Leptin is primarily known as a hormone that is active in the hypothalamus in the brain. It plays a role in decreasing body fat mass and suppressing food intake making you feel full. But research studying activity is showing that leptin serves a much broader purpose than telling you that you’ve had enough slices of pizza.
The United State’s new chemical safety law is giving the Environmental Protection Agency more authority to regulate dangerous chemicals. The new requirements under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act will for the first time require EPA to review existing chemicals. And there are a lot of them. About 80,000 to be exact. So where should EPA start? One well-known public health advocate actually created a list, identifying the top 10 chemicals threatening your health right now.
You may have heard that knuckle cracking causes arthritis, but there’s no evidence to support this claim. Knuckle cracking may lead to other issues, though. Keep reading to learn more about this habit and why you may want to cut back on the knuckle cracking.
As the daylight hours shorten, we start to welcome the gifts of fall. Cool, crisp mornings, school year routines, cozy sweaters, and the aroma of wood smoke curling up from the chimney tops. Maybe an apple pie and a trip to the pumpkin patch, too… However, these autumnal delights carry with them a few nasty aspects. Enclosed spaces, re-circulated air, and the worst part of all – the return of the cold and flu season. There is really no practical way, with absolute certainty, to avoid the common cold. Great diet, adequate exercise, and excellent hygiene all play a very important role in preventing or lessening the severity of the “creeping crud,” but those viral invaders are very clever. Lucky for those of us “herbally” inclined, we have a few antiviral, immune-stimulating plant allies to add to our fortification provisions. Here are a few beloved herbs for cold and flu to help you navigate through the season with relative ease.
Perhaps the least well known of this list, astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) is an extraordinary immune stimulant and all over tonic. Studies have demonstrated that long-term astragalus use promotes greater antibody secretion and increased lymphocyte production. As an antioxidant and adaptogen, astragalus protects cells from free radical damage and moderates the body’s stress response. A warming herb, it is said to increase “digestive fire,” promoting efficient digestion. Astragalus can be administered as a tincture or a dried, encapsulated herb, or simmered, then steeped with your favorite aromatic herbs for a health-promoting tea.
A favorite of many foragers, elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are a virtual gold mine of antiviral properties. A variety of studies have indicated that elderberry may have an inhibitory effect of influenza pathogens, while also reducing the duration and severity of flu symptoms. Conveniently ripening as the cold and flu season picks up momentum, elderberries make tasty tinctures, syrups, and lozenges, while the dried berries offer teas an immunity-boosting fruity note.
Warming, aromatic ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a familiar and comforting scent of fall that packs a pleasant, but powerful antiviral punch. Fresh ginger was even shown to demonstrate profound inhibition of the human Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in a 2013 study. Additionally, ginger stimulates productive expectoration and helps to quiet an upset stomach. Fresh ginger simmered briefly in water makes for an aromatic and enjoyable tea.
Pungent and powerful garlic (Allium sativum) is a favorite of most chefs and “kitchen witches” alike. A well-muscled antimicrobial, garlic does not play nicely with germs of any persuasion. While dried and encapsulated garlic is helpful, when delivered as a component of “fire cider,” or even eaten fresh and raw (for those so brave and daring), garlic is at its most effective.
This citrus-scented member of the mint family is an often overlooked antiviral. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) may also be effective in speeding the healing of cold sores. Lemon balm makes a soothing, relaxing cup of antiviral tea, but can be applied as a soothing “poultice” of sorts, or as a tincture.
The fall bearing fruit of the ever beautiful rose (Rosa spp.) is brimming with vitamin C. Another timely foraged fare, rose hips offer exceptional antioxidant potential, anti-inflammatory benefits, and great immunity support. The jewel red fruits can forage in the fall; after removing the inner hairy seeds, the pulp is made into syrups and jellies or dried for tea and other remedies. Antiviral and immune stimulating herbs are a wonderful tool to utilize during the cold and flu season. While there are no guarantees, a thoughtful plan of prevention and quick acting remedies will help to keep you healthy all year long.
MediHerb®, an Australian company, is a leader in herbal products for healthcare professionals in the United States. MediHerb’s success is fueled by an unwavering commitment to delivering premium-quality, efficacious herbal solutions for optimal patient outcomes.*
MediHerb products are developed by experts and leaders in the field of herbal therapy, drawing on the latest scientific evidence, as well as centuries of traditional knowledge. The positive health results achieved are the strongest possible evidence of their potency and superiority. The aim is to get your patients back to optimum health and enhance their well-being for the long term. MediHerb’s wide range of products can powerfully enhance health and vitality. Whether you’re managing short-term issues or need long-term support, these natural therapies can deliver dramatic positive effects.
Natural Healing Center trusts MediHerb herbal solutions which reflect the company’s philosophy and commitment to quality, purity and high manufacturing standards.
Contributor: 6 Herbs for Cold and Flu Season - LearningHerbs
Copyright © 2017 LearningHerbs.
Have you ever seen research questioning the value of vitamin and mineral supplements and wondered what the whole story was? Yes, ideally, we’d get all our holistic nutrition from food. But since most soils are deficient in nutrients, (especially minerals) due to industrial food production practices, getting all our nutrition from food is not realistic. So most of us pop vitamins and other dietary supplements to ensure we’re getting optimal levels of necessary micronutrients. Some of us pop more than others. And we’re getting handed them, just like this packet of samples my doctor recently gave me. [See photos below.]
But what if dangerous ingredients are lurking in your vitamin and mineral supplement? “No”, you exclaim. “Surely not! Those knights in shining armor at the FDA would spring into action to protect us…”
Sigh. Yet again, the political powers that should be protecting us are letting us down. And the industrial powers that be are tossing lots of lovely toxic fillers into your vitamin pills.
Here are the 5 worst (or most dangerous) things to look for in your dietary supplements. If you find them, don’t buy those supplements. Seriously. It’s best to avoid a side of carcinogen with your micronutrients. Maybe it’s all the junk in vitamins and minerals that lead to the studies questioning whether they actually help us. B vitamins with a side of Red #40 probably aren’t going to lead to an optimal health outcome.
– FD&C Blue No. 1
– FD&C Blue No. 2
– FD&C Green No. 3
– FD&C Red No. 3
– FD&C Red No. 40
– FD&C Yellow No. 5
– FD&C Yellow No. 6
Why, oh why are there artificial colors in your vitamins?
The FDA states that these artificial colors in your vitamins are added to: “Offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions; correct natural variations in color; enhance colors that occur naturally; provide color to colorless and ‘fun’ foods.”
Do we really care if our vitamin pill has a lovely shade of red? Especially considering the FDA itself has “probed” into the connection between artificial food dyes and children’s behavior! Red #40 has been linked to hyperactivity and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, among others, wants the FDA to ban artificial food colors. After all, artificial colors in your vitamins serve no function other than making food look more “fun”, or even worse, cover up the fact that the active ingredients in the vitamin have been degraded by exposure to light, air, moisture, heat, or poor storage conditions.
Additionally, European lawmakers now require a warning label on foods that contain artificial dyes. The label must state: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”
Here you thought you were avoiding hydrogenated fats by passing on the margarine. Did you know that your dietary supplement may also have these little toxic nasties? And, to make matters worse, its often partially hydrogenated soybean oil—one of the major fillers in the majority of vitamins today. Unless soy is organic, you can pretty much guarantee it’s genetically modified. So you’re getting a dose of franken-soy with your vitamins.
The FDA knows that hydrogenated fats are bad for us. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans specifically states: “Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils, and by limiting other solid fats.”
The CDC chimed in, posting in January 2014 that:
Consuming trans fat increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or ‘bad’) cholesterol. This risk factor contributes to the leading cause of death in the U.S. – coronary heart disease (CHD). Trans fat may also have other adverse health effects like decreasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or ‘good’) cholesterol. Further reducing trans fat consumption by avoiding artificial trans fat could prevent 10,000-20,000 heart attacks and 3,000-7,000 coronary heart disease deaths each year in the U.S.
So why does the FDA allow these dangerous ingredients in your supplements? They’re cheap fillers. People still have this idea that bigger is better. Until we realize that smaller can be just as good, manufacturers will use cheap nasty fillers to give us bigger horse sized pills.
It’s up to you to avoid them, folks.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are on everyone’s mind lately. They’ve been shown to be particularly important for pregnant women, babies, and toddlers,  as well as for brain and heart health.  But not all brands are created equal. Since fish high on the food chain can accumulate mercury, lead, and other contaminants, those metals can make their way into your fish oil supplements. Yuck! Maybe these contaminants are the reason some research showed that fish oil supplements increased prostate cancer risk? 
The high levels of PCBs in fish oils led to a lawsuit in California in 2010 claiming that supplement manufacturers should have placed warning labels stating the cancer risk on their fish oil supplements.  Testing by Consumer Reports in 2011 showed 1/3 of the fish oils tested had high PCB levels. 
What? You don’t want a toxic heavy metal or some PCBs with your EFAs today? Then you’d better be careful of what brand of Omega-3 or EFAs you buy. This is not the time to choose the cheap option—make sure that you choose a variety that has been meticulously tested for lead or mercury contaminants. Your best choices should state that they are “Molecularly distilled and 3rd party tested to ensure PCBs, dioxins, mercury, lead and other contaminants are below acceptable limits set by the Council for Responsible Nutrition and other advisory agencies,” or something similar.
Here’s an even better option: choose wild fish, pasture-raised eggs, or greens for a good dose of Omega-3s!
Talc is not currently considered food grade by the FDA. Although they were considering setting upper limits for asbestos fibers and adding it to the GRAS list way back in 1979, I couldn’t find whether any upper limits have yet been set. (Mind you, the FDA website is pretty impossible to navigate!) But talc is still found in supplements. Yuck!
Titanium dioxide is yet another one of the nasty and dangerous ingredients in your vitamins or supplements; it is used as a colorant (it’s also used in many cosmetics). Titanium dioxide has a raft of health implications.
Titanium dioxide has been shown to cause lung inflammation and damage, so it’s yet another substance that has an impact on workers at the production level. It has also been implicated in immune system function, with some studies showing DNA damage by Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, albeit marginal damage. Just a wee bit of DNA damage with your vitamins.
Taken internally, it has been shown to cause kidney damage in mice and to induce small intestine inflammation. This is scary considering how many people suffering from Crohn’s and gluten sensitivity are probably taking supplements containing Titanium dioxide.
Yet again, our health is risked so our vitamins can be a pretty color. Very disturbing. Avoid it.
The big picture solution is to have an FDA that actually prevents toxic materials getting into our food supply (and dietary supplements are a part of that food supply). But since that seems unlikely anytime soon, we have to take matters into our own hands:
If we all kick up a bit of a ruckus, manufacturers will take these dangerous ingredients out.