Smell and Memories

Recently I learned that our noses can remember 50,000 different scents. Impressive, even more, is that memories can be recalled in detail from way back in our past.

So if you recall as a child smelling your mother’s perfume your brain waves will respond including neural networks with synchronized brain waves of 20-40 Hz. Emotions corresponding to memory will cause endorphin secretion and more.    Brain waves connect smell through memories and smell is the strongest retainer

E-Cigs A Safe Alternative?

Safer to use an e-cigarette ( ‘e-cigs’ – vaping nicotine’) or go with a traditional cigarette (‘cig’) -Just as if not more’ is the resounding finding -although not absolutely say, researchers.

Finding related to heart disease included used only e-cigarettes had higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, and lower levels of total cholesterol than non-smokers. But the level of ‘good’ cholesterol -HDL- was lower in both e-cig and cig groups.

A recent study (Public Health Research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) literally measured heart flow in 19 healthy adults 24-32 as they smoked using each method. Scans performed to measure microcirculation during stress and rest, resulted in finding surprising to the researcher -Dr. Rader reported, “In smokers who use traditional cigarettes, blood flow increased modestly after traditional cigarette inhalation and then decreased with subsequent stress. However, in smokers who use e-cigs, blood flow decreased after both inhalation at rest and after handgrip stress.”  you do not have to be a physician to know this is BAD news.

However as with looking into many medical questions,  there is another study with very different deductions, albeit a short  (one month) small (114 subjects) study population.  Results, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, showed when measuring heart blood vessel dilation (how diameter narrows and  tightens) found:

  • Healthy non-smokers had a score of 7.7%
  • Smokers had a score of 5.5%
  • But those who switched to nicotine e-cigarettes for a month had a score of 6.7%

This report from the team at Univ. of Dundee suggesting that vaping with nicotine had smokers about halfway back to a healthy score, but authors note usually only one type of e-cig. is used team, at the University of Dundee, stressed vaping was “not safe” – just less harmful than tobacco.

Can I enlist you in doing whatever possible (legal that is) to deter someone from using e-cigs.  Countries esp. in South America (Brazil in 2014) Asia and the Middle East have already banned these e-sticks

Omega 3 Fatty Acid

Omega 3-oil has been touted to be helpful for treatment and even prevention of many conditions from heart disease to anxiety and depression.Omega-3 is a type of polyunsaturated fat. Small amounts are essential for good health and can be found in the food that we eat including nuts and seeds and fatty fish, such as salmon. In the body, this class of fats is needed for cells to operate, they are anti-inflammatory. It breaks down to become phospholipids that form the structures of cell membranes. Commonly ALA, EPA & DHA are the subtypes that have been studied, but there are more.

While there is a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)and Adequate Intake (AI), there is no established Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). Visit the NIH fact sheet on omega 3   and learn the AI for you. They are even suggested in cat and dog diets.

A series of human studies recently completed is changing the belief that omega 3 fish oil is a crucial supplement but rather the ingestion of foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids is what is beneficial. Also conflicting findings as regards the effect on cardiovascular disease.

Triglycerides seem to decrease rather consistently with an intake of omega 3. The American Heart Association recommends 2–4 g/day of EPA plus DHA under the care of a physician. Several prescription omega-3 preparations are also available to treat hypertriglyceridemia.

Check with your healthcare provider and get enough omega 3 from foods that your body needs.

Sugar and Inflammation

A high sugar diet is well known to cause bodily harm. Effects include making any disease worst, and of course, weight gain, and tooth decay. I would like to blog, however, about the low-grade chronic inflammation that occurs from a persistent diet high in sugar/starch, saturated and trans fat.

Inflammation is natural and the acute response of the body when faced with injury or infection. During inflammation, the body’s immune system activates. It is helpful and normal BUT chronic inflammation is not helpful can result in damage to healthy cells throughout including the gut and cause insulin resistance. A measurable increase in inflammatory markers can be found in the blood following such a diet.

This study scared me; folks having one can regular soda daily for 6 months had an increase of uric acid that causes inflammation and insulin resistance and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Those having a diet soda, milk, or water did not have inflammatory markers in their blood. Don’t forget the weight gain! Other studies have shown an increased risk of cancers, diabetes, and heart disease from diets high in refined sugars and refined carbs.

Note: Natural sugar, those in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are actually anti-inflammatory. Listen Up!  to the podcast from earlier this year on anti Inflammatory diet.

Realize if no insult to the body that requires an inflammatory response to mend, then inflammation will do bad things to the body. Pain, just one negative effect, can result from chronic inflammation

 

 

 

Avocado + Apple A Day

Yes, I do blog a bit more on heart conditions. Fact is so many Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease that much research and commentary is warranted. So let us look to the produce aisle and specifically to avocados. Avocados are quite high in healthy fats, carotenoid (critical for eye health), but now they are recognized as heart-healthy!

Previous data supported bad cholesterol-lowering by eating apples regularly. But move over apples after a 2-week diet, researchers have shown overweight individuals who ate one avocado daily had lower LDL specifically a subtype -small density LDL. Small, dense LDL cholesterol particles are especially harmful by encouraging plaque build up in blood vessels. Don’t want them around.

Interesting if you follow a moderate-fat diet without avocados yet the diet incorporates the same monounsaturated fatty acids found in avocados, the results are not the same.

Hence there is something else in the avocado that influences its action on bad cholesterol. Certain medical conditions make eating avocados a no-no. If your doctor wants you to avoid foods that create histamine or has said stay away from foods that enhance inflammation, DO NOT eat avocados! Also best to check with your healthcare provider.

 

 

Heart Health Influencers

I want to share a few recent findings that act as influencers on heart health.

Income Changes – Changes in household income can have a negative impact. “A drop in income of more than 50% over 6 years was associated with a 17% higher risk of CVD over the next 17 years (HR: 1.17), whereas a rise in income of more than 50%was associated with a 14% lower risk of CVD (HR: 0.86)”*

Early menopause –The estrogen ‘protective effect’ historically has born out -women who experienced menopause after the age of 51 years had a significantly reduced risk of CVD.**

Less 6 hours of sleep – If you are middle age and have hypertension and Diabetics and getting less than 6 hours of sleep, you have a two-fold increase in heart problems (including stroke).***

Studies have shown that:

– ‘Mind over matter’ recall that your ‘frame of mind’ can have a powerful effect on your heart health.

–  High fiber diet improves heart health

PLEASE take heed!

 

* Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities (ARIC) study

** The Lancet Public Health

***Journal of the American Heart Association

 

Read Dates On Products?

Expiration day (Use Before) means the last day a product may be safely consumed. We are the most expensive and wasteful healthcare system in the world according to many, and rest assured throwing away drugs because of past expiration dates contributes.

In fact, “expired” medicines can remain potent decades after their manufacture. In theory, a determined shelf life might be 1-5 years but all bets are off once a container is opened, the picture changes and no one knows precisely the ‘new’ expiration date.

Lawyers for big pharma say proceed at your own risk however there have not been any reports of toxicity from using expired drugs. Yes, perhaps your blood pressure might not come down if it is 5 years old and not stored properly.

Reviewing the medical literature I found a study, showing the active contents of flucloxacillin capsules, cefoxitin injection, captopril tablets, and theophylline tablets remained 98% intact 18-170 months past their expiration dates. Wow!

I want to touch on the phrase ‘best used by‘ as it DOES NOT mean ‘expiration date’. The date informs the consumer that after that date the product potency, taste, freshness, and even nutrition may degrade.

One Size Does Not Fits All

Nobody argues the body does need adequate hydration. As for most things ‘one size does not fit all’.

Should we have 8 glasses of water a day? Probably a good idea if you are an active healthy adult or a growing child.

Health condition, diet, activity and how our kidneys work- urine output – factor in. Losing water (ex. sweat, diarrhea) means you need more. Folks with heart failure and kidney disease have to monitor and limit their intake, so yes intake of water is personalized!

Listen to your body it talks to you – you’ve heard me say this often, well here same applies. Thirst ‘signals’ from our body include not urinating in 2-4 hours and dark-colored urine (although many medical conditions can cause this). Yes, whenever you feel thirsty you had better drink fluids.

Be smart, you know you are out for a hike so over hydrate and carry fluids, conditions and weather can changes.

Note: Caffeine, ice tea is not water, sure it helps but carries complicating facts, furthermore caffeine is a diuretic!

October is Eczema Awareness Month

While all itching skin problems are not eczema, more than 30 million Americans have it. Roughly 10-20% of us develop some form in infancy or childhood. Appearances and location depend on the age of onset. Infants can show skin changes anywhere on the body, however, onset childhood starts at skin folds – elbows, knees, and neck.

Anytime our skin shows signs of being irritated, no matter where or why the medical term is ‘dermatitis’. So why does skin becomes inflamed? Commonly it is a result of allergens and irritants. There are many factors but keeping your skin from becoming dry in the first place helps.

Besides seeking medical care, you need to get to the cause for you. For some, it is a certain food, stress, sweating, extreme temperatures, and even hormonal fluctuations. There are many other possibilities. Read more at https://nationaleczema.org

There are different types of eczema named by what causes it or how it appears. I will only mention the top 2 in this blog.

Atopic dermatitis – most prevalent, redness itching on face, arms, and legs. Eczema usually comes for the first time in childhood than later as adults set off by allergies.

Contact dermatitis -think poison ivy exposure; direct contact with something in your world that you u sensitive to.