By Natural Advocate | May 18, 2008 - 6:34 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

A recent headline made me wonder, how are all these pharmaceutical medications, including the very ones meant to stave off feelings of suicidal depression and suicidal thoughts, making people more prone to commit suicide, and why?  The recent headline was about the smoking cessation medication called Chantix, and how it’s link to increased suicide risk should not stop people who did not have pre existing depression tendencies or suicidal thoughts from taking it to quit smoking they just had to be mindful of the relatively small risk.

Also, there are several antidepressants that are the same – many of them now bearing warnings at the FDA’s request, that they may increase tendencies toward suicide.  And how about the popular acne drug Accutane?  Even an allergy medication called Singulair was linked to a teen’s suicide – let me say that again – AN ALLERGY MEDICATION, not some antidepressant or other more serious medication, but a simple allergy medicine may be linked to a teen boy’s suicide. 

There are still pending lawsuits against this medication for teens who went on the medicine to help clear up their acne and ended up severely depressed, some even carrying out suicides.  What do these medications do chemically to our minds to invoke the suicidal thoughts?  Well, the problem is, no one knows for sure, and the worst part is, they are looking at these complaints and reports of sucides after being on certain medications at this point as anecdotal, since the evidence is not abundant enough to make a definite distinction. 

Also absent is a knowledge of whether the victims had previous tendencies toward suicidal thoughts or depression.  Among other medications that have had anecdotal stories filed with  the FDA and other governing agencies over drugs and consumer rights are epileptic medications, flue medications such as Tamiflu, and several anti depression and anti anxiety medications, which was one groups of medicines where this was a known possibility and which many drugmakers were already warned to put on their labels as a possible side effect.   

One of the spokesman for the FDA did bring up a good point, and that is that sometimes, in some of these cases but quite possibly but not all, they have to look at the possibility that the suicide tendencies were just a background event, beside the fact of the medication itself, and in fact were a pre existing condition to the patient in question, however he also acknowledges that they will go back and look at the clinical trials to get more answers if there are enough complaints and issues received on a certain medication.


By Natural Advocate | May 16, 2008 - 10:45 am - Posted in Medical News

Sleep seems to be one of those things that you can never get anough of.  For some people though, it seems to be all they want to do.  There is, as with almost anything else such as food intake, sun exposure and other facets of our life, a delicate balance between what’s good and what’s bad for the health and tweeking it so that you make sure you consistently get just enough, not too much and not too little, so that you can live life to its fullest. 

There have been some conflicting stories out there too, where some research would say that lots of sleep is great and will make you live longer, and then the counter point to that, where too much sleep was actually destructive and corrosive to the human body and mind, and people who got 6-7 hours per night were just fine or functioned at higher levels than those that got “too much sleep”.

Well, the latest study/research on the subject of sleep only confirms what common sense has already told most of us, and what most of us can gather from our own personal experiences with sleep.  That is, that too much sleep and too little sleep (see our Melatrol Sleep Aid Review) are both not good and will make your body function at lower levels.  There is such a thing as too much, and there certainly is such a thing as too little of this prized commodity.

The research shows that people who sleep more than nine hours a night, or less than six hours per night, are more likely to be obese.  The standard by which most of us go on sleep should be anywhere from 7-8 hours per night by most indications I’ve read, and through my personal experience 8 hours of sleep is just right for me, and sometimes 7 hours even works, but six hours almost always seems like it’s not enoguh.

I notice that if I get more than eight hours, I find it harder to get out of bed.  I experience a sort of grogginess and lethargy that makes me unwilling to move and get my butt out of bed and start moving, whereas if I get about 8 hours on the dot or seven to seven and a half, I’m pretty well ready to go and I’m very productive throughout the day.  Same goes for if I get littler than six hours though, I’m exhausted and I’m not functioning at my peak mental capacity.  And research shows, this also makes me more likely to be heavy or obese, so it obviously has its pitfalls. 

The same study that showed too much and too little sleep are linked to obesity showed that there’s also a correlation between light sleepers (I’m assuming those that do not sleep heavily or get interrupted a lot), have a higher statistical use of alcohol and tobacco, shortening their life span, so this is another factor that makes good solid, just right in length sleep all that much more important.

Of course, this study was going on pure statistics and not really on the actual cause and effect relationships between smoking, eating and alcohol use and things like depression and sleeplessness or sleeping too much, too long, or too frequently, so it could all be related, only backwards from what we’re thinking.  For example, people who smoke sleep lighter because of their smoking habit, or because they are depressed and anxious, not the other way around. 

By Natural Advocate | May 14, 2008 - 10:20 pm - Posted in Vitamins & Minerals

Under the subject, antioxidants on the internet, I came across one type called the most powerful antioxidant in the world.  After clicking on the link, my curiosity led me to try to see how it differed from all the other antioxidants on the market today.
This food supplement consists of a combination of grape seed, bilberry, red wine, citrus extract biflavonoids and pine bark extracts.  All of the ingredients found in this particular supplement are powerful antioxidants. One ingredient of note in this supplement is Pycgnogenol, a potent biflavonoid.
According to the website, this antioxidant is an isotonic solution, which maximizes the body’s ability to absorb it.  The isotonic solution that it is based in resembles the fluid balance state of our plasma.  The end result is easy absorption by the small intestines to enhance optimal effectiveness in neutralizing free radicals.
Free radicals are structures that cause oxidation that in turn does damage to our cells.   The process of aging, other environmental factors and stress promote the production of free radicals.  Antioxidants fight the effects of these free radicals.  Vitamins A, C and E are examples of antioxidants that help reverse the damage of free radicals.
An endorsement by Dr. Steven Lamm who is a practicing internist as well as a faculty member of the New York University School of Medicine appears on the website.  Benefits of this particular supplement are plentiful from the condition of your skin improving to keeping levels of glucose healthier. 
Cholesterol levels should improve, menstrual symptoms and abdominal cramping should diminish and it has anti-inflammatory effects.  In addition, joints should increase their ease of mobility and cardiovascular health should improve.  Due to the pycnogenol and the isotonic solution this antioxidant is delivered in, it states that it is 20 times more potent than vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals.

By Natural Advocate | May 11, 2008 - 7:59 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

When I initially started reading the “hoopla” about the C Diff bacteria, which is just a shortened name for an extremely virulent and potent bacterial strain called Clostridium dificil, which infects the whole intestinal and digestive tract and causes extreme cases of diarrhea which lead to weakness and nutrition loss, and in the most extreme and untreated cases can lead to death, estimates being around 19,000 people in the past 3 years which is way too much if you ask me, out of an estimated amount of cases that can’t even be accurately gauged at this point.

However, if this bacteria is treated, it can be resolved, but it can also result in recurrences that need to be treated as well. The article I read about C Diff showed an imprint of a gloved hand of a health care worker who simply touched a patient who had the C Diff bacterial infection about one hour after the patient had showered and showed that the bacterial had already colonized almost the entire glove, so it’s an extremely powerful strain of bacteria we’re looking at here that is concerning to phsycians who are calling it the next big thing.

The major problem is that people who have recently been on antibiotics, which diminishes the defensive flora in the intestinal tract, are highly susceptible to the C Diff bacteria, because it can take over and flourish without much inhibition from the body’s natural defenses (another reason I’m really against long term antibiotic use, unless it’s the ONLY way something can be treated).

Most cases where C Diff has been allowed to take over the body involve patients who are either elderly and have low defenses, or in patients who have been on some sort of powerful anitbiotic recently where their body has allowed the bacteria to take it over. The ways you can avoid getting the C Diff strain is by washing your hands frequently, and avoiding touching door knobs and any other “common areas” directly.

You may also want to incorporate the use of an antibacterial hand sanitizing gel that will help between hand washings and if you can’t get to a wash room to wash your hands, you can use this and it can help to kill the bacteria if you’ve gotten it on your hands. Avoid the use of antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary for the illness you’ve been diagnosed with, as anitbiotic use will totally destroy your body’s natural defenses against this destructive bacteria.

Ask your doctor for any alternatives if they go to give you a prescription for the newer, powerful antibiotics and explain your concerns so as to come to a consensus. If you must be on an antibiotic, make your protocol for avoiding C Diff contact all that much more vigilant.

By Natural Advocate | May 9, 2008 - 9:48 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

Rickets, the childhood disease characterized by curvature of the bones and caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, was something of a rarity in today’s society.  Usually, rickets is thought of as the childhood disease that occurred with the industrial revolution and it’s dark, smoggy skies.
Rickets is, however, on the rise again in today’s society.  There are several reasons being cited for the increase in the occurrence of rickets.  Today, with all of the concern about the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays, we are keeping our youngsters out of the sun and covering them with sunblock when they are exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin D is referred to as the ” sunshine” vitamin.  You need the sunshine with it’s UV rays to produce the vitamin D that you need.  Breast feeding exclusively by mothers who are concerned about the baby’s health, may actually be a contributing cause in the increase in the occurrence of rickets. 
Packaged infant formula is fortified with vitamin D, so the baby gets enough vitamin D in this way.  Compounding the problem with exclusive breast feeding is that mothers are shunning the sun also.  This leaves mothers at risk for low vitamin D levels.  Symptoms of rickets include a “pigeon chest”, which is a protrusion of the sternum and ribs. 
Other symptoms are curved femurs, curved tibias and kyphosis which is a curving of the upper spine.  Wrists become widened and ankles enlarged.  Often, rickets isn’t obvious to parents until the child starts walking and has a bow legged appearance. Sometimes, a child will have a seizure from the deficiency of vitamin D.  Rickets is treatable with large doses of vitamin D.  Usually, this type of treatment works well and the symptoms are reversed.

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