Archived Articles - November 2013

Antibiotics detrimental for our health

As the northern hemisphere prepares for winter, it is likely that millions would at some time rush to their physician for prescription to treat cold or flu symptoms. But how safe is the use of medicines, especially antibiotics?

While modern medicine does not offer any therapy for common cold, flu and different viruses, nearly all physicians, who would be making money on the pretext of helping their patients, are likely to recommend antibiotics. This reflects the negligent attitude of the medicos, who leave their patients to fend for themselves.

Antibiotics render immune system inoperative

When our immune system works at its utmost competence it is able to protect us from various diseases, counting cancer. But the immune system in most people is compromised from before owing to their lifestyles, diets, environmental toxins and even medicines they take.

What physicians term as 'diseases' are actually the external symptoms of a health condition occurring owing to an ineffective and compromised immune system. In most cases, the contemporary medication only makes an effort to conceal these external symptoms without even trying to cure the condition's origin holistically. This, in turn, harms the patients more when chemical medications are used and surgeries undertaken.

An extremely structure, about 80% of our immune system is to be found in our digestive system and it is controlled by a large number of microbes called 'gut flora', which comprise roughly 15% of our body weight. It may be noted that the effective functioning of our immune system largely depends on the ratio of the beneficial microbes to pathogenic microbes. Ideally, the ratio ought to be 85% of the beneficial microbes to 15% pathogenic microbes in the stomach. However, in most people the ratio is tilted in favour of pathogenic microbes owing to the various factors mentioned earlier and this weakens the immune system.


Consumption of antibiotics kills some of the beneficial microbes along with the pathogenic microbes in the gut. As this often depletes the beneficial microbes in the gut critically compromising our immune system, it has been found that taking these medications is detrimental for our health. Antibiotics devastate the immune system, the natural system of our body that protects us from various diseases.

Diet for a robust immune system

Whatever is natural is forever best and this is true for our immune system too. For a robust immune system, it is necessary to take a natural, effective, healthy diet that is beneficial for the gut flora. Therefore, consuming foods enclosing probiotics ('pro' denoting 'good' and 'biotics' meaning 'good microbes' in our stomach) is best to sustain the health of the immune system. In fact, taking only one cup of foods containing probiotics daily is healthy in several ways in protecting us from different diseases.

Some of the probiotic drinks and foods include fermented vegetables, fermented fruits, coconut kefir and kombucha tea. These and several others are highly beneficial for our immune system and maintaining our health, particularly during winter. If you take them regularly, you will not require visiting your physician often, not for common cold and flu!

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Spirulina extract consumption increases antitumor natural killer (NK) cells

An eye-opening study demonstrating the manner in which spirulina extract triggers natural killer cells to eliminate tumours has helped scientists to make rapid advancement in anti-tumour immunotherapy.

Natural killer cells

These are the rapid responders of our body when its cells are invaded by viruses or there is any tumour formation. Natural killer cells are unique as they are able to identify viruses and tumours in the nonexistence of signal molecules and antibodies and potently defend our immune system. They are also excellent communicators, controlling contacts with macrophages as well as endothelial, dendritic and T cells. In addition, they can also restrict or augment immune responses and are helpful in regulating tumour growths, autoimmune diseases and inflammations.

Spirulina extract

A study undertaken by Hokkaido University's Department of Microbiology and Immunology found that spirulina extract stimulated the response of the anti-tumour natural killer cells.

During the study, scientists implanted tumours into particular mice species and administered hot water extracts of spirulina to observe the molecular signals in the mice's major histocompatibility complex. Initially, there was a slight appearance of NT response, but later the scientists observed activation of signals from the NT cells which set off via Rae-1 expressions. As the natural killer cells closed near the malignant cells, slowly the transplanted tumour relapsed till the natural killer cells effectively removed the complete tumour.

Molecular interaction with in vitro dendritic cells derived from bone marrow further showed the activation properties of natural killer cells originated from the oral administration of spirulina extract. During further studies, the scientists observed that spirulina also augments activation of NK cells against tumours by means of a particular pathway in rodents. In addition, a certain immune cell too worked in tandem with spirulina extract to apply synergistic anti-tumour actions. The skeleton of BCG cell wall acted together with spirulina to perk up production of IFN gamma, thereby reinforcing antitumor potential. Using the two together helped enhance the advantage of this antitumor therapy.

Spirulina - an essential super food

The antitumor action of spirulina is just one of the health benefits offered by this super food. It is packed with B vitamins, eight amino acids and antioxidants - beta carotene and zeaxanthin. While it helps to boost the immune system, it contains essential fatty acids like probiotic strains and linolenic acid, which combat tumour effectively.

Spirulina is also packed with phycocyanin and chlorophyll, which makes it a potent blood cleanser, thereby transporting more oxygen to the cells to enable growth of blood cells and renew the existing supply of the body. It also helps in detoxification of the body - eliminating heavy metals.

What is unique about spirulina is that it contains roughly 70% protein, much more compared to any other food available. Consuming this blue green algae daily helps the body to accumulate a life-giving phytochemical that enhances stamina, vitality and mental clarity, especially when there is emotional and mental strain.

Spirulina eliminates tumours

Scientists have started understanding the immunotherapy benefits of consuming spirulina, including its ability to destroy tumours. Now, it remains to be seen how soon the medical fraternity gets rid of its radiation machines and uses spirulina to assault cancer at its origin. It is high time that people become aware of the health benefits of spirulina. On your part, you need to tell your physician, family and friends regarding the antitumor attributes of these blue green algae.

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Acai berries offer loads of health benefits

For several centuries, people inhabiting the Amazon region have cherished acai berries, which contain exceptional levels of antioxidants that save the cells and body tissues from harm. This wonderful berry contains an assortment of phytonutrients that make it an excellent and largely advertised super food.

Acai berries are found growing on palm trees that grow up to a height of about 40 feet to 80 feet in the region of the Amazon River. While the trees are branchless, the deep purple berries have resemblance to blueberries. They enclose potent polyphenolic anthocyanin chemicals like cyaniding-3-galactoside or C3G, delphinidin, ferulic acid, petunidin and resveratrol, in addition to proanthocyanidin tannins like ellagic acid, protocatechuic acid and epicatechin.

Acai berries are potently rich in antioxidants and their Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity (ORAC) score is extremely high compared to all other fruits that have been tested as well as categorized officially. They also contain high levels of electrolytes, B vitamins and trace minerals essential for lessening inflammation and enhancing vitality levels.

Anti-cancer attributes

Damage caused by the harmful free radicals is responsible for aging faster and formation of cancer cells. Exposure to excessive free radicals in the absence of adequate signalling processes results in genetic mutation of the cells, which replicate unusually. This is a major cause for formation and increase of cancer cells.

Anthocyanins impart the deep blue or purple pigments to specific vegetables and fruits. This pigment is obtained from extremely exceptional double bond formations, which offer antioxidant shield to these fruits and vegetables from the harmful influences of prolonged exposure to ultra-violet light. So far, scientists have discovered more than 600 forms of natural anthocyanins, the most familiar being C3G.

A study conducted in 2006 by University of Florida scientists revealed that the extract from acai berries can activate apoptotic death of 86 per cent leukemia cells. Such compounds are responsible for vast C3G amounts plus other anthocyanins as well as their intense influence on cellular genetics.

Immune system booster

Acai berries contain antioxidants that help in lessening oxidative stress caused by alien environmental toxins and microorganisms. Antioxidants also aid in improving the functioning of the immune system and strengthen it against pathogenic invasions.

Besides antioxidants, acai berries enclose arabinogalactan - a distinctive fraction of polysaccharide, which is a particular carbohydrate that encourages vigorous stimulatory actions of the T cells. It has been found that the main polysaccharides present in acai berries were also immunologically most active. They trigger T cells and myeloid and, simultaneously augmented production of IL-12. When the activity of T cells is augmented, it helps the body to combat infections better.

Why use acai berries

People wanting to use acai ought to know that like all berries and fruits, it also encloses sugar. Consuming minimal sugar and elevated amounts of antioxidants is essential for our optimal health. Thus, consumption of an organic and modestly processed extract from acai berry or its powder, which contains little sugar, is most effective.

In addition, before purchasing acai products, you should ensure that the manufacturer possesses a Certificate of Analysis, as this will guarantee that you are purchasing an authentic and pure product. Moreover, it is essential that the berries are wild crafted - harvested in their native region, Brazil.

The usual maintenance dose of acai product ought to vary between 1 gm and 2 gm daily. People with metabolic disease who use acai as a vital antioxidant should take an elevated doses - 5 gm to 10 gm daily.

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Jojoba oil beneficial for your skin and hair

Jojoba shrubs are found growing in abundance in the southern parts of the United States as well as in Mexico and Africa. The seeds of this plant contain high levels of essential fatty acids and the oil extracted from them works wonders when used externally, especially as hair oil and for skin care. This is one reason why beauty salons are increasingly using products based on this superb oil. Jojoba oil is loaded with vital nutrients, including vitamin E and B, as well as minerals like chromium, copper and zinc.

Best possible moisturizer

Perhaps, jojoba oil is the best moisturizer available, because, unlike products based on water, it does not disperse as much or as faster. An assessment of the jojoba oil shows that it possesses the aptitude to balance the oil production by the skin as sebum does. In addition, this oil is able to retain its beneficial attributes for a longer period compared to majority of the different other oils that usually decompose after a while. If possible, you should always use organic products, because they make the most of the beneficial effects.

A pilot study has revealed that the moisturizing action of jojoba oil can be retained for about 24 hours from the time of applying it to the skin when it is combined with glycerol. The findings corroborated that hydrolyzed jojoba oil works in tandem with glycerol to lengthen its moisturizing effect. This research definitely promotes more studies on using this type of herbs in cosmetics.

Cures acne

A study undertaken in 2012 and carried in Research in Complementary Medicine, a Swiss journal, elucidated the manner in which jojoba oil may contribute excellently in improving skin susceptible to acne. The study included 194 participants, who were told to use a facial mask having jojoba oil and clay twice to thrice every week for about six weeks. Nearly all the participants validated that the acne pustules and lesions were reduced significantly after applying the facial mask. So, what was the precise role of clay in such amazing results?

Healing wounds on skin

According to the 2011 edition of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, using jojoba liquefied wax may possibly aid in increasing the pace of healing wounds on the skin. Findings of another study undertaken in 2005 and carried in the Pharmacology Research showed that jojoba possessed the aptitude to lessen inflammation in rats.

Prevents dry scalp

We are aware that people having dry scalp are likely to experience flaking, irritation and itching. It has been proved that jojoba oil aids in moisturizing the scalp and aids in getting rid of dandruff. At the same time, it maintains the health of hair follicles and makes them stronger. Therefore, it is not surprising that now there are numerous conditioners based on jojoba oil available on the market.

Jojoba oil is also beneficial for lessening wrinkles and improving skin complaints like eczema. However, the degree of success of jojoba oil in these cases varies.

Dozen top herbs that relieve stomach pain

It has been noticed that people visiting stores selling health products often ask for natural remedies for stomach aches. In fact, everyone, from cancer patients to parents of infants struggling with colic, search for effectual and safe products for treating stomach aches. However, the problem is that no natural medicine will alleviate all kinds of stomach aches. Moreover, if the stomach ache is constant, you should essentially consult your physician. But there is an assortment of natural remedies for stomach pains caused by consumption of spoiled foods or menstrual cramps.

A dozen natural and home remedies that can help to alleviate a variety of stomach problems are listed below.

Aloe vera juice: People struggling with intestinal problems have claimed that the juice of this herb is extremely useful. In addition, it may also alleviate gas, bloating, diarrhea and cramps.

Apple cider vinegar: This is claimed to offer many health benefits. Add a few teaspoons of this vinegar to cold and hot water and drink the solution to get relief from pain.

Chamomile: Besides soothing the nerves, this herb also alleviates stomach pains. If you have a stomach upset, take the herb in the form of a tea with some lemon, which will enhance its flavour.

Ginger: This herb offers several health benefits, as it possesses anti-inflammatory attributes. Besides aiding indigestion, ginger also helps to ease stomach aches. Peel and grate the ginger root to prepare a tea. Instead of buying ginger ale, use fresh ginger to prepare the tea, as the sugar in the ale may aggravate your stomach ache. If you dislike spicy foods, you may also take ginger supplements.

Peppermint: Mint is comparable to ginger and ought to be taken fresh to ease a stomach disorder. Just take some mint sprigs and add them to warm water in a cup. Drink the infusion or you may even chew the leaves for relief.

Lemon water: If you do not have any ginger, mint, fennel or licorice at home, add juice of 1/2 a lemon to warm water and drink it to ease your stomach pain.

Fennel or Licorice: Despite being two different herbs, they have a comparable flavour, which may not be liked by everyone. In case you don't like their flavour take a substitute. They are found in several supplements and herbal teas. If their taste does not bother you, you may also chew a fresh bulb slice to alleviate stomach ache.

Baking soda: Most antacids available in the market usually contain sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. You can just mix some baking soda (a couple of teaspoons) in warm water and drink it for relief from heartburn or indigestion. Baking soda and Alka-Seltzer are equally effective.

Burned toast: In hospitals, charcoal is often used to treat food or alcohol poisoning, because it is effective in countering the poison inside the body. Generally, burnt toast is given to children suffering from diarrhea or stomach pain. Similarly, they are given BRAT (banana, rice plus applesauce).

Cola syrup: This is an age-old remedy for upset stomachs. It is said to be safe for children, who find it delicious too.

Warm rice compress: Heat is said to be a wonderful remedy for upset stomach, particularly in cases of cramps. If you don't have a heating pad, one can be made with an old sock and some raw rice. Pour the rice in the sock and put it inside a microwave oven for one minute and apply it to the affected area.

Warm salt water: Saline water is an excellent remedy for sore throats and stomach disorders. Add one teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water and drink it. For best results, you should drink the saline water very quickly.

Although these are 12 wonderful natural remedies for stomach ache, you need to check with your physician immediately if your pain continues even after using them.

People with depression more likely to develop Parkinson's disease

Findings of a recent study carried in the American Academy of Neurology's medical journal 'Neurology' have revealed that people suffering from depression are considerably more vulnerable to Parkinson's disease. Scientists at the Taipei's Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan evaluated the medical records of more than 20,000 people over a period of 10 years. The findings of their study provide us with considerable understanding of this disease.

Albert C. Yang, MD and PhD, who is the study author, says that in other studies it has been found that depression is associated with ailments like stroke and cancer. He adds that their study recommends that depression may also be an independent element of danger for developing Parkinson's disease.

Attributes of Parkinson's disease

It is a chronic neurological problem that worsens gradually with the passage of time and can wreck lives as well as families. Generally, it afflicts people above 50 years and has several symptoms. Some of the major symptoms of this disease include tremors or shaking in the face, jaws, arms, hands and legs. In addition, the patients may also experience impaired movement and stiffness of the arms, legs and the upper body. They are also likely to face problems in coordinating and balancing, while they may endure changes in handwriting and speech. Another major symptom of Parkinson's disease is lack of automatic movement.

The concentration of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is also low in people suffering from Parkinson's disease. In fact, dopamine is responsible for regulating the reward as well as the pleasure centers of the brain and also controls movements plus emotional reactions. While people with this ailment generally suffer from depression, the study by Taiwanese scientists has, for the first time, identified that there could be some association between the depressed mental conditions and developing Parkinson's disease sometime later in life.

Methods and results

The Taiwanese researchers undertook retroactive tests of as many as 23,180 people (4,634 struggling with depression and 18,544 control participants). Every subject was examined for about 10 years to follow the rate of new incidences of Parkinson's disease. However, subjects who were found to have Parkinson's within 2 to 5 years of being diagnosed with depression were excluded from the study.

Following the adjustment of the results for age, gender, hypertension, diabetes and other factors, the scientists found that people suffering from depression had 3.24 times more chances of developing Parkinson's compared to the control participants.

Yang noted that still several questions remained unanswered, counting whether or not depression is one of the early symptoms of Parkinson's instead of the condition being an independent element of danger for developing the disease. He added that during their research they discovered that old age, depression and problems in treating depression were noteworthy risks that may lead to the development of Parkinson's disease.