Chemicals lower testosterone in men

overwork man at deskStudies show that a chemical found in plastics and soap can affect insulin resistance and weight in men. Further to this it is known that phthalates, which are in various shampoos, soaps, lotions, lubricants, paint, pesticides, plastics and cosmetics and in some drugs can affect reproduction. The study shows that almost 75% of our population are affected. Results are from test cases in their urine tests.

These chemicals and other environment pollutants could lower testosterone levels and affect sperm quality. The effects have been studied in the USA over the last 30 years or more.

Researchers have theorised that this class of chemicals, as well as other environmental pollutants, may be lowering testosterone levels in men and responsible for the substantial declines in testosterone levels and sperm quality that have occurred in the United States and other countries over the last several decades.

Animal studies in the past found that these phthalates have led to lower testosterone and recently it was also found they led to poor semen quality in men and changes in the reproductive organs in male children.

It was also found that because of the lower testosterone men put on weight around the middle and were more predisposed to diabetes. They analysed many different body samples such as urine, blood etc. from people of different ethnicity for over 3 years and of the men participating found a definite link.  Lowered levels of testosterone can also cause other problems in men and it is important that this is checked. All men should take a zinc supplement given the lack of minerals in our water and the deficiency this leads to in most men in Australia. It is also important to not wear underwear that is too tight and to not have showers that are too hot. This becomes especially important if your partner is attempting to fall pregnant. Your diet, amount of alcohol you drink and whether you smoke or not will all affect your sperm levels.

 

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Osteoporosis – what you can do to help

bonesOsteoporosis more commonly hits in your older years due to hormone changes however younger people can get osteoporosis as it’s not a normal part of ageing. It can affect both men and women. Osteoporosis is a disease that thins the bones and can lead to them fracturing easily. Often after menopause when a woman’s body stops producing oestrogen, which protects the bones, you can get osteoporosis. People who have not taken enough calcium throughout their life can also contract the disease. Other things such as smoking too much, lack of vitamin D, long term medication for thyroid problems, rheumatoid arthritis, too much alcohol, or a family history of the disease can play a part in contracting the disease. You may also be at risk if you have not had menstrual periods for some time.

When people get older and their bones thin with the disease the risk of a hip fracture increases. Often there are no symptoms. Some people don’t even know until they have a small accident and damage themselves. They then experience the pain of a fracture or a collapsed vertebrae.

If you do have osteoporosis you should be aware of the dangers in your own home. Situations that may cause you to fall should be avoided such as items lying all over the floor. If you do fall it could result in fracture. Easy ways to help safeguard your home is to ensure there is good lighting both inside and out, be careful when getting in and out of the shower and removing slippery rugs or mats that may cause you to trip. Other ways to help with osteoporosis could be to give up smoking and take it easy on drinking alcohol. Maintain a healthy body weight and be sure to not lose weight too quickly as this can contribute to bone loss.

Regular exercise will help protect your body. You need about 30 minutes a day. Weight bearing exercises are the best as these put weight on your skeleton which builds strength and better balance. Walking, jogging, dancing and yoga are also good exercises to do. You should also try to have a healthy diet and add a few supplements if needed with regular health check-ups with a trained professional.

The doctor may send you for a bone density test. If you are taking regular medication you need to check if it is affecting your bone density. Some menopausal women may find that their bones weaken faster than others and even hormone replacement therapy (HRT) does not take out the risk factor of weaker bones. When women stop taking HRT, they experience as much bone loss as they would have lost at menopause which is why it is a good idea to have a bone density test at menopause and another at ceasing HRT. If you attend to osteoporosis early in the picture however your doctors can treat the osteoporosis with drugs that help prevent the bone loss and help rebuild the bone. Remember though that there are health risks associated with taking drugs especially HRT.

If you have osteoporosis or want to prevent it then it is important to have a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. A lot of milk and cheese can be bad for your sinuses though so a daily multivitamin can be a good way to boost your calcium. Eating leafy green vegetables and salmon is good for you. Make sure you have a few minutes in the sun every day for your vitamin D levels and it’s a good idea to visit your natural therapist to check exactly what supplements you should be taking so you don’t become deficient. If you attend to all of the above you will find that the burden of having an illness such as osteoporosis is not quite as hard to deal with and in many ways preventable.

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Migraines – A big headache with solutions

migraine headache 1 picMigraine is a physical disease that can be due to many factors which makes any sort of treatment difficult to implement. Nevertheless, as it is very common we need to look at ways to make it manageable. Migraine can be associated with many symptoms such as, headache, nausea, vomiting and difficulties in vision that may include sensitivity to light or even ear problems. So because migraine is so complex medication is not a reliable solution and it may be better in the long-term to seek alternative remedies which look at the causes of the issue rather than the temporary solution to the pain.

There are two main types of migraine commonly recognised migraine (migraine without aura – namely the symptoms) and classic migraine – migraine with aura (the symptoms beforehand). The former is characterised by a moderate to strong headache without warning. This type is the most common and comes with nausea, confusion blurred vision, mood changes, fatigue, sensitivity to light, smells and sounds. The frequency can be from a few times in a year to weeks and it can have a duration from 4 to 72 hours.  The second type, Classic migraines,  are preceded by visual disturbances such as flashing lights, and other neurological symptoms that are suffered for 10 to 60 minutes before the actual headache comes. Classic migraines generally last up to one hour but can develop slowly into a throbbing ache, which gets worse with movement or noise. The major problem is that both types can be found in the same patient or the symptoms are overlapped which makes it difficult to classify a patient based upon the symptoms and therefore, predict the type of migraine in the short-term.

Migraines are attributed to changes in neurotransmitters and blood vessels diameter in the brain. What causes these changes is not clear however – it has been associated with some external factors such as stress, type of food which include cheese, alcohol, chocolate or even the irregularity in having meals which causes a drop in blood sugar. Other factors associated with migraines are over tiredness and hormonal changes such as menstruation. Women during menstruation are 10% more susceptible to migraines as there is a drop in estrogen at that time.

It seems that the most appropriate way to reduce the headaches is to search for potential causes. The most common headaches tend to fall into certain categories outlined below thus, you need to decide which most closely matches yours from the list below before you continue with further treatments. It is recommended to keep a record of what triggers your headaches. This is because the cause can be everything from feeling low, the weather, your menstrual cycle, what you eat and when and how well you sleep. Look for food triggers and make a list of all the foods you eat in the last two days before an attack to see if there is any relationship.

* Cluster Headaches – These strike with little warning, often waking up sufferers at night. The pain usually affects just one side of the face and centres on the eye area. It lasts from a few minutes up to three hours. The frequency can be up to 10 times a day for six to 10 weeks at a time (not nice) during a cluster period. This type can then disappear for months or even years. No one is really sure of the cause but some studies have found a relationship between irritations on some facial nerves with the appearance of cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are more common in men than women, especially if they smoke or drink.

* Tension Headache – This is very common and is a dull, steady pain on both sides of the head. It can feel like a tight band or heavy weight is pressing on the head. It has a strong correlation with stress. The symptoms associated with stress are an increase in the tension of the muscles of the neck and scalp. As it is a muscular response it can also be due to posture, sitting in a draught, bright lights, too much noise or working for long periods sitting in an awkward position.

* Chronic daily headache – These occur on more than half of each month. They can be due to a neck or head injury such as whiplash or overuse of painkillers. Yes, you read it right! People who take painkillers on a daily basis develop a vicious cycle and as these wear off there is a rebound headache so the person takes more painkillers and these fuel the headaches yet again.

One alternative remedy that has been very successful with many people suffering migraine is the herb Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew). This herb is available at your health food store and should be taken for a minimum period of three months. The taste of Feverfew is bitter but it is worth it! You can even grow your own plants if you are so inspired and have a flesh supply of the herb throughout the year.

The intake of Feverfew has been validated by a study that used a supplement containing this herb and Salix Alba (white willow) which found that the moderate intake of these reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of migraine attacks. Clients with migraine were given a supplement (Mig-RL) containing extracts of Feverfew and white willow twice a day for 12 weeks. Results showed that 70% of patients experienced a 50% reduction in migraines (some even higher) compared to the frequency of attacks experienced during a 6 week baseline period. 57.2% of clients experienced reduced attacks halfway through the study (6 weeks), and a 61.7% reduction at 12 weeks. The actual length of the attacks also decreased. In all patients involved in the study, the duration of attacks reduced by 67.2% at 6 weeks, and 76.2% at 12 weeks. The side effects of the combination of Feverfew and white willow had also a positive impact as it was associated with improvements in health, energy, memory and anxiety.

There are many natural therapies for headaches including chiropractic, cranial osteopathy, homeopathy, reflexology, rolfing, acupressure, herbal remedies, massage, aromatherapy, modification of diet, head balancing and jaw realignment. Head balancing can also be used for snoring, dizziness, grinding of teeth, ringing in the ears and neck and shoulder tension. Consult a practitioner experienced in diagnosis to determine which would be best for you.

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Your Bad Digestion Can Cause Many Illnesses

bad digestion may 2017 hamburger friesThe digestive system is the centre of your wellbeing. If your digestion is not working properly then nothing else will. Many people when I tell them about this give me a strange look adding that they go to the bathroom every day, or every few days and yes, they are occasionally constipated. So what? It is a big deal. It will make you sick.

If you are feeling fatigued, bloated, have heartburn, constipation or stomach cramps you could be suffering from an underlying problem. If you have hormone issues, thyroid issues then you definitely have an underlying problem. If you have aches and pains and inflammation then you also have a bad digestion. These symptoms all relate to having a digestive system that isn’t working properly. Other signs will be the colour of your stools, floating stools, undigested food or mucus in the toilet.

Our digestive system breaks down and absorbs your food. Protein is broken down by the stomach and carbohydrates and fats are broken down in the small intestine. We need digestive juices created by the stomach, liver, and gall bladder, to help you digest your food. If we do not produce enough of these juices it then leads to poor digestion as your food won’t break down properly.

Most people don’t realise that having a healthy digestive system is very important to help you stay healthy. Your gastrointestinal tract is linked to most diseases, however to have a digestive problem you don’t actually have to have anything wrong with your stomach which is why people tend to not understand this topic properly.

When the colon isn’t working properly you may feel pain, bloating, nausea and have flatulence, diarrhea or constipation. This is called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This is commonly caused by stress or lack of fibre or food allergies. Other things that can cause your digestive system to stop working properly can include not drinking enough water, too much coffee, poor diet, too much alcohol, smoking, pollution, too much sugar and overeating.

Testing for food intolerances is a good way to find out what exactly is going on and can help control it. This can be done by either a blood test or saliva and hair testing. These both test for different things – either an allergy or an intolerance to the foods that could be causing the problem.

A lot of people are sensitive to things such as wheat, yeast, gluten, dairy, sugar and possibly some fruits. If you are sensitive to one or more of these foods it can build up in the body and sits there fermenting causing gas. It can then leak into the bloodstream and cause illness. If this is happening to you the only way to heal is to stop eating the foods you are intolerant to and to find out what these are you need to do the sensitivity test.

Diseases such as those named above and Coeliac disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease as well as Depression, Diverticulitis and even PMT can all be caused by having an unhealthy digestive system. A naturopath can help you take back control of your body and better your health. We also do sensitivity testing at our clinic.

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Diverticulosis – Stomach Cramps, Irregular Bowels, Bloating

diverticulosis april 2017Do you suffer from abdominal cramps, constipation, diarrhea, or bloating and gas? This could all be caused by a weakness in the large intestines which creates sac-like pouches to form into the intestines. When these pouches get faeces trapped between the sacs it becomes infected and the infection causes all of the above symptoms. This is called Diverticulosis.

Diverticulosis is more common in people over the age of 60. It can cause nausea and vomiting as well as fever and chills. If the condition gets worse complications cause the intestine wall to narrow. It can also cause holes in the colon, fistulas and abscesses which lead to many other health problems.

Treating diverticulosis can occur in a number of ways. If it is only a minor case there are a few things you can do naturally. A change in diet will help. Avoid foods that may aggravate the infected area such as too much fibre in beans, pea, coarse grains, popcorn and dried fruits. Bed rest will often help if you are experiencing a bout of diverticulosis. Severe issues may lead to a need for an operation to resolve the problem.

It is important to see a naturopath or nutritionist to help you make the proper changes in your diet to lessen your symptoms. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help with pain and symptoms. Chinese medicine recommends eating warm liquids such as soup, which is easier to digest. Your naturopath or nutritionist can help create a meal plan that would best suit your needs when suffering from diverticulosis.

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Food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances

food allergiesThere is a general increase in food allergies and intolerances to wheat, yeast, peanuts, dairy, eggs, seafood and cereals.  The reasons could be the genetic modification of foods, the adding of certain chemicals, radiation, processing and the way it is grown in our depleted soils. So what is the difference between an allergy and intolerance?
Allergy is more of an overreaction to a substance which results in an immune response in the body causing symptoms and often disease. It could result in a rash, itches, runny noses and general irritation and can aggravate all our senses. In some instances it can be fatal.

Some symptoms of food allergies are:

  • Skin rashes or eczema
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Itching
  • Burning and swelling especially round the mouth
  • Runny nose
  • Irritability
  • Breathing problems
  • Asthma
  • Wheezing

On the other hand food intolerance is a chemical reaction from your digestive system when a specific enzyme or chemical is not produced sufficiently to break down that certain food. They also can affect asthma, irritable bowel or chronic fatigue.

Food intolerance symptoms can vary from: 

  • Diarrhoea
  • Strange reactions
  • Problems breathing – similar to asthma
  • Nervousness
  • Sweating
  • Palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Migraine
  • Skin rashes and burning sensations
  • Tightness of chest
  • Breathing problems – asthma-like symptoms

It is important to work out what you are allergic and intolerant to because it can often explain symptoms you may be getting. Also if you have intolerances there are enzymes you can take to put those substances back into your body and build your immunity to some degree.  A hair or saliva analysis will give you the answers. This is very different to the blood scratch test that you do at the doctors. You need to see a specialist in natural therapist to get the saliva test and they will give you explanations as to why you feel bad and tired. It could be as simple as you eating the white bread which makes you sluggish or the cheese which gives you sinus just to name two products that could be an issue – wheat/yeast and lactose.

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Pain Relief Drugs Are Not The Answer

pain-relief-drugs-are-not-the-answerPain relief drugs may help when you’re in pain but are they really doing you any good? Although they help relieve your pain they don’t fix the underlying issue causing the pain, so the use of pain relief can turn into a long term, unnecessary addiction. Pain relief should be taken in the smallest amounts possible and for a short period of time.

Treating the underlying problem is the most effective way to rid your body of the pain. Remember you are not in pain because you are deficient in the pain killer. You are in pain because your body is inflamed, too acidic, lacking nutrition etc. When you are deficient and in nutrients you cannot be healthy and the next step is to be in pain.

Many pain relief drugs have side effects. There is strong evidence that many of them raise risks of heart problems, says Elliott Antman, M.D. in a report some time ago. Elliott is a cardiologist and Professor at Harvard Medical School. People often start taking these medications seeking pain relief for a temporary problem. “The patient feels better and they make the assumption that they need to continue taking this medication,” Antman said. “It’s a very important cycle to interrupt. Doctors who cannot find another way to control their patients’ pain symptoms should proceed with caution.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a diverse group that also include Motrin and prescription varieties like Celebrex and Voltaren which have been used for decades as painkillers.  It is important to take the pain killer with the lowest risk to your body, in the smallest dose, for the shortest time necessary to relieve the pain.

In Denmark, a team led by Anne-Marie Schjerning Olsen M.D, a research cardiologist at Copenhagen University Hospital, some time ago reviewed medical records for nearly 84,000 heart attack survivors, 42 percent of whom reported using NSAIDs.

Another study conducted showed more cases of second heart attacks and strokes among the NSAID users after just a week. Researchers reported that NSAIDs raised the general risk for heart attacks even in apparently healthy people. The painkillers have also been linked with stomach bleeding and kidney failure. Although many doctors endorse the short-term use of the common painkillers when there are no other pain-relief alternatives, the study authors decided there is no safe amount of time to take NSAIDs, according to Dr. Olsen.

Reports can be found by American and other Danish researchers in the British Medical Journal that new NSAID users faced an increased risk of a dangerous heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. The risk was higher among older patients, those using Celebrex and people with chronic kidney problems.

At the University of Florida College of Medicine, doctors who studied the records of older patients enrolled in a trial of competing blood pressure drugs, found that longtime regular NSAID users faced a nearly 50 percent higher chance of death, heart attack or stroke. Further to this findings by Anthony Bavry, M.D. in the American Journal of Medicine, suggest that doctors should weigh the dangers of these medications carefully. Dr. Bavry led the study and recommends acetaminophen (Tylenol) to his patients, because it may have a much lower risk of heart complications than other NSAIDs. Dr Bavry said that, “just because something is available over the counter doesn’t mean its use is free of any risk.”

Over my years as a therapist I have seen many people addicted to prescribed medication which is also in turn making them ill. It is necessary to choose your medication wisely and to be educated about what you are taking. Whilst a pain reliever is good in the short term taking them long term may cause organs to fail and even maybe kill some people. Treat them with care.

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