Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Foods to Prevent or Stop a UTI

Increasingly, first-line antibiotics for UTIs are failing, leaving people frustrated, in pain and at risk of serious infection-related complications. You’ve probably heard that cranberry juice can help prevent or treat UTIs, but did you know the active compound responsible for that is also found in abundance in these 20 foods? And some research suggests this compound may actually outperform antibiotics, drastically increasing the time between UTI recurrences.

D-Mannose: A Sugar to Prevent Recurrent UTIs?

You know how cranberry juice remains one of the most popular home remedies for UTIs? Well, it turns out that the high D-mannose content in cranberry explains its efficacy for UTI symptoms. D-mannose, a simple sugar that’s related to glucose, is a valued anti-infective agent that is able to block bacteria from adhering to cells and flush them out of the body.

You don’t usually think of a simple sugar as a protective agent, right? But studies show that mannose has promising therapeutic value, especially for women dealing with recurrent urinary tract infections. Plus, the simple sugar boosts the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and improves bladder health — all without negatively affecting your blood sugar levels.

 

What Is D-Mannose?

Mannose is a simple sugar, called a monosaccharide, that’s produced in the human body from glucose or converted into glucose when it’s consumed in fruits and vegetables. “D-mannose” is the term used when the sugar is packaged as a nutritional supplement. Some other names for mannose include D-manosa, carubinose and seminose.

Scientifically speaking, mannose is the 2-epimer of glucose. It occurs in microbes, plants and animals, and it is found naturally in many fruits, including apples, oranges and peaches. D-mannose is considered a prebiotic because consuming it stimulates the growth of good bacteria in your gut.

Structurally, D-mannose is similar to glucose, but it’s absorbed at a slower rate in the gastrointestinal tract. It has a lower glycemic index than glucose, as after it’s consumed it needs to be converted into fructose and then glucose, thereby reducing the insulin response and impact on your blood sugar levels.

Mannose is also filtered out of the body by the kidneys, unlike glucose that’s stored in the liver. It doesn’t stay in your body for long periods of time, so it doesn’t act as fuel for your body like glucose. This also means that mannose can positively benefit the bladder, urinary tract and gut without affecting other areas of the body.


UTI Prevention + Other D-Mannose Uses and Benefits

1. Treats and Prevents Urinary Tract Infections

D-mannose is thought to prevent certain bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. Mannose receptors are part of the protective layer that’s found on cells that line the urinary tract. These receptors are able to bind to E. coli and washed away during urination, thereby preventing both adhesion to and invasion of urothelial cells.

In a 2014 study published in the World Journal of Urology, 308 women with a history of recurrent UTI, who had already received initial antibiotic treatment, were divided into three groups. The first group received two grams of D-mannose powder in 200 milliliters of water daily for six months. The second group received 50 milligrams of Nitrofurantoin (an antibiotic) daily, and the third group did not receive any additional treatment.

Overall, 98 patients had recurrent UTI. Of those women, 15 were in the D-mannose group, 21 were in the Nitrofurantoin group and 62 were in the no treatment group. Of the patients in the two active groups, both modalities were well-tolerated. In all, 17.9 percent of patients reported mild side effects, and patients in the D-mannose group had a significantly lower risk of side effects compared to patients in the Nitrofurantoin group.

Researchers concluded that D-mannose powder significantly reduced the risk of recurrent UTI and may be useful for UTI prevention, although more studies are needed to validate these results.

In a randomized cross-over trial published in the Journal of Clinical Urology, female patients with acute symptomatic UTIs, and with three or more recurrent UTIs in the preceding 12-month period, were randomly assigned to either an antibiotic treatment group (using trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) or to a regime including one gram of oral D-mannose three times daily for two weeks, following one gram twice daily for 22 weeks.

At the end of the trial period, the mean time UTI recurrence was 52.7 days with the antibiotic treatment group and 200 days with the D-mannose group. Plus, mean scores for bladder pain, urinary urgency and 24-hour voidings decreased significantly. Researchers concluded that mannose appeared to be safe and effective for treating recurrent UTIs and displayed a significant difference in the proportion of women remaining infection-free compared to those in the antibiotic group.

Why might mannose be such an effective agent for preventing recurrent UTIs? It really comes down to microbial resistance to traditional antibiotics. This is an increasing problem, with one study showing that more than 40 percent of 200 female college students with UTI symptoms were resistant to first-line antibiotics.

The study, published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, concludes with this warning: “Given the frequency with which UTIs are treated empirically, compounded with the speed that E. coli acquires resistance, prudent use of antimicrobial agents remains crucial.”

2. May Suppress Type 1 Diabetes

Researchers were surprised to find that D-mannose may be able to prevent and suppress type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the body doesn’t produce insulin — a hormone that’s needed to get glucose from the bloodstream into the body’s cells. When D-mannose was administered orally in drinking water to non-obese diabetic mice, researchers found that the simple sugar was able to block the progress of this autoimmune diabetes.

Because of these findings, the study published in Cell & Bioscience concludes by suggesting that D-mannose be considered a “healthy or good” monosaccharide that could serve as a safe dietary supplement for promoting immune tolerance and preventing diseases associated with autoimmunity.

3. Works as a Prebiotic

Mannose is known to act as a prebiotic that stimulates the growth of good bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics help feed the probiotics in your gut and amplify their health-promoting properties.

Research shows that mannose expresses both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and has immunostimulating properties. When D-mannose was taken with probiotic preparations, combined they were able to restore the composition and numbers of indigenous microflora in mice.

4. Treats Carbohydrate-Deficient Glycoprotein Syndrome Type 1B

Evidence suggests that D-mannose is effective for treating a rare inherited disorder called carbohydrate-deficient glycoprotein syndrome (CDGS) type 1b. This disease makes you lose protein through your intestines.

It’s believed that supplementing with the simple sugar may improve symptoms of the disorder, including poor liver function, protein loss, low blood pressure and issues with proper blood clotting.


D-Mannose Side Effects and Risks

Because mannose occurs naturally in many foods, it’s considered safe when consumed in appropriate amounts. However, supplementing with D-mannose and taking doses higher than what would be consumed naturally may, in some cases, cause stomach bloating, loose stools and diarrhea. It’s also believed that consuming very high doses of D-mannose can cause kidney damage. According to researchers at the Stanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in California, “mannose can be therapeutic, but indiscriminate use can have adverse effects.”

People with type 2 diabetes should use caution before using D-mannose products because they may alter blood sugar levels, though typically mannose itself doesn’t negatively impact blood sugar. To be safe, speak to your doctor prior to beginning any new health regime.

There’s not enough evidence to support the safety of mannose for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Based on the current research, there are no known drug interactions, but you should speak to your health care provider if you are taking any medications.


How to Get D-Mannose in Your Diet: Top 20 D-Mannose Foods

D-mannose naturally occurs in a number of foods, especially fruits. Here are some of the top D-mannose foods that you can easily add to your diet:

  1. Cranberries
  2. Oranges
  3. Apples
  4. Peaches
  5. Blueberries
  6. Mangos
  7. Gooseberries
  8. Black currants
  9. Red currants
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Seaweed
  12. Aloe vera
  13. Green beans
  14. Eggplant
  15. Broccoli
  16. Cabbage
  17. Fenugreek seeds
  18. Kidney beans
  19. Turnips
  20. Cayenne pepper

D-Mannose Supplements and Dosage Recommendations

It’s easy to find D-mannose supplements online and in some health food stores. They are available in capsule and powder forms. Each capsule is usually 500 milligrams, so you end up taking two to four capsules a day when treating a UTI. Powdered D-mannose is popular because you can control your dose, and it easily dissolves in water. With powders, read the label directions to determine how many teaspoons you need. It’s common for one teaspoon to provide two grams of D-mannose.

There is no standard D-mannose dosage, and the amount you should consume really depends on the condition you are trying to treat or prevent. There is evidence that taking two grams in powdered form, in 200 milliliters of water, every day for a six-month period is effective and safe for preventing recurrent urinary tract infections.

If you are treating an active urinary tract infection, the most commonly recommended dose is 1.5 grams twice daily for three days and then once daily for the next 10 days.

At this time, more research is needed to determine the optimal D-mannose dosage. For this reason, you should speak to your doctor before you begin using this simple sugar for the treatment of any health condition.


Final Thoughts

  • D-mannose is a simple sugar that’s produced from glucose or converted into glucose when ingested.
  • The sugar is found naturally in many fruits and vegetables, including apples, oranges, cranberries and tomatoes.
  • The most well-researched benefit of D-mannose is its ability to fight and prevent recurrent UTIs. It works by preventing certain bacteria (including E. coli) from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.
  • Studies show that two grams of D-mannose daily is more effective than antibiotics for preventing recurrent urinary tract infections.

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Mantram? What is it?

In solitude there is healling. Speak to your soul. Listen to your heart. Sometimes in the absence of noise we find the answers.

In solitude there is healling. Speak to your soul. Listen to your heart. Sometimes in the absence of noise we find the answers.

Mantram: What Is It, And Should You Try It?

 

Mantram is a Sanskrit word that means, roughly, “instrument of thought.” As a discipline, it refers to the practice of silently repeating certain syllables or phrases. It is a way to keep the mind occupied by putting attention on sounds or words that are believed to have spiritual meaning and positive effects, and thus free from the usual endless succession of varied, distracting thoughts.

 

 

Mantram is most often associated with Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Eastern religions, but a similar practice is also part of Western religious tradition, as exemplified by the Roman Catholic Rosary and the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”) of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

 

Some contemporary psychologists, however, recommend mantram as a purely secular method of diverting attention from troublesome thoughts in order to reduce anxiety, anger, and stress.

 

Several researchers have documented the efficacy of this method to improve emotional well-being. One study, published in the Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing in 2006, measured outcomes of a five-week program of mantram practice in a population of healthcare workers (nurses and social workers, primarily female), who were experiencing high stress.  Participants were asked to choose a mantram from recommended sayings from the major spiritual traditions and were given wrist-worn counters to tally the daily frequency of repetition. The investigators found that the program reduced stress and improved the emotional and spiritual well-being of the participants. They concluded that, “Mantram repetition is an innovative stress-reduction strategy that is portable, convenient, easy to implement, and inexpensive.”

 

 

As Dr. Weil says, “This accords with my experience. After reading about mantram in my early thirties, I began repeating om mani padme hum to myself when I was falling asleep, driving long distances, or just sitting quietly. After a time, I found I could use it to break cycles of worrying that made me anxious or kept me awake. It has also helped me get through dental procedures and remain calm in the midst of turmoil.

 

“I do not repeat the words on any fixed schedule or keep count of the number of times I do it, but I’ve done it so often that I can now slip into it almost without conscious effort. Because mantram repetition is, indeed, portable, convenient, easy to implement, and inexpensive, I recommend it to you as a method worth trying to take your attention away from thoughts that make you anxious or sad.”

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Are You In A Rut?

rut

Are You In A Rut?

 

Some routines are helpful — others hold you back. Shake things up with a new design so you can move in a healthier direction.

 

Have you ever felt like you were in a rut? Of course, you have! We all have.

 

Feeling stuck in your day-to-day routine is a universal experience. It’s also a byproduct of your highly efficient brain. After all, with an estimated 11 million sensory inputs to process each second, your brain would be unnecessarily taxed if it had to relearn how to shower and tie your shoes each day. Instead, its myelinated neural networks allow routine behaviors to become default behaviors

So if what you’re doing is working for you — even remotely — you tend to stick with it. Default behavior can be constructive (brushing and flossing daily) or unconstructive (downing a few cocktails nightly). Ruts may manifest as lack of action, as well: Maybe you keep your head down at work, never taking on projects outside your comfort zone. Or you stay in an unhealthy relationship for years, avoiding conflict and change.

 

Biologists have observed that animals in nature will take the same paths and escape routes through their territories over and over — often falling victim to predators who exploit this predictability. What if some of your ruts are ill-conceived escape routes — patterns of action or thought that keep you from dealing with problems, rising to challenges, or tending to relationships?

 

And what if these ruts have negative consequences? Wolves may not eat you, but your partner, boss, or friends may let you know that your default behavior is causing problems.

 

AN ANTIDOTE TO RUTS

In his research with animals, Jaak Panksepp, PhD, professor of integrative physiology and neuroscience at Washington State University, identified seven core neural networks of emotion, the strongest of which he defined as “seeking,” or the desire to discover. This emotion compels an animal to find a mate, forage for food, and learn new parts of its habitat, all of which are essential for survival.

 

Just like any other animal, humans are drawn to discover. Using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), researchers have found that a region in the midbrain called the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area, or SN/VTA, is activated when a person is exposed to novel stimuli. We are hardwired to notice and gravitate toward the new — new people, new house, new job, new vacation destination.

 

When we combine a neurological tendency to automate routine behavior with a biological drive to seek, it makes sense that we check our phones some 85 times per day. In fact, the act of seeking — more than actually discovering — really lights up our brains. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with motivation and reward, spikes in anticipation of discovery.

 

That seeking behavior manifests in many ways — some beneficial, some benign, some problematic. If you’ve ever spent too much money shopping for things you didn’t really need, you know that seeking is often more satisfying than what you ultimately find, learn, or buy. You can even get addicted to seeking, which may be distracting but does nothing to release you from (or provide insight into) your ruts.

 

Instead, why not use the principles of design thinking to break out of your ruts? Why not design a beneficial seeking behavior — a quest — that allows you to seek in deeper and more meaningful ways?

 

DESIGN YOUR QUEST

For the past 20 years, I have embarked on an annual solo quest to help myself climb out of my ruts. For five days, I camp in a remote wilderness area where I fast and meditate in order to wake up my mind. Isolation removes the distractions of conversation and social obligation. Fasting eliminates the distractions of planning, cooking, and eating food. (Thinking about food, however, is another story!)

 

These days of focused meditation allow my mind to quiet itself from the emailing, texting, and rumination it’s usually engaged in. Eventually I drop into a deep silence where I can gain insights into the nature of my ruts — and the changes I need to make to get out of them. During one quest I came to understand that it was time to move on from a job I loved. While I felt passionate about the work, I had become complacent in many ways and had developed some bad habits.

 

Solitude and time in nature helped me see that, if I wanted to grow, I needed to release that job — a realization I may not otherwise have had until years later.

 

I believe there is a quest for everyone. You don’t have to venture into the wilderness to gain insight into your ruts and the changes you may need to make.

 

Remember, you are the designer of your life — so think like a designer! What types of experiences will really get your attention and break you out of your daily routine? How will you eliminate distractions so you can gain insight into your habits of thought and behavior?

 

The real adventure lies within you. Do you dare seek it?

 

 

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P Carrothers

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