Is Telomere Testing Real Science?

Is Telomere Testing Real Science?

 

 

TeloYears+TeloCoach

 

… And Should You Bother With It?

 

A fast-growing body of research is finding that telomere length in leukocytes, the white blood cells of the immune system, reliably predicts age-related disease — and can be affected by genetics, chronic stress and health behaviors, such as exercise and diet.

Twenty years ago little was known about the aging process. Many ideas existed but nothing was certain. Today we know how and why we age. We cannot control it just yet, but even that may change in the near future.

The human body has 100 trillion highly-specialized cells. Each of these cells has sets of chromosomes that contain your DNA and RNA, the latter being a compound that tells each cell what its job is. At the ends of each chromosome are cap pieces called telomeres. These telomeres keep the DNA and RNA from getting damaged by all of the activity that goes on in a cell.

 

 

What Your Immortal Cells Can Tell Us

Research demonstrated that the vast majority of cells in our bodies are mortal and have a fixed lifespan. On average, they can divide only 52 times and no more. When the cell cannot divide anymore, it is said to be senescent and susceptible to disease, infection, malfunctioning, and death. The reason cells cannot divide more than 52 times is that half of the telomere goes with the newly-cloned cell and half stays with the parent. Eventually the telomere is so short it cannot divide into two.

A tiny percentage of the cells in your body are immortal and can divide again and again with no limit.

These immortal cells are largely a part of your immune system and fight off diseases and infections as well as repair injuries. Immortal cells also have telomeres that split into two, but an enzyme called telomerase restores the telomeres to their full size after cell division. For some reason the mortal cells in our bodies do not allow telomerase inside. Only the immortal cells do so.

 

While immune cells are essential for our survival, another category of immortal cells are very deadly, and these are cancer cells.

When cancer starts to grow in a person’s body, the immune cells are dispatched to the area, recognize cancer as not belonging there, and try to do away with it. The immune cells bring telomerase to the location where the cancer is growing to clone themselves onsite. However telomerase also fuels the growth of the cancer. Cancer cells need telomerase to clone themselves and cannot do so without it.

 

 

A Possible Cure for Cancer?

One really intriguing possibility presents itself: Can we cure cancer by denying telomerase to the portion of the body where the cancer is growing?

Well, such a medicine has been developed, and right now there are four clinical trials taking place with human cancer patients to test its effectiveness.

To be deemed a success, the medicine must:

(1) kill all cancer cells, not just some of them;

(2) not spread to other parts of the body and take out telomerase where it is assisting immune cells; and

(3) not cause serious side effects like heart attack or stroke.

 


TeloYears “Now and Later” 2-pack

from: Telomere Diagnostics 

 

If successful, the cancer cells would not be able to clone themselves and multiply. The existing cancer cells would become senescent and die. Since 90 percent of all cancer cells are rapidly growing and need telomerase, the medicine has potential to take out all of these cancers at once.

Time will tell if these studies are successful.

 

 

Fountain of Youth

Another intriguing possibility also exists: Can we get the mortal cells in our bodies to welcome telomerase inside, turning these mortal cells into immortal ones? If done to all of our mortal cells, we would then become immortal. Believe it or not, this has already been done, albeit on a small scale.

Researchers collected human senescent cells that are incapable of dividing. Telomerase was force-fed to the cells in a test-tube study.

What happened? The senescent cells had their biological clocks reset to zero and started dividing again, just like baby cells. In one case they divided 26 times before the experiment came to an end.

Importantly, none of the cells in the experiment showed any cancer or tumor growth. This is great news, as scientists had previously speculated that the reason the body does not allow telomerase inside 99 percent of its cells — with the exception of immune cells and some cells that develop during pregnancy — is to prevent healthy cells from becoming cancerous.

Researchers are working on methods to introduce telomerase into mortal cells. It is one thing to do research with just 100 cells in a test tube and another to do it with 100 trillion cells in the entire human body. However, we know exactly what needs to be done to make the Fountain of Youth a reality.

 

The Telomere Effect

The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer

Molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn shared a Nobel Prize for her research on telomeres—structures at the tips of chromosomes that play a key role in cellular aging. 

The main message of her breakthrough book, “The Telomere Effect,” is that you have more control over your own aging than you may imagine. You can actually lengthen your telomeres—and perhaps your life—by following sound health advice, the authors argue, based on a review of thousands of studies.

“Telomeres listen to you, they listen to your behaviors, they listen to your state of mind,” said Blackburn, president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif.

Telomeres sit at the end of strands of DNA, like the protective caps on shoelaces. Stress from a rough lifestyle will shorten those caps, making it more likely that cells will stop dividing and essentially die.

Too many of these senescent cells accelerates human aging, the pair say. This doesn’t cause any particular disease, but research suggests that it hastens the time when whatever your genes have in store will occur—so if you’re vulnerable to heart disease, you’re more likely to get it younger if your telomeres are shorter, said Epel, director of the University of California, San Francisco’s Aging, Metabolism and Emotions Center.

“We can provide a new level of specificity and tell people more precisely with clues emerging from telomere science, what exactly about exercise is related to long telomeres, what exact foods are related to long telomeres, what aspects of sleep are more related to long telomeres,” Epel added.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Should we all just sit around and wait for more scientific telomere discoveries to happen?

That would be a great mistake, because we already know of four sets of factors that each correlate with longevity, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and dementia (as well as many other deadly conditions).

 

These four factors are:

  • aerobic exercise,
  • cognitive enrichment,
  • psychological states of mind
  • nutrition

Discover how well you are agingThere is a proven correlation between telomere length and these four factors. For example, one study found that runners have been found to have longer telomeres than sedentary people.

The bottom line is that if you take great care of your body,  cell division is postponed, just as  research also shows that if you take lousy care of your body and the cells are under stress, they will divide more quickly, shortening your telomeres.

Doing the right things with these four factors will not make you immortal, but it may be the difference between dying in your 90s and dying in your 60s.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided some practical, empowering information. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

WalkInLab.com

 

 

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Tips for Easier Senior Car Travel

Tips for Easier Senior Car Travel

 

 

Car Travel is Challenging for Seniors and Their Caregivers

 

Traveling by car can be challenging for seniors. Whether they drive themselves or you’re playing chauffeur, simply using a car can be difficult. This can be caused by health conditions or the physical changes of normal aging.

For someone with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke, or mobility issues, the difficulty level can be exponential. It may even take multiple people to help them safely into and out of a car.

This is important because most seniors travel by car, especially when visiting the doctor. This usually means frequent car struggles for both seniors and caregivers.

All seniors benefit if they have an easier time traveling by car. Seniors who can drive will feel more independent and confident. Those with mobility issues won’t have to go through such an exhausting ordeal.

Getting around more easily also helps seniors be more connected with family and friends, preventing the negative effects of isolation.

 

 

Gadgets That Really Help With Seniors’ Car Travel

 

 

Here are some aids that solve the problems that can make car travel so frustrating!

 

 

Grab and Pull Seat Belt Reacher

 

 

For those with arthritis or limited shoulder / torso mobility, it’s hard to reach up and pull the seat belt down. This reacher attaches to the seat belt and makes an extra long handle.

 

 

Seat Belt Extender

 

With limited mobility, it can be difficult to get the seat belt buckled. This seat belt extender makes it easier to reach and buckle up properly for a safe car ride.

Make sure to get the right size extender to fit your car’s buckle.

 

 

Seat Belt Opening Aid

For people with arthritis or limited hand and thumb strength, unbuckling the seat belt can be frustrating. This aid makes it easier to undo a standard seat belt.

 

 

This Bucklebee Easy Buckle Release Aid is designed to reduce the unbuckling force required for a release by the rider.  It has a large grip for easy, ergonomic release, and remains attached to the seat for convenient. 

 

 

Seat Buckle Guard

Sometimes people with Alzheimer’s or dementia unbuckle their seatbelts while you’re driving. Dangerous!

This seat buckle guard is a good solution. Just stick your key in to pop the buckle open.

This BuckleBoss Seat Belt Guard doesn’t allow your senior to unbuckle themselves in case of an accident or emergency, but it may be worth the risk if they frequently unbuckle themselves while you’re driving – a more immediate danger.

 

 

Swivel Seat Cushion

This cushion has a base that swivels. Seniors can just sit down, then easily swivel their legs into the car.

 

 

No more struggling to lift legs and turn at the same time. The SOJOY Swivel Seat Cushion also makes it much easier for someone who’s helping them into the car. 

If the car has bucket seats, place a towel on the car’s seat to fill the gap and allow the swivel cushion to sit flat.

 

 

Auto Standing Aid

This removable handle fits securely into almost all driver or passenger side car doors. It’s a non-slip grip hand hold that lets seniors boost themselves up and out of the car. The Stander Handybar has a 350 lb capacity.

 

 

 

 

 

Auto Aids for Those With Limited Mobility

 

When older adults have limited mobility, it’s a struggle for them and you to leave the house. Getting into and out of the car can be almost impossible.

Without any auto mobility aids, helping these seniors into a car can take multiple people, making every trip to the doctor a major event. If you can’t get enough help from others, you could end up hurting yourself or might be forced to use non-emergency ambulance transportation (expensive!).

 

Transfer Board

To help your senior get from their wheelchair to a car, this Mabis Wooden Transfer Slide Board bridges the gap and makes it possible for them to scoot from one seat to the other without needing to stand. Reviewers say it has a weight capacity of up to 350 lbs.

 

 

 

 

Pivot Disc

Some older adults can stand up from a wheelchair, but can’t turn around to sit in the car. This disc saves you from injuring your back or shoulders while helping them turn around.

With this pivot disc, your senior stands on the disc and you can slowly turn them so their back faces the car seat and they can sit down.

 

 

If you need to move someone from a wheelchair to the car, this Preston BeasyGlyder board can make that task easier and safer on both you and your senior. There’s a disc that slides along the board so you can push them from one seat to the other. They don’t need to scoot their butt and you don’t need to provide as much lifting or carrying support.

 

It’s expensive, but may let you delay more expensive options like non-emergency ambulance transport, buying an automatic access lift seat, or getting an accessible van.

 

Final Thoughts

Auto aids are a worthwhile investment if it makes it possible to take your senior out of the house. Plus, even the most expensive of these options cost much less than a one-time ambulance transport.

 

Lauren's Hope Medical ID

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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The Best Elliptical Machines Reviewed

The Best Elliptical Machines Reviewed

How to Find the Perfect Elliptical Machine for a Safe, Quiet, Low Impact Workout

 

An elliptical machine provides a workout that resembles a combination of walking (or running) and climbing in place. Ellipticals feature oversized pedals that move with the motion of your legs.

Many people like ellipticals because they are easier on the joints than walking outside on a hard surface or running on a treadmill. You can go as fast or slow as you’d like on an elliptical machine, and in either forward or reverse to vary your workout. In addition to giving you a great cardio workout, most ellipticals have moving handlebars that provide full-body resistance as you pedal in place. One great feature of a home elliptical is that it is very quiet, so you won’t disturb your downstairs neighbor — a big plus for apartment dwellers.

(Example Image aboveNordictrack Spacesaver SE9i Elliptical Trainer)

 

Full Size Elliptical Machines

 

Full-sized ellipticals offer a range of workout options, from intense to easy, as well as the ability to work your upper body and lower body; some even offer the option to isolate the upper body (most allow you to isolate the lower body). Many also feature plenty of nice touches — like LED screens, cup holders, tablet rests, fans and more — to make your exercise session a bit more pleasant. Some even offer Bluetooth connectivity so you can sync your workout with your smartphone and various fitness apps.

 

Compact and Portable Elliptical Machines

 

If you simply don’t have the space for a full-sized elliptical, we found a couple of very highly-rated home ellipticals that give you a great workout, but have a relatively small footprint — some are even small enough to tote to the office. One drawback is that these elliptical machines are designed to have one, relatively low-intensity workout level. However, users who are just trying to move more, who describe themselves as “un-athletic” or who simply want an easier workout love them.

To find the best home ellipticals, I looked at a few important factors: Smooth, stable and quiet performance; easy-to-use features and controls; long-term durability and reliability; and a good warranty backed by responsive, helpful customer service. Consumer Reports is the only credible professional organization I spotted that tests and ranks ellipticals, but there are some other good expert sources that review individual ellipticals.

Most importantly, I evaluated hundreds of customer reviews to gauge owners’ satisfaction with the features and usability of their home elliptical machines. This information, along with expert evaluations, led me to finding the best ellipticals for any home fitness regimen.

 

What You Should Look For in an Elliptical Machine

 

  • A heavy flywheel. In general the heavier the flywheel, the smoother the motion. Look for one that weighs 25 pounds or more.
  • Enough resistance levels. To maximize your training, the elliptical must progress with you as you get more fit. Most ellipticals have at least 16 levels of resistance; higher-end models have 20 or 22 levels to choose from.
  • Quiet magnetic braking. Almost every full-sized modern elliptical uses magnetic braking for resistance. The mechanism should adjust smoothly and quietly between resistance levels, with no clunking or jerking.
  • Appropriate stride length. The actual feel of any given stride length can vary between brands and models but, as a general rule, the longer the better, especially if you’re tall.
  • Adjustable stride length. You can get by without this feature but if several people of different sizes are going to use the elliptical, it can make everyone’s workout more comfortable.
  • Adjustable incline. Changing the incline serves two purposes at once: altering your stride length and shifting the workout focus to different muscle groups, lending more variety to your workout.
  • Comfortable handlebars. Make sure the handlebars, moving or stationary, feel comfortable when you hold onto them and pedal; it’s hard to exercise when you feel awkward. This is a common complaint with elliptical users who end up unhappy with their machines.
  • Easy-to-use controls. Resistance and incline should be easy to control from the center console or moving handlebars. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to stop the workout to make adjustments.
  • Strong warranty and solid customer service. The warranty should cover parts for at least five years and labor for at least one. The manufacturer should be easy to reach, and quick to respond to consumer complaints.

 

Things to Consider Before Shopping for Your Elliptical

 

Does it fit my available space?

A typical full-sized elliptical is about 79 inches long by 30 inches wide by 63 inches tall, and many front-drive ellipticals require additional clearance to the rear when in use. Don’t forget to measure your ceiling height, too; most ellipticals will add an extra 1.5 feet to your own height. If you have less space, you may want to consider a compact or portable elliptical.

 

Does it fit me?

If you’re especially tall or short, look for an elliptical with a longer or shorter stride length. That said, the only way to know how well any stride length suits you is to get on the machine and exercise for a few minutes. Is the motion comfortable? Do you have plenty of room for your limbs (knees and elbows especially) within the elliptical trainer’s frame? If not, look elsewhere. Comfort is key.

 

Who will use it?

If more than one person is going to use the elliptical, everybody should try it out. If the users are of very different sizes, you may need an elliptical trainer with an adjustable stride length to comfortably accommodate all of them.

 

Should I have it delivered or assembled?

When you pick up or receive your elliptical, it will arrive in one or more large, heavy boxes. Often the shippers will deliver boxes to the curb, but won’t bring them into your house unless you pay an extra fee for “inside” delivery. If you’re handy, patient, and able to get the elliptical into your home on your own (even if that means carrying it piece-by-piece), DIY assembly can be a viable, but time-consuming, option. If you don’t have the time or patience to mess with it, consider paying for a professional delivery and assembly service (typically about $100 to $200).

 

How often will I use the elliptical trainer?

If you’re committed to long, frequent workout sessions, it pays to invest in a machine with the highest build quality and the most durable parts.

 

Do I want movable handlebars?

Although movable handlebars provide a moderate upper-body cardio workout, many exercisers prefer holding onto the stationary handlebars instead. If you’re in the latter group, you can sometimes save money by opting for an elliptical that comes without moving handlebars.

 

Elliptical Machine Reviews and Recommendations

 

 

Best Home Elliptical Machine

 

The Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical’s super-smooth ride, sturdy frame, auto-adjust incline ramp and extensive warranty make it hard to beat. It’s also a great value compared to other high-end ellipticals, which typically sell for much more. Its eddy current braking system is quiet and dependable, the heavy flywheel makes for a smooth ride, and owners largely have good things to say about Sole’s customer service.

Of all the ellipticals I evaluated, the front-drive Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical  boasts the best combination of stability; durability; useful features; smooth, quiet resistance; and affordability. It’s a top pick at Consumer Reports, with Excellent ratings for ease of use, heart rate features and safety; Very Good ratings for ergonomics, exercise range and construction. AT Fitness Equipment Source it gets 4.5 stars out of 5, with the experts there calling it “Sold, Stable & Rugged – A Winning Combination.” Users agree, saying it feels very solid, like a gym-quality elliptical. Many say that they, and sometimes other members of their family, use it every day, multiple times a day.

The Sole E95 offers 20 levels of eddy current braking — the gold standard for quiet operation and reliability — and is backed by a solid warranty: Lifetime frame coverage, five years on parts, and two years of labor coverage. Sole Fitness has an excellent reputation for customer service; owners say they’re prompt, efficient, and honor their warranty with no hassles.

The Sole E95 also has a plethora of useful features, including an incline ramp that power-adjusts between 0 and 40 degrees (adjusting the stride length between 20 and 22 inches); 10 workout programs, including two custom workouts and two heart rate control workouts; cushioned, adjustable foot pedals that angle slightly inward to reduce stress on your joints; a 9-inch LCD console that tilts for easier viewing; and handgrip controls for easy adjustments to both incline and resistance. Users say the built-in sound system and fan are just adequate — but we see similar feedback for those features on almost every elliptical — indeed, on almost every piece of home exercise equipment we review. The Sole 95 is also Bluetooth-enabled, so you can wirelessly sync your exercise stats with your smartphone and a variety of fitness apps.

 

Best Mid-Priced Elliptical Machine

 

It’s a bit lighter than its big sibling, the Sole E95, but the less-expensive Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical is equally praised by reviewers for its quality build and durable components. It has a slightly smaller LCD screen, but its 30-degree incline and a plethora of adjustments and programs earn a lot of praise. Owners love the great value this machine represents, saying it’s a club-quality elliptical at a price that’s very reasonable.

The Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical shares the same excellent build quality and warranty, and almost all of the same features — including the 2017 Bluetooth upgrade. The LCD screen is a little smaller (7.5 inches), the max incline is a little lower (30 degrees), and the flywheel is a little lighter (29 pounds instead of 34). It’s also got just a bit smaller footprint and a lower upper weight limit — 375 pounds to the E95’s 400 pounds. However, the E35 gets just as good of reviews from experts and owners for performance and features.

At Fitness Equipment Source the Sole 35 earns a 4.5-star rating, as well as a Best Buy designation. They note that it’s one of the lowest- maintenance machines you can get at any price range. John Carlzon at Top Ten Reviews puts the Sole 35 at number four on his top ten list after research and testing, saying it, “gives a smooth and substantial workout.” The only con he notes is that there are only 10 preset workouts. Owners agree with Carlsen, giving the Sole 35 above-average ratings and saying they’re very pleased with the build quality and the various workout options.

That’s not to say that the Sole E95 and Sole E35 are perfect. The most common complaint we found for both was occasional squeaking or clicking noises from the foot rails. Most users say lubricating the foot rails will resolve this, while others simply let Sole’s excellent service department take care of it. These ellipticals also require assembly — unless you pay for assembly on delivery. While assembly is not necessarily super difficult, it is time-consuming and there are lots of parts to keep track of — some of which are rather heavy. Assembly is much easier, users say, if you get organized first, take your time, and enlist the help of a friend.

 

Best Inexpensive Home Elliptical Machine

 

 

For most people, the Schwinn 470 elliptical will be a good fit for their exercise room without making their wallet lose too much weight. Reviewers say it’s stable and quiet, with 25 levels of eddy current braking. Included in its impressive array of features are 29 programs, including options for beginners to advanced users and a customizable setting. The 470’s 20-inch stride length, smooth operation and a decent warranty combine to make the Schwinn 470 an excellent value if you’re on a budget.

Bargain-priced ellipticals tend to have short, choppy strides, but the front-drive Schwinn’s 20-inch stride length is the equal of many high-end home ellipticals. It has 25 levels of eddy current resistance (another great feature for the price), and users say the motion is smooth and stable, even for larger users — its maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds. You can also create up to four user programs, something that impresses the folks at Top Ten Reviews.  

At Consumer Reports the Schwinn 470 earns ratings of Very Good across the board for ergonomics, exercise range, ease of use, construction, heart rate features and user safety. It’s also named a Best Buy there. It’s the number five pick (out of 10) and Top Ten Reviews, but their review is disappointingly devoid of testing notes, even though they say they tested for this roundup. Rather, they call out the 470’s features for praise, and there are plenty of those.

That includes 29 preset workout programs, with custom programs available as well. The display is fairly small, but still a nice touch at this price point. It displays time, distance, speed, calories burned, resistance level and more.

There are 29 preset programs, as well as the ability to design four custom programs. The automated inclined adjusts up to 10 degrees. A three-speed fan is also a nice touch to keep the user comfortable.

The Schwinn 470 is compatible with a chest strap-style heart monitor, but one is not included.  I like the Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor and Fitness Tracker.

 

 

The Schwinn 470 also has a USB port for data export to Schwinn Connect and MyFitnessPal.com — online tools to help users upload and track their workout data and fitness goals; the USB port can also be used for charging your portable gadgets.

 

Best Compact Elliptical Machine

 

The Sunny Air Walk Trainer is as highly rated as ellipticals costing much more, but is lighter and much more compact. It does not have the bells and whistles of a full sized, high-end exercise machine, but most say that it provides all you need if you just want an effective, low-impact exercise option. Owners note that it’s very quiet and is uncommonly comfortable to use.

 

Best Portable Elliptical Machine

 

 

Reviewers say the Stamina In-Motion Elliptical may take some getting used to, but once you do, you’ll love it. It’s little more than a set of wheels you pedal, but it’s extremely portable and many dedicated exercisers take it to work, on trips, or keep it in their dorm rooms.

 

 

You can adjust the tension to control workout intensity, and use it standing or sitting, in forward or reverse to add variety.  The Stamina In-Motion also has an electronic fitness monitor which displays the number of strides per minute, total number of strides, exercise time, and calories burned.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Elliptical training combines the best of stair climbing, cross country skiing and running in a low impact, variety rich workout.  Runners will benefit from the non-impact movement as a complement to their running and older users will appreciate the fluidity and ease of the motion.  It is a highly effective cross training activity that is viable for anyone from beginning exercisers to elite athletes.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

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Should Your Dog Take a Glucosamine Supplement?

Should Your Dog Take a Glucosamine Supplement?

 

 

 

 

Joint problems like arthritis and inflammation afflict dogs as they age just like they do with humans. These issues can slow your dog down and make movement painful, reducing their quality of life and long-term health.

These conditions are particularly prevalent with large breed dogs, and especially labrador retrievers, though it can affect any dog, no matter the breed or their size.

All is not lost however, and – again, just like with humans– there are plenty of diet supplements for dogs on the market that can improve any joint issues Fido may be suffering with. Although unable to provide a total cure, the best supplements can relieve pain and, if started early enough, even serve as a preventative measure.

One such diet supplement is glucosamine, which you may be familiar with as a human supplement to help ease joint stiffness and the symptoms of arthritis.

Glucosamine for dogs is similar to the human formulation and can prove a valuable tool in the fight against arthritis regardless of the stage the arthritis is at.

In essence, glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound found in the connective tissue and fluid around joints. The supplement is simply a synthesized version of this.

(Image above – K9 Care Labs Chewable Joint Supplement)

 

Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

 

It can be quite difficult to detect whether your dog is suffering from arthritis, as our canine friends tend to hide their weaknesses and suffering as an innate defensive response.

Having said that, look out for the following clues that could be signs of joint discomfort in your dog:

  • A decrease in activity and sense of lethargy. They may be particularly hesitant on long walks, and running up and down stairs
  • Tender to the touch, particularly around their hind legs and hip joints
  • A restlessness when lying down or sleeping, indicating pain from swelling and inflammation

 

 

Your Vet’s Advice

First things first, always consult your vet if you suspect your dog may be suffering from arthritis or a similar joint problem and they will be able to provide tailored advice and medication to best fit your dog’s needs.

Otherwise, you can make your dog as comfortable as possible by:

  • Providing them a healthy, balanced diet (remember to reduce their portion sizes accordingly if they are less active than normal)
  • Giving them plenty of rest and avoiding stressful environments
  • Giving them plenty of love and attention
  • Supplementing their diet with substances like glucosamine and other vitamins and minerals to help slow and support the aging process

Image above:  Deep Dish Cuddler Bed for Joint Relief (also available in Jumbo size).

 

Glucosamine Benefits for Dogs

 

By taking glucosamine regularly, in the manner advised by your vet, your dog can expect to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Pain relief from muscle inflammation, bone loss and arthritis
  • The rebuilding of lost cartilage
  • Improvement in joint function and movement

Consequently, you’ll notice that your dog has more energy and freedom to move, leading to a greater quality of life and an array of other health benefits.

Additionally, taking glucosamine as a preventative measure for arthritis will mean your dog is less likely to need medicated pain relief in their future.

 

Comparing Glucosamine to Veterinarian Pain Medication

 

  • Glucosamine is cheaper than pain medication
  • Glucosamine carries less risk of unpleasant side effects than pain medication
  • Glucosamine is less likely to react with other supplements, dietary intake and medicines than pain medication

 

You can start your dog on glucosamine at any age; just remember to consult your vet so that they can advise on the best dosage tailored to your pet’s particular needs. As a diet supplement, it carries low risks of side effects and can prove preventative for arthritis and other joint problems later in life.

Having said that, if your dog begins to develop signs of arthritis, or if they are already in the full throes of the disease, glucosamine supplements are still a valuable tool in your dog’s health kit.

If you suspect that your dog may be developing joint problems or arthritis, consult your vet so you can begin treatment and glucosamine supplementation as soon as possible.

 

 

How to Give Your Dog a Glucosamine Supplement

 

Your vet should be able to advise on the correct dosage of glucosamine for your dog, taking into account such factors as their weight, age and the extent of their problems.

It’s imperative that you do consult a vet before administering supplements or other medicines to your dog: only a trained professional will be best placed to know how your dog will react to a certain formula.

Often, your vet will advise your arthritic dog be put on an initial ‘administration’ or ‘loading’ phase, featuring a high intake of glucosamine in a short period, followed by a ‘maintenance’ period with a lower dosage over a longer time span.

Many manufacturers of glucosamine for dogs will have special formulations like flavored chews, liquid, or crumbling tablets to add to food. It depends on your dog’s sensibilities which one they best prefer and are most likely to ingest.

Some manufacturers include additional vitamins and minerals in their glucosamine supplement formulations to provide extra support and benefits to your dog.

Some popular added substances include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: to reduce inflammation and improve the condition of skin and coat
  • Sulfur and sulfur-containing compounds: helps to rebuild cartilage and joint health while improving the condition of skin, hair, and nails
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): reduces stiffness and inflammation
  • Manganese: strengthens bones

 

 

Glucosamine Side Effects are Not Common

 

The side effects for a dog taking glucosamine are rare although not unheard of, and usually avoided if you follow dosing advice from your vet.

  • Allergic reactions: dogs who suffer from shellfish allergies may also be allergic to glucosamine supplements. Your vet will either advise a lower dose of the supplement or recommend a plant-based formulation.

 

  • Interactions with blood sugar: glucosamine supplements can interact with your dog’s blood sugar levels, particularly if they are also taking blood-thinning medication. Again, consult your vet for tailored advice.

 

  • Gastrointestinal upsets: glucosamine supplements can be a little harsh on your dog’s stomach and digestive system, occasionally leading to flatulence, vomit, and diarrhea. The best way to combat this is to administer their dosage with food or lower their dose, after consulting with your vet.

 

The Best Glucosamine Supplements for Dogs

 

Below, I’ve rounded up and reviewed what we consider to be the best glucosamine supplements for dogs currently available on the market.

 

 

Trusted manufacturer Nutramax are the people behind the best glucosamine supplement for dogs on the market with their all-round joint support chewable tablet, Dasuquin With MSM.

 

Pros:

  • Dasuquin is most complete joint support supplement on the market today
  • It’s a chewable tablet that’s easily digestible
  • Its formulation includes Chondroitin Sulfate, ASU (avocado and soybean unsaponifiables), MSM and green tea to effectively reduce stiffness and other symptoms of arthritis
  • Dasuquin With MSM benefits from over ten years worth of clinical use and research
  • It’s suitable for long term use and effective when used for arthritis, hip dysplasia and other joint problems

Cons:

  • It’s quite expensive in comparison to other supplements on the market

 

 

 

Another Nutramax product, Cosequin DS, is in second place and is well known for being potent and fast-acting – hence why it’s vets’ favorite glucosamine supplement for joint health.

 

 

Pros:

  • Cosequin DS is the most recommended supplement for joint health among veterinary professionals
  • It contains glucosamine hydrochloride, sodium chondroitin sulfate, MSM and manganese
  • It’s a chewable tablet so is easily digestible and has a light liver flavor
  • Suitable for use on dogs of all different sizes, ages, and joint symptoms
  • The supply lasts for a long time and is particularly economical once your dog progresses on to the maintenance stage and requires lower dosages
  • The initial administration stage is very strong and works quickly in relieving chronic joint problems

 

Cons:

  • Particularly fussy dogs may not enjoy the very light taste of the chewable tablet

 

 

 

These PAH Hip + Joint Chews are full of potent and fast-acting vitamins and minerals, promising pain relief, joint support and an extra glossy coat for your dog.

 

Pros

  • PAH Hip + Joint Chews contains extra-strength glucosamine, MSM, Chondroitin and Omega-3 fish oils
  • The Omega-3 ensures a strong and glossy coat, as well as providing additional anti-inflammatory support
  • Formulated in a chewable tablet with a delicious chicken flavor
  • Made in the USA using a cold pressed manufacturing process which ensures no active ingredients are lost
  • It works quickly and effectively to combat joint problems and comes with a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied
  • It’s gentle on your dog’s stomach

 

Cons

  • Some users have commented that it’s difficult to halve the chews without them crumbling – be sure to use scissors or a super sharp knife if you try!

 

 

Offering something a little different, TerraMax Pro’s Hip & Joint Advanced comes in a liquid form and is easy to combine with food and water – perfect for fussy eaters! 

Additionally, it contains a high dosage of the glucosamine and other helpful compounds.

 

 

Pros

  • Hip & Joint Advanced contains an unmatched 1,600 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride, 1,200 mg of chondroitin sulfate and 1,000 mg of MSM.
  • It’s also fortified with Hyaluronic acid which helps the rebuilding process of cartilage and joint tissue
  • It’s a liquid formulation which is absorbed faster and more efficiently into the bloodstream than tablets are
  • TerraMax manufacture their supplements in the USA, and they last for a long time with a money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied
  • All ingredients are rated at human grade and are distilled to provide the purest form.
  • The liquid is free from gluten, corn, milk, yeast, sugar, salt, starch and soy derivatives

 

Cons

  • As it’s in liquid form, this glucosamine supplement doesn’t last as long as the other solid products on this list.  The manufacturer recommends that you keep the bottle in the fridge after opening it.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Arthritis will afflict most dogs as they age. Unfortunately, dog owners and veterinarians rarely notice the early warning signs of arthritis because dogs tend to hide soreness and discomfort until the arthritic changes in joints have become severe.

Supplements to the dog’s diet – such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, omega-3 fatty acids and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) – can assist in decreasing inflammation and improving your dog’s ability to repair and strengthen joint tissues. And while high-quality supplements are very safe, they tend to work best in combination with other forms of arthritis treatment.

You can be proactive by giving your dog a daily joint supplement. And of course, be sure to check with your vet if you suspect any joint problems. Image above:  Gypsy Rock Dog Mug.

 

Pet Medical ID Tags by Lauren's Hope

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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Anytime Gifts That Seniors Will Actually Use

Anytime Gifts That Seniors Will Actually Use

 

 

 

Coming up with gift ideas for grandparents or elderly parents can be a real headache for many people. Most grandparents have more stuff than they could possibly ever use.

There is nothing they need and very little they want. So, what do you give someone who has almost everything, and their house is already full of family photos, albums, personalized mugs, slippers and bath oils?

Here are some gift giving suggestions to get you started. Those gift ideas are perfect for any occasion.

Independence is a thing that seniors – and everyone, for that matter – really tend to value very highly. Maintaining independence promotes a sense of achievement that for many older people generates a great sense of self-worth and well-being.

The key to maintaining a senior’s independence is to keep them safe and one of the basic areas of safety is their home. This makes assistive devices very good gift ideas.

 

 

 

For the Bathroom 

 

 

For seniors who have difficulty bending or limited mobility due to an injury, the bathroom is probably the most dangerous room of the house. Bathroom accessories, like bathtub grips, can provide a sense of security when using the shower and would be really appreciated. Make sure to offer to help install these handles for them.

There are several types of grips you can get, but probably some of the best ones are those that lock over the side of the bathtub. Unlike other grab bars that use suction cups for attachment, the ones that clamp into the bathtub wall will not slip out of position.

 

 

 

Example: This Medline Bathtub Bar locks to the side of the tub

 

 

 

For the Kitchen

 

While the kitchen is often referred to as the “heart of the house,” it can be a very dangerous place for our aging loved–ones. While cooking fires happen to all people of all ages, older adults have a higher risk of injury from these, in part, due to the fact that their responses and physical abilities diminish as they grow older. In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), people over the age of 65 have a 2.5 times greater risk of dying in a kitchen fire than the general population.

Cooktops and ranges are most frequently implicated in kitchen accidents. Elderly people are more likely to forget to turn burners off after removing pans, leave food unattended on the burner or lose track of cooking times. Others that have arthritis or Parkinson’s disease can easily spill food and ignite a fire.

This makes an induction cooktop another practical gift idea for seniors who say they don’t want anything. The elderly or disabled will really appreciate the safety factor of induction cooking since there are no open flames and nothing will catch on fire. With induction cooking there is no direct heating of the cooktop surface.

Only the pot gets hot, so spilled food will never burn. This also makes it very easy to clean. Another big plus – these cooktops cook faster than gas and electric cooktops, which saves energy and money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Organizing Medications

 

An inexpensive way to help an older person remain healthy and independent is to support them in taking their medication every day. Managing medications can be a challenge for many old people, especially when certain prescriptions must be taken at specific times during the day. This task can be even more daunting for people with multiple diseases who often end up taking multiple medications at the same time. The more drugs they use, the more likely they are not to remember to take them.

One gift that can help simplify medication management, giving peace of mind and maximizing independence, is a pill organizer. They come in a variety of styles, from daily to monthly storage options, and variety of sizes.

Ask your elderly parents or find out how many pills they need to take and look for an organizer that has compartments big enough for them. Also, find a pill organizer that is easy to open, because many older people struggle with so-called “child proof” tops.

The MedCenter 31 Day Pill Organizer with Reminder System is a great option, because you need to set it up for them only once a month. It can also be combined with a reminder system, to make sure your older parents are taking their pills on time. The reminder system is a talking alarm clock that is easy to read even with impaired eyesight and easy to hear even with hearing problems. It also gives people, whose memories may not be what they used to be, useful reminders of what date and day of the week is.

 

 

 

Help With Groceries

 

An interesting gift option for elderly people who have everything is a voice-activated grocery and errand list organizer. Sometimes people forget things, like what they wanted to buy from the store, end up with a diet that resembles the worst of hospital food – microwave meals and frozen foods. An organizer like that can be very helpful.

The Smart Shopper Grocery List Organizer is a device that records your items, sorts them into separate categories and then prints a paper list that you take with you to the store. A person simply has to press a button and say what they need to purchase.

The sorting option can be very useful for seniors, because everything they need from each area in the grocery store will be grouped together and they won’t need to aimlessly wander the isles to find an item. Another handy feature is its magnetic back, which allows to keep the organizer on the fridge door.

The device has almost 2500 items in its database, but there are not all just grocery items. There are many errand items such as: Gas Station, Pay Bills, Dentist, FedEx, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Cooked Meals

 

Home-cooked meals are so appreciated by older people who live alone or in an assisted living facility. Prepare several of their favorite meals and freeze them in portions so they can take them out easily and only have to re-heat them. If your grandparents live relatively close to you, you can make a gift certificate inviting them for one dinner a month at your home for a year. Offer to pick them up and drive them home, too!

Have some disposable take-out containers on hand, so they don’t have to worry about washing or returning your casserole dishes.

 

 

 

Better Sleep

 

Quality sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being. In fact, sleep is as essential as food, and creating healthy sleeping patterns is just as important as eating right. Unfortunately, some of the most common problems the older generation experience are insomnia and sleep issues. An awesome gift that can help them deal with sleep disorders is a Sleep Sound Machine. Those machines play calming nature sounds that help people fall asleep faster, relax, or just block out distracting noises.

Since audio quality is very important part of masking distracting sounds, it is better to get a sleep machine with really good speakers. One such machine is Sound+Sleep High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine. In fact, Sleep+Sounds has all of the features you could possibly want in a sound machine – 30 rich and immersive non-repeating sound environments, adaptive Sound listens to your environment and responds instantly by adjusting audio volume, front panel lighting automatically dims for distraction-free rest, and a sleep timer.

This machine is also tiny and light, meaning that seniors can take it with them whenever they visit family or go on holidays.

 

 

 

For Mood and Well-Being

 

Older people, and those who are homebound or bed-ridden, sometimes don’t get outside enough and don’t get exposed to enough natural light, which can disrupt their sleep-wake cycle. If you are looking for a good, useful gift for an elderly parent or grandparent like that, consider getting them a light therapy lamp, such as the SunTouchPlus Lamp from Nature Bright.

These lamps mimic the brightness of the sun, stimulating the body’s production of vitamin D, and thus, boosting mood and well-being. In a way, they work like antidepressants, but without the side effects of the medications. They can also help those who suffer from winter blues, which makes them great gifts for Christmas, too.

When you look for a light therapy lamp, you need to make sure it emits 10,000 lux of light. “Lux” is a measurement of the intensity of light and 10,000 lux is the optimum light level that best mimics natural outdoor light. This means that it can be used for shorter time periods than a lamp that is not as bright. For comparison, the light on a typical, overcast day can be between 1,000 and 2,000 lux and on a very bright, sunny day – between 32,000 and 100,000 lux.

If you find a product that offers intensities higher than 10,000 lux, you should know that intensities higher than 10,000 lux have not been studied for safety or efficacy.

 

 

 

 

Healthy Food Delivery

 

All of us would like to have our parents and grandparents around as long as we possibly can, so a healthy food delivery is another excellent gift choice. Sign your grandparents or elderly parents up for a food delivery membership, for example, and every month they will receive a package of the best orchard-fresh fruit of each season. It will not only make you happy to know that they will have something healthy to eat delivered every month, but you will be amazed how much your grandmother or grandfather will love this gift idea. Depending on their tastes, you can also sign them up for a cheese club, coffee or tea club of the month.

 

Examples:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, this is neat …   Old Time Candy Company sells nostalgic candy from eras past: you can select the decade you grew up in and purchase the candy you remember having as a kid!  It’s a real trip!

 

 

Candy you ate as a kid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memory Journals

 

Grandparents love to be sentimental and brag about their kids and grandkids, and when a holiday comes around, they often get overloaded with framed family photos and albums. Although seniors love receiving these photos, they probably have enough already and will enjoy getting a different sentimental gift.

A nice way to express your love for them is to show interest in their life’s journey. Give them a memory journal, for example. A memory journal is a book that contains all kind of memory-jogging questions about person’s life, and makes it easy for a senior to write his or her life story by answering those questions right in the book. This is a great way for them to record their life stories and pass them to the next generations.

 

 

Some good memory journals that will make fantastic gifts are:

 

Story of My Life

Memories for My Grandchild: A Keepsake to Remember

Grandma Tell Me Your Story

Grandfather Remembers

 

 

 

 

Shopping Cart with Seat

 

Whether they are making a trip to the corner store, the farmers market, carrying stuff to friends’ house or waiting in line at the pharmacy to fill a prescription, a senior will appreciate the convenience of a carrying cart with a built-in seat.

 

Such a cart would also be a very nice gift idea for anyone who lives in a crowded urban area and uses public transportation when grocery shopping or enjoys going to local street fairs or other events where seating is limited.

There are many carts on the market.  This Trolly Dolly Stair-Climbing Foldable Handcart with Built-in Seat is a nice choice;  its rubber wheels have a large arc triangular support, and its a sturdy cart made or steel pipe.  The seat can support 300 lbs, and it has a non-slip hands and waterproof, odor-free fabric.

 

Folds Easily into a Compact Design

 

Strong, Comfortable Seat – 300 lb Capacity

 

Handy Step For Reaching High Items

 

 

 

Massage Pillow

 

Elderly people often suffer from a variety of age-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes or heart disease. As a result, they have poor circulation and limited physical capability. Massage can help them relieve muscle pain, joint stiffness, poor blood circulation and even mental stress.

If your elderly parents or grandparents suffer from back aches and neck pains, then a massage pillow would be an amazing gift for them.

One massage pillow worth considering is the Etekcity Shiatsu Massager. This pillow reliefs pain using Shiatsu massage technique. Shiatsu (meaning “finger pressure”) is a form of massage that originated in Japan and applies gentle but firm pressure with the thumbs, hands, knees and elbows to different points on the body.

The pillow uses 4 rotating balls to provide deep-kneading motion, and heating elements to relax the muscles even further. The rotating balls do a pretty good job of simulating the kneading fingers of a professional massage therapist.

Because of its compact size, the Etekcity Shiatsu Massager pillow can apply concentrated pressure to specific areas of the body like the neck, shoulders, lower back, feet, calves etc., which are problematic areas for many people. Another excellent aspect of this massage pillow is its portability. It can be used almost anywhere – on different types of chairs, sofas and car seats.

 

 

 

Hobby Baskets

 

Many older people have hobbies they love. Do a little snooping to find out what the senior on your gift list enjoys making. You might find a gift idea or two.

If grandma likes crafts, put together a nice gift basket with a hot glue gun, scissors, glue sticks, and other crafting supplies that she can use in different projects.

You can do the same for your grandpa and his favorite hobbies. 

 

If they are not really able to enjoy active hobbies anymore (like fishing or golfing), get them a subscription to a related magazine so they can read about them.

 

Some Magazine Ideas:

 

 

 

 

 

Encouraging grandparents to take up new hobbies, or revisit old ones, can improve their quality of life.

 

 

For Gardening

 

For those seniors who still have access to a vegetable or flower garden, yard or patio, useful gardening accessories can make fantastic gifts.

 

Some Ideas:

 

Garden kneelers can prevent knee-pain while weeding.

 

Example: Ohuhu Garden Kneeler and Seat with Bonus Tool Pouch

 

 

 

 

Ergonomic gardening tools, including clippers, are easier for older hands to use.

Example: UKOKE Ergonomic Garden Tool Set for Men and Women

 

 

 

Comfortable gardening gloves and gardening clogs can extend the time spent in the garden.

Meadow Design (5)

These attractive Meadow Design Gardening Clogs by Backdoor Shoes have an extra comfortable arch support.

 

 

Lightweight hoses are easier to coil up and put away.

 

 

Plant markers and packs of seeds are always appreciated!

 

 

And speaking of seeds, this White Mountain Garden Seeds Puzzle is a stunning vintage montage.  It 1,000 extra large pieces; a puzzle lover who gardens would surely enjoy it!

 

This White Mountain Garden Seeds Puzzle is gorgeous! It includes 1,000 extra large pieces.

 

 

If your parents or grandparents are retired farmers, who always obsess over the weather because it dominates their livelihood, or if they’re simply weather buffs, they will probably be happy to receive something useful, like a remote rain gauge, as a gift. It is a handy unit that can help them with their garden irrigation needs without getting wet or simply help them stay on top of the local weather situation.

 

A very cool gift for the weather buff – This Ambient Weather WIFI Observer Solar-Powered Wireless WiFi Remote Monitoring Weather Station also has Solar Radiation and UV indicators.

 

 

Even a very simple gift, such as boot jack (or boot remover), can be really useful for gardeners, farmers and those who live in rural areas. The elderly will find this little gadget handy for slipping off their boots or shoes before entering the house.

 

 

For Watching TV

 

Watching television and movies can be such a pleasure as we get older. For older people who live with others, however, it can be difficult to negotiate a volume that works for everyone. An excellent gift that will allow people with hearing loss to listen at their own volume without disturbing anyone else is a TV listening device.

 

 

There are a number of TV listening devices on the market that can help an elderly person hear the TV better, but the best options available today are the wireless radio frequency systems. There are others that use infrared technology instead of radio frequency, but they have a drawback that can be very annoying. An infrared signal is “line of sight,” which means a person needs to be in front of the transmitter, with nothing in the way, in order to hear the TV properly. If they turn their head to the side, to look out of the window, for example, they will lose the audio for a second. In comparison, a radio frequency signal can transmit through walls or obstructions.

The Unisar TV listening devices are some of the best options, because they use wireless radio frequency digital technology (mono or stereo), which means that a person can walk into another room and will still be able to hear the TV. Another useful feature that a senior would appreciate in these devices is the built-in microphone that amplifies the sounds around you, thus, allowing them to also hear conversations in the room.

 

 

 

Brain Training Games

 

Brain-training games are great gifts for elderly people. Just as everyone can benefit from exercising their body, brain training can help seniors improve their memory, awareness, reasoning, and other cognitive skills. Whether these games delay dementia is still unclear, but constant brain challenges are certainly better than just watching TV.

 

Some Examples:

 

Brain Games® #1: Lower Your Brain Age in Minutes a Day (Brain Games (Numbered))

Brain Games® #1: Lower Your Brain Age in Minutes a Day

 

 

 

Home Satellite Radio

 

 

A nice gift idea for an older couple that lives in the suburbs, or in an isolated rural community, is a home satellite radio and SiriusXM subscription. They usually don’t have as many choices, in terms of radio channels, as people living in big cities. With a home satellite radio they can enjoy tons of channels with, sports, news, talk radio, or their favorite music, especially if they spend a lot of time at home.

 

 

 

Other Inexpensive and Useful Gifts

Some people may feel that gift vouchers are impersonal, but older generations welcome them with open arms. They are useful and most importantly, they are clutter-free gifts. If you have grandparents or elderly parents who are on a fixed income, get them pre-paid cards for their favorite restaurant or for the grocery store.

Do a little snooping to find out what your elderly relative enjoys and uses the most. Many businesses that you may not expect to do in fact offer gift certificates, including:

  • Veterinarians
  • Pharmacies
  • Hair salons
  • Pet food stores

 

 

Some Examples:

 

 

 

 

When All Else Fails

 

battery charger

grocery delivery

prescription pick-up

paying a utility, newspaper or cable bill

breakfast or lunch in a restaurant

take their car for a wash and wax

pay someone to do their yard work

pay someone to clean their house

 

 

Some Easy-to-Arrange Ideas:

You will find some  great service gift ideas from Amazon Home Services.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

 

Nail Fungus Laser Therapy Guide

Nail Fungus Laser Therapy Guide

 

 

 

Nail fungus, particularly in the toenails, is a common malady among older persons and laser therapy is being used as a treatment but is it worth it?

 

Dermatologist B.E. Elewski says that merely being over 60 years of age is a risk factor for this type of fungus. It is wise for elderly persons to use effective treatments, including new therapies that appear promising. Is laser therapy for toenail fungus one of the promising treatments?

There are many traditional treatments for nail fungus including oral and topical anti-fungal treatments.  In addition, the affected part of a nail or the whole nail plate can be removed surgically and rapidly as an outpatient procedure.

These traditional treatments have potential side effects. Oral medications can cause upset stomachs and even liver damage, according to the Mayo Clinic. They are not always effective in elder persons. Topical ointments may take months to work. Removal of the nail or a portion is painful and takes a long time for growth of the nail. Recurrence and reinfection are common.

Laser treatment of nail fungus, which was approved by the FDA in 2010, penetrates the nail plate and kills fungi underneath. Advocates of laser therapy for toenail fungus say the procedure is fast, painless and brings quick results. But scientists do not agree.

 

The Disappointing Truth:  Nail Fungus Laser Treatment is Ineffective

 

Becker and Bershow reviewed the scientific studies of laser therapy for toenail fungus and found no effective results in randomized, controlled, clinical trials. In addition, the therapy was not painless and recurrence of fungal infection was high.

However, the authors of the literature review acknowledged that reinfection is so common with nail fungus that it is possible that reinfection, not recurrence of the original infection, was responsible for the unpersuasive results.

Another study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, noted that laser treatment did not produce a cure when tested on humans with toenail fungus. The researchers noted that only one kind of laser light was tested. Nevertheless, they stated about their results: “In vivo treatment did not result in onychomycosis cure” meaning that the testing of laser treatment on human patients did not produce a toenail fungus cure. (see sources below)

 

Nail Fungus Laser Therapy is Expensive, Elective and Cosmetic

 

Another detriment of nail fungus laser therapy is cost. The expense is usually not covered by insurance because toenail fungus is deemed a cosmetic issue, not a serious health matter. Treatment is elective and based more on the appearance of the feet than an actual health threat. The cosmetic side of nail fungus is perturbing to those who have it. Symptoms of nail fungus include distortion of the nail surface, including a brittle or ridged appearance, discoloration of the nail surface (usually a dull yellow color) and brittle-looking or crumbling nails. But it is rarely a dangerous condition.

Until laser therapy passes more randomized, controlled, clinical tests elderly patients may wish to forego the expense. Although laser therapy for nail fungus may be the wave of the future, at this time it has not proven effective. Scientists recommend traditional treatments as they have proven to be more effective.

 

 

 

So What Can You Do to GET RID OF IT?!

 

Doctors will often recommend Oral antifungal drugs

Studies show the most effective treatments are terbinafine (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox). These drugs help a new nail grow free of infection, slowly replacing the infected part.

You typically take this type of drug for six to 12 weeks. But you won’t see the end result of treatment until the nail grows back completely. It may take four months or longer to eliminate an infection.

Treatment success rates with these drugs appear to be lower in adults over age 65. And treatment success seems to improve when you combine oral and topical antifungal therapies.

Oral antifungal drugs may cause side effects ranging from skin rash to liver damage. You may need occasional blood tests to check on how you’re doing with these types of drugs. Doctors may not recommend them for people with liver disease or congestive heart failure or those taking certain medications.

 

For more severe cases, there are surgical and other treatments such as Nail removal. If your nail infection is severe or extremely painful, your doctor may suggest removing your nail. A new nail will usually grow in its place. But it will come in slowly and may take as long as a year to grow back completely. Sometimes surgery is used in combination with ciclopirox to treat the nail bed.

 

In my research for a better option, I came across a natural product called Zane Hellas Fungus Stop Anti fungal Nail Solution, which really stood out among the many remedies marketed to toenail fungus sufferers. 

Fungus Stop is made in Greece by a company called Zane Hellas, and is the #1 bestseller in Nail Fungus Treatments on Amazon, with numerous positive testimonials and photos included in its over 1,500 customer reviews, which simply wouldn’t be possible with an ineffective product.

 The main active ingredient in Fungus Stop is Carvacrol. Carvacrol is an ingredient found in the highest content in Oregano Oil and is completely natural.

Carvacrol  has very strong antifungal properties and can completely eradicate toenail fungus.

Used since ancient times and there are many published scientific medical studies on the properties and effectiveness of Carvacrol Oregano Oil.

 

  • Fungus Stop also contains Vitamin E and Vitamin C to nourish the skin and nails.
  • Fungus Stop produces fast results in the appearance and color of the nails.
  • Treatment can be completed only in 4 Weeks with this highly effective maximum strength solution.
  • Fungus Stop is Clinically Proven and formulated at Therapeutic Grade strength.
  • Fungus Stop kills 99.9% of Nail Fungus.
  • 100% Natural Herb Ingredients

 

 

Who Should Use Fungus Stop?

 

Fungus Stop is an Antifungal, suitable for Toenail Fungus, Athletes Foot, Bacterial Infections and Parasites Problems.  If you are diabetic and think you may be developing toenail fungus, see your doctor first, as diabetic foot problems may be more serious.

 

 

What’s In Fungus Stop?

 

  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Wild Essential Oregano Oil ( non GMO- 100% Organic & Wild)
  • Organic Almond Oil (From Real Almond Seeds)
  •  Organic Essentila Tea Tree Oil
  • Organic Calentula Oil,Organic Avocado Oil
  • Made in Greece

 

 

How Do I use Fungus Stop?

 

Brush Fungus Stop on to your nail (around and under nails), once a day for 4 weeks . Heat sensation is normal.

Wait 5-7 minutes until absorbed. Do not wash your feet or hands for 5-7 minutes.

During this time avoid the hand contact with eyes.

If the fungal infection it is on your toenails put clean socks.

Stop use if irritation occurs or there is no improvement within 4 weeks. Do not use on broken skin or any other foot conditions.

 

 

When to See a Doctor

 

You may want to see a physician if Fungus Stop hasn’t helped. Also, as previously mentioned, be sure to see a doctor if you have diabetes and think you’re developing nail fungus.

 

How Do I keep Toenail Fungus From Coming Back?

 

  • Wash your hands and feet regularly and keep your nails short and dry. Wash your hands and feet with soap and water, rinse, and dry thoroughly, including between the toes. Trim nails straight across and file down thickened areas.
  • Wear anti-fungal socks that absorb sweat. Fabrics effective at wicking away moisture include wool, nylon and polypropylene. Change your socks often, especially if you have sweaty feet.
  • Choose shoes that reduce humidity. It also helps to occasionally take off your shoes or wear open-toe footwear.
  • Discard old shoes. If possible, avoid wearing old shoes, which can harbor fungi and cause a reinfection. Or treat them with disinfectants or antifungal powders.
  • Wear rubber gloves. This protects your hands from overexposure to water. Between uses, turn the gloves inside out to dry.
  • Don’t trim or pick at the skin around your nails. This may give germs access to your skin and nails.
  • Don’t go barefoot in public places. Wear sandals or shoes around pools, showers, and locker rooms.
  • Choose a reputable nail salon. Make sure the place you go for a manicure or pedicure sterilizes its instruments. Better yet, bring your own and disinfect them after use.
  • Give up nail polish and artificial nails while you are treating nail fungus. Although it may be tempting to hide nail fungal infections under a coat of pretty pink polish, this can trap unwanted moisture and worsen the infection.
  • Wash your hands after touching an infected nail. Nail fungus can spread from nail to nail.

 

Toenail Fungal infections of the nails can be a persistent and sometimes embarrassing problem, and occasionally can become painful. 

If you suspect you are developing toenail fungus, I recommend that you begin a treatment with Fungus Stop right away, and give it a good 4 weeks.

See your doctor if you are diabetic, or if you don’t see any improvement within a few weeks of using the product. 

With time and consistency, you will very likely be able to cure your toenail fungus yourself, so be patient and apply the treatment daily.

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided some helpful information about getting rid of toenail fungus; it’s much easier to do these days than most people think.

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

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Sources

Becker, C., Bershow, A. (September 14, 2013). Lasers and photodynamic therapy in the treatment of onychomycosis–a review of the literature. Dermatology Online Journal, 19(9): 19611. Available online at http://escholarship.org/uc/item/0js6z1kw. Accessed March 10, 2017.

Carney, C., Cantrell, W., Warner, J., Elewski, B. (October 2013). Treatment of onychomycosis using a submillisecond 1064-nm neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 69(4): 578–582. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2013.04.054.

Elewski, B. E. (July 1998). Onychomycosis: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Management. Clinical Microbiology Review, 11(3): 415-429. Available online at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88888/. Accessed February 17, 2017.

Great Neck Family Foot Care. (February 24, 2017). Safe & Effective Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus. Available online at http://greatneckfamilyfootcare.com/2017/02/safe-effective-laser-treatment-toenail-fungus/. Accessed March 10, 2017.

Mayo Clinic. Nail Fungus. Available online at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/basics/symptoms/con-20019319. Accessed February 17, 2017.

O’Connor, A. (March 14, 2014). Laser Treatments for Toenail Fungus. Ask Well. New York Times. Available online at  https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/14/ask-well-laser-treatments-for-nail-fungus/?_r=0. Accessed March 10, 2017.

Are Genetic Testing Services Worth It?

Are Genetic Testing Services Worth It?

 

 

Thinking about using a DNA sample to look at your heritage

—and predict your future?

 

 

Only a few short years ago, services like Ancestry.com and 23andMe that allow you to submit a saliva or tissue sample to find out where your ancestors came from was the stuff of science fiction.  The thought of sending a genetic simple to a company like Ancestry.com and receiving a detailed report on your genetic background—including a very detailed discussion of what part of the globe your forebears hailed from.

Yet today, Ancestry DNA and 23andMe have advanced these concepts to a point where they are both scientifically possible and economically feasible. Depending on what you are trying to do, and depending on the service you choose, it is possible to begin delving into your genetic background for as little as a few hundred dollars. Those wishing for a much more detailed look at their genes can anticipate paying upwards of $2,000; however, most people do not need the level of detail that such a and analysis would bring, and are able to achieve their goals for less than $200.

This is the world of genetic mapping: the practice of using a DNA sample to look at your heritage—and predict your future. If you are considering using a genetic mapping service, here is some more information that you may find to be useful.

 

How Does Genetic Mapping Work?

 

Of course, the number of laboratories and companies offering genetic mapping services is almost limitless and growing by the day. As technology continues to advance, making genetic mapping more feasible, more and more companies are offering this service—in one form or another—available to the public.

Ancestry.com, just as other services do, will request that you provide a sample of your DNA. This is usually done by placing saliva in a tube, then sealing it and mailing it to the lab. Other DNA samples that are commonly requested include a cotton swab of the cheek and gums or a small blood sample. Regardless of the specific type of sample, the process is essentially the same: a home collection kit is mailed to the consumer, who then collects the sample and returns it through the mail. This process is convenient, fast, and simple.

Once the genetic mapping company obtains the sample, it runs one or more of a number of tests on it. The results of the tests are then compiled into a report and sent back to the consumer. Reports can be as specific as testing for a few identified conditions, or as general as a lengthy list of various conditions and diseases, along with the consumer’s propensity for developing each.

In the case of genetic mapping that is used for other purposes—such as discovering one’s ethnic background—the reports may contain information setting out the consumer’s genetic makeup and ethnic background by percentage (for example, 62% Eastern European, 17% Southeast Asian, and 11% Northern African).

 

 

 

Why Would You Want to Map Your Genes?

 

Family Tree Testing Kit

 

Of course, there can be any number of reasons for using such a service, depending on what it is that the consumer is interested in. These services can be a valuable part of one’s preventive healthcare strategy, or can simply be an interesting source of information.

 

WalkInLab.com

 

In the case of genetic mapping reports that pertain to medical conditions or disease susceptibility, many people find them to be helpful in order to alert them to specific areas of concern. By identifying those diseases or conditions to which they are more likely to be susceptible, the genetic mapping process allows them to take preventive steps and enact rigorous monitoring procedures in order to minimize the likelihood that they will actually develop the conditions or diseases.

In the case of genetic mapping that is used to uncover one’s heritage, consumers who are seeking to find their roots may find the tests to be a valuable part of their efforts. Additionally, they can be used to assist in narrowing down a search for relatives, particularly in cases where someone was adopted at birth and is seeking to reconnect to his or her blood relations.

Sometimes, using a genetic mapping service is simply a way to help build a connection with someone else. For example, if you spend a lot of time with an elderly friend or relative, you may find that obtaining a genetic map of each person’s background gives you both something to talk about and explore together.

Other people simply want to be alerted as to any potential anomalies in their genetic makeup. For example, they may want to know if they have a certain gene mutation that would cause them to be more likely to fall prey to a certain fate—even if they have no blood relatives with a similar condition.

Whatever the specific reason for using a genetic mapping service, given the ease with which a genetic report may be obtained, along with the relatively lower cost of doing so, many people choose to obtain at least a cursory report on their overall genetic picture. Sometimes they do it for no other reason than because it is interesting and fun to do so.

A simple Internet search of genetic mapping services will return pages of results. With so many companies offering genetic mapping, it can be challenging to determine which one best suits your needs. As with so many other things, the answer is that it depends on what you are looking for.

 

 

Ancestry DNA

Many have used Ancestry.com to trace their ancestors and to utilize the rich hints that can make building a family tree much easier. But now, AncestryDNA also offers genetic tracking by using a “microarray-based autosomal DNA testing” matching a person’s entire genome from over 700,000 locations.  

The result will include information about your ethnicity across 26 regions/ethnicities and will identify potential relatives through DNA matching to others who have taken the AncestryDNA test.  It will disclose if you are partially Native American but the results cannot be used as a substitute for legal documentation.

 

 

 

23andMe

 

A company similar to Ancestry.com that combines both the ancestry and health concern tests is 23andMe. This business offers a basic test and a test with a more detailed report.

Similar to many of the other tests, it starts with a saliva sample.

Using the 23andme test provides consumers with a detailed report that provides a breakdown of their ethnicity by percentage, and can help them to determine their lineage going back as far as 1000 years. Those who opt-in are afforded the opportunity to connect with other people who share their DNA, making it possible to find blood relatives. This last option can be particularly useful to people who have been adopted and who are searching to discover their roots.

On the health risks screening front, 23andMe offers a test that screens consumers for a genetic propensity towards a number of potential conditions. These may be conditions that the consumers are more susceptible to, or it may be conditions for which consumers are carriers—meaning that they themselves don’t suffer from the condition, but they have the potential to produce offspring who would, under certain circumstances.

Other tests offered by this company include health and well-being issues (such as lactose intolerance—something that is not dangerous in and of itself, but can impact one’s well-being), genetic traits (such as the likelihood of developing male pattern baldness), and more.

 

Other Genetic Mapping Services

 

MyHeritageDNA

 

 

MyHeritageDNA provides two fascinating types of results:

Ethnicity Estimate: A percentage breakdown of your ancestral background, showing your ancestors’ origins from among 42 ethnicities, including Irish, Italian, North African, Japanese, East Asian, and many others. MyHeritage has the largest pool of supported ethnicities in the industry.

DNA Matching: This powerful feature uses your DNA to help you find new relatives from all around the world. Your matches, from both your mother’s and father’s side, will include information about your shared genetic sequences, and identify your estimated relationship.

 

 

 

 

GPS Origins

 

 

GPS Origins boasts the most complete DNA Ancestry results, with a new ancestral tracking technique that can pinpoint your ancestry down to the nearest town or village!  GPS Origins analyzes 800,000 genetic markers, 862 reference populations and 36 gene pools.

 

 

 

Colors BRCA Test

 

 

The Colors BRCA Test allows women to test their genetic risk for breast and ovarian cancer, by testing the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

These tests are physician ordered, and Colors will connect you with an independent physician who can order the testing on your behalf, if appropriate.

Your test result includes access to professional genetic counselors can help explain how your results may impact you. 

You can then take your clinical grade report to your healthcare provide, who can help you make a plan that reduces your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.  I noticed that the Colors BRCA Test has particularly positive reviews from nearly every user.

While this test is probably of more interest to women, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations can impact certain male cancer risks as well:

Things You Should Consider About Genetic Testing

 

Of course, as with any new technology, there are considerations with genetic mapping that many people may not have encountered before. By being aware of these issues, you can go into your genetic mapping with your eyes open.

First, genetic mapping is not always 100% accurate. There exists the potential that a certain test will return a false positive—or a false negative—for a given condition. As such, you should not panic if your genetic mapping report suggests a high likelihood of developing a certain condition or contracting a certain disease. Instead, you should take it with a grain of salt and use the genetic mapping report as a basis from which to investigate further.

Another thing of which you should be aware is that some experts have criticized the validity of many of the genetic mapping tests in use today. While it is certainly possible to evaluate a given individual’s genes and use them to form a relatively accurate picture of his or her potential for developing certain conditions, the fact of the matter is that some of the tests in use simply do not have the accuracy and reliability of other, more expensive, tests.

Another thing to consider is the potential for the information gained from these tests to fall into the wrong hands. Given the current political climate in our country, it is impossible to determine if genetic mapping test results might one day be used by insurance companies to deny coverage—or charge higher premiums—to people who have been determined to be more likely to develop certain conditions. While some naysayers may say that this is an invasion of privacy and illegal, the unfortunate reality of our country is that laws frequently change to make the once-unthinkable a reality.

For this reason, if you are considering a genetic mapping test in order to discover whether you may be likely to develop certain conditions or diseases, you may wish to do it anonymously or pay attention to the privacy policies of the company selected. Ancestry.com devotes a significant amount of website space to discussing privacy.  Some genetic mapping companies will allow you to purchase the kit and submit it under a random number instead of using your name. By taking steps to prevent your identity from being associated with any one genetic mapping report, you can help protect against the eventuality that the information in the report might one day be used against you.

Finally, one last consideration is that genetic mapping tests—at least insofar as they are used to provide health condition information—frequently lacked any actionable information. For example, they may tell you that you’re more likely to develop a certain condition, but they may not be able to give you any advice as to what you could do about the situation.

While some conditions, such as adult-onset diabetes, can be proactively addressed through things such as a good diet and plenty of exercise, other conditions are simply out of your control. As such, discovering that you have a tendency to develop a certain condition could end up bringing an increased level of stress in your life as you grapple to deal with something over which you have absolutely no control.

Because of this, some people have opted to engage in all the preventive actions they can—such as eating well and exercising regularly—and forgo taking any genetic mapping test. Ultimately, whether knowing that one has a likelihood of developing a certain condition about which there is nothing he or she can do is something that would cause him or her undue duress or not is a choice that every person must make for himself or herself.

This is an interesting, but really complicated, look at the differences (and similarities!) between the Autosomal DNA Testing services.  The largest variation seems to be in the SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) which are the places in the genome where people differ.  For 1 out of every 1000, there is no difference.  Most of these SNPs don’t do very much, but some of them confer a risk of disease which can be very important.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Although there are some very significant considerations to keep in mind, most people find that genetic mapping tests are something that they feel are worthwhile. They can be fun and a great conversation started and a hobby of sorts especially if it is followed with building a family tree such as you can do through Ancestry.  Having the knowledge that you are or are not likely to develop certain conditions can help you in a number of ways, from making smart food choices to engaging in proactive estate planning.  But those considerations can be secondary when considering how much fun it is to know where your ancestors came from and whether it matches up with what you have been told your whole life. Understanding your ethnic and genetic background, and knowing where your ancestors come from is something that many people find both fascinating and worthwhile.

Overall, genetic mapping is a wonderful way to quickly and easily find out more about yourself, your loved ones, and the world in which you live.

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided some practical, empowering information. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

WalkInLab.com

 

 

 

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How to Cook for a Chemo Patient

How to Cook for a Chemo Patient

 

 

 

 

By Chef Ryan Callahan

 

The scariest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life was be the caregiver for my mother while she went through cancer treatments.

 

Between the surgical reconstructions and the effects both short term and long term of chemotherapy, it was a hard and grueling battle the whole way. No amount of preparation or reading or support groups could have prepared me for what it is like to watch your loved one be torn apart, stitched back together, and then have a series of chemical bombs dropped on them.

 

With all that being said, there are many things that you can do to make your loved ones battle with cancer easier for both of you and improve their quality of life in the process. The aspect of what I focus on is the cooking and eating portion of caregiver life.

 

Eating is not just an important part of existing, it is also an extremely important part of feeling happy and healthy. During chemotherapy, my mother had extreme difficulty dealing with loss of appetite, metallic tastes, mouth sores, and nausea.

 

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

 

Cooking for Chemo Tip #1: Hydration

 

 

Ingest lots of fluids! Dehydration is no joke! Water regulates many functions of your body including digestion, muscle movement, and taste. There are many ways to get water into your body: sports drinks, soup, vegetables, fruits, food in general, or even drinking plain old water.

As a caregiver, it is our responsibility to monitor and regulate fluid intake. I would suggest keeping a food and water log. You are also responsible for encouraging your loved one to drink and eat more even when they don’t want to. I frequently encouraged my mom by saying, “Just one more bite. Just one more sip.”

 

 

Cooking for Chemo Tip #2: Roundness of Flavor

 

http://www.sensientflavorsandfragrances.com/images/uploads/float_images/International_Flavor.jpg

 

In short, this is the key to cooking for people going through chemotherapy. Roundness of Flavor is my personal culinary theory that encompasses every aspect of the actual tasting experience.

When you eat food, you experience food with all of your senses not just your mouth. Roundness of Flavor teaches you to find all five flavors (salty, savory, spicy, sour and sweet) and sensory experiences (touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing) and bring them into balance.

When your sense of taste and smell come out of balance, you have to find which aspect of the sense has come out of balance and compensate when you cook to bring balance back to your body.

 

For example, if you are extra salt sensitive during chemo you will reduce the salt content of a meal, but increase the savory or spicy characteristics to bring balance to your dish.

 

Example:   This McCormick Everyday Essentials Variety Pack is a convenient kitchen staple

 

As a caregiver, it is your responsibility to learn what flavors work for your loved one and what flavors do not and adjust accordingly. By catering your cooking to their specific taste and flavor changes, you will be able to help them eat more. This will also increase their quality of life.

 

 

 

Cooking for Chemo Tip #3: Palate Cleansing

 

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6164/6182287517_9003f05a66.jpg?timestamp=1487203200033

 

Palate Cleansing is a technique where you utilize a subtle and almost imperceptible sour note in your cooking to create the illusion of lightness inside of a dish.

Palate Cleansing is important because as chemotherapy side-effects become progressively stronger, chemo patients tend to have increasingly strong tastes of metal inside of their mouth. This metallic taste can become so strong that sometimes your loved ones will lose the ability to taste anything but metal.

Palate Cleansing is an easy-to-use cooking technique for waking up those taste buds and clearing out that metallic taste from your mouth. Palate Cleansing is also a great way to make heavier foods feel light in your mouth, allowing you to eat more nutrient dense dishes without feeling ill or disgusted while you eat them.

Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar to your meal as you are cooking it. Sour flavors should always be followed by equal parts sugar. Adding sugar after sour allows you to mask the actual sour flavor and smell of the vinegar while still allowing it to work its magic to rid your mouth of metallic tastes.

Remember, that is 1-2 tablespoons per entire dish not per serving. You can also cleanse your palate with fresh palate cleansing herbs like flat-leaf parsley, basil, and cilantro.

 

 

Cooking for Chemo Tip #4: Sanitation

 

http://www.howtoxp.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Sanitation-Of-Kitchen.jpg

 

 

If you prefer not to mix your own solution, try Clorox Bleach Floral Scent Kitchen Cleaner. I use this cleaner and find it more convenient and pleasant to use than a straight bleach and water combination.

Sanitation is the act of keeping your house, home, kitchen, and work space clean and disinfected from hazardous bacteria, viruses, and chemical contaminates.

The easiest way to ensure that your space is sanitized is by creating a bleach and water sanitizing solution.

The typical recipe is one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water. This is the cheapest and most cost effective way to sanitize any hard, non-porous surface. Because bleach comes in varying concentrations, check the back of bottle for each brands specific sanitizing recipe. What you want to do is make sure to clean and then wipe down every kitchen surface with this sanitizing solution before and after cooking.

Cross-contamination is the most common (but easiest to prevent) cause of food poisoning.

A perfect example of cross-contamination would be cutting chicken on a cutting board, not sanitizing, then chopping a salad on that same cutting board.

That is a guaranteed way to give your loved one food poisoning, which will bring along a whole host of additional problems.

 

 

Food Temperature

 

When we store food, we want to make sure that our refrigerator is at 40 degrees or lower and that our freezer is at 0 degrees. This will ensure minimal bacterial growth during the storage period.

The next thing is need to consider as far as temperature is concerned is the proper temperature to which foods are cooked. What this means for you is that you are going to need to get a food thermometer and take the temperature of all food before you serve it.

 

 

 

 

As a caregiver, you want to ensure that all foods are cooked to the well done temperature before serving.

By ensuring your food is cooked to proper temperature, it does two things:

1) It kills any harmful bacteria in the food and

2) Makes the food much easier to digest.

 

 

 

 

 

While being a caregiver can be scary, it truly is a rewarding experience. But, to be truly successful as a caregiver you will have to learn new skills and new information that you never thought that you would have to learn. The most important of these skills, is learning the difference between cooking and cooking for chemotherapy.

 

By Chef Ryan Callahan

 

 

 

Chef Ryan Callahan is a culinary industry veteran with over 15 years of hands on culinary experience.

 

 

 

Chef Ryan’s cookbook, Cooking for Chemo …and After!, is a 2016 Gourmand Award winning cookbook in the Health and Nutrition category.

 

 

His cookbook was created after spending a year as his mother’s caregiver while she went through cancer treatments.

 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Should You Buy an Electric Bike?

Should You Buy an Electric Bike?

 

 

Electric bikes sound space-age yet they’re simple in concept. These modern marvels are akin to your favorite two-wheelers and are equipped with battery-powered electric motors that help propel you, all or part of the time. E-bikes as they’re often called, are popular because they’re quiet, non-polluting, and can make cycling a lot more fun for a lot more people.

(Photo above: Cyclamatic CX2 Electric Foldaway Bike)

 

 

Electric Bikes Offer a Helping Hand

 

For example, they’re ideal if you’d appreciate a little boost when climbing hills, fighting headwinds and riding for transportation or distance. Commuters find that the motor provides enough extra oomph to eliminate sweating.

 

 

In fact they typically generate from 100 to 700 watts, which is a lot (750 watts is about one horsepower, 350 watts is the average a pro cyclist can sustain for an hour). So, you arrive at work calm, cool and collected. Plus, the motor makes it easier to carry the extra weight of your work clothes and lunch, laptop, cellphone, etc. ( photo right is of DJ Bikes’ Electric Bicycle )

 

 

 

Versatility

Electric bikes are wonderful for other uses, too. They’ll let you keep up so you can enjoy riding with a significantly fitter person. They’ll let you travel further with a lot less effort so you can consider biking places you used to drive to. And, they make it possible to do things you might not be able to without motorized assistance, for example, pulling a trailer with the kids or groceries in it. Once you go electric you’re sure to find that it makes your everyday life easier and more convenient.

 

No Special Requirements

Because electric bikes are classified as bicycles, no license, registration and insurance are required, saving you a bundle (and there are no gas costs and only cheap, basic maintenance needs). What’s more, these zippy (top assisted speed is about 18 mph) bikes let you sneak around traffic jams, are a breeze to park and the most common battery type used, Lithium Ion, can be recharged in a few hours so the bike’s always ready to roll. These advantages have prompted many city dwellers to buy battery bikes as a viable and hip transportation alternative to the automobile.

 

Great for Fitness and Fun

Don’t think that you won’t get any exercise buzzing around on your assisted steed, either. You’re repaid for pedaling with longer battery life (ingeniously, some models also use the energy produced by braking to recharge the battery). Plus, it feels great to pedal when it’s so easy to, so most e-riders actually pedal a lot. Some even ride their green machines as much for fun and staying in shape as they do for basic transportation. It’s nice knowing that you can head out to parts unknown unconcerned that you might tire out and not be able to pedal home. No worries. Just let the motor assist lend a helping hand!

 

Understanding the Different Types

 

There are two basic categories of electric two-wheelers:

 

Pedal assist (also called pedelec) is an electric bicycle on which you must pedal in order to use the motor. It’s just like a conventional bicycle except that there’s a motor that senses that you’re pedaling and kicks in to aid the pedaling effort. It feels like you have the best tailwind of your life on a permanent basis.  Example photo above is of the Onway City Electric Bicycle with Pedal Assist.

 

 

Power on command is an e-bike equipped with a motor controlled by a throttle. On these electrics, you don’t have to pedal to benefit from the motor. When you want power, just crank the throttle and away you go. You’ll be able to accelerate in the middle of a corner thus increasing traction. Of course, the less you pedal, the sooner you run out of juice in the battery. So, it’s best to help the motor by pedaling.

 

Example:  ANCHEER Electric Mountain Bike

 

Besides the motors, electric bikes usually come equipped with comfortable seats and handlebars, flat-resistant tires, wide-range gearing and quick-release seats for easy adjustment.

You’ll find other nifty features on some models such as fenders, removable batteries, anti-theft alarms, sturdy kickstands and built in locks and lighting systems. It’s also possible to add other accessories you like to your e-bike should you want a bell, mirror or back carriage rack and pack.

 

Example:  Utheing Universal Adjustable Back Carriage

 

 

Example:  Arltb Bike Rear Bag

 

 

If you already have a bicycle you like for getting around that you’d like to upgrade to electric power, you’ll be happy to hear that there are also electric-bike conversion kits available.

 

Example:  Esright Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit

 

 

Which E-Bike Type is Best?

 

Both types of e-bikes work great and the best way to choose is to check some out. Keep in mind that they’re essentially still basic bicycles, so the things you would consider when shopping for a standard bike apply when looking for an e-bike, too. For example, what kind of drive train do you want? If you ride long distances with hills, you’ll probably want a bike with more gears than someone who sticks to flat pavement and shorter routes.

Likewise, how much braking power do you want? If you ride in wet, sloppy conditions you’ll appreciate all-weather, low-maintenance disc brakes. If you prefer not to bike in bad weather, you’ll be fine with standard rim brakes.

Other considerations to think about include whether you want suspension to smooth rides and enhance your comfort, how much carrying capacity you need, whether you want maximum flat-tire resistance and on-road/off-road capacity out of your wheels and tires or lightness and agility for easier pedaling.

And, there are other intriguing options. We already mentioned electric-motor kits to motorize almost any bike. There are also folding e-bikes that make storage and parking easier and even let you collapse the bike for tossing it in the trunk of a car should you need to catch a ride home. Another interesting product is an electric trailer that actually pushes you along, a setup that lets you simply remove the trailer anytime you want to ride your bike without power.

 

Motor Matters

As you shop for your electric bike you’ll also find a wealth of technical information on motors. How much power do you need? Does it matter where the motor is located? Here’s some information to help you weigh the pros and cons.

 

Motor Location

Motor location varies widely and goes a long way toward determining how your electric bike rides. The motor and battery are relatively heavy components on a light bicycle, so their weight affects steering, cornering, acceleration and aerodynamics. The motor’s position relative to the drivetrain also affects what drivetrains can be used as well as their function. We’ve shown the placement and the pros and cons of common motor locations in the chart below.

 

Motor location pros and cons
    Pros Cons
Front motor Balances bicycle weight distribution between drivetrain and motor. Motor weight puts a strain on fork and head tube.
Compact motor form (in front hub).
Front wheel-drive traction.  
Mid-bike motor Puts weight just where you want it. Often requires a non-standard frame. This may look odd or require hard-to-find components if you need to repair anything.
Any drivetrain possible (allows internally geared hubs). May reduce available bottle mounts.
Doesn’t affect wheels, easier acceleration.  
Rear motor Allows regenerative braking. Bicycle weight placement favors a sitting position. Standing and high-speed cornering trickier.
Stable mount. Not compatible with internally geared hubs.


How Much Power?

How much power do you need? Will a 250-watt motor be underpowered? Do you need 700 watts? It’s important to realize that comparing watts is not necessarily comparing apples to apples. One manufacturer may list peak (maximum) wattage while another may list continuous (power consumption in a normal condition) wattage. More isn’t always 100% better.

What’s more, wattage isn’t torque. Without getting too scientific, we can explain torque as the amount of twisting force that your wheel applies to accelerate — it’s the amount of force that turns into acceleration. Wattage measures the amount of energy expended when velocity is held constant. This means that a bike with a lower wattage could provide more torque and thus feel faster and zippier than a bike with a slightly higher wattage (because the 20mph speed limit on electric power will eventually handicap the higher wattage motor). And neither consideration fully takes bike weight into account.

The takeaway is that you shouldn’t value a high-wattage engine over all other factors. Come in, test ride a few bikes and talk to us about which bike is right for you.

 

 

Electric Bike FAQ’s

 

Can I ride an e-bike in the rain?

Yes.  Electric bikes come waterproofed right from the factory. As long as you don’t submerge the whole bike in a lake, you won’t have a problem.

 

How fast can I go on an electric bike?

Most electric bikes have a top assisted speed of 18 to 22 mph. Above that speed, the electric shuts off.

 

Bike to work without even breaking a sweat!

 

How far can I go on one charge?

Electric bike range varies from 15 to 60 miles by model. How far you go on a single charge will also depend on your weight, the weight of your cargo, the terrain, and wind. How much you pedal and which power setting you use (if any) also affect range.

 

How much does it cost to operate an electric bike?

Based on the price of electric, it typically costs 6 to 14 cents a mile to charge and maintain. Compare that with a car at over 50 cents a mile.

 

Will a conventional bike keep me in better shape?

Yes — but only if you use it as much as the electric bike. Many e-bike users find that the electric’s benefit on hills and into wind eliminates their fear of riding and gets them out on the bike when they otherwise might not ride. Some are more fit because they ride more often. 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

 

To summarize, here’s why electric bikes have become so popular:

 

Getting Around Benefits

 

 

  • As a commuter, you won’t arrive to work sweaty and out of breath. You’ll arrive refreshed and relaxed with no need to shower or change clothes before work.

 

  • Parking becomes a breeze! You no longer have to circle the block in search of a spot or pay for expensive city parking. Simply lock your bike up and be on your way. Just one of the many benefits of electric bicycles!

 

  • No more waiting in traffic. Reduce stress and exposure to polluted air by not spending hours parked on the road!

 

  • Sometimes an electric bike can beat the speed of public transportation! This is a great alternative to your usual commute.

 

  • Wake up with a refreshing bike ride instead of a car ride that lulls you back to sleep. The fresh air will help you start your day off right!

 

 

Health Benefits

 

  • Even with the electric motor, you will become more active and achieve your fitness goals by manually pedaling when you can and switching to the electric motor when you are tired.

 

  • Rather than having a regular bike collect dust in your closet, you’ll find yourself looking forward to the next ride on an electric bike because of the reduced pain point of not having to always pedal.

 

  • Biking helps improve coordination! This keeps your mind sharp and can impact all areas of your life – from interaction with energetic, young loved ones to general physical ability.

 

  • Even if you haven’t ridden a bike in years, it’s a skill that is easily picked up again. The electric motor is there for you to rely on in challenging moments on the trail!

 

  • You’ll find yourself spending more time outdoors in the fresh air.

 

  • Your commute will be less stressful, resulting in a calmer beginning to your work day that will carry through until it’s time to bike home. The benefits of electric bicycles are endless!

 

Example:  the EVELO Luna is the classic cruiser bike, designed  to be perfect for more than just the beachfront boardwalk. The deep step-through frame provides super-easy on-and-off access, while the swept-back handlebars keep the rider in an upright sitting position. Its well-designed seat combines support with maximum comfort. It is popular with both men and women. The Luna has exceptional cargo capacity, an optional 500W motor, available fully automatic transmission. The Luna can take you just about anywhere!

 

 

Lifestyle Benefits

 

  • The convenience of the electric motor will encourage you to take longer, more daring bicycle trips without the consideration and fear in having to pedal all the way back.

 

  • Your average commute per day will only cost you around 5 – 8 cents. Over one month, that’s only $1 – $2!

 

  • If you have a car, you will put less wear and tear on it by driving it less in favor of cycling.

 

  • Take a weekend trip to the country or spend a day exploring.

 

  • Electric bikes make any sort of errand easy and quick. Take your child to school. Pick up groceries. Optional rack bags or a bike trailer provide all the carrying power you need.

 

 

  • Effectively flatten out hills with the help of the electric motor – just another one of the many benefits of electric bicycles!

 

  • If your significant other loves to cycle, but you find it hard to keep up, an electric bike helps you spend more quality time together.

 

Financial Benefits

 

  • Save money on gas

 

Video featuring the EVELO Luna:

 

 

 

So, should you buy an electric bike?  I think the answer is a resounding “yes”!  In fact, my husband and I are in the process of shopping for electric bikes, and we’ll be out enjoy the fresh air on them shortly. 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

The Best Elliptical Machines Reviewed

The Best Treadmills for Seniors Home Fitness

How to Choose the Right Diet Plan

Are Genetic Testing Services Worth It?

Natural, Effective Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction

The Healthiest Supplement Drinks for Seniors and Diabetics

The Secret to Protecting Your Eyesight

The Most Important Nutritional Supplements for Seniors – Review

Finding the Right Bathroom Scale for You

Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

Complete Guide to Foot Circulation Booster Machines

Mobility Scooter Buying Guide

Create Your Own Blog

About Me

Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

 

 

 

The more we learn about microbes, the more we find our health is tied to their well-being.

 

Each person carries more bacterial cells than human cells in their body, and the gut is especially rich in microscopic friends. While our understanding of just how these bacteria influence our health is still in early stages, it’s clear that the balance of communities in our system plays an important role.

A variety of fermented foods can help maintain that balance, but supplements are also a quick and easy way to get a decent dose of good bacteria. Follow this helpful guide to find out what you should be looking for in a supplement. And remember, always discuss with your doctor first before deciding to take a probiotic supplement.

 

Probiotics are the army of good bacteria keeping a balance with the natural occurring “bad” bacteria and yeast in our digestive system. If you’ve ever taken a biology or microbiology class, then you could guess how many different strains of bacteria there are in this word, let alone in your gut (it’s a lot by the way!).

Probiotics may be helpful for those suffering from allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cholesterol, blood pressure, lactose intolerance, chronic gut inflammation, bacterial overgrowths, h. pylori infections, diarrhea, constipation, eczema, and more.

 

Many things may affect gut function including diet, lifestyle, and stress. And if you’ve ever been on antibiotics for an extended period of time, your gut is most likely lacking the army of good bacteria. Antibiotics are anti-everything, including both the good and bad bacteria lining your gut.

 

 

 

 

Types of Probiotic Bacteria

 

 

Different bacterial strains have been studied in relation to helping ease or improve a certain disease/symptom, for example lactobacillus is one of the most well-known bacterias (which actually is just the genus, there are many varieties under this umbrella group, i.e. lactobacillus acidophilus). Other types of bacterias include saccharomyces boulardii, Enterococcus faecium, Streptococcus thermophilus, Leuconostoc, and Bifidobacteria. 

 

 

 

 

There are 500 to 1,000 different types of bacteria in your intestines amounting to trillions of microbes and all have their own role to play. Probiotic supplements contain a subset of bacteria believed to be helpful in nourishing key communities. Here are a few to look out for:

 

 

Lactobacillus:

This is a diverse family of bacteria, some of which are found in dairy products. Lactobacillus bulgaricus, acidophilus, gasseri, rhamnosus and casei are all species that have some research supporting their use.

 

Saccharomyces Boulardii:

This is a type of yeast that some research suggests may be helpful in some cases of diarrhea and other GI complaints.

 

Bacillus Coagulans:

Similarly to Lactobacillus, this is thought to be a member of naturally occurring good bacteria. More research needs to be done, but some studies indicate it may help with certain gastrointestinal illnesses and diseases.

 

Bifidobacteria:

Another intestine-dwelling bacteria that some studies are showing may be helpful for certain types of diarrhea and in conditions where the lining of the intestine and the bacterial communities that live there are damaged. The infantus kind is particularly helpful.

 

Streptococcus Thermophiles:

Unrelated to the Strep from “Strep throat,” this bacteria seems to work with Lactobacillus to produce helpful nutrients.

 

Probiotics in Food

 

Probiotics occur naturally in our digestive system already! They’re made from digesting the foods we eat. You can see how this can be an issue for those who don’t consume a diet high in whole foods and rely on the Standard American Diet for their nutrition.

Highly processed foods, ones that contain those antibiotics from meats and dairy (again I’m referring to those not produced on an actual farm with “farmer Joe” taking care of his animals), and foods lacking in fiber are just some ways our bodies aren’t primed for a healthy ecosystem.

 

 

Foods Rich in Probiotics

 

If you want to start consuming probiotic-rich foods, here is a list of the most beneficial probiotic foods:

 

1. Kefir

Similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of milk and fermented kefir grains. Kefir has been consumed for well over 3,000 years, and the term kefir was started in Russia and Turkey and means “feeling good.” 

Kefir is created by the fermentation of milk by the bacteria, and yeasts in kefir starter break down lactose in the milk. That’s why kefir is suitable for those who are otherwise lactose intolerant.

 It has a slightly acidic and tart flavor and contains anywhere from 10 to 34 strains of probiotics.  Kefir is similar to yogurt, but because it’s fermented with yeast and more bacteria, the final product is higher in probiotics.

 

 

 

 

2. Sauerkraut

 

 

 

Made from fermented cabbage and other vegetables, sauerkraut is not diverse in probiotics but is high in organic acids (what gives food its sour taste) that support the growth of good bacteria. Sauerkraut is extremely popular in Germany today.

Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C and digestive enzymes. It’s also a good source of natural lactic acid bacteria, such as lactobacillus.

Sauerkraut juice has been studied to benefit digestive issues like leaky gut, diarrhea and constipation, and is also effective at helping you kick a cold fast.

 

 

 

 

3. Kimchi

Kimchi is a cousin to sauerkraut and is the Korean take on cultured veggies. 

It’s created by mixing a main ingredient, such as Chinese cabbage, with a number of other foods and spices, like red pepper flakes, radishes, carrots, garlic, ginger, onion, sea salt and fish sauce. The mixture is then left aside to ferment for three to 14 days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Coconut Kefir

Made by fermenting the juice of young coconuts with kefir grains, this dairy-free option for kefir has some of the same probiotics as traditional dairy kefir but is typically not as high in probiotics. Still, it has several strains that are great for your health.

 

Coconut kefir has a great flavor, and you can add a bit of stevia, water and lime juice to it to make a great-tasting drink.

 

 

 

 

5. Natto

A popular dish in Japan consisting of fermented soybeans, natto contains the extremely powerful probiotic bacillus subtilis, which has been proven to bolster your immune system, support cardiovascular health and enhance digestion of vitamin K2.

Natto can also contain vitamin B12, which is lacking in vegan diets and is one of the highest plant-based sources of protein at 17.7 grams per 100-gram serving size.

 

 

 

 

6. Yogurt

 

Possibly the most popular probiotic food is live cultured yogurt or greek yogurt made from the milk of cows, goats or sheep.

Yogurt in most cases can rank at the top of probiotic foods if it comes from raw, grass-fed animals. The problem is there is a large variation on the quality of yogurts on the market today.

 

 

It’s recommend when buying yogurt to look for three things: First, that it comes from goat’s, sheep milk or A2 cows milk; second, that it’s grass-fed; and third, that it’s organic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Kvass

Kvass is a common fermented beverage in Eastern Europe since ancient times. It was traditionally made by fermenting rye or barley, which gives it its mild flavor. In more recent years, it’s been created using beets, fruit, along with other root vegetables like carrots.

Kvass uses lactobacilli probiotics, which have blood- and liver-cleansing properties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Miso

Miso is one of the mainstays of traditional Japanese medicine and is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator. Miso has been a staple in Chinese and Japanese diets dating back approximately 2,500 years.

Today, most of the Japanese population begins the day with a warm bowl of miso soup believed to stimulate the digestive system and energize the body.

Made from fermented soybeans, rice or barley, adding a tablespoon of miso to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup.

 

The fermentation process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of years to complete, and the end result is a red, white or dark brown paste with a buttery texture.

Miso soup is famous throughout the world, and it’s very easy to prepare. Simply dissolve a tablespoonful of miso paste in a pot of water filled with seaweed and other ingredients of your choice.

 

 

 

9. Kombucha

Kombucha is an effervescent fermentation of black tea that’s started by using a SCOBY, also known as a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.

Kombucha has been around for over 2,000 years and was thought to originate in 212 B.C. in the Far East. It later surfaced in Japan and then spread to Russia.

Many claims have been made about kombucha, but its primarily health benefits include digestive support, increased energy and liver detoxification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Raw Cheese

Goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and A2 aged cheeses are particularly high in probiotics, including thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus and acidophilus. Always buy raw cheese and not pasteurized or you will not be getting any of the probiotics benefits.

 

Finding a Good Probiotic Supplement

 

It’s important to note that there are different types of strains of probiotics. The probiotics benefits experienced with one probiotic strain may be completely different from the health benefits seen from another probiotic.

Certain strains of probiotics support immunity, others digestion, and some even help burn fat and balance hormones.

If you want to use probiotics to help with a specific health concern, it’s vital to select the right probiotic for the right condition. Or you can consume a wide range of probiotics in your food to be covered.

You are what you digest, and there are no other compounds in the world that support digestion and the assimilation of nutrients better than living probiotics.

When reading a probiotic label, it should reveal the genus, species and strain of the probiotic. The product (usually in capsules) should also give you the colony forming units (CFUs) at the time of manufacturing.

Also, the majority of probiotics can die under heat so knowing the company had proper storing and cooling of the facility is also important.

 

 

There are five specific things you want to consider when buying a probiotic supplement:

 

Brand quality — Look for brands that are reputable

 

High CFU count  Purchase a probiotic brand that has a higher number of probiotics, from 15 billion to 100 billion.

 

Strain diversity — Search for a probiotic supplement that has 10–30 different strains.

 

Survivability — Look for strains like bacillus coagulans, saccharomyces boulardii, bacillus subtilis, lactobacillus rhamnosus, and other cultures or formulas that ensure probiotics make it to the gut and are able to colonize.

 

Research Do your homework and look for brands that have strains that support your specific needs.

 

 

Here are a few more things to look for in your probiotic capsules:

 

Stay away from general health claims and consider how much information is really on a label:

 

Date:

The fresher the better when you’re talking about living organisms.

 

Sugar:

Sugar is not a good food source for probiotics. Prebiotics are the food source meant to keep probiotics alive. A synbiotic is a supplement that contains both prebiotics and probiotics. The best synbiotics contain healthy plant starches and fiber.

 

Living vs. Dead:

“Live and active cultures” is a better bet than “made with active cultures.” After fermentation, the product may be heat-treated, which kills off both good and bad bacteria (extending shelf life).

 

Bacteria Type:

“Live and active cultures” does not necessarily mean that the kinds of bacteria the product holds have been proven as beneficial. The bacteria strain should consist of two names and two letters: the genus, species and strain. If the label lists two names, it could be any one of hundreds of bacteria without research or proven health benefits behind it.

 

Potency:

This is where it gets tricky. Some probiotic supplements don’t list the amount of bacteria their products contain, and the amount that’s effective depends upon many qualifiers. Health benefits can occur with 50 million CFUs for certain conditions and may take as many as 1 trillion CFU for others. The higher the number the better. The Food Standards Code claims that at least one million live bacteria per gram are necessary in yogurt and other fermented drinks to provide the 10 billion CFU needed for health effect.

 

Which Strains of Probiotic Bacteria Should You Be Looking For?

 

  • Bifidobacterium bifidum — the most dominant bifidobacteria probiotic in infants and in the large intestine, supports production of vitamins in gut, inhibits harmful bacteria, supports immune system response and prevents diarrhea. (6)

 

  • Bifidobacterium longum — supports liver function, reduces inflammation, removes lead and heavy metals. (7)

 

  • Bifidobacterium breve — another bifidobacteria probiotic that helps colonize healthy gut community and crowd out bad bacteria. (8) 

 

  • Bifidobacterium infantis — alleviates IBS symptoms, diarrhea and constipation. (9)

 

  • Lactobacillus casei — supports immunity, inhibits h. pylori and helps fight infections. (10)

 

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus — relieves gas, bloating, improves lactose intolerance. Shown to help with a 61 percent reduction in E. coli, lower cholesterol levels and creation of vitamin K. (11) Also, important in GALT immune strength.

 

  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus — a powerful probiotic strain that has been shown to fight harmful bacteria that invades your digestive system and is stable enough to withstand the acidic digestive juices of the stomach. It also neutralizes toxins and naturally produces its own antibiotics.

 

  • Lactobacillus brevis — shown to survive the GI tract, boost cellular immunity, enhanced natural T-killer cells and kill h. pylori bacteria. (12)

 

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus — supports bacterial balance and supports healthy skin, helps fight urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and reduce anxiety by reducing stress hormones and GABA neurotransmitter receptors. (13) Also, survives GI tract.

 

  • Bacillus subtilis — an endospore probiotic that’s heat-resistant. Elicits a potent immune response and supports GALT. (14, 15) Suppresses growth of bad bacteria like salmonella and other pathogens.

 

  • Bacillus coagulans — an endospore probiotic that’s heat-resistant and improves nutrient absorption. Also has been shown to reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis. (16)

 

  • Saccharomyces boulardii — a yeast probiotic strain that restores natural flora in the large and small intestine and improves intestinal cell growth. It’s proved effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease. (17) It’s been shown to have anti-toxin effects, be antimicrobial and reduce inflammation. (18, 19)

 

Example:  BIO Schwartz Advanced Strength Probiotic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Probiotics and Immunity – The Science

 

Probiotics play a role in defining and maintaining the delicate balance between necessary and excessive defense mechanisms. The immune response is initiated when the body is exposed to foreign substances or a tissue injury. The immune system exerts a protective role as it tries to maintain homeostasis, and when the body senses a threat, it triggers adaptive immune responses that cause inflammation. It’s when there’s an unbalanced immune response that severe inflammation, uncontrolled tissue damage and disease develop.

According to research published in Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease, the immune system can be viewed as an organ that’s distributed throughout the body to defend us against pathogens, wherever they may enter or spread. Within the immune system, a series of distinct compartments can be distinguished, and each has the ability to generate a response to pathogens present in that particular set of body tissues.

The mucosal immune system includes the permeable surfaces of the body — the eyes, nose, mouth, throat, lungs, uterus, vagina and, the most important area for the discussion of probiotics, the gut. The gut acts as a portal of entry to a vast array of foreign antigens in the form of food, and the gut is heavily colonized by beneficial microorganisms that protect us against pathogenic bacteria by occupying the ecological niches for bacteria in the gut. (20)

Our mucosal immune system plays a significant role in maintaining intestinal homeostasis and causing systematic protective responses. Large amounts of antigens pass through the gut daily, and 100 trillion bacteria are associated with the gastrointestinal tract. This rich gut microbial community is referred to as the microbiome, which plays a vital role in the immune system. Current research indicates that microbial imbalance is associated with broad diseases that are not restricted to the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers have proved that probiotics are a powerful therapeutic strategy for manipulating our microbial composition and immune responses. Certain species of bacteria can have large effects on the gut immune system, and the balance of good and bad bacteria is necessary for the maintenance of homeostasis. (21)

This is why manipulating the microbiome is an alternative approach for maintaining health and preventing or treating diseases.

 

 

According to research published in Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, several beneficial effects of probiotics on our intestinal mucosal defense system have been identified:

 

 

Probiotics act as a barrier, lining the intestinal tract. They block bacterial effects by producing substances that kill bacteria and compete with pathogens and toxins to support the intestinal epithelium (the thin tissue forming the outer layer of the intestines).

 

Probiotics enhance mucus production so we have a thicker mucus layer, which protects us against invasive bacteria.

 

Probiotics promote the survival of intestinal epithelial cells that help remove foreign substances.

 

Probiotics enhance barrier function and stimulate protective responses from intestinal epithelial cells.

 

Probiotics enhance innate immunity and control pathogen-induced inflammation by secreting protective immunoglobulins and stimulating dendritic cells to make them slightly less responsive and less reactive to bacteria. (22)

 

Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that many probiotic effects are mediated through immune regulation, particularly through balance control of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, or substances that are secreted by cells of the immune system and have an effect on their cells. This is how probiotics alleviate intestinal inflammation, normalize gut dysfunction and down-regulate hypersensitivity reactions. (23)

 

 

Final Thoughts

Scientists are learning more each day about the role of microbes in keeping people healthy and the multitude of health benefits associated with consuming the right type and levels of probiotic microbes.

Research to date suggests that probiotic bacteria can improve digestive function and enhance the immune system.  For those reasons alone, it’s important to start increasing our daily consumption of probiotics.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information.

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

How to Choose the Right Diet Plan

How to Get Rid of Stubborn Adult Acne

Help for Painkiller Induced Constipation – OIC

The Healthiest Supplement Drinks for Seniors and Diabetics

Are Genetic Testing Services Worth It?

The Most Important Nutritional Supplements for Seniors – Review

The Best Elliptical Machines Reviewed

Should You Buy an Electric Bike?

Finding the Right Bathroom Scale for You

Create Your Own Blog

About Me

 

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