Vitamin A Deficiency In The News

UNICEF estimates that 48 percent of children between six and 59 months old in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from vitamin A deficiency, which can lead to preventable childhood blindness and increase the risk of death from common illnesses, such as diarrhea. Sweet potato-fortified bread developed at South Dakota State University is helping fight vitamin A deficiency in Africa. Visiting scientist Daniel Mbogo of the International Potato Center in Kenya is working with assistant professor Srinivas Janaswamy to formulate breads with sweet potatoes that will enhance vitamin A in diets. Janaswamy’s research in the Department of Dairy and Food Science focuses on starch digestion and micronutrients. “Vitamin A deficiency is a huge problem in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Mbogo. “USDA did a good job in matching us – it’s a very good synergy,” said Janaswamy. “I am interested in how the starch is being digested and how that might help to address diabetes. Daniel comes at a perfect time because he is developing a product that might have different digestion properties.”

“Through these collaborative research projects, we seek to empower scientists in developing countries and advance research that will improve agricultural productivity, transfer science and agricultural technologies to strengthen agricultural practices and reduce barriers to technology adoption,” added Tim Sheehan, who oversees scientific exchange programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. “Ultimately, the Borlaug program increases food security and supports economic growth.”

Although sweet potatoes are a major food crop in Africa, the most common varieties have white or yellow flesh and low levels of beta-carotene, Mbogo says. The International Potato Center developed orange-fleshed sweet potato varieties, which contain high beta-carotene levels and are better suited to African fields and palates. At the food and nutritional evaluation laboratory in Kenya, Mbogo helps private sector partners formulate and produce bread enriched with sweet potatoes. Evaluating the bread’s starch digestibility and nutritional potential is what brought Mbogo to Brookings. “Here, I can get trained and use equipment to do a bit of research that we are not able to do at our lab,” he said.

First, Mbogo incorporates varying levels of sweet potato puree into the bread dough, adjusting the formula while still maintaining the qualities people expect in a loaf of sliced bread. The loaves are processed and baked in a bread machine. Then he evaluates the physical characteristics of the bread – volume, texture and sensory attributes. A panel of taste testers will also give him feedback on the final product.

Determining Digestibility And Nutrient Uptake

Mbogo then evaluates how incorporating sweet potato changes the bread’s digestibility. He uses the Englyst method, an established technique to understand how starch digests in a lab setting without using human subjects. “We are predicting sweet potato-fortified bread will take a longer time to digest,” Janaswamy said. If so, the product might potentially help diabetics regulate their blood sugar.

The next step is to determine how much beta carotene the body can absorb. By carrying out simulated digestion in oral, gastric and intestinal phases, they are studying how much of the beta carotene is released from the bread matrix and is bioavailable for absorption by using human intestinal cells. By calculating how much beta carotene the cells absorb, the researchers can determine available vitamin A and, therefore, the nutritional benefit consumers can get from a serving of sweet potato-fortified bread.

Vitamin A Deficiency Detrimental To Blood Stem Cells

Many specialized cells – such as in the skin, gut or blood – have a lifespan of only a few days. Therefore, steady replenishment of these cells is indispensable. They arise from so-called “adult” stem cells that divide continuously. In addition, there is a group of very special stem cells in the bone marrow that were first discovered in 2008 by a research team led by Andreas Trumpp, who is a division head at the DKFZ and director of HI-STEM. These cells remain in a kind of dormancy most of the time and only become active in an emergency such as bacterial or viral infections, heavy blood loss, or in the wake of chemotherapy. Once their work is done, the body sends its most potent stem cells back to sleep. The scientists assume that this protects them from dangerous mutations that may lead to leukemia.

The mechanisms that activate these special stem cells or make them go back to sleep after their work is done have remained elusive until now. The scientists have now identified retinoic acid – a vitamin A metabolite – as a crucial factor in this process. If this substance is absent, active stem cells are unable to return to a dormant state and mature into specialized blood cells instead. This means that they are lost as a reservoir. This was shown in studies with specially bred mice whose dormant stem cells are green fluorescent. “If we feed these mice on a vitamin A-deficient diet for some time, this leads to a loss of the stem cells,” says Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid, first author of the publication. “Thus, we can prove for the first time that vitamin A has a direct impact on blood stem cells.”

This finding not only enhances our understanding of the development of blood cells, it also sheds new light on prior studies that demonstrate that vitamin A deficiency impairs the immune system. “This shows how vitally important it is to have a sufficient intake of vitamin A from a balanced diet,” Cabezas-Wallscheid added. The body cannot produce its own vitamin A. The scientists also have hopes for new prospects in cancer treatment. There is evidence that cancer cells, like healthy stem cells, also rest in a state of dormancy. When dormant, their metabolism is almost completely shut down and this makes them resistant to chemotherapy. “Once we understand in detail how vitamin A or retinoic acid, respectively, sends normal and malignant stem cells into dormancy, we can try to turn the tables,” explained Trumpp. “If we could make cancer cells temporarily enter an active state, we could thus make them vulnerable to modern therapies.”

In collaboration with colleagues from the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, the team performed genome-wide analyses of single cells and discovered that the transition from dormant to active stem cells and then on to progenitor cells is a continuous one and follows a different path for each individual cell. So far, scientists had assumed that specific cell types develop step by step in a defined pattern. This finding revolutionizes the previous concept of how cell differentiation in the body takes place.

Portable Vitamin A Deficiency Test

Cornell University engineers and nutritionists have created a sift solution for a challenging global health problem: a low-cost, rapid test to detect iron and vitamin A deficiencies at the point of care. “Vitamin A and iron deficiency affect more than one-third of the world’s population,” says senior author Dr. Saurabh Mehta, associate professor of global health, epidemiology and nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. “Problems resulting from these deficiencies such as blindness, anemia and death, particularly among children and women are a major public health challenge.”

The small, portable diagnostic system about the size of a lunchbox contains a blood sample test strip, like those used by diabetics. The group found a way to include on the test strip three types of antibodies, which bind to specific biomarkers in the individual’s serum. “The sampling process is similar to picking up iron among other metals,” said first author Zhengda Lu, a doctoral candidate. The strip measures concentrations of retinol binding protein, important for eyesight; C-reactive protein, an infection indicator; and the protein ferritin, to find anemia. The test takes 15 minutes to complete.

“We must address the micronutrient problem at the individual level which is a much easier task,” says David Erickson, senior author and Sibley College Professor at Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “The key to solving these micronutrient deficiency problems is early detection and early intervention. Having information, we can change or supplement diets, if we know who is deficient – and we are more likely to prevent complications, and keep children and women healthy.”

At any given time, about 250 million preschool-age children globally are deficient in vitamin A, according to the World Health Organization. In those regions where childhood deficiencies are prevalent, pregnant women are likely vitamin A deficient and anemic, as well. Annually, up to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children around the world become blind and about half of those children die within a year, as they become vulnerable to other diseases. “Doctors and health professionals have sought to reduce the burden of micronutrient deficiencies and their consequences, but it’s difficult since we must detect them early on to have the largest impact,” Mehta said. “Most developing countries don’t have access to the needed, sophisticated tools to enable early diagnosis. This test has the potential to solve that.”

Serving Water With School Lunches Can Stem Obesity

Banning sodas and sweet drinks in school lunches can prevent a pandemic of epic proportions in U.S. schools. New research instead suggests that school canteens serve water instead of sweetened beverages not only to prevent obesity but also help avoid straining the country’s coffers, which have been wasted on medical costs on overweight-related diseases.

The new study actually was a continuation of the study conducted between 2009 and 2013 of 1,200 school kids in the elementary and middle-school levels in New York. In that research, they found that just the matter of putting water dispensers in conspicuous areas in the school canteen tripled the consumption of water by the children. The consumption of water immediately cut the danger of obesity. One in five youths from six years old to 19 years old is dealing with obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Genes and environment are the two main factors that cause obesity. Some people are cursed with slow metabolism which makes it difficult for them to convert food into energy. The other factors include sleeping habits, diet, and lack of physical activity. These children are vulnerable to developing cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and breathing problems. Psychologically, they also suffer from low self-esteem and depression.

The Study

The University of Illinois conducted a cost-benefit analysis of replacing sweetened beverages with water. Dr. Ruopeng, the community health professor at the university, said that with an investment of just $18 for each student in the K-12 program, it could yield a benefit of $174 that will last that student’s entire life. Based on their study, there’s no correlation between the nutrition of the school kids and the number of glasses of water they drink, “but we do see a significant drop in their saturated fat and sugar intake.”

Boys are likely to benefit from this program more because of the greater reduction in the obesity risk of the male population compared to their female counterparts. In terms of the benefit, an $18 investment in K-12 boys will yield $199 against the $149 for girls.

The link between school lunches and childhood obesity is not new. Back in 2011, a study entitled “Health Status And Behavior Among Middle-School Children In A Midwest Community: What are the underpinnings of childhood obesity?” recommended an overhaul of the menu served at school lunches because 15% of the more than 1,000 sixth-graders in the research were obese.

Research by the Institute of Medicine found that schools in America were no better than the fast food chains that are notorious for their fattening and unhealthy food. As a result, fewer children are eating vegetables and fruits. The study, in fact, led former First Lady Michelle Obama to launch a campaign to improve school lunches. Two years later, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was signed into a federal law by President Barack Obama. The law was criticized for putting an undue burden on schools to meet the stringent nutritional requirements or face sanction.

In May of last year, the Trump administration relaxed some of the provisions because, as Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said “If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition.”

What Is Comfrey?

Comfrey is likely not one of the plants that you are inherently familiar with – even if you are pretty well versed in holistic living and alternative treatments. This plant has a very broad spectrum of offerings which makes it something that should be closely studied and implemented as a method of treatment when certain health issues arise – whether those issues be intrinsic and internal or cosmetic and external. This powerful plant, otherwise known as Symphytum, is a herbal medicine that deserves more acclaim. Here’s why.

Heals Wounds

Whether you are accident prone or not, you know that sometimes unforeseen cuts, scrapes, or bruises can happen to anyone. While there isn’t anything wrong with scars, it’s obviously preferable to heal any wound as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Comfrey provides you with that assistance. The plant is extremely high in antioxidants and vitamin C, which helps to speed up the wound-healing process. This is great because the longer a wound takes to heal, the more apt it may be to infections or complications. Properly cleaning and dressing a wound immediately is of paramount importance. Add some comfrey oil to your next wound and you’ll notice a huge difference.

Pain Reliever

Many people deal with chronic pain on varying degrees and levels. To have to exist on a daily basis in some form of pain can greatly and negatively impact your quality of life. While pain medication can be a risky option, as so many are habit forming and potentially dangerous, a natural and external method to deal with pain is ideal. Comfrey has analegic qualities within the herb which helps to alleviate and soothe aches, pains and discomfort. Try adding a bit of comfrey oil to your coconut oil and rub it on your problem areas. Comfrey will be able to provide you with some relief.

Inflammation Buster

If you have a specific condition that leads to inflammation in your body, you likely will deal with a great bit of pain and swelling on a regular basis. Things like gout, arthritis, eczema and many other ailments can make it incredibly hard for you to go about the entirety of your day without being in some degree of discomfort. The saponins and tannins within this plant help to provide some relief to that swelling and tightness. There are comfrey creams you can use or if you want a more multi-purpose option. The oil is always a good idea to have on hand.

Respiratory Health

In the event you have asthma, seasonal allergies or are often susceptible to a cold, you should definitely try using this oil the next time you don’t feel well. While this oil should not be ingested, you can use it externally to help you clear out congestion. Its specific properties will help to diminish the restriction you often feel in these types of situations in your chest and in your lungs by opening up passageways. You can rub the oil onto your chest or you can inhale its aroma for a couple of minutes.

You can purchase comfrey online from several companies at

How To Keep Teeth Healthy

Keeping your teeth healthy rewards you with a bright smile, fresh breath, and a mouth free from discomfort. The state of your oral health grants valuable insights into your total well-being. Preventing bad breath and tooth decay has far-reaching benefits. Follow our dental advice, and learn how to keep teeth healthy and sustain optimal oral hygiene.

  1. Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day

Brushing your teeth twice a day is essential to healthy teeth and gums. By brushing your teeth twice a day, you keep plaque under control. For best results, brush your teeth once in the morning and once again before going to bed.

  1. Floss Your Teeth Daily

Cleaning between your teeth is essential to good oral health. Dentists can detect whether you floss by how inflamed your gums are. Flossing combined with brushing reduces plaque build-up better than brushing alone. Brushing and flossing together also reduces the risk of most mild gum diseases more than tooth brushing by itself.

  1. Limit Acidic Drinks

When enamel in your teeth comes into contact with acid, the acid erodes the enamel of your teeth. The sugar in sweetened acidic drinks also feeds the harmful bacteria in your mouth. As the bacteria breed and multiply, more acid gets released. Numerous studies have linked the acid produced and the dental erosion that occurs to almost all forms of severe tooth decay. Always do your best to limit the number of acidic drinks and fruit juices you drink.

  1. Limit Sugar Intake

The bacteria in plaque feed on sugar and produce acid, which can rapidly deteriorate enamel. Limit your sugar intake as much as possible. However, if you do have sugar, consume it quickly and try to get it off your teeth as soon as possible. Recent studies show frequent exposure to sugar does the most damage to the enamel of our teeth. For example, sipping on a fizzy drink all day is far more damaging than gulping a glass down quickly a few times a day.

  1. Safeguard Your Teeth From Injury

If your sport puts your teeth at risk, make sure you wear protection. Mouth guards prevent chipping, cracking, and loose teeth. All dental damage serves as a gateway for further complications. When your teeth sustain an injury, the sharp edges can cut soft oral tissue or leave cracks in the enamel. This increases the risk of infection spreading to the root and surrounding gum tissue. Always safeguard your teeth from injury to prevent long-term oral trauma.

  1. Save A Knocked-Out Tooth

Avulsed, or knocked-out, teeth are normally recoverable. If your tooth has been completely knocked out, try to put the tooth back in its socket. Hold a dislodged tooth by the crown, not the roots. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it with saliva or water first but never soap. A knocked-out tooth can survive for up to two hours. Bite on clean gauze or a tea bag to reduce the bleeding and stabilize the tooth.

If you can’t keep the tooth in its socket, then keep it moist. Put the tooth in a cup of milk, saliva, or mixed saline solution and water.  You can also store a knocked-out tooth between your gum and cheek or beneath your tongue. A general practice dentist can re-implant a knocked-out tooth if you preserved it well and if you get to the practice quick enough.

  1. Never Use Your Teeth For Anything Other Than Chewing Food

Teeth are for chewing food, nothing else. Even if cracking open bottle tops or biting open nutshells is comfortable to you, this does not mean it is safe for your teeth. Improper use can damage the enamel or even crack or fracture your teeth. The risk is not worth it.

  1. Never Delay Dental Treatments

Make sure you never delay dental treatments. There is always a Dentist in Milton Keynes available to handle any emergency. If you are suffering from pain or discomfort in any way, get it seen to immediately as waiting worsens the problem.

Author Bio

Susan Louisa works at Oxford House Dental Practice, a pioneer in quality dentistry since its establishment in 1954. With its large, private car park, familiar exterior, friendly attitude of surgeons and the full range of dental treatments, it is a well-known dentist in Milton Keynes, England.

Study: Link Between Exercise And Genetic Effects Of Obesity Later In Life

A new study suggests – for the first time in women over age 70 – that working up a sweat can reduce the influence one’s genes have on obesity.  “Our sample, which included older women, is the first to show that in the 70-to-79-year-old age group, exercise can mitigate the genetic effects of obesity,” says the study’s lead author Heather Ochs-Balcom, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health in the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.  “The message here is that your genetic risk for obesity is not wholly deterministic. The choices we make in our life play a large role in our health.”

The study – published recently in the journal Menopause – included researchers from UB, as well as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Rush University Medical Center; University of California, Davis; and The Ohio State University.  Researchers studied 8,206 women of European ancestry who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative. They used a larger set of 95 genetic polymorphisms to construct their body mass index genetic risk score to study the interaction between physical activity and obesity. Then, they evaluated whether genetic associations were modified by exercise and age.

The study revealed that genetic associations on body mass index or BMI were strongest in sedentary postmenopausal women and weakest in women who reported high levels of recreational physical activity.  “Our work suggests that in older age, we can overcome our destiny for obesity given to us by our parents through exercise,” Ochs-Balcom said.

The study is significant in that, up to this point, little had been known about the effect of obesity genes later in life, particularly whether genetic predisposition can be mitigated by healthy behaviors such as physical activity.  It’s also one of a growing number of studies highlighting the benefits of being physically active, especially as it pertains to healthy aging.  “For the elderly, exercise is important for preventing muscle loss, which helps reduce the risk of falls,” says Ochs-Balcom. “Plus, there are many other benefits of exercise in older adults.”

Older Obese Adults Can Benefit From Moderate Exercise

Moderate-intensity exercise can help even extremely obese older adults improve their ability to perform common daily activities and remain independent, according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Findings from the National Institutes of Health-funded study were published in the July 2018 issue of the journal Obesity. In the United States, obesity affects nearly 13 million adults age 65 and older. Both overall obesity and abdominal obesity are strongly associated with the development of major mobility disability (MMD), the inability to walk a quarter of a mile, according to the study’s lead author, Stephen Kritchevsky, Ph.D., director of the Sticht Center for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at Wake Forest Baptist.

Previous data on older populations had suggested that obesity may lessen the beneficial effects of physical activity on mobility. However, this research, which analyzed data from the multicenter Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) study, showed that a structured physical activity program reduced the risk of MMD even in older adults with extreme obesity. The LIFE study was the first to demonstrate that moderate intensity physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of MMD in sedentary older adults. “The inability to walk a quarter of a mile is a proxy for common daily activities, such as the inability to walk a block around the neighborhood or to walk several street blocks to go to a store,” Kritchevsky said. “Having a major mobility disorder can really affect the quality of life and independence for older people, but we showed that moderate exercise was a safe and effective way to reduce that risk even in severely obese people.”

The LIFE study enrolled 1,635 sedentary men and women age 70 to 89. The participants were randomized to a moderate intensity physical activity program or a health education program to test if the physical activity program would reduce the rate of MMD compared to the education program. Major mobility disability was defined as the inability to walk 400 meters – about a quarter of a mile – without sitting and without help from another person or a walker. Participants were divided into four groups according to BMI – a measure of body fat based on height and weight – and waist circumference: non-obese with BMI less than 30; non-obese with high waist circumference of more than 40 inches for men and 34 inches for women; class 1 obese with BMI between 30 and 35; and class 2 obese with BMI of 35 or higher.

The physical activity program focused on walking, strength, balance and flexibility training. The goal for participants was to be able to walk at moderate intensity for 30 minutes and perform 10 minutes of lower-extremity strength training with ankle weights and 10 minutes of balance training in a single session. Participants attended two center-based training sessions per week and performed at-home activities three to four times per week during the two-year study.

The health education program involved in-person group workshops focused on aging-relevant topics such as nutrition, safety and legal/financial issues. Sessions included lectures and interactive discussions and five to 10 minutes of upper body stretching exercises. While there was no significant difference between obesity category and intervention effect, those in the class 2 obesity group showed the greatest benefit from the physical activity program, reducing their risk of MDD by 31 percent.

Customized Resistance Exercise And Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia and resistance exercise have often been considered an impossible combination, but with proper support and individually adjusted exercises, female patients achieved considerable health improvements, according to research at Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden. “If the goal for these women is to improve their strength, then they shouldn’t be afraid to exercise, but they need to exercise the right way,” says Anette Larsson, an active physical therapist. “It has long been said that they will only experience more pain as a result of resistance exercise, that it doesn’t work. But in fact, it does.”

Larsson studied 130 women between the ages of 20 and 65 years with fibromyalgia, a disease in which nine of 10 cases are women. It is characterized by widespread muscle pain and increased pain sensitivity, often combined with fatigue, reduced physical capacity and limitation of activities in daily life. About half of the women in the study were selected at random to undergo a program of person-centered, progressive resistance exercise led by a physical therapist. The other 63 women comprised the control group and underwent a more traditional therapy program with relaxation exercises. The training and exercises lasted for 15 weeks and were held twice a week.

“The women who did resistance exercise began at very light weights, which were determined individually for each participant because they have highly varying levels of strength,” Larsson said. “We began at 40 percent of the max and then remained at that level for three to four weeks before increasing to 60 percent. More than six of 10 women were able to reach a level of exercise at 80 percent of their maximum strength. One of the 10 was at 60 percent and the others were below that figure. Five individuals chose to stop the training due to increased pain. The group as a whole had 71 percent attendance at the exercise sessions.

“On a group level, the improvements were significant for essentially everything we measured,” Larsson continued. “The women felt better, gained muscle strength, had less pain, better pain tolerance, better health-related quality of life and less limitation of activities. Some of the women did not manage the exercise and became worse, which is also an important part of the findings. In the control group, the improvements were not as significant, but even there, hand and arm strength improved. The relaxation exercises probably led to reduced muscle tension in the arms and shoulders, which in turn allowed the participants to develop more strength.

The findings for the women in the resistance exercise group are affected by several factors, including the degree of pain and fear of movement before and during the exercise period. Progress for the group as a whole can largely be attributed to the person-centered approach, with individually adjusted exercises and loads and support of a physical therapist. “An interview study we conducted shows clearly that the women need support to be able to choose the right exercises and the right loads; they also need help when pain increases,” Larsson said. “This requires, quite simply, support from someone who knows their disease, preferably a physical therapist.”

Should You Eat Before Exercising

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom is the first of its kind to show the effects of eating versus fasting on gene expression in adipose (fat) tissue in response to exercise. This study highlights the different roles fat plays in powering and responding to exercise. The study, published in the American Journal of Physiology—Endocrinology and Metabolism, monitored a group of overweight males. The volunteers walked for 60 minutes at 60 percent maximum oxygen consumption on an empty stomach and, on another occasion, two hours after consuming a high-calorie carbohydrate-rich breakfast. The research team took multiple blood samples after eating or fasting and after exercising. The researchers also collected adipose tissue samples immediately before and one hour after walking.

Gene expression in the adipose tissue differed significantly in the two trials. The expression of two genes – PDK4 and HSL – increased when the men fasted and exercised and decreased when they ate before exercising. The rise in PDK4 likely indicates that stored fat was used to fuel metabolism during exercise instead of carbohydrates from the recent meal. HSL typically increases when adipose tissue uses stored energy to support increased activity, such as during exercise. These results reinforce the view that “adipose tissue often faces competing challenges,” says Dylan Thompson, corresponding author of the study. “After eating, adipose tissue is busy responding to the meal and a bout of exercise at this time will not stimulate the same [beneficial] changes in adipose tissue. This means that exercise in a fasted state might provoke more favorable changes in adipose tissue, and this could be beneficial for health in the long term.”

Beech Nut Oil Benefits

A very common tree that can be found in various parts of the world like North America, Europe and Asia, is the beech tree. It produces a nut that is incredibly effective in a myriad of ways. Even though this tree is common, the ways in which it can help shouldn’t be diminished. The tree also has other more fundamental uses, like that of firewood or as construction material. The nuts that come from the tree are the focus today. Here are some ways to use the oil that comes from a beech nut tree.

Hair Growth

Are you the type of person that wants to have thicker, more healthy hair? Do you find that you are dealing with a specific amount of shedding or having hair fall out more than you used to? This is all a symptom of your hair not properly being taken care of like it should be. This can lead to many different troubles, one of which is an unhealthy scalp. If your scalp is unhealthy, growing your hair will become exceedingly difficult. Luckily, beech nut oil is an antidote for this issue. There are properties within the oil that help to strengthen the hair follicle beds. This gives your hair a better, healthier platform and increases growth, strength and appearance.


If you have tummy troubles, whether it’s from eating too much or because you have a certain food sensitivity, it can be hard to properly digest food. In these instances it can be difficult because digestive problems manifest themselves in a whole host of ways. Many serious conditions have been linked to the gut and lack of proper digestive health. So sorting out why you may deal with a heavy bout of cramps, bloating, gas or irregular bowel movements is not something you should ignore. Beech nut oil can help as its fiber content can help to regulate your system and bring some ease to the process of digestion.

Kidney Issues

Because of the diuretic qualities of this oil, if you are noticing any type of issues in your kidneys or how they function, you may want to start treating them with beech nut oil. Kidneys help to clean the blood that circulates in your body and also how your urine is filtered. If you notice any changes in your patterns of urination or any discomfort in your lower back or sides, it’s possible that your kidneys may be under a bit of stress.

You can help alleviate that by rubbing some beech nut oil on your lower back, near your kidneys for a couple of days and seeing if that doesn’t help your kidneys to function more precisely. Things like waste, salt, water and fats all get filtered through those little organs at our sides so it’s essential you take care of them. When kidneys function well, they even have a hand in how effectively your metabolism works.

How Teeth Gaps Affect Your Oral Health

Teeth gaps normally happen and many people oftentimes ignore them – especially young children. While some people say that teeth gaps make them feel and look young, teeth gaps or Diastema can actually affect your overall dental health. The misalignment can cause severe issues with your gums and jaw bones as well. Here are some facts about the impact of teeth gaps on your overall dental health to give awareness and stop common misconceptions that come with it.

Increases Chances Of Tooth Decay And Gum Disease

This can happen when food particles get stuck in between the gaps. The food particles will then break down and will slowly form into calculus and plaque. As the plaque continues to build up in between teeth, this can cause your gums to become vulnerable to bacteria. It can cause periodontitis or gingivitis and may worsen in time if left unattended.

People with larger teeth gaps may have higher chances of developing tooth decay. Larger teeth gaps have a higher tendency to accumulate more plaque. The accumulation of plaque will not only harm your teeth, but can also cause heart diseases that are associated with poor oral hygiene.

Problems With Oral Hygiene

Some people think that larger teeth gaps can help you maintain better oral hygiene. However, teeth gaps can cause severe issues and may lead to a myriad of oral problems if not treated. The teeth gaps can become a food trap, which then turns into plaque if not cleaned well. It can also be the reason for gum sensitivity due to constant brushing in between the gaps.

Misalignment And Jaw Pain

Misalignment and jaw pain are oftentimes caused by teeth gaps. Misaligned bites allow teeth to shift out of place. People with misaligned bites or crooked bites can experience chronic pain between the ears, forehead, and jaw. People suffering from misaligned bites can chip or wear off their teeth due to unequal force when they take a bite of hard food. It is very important that you have these gaps corrected to ensure that your teeth are not moving out of place.

Problems With Chewing

Chewing is another problem associated with teeth gaps. Large teeth gaps make it harder for you to chew food. The gums in between the gaps become sensitive when you continuously chew on a large chunk of food, making them susceptible to pain or infection.

Aside from the gum sensitivity, you can also experience an upset stomach due to consuming large chunks of food, making it difficult for your stomach to digest.

Lack Of Confidence

Another issue caused by teeth gaps is low self-esteem. People with teeth gaps often experience low self-esteem because they feel embarrassed to smile with their teeth gaps.

Teeth gaps may seem a normal occurrence for kids and young adults. However, it can cause severe damage if not closed properly. In some cases, these teeth gaps can be temporary, but there are instances when they become permanent. Thus, seek medical advice and oral treatment as soon as possible before your case worsens.

About The Author: Chloie Cartelli is a content writer for Orthofill whose expertise is focused on dental marketing. She graduated from the University of Connecticut and enjoys reading and writing that focuses on dental care.

Study Confirms Beneficial Properties Of Whole Grain

The National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark has confirmed the health benefits of including whole grains in your everyday diet. For the purposes of the study, researchers substituted the refined grains in pasta and white bread in favor of whole grains. The institute collaborated with the Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen, Department of Nutrition, and DTU Bioinformatics. They also solicited the help of university researchers and hospitals to contribute to the study. As a result, they managed to complete the most research to date in relation to the benefits of whole grains.

A whole grain consists of the germ, bran, and the endosperm. The bran refers to the outer skin of the kernel which contains a lot of vitamin B, fiber, and antioxidants. The germ refers to the embryo, which also contains healthy fats, vitamin B, and protein. The endosperm, meanwhile, is the conduit where essential food and energy pass into the embryo so the plant can grow. This is differentiated from the refined grain, which refers to the state when one or two of the major components of the whole grain is missing.

Fifty overweight respondents – described as “at risk” of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases – participated in the study. After the controlled experiment, the blood tests showed a reduced amount of inflammation in their systems. The participants also reported eating less because their hunger was satiated. Over time, this will allow them to shed weight. In fact, some of the participants were already reporting that they lost some pounds while on the whole grain diet.

These results only confirm the various studies on the benefits of whole grains, says Professor Tine Rask Licht, head of the research group at the National Food Institute. “This may particularly apply to people who are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. A good idea for future studies would be to examine the effect of various grain types.”

The professor also said that another study should be conducted to determine if the consumption of whole grain types will have an impact on the composition of the gut bacteria. The human gut actually contains more than 100 trillion bacteria and has countless functions to prevent inflammation and make sure the body is healthy.

A 2013 study by the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles revealed the role played by Methanobrevibacter smithii, which is a microbe that produces methane, on obesity. The research posted that this microbe consumes the hydrogen in the gut and this deficiency is what’s causing the body to absorb more calories from the food.

Ruchi Mathur, director of the Cedars-Sinai Diabetes Outpatient Treatment and Education Center, previously said that if there’s a glut of M.smithii in the gut, it will create an imbalance in the conversion of food into energy, which will cause individuals to gain more weight compared to others. The research by the National Food Institute was published in the study called “Gut: A wholegrain-rich diet reduces body weight and systemic low-grade inflammation without inducing major changes of the gut microbiome: Arandomised cross-over trial.”

Physical Activity For Older Women Helps Prolong Life

A recent study conducted by University of Buffalo revealed a “significant reduction in death risk among women over 65 who regularly engaged in light physical activity.” In other words, simply doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, folding the laundry and other household chores can help prolong your life. According to the study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, a majority of the 6,000 white, African-American, and Hispanic female respondents aged 63 to 99 years old “had a 12 percent lower risk of death” by doing light physical activities, including regular household chores.

On the other hand, a half-hour of “moderate to vigorous activity” each day, including brisk walking or bicycling can lower mortality risk by 39 percent, the study adds. In addition to that, exercise may also help reduce chronic disease amongst the older population. Physical exercise may start from moderate intensity and can increase as the body gets used to and can tolerate the activity. It may seem to have no effect at first, but regular practice will lead to more noticeable changes in the body and health.

A Novel Approach

The study used an accelerometer instead of a standard questionnaire to record the participants’ activities. Accelerometers are motion-sensing devices that electronically record and store daily movement patterns and intensity of the said movement by those who wear it. The recorded data is downloaded for analysis. For this particular study, the participants wore the accelerometers within four to seven days. The researchers reportedly “still observed significantly lower mortality associated with each time, independently of the other,” regardless whether the participants did either a light or moderate-to-vigorous activity.

In addition, the results are found to be similar regardless of race and subgroups, according to Andrea LaCroix, professor and chief of epidemiology at the University of California – San Diego, and the study’s principal investigator. “Perhaps most importantly for this population, the mortality benefit was similar among women with high and low functional ability,” LaCroix added. Likewise, Michael LaMonte, research associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health in the University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Profession, and the study’s lead author, concludes that “doing something is better than nothing, even when at lower-than-guideline recommended levels of physical activity.”

The researchers also “conducted a laboratory study in a subset of study participants during which they aligned the accelerometer information with completion of activity tasks germane to older women’s usual daily activity habits.”

Implication To The Aging Society

According to LaMonte, “the population group aged 65 and older will have doubled since 2000, reaching nearly 77 million” by 2050. Furthermore, given the current growth pattern, it is predicted that older women will outnumber older men two to one. “These findings are especially relevant to aging well in an aging society. “Some people, because of age or illness or deconditioning, are not able to do more strenuous activity. Current guidelines do not specifically encourage light activity because the evidence base to support such a recommendation has been lacking.”

LaMonte and his team’s research efforts are currently being considered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, which was first introduced a decade ago by then HHS Secretary Michael O. Leavitt.

Heart Health In The News

Adopting a Mediterranean-style eating pattern improves heart health, with or without reducing red meat intake, if the red meat consumed is lean and unprocessed, according to a new Purdue University nutrition study. “This study is important because it shows that red meat can be part of a heart-healthy eating pattern like a Mediterranean-style eating pattern,” said Wayne W. Campbell, professor of nutrition science. “This study was not designed to promote red meat intake, and we are not encouraging people who otherwise consume a vegetarian-style eating pattern to begin consuming red meat.”

The study – published online at the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – assessed the health-promoting effects of a Mediterranean-style eating pattern, without intended weight loss, for adults who are overweight and at risk for developing heart disease. All 41 study participants – 28 females and 13 males – completed three study phases. The phases included a five-week period of consuming a Mediterranean-style eating pattern containing three ounces per day of lean, unprocessed red meat, an amount of red meat the typical United States resident consumes; a five-week return to their regular eating pattern; and a five-week period of consuming a Mediterranean-style eating pattern with less red meat, three ounces twice weekly, which is commonly recommended for heart health. The order of the typical and lower red meat interventions were randomly assigned among participants.

“Most healthy eating pattern recommendations include a broad statement to reduce red meat intake,'” said Lauren E. O’Connor, lead author and recent doctoral degree recipient. “Our study compared Mediterranean-style eating patterns with red meat intake that is typical in the United States, about three ounces per day, versus a commonly recommended intake amount that is three ounces twice per week. Overall, heart health indicators improved with both Mediterranean-style eating patterns. Interestingly, though, participants’ LDL cholesterol, which is one of the strongest predictors we have to predict the development of cardiovascular disease, improved with typical but not lower red meat intake.”

“It’s also very encouraging that the improvements these people experienced, which included improvements in blood pressure, blood lipids and lipoproteins, were noticeable in five weeks,” Campbell added. “A Mediterranean-style eating pattern has clinically proven effects on health especially related to heart health and risks for heart disease such as heart attack or stroke. The composition of a Mediterranean-style eating pattern varies across countries and cultures. What is common across most Mediterranean regions is consumption of olive oil, fruits, vegetables and legumes, but protein sources depend on country and geographic region. If they live on the coast, they will eat more seafood, but if they live inland they will eat more red meat.”

Is Heart Function Reduced At High Altitude?

For over a century, we have known that high altitude reduces the amount of blood the heart pumps around the body with each beat. New research published in The Journal of Physiology has unearthed why this is the case and the findings will be important for people who live, travel and exercise at high altitudes. Over the years, several theories have been proposed to explain the reduction in the amount of blood the heart can pump; this was even of interest to the scientists involved in the first summit of Mt. Everest in the 1950s. It has now been shown that this is because at high altitudes – over 3,000 meters – the lower amount of oxygen in the air leads to a decrease in the volume of blood circulating around the body, and an increase in blood pressure in the lungs.

The researchers found that both of these factors play a role in the reduction in the volume of blood the heart can pump with each beat, but importantly neither of these factors affects our ability to perform maximal exercise. This research is important because it improves our understanding of how the human body adapts to high-altitude areas. This will help us make exploration and tourism of Earth’s mountainous regions safer, and may also help facilitate exercise performance in a wide range of sporting events that take place at high altitude.

The research conducted by Cardiff Metropolitan University, in conjunction with the University of British Columbia Okanagan and Loma Linda University School of Medicine, involved collecting data on how the heart and pulmonary blood vessels adapt to life with less oxygen. It is important to note that the sample size of this study was small and the effects of these mechanisms were only compared in individuals of European descent. Furthermore, echocardiography was used to assess cardiac and pulmonary vascular function which is non-invasive and indirect.

“Currently, several members of the research team are ready to depart for an expedition that will focus on high-altitude natives who live and work in the industrial mines of the Andean mountains,” says Michael Stembridge, chief investigator on the project. “Unfortunately, a third of these individuals experience long-term ill health due to their residence at high altitude, a condition termed ‘Chronic Mountain Sickness.’ We hope to apply the findings of this work to help improve the health and well-being of these populations by furthering our understanding of the condition and exploring therapeutic targets.”

Is There A Link Between Eczema And Cardiovascular Disease?

For the roughly seven percent of adults who live with atopic dermatitis, a common form of eczema, a new study reports a little good news: Despite recent findings to the contrary, the skin condition is likely not associated with an increase in cardiovascular risk factors or diseases. “In our study, people who reported having atopic dermatitis were not at any increased risk for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks or strokes,” says lead author Dr. Aaron Drucker, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a physician with the Lifespan Physicians Group.

Drucker and a team of co-authors made the findings – in the British Journal of Dermatology – by analyzing the records of 259,119 adults aged 30 to 74 in the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project. Drucker led the data analysis with the hypothesis, suggested by two recent studies, that people with atopic dermatitis would be significantly more likely to have various cardiovascular problems. Instead, he found that the opposite was the case. A diagnosis of AD was associated with somewhat reduced risk of stroke (0.79 times the odds), hypertension (0.87 times), diabetes (0.78 times) and heart attack (0.87 times). Drucker emphasized, however, that he does not believe that AD is protective – given the mixed evidence accumulated by researchers, the best conclusion is that AD is likely not positively associated with cardiovascular disease.

The findings are based on a statistical analysis that accounted for confounders including age, gender, ethnic background, body-mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, sleep, physical activity and asthma. The suspicion that AD might be associated with cardiovascular disease has likely arisen from the better-substantiated association researchers have found between the skin condition psoriasis and cardiovascular disease. But while the two inflammatory skin ailments share some clinical similarities, they work differently at the molecular level, which might explain why only one may be associated with cardiovascular disease.

“It’s important to make this clear so it doesn’t get misinterpreted: Even though we found lower rates of these outcomes with atopic dermatitis, we are not interpreting that as atopic dermatitis decreasing the risk,” Drucker said. “In response to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease discovered for psoriasis, clinicians and psoriasis patients have been encouraged to more actively screen for and manage cardiovascular disease. It appears that similar measures may not be warranted for atopic dermatitis.” Drucker acknowledged that the study could not answer the question of whether AD severity might correlate with cardiovascular disease. He said he is pursuing that question in new research, though there are datasets that include both severity information and cardiovascular disease diagnoses.

Link Between Alcohol, Genes And Heart Failure

Researchers investigated faulty versions of a gene called titin which are carried by one in 100 people or 600,000 people in the United Kingdom. Titin is crucial for maintaining the elasticity of the heart muscle, and faulty versions are linked to a type of heart failure called dilated cardiomyopathy. New research suggests the faulty gene may interact with alcohol to accelerate heart failure in some patients with the gene, even if they only drink moderate amounts of alcohol. The research was carried out by scientists from Imperial College London, Royal Brompton Hospital, and MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In the first part of the study, the team analyzed 141 patients with a type of heart failure called alcoholic cardiomyopathy (ACM). This condition is triggered by drinking more than 70 units a week – roughly seven bottles of wine – for five years or more. In severe cases the condition can be fatal, or leave patients requiring a heart transplant. The team found that the faulty titin gene may also play a role in the condition. In the study 13.5 percent of patients were found to carry the mutation – much higher than the proportion of people who carry them in the general population.

These results suggest this condition is not simply the result of alcohol poisoning, but arises from a genetic predisposition and that other family members may be at risk too, explained Dr. James Ware, study author from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial. “Our research strongly suggests alcohol and genetics are interacting and genetic predisposition and alcohol consumption can act together to lead to heart failure. At the moment this condition is assumed to be simply due to too much alcohol. But this research suggests these patients should also be checked for a genetic cause by asking about a family history and considering testing for a faulty titin gene, as well as other genes linked to heart failure,” he said. He added that relatives of patients with ACM should receive assessment and heart scans and in some cases have genetic tests to see if they unknowingly carry the faulty gene.

In a second part of the study, the researchers investigated whether alcohol may play a role in another type of heart failure called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This condition causes the heart muscle to become stretched and thin, and has a number of causes including viral infections and certain medications. The condition can also be genetic, and around 12 percent of cases of DCM are thought to be linked to a faulty titin gene. In the study the team asked 716 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy how much alcohol they consumed. None of the patients consumed the high levels of alcohol needed to cause ACM. But the team found that in patients whose DCM was caused by the faulty titin gene, even moderately increased alcohol intake – defined as drinking above the weekly recommended limit of 14 units – affected the heart’s pumping power.

Compared to DCM patients who didn’t consume excess alcohol – and whose condition wasn’t caused by the faulty titin gene – excess alcohol was linked to reduction in heart output of 30 percent. More research is now needed to investigate how alcohol may affect people who carry the faulty titin gene, but do not have heart problems. “Alcohol and the heart have a complicated relationship,” says Dr. Paul Barton, study co-author from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial. “While moderate levels may have benefits for heart health, too much can cause serious cardiac problems. This research suggests that in people with titin-related heart failure, alcohol may worsen the condition. An important wider question is also raised by the study: do mutations in titin predispose people to heart failure when exposed to other things that stress the heart, such as cancer drugs or certain viral infections? This is something we are actively seeking to address.”

The Wonders Of Poppy Seed Oil

The nutritional properties of seeds can sometimes be under discussed. For many years, specific traditions used the seeds and roots of plants to treat and cure many different types of issues and ailments. In our current, more rapidly changing society, it’s nice to know that these seeds and plants can be obtained in an easy-to-use oil form which takes the guess work out of preparation and application. One thing that should be noted about poppy seed oil is that the ripened seeds themselves do not contain narcotic properties like that of the plant. Many get confused about this fact.

Inflammation Slayer

Poppy seed oil is great for the skin for a myriad of reasons – one of which is its high content of lineolenic acid. This can help to target and relieve many of the symptoms suffered from skin issues like eczema and psoriasis. The inflammation that is usually the biggest symptom of these kinds of skin ailments can be downright distressing. The skin starts to darken and the inflamed areas of the skin can become painful and swell to noticeable levels.

Try to treat your affected skin with a mixture of poppy seed oil and coconut oil. Using the coconut oil as a carrier, add a few drops of poppy seed oil into it and combine. Apply the mixture to your symptomatic skin twice a day.


The lineolenic acid also makes for a great moisturizer for the face. If you know anything about skincare, you know that the skin needs hydration and moisture quite a bit. No matter the skin type you have, moisturizing your skin daily, and well, is an absolute necessity. This is true even for you oily skin sufferers, as you may think that your skin requires less moisture, it doesn’t. In fact, oily skin likely needs more moisture than normal or dry skin because its over production of oil is due to its lack of necessary moisture. Go figure. Try a couple of drops of poppy seed oil as a moisturizer on a completely clean face.

Treats Dandruff

Those pesky little flakes are no match for the potency of poppy seed oil. In fact, dandruff sufferers find that the scalp issue can be so pervasive and that oils similar to poppy seed help to completely heal and restore their scalp. Poppy seed oil is no different. You can add a bit of the oil to your favorite shampoo and wash your hair as normal.

You can also use the oil, mixed with a bit of coconut or jojoba oil, as an oil specifically applied to the scalp. Part your hair in small sections and apply the oil mixture along the entirety of your scalp. After just a couple of weeks, you’ll notice the dandruff less and less until it’s completely gone.

Stimulates Hair Growth

If you are looking for a way to promote hair growth, this oil will definitely do the trick. Try massaging a few drops onto your scalp every other day and watch how your hair starts to grow in stronger and thicker than before!

Five Plants In Brazil Labeled Good Antioxidants

A study supported by São Paulo Research Foundation found five plants endemic to Brazil with very high antioxidant properties. The plants were identified as bacupari-mirim (Garcinia brasiliensis), araçá-piranga (E. leitonii), e ubajaí (E. myrcianthes), grumixama (E. brasiliensis), and cereja-do-rio-grande (E. involucrata).

The five food products have been known among the natives for their healing and anti-aging properties,” according to Severino Matias Alencar, associate professor at the Department of Agroindustry, Food & Nutrition at University of São Paulo’s Luiz de Queiroz Agricultural College. “We knew they could contain a large number of anti-oxidants, just like the well-known berries of the U.S. and Europe, such as the blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry, with which scientists are so familiar,” Alencar said. “However, based on the research, the native berries appeared to have extremely high antioxidants.”

One of the berries, however, may disappear forever. The araçá-piranga is an endangered species and if nothing is done to protect it, the fruit could very well face extinction, says Pedro Rosalen, of the University of Campinas’s Piracicaba Dentistry School. The bad news is that, based on their study, the araçá-piranga trumps all the other Eugenias that were included in the research in terms of its anti-inflammatory potential. By harnessing the fruit, the medical field may be able to prevent inflammation because the action mechanism occurs simultaneously at the start of the process. The active ingredient found in the produce will impede the pathways in the inflammatory progression.

Researchers took samples of the phenolic compounds found in the five species. They extracted the samples from the seeds, leaves, and pulp of the plants. The phenolic compounds refer to the chemicals that have been found to have curative and anticipatory properties. What antioxidants really combat are the free radicals. These are unpaired electrons produced by oxygen that are not able to bind to another electron. That’s why they are called “free.” Nature abhors an anomaly so they find other electrons to pair with. This process can cause damage to the DNA, the cells, and the proteins in the body.

Link Between Free Radicals And Antioxidants

Among the food sources that are rich in antioxidants are dark chocolate, pecans, artichoke, kidney beans, berries, and coffee. Many experts believe that the surplus of free radicals in the body is a common cause of cancer. There’s some strong basis to the correlation between high presence of antioxidants and the prevention of free radicals to cause damage to the body, according to the National Cancer Institute,  However, it does acknowledge that the research so far is constrained by several biases and inconsistencies so more studies are needed.

Rosalen, meanwhile, said that apart from cancer, antioxidants also appear to have some success in treating obesity, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. What the research proved, however, is that Brazil has huge untapped resources of beneficial plant species that may revolutionize the medical field. For instance, they have yet to scratch the surface on research considering there are more than 400 Eugenias in the country, and a good chunk of them are endemic to the area. “We have an enormous number of native fruit trees with bioactive compounds that could benefit people’s health, Rosalen added. “They should be studied.”

Economically, they could be marketed as the next fashionable food, especially if scientific research and laboratory tests can prove their anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Farmers would also benefit from the stable income.

4 Simple Steps To Combat Blurry Vision Due To Computer Vision Syndrome

When we were younger, our mom always warned us about sitting too close to the television or being addicted to computer games. Turns out, she wasn’t entirely off the mark. Today, the average adult American spends about eight hours in front of a screen. One of the biggest eye-burn culprits is planting yourself in front of a screen. Our bodies and eyes weren’t designed for modern digital lifestyles. Computer vision syndrome or CVS – also known as digital eye strain – has become an increasingly common condition amongst most working adults. Some symptoms such as headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, and shoulder and neck pain may be experienced.

How Do Computers Affect Your Vision?

The increasing work hours and uncorrected vision problems can give rise to problems like astigmatism, myopia and presbyopia. Astigmatism is associated with blurry vision. This happens when the shape of the cornea changes, preventing light from focusing properly on the retina. Myopia involves the difficulty to view objects at a distance. Your natural lens will lose its flexibility to shift its focus between objects near and far. Symptoms of presbyopia may include the difficulty to read tiny print in books or on your computer screen.

  1. Get A Comprehensive Eye Test

Getting a comprehensive eye test is your first step toward treating computer vision problems. Make sure you speak to your eye doctor about how much time you spend on your computer and digital devices. It will help your doctor get the full picture of your eyes in order to determine the best option for you.

  1. Arrange Your Workstation Properly

Arranging your workstation properly will increase your productivity which is otherwise affected by CVS. Start with adjusting your screen brightness to that of the surrounding environment, depending on what is most comfortable to you. Glare is a major cause of eyestrain. Setting up your computer where glare from the windows does not affect your screen is important. Putting an anti-glare screen on your computer can help minimize the glare and reduce the strain on your vision. Make sure you are using a screen that has a large display and is at least an arm’s length away from your chair.

  1. Blink Often And Follow The 20-20-20 Rule

Staring at a screen for a prolonged period of time keeps you from blinking as frequently as you normally would. You’re more likely to develop dry eyes, headaches and eye infections. Try to stay conscious of how often you’re blinking and give your eyes a break every 20 minutes. Look away from the screen for 20 seconds, focusing on something at least 20 feet away. This can significantly reduce any eye strain.

  1. Exercise Your Eyes Frequently

If you’re spending too much time in front of digital screens, chances are your eyes feel tired. The ‘Roll Your Eyes’ exercise can make your eyes feel relaxed. It is a two-minute exercise that requires you to roll your eyes clockwise and anti-clockwise, keeping your eyes open. Try to stretch your eyes as much as you can. This will relax the muscles in your eyes. Another exercise you could perform is the ‘Palming Exercise’ that keeps stress at bay. While taking a short break, rub your palms until they feel warm. Gently place your palms in the cup of your eyes and fingers on your forehead.

Now that you have a better idea of what you need to do to improve your eye health – minimizing the effects of spending too much time in front of digital screens – we recommend you to make this a practice. A few changes to your approach to working in front of a computer can make a big difference.

However, if you are experiencing serious eye issues or are suffering from prolonged headaches, you may want to seek advice from your doctor.

Author Bio:

Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center, an Ophthalmology Center in California. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK.

Health Benefits Of Rice Bran Oil

It can sometimes be increasingly difficult to keep track of which oils and fats actually work well in your body and which don’t. Contrary to what we’ve been told throughout the years, fats are essential to our health and a necessary part of our diet. The tricky part comes when we don’t eat the right kinds of fats and we run the risk of damaging our health. Here are some important ways in which rice bran oil can benefit internal health.

Neutral Tasting

One of the most important aspects of a healthy type of oil that needs to be explored is how it tastes. While coconut oil has seen a boom in recent years as a go-to oil for many different uses, some don’t enjoy the taste as it is very strong and the coconut flavor is unmistakable. The great thing about rice bran oil is that it’s fairly neutral in taste so it can be effectively used when cooking a myriad of items. The rice grain itself isn’t very potent so its flavor won’t clash with the foods you are cooking.

Full Of Healthy Fats

Rice bran oil has the healthy amounts of fats that we all need to be ingesting in our diets. So many people are very confused about the types of fats that are considered good for them and the types that aren’t. While the fats in processed and fast foods are typically bad, the fats in things like avocado and olive oil help to actually increase good cholesterol while also lowering bad cholesterol. This type of distinction is what prevents issues with the heart that can lead to stroke or heart disease.

This is one of the oils that is actually good for you because of its healthy fat index. It has almost equal proportions of monounsaturated fats, saturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats. This is important to note as its levels work well in the body to promote healthy fuel and energy levels. It also has no trans fats present in its fat composition which ensures you are ingesting the good fats as opposed to the harmful ones.

Lower Cholesterol

There is good cholesterol and there is bad cholesterol – some people aren’t aware of the intrinsic differences between the two. One will help your heart and aid your organs while the other can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke or type 2 diabetes. Because rice bran oil is so heart friendly, it can actually help to control your cholesterol with the right amount of a powerful antioxidant called oryzanol. This oil is even recommended by the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association as being great for improving serum levels of cholesterol.

A High Smoke Point

There are some oils that are unfortunately used incorrectly. Their general makeup lends to either a high, medium or low smoke point. A smoke point essentially examines whether or not the oil remains unchanged or oxidizes when it is exposed to a certain level of heat. Rice bran oil has a high smoke point which means that it can safely be used to deep fry and stir fry many of your favorite dishes without changing the healthy factors within the oil itself. This is something many people get wrong with olive oil. Although it’s incredibly healthy, it should not be used on the stove and is best incorporated into dressings and on lukewarm pastas. Exposing it to too much heat changes it too significantly.

Many Other Uses For Rice Bran Oil

With so many different oils on the market, some are more easily located and purchased than others. While some would like to experiment with the types of oils that they cook with, an oil that can be used in a whole host of ways, such as rice bran, is ideal. There are many more reasons why rice bran oil should have a permanent spot in both your kitchen pantry and your bathroom medicine cabinet.

Skin Aid

Rice bran oil is highly effective as a hydrating oil. So often, the over-the-counter moisturizers that the skincare industry markets are not only incredibly expensive, but also filled with unnecessary additives. You don’t want to be putting just anything on your skin. What many people don’t realize is that the best skin care products and the ones that are the most effective are all inherently natural. That extra gunk and miscellaneous ingredients will actually do more harm than good in the long run. The fatty acids that are present in rice bran oil ensure that your skin is properly moisturized and won’t leave your skin looking or feeling oily.

Anti-Aging Trick

If you are suffering from the beginnings of wrinkles, or just noticing that your skin looks a bit dull and lifeless around the edges, it’s time to switch to an oil like rice bran. The deeply hydrating properties of this oil help to lessen the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. Signs of aging can be downright scary. There’s no need to battle the tell-tale signs of your age when you incorporate wonderful skin oils into your regimen. Just a couple of drops as a moisturizer on a clean face will do the trick.

Cooking Oil

Sometimes coconut oil and olive oil can get a little ordinary and bland to cook with after awhile. You may be interested in switching up the oils that you cook with, and if you are, rice bran is a great alternative. It has a very neutral taste so it pairs well with the different types of foods that you like to cook. It also has a high heat point which means it’s perfect to use on the stove to cook a myriad of dishes. Rice bran is incredibly neutral and not at all potent when it comes to the taste that it leaves foods with.

You can purchase rice bran oil online from several companies at

Dental Health Inequalities Most Evident In Young Children

Inequalities in dental health are most evident in three to six-year-old children, with preschoolers in socioeconomically disadvantaged families having a more than four times higher risk of tooth decay compared to age cohorts with better living conditions, according to new research from the University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg, Sweden. “We shouldn’t forget that most kids have healthy teeth, but there is a minor group of children who we see at the dental clinic repeatedly, and who have a lot of cavities,” says Ann-Catrin André Kramer, a doctor of dental medicine and a registered dental hygienist.

The dental health of 300,988 individuals aged three to 19 years in the Västra Götaland region of Sweden was studied. The analyses are based on data from the Swedish Public Dental Service and private dental care providers that treat children and young people in the region, as well as information from Statistics Sweden, including information about household finances and education level. The research confirms that from an international perspective, children and young people in Sweden generally have good dental health. However, despite the fact that the Swedish government has provided free dental care to children and young people for decades, large discrepancies in dental health do exist.

Children and adolescents living in rural areas had a lower risk of cavities than their age cohorts in larger towns and cities. There were also differences in caries experience among children of different genders. “It was interesting that the girls had a lower risk of cavities than boys during adolescence, with a reverse pattern before adolescence when girls exhibited a higher risk for caries experience compared to boys,” Kramer added. “This trend had not been observed previously. The question is whether this pattern can be linked to behavior such as diet and oral hygiene habits, or if something biological is occurring in the body. As yet, we have no answers, but the pattern is definitely there, and we really need to investigate it further.”

Tracking Preschool Dental Health

Ten percent of seven to nine-year-olds exhibited tooth decay in their permanent teeth, and two-thirds of older teenagers had cavities or fillings. The results indicate that children in families with limited socioeconomic resources were most at risk of caries experience. This was especially true of preschool-aged children. A smaller sub-study also tracked the dental health of young children during their preschool years. The findings showed that children who already had cavities when they were three years old had developed considerably more tooth decay by the time they turned six, compared to children who were cavity-free at the start of the study. Only half of the children included in the study showed no signs of tooth decay in their primary teeth by the time they reached six years of age.

“This situation is very demanding for both patients and dentists, and we need to consider how we can reach the groups who are most in need of dental care,” Kramer said. “Perhaps we can further develop inter-professional efforts and work with other healthcare professionals and schools to remedy this problem. Children should be taught that brushing their teeth is every bit as important as washing their hands, which is something they learn to do at a young age.”