Hypnotherapy group with stress reduction achieved significantly more weight loss than the

Randomized, controlled, parallel study of two forms of hypnotherapy (directed at stress reduction or energy intake reduction), vs dietary advice alone in 60 obese patients with obstructive sleep apnoea on nasal continuous positive airway pressure treatment. J Stradlinga, D Roberts, A Wilson and F Lovelock Chest Unit, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, OX3 7LJ, UK

The Life of a College Athlete

Being a college athlete is time consuming and stressful. BUT, it is also one of the best times of your life! If you’re considering pursuing the life of a college athlete, here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Is it for me?

What it's like to be a college athlete.

Whether or not you should pursue a sport in college is a question that should run through your mind early on. Personally, I knew I was going to play in college since I was a freshman in high school, possibly earlier. In order to play in college, you must be passionate, hardworking, and go above and beyond academically, while still in high school.

2. Sounds good, now what?

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The first step in the process of potentially playing a college sport is to succeed in your sport and show the coaches out there you are worth it. From there, start making a list of colleges you are interested in and set goals for yourself as to what division you would like to pursue. Then, start contacting coaches. Every sport is different with rules and restrictions on contacting coaches or when they can contact you, so be aware of that. Also, it is essential to understand the life of a student-athlete. Go on visits. Get to know the campus and teammates. Ask questions!

3. A typical day

What it's like being a college athlete.

You wake up at 5:30 am, get dressed, rush across campus to go to workout at 6:30 am. From there, your sore body runs you to your morning classes, and then slumps you down in the cafeteria. You manage a few minutes to scarf down lunch. Now you only have 30 minutes before an upperclassmen picks you up for practice. Practice is from 2-5 pm, which is then followed by a quick dinner, long shower, and study tables at 7 pm. Unlike other students who are ready to hit the party scene when 10 pm rolls around, you crawl up into bed and crash. You may not have workouts every morning or you may end up with a more lenient class schedule. However, being a college athlete certainly comes with a packed schedule.

4. The pros

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Being a student athlete comes with many positives. Not only has my college sport introduced me to an amazing group of women, but it has taught me things such as time management and dedication. Plus, there are always a ton of great perks such as free tutors, free clothing, accessibility to gyms and more, depending on your school of choice.

5. The cons

What it's like being a college athlete.

Being a college athlete has a few drawbacks as well. Some cons include lack of free time, limited time to meet new people, restricted time for homework, and the possibility of having to miss class due to competitions or events. I can’t stress enough how I’m constantly on the go. I often wish I just had a second to relax. But at the end of the day, I can’t imagine not being a college athlete. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Before you decide to pursue being a college athlete, strongly consider what it takes: you must have tons of energy, be passionate towards your academics AND your sport, be able to manage your time wisely, be there to succeed, be open-minded and be ready to step out of your comfort zone.

Feature image source:  flypapermagazine.com

5 Crock Pot Recipes (That Aren’t Just Food)

Dorm life can be a struggle, especially when you’re already tackling a thousand other things. Sometimes, you just need a little help every now and then. That’s where the crock pot comes in! You’ve probably seen this thing moping around your grandma’s kitchen, cooking up something that resembles moldy chicken covered in ketchup. However, this device is actually something that can make your life a whole lot easier. From delicious dinner to homemade candles, after reading these crock pot recipes, your crock pot will be your new best friend!

Ratatouille

1. The Hangover Breakfast Casserole

*Recipe and image from Betty Crocker

Sometimes, Greek Yogurt and Granola bars get a little too basic and bland day after day. Sometimes you just want a hot meal that reminds you of home cooked breakfasts prepared by your mom. A steamin’ breakfast served right out of your crock pot is sure to fill the void. This is a great solution for those who know they’ll be waking up early for class and don’t have time to make a nutritious meal. However, this also works great for those who know they’ll be waking up hungover.

 Slow-Cooker Mexican Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of bulk cooked sausage
  • 9 corn tortillas
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1 jalapeño chile
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup of sliced green onions
  • 2 cups of shredded pepper Jack cheese (8 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup of chunky salsa

Directions:

  1. Spray your crock pot with cooking spray. Place 3 tortillas in slow cooker, tearing if needed to cover bottom.
  2. In medium bowl, beat eggs, milk and chile with whisk. Reserve 2 tablespoons chopped bell pepper, 2 tablespoons green onions and 3/4 cup cheese; set aside.
  3. Top tortillas in slow cooker with half of the sausage, remaining bell pepper, green onions and cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 3 tortillas, tearing if needed to cover mixture. Pour egg mixture over tortillas.
  4. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 5 hours or on High heat setting 2 to 3 hours or until temperature reaches 160°F and center is set.
  5. Sprinkle with reserved cheese, bell pepper, green onions and the cilantro. Remove foil before serving by loosening edges with table knife. Serve with salsa and avocado slices, if desired.

2. Ooey Gooey Dinner

Another great way to use your crock pot is by making dinner! For those of you who just can’t wait to eat when they get home from class, prepare your meal at the start of your day for a delicious entrée ready for you by your final class. If you miss pasta, slow cookers are an easy remedy because you won’t need a boiling pot of water since it will cook in the crock pot!

dinner

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes (8 oz each) of elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cans (12 oz each) of evaporated milk
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (8 oz)

Directions:

  1. Spray bottom of 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Line side of slow cooker with foil.
  3. In large bowl, mix cheese sauce, and milk.
  4. Stir in macaroni Spoon into slow cooker.
  5. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 hours.
  6. Stir; sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Cover; let stand 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
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3. The Perfect Midnight Snack

No day would be complete without the perfect sweet ending! Use your favorite cake box mix, throw in the ingredients required, and cook on low heat for 2-3 hours. If you’re up for an insane midnight munchies, cut the baking time in half; you’ll be left with a gooey topping to pour over a heaping scoop of ice cream for a sinful treat after a night out. Your friends will thank you later.

crockpot sundae

4. A Candle Without The Burn

You won’t be able to burn candles in your dorm room, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it smell like your favorite candle! Try mixing 1 sliced lemon, several sprigs of fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 cups of water. Keep the lid off and cook on low for 8 hours. When you return, it will smell like you’re taking a stroll through a lovely garden!

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5. Homemade Soap

*Recipe and image from Heat-Hands-Home, with some alterations. 

If you’re looking for a more creative way to use your crock pot, turn it into a DIY project by making your own soaps! This recipe is a little more in-depth, definitely requiring some time and patience. BUT, if you’re into DIYs, this is definitely one you’ll want to check out!

Ingredients:

  • Cold coffee
  • Olive Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Ground coffee (not instant)
  • Almond or Castor oil
  • Lye* (found at the hardware store)
  • Stainless steel spoon (not aluminum!) -you can use a wooden spoon, just don’t use it for food when you are done
  • Glass jar for mixing lye
  • Wooden skewer for mixing lye
  • Phenoolphthalein or litmus strips (in the pool supply aisle)
  • Soap Mold (I used a Pringles can!)

Directions:

  1. Slowly add lye into coffee (DO NOT add the coffee to the lye, it will erupt and can cause burns!), stirring with a wooden skewer, until lye is dissolved. Then set aside.
    • TIP: DO NOT breathe the fumes.  This is going to get HOT!
  2. Add 18 oz. of olive oil, 8 oz. of coconut oil and 6 ounces of palm oil into your crock pot, set on high.
  3. When the oils are melted, pour in the lye mixture and stir to incorporate. Keep stirring constantly until mixture resembles thick-set pudding. This will take approx. 15-30 min.
  4. Once you have reached this stage (called trace), put the lid on the crockpot and let it cook.  Check back in about 10 minutes. The outsides should be boiling and it should start to look like a gel.
  5. Stir and put the lid back on for another 5-10 minutes. Check and stir every 5-10 minutes. After about 15 minutes your soap should resemble applesauce, it will be gelled and chunky looking.
  6. Keep stirring and checking your soap, it will start to get smoother and will eventually resemble mashed potatoes. Once it has reached this stage, take a small amount and cool it on a plate.  Rub it between your fingers, it should feel waxy.
  7. Once your soap is ready, add in any essential oils you’d like to scent your soap with!
  8. Place the finished soap into the Pringles can.
  9. Slice soap into approx. 1/2 inch slices.

Enjoy using your homemade soap to wash off the griminess of communal bathrooms and long nights out!

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Featured image source: wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com and allthingsmama.com

7 Healthy Habits To Start In College

Don’t we all want to be healthy? Really, no matter how much we love the thought of cake and chillin’ in sweat pants all day, there’s a little part of everyone that wants to reach their full health-potential. I’d say there’s more than a coincidence that some of the most successful, happy people are proud health nuts. But how do we get there when there is *literally* an endless list of other priorities that take up so much time? By creating healthy habits and practicing them everyday until they feel like second nature–that’s how! That way, amidst the craziness that is college and post-college life, you’ll already have health (and happiness!) in your back pocket. Easier said than done, I know, but what’s the saying? It takes 21 days to make something a habit? What are you waiting for?! Here’s the 7 essential healthy habits to start in college!

1. Eating Dinner at Least a Few Hours Before Bed (on week days at least!)

Your body is supposed to run like a well-oiled machine. But a machine can’t run optimally without any downtime. Eating a meal too close to bed is like telling your body to work over-time for free. It will be focused on digesting instead of resting and restoring itself for the next day. Beat that heavy, groggy feeling in the morning by capping meals off at least a couple hours before bedtime!

2. Wake up Early, Consistently

Call it a coincidence if you want, but there seems to be a positive correlation between getting up early and success. The Apple president Tim Cook, the Starbucks CEO, and seemingly every highly successful leader rises with the sun! Why, because it gives them time to get in a workout, read emails, do work, or simply gather their thoughts and goals for the day ahead. There’s a priceless feeling of momentum created after getting in a workout, eating a healthy breakfast and making a daily goal list all before my first class. Become a morning person and feel and stay ahead of the game

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3. Carrying Water Everywhere You Go

We all know that water is good for us–but do we know just how good? Try a clear-er complexion, more energy, a healthier weight, less cravings for junk-y food…the list goes on just short of forever! Investing in a cute, reusable water bottle that you will actually want to carry around will make you that much more likely to get in your recommended 8 glasses a day. My personal tip: fill up your bottle at night before going to bed so its ready to go and easy to grab on your way out the door in the morning!

4. Committing to a Workout Schedule

Working out produces endorphins. Endorphins equate to  feelings of elation and mental clarity. What college student doesn’t crave more of that?! Setting aside just 30 minutes a day or run, jog, lift, heck!–even walk on the treadmill will not only be amazing for your body, but for your mind. My favorite part of the day is the feeling after my workout when I feel, 1) accomplished AF 2) fit and healthy 3) clear and focused.

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5. Over-coming FOMO

Technology is great, but over-connectivity breeds FOMO-fear of missing out!  Because of technology, a wonderfully cozy night in on a Friday night after a long week with a couple close friends goes from “exactly what you needed” to a FOMO attack after scrolling through Snapchat. And now you feel crapy, unhappy, and full of self-doubt. Instead, go with your gut, own your actions with confidence and do what you need to do to feel your best. Living through other people earns you zero points  on the healthy and happy scale.

6. Making a Daily Priority List

This may sound a little tedious but in reality, it only takes a few minutes. Jotting down a little list of priorities and goals for the day will guide your actions and thoughts from that moment on. Before I started doing it, I would easily get overwhelmed at the sheer thought of all the things I had to get done, but the simple act of writing it down makes it all the more doable. WARNING: crossing things off your list may become an addiction and you may find yourself more productive than you ever imagined possible.

7. Practicing Grateful-ness Everyday

This may just be the healthiest habit of them all–a healthy, happy mind sets the stage for healthy actions and a healthy life! The happiest people I know acknowledge all the things going right in their life, rather than focusing on the things that aren’t. Starting my day with a few minutes of gratefulness for all that I have, puts things in perspective and only further motivates me to find new things to be grateful for.

Featured photo source: pinterest.com

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AQ8Y6dYM9lsjbHXJSuYxsEHD6PhboKqGx1V7iyr_ycUd1stJW5Xn_nU/

The Heart Of The Matter

heart-matter-feat

In the battle against heart disease, high cholesterol has long played the villain, and statin drugs hailed the hero. But are they really the best line of defense in matters of the heart?

By Dr. Sharon McQuillan

You’re with a small circle of friends on a girls’ night out and the conversation turns to heart health. A friend shares that she’s shaved several points off her cholesterol. High-fives all around. How did she do it? Nobody asks. Getting that number down seems to be all that matters.

It has been ingrained in our brains that heart disease is a numbers game, and high cholesterol is the main player. For more than four decades, the red badge of heart health has meant dropping your cholesterol below a target number (recently lowered to 190). Meanwhile, since 1984, statin drugs—which inhibit the body’s ability to make cholesterol— have routinely been prescribed for men and women with cholesterol levels higher than 200.

It’s estimated that a quarter of Americans, ages 45 or older, are already taking statin drugs. The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology’s 2013 Heart Disease Prevention Guidelines caused some controversy in announcing that they no longer place the entirety of their focus on lowering cholesterol numbers to a certain target goal. The new guidelines divide at-risk people between two categories. The first is high risk, because they’ve had heart attacks, have diabetes, or extremely high levels (190+) of “bad” cholesterol. The second is elevated risk—those with 75 percent risk or more of heart attack or stroke, according to a risk calculator. “The new guidelines make up to 30 million people appropriate for statins,” says Dennis Goodman, M.D., director of integrative medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.

But despite 40-plus years of statins being prescribed, cardiovascular disease remains the number-one cause of death in the United States, and that number is expected to increase to 23.6 million by 2030, according to the American Heart Association. In February 2015, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released new dietary guidelines that no longer deem high-cholesterol foods such as shrimp, lobster, and eggs off-limits. After 50 years of warnings, researchers found no relationship between consuming cholesterol in foods and an uptick in cholesterol in blood serum.

It seems that the medical community is de-villainizing cholesterol. So why the push for statin use, and possible overuse? According to Joseph Mercola, D.O., more than 900 studies show that statins have a host of unhappy side effects including muscle pain and weakness, neuropathy, cognitive impairment, cancer, and depression. In light of the risks and questioned effectiveness of statins, should you be blindly jumping on the statin bandwagon, or are there better options out there?

heart-matter-02IS CHOLESTEROL EVIL?

➜ IT TURNS OUT YOUR BODY NEEDS cholesterol just as much as it needs oxygen. Cholesterol is a building block of cell membranes and the protective covering that surrounds nerve fibers. Cholesterol’s necessary for mineral and vitamin D metabolism and is vital for good brain function, as well as the production of sex hormones for both men and women. Cholesterol also plays a key role in helping our brains create memories and usher in the “feel good” chemical serotonin. However, too much of certain types of cholesterol in your blood can mean trouble. You’re probably familiar with LDL-low density lipoproteins (aka “bad cholesterol”) and HDL-high density lipoproteins (aka “good cholesterol”), commonly part of the cholesterol blood panel. HDL particles are responsible for removing cholesterol out of the bloodstream and carrying it to your liver, where it’s destroyed.

LDL particles, when present in great numbers, tend to “stick” to your artery walls, and are referred to as plaques. These plaques not only block blood flow, but are responsible for a series of chemical reactions, which cause inflammation, damage to the lining of your arteries, and—eventually, if unchecked—a clot that can lead to a heart attack. Statin drugs such as Lipitor and Crestor inhibit the production of cholesterol in your body. Unfortunately, in doing so, they also prevent the formation of some other important substances your body needs for peak performance. Statins affect the mevalonate pathway, responsible for the production of sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone), cortisone, and dolichols, which are an important part of cell membranes.

Additionally, statins minimize your body’s ability to make vitamin D and depletes Coenzyme Q10, which is very important for energy, blood-sugar maintenance, and the neutralization of free radicals. Side effects of statin drugs manifest as muscle pain and weakness, anemia, cognitive problems, and memory loss. Additionally, statin drug use has been linked to increased insulin resistance, the first step in developing diabetes. Statin drug use can increase your risk of heart failure, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, high-blood pressure, and cancer. Dr. Goodman is skeptical of the value of statins for use in the elevated risk category. This is due to the 2010 Archives of Internal Medicine publication of an analysis of 66,000 people studied.

The individuals had some risk of heart disease and were prescribed statins, but showed no evidence of benefit from taking the drugs. “People with heart disease don’t live any longer with lower cholesterol,” says Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., author of The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women’s Health, and recipient of the Award for Outstanding Medical Contribution to Cardiac Rhythm Management Services by the Arrhythmia Alliance. “The drug industry did a good job of creating a fear of cholesterol.” Dr. Dean says that statin drugs bind up the mineral magnesium. That causes muscle cramps and several other side effects.

“I’m not keen on statin drugs,” she says. “We know from scientific research that magnesium is a natural statin that helps regulate the enzyme responsible for cholesterol, while statin [drugs] kill the enzyme.” SIMPLE LIFESTYLE CHANGES, BIG RESULTS

SO WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS IF you’re concerned about the effects of statins? Turns out there are a number of alternatives to statin drugs that boast rather impressive results. “A whole foods, plant-based diet affects inflammation the same way without having to be on drugs the rest of your life,” says Dean Ornish, M.D., who pioneered the Lifestyle Medicine movement and helped former President Bill Clinton revamp his lifestyle by placing him on a plant-based diet.

“Statins are a proven benefit for people with heart disease, but the evidence is less compelling in people who aren’t already afflicted with the condition. You need to treat the underlying problem.” That problem? Inflammation, which skyrockets from consuming too much sugar and processed foods.

With big lifestyle changes, Dr. Ornish’s studies have shown that “patients slash their LDL numbers by 40 percent [comparable to statins], but also reverse the risk of type 2 diabetes by decreasing hemoglobin A1C to levels below 7 percent—and the only side effects are good ones,” says Ornish. “Animal protein itself is harmful, and people who consume it have a 75 percent increase in death rate from all causes. A plant-based diet has been shown in a number of studies to reverse heart disease by turning on the good genes.”

In the International Journal of Cardiology (February 2013), a study found that people who took a supplement of the Italian citrus fruit bergamot were able to cut the dosage of their statins in half. The fruit’s flavonoids inhibit the production of cholesterol in the liver “just like statins” increasing HDL and improving insulin resistance.

Red yeast rice is popular in Chinese medicine as a natural method of lower-ing cholesterol. It contains an active ingredient, monacolin K, that’s known as lovastatin. An analysis of 93 random-ized controlled trials from China showed that red yeast rice could lower total cholesterol levels, LDL, and triglycer-ides and raise HDL levels when com-pared to placebo. (There are some risks in combining red yeast rice supplements with other medications, including statins, so self-experimentation without medical advice is not recommended.)

One of the most promising supple-ments in heart health is an omega-7 fatty acid, palmitoleic acid, as it seems to lower cholesterol levels as well as the systemic inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial recently pub-lished in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology (2015) showed that 60 subjects given palmitoleic acid for 30 days showed a 15 percent reduction in triglyceride levels, an 8 percent decrease in LDL levels, a 44 percent reduction in C-reactive protein (a marker for inflammation connected to cardiovascular risk), and a 5 percent increase in HDL levels. This omega-7 fatty acid, known as Heart XL, is unique in that it effectively addresses two risk factors for cardiovascular disease without any side effects.

So should you get on the statin band-wagon? It seems that if you’re not already suffering from cardiovascular disease, you may be able to avoid the hazards of statin drug’s side effects, provided you are willing to commit to lifestyle modification and supplementa-tion. If you’re already taking statin drugs, it may be possible to lower the amount of medication needed, or wean off of the medication over time. As always, you should have a discussion with your doctor regarding statin therapy, providing full disclosure of all of your habits and all the medications and supplements you take in order for them to provide you with the best options. And chances are modifying your diet, exercise, and supplement routine will benefit you in myriad ways—not just with your heart.

Dr. Ornish may have said it best: “Eat well, move more, stress less, and love more.” Advice we can all follow.

Infusion Infatuation

By Samantha Boden

How can we make water—the one thing necessary for our survival—a little less boring and a bit more delicious? Infuse it with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an adequate intake for women is about 9 cups of water per day. That’s a lot of the wet stuff. Adding some flavor to water, however, will entice you to meet the daily recommendation.

The benefits of water consumption are endless. It aids in weight loss, flushes toxins out of vital organs, and keeps us hydrated. According to Dr. Mariza Snyder, co-author of Water Infusions, “It’s well known that increasing water intake is necessary for dropping excess weight, and fruit, veggie, and herb ingredients can boost that power.”

Infused waters offer a tasty alternative to the recommended daily amount of agua we need to drink. “Combining fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and essential oils in water provides crucial hydration,” says Dr. Snyder. “It helps the body fight inflammation and carry vital nutrients to tissue cells.” Infusion recipes can be custom-made to boost the immune system, replenish the skin, lift the mood, and aid in weight loss. “Once you research the benefits of specific ingredients, you can begin to create concoctions tailored to your needs.”

Consider infused ice cubes to add zest to your mixture, suggests Dr. Lauren Clum, Dr. Snyder’s co-author on Water Infusions. “The key to clear ice cubes is to use boiling water when filling ice cube trays,” shes says. Although it sounds counterintuitive, boiled water remains clear instead of cloudy, so flavorsome ingredients such as mint, small berries, and pomegranate seeds not only come through clearly but can boost the taste of plain or infused water. There’s no need for fancy tools to create fun infusions. “The absolute best combination of materials for infusion pitchers and water bottles is a glass container with a stainless steel insert,” Clum advises.

Best of all, it’s really difficult to ruin a pitcher of infused water. Some blends may be tastier than others, but have fun and play around with different ingredients. According to Clum, “The most important thing to remember when making water infusions is that you can’t do it wrong.”

Hollywood's best kept secret

stem-cells-feat

by: Sharon McQuillan, M.D.

American author Mark Twain said it best: ”Life would be infinitely happier if we could be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.” Nothing could be more true in today’s pop culture. The explosion of social media and the evolution and influence of Hollywood’s red carpet has ushered in a huge spotlight on youth, longevity, and flawless appearance. Sixty is now the new 40 and watching Hollywood’s “in crowd” on a daily basis defying age makes you wonder how they do it, despite hectic appearance and filming schedules.

It’s easy to believe that these individuals are genetically blessed, or that this phenomenon can only be achieved with an entourage of nutritionists, trainers, and cosmetic surgeons. But, does this really make sense? After all, we work out, we have healthy diets, we have aesthetic enhancements, and yet we don’t seem to achieve these same age-defying results. So what’s “the secret” that accounts for the radiant complexions, incredible energy, youthful sensuality, and enviable physiques? Those “in the know” have discovered that the Fountain of Youth is not as elusive as once thought. It’s not located in an exotic place, nor does it come in a jar. Rather, it’s something that you have had all along—the regenerative power of your own stem cells.

stem-cells2It began over half a century ago, when the rich and famous began frequenting a clinic nestled in Swiss Alps, to secretly “renew and revive” with fetal lamb cell injections. Beauty icons like Marlene Dietrich and Gloria Swanson, political leaders like Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle, and even the legendary Miles Davis all benefited from these early treatments. Today, our icons are taking advantage of the 21st-century version of cell therapy in the form of regenerative medicine.

Regenerative medicine is based on a new insight into what causes aging and decline. Science has uncovered the molecular changes that occur in our cells as we age. Over time and through environmental exposure we’re prone to imbalances such as inflammation and oxidative stress. These factors have detrimental effects on virtually every cell in our bodies and are the root causes of cognitive decline, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis as well as many other conditions we associate with aging.

Although celebrities and athletes may have led the charge in their quest for eternal youth, physicians and scientists around the globe have quickly caught up. Scientific research is being conducted worldwide focusing on cellular therapies to promote healthy aging, and to treat the diseases that occur with aging.

Stem cells are the natural healing cells that serve to regenerate repair and rebalance your body throughout life. They are also the material from which all of your tissues are made. They are remarkable in that they have the ability to “home” to the areas they are needed, respond to the environment, and help restore healthier tissue. Importantly, a certain portion of your stem cells, called mesenchymal stem cells, also work by helping to control the increased inflammation associated with aging. Regenerative medicine strives to use these natural cellular properties to promote health and optimal function.

Many sports figures have benefited from stem cells, including Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, Bartolo Colon, and Chris Johnson. In such instances, stem cells are injected into an injured area such as a shoulder or knee to repair the damaged ligament, tendon, or cartilage. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry touted improvement following stem cell treatment for his spinal injury. Suzanne Somers publicized her stem cell-assisted breast reconstruction. More recently, Bart Starr sought stem cell treatment for a disabling stroke. Countless other Hollywood stars utilize stem cells simply for anti-aging, but prefer to go unnamed.

Regenerative medicine holds great promise for all of us, not only for our celebrities and performance athletes. I’ve been involved in stem cell research for many years and it’s the most exciting and rewarding work that I have done in my career. Our therapies utilize adult stem cells from a variety of sources including bone marrow, adipose tissue, or cord blood. These cellular treatments are offered in an outpatient setting, have proven very safe, and take just a few hours. Our team of subspecialists and cell biologists have worked collaboratively to perfect our therapies and advance the science. Collectively we have trained hundreds of doctors in stem cell science. Every day in our clinic we see improvements in conditions such as COPD, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, neurologic disorders, erectile dysfunction, and arthritis.

There is also the beautiful side to stem cells when they are used to rejuvenate areas of the body such as the face, hands, buttocks, or breasts. The stem cells improve contours as well as the texture, suppleness, and tone of skin. Stem cells can also improve laser results and be used to jump start hair growth during hair restoration.

However, more often now, patients are seeking stem cells simply to look and feel healthy and young. Patients report improved strength, energy, endurance, brain power, and sexuality. The mantra has become “healthy aging.” So it turns out that Hollywood was right to pursue cellular treatments all those years ago, and in doing so inspired the field of regenerative medicine, making it available for all of us.

Daydream Believer

Daydream Believer
According to a study in The Journal of Neuroscience, if you let your mind wander periodically during your workday, you may actually boost your on-the-job performance. Research shows that when you engage brain areas with “o -task” activities like mind wandering and reminiscing, you increase your ability to tackle challenging tasks.

27 Times greater the amount of bacteria found around warm-air hand dryers in public bathrooms than old-fashioned paper towels. Hand dryers spread bacteria from poorly washed hands into the air and onto users and those nearby. If you can, use paper towels.

Source: University of Leeds

Get High for Good Health

Is your self-esteem on sky-rocket mode? It may correlate to the stack of your heel. According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, shoes form an important part of self identity and self-esteem for women—a feeling that also leads to better health.

The Art of Being Healthy 

New studies point to some rather surprising healthy habits:
Travel or take in new art exhibits. A UC Berkeley study found that nature, art, and even religion—each of which inspire positive emotions like awe and wonder—may lower levels of inflammation linked to everything from heart disease to depression.

Give plenty of hugs. A Carnegie Mellon University study found that the more frequent hugs people give, the less susceptibility these people had to infection. Hugging is a sign of strong social networks, which appear to help protect against stress and illness.

Look at the bright side. Doing so may result in a healthier heart, say University of Illinois researchers. The most optimistic people were twice as likely to have ideal cardiovascular health.

The herbal hormone cure

Experiencing the wild ride of perimenopause? Tame the ups and downs with the right herbs and supplements and keep in tune with your changing body.
By Janette Daher

Remember when you were invincible? In the not so distant past, you were multi-tasking like a fiend— managing a busy career, hectic home life, and whirlwind social calendar with the precision of a high-tech military operation. You could do just about anything, eat anything, and sleep for just a few hours a night while your body still functioned like clockwork. Nothing got to you, or brought you down. Then, one day in your 40s, “IT” happened. Like a thief in the night, “IT” snuck into your life.

Woman holding a cup of herbal tea

Suddenly you were forgetful, exhausted, and prey to physical symptoms like night sweats, weight gain, hot flashes, and irregular periods. You may have guessed that “IT” is the beginning of what some call “the Change”—the end of menstruation and the journey toward menopause. But you don’t just wake up one morning in menopause. There’s a roller coaster ride of shifts that occur as your body begins to slow down the production of female sex hormones. This stage is commonly referred to as perimenopause, and lasts an average of 7.5 years. It’s an individualized condition, meaning you and your friends are not likely to be experiencing things the same way.

While this may seem like the end of the world as you know it, it’s not all in your head. There are options available to help you tame the hormone roller coaster and bring back the formidable woman you know you can be. Many women are turning to natural herbs and botanicals to manage perimenopause, especially since the Women’s Health Initiative reported their concerns that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be linked to heart disease, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. For women who have had cancer, HRT is simply not considered an option.

Herbs and botanicals have been used for centuries in various cultures to ameliorate hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and the other hormonerelated symptoms experienced by 75 percent of women in the latter half of their lives. In recent years these supplements have been studied to determine their safety and efficacy. Understanding what’s happening in your body to cause these symptoms is the key to choosing the right supplements.

MENOPAUSE 101

As women enter perimenopause, estrogen levels become erratic—meaning they’re mostly on the decline but may have some ups and downs along the way. Progesterone levels also start to decline. This imbalance of estrogen and progesterone manifests in symptoms such as irregular periods, vaginal discomfort, incontinence, and weight gain. It’s theorized that hot flashes occur as a result of decreasing estrogen levels, sending “mixed messages” to the hypothalamus— the part of the brain that regulates the sex hormones, as well as body temperature.

Additionally, hormone fluctuations— estrogen in particular—affect the brain through interactions with neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that communicate information throughout the brain and body). Estrogen has a calming effect on the brain, so fluctuating levels in estrogen can result in “brain fog,” intense mood swings, and potentially the onset of depression.

HERBAL OPTIONS FOR MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS

“Looking at the properties of herbs and how they work poses a difficult problem, because conducting expensive, doubleblind studies that the traditional medical community is used to seeing is neither practical nor probable,” says Craig Koniver, M.D., of Primary Plus Organic Medicine, LLC in Charleston, South Carolina. “However, it is hard to ignore thousands of years of history—both oral and written—that proves the science and outcomes. If something is working, we as medical professionals need to pay attention.” On the whole, herbs and botanicals mimic estrogen, neurotransmitters, or bone building substances in our bodies, which allow them to address the symptoms of menopause effectively. Listed on the next page are some of the more noted herbal options. It’s important to note that there is not one botanical “fix,” and that optimal success is achieved when using these supplements in some combination.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Timothy Morley, D.O., medical director of BodyLogicMD in New York City, recommends that women have comprehensive blood work to find out if there are any barriers to herbs’ effectiveness such as thyroid issues or liver problems. He also urges women to use probiotics to boost the efficacy of herbal supplements. Understand that what works for your friend may not work for you—just as it is with prescription medications. With a little ingenuity, and a nod to modern conventional, Chinese, and Native American folk medicine, you can successfully enjoy this roller coaster ride through “the change” and beyond. With the help of an integrative medicine specialist, you can be back on track to being that invincible you.

BLACK COHOSH

Cimicifuga Racemosa, better known as black cohosh, is a North American plant from the buttercup family that has been used as a successful remedy for premenstrual syndrome, perimenopause, menopause, and osteoporosis by Native Americans for centuries. A proprietary, standardized formulation of black cohosh (Cimi-Max) has been shown in clinical studies to reduce many of the concerns associated with hormonal imbalance, such as anxiety, mood swings, irritability, irregular or painful periods, weight gain, and hot flashes.

Black cohosh root contains chemicals similar to serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in your brain, which helps regulate mood and irritability levels. It also works as a selective estrogen receptor modulator (or SERM) by blocking the effects of excess estrogen, which help keep the levels of estrogen and progesterone in balance. Black cohosh contains several important antioxidants that offer protection against cellular damage known as oxidative stress. Black cohosh’s antioxidant properties have proven beneficial in treating pain and inflammation.

SOY

The active ingredients in soy are isoflavones such as genistein, daidzein, and glycitein. These soy isoflavones are phytoestrogens— meaning they mimic mild effects of estrogen in our bodies. Phytoestrogens in soy have been shown to confer many health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, improvement in mental acuity, and reduction in loss of bone density, as well as the improvement of hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Large population studies suggest that phytoestrogens can promote breast health. A 2012 University of Delaware study examined 1,200 women who received two soy servings daily for six weeks, and found that hot flashes decreased by 26 percent.

However, some studies conducted in the U.S. showed inconclusive results, combined with GMO issues regarding soy product integrity made some physicians lose confidence in soy’s ability to relieve menopausal symptoms. “If a woman has a personal or family history of breast cancer, she should avoid soy,” says Arielle Levitan, M.D., practicing internist and co-founder of Vous Vitamins.

FLAX SEED

Freshly ground flax seed is a plant estrogen that contains both omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. Flaxseed lignans are converted in the digestive tract to beneficial estrogenic compounds. These lignans mimic estrogen and bind to estrogen sites in your body, causing any excess estrogen that is on board to be eliminated through natural pathways in your body. Flax seed lignans offer protection from osteoporosis and breast cancer, and are associated with better cognitive function in menopausal women. A 2007 study conducted by the Mayo Clinic showed that women who consumed 40 grams of ground flaxseed daily had a significant decrease in the severity and frequency of their hot flashes. Study subjects also noticed marked improvements in mood as well as a decrease in joint or muscle pain.

CHASTEBERRY

Vitex agnus-castus, or chasteberry, has been used for centuries to treat irregular periods, PMS, and breast tenderness. Chasteberry acts on the brain neurotransmitter dopamine and has been shown to regulate various hormones, including prolactin and progesterone. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated the benefits of chasteberry, including reduction in breast tenderness, headache, water retention, irritability, and mood change. Another study published in Human Psychopharmacology showed that chasteberry was as effective as Prozac in relieving the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

DONG QUAI

Angelica sinensis, or dong quai, is a traditional herb used in Chinese medicine that’s known for its ability to maintain female hormone balance. Dong quai contains bioactive compounds that may reduce hot flashes, boost immune function, and improve bone health. Dong qua is always used in combination with other remedies in Chinese medicine. A study examining the effects of dong quai and chamomile showed significant relief in hot flashes and insomnia when compared to placebo. It is important to note that dong quai is not indicated for use in women who experience heavy bleeding during their menstrual cycle.

GREEN COFFEE BERRY

Green coffee berry extract contains chlorogenic acid (CGA), a powerful antioxidant known as a polyphenol. CGA can prevent the release of glucose into the bloodstream, reduce the absorption of fat, and stimulate fat metabolism. Clinical studies have also demonstrated efficacy in weight loss, improved cognitive function, and increased energy.

B VITAMINS

Your body needs vitamin B6, B9, and B12 to metabolize estrogen. Vitamin B6 has been shown to help with hormonal symptoms such as fluid retention, anxiety, mood swings, and irritability. Vitamin B9— better known as folic acid—and vitamin B12 are both necessary for the synthesis and detoxification of hormones. Deficiencies of these vitamins can result in hormone imbalance.

TRACE MINERALS

Calcium is essential for many functions in our bodies, including hormone secretion. Calcium is a key nutrient for reducing the risk of osteoporosis and reduces symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and migraine. As we age, bones slowly lose calcium, particularly in post-menopausal women, resulting in osteoporosis.