Staying Healthy For Online Gaming

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Online gaming was already a wildly popular activity before COVID-19. But since the onset of COVID, more people have had a chance to discover it as a hobby –– spending time on battle royales, playing virtual soccer matches, talking with friends in digital poker rooms, and doing so much more.

All of these games provide excellent ways to socialize without any risks to your health, or at least that would be the idea. The truth, though –– as many newcomers to online gaming are undoubtedly discovering –– is that a busy gaming schedule can lead to bad schedules and unhealthy habits. For that reason, we wanted to write up some tips for how to stay healthy for gaming, and for your general benefit as you get more into the hobby.

Eating Right

Playing online games is something we do to reduce our stress and relax. However, as with many leisure activities, game sessions tend to be accompanied by snacks and drinks (often with high levels of salt and sugar respectively). Having said that, there are foods that can improve your performance if included in your diet. Dates, for example, seem to be associated with improved learning abilities, while food rich in omega-3 like salmon can help reduce anxiety. Eating healthy food like these can help you focus better and enjoy more precise responses, whether you’re playing a high-stakes poker tournament, or an intense round in a first-person shooter. Plus, you might just manage to fill yourself up without turning to that tempting bag of chips….

Going for a Walk

When people think about exercising to stay healthy, they tend to imagine someone participating in a marathon, or going to the gym several days a week. But something as simple as going for a short walk every day can do wonders for your health. Experts recommend starting slow and increasing the length of your walks progressively. The trick is to do something intense enough to feel the benefits, but also light enough to keep your energy levels high and your mind motivated. If you manage to make a routine of this, you’ll offset that sedentary time spent gaming, and enjoy greater energy while you play.

Getting Enough Sleep

Many of us can only start relaxing at night, due to work, family obligations, and so on. As a result, it can be tempting to stay up late enjoying a bit of recreation, playing video games and getting that much-needed “me time” –– but reducing our sleeping hours. It’s understandable, but the extra sleep is better in the long run. Indeed, getting more rest is actually a particularly common recommendation in line with poker tips for serious players, who are sometimes inclined to spend long hours at the online tables without getting enough sleep. Undoubtedly, the same can be said of other gamers as ell. But by making a point of cutting yourself off and sleeping when you have the chance to, you’ll quickly find that you’re better able to stay sharp for the next day’s tournament or gaming session.

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Buying a Proper Chair

Neck and back pain are also extremely common problems among gamers. This clearly isn’t a coincidence, considering the hours gamers of all kinds spend at computer desks or hunched over mobile phones. However, these issues can also be largely prevented by working out the necessary support for your back and neck. Finding a chair that allows you to adjust height, armrest position, and headrest angle will make it easier to keep your feet flat on the floor, and overall maintain a healthy posture –– reducing the chances of developing these bothersome, nagging issues.

Stretching Between Games

One of the main reasons we enjoy playing online games is how much more intense and exciting it is to play against other people, rather than just a given game’s AI. However, the more thrilling a match is, the more tense you tend to get! Therefore, it’s important to take a break between contests to stretch. There are plenty of guides online explaining how to do this safely and effectively; it only takes a few minutes to stretch, and it’s a very effective way to relax muscles, get your blood circulating, and help you release stress and clear your mind. You’ll feel better physically, and you’ll be alert and ready or the next game.

Playing online games can be an excellent way to have fun and reconnect with friends. But it’s commonly associated with sedentary lifestyles, bad eating habits, muscle stiffness, and back and neck pain. Having said that, by following these simple steps you might be able to prevent these problems, stay healthy, and even improve your online performance.

A Deep Dive Into Cold Water Therapy

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Cold water therapy is the practice of exposing oneself to very cold or icy water for therapeutic benefit.  It’s become a recent hot trend – no pun intended.  But it’s has been around for a very long time.  In fact, it is said that Hippocrates recorded his experiences in 370 BC.

We know that when we sustain an injury like a sprained ankle the first thing we do is put an ice pack on it to reduce the swelling.  So, we know that it has an anti-inflammatory affect, which could be extrapolated to broader inflammatory conditions, but there seems to be many more benefits.

The physiological effect of cold water therapy is said to be facilitated by the Vagus nerve and adaptation of hormones (Jungmann et al., 2018; Lange et al., 2008; Metzger et al., 2000; Polizzi, 2019).

Benefits of Cold Water Therapy

  • Boosts the immune system – exposing the body to cold water might allow the body to become more resilient to stressors.  In reading about cold water therapy, one of the studies cited was a 2019 proof of concept trial. A group of researchers from the Netherlands found that combining cold exposure and breathing exercises elicited an enhanced immune response from study participants. With the stimulation of the Vagus nerve, the inflammatory responses in the body are reduced so it stimulates the body to heal and boosts the body’s immune response to fight off disease and infection.  “This beneficial response may be what reduces symptoms and inflammatory markers present in blood from autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.”
  • Recovering from exercise – a group of researchers in Hong Kong found that cold water immersion after frequent exercise led to decreased pain and inflammation for up to 24 hours after the workout.
  • Improves metabolic function – there’s some research that suggests that cold exposure can actually increase your metabolic output.  Cold therapy is said to stimulate the growth of brown fat and decrease white fat.  Brown fat increases energy burning which can contribute to weight loss.
  • Mental Wellness – immersing yourself in ice water takes a lot of courage so the act alone requires focus, dedication and commitment, a lot like meditation. And by now, we should all know the benefits of meditation. Studies indicate that cold therapy reduces depression, anxiety, and stress as well as improving mood and general brain function.  During exposure to cold the brain releases norepinephrine, which is shown to reduce depression and anxiety. Also, heart rate and heart rate variability decrease while the body is exposed to cold which is linked to reductions in stress. Mood and brain function improve through stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.   (Galliera et al., 2013; Hayashi et al., 1997; Jungmann et al., 2018; Kinoshita et al., 2006; Lange et al., 2008; Metzger et al., 2000; Misiak & Kiejna, 2012; Polizzi, 2019; Rymaszewska et al., 2020).  Wim Hof, known for his breathing and cold water exposure methods,  was put in a special temperature-controlled suit and placed in both an fMRI and a PET scanner. Results showed activation of areas in the brain associated with pain suppression, self-reflection and well-being, in particular the periaqueductal gray area (PAG).  This may have implications for “lifestyle interventions that might ameliorate multiple clinical syndromes.” (2018, Muzik et. al.).

Check out this video from wimhofmethod.com https://youtu.be/YficBlvPwWQ

cold water therapy, cold water therapy benefits, circulating cold water therapy system, cold water immersion therapyTypes of Cold Water Therapy

  • Cold Showers – A quick and simple way to expose yourself to cold water, taking a cold shower may offer some benefits. However, your average shower can’t produce water that’s as cold as an ice bath.  But it’s a good way to start and work up to conditioning yourself to taking the next step.
  • Cold Water Immersion – Cold water immersion can take many forms. But, the basic practice involves sitting in a tub or container of cold water (usually under 50ºF/10ºC) for 5 minutes or less.
  • Ice Baths – Ice baths are a type of cold water therapy that involves immersing oneself in a container icy water for a short period of time. Ice baths usually involve very cold temperatures that can take a while to get used to.
  • Cryotherapy – Cryotherapy is a relatively new type of cold therapy. It involves exposing oneself to extreme cold for very brief periods of time as a way to recover from intense exercise.

Caution

Cold water therapy is not for everyone and people will react differently to it so it is very important to make sure that you consult your healthcare practitioner before attempting it.

https://www.wimhofmethod.com/cold-therapy

icebarrel.com

The Catastrophic Connection Between Parasites and Your Gut

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After talking to a friend who experiences gut issues on an infrequent but regular basis, the thought of a possible parasitic infection came into the conversation. So I decided to take a deeper look at this and discovered that a parasitic infection could cause a host of random symptoms that mimic other diseases.

What is a Parasite?

Let’s first classify what a parasite is.  A parasite is an organism that lives by feeding off another organism, usually called the host. Parasites can cause harm to the host by feeding on it or consuming some of the host’s food, resulting in a range of unpleasant symptoms and health conditions.

We usually would attribute parasitic infections to under-developed parts of the world due to low or lack of sanitation standards and clean water.  But although developed areas have low rates of parasitic infection, that doesn’t mean they are completely eradicated.

So even if you have clean water and modern sanitation you could still run into these pesky critters.  Parasites can be transmitted through water, dirt, blood (insect bites), undercooked food, even from your pet.

What Do Parasites Do?

Parasites make you feel ill because they release toxins into your bloodstream and can cause symptoms similar to various gut conditions. From sydneygutclinic.com “While some parasites don’t cause noticeable symptoms, some grow, reproduce or invade healthy functioning systems, making their hosts sick, resulting in parasitic infection. For instance, some parasites may consume your food and leave you hungry after meals, resulting in an inability to gain weight. Others may feed off your red blood cells causing anaemia or lay eggs resulting in itching, irritability, and even insomnia.”

Symptoms of Parasitic Infection

Sydneyguthealth.com lists a variety of symptoms from parasitic infections that could easily be misdiagnosed. So I thought it would be important to list these symptoms to educate readers who are struggling with their health and have not yet looked into parasitic infections.

“The signs and symptoms of infections caused by a parasite vary depending on the organism that’s residing in your body. Some of the most common signs of a parasitic infection include:”

  • Stomach cramps and pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Digestive problems including unexplained constipation, diarrhoea or persistent gas
  • Skin issues such as rashes, eczema, hives, and itching
  • Continuous muscle and joint pain
  • Fatigue, even when you get enough sleep
  • Depression or feeling of apathetic
  • Never feeling full, even after a big meal
  • Constant hunger, even when you’re eating enough
  • Iron deficiency/anaemia
  • Grinding your teeth during sleep
  • Unexplained feelings of anxiety
  • Recurrent yeast infections
  • Itching of the anus or vagina
  • Itching, redness, irritation, and an unusual discharge from the genital area
  • Trouble falling asleep or waking up multiple times during the night

Symptoms such as sleeping irregularities, skin irritation, mood changes, and muscle pain can all be caused by the toxins released by the parasites into your bloodstream. These toxins could even cause anxiety, which tends to manifest itself in irregular sleeping patterns or teeth grinding. You may also experience mood swings or skin irritation when these toxins interact with the neurotransmitters or blood cells in your body.

Paleoleap.com says “There’s some evidence that apparently unrelated diseases like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome might have a link to parasitic infectionsThis study found that people with inflammatory bowel diseases (especially ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) were more likely to be infected with a certain type of parasite (blastocystis, a protozoan infection) than healthy controls.”

They also note that “gastrointestinal parasites are very tricky to deal with because they can be completely asymptomatic for years before flaring up. Sometimes, they can also cause intermittent symptoms that disappear and come back again and again. This paper, for example, describes how infection with the common parasite giardia often causes long-term symptoms that never seem to go away for good.”

As with anything to do with your health, it is always important to consult a healthcare practitioner.  When it comes your gut, having tests done by a gastroenterologist will determine whether or not you have a parasitic infection.  A proper diet that is rich in probiotics or probiotic supplements and digestive enzymes is a good idea.  Reducing or eliminating sugar is always a good choice regardless of the illness you may be experiencing.

https://sydneygutclinic.com/the-main-symptoms-of-parasitic-infection/

https://paleoleap.com/persistent-gut-problems-sure-isnt-parasite/

5 Important Reasons To Use Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

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Hydroxyapatite in its natural form, is a type of calcium. Pure hydroxyapatite is white in color. It makes up most of the human bone structure and is a major component of teeth.  This form of calcium is what give bones and teeth their rigidity.

Uses for Hydroxyapatite

Research in non-medical uses include air filtration to remove carbon dioxide and a filter to remove fluoride from saturated soil. But where hydroxyapatite has really grown in popularity is in its medical uses.

A form of hydroxyapatite called nano hydroxyapatite is commonly used in joint replacement and dental surgeries because it encourages new bone growth and the body is less likely to reject implants.  It also helps to anchor new implants more effectively.

Calcium supplements of hydroxyapatite have shown early promise for maintaining bone health better than calcium carbonate supplements, although more research in this area is needed.

Hydroxyapatite toothpaste

Tooth enamel is almost all hydroxyapatite. So, using it for oral care makes sense.  More importantly it is nontoxic! A study comparing fluoride toothpaste to hydroxyapatite toothpaste showed an equal outcome of re-mineralizing and preventing demineralization.  So why not go with the nontoxic hydroxyapatite that your teeth are made of anyway?

Regular use of hydroxyapatite toothpaste can help healthy teeth stay healthy and avoid becoming demineralized in the first place.

Not only does it help to re-mineralize damaged teeth but it can also help to minimize the bacteria involved in the formation of cavities. Using hydroxyapatite toothpaste helps protect your teeth from acid produced by bacteria without adversely affecting your oral microbiome.

Typical toothpastes on the market contain fluoride which is bactericidal.  This means that it kills all bacteria in the mouth.  But the mouth, much like our gut has a microbiome that is naturally there to keep our mouths healthy.  Additives like chlorhexidine, triclosan, or alcohol may temporarily reduce bacterial overgrowth issues, but they can lead to other health problems over time.

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Helps With Dental Implants/Fillings

In an article on Carifree.com the author states “Dental implants that are coated in nano hydroxyapatite encourage bone growth and implant more effectively than non-coated implants. It can be added to dental filling agents used to repair serious cavities. It also has been shown to reduce or eliminate tooth sensitivity after whitening. It also can improve outcomes with dental implants much like it can with bone implants in the rest of the body. It has become an important tool in the periodontal and oral surgery specialties.”

Whitens Teeth

One of the benefits of using hydroxyapatite toothpaste is an increased whitening effect.

It Is Resistant to Acidic PH

The pH of the mouth should always be slightly alkaline to prevent inflammation and oral disease. Hydroxyapatite toothpaste helps teeth become more resistant to acidic pH in the mouth, which would otherwise break down enamel faster.

It May Improve Gum Health

Using HAp toothpaste may help improve and strengthen gum and dental health in patients with gum disease. Improvements include dental plaque control, pocket depth, and bleeding gums.

The best way to use hydroxyapatite toothpaste is to leave it on your teeth after brushing, in other words, no rinsing

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41405-019-0026-8

https://carifree.com/blog/common-uses-of-hydroxyapatite-and-how-it-can-affect-your-teeth/

https://www.mewmouth.com/blog/hydroxyapatite-toothpaste/

https:/askthedentist.com/hydroxyapatite-toothpaste/

 

Breathe In A Better Life, Literally

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By now, I’m sure most of us have heard that breathwork – the art of controlling your breath or focusing on your breath is good for us.  But even though I knew that I wanted to know why because when we understand the why behind something, it makes it easier to incorporate into our lives.

What is Breathwork?

Breathwork is a general term for any type of focused, intentional breathing exercises.  This meditational practice works to promote spiritual, mental and physical well-being.

Types of Breathwork

It appears there are many types of breathwork.  We’ll take a look at a few, but there are many others that are worth taking a look at.

  • Shamanic Breathwork – a form of rhythmical breathing that begins with smudging, chanting and setting an intention. Participants breathe to the rhythm of drum and will connect to their inner healer (Shaman).  The intention is to reach a state of consciousness beyond just your mind so that you can not only heal but empower yourself.
  • Wim Hof – Wim Hof developed breathing exercises to maximize oxygen levels which in turn benefit the body’s functions at the molecular level both chemically and physiologically. The exercise starts with a series of deep breaths in and out followed by a breath hold and then a recovery breath. This is repeated a number of times.
  • Pranayama – One of the oldest forms of breathwork, dating back at least 5000 years. According to artofliving.org, Prana’ refers to the universal life force and ‘ayama’ means to regulate or lengthen. These ancient yogic seers observed the power of the breath to increase one’s prana and developed special breathing techniques to increase life energy, maintain health and create a calm, clear state of mind that is conducive for meditation. Pranayama is not just breath control as commonly perceived, but it is the control of prana through the breath. These techniques involve breathing through the nostrils in a specific pattern of inhalation, breath retention, exhalation. Some common yoga breathing exercises include Ujjayi breathing, Bhastrika pranayama, Bhramari pranayama, and Nadi Shodhan pranayama (alternate nostril breathing)

Benefits of Breathwork

So why is it that breathing exercises are so beneficial?   Breathing is part of the autonomic nervous system.  This system is what controls involuntary activities –  the pumping of the hear, digestion etc.  There are two parts to the autonomic nervous system – Sympathetic and Parasympathetic.  The sympathetic nervous system is our “flight or fight” responses.  The parasympathetic is what controls the “rest and relax” responses. The parasympathetic side decreases alertness, blood pressure, and heart rate, and helps with calmness, relaxation, and digestion. Breathing is unique in that it is part of the autonomic nervous system, but we can control it as well.  And by controlling our breathing we allow the parasympathetic side to take take the wheel so to speak. By doing so it can positively influence our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  Studies show that controlled breathing i.e breathwork can help with stress, anxiety, sleep disturbances, ADD, PTSD, low energy, cardiovascular problems.

When we talk about the parasympathetic nervous system it’s important to include the Vagus nerve because it is an instrumental part of why breathwork has the affects that it does.  Breathwork stimulates the Vagus nerve.

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What is the Vagus Nerve?

This cranial nerve originates in the brainstem and travels through the neck into the abdomen.  It carries signals back and forth from the brain to the digestive system and other organs.  So, by controlled breathing, particularly extending the exhale, we stimulate the vagus nerve.  The vagus nerve stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and relax)

The vagus nerve effects:

  • Communication between the brain and the gut:  It delivers information from the gut to the brain.  And we know how closely our gut health is linked to our immune health
  • Relaxation with deep breathing: It communicates with the diaphragm. With deep breaths, a person feels more relaxed.
  • Decreasing inflammation: It sends an anti-inflammatory signal to other parts of the body.
  • Lowering the heart rate and blood pressure: If the vagus nerve is overactive, it can lead to the heart being unable to pump enough blood around the body. In some cases, excessive vagus nerve activity can cause loss of consciousness and organ damage.
  • Fear management: It nerve sends information from the gut to the brain, which is linked to dealing with stress, anxiety and fear – hence the saying, “gut feeling.” These signals help a person to recover from stressful and scary situations.

In an article from Medical News Today,  they write “With the Vagus nerve having pathways to almost every organ in the body, researchers are looking to see if stimulation can help other conditions. “These conditions include:

  • rheumatoid arthritis inflammation
  • heart failure
  • inflammation from diabetes mellitus
  • intractable hiccups
  • abnormal heart rhythm
  • inflammation from Crohn’s disease

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, which affects 1.3 million adults in the U.S., a study in 2016 showed that vagus nerve stimulation could help reduce symptoms. Individuals who had failed to respond to other treatment reported significant improvements, while no serious adverse side effects were noted.

This was considered a real breakthrough in how vagus nerve stimulation might not only treat rheumatoid arthritis but other inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s”.

 

Cautions

Advice from lonerwolf.com  gives great general advice:

“Breathwork, for some people, particularly those with pre-existing heart problems, can be dangerous. It’s best to speak to a qualified medical practitioner before attempting any form of breathwork, particularly if your health is fragile.

Pregnant women should also seek professional advice first. Furthermore, some forms of breathwork are best practiced with a qualified practitioner.

Above all, if you feel intense discomfort or feelings of unsafety during this practice (either by yourself or with another person), stop immediately. The beauty of breathwork is that you can stop at any time, and indeed you should stop if at any point it becomes too much for you.”

https://lonerwolf.com/breathwork/

https://ideapod.com/shamanic-breathwork

https://www.artofliving.org/us-en/blog/pranayama-yoga-breathing-techniques#What%20is%20pranayama

https://www.artofliving.org/us-en/research-sudarshan-kriya

https://www.wimhofmethod.com/

https://chopra.com/tags/breathwork

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455070/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0193953X13000026

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189422/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6137615/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318128#Further-research-and-considerations

 

 

 

Viruses Aren’t the Bad Guys and Here’s Why

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In these last 2 years the world’s focus has been on health and not necessarily in a positive light.  Our focus has been on the dangers of viruses, sterilization, wearing masks, isolation and social distancing.  However, I think it’s an important time to talk about the Virome and why it is essential.

What is the Virome?

You might be wondering what a Virome is? Well, just as we have a microbiome made up of trillions of bacteria hanging out within us, so too, do we have viruses.  In fact, the Virome is not only within us but it is also part of our air, water and soil, about 1030 .  , that’s 10 million times more viruses in the air, water, and soil then there are stars in the universe.

What are Viruses?

Viruses are not living organisms, it is a small collection of genetic code, either DNA or RNA, surrounded by a protein coat. They are secreted from bacteria, fungus, plants, and humans.

The History of Viruses

Viruses helped shape our evolution and make us who we are. The placenta’s formation, for example, is reliant upon a retrovirus gene insert that happened in mammals millions of years ago. We would not have emergence of mammals and mammalian birth without the genomic insert of a retrovirus.  We wouldn’t have a stem cells and their function without a viral insert.

Why Do We Need Them?

More then %50 of the genome that makes up humans and other living organisms are made up of viral inserts into our genome.  So, viruses are a part of our make up, they don’t attack us, they don’t take over our genome.  They are available for genomic updates.  Not every virus that comes into our system is going to be taken up by our genome.  Only a small fraction become part our human genome.  So, there is a constant adaptation of the body to the virome and they become essential to our functions.

The body has been in a state of balance with viruses since the beginning of humankind.  In a newborn- 7 days old, there are 108  viruses in every gram of stool.  This is before the child has its own innate immune system.

Benefits 

In an article from BBC.com the author states that the vast majority of viruses are not pathogenic to humans, and many play integral roles in propping up ecosystems. Others maintain the health of individual organisms – everything from fungi and plants to insects and humans. “We live in a balance, in a perfect equilibrium”, and viruses are a part of that, says Susana Lopez Charretón, a virologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “I think we’d be done without viruses.”

Ecosystems:  viruses keep the delicate balance of life in check in the world’s oceans and other ecosystems.  They regulate bacterial populations. If this delicate balance were disrupted some bacterial populations would disappear while others would proliferate.  When viruses are part of the cycle of balancing life it allows the oxygen-producing plankton to undergo high rates of photosynthesis which sustains life on Earth.

“If we don’t have death, then we have no life, because life is completely dependent on recycling of materials,” says Curtis Suttle, an environmental virologist at the University of British Columbia.

china virus, stomach virus, virus, wuhan virus

Protective to humans: Stated in the article Why the World Needs Viruses to Function on BBC.com…”GB virus C, a common blood-born human virus that is a non-pathogenic distant relative of West Nile virus and dengue fever, is linked to delayed progression to Aids in HIV-positive people. Scientists also found that GB virus C seems to make people infected with Ebola less likely to die.

Likewise, herpes makes mice less susceptible to certain bacterial infections, including the bubonic plague and listeria (a common type of food poisoning). Infecting people with herpesvirus, bubonic plague and listeria to replicate the mouse experiment would be unethical, but the study’s authors suspect that their findings in rodents likely apply to humans”.

These few examples are reminders to us that viruses are not always the bad guy.  In fact, for the most part viruses play and have played an essential role to evolution of humankind and in the delicate balance of earth’s ecosystems.  We mustn’t forget the innate intelligence of nature that has been choreographing this delicate balance of living things for millions of years.

 

https://www.amnh.org/explore/viruses-vaccines-pandemic-science/virus-virome

https://zachbushmd.com/knowledge-virome/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150430170750.htm#:~:text=Summary%3A,current%20literature%20on%20beneficial%20viruses.

http://www.eebweb.arizona.edu/faculty/saleska/SWES.410.510/Readings/Suttle2005-NatureVirusReview.pdf

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200617-what-if-all-viruses-disappeared

Why Red Light Therapy is the Secret to Better Health

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What is Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is a type of treatment that uses low levels of red or near-infrared light to treat skin, muscle and other parts of the body. You may have also heard it been called Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or low-power laser therapy (LPLT) and photobiomodulation (PBM).

When you are exposed to this light that is not seen but felt as heat, the mitochondria (power generators of your cells) absorb it and makes more energy.  This energy boost energizes cells, creating a ripple effect: as individual cells work better, they improve the functioning of various bodily systems that work together to support healing.

Red light activates stem cells in the bone marrow, which causes the cells to mobilize to the site of the injury. This is important because emerging cells take cues from their neighbors; if new cells take on the characteristics of damaged cells, then they will function as damaged cells. Sending in healthy cells is required to “teach” the emerging cells to adopt the desired characteristics of healthy cells.

The History of Light Therapy

Using light as healing therapy has a long history that dates back to ancient times when they used the sun’s healing rays.  Throughout history we can find examples of light being used in different forms to heal the body and even grow plants in outer space!  So, it should come as no surprise that it’s now used in a wide variety of practices across various sectors of professions.  You can now purchase home devices as well.

Some Uses for Red Light Therapy

  • DementiaIn one small study, people with dementia who got regular near-infrared light therapy on their heads and through their noses for 12 weeks had better memories, slept better, and were angry less often.
  • Dental pain. In another small study, people with temporomandibular dysfunction syndrome had less pain, clicking, and jaw tenderness after red light therapy.
  • Hair Loss. One study found that men and women with androgenetic alopecia (a genetic disorder that causes hair loss) who used an at-home RLT device for 24 weeks grew thicker hair. People in the study who used a fake RLT device didn’t get the same results.
  • Osteoarthritis: One study found red and infrared light therapy cut osteoarthritis-related pain by more than 50%.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1727843/
  • Tendonitis. A very small study of 7 people suggests RLT lessens inflammation and pain in people with Achilles’ tendinitis.
  • Wrinkles and other signs of skin aging and skin damage. Research shows RLT may smooth your skin and help with wrinkles. RLT also helps with acne scars, burns and signs of UV sun damage.  Red light simulates normal functioning in fibroblasts, the cells responsible for collagen and elastin synthesis. Increasing fibroblast proliferation increases and normalizes collagen and elastin production.
  • Boosting the circulatory system (blood) and the lymphatic system (lymph) supports proper healing. According to a 2017 study by Austrian researchers, red light promotes the proliferationof endothelial cells, which make up capillaries in both the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems.

red light therapy, red light therapy benefits, red light therapy before and after, red light therapy at homeWhat Are the Risks?

Red light therapy is generally considered safe, even though researchers aren’t exactly sure how and why it works. And there are no set rules on how much light to use. Too much light may damage skin tissue, but too little might not work as well.  However, you can find more information on dosing by clicking here https://redlightman.com/blog/complete-guide-light-therapy-dosing/

Where Can You Find It?

It’s usually done in a doctor’s office. But some salons, dental offices and other healthcare practitioners have it, too. You can also buy your own red light therapy device. Do you research before choosing the right option for you and always contact a health care professional.

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/red-light-therapy

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZKl5Me4XwPj4YgJCBes3VSCJjiVO4XI0tIR0rbMBj08/edit#gid=0

https://www.degreewellness.com/2020/08/research-shows-red-light-therapy-may-aid-memory-recovery-and-prevent-cognitive-decline-from-alzheimers-and-dementia/#:~:text=Lab%20Dementia%20Models%20Show%20Both,levels%20and%20restored%20memory%20function.

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/prt/2019/8578703/

https://www.degreewellness.com/2020/01/red-light-therapy-for-hair-growth-and-baldness/#:~:text=Researchers%20concluded%20that%20red%20light%20therapy%20treatments%20were%20effective.,on%20women%20experiencing%20hair%20loss.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4846838/

 

5 Ways Alkaline Water Can Boost Your Life

alkaline water, what is alkaline water, alkaline water benefits, what is the benefits of alkaline water, is alkaline water good for you

We’ve all heard the suggestion to drink 8 glasses of water a day because water is good for you.  To put it simply, our body needs water in order to function properly since 60% of our body is water! As studies suggest, staying hydrated can improve your productivity, mood, memory, energy level, and clarity. So what is the big hype about alkaline water?  The idea that alkaline water is medicinal, curative, and able to bring about optimal health seems to be based on the belief that acidic properties in the body and blood are the cause of ill health and disease and need to be neutralized. Therefore, a more alkaline body will lead to better health.

What is Alkaline water?

Alkaline water has a higher PH level then regular drinking water. The pH level is a scale and the lower the PH the more acidic it is. High concentrations of hydrogen ions yield a low pH (acidic substances), whereas low levels of hydrogen ions result in a high pH (basic substances).

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. Anything below 7 (ranging from 0 to 6.9) is acidic, and anything above 7 (ranging from 7.1 to 14) is basic. The blood in your veins is slightly basic (pH = 7.4), whereas soap (pH = 12) and bleach (pH = 13) are highly basic. On the other hand, coffee is slightly acidic (pH = 5) and tomato juice (pH = 4) and lemon juice (pH = 2) are highly acidic.

Alkaline compounds (alkali) are substances, like salts, metals, and minerals, that, when added to water, make it more basic. Water always contains some amount of dissolved solids including minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium, but alkaline water tends to have a higher amount of total dissolved solids, which increases its pH level. Regular drinking water is typically neutral with a pH level of 7 and alkaline water is slightly basic with a pH level of about 8 or 9.

Alkaline water contains four major minerals that contribute to its remarkable health benefits:

  1. Calcium: Important for bone health, as well as heart, muscle, and nerve function.
  2. Magnesium: Helps turn food into energy and is necessary for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
  3. Sodium: Regulates blood pressure and volume, and supports nerve/muscle function.
  4. Potassium: A type of electrolyte that is essential for muscle function and promotes healthy digestion.

The claims that Alkaline water is beneficial to one’s health is controversial in that some claims lack proven scientific research.   But those that have been scientifically proven are:

alkaline water, what is alkaline water, alkaline water benefits, what is the benefits of alkaline water, is alkaline water good for you

Improve Bone Health

Some research has been done on the effects of alkaline intake on bones. A study published in the scientific journal Bone found a positive effect on bone resorption with people who consumed alkaline water rich in bicarbonate. Bone resorption is the process where old bone cells are broken down and replaced by new ones. Less bone resorption and more mineral density resulted in better bone strength. The authors of the study concluded that “a bicarbonate- and calcium-rich alkali mineral water decreased bone resorption more than a calcium-rich acidic mineral water.”

Soothe Acid Reflux

A study published in Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology found that drinking alkaline water at pH 8.8 can help soothe acid reflux because the higher pH level kills pepsin, an enzyme involved in breaking down food proteins and a main cause for acid reflux. Acid reflux is when the contents of the stomach, which are acidic, splash back up the food pipe. Acid reflux that keeps happening for a long time can cause damage and a disease known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

Reduce High Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, and Cholesterol

In 2016, scientists in Shanghai found that three to six months after drinking alkaline water, people with high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood sugar (diabetes), and high blood lipids (cholesterol) had lower measures in each of these factors. Researchers found that a high-pH electrolyte water reduced the thickness and stickiness of your blood, in 100 adults after exercising. This may help reduce cardiovascular strain due to dehydration.

Enhance Hydration

A 2017 study published in Biology of Sport found that drinking alkaline water shows a positive effect on hydration status after anaerobic exercise with a significant decrease of specific urine gravity. Intake of alkaline water also shows a positive effect on urine pH during the anaerobic test protocol, and much more efficient lactate utilization after the high-intensity interval exercise. In addition to enhanced hydration, efficient lactate utilization results in increased energy, as lactate serves as an energy source in skeletal muscles.

In contrast, subjects who consumed regular drinking water showed no changes over the same period of time. These results indicate that the habitual consumption of alkaline water may be a valuable nutritional vector influencing both acid-base balance and hydration status, as well as energy levels in active healthy adults.

Increase Longevity

A study published in 2016 looked at the effect of consuming alkaline water on 150 mice over a period of three years. Results suggested that those who drank alkaline water had signs of greater longevity, in other words, they aged less and were more likely to live longer. Histological examination of mice kidneys, intestines, hearts, livers, and brains was performed in order to verify the risk of diseases correlated to drinking alkaline water. No significant damage, but aging changes, emerged; organs of alkaline watered animals resulted to be relatively superimposable to controls, shedding a further light on the benefits of alkaline water consumption in humans.

 

https://quenchwater.com/blog/what-is-alkaline-water

https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/ph-and-water?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/references/acids-bases-the-ph-scale
 https://sciencing.com/alkaline-vs-basic-6132782.html
 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alkali
 https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/calciumvitamin-d/
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002415.htm
https://medlineplus.gov/potassium.html
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S8756328208007813
 https://www.mybiosource.com/learn/conditions/bone-resorption/
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/000348941212100702
https://gi.org/topics/acid-reflux/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gerd/symptoms-causes/syc-20361940 h
 https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-016-0153-8
 https://www.cvphysiology.com/Hemodynamics/H011
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5676322/
 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003587.htm
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24950803
https://www.nal.usda.gov/sites/default/files/fnic_uploads/energy_full_report.pdf
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5676322/

 

 

Why Vitamins Are the Secret to Better Health

vitamins, vitamin shoppe, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin C

We have always been told to take vitamins and minerals but why?  And how do we know what we need? How do we know that we are getting quality products?  Theses are all important questions, and we are going to take a look at these questions and try to answer them.

Why do we need vitamins and minerals?

This is the simple part of the puzzle. We need vitamins and minerals for the health functioning of our mind and body.  Every system of our body: skin, bones, muscles, blood, nerves, brain and so many more requires these raw materials because the body can’t produce sufficient amounts on its own.  So, we get these raw materials from our food.

A healthy balanced diet should supply us with the nutrients our body and mind need.  But there are a few things that could prevent us from getting all the nutrients we need.  Let’s look at a few,

Cooking Methods

Cooking can improve the absorption of some foods while other foods lose their nutrients if they are cooked.  But it also depends on how the food is cooked.  For example, the protein in cooked eggs is 180% more digestible than that of raw eggs.  Nutrients reduced from cooking:

  • water-soluble vitamins: vitamin C and the B vitamins — thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12)
  • fat-soluble vitamins: vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • minerals: primarily potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium

Boiling, simmering or poaching reduces water-soluble vitamins C and B.  However, if the water is consumed then the vitamins are retained.   Grilling or broiling causes a loss of B vitamins because the nutrient rich juice drips off the meat. Roasting and baking result in less of a loss of vitamin C but because of the high heat and longer cooking times, vitamin B is reduced by %40.  Sautéing and stir-frying improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and some plant compounds, but they decrease the amount of vitamin C in vegetables. Frying makes food taste delicious, and it can provide some benefits when healthy oils are used. It’s best to avoid frying fatty fish and minimize the frying time of other foods. Steaming is one of the best cooking methods for preserving nutrients, including water-soluble vitamins. Here are some cooking tips to maximize nutrient retention cited from healtline.com:

  1. Use as little water as possible when poaching or boiling.
  2. Consume the liquid left in the pan after cooking vegetables.
  3. Add back juices from meat that drip into the pan.
  4. Don’t peel vegetables until after cooking them. Better yet, don’t peel at all to maximize their fiber and nutrient density.
  5. Cook vegetables in smaller amounts of water to reduce the loss of vitamin C and B vitamins.
  6. Try to eat any cooked vegetables within a day or two, as their vitamin C content may continue to decline when the cooked food is exposed to air.
  7. Cut food after — rather than before — cooking, if possible. When food is cooked whole, less of it is exposed to heat and water.
  8. Cook vegetables for only a few minutes whenever possible.
  9. When cooking meat, poultry, and fish, use the shortest cooking time needed for safe consumption.
  10. Don’t use baking soda when cooking vegetables. Although it helps maintain color, vitamin C will be lost in the alkaline environment produced by baking soda.

Can we absorb the nutrients?

There are some conditions or diseases that could cause malabsorption of nutrients.  Here’s what CentreSpringMD had to say “Having a weak gut lining, food allergies, microbiome imbalances such as bacterial overgrowth, damage to the intestines from infection, surgery, pancreatic insufficiency, autoimmune disease–all of these are possible causes that lead to poor nutrient absorption. Pair that with the possibilities of our foods not having optimal nutrient levels due poor soil quality, other environmental factors, and it is not difficult to see how nutrient deficiencies are pervasive in today’s world.

Often people go years with subclinical deficiencies that lead to an array of symptoms. Hair loss, brain fog, chronic fatigue, these are just a few! Prolonged or frequent use of antibiotics can alter the terrain of the gut in a way that leads to nutrient malabsorption.

And of course, our infamous friend named stress is well known to slow digestion and significantly alter the microbiome… thereby negatively impacting digestion and immunity (remember how the gut houses a huge percentage of your immune system?!)”. To ensure your body gets the vitamins it needs, consider scheduling a Vitamin IV in Nashville. These treatments supply vitamins directly to the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system, so the body can begin using them right away.

 

Growing conditions of our food

According to one article sited “fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Sadly, each successive generation of fast-growing, pest-resistant carrot is truly less good for you than the one before.” And according to several studies this decline in nutrients is measurable

What can be done? The key to healthier produce is healthier soil. Alternating fields between growing seasons to give land time to restore would be one important step. Also, foregoing pesticides and fertilizers in favor of organic growing methods is good for the soil, the produce and its consumers. Those who want to get the most nutritious fruits and vegetables should buy regularly from local organic farmers.

What to look for when buying vitamins

Now that we’ve taken a look at the reasons why we might need to take supplemental vitamins and minerals, perhaps we should learn a little about shopping for them since the market is vast so how do we know what to buy?

Vitamin and mineral supplements are subject to fairly limited regulation by the FDA. To ensure the safety and accuracy of a product, look for supplements that have been certified by a third-party testing organization

Taking supplements should be done under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner. Depending on the type and level of ingredients, there are risks of side effects, toxicity, and interactions with drugs, foods, and alcohol. Additionally, supplements are not guaranteed to be effective.

You’ll want to look for supplements that adhere to any dietary restrictions you may have. How often you need to take the supplement, as well as its form, such as capsules or chewable gummies, should also be considered.

 

https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/vitamins-and-minerals.html

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6049644/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cooking-nutrient-content#cooking-amp-nutrients

https://centrespringmd.com/what-causes-poor-absorption-of-nutrients/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-choose-high-quality-vitamins-and-supplements#regulation

 

9 Amazing Affects of Kindness on Health

kind, kindness, be kind quotes

2021 is drawing to a close and naturally we reflect back on the year we had and most of us are probably looking back a little further recalling our lives prior to COVID-19.  It’s been a difficult 2 years for humankind and so how do we go forward?  What is it that we all have in common, that we can all do and can affect our global family?  We all have within us the capability to be KIND to one another and to ourselves.  And when we tap into that common thread among us it can spread like wildfire.  I think we can agree that no matter who you are, where you are, what circumstances you’re in, that a little kindness goes a long way. I can recall an experience I had awhile ago when I was grocery shopping, and I was putting my groceries in the trunk of my car in the pouring rain.   I had put my last bag in the trunk and was about to bring the cart to the corral and out of nowhere a woman grabbed my cart and said, “I can bring it back for you, there is no sense in both of us getting soaked”. I can’t describe the enormity of my feelings at that moment.  I was initially surprised, which made me wonder why I would feel surprised by another person’s act of kindness.  And then I felt such gratitude and happiness that it carried me for a few days after.  This woman didn’t know me or the impression it left upon me but that is the beauty of kindness.  It doesn’t require much to do but the affect can be life changing.  Since that encounter, I am always looking for ways to pay it forward.

Did you know kindness is good for your health?

According to several studies kindness can:

  • Cause a production of oxytocin which helps in lowering blood pressure and improving overall heart health
  • Increase self-esteem and optimism
  • Increase happiness
  • Increase longevity
  • Increase serotonin, the chemical that heals wounds, calms and makes you happy
  • Decreases pain by releasing endorphins – natural painkillers
  • Decreases stress because of less cortisol
  • Decreases anxiety and depression
  • Kindness is contagious

kind, kindness, be kind quotes

If kindness to others can have all these amazing effects on your health imagine what it could do when you also are kind to yourself!  Here are 52 ways to be kinder to yourself cited by Inc.com

  • Embrace your own power and you’ll be better able to empower others.
  • Learn to calm your mind. A calm mind is the best weapon against even the biggest challenges.
  • Have a courageous conversation. Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
  • Create media blackout days. Shut out all the screens and other things that distract or disturb you.
  • Be true to your word. Speak with integrity; say only what you mean and never speak ill of yourself or others. Use the power of your words in service to truth and kindness.
  • Do the right thing, even if no one is watching. Doing the right thing may hurt, but doing the wrong thing causes lasting harm.
  • Spend time with people who do good things. Never stop doing things for others and spend your precious time with others who share that spirit.
  • Embrace the unknown. Fear of the unknown can be truly paralyzing but having the courage and conviction to take a chance can turn fear to your advantage.
  • Be compassionate toward yourself. Be as understanding with yourself as you would be with your best friend. If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.
  • Celebrate your growth. Sometimes we forget to celebrate how far we’ve come. Mental, emotional, and spiritual growth don’t happen automatically. They take work and perseverance, and they’re worth rewarding.
  • Don’t ever settle. Never accept less than you deserve, because once you start to settle, you always will.
  • Stop worrying about what other people think. The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think.
  • Don’t live your life online. Make sure you’re spending time with people face-to-face and living fully in real life.
  • Treat others with respect. Treating others with respect and generosity is associated with high self-esteem.
  • Realize you are worthy and deserving. There’s a big difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness.
  • Be kind to others. Set an example. Treat everyone with the same consideration you want for yourself.
  • Express yourself courageously. Speak your truth and live to express, not to impress.
  • Be your own superhero. Remember, superheroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.
  • Shut down negative self-talk. The things you tell yourself every day are either going to lift you up or tear you down. It’s your choice.
  • Hold yourself to a high standard. Never let anyone tell you your standards are too high. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take your work and your responsibilities seriously, but yourself not so much.
  • Do something you’re afraid to do. Learn to overcome fear with will.
  • Take time off. Everyone deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solution searched for. There’s no harm in withdrawing from your cares for a while.
  • Learn to forgive. In any conflict, the first to apologize is the bravest, the first to forgive is the strongest, and the first to forget is the happiest.
  • Set big goals. Set daily, monthly, and long-term goals built on your dreams. Never be afraid you’re thinking too big–nothing is impossible. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve it.
  • Respect yourself fully. Always treat yourself with the same respect you show others. Remember, the world sees what you put out there–so hold yourself to a high standard.
  • Give to others. Giving is the master key to happiness in life. It’s in giving that we receive the most.
  • Truly listen to people when they are speaking. Stop every other action and thought and focus on what’s being said.
  • Go to bed early. You’ll be happier, healthier, and more productive.
  • Help others. Don’t look for a reason to help people; just do it.
  • Change your thoughts to change your life. If you truly want to be better to yourself, start by listening to your thoughts. Your mind is a powerful thing, and when you fill it with positive thoughts amazing things can happen.
  • Stop trying to fit in. When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect. Concentrate instead on being yourself and standing out.
  • Think of a way to make your life easier, then do it. If something doesn’t add to your life, it doesn’t belong in your life.
  • Stop judging yourself. One of the most important ways we can be kinder to ourselves is to stop judging ourselves. Don’t sum up your whole life in one moment.
  • Make the most of every opportunity. When opportunity knocks, don’t let fear hold you back. Open the door and embrace the opportunity, because it may be the most important one you’ll receive.
  • Learn to let things go. Sometimes the best way to be happy is to learn to let go of things you tried hard to hold on to.
  • Ask for help. Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.
  • Stay focused. Keep yourself on task and you’ll discover more free time.
  • Be fully present. To be present in the moment is one of the greatest acts of kindness you can give yourself.
  • Take time for yourself. There is a virtue in work and there is virtue in taking time off. Enjoy both in balance.
  • Nourish yourself. What if you devoted the coming year to simply caring for yourself? Don’t make excuses, adjustments, or improvements–just do whatever it takes to nurture yourself.
  • Bring music into your life. Music gives wings to the mind and flight to the imagination.
  • Get out and have fun. There’s no valid reason not to enjoy your life every day.
  • Appreciate people in your life. Appreciation can make someone’s day or even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words, even awkwardly, is all that is necessary.
  • Learn to dance freely. Even if it’s only when nobody’s watching, learn to let yourself be loose and enjoy each step.
  • Don’t rest on your laurels. Keep yourself motivated and moving forward.
  • Try to bring meaning to every day. It’s important to remember that we all have meaning within us.
  • Learn to apologize. Apologizing doesn’t always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right–sometimes it just means that you value your relationship more than your ego.
  • Boldly challenge yourself. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.
  • Treat yourself to a personal health day. Take time off and get a massage, eat great food, do nothing, take a walk, work out, whatever you do–treat yourself to whatever makes you happy.
  • Be your own best friend. It’s far better than being your own worst enemy.
  • Reinvent yourself. Life isn’t about finding yourself; life will always be about creating yourself.

https://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/52-ways-you-can-be-kinder-to-yourself.html

https://www.gms.ca/living-well/the-health-benefits-and-science-of-kindness

https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/the-art-of-kindness

https://www.dartmouth.edu/wellness/emotional/rakhealthfacts.pdf