Sorry, I'm a little late, I was waiting
on line to vote! This past week, I knew what each candidate
was going to say by heart - I'd say their lines to the TV
before they did - sorry you missed it. It's time to get ready
for winter, not my favorite thing to do -- the worst is over-dressing
and feeling hot in a coat. (or an itchy sweater) On the bright
side, there's skiing! The reason I love skiing so much is
that you must absolutely be in the moment or you fall! That,
and being outside all day makes it a favorite - it's a kind
of tired I cherish.
On to business, this month as always we
have a creative monthly special and we'll report on the latest
women's health news which is very interesting... and since
there were two important developments, I only have room for
one more topic. It was a tough choice but since the flu vaccine
is in short supply, I'll tell you about the natural solutions
I like. The topic I'll save for next month has to do with
fertility -- for any of you interested in promoting and/or
maintaining your fertility, chaste tree berry as in Oöna
PMS1 has had some great results. The trials have been small
but very impressive. Stay tuned.
Just to be clear, we at Oöna Health are not anti-HRT.
We just believe HRT is not the fountain of youth it was touted
to be and shouldn't be the first choice for relief -- there
are risks involved and other lifestyle choices that can made
(like Oöna ) that make it unnecessary. We know there
are women who have tried everything and are still miserable
- if HRT is what it takes, we are all for the quality of daily
life. It doesn't need to be forever. Having said that, HRT
is a big business -- so it comes as no surprise that there's
a new angle. It may hold some merit, there is nothing definitive
here but it is interesting. Researchers looked closer at the
data of two major studies - the Nurses Health Study which
is an epidemiological study and the Women's Health Initiative,
a double blind study -- both had different outcomes when it
came to HRT use and heart attacks. The Nurses Health Study
showed a benefit and the WHI study showed a risk. Upon this
review, the authors have a theory to explain this difference
-- if a woman begins taking hormones right around menopause
and up to 10 years after menopause there is a heart-attack
risk benefit. After 10 years there's a risk. The risk of blood
clots and stroke are unchanged.
This is certainly something to be explored
as there very well may be a "window", but according
the Wall Street Journal, the North American Menopause Society
(NAMS) has already changed their HRT recommendations -- they
now strongly support the notion that the age a woman starts
taking hormones is really what matters with no time limit.
After the WHI study was released, their recommendation was
that hormones should only be used for the shortest duration.
What NAMS doesn't point out is that that
the most compelling point upon review of the data -- a healthy
lifestyle of exercise and diet is the most powerful predictor
of a low risk of heart problems and other health problems
-- hormones or no hormones.
I read the HRT position statement on NAMS
and if you look at the panelist "consulting fee"
there can be little doubt of "golden
handcuffs", with a strong dose of CYA - just in case
this doesn't pan out.
The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study mentioned above
is also looking at birth control use and it looks like we
finally can feel confident that they are safe. This is good
news for the 16 million of us American women who take birth
control pills. This study is the largest ever, including 162,000
participants and the results are contrary to some previous
studies that suggested an increased risk of breast cancer
and heart disease. In fact, according to this study, there
is an 8% risk benefit of ever having cardiovascular disease,
strokes, or high blood pressure along with an 7% risk benefit
for any type of cancer. My only question is if long term use
of the pill affects fertility at all (good or bad)
see anything on that in this study.
There have been a lot of articles on what foods and herbs
you can take to boost the immunity system during this season.
I wrote about this last January,
but it's worth repeating. I explained about the class of herbs
known as adaptogens - since I wrote it so eloquently then,
I'll just cut and paste. To be in the adaptogen class of herbs,
the herb must be safe and not put any further strain on the
organs. It must also help to restore balance to the system
regardless if a condition has depleted the system or there
is an excess in the system. Scientists believe that these
herbs work by supporting the adrenal glands and thus helping
to access more energy to eliminate toxic byproducts. A lot
of them also seem to work with an or enhance white blood cell
counts. I'd like to approach this a little different this
time. Let's take a look at what we can do to boost the immunity
system both in supplements and botanicals and then what is
better if you feel a cold/flu coming on.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS - Vitamin A comes
mainly from animal sources, so if you avoid them you may
want to take a supplement. Carotenoids are the plant pigments
that contribute to the orange and red colors in fruits and
vegetables, The body can convert some of them to Vitamin
A but others such as lutein (a must for your eye sight anyway)
and lycopene have been shown to promote immune response.
VITAMIN C - supports immune function but whether
it reduces colds have yielded mixed results - not for me,
I notice a big difference when I miss it. You can take 500
mg. a day for prevention or, what works even better, if
you feel a little somethin' somethin' is to consume cut
oranges (not orange juice, even fresh), strawberries, papayas,
or any citrus (fresh lemon juice is okay).
ZINC - essential to immune function but this is a
mineral that must be in balance - if you take too much it
can depress the immune function. If you're diet is high
in foods like shellfish, fish, meat and legumes, etc, you
are probably getting enough. Anything over 150 mg. per day
is too much.
ASTRAGALUS - This is my favorite -- a very safe herb,
most of the research in humans has been done in people with
cancer with great results offsetting the immunosuppressive
effects of chemotherapy drugs. There are several ways in
which this herb stimulates the immune system (for more info
go to stevenfoster.com) and without getting too technical,
it promotes the development and activity of natural killer
cells and the production of immune chemicals. The usual
dosage is in tincture form, 2-4 ml, three times a day for
at least 30 days. Can be taken all winter.
GINSENG - long known for promoting energy and longevity,
there is an Asian and American ginseng. The immune research,
mostly focused on the Asian species, has been shown to speed
the activity of white blood cells as well as stimulate natural
killer cell activity among other immune boosting functions.
There have been clinical trials that suggest that it can
ward off respiratory infections and one study that showed
that given with a flu vaccine, it caused a greater rise
in antibody levels that the flu vaccine alone. Be careful
with this herb as it is one that can interact with drugs
and cause side effects - especially if you taking any blood
MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS - Another favorite of mine. Besides
they taste good - simply sautéing shiitake and portabello,
or maitake (or any other one that catches your eye) is much
better than any immune boosting shake. The one with the
most research for immunity is reishi - and reishi comes
in all kinds of forms, dried, tincture, extracts, capsules.
Stick with the companies that specialize in medicinal mushroom
supplements -there's a few.
ECHINACEA - If you get everything that comes by than
Echinacea is for you, however it doesn't prevent colds and
flu like some may think. At the first sniffle, take for
seven days - that's the time frame it works best. After
about 10 days, it isn't harmful but it may not work. This
is an herb that you must be mindful of the brand - if it's
very cheap, chances are you're getting what you pay for.
Look for root tinctures or fresh-expressed juice from the
BLACK ELDERBERRY - Again known to enhance the immune
function, studies have shown that this herb in a standardized
extract can cut flu symptoms from 6 days to 2 or 3, including
fever. The herb is known for its antioxidant and healing
properties and it has been used traditionally for skin conditions
GOLDENSEAL - This is an herb that is often in cold
and flu formulas but it is more of an ani-inflammatory,
antiseptic that is capable of killing some bacteria. Most
of the research on this herbs surrounds it ability to fight
gastrointestinal infections. Do not take if you are diabetic.
That's it for this month! As always,
check out our website for lots more information at www.oonahealth.com.
In Good Health,
The Oöna Team
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