By Natural Advocate | March 30, 2009 - 1:09 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

There seems to be an exciting development in plant based medicine that actually has to do with a plant we’re used to hearing (justifiably) negative news about, the tobacco plant.  Tobacco is the basis for a lung cancer causer extraordinnaire, the cigarette, and so most people regard it with extreme skepticism and even hostility. However, much like many other plants, there has been a therapeutic benefit found in a byproduct of tobacco leaves which may be used to help those that suffer from diabetes.

The tobacco plants have been modified and utilized to grow with an abundance of a particular protein that is a powerful anti infammatory called interleukin 10, and this is also being looked at for therapy against other maladies, not just diabetes because of it’s ability to reduce cell inflammation.  By the way, none of this is benefitted from by smoking toabacco leaves, this is a particular protein that has to be harvested from the plant in a specific way, and it would be destroyed by the act of smoking it (lighting it on fire).

The other compound that can be found in these specially engineered tobacco plants is particularly helpful as a sort of vaccination against diabetes.  There are currently trials underway with mice as test subjects, where they are fed the leaves of the modified plants to see if it cures their diabetes, and if they prove to be compelling enough, the compounds in these plants can be manipulated and used in medicine today for multiple uses.  Exciting stuff!  Especially strange since it’s from such a controversial plant…

By Natural Advocate | March 27, 2009 - 11:38 am - Posted in Hair Loss Treatments

When you hear the word “cloning” you tend to think of one of two things.  Some sci-fi movie where the cloned humans have taken over the real humans, and are devoid of emotion or any real true sense of self, or you think of Dolly, the first (well, at least the first publicized) scientific foray into an intimidating, scary and also adventurous and promising, field of cloning sentient beings.  When I say sentient, I mean alive, feeling, emoting beings such as animals and the higher life forms like us, human beings.

When I think of cloning, I think of a few things, none of them really good.  I think firstly that we are messing with nature, and could perhaps breed new diseases and resistence to disease into the very beings we are cloning, and I also feel that this is just too much of science messing with nature, who seems to have it pretty right.  On the other hand, I think about the promising things it could bring, such as genetic engineering and helping people to overcome diseases that were once an automatic death sentence, and other myriads of possibilities in the realm of science and medicine.

However, I think it’s something that should be delicately looked at with much caution, and although I’m not a religious person, I consider myself spiritual, and I do question the moral angle of cloning things.  Well, now that I’ve gone off on a tangent about cloning itself, let’s talk about why I started this piece in the first place.

There is a promising new process on the horizon where by those of you that suffer from hair loss may be able to benefit from the cloning technology becuase it has shown promise in helping people regrow their own hair, naturally so it looks natural and actually IS your own hair.  It would be ideal for hair loss in women and hair loss in men, since the same generation is utilized by the body when creating hairs and hair follicles on our head between men and women.

Hair cloning, or hair multiplication as it is also called, is where the hairs on a person’s head are actually generating new healthy hair follicles and transplanting many (probably several thousand on the area of the head where the hair is missing, so that new hair may grow in that area, or areas.  It could completely eradicated male patter baldness if it’s done right and the healthy new follicles take correctly.

Don’t look forward to these cloning treatments to be ready any time soon though, they are still in their earlier phases of development and may not be available for public consumption until the year 2013.  They are also likely to be very pricey, but as with everything else, they would probably come down shortly after the hype dies off.

By Natural Advocate | March 25, 2009 - 3:33 pm - Posted in Hair Loss Treatments

The following is an article I recently submitted for publication about the new discoveries recently made in why we get gray hair, and if there is anything that we can do to prevent gray hair.  I myself am very interested to know of any new developments, since I seem to have more and more of the silvery, wiry hairs cropping up randomly all over my head at the ripe middle age of 34 years old!

At any rate, there is some great information available now that wasn’t before as to why our hair turns gray, which very well may lead to some great new vitamins or supplements that could help us keep pigment in our hair longer.  Imagine, living til your eighty with your hair color still intact?  It’s akin to studies in hair loss and hair loss treatments like minoxidil for women and men’s hair loss, because everyone goes gray, and everyone’s hair really is a part of their self esteem and self identity, making it a really tough reality to deal with.

Here’s my article :

In the past few weeks, there have been some intriguing new breakthroughs in the study of why we ultimately get gray hair, and what can potentially be done to stop gray hair from occurring. While the latter part, stopping or eliminating gray hair, isn’t quite so clear yet, the physiological reasons for this reality, which unfortunately happens to all of us, has been discovered, which usually means treatments and therapies to address it are not far behind.

That’s good news for those of us who are tired of seeing those wiry white hairs pop up randomly on our heads! I know for me personally, being in my mid thirties, every time I see a gray hair pop up, it reminds me of the fact that I’m not getting any younger. What makes it worse is the fact that I now am going to be forced to color my hair to cover these buggers up by coloring my hair, whereas before I colored it because I liked to experiment with different shades of brunette.

Going gray, especially for women, can be psychologically unnerving, so it is no wonder that there is so much interest in preventing it from happening in the first place. Not only does graying change the color of the hair, but it also changes the consistency to a more wiry, curly texture, which just increases the look of aging in the hair since smooth, sleek locks are a sign of youth.

What causes our hair to change color as we age then? Well, the research that has come out just recently shows that as we age, an important enzyme called catalase, which is produced in abundance in our youth by our own bodies, trails off production. This enzyme is responsible for converting hydrogen peroxide, which is also produced naturally by the body, into chemicals that our body easily gets rid of.

Because the catalase enzyme is not produced in abundance as we age, our ability to get rid of hydrogen peroxide diminishes. This peroxide, which as you know, has a bleaching affect on the hair, stays in the hair follicles and bleaches out more and more strands of new hair as we age, which makes it appear gray and even white, as well as takes on a new texture.

Some may go gray earlier than others based on genetics, and there are even racial discrepancies, with those of Asian descent having the luxury of added years of saturated color and smoother hair, and those that are of Caucasian descent tending to lose the pigment in their hair earlier on in life.

It is thought that this is also related to melanin levels in the skin, which is responsible for the darkness of the pigment of our skin, and so may also be related to skin conditions where the absence of melanin creates a spotted appearance, so the implications for this discovery may be more universal than for the singular purpose of graying prevention.

I thought, well, if catalase is the enzyme that prevents the hydrogen peroxide from bleaching out our hair strands, then maybe if we took supplements with catalase in them, this may help prevent gray hair, but upon further research it looks to be a bit more complicated than that.

I found that there are supplements out there, mostly for digestive support, that contain catalase, but it is not clear in what dosage you would need to take just this one enzyme to prevent the peroxide from bleaching out hair in the follicle, nor is it scientifically supported that these enzymes don’t lose their effectiveness in the digestive breakdown process.

In other words, you may not garner any actual benefit from an enzymatic supplement in regards to gray hair elimination. However, it’s probable that there are already supplements being worked on as we speak that address this problem. Gray hair may be a problem of the past, and it may be as simple as taking some sort of supplement, we just have to wait and see what the wonderful world of science has to bring us in this realm!

Article Source: Danna Schneider (yours truly), 

By Natural Advocate | March 24, 2009 - 5:38 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

There was a popular misconception that if you miss a night of sleep, if you just sleep longer the next night, you could “catch up” on sleep, and then this was naysayed by medical doctors saying that you cannot in fact catch up on sleep by getting more the next day.  However, there is new resarch that shows people can catch up on their sleep the next night after they miss out, but they just compensate by increasing the amount of what’s called “slow wave” sleep or deep sleep, which can amount to a few hours.

You know what REM sleep is?  It’s where you actually dream, but slow wave sleep is where you sleep deeply, without dreams, and this is what is so restorative.  You can usually tell if you happened to get a great night’s sleep with a lot of deep sleeping that’s dreamless, because you wake up very refreshed, you can concentrate and focus more, and you can also function better as far as energy levels, and may even be better able to work out more.

Speaking of working out, exercise has been shown to enhance the deep sleep you get at night, because it makes it easier for you to fall into this slow wave sleep, another reason to stay fit and active.

Researchers are worried that sleep medicines such as Ambien and Lunesta that are so popularly prescribed today may interfere with this deep wave sleep and in fact can make the body less able to fall into the state of sleep that is restoring their body’s functioning, which presents a definite problem when we consider that these sleep medications are prescribed to help people get more sleep and prevent dysfunction, when they in fact may be promoting less of the sleep that matters the most.

By Natural Advocate | March 21, 2009 - 5:13 pm - Posted in Hair Loss Treatments

There’s been more and more revolutionary ways to help with thinning hair, in both men and women, that have provided natural, real hair in areas that are quickly losing hair due to a variety of reasons.  These reasons for hair loss can vary from stress to male pattern baldness or propecia, to chemical overdoses on the hair like excess coloring or excess processing, and finally, one of the hardest things to correct, is genetics.

Many of us are simply genetically predisposed to losing hair in varying patterns on our heads, and this is very difficult to address since it’s not always easy to figure out the reasoning behind it, nor is it as easy to correct as some of the other more correctable ones.  Because of the dramatic changes that hair loss induces in our appearance, and the massive amounts of mental stress this puts on us because of that, hair loss remedies like Profollica and Provillus have become immensely popular with those who are looking for natural remedies to regrow their own hair.

There is another way though, of course, it is expensive, but it is gaining popularity and the process is becoming more perfected so that it looks much more natural than the procedures of yesteryear, and that is hair transplants.  Hair transplanting is where the physician, who should specialize in this procedure since it is very technical and specific, takes hair from other areas of the head, usually underneath by your neck since no one really sees that hair anyways, and takes it out by the follice, and transplants the hairs, many times many at once, to the area that is missing the hair.

You may have seen this done on some people and it was very noticeable, probably because they didn’t have someone with good experience and skill to do it natural looking, and you may have also seen people, men and women, with hair transplants, and never even guessed that they had it done.  Hair transplants can be very successful and very gratifying to the indivudal getting them, but they are usually best when the balding, or spot hair loss, is still smaller, so that large areas don’t have to be done at once, which makes the outcome a bit more natural looking.

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