Three Natural Foods To Fight The Flu

To Your Health
December, 2013 (Vol. 07, Issue 12)

Flu season is in full effect. Are you prepared? If you are looking to staying healthy this flu season go for a few natural foods that can boost your immune system. Here are three that have been proven to do the job:\

1. Raw garlic

Garlic is considered a powerful flu fighter. Garlic contains compounds called allion and allicin, which have direct antiviral effects. A good way to get some garlic in your daily meals is by incorporating it into your recipes. You can also buy supplements to swallow whole as a boost.

2. Get Spicy

Using some spices such as turmeric, cloves and cinnamon can beat the flu even before it starts. These spices are packed with antioxidants, which help improve the function of the immune system. Try pouring some cinnamon on your holiday tea and coffee. You can also enjoy turmeric on some of your favorite dishes.honey

3. Berries

All berries have high concentrations of antioxidants to help fight off flu viruses. Blueberries were found to have more antioxidants than 40 other fruits and vegetables. Try eating a handful of raw berries every day to help you stay healthy during the flu season. You can also use these in smoothies and salads.

Try out these three natural foods to get your immune system going!

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Article from: http://www.toyourhealth.com/mpacms/tyh/article.php?id=1908

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A Conspiracy to Get Us to Take More Prescription Drugs?

Pharmaceutical-Companies

Ready for your wake-up call to why prescription medications – and their accompanying health dangers – are an increasing part of your daily life? From the Annals of Family Medicine comes one of the most important studies to date in the effort to define and understand how drug companies are influencing both the practice of medicine and the health of patients who seek care from medical providers.

Conducted by a pair of anthropologists from Michigan State University, the study examines the impact of lower diagnostic thresholds, clinician rewards systems and the prescribing cascade on the health of patients diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension.

10.12.11news-wilson-flickr-medicaid-pills-money-edit_0The authors lay the foundation for their study by noting, “Spending on prescription drugs in the Unites States has risen nearly 6-fold since 1990, reflecting substantial increases in treatment of chronic conditions and subsequent polypharmacy. As many as 45% of Americans have at least 1 diagnosed chronic condition, and 60% of the most prescribed medications were for hypertension, high cholesterol levels and diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 11% of the US population and 40% of people older than age 60 take 5 medications or more.”

In conducting the study, the authors studied primary care clinicians and their patients over a two-year period (2009-2010), with specific emphasis on management of type 2 diabetes and hypertension, two of the most common chronic health conditions. As the study progressed, the authors realized the overwhelming prevalence of prescription drug use in managing these two conditions and thus focused on their influence more closely.

images (1)Lower Diagnostic Thresholds

Simply put, lower diagnostic thresholds mean that more people are diagnosed with a disease they didn’t previously have. The authors point to changes in the diagnosis of diabetes, hypertension and their “pre-” conditions as increasing the number of people subjected to intense prescription management, suggesting that an estimated 10 million additional people are being treated for diabetes, and an additional 22 million for hypertension, due to these lower thresholds.

In 1998, the fasting plasma glucose level that defined a person as diabetic was lowered from 140 to 126. This resulted in an additional 10.3 million people being medically defined as diabetics. The prediabetes fasting glucose level was established at 110 in 1998 and changed to 100 in 2003, resulting in many more pre-diabetics.

In 1993, the blood pressure definition for hypertension was lowered from 160/95 to 140/90 in non-diabetic patients. In 1998, the hypertension blood pressure definition for diabetics was established at 130/80, lower than that of non-diabetics. These changes resulted in an estimated 22 million additional hypertension diagnoses. The prehypertension definition was also established in 1998 at 120/80.

4.19expensivedrugsRewarded to Prescribe?

Medical doctors are monitored and rewarded for keeping their patients below certain standards that stem from established guidelines. But “the committees and organizations setting the standards often have substantial pharmaceutical industry support and include many individuals with industry ties.” According to the authors, “many insurance companies assess individual clinicians on the basis of whether their patients meet these standards, often paying substantial bonuses that encourage clinicians to respond to marginal test results with aggressive use of pharmaceuticals.”

The Prescribing Cascade

Prescription drugs can have adverse health impacts on patients, producing symptoms that prompt the prescribing of additional drugs. This is particularly true for patients of clinicians who fail to recognize these adverse reactions. Two-thirds of patients “reported experiencing symptoms they attributed to their diabetes medications, hypertension medications, or both,” with several patients hospitalized because of symptoms, prompting a medication change.Joes-Journal-Day-24-Drugs

In this study, 89% of the patients “reported taking multiple medications, averaging 4.8 prescriptions with more than half (51%) taking 5 or more.” In many cases, the patients were expected to continue taking these medications “permanently.”

Real People, Real Problems

death-is-a-side-effect-of-most-thingsOne of the things that makes this paper so interesting is the approach taken by the authors. They interviewed 58 clinicians and 74 patients for about an hour each, providing insightful clinician comments and patient vignettes that are included in the study:

A 61-year-old man is taking “3 medications for hypertension, 2 for diabetes, 2 for high cholesterol levels, 1 for acid reflux, and daily doses of aspirin and ibuprofen, and uses an inhaler for chronic bronchitis, for a grand total of 11 medications. … Since starting the hypertension and diabetes medications, he has developed severe indigestion and breathing problems.”

A family practice physician stated, “I tell most new diabetics the sad news is that they’re going to be on 5 meds.”

A 54-year-old woman is “currently taking 8 prescription medications: 3 for hypertension, 2 for diabetes, 1 for high cholesterol levels, and 2 for depression. She also had 5 visits to the emergency department in 1 month for excruciating headaches before they were determined to be an adverse effect of the additional hypertension medication she had been prescribed.”8026807850_766a7c9923_z

Another clinician noted, “I’ve got patients on 4 different medications and their blood pressure is still uncontrolled. We try sending them to the cardiologists, and they say, ‘Just keep adding stuff because there’s really nothing we can do about this.’ Some people whose blood pressure that we get normal again, they don’t function very well at all. I’m not sure why.”

A Chance to Change

In their concluding remarks, the authors call for a reform on how much influence the pharmaceutical industry has on the practice of medicine: “At a minimum, we urge policies excluding individuals or organizations with financial conflicts of interest from involvement with guideline-writing panels. The presumption that mere disclosure resolves such conflicts must be rejected.” They also suggest that physicians “be discouraged from seeing drug representatives.”

So, armed with this information, what’s your next step? The next time you see a drug ad on TV, think about this study. The next time your medical doctor recommends a prescription drug for your health problem, think about this study and ask if there’s a better, safer, natural way that doesn’t require medication.

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Article from: http://www.toyourhealth.com/mpacms/tyh/article.php?id=1717

Sleep Better, Naturally

By James P. Meschino, DC, MS

insomnia_sheepChronic pain, which is reported to affect approximately 110 million Americans, is defined as three consecutive months of a painful condition. The most common conditions associated with chronic pain include arthritis / rheumatism; fibromyalgia; migraine headache; and low back pain.

Evidence suggests that a multidisciplinary approach yields the best results in chronic pain management, whereas the method yielding the worst results for the patient, the health care system and society entails reliance on prescription narcotic drugs.

Over the years medical doctors have prescribed and recommended many analgesic drugs such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory dsleeping_pills_640rugs (NSAIDs), and in more severe cases, narcotic drugs, as primary and sometimes exclusive methods of treatment in the management of chronic and acute muscle, joint and arthritic conditions. In recent years, documented evidence has shown that the frequent use of these medications for pain control has led to many serious unforeseen complications.

Fortunately, in recent years, research has shown the safe, effective pain-killing effects of California poppy (Eschscholzia californica). This herb has been shown to reduce night pain and induce sleep in patients with night pain without producing euphoria, addiction potential, physical dependency or serious side effects of any kind.

Health Complications From Standard Analgesic Drugs

Frequent use of acetaminophen has been shown to be a leading cause of liver failure, and acetaminophen ingestion is the leading cause of drug-induced liver failure, accounting for 50 percent of all acute liver failure cases in the U.S., half of which are unintentional (not suicide driven). Chronic intake of the recommended dosage of acetaminophen (up to 4 grams per day, with no single dose to exceed 1 gm) is responsible for most cases of acetaminophen-induced liver failure. Chronic use of acetaminophen has also been shown to damage the kidneys.

Heavy reliance on NSAIDs for chronic pain control has also yielded devastating health consequences. Recent studies confirm that in addition to gastrointestinal erosion, ulceration and bleeding, chronic NSAID use also increases the risk of kidney damage, liver damage, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and sudden cardiovascular death. Aspirin has long been associated with gastrointestinal damage and associated internal bleeding, but other NSAIDs are largely responsible for increased risk of cardiovascular death. This appears to be related to the promotion insomnia (1)of thrombosis, associated with many NSAIDs from ibuprofen to diclofenac (Voltaren ) to COX-2 inhibitors (e.g., Celebrex, Vioxx)

As such, doctors have been instructed not to recommend any NSAIDs, other than aspirin, for patients at high risk for heart disease. These recommendations also extend to precluding the recommendation of all NSAIDs for patients with any compromised kidney function. Low-dose aspirin, although recommended as a blood thinner for those who have suffered a previous heart attack, is no longer recommended to prevent first heart attack (primary prevention) due to the increasing reports of intestinal bleeds and bleeding into the brain, seen in patients prescribed low-dose aspirin (75-81 mg) for this purpose.

Narcotic Drugs – Rising Concerns About Addiction

Since the early 1990s governments have allowed doctors to prescribe narcotic drugs (e.g., oxycodone) for patients presenting with a wide variety of musculoskeletal pain conditions. Prior to this, narcotic drugs were only prescribed for patients with intractable pain, primarily due to terminal cancers (e.g., morphine drip). As such, physicians commonly use narcotics to reduce a patient’s post-operative pain or to reduce anxiety and induce anesthesia prior to an operation. These drugs are also commonly prescribed in an attempt to enable individuals with chronic pain to lead productive lives.

The problem is that many people who are prescribed and taking opioids for a period of time develop a physical dependence on the drug which canarticle-new_ehow_images_a00_01_jo_break-sleeping-pill-800x800 lead to abuse of the painkiller. Studies now show that 2.5 million Americans, of the 4.7 million who begin to abuse prescription drugs in any given year, use pain pills. Thus, more than 50 percent of all drug abuse cases involve analgesic drugs, and very often narcotics.

Recognizing the potential for opioid abuse, addiction, diversion and related mortality, many jurisdictions have developed guidelines or implemented programs to promote more judicious use of these drugs. Across the board, medical doctors are being instructed to cut back on their prescription writing for narcotic drugs, and systems are being put in place to track and integrate pharmacy dispensing of these drugs using electronic recording and monitoring systems.

A Safe Herbal Alternative

Recent studies have shown that the medicinal ingredients in the herb Eschscholzia californica(California poppy) block nighttime pain, allowing the patient to sleep through the night without being awakened by musculoskeletal pain. The herb also helps to induce sleep, enabling patients who are in pain to fall asleep and experience a restful sleep through the night. This, in turn, allows more rapid healing and improved response to other treatments.

Sleeping-PillsThe active ingredients in Eschscholzia californica relieve pain without producing euphoria or having addiction potential. Stimulation of opioid receptors blocks pain sensation in the brain and blocks pain conduction in the spinal cord from reaching higher brain centers. Activation of serotonin receptors is also known to block the sensation of pain and induce sleep.

Unlike narcotic drugs (e.g., Percocet, Oxydone) and benzodiazepine drugs (e.g., Valium, Ativan) often used to help patients in pain sleep through the night, supplements containing Eschscholzia californica do not cause addiction or destroy a person’s motivation to return to a productive life. The active constituents in this herb do not cause euphoria or feeling of being “stoned,” which allows individuals to function normally and better comply with treatment recommendations, including exercise.

Precautionary Notes

Patients should not take this herb if they are taking an evening or nighttime dose of a narcotic drug (e.g., Percodan, Oxycontin), anti-anxiety drug and/or a sleep-inducing drug (e.g., Valium, Sonata, Ambien). Patients taking narcotic or benzodiazepine drugs who wish to wean themselves off of these drugs by using Eschscholzia californica as a replacement for chronic pain management, must do so under the supervision and monitoring of their attending physician. Narcotic and benzodiazepine drugs are highly addictive; thus, each case requires individualized evaluation and attention. As always, talk to your doctor for more information.


James Meschino, DC, MS, practices in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is the author of four nutrition books, including The Meschino Optimal Living Program and Break the Weight Loss Barrier.

 

Resource: To Your Health
March, 2013 (Vol. 07, Issue 03)

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