BENEFITS OF VITAMIN E

Here’s a rundown on some of its interesting benefits:
A great antioxidant:  The most important discovery with respect to vitamin E is its antioxidant property.  Antioxidants are very much the superstars when it comes to protecting us from illnesses.  These compounds fight and destroy the “free radicals” that can damage our cells and lead to chronic degenerative illness like Alzheimer’s, cancers, heart illness and diabetes.  Free radicals are released as part of the routine digestive processes, pollution, smoking, junk food consumption and so on.   The best-known benefit of vitamin E is that it can quench these free radicals before they can do any harm.
And this same quality of this vitamin may also help slow down the ageing process, as per some studies.
Liver protection:  A recent study by European Association for the Study of the Liver has found that about 38 % of those treated with vitamin E supplements were cured of a nasty ailment called “NASH” or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a condition in which liver cells become inflamed and damaged because of excessive fat accumulation. Central obesity and sedentary lifestyle have seen a sharp rise in NASH which is not related to alcohol consumption in any way but yet is as dangerous.  The study found that vitamin E was as helpful as other medications in treating NASH.
Eye health:  One of the leading causes of blindness, especially in the elderly, is a condition called macular degeneration, an illness that affects the vision. Clinical trials conducted in the US found that Vitamin E, along with some other crucial vitamins reduced the risk of this degenerative illness.
Muscle building:  Fitness enthusiast need to sit up and take note of an interesting recent research which points out that without Vitamin E, the muscle cells do not repair themselves after the damage that occurs during heavy weight lifting. Although more research is still needed in this area, having adequate stores of this vitamin seems to help optimise muscle mass.
Brain health:  Vitamin E may help prevent the age-related cognitive decline as per recent studies.  Research has also thrown some light on a possible link between adequate vitamin E intake and reduced risk of brain tumours.
Heart health:  There are different types of fats and polyunsaturated fatty acids Viz. (PUFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and saturated fats have all made headlines especially in relation to health in one form or the other.  Among these, PUFA are the types of fats which have a type of linkage in their composition that makes them susceptible to being disturbed by free radicals.  Excessive intake of a type of PUFA, called omega 6 fatty acid, is known to increase the risk of developing heart disease in the long term. Vitamin E, due to its antioxidant properties can negate the harmful effects of omega 6 fats, thereby preventing hardening of arteries and controlling inflammation that usually cause blocks in the arteries of the heart.
Vitamin E intake can also correct and prevent irregular heart rhythms that could be one of the major symptoms of vitamin E deficiency that is set off either due to prolonged poor intake or in certain chronic illnesses that result in poor absorption of this nutrient.
Cancer:  The omega 6 fatty acids are also implicated in tumour growth mainly due to their pro-inflammatory effects, which means that they promote inflammation in our body cells.  Vitamin E counteracts this inflammatory effect of omega 6 fats and helps reduce the risk of cancer.
Sources of Vitamin E
As with everything else, natural known sources of nutrients are always safer and are recommended over concentrated supplements that can harm in the long run.  Both the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the American Heart Association recommend getting this nutrient from a well-balanced diet comprising of a good combination of foods from all food groups such as vegetables, nuts, oil, fruits and whole grain cereals.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend a daily intake of 15 mg of vitamin E per day for adults from natural foods. When we talk about foods rich in vitamin E, wheat germ and wheat germ oil grab the headlines.  One tablespoon of any one of these sources can meet the daily requirements.  Wheat germ is the healthy part of the wheat grain that sprouts and grows into the plant.  Most nutrients are found in this part along with Vitamin E.  However, the germ is removed while processing wheat to make flour or other processed products.  Fresh milled whole wheat flour is a good source of vitamin E.  Wheat germ is also now available and adding a tablespoon in the daily breakfast may be a great way of getting the required dose of vitamin E.
Since Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient, some amount of fat is required along with vitamin E rich foods to help your digestive system absorb the vitamin effectively.  Add a dash of healthy oils such as olive, canola, rice bran, groundnut or mustard oil while making a delicious vitamin E rich dish!
Spinach: One of the most easily available greens, spinach offers about 20 % of the daily requirements of vitamin E in one cup of cooked spinach.
Almonds: These tasty nuts turn out to be a good source of vitamin E since it combines both healthy fats and vitamin E in a great combination. Vitamin E, being fat soluble, is best absorbed in presence of fats as already discussed. About 10 numbers of almonds provide close to 50 % of the daily needs of the nutrient.
Fish: Some fish, especially salmon and swordfish are a fair source of Vitamin E, giving about 8 to 10 % of the daily dose in 100 grams portion of fish.

Cardiac Arrest And Heart Attack

What’s the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?

Although a heart attack can lead to a cardiac arrest, they are not the same thing.

A heart attack is a sudden interruption to the blood supply to part of the heart muscle. It is likely to cause chest pain and permanent damage to the heart.  The heart is still sending blood around the body and the person remains conscious and is still breathing.

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body.  Someone who is having a cardiac arrest will suddenly lose consciousness and will stop breathing or stop breathing normally.  Unless immediately treated by CPR this always leads to death within minutes.

A person having a heart attack is at high risk of experiencing a cardiac arrest.

Both a heart attack and a cardiac arrest are life-threatening medical emergencies and require immediate medical help.

 

Can you recover from a cardiac arrest?

It is possible to survive and recover from a cardiac arrest, if you get the right treatment quickly.

VF can sometimes be corrected by giving an electric shock through the chest wall, by using a device called a defibrillator.

This can be done in the ambulance, or at hospital, or it can be done by a member of the public at the scene of a cardiac arrest if there is a community defibrillator nearby.

Immediate CPR can be used to keep oxygen circulating around the body until a defibrillator can be used and/or until the ambulance arrives.

 

Ref: British Heart Foundation

Tips to prevent Breast Cancer

1. Food is always first!

Eat antioxidant-rich foods like organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats and oils like avocado and extra virgin olive oil. Eat your rainbow of 8-10 servings of vegetables and fruits every day to get optimal phytonutrient benefit. Especially include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy, which provide indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a phytonutrient which helps metabolize estrogen.

 Remember: Sugar is cancer’s best buddy! It activates cancer genes and fuels growth of cancer cells. Eliminate sugar from your diet in every shape or form.

 

2. Quit smoking.

A study published in early 2013 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that smokers have a 24% higher risk and former smokers have a 13% higher risk of invasive breast cancer than non-smokers.

3. Avoid alcohol.

Alcohol changes the way estrogen is metabolized in our body, which can lead to estrogen dominance. Women who drink alcohol have higher body estrogen levels than those who don’t.

4. Consume a diet low in animal-based foods.

Animal-based products are extremely inflammatory and expose the body to a high dose of arachidonic acid, an inflammatory mediator. Fill half your plate with veggies!

5. Exercise regularly and develop a yoga practice.

Any amount of exercise, mild or intense, will reduce the risk of breast cancer. Aerobic exercise reduce the risk of breast cancer development, by changing the metabolism of estrogen in our body and increasing the ratio of “good” (2-hydroxyestrone) to the “bad” (16alpha-hydroxyestrone) estrogens.

Yoga balances and regulates the endocrine system, and thus our hormones. It also builds the immune system, while promoting lymph flow, the latter being extremely important for drainage of toxins from the breast and the lymph nodes in the axilla (arm pit).

6. Do regular breast self-exams and breast massage.

They can be life saving! Get clinical breast exams at your yearly physicals, and mammograms if appropriate.

7. Maintain the right body composition and fat percentage of your body.

Obesity and visceral adipose tissue (VAT, i.e., the fat accumulated around your abdominal organs) are extremely inflammatory! Find a Functional Medicine practitioner who is trained in First Line Therapy/ Therapeutic Lifestyle Change, a special program specifically targeted to reduce this fat factory of our body.

8. Reduce other inflammation-causing issues in your body.

It’s important to get tested for food sensitivities and eliminate from your diet all foods to which you may have allergies or sensitivities. Get checked for, and treat chronic infections in the gut, mouth and sinuses.

Remember, inflammation makes the immune system less effective in doing its job, and a less effective immune system leads to progression of cancer cells!

9. Avoid toxins.

These can take the form of:

  • Inflammatory foods that are filled with trans fats, artificial coloring and preservatives.
  • Household cleaning chemicals, pesticides and insecticides.
  • BPA-containing plastics, which can be used for storing food and water.
  • Personal care products and perfumes: these may contain hormone-disrupting chemicals like pthalates and parabens.

10. Consume a good-quality protein at each meal.

Your body needs essential amino acids at every step to function optimally. Work with your physician to get a comprehensive stool analysis, which will tell you whether the protein you’re eating is getting digested and absorbed as effectively as it should.

11. Balance mind, body and emotions with meditation, breath control and emotional freedom exercises.

Here are a few tips:

  • Meditate daily.
  • Learn and practice yogic breathing exercises.
  • Practice forgiveness every day!
  • Journal before going to bed to detoxify the mind.

12. Sleep is your best friend!

A study published in August 2012 showed an association between less sleep and development of aggressive forms of breast cancers in women.

If you suffer from chronic sleep issues, work with your physician to find the underlying cause and correct it. Using drugs isn’t the answer!

 

Ref : by Dr. Manisha Ghei

mindbodygreen.com

Diets for Diabetes

If you’re living with type 2 diabetes and looking for a sensible weight-loss plan, one of these choices may just fit.

According to government figures, more than 85 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese (although excess weight isn’t the only risk factor for this type of diabetes). But for people with type 2 diabetes who fall into that 85 percent, dropping the pounds can help stabilize blood sugar levels and even eliminate the need for diabetes medication.

So which diet can help you achieve your weight-loss goals? There’s no one right answer. But, says Nora Saul, RD, CDE, a certified diabetes educator and manager of nutritional education at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, ÔÇ£people who have diabetes can, with a little forethought, use many of the healthy popular diets.ÔÇØ

Weight-Loss Plans for Type 2 Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes and want to lose weight, here are some sensible diet options to try.

DASH Diet: ÔÇ£Although originally designed to lower blood pressure, DASH ÔÇö or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension ÔÇö is an all-around good eating plan,ÔÇØ says Saul. In fact, U.S. News and World Report rated the DASH diet as tops for treating diabetes in a May 2011 article. That’s because the diet is high in fruits and vegetables, which means it’s high in fiber, antioxidants, and potassium. ItÔÇÖs also high in low-fat dairy, calcium, lean protein, and whole grains. ÔÇ£It has meal plans for different calorie levels,ÔÇØ says Saul, which allows flexibility according to your weight.

South Beach Diet: The South Beach Diet is a modified low-carb diet that emphasizes healthy fats. If you want to try it, Saul advises sticking to the maintenance phase of the diet. ÔÇ£The initial phases are too low in carbohydrates,ÔÇØ Saul points out. Yes, people with diabetes have to watch how many carbs and the type of carbs they eat, but you donÔÇÖt want to cut them out entirely. ÔÇ£I encourage whole grains,ÔÇØ says Saul, who warns against eliminating any specific food group, even for weight loss. (Note: Everyday Health is the publisher of SouthBeachDiet.com.)

Weight Watchers: Weight Watchers is a popular commercial weight-loss plan. ItÔÇÖs also a good choice if you have type 2 diabetes, in part because the system provides group support and accountability in addition to a structured eating plan. People with diabetes might need to make some modifications to the diet plan, however. For example, explains Saul, in the latest version of Weight Watchers counting system or “points,” fruit has zero points. But for people with diabetes, a serving size of fruit does count toward total carb intake for the day.

Mediterranean Diet: Though not a specific eating plan, a Mediterranean diet mimics the way that people who live in countries around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece and Italy, tend to eat. Rich in beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains, and seafood, it isnÔÇÖt so much a weight-loss diet as a different way of eating. ÔÇ£People lose weight because they are full and are not eating a lot of the empty calories they consumed before,ÔÇØ says Saul, who says this concept works well for people with diabetes, too.

Atkins Diet: The Atkins Diet gained fame as the diet that led the low-carb diet revolution twice. This diet may be a good option for some people and can help manage blood sugar levels, but it can be too restrictive and may not be a long-term lifestyle choice for everyone with diabetes. However, reading about and trying out this diet could be a learning experience in terms of understanding how carbs function in your diet.

Jenny Craig: Jenny Craig (now rebranded as Jenny) is a personalized eating and diet program that includes a lot of support as well as prepackaged meals. The catch is that it can be costly and, although the diet plan is intended to ultimately help you make your own meals and food choices, some people might find it difficult to get out of the habit of relying on a stocked freezer. Finally, people with diabetes that is not adequately controlled may be discouraged from enrolling.

GI Diet: A low glycemic index (GI) diet is an excellent choice for people with type 2 diabetes, Saul says. This one might require some research and study until you understand exactly where foods fit in the glycemic index and how you can include the right ones in your diet. The glycemic index lets you know how fast a 50-gram portion of a carbohydrate food raises blood sugar in comparison with white bread. The lower the number, the better the food is for controlling blood sugar.

Whatever diet you decide on, there are a few overarching principles that should guide your choice. Among them, look for diets that include food you like (or will come to like) and that donÔÇÖt rely on expensive supplements or tools. And be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any weight-loss regimen.

Ref : everydayhealth

Menopause and Type 2 Diabetes

Menopause is a topic that often generates a lot of opinions from women ÔÇö those who welcome it and those who dread it. ThereÔÇÖs also a lot of discussion about whether itÔÇÖs something that should be ÔÇ£treatedÔÇØ or left to occur naturally, without any medications.

For some women, menopause is more than just the end of their child-bearing years. It can have a profound effect on chronic illnesses such astype 2 diabetes. Women with diabetes often have to be more aware of the changes than most other women.

Type 2 Diabetes and Menopause: Changes Within ÔÇ£the ChangeÔÇØ

If you usually ovulate every 28 days or so, you may have wide variations as you approach menopause. You may have cycles that go 40 days or longer between periods and at other times find that your periods come only a couple of weeks apart. While this is happening, the levels of your hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are changing quite a bit, too. These hormonal changes can affect your blood glucose levels, which for women with type 2 diabetes could cause problems.

To avoid complications from type 2 diabetes, itÔÇÖs essential to keep your blood glucose levels as even as possible ÔÇö something that can be tricky during menopause.

Type 2 Diabetes and Menopause: Recognizing Menopause Symptoms

Some symptoms of menopause could be confused with signs of too high ortoo low blood glucose, including dizziness, sweating, and irritability. With symptoms being so similar, it may be hard for a woman to tell which is which. Rather than guessing, you should check your blood glucose levels when youÔÇÖre experiencing these signs. If the symptoms persist or get more uncomfortable, try talking to your doctor about treatment options.

Women with type 2 diabetes who are overweight may undergo menopause later than their type 1 diabetes peers. ItÔÇÖs been found that estrogen levels in women who are overweight drop more slowly than those who are underweight or of normal weight.

Type 2 Diabetes and Menopause: At the Onset

Menopause is also a time when women who didnÔÇÖt know they had type 2 diabetes may first be diagnosed with it. Brian Tulloch, MD, an endocrinologist at Park Plaza Hospital and Medical Center and clinical associate professor at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, explains, ÔÇ£The biggest issue here is with certain minorities who have a three- to five-fold higher chances of having type 2 diabetes.ÔÇØ Hispanics, for example, have a higher rate of diabetes than whites, he says. Add to this higher genetic risk the frequency of obesity and the decline of physical activity, and you see why so many women are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as they begin the onset of menopause.

Type 2 Diabetes and Menopause: Health Complications

Women with type 2 diabetes who have gone through menopause may no longer have wild hormonal swings affecting blood glucose levels, but they do have other health issues to keep in mind. They are at higher risk of developing atherosclerosis, the hardening and thickening of the artery walls that can lead to stroke or heart attack. Weight gain after menopause isnÔÇÖt unusual, but it seems to be more common among women with type 2 diabetes. This adds to the risk of heart disease.

With menopause and a more sedentary lifestyle comes another risk: osteoporosis, the bone-thinning disease. While women with type 2 diabetes arenÔÇÖt at as high a risk of osteoporosis as those with type 1 diabetes, they do have a higher risk of breaking bones than a menopausal woman who does not have diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes and Menopause: Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or hormone therapy, after menopause remains a controversial topic, but could be an option for women with type 2 diabetes who are experiencing difficult menopause signs and having trouble keeping their blood glucose under control.

Studies on HRT safety after menopause have conflicting results, but some doctors seem to be coming around to favoring hormone use again, albeit in a more careful manner. Says Dr. Tulloch, ÔÇ£ThereÔÇÖs now a tendency to go against what was believed five years ago, when [the WomenÔÇÖs Health Initiative study of post-menopausal hormone use] suggested post-menopausal estrogen wasnÔÇÖt such a good idea. I think the pendulum has swung back the other way.ÔÇØ

However, not all doctors agree with this. The general consensus is that a woman should begin HRT only if her symptoms, such as hot flashes, are severe and canÔÇÖt be managed any other way. If a woman chooses not to go on HRT, she should discuss her diabetes medication with her doctor, as she may need a lower dose than she was on before menopause. Be sure to discuss your individual situation with your own doctor to come to the best course for your well-being.

Menopause involves change for every woman; working with your medical team at this important life passage will help you make the healthiest transition.

Ref : Everydayhealth

Diabetes Myths and Truths

Despite the tremendous amount of medical information now available to the public, many inaccurate ideas still persist about the nature and treatment of diabetes. Read on to separate fact from fiction.

The Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

The Truth: Years ago, folks called it “sugar diabetes,” implying that the disease was caused by eating too much of the sweet stuff. Medical experts now know that diabetes is triggered by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. However, being overweight ÔÇö which can result from indulging in high-calorie sugary foods ÔÇö does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. If you have a history of diabetes in your family, eating a healthy meal plan and getting regular exercise are recommended to manage your weight.

The Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat any sweets or chocolate.

The Truth: If part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no more “off limits” to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes.

The Myth: People with diabetes can only eat special diabetic foods.

The Truth: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is the same as that for everyone: low in fat (especially the saturated and trans fats found in butter, lard, full-fat dairy products and meats, and solid vegetable oils), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole-grain foods, vegetables and fruit. Diabetic and “dietetic” versions of sugar-containing foods offer no special benefit. They still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols.

The Myth: All diabetics have to take insulin injections.

The Truth: Injected insulin is usually only necessary for those with Type 1 diabetes, in which the body no longer produces it own insulin. Those with Type 2 generally have plenty of insulin, but their bodies don’t respond well to it. Some people with type 2 diabetes, particularly if blood-glucose levels are poorly controlled, do need diabetes pills or insulin shots to help their bodies use glucose for energy. However, most type 2 cases can be helped without medication, by losing weight, adopting a healthier diet, increasing exercise and other lifestyle changes. (By the way, insulin cannot be taken as a pill, as the hormone would be broken down during digestion just like the protein in food. Insulin must be injected into the fat under the skin for it to get into your blood.)

The Myth: If you have diabetes, you have to stay away from starchy foods like bread, potatoes and pasta.

The Truth: Whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta, brown rice and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, yams, peas and corn are part of a healthy meal plan and can be included in your meals and snacks. These foods, high in complex carbohydrates, are also a good source of fiber, which helps keep your gastrointestinal system running smoothly. The key is portion size. Most people with diabetes should limit themselves to three or four servings of complex carbohydrates a day.

The Myth: Type 2 Diabetes only affects blood-sugar levels, decreasing your energy.

The Truth: Type 2 diabetes affects many different systems and organs of the body, including the cardiovascular system, leading to stroke or heart disease; the eyes, which can result in conditions from dry eye to retinal disease (retinopathy); the nerves, causing severe damage (neuropathy) that can necessitate lower-limb amputation; the kidneys, which fail and require dialysis; and the skin, which can become prone to infections. Experts predict that, over the next 30 years, there will be 35 million heart attacks, 13 million strokes, 8 million new cases of blindness, 6 million kidney failures, 2 millions amputations and 62 million deaths ÔÇö all linked to diabetes. Learn more about many serious complications and how to cope with them.

The Myth: Only adults can develop Type 2 Diabetes.

The Truth: Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in school-aged children. About 1 in every 400 to 600 children has type 1 diabetes, which was used to be called “juvenile diabetes,” which is caused by disruption of the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin. However, in recent years more and more children and teens have become overweight (10 to 15 percent, about double the number of two decades ago), and so increasing numbers of young people are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. According to several studies, since 1994, cases have increased from less than 5 percent to between 30 and 50 percent. Two million of those age 12 to 19 (or 1 in 6 overweight adolescents) have pre-diabetes.

Ref: everydayhealth

Top 10 Health Tips for Women

1. Zap your stress.

“The biggest issue I see in most of my patients is that they have too much on their plates and want to juggle it all. Stress can have significant health consequences, from infertility to higher risks of depression,anxiety, and heart disease. Find the stress-reduction method that works for you and stick with it.”

2. Stop dieting.

“Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to forgo your favorite glass of wine or a piece of chocolate cake now and then. The key is moderation. Get a mix of lean proteins, healthy fats, smart carbs, and fiber.”

3. Don’t ÔÇ£ODÔÇØ on calcium.

“Too much absorbed calcium can increase the risk of kidney stones and may even increase the risk of heart disease. If you’re under 50, shoot for 1,000 milligrams per day, while over-50 women should be getting 1,200 milligrams per day mainly through diet — about three servings of calcium-rich foods such as milk, salmon, and almonds.”

4. Do more than cardio.

“Women need a mix of cardio and resistance or weight-bearing exercise at least three to five times a week to help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Exercise also promotes good self-image, which is really important to a woman’smental health.”

5. Think about fertility.

“While many women have no problem getting pregnant in their late 30s and even into their early 40s, a woman’s fertility may start to decline as early as 32. So if you want to have kids, talk to your doctor about options, like freezing your eggs.”

6. Appreciate birth control.

Birth control gets a bad rap, but not only can it keep you from getting pregnant before you’re ready, studies show it can lower the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer as well as regulate your cycle.”

7. See your doctor every year.

Make┬ásure you get a Pap test to check for cervical cancer every 3 years if you are 21 or older. If you are 30-65, you can get both a Pap test and HPV test every 5 years. Older than that, you may be able to stop testing if your doctor says you are low risk. If you are sexually active and have a higher risk for STDs, get tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis yearly. Take an HIV test at least once, more frequently if youÔÇÖre at risk. Don’t skip your yearly checkup. Your doctor needs to annually assess many other issues such as potential infection, your need forcontraception, and sexual complaints.”

8. Have good sex.

“Sex reduces stress and may lower the risk of chronic disease — but only if you enjoy it. If anything prevents you from sexual fulfillment, such as dryness or pain, talk to your doctor to find a solution.”

9. Get more sleep.

Sleep needs differ, but if you have trouble getting out of bed, tire easily, or have trouble concentrating, you likely aren’t getting enough. Recent studies suggest this can put you at greater risk of heart disease and psychological problems.”

10. Consider genetic testing.

“Doctors can now screen people with a family history of breast cancer,ovarian cancer, and chronic diseases to assess their risk — and then consider preventive measures. Talk to your doctor.”

Ref : “WebMD Magazine.”

Miscarriage risk associated with couples’ pre-pregnancy caffeine consumption

A woman is more likely to miscarry if she and her partner drink more than two caffeinated beverages a day during the weeks leading up to conception, according to a new study from researchers at the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University, Columbus. Similarly, women who drank more than two daily caffeinated beverages during the first seven weeks of pregnancy were also more likely to miscarry.

However, women who took a daily multivitamin before conception and through early pregnancy were less likely to miscarry than women who did not. The study was published online in Fertility and Sterility.

ÔÇ£Our findings provide useful information for couples who are planning a pregnancy and who would like to minimize their risk for early pregnancy loss,ÔÇØ said the study’s first author, Germaine Buck Louis, Ph.D., director of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The researchers analyzed data from the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study, which was established to examine the relationship between fertility, lifestyle and exposure to environmental chemicals. The LIFE Study enrolled 501 couples from four counties in Michigan and 12 counties in Texas, from 2005 to 2009.

For the current study, researchers compared such lifestyle factors as cigarette use, caffeinated beverage consumption and multivitamin use among 344 couples with a singleton pregnancy from the weeks before they conceived through the seventh week of pregnancy.

The researchers reported their results using a statistical concept known as a hazard ratio, which estimates the chances of a particular health outcome occurring during the study time frame. For example, the researchers evaluated caffeinated beverage consumption in terms of the daily likelihood of pregnancy loss over a given time period. A score greater than 1 indicates an increased risk for pregnancy loss each day following conception, and a score less than 1 indicates a reduced daily risk.

Of the 344 pregnancies, 98 ended in miscarriage, or 28 percent. For the preconception period, miscarriage was associated with female age of 35 or above, for a hazard ratio of 1.96 (nearly twice the miscarriage risk of younger women). The study was not designed to conclusively prove cause and effect. The study authors cited possible explanations for the higher risk, including advanced age of sperm and egg in older couples or cumulative exposure to substances in the environment, which could be expected to increase as people age.

Both male and female consumption of more than two caffeinated beverages a day also was associated with an increased hazard ratio: 1.74 for females and 1.73 for males. Earlier studies, the authors noted, have documented increased pregnancy loss associated with caffeine consumption in early pregnancy. However, those studies could not rule out whether caffeine consumption contributed to pregnancy loss or was a sign of an unhealthy pregnancy. It’s possible, the authors wrote, that these earlier findings could have been the result of a healthy pregnancy, rather than caffeine consumption interfering with pregnancy. For example, the increase in food aversions and vomiting associated with a healthy pregnancy led the women to give up caffeinated beverages.

Because their study found caffeine consumption before pregnancy was associated with a higher risk of miscarriage, it’s more likely that caffeinated beverage consumption during this time directly contributes to pregnancy loss.

ÔÇ£Our findings also indicate that the male partner matters, too,ÔÇØ Dr. Buck Louis said. ÔÇ£Male preconception consumption of caffeinated beverages was just as strongly associated with pregnancy loss as females’.ÔÇØ

Finally, the researchers saw a reduction in miscarriage risk for women who took a daily multivitamin. During the preconception period, researchers found a hazard ratio of 0.45 ÔÇö a 55-percent reduction in risk for pregnancy loss. Women who continued to take the vitamins through early pregnancy had a hazard ratio of 0.21, or a risk reduction of 79 percent. The authors cited other studies that found that┬ávitamin B6┬áand┬áfolic acidÔÇö included in preconception and pregnancy vitamin formulations ÔÇö can reduce miscarriage risk. Folic acid supplements are┬árecommended┬áfor women of childbearing age, as their use in the weeks leading up to and following conception reduces the risk for having a child with a┬áneural tube defect.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer information on the steps men and women of reproductive age can take to help ensure they have a healthy baby-whether they are planning pregnancy or not.

Source

Couples’ pre-pregnancy caffeine consumption linked to miscarriage risk.. NIH News, March 24, 2016.

Should we eliminate SUGAR from our diet?

Sugar seems to have developed a reputation as the big bad wolf in relation to health. Medical News Today have reported on numerous studies associating sugar intake with increased aging, cardiovascular disease, obesity and even cancer. Such research has led to many health experts around the globe calling for reductions in recommended sugar intake, with some saying we should cut out sugar completely. But is it really that bad for our health? We investigate.

Put simply, sugar is a crystallinecarbohydrate that makes foods taste sweet. There are many different types of sugar, including glucose, fructose, lactose, maltose and sucrose – also known as table sugar.

Some of these sugars, such as glucose, fructose and lactose, occur naturally in fruits, vegetables and other foods. But many of the foods we consume contain “added” sugars – sugar that we add to a product ourselves to enhance the flavor or sugar that has been added to a product by a manufacturer.

The most common sources of added sugars include soft drinks, cakes, pies, chocolate, fruit drinks and desserts. Just a single can of cola can contain up to 7 tsps of added sugar, while an average-sized chocolate bar can contain up to 6 tsps.

It is added sugars that have been cited as a contributor to many health problems. In December 2014, MNT reported on a study in the journal Open Heart claiming added sugars may increase the risk of high blood pressure, even more so than sodium. And in February 2014, a study led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) associated high added sugar intake with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Perhaps most strongly, added sugars have been associated with the significant increase in obesity. In the US, more than a third of adults are obese, while the rate of childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents over the past 30 years.

A 2013 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages increases weight gain in both children and adults, while a review paper from the World Health Organization (WHO) notes an increase in the consumption of such beverages correlates with the increase in obesity.

Are we becoming addicted to sugar?

In support of these associations is Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California-San Francisco and author of the book Fat Chance: The Hidden Truth About Sugar, who claims sugar is a “toxic” substance that we are becoming addicted to.

“The food industry has made it into a diet staple because they know when they do you buy more,” he added. “This is their hook. If some unscrupulous cereal manufacturer went out and laced your breakfast cereal with morphine to get you to buy more, what would you think of that? They do it with sugar instead.”

In her popular blog, Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow cites sugaraddiction as one of the reasons she decided to quit sugar completely.

“The bottom line is that sugar works the addiction and reward pathways in the brain in much the same way as many illegal drugs,” she writes. “Sugar is basically a socially acceptable, legal, recreational drug with deadly consequences.”

Statistics show that we are certainly a nation of added-sugar lovers. According to a report from the CDC, adults in the US consumed around 13% of their total daily calorie intake from added sugars between 2005-2010, while 16% of children’s and adolescents’ total calorie intake came from added sugars between 2005-2008.

These levels are well above those currently recommended by WHO, which state we should consume no more than 10% of total daily calories from “free” sugars – both naturally occurring sugars and those that are added to products by the manufacturer.

In 2013, however, MNT reported on a study by Prof. Wayne Potts and colleagues from the University of Utah, claiming that even consuming added sugars at recommended levels may be harmful to health, after finding that such levels reduced lifespan in mice.

Is eliminating sugar from our diet healthy?

The array of studies reporting the negative implications of added sugar led to WHO making a proposal to revise their added sugar recommendations in 2014. The organization issued a draft guideline stating they would like to halve their recommended daily free sugar intake from 10% to 5%.

“The objective of this guideline is to provide recommendations on the consumption of free sugars to reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases in adults and children,” WHO explained, “with a particular focus on the prevention and control of weight gain and dental caries.”

In addition, it seems many health experts, nutritionists and even celebrities like Gwyneth have jumped on a “no sugar” bandwagon. But is it even possible to completely eliminate sugar from a diet? And is it safe?

Many people turn to artificial sweeteners as a sugar alternative, but according to a study reported by MNT in 2014, these sweeteners may still drive diabetes and obesity.

The study, published in the journal Nature, suggests artificial sweeteners – including saccharin, sucralose and aspartame – interfere with gut bacteria, increasing the activity of pathways associated with obesity and diabetes.

What is more, they found long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners was associated with increased weight, abdominal obesity, higher fasting blood glucose levels and increased glycosylated hemoglobin levels.

“Together with other major shifts that occurred in human nutrition, this increase in artificial sweetener consumption coincides with the dramatic increase in the obesity and diabetes epidemics,” the authors note. “Our findings suggest that artificial sweeteners may have directly contributed to enhancing the exact epidemic that they themselves were intended to fight.”

Ref : Medicalnewstoday

Enjoy the Summer. Precautions to be taken for Summer

Summer is here and the temperatures are roaring, all of us need to take precautions to prevent general conditions. These conditions may feel normal and nothing out of course, but it may worsen if not taken care of.

Below are listed few preventive measures for the most commonly occurring ailments:

STROKE:

Everyone is well versed with this phenomenon. The temperature of the body rises due to excessive exposure to heat. But we usually ignore the signs and symptoms. This summer, make sure to follow simple rules when you step outdoor.

ÔÇô Wear clothes which allow good ventilation make sure the fabric of the clothes is light.

ÔÇô┬á There are certain medications and other conditions like sleep deprivation, sun stroke history, etc. which may predispose sun stroke. It is wise to take all the factors into consideration.

ÔÇô Always wear sunscreen and drink plenty of fluid. Always carry a drink together.

SUN BURN:

Sunburns are caused when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiations. This increases the risk of skin cancers, which makes it very important to practice precaution.

ÔÇô Sunscreens help protect skin. Re apply sunscreen every 3-4 hours when working outdoors. Make sure you apply sunscreen to all the exposed skin.

ÔÇô It is advised to cover the face with light clothing. Wearing hats and sunglasses provide full protection to the face and the eyes.

DEHYDRATION:

Dehydration applies to a condition when the body is deprived of fluids. Excessive loss of water from the body along with metabolic disruption is not met with enough intake of fluid. The causes of dehydration can be many, but the condition is aggravated during summers, due to high temperatures. Preventive measures include:

-Intake of enough water whenever outdoors or exercising. It ensures that the body is provided with as much fluids as it losses during activities.

-It is very important to carry bottle with water or any other energy drink to replenish the lost fluids.

Avoid outdoors at the pitch hour of the day. If the work can be wait till later, no better option than that!

EPISTAXIS DUE TO SUN:

General term for epitaxis is nose bleeding. Many people suffer from nose bleeds during summers. This is a result of extreme heat. Most of the patients have history of epistaxis during summers. The precautions should be:

-To avoid putting any kind of pressure on the nose.

-It is advisable to cover face when outdoors; it prevents direct contact with high temperatures outdoors.

Above all, consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables during summers will help the body maintain healthy tissue and fight back any bodily disruptions effectively.

These simple, yet very crucial preventing measures will make the summers more enjoyable for everyone.

 

Ref : careinfo.in