said and done, the six fruits that provide safe and stable energy include apples, bananas, pineapples, strawberries, oranges and papaya.

Apples: This fruit is lasting and doesn't decompose fast even when not stored in refrigerator and it contains comparatively higher amounts of dietary fiber and other vital nutrients. A number of nutritional experts also claim that the energy obtained from apples remain for a comparatively longer period. However, it is advisable that you should always try to consume organically grown apples for safety from toxic chemicals.

Bananas: This fruit contains high amounts of potassium, which perks up energy, which is vital for the heart, sustaining membrane potential and stimulating tightening of the muscles. Though this fruit is included in the list of 'clean 15', it is safer to consume those grown organically.

Pineapples: Also belonging to the 'clean 15' listing, pineapples perk up energy levels. Look for Mexican pineapples, while avoiding those from Hawaii and Costa Rica, which are usually GMO.

Strawberries: They supply with wonderful levels of energy. Since many toxic pesticides are used in their cultivation, use the organically grown variety.

Oranges: This fruit contains plenty of energy plus vitamin C, but never opt for juices, particularly those obtained from concentrates. Consume the oranges that are freshly peeled.

Papaya: This fruit can boost your energy and also augment digestion provided you consume the seeds too. However, the GMO advice relating to pineapples is also applicable for papaya.

Soy, tomatoes potentially effectual in avoiding prostate cancer

A recent study by researchers at the University of Illinois found that consuming soy bean sprouts and tomatoes together, rather than separately, may prevent prostate cancer.

According to a food science and nutrition professor at the university John Erdman, they used genetically engineered mice in their study to develop a belligerent type of prostate cancer. Nonetheless, at the end of the study they found that nearly 50% of the animals eating soy and tomato did not develop malignant lacerations in the prostate. In contrast, all animals that did not consume soy or tomato were afflicted by the disease.

Between the period four and 18 weeks of age, these mice were given either of the four diets, 2% soy germ, 10% whole tomato, soy germ and tomato powder or neither soy or tomato to a control group. He said that the time from four to 18 weeks demonstrated their early and permanent acquaintance to bioactive elements present in these foods.

Erdman said while consuming soy and, tomato helped to lessen cases of prostate cancer, their combination was more effective. It was found that while just 45% mice which consumed both developed this cancer, 61% mice which ate only tomato and 66% animals that consumed only soy had prostate cancer.

While this form of cancer is common in men, it is totally curable if detected early. Study co-author Krystle Zuniga said that in the case of aged men this disease develops slowly and the patients prefer waiting vigilantly compared to radiation or surgical procedures that have adverse side effects.

In fact, the relation between consuming soy and developing prostate cancer in mice can be compared to Asian men consuming a couple of soy servings every day. According to Erdman, it has been found people who consume soy on a regular basis are considerably less likely to develop the disease.

Zuniga said that the findings of the study suggest that men aged about 55 years should consume 3-4 tomato product servings every week and a couple of soy food servings every day to avoid prostate cancer. These findings corroborate the recommendations that consumption of various whole vegetables and fruits is essential for our health.

Erdman suggests that compared to taking lycopene supplement it is better to consume whole tomatoes. Similarly, drinking soy milk is better compared to taking soy isoflavones. One is able to intake various bioactive elements contained by whole foods, when he/ she consumes them.

In effect, the recommendations to consume whole foods are reinforced following the functioning of soy germ in this research. He added while genistein is given most value among isoflavones, soy germ too encloses elevated amounts of isoflavones like glycitein and daidzein, but its genistein content is low.

The researchers found it interesting that though the soy products used by them in the study contained less genistein, these were highly effectual in lessening incidences of cancer.

Maitake mushrooms restrain tumor growth, enhance immunity

Maitake, also called the 'hen-of-the-woods' in English-speaking nations, is basically a simple brown mushroom growing at the foot of trees, particularly oaks. Indigenous to north-eastern regions of Japan and some areas of North America, maitake is a major culinary item in Japan and similarly well liked in China, where people have been using it for therapeutic purposes for centuries.

Maitake mushroom offers several health benefits and some of them are discussed below.

Anti-cancer attributes: Current studies undertaken on humans with cancer have revealed that a particular part of maitake mushroom - the MD-fraction - restrains tumor growth, besides boosting the actions of cells, thus augmenting interleukin or immune cell production that aids in preventing cancerous growth and also helps improve chemotherapy effects.

Boosting immunity: Maitake encloses beta-glucans, a type of polysaccharide fibers, which promote T-cell, neutrophils, and macrophage production. These cells aid the immune system in fighting ailments fast and efficiently, accelerate recovery of damaged tissues, and eliminate cellular debris.

Lowering blood pressure: A study by Washington D.C.-based Georgetown University Medical Center scientists in 2002 demonstrated that the blood pressure of rats with hypertension reduced significantly following intake of powdered maitake mushroom. Findings of another study also showed a decrease in blood pressure from 200 to 115 mm of mercury (mm Hg) in only four hours.

Lowering blood sugar: A study by two Kobe Pharmaceutical University scientists in Japan in 1996 found feeding mice maitake regularly led to a significant reduction in their blood sugar levels. The scientists came to the conclusion that the 'X-fraction', a polysaccharide present in maitake, can lessen resistance to insulin, thereby enhancing insulin sensitivity. This, together with small glycemic index score of maitake makes this mushroom an excellent food for people with diabetes and those in pre-diabetic stage.

Weight loss attributes: Intake of 100-gm raw maitake serving has only 37 calories and practically no fat, in addition to 2.7 gm dietary fiber - just 11% of the recommended daily intake for an adult. A plant food, fiber works in the large intestine to take up water, thereby bringing about a sensation of fullness and preventing excessive food consumption. Hence, people who are trying to lose weight ought to consume food rich in fiber, such as maitake.

Reducing cholesterol: According to a research by Japan's Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine scientists, rats given maitake and shiitake powders showed an obvious decrease in cholesterol. The scientists said that mushroom possesses properties that enhance elimination of cholesterol through feces.

High levels of trace nutrients: Consuming 100 gm of raw maitake provides 1.9 gm protein (4% of the daily requirement intake) 2% of iron and magnesium RDI, a variety of B-vitamins (required for metabolism in cells), roughly 5%-7% of phosphorus, potassium and zinc RDI and 3% of selenium and manganese RDI. A similar amount of maitake also encloses 0.3 mg copper (13% of RDI) and little quantities of omega-6 fatty acids that are necessary for the functioning of the brain.

Coffee consumption may lessen risk of damaging liver diseases

Findings of a recent research undertaken by scientists at the Mayo Clinic and put forward at the Digestive Disease Week 2013 conference held in Orlando, Florida, reveal that drinking coffee on a regular basis decreases the chances of developing an autoimmune liver ailment called PSC or primary sclerosing cholangitis.

It may be noted that primary sclerosing cholangitis is an inflammatory ailment related to the bile ducts that leads to inflammation and ensuing fibrosis, which may cause liver failure, cirrhosis of liver and even biliary cancer.

According to Craig Lammert, M.D., who is the study author as well as a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic, although a rare condition, the effects of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) are extremely damaging. He said that they are searching for means to lessen the risks and their initial findings identified a new environmental factor, which may possibly help them to find out the reason behind this disease as well as other destructive autoimmune diseases.

During the course of their research, the scientists studied a large group of patients in the United States who had primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and those with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), besides a group of healthy individuals. Data regarding these individuals revealed that consuming coffee was linked to decreased chances of developing PSC, but it had no effect on PBC. It was also found that people with PSC were more unlikely to drink coffee compared to healthy individuals. The study found that compared to the control group, those with PSC spent lesser time consuming coffee regularly.

The study undertaken by the scientists at the Mayo Clinic hints that contrary to what people believed, PSC and PBC were more dissimilar. A senior study author and a hepatologist at Mayo Clinic Konstantinos Lazaridis, M.D., said that researches undertaken by them in future may possibly help them to determine what the precise factors that increased the risks of these ailments are as well as the means to treat them in a better manner.

Breathing helps control emotional states

Breathing skills are among the several means utilized by Yoga experts for centuries to pacify the body as well as the mind, while preparing oneself for meditation, rumination or just to control  emotions. While breathing has been utilized in the form a spiritual practice for long, a latest study used breathing as a means to control sensations into the sphere of neuroscience. The positive results denote that henceforth people may use fewer drugs for treating anger, anxiety and depression.

The study undertaken by Dr. Pierre Philippot at the Universite de Louvain emphasized on two set of individuals to find out whether or not breathing has the aptitude to give rise to and control emotions as well as their power.

Though we know that breathing calms us, especially when we are panicked or under pressure, we are not certain if breathing really generates emotions. The latest research has been very helpful on the subject, as it revealed that every emotion has a particular related breathing pattern.

For instance, we take short, quick and shallow breaths when we are panicked, while the breathing is forced and long during anger. Conversely, out breathing is slow and stable when we are calm and during happiness, the inhalations as well as exhalations are long.

During the study, the first group required generating all these emotions by altering their breathing form and remembering anything that facilitated educing a particular emotion. The participants had to answer a questionnaire, explaining their experiences - breathing patterns during each emotion. It was found that the breathing patterns of all participants were similar for every emotion they generated. The other group was told to inhale and exhale according to the patterns of the first group. Soon, they also started experiencing the precise emotions related to a specific breathing pattern.

The results corroborated that what Yoga experts and instructors had experienced for centuries - breathing actually influences our emotional state. So what does this signify?

Simply speaking, the results denote that our emotional states can now be regulated by another proven method, which was earlier considered to be difficult. When the common people become aware of these findings and they practise the new method, it is likely that we will witness a somewhat improvement in their mental health.

Practising different breathing patterns will benefit people suffering from anger, anxiety and depression, other emotional states helping them to reduce their dependency on drugs to treat these conditions. Several people find that the drugs no longer produce the desired results or worsen their condition further.

All said and done, like in the case of exercise and meditation, using breathing patterns to control emotions also necessitates great discipline and thoroughness. Even so, the results of the research offer us another option, apart from the existing ones, to effectively and safely treat emotional disorders. It is hoped that therapists as well as counsellors would employ these in near future.

Probiotic microflora help to lose weight

Lots have been talked and written regarding the wonderful potential of probiotics in stimulating the digestive as well as the immune systems, besides boosting the health of the entire body. The latest discovery about probiotics - little beneficial bacteria, is that they also possess the aptitude to facilitate fat loss, especially from the area around the abdomen by means of controlling the hormones that transmit signals to the brain regarding hunger or being full. In addition, probiotics also destroy the absorption of fat calories in the intestine and perk up the levels of energy, thereby motivating us to undertake exercises or even our routine activities that promote metabolism and burn fat.

Probiotic microflora regularize appetite

Hormones regulating the signals related to 'hunger' or 'fullness' are known as leptin and ghrelin. When the balance of microflora in the stomach is appropriate, the functioning of these hormones is normal. However, when there is an absence of such 'friendly' bacteria', particularly H. Pylori, in the gut, the hormones are unable to function normally and, hence, we are also unable to control our hunger resulting to over-eating. Although probiotics are useful in controlling appetite and putting off obesity, it is unfortunate that there are many factors that obliterate the microflora populations. These factors include antibiotics, carbonated beverages, coffee, pesticides, exposure to chlorine and even food preservatives and additives. Therefore, it is vital that we add foods with rich probiotic content - for instance, yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir, to our diet regularly.

Microflora restrain abdominal weight gain

When specific microfloral bacteria like lactobacillus amylovorus and lactobacillus fermentum, are present in the stomach, they hinder the calorie absorption, thereby excreting some calories from the system. Besides, fewer calories are converted into fat deposits in the abdominal region.

Microflora get this done by preventing fat calories absorption by the intestines. The liver plays a vital role during digestion by releasing foamy chemicals known as bile salts that combine with fat to facilitate its digestion. Microflora bacteria work by reducing as well as destroying bile salt, thus hindering the assimilation of fat into the body.

Role of probiotics in energy generation

Probiotics present in our system play a vital part in digesting food plus generating energy. The absence of 'friendly' bacteria in the system significantly weakens digestion and our body is forced to make use of additional energy to digest the ingested foods, thereby depleting our energy levels. Dwindling energy levels is related to lesser motivation for undertaking workouts or participating in activities that would facilitate in burning fat and reducing body weight. Hence, it is essential that we boost our system by using probiotic supplements from a good source on a regular basis with a view to burn fat and keep our body in excellent shape.

Study reveals copper obliterates norovirus

Findings of a latest study undertaken by scientists at the University of Southampton reveal that copper as well as copper alloys help to rapidly wipe out norovirus - an extremely contagious microbe. One can get this virus from polluted water or food, coming in contact with other people infected by the microbe as well as exposing oneself to infected surfaces - denoting that any copper surface will effectively put an end to one source of infection.

Globally, norovirus is accountable for over 267 million cases of sever gastroenteritis annually. In the absence of any particular cure or vaccine, gastroenteritis epidemics result in closure of care homes and hospital wards regularly, necessitating costly through cleansing, brining upon added treatment expenses and leading to loss of working days when the staff contacts the virus. The impact of this is often felt even outside healthcare, as hotels and cruise ships also undergo considerable damage to their repute when this epidemic afflicts the guests.

University of Southampton's Environmental Health chairperson and the lead researcher, Professor Bill Keevil, presented the findings of the study at the recent general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology 2013. The presentation revealed that norovirus was obliterated rapidly on copper as well as its alloys; especially those having over 60% copper were found to be more effectual. The contagion prototype employed during the research was intended to encourage infection of surfaces by touching them with finger tips.

According to the Institute for Life Sciences of the university Professor Keevil, surfaces made from copper alloys may be used in areas considered to be high-risk, for instance, care homes and cruise ships, where it is difficult to control norovirus outbreaks, as people infected by the microbe are helpless and pollute the environment by vomiting and diarrhea.

He says that the virus has the aptitude to continue to be communicable on any solid surface and also resist cleansing chemicals. In other words, norovirus has the ability to pass on to individuals who come in contact with these surfaces, promoting infections as well as continuing the infection cycle. However, if the surface is made from copper, such as taps and door handles, it can disturb the infection cycle, besides lowering the chances of experiencing epidemics.

Research reveals bee propolis averts cancer, enhances immunity

Propolis, also called bee glue, is a muggy, brownish mixture made by honey bees from their saliva and resin from tree bark to repair their hives and also to seal them from intruders. For several centuries, Europeans have valued this natural substance for its remedial attributes, which are also confirmed by many modern researches.

Contemporary studies show that propolis possesses anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic and immune boosting properties. In addition, it has high content of various vitamins and essential minerals.

Anti-cancer: Findings of a study carried in the American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology (February 2004 edition) showed that propolis encloses remedial compounds having the aptitude to eliminate MCF-7, a breast tumor cell. Within 24 hours of taking a propolis extract, 13% of carcinogenic cells were destroyed in patients participating in a study. Another study brought out in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (November 2004 edition) discovered that Chinese red propolis was capable of restraining vascular endothelial growth factor causing cancer.

Anti-Inflammatory: A study published in European Journal of Pharmacology (June 2008 edition) found that propolis encloses Artipillin C which has potent anti-inflammatory attributes and aids in healing wounds. Further studies revealed propolis may be applied externally to cure skin inflammations.

Antioxidant: Findings of a research published in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry (December 2004 edition) showed that propolis obtained from various countries encloses flavonoid and polyphenolic elements that have distinct antioxidant activities and help in repairing cells damaged by free radicals that may cause cancer and additional degenerative diseases. Moreover, consumption of propolis helps to inhibit the aging process.

Immunity booster: A study carried in Phytotherapy Research (August 2010 edition) showed propolis encloses proteins and chemicals that can regulate and alter the immune system, besides providing anti-viral and anti-bacterial benefits.

Antiseptic: For several centuries, propolis has been used as a constituent of antiseptic creams, as it contains several active elements like amino acids, phenolic acids and terpenes. Ancient Egyptians maintained that propolis accelerated healing process, which contemporary science confirms this claim. Findings of a research published in Wound Repair and Regeneration (September-October 2009 edition) confirmed that applying propolis on diabetes wounds of rodents hastened healing.

Vitamins and Minerals: Chemical analysis of propolis revealed that it provides us with as many as 60 trace minerals, including different amounts of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, silica, copper, cobalt, phosphorus, zinc and 16 amino acids. It also encloses vitamins A (carotene), B1, B2 as well as B3, making it superior than any multivitamin tablet containing artificial ingredients.

It is obvious that many studies have been conducted on propolis and they have corroborated the ancient knowledge regarding its therapeutic properties and uses. Propolis is also related to additional benefits which are yet to be confirmed or deterred owing to weak evidence. These benefits comprise its supposed aptitude to put off dental plague and capability of treating severe conditions like hepatitis and tuberculosis with no adverse effects.

Probiotics help avoiding diarrhea due to antibiotic use

A latest Cochrane systematic review says that using probiotics my help in avoiding diarrhea due to antibiotic use. While examining patients infected by Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and using antibiotics, the authors detected that when the patients were given antibiotics, it diminished their symptoms considerably.

It has been found that antibiotics not only upset 'friendly' bacteria in the stomach, but also promote the growth of detrimental bacteria, such as C. difficile. While a section of people with C. difficile infection do not show any symptoms, others undergo colitis or diarrhea. The supposed 'beneficial' bacteria or yeast present in probiotic supplements and foods may possibly be a safe and inexpensive means to prevent CDAD (C. difficile-associated diarrohea), which generally requires expensive treatment.

Incidences of CDAD were detected in the 23 trials that included 3,213 adults and children. Taking antibiotics in combination with probiotics helped to reduce the number of people suffering from diarrhea by 64 per cent. It was found that mere 2 per cent participants taking probiotics suffered from CDAD, while 6 per cent participants taking placebo suffered from the condition. In addition, only few unfavorable events were reported by participants taking probiotics during the 26 examinations undertaken to determine the adverse effects.

According to Bradley Johnston, the lead researcher who is from the Toronto-based The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, as a temporary measure, it seemed that taking probiotics together with antibiotics is a safe as well as effectual means to avoid diarrhea related to infection by Clostridium difficile. Johnston added that introducing a number of probiotic treatments in the form of add-ons to antibiotics may possibly have an instant effect on the patients, particularly when CDAD is an endemic. He, however, emphasized on the need to determine the doses and strains of probiotics that off the optimum results and, thereby, ensure the safety of treatment with probiotics in patients having impaired immune system.

While using probiotics in conjunction with antibiotics was found to be useful in preventing CDAD, it did not help to lessen the number of patients having C. difficile infections. Throwing light on this, Johnston said that the researchers were of the view that while probiotics were effective in averting the occurrence of the symptoms related to C. difficile infections, they are not very effective in preventing the infection. According to the lead author, they possibly require investigating into the matter more during the upcoming trials, as it would assist them in comprehending the manner in which probiotics function.