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ED relief with natural substances

ED relief with natural substances

Of all the catastrophic conditions that a man can suffer from, few are more emotionally taxing than erectile dysfunction. ED can seriously affect a man’s confidence, ego, and overall mood, which has an enormous effect on his overall psyche.

The cold hard fact is that most men will experience some form of erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. While most cases are due to temporary abnormalities, like overconsumption of alcohol or drugs, prescription medication being taken, or correctable health issues, sometimes erectile dysfunction can serve as a symptom of a much more serious health concern.

When erectile dysfunction becomes persistent, a more serious inquiry into possible causes must be made. Studies show that ED can even serve as a precursor to cardiac arrest, so paying close attention to your member is more than just a manhood issue, it can be a life or death issue for some.

Because ED is somewhat perceived by many as a normal part of being a guy and aging, affecting as much as 25 percent of men over 65, many are unlikely to address it as a serious health concern.

One of the most serious conditions that erectile dysfunction is a symptom for is cardiovascular disease (CVD). Research has found that ED and cardiovascular disease share a few of the same risk factors, coexisting frequently. As much as 70 percent of men who have cardiovascular disease also have erectile dysfunction, with the erectile dysfunction often preceding a major cardiovascular incident, like a serious heart attack, by 2 to 5 years.

Cardiovascular disease

The major reason that ED and CVD are so closely related is largely due to the lining of blood vessels, impacted by a perpetually unhealthy lifestyle. Without adequate blood flow, the penis cannot become erect, and cardiovascular disease often inhibits blood flow.

Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes that can be made to restore proper blood flow by restoring the inner lining of the body’s blood vessels, and it largely can be accomplished with diet changes, including adding foods high in restorative compounds like L-Arginine, pycnogenol, citrulline, Scutellaria, and cinnamon.

In order for an erection to occur, the cavernous smooth muscle must relax, an event triggered by the compound nitric oxide (NO). Thus, men with diminished amounts of nitric oxide may experience erectile dysfunction.

Researchers believe that nitric oxide is necessary for not only relaxing smooth muscle cells to dilate blood vessels, but also absorbs reactive oxygen species (ROS) to prevent permanent penile changes occurring as well as damaging collagen/glycosylated proteins forming.

Age related erectile dysfunction is usually associated with a reduction in smooth muscle cells and an increase in collagen within the corpora cavernosa, the main vessels forming the penis. This increase is associated with an increase in ROS.

Nitric oxide, or more specifically inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) that produces nitric oxide is the body’s natural way of preventing the overproduction of ROS, scavenging and eliminating it before it causes damage. Thus, age related erectile dysfunction is a result of underproduction of nitric oxide, and supplementation can help.

A study published back in 2003 confirmed that pycnogenol can stimulate nitric oxide production, and when coupled with another compound, L-arginine substantially increased the production of nitric oxide.

Pycnogenol-pine bark

However, when combined with pycnogenol, the treatments showed extremely promising results. When combined, the supplementation of L-arginine with pycnogenol restored the sexual ability of 80 percent of participants. After 3 months of treatments, an astounding 92.5 percent of participants experienced restored erections. Perhaps just as promising as its efficacy is this treatment’s safety. No side-effects were reported, making it perhaps the safest treatment for ED known to this point.

Part of a chemical building block called an amino acid, L-arginine is obtained from food consumed and essential for the body to make proteins. L-arginine is found in abundance in red meat, fish, nuts and seeds, and poultry. L-arginine is commonly used as a treatment for blood vessel conditions, which also makes it an intuitive treatment option for erectile dysfunction.

Citrulline is an interesting compound that is converted into L-arginine in the kidneys. So while L-arginine gets absorbed by the body, L-citrulline may be a better option for supplementation, allowing the body to create its own supply of L-arginine that doesn’t get depleted so quickly, as studies show that Supplemental L-arginine provides a spike of L-arginine in plasma, while supplemental L-citrulline increases arginine plasma levels over a longer period of time.

Not only great for blood sugar regulation among a host of other peripheral benefits, cinnamon is another great compound that has been found to help treat ED. Cinnamon is a popular spice in every kitchen, but it has also been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine in India for ages, sometimes as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Cinnamon

Studies show that when given an extract of Cinnamomum cassia has the ability to inhibit arginase, aiding the smooth muscles in the corpus cavernosum. Researchers have found that a cinnamon extract can “relaxed phenylephrine pre-contracted isolated rat CCSM up to 43% and significantly increased (P < 0.05) sexual function of young male rats. Treatment with the extract also increased smooth muscle level and decreased collagen level in rat penile tissue.” As mentioned above, increasing smooth muscle function and reducing the buildup of collagen in the penis is paramount for proper penis function.

It would take more concentrated, power-packed dosages of these natural medications for erectile dysfunction to restore a man’s erection, so eating more spiced up French toast isn’t going to necessarily restore function. The herb Scutellaria has been studied thoroughly to have similar results.

But these studies in a more natural approach to erectile dysfunction, as well as other problematic disorders, definitely represents a step in the right direction for western medicine. Natural remedies are prized for their reliability, efficacy, and perhaps above all, their lack of serious side effects, if any at all, so the future definitely looks bright for western medicine to make a shift to less impactful medications.

Noni for Hypertension

Noni for Hypertension

If there was a killer in your neighborhood, you’d want to know right? What if there was a silent killer, and instead of residing in your neighborhood, this killer resided inside your body?

Hypertension, often referred to as a silent killer, affects millions of Americans, going unnoticed and unattended until it finally causes too much damage for the host to overcome.

High blood pressure

Hypertension is also referred to more commonly as simply high blood pressure, but make no mistake about it, high blood pressure can cause untold amounts of damage throughout your body, ranging from impotence to artery damage, and eventually stroke, heart attack, and even death.

The damage to arteries caused by hypertension is extensive, and very often extremely harmful.

Healthy arteries have certain characteristics that hypertension robs them of, namely flexibility, elasticity, and strength, and their inner lining, epithelial cells, are smooth and allow for easy and efficient blood flow. The arteries after a long life of hypertension are rigid, weak, and brittle, and their inner lining is not as smooth. All of this affects the way blood flows through the arteries, so someone with longstanding hypertension is in danger of life threatening consequences.

As arteries become damaged from hypertension, fats can begin to collect along the inner lining, and the lack of elasticity eventually prevents them from stretching and accommodating blockage. This limits the amount of blood flow throughout the body, leaving cells starved of oxygen, and increasing the risk of serious consequence like heart attack and stroke.

Hypertension
Aneurysm

Another extremely dangerous effect of hypertension is an aneurysm. An aneurysm occurs when a vein or artery forms a bulge due to continued high pressure and being in a weakened state. While aneurysms can form in any of your arteries, the most common location is your largest artery, the aorta. If and when an aneurysm bursts, internal bleeding occurs that cannot be stopped without intervention, and if it occurs in the brain, tissue dies from contact with blood and is never regenerated, causing irreparable damage, if not death.

A lesser known side-effect of hypertension is kidney damage. It’s easy to focus attention on the system that encompasses the blood that is under pressure, but there are also many peripheral effects of hypertension that also go overlooked.

Kidneys

Because the kidneys filter fluid and waste from your blood, they depend on healthy blood vessels to function properly. When arteries become damaged from hypertension, kidney scarring, kidney artery aneurysm, and even kidney failure can occur.

Medications

Prescription medications for hypertension often come with a hidden consequences like pervasive cough, dizziness, lightheadedness from reducing blood pressure too much, and many more unwanted side-effects.

Researchers are constantly examining alternative ways to treat disease and illness, and with this renewed vigor to explore all options, traditional medicines have begun to enter back into the western consciousness.

Traditional medicines are often composed of naturally occurring compounds, found easily and readily in plants, and generally don’t cause the types and seriousness of side-effects commonly caused by western remedies.

One treatment for hypertension being explored is called noni. Derived from Morinda citrifolia leaves, noni is an edible plant that grows exclusively in tropical climate zones from India through Southeast Asia, and has a variety of medicinal uses, including antispasmodic, vasodilator and cardio-suppressant effects.

Morinda citrifolia leaves

The noni plant traditionally grows adjacent to lava flows in the Pacific Islands as well, and has been used to make red or yellow dye for clothes. Among this use, islanders have been using it for a variety of ailments like colic for infants, cough, convulsions, diabetes, stimulating menstrual flow, fever reduction, liver disease, constipation, nausea, and even cancer.

The list of noni’s uses goes on and on, but scientists have yet to prove its benefits for these ailments, so the FDA has issued warnings for companies making unverified claims.

Studies are underway however for the effect noni has on hypertension.

To study its efficacy for hypertension, scientists isolated vascular tissue from different animals, including rabbit jejunum, rat and rabbit aorta tissues, and guinea pig atria. Scientists used these tissues to test the cardiovascular relaxant effects of noni, a process that helps to relax the arteries and in cases of hypertension, allow blood to flow more freely.

These studies concluded that noni did indeed relax atrial tissue, reducing atrial force and the rate of atrial spontaneous contractions. This indicates that the vasodilator effects of noni can help prevent chronic hypertension, and preliminarily, it is believed that the side effects are much less than other western prescription medications.

Another very recent study examined the effects of noni on hypertensive rats, concluding that this powerful plant “significantly decreased the blood pressure of hypertensive rats. The combination group showed highest hypotensive activity by lowering systolic blood pressure by 16.71 ± 3.95%, diastolic blood pressure by 21.49 ± 7.90%, and mean arterial blood pressure by 19.58% ± 6.35. All extract treatments have not been able to repair or inhibit renal damage caused by dexamethasone induction.”

Noni juice

While the benefits of noni have been well established by now, the challenge remains in getting it to consumers. It is a bitter fruit that ferments rather quickly, meaning that its shelf life is quite short. Many noni manufacturers include it in a blend with other juices, masking the taste.

Some people are taking noni in the form of fruit leathers and supplements. The fruit leathers are similar to the ones found on grocery store shelves, containing dried fruit compressed into semi-tough thin and wide strips.

There are a handful of prescription treatments for hypertension, each accompanied by a Trojan horse of additional complications and side-effects. Current prescription medications available for hypertension bring with them, often times, more complications than they purport to alleviate.

Patients taking blood pressure medication report problems like extra urination, erection problems, weakness, cramps, fatigue, decrease in the body’s potassium levels, and more, while those taking beta blockers can experience asthma like symptoms, cold hands and feet, depression, erection problems as well, and insomnia.

As always, it is important to discuss any and all treatment options with a doctor, as even natural treatments derived through diet can have implications, especially if you’re on other medications. More than likely, your doctor will figure out a way to best treat you and introduce noni into your lifestyle with minimal invasiveness.

Noni fruit
Boswellia for Joint Pain

Boswellia for Joint Pain

Joint pain is an inevitable part of everyday life for millions of Americans. Whether it is due to overuse of the joints, or simply age related wear and tear or autoimmune disorder, for those who suffer from it, joint pain can be debilitating and often non-repairable due to the nature of the tissues involved.

Because the tissue of the joints, like cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, all of which are tissues that usually cannot be healed or regrown naturally, joint damage is not only permanent without intervention, but can be extremely painful. Bones begin to grind together without cartilage on the ends, resulting in loads of pain and eventually, permanent damage to the bone.

The leading cause of joint pain is arthritis, which comes in many different variations. Among the leading types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that occurs when flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down, and rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet.

Between these two types of arthritis, millions of people are suffering with swollen, tender, and painful joints in America, and because these conditions are so common, researchers are naturally constantly looking for better ways to treat them.

Boswellia

Among the newest treatments for joint pain, at least to Western medicine, is Boswellia, more commonly known as Indian frankincense. This biblical plant has a long history of medicinal use throughout Southeast Asia. Aside from wise men handing it out as gifts, frankincense has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent, astringent, disinfectant, digestive aid, diuretic, and an expectorant traditionally. Indian frankincense grows in the mountainous regions of the Middle East, and as the name implies, is related to the tree that produces frankincense.

To procure Indian frankincense, harvesters slice the bark of the Boswellia serrata tree and allow the resin to leak. It is collected in special bamboo baskets and allowed to cure, then graded and separated by color and shape.

Indian frankincense

The resin contains numerous active compounds including the fatty acids palmitic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic, as well as sugars such as glucose, arabinose, rhamnose, galactose, fructose, glucuronic acid, and idose. The gum resin also contains triterpene alcohol, serratol, and triterpenoids. The volatile oil contains p-cymene, d-limonene, terpinolene, bornyl acetates, and methylchavicol.

Researchers, constantly on the lookout for new treatments for common ailments, have conducted exhaustive studies on Boswellia for many disorders, including arthritis and its resulting joint pain and swelling.

A study published in Minerva Medica tested the efficacy of a standardized Boswellia extract called FlexiQule to mitigate the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Researchers provided the Boswellia extract to participants with symptomatic knee arthritis for four weeks, measuring progress via the Karnofsky scale (the Karnofsky Performance Scale Index allows patients to be classified as to their functional impairment. This can be used to compare effectiveness of different therapies and to assess the prognosis in individual patients. The lower the Karnofsky score, the worse the survival for most serious illnesses), Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC), and a treadmill test.

At the end of the four week study, those receiving the Boswellia extract noted improvements on all three measurement scales, and even more improvements when combined with the standard management regimen common for arthritis.

Researchers noted that effects for those receiving Boswellia extract were “significantly higher” than the control group receiving only standardized management, and in addition, “The WOMAC Score was decreased significantly more in the supplement group in comparison with controls considering pain, stiffness and physical functions. Social/emotional functions improved better with the supplement. Both groups improved their walking distance at 4 weeks.”

In regard to side effects, Boswellia is very well received, and has a long history of having little to zero side effects. Having been used for centuries in Eastern medicinal systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine in India, Boswellia is trusted by medical professionals across the regions as well as the people who use it to treat a multitude of symptoms, including inflammation and joint pain, especially that which is caused by inflammatory diseases like arthritis.

Another study published in Molecular Medicine Reports expounds on the safety of Boswellia, and its efficacy when coupled with other drugs used to treat joint ailments, reporting that “BSE was well tolerated by the subjects except for minor gastrointestinal ADRs. BSE is recommended in the patients of osteoarthritis of the knee with possible therapeutic use in other arthritis.”

Boswellia

This is why Boswellia performs so well for arthritis specifically. The hallmark of arthritis is inflammation in the joint, which eventually leads to swelling and long term joint damage, harming the tissues that allow the joint to function properly. Because it helps so well to reduce inflammation in the joint, Boswellia is able to reduce the swelling, reduce pain, and reduce the damage that would otherwise be taking place due to arthritis.

The same study also evaluated the efficacy, safety and tolerability of Boswellia serrata Extract (BSE) in 30 patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee.

For this study, 15 participants received Boswellia serrata extract, and the other half placebo. At the conclusion of the study, 8 weeks, researchers found that “All patients receiving drug treatment reported decrease in knee pain, increased knee flexion and increased walking distance. The frequency of swelling in the knee joint was decreased.”

It’s easy to think of the medicine we see every day in television commercials and magazine advertisements as being the best that medicine has to offer, but this simply is not true. Many of the most revolutionary treatments for our most pervasive illnesses are repurposed or rediscovered remedies long used in Eastern medicine.

Many of the medicines we rely on in America simply treat the symptoms, and neglect to address the cause of the ailment. In addition, many of these medications are very harmful to our bodies, often causing more damage than they relieve. This is a major factor in the resurgence of traditional remedies, and will continue to influence our medicines as we progress towards safer and more effective treatments.

Berberine for Diabetes

Berberine for Diabetes

Sugar

Americans are awash in a sea of refined sugar. Nearly every top selling food product is loaded with sugar, often times containing more than three times the recommended daily intake.

Our bodies are genetically designed to like certain flavors, and sweet is one of the most desirable. The reason we love sweet foods is because when we eat them, they trigger endorphins in our brains, making them highly pleasurable. The center of the brain that is triggered by these flavors is part of the opioid circuitry.

Much like drugs we can become addicted to food. Sweet, salty, and fatty foods are highly addictive. Just like with drug addiction, some people have a higher probability of becoming addicted than others, and the makers of the world’s most unhealthy foods are counting on that. Manufacturers spend countless hours engineering food products that are designed to make their consumers addicted, boosting sales while affecting the health of the nation.

Consuming too much sugar can cause a range of illnesses like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes to name a few.

Diabetes affects more than 37 million Americans, comprising over 10% of our entire population, with non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaskan Native adults about twice as likely to contract this disease as non-Hispanic whites.

Studies have repeatedly shown that high glycemic foods –those that quickly raise blood sugar- leads to poor insulin sensitivity and causes diabetes as well as obesity, leading to heart disease, which makes sugar more of a national safety threat than most people would think.

Heart Disease

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects the way the body processes glucose in the blood. As we eat food, the carbohydrates are converted inside the body into sugars. Some complex carbohydrates, like found in vegetables, take longer to convert to sugar, and are considered to be low on the glycemic index. The body then produces insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas that allows the body to use glucose for energy or store it for later use as fat. Insulin regulates the body’s blood sugar levels, keeping them from getting too high or too low.

When you consume a lot of processed sugar, it is already broken down to a very simple form, so the body converts it to glucose very quickly. This leads to unnatural glucose spikes, which in turn prompts the body to produce insulin rapidly, leading to insulin spikes.

Repeated sugar and insulin spikes over many years is what eventually causes diabetes. Eventually, either the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body can no longer effectively use the insulin it creates. This allows glucose to build up in the blood instead of being used for energy, which creates the symptoms associated with diabetes, including fatigue, constant infections, blurred eye sight, numbness, tingling in the hands or legs, increased thirst, and slowed healing of bruises or cuts.

The most popular treatment for type 2 diabetes is insulin injections. These prescription hormones were first developed by purifying the insulin from a dog’s pancreas. These days, scientists use genetic engineering to produce insulin, using bacteria to produce it. There are also oral medications available which can help insulin receptors become more sensitive to insulin.

Berberine

If you’re not fond of perpetually sticking yourself with needles or taking oral medications with potential side effects, there are alternative treatment options for diabetics. One such treatment that is showing promise is called Berberine, a quaternary ammonium salt from the protoberberine group of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids.

Berberine is a plant alkaloid used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for ages, but now it is making the rounds alternative western treatments for diabetes and digestive problems. Berberine can be naturally found in herbs including Oregon grape, tree turmeric, goldenseal, barberry, goldthread, and phellodendron. The benefits traditionally ascribed to berberine are treatment for high cholesterol, gastrointestinal infections, heart disease, joint ailments, hypertension, high cholesterol and many more.

There are a few exciting benefits of berberine. The herb is safe for long term consumption, is inexpensive, and is easily produced. It represents a wonderful alternative option to harvesting synthetic insulin from bacteria.

Berberine

In a brand new study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology this past December, researchers tested the anti-diabetic activities of this ancient herb. Scientists have determined that type 2 diabetes (T2D) may be treated with molecules called non-coding RNAs, which are thought to play in important role in regulating the course of insulin resistance. Berberine helps to regulate non-coding RNAs.

Another promising study found that berberine is as effective at treating type 2 diabetes as one of the most popular prescription drugs, metformin. Researchers studies its effect on 36 adults, each newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. For three months, half of the study group was given 500mg of berberine 3 times daily, the other half was given a normally prescribed dose of metformin. At the close of the study, researchers found that “The hypoglycemic effect of berberine was similar to that of metformin”, reducing fasting glucose levels, showing significant decreases in hemoglobin A1c, reduction in postprandial blood glucose, and reduction in plasma triglycerides.

In addition, researchers tested berberine on 48 adults with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus in another 3 month trial, discovering that “Berberine acted by lowering fasting blood glucose and postprandial blood glucose from 1 week to the end of the trial” reducing hemoglobin A1c from 8.1 percent to 7.3 percent, fasting plasma insulin and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance index were reduced by 28.1% and 44.7%, and total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were also significantly decreased.

Perhaps the most promising findings though are the utter lack of adverse side-effects, while medications like metformin have mild to serious side-effects like lactic acidosis, which causes symptoms of unusual tiredness, dizziness, severe drowsiness, muscle pain, difficult breathing, irregular heartbeat, stomach pain with nausea, and much worse. The list of possible side-effects of metformin is extensive.

As berberine continues its path to common use in western medicine, the law of probability suggests that it too will have side-effects for some people, as no compound is a great fit for every single person on Earth. Some people will inevitably have an allergic reaction to berberine, but it will undoubtedly end up being much safer for a larger swath of people suffering with type 2 diabetes than other medications like metformin.

Berberine also couples well and works synergistically with two other herbal extracts in the treatment of diabetes: turmeric and piperine.

Berberine has been used for many centuries in traditional medicines with great results, but as always, check with a doctor to determine whether or not this powerful herb can help you manage your diabetes.

Pomegranate for Joint Pain

Pomegranate for Joint Pain

As living beings age, people and animals alike, their bodies eventually begin to break down. Years upon years of movement, physical stress put on joints by exercise, and just the in and outs of everyday life tend to take its toll on a body that relies on effective cellular reproduction to continue functioning properly.

Cells in your body

The sad truth is that eventually the body’s cells age, become less efficient at dividing with ever cellular split, and ultimately hit what is referred to as the Hayflick limit, the absolute limit to a cell’s ability to divide.

Among the multitude of troubles that arise with aging is joint pain. Some joint pain as we age is not uncommon, but serious illness and internal complications can cause some to experience very serious joint issue, including osteoarthritis, one of the most painful joint issues to deal with.

Fortunately, there is quite an extensive list of treatments available for joint pain, some better than others.

The most common options for joint pain are prescription medications like Celebrex, Relafen, Anaprox, and Feldene, as well as non-prescription options like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. Neither types are without side effects.

Some of the side effects reported by Celebrex users are diarrhea, hypertension, and abnormal hepatic function tests, and more serious side effects like chest pain, weakness, shortness of breath, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance, bloody stools, coughing up blood or vomit, and more.

Even the more widely used painkillers like ibuprofen and naproxen are not without their side effects. Ibuprofen is notoriously bad for the liver and digestive tract, with complications from overuse ranging from upset stomach and nausea to liver damage and tinnitus, a ringing in the ears.

Ibuprofen
Pomegranate fruit

The threat of serious side effects has pushed many consumers away from prescription medications all together, forcing them to look for other, less invasive remedies. Fortunately for them, many holistic and natural remedies exist for joint pain, one of which, pomegranate, is gaining scientific evidence to confirm its efficacy.

A very recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition titled “Pomegranate extract alleviates disease activity and some blood biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients” confirms the anti-inflammatory benefits of pomegranate, specifically testing its efficacy for rheumatoid arthritis.

Because the main characteristics of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) are inflammation, serious pain, and flexibility problems affecting the joints specifically, researchers are actively seeking powerful anti-inflammatory compounds to fight the disease, moving further and further away from side effect-laden prescription medications and studying the benefits of natural anti-inflammatory compounds.

For this study, researchers enrolled 55 participants, each with RA, into two separate groups, one to receive medication and the other as a control. The participants receiving medication were given 250 mg of pomegranate extract for a period of 8 weeks, after which progress was monitored with methods such as a Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) and Disease Activity Score (DAS), serum concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), matrix metalloproteinases 3 (MMP3), malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) were analyzed.

Compared to the control group, the group receiving 250 mg of pomegranate extract experienced significant improvement in their DAS score, which researchers believe is the result of reduced inflammation in joints. Recipients also reported reduced pain intensity, morning stiffness, and increased levels of GPx concentration, an enzyme whose role is to protect the organism from oxidative damage.

Additional research on the ability of pomegranate to help treat knee osteoarthritis indicates similar results.

Among the most common musculoskeletal disorders, osteoarthritis leads to joint degeneration and severe pain as it affects more than 27 million people in the US alone. Initial studies purport that pomegranate extract can also have an impact on osteoarthritis due to its antioxidant properties, helping to mitigate cartilage inflammation.

Pomegranate extract

Tested on 38 patients over a span of 6 weeks, researchers found that there was significant decrease in pain, stiffness, and physical functioning of the joint. Like the previous study mentioned, this study also found increased levels of GPx which further substantiates the ability antioxidant capabilities of pomegranate, helping to protect the knee from further damage, concluding that “According to the findings of this clinical trial, PJ consumption can improve physical function and stiffness, decrease breakdown cartilage enzymes and increase antioxidant status in patients with knee OA.”

Pomegranate juice

It’s no secret that pomegranate is high in antioxidants. Touted for its high concentration of polyphenols, pomegranate juice is considered among the healthiest fruits on the planet, specifically for its heart health benefits, but with new research being conducted frequently, the benefits of this odd fruit continue to be exposed.

Pomegranate is part of a healthy diet, due to its high concentrations of beneficial ellagitannin compounds like punicalagins and punicalins, which account for about half of the pomegranate’s antioxidant ability. Pomegranate packs more antioxidant punch per pound than other, widely touted foods like acai berries, blueberries, concord grapes, cranberry juice, apple juice, black cherry juice, orange juice, and red wine.

In fact, pomegranate juice was found to be more than 20 percent more powerful than its nearest competitor.

As the west begins to look to the east more and more for traditional medicinal remedies, we look to foods as our primary source of health, as opposed to the common western sentiment that has, in a way, plagued western society, the idea that we can live an unbalanced life, eat foods that provide little to no nutritional benefits, and generally remain unhealthy because relief can be found in a bottle.

Healthy foods

Eastern medicine relies on proper diet and supplementation with natural remedies that are much freer from side effects, and can provide equal if not greater relief from damaging and painful degenerative diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

Rosemary for Joint Pain

Rosemary for Joint Pain

While joint pain can affect anyone, at any age, the most common cause of joint pain is caused by arthritis, and predominantly affects older people. Overwhelmingly the most common cause, approximately 350 million people worldwide suffer from arthritis, with nearly 40 million in the United States.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic condition of the joints and occurs when the cartilage between the joints breaks down, leading to swelling, stiffness, and eventually a lot of pain. It is a degenerative joint disease, sometimes referred to as “wear and tear” of the joints. Most commonly affecting the knees, hips, lower back and neck, and fingers, joints with compromised cartilage eventually result in bone rubbing against bone, which causes the pain and inflammation.

Osteoarthritis

Statistics show that one of every two adults will develop symptoms of knee osteoarthritis at some point in their lives. In addition, one in four will develop symptoms of hip osteoarthritis by the age of 85.

Couple jogging in nature

For those affected by OA, unfortunately, there is no cure, but there are treatments available. One of the best treatments for OA is, as counterintuitive as it seems, more movement of the joints. Exercise has been proven effective at treating osteoarthritis, including walking and light physical activity, which helps to strengthen the muscles around the joint and reduce pain and stiffness.

  • Most treatment plans combine activity with medicine, available in the form of pills, creams, lotions, or even injected directly into the joint. Among the most popular are:
  • Analgesics: Analgesics are available over-the-counter or by prescription, and are pain relievers like acetaminophen, opioids and an atypical opioid called tramadol.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): You’ve probably got a bottle of these in your cabinet right now. NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and celecoxib and are the most commonly used drugs to ease inflammation and related pain. They are available over-the-counter or by prescription.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medicines. They are most commonly taken by mouth but may also be injected directly into a joint if necessary.
Corticosteroids
Hyaluronic acid close up
  • Hyaluronic acid: Another injected medicine, hyaluronic acid is found naturally in joint fluid, and helps lubricate the joint and absorb shock. For those with OA, this acid appears to break down, so it can be injected directly into the joint.

These treatment options have been, mainly, all that is available to those suffering from osteoarthritis. The unfortunate consequence to receiving these treatments is damage to other parts of the body. Corticosteroids have been known to cause side effects like clouding of the lens in the eye, high blood sugar, increased risk of infections, thinning bones, and suppressed adrenal gland hormone production, while long-term exposure to NSAIDs can result in stomach ulcers, headaches and dizziness, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, and liver and kidney problems.

For those seeking a more natural alternative to these effective, yet potentially harmful medications, a better solution may be growing right in your garden.

Rosemary essential oil has long been touted for its ability to relieve pain, which makes it among the best natural treatments for headaches, muscle pain, and even arthritis. It possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great treatment for ailments like joint sprains, aches, and even osteoarthritis.

Rosemary oil

Among all plants, herbs are among the highest in antioxidants, substances that remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism. These oxidizing agents are called “free radicals” which when not addressed can cause oxidative damage to cells throughout the body, leading to many of the most common chronic illnesses. Rosemary is extremely high in antioxidants, which helps it fight inflammation in the body, helping with pain and inflammation in the joints in the process.

One study published in 2015 found that carnosol, a phenolic diterpene found in the herbs rosemary and Mountain desert sage, showed potent inhibition of pro-inflammatory and catabolic mediators of cartilage breakdown in chondrocytes, the cells responsible for creating cartilage.

Researchers cultured chondrocytes in either the presence or absence of carnosol, analyzing the gene expression after 4 days. In chondrocytes, type II collagen expression, one of the prominent components of cartilage, was significantly enhanced in the cells exposed to carnosol. In addition, researchers found that this rosemary treatment suppressed the pro-inflammatory response, which can help deter the breakdown of cartilage in the presence of inflammation in the joints.

Another study combined a proprietary combination of reduced iso-alpha acids, rosemary extract and oleanolic acid in patients with arthritis and fibromyalgia, evaluating participants with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia for pain.

Administering 440mg for the first four weeks, and doubling treatments to 880mg for the next four, participants reported “a statistically significant decrease in pain of 50% and 40%… in arthritis subjects.” Reduced C-reactive protein, a common identifier of inflammation in the body, further verified the effects of the treatment. The rosemary treatment relieved pain by as much as 50% and lowered inflammation in the body, all without the report of any serious side effects, making it among the safest treatment possibilities for OA and other diseases of inflammation.

Rosemary plant

Free from serious side effects, rosemary is yet another effective natural treatment for some very common ailments plaguing people across the planet. While some will scoff at the efficacy of “natural” treatments for serious diseases like osteoarthritis, the studies don’t lie. Participants repeatedly report positive effects when treated with rosemary for joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness, making it a great alternative to the harmful medicines that are all too common the cause of more damage to the body.

Purity of Supplements

Purity of Supplements

Americans are awash in a sea of supplements. From prescription drugs, to diet aids, to everyday vitamins and mineral supplements, Americans are more focused on well being than ever before. A recent Gallup poll concluded that over half of Americans take vitamins regularly, but research also suggests that we’re spending billions of dollars yearly on supplements that actually don’t work.

Walk into nearly any general retail store and you will see shelves overflowing with vitamins and herbal supplements, usually demanding more shelf space than essential goods like bread, milk, and water. What marketing firms and retailers want you to think is that the shelf space represents the importance of these products, but in reality, it is simply because the health supplement industry is a mind-blowingly big business.

Shelves stocked with various medicinal products in a pharmacy

Like other consumer goods, not all supplements are created equal. Some are more effective than others, and some are altogether rubbish, bilking eager consumers out of their hard earned money, yet providing zero tangible results.

Deciding what do but at a pharmacy

The trick is to know what to look for. The three most important considerations are purity of product, potency of product, and accurate labeling of ingredients. By slightly manipulating these three core aspects, supplement companies can increase profits and decrease efficacy, and largely without the knowledge of the buying public.

Why Is Purity So Important?

By definition, purity is “free from adulteration or contamination”. But many products claim only a certain percentage of purity, such as 80 percent pure. But what does this really mean, since the definition of purity is that the product is free from contamination?

The truth is, nothing is 100 percent pure. The highest percentage of purity is 99.99 percent, so any supplement claiming to be 100 percent pure should automatically be eliminated from your decision to purchase.

100 percent pure symbol

The percentage of purity relates to the amount of active compound, and companies often add other elements that can affect the efficacy of the product. Sometimes an additive can aid the compound in producing results, and other times it can inhibit its efficacy, the trick is to become informed about what additives lend to the efficacy of the supplement you’re taking.

Unfortunately, many supplements include harmful impurities, added to reduce production costs and increase profits for the manufacturer, but ultimately to the detriment of the consumer.

In these cases, it is important to distinguish between the two most common types of impurities, contaminants and preservatives and excipients.

The difficulty in preventing contaminants is that there are so many companies that touch the compounds that make up the supplement before it reaches the consumer. Contaminants can occur when the processing of the supplement is done in a low quality way, and this can occur at any given point in the production.

First, the raw material is collected. Next, it is usually processed and purified in a different facility. Many of these facilities are located in countries that do not adhere to the standards imposed on United States based companies; thus, they are often found to cut corners and produce an inferior product as a result.

Calcium hydroxide

A 2011 report by the World Health Organization revealed that several batches of an additive, magnesium stearate, contained other compounds deemed toxic. These compounds were calcium hydroxide, a chemical commonly found in hair relaxing products, bisphenol- A, the toxic chemical used to make plastics more pliable – otherwise known as BPA-, and irganox 1010, a chemical that has been found to have potential developmental toxicity.

Finding a supplement source that is both reliable and well respected in the industry is an incredibly important step in combatting toxic impurities in your supplements.

In the case of preservatives and excipients, these are usually quite necessary to the stability and viability of the supplement. For example, pure vitamin D is approximately 40,000,000 units per gram, which is 40,000 per milligram, yet the suggested daily allowance of vitamin D is only 600 to 800 milligrams. Since it is quite impossible for the average consumer to measure out 600 milligrams of vitamin D without sophisticated equipment, companies package it inside a more user-friendly capsule alongside other innocuous ingredients.

Magnesium stearate is under scrutiny by some who claim that it can affect the intestines and inhibit the proper absorption of nutrients. Research has shown that this additive can suppress T cells in the body, thereby inhibiting your immune system. Studies as old as 1990 have found that stearic acid compromises the integrity of the cell’s membrane, which can lead to the death of the cell.

Preservatives in your supplements can also be dangerous. Two preservatives deemed dangerous by the scientific community, however not yet by the FDA, are sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate. These two substances are used as preservatives in a lot of the liquid supplements being sold.

Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate

Sodium benzoate is deemed safe by the FDA, mainly because it is used in small amounts to preserve food. However, when sodium benzoate is combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) it forms a compound called benzene, a known carcinogen. Benzene has been found to cause leukemia and other cancers of the blood.

Potassium sorbate, while generally considered a safe food preservative, as of lately has been found to have some toxicity. This chemical is found in foods like baked goods, canned vegetables, and certain cheeses. Studies are showing that potassium sorbate can actually cause some long-term health problems like damage to white blood cells, damage to DNA that can lead to mutations like cancer, and like sodium benzoate, a reaction to vitamin C that can compound the dangers.

Dietary supplements are important to our health, especially in the modern age of fat-laden, nutrient-poor food options around every turn. But, if you’re using supplements to supplement merely a poor diet, you may actually be doing more harm than good.

It’s important to do your due diligence before buying a supplements, checking closely its purity, and researching any additives. Also, be aware that many times a less scrupulous company will exclude additives in an effort to make their product more attractive. It is important to buy from reputable companies in good standing with their consumers and governing bodies.

Legumes for Diabetes

Legumes for Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes affects more people than we know about. While there are about 29 million verified cases of diabetes in the United States, an estimated 8 million more are undiagnosed, meaning that as much as 28 percent of people with diabetes remain undiagnosed.

Because the body cannot adequately process glucose, diabetes can be difficult to treat, as treatment relies largely on the patient being vigilant with their own wellbeing, administering insulin properly, managing diet and food consumption, and being aware of the ancillary complications that diabetes can cause.

Among the side effects that diabetes can cause are very serious ailments that can each be difficult to treat on their own.

Complications with the feet and legs:

Diabetes can cause neuropathy, which is nerve damage, and can make it difficult to feel hot and cold, as well as cause foot ulcers and peripheral vascular disease.

Neuropathy

Kidney Disease:

Kidney Disease

Diabetic kidney disease is perhaps the most damaging of the dangers of diabetes, causing the kidneys to leak abnormal amounts of protein from the bloodstream into the urine, and eventually causing kidney failure.

Stroke:

If blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol is not closely attended to and maintained, diabetics run the risk of stroke, which can range from slightly debilitating to deadly.

While there are great prescription medications to help diabetics deal with their condition, treatment and healing always begins with diet. Knowing which foods can help reduce the effects of diabetes on the body is paramount to coping with the disease effectively.

Not only is it important to consider which foods to eat, but how often and when to eat throughout the day. The foods that generate the largest spikes in blood sugar are those which are high in carbohydrates. This is not limited to just cookies and sugar laden foods; even healthy foods like cereal and fruits can spike blood sugar.

High Blood Pressure Fruits

As for amount and time of meals, experts recommend eating three main meals daily with snacks in between them to keep blood sugar consistent throughout the day.

Legumes

Studies are showing that among the best foods for diabetics are legumes. With their high protein and fiber content, beans are a wonder food for diabetics, containing as much protein in one cup as two ounces of meat or chicken.

Heavy in foods that are appropriate for diabetics, the diet typical for a person in the Mediterranean includes legumes as a staple food, and research is validating these food choices as diabetic friendly.

Published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome, researchers studied whether or not the Mediterranean diet can help treat type 2 diabetes, with promising results.

The study was performed on 158 participants with type 2 diabetes, measuring fasting glucose and lipids in the bloodstream along with monitoring food intake to assure adherence to the diet.

Out of all participants, 55 percent were able to adhere to the Mediterranean diet properly, and researchers found that the consumption of nuts, legumes, and seeds were associated with a significantly reduces risk of diabetes.

Legumes are great for diabetics because they are very low on the glycemic index, a method to measure the impact that food has on blood sugar. Lower foods on the glycemic index are better for diabetics because they don’t create heavy blood sugar spikes which leads to internal organ damage. This coupled with high amounts of protein and fiber make beans a diabetic’s dream food.

More legumes

Perhaps the best nutrition plan for a diabetic is the paleo diet. Like the Mediterranean diet, the paleo diet also recommends eating healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables, but the paleo diet does not traditionally include legumes.

The paleo diet

The paleo diet contends that our human bodies have not yet evolved to adequately digest many of the modern, commercially augmented, foods that we regularly consume. Proponents contend that we should stick to a diet that is similar to that of Paleolithic man, consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, grass fed meat, fish and seafood, nuts and seeds, and healthful oils.

Eating legumes

The paleo diet, however, does not recommend legumes as part of a daily diet. Paleo diet with legumes may be a powerful combination.

We know that beans are great for diabetics, but the paleo diet may be able to help control diabetes in addition to the powerful effect of legumes.

One recent study examined the metabolic and physiologic effects from following a paleo diet. Scientists conducted a metabolically controlled study on 14 type 2 diabetics, comparing the paleo diet to that suggested by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Measurements were taken of mean arterial blood pressure, urine electrolytes, hemoglobin A1c and fructosamine levels, insulin resistance, and lipid levels.

While both groups showed improvements in metabolic measures, the group adhering to the paleo diet showed greater benefits in areas of glucose control and lipid profiles. In addition to lipids and glucose, the paleo group also showed a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity, an outcome not exhibited in any of the insulin resistant subjects following the ADA recommended diet.

And yet another study expounds on the ability of legumes to reduce inflammation in the body. Studies show that first-degree relatives of patients with diabetes are more at risk for endothelial dysfunction. This is a vascular disease in which the endolethium –the inner lining of blood vessels- has an imbalance between dilating and constricting, which can have an impact on many blood pressure-related bodily functions.

This study aims to determine how legumes can help reduce inflammation that can cause serious side effects in the relatives of type 2 diabetes patients.

26 participants, each with a familial history of diabetes, were randomly assigned to a legume enriched diet for 6 weeks, separated by a two week washout. Inflammatory markers were assessed and measured before the study. The results indicated that, with equal caloric intake, those consuming more legumes exhibited significantly reduced levels of “high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and serum levels of adiponectin”, concluding that “a legume-enriched diet significantly reduced the hs-CRP concentrations in first-degree relatives of patients with diabetes after 6 week of intervention compared with a habitual diet.”

A diet high in legumes is capable of reducing inflammation as well as aiding digestion of carbohydrates, leading to reduced blood sugar spikes for type 2 diabetes patients, and a healthier, less inflammatory response in the body due to dietary intake.

Legumes are not a perfect food for diabetics, but they are very close. With their high fiber content, coupled with high amounts of protein and low sugar and carbohydrate content, beans are an excellent food not only for diabetics, but for anyone looking to eat healthier, increase fiber intake –which generates a huge amount of benefits in and of itself- and reduce blood sugar spikes, a key to treating type 2 diabetes without harmful medication.

Legumes and beans
Zeaxanthin Benefits to Eye Health

Zeaxanthin Benefits to Eye Health

Eye vision

Surveys have been given to thousands of individuals, and the resulting answers place eyesight at the top of the list of most necessary senses. Unfortunately, Mother Nature is a cruel sometimes, leaving us old and diminished by the time we’ve lived our lives.

However, our health and lives, namely how gracefully we age, are still largely in our own hands. Accepting some predetermined fate set forth for you by the invisible hand of nature is not an effective, productive mindset and there are plenty of things that can be done to combat Mother Nature and Father Time. Thankfully, many of the most effective choices we can make are quite simple.

Good health, especially in old age, relies heavily on dietary decisions made throughout a lifespan, and luckily, compounds that can help slow the aging process are found in abundance in the food we eat.

Along with the powerful antioxidant lutein, zeaxanthin can also aid in preserving eye health ad preventing age related macular degeneration (AMD), the number one cause of blindness in the developed world.

Zeaxanthin is a naturally occurring compound, giving pigment to many fruits and vegetables including corn, saffron, wolfberries, and many others. The foods highest in zeaxanthin are green leafy vegetables like spinach, chard, kale, turnip and collard greens, romaine lettuce, and watercress, among others.

Zeaxanthin in foods

Zeaxanthin is among the most important compounds for eye health found in nature. One of a group of antioxidants called carotenoids, zeaxanthin is one of the most common carotenoids found in nature. Zeaxanthin is one of two primary xanthophyll carotenoids contained within the retina of the eye. Zeaxanthin is the dominant component within the central retina and its counterpart lutein is the dominant component in the peripheral retina.

Studies are helping to shed light on how beneficial zeaxanthin is to eye health, especially in cases of age related loss of sight like AMD. In addition to helping prevent AMD, zeaxanthin and lutein have also been observed to possibly help prevent cataracts.

The major ocular problems that cause blindness among the elderly population, cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration, are found to be caused mainly by oxidative stress on the cells of the eyes. Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals, atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed, these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes, leading to the degradation of the body’s cells, damage to DNA, and eventually diseases like cancer and macular degeneration.

Oxidative stress on cells

Antioxidants like zeaxanthin help to mitigate the damage caused by free radicals, and since it is found in such abundance in the eye, zeaxanthin is truly focused on preventing oxidative damage to the most important parts of the eye.

Where both the initiation and progression of ocular problems are concerned, oxidative stress plays an important role, thus, dietary antioxidants can serve as a therapeutic strategy for the improvement of ocular health. Not only is zeaxanthin known for being one of the most important and common xanthophyll carotenoids, but it also has very important anti-inflammatory properties, further enhancing its prowess as a preventer of disease. Studies show that nearly every chronic disease can be traced back to excessive inflammation in the body, and zeaxanthin helps prevent it.

Research published in Progress in Retinal and Eye Research helps to explain how zeaxanthin works to prevent AMD.

There are three concentrated carotenoids found inside the human macula, which are lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin. The body cannot make either lutein or zeaxanthin, the only way to get these compounds is via diet.  Scientists believe that the body can create a compound called meso-zeaxanthin, a substance that is uncommon to most diets. Meso-zeaxanthin is believed to be formed at the macula, which is thought to use carotenoids we get via food to metabolically create meso-zeaxanthin.

While in the eye, these three carotenoids help to prevent damage from the most common offenders, including blue light, damaging sun exposure, and the free radicals that cause AMD and cataracts. The blue light spectrum is more harmful because it penetrates more deeply into the eye, causing a cumulative effect that damages the retina.

How blue light affects your vision
Healthy food and junk food

Statistics show that those who consume a standard American diet are most likely deficient in zeaxanthin, as well as lutein. This diet consists of an abundance of carbohydrates and refined sugars and lacks the proper number of fresh fruits and vegetables. If this is your diet, you’re most likely low on lutein and other important antioxidants.

A 2015 study, published in J.A.M.A. Ophthalmology, examined the medical benefits of carotenoids like zeaxanthin on age related macular degeneration. This study followed up on other studies that took place over the last 30 years to see if there were long term benefits from cardioids like zeaxanthin and lutein.

This study concluded that throughout the study population of 102,046 men and women, those who had optimal levels of zeaxanthin and lutein were about 40 percent less likely to develop symptoms of age-related macular degeneration.

To help prevent cataracts, zeaxanthin works alongside lutein to help prevent the clouding of the optic lens inside the eye. As free radicals flow throughout the body, they attach the body’s cells, even in the eye. This eventually damages the lens, causing it to become cloudy.  However, studies are showing positive results concerning the ability of zeaxanthin and lutein to help prevent this from happening.

When looking after your eye health, there are more foods that contain high amounts of carotenoids than just the green leafy variety. While spinach, kale, greens, and watercress are all great sources of zeaxanthin, you can also find large amounts in eggs, broccoli, zucchini, garden peas, Brussels sprouts, asparagus and leeks.

Broccoli and eggs

But let’s be honest, we don’t always do the right things for our bodies. In these cases, it is easy to get zeaxanthin supplementation, but limit your purchases to trusted sources with good reputations.

Progesterone for Hair Loss

Progesterone for Hair Loss

Male pattern baldness

One of the last things a man wants to see as he gazes in the mirror is his hair falling out. But that is exactly the fate that awaits nearly every man on the planet at some point in life. Male pattern baldness (MPB), or androgenic alopecia as it’s scientifically referred to, is a fact of life for men, occurring as the body ages and the hair follicles begin to become ever less efficient.

While men are the primary sufferers of alopecia, women also experience hair loss, which can be particularly distressing them as it is not expected, but hair loss is difficult to deal with for either sex.

There are unfortunately many causes of hair loss, from poor diet to stress and even things like chronic disease and even medications you may take. However, the most prevalent and unavoidable type of baldness, male pattern baldness, is simply caused by genetics, and some men are predisposed to losing their hair at a younger age than others.

Just because male pattern baldness is genetic and inevitable in some cases, this doesn’t mean that scientists aren’t constantly working on ways to protect men’s hair longer and prevent early MPB. Among the treatments available, there are creams to rub on the hair, pills to ingest to help the hair follicle, shampoos, conditioners, and nearly every approach under the sun.

The problem with prescription hair loss medications, like other prescription medications, it is not without side-effects. Sometimes these side effects can turn out to be worse than the actual ailment. For instance, some of the side effects for a popular hair cream include severe irritation of the scalp, which can’t be great for hair follicles, unwanted growth of facial hair, which would be devastating for a woman using this medication.

Other side effects include chest pain and rapid heartbeat, swelling of the hands and feet, rapid weight gain, feeling lightheaded, headache, dizziness, confusion, flushing of the face, and many more effects that aren’t hair growth.

As we become more enlightened about what we put in and on our bodies, we’ve discovered that several natural treatments exist for hair loss that are as effective as the prescription medications, but much cheaper and without all of the intense unwelcomed side effects.

One such natural treatment for hair loss is rosemary oil. Studies show that rosemary oil works to regrow hair as well as the prescription medication Rogaine, with participants experiencing a significant increase in hair growth after 6 months of applying a rosemary oil to the scalp. And although applying oil to the scalp may not sound ideal to many due to the prospect of walking around with extremely oily hair, researchers also found that although it was an oil based product, rosemary oil applied to the scalp did not increase the instances of oily hair, dry hair, or dandruff.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is a wonderful treatment for MPB, because it nourishes the hair follicle, and does so without generating any other unwanted effects in the body. The herbs Saw Palmetto and Singing Nettles should also be considered.

Another new, pseudo-holistic treatment for male pattern baldness being examined is the hormone progesterone. Yes, you read that correctly; the other half of the two most important female hormones may actually help men regrow hair.

Progesterone-Prometrium-chemical-structure

We tend to think of estrogen and progesterone as strictly female hormones, but the truth is that progesterone is not only found in men, but that men actually rely on it for their manliness, as it is a precursor to testosterone. Estrogen is also found in men, and steadily rises as men age and testosterone decreases.

Studies are underway and already showing great promise for progesterone as a safe, effective treatment for male pattern baldness. Researchers recently published a study on the effect of 11a-hydroxyprogesterone on the hair growth in men suffering from androgenetic alopecia.

Scientists tested 10 men suffering from androgenetic alopecia, each for the span of one calendar year, giving them a topical solution, in the form of a lotion, made of 1 percent 11a-hydroxyprogesterone. During the trial, researchers evaluated hair root status and health, hair shaft diameter of anagen hair roots, and the number of hairs with less than a 40 micron diameter.

Scientists

After the trial was complete, participants treated with the progesterone solution showed an increase in the number and mean hair shaft diameter of anagen hair roots. Hair growth occurs in three phases. Each follicle begins in what is called the anagen phase, a period lasting between 3 and 7 years in which the hair continually grows. This is followed by a 10 day period of transition called the catagen phase, during which time the hair does nothing. And finally, the last stage of hair growth is called the telogen phase, wherein the hair falls out.

The topical progesterone treatment was found to increase the number of hairs in their anagen phase, and decreased amounts of hair in their catagen phase, the transitional period between hair growth and hair release, i.e., falling out, which is the key to maintaining a full head of hair.

Your hair lives in a delicate balance between these different stages of growth. If it all hit each stage at once, it would eventually all fall out after a few years, at once, leaving you completely bald for a few days until it began to regrow.

The ideal state of hair growth is to have more follicles in the anagen phase than in the telogen phase, with more of it growing than falling out, and that is the promise that progesterone treatments seem to be making.

This study however concludes that the number of dysplastic/dystrophic hair roots –those which are dying or dead- remained unchanged, which isn’t all bad, because the amount of dysplastic/dystrophic hair roots in the control group –those who did not receive treatments- increased, signifying continuing progression into male pattern baldness.

Another study has upped the ante with a 2 to 5 percent progesterone concentration, with similar results. Researchers find that progesterone treatments are a reasonable approach to baldness, but there are limitations to any therapy.

The bottom line is that we live in a wonderful period in human history, and there are plenty of options to choose from when treating male pattern baldness and hair loss in general. Perhaps one day scientists will finally invent a device that heals the human body instantly, but until then, progesterone and other effective treatments for male pattern baldness exist and are effective.

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