Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Your Brain is at Risk with Certain Foods and Cosmetics

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS – Telehealth

 

Your Brain is at Risk with Certain Foods and Cosmetics

titaniumdioxide

Millions of tons of titanium dioxide are produced globally each year. It adds whiteness and brightness to products and also helps them resist discoloration. Titanium dioxide also reflects ultraviolet (UV) light, which is why it’s often used as an ingredient in sunscreens.

 

Most titanium dioxide (close to 70 percent) is used as a pigment in paints, but it’s also added to cosmetics, toothpastes, pharmaceuticals, paper and food.

 

Titanium dioxide is generally considered to be a relatively inert, safe material, but an increasing number of products are now using titanium dioxide nanoparticles, and that may change everything.

 

Nanoparticles are ultramicroscopic in size, making them able to readily penetrate your skin and travel to underlying blood vessels and your bloodstream.

 

Evidence suggests that some nanoparticles may induce toxic effects in your brain and cause nerve damage, and some may also be carcinogenic.

 

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies titanium dioxide as a Group 2B carcinogen, which means it’s “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” This was based on an animal study showing inhaling high concentrations of titanium dioxide dust may lead to lung cancer.

brain

Is Titanium Dioxide in Foods Dangerous?

Candies, sweets and chewing gum have been found to contain the highest levels of titanium dioxide. White powdered doughnuts, candies and gums with hard shells, products with white icing and even bread, mayonnaise, yogurt and other dairy products may contain titanium dioxide.

 

As such, one analysis of exposure to titanium dioxide through foods found children receive the highest exposure levels (two to four times more than adults) because it’s so commonly added to sweets.1 Only a “limited number” of the products tested in one study listed titanium dioxide on the label.2

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration actually allows manufacturers to use up to 1 percent food-grade titanium dioxide without declaring it on labels.3

 

It should be noted that many titanium particles used in food products are not nanoparticles (defined as smaller than 100 nanometers in diameter). However, some are.

 

According to research published in Environmental Science and Technology, up to 36 percent of the titanium dioxide found in nearly 90 food products was of the nanoparticle variety.4

 

It’s unclear what health risks may be linked to ingestion of titanium dioxide nanoparticles, but research suggests there’s cause for concern.

 

One animal study published in Cancer Research, for instance, found titanium dioxide nanoparticles may induce clastogenicity (causing breaks in chromosomes), genotoxicity, oxidative DNA damage and inflammation.

 

The researchers suggested they may be a cause of cancer or genetic disorders and concluded:5

 

“These results have been observed after only 5 days of treatment via drinking water, and in multiple organs suggesting a systemic effect …

 

We also showed that in utero exposure to TiO2 NPs [titanium dioxide nanoparticles] results in an increased frequency in DNA deletions in the fetus.

 

… These data suggest that we should be concerned about a potential risk of cancer or genetic disorders especially for people occupationally exposed to high concentrations of TiO2 NPs

 

…[A]nd that it might be prudent to limit ingestion of TiO2 NPs through nonessential drug additives, food colors etc.”

 

Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles May Harm Your Brain

The use of nanoparticles is increasing rapidly, and titanium dioxide nanoparticles are the second most produced engineered nanomaterial in the world.6

 

Its usage in consumer products has outpaced the research into its safety, such that humans are being repeatedly exposed before we know the consequences. What is known, however, is that titanium dioxide nanoparticles are capable of moving from your lungs or gastrointestinal tract to other organs.7

 

Further, animal studies indicate significant accumulation of nanoparticles in the brain, while toxicity studies have shown the particles have negative effects on brain cell viability and function.8

 

One recent study even showed titanium dioxide nanoparticles induced “an increase in reactive oxygen species generation, and a decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential, suggesting mitochondrial damage.”

 

The researchers believe exposure to the particles may lead to neurological dysfunction.9 Specifically, the nanoparticles were found to harm astrocyte cells, which help regulate serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters.

 

High levels of exposure (100 parts per million) killed two-thirds of such brain cells within one day. It also harmed the cells’ mitochondria, which may ultimately lead to cell death.

 

Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Damage

The study also revealed that astrocyte cells that weren’t killed were left damaged; they became unable to absorb glutamate, a neurotransmitter, such that it accumulated outside the cell, which may be implicated in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.10

 

Other research also suggests titanium dioxide nanoparticles may have hidden brain risks. For instance:

 

Prenatal exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles may result in alteration to the cerebral cortex, olfactory bulb and brain regions intimately related to dopamine systems of offspring mice.11

Exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles may alter oxidative and inflammatory responses as well as the renin-angiotensin system in the brain (which plays a role in cardiovascular health, including hypertension, and aging), thereby modulating brain function.12

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs) induce strong oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage in glial cells in your brain. According to research published in Free Radical Biology & Medicine:13

“TiO2 NPs can enter directly into the brain through the olfactory bulb and can be deposited in the hippocampus region …

 

TiO2 NPs … produced morphological changes, damage of mitochondria, and an increase in mitochondrial membrane potential, indicating toxicity.”

 

What About Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles in Personal Care Products?

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are found most often in personal care products such as toothpaste, sunscreen and, to a lesser extent, shampoos, deodorants, and shaving creams. As with food, use of these nanoparticles in personal care products is on the rise.

 

In 2005, about 1,300 metric tons were used in personal care products, but this had increased to 5,000 metric tons by 2010 and is expected to continue increasing until at least 2025.14

 

Although most studies suggest titanium dioxide does not penetrate human skin, even in nanoparticle form, one study found that the nanoparticles could possibly penetrate the outer layer of skin depending on the particle coating and skin (with or without hair).15

 

As further reported in Environmental Science and Toxicology:16

 

“The only FDA-stipulated limitation for sunscreens is that the TiO2 concentration be less than 25%. Most have a lower concentration, between 2% and 15%.

 

With the wide prevalence of sunscreen use and the lack of a distinction between TiO2 nanomaterials and larger-sized particles, the general public is being exposed to nanomaterials of which they are largely ignorant.”

 

Environmental Risks Are Unknown

Also concerning is what happens when all of the nanoparticles in personal care products (and excreted after they’re consumed in your food) are washed down the drain and flushed down the toilet. Study author Paul Westerhoff, a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and The Built Environment at Arizona State University and Senior Sustainability Scientist to the Global Institute of Sustainability, told Nanowerk:17

 

“… [W]e can expect the percentage of TiO2 [titanium dioxide] that is produced in or near the nano range to increase. TiO2 nanomaterials in foods, consumer products, and household products are discharged as feces/urine, washed off of surfaces, or disposed of to sewage that enters wastewater treatment plants.

 

While these plants capture most of the TiO2, nanoparticles measuring between 4 and 30 nm were still found in the treated effluent. These nanomaterials are then released to surface waters, where they can interact with living organisms.”

 

Tips for Avoiding Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are ubiquitous in processed foods, so the best way to avoid them is to eat real food. To avoid these particles in your toothpaste, consider making your own out of coconut oil. As for sunscreen, the other major source, first realize that titanium dioxide (and zinc oxide) is a top choice for sun protection (and doesn’t carry the same risks as hormone-disrupting sunscreen chemical oxybenzone).

 

To be on the safe side, however, look for non-nanoparticle titanium dioxide that is tested and guaranteed to be non-nano. Further, minimize your sunscreen use as much as possible, using it only when you’ll be in the sun for extended periods and the use of clothing to cover-up or going into the shade aren’t options.

 

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Uncategorized

Herbs For Respiratory System

echineacea

 

Herbs for Respiratory System

Most people realize how important their lungs are to overall health, not only providing oxygen needed by every cell in the body but also filtering out small blood clots from the veins and even providing cushioning for the heart. Yet even if someone does not smoke, exposure to air pollution, some medications or even trauma can do damage to the lungs and cause problems like bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia and even lung cancer. Below, however, are herbs which can protect the lungs and promote respiratory health.

Mullein

Mullein has long been used as a remedy for many respiratory complaints, including viral infections like flus and colds, as well as conditions like bronchitis and laryngitis. It is a natural expectorant and can relieve congestion from excess phlegm and can also help quiet bronchial spasms and relieve pain.

Licorice

Licorice is a natural demulcent herb, meaning that it can help to soothe down irritation of the mucous membranes which line the respiratory tract. It also contains lichochalcone, a compound which decreases inflammation and has even been shown to help fight off the proliferation of cancer cells.

Gingko Biloba

Most people think of this as an herb to improve memory and cognition, but it is also useful for respiratory health. One study showed that those undergoing bypass surgery displayed fewer signs of inflammation or irritation in the lungs if given extracts of this herb.

Echinacea

Echinacea is a natural antimicrobial which can fight off bacteria and viruses that can hurt the lungs and can also strengthen the general immune system to make it more effective at warding off illnesses. It does this primarily through increasing the white blood cell count.

Rosemary

Rosemary’s natural oils have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties which can help to remedy bronchitis, flus and colds, coughs and other respiratory infections. One of its active compounds, called carnosol, is also being tested as an anti-carcinogen.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus has long been used to treat a number of lung conditions, including sore throat, sinus infections, bronchitis and colds and flus. It has properties which make is an antimicrobial, antispasmodic and a natural expectorant and decongestant.

Irish Moss

Despite its name, this is actually a type of seaweed and is actually already used in an array of prescription medications that are used to treat lung ailments like the flu, pneumonia, and unproductive coughs. It acts as a decongestant and antimicrobial agent.

Hyssop

Hyssop is able to decongest the lungs and respiratory tract and is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. When used in a syrup, it is able to treat cough and soothe down the mucous membranes which line the throat and which get irritated by an array of respiratory problems.

Slippery Elm

Slippery elm is an anti-inflammatory, expectorant and antiseptic and can be used to treat conditions from the entire respiratory tract and is beneficial for bronchitis, coughs, and asthma and is excellent for soothing the mucous membranes of the nose and throat.

Coltsfoot

This is a natural treatment for whooping cough, colds, and bronchitis and can help rid the body of mucous and reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract which can accompany a number of lung conditions.

All these herbs are natural and healthy ways to treat lung ailments and to keep the respiratory tract healthy and functioning.

If you have a family member that has had respiratory or cardiac problems, or you live with someone that smokes, have bronchitis,COPD, or other respiratory problems, please call us.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article

312-972-Well

Health and Disease, Uncategorized

A Tiny Does of This Can Protect Against Cancer, MS, and Depression

melatonin

A Tiny Dose of This Can Help Protect Against Cancer, MS, and Depression

 

How Melatonin May Benefit Depression, Autoimmune Disorders, and Cancer

 

The hormone melatonin plays many important roles in your health, from helping you sleep better to strengthening your immune system, slowing down brain aging, reducing migraine attacks, protecting bone mass, and preventing cancer.

 

Lack of sun exposure during the day combined with artificial lighting late into the night disrupts your biological clock and hence, your melatonin production, and this disruption can provoke a number of adverse health effects.

 

In fact, melatonin has been the subject of preclinical research on over 100 different disease applications, many of which go hand in hand with your need for sleep.

 

Melatonin for Sleep and Beyond

 

Your master biological clock resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of your brain (SCN), which is part of your hypothalamus. Based on signals of light and darkness, your SCN tells your pineal gland when it’s time to secrete melatonin, and when to turn it off.

 

In scientific studies, melatonin supplementation has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep, experience less restlessness, and prevent daytime fatigue.

 

Keep in mind that you may only need a very minimal dose. I recommend taking only 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg to start, and adjusting upward from there. Taking higher doses, such as 3 mg, can sometimes make you more wakeful instead of sleepier, so start low and adjust your dose as needed.

 

Melatonin has also been found to reduce the effects of jet lag when traveling across multiple time zones.1 And children suffering with eczema, a condition that oftentimes prevents good sleep, may also get more shut-eye with melatonin supplementation,2 according to recent research.

 

Interestingly, melatonin also helped dampen the severity of the eczema, hinting at its anti-inflammatory effects. However, the benefits of melatonin go far beyond sleep. Three specific areas I’ll address in this article are its role in depression, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.

 

Normalizing Your Circadian System Helps Alleviate Depressive Symptoms

 

Your melatonin level inversely rises and falls with light and darkness, and both your physical and mental health is intricately tied to this rhythm of light and dark. When it’s dark, your melatonin levels increase, which is why you may feel tired when the sun starts to set.

 

Conversely, when you’re exposed to bright artificial lighting at night, including blue light emitted from TVs and electronic screens, you may have trouble falling asleep due to suppressed melatonin levels.

 

Light exposure when you wake up at night can also be problematic as I explain in my video above. However you don’t have to stumble around as red and orange wavelengths will not suppress melatonin production.

 

You can use a red light to guide you to the bathroom. If you have a clock in your bedroom make sure it has a red LED display. Blue would be the worst as it is the one that shuts down melatonin most effectively.

 

Winter Blues SAD

 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD, also called “the winter blues”) is associated with lack of sun exposure, and scientists generally recommend full-spectrum light therapy over SSRIs like Prozac or Zoloft for this condition.

 

Interestingly, recent research suggests light therapy may be preferable even for major depression, outperforming Prozac in those with moderate to severe depression. One of the reasons it works so well likely has to do with the fact that bright light helps reset your biological clock, or circadian rhythm.

 

Melatonin supplementation can help do this to a certain extent as well, but not as effectively as exposure to bright light during daytime. Light may also work in a way similar to antidepressants by regulating neurotransmitter function.

 

Light Therapy — More Effective Than Prozac

 

The study3,4,5,6,7 in question set out to compare the effectiveness of light therapy alone and in conjunction with the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac).

 

The eight-week long trial included 122 adults between the ages of 19 and 60, who were diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. The participants were divided into four groups, receiving:

 

Light therapy (30 minutes per day upon waking using a 10,000 lux Carex brand day-light device, classic model) plus a placebo pill

Prozac (20 mg/day) plus a deactivated ion generator serving as a placebo light device

Light therapy plus Prozac

Placebo light device plus placebo pill (control group)

In conclusion, the study found that the combination of light therapy and Prozac was the most effective — but light therapy-only came in close second, followed by placebo.

 

That’s right, the drug treatment was the least effective of all, and LESS effective than placebo! At the end of the study, remission was achieved by:

 

Just over 19 percent in the Prozac only group

30 percent in the placebo group

Nearly 44 percent in the light therapy only group

Nearly 59 percent in the active combination group

How Melatonin May Aid in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

 

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder that, like SAD, has been linked to vitamin D deficiency from lack of sun exposure. Interestingly, recent research suggests that a drop in autumn and winter relapses may be linked to peak melatonin levels, which occurs during these darker months.

 

Conversely, spikes in relapses occurring during spring and summer — which tend to be less common but do occur — may be related to decreased melatonin levels. The research,8 led by neuroscientist Mauricio Farez at the Dr. Raúl Carrea Institute for Neurological Research, looked at 139 MS patients living in Buenos Aires.

 

Thirty-two percent of them experienced a reduction in relapses during fall and winter, compared to spring and summer. As reported by Scientific American:9

 

“Past research has shown that melatonin can have a protective effect against MS and that shift work, which disturbs melatonin production, can increase the risk of developing the disease. According to the authors, this research is one of the first to bring together epidemiological evidence with results from both human cells and animal models …

 

[And it] may help to resolve a ‘seasonal paradox’ — MS flare-ups should decrease during warmer, brighter months when people receive more exposure to sunlight and thus produce more vitamin D, which also has anti-inflammatory properties. But some studies, including this one, show that relapses increase in the spring and summer pointing to the possibility that other environmental factors, such as melatonin levels, are involved.”

 

To test their hypothesis, mice with autoimmune encephalomyelitis (the animal model of MS) received daily injections of melatonin. As a result, clinical symptoms were reduced, and harmful T cells, which are pro-inflammatory, were reduced, whereas regulatory T cells were increased. Similar effects were shown in petri dish experiments. As noted in the featured article:

 

“Melatonin regulates pathways central to the immune response, so these results may pertain to other autoimmune diseases, particularly where seasonal flare-ups occur, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis …”

 

Melatonin’s Role in Fighting Cancer

 

Cancer is another area where melatonin plays a major role. The evidence suggests it may be an important adjunct to cancer treatment,10 as it also helps protect against the toxic effects of radiation therapy. Cells throughout your body — even cancer cells — have melatonin receptors, and melatonin is in and of itself cytotoxic, meaning can induce tumor cell death (apoptosis). It also:11

 

Boosts production of immune-optimizing substances such as interleukin-2, which helps identify and attack mutated cells that lead to malignant cancer

Inhibits development of new tumor blood vessels (tumor angiogenesis), which slows the spread of the cancer

Retards cancer progression by activating the cytokine system, which helps inhibit tumor growth, and by stimulating the cytotoxic activity of macrophages and monocytes

By its antioxidant action it also limits oxidative damage to DNA

Inhibits tumor growth by counteracting estrogen. (At night, when melatonin production peaks, cell division slows. And when melatonin latches onto a breast cancer cell, it has been found to counteract estrogen’s tendency to stimulate cell growth)

Melatonin has a calming effect on other reproductive hormones besides estrogen as well, which may explain why it seems to protect most effectively against sex hormone-driven cancers, including ovarian, endometrial, prostate, testicular and breast cancers12 — the latter of which has received the greatest amount of scientific attention. Some of the studies on melatonin for breast cancer include the following:

 

The journal Epidemiology13 reported increased breast cancer risk among women who work predominantly night shifts

Women who live in neighborhoods with large amounts of nighttime illumination are more likely to get breast cancer than those who live in areas where nocturnal darkness prevails, according to an Israeli study14

From participants in the Nurses’ Health Study,15 it was found that nurses who work nights had 36 percent higher rates of breast cancer

Blind women, whose eyes cannot detect light and therefore have robust production of melatonin, have lower-than-average breast cancer rates16

When the body of epidemiological studies are considered in their totality, women who work night shift are found to have breast cancer rates 60 percent above normal, even when other factors, such as differences in diet, are accounted for17

Melatonin May Improve Outcomes for Lung Cancer Patients

 

Other cancers may also benefit. In 2004, the Life Extension Foundation collaborated with Cancer Treatment Centers of America on the first clinical trial evaluating melatonin’s effect in patients with lung cancer.

 

The results,18 which were published in conjunction with the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting, found a tumor response in just over 29 percent of those receiving melatonin at night, compared to just under 8 percent of those receiving it in the morning, and 10.5 percent of placebo recipients. As reported by Life Extension Magazine:19

 

“European clinical studies indicate that in patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, five-year survival and overall tumor regression rates were higher in patients concomitantly treated with melatonin than in those treated with chemotherapy alone. While no patient treated with chemotherapy survived after two years, five-year survival was achieved in 3 of 49 patients treated with chemotherapy and melatonin.

 

The researchers hope that similarly promising results could eventually convince mainstream medical practitioners to administer melatonin in combination with standard cancer treatment regimens to patients in earlier stages of cancer treatment.”

 

The Importance of Light and Dark for the Synchronization of Your Body Clocks

 

Melatonin production is stimulated by darkness and suppressed by light, which is why your levels should be highest just prior to bedtime. This perfectly orchestrated system allows you to fall asleep when the sun sets and awaken refreshed with the sunrise, while also providing potential anti-aging and disease-fighting benefits.

 

If you’re having trouble sleeping, which is a signal that your melatonin production is off, I suggest making sure you’re sleeping in total darkness and to turn lights down at least an hour or so before bedtime. Also, avoid watching TV and using computers and other electronic gadgets at least an hour prior to bed.

 

All of these devices emit blue light, which will decrease your melatonin if you work past dark, so ideally you’d want to turn these items off once the sun goes down. If you have to use these devices you can wear yellow glasses that filter the blue wavelengths out and/or use free software like f.lux.

 

To light rooms at night, use “low blue” light bulbs that emit an amber light instead of the blue that suppresses melatonin production. An equally important factor is the quality of light you’re exposed to during the day. Without sufficient sunlight during the day, your circadian clock may fall out of sync.

 

Most incandescent and fluorescent lights emit very poor-quality light. What your body needs for optimal functioning is the full-spectrum light you get outdoors, but most of us do not spend much time outside to take advantage of this healthy light.

 

Using full-spectrum light bulbs in your home and office can help ameliorate this lack of high-quality sunlight during the day, but cannot fully replace it. So do make an effort to go outside for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day during the brightest portion of the day, i.e. right around noon. This will help “set” your circadian clock and help you sleep better.

 

For Optimal Health, Make Sure You Sleep Well

 

Remember, when your circadian rhythms are disrupted, your body produces less melatonin, which means it has less ability to fight cancer, and less protection against free radicals that may accelerate aging and disease. So if you’re having even slight trouble sleeping, I suggest you review my “33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep” for more guidance on how to improve your sleep-wake cycle.

 

If you’ve made the necessary changes to your sleep routine and find you’re still having trouble sleeping, a high-quality melatonin supplement may be helpful.

 

The amount of melatonin you create and release every night varies depending on your age. Children usually have much higher levels of melatonin than adults, and as you grow older your levels typically continue to decrease. This is why some older adults may benefit from extra melatonin.

 

The same goes for those who perform night shift work, travel often and experience jet lag, or otherwise suffer from occasional sleeplessness due to stress or other reasons. Start with a dose of about 0.25 to 0.5 mg, and increase it as necessary from there. If you start feeling more alert, you’ve likely taken too much and need to lower your dose.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived : JM

312-972-WELL