By Natural Advocate | April 30, 2009 - 8:45 pm - Posted in Nutritional Supplements

Other than being deathly afraid of bees since  I am allergic to certain types of bee stings (you should see me out in the yard gardening when one won’t leave me alone, let’s just say it’s pretty comical and I’d be embarrassed if someone happened to see my reaction), I am aware that they produce some byproducts that are hailed as some of the best health supplements and best tasting (honey) there are.  Let’s talk about bee-derived health products, shall we?  And the next time one is relentlessly buzzing in my ear, I’ll try to remember these facts.

One of the most popular natural supplement categories is the line of products derived from bees.  Bee pollen is the seed of the flower blossom collected by the bees combined with the digestive enzymes of the bee.  Bee pollen has been touted for decades for it’s health benefits.  One of the primary claims for bee pollen is that it is an energy boosting supplement.

Because of it’s energy boosting characteristic, bee pollen is popular among athletes to increase their stamina.  Other uses for bee pollen are to suppress cravings for nicotene, caffeine and excessive food.

Bee pollen has been taken to assist in weight control, reduce stress and to fight chronic fatigue.  Bee pollen is loaded with vitamins, nutrients, amino acids and minerals.  Bee pollen is rich in the essential B vitamins, vitamins A,C,D E and K and enzymes.  All 22 amino acids are present in bee pollen.  Other components of bee pollen are collagen and lecithin.

Bee pollen removes free radicals so it may be an effective antioxidant.   Bee pollen is an immune system booster and is used to fight chronic fatigue as it promotes recovery from stress.
Another bee product used as a supplement is royal jelly which is a product that the worker bees have made to nourish the queen bee.  Royal jelly is known for being a source of protein and B vitamins.

It is used for energy, longevity and better immune system functioning.  Royal jelly contains B vitamins, vitamins A,D,E and K, 12 minerals, 18 amino acids, collagen and lecithin. Bee propolis is a product derived from bees collecting bark and leaves and combining them with their secretions to create a glue like mixture.  Bee propolis is used in healing and energizing, for antibacterial use and antiviral applications.

Bee propolis is high in bioflavonoids therefore it may help to heal and mend blood vessels.  Other areas of research for bioflavonoids are for their benefit for high blood pressure, respiratory infections and liver conditions.  Bee propolis is a source of protein, minerals and vitamins.

Burt’s Bees, a very popular natural toiletry and beauty product line that you now can find at regular grocers, and even Target, has a multitude of grooming products for bath and body, natural hair care, facial care, men’s grooming and lip care.  Beeswax and other bee products are incorporated with other natural ingredients in Burt’s Bees products for almost all of our cosmetic and grooming needs for all ages and for both men and women.

By Natural Advocate | April 27, 2009 - 10:14 am - Posted in Foods

I recently read an interesting piece on how local Ohio farmers are banding together, along with Ted Strickland, Ohio’s governor, to try to improve the statistic that only 1% of Ohio produe is bought from local farmers.  That means that the rest of the 99% is shipped in from other states, which means it gets passed down by more hands, is older by the time it reaches the store shelves, and may have been irradiated to help preserve freshness and prevent spoilage.

Usually, unless you buy organic from a local natural foods store produce department, or you buy from your (many times shabby and little selection) organic produce section at your grocers, you are buying produce that is not locally grown and are therefore buying produce that’s older or has been treated with chemicals.  If you patronize a local natural foods store with a  full  produce department, look for the certified organic labels and you know that you are probably buying from a local in state grower, since this food is truly fresh, and is also cultivated according to strict organic guidelines, which means there were no chemicals used in growing it.

You can tell a huge difference in oranic produce usually, especially if it’s fresh off the truck.  Many times fruits and veggies may not grow as big organically, but the taste is out of this world, and many times it tastes like you are eating that fruit or veggie for the first time in your life, tasting what it truly should be flavored like, whereas with non organic, you usually get a different texture and less flavor.

Local growers along with some Ohio politicians are trying to increase the 1% number of in state produce by making it easier for local farmers to get their foods into not only specialty stores, but mainstream stores, and they are trying to make it more worth their while to farm.  This may improve the numbers, and it would be like other states, like Oregon and California, where a lot of their produce is local, even in grocer’s stores.  Granted, they have more temperate climates and can grow year round, but even in the summer her the majority of available produce in Ohio is not locally grown.

By Natural Advocate | April 25, 2009 - 5:01 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

It must be the perfect storm of circumstances right now for those that are seeking out the therapeutic use of marijuana from legitimate dispensaries in the states where medical marijuana dispensing is legal (right now I believe there are like 13 states that allow distribution for medical purposes). Marijuana has been known as a great pain reliever for those that are terminally ill or in chronic pain of some sort, although some say there is no scientific proof that it is equal to or any better than the traditional narcotic (heavy) pain relievers that are available by prescription only currently.

I think it still has the stigma as being a younger street drug, and many people remember their past experiences with the drug as being a time of partying and loose ways, and that contributes to it’s lack of acceptance as a serious pain reliever.  However, with the introduction of the Obama administration, it seems like more people are willing to give it a try, and perhaps even more doctors are willing to prescribe it to legitimate patients who live in chronic pain, such as cancer paitents.

Obama apparently has said that his administration will not pursue dispensaries like the Bush administration did, and that he views medical marijuana as a legitimate treatment for those that are in pain – just as legit as the common heavy pain reliever fro people with cancer, morphine.  It’s good to hear someone with a rational sense of what’s right and wrong actually speak up on this issue.

The Bush administration made it so that even the thirteen states who legalized medical marijuana could be superceded by federal laws and still be prosecuted, which made absolutely no sense and seemed to nullify the fact that states do have the right to have their own set of laws.  With this fact and the economic downturn perhaps contributing as well, dispensaries have seen their business skyrocket, perhaps partly because so many are without insurance now as well and cannot afford pricey narcotic pain relievers, and also partly because of the Obama administrations acceptance of the state laws without interfering.

By Natural Advocate | April 23, 2009 - 9:31 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

Heart disease used to be considered predominantly a “male” disease.  The fact of the matter is that heart disease will take more women’s lives than the next 7 leading causes of death.
Women need to be equally aware of their heart health as men.  One in 12 women age 45 to 64 have some form of heart disease.

Learning what the risk factors are can help you delay or slow the developing heart disease.   Some of the risk factors are family history of heart disease, being age 55 or older, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Factors such as smoking can be dealt with by cessation of the habit.  Obesity, obviously, can be brought under control by diet and exercise.  Women who receive treatment before there is a cardiac emergency usually fare better as there is less scarring of heart tissue.  There are recommended screenings for heart health that will vary from one person to another depending on their needs or symptoms.

Some of these screenings include stress tests, echocardiograms, cardiac angiograms and cardiac catheterization.  Women need to be aware that symptoms for them for heart trouble are not the same as for men.  Many women who are experiencing a heart attack do not have chest pain.

For women the symptoms can be pain in the jaw, neck or shoulder or it can be indigestion.
Heart disease develops slowly over time so keeping an eye on your weight, cholesterol and your blood pressure early in life would signifigantly decrease your risk of serious heart trouble during your life.

For women, in midlife, the drop of estrogen also puts us at risk so take care of as many risk factors as you can.  By taking preventative steps, you can lower your risk of a heart attack by as much as 82%.

By Natural Advocate | April 20, 2009 - 10:00 am - Posted in Vitamins & Minerals

Well, if you’re one of the millions of Americans that takes a multiple vitamin every day, then you may want to check a website by an independent (supposedly) research lab called Consumer Labs, which claims that they tested several top selling multi vitamin formulas for both men and women and found that an alarming percentage of them did not have what they claimed to contain in them per their package labeling.

This has been a common complaint of consumers and consumer’s rights groups, in that one can never be sure that they labeling says the correct, accurate and honest truth about what’s in a certain supplement or vitamin.

This is definitely a risk we take with most vitamins and supplements we take, however it would be nice to know which ones are the worst offenders, especially considering Consumer Labs claims that about thirty percent of the multi vitamin formulas they tested, both male and female formulas by the way, did not contain what they said they did, or were contaminated with lead.  Both are pretty serious, especially since too much of a certain vitamin can be damaging to different organs, especially if taken over long periods of time.  And how would you know the difference?

The problems identified with the thirty percent of these formulas were that they contained either way more of a certain vitamin or mineral than the label claimed, which can be dangerous since some vitamins store in a person’s body fat and can become toxic if they aren’t flushed out.  Another problem was that some did not contain nearly the IU (units) of a certain vitamin or mineral that they claimed.

Of course, the last issue is one of the scarier ones, and that is the lead contamination part.  Lead is a heavy metal, and can be extremely dangerous when it builds up in the body, and isn’t even good for the body in small amounts.  You may have heard about someone who has had “lead poisoning” before.  There’s a reason lead is not allowed in toys, paints and siding any more, it’s hazardous to the human body.

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