Back Stiffness May Actually Be Something Else

Back pain and stiffness is one of the most commonly felt discomforts amongst many adults. Whether it’s from sleeping on a bad mattress, having poor posture or an injury, back stiffness is a pretty ubiquitously experienced ailment. But what if that stiffness isn’t actually what it appears or feels to be? A new report states that this very common occurrence that feels like back tightness or stiffness may be something else entirely.

A researcher in South Australia stated that the correlation between actual back stiffness and what people perceive to be back stiffness is often very different. When the stiffness of a particular part of the back is gauged, it’s not often reported as such by testing options. Tasha Stanton, the lead author and researcher, suggested that maybe the feeling of stiffness is just a protective construct that is created by the nervous system. It could very likely be the body’s way of protecting itself from additional strain or injury.

Understanding The Issues

Lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, so back pain is obviously something that affects countless people. This is also why something that may seem as simple and common, such as the presence of back pain, should be taken seriously so that it doesn’t further escalate and become something that is almost impossible to manage. Another issue that doctors and researchers have found when it comes to the experience of back stiffness is that words are incredibly important. Sometimes when they are used incorrectly, it makes the diagnosis and treatment process that much more difficult.

Pain is a very misunderstood entity. While the presence of doctors and chiropractors can be helpful in managing the different types of pain you may be experiencing, getting to the root cause and understanding how everyday stressors and triggers may exacerbate the issue is incredibly important. If certain measures are taken early enough, then the complete decline of the muscles may not be as drastic.

Procedures such as physical therapy are also helpful when there is any type of back or neck pain that is readily experienced. There is an obvious issue with pain killers in this country, and in various parts of the world, so relying on popping pills will undoubtedly lead to more trouble than relief. Obviously if the pain is unbearable, there are less potent, non-habit-forming drugs that can be used.

Finding The Real Problem

A descriptive word such as “stiff” can be used to describe anything. It can be used to describe dull pain, a hurt muscle, a random ache, the result of sleeping on a mattress wrong, and a whole host of other causes. These aren’t necessarily all the same thing nor are they all as serious as one another. This is why using that word to describe what’s going on in your back isn’t necessarily helpful.

Ascertain the problem as completely as you possibly can. Figure out when the sensation started and try to get to a point where you can describe exactly what it feels like as accurately as possible. It could be the difference between it becoming a long-standing problem that completely compromises your quality of life and ability to work and it being treatable. Learn how to properly describe and manage your back pain. Saying something is “stiff” may actually just mask the problem.

The Importance Of Accuracy In Nail Fungus Diagnosis

All types of fungal infection can be distressing for sufferers. When any type of nail fungus occurs, it can be a complicated or often misinterpreted issue. When sandal season looms, this is one of the more common issues that the feet can endure. Often times, the usual reaction is to hide the feet and cover the toes with some type of polish, or even a generic anti-fungal nail treatment. However, it’s crucial that a proper diagnosis from a board-certified dermatologist is made before taking any type of treatment measures.

A board-certified dermatologist Shari Lipper, MD, PhD states, “Although nail fungus is the most common nail disorder that dermatologists treat, not every nail problem is caused by fungus, and there are several other conditions that may look similar, including nail psoriasis and nail trauma.” She sees this type of misstep often and wants individuals to know that treating something as a fungus, that may not be, can actually make the condition much worse.

It’s also imperative not to ignore specific signs that may present themselves. When symptoms go unchecked, the fungus can potentially spread and worsen to the point of causing serious pain or issues. It is a huge misconception that nail fungus only exists as an aesthetic or cosmetic issue. It can be very serious and interfere with your foot’s overall function.

Signs And Symptoms

There are many signs that come with the presence of nail fungus. One of the predominate ones is the lifting of the nail away from the skin. Any type of discoloration of the nail can also be a huge indicator that there is a fungus problem. The two colors most often seen in nail fungus cases are white or yellow. Nails that are plagued with fungus can also show other signs of becoming thick and hard and may be impossible to cut. Another sign of fungus can exist in the complete opposite realm as nail thinning which leads to the splitting or crumbling of the nail.

If you start to notice any type of inconsistent or peculiar nail symptoms, it’s best to schedule an appointment to see a dermatologist right away. This is even more crucial if you have any type of underlying conditions that can potentially affect feet such as poor circulation, a weakened immune system or diabetes.

The diagnostic process that a dermatologist will employ to confirm it is nail fungus can vary. Sometimes it is as simple as a test run that will show if any type of fungus is present. Depending on the severity of the fungus, the doctor will then prescribe topical or oral medications. For the more serious bouts of nail fungus, oral medication can sometimes be the best route. For those who ignore their issue and don’t get proper treatment, the fungus can get so bad that topical treatments don’t work well to completely kill the fungi.

Oral medications take anywhere from six weeks to three months to completely eradicate the toenail fungus. Topical options can take much longer than that. This is because the oral medications work from the inside out while topical medication can only work by properly penetrating the issue. There is also the option of laser procedures, however, this method is typically only used to improve the cosmetic outlay of the nail.

How Apple Seed Oil Benefits The Skin

When it comes to your skin and the oils that are best for it, you actually have quite a few choices. While there are a ton of oils that can be used for a myriad of reasons on your face, there are some that may give you more deliberate and definitive results. If you are searching for a natural, light oil that will help your skin remain radiant, soft, and tackle blemishes, then apple seed oil is one you’ll want to try. Even if you are the type of person that suffers from sensitive skin, this oil won’t cause your skin to react negatively. There are several different ways that apple seed oil is incredibly beneficial to the skin. Here are a few.

Improves Collagen

One of the most important aspects of anti-aging skincare is improved collagen activation. Collagen is a protein that is incredibly crucial to the health and appearance of your skin. When the collagen within the skin is synthesized properly it strengthens and protects the skin while keeping it looking youthful and supple. This type of collagen production and management tends to slow with age, however, apple seed oil naturally activates this process, which will improve elasticity and the softness of the skin. This is a wonderful anti-aging oil to incorporate into your skincare regimen.

Protects Skin

There are so many environmental hazards that can threaten your skin. Two of the most common are sun and air pollution. The UV rays that the sun gives off are very strong and can be harmful to the skin. While a good sunscreen will usually do the trick to protect your skin from harm, some of those store-bought sunscreens actually contain additives and ingredients that are bad for you and the environment. As a natural sun protectant, apple seed oil is the perfect antidote. It has natural filtration properties which automatically protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Free radicals in the air are also a big concern. This oil naturally neutralizes free radicals that can cause harm to the skin.

Stretch Marks

Not only is this oil great for the face and neck but can also be used all over your body. It has specific elements and nutrients that make it great for scar fading and removal – more specifically to fade stretch marks. Because of its ability to improve elasticity, this amazing oil is a great way to combat stretch marks. It is safe to use during pregnancy and has been used at length to prevent the appearance of unsightly stretch marks – all while improving the state of the skin in softness and hydration levels.

Acne

This oil is great if you have acne-prone skin. Essentially, the high amount of antioxidants within the oil helps to both soothe and treat any type of blemishes you may be suffering from. It does this while cleansing your skin which prevents any new blemish or spots from developing.

You can purchase apple seed oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

New Study Shows Benefits Of Walnuts To Gut Health

One of the most misunderstood aspects of health is that of the gut and digestive system. Digestive issues are downright ubiquitous; they can be caused by many different things and they can also lead to additional health troubles and concerns. In a new study conducted at Louisiana State University, it was found that walnuts can actually positively contribute to the health of the gut by increasing good bacteria.

Walnuts have been dubbed a superfood because of their compositional makeup. They are full of necessary, beneficial components such as alpha-linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. The nut also contains one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants. Its elements of fiber may be what contribute to its powerful abilities within the digestive system. This study took on finding out exactly why walnuts are essential to the gut.

The Findings

They conducted the study using a rodent model and introduced walnuts to one group while the other was not. The gut bacteria of the rodents was then measured after a specific amount of time and the numbers of the test group that did ingest walnuts was vastly healthier. In fact, the walnut-exposed test group showed a noticeably improved amount of gut bacteria in the descending colon.

The amount of healthy bacteria was increased in the walnut test group. A very important distinction to make in the findings is not only the amount of good bacteria that was easily observed but that the functional capacity of the bacteria was superior. An important bacteria called Lactobacillus was also located in the results.

“We found that walnuts in the diet increased the diversity of bacteria in the gut, and other non-related studies have associated less bacterial diversity with obesity and other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease. Walnuts increased several bacteria, like Lactobacilus, typically associated with probiotics suggesting walnuts may act as a prebiotic,” explained the lead researcher.

The Questions

There is so much unknown about gut health and the reactions the gut has to many different foods and environmental factors. There are largely still a lot of questions associated with the digestive system and how it operates. These types of studies provide quantifiable information as a physiological mechanism to improve health. This is why science and research are so vital – especially in a world that moves at the speed of light. Understanding that eating a few walnuts a day can potentially change your gut health issues would be life shifting for so many.

Many autoimmune conditions have been thought to be linked to gut health in some way. Painful conditions that have a whole slew of symptoms could be better treated just by taking better care of the gut. Typically, the issues aren’t as serious and expansive as those examples. Even so, if the extent of your digestive issues is gas, bloating and occasional nausea, finding a quick fix that will help to regulate your digestive system is a Godsend. No one wants to struggle to go to the bathroom or deal with feeling too full after a holiday party.

Incorporating things like walnuts and other gut-positive foods could be the true antidote for these issues that seem to elude the medical community. With this type of concrete information followed by results, we can better heal ourselves with natural foods and not rely on other, less effective methods.

 

 

 

Impressive Benefits Of Olives And Olive Oil

A specific study was conducted at Virginia Tech University regarding the intrinsic health benefits of both olives and the oil derived from them. There has been long-standing beliefs that olives and olive oil are amazing for the heart and various other aspects of health. The Mediterranean diet regards it as a staple and as such, many people in that region taut its praises and supreme abilities. But little is known on why and how this fruit and oil is so effective. The biochemical interactions of the compounds within the fruit itself give way to why it’s such a wonderful option.

Weight loss and even blood sugar levels can be positively impacted by the olive-derived compound oleuropein, which helps the body to naturally secrete additional insulin. This is the primary signaling molecule which helps to regulate the body’s metabolism. This compound was also found to be an integral one that assists in detoxifying. The study conducted was done to help provide more information on why this fruit is so effective in the ways that it helps. It can also be used to potentially produce products, at a low cost, that will help to fight type 2 diabetes and the issue of obesity that often accompanies it.

Diabetes Link

The assistant professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Bin Xu explained, “we believe it will not only contribute to the biochemistry of the functions of the olive component oleuropein, but also have an impact on the general public to pay more attention to olive products in light of the current diabetes epidemic.” It is estimated that one in 11 people in this country have diabetes. That is significantly higher than just 10 or even 20 years ago. The disease is growing exponentially by leaps and bounds. That’s positively outrageous and cause for grave concern. Especially because diabetes puts the body at risk for so many other health complications such as heart disease and increased risk of stroke.

Now that the study was able to ascertain the compounds within the olive itself that provides such great benefits, the next viable step would be to introduce the compound into a diabetic animal model to investigate specifics as far as dosage and severity of the disease. This is also the best way to find any potential new functions of the compound. Olive oil has also been known to have impressive effects on aging.

Improve Your Metabolism

Properly controlling metabolism is one of the central components to overall health. Many different health issues and ailments target the metabolism’s ability to be self regulatory and that can thus cause a whole multitude of issues and potential concerns. Eating olives or using olive oil to cook with is a great way to know you are making strides to positively improve your metabolism.

How your body reacts to the food that it processes is crucial to metabolism and the overall makeup of the body. Not only does olive oil have a great flavor makeup but it also can be found anywhere. It’s one of the most popular oils and a healthy source of incredible fats that are tremendous for your heart.

The Benefits Of Beetroot Juice

Several recent findings – from various research studies – have come to light concerning the health effects of beets. Drinking a beetroot juice supplement before working out makes the brain of older adults perform more efficiently, mirroring the operations of a younger brain, according to one recent study by scientists at Wake Forest University.

“We knew going in that a number of studies had shown that exercise has positive effects on the brain,” said W. Jack Rejeski, study co-author and Thurman D. Kitchin Professor and Director of the Behavioral Medicine Laboratory in the Department of Health & Exercise Science. “But what we showed in this brief training study of hypertensive older adults was that, as compared to exercise alone, adding a beet root juice supplement to exercise resulted in brain connectivity that closely resembles what you see in younger adults.”

Exercise And The Brain

The study, “Beet Root Juice: An Ergogenic Aid for Exercise and the Aging Brain,” was published in the peer-reviewed Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. These findings suggest that what we eat as we age could be critically important to the maintenance of our brain health and functional independence. This is the first experiment to test the combined effects of exercise and beetroot juice on functional brain networks in the motor cortex and secondary connections between the motor cortex and the insula, which support mobility.

The study included 26 men and women age 55 and older who did not exercise, had high blood pressure, and took no more than two medications for high blood pressure. Three times a week for six weeks, they drank a beetroot juice supplement called Beet-It Sport Shot one hour before a moderately intense, 50-minute walk on a treadmill. Half the participants received Beet-It containing 560 milligrams of nitrate; the others received a placebo Beet-It with very little nitrate.

Nitric Oxide Conversion

Beets contain a high level of dietary nitrate, which is converted to nitrite and then nitric oxide when consumed. Nitric oxide increases blood flow in the body, and multiple studies have shown it can improve exercise performance in people of various ages. “Nitric oxide is a really powerful molecule. It goes to the areas of the body which are hypoxic, or needing oxygen, and the brain is a heavy feeder of oxygen in your body,” Rejeski said.

Post-exercise analysis showed that, although the study groups had similar levels of nitrate and nitrite in the blood before drinking the juice, the beetroot juice group had much higher levels of nitrate and nitrite than the placebo group after exercise. When you exercise, the brain’s somatomotor cortex, which processes information from the muscles, sorts out the cues coming in from the body. Exercise should strengthen the somatomotor cortex. Combining beetroot juice with exercise delivers even more oxygen to the brain and creates an excellent environment for strengthening the somatomotor cortex.

Heart Disease Benefits

Another recent study found that dietary nitrate – a compound that dilates blood vessels to decrease blood pressure – may reduce overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system that occurs with heart disease. The research team looked specifically at beetroot juice, a source of dietary nitrate, to explore its use as a future targeted treatment option for people with cardiovascular disease.  The study, published in the American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology, is the first to study the effects of nitrate supplementation on sympathetic nerve activity.

Activation of the sympathetic nervous system – caused by increased sympathetic nerve activity – include elevated heart rate and blood pressure and blood vessel constriction. Sympathetic nerve activity (sympathetic outflow) also increases with some forms of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and heart failure. The aim of the study was to show that acute nitrate supplementation using beetroot juice can decrease muscle sympathetic outflow at rest and during exercise.

Twenty young adult volunteers with an average age of 27 participated in two separate testing visits in which they blindly received either a nitrate supplement or a placebo. On both visits, the research team recorded the blood pressure, heart rate and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) and measured muscle activity at rest and during handgrip exercise with the participants’ non-dominant hand. Measurements were recorded at the beginning of the visit and then again after the volunteers drank nitrate-rich beetroot juice or a placebo and had rested on their backs for three hours.

MSNA burst rate, denoting the frequency of nerve activity, was lower when the volunteers drank beetroot juice compared to when they drank the placebo. Sympathetic nerve activity also decreased during exercise. “Surprisingly, no differences in blood pressure were detected at rest or during exercise,” the research team noted. “These results provide proof-of-concept that dietary nitrate supplementation can modulate central sympathetic outflow and suggest that the established cardiovascular benefits [of dietary nitrate] are likely to involve a neural contribution.”

Other Studies

A daily dose of beetroot juice significantly improved exercise endurance and blood pressure in elderly patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, according to a Wake Forest study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology-Heart Failure in 2016. A 2015 Wake Forest study, published in Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry, stated that beetroot juice helped chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients increase exercise time.

Consuming whole beets improved running performance among fit adults, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Blood pressure dropped after drinking beetroot juice, according to a study published in Hypertension. Drinking beet juice was also found to increase blood flow to the brain in older adults, according to a 2010 study out of Wake Forest published in Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry – the first study to link beet consumption and blood flow to the brain.

 

 

 

What’s So Great About Date Seed Oil?

Many people are familiar with the fruit called date. Despite it being very high in sugar, it has many other benefits that are well regarded. It is a rich source of minerals and vitamins. What’s so great about the compositional makeup of this fruit is that its oil, which comes specifically from a date seed, carries those positive properties and then some. Used in this way for generations in the Middle East, the benefit of date seed oil is making its way to other parts of the world and we have the reasons you should try it!

Protein Filled

While the fruit itself is rich in protein, there is even more protein packed in the seed of the date. Protein is a very important nutrient that the skin needs in order to maintain its health and appearance. The skin itself can often be weakened by pollution and other environmental factors, but protein can help increase the level of collagen in the skin, which can help to increase its elasticity and ward off the signs of aging. If you are looking for a face oil that is gentle but will also do the work of keeping your face protected, you may want to give this oil a try.

Control Blood Sugar

A great thing about date palm seed oil is that it’s available in food grade, which means it can be consumed and cooked with. This makes its use even more fundamental and necessary as it has been known to help treat issues with blood sugar in the past. Diabetes is one of the most pervasive conditions in our country, and for those who don’t keep their blood sugar in check, it can be terribly dangerous and lead to complications. A recent study showed that consuming date seeds or cooking with date seed oil can help prevent complications specifically dealing with the liver and kidneys.

Rich In Antioxidants

Free radicals don’t just affect your skin, they affect your entire body – both the internal and external parts. Due to the amount of antioxidants present in date seed oil, it can help your body fight against the oxidative stress damage that comes along with the free radicals that roam throughout our atmosphere. This makes it a great oil to cook with, use to protect the skin, and also be used in hair.

Nourish Hair

When it comes to the right type of oil to put in your hair, there are many different choices. One thing you have to be careful of when you are picking an oil though is that it’s not too greasy as some tend to weigh hair down. Thankfully, with the amount of oleic acid within the oil, people with naturally curly or dense hair will find that this oil is especially helpful. It will soften your hair and also make it more manageable. If you struggle with wiry or frizzy hair, you’ll definitely want to keep this oil on hand.

You can purchase date seed oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

 

Track Hydration With Low-Cost Sensor

Many are aware of the importance of proper water intake. Hydration is one of the things that fluctuates throughout the day and can be deeply impacted by body weight, activity, food consumption and more. While dehydration can lead to things such as chapped lips, dry skin and constipation, there are other more serious issues that can result in a lack of proper hydration. Finding a way to constantly keep track of your own personal levels of hydration can be difficult. Making sure you are consuming an adequate amount of water is a good step, however tracking that isn’t always ideal.

Researchers at North Carolina State University introduced a device that is low cost, wearable and wireless that can detect the amount of hydration within the body based on the skin. These can be worn either as a chest or wrist patch and serve a huge purpose to prevent things like severe dehydration, heat stroke and other complications when the body doesn’t properly consume or retain enough water. The device is lightweight, easy to wear and incredibly stretchable. It’s perfect for people who are constantly on the go and who are always active. The patch’s ability to detect dehydration before it becomes an issue is one of its preeminent functions.

Gauging Proper Hydration

The reason this patch was created, according to the professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State, is because “it’s difficult to measure a person’s hydrations quantitatively, which is relevant for everyone from military personnel to athletes to firefighters, who are at risk of health problems related to heat stress when training or in the field.” Proper hydration is integral to so many and we didn’t have a way to properly gauge that until the advent of this patch.

The patch is able to use technological precursors that allow the tracking of hydration in real time. The sensors are continually tracking and monitoring the hydration levels of the skin and when they get too low an alert sounds. This type of technology can be the difference between really protecting an individual’s health when they are working in hot conditions. It can even be used to help improve the athletic performance of an athlete as they emit and lose water more readily than someone with a more sedentary lifestyle.

The patch contains two electrodes that are comprised of elastic polymer composite with small conductive silver nanowires. Due to the way that the skin’s electric properties change, based on how hydrated the skin is, the skin is a perfect way to test levels of hydration.

After the patch was created, it was tested in a lab using specialty artificial skin with a wide range of hydration levels. The tests were found to be incredibly accurate and it was also discovered that the patches themselves were not negatively impacted by ambient humidity. The manner in which the sensors adhere to the skin is both comfortable and effective as it won’t randomly fall off.

There was also an additional type of product that was developed that resembles a wristwatch for those who don’t prefer the functionality of a patch. This is great for athletes and those who want to track their hydration levels at certain times of the day, typically when they are the most physically active. The overall cost to make the sensor? Only one dollar. It’s incredibly affordable to produce.

Exercise Is Imperative: An Anti-Inflammation Key?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for most of your life, you have likely heard of the importance of exercise and remaining as active as possible. This is because so many illnesses and ailments can be linked to things like obesity and stagnation. The body was designed to move and run and jump. When we live sedentary lifestyles without making it a point to get some exercise, our health can suffer. In a new study conducted by California State University of San Diego, it was found that just 20 minutes of moderate exercise can be a key factor in managing inflammation.

There is a cellular response that happens in the body when physical activity is performed. This has been shown to have tremendous benefits on things like the heart, bones, and muscles. In this specific study, it was found that after only one single session of exercise, inflammation markers can be decreased. This is good news for chronic conditions that result in high levels of inflammation such as obesity, fibromyaligia and arthritis.

A study that was recently seen in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, explained extensively the reason a mere 20-minute session of moderate exercise helps to promote the immune system, which in turn activates the anti-inflammatory cellular response.

Mental And Physical Health Benefits

When we think about this is a similar context, it makes perfect sense. As the saying goes, “A body at rest, stays at rest. A body in motion, stays in motion.” So each time we make concerted and conscious efforts to get our steps in or take a yoga class or go for a swim, we are doing tremendous aid to not only our mental health but our physical health as well. While some may see this information and take it at face value, it’s imperative that we can understand just how the process of exercise has this specific effect.

The brain and nervous system are obviously connected and directly impact blood pressure and heart rate. These two things are positively activated during exercise in order for the body to properly carry out the task at hand. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are hormones that trigger immune cells response after they are released into the blood stream. This immunological response is a key way that systemic inflammation is effectively regulated and lessened. Twenty minutes on the treadmill resulted in an over five percent decrease in the number of cells producing inflammatory entities.

One researcher notes: “Our study shows a workout session doesn’t actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects. Twenty minutes to half an hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient. Feeling like a workout needs to be at a peak exertion level for a long duration can intimidate those who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases and could greatly benefit from physical activity.”

This is precisely the reason that some people don’t work out. They think it’s too strenuous and too exhaustive when it actually doesn’t have to be. It can be enjoyable and at a pace that can be easily kept up with. This idea that exercise only matters if it’s at a high intensity is what prevents so many people from actually attempting to even get moderate exercise that would actually benefit them tremendously.

The Many Benefits Of Black Seed Oil

Often referred to as black cumin, black seed oil is defined as an annual flowering plant of the Ranunculaceae family and is native to south and southwest Asia. Also known as nigella sativa or kalonji, this black caraway fruit is made up of three to seven united follicles that each contain many seeds that are used as a spice or as a replacement for black cumin.

The seeds – used as a spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines – taste like a combination of oregano, onions and black pepper with a pungent smell and bitter taste. These seeds are used to flavor vegetables and curries or as a pepper in recipes that include vegetables, salads , poultry and pod fruit – and even bread products in some cultures.

Growth Suppression

In the summer of 2010, researchers at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, La., demonstrated that thymoquinone, a major component of black seed oil, can suppress the growth of several aggressive prostate cancer cell lines, in vitro. This study appeared in the June 2010 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine.

And just a few years before that, researchers found that thymoquinone blocked pancreatic cancer cell growth and killed cells by enhancing programmed cell death. The findings suggest that thymoquinone could eventually have use as a preventative in those who have had surgery and chemotherapy or who are at risk of developing cancer.

Many Uses

In April 2017, Anti-Age Naturally listed the many uses of black seed oil which include alleviating arthritis; killing skin fungus and infections such as MRSA, HIV and meningitis;  promoting hair and healthy bone marrow growth, and healthy cholesterol; relieving toothaches and allergy symptoms; treating hemorrhoids, colds and flus; fighting cancer; supporting healthy blood pressure and digestive health including gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea; aiding in healthy lung function and chronic fatigue syndrome; soothing skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis; reducing and possibly eliminating insomnia; and eliminating acne and dandruff.

More Black Seed Benefits

Diamond Herbs recently compiled a list of 101 black seed oil benefits, which added to the above list many more benefits. Black seed oil aids in weight loss, breast feeding and lactation; alleviates gum infections; boosts immunity, fertility, lethargy and general weakness; cleanses parasites; comforts back, joints and muscle pain; cures boils and carbuncles – which is a cluster of boils – rheumatic pains and facial paralysis; deep cleans pores; detoxifies body; is effective for vision and eye diseases; heals peeling lips, nasal congestion, and lead poisoning; helps with depression, toxicity, chest congestion, and morphine dependence; improves dry mouth, beard growth, sperm count;  and inhibits breast cancer.

Black seed oil also kills brain cancer cells, colon cancer cells, oral cancer cells and leukemia cells; lowers anxiety; is a natural remedy for colic; prevents anemia, diabetes, radiation damage, muscle cramps and spasms, kidney damage associated with diabetes, and brain damage from Parkinson’s disease; promotes heart, kidney, and liver health; protects against damage from heart attack; reduces fevers, and need for pain killers; regulates menstrual cycles; rejuvenates burns; relieves stress, insect bites, tonsil inflammation, headaches and migraines, and nausea and upset stomach; remedies pancreatic cancer; removes gallstones and dizziness; repairs prostate problems; and stimulates urine production.

It also suppresses bronchitis, liver stones, bladder infections, liver cancer growth, and cervical cancer;  and treats coughs, moles, asthma, earaches, heart burn, nose bleeds, seizures, ulcers, Alzheimer’s, lymphoma, obesity, schizophrenia, opiate addiction, bee and wasp stings, and bone and skin cancer.

Black seed is available as an oil and also comes in pill and capsule form at local pharmacies and herbal stores. You can also purchase black seed oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

Study Suggests Tomatoes May Help Prevent Cancer

A study conducted on mice has found that consuming dried tomato reduces skin cancer tumors by half. The study has exciting potential implications for cancer prevention in humans.

Skin cancer is one of the most common forms in the United States. The American Cancer Society reports that there are more cases of non-melanoma skin cancer each year than the number of breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancers combined. While non-melanoma skin cancer is not often deadly, it brings pain, expense, and in some cases disfigurement. It is little wonder that scientists have been researching ways to combat it.

A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that dried red tomato has a drastic effect on the formation of skin cancer tumors. In the study, mice were fed a diet containing 10 percent tomato powder for 35 weeks. Later, they were exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, which causes cancer, but the male mice saw 50% fewer tumors than mice without the dried tomato in their diet. In female mice, there was no significant difference in numbers of tumors. Some mice were fed tangerine tomatoes, and they did exhibit fewer tumors than the control group, but this result was not statistically significant.

The difference in results between sexes suggests that cancer formation and treatment can vary across populations. Previous research has indicated that male mice develop more aggressive, larger tumors more quickly.

The Tomato Connection

Jessica Cooperstone, co-author and research scientist in the Department of Food Science and Technology in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State, explained the possible connection between eating tomato and lower rates of tumor development: it is thought that dietary carotenoids, which give tomatoes their red color, could help guard skin from damage inflicted by UV light. Carotenoids are deposited in the skin after eating, and they may shield the mice from the harmful effects of UV.

There is reason to believe that the results of this study will help prevent or treat cancer in humans: previous studies have indicated that eating tomato paste can reduce the damage of sunburns. This suggests that the storage of carotenoids in the skin may work in humans much like it does in mice.

The difference in results across the sexes suggests that “we do need to consider sex when exploring different preventive strategies” even in humans, Cooperstone said. “What works in men may not always work equally well in women and vice versa.”

Further, Cooperstone noted that there may be more researched to be done on the healing properties of tomatoes: “Lycopene, the primary carotenoid in tomatoes, has been shown to be the most effective antioxidant of these pigments,” she said. “However, when comparing lycopene administered from a whole food (tomato) or a synthesized supplement, tomatoes appear more effective in preventing redness after UV exposure, suggesting other compounds in tomatoes may also be at play.”

Future studies will investigate exactly which compounds best combat skin cancer, and the results could eventually inform new cancer treatments. As such a ubiquitous and deadly disease, the more information that can be gleaned on how to properly treat and fight cancer, the better for the future health of our society at large. Cancer is one of the top killers in our current day and age; any information that thwarts that rise is crucial.

 

Synthetic Tooth Enamel May Lead To More Resilient Structures

Unavoidable vibrations, such as those on airplanes, cause rigid structures to age and crack, but researchers at the University of Michigan may have an answer for that – design them more like tooth enamel, which could lead to more resilient flight computers, for instance. Most materials that effectively absorb vibration are soft, so they don’t make good structural components such as beams, chassis or motherboards. For inspiration on how to make hard materials that survive repeated shocks, the researchers looked to nature.

“Artificial enamel is better than solid commercial and experimental materials that are aimed at the same vibration damping,” said Nicholas Kotov, the Joseph B. and Florence V. Cejka Professor of Chemical Engineering. “It’s lighter, more effective and, perhaps, less expensive.”

Evolution’s Design

He and his team didn’t settle on enamel immediately. They examined many structures in animals that had to withstand shocks and vibrations: bones, shells, carapaces and teeth. These living structures changed from species to species and over the eons. Tooth enamel told a different story. Under an electron microscope, it shared a similar structure whether it came from a Tyrannosaurus, a walrus, a sea urchin or Kotov himself – he contributed his own wisdom tooth to the effort. “To me, this is opposite to what’s happening with every other tissue in the process of evolution,” he said. “Their structures diversified tremendously but not the structure of enamel.”

Evolution had hit on a design that worked for pretty much everyone with teeth. And unlike bone, which can be repaired, enamel had to last the lifetime of the tooth – years, decades or longer still. It must withstand repeated stresses and general vibrations without cracking. Enamel is made of columns of ceramic crystals infiltrated with a matrix of proteins, set into a hard protective coating. This layer is sometimes repeated, made thicker in the teeth that have to be tougher.

The reason why this structure is effective at absorbing vibrations, Kotov explained, is that the stiff nanoscale columns bending under stress from above create a lot of friction with the softer polymer surrounding them within the enamel. The large contact area between the ceramic and protein components further increases the dissipation of energy that might otherwise damage it.

Recreating Enamel

Bongjun Yeom, a postdoctoral researcher in Kotov’s lab, recreated the enamel structure by growing zinc oxide nanowires on a chip. Then he layered two polymers over the nanowires, spinning the chip to spread out the liquid and baking it to cure the plastic between coats. It took 40 layers to build up a single micrometer, or one thousandth of a millimeter, of enamel-like structure. Then, they laid down another layer of zinc oxide nanowires and filled it in with 40 layers of polymer, repeating the whole process up to 20 times.

Even molecular or nanoscale gaps between the polymer and ceramic would reduce the strength of material and the intensity of the friction, but the painstaking layering ensured the surfaces were perfectly mated. “The marvelous mechanical properties of biological materials stem from great molecular and nanoscale adaptation of soft structures to hard ones and vice versa,” Kotov said.

Kotov’s group demonstrated that their synthetic tooth enamel approached the ability of real tooth enamel to defend itself from damage due to vibrations. Computer modeling of the synthetic enamel, performed by researchers at Michigan Technological University and the Illinois Applied Research Institute, confirmed that the structure diffused the forces from vibrations through the interaction between the polymer and columns.

From the project’s inception as a challenge from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Kotov worked with fellow materials heavyweights Ellen Arruda, U-M professor of mechanical engineering, and Anthony Waas, the Felix Pawlowski Collegiate Professor Emeritus.

Kotov hopes to see the synthetic enamel deployed in airplanes and other environments in which vibrations are inescapable, protecting structures and electronics. The challenge, he said, will be automating the production of the material.

The paper is titled Abiotic Tooth Enamel and will be published in the journal Nature.

Air Filters With Soy Capture More Toxic Chemicals

The amount of toxins in the air is sometimes something that we don’t give proper thought to. Due to the fact that we can’t see them, particles in the air contain harmful entities such as free radicals, pollutants, and a whole host of other harmful things the naked eye cannot see. While technology has given us the benefits of air filters, which help to clean the air and provide a more balanced atmosphere, some air filters are superior to others.

In a recent study, researchers found that filters that are soy based actually can capture more toxic chemicals than ones that aren’t. Toxins in the air such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be better filtered out when they come into contact with a filter made from soy-based products. What makes these discoveries even more exciting is that soy is natural and incredibly friendly to the environment. No need to use air filters that have additives that may make the problem worse.

Why They Are Effective

Researchers at Washington State University actually developed the filters themselves with the idea of making air filters more effective in general. The inability for some air filters to detect harmful air pollutants was an issue that they successfully took to task and eliminated by dabbling in product creation. Engineers at the university both designed and tested the components of the bio-based filter and the results were impressive, to say the least. One of the reasons these particular air filters are so effective is because of how soy protein works. Not only is the protein itself inexpensive, natural and biodegradable but does a better job at apprehending air toxins.

The quality of the air does a number on our health profile. As such, the particles that exist in the air, which we often cannot see, contribute steadfastly to increased rates of lung cancer, heart disease and asthma. This is something that environmental activists talk about often. While they continually worry about the state of the planet and the earth as a whole, the way the air takes on the toxins of so many specific situations is problematic and should be addressed. While standard air purifiers target small particles in the air such as soot, exhaust and smoke, they don’t deal with other common issues that hang in the air.

Why Soy Based?

Depending on things such as population and specific materials used, the presence of hazardous, gaseous molecules is more prevalent in certain parts of the globe. Things like sulfur dioxide and other volatile compounds can be disastrous to the air and then the body by way of ingesting. While typical air filters are often made with micron-sized fibers from plastics, these entities have a hard time capturing gaseous materials and molecules. The study found that soy can actually capture almost all of air pollutants because of that specific soy protein. Due to the large number of functional chemical groups that are present in soy, pollutants that pass on the molecular level can still be caught.

In addition to the filters that are predominately soy based, the researchers also helped to craft a gelatin filter based from cellulose which helps to keep the overall costs down. Things like disposable paper towel and other paper products have helped keep the cost of the production of such products low. The state of the air impacts our health and our planet; clearing it in a natural way is of paramount importance.

Health Benefits Of Niger Seed Oil

Niger seed oil has impressive health benefits associated with its use. Indigenous to Malawi, Ethiopia and India, it is derived from an herb that goes by many different names, one being black seed. The extraction process is typically done in a varied manner that deals specifically with high heat. Filled with fatty acids and linoleic acid the oil is very close to sunflower oil in composition and look. There are specific ways in which niger seed oil can be used to the betterment of your health. Here’s how.

A Sleep Aid

When you don’t get the proper amount of sleep that your body needs, you can’t function at your most optimum level. Proper sleep is essential for how effectively we exist in our lives when we are awake. Your body needs adequate rest. When it doesn’t get that it won’t function at the level it is capable of. Due to the magnesium, zinc and potassium within the oil, this is a great oil to rub into your wrists and chest to level out your hormonal balance. Sometimes it’s stress that makes it hard to sleep and can lend itself to problems getting enough rest. Niger seed oil can help. Whether it’s fully fledged insomnia or the inability to stay asleep, this oil can help.

Heart Health

This oil is considered very healthy and great to cook with. It has healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid which help to properly improve the balance that cholesterol needs. Many don’t realize that there are two separate kinds of cholesterol. Niger seed oil does a great job at improving the good kind. This goes a long way at further protecting the organs and the body from costly health events like a heart attack or a stroke. Start using this oil, or sunflower oil, as it has the same benefits when you cook and you’ll be content knowing you are doing your heart some good.

Heals Scars

The skin is a very sensitive layer and is susceptible to scratches, scrapes and other accidents. What’s worse about these little injuries is that they can become real eyesores and nuisance if they aren’t properly cared for when they first take place. This oil is a great solution to burns, rashes, scars and skin irritation. Due to its high amount of antioxidants, it helps to stimulate the healing process and makes your wounds heal faster. It does this in part because of its immune reactivity that is boosted from contact with the skin. Scarring takes place when the cut or blemish isn’t properly tended too. Increased irritation or an unclean wound will only scar badly. The antioxidants within the niger seed oil have got you covered. Your scars will fade and your cuts will heal rapidly.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Whether you are notorious for dealing with bloating, constipation, cramping or general upset stomach, it can be hard to function and the discomfort can sometimes be unbearable. That is why niger seed oil is a great oil to have in your medicine cabinet. It helps to stabilize the gut and rid the intestines of any bad bacteria that may be causing such an unsavory reaction.

You can purchase niger seed online from several companies at amazon.com.

 

 

How To Eat Right For The Brightest Of Smiles

Most of our beauty goals might feature many of the latest trends in fitness and fashion. But we often neglect a simple fact that nothing is more attractive than a bright smile with perfect pearly whites.

The good news is that you don’t need to struggle hard for achieving a flawless sparkling smile. Just knowing what to eat and what not to eat and making relevant changes in your diet can immensely improve the color and health of your teeth.

Tooth enamel is the topmost layer and comes in direct contact with the food and fluid particles. The key is to avoid foods and fluids with chromogens, tannins and acids. Chormogens are compounds with strong pigments which cling to the enamel. Tannins are plant-based compounds which help the stain stick to your teeth. And, acids cause enamel erosion which makes it easy for the stains to set in.

Here’s how you can eat right for the brightest of smiles:

  • Berries no doubt are packed with antioxidants. However, their deep hues come from chromogens – one of the main culprits which stain your teeth and make your smile dull. So after eating these super foods, remember to rinse your teeth.

 

  • Apart from your daily dose of energy, coffee and tea also give you spotted and yellow teeth. Both of them contain tannins. While coffee might contain very less amount of tannins, it is very acidic. If you cannot ditch these beverages completely, avoid excess consumption and always rinse your teeth afterwards.

 

  • Eliminate sports drinks from your list of health beverages. Most of the sports drinks when consumed in excess may weaken and damage the tooth enamel because of their composition which is a mix of preservatives and acidic components.

 

  • The calorie-packed sodas and sweets are also rich in acids which damage your pearly whites and increase the risk of teeth discoloration. And yes, diet soda is also a no-no if you want to keep your teeth healthy and white. Instead, make plain drinking water your best friend.

 

  • Even wine can stain your teeth. If possible, pair a handful of nuts such as almonds with wine. Chewing nuts creates saliva which can combat plague and reduce the chances of teeth discoloration. You can also limit your intake of such drinks.

 

  • Choose foods like strawberries, cheese, nuts. They offer a natural defense and help keep your teeth white. For e.g., cheese is rich in calcium, phosphorous and protein which safeguards your teeth from the damage caused by acid-rich foods.

Moderate consumption of acid-rich foods, regular brushing and flossing will also help you maintain healthy pearly whites. Also, rather than depending on over-the-counter teeth whitening products, consult a dentist who will help you maintain a healthy and sparkling smile for years to come.

Author Bio:

A dental marketer at Michael G. Long DDS and a believer in holistic health, Grace Clark lives by the rule that health and happiness go hand in hand. She writes on various topics focusing on dental and oral hygiene, healthy living and holistic health. When she’s not working or blogging, she enjoys spending her time with her family and volunteering at the local youth centers where she educates children about the importance of health and fitness.