By Natural Advocate | July 29, 2007 - 10:02 pm - Posted in Foods

Hummus is a delicious blend of chickpeas and tahini that can be made with garlic, peppers or many other variations.  It can be eaten like a dip using pita bread, pita chips or pretzels, or hummus can be added to a sandwich to give you a creamy moist taste without the need for mayonnaise or butter. Nutritionally, hummus has the advantage of having 0 trans fats and provides you with about 20 essential amino acids. 

Minerals that are plentiful in hummus include manganese, copper, calcium, iron and zinc.  Hummus is not fat free, but the fats that are found in it are the “good” fats with lots of omega-3 fatty acids.  Besides these nutritional benefits, hummus is also a good source of vitamins B6, vitamin E and K, folate and thiamine.  Calorie wise, hummus is not considered a low calorie food.  For about 2 Tbsp. of hummus, there is about 50 calories. 

However, for the calories consumed, hummus is satisfying to your hunger for a longer period of time.  Eating hummus does not cause a high increase in your blood glucose levels.  Compared with traditional dips for chips and snack foods, hummus is an intelligent alternative nutritionally. Interestingly enough, several days ago, I had hummus a couple of times with some pita bread and not only did it keep my hunger away, but I noticed an outstandingly good mood which I attributed to not feeling even a low level of hunger.
 Upon reading about hummus, there was an article about the essential amino acids in hummus having a similar effect to antidepressants such as Prozac in diminishing depression, anxiety and compulsive behavior.  This would explain the mood improvement after eating a healthy portion of hummus.  While we won’t see doctors prescribing hummus for mood disorders, it is still fascinating to see how the foods we eat can have a profound effect on our state of mind.

By Natural Advocate | July 26, 2007 - 4:43 pm - Posted in Nutritional Supplements

Coenzyme Q10 is a product seen commonly in health food stores and it’s use has become popular enough to see this item frequently on drugstore or grocery store shelves and ads.  Having no knowledge of what this natural product is and why it is so prevalent led me to look into Coenzyme Q10 a little further.

 Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that does assist energy production in the cells.  Coenzyme Q10 has been found to be useful in the treatment of certain heart diseases, and, like a some of the best Omega 3 dietary supplements, is believed to help protect the heart when taken with a meal in the daily diet to boost one’s antioxidant levels and free radical destroying capabilities.

 It is recommended  to take Coenzyme Q10 with a meal for the best absorption.  Other areas of interest with Coenzyme Q10  are as a possible aid in treatment of congestive heart failure, hypertension and certain kinds of cancer.  Since there is generally a minimal amount of CoenzymeQ10 in the diet, often people seek to supplement their diet with this antioxidant.  There can be some side effects from CoenzymeQ10 which are often dose related and relatively uncommon.

 Coenzyme Q10 may interfere with certain medications such as blood thinners, so check with your physician if this applies to you.  Some other medications actually lower your body’s production of CoenzymeQ10 such as statin drugs, beta-blockers, antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. 

If this situation applies to you, ask your doctor about the need to replace your CoenzymeQ 10 and what the recommended dosage would be.
Other uses associated with Coenzyme Q10 are a slowing of the aging process and assistance in controlling the glycemic level or blood glucose.

By Natural Advocate | July 23, 2007 - 9:59 pm - Posted in Hair Loss Treatments

Propecia, also known by it’s chemical or generic name of finasteride, has been used and has been effective  for the treatment of male pattern baldness in men.  What about Propecia’s usefulness for women who suffer from hair loss?  The first research I looked up about Propecia as it relates to use by women was just about a flat out warning that it not intended for use by women for balding problems.

Propecia, at present, is only available by prescription and it is meant only for male patients.   This use, specifically, is how Propecia was approved by the FDA in 1997.
There were several articles that, at first glance, touted the use of Propecia for women.  But after the first article read, I personally, as a woman, would opt for a different remedy, perhaps an herbal remedy for hair loss like Provillus for men and women, because it includes a topical solution as well as an oral one for maximum efficacy.

The next, most obvious choice for treatment for women with either thinning hair or baldness issues, would be minoxidil, or Rogaine.  Rogaine has been available since 1996 and has been shown to be safe and often effective.  Minoxidil is a topical solution, available in a 2% or 5% strength.  The 2% solution is recommended for ues by both men and women. If a woman uses the 2% form and does not attain the desired results, she can next try the 5% solution, but may risk side effects.  Minoxidil, in both the 2% and 5% strength, is available over the counter and is approved by the FDA.  Minoxidil works by stimulating hair follicles to growth.
Minoxidil is applied to a completely dry scalp and you absolutely should not use a hair dryer after application.   Do not shower or shampoo for 2 to 4 hours after application.
While minoxidil is relatively safe, there are possible side efffects. Itching, redness or inflammation of the scalp may occur.  If you keep the dosage to 1 ml. two times a day, you reduce your risk of side effects.  Cost for using this product is approximately $24.00 per month.  If it is effective, it is well worth every penny for a woman with hair loss issues.

By Natural Advocate | July 20, 2007 - 9:55 pm - Posted in Hair Loss Treatments

Male pattern baldness is also called androgenic alopecia and it starts usually with a receding hairline.  The male pattern balding is related to androgens and DHT and their interaction.  Most of the time, the typical androgenic alopecia ia caused by a combination of genetics, hormones and the aging process.
Other factors, besides androgens and DHT, can play a part in accelerating hair loss.  Illness, stress, lifestyle, trauma and reactions to medications can cause thinning and balding also.  Hypothyroidism and certain mycotic infections of the scalp can cause large amounts of hair loss.

Examples of reversible hair loss would be iron deficient anemia, an underactive thyroid and certain medications.  With medical attention, some of these underlying causes could be addressed and hair loss may be reversed.  Certain men are more sensitive to the male hormones and certain hair follicles shrink and can’t replace hair.  Male pattern baldness is very common and it usually begins in the twenties or thirties.
It effects as many as two thirds of the male population.  When balding starts, the hair follicle replaces hair lost with shorter, thinner hairs.  As the balding pattern persists, replacement of hairs lost stops altogether. Treatments for balding are vast and varied and they have been around throughout history.  But there have recently been some breakthroughs in scientific research.  Products that are actually effective are available today.  Provillus natural hair loss remedy contains a medically approved hair loss ingredient in its new topical solution, and is combined for increased effectiveness with an oral herbal supplement to strengthen hair from the inside and promote growth and thickness.

Although there is no absolute cure for male pattern baldness, the products minoxidil and finasteride are purported to be effective in combatting alopecia.  Minoxidil is a lotion and is available over the counter.  Finasteride is a pill and must be prescribed by a physician.  Results will vary from one individual to the next but scientific results are encouraging on these products.  If you want to maintain results with finasteride or minoxidil, you have to continue using them indefinitely.
Some men are very comfortable with going with the new bald image and can shave their heads and be fine with that look.  Other men find it extremely distressing to their self image and esteem when male pattern balding occurs. The latter group of men, who are upset with the balding and changed self image would do well to try minoxidil or finasteride to see if it works for them.

By Natural Advocate | July 17, 2007 - 7:23 am - Posted in Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief

It appears that women who have or are taking antidepressants in the early stages of their pregnancies can rest a little more assured that being on antidepressants will not harm their infant – with exceptions of course.  While I would not think it wise to be on any type of heavy pharmaceutical with possible side effects during a pregnancy, some women simply have to be on an antidepressant because their very life depends on it, and the hormone flux that occurs along with pregnancy, especially in early term, can exacerbate the condition of depression and anxiety. 

While one of the more popular antidepressants, Paxil does still have a warning on the label of possible heart defects in fetuses, apparently they feel the other suspected links to defects in newborns was lower than originally thought for women on antidepressants of various kinds in the early stages of pregnancy.  But still, I say, why even take the chance?  Is there some other way pregnant women can treat their depression? 

The interesting quandry here, of course, is that a depressed mother is not going to be the best mother to her infant, and so what we have here is a double edged sword, and that is what many physicians are trying to figure out, both morally and medically. 

Overall, it’s looking like physicians are leaning more toward the quality of life aspect, and tending to prescribe the medication even in pregnancy, because many times depression, especially severe depression can significantly alter the mother-child bond, and new moms with depression often tend to worry more about their child and may be unfit mothers if they cannot get their depression taken care of. 

It’s a shame – I wonder if herbal remedies for depression and anxiety would be considered as an alternative for expectant mothers?  Of course, herbs must be evaluated as well, as they are a medicine, just a weaker medicine, but a doctor should be consulted by expectant mothers who are depressed but are looking for an herbal alternative to treating their depression, as herbs may also have side effects as well.

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