- Created on 17 October 2013
By Jessica Levine for Men's Health
If you don't fast-forward commercials, you've seen this one from Zicam: A pretty woman daintily sneezes into her elbow when out of nowhere a snot-nosed monster of a cold is chasing her. "That first sneeze. You have a pre-cold," the voiceover says. She runs. He corners her in a dark alley. She panics.
You've been there. Adults average two to four colds a year, and the typical upper respiratory infection takes up to 10 days to get over. But that first sniffle, throat tickle or cough doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. In this case, a heroic box of Zicam saved the day, of course, flattening Snot-Nose like a semi. But it turns out there are other cold-fighting heroes out there, too.
1. Pop zinc. It's not false advertising. Research shows taking zinc (the active ingredient in Zicam) lozenges, tablets or syrup within a day of your first symptoms can reduce both their severity and duration. Taking a supplement regularly can help, too.
2. Then find Zen. "When you're under stress, your immune system ends up under-reacting to viral and bacterial infections," says Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, M.D., internist and past president of the American College of Physicians. Perhaps that's why University of Wisconsin researchers found mindfulness meditation training reduced the incidence, duration and severity of a cold by 35 to 60 percent.
3. Jack up your H2O intake. "Hydration helps keep your nasal passages moist, so they can actually get rid of little particles from bacteria," Fryhofer says.
4. Make like Grandpa and gargle. Evidence shows gargling with water a few times a day during cold and flu season may also help flush out bugs.
5. Pop a probiotic. In a recent study, probiotic supplements shortened the duration of a cold from six days to four, made symptoms a third less severe and halved the number of days subjects stayed home. Look for the strains LGG and BB12.
Click here for the full list.
- Created on 16 October 2013
Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine and red grape skins, could make radiation treatment for cancer more effective, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine found that treating melanoma cells with resveratrol in a lab setting made them more susceptible to radiation.
"We've seen glimmers of possibilities, and it seems that resveratrol could potentially be very important in treating a variety of cancers," study researcher Michael Nicholl, M.D., an assistant professor of surgery at the university, said in a statement. "It comes down to how to administer the resveratrol. If we can develop a successful way to deliver the compound to tumor sites, resveratrol could potentially be used to treat many types of cancers. Melanoma is very tricky due to the nature of how the cancer cells travel throughout the body, but we envision resveratrol could be combined with radiation to treat symptomatic metastatic tumors, which can develop in the brain or bone."
The study, which was published in the Journal of Surgical Research, involved applying resveratrol to melanoma cell lines. When researchers applied resveratrol only to the melanoma cells, 44 percent of them died. And when they applied resveratrol to the cells with radiation, 65 percent died.
Resveratrol has been fingered in other studies for its potential cancer-fighting abilities. A 2011 study in the FASEB journal showed that resveratrol could stop growth of breast cancer cells in a lab setting.
- Created on 15 October 2013
A Costco store in South San Francisco has recalled nearly 40,000 pounds of rotisserie chicken and chicken products that may have been contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg in connection with the Foster Farms salmonella outbreak, according to reports.
The recalled products include 8,730 "Kirkland Signature Foster Farms" rotisserie chickens and 313 total units of "Kirkland Farm" rotisserie chicken soup, rotisserie chicken leg quarters and rotisserie chicken salad. The products were sold between September 11 and September 23.
According to the Los Angeles Times, at least one person was sickened by eating a cooked rotisserie chicken from the store.
The United States Department of Agriculture has informed the public that eating chicken contaminated with salmonella is safe as long as the meat is cooked at least 165 degrees, and investigators were unsure of how the roasted chicken was contaminated.
"It was well-cooked," said Costco Vice President of Food Safety Craig Wilson to the LA Times. "It may have been a very, very uncommon cross-contamination issue. We're still researching."
The recall is the first in the nation and the latest development in an antibiotic-resistant salmonella outbreak stemming from three California Foster Farms poultry plants. The outbreak has sickened nearly 300 people across 18 states since March. Health officials urged consumers to cook chicken thoroughly and take other precautions.
- Created on 14 October 2013
From Mother Nature Network's Starre Vartan:
Most of us view our hair as separate from the rest of our body, but like our nails, hair is an extension (pun intended) of our body that can give us clues as to our overall health. Herein, four hair signs that something may be amiss.
If you once had thick, lustrous hair that turned fine and limp, first look to see what you've been doing to your hair lately. Have you been swimming a lot in chlorinated water? Did you dye your hair recently? These things, among others, can cause your hair to lose its luster. But limp, dry hair may also be a sign of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, in which your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones, causing your metabolism to slow down. Other signs of hypothyroidism can be sudden weight gain, unexplained fatigue, and being cold all the time. If you suspect hypothyroidism to be the culprit, talk to your doctor about testing your thyroid levels. If you do have an underactive thyroid, you can often take medication to supplement your hormone levels.
A lot of people have dandruff that is easily treated with an anti-dandruff shampoo, but if your dandruff is starting to turn into thick scaly patches, it could be a sign that you have psoriasis, an autoimmune disease in which the skin goes into overdrive, speeding up the process of skin cell turnover. If you have another autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis or Crohn's disease, it ups the chance that you'll get psoriasis, so be especially wary if you have another autoimmune condition.
The average person loses about 100 hairs a day (by the looks of my hairbrush at the end of a day, I'd say my average is closer to two or three hundred). This hair loss is normal and doesn't make your hair feel any thinner. But if your hair starts to feel markedly thinner or your hair starts to come out in clumps, it may a sign that something is up (or in this case, out). Sometimes hair loss can be attributed to a recent stressor, such as a divorce or job loss. In other cases, hair loss can also be another sign of hypothyroidism or a sign of a hormonal imbalance relating to PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. Still, there are also a few medications, including some birth control pills and antidepressants, which can cause hair loss as a side effect.
Yes, hair loss can be related to several things, so in this case, it's best to talk to your doctor about all your symptoms. Also, if you suspect your meds to be the culprit, talk to your doc about an alternative before stopping your medication altogether.
Finally, another sign of a more serious problem could be dry, brittle hair that breaks easily. Your hair is made up a protein called keratin, and if you're not getting enough protein in your diet, it could weaken your hair. This could also be another telltale sign of a thyroid issue, so be sure to check with your doc if this is the case.