Monday, 29 April 2013

Rat Study Suggests Even Mandatory Exercise Lessens Anxiety, Depression

New research using rats suggests that even when individuals are forced to exercise, they still benefit from reduced anxiety and depression.

Prior research has shown that voluntary exercise is a method to relieve stress, but experts were uncertain as to the mental benefit of exercise when exercise is mandated.

Specifically, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder wanted to study whether a person who feels forced to exercise, eliminating the perception of control, would still reap the anxiety-fighting benefits of the exercise.

Examples of mandatory exercise include regimens placed on high school, college and professional athletes, members of the military or those who have been prescribed an exercise regimen by their doctors, said Benjamin Greenwood, Ph.D., an assistant research professor in CU-Boulder’s Department of Integrative Physiology.

"If exercise is forced, will it still produce mental health benefits?" he said. "It’s obvious that forced exercise will still produce peripheral physiological benefits. But will it produce benefits to anxiety and depression?"

Depressed GirlTo find an answer, Greenwood and colleagues designed a lab experiment using rats. During a six-week period, some rats remained sedentary, while others exercised by running on a wheel.

The rats that exercised were divided into two groups that ran a roughly equal amount of time. One group ran whenever it chose to, while the other group ran on mechanized wheels that rotated according to a predetermined schedule.

For the study, the motorized wheels turned on at speeds and for periods of time that mimicked the average pattern of exercise chosen by the rats that voluntarily exercised.

After six weeks, the rats were exposed to a laboratory stressor before testing their anxiety levels the following day. The anxiety was quantified by measuring how long the rats froze – a phenomenon similar to the proverbial deer in the headlights — when they were put in an environment they had been conditioned to fear.

The longer the freezing time, the greater the residual anxiety from being stressed the previous day, researchers said. For comparison, some rats were also tested for anxiety without being stressed the day before.

"Regardless of whether the rats chose to run or were forced to run they were protected against stress and anxiety," said Greenwood, lead author of the study appearing in the European Journal of Neuroscience.

The sedentary rats froze for longer periods of time than any of the active rats.

"The implications are that humans who perceive exercise as being forced — perhaps including those who feel like they have to exercise for health reasons — are maybe still going to get the benefits in terms of reducing anxiety and depression," he said.

Source: University of Colorado at Boulder

7 Best Healing Foods for Anti-Aging

7 Best Healing Foods for Anti-Aging
Are you interested in turning back the clock on aging? Do you want to find a natural way to look your best without resorting to plastic surgery, Botox, fillers, or expensive creams?

Slowing down aging in your body starts with what you eat and drink on a daily basis. If you eat lots of processed low-nutrient foods, and sugar-filled or artificially sweetened beverages, your skin, hair, and nails will reflect these choices (read 14 Steps to Cut Out Processed Food). My favorite anti-aging foods will provide you with the all good nutrition you need to slow down the aging process.

Anti-Aging Nutrients

When you eat healing foods with key anti-aging nutrients, you become healthy on the inside which is reflected on the outside by an outer glow of vibrant health that is truly beautiful! Organic healing foods which contain the following key nutrients are the best choices for fighting the aging process.

Top vitamins for anti-aging are: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, and B vitamins.

Top minerals for anti-aging are: sulfur, silicon, zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Top phytochemicals for anti-aging are: Chlorophyll, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, quercetin, lutein, and squalene.

The 7 Healing Foods for Anti-Aging

The following list has my seven favorite anti-aging foods. These healing foods are rich in key vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, healthy fats, water, enzymes, and fiber that provide you with everything you need to slow down aging and get the glow!

1. Leafy Green Vegetables

Kale, spinach, collard greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, arugula, watercress, red and green oak leaf lettuce, and romaine lettuce are excellent leafy greens to eat on a daily basis to age proof your body. These leafy greens are packed with water, amino acids, phytochemicals, enzymes, chlorophyll, antioxidants, and fiber which detoxify, alkalinize, and nourish the entire body. Leafy greens contain high levels of chlorophyll which builds up blood and increase the levels of oxygen in the body. A clean body=radiant skin, hair, and nails. (see 20 Ways to Cook Leafy Greens)

2. Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, goji berries, cranberries, raspberries, mulberries, acai berries, and camu camu berries help cleanse our body of toxins and fights chronic inflammation resulting in beautiful, healthy skin, hair, and nails.  Berries protect against the oxidative stress which causes aging due to the high levels of vitamin C, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that they contain.

3. Avocados

Avocados contain essential omega-3 fatty acids that moisturize your skin from the inside out. Avocados are rich in anti-aging nutrients including high levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and fiber. Avocados contain important carotenoids including beta-carotene, lutein, alpha-carotene, and zeaxanthin that fight chronic inflammation and free radical damage which causes your body to age quickly.

4. Allium Vegetables

Onions, garlic, leeks, chives, and shallots are all members of the allium family. These wonderful vegetables contain high amounts of sulfur an important mineral that helps rebuild keratin and collagen, along with purifying the liver. Onions are also rich in quercetin an antioxidant that fights free radical damage.

5. Sprouted or Raw Nuts and Seeds

The best nuts and seeds to fight against aging include: almonds, walnuts, coconuts, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds. All of these nuts and seeds contain healthy fats, protein, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help neutralize free radicals; fight inflammation; and repair cellular damage. Nuts and seeds contain fatty acids like GLA that are potent anti-inflammatory fats and also important for keeping your skin moisturized.

5. Olives and Olive Oil

Olives and olive oil are rich in vitamin A, vitamin E, and amino acids which repairs connective tissue and reduces the appearance of fine lines. Olives contain squalene an unsaturated fat, antioxidant, and oxygen carrier that helps smooth and protect your skin. Olives and olive oil are high in monounsaturated fats that have anti-inflammatory properties. The heart healthy fats in olives and olive oil are also important for keeping your skin, scalp, and hair moisturized.

6. Red and Black Radishes

These tiny root vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that keep your skin, hair, and nails in top condition. Radishes contain silicon, sulfur, and vitamin C. Silicon also known as silica, strengthens connective tissues and keeps your skin smooth and glowing. Silicon also helps make your hair thick and strong.

7. Turmeric

Turmeric is an amazing root vegetable with anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is rich in antioxidants that purify the blood and support the liver. Having clean blood helps to keep your skin smooth and soft.

If you include these healing foods into your daily diet you will reap all the anti-aging benefits they provide and start enjoying the glow of radiant health.


FDA Approved Osphena: A New Medication for Painful Sex in Postmenopausal Women

Look What's New
Ospemifene (brand name Osphena) is a medication recently approved by the FDA for dyspareunia treatment in postmenopausal women. The medication will be available in June, 2013.

Dyspareunia is a broad term meaning painful sex in females. There are many causes of dyspareunia. One major cause is menopause. During menopause, a woman's body stops producing estrogen and progesterone. This results in thinning of the vaginal lining, with dryness, itching, burning, discharge, and even cracking, resulting in pain during sexual intercourse. Up to 40% of postmenopausal women may have these symptoms, a clinical sydrome also known as atrophic vaginitis. Ospemifene mimics the action of estrogen on the vagina. In some ways it may be a "pink Viagra", because it can enable an older person who is unable to have sex due to a medical condition to be able to enjoy sex again.

Comparing ospemifene with other treatments for dyspaureunia

1) Vaginal lubricants. This is by far the safest option, outside of doing nothing. Using a lubricant such as Replens or Astroglide 2-3 times a week can be helpful for some women, but it is not as effective as hormone replacement. Vaginal lubricants can also be messy and inconvenient.

2) Estrogen/progesterone replacement. This is highly effective, and can take a variety of forms, including pills, vaginal creams, and dissolving vaginal rings. Typically, taking pills is reserved for patients who also have disabling hot flashes, as estrogen and progesterone by mouth raises the risk for breast cancer, stroke, and blood clots.

We do not know for sure about the risks for these complications for hormones delivered via the vagina. It is thought that the risk is less than for orally given hormones.

"Bioavailable" hormones have been popularly promoted to be safer than conventional hormone replacement but there is no scientific data supporting this claim.

3) Ospemifene. This is also very effective. The advantages of ospemifene over hormone replacement are unclear, except you take it by mouth instead of in the vagina. This may be important if you have a hard time manipulating a ring or reaching your vagina (if you have severe hand/wrist/elbow arthritis, or if you are obese, for example).

The current studies of ospemifine are not large enough to compare the risks of breast cancer, blood clots and strokes with hormone replacement.

You should not take ospemifene if:

1) You are not menopausal. If you are still having your monthly cycle, then your own body's hormones will work better than ospemifene.

2) Your main problem is low libido and your vagina does not hurt. Ospemifeme does not treat libido, only vaginal pain, and it does have side effects.

3) Your pain is not from a thin vaginal lining. A regular pelvic exam can easily tell your provider whether you have atrophic vaginitis.

4) Your pain is adequately relieved by vaginal lubricants. These methods carry less risk for side effects. Unfortunately, alternative medicine therapies such as herbs and soy do not seem to work for this condition.

5) You have vaginal bleeding and you do not know the cause. Ospemifene was studied for only one year in a limited number of patients before gaining FDA approval. Although there were no cases of endometrial cancer during that one year, ospemifene could cause an existing cancer to grow. We do not know whether there may be a slight increase in the risk of endometrial cancer, particularly over longer periods of use.

6) You have had or currently have breast cancer. Ospemifene has been shown to possibly retard the growth of breast cancer in animals. It did not seem to cause breast cancer in the clinical trials leading to FDA approval. However, this is not proof that it is safe enough to use in breast cancer patients.

7) You have severe hot flashes. Ospemifene has been shown to worsen hot flashes. If you don't think you could handle hot flashes worse than the ones you have now, this is not the drug for you.


Bachman, Gloria A., and Nicole S. Nevadunsky. "Diagnosis and Treatment of Atrophic Vaginitis." American Family Practitioner 61.10 (2000): 3090-096. Print.

Hill, D. Ashley, and Susan Hill. "Counseling Patients About Hormone Therapy and Alternatives for Menopausal Symptoms." American Family Practitioner 82.7 (2010): 801-07. Print.

Portman, D. J., G. A. Bachmann, J. A. Simon, and Ospemifene Study Group. "Ospemifene, a Novel Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator for Treating Dyspareunia Associated with Postmenopausal Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy." Menopause (n.d.): n. pag. 28 Jan. 2013. Web.

Simon, J. A., V. H. Lin, C. Radovich, G. A. Bachmann, and Ospemiifene Study Group. "One-year Long-term Safety Extension Study of Ospemifene for the Treatment of Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy in Postmenopausal Women with a Uterus." Menopause(n.d.): n. pag. 8 Nov. 2012. Web.


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A Laser Skin Clinic Has Many Treatment Options

Laser Skin Care
Laser skin tightening is one of the best ways to maintain your youthful appearance, look radiant and feel good about yourself. There are a variety of different skin treatment options available at Skin Vitality Skin Clinic including skin tightening, Venus Freeze, Botox injections, body contouring and Juvederm among others. These treatments can help make your dream of looking and feeling good about your appearance a reality.

The most common of all laser skin treatments is skin tightening. The treatment is highly recommended for people with loose skin as it aims at tightening and making it firmer. Similarly to skin tightening is body contouring. Body contouring however, aims to give a more appealing contour as well as smoother skin especially around the waist, hips, buttocks, outer thighs and abdomen. It goes hand in hand with cellulite reduction procedures. VelaShape offered by Skin Vitality is a non-surgical medical device that improves tone and reclaims the curves lost with weight gain and age. After you experience treatment you will see the skin's surface is gradually smoothed out, cellulite is noticeably reduced and circumferential reduction occurs.

Botox injections are a cosmetic procedure administered to patients who have started developing wrinkles. It's commonly used to prevent the appearance of wrinkles on the face by retraining the facial muscles. The treatment can last up to 8 months and multiple sessions are often required. This inexpensive, pain-free procedure has become one of the most popular ways to reduce the appearance of age. Equally, Juvederm just like Botox, is used to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles by softening the deep folds on the face. It can also be used on scars, hollow places and lips. The treatment is also temporary and patients should expect additional treatments every 9 months to maintain the appearance.

Skin rejuvenation on the other hand is specially intended for a more attractive and clearer skin. The treatment clears any pigmented lesions on the skin much faster and more easily than any other skin treatment procedure. It is effective on all skin types and can give one their radiant skin back within a very short time. In many ways, skin rejuvenation relates with chemical peels. Skin Vitality offers a variety of Glo Therapeutics medical grade chemical peels that will clinically transform your skin. Visit to see all the excellent services that are available.

Bio:  Christine writes about health and beauty topics and focuses on some of the top cosmetic procedures on the market. Through her fantastic experiences with Botox injections and laser skin tightening treatments she recommends you visit Skin Vitality Skin Clinic to see which treatment is right for you.


Mouse Study Shows Why Sleep Deprivation Temporarily Relieves Depression?

Many people have experienced relief from depression after going without a good night’s sleep — but the mood boost typically only lasts until the person falls asleep again.

Although sleep deprivation is an impractical long term treatment, researchers have been interested in the workings behind this phenomenon. Now a research team at Tufts University has pinpointed glia as the key players.

Previously, the researchers found that astrocytes — a star-shaped type of glial cell — regulate the brain chemicals involved in sleepiness.

While we’re awake, astrocytes continuously release the neurotransmitter adenosine, which builds up in the brain and causes "sleep pressure," the feeling of sleepiness and its related memory and attention deficits.

Adenosine creates this pressure by binding to receptors on the outside of neurons like a key fitting into a lock. As more adenosine builds up, more receptors are triggered, and the urge to sleep gets stronger.

In the new study, the researchers investigated whether this process is responsible for the antidepressant feelings during sleep deprivation. Mice with depressive-like symptoms were given three doses of a compound that triggers adenosine receptors — mimicking sleep deprivation.

Although the mice continued to sleep normally, after 12 hours they showed a significant improvement in mood and behavior, which lasted for 48 hours.

The findings verify that the buildup of adenosine is responsible for the antidepressant effects of a lack of sleep. These results lead to a promising target for new drug development because it suggests that mimicking sleep deprivation chemically may offer the antidepressant benefits without the unwanted side effects of actually losing sleep.

This type of treatment could give immediate relief from depression, especially compared to traditional antidepressants, which often take six to eight weeks to work.

According to Dustin Hines, lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at Tufts, this study may also have implications beyond depression and sleep regulation.

"For many years neuroscientists focused almost exclusively on neurons, whereas the role of glia was neglected," Hines said.

"We now know that glia play an important role in the control of brain function and have the potential to aid in the development of new treatments for many illnesses, including depression and sleep disorders."

Source: Psych Central News

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Menopause Symptoms

Menopause Lady
Women may have different signs or symptoms at menopause. That's because estrogen is used by many parts of your body. So, as you have less estrogen, you could have various symptoms. Here are the most common changes you might notice at midlife. Some may be part of aging rather than menopause.

Mood Changes

You might find yourself more moody or irritable around the time of menopause. Scientists don't know why this happens. It's possible that stress, family changes such as growing children or aging parents, a history of depression, or feeling tired could be causing these mood changes.

Your body seems different

Your waist could get larger. You could lose muscle and gain fat. Your skin could get thinner. You might have memory problems, and your joints and muscles could feel stiff and achy. Are these a result of having less estrogen or just related to growing older? Experts don't know the answer.

Change in your period

This might be what you notice first. Your periods may no longer be regular. They may be shorter or last longer. You might bleed less than usual, or more. These are all normal changes, but to make sure there isn't a problem, see your health professional if:

  • Your periods come very close together
  • You have heavy bleeding
  • You have spotting
  • Your periods last more than a week

You may find that your feelings about sex are changing. You could be less interested. Or, you could feel freer and sexier after menopause. After 1 full year without a period, you can no longer become pregnant. But remember, you could still be at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as gonorrhea or even HIV/AIDS.

Hot flashes

Many women have hot flashes around the time of menopause. They may be related to changing estrogen levels. Hot flashes may last a few years after menopause. A hot flash is a sudden feeling of heat in the upper part or all of your body. Your face and neck become flushed. Red blotches may appear on your chest, back, and arms. Heavy sweating and cold shivering can follow. Flashes can be very mild or strong enough to wake you from your sleep (called night sweats). Most hot flashes last between 30 seconds and 10 minutes.


Around midlife, some women start having trouble getting a good night's sleep. Maybe you can't fall asleep easily, or you wake too early. Night sweats might wake you up. You might have trouble falling back to sleep if you wake during the night.

Problems with your vagina and bladder

Changing estrogen levels can cause your genital area to get drier and thinner. This could make sexual intercourse uncomfortable. Or, you could have more vaginal or urinary infections. Some women find it hard to hold their urine long enough to get to the bathroom. Sometimes urine leaks during exercise, sneezing, coughing, laughing, or running.

Other Physical Changes

Two common health problems can start to happen at menopause, and you might not even notice.


Day in and day out, your body is busy breaking down old bone and replacing it with new healthy bone. Estrogen helps control bone loss, and losing estrogen around the time of menopause causes women to lose more bone than is replaced. In time, bones can become weak and break easily. This condition is called osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor to see if you should have a bone density test to find out if you are at risk. Your doctor can also suggest ways to prevent or treat osteoporosis.

Heart disease

After menopause, women are more likely to have heart disease. Changes in estrogen levels may be part of the cause. But so is getting older. As you age, you may gain weight and develop other problems, like high blood pressure. These could put you at greater risk for heart disease. Be sure to have your blood pressure and levels of triglycerides, fasting blood glucose, and LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol checked regularly. Talk to your health care provider to find out what you should do to protect your heart.

This Article was originally published at NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine on Spring 2013 Issue: Volume 8 Number 1 Page 16

Menopause and Weight Gain

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Importance of Fully Understanding Food Labelling

Nobody wants to expose their person or their family to potentially dangerous and unhealthy foods. The welfare and the health of loved ones are major concerns for the guardians and bread buyers of the family. This makes carefully choosing foodstuffs and ingredients with extreme care a matter of utmost importance. Full understanding of what food labels mean and incur reduces the risk of investing in potentially unhealthy food items.

Understanding Portion Control

You will know better than most how much your family members can eat and what they enjoy. However, the amount of food that is sold may not be the same that is present after preparation. Food items that have high water content are susceptible to significant reduction during the cooking process. This will reduce the quantity of the food. Check the water content of packaged goods to determine roughly how much the food will reduce by upon cooking. This will give a greater understanding of the food supplied.

Judge Amounts per Gram

Many food labels do not demonstrate the full amounts of sugar, fat, salt, calories etc. on the fa├žade of the packaging, they merely show the amounts of a suggested serving of the product. A low fat cheese may suggest that there are only 150 calories within the packaging, but this may be just for 10% of the block that you are buying. Ensure that you work out the full calorific content of the foodstuff that you are buying and then split that into the personal servings of you and your family. This will give a far greater indication of the intake. New food safety regulations are being implemented throughout the world to add greater clarity.

Do your Research

The advent of smartphones has given us access to unlimited information at almost all times. Do not be afraid to use your smartphone in the middle of the store to check an ingredient and the repercussions of its ingestion. The scientific names for ingredients can often be confusing and easy to mix up. A quick Google search can help you discover what the ingredients are and their potential repercussions. This is particularly helpful for people who are buying for those with allergies to certain foods. Alleviate the complexities of food labelling with full and thorough research.

Compare Brands

Comparing the entire ingredient lists and daily allowance lists will help the shopper discover which brands will be more beneficial to them, their family and their recipes. Many items are produced by a number of different brands and producers. This can help you make informed decisions and will restrict the chances of making poor, ill-informed choices.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Fruit, Mediterranean diet tied to fewer hot flashes

Researchers found that of about 6,000 women followed over nine years, those who ate a lot of strawberries, pineapple and melon and most closely followed a Mediterranean-style diet were about 20 percent less likely to report those common symptoms.

At the same time, menopausal women who ate high-sugar, high-fat diets were 23 percent more likely to experience hot flashes and night sweats during the study.

The study can't prove certain foods prevent or trigger hot flashes, researchers said. And it's one of the first yet to tie general dietary patterns - not just certain supplements - to menopause-related symptoms.

"The study is well done, but I wouldn't get so excited about it, especially because we don't know why," said Teresa Fung, a nutrition researcher at Simmons College in Boston. "We don't know the biologic mechanisms behind it."

Researchers surveyed 6,040 women, age 50 to 55, about what foods they ate and how often as well as if they smoked, drank or exercised. All of those women went through natural menopause - meaning not brought on by uterus-removing surgery, for example.

At the start of the study, 58 percent of participants reported having hot flashes, night sweats or both. At that point and over the next nine years, women who ate fruit and the components of a Mediterranean diet - in this case garlic, salad greens, pasta and red wine - reported fewer hot flashes, after accounting for their other lifestyle habits.

However, vegetables in general, as well as meat and dairy, were not associated with either a higher or lower chance of having menopausal symptoms, Gerrie-Cor Herber-Gast and Gita Mishra from the University of Queensland wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Hormone therapy is the only known effective treatment for hot flashes. But since the drugs were linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and breast cancer in the Women's Health Initiative study, researchers and affected women alike have been searching for alternatives.

It's possible that low-fat, high-fiber diets may help stabilize estrogen levels and ease hot flashes and night sweats, Herber-Gast and Mishra speculated. Or, eating a Mediterranean-style diet may keep blood sugar within the optimum range, which could also lower a woman's chance of bothersome symptoms, they said.

"We don't really have enough studies to make a blanket recommendation yet," Fung, who wasn't involved in the new research, told Reuters Health.

However, she added, "We don't necessarily need to know why (this may work) before we do it, especially for something that's healthy to begin with."

Fung said because of all the changes - both physical and psychological - that happen during menopause, it may already be a natural time for women to think about improving their diet and general health.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online April 3, 2013.

Menopause is Natural Phenomenon for Women

Menopause is the period of mental and physical changes a woman goes through due to the decrease in ovarian function. The effects can be felt over quite a range of time, including both before (perimenopause) and after the permanent end of menstruation.

According to western medicine, menopause is caused by a decline in endocrine function which then affects the autonomic nervous system. This is usually due to the decrease of ovarian function, but can also be caused by functional disorders of the anterior pituitary, thyroid, pancreas, and/or adrenal glands.

Menopausal symptoms may include hot flashes, sweating, heart palpitations, edema, headaches, a heavy–headed feeling, insomnia, ringing in the ears, depression, irritability, a decline in memory, feeling tired or listless, gaining or losing weight, itchiness of the vulva, vaginal dryness, frequent urination, and more.

Western medicine’s main treatment for menopause is estrogen replacement therapy. This has been shown to be effective in relieving some symptoms, including atrophy of the uro-genital organs, and in preventing and decreasing osteoporosis after menopause.

However, research carried out by the Women’s Health Initiative (established by the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. in 1991) reports that long-term use of hormone replacement therapy increases the incidences of coronary artery disease, stroke, breast cancer and thromboembolism in women. Therefore it is now recommended that standard hormone replacement therapy for women during or after menopause be non-continuous.

Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause. These don’t merely involve a reddening of the face, but may be accompanied by an intense sensation of heat, an increased heart rate, feeling of compression in the chest or head, and sweating. This sensation of heat occurs across the face and can extend to the neck and chest. If it happens at night it can disturb sleep and then decrease concentration during the day. It can lead to a decrease in memory, hypersensitivity, tiredness, and depression.

Herbal medicine actually improves certain (especially neuropsychiatric) symptoms which western medicine is not able to decrease. This difference underlines the characteristic benefit of Eastern medicine’s focus on regulating the body’s overall condition rather than just treating the specific symptoms.

A research study done on the effects of herbal medicine on menopausal women with hot flashes has demonstrated improvement of many symptoms including: hot flashes (reduced frequency), level of sweating, heart palpitations, insomnia, stability of emotions and moods, daily activities and life in general. Furthermore, the study’s findings showed no side effects from these medications.

Menopause is a natural phenomenon for women, so why not use a more natural approach to treat it?

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Menopause by the Numbers

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Medicines To Treat Hot Flashes Rejected By F.D.A. Panel

Two drugs striving to become the first non-hormonal hot-flash treatment to win approval were roundly rejected by a panel of outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration called the advisory committee for reproductive health drugs. The committee voted 10 to 4 against Noven Pharmaceuticals’ low-dose formulation of the antidepressant paroxetine. It also voted 12 to 2 against approving extended-release gabapentin, developed by Depomed. The F.D.A. is not required to follow the recommendations of its advisory panels, but it would be highly unusual for the agency to overlook a strongly negative committee vote and clear a drug afterward.

Over 50 percent of women going through menopause experience vasomotor symptoms, also known as hot flashes. Vasomotor symptoms are characterized by a sudden feeling of heat, often with sweating.  These symptoms can be disruptive to sleep, daily activities and relationships. The most effective treatments are considered to be the hormone estrogen or the combination of estrogen and progestin. However, use of these remedies has sharply decreased since a study released in 2002 revealed that the combination of estrogen and progestin could raise the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular problems.

Many menopausal women are looking for an alternative to hormones for treating hot flashes. For women who now cannot or will not use hormones, there is an urgent need for treatment options. Doctors and patient advocates told the committee that many of these women resort to herbal supplements or other therapies that have not been proven effective. Dr. Andrew London, an obstetrician and gynecologist in the Baltimore area, told the committee that women "are begging for alternatives," and that if there were no approved drugs, "They will get help on their own without us."

While recognizing the need for new medications, members of the committee said both medicines offered only marginal benefits and reduced the number of hot flashes by only about one a day when compared to a placebo. Even though both drugs have previously been used for other diseases and have risks that are well known, the committee members were not convinced that the benefits outweighed the risks. Dr. Julia V. Johnson, chairwoman of the meeting and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said, "The risk of medications cannot be ignored for a treatment of marginal effectiveness."

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Medical Student Sarah Houston Dies After Taking Slimming Weight Loss Drug

Sarah Houston
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A young medical student battling bulimia has died after taking a dangerous weight-loss drug.  

Sarah Houston, 23, from Leeds University in England, had been secretly taking Dinitrophenol (DNP) along with a prescription anti-depressant.

The combination may have proved fatal, Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard yesterday.

She was found dead in her bedroom in Leeds by a flatmate last September, a day after refusing to call an ambulance when she felt unwell.

Ms Houston is believed to have taken 38 capsules from a packet of 100 DNP pills.

The substance is banned for human use but easily available online because it is used as a chemical pesticide.

Ms Houston is believed to have imported the capsules from Spain.

Dr Graham Mould, a forensic toxicologist, said taking DNP with the anti-depressant Prozac may have proved fatal as both drugs increase the body's metabolic rate.

"The side effects can be overheating and breathlessness caused by an increased heart rate and this seems to be consistent with how Sarah was feeling that evening," he was quoted as saying.

Ms Houston was breathing heavily and had two cold showers to try and cool herself down after complaining of feeling unwell, the hearing heard.

But there was no evidence of an overdose and Ms Houston was not suicidal, the hearing was told.

She had been seeing a psychiatrist for her eating disorder for three years and had improved so much that the sessions were expected to end soon.

Coroner David Hinchliff recorded a misadventure verdict and criticised manufacturers for knowing capsules would be bought by "people using it as a drug".

The victim's father Geoff Houston, 55, said: "The world has lost a bright, bubbly person who would have gone on to making people’s lives better. Sarah loved life and was passionate about helping others less fortunate than herself."

Source: The Daily Mail

Monday, 22 April 2013

What Your Partner Needs To Know About Menopause?

Monday Menopause
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What do men think of perimenopause and menopause?

Does your husband understand menopause? I mean, really understand menopause? Chances are that he just thinks it's that time of YOUR life when you get to say goodbye periods and PMS. Hello, sex all month long!

My husband, David, and most of the men who responded to my recent questionnaire were completely in the dark about what to expect when the loves of their lives hit perimenopause and menopause. Boy, talk about being "blindsided"!

When our relationship was hit with a torrent of hot flashes, tremendous mood swings and sleepless and sexless nights, he was more than flummoxed.

Why was I so moody? Why did everything he do upset me so? Why didn't I want to be intimate with him anymore? These changes can be so confusing to the men in our lives. My husband wasn't sure if my feelings for him had changed or if he had done something to incite my bitchy demeanor. Either way, he feared it would never go away. He wanted our relationship back, but had no idea as to what the cause or cure was.

For him and for most of the men I interviewed, dealing with and trying to understand perimenopause and menopause is more challenging than PMS. "It doesn't come and go every 28 days or so... once you're in, there's no turning back, so you can't rationalize away the symptoms," David says. "You can't just dismiss the symptoms of menopause as 'it's just that time of month' and wait for day eight to roll around."

Finally, though, my husband and I sought out a perimenopause and menopause specialist, and together we both found hormone happiness. We learned that the symptoms our relationship was suffering from were actually symptoms of perimenopause. And with proper medical care, the symptoms faded away. But most importantly, we grew to better understand this chapter of my life -- and our relationship. Together and as co-participants, we educated ourselves on the myriad of more than 30 menopausal symptoms, demystifying this time in our lives. Information is power!

Women aren't the only ones who need to understand menopause. As a woman, you are one-half of your marriage (let's be honest: sometimes even more than that!), and when that half changes, it changes the relationship right along with it. For my husband and me, going together to see a menopause specialist was a game-changer in how we approached this time in our lives together. Now, our relationship is even stronger than it was before.

Open up the conversation with the love of your life with these top three things every woman should tell her partner about menopause:

1. This Is Hard For Me As women, we try to take everything that life throws at us in giant, superhuman strides. But menopause isn't a road best traveled solo. So don't try to do it that way! Be honest about how you feel both physically and emotionally. Even once you conquer hot flashes, mood swings and the various other symptoms of menopause, coping with the loss of fertility can be difficult for many women. You deserve every feeling. Don't discount them.

2. It's Not You, It's My Hormones Let's face it, when riding the hormonal highs and lows of menopause, we can say and do some pretty hurtful things. Sometimes they shock even us. So imagine how the men in our life feel when they become the target of our fury! Before my husband and I realized menopause's full effects, he felt like he had done something wrong. That couldn't have been further from the truth!

3. I'm Still Attracted To You It is important that your lover understands that when your estrogen levels begin to plummet, your vagina might go from frolicking on a tropical island to being spiteful and stranded in the Mojave Desert. When this happens, sex can hurt! This can be quite disturbing to a couple that is normally very sexually active and satisfied. But do not fret, lovers, there is help for this! With a little lube and/or hormone replacement therapy, you can be back frolicking on the beach in no time.

It's no secret that communication is the key to happy, healthy relationships. But when it comes to dealing with perimenopause and menopause, communication might as well be smack dab in the middle of your vows. So start talking! Trust me -- you'll both be so glad you did!

This Post was originally published at - By
Ellen Dolgen

Ellen Dolgen is an outspoken women's health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author, and speaker.
For more by Ellen Dolgen, click here.

How To Fix Health Problems With Exercise?

How To Fix Health Problems With Exercise?
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Ever wonder why you feel so great after you break a sweat? Turns out, exercise isn't just an effective flab-fighter -- it's a remedy for pretty much any troubling health issue you are facing: anxiety, insomnia, back pain -- even hot flashes. "When it comes to preventing health problems, exercise is one of the best medicines we have," says David Katz, M.D., founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. But some workouts are better than others for healing what ails you. Try these active solutions.


A proven way to ease anxiety naturally is with a bout of cardio, says Michael Otto, Ph.D., co-author of Exercise for Mood And Anxiety. Getting your heart pumping increases the release of mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters, like serotonin, norepinephrine and GABA, which is why you can feel like you're sweating off stress during Spinning class. The good vibes continue: A study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that doing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (jogging, not sprinting) makes you more resilient against stressors hours later, like preparing for that big meeting with your boss. And over the long term, "people who work out consistently report less overall stress, anxiety and depression," Otto says.

Your Fitness Rx: Do a quick blast of cardio on the morning of a hectic day, or to unwind at the end of one. If possible, take it outside -- numerous studies show that fresh air provides a big mood boost.

Daytime Sleepiness

Instead of leaning on caffeine (which can prevent you from falling asleep later, causing drowsiness again the next day), get moving. Folks who meet the recommended physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes a week are 65 percent less likely to feel tuckered out during the day, a 2011 study found. "Exercisers fall asleep faster, suffer fewer middle-of-the-night wake-ups and have a reduced risk of sleep disorders," says study co-author Brad Cardinal, Ph.D., co-director of the sport and exercise psychology program at Oregon State University.

Translation? You'll snooze more soundly and feel more energized on the go. "We aren't sure why activity primes your body for sleep so well, but it's likely a combination of factors, including lowering your core body temperature, increasing the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin and supporting a biological need to restore energy levels and repair cells and tissues when you sleep," Cardinal says.

Your Fitness Rx: Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate activity. Try to work in some yoga; a 2012 study found that practicing yoga along with deep-breathing techniques relieved insomnia within four months. Wrap up your workout at least three hours before you hit the sack: Exercise can be too stimulating near bedtime.

Back Pain

The supporting muscles around your spine become less resilient with age; sitting hunched over a computer all day weakens them further. But the new thinking is that rest isn't usually the answer. "Research has shown that a better fix, in most patients, is strength training," advises Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., an exercise scientist at Quincy College in Massachusetts. "It can lessen pain by 30 to 80 percent in 10 to 12 weeks." Developing your lower-back, abdominal and oblique muscles takes pressure off your spine and improves range of motion, both preventing and treating pain.

Your Fitness Rx: Two or three days a week of strength-training exercises, focusing on major muscle groups (try the chest press, leg press and seated row) and lower-back and ab work (the lower-back-and-ab machine). Aim for 2 to 4 sets of 8 to 16 reps each.

Low Sex Drive

Look no further than your local gym: In a Journal Of Sexual Medicine study, women who hit the treadmill for 20 minutes were more physiologically aroused while viewing an erotic video than the group that didn't work out. "Exercise increases circulation to every area of your body," explains ob-gyn Alyssa Dweck, M.D., co-author of V Is for Vagina, and that makes us more game for bedroom action. Mentally, regular workouts may help us get over body hang-ups, she adds. And the feel-good endorphins released during exercise can bust through fatigue or stress that drags down sex drive. (Having increased stamina won't hurt, either.)

Your Fitness Rx
: Add workouts that get your heart pumping and put you in touch with your body, like Latin dance or Zumba (try Cheryl Burke's salsa workout on page 102). Dr. Dweck also recommends yoga positions that increase blood flow to the pelvic area.

Food Cravings

If you've been using willpower to resist those 3 p.m. chocolate urges -- and failing miserably -- try a little activity instead. Here's why: "In the throes of a craving, your brain is saying 'feed me dopamine!' -- that neurotransmitter that taps into the reward center of your brain. You can satisfy the call with carbs -- or with exercise," says John Ratey, M.D., author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise And The Brain. Both fixes raise your dopamine levels significantly, but only one will have a favorable effect on your tush.

Your Fitness Rx
: When you get the vending machine crazies, take 15 minutes and go for a brisk walk, which was shown in recent research to be all it takes to short-circuit food cravings.

Hot Flashes

During menopause and the years leading up to it, 80 percent of women will suffer from symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy BMI -- crucial if you're feeling the heat, since overweight women report more severe symptoms -- and dials down stress, which can trigger flashes, says Dr. Dweck. It doesn't take much: One 30-minute walk or run on the treadmill quelled hot flashes by up to 74 percent over a 24-hour period, according to a study published in the journal Menopause.

Your Fitness Rx: Cardio is crucial if you're dealing with the big M. Aim for 30 minutes, five days a week.

Weak Immune System

Aerobic workouts are a natural cold-fighter, coaxing immune cells out of body tissues and into the bloodstream, where they attack invading viruses and bacteria, explains David Nieman, Ph.D., a professor at Appalachian State University, whose research shows that five days of cardio a week reduced sick days by 43 percent.

Your Fitness Rx: Workouts that raise your heart rate can improve immunity. Good options: Jog, cycle or take a dance class. Or, try a circuit workout (with little or no rest in between exercises) for 30 minutes on most days of the week. (Avoid intense exercise beyond 90 minutes, since that can increase your risk of getting sick.) That little commitment is all you need to score a big health payoff.

"How To Fix Health Problems With Exercise" originally appeared on

Are Low Carbohydrate Diets Best for Weight Loss?

The low carbohydrate diet is one of the more popular diets to emerge in recent years amid increasing obesity levels in Australia – but how effective is it when it comes to weight loss?

UniSA nutrition expert Professor Jon Buckley will examine the low-carb diet at his upcoming Knowledge Works lecture at City East Campus tomorrow (Tuesday) night.

Prof Buckley says low-carb diets do result in greater weight loss than other diets over the short term (up to six months), but beyond that the weight loss is similar to other diets.

"Previously there were concerns that low carbohydrate diets might have adverse effects on risk factors for cardiovascular disease, in particular on LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol), but more recent evidence suggests that this is not the case," Prof Buckley says.

"It does appear however that this dietary pattern has greater positive effects on HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) than typical diets. Thus, the overall effect on blood lipid profile might be better than conventional diets."

However, Prof Buckley says there is some evidence that there may be adverse impacts on non-traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease (that is, risk factors that are not as well recognized or accepted), adverse impacts on mood and potentially adverse effects on mortality, but the evidence in these areas is limited and not conclusive at this stage.

The Director of UniSA’s Nutritional Physiology Research Centre will outline the most-up-to-date evidence regarding the use of the low-carb diet for effective weight loss during his lecture, which will be held in the Basil Hetzel Building at City East campus tomorrow night (April 23) from 6pm to 7pm.

Knowledge Works is UniSA’s popular public lecture series focusing on the University’s ground-breaking and world-class research in action. This lecture is already at capacity but for general information on the lecture series go to

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Contact for interview: Jon Buckley office 8302 1853 mobile 0417 880 030
Media contact: Kelly Stone office 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832

Promensil Reviews: Are There Any Promensil Side Effects?

Promensil is a menopause vitamin supplement that can help minimize certain signs and symptoms of the menopause, but it surely cannot contain all the components useful to help in reducing the main signs and symptoms.

Promensil cannot contain Black Cohosh, which has been shown to assist get rid of hot flashes and also night sweats. But, the components which are in Promensil are in fact all natural components and this supplement is approved for vegetarians. A number of the some other components present in Promensil can also help promote breast health.

Promensil Ingredients

It contains red clover isoflavones, Promensil Menopause can assist relieve menopause signs or symptoms including hot flushes, hot flashes and night sweats. Also included in Double Energy, which can also assist get rid of the anxiousness.

Promensil Vitality is made up of red clover isoflavones, with the addition of calcium and Vitamin D3. Vitamin D assists calcium absorption as well as a diet lacking in calcium may lead to osteoporosis in the future. For use both during and after the menopause.

What does it claims to do?

Promensil has been utilized in international scientific study into results of red clover dietary supplements during menopause for about 15 yrs. Research has shown that Promensil provides a very good security profile and can help to sustain suitable overall health during the menopause and offer you other assistance to the normal vitamin and soya blends, namely:

  • contribute to more comfortable menopause
  • may help ensure healthy bones
  • may help ensure a healthy cardiovascular system by sustaining the flexibility of bloodstream and supporting regular lipid profile

How to use Promensil?

In accordance with the company: It has 30 pills per container. 1 pill taken every day, you can get 2 pills in case you have serious signs or symptoms. To alleviate the day signs or symptoms take with breakfast, to relieve night-time signs or symptoms take with every meal.

If you discover you would really feel greater benefit from consuming 2 pills per day, you might want to consider trying Promensil Double Strength.

Following Precaution Should Be Taken:

  1. Do not go over the suggested dosage. Food supplements should never exchange a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. If you are under healthcare supervising, make sure you consult with your family doctor before use.
  2. Not for use by pregnant or lactating ladies. Always keep out of sight and reach of children. Keep below 25°C in a dry place, outside of directly sun light.

Does It Work?

Isoflavones are phytoestrogens, which actually means, plant estrogens. Isoflavones are equivalent in chemical substance structure to the body's own estrogen, and when taken in sufficient quantities they are capable to mimic some of the results of estrogen to help with keeping health and wellness. Isoflavones however are weaker compared to our natural estrogen, and are selective in their activity in your body. Isoflavones pill that requires of ladies over 45 whenever amounts of hormones are decreasing.

When will one notice an improvement?

Even if this may vary with the individual, most ladies recognize getting rid of signs or symptoms within 3-8 weeks. The approach can vary with the particular person. If you have needed simply no improvement in your health and well-being after 9 weeks then you really need to consult your family doctor or contact PharmaCare, since we may be able to recommend ways of enhance the efficiency of Promensil® for you.

It is crucial that Promensil® be consumed every day. It will not work otherwise. Its suggested time period of usage is at least 6 months. Promensil® may be used securely for a long period. When visible signs or symptoms for example hot flashes greatly reduce or even halt, the results of regressing estrogen ranges are still having effect on bone mineral density and cardiovascular system health. Promensil® assists reduce Bone Mineral Density losses and enhance arterial conformity.

Negative Effects of Promensil

Promensil having the isoflavones extracted from red clover leaves with different elements and vitamins, for example vitamin D-3 and calcium, to generate a health supplement that can help alleviate the menopause signs or symptoms together with hot flashes, night sweats and anxiety. Various side-effects of Promensil use have been reported. Consult your family doctor before using Promensil to cure menopausal signs or symptoms.

Digestive Side Effects:

Ladies may have difficulty digesting a few of the chemical substances discovered inside the Promensil pill, causing nausea, disappointed gut and diarrhea. Ladies can have problems consuming the effective components in Promensil, especially the isoflavones eliminated from red clovers. Selected ladies can also have problem consuming calcium, which may boost the signs or symptoms connected with irritable bowel disorder, or IBS. If you experience diarrhea while consuming Promensil, consult your doctor instantly.

Hormonal Side Effects:

Promensil can have hormonal influence on your entire body, mainly because of the vitamin D-3 with these drugs. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means that if you consume very much, you will encounter negative reactions, usually noticed by an imbalance of your body's bodily hormones. Vitamin D-3 assists manage the creation of neurotransmitters in your brain, which can be off balance due to a very high vitamin D intake. This can improve the signs and symptoms of depressive disorders, anxiousness, nervousness and frustration. Consuming Promensil with a further vitamin D pill is not suggested because of the risk of vitamin D overdose.

Customer Reviews

Real reviews from promensil users are easy to find

I used double strength for 8 weeks as according to the directions in the pack that I should have started to see a difference by then. I started to lose faith but on the 10th week I noticed that all my hot flushes had subsided. Don't think you can skip a tablet here and there like I did because you are feeling alot better. Now I have gone back to having night sweats not as severe as before but have the hot face flushes again during the day. It is getting better again now as I make sure I take the tablet every day. - Jo_T from Brisbane

After trying a couple of other herbal remedies I was recommended this product by a chemist and after using it at double strength for 2 weeks my night sweats and hot flushes have stopped. I am thrilled to at last be getting a night of undisturbed sleep once again and not experiencing sweats during the day. - Mandy83

While the product is easy to attain - available at Woolworths and other supermarkets, and chemists it can be a bit expensive when you need it all the time. I was having to take the maximum dose of 2 tablets daily to see any reduction of menopausal problems, and when the hot flushes and night sweats increased as time went on I found the Promensil no longer effective. I didn't feel it helped with mood swings and took another herbal supplement to address that. - morganlea

Trisha Yearwood Shows Off 30 Pound Weight Loss

Trisha Yearwood shows off her stunning new shape – she lost 30 lbs. in four months! – and shares the secrets to her guilt-free diet in this week's issue of PEOPLE. When she learned her husband, Garth Brooks, would be singing at the April 7 Academy of Country Music Awards alongside his hero George Strait, Yearwood, 48, began searching for "arm candy" attire to wear to the Las Vegas event. That's when she spied that dress – a formfitting Stella McCartney column that she'd first admired on Kate Winslet in 2011. "I'd been working hard and losing inches, but I wondered, 'Can I fit into that?'" Yearwood tells PEOPLE. The answer was a jaw-dropping yes. "It was tight!" she says, but "I felt confident. It was a wow dress."

"My butt and my waist are smaller, and I like seeing that in the mirror!" says the 5'9" Grammy winner. "But I also feel great." So good, in fact, that on her flight back to the home near Tulsa she shares with Brooks, 51, "we got on the plane, the sweats were on, and I had an In-N-Out burger with fries and two dark chocolate Reese's cups!" she says. In years past, she adds, "if I did that, I would have said, 'You just screwed up, so might as well go out and have 20 cheeseburgers,' and I would. [This time] I got on my treadmill the next day, I ate well and I didn't do any damage. That's what real people do."
Trisha Yearwood
Photo Credits: © 2013 People Magazine
Finding that balance between instilling healthy habits and occasionally dipping into those not-so-healthy ones has always been a struggle for Yearwood. "I don't think you can name one diet I haven't done. I'm that girl who buys every magazine where somebody's lost 30 lbs. But I guess a part of me didn't want to hear that it's just really hard work!" the singer admits. "I'd been doing circuit training and Pilates for years, but I was not consistent with food. I'm not a disciplined person. I was indulging all the time."

Her turning point came after a Habitat for Humanity trip to Haiti last November, which gave Yearwood a fresh perspective on life – and her fitness level. "It was 100 degrees, I'm wearing work boots and putting a roof on a house, and I just thought, 'Man, I want to be lighter,'" says Yearwood, who then overhauled her diet in January. "I don't have it all figured out. But right now I'm having more days that I win the battle than days I lose." Her winning streak started off slowly, first by planning all her meals. "I try to cook all my food for the week and I actually write out a menu," she says. "I designed my own plan that's low-fat, low-sugar 90 percent of the time."

She's getting her family on board, too. "Garth says, 'I always lose weight when my wife is on a diet!'" says Yearwood. Lately, with weekly basketball games against Yearwood and her healthy influence, "he's probably lost 20 lbs.," she says. "He doesn't really weigh himself. He just knows if his pants fit." His support is much more than a sympathy slim-down. "He makes me feel great no matter what the scales say," she says. "If I lose weight, he says, 'I love you at this weight. And the only other weight I love you at is whatever other weight you are.'"

Yearwood is determined not to give up on herself this time. "This is not some crazy fad diet. It's a lifelong change. I've seen a lot of 'before and afters' and this is really a 'during.' I'm not done. I don't know what my goal weight is, but I'm proud of myself. I'm really happy where I am."

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Forget the calories, I ate myself skinny: Diet specialist reveals unusual weight loss plan

FOOD guru Christy reveals her battle with extreme diets, bulimia and depression in her book.

GLAMOROUS Christy Fergusson has told how she won a terrifying battle with bulimia in a struggle to be super-thin.

For years, she alternated between periods of bingeing and purging, and bouts of starvation till she realised what she needed was a total makeover of her life.

Now she has a PhD in psychology and specialist nutrition training and uses her personal experiences to help other young women avoid the same path.

And she's convinced it's possible to eat your way into a pair of skinny jeans, while staying sane and sexy at the same time.

Christy, 30, from Glasgow, said: "I sympathise with girls who're dieting and feeling miserable, lethargic and fed-up because that's exactly what I was like.

"I used to try so hard to reach seven-and-a-half stone. That was a magical weight for me when I was a teenager and I would starve myself to try to get there.

"Trouble is, once I got there I actually felt terrible. Now, I'm around seven-and-a-half stone but I'm fitter than I've ever been and I never tried to reach the weight.

"It's just where I am naturally when I eat well and live well."

Christy has written a self-help book – Hot, Healthy, Happy – explaining how she cured her health problems.

She's hoping that today's teenagers and 20-somethings will recognise some of their own hang-ups in her confessions.

The mum-of-one said: "I had so many health issues in my childhood and my teens.

"At 11, I had to leave school for a year because I was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. I became overweight, I had digestive problems, horrendous acne, polycystic ovaries and endemetriosis.

"I would fluctuate between bulimia and strict calorie restriction. I would have one Weetabix with skimmed milk for breakfast then one WeightWatchers prepared meal for dinner and that's all I'd have all day.

"Then I'd just have a huge binge and make myself sick afterwards."

When they found out about the bulimia, Christy's anxious mum and dad took her in search of therapy.

In fifth year, she was only well enough to attend school one day a week but still won a place at university to study psychology.

Happy Christy Fergusson She said: "It was when I saw a naturopath that it all fell into place for me. I was still eating rubbish at the time – Coco Pops and Pot Noodles – but I discovered that my diet was actually making me ill.

"And when I started making changes to that, I started looking better too."

Christy ditched the junk food in favour of detox regimes and nutritionally balanced meals and she noticed that her other ailments started to wane.

She said: "We're obsessed with counting calories when we should be looking at the ingredients."

Christy, married to personal trainer Jonathan White, follows a gluten and
dairy-free diet which includes lots of fresh green juices and no processed foods.

She said: "I enjoy food now – and it doesn't damage me."

Hot Healthy Happy by Christy Fergusson, published by Hay House at £12.99.

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Saturday, 20 April 2013

Weight loss myths debunked

With summer just around the corner, weight loss is on everyone's mind. There are so many myths circulating about the best ways to lose weight, it's difficult to know where to start. If you're looking to lose a stone or more in time for swimsuit season, you need the facts to achieve your goal. It's time to separate the truth from the lies so you can look and feel great in your swimsuit this summer - there's no time to lose!

Slimming pills are an effective weight loss tool

You didn't put the weight on overnight, so don't expect it to disappear overnight either. Shedding weight is a commitment. In order to achieve long-term weight loss, you'll need to learn proper lifestyle habits. Don't rely on a pill to do all the work for you - if you never learn good eating and exercise habits, you'll put weight right back on the minute you stop taking diet pills. They should not be considered as an effective long-term weight loss tool.

Once I've reached my weight loss goal, I'll be satisfied

Give yourself a pat on the back when you finish your weight loss goal. However, it is not the final stage for formerly obese people - many will be left with unflattering folds of skin after significant weight loss. In these cases, a tummy-tuck, or abdominoplasty, may be required. This procedure flattens the stomach by tightening abdominal muscles. Many make the mistake of starting with a tummy-tuck before they embark on their slimming mission. Instead, abdominoplasty should only be done after the target weight has been reached.

In addition, many will find themselves wanting to lose even more weight after reaching their goal. If you've still got some momentum and more to lose, then by all means, keep at it, but make sure you stay within a healthy weight range.

I can lose more weight by skipping meals

Breakfast is commonly skipped by dieters. By doing so, metabolic rate is lowered up to five per cent, causing the body to retain more fat and create less energy. For every meal skipped, your body fights back by decreasing the rate at which you burn calories. Therefore, by skipping breakfast or lunch, you are actually packing on pounds and body fat. Small, frequent meals are the best way to keep your metabolic rate up - try to eat only enough to feel satiated.

Fat free food is good for my diet

Fat free doesn't translate to low calorie. In fact, many fat free foods contain additional sugar to replace the lost flavour. More sugar means more calories and weight gain. Closely inspect nutritional labels to make sure your food is healthy.

The more I sweat, the more weight I lose

When you sweat, you are merely losing water weight, not fat. Don't make the mistake of thinking that a run in hot, humid weather burns more calories than in winter or springtime. Running in intense heat can be dangerous, often causing heatstroke. Always replace fluids lost during strenuous, sweaty exercise to avoid severe dehydration.

Posted by Jeanette Royston -

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Study Reports Depression can be Contagious

Depression afflicts thousands of people throughout the world every year. Several studies have looked into the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to depression in order to understand the condition better and develop more effective treatment options. In a recent study done by psychological scientists, Gerald Haeffel and Jennifer Hames from the University of Notre Dame, the results suggest that within the college setting, depression might actually be contagious.

The researchers looked into the effects and manifestation of depression within the closed knitted area of a college dorm. The researchers theorized that during college years, people are often still exploring their own personalities and thus, become more vulnerable to accepting other people's opinions and mindsets as their own.

This increase in vulnerability could increase the risk of developing depression, especially if the people within the surroundings exhibit depressive symptoms and mindsets. 

Sad Depressed BoyThe researchers tested this hypothesis by gathering the data of 103 undergraduate pairs of students who were randomly placed in dorms. All of the students and their roommates were freshmen as the time. During the first month of college, the participants were asked to take an online questionnaire that measured their cognitive vulnerability and indicators of depression. Cognitive vulnerability measures a person's susceptibility to depression based on how he/she reacts to and interprets stressful life changes. The same questionnaire was administered three and six months later. During these two later points of the experiment, the participants were also measured on stressful life events that might have taken place during that time.

The researchers found that a person rooming with someone with high levels of cognitive vulnerability seemed to develop it later on in the year as well. The assessments during the two later points revealed that people tend to adapt their roommate's cognitive style, which led to higher rates of cognitive vulnerability. The researchers found that the reverse happened as well. People who shared a room with a person with low cognitive vulnerability also had lowered rates of this indicator of depression. Despite the fact that both cognitive styles seem to affect people, researchers were alarmed at how drastic the change was for people who lived with depressed roommates. They found that people who experienced an increase in cognitive vulnerability had about doubled the level of depressive symptoms than those who did not develop higher levels of cognitive vulnerability.

"Our findings suggest that it may be possible to use an individual's social environment as part of the intervention process, either as a supplement to existing cognitive interventions or possibly as a stand-alone intervention," the authors explained.  "Surrounding a person with others who exhibit an adaptive cognitive style should help to facilitate cognitive change in therapy. Our study demonstrates that cognitive vulnerability has the potential to wax and wane over time depending on the social context."

The study was published in Clinical Psychological Science, which is part of the Association for Psychological Science journal - By Cheri Cheng

Friday, 19 April 2013

How To Prepare Your One Day Heathy Diet?

Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Learn how to make healthier food choices followed with a regular exercise, a healthy diet can help you lose weight.

Weight loss: How ready are you?

Weight loss: How ready are you?
Before you embark on the weight loss journey, you will want to make sure that you are truly ready to make the changes necessary for weight loss. Success with weight loss depends heavily on your readiness to make changes to your current lifestyle and eating habits. Ask yourself the following six questions to gauge if you are ready to take on the challenge of weight loss.

Are you willing to make long-term changes to your diet and activity level?

Successful long-term weight loss depends on making permanent lifestyle changes. Understanding that you need to make adjustments to your current eating and exercise habits and actually doing it are two totally different things. You may have to make several changes over time to both your diet and exercise routine.

Have you tackled major distractions in your life?

If you are currently dealing with major life events such as a divorce, loss of a job, death of a close friend or family member or financial troubles, you may not want to add on the additional challenge of losing weight. Allow yourself time to address personal issues and major stressors before you tackle a weight loss program.

Are you realistic about weight loss goals?

A slow and steady rate of weight loss is recommended to help make the weight loss more permanent. A rate of a half to two pounds per week is a healthy rate of weight loss.

Have you addressed and resolved emotional issues tied to your weight?

All too often, emotions and food and interwoven. Emotions can trigger unhealthy eating patterns. Begin by identifying your emotional "triggers" that are related to food by keeping a food journal. In your food journal, record what you were doing when you were eating, how you were feeling and also how hungry you were. Recording these key concepts will allow you to see patterns and identify emotional "triggers." Once you know your triggers, you can begin to develop plans to overcome or avoid those types of situations.

Do you have a support system?

Having supportive family members, friends or co-workers can make the challenge of weight loss a little less difficult. Having someone offer support and encouragement can be beneficial during times of temptation or if your motivation begins to weaken.

Have you embraced the challenge ahead?

Having a positive attitude about weight loss will make you more likely to meet your weight loss goals. If you are dreading the changes and challenges that you will face during weight loss, you may be more likely to make excuses or throw in the towel.

If you answered yes to all or most of these questions, you are probably ready to take the weight loss challenge! If you answered no to some or all of these questions, you may not be ready at this time to make the necessary changes for successful weight loss. Take time to explore the areas that may be holding you back. Consider seeking help from your physician or other healthcare professionals to help you work through those issues.

Beth Young is a Registered Dietitian and an instructor in the Food and Nutrition Department at the University of Southern Indiana. She can be reached by e-mail at

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Summer of 2013: Quick Tips for Glowing Skin!

Glowing Skin
The sun is finally here in all its glory! For those of us who love these sunny summer days, it's not likely that anything could possibly dampen our spirits now, and the millions of "here comes the sun" Facebook updates can testify to that! So, before you hit the great outdoors to soak up some afternoon sun, take a quick look at these tips for how you can have glowing skin this summer.

Start with your plate: As a friend of mine says: "the secret to more health is always through more food!"-well, okay, more of the right kinds of food. Eat foods that have less oil and salt in them, and instead go for foods that are hydrating like salads, fruit juices, natural fruit smoothies, fruits, and leafy greens. There is a huge debate going on right now in the health world with one side saying that we should avoid salt, and the other side saying that salt is actually good for us. While I can't say that I'm particularly sure about who is right and who is wrong, since both seem to have very legitimate arguments, I will say: remember in all things to keep a balance. Less is more, and moderation is the key in all phases of life. Cutting down on sugar and grains is also a great way to avoid the pimples and acne that are almost always a problem once outdoor temperatures rise. Drink lots of water, even when you are not thirsty. When you feel really thirsty this is actually the first step of your body telling you that you are dehydrated, so don't wait till that happens. Carry a bottle of water in your car, in your handbag, to the gym, or wherever you are going. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day to keep your skin properly hydrated and glowing at its best.

Hydrate your skin: While this may vary from person to person, I've personally found that it's best not to go for the skin lotions that are rich in oils and oil based during the hotter summer months. It's generally better to save the oil based lotions for the winter when your skin needs all the extra nutrition it can get, and use water based lotions for the summer months when your skin needs all the hydration it can get. Depending on the climate, using oily lotions during the summer may cause a lot of pimples, blackheads, and in growths if you're not careful. Shaving and epilating are usually forgotten during the winter, because it's really too cold to show our legs even if we wanted too. But during the summer when short skirts, dresses, and jean shorts are in, it's just best to take all the precaution that we can to insure that our skin remains beautiful, soft and supple without any in growths, pimples, and blackheads. I would suggest that you use brands like Vichy which are well known for their fortifying and soothing properties. The best part about the skin care products from Vichy is that they are made with mineral-rich thermal spa water that has 15 minerals and 13 trace elements in it. But there are plenty of other brands that are rich in hydrating qualities so find out what works best for you.

Exfoliate twice or thrice a week: The next step to healthy skin during the summer is to ensure that your pores are cleaned out, unblocked and able to breath easily. When your pores are clogged with dirt, sweat, and oils this can lead to acne and dull looking skin. Always keep a tube of body scrub handy near your shower. I'm a huge fan of DIY beauty secrets, so I always prefer to make my own scrubs, but if time does not permit, then store bought apricot, berry, or almond scrubs work just as well. But just encase you are interested in making your own scrubs, here's one one recipe that I love because it's quick and easy to whip up and keep in the fridge if there are any extras:

  • Thanksgiving Spa!
  • 1 tablespoon fresh apple mash or apple sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix all the ingredients together till smooth with no lumps, and then apply the scrub to your skin using circular motions. Because apples are rich in nutritional benefits, are 85% water filled, and are loaded with potassium and Vitamins A and C, they are a rich healing ingredient for your skin. I've found this scrub to be perfect for removing dead skin cells and surface dirt from elbows, knees, and feet. You can even add a half tablespoon of butter to the scrub so that it smoothes your skin at the same time. There are loads of other recipes online so don't be afraid to research them. This particular recipe has ingredients that won't last outside of the fridge, but there are others that can be made with essential oils and sugar, coffee, or oatmeal. These stay for a while longer and can even be put on display in your bathroom self in a nice decorated jar, or even gifted to a friend.