Archive for the ‘NaturalHealth’ Category

Science Confirms That People Absorb Energy From Others

Energy

Did it ever happen to you, when you were with a person and you felt a bad vibe, as if the person was stealing your energy?

“Everything is energy” is one of the main axioms of science, and human beings are no strangers to energy transformations.

An interesting study was conducted at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, which shows that plants can absorb energy from other plants. Olivia Bader-Lee, a physician and therapist, followed the results of this investigation.

The science that studies the behavior of energy in living things is called bioenergetics.
This research was conducted in algae, specifically in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. It was discovered that in addition to photosynthesis, it also have an alternative source of energy and that would be to absorb energy from other algae. The charge of this research is the German biologist Olaf Kruse, and its findings were reported on Naturesite.com.

According to Bader-Lee, our bodies are like sponges, absorbing energy that is around us. “This is exactly why there are people who feel uncomfortable when they are in a certain group with a mixture of energy and emotions”.

“The human body is very similar to a plant that sucks, absorbs the energy needed to feed your emotional state, and can energize the cells and increase the amount of cortisol and catabolize, feed the cells depending on the emotional need. ” continues Bader-Lee.

That is why many people can change their mood which leads to being nervous, stressed, angry, anxious, sad, but also happy, optimistic and laughing.

Bader-Lee says that over the centuries, man has lost that connection with nature, in which the exchange of energy could bring enormous benefits to humanity.

Ultimately, the spirit is energy, and what we call “supernatural” is nothing more than the manifestation of different energies in the world.

This was known in ancient cultures from every continent, but science has decided to ignore it and only few scientists dare to address these issues, for fear of criticism and rejection by the scientific community.

Source: theusualroutine.com

Learning a second language will make you a better person

languagesIF YOU’RE READING THIS, you speak English. That means that you speak a language that 850 million other people in the world speak. That’s a lot: that’s about 12% of the total global population. That’s more than one out of every ten people on the planet that you could have a conversation with, or a relationship with, or live a complete life with.

But if you chose to learn another language — say, Mandarin — you would suddenly be able to speak to another billion people. Another 14% of the the world’s population. Meaning that you could now have a meaningful, communicative relationship with a quarter of the world’s people. That’s basically a superpower. That on its own is incredible. But it turns out, there are a ton of other major benefits to learning a second language.

Bilingual people have way better memories
Children who speak a second language have been found to on the whole have much better working memories than children who are monolingual. The working memory is mostly developed early in life, but it can still be learned and honed later in life, too, meaning that, while you might have a harder time learning a new language now than you would have as a kid, you can still reap the benefits.

Being bilingual can delay Alzheimer’s and dementia
Studies have shown that people who are bilingual have better cognitive functioning as they get older, and while bilingualism doesn’t necessarily prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia, people with either affliction tend to develop them 4.5 years later on average than monolingual people with the affliction.

So when people say you should do a crossword or a sudoku to keep your brain sharp in old age, consider learning another language instead.

Bilingual people are generally smarter
Researchers have found that learning a second language not only improves the language centers of the brain, but improves other cognitive skills as well. Bilingual brains are better at solving problems more creatively, are better at staying focused, and are better at planning. Bilinguals are also better at paying attention to their environment — which likely comes from monitoring a situation to be able to tell which language is being spoken so one can quickly switch back and forth between language systems.

Being bilingual will improve your relationships
Bilinguals often report feeling like they have two personalities — one in one language, one in another. In part, this is because language learning comes along with an ability to shift between the values of the two cultures that you’re living in. And while this might not sound like the best thing, it’s actually hugely beneficial, because this ability to shift between two value systems improves your ability to understand others, making you more empathetic.

If you’re able to be more empathetic, and if you’re able to better communicate with the people around you, you’ll have better relationships.

Travel will be more fulfilling
This one doesn’t need much explanation: travel is infinitely better when you can understand and communicate with the people around you. Speaking the local language makes travel a much more fulfilling activity.

Being bilingual helps you professionally
Being able to speak two languages is a really, really good skill to have on your resume. Surveys have found that bilingual people are more valued as employees, and that can translate into being paid more.

Being bilingual makes you sexier
Not a joke: a 2013 survey found that 79% of adults find being able to speak a second language a more attractive trait than speaking a single language. That said, there’s a catch: the effect is greater depending on the perceived sexiness of the language you speak. French, unsurprisingly, is considered the sexiest language, followed by Italian, then Spanish, then English. The least sexy language, the survey found, is Korean.

Source: Matador Network

brains languages

Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey

HoneycombMore than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News.

The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled “honey.”

The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies.

The food safety divisions of the  World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others also have ruled that without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey. However, the FDA isn’t checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen.

Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey – some containing illegal antibiotics – on the U.S. market for years.

Food Safety News decided to test honey sold in various outlets after its earlier investigation found U.S. groceries flooded with Indian honey banned in Europe as unsafe because of contamination with antibiotics, heavy metal and a total lack of pollen which prevented tracking its origin.

Food Safety News purchased more than 60 jars, jugs and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

The contents were analyzed for pollen by Vaughn Bryant, a professor at Texas A&M University and one of the nation’s premier melissopalynologists, or investigators of pollen in honey.

Bryant, who is director of the Palynology Research Laboratory, found that among the containers of honey provided by Food Safety News:

•76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.

•100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.

•77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.

•100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.

•Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.

And if you have to buy at major grocery chains, the analysis found that your odds are somewhat better of getting honey that wasn’t ultra-filtered if you buy brands labeled as organic. Out of seven samples tested, five (71 percent) were heavy with pollen. All of the organic honey was produced in Brazil, according to the labels.

The National Honey Board, a federal research and promotion organization under USDA oversight, says the bulk of foreign honey (at least 60 percent or more) is sold to the food industry for use in baked goods, beverages, sauces and processed foods.  Food Safety News did not examine these products for this story.

Some U.S. honey packers didn’t want to talk about how they process their merchandise.

One who did was Bob Olney, of Honey Tree Inc., in Michigan, who sells its Winnie the Pooh honey in Walmart stores.  Bryant’s analysis of the contents of the container made in Winnie’s image found that the pollen had been removed.

Olney says that his honey came from suppliers in Montana, North Dakota and Alberta. “It was filtered in processing because North American shoppers want their honey crystal clear,” he said.

The packers of Silverbow Honey added: “The grocery stores want processed honey as it lasts longer on the shelves.”

However, most beekeepers say traditional filtering used by most will catch bee parts, wax, debris from the hives and other visible contaminants but will leave the pollen in place.

Ernie Groeb, the president and CEO of Groeb Farms Inc., which calls itself “the world’s largest packer of honey,” says he makes no specific requirement to the pollen content of the 85 million pounds of honey his company buys.

Groeb sells retail under the Miller’s brand and says he buys 100 percent pure honey, but does not “specify nor do we require that the pollen be left in or be removed.”

He says that there are many different filtering methods used by beekeepers and honey packers.

“We buy basically what’s considered raw honey. We trust good suppliers. That’s what we rely on,” said Groeb, whose headquarters is in Onsted, Mich.

Why Remove the Pollen?

Removal of all pollen from honey “makes no sense” and is completely contrary to marketing the highest quality product possible, Mark Jensen, president of the American Honey Producers Association, told Food Safety News.

“I don’t know of any U.S. producer that would want to do that. Elimination of all pollen can only be achieved by ultra-filtering and this filtration process does nothing but cost money and diminish the quality of the honey,” Jensen said.

“In my judgment, it is pretty safe to assume that any ultra-filtered honey on store shelves is Chinese honey and it’s even safer to assume that it entered the country uninspected and in violation of federal law,” he added.

Richard Adee, whose 80,000 hives in multiple states produce 7 million pounds of honey each year, told Food Safety News that “honey has been valued by millions for centuries for its flavor and nutritional value and that is precisely what is completely removed by the ultra-filtration process.”

“There is only one reason to ultra-filter honey and there’s nothing good about it,” he says.

“It’s no secret to anyone in the business that the only reason all the pollen is filtered out is to hide where it initially came from and the fact is that in almost all cases, that is China,” Adee added.

The Sioux Honey Association, who says it’s America’s largest supplier, declined repeated requests for comments on ultra-filtration, what Sue Bee does with its foreign honey and whether it’s u
ltra-filtered when they buy it. The co-op markets retail under Sue Bee, Clover Maid, Aunt Sue, Natural Pure and many store brands.

Eric Wenger, director of quality services for Golden Heritage Foods, the nation’s third largest packer, said his company takes every precaution not to buy laundered Chinese honey.

“We are well aware of the tricks being used by some brokers to sell honey that originated in China and laundering it in a second country by filtering out the pollen and other adulterants,” said Wenger, whose firm markets 55 million pounds of honey annually under its Busy Bee brand, store brands, club stores and food service.

“The brokers know that if there’s an absence of all pollen in the raw honey we won’t buy it, we won’t touch it, because without pollen we have no way to verify its origin.”

He said his company uses “extreme care” including pollen analysis when purchasing foreign honey, especially from countries like India, Vietnam and others that have or have had “business arrangements” with Chinese honey producers.

Golden Heritage, Wenger said, then carefully removes all pollen from the raw honey when it’s processed to extend shelf life, but says, “as we see it, that is not ultra-filtration.

“There is a significant difference between filtration, which is a standard industry practice intended to create a shelf-stable honey, and ultra-filtration, which is a deceptive, illegal, unethical practice.”

Some of the foreign and state standards that are being instituted can be read to mean different things, Wenger said “but the confusion can be eliminated and we can all be held to the same appropriate standards for quality if FDA finally establishes the standards we’ve all wanted for so long.”

Groeb says he has urged FDA to take action as he also “totally supports a standard of Identity for honey. It will help everyone have common ground as to what pure honey truly is!”

What’s Wrong With Chinese Honey?

Chinese honey has long had a poor reputation in the U.S., where – in 2001 – the Federal Trade Commission imposed stiff import tariffs or taxes to stop the Chinese from flooding the marketplace with dirt-cheap, heavily subsidized honey, which was forcing American beekeepers out of business.

To avoid the dumping tariffs, the Chinese quickly began transshipping honey to several other countries, then laundering it by switching the color of the shipping drums, the documents and labels to indicate a bogus but tariff-free country of origin for the honey.

Most U.S. honey buyers knew about the Chinese actions because of the sudden availability of lower cost honey, and little was said.

The FDA — either because of lack of interest or resources — devoted little effort to inspecting imported honey. Nevertheless, the agency had occasionally either been told of, or had stumbled upon, Chinese honey contaminated with chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics which are dangerous, even fatal, to a very small percentage of the population.

Mostly, the adulteration went undetected. Sometimes FDA caught it.

In one instance 10 years ago, contaminated Chinese honey was shipped to Canada and then on to a warehouse in Houston where it was sold to jelly maker J.M. Smuckers and the national baker Sara Lee.

By the time the FDA said it realized the Chinese honey was tainted, Smuckers had sold 12,040 cases of individually packed honey to Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Sara Lee said it may have been used in a half-million loaves of bread that were on store shelves.

Eventually, some honey packers became worried about what they were pumping into the plastic bears and jars they were selling. They began using in-house or private labs to test for honey diluted with inexpensive high fructose corn syrup or 13 other illegal sweeteners or for the presence of illegal antibiotics. But even the most sophisticated of these tests would not pinpoint the geographic source of the honey.

food-safety-news-Vaughn-Bryant-honey-tester.jpgFood scientists and honey specialists say pollen is the only foolproof fingerprint to a honey’s source.

Federal investigators working on criminal indictments and a very few conscientious packers were willing to pay stiff fees to have the pollen in their honey analyzed for country of origin. That complex, multi-step analysis is done by fewer than five commercial laboratories in the world.

But, Customs and Justice Department investigators told Food Safety News that whenever U.S. food safety or criminal experts verify a method to identify potentially illegal honey – such as analyzing the pollen – the laundering operators find a way to thwart it, such as ultra-filtration.

The U.S. imported 208 million pounds of honey over the past 18 months. Almost 60 percent came from Asian countries – traditional laundering points for Chinese honey. This included 45 million pounds from India alone.

And websites still openly offer brokers who will illegally transship honey and scores of other tariff-protected goods from China to the U.S.

FDA’s Lack of Action

The Food and Drug Administration weighed into the filtration issue years ago.

“The FDA has sent a letter to industry stating that the FDA does not consider ‘ultra-filtered’ honey to be honey,” agency press officer Tamara Ward told Food Safety News.

She went on to explain: “We have not halted any importation of honey because we have yet to detect ‘ultra-filtered’ honey. If we do detect ‘ultra-filtered’ honey we will refuse entry.”

Many in the honey industry and some in FDA’s import office say they doubt that FDA checks more than 5 percent of all foreign honey shipments.

For three months, the FDA promised Food Safety News to make its “honey expert” available to explain what that statement meant.  It never happened. Further, the federal food safety authorities refused offers to examine Bryant’s analysis and explain what it plans to do about the selling of honey it says is adulterated because of the removal of pollen, a key ingredient.

Major food safety standard-setting organizations such as the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius, the European Union and the European Food Safety Authority say the intentional removal of pollen is dangerous because it eliminates the ability of consumers and law enforcement to determine the actual origin of the honey.

“The removal of pollen will make the determination of botanical and geographic origin of honey impossible and circumvents the ability to trace and identify the actual source of the honey,” says the European Union Directive on Honey.

The Codex commission’s Standard for Honey, which sets principles for the international trade in food, has ruled that “No pollen or constituent particular to honey may be removed except where this is unavoidable in the removal of foreign matter. . .”  It even suggested what size mesh to use (not smaller than 0.2mm or 200 micron) to filter out unwanted debris — bits of wax and wood from the frames, and parts of bees — but retain 95 percent of all the pollen.

Food Safety News asked Bryant to analyze foreign honey packaged in Italy, Hungary, Greece, Tasmania and New Zealand to try to get a feeling for whether the Codex standards for pollen were being heeded overseas. The samples from every country but Greece were loaded with various types and amounts of pollen. Honey from Greece had none.

You’ll Never Know

In many cases, consumers would have an easier time deciphering state secrets than pinning down where the honey they’re buying in groceries actually came from.

The majority of the honey that Bryant’s analysis found to have no pollen was packaged as store brands by outside companies but carried a label unique to the food chain. For example, Giant Eagle has a ValuTime label on some of its honey. In Target it’s called Market Pantry, Naturally Preferred  and others. Walmart uses Great Value and Safeway just says Safeway. Wegmans also uses its own name.

Who actually bottled these store brands is often a mystery.

A noteworthy exception is Golden Heritage of Hillsboro, Kan. The company either puts its name or decipherable initials on the back of store brands it fills.

“We’re never bashful about discussing the products we put out” said Wenger, the company’s quality director. “We want people to know who to contact if they have questions.”

The big grocery chains were no help in identifying the sources of the honey they package in their store brands.

For example, when Food Safety News was hunting the source of nine samples that came back as ultra-filtered from QFC, Fred Myer and King Sooper, the various customer service numbers all led to representatives of Kroger, which owns them all. The replies were identical: “We can’t release that information. It is proprietary.”

One of the customer service representatives said the contact address on two of the honeys being questioned was in Sioux City, Iowa, which is where Sioux Bee’s corporate office is located.

Jessica Carlson, a public relations person for Target, waved the proprietary banner and also refused to say whether it was Target management or the honey suppliers that wanted the source of the honey kept from the public.

Similar non-answers came from representatives of Safeway, Walmart and Giant Eagle.

The drugstores weren’t any more open with the sources of their house brands of honey. A Rite Aid representative said “if it’s not marked made in China, than it’s made in the United States.” She didn’t know who made it but said “I’ll ask someone.”

Rite Aid, Walgreen and CVS have yet to supply the information.

Only two smaller Pacific Northwest grocery chains – Haggen and Metropolitan Market – both selling honey without pollen, weren’t bashful about the source of their honey. Haggen said right off that its brand comes from Golden Heritage. Metropolitan Market said its honey – Western Family – is packed by Bee Maid Honey, a co-op of beekeepers from the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

Pollen? Who Cares?

Why should consumers care if their honey has had its pollen removed?

“Raw honey is thought to have many medicinal properties,” says Kathy Egan, dietitian at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.  “Stomach ailments, anemia and allergies are just a few of the conditions that may be improved by consumption of unprocessed honey.”

But beyond pollen’s reported enzymes, antioxidants and well documented anti-allergenic benefits, a growing population of natural food advocates just don’t want their honey messed with.

There is enormous variety among honeys. They range in color from glass-clear to a dark mahogany and in consistency from watery to chunky to a crystallized solid. It’s the plants and flowers where the bees forage for nectar that will determine the significant difference in the taste, aroma and color of what the bees produce. It is the processing that controls the texture.

Food historians say that in the 1950s the typical grocery might have offered three or four different brands of honey.  Today, a fair-sized store will offer 40 to 50 different types, flavors and sources of honey out of the estimated 300 different honeys made in the U.S.. And with the attractiveness of natural food and the locavore movement, honey’s popularity is burgeoning. Unfortunately, with it comes the potential for fraud.

Concocting a sweet-tasting syrup out of cane, corn or beet sugar, rice syrup or any of more than a dozen sweetening agents is a great deal easier, quicker and far less expensive than dealing with the natural brew of bees.

However, even the most dedicated beekeeper can unknowingly put incorrect information on a honey jar’s label.

Bryant has examined nearly 2,000 samples of honey sent in by beekeepers, honey importers, and ag officials checking commercial brands off store shelves. Types include premium honey such as “buckwheat, tupelo, sage, orange blossom, and sourwood” produced in Florida, North Carolina, California, New York and Virginia and “fireweed” from Alaska.

“Almost all were incorrectly labeled based on their pollen and nectar contents,” he said.

Out of the 60 plus samples that Bryant tested for Food Safety News, the absolute most flavorful said “blackberry” on the label. When Bryant concluded his examination of the pollen in this sample he found clover and wildflowers clearly outnumbering a smattering of grains of blackberry pollen.

For the most part we are not talking about intentional fraud here. Contrary to their most fervent wishes, beekeepers can’t control where their bees actually forage any more than they can keep the tides from changing. They offer their best guess on the predominant foliage within flying distance of the hives.

“I think we need a truth in labeling law in the U.S. as they have in other countries,” Bryant added.

FDA Ignores Pleas

No one can say for sure why the FDA has ignored repeated pleas from Congress, beekeepers and the honey industry to develop a U.S. standard for identification for honey.

Nancy Gentry owns the small Cross Creek Honey Company in Interlachen, Fla., and she isn’t worried about the quality of the honey she sells.

“I harvest my own honey. We put the frames in an extractor, spin it out, strain it, and it goes into a jar. It’s honey the way bees intended,” Gentry said.

But the negative stories on the discovery of tainted and bogus honey raised her fears for the public’s perception of honey.

She spent months of studying what the rest of the world was doing to protect consumers from tainted honey and questioning beekeepers and industry on what was needed here. Gentry became the leading force in crafting language for Florida to develop the nation’s first standard for identification for honey.

In July 2009, Florida adopted the standard and placed its Division of Food Safety in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in charge of enforcing it.  It’s since been followed by California, Wisconsin and North Carolina and is somewhere in the state legislative or regulatory maze in Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Texas, Kansas, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and others.

John Ambrose’s battle for a national definition goes back 36 years. He said the issue is of great importance to North Carolina because it has more beekeepers than any other state in the country.

He and others tried to convince FDA that a single national standard for honey to help prevent adulterated honey from being sold was needed. The agency promised him it would be on the books within two years.

“But that never happened,” said Ambrose, a professor and entomologist at North Carolina State University and apiculturist, or bee expert. North Carolina followed Florida’s lead and passed its own identification standards last year.

Ambrose, who was co-chair of the team that drafted the state beekeeper association’s honey standards says the language is very simple, “Our standard says that nothing can be added or removed from the honey. So in other words, if somebody removes the pollen, or adds moisture or corn syrup or table sugar, that’s adulteration,” Ambrose told Food Safety News.

But still, he says he’s asked all the time how to ensure that you’re buying quality honey.  “The fact is, unless you’re buying from a beekeeper, you’re at risk,” was his uncomfortably blunt reply.

Eric Silva, counsel for the American Honey Producers Association said the standard is a simple but essential tool in ensuring the quality and safety of honey consumed by millions of Americans each year.

“Without it, the FDA and their trade enforcement counterparts are severely limited in their ability to combat the flow of illicit and potentially dangerous honey into this country,” Silva told Food Safety News.

It’s not just beekeepers, consumers and the industry that FDA officials either ignore or slough off with comments that they’re too busy.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer is one of more than 20 U.S. senators and members of Congress of both parties who have asked the FDA repeatedly to create a federal “pure honey” standard, similar to what the rest of the world has established.

They get the same answer that Ambrose got in 1975:  “Any day now.”

Source: Food Safety News

Blood Sugar: Foods May Affect Each Person’s differently

Azucar(HealthDay News) — New research would seem to support what many have enviously suspected while watching a thin friend chow down — the same foods don’t necessarily have the same effect from person-to-person.

A new study from Israel suggests that people have very different blood sugar responses to the same food — with some showing large spikes even after eating supposedly healthy choices.

Researchers said the findings, published in the Nov. 19 issue of the journal Cell, underscore the message that there is no “one-size-fits-all” diet.

The investigators also suggested that carefully tailoring diets to meet individuals’ blood sugar tendencies could be the wave of the future.

“I think our research offers a new, distinct look at nutrition and how it may affect our body,” said Dr. Eran Elinav, a senior scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Israel. “Each human being has a unique response to any food he or she consumes.”

A dietitian who reviewed the study expressed doubt about how useful this information might prove, however.

For one, designing your diet based on short-term blood sugar responses does not ensure that it’s “healthy,” said Lauri Wright, an assistant professor of community and family health at the University of South Florida, in Tampa.

“I’d be concerned about it meeting a person’s nutritional needs,” said Wright, who is also a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The new study focused largely on people’s blood sugar levels two hours after eating a meal — also known as the post-prandial glucose response.

Research has linked habitually high after-meal glucose responses to increased risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other health problems, said co-researcher Eran Segal, who is also a scientist at Weizmann.

That’s the premise behind so-called low-GI diets, which tell people to shun foods that tend to trigger a large increase in blood sugar. The list of bad guys includes white bread, potatoes, instant oatmeal and certain fruits.

But in the current study, a number of surprises emerged, Segal said.

“We saw vast variability (in blood sugar responses) when we gave people identical meals,” he said.

“With bread, some people showed almost no change in glucose, while others showed a large response,” he said. “Some had higher responses to bread with butter than to bread alone.”

That, Segal pointed out, goes against the conventional wisdom that adding fat to a simple carbohydrate reliably reins in the blood sugar response.

The findings are based on 800 Israeli adults who gave detailed information on their diet, lifestyle and medical history. Over one week, they used a smartphone app to record all of their daily activities, including the food they ate, while glucose monitors kept track of their post-meal blood sugar changes.

Each participant also gave a stool sample so the researchers could analyze their gut “microbiome” — the collection of bacteria that reside in the digestive system. Recent research has been suggesting that the makeup of that microbiome may play an important role in a person’s risk of obesity and health conditions such as diabetes.

For the most part, study participants ate their normal meals, but the researchers did give them identical breakfasts so they could compare people’s responses to the same meal following a fast.

Overall, there was “immense” variation in blood sugar responses to particular foods, depending on the person, according to Segal. In one woman’s case, for instance, the researchers suspect that tomatoes were a major culprit behind her blood sugar surges.

That’s based on the fact that tomatoes were part of every meal that caused her blood sugar to soar, Segal explained.

In a final step, the researchers created individual diets for 26 people, by feeding all of their data into an algorithm that predicted which foods would cause large spikes in blood sugar, and which would not.

For some people, a “good” diet included foods like pizza and potatoes, the study authors said. For others, those foods were off the table, they added.

That study group spent one week on their personal “good” diet, and one week on a “bad” diet. On average, the study found, the good diets lowered people’s post-meal blood sugar — and altered the makeup of their gut bacteria.

Effects over one week do not mean much, of course. But, Segal said, “we are now embarking on a series of follow-up studies that aim to unravel the long-term effects of the personalized diet on diabetes, weight management, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.”

But, post-meal blood sugar levels are complicated, Wright noted. They’re a product of the combination of foods at the meal, plus other factors — like whether a person recently exercised.

Then there’s the issue of whether this study’s approach is feasible. “I don’t think this is doable in the real world,” Wright said.

The vision, Segal said, is to give people diet advice based on fewer pieces of information — such as weight, height and age, along with a stool sample to analyze the microbiome. According to Segal, it may be possible to figure out which foods would be good for a person’s blood sugar based on their microbiome.

Wright said she is all for individualized diets, but that choices need to be based on more than blood sugar responses. “There’s so much more we need to look at,” she said. “You need a tailored plan that will meet your personal health needs, and address the barriers you have to maintaining healthy changes.”

SOURCES: Eran Elinav, M.D., Ph.D., senior scientist, department of immunology, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel; Eran Segal, Ph.D., computer science and applied math, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel; Lauri Wright, Ph.D., R.D.N., assistant professor, community and family health, University of South Florida, Tampa; Nov. 19, 2015, Cell

Artículo en español: Los alimentos podrían afectar al nivel de azúcar en sangre de forma distinta para cada persona

Side Effects of some Prescription Drugs

 

Type of Drug Brand Names Side Effects Nutritional Suggestions
ACE Inhibitors Listril, Lotensin, Vasotec Dry Cough

Fatigue

Slippery Elm

CoQ10, D-Ribose

Acetaminophen Tylenol Liver Inflammation Milk thistle, SAMe
Antibiotics Any Brand Name Gastrointestinal Probiotics, Carnosine
Anticoagulant Coumadin Loss of Bone Density Bone Formula
Beta-Blockers Toprol, Coreg, Tenormin, Betapace, Normodyne Gastrointestinal

Dizziness

Hair loss

Probiotics

Ginger, B vitamins

Saw palmetto

Calcium Channel Blockers Norvasc, Cardizem, Procardia, Covera Constipation

Fatigue

Headache

Fiber, Probiotics

CoQ10, D-Ribose

Melatonin, Butterbur

NSAIDS Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen Gastrointestinal

Kidney Problems

Probiotics, Carnosine

Cranberry, Hibiscus

Proton Pump Inhibitors Prilosec, Prevacid,Protonix Low Magnesium

Low B12

Infections (C. difficile)

Magnesium

Vitamin B12

Probiotics, Vitamin D3

Statins Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor Liver Inflammation

Muscle Aches/Pain

Neuropathy

Milk Thistle, SAMe

CoQ10, Carnitine

B vitamins, PS Caps

Although many of us try not to take prescription drugs, sometimes avoiding them just isn’t an option. Of course, if you need to take a prescription medication yourself, maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks should definitely be one of your top priorities.

However, this isn’t always the easiest thing to accomplish, as many popular medications have a range of side effects to deal with. So how can you counter them and help minimize your risks? Supplements may very well help.

Supplements Can Protect Against Side Effects

A regimen that includes nutritional supplements can be a safe and effective way to minimize the side effects of the drugs that you’re taking. But it’s not only about minimizing risk; it’s also about maximizing the benefits from your medications.

You see, by helping prevent side effects, supplements can actually increase compliance — the likelihood of you taking your meds. This is a well-established fact. If you avoid taking a medication because of its side effects, there’s just no way you‘re going to benefit from it. Simple but true.

Medications, Side Effects, and Nutrient Suggestions

The table below provides nutritional suggestions to help counter the side effects associated with nine commonly prescribed drugs. The nutrient(s) listed next to each side effect on the same line are what we suggest for countering its undesirable effects.

Please note: if you are taking any medication, please speak with your doctor before starting any supplement.

Source: LifeExtension.com

Drug class, brand names and side effects are from www.PDR.net.

What Your Blood Type Says About You

BloodBlood is blood, right? Well, yes and no. Human blood is made of the same basic elements, but within that realm there are distinctions that account for four different blood types (further dinstinguished by negative and positive). What makes the four types of blood groups different is their antigens — the immune defense systems — on the surface of the red blood cells.

In 1930, a Japanese professor by the name of Tokeji Furukawa published a paper claiming that the individual blood types — A, B, AB and O — reflected the personalities of those who possessed them. Since then, blood type categorization, “ketsueki-gata,” has become firmly entrenched in Japanese culture. Much like astrological horoscopes, Japanese television and newspapers offer blood type horoscopes, and books that detail the link between blood type and personality are perpetual bestsellers. There are even matchmakers who specialize in finding future spouse based on blood types. But much like astrology, a scientific correlation between blood type and personality remains unproven.

That said, there’s been plenty of research detailing how blood types can reveal patterns of personal health — and that’s fascinating in and of itself. It’s thought that different blood types may protect us from different diseases; scientists have been finding links between blood types and illness since the middle of the 20th century. With that in mind, here’s what the science has to say about your blood type. And for fun, we’ve thrown in a little ketsueki-gata as well.

Blood type A

Type A only has A antigens on red cells and B antibodies in the plasma; if you have type A blood, you can donate red blood cells to types A and AB.

The makeup of a person’s antigens on red blood cells can determine how much of a certain hormone gets released. If you have type A blood, you’re more likely to have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. There are a number of health risks that are associated with type A blood, such as a 20 percent higher chance of developing stomach cancer compared to types O and B, and a 5 percent increased risk for heart disease compared to those with type O.

In addition, if you have type A blood, you are at higher risk for several types of cancer, such as some forms of pancreatic cancer and leukemia; according to the BBC, you are also more prone to smallpox infections and severe malaria. Ironically, those with type A also have been found to be less magnetic to mosquitoes — so there’s reason to rejoice!

According to ketsueki-gata, if you have blood type A, you have some great traits. You are earnest, creative, sensible, reserved, patient and responsible (even if you are also stubborn and tense).

Blood type B

If you have type B blood, you only have the B antigens on red cells and A antibodies in the plasma; you can donate red blood cells to those with types B and AB blood.

Those with type B have an 11 percent increase in risk of heart disease over those with type O. A study at Harvard University found that women with AB or B blood have a raised risk of developing ovarian cancer, but if you have type B, it’s not all bad news. Those with type B blood have up to 50,000 times the number of strains of friendly bacteria than people with either type A or O blood, which means all kinds of good things.

And in terms of ketsueki-gata? You can be proud of your passion, active nature, creativity and strength. On the other hand, you’re also selfish, irresponsible, unforgiving and erratic.

Blood type AB

Those with AB blood have both A and B antigens on red cells, but neither A nor B antibody in the plasma. If you have AB positive blood, you are universal plasma donor.

People with type AB have been found to have a 23 percent increased risk of heart disease over those with type O blood. Having AB blood may double the liklihood that a pregnant mother will suffer from the blood pressure condition called pre-eclampsia.

One intriguing blood type study published in the journal Neurology found that those with type AB blood were 82 percent more likely to have cognitive difficulties — specifically in areas like memory recall, language and attention — than people with other blood types. The researchers suspect that the clotting protein known as coagulation factor VIII is to blame. “Since factor VIII levels are closely linked to blood type, this may be one causal connection between blood type and cognitive impairment,” said study author Mary Cushman.

When it comes to ketsueki-gata, if you have type AB blood you’re cool, controlled, rational and adaptable … and critical, indecisive, forgetful and irresponsible.

Blood type O

If you fall into the O blood group, you have neither A nor B antigens on your red cells, but both A and B antibodies in your plasma. O positive is the most common blood type; O negative is the universal donor type, meaning those with this blood type can donate red blood cells to anybody.

For those with type O, it’s a mixed bag. If you have type O, you are more likely to get ulcers — and believe it or not, to rupture your Achilles tendons. You are also at higher risk of cholera. The good news is that people with type O blood are at a lower risk for pancreatic cancer and face a lower risk of dying from malaria than people with other blood groups; that said, is you have type O, you are twice as likely to be a mosquito magnet than those with type A blood.

If you have type O blood, ketsueki-gata suggests that you are confident, self-determined, strong-willed and intuitive; unfortunately, you are also self-centered, cold, unpredictable and potentially a workaholic.

Source: mnn.com/health

Your brain will make you poor

brainOur brains are a problem. We’re wired to respond to the immediate threats and gratifications of a simpler and more dangerous world.

Our short-term bias inhibits our ability to deal with longer-term issues—challenges that won’t become real for 30 to 50 years. Challenges like preparing for a financially secure retirement.

Shlomo Benartzi, a professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and co-chair of its Behavioral Decision-Making Group, told me this: Brain imaging shows that we use the same parts of our brains to think about our future selves that we use to think about strangers. If we are so estranged from our future, how can we be taught to care?

If our brains are the problem, how can we trick our brains into better financial behavior? This is the province of behavioral economists. Traditional economists tell us what we should do—how much to save and how to invest. Behavior economists investigate how to get us to do it.

Three of the foremost behavioral economists are Benartzi, Richard Thaler at the University of Chicago and Cass Sunstein at Harvard University. Their works, including the books “Nudge” and “Save More Tomorrow,” are fascinating peeks into the inner workings of human financial behavior.

Surprise, surprise: We’re not entirely rational about our money. Some people think that because money is quantitative, it’s analytical. That’s wrong. Money is intensely emotional. More couples divorce over money than divorce over love and sex.

Let’s look at some of the mental biases that get in the way of intelligent financial behavior.

Short-term thinking. We spend a great deal of energy thinking about the near future, and very little energy on the distant future. Many of us will spend more time selecting a restaurant for dinner than selecting investments for our 401(k) plan. How can we change this shortsighted behavior?

People need to engage in thinking about the distant future—to imagine what their lives will be like—in order to care about it today. For retirement planning, the typical approach is to present 30-year financial projections. But that’s analytical, not emotional.

Behavioral studies have shown that a more effective technique is somewhat odd: Show them pictures of themselves, modified to look like how they will be when they’re older.

Introduce them to their future selves. When people can imagine their future, they will more readily prepare for it.

Immediate gratification. It’s not that we don’t want to save—or exercise or eat healthy foods. It’s just that in the decision-making moment, we seek immediate gratification. Pleasure now trumps pleasure later.

In another study, students were asked to choose a banana or a chocolate as a snack after class. When they were asked a week before the class, three-quarters chose a banana. But when they were asked at the actual snack time, three-quarters chose chocolate. Somehow healthy decisions are harder when it requires the sacrifice of immediate gratification.

What’s the solution? Ask the students to order their snack—to commit to their decision—a week ahead of time. That’s the same insight Benartzi and Thaler used in “Save More Tomorrow.” Don’t ask people to save more today; ask them to agree today to save more tomorrow. It works.

Reluctance to change. Over and over, academic studies and real-world data point to the fact that we are reluctant to change things. Behavioral economists call this “status-quo bias.”

It’s easy to leave things the way they are and difficult to make a change. Change requires thinking, decision-making and action.

Marketers understand this and make use of it. They look for ways to set the default to “yes.” They know the power of moving from opt in to opt out—as in the power of a subscription where each new month of service is automatically delivered, rather than each new month requiring a new purchase.

In 401(k) plans, when employees must take action to participate, select investments or increase savings rates, the number of employees who take these actions is relatively low.

The hurdle to get someone to make a change, even a simple one, is high. So why not make good financial decisions the default option? Benartzi did exactly that in his program for maximizing 401(k) participation, and the results were stunning. At companies that have implemented his program, employee savings rates have doubled or tripled.

Loss aversion. Sure, we all hate to lose something we’ve worked hard to get. But most of us hate losing something much more than we love winning the same thing.

In other words, if you have $10, the fear of losing $1 is about twice as motivating as the desire of gaining $1. Aside from addicted gamblers, fear dominates greed.

Why is this a bad thing for your financial security? Because in the realm of long-term investing, too little risk can mean too little return.

“If our brains are the problem, let’s outsmart them. Let’s use the science of human behavior to overcome our natural human failings.”

A study of hundreds of thousands of users of financial-management software revealed that the average family holds more than 20 percent of their investable assets in cash. By some definitions, that behavior is “conservative.” But it is not prudent.

The risk of a financial loss today is not as great as the risk of insufficient savings in retirement. And because the return on cash is so low, it doesn’t build compounding returns.

What to do? We all say we want to save and invest for a secure retirement. But remarkably, few of us do it. Forty percent of American households have no retirement savings at all. Another 40 percent have savings of less than $100,000. The retirement savings deficit in this country is estimated to be more than $10 trillion.

So if our brains are the problem, let’s outsmart them. Let’s use the science of human behavior to overcome our natural human failings.

—By Bill Harris, special to CNBC.com.

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