Monthly Archives: March 2017

Advantages and Disadvantages of Alternative Medicine

There are reasons why people chose alternative medicine and reasons why they avoid it, preferring conventional medicine. Alternative medicine is safer than standard health treatments and usually works. It’s true that it can’t be used in severe conditions like car accidents or other severe emergencies, but be that as it may, there are enough situations in which alternative medicine is recommended. When it comes to emotional and spiritual needs, non-conventional medicine may come up with the solution. Furthermore, it’s better for preventing illnesses than standard medicine. More and more physicians nowadays agree upon the benefits of alternative medicine and also even advise their clients to choose the best natural treatment for them.

One of the advantages of alternative medicine is that it encompasses a broad range of therapies, treatments and products, thus the search for obtaining positive results doesn’t flow on a narrow path at all.

A pretty important disadvantage states the idea that, even though the expenses of using acupuncture or chiropractic are sometimes covered by health insurances, the majority of alternative treatments are not reimbursed.

There are certain risks that come along with the usage of natural remedies. Despite the use of herbs throughout the years and even ancient times, not all of them have been studied regarding their safety and efficiency. There are issues concerning their purity and their possible interaction with other substances related to conventional therapies. The majority of information regarding herbs have been perpetuated throughout history and with the help of tradition. Many people assume that herbal medicines are better than synthetic drugs simply because, well, they are natural and not synthetic, therefore present no risk. But they are not risk free; they can do more harm than good if taken without having the details of their effects over the body.

People might abuse of natural medicines the same way as they do it in the case of synthetic drugs. They have the misconception that if unconventional medicine consists of herbal products which are natural, then there is no harm done if they triple the dosage or more. This is totally wrong and can have serious consequences. Take vitamins for example. They are just vitamins, right? They can’t possibly do any damage inside the body. But they do. Vitamin overdosing or vitamin toxicity can lead to unpleasant effects depending on the vitamin that has been taken one too many times. Vitamin A over dosage can cause liver problems, osteoporosis, hair loss and other dangerous effects and Hypervitaminosis D leads to dehydration, vomiting, anorexia and even kidney stones.

An advantage of using herbal remedies concerns the effectiveness related with chronic health issues that don’t respond well or even at all to traditional medicines. If long term medication is needed, then herbs are pretty much safer than conventional drugs. The alternative medicine industry takes advantage from this and keeps evolving and developing due to the constant need for natural remedies.

Another advantage is the low cost of herbal products compared to synthetic drugs which are highly priced for the simple reason that researching and testing the products is expensive. Furthermore, herbal products can be bought without a prescription and are easy to procure. The availability of natural remedies is outstanding; chamomile for example can be easily picked out from a nearby field.

The advantages of using herbal medicines are numerous, but so are the disadvantages. The best idea would be to consider modern medicine according to the severity of the illness, to consult a physician upon the proper medication and dosage and if you do chose the alternative medicine, try to gather enough information upon both kinds of treatments, natural or synthetic, so you may reassure yourself that you took the right decision to balance your health situation.

Penis Health Cremes – What You Need To Know

The skin of the penis can be highly sensitive and is susceptible to a number of common health issues, which can cause penis redness, loss of penile sensation, penis itchiness, irritation, painful intercourse, and unpleasant odors. Maintaining this delicate area using a moisturizer or penis health crème containing penis-specific vitamins and minerals may help to prevent common penis problems. It is important to keep in mind that not all skin care products are equal; therefore, it is essential to know what to look for in a penis health crème. The best penis care products should do the following:

Moisturize – The skin of the penis is subject to some rough treatment. Aggressive masturbation, intercourse, tight clothing, and harsh chemical detergents can all dry and irritate the skin of the penis, causing flaking, redness and soreness and even increasing the chances of developing a painful infection when bacteria are allowed to penetrate through microscopic fissures in the outer dermal layer. Products containing ingredients such as shea butter and vitamin E can moisturize the skin, keeping it soft and supple and preventing uncomfortable dryness and irritation.

Heal – The surface of the skin is easily damaged; even without being aware of it, tiny cracks may develop in the skin’s surface, frequent masturbation and aggressive sex can damage penis cell neurons and actually diminish penis sensation. One important study show that 87% of men at age 39 have experienced some loss of penile sensation. A good healthy crème should contain vital nutrients that the body needs to repair damaged skin cells and heal after damage to the skin’s surface. Vitamin B5 and vitamin D are noted for their ability to help the body heal after injury, while vitamin C is important for the growth of collagen, the tissue that gives skin its structure and elasticity. Amino acids such as L-arginine and acetyl L carnitine are also important in rebuilding damaged skin cells and promoting overall dermatological health.

Protect – Protecting penis skin from harmful environmental agents and minor fungal and bacterial infections is essential for optimum penis health. Antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A and C can protect the skin cells from free radicals, boost immune function, and help the body to fight off skin infections that can cause rash, itching and soreness.

Maintaining penis health should include good personal hygiene, as well as maintaining a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and choosing sexual partners with care; wearing loose-fitting, comfortable clothing made from natural fabrics can also keep the area clean and dry.

Use a penis health crème or skin care products?

Numerous products that are on the market have been recommended at one time or another for caring for the skin of the penis; these include everything from olive oil to baby oil to skin moisturizers and anti-wrinkle creams. However, these products are not designed specifically for treating the skin of the penis. Olive oil, for instance, is not easily absorbed, and applying it to the penile skin can leave a sticky and unpleasant mess; while cosmetic skin creams and baby oil often contain fragrances, coloring agents and other chemicals that can cause irritation to the delicate skin of the penis, particularly if it is accidentally applied to the urethral opening.

Health professionals recommend treating penis skin with a specialized penis health crème (most health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) that can help to prevent common penis problems such as dry skin, red penis, penis rash, irritation and diminished penis sensitivity. The benefits provided by the penis-specific ingredients, which include several essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, can boost the body’s natural healing ability and keep you feeling great and performing at your best.

The Pros and Cons of the Sonoma Diet!

Can you imagine yourself basking in the sun while enjoying a plate full of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats? In between each portion of food or meal you are sipping a glass of fine wine, aware of your location surrounded by hikers, bikers, and small slopes scattered with olive trees?

Well, whether you can or not this is the scenario offered by one of the latest diet programs available. The Sonoma Diet by Dr. Connie Gutterson is a Weight Loss Plan that promotes the healthy flavourful eating style of the Mediterranean and Sonoma Valley, California. However is all this self-promotion, self-marketing illusions to attract customers, or will does it actually work?

This article answers this question by detailing the Pro’s & Con’s within the Sonoma Diet to help prospective dieters determine whether the program will suit them.



The Sonoma Diet:

Pros

– SIMPLE:

The Sonoma Diet is extremely simple for dieters to use. There are no formulas to calculate as with the Weight Watchers Program, and no counting grams or calories daily. Rather plate and bowl sizes are used for portion control.

– EMPHASISE THE POSITIVE:

The emphasis of the Sonoma Diet Program is on what you do eat rather than what you cannot eat. Although the program does still have a list of forbidden foods that dieters are supposed to avoid.

– SAVOR THE FOOD:

There is focus within the Sonoma Diet on eating slower and savouring food. This is punctuated by healthy use of fine wines with meals after the initial 10-day period. By using tasteful recipes meals are enjoyed, and by slowing down dieters prevent over-eating.

– NUTRITION:

The Sonoma Diet has a strong nutritional component, promoting dieters eating a number of phytonutrients and antioxidants. This is key for the diet as it is based on nutrition not starvation. The dieter remains healthy and keeps their metabolism rate at an effective level.

– WHOLE FOOD EMPHASIS:

Emphasising wholefoods in the diet and very few processed foods helps dieters with health gains as well as weight loss.

– STRUCTURED DIET

There are definitely several weight loss programs and diets out there that lack a prescribed structure for their participants to follow. One of the Sonoma Diet’s strong points is their step-by-step guidance, however this is obviously a personal choice of each individual.



The Sonoma Diet:

Cons

– LACKS FLEXIBILITY

An analysis of the diet proves that majority of Wave 1 menus only offer around 950-1100 calories for women, and 1050-1300 for the men. Once you get to Wave 2 diets are only given an extra 200-300 calories. Now while this is going to be effective in weight loss, it is difficult for people to live by. People will be starving within the first week and over a long term this isn’t sustainable for most dieters.

– LACK OF GUIDANCE WHEN HUNGRY

Given the hunger levels that some may experience during the Sonoma Diet there is a lack of instruction on what to do and what to eat when hungry.

– LIMITED SIZES, PARTICULARLY VEGETABLES

Compared to most other diets, the Sonoma Diet has a extremely controlled volume of food, particularly when it comes to vegetables. The lack of vegetables available may be unintended but people will generally experience a shock when it comes to the amount of food they can consume when sticking with the portion sizes of the Sonoma Diet.

– FORBIDDEN FOODS

By emphasising wholefoods the Sonoma Diet is doing a great job at providing dieters with nutrients. However the number of forbidden foods doesn’t leave dieters with that many alternatives or substitutes in terms of sugars, fats, etc. This may be difficult for dieters to handle.

– LACK OF CARBS IN WAVE 1

In many diets the risk of carb crash exists. However the Sonoma Diet is designed as a low carb diet and has no means for managing this risk, which may occur in the diets first phase, Wave 1.

In concluding it is clear that the Sonoma Diet offers both positives and negatives for potential dieters. It is important for each individual dieter to way up these issues in terms of their own personality and make a decision that suits them personally. If you like a structured diet with a focus on flavours, health and well being then the Sonoma Diet is for you. However if you need a greater level of flexibility and food consumption an alternative might be recommended.

Good Hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia and it is a major trade, commercial and industrial center. The African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa are headquartered in this large city. It has several tourist attractions, offers many luxury services and is often referred to as ‘the spa capital’ of Africa.

In general, the medical services of Addis Ababa are underdeveloped. Though there are a number of hospitals in the city, most of them lack required facilities and only a select few are able to deliver good medical services.

Leading Hospitals in Addis Ababa

Saint Gabriel General Hospital is a major hospital in Ethiopia. This health care center, with full-fledged outpatient and inpatient departments, is well known for the services of eminent physicians and a dedicated nursing staff. This modern medical center came into existence in 1995 and has introduced many technological innovations to the nation. It has acquired the Century International Quality Award and provides effective clinical and diagnostic services in all main specialties of medicine. The cardiology department has equipment to conduct stress tests, echocardiography and pacemaker implantations. Modern departments for dental care, physiotherapy, and psychiatry are available for patients. The up-to-date surgery department has units in basic specialties and is well known for laparoscopy. With a well-equipped laboratory and radiology department, the hospital offers services to about 21,000 persons annually. Saint Gabriel General Hospital offers healthcare for staff of companies and organizations and has services with English-speaking staff for foreign communities. The emergency center is well equipped with an ambulance and medical evacuation facilities. Warm accommodations are offered in spacious private rooms equipped with modern amenities. Facilities like pharmacy, gift, flower and mother and childcare shops and restaurant are also available. Saint Gabriel General Hospital is a major center for medical training and research in the country. The hospital is currently undergoing an expansion programs. Telephone: 251-1- 62-14-22

Myungsung Christian Medical Center is located at Kebele 11, Addis Ababa is another well-known hospital in the city. The Myungsung Presbyterian Church of Korea founded this modern hospital in 2004. This center is on a 90,000-meter square compound and is better known as the Korean Hospital. It was built in memory of the Ethiopian soldiers who fought in the Korean War. The patient-centered hospital provides some well-known physicians and good health care services in all major areas of medicine at an affordable price. Myungsung Christian Medical Center pioneered neurosurgery and many other surgical procedures in Ethiopia. It provides a 24-hours emergency service unit, laboratories and radiology department. The hospital is an important center for medical training, particularly in surgical procedures. It currently is conducting a $10 million expansion project. Telephone: 629 5421

Swedish Medical Clinic is a notable hospital and is located at W21-k5-House #453 in Addis Ababa. The Swedish government founded this medical facility in 1967 under an agreement with the Ethiopian government. Effective health care services to expatriates and visitors are provided by this clinic at European standards. InDevelop, a Swedish consultancy group, is currently managing this medical facility. The hospital has many experienced foreign physicians who speak various languages, including English. It delivers good care in all major medical areas. The clinic conducts several vaccination programs for children as well as antenatal check-ups. Swedish Medical Clinic cooperates with many well-known hospitals and insurance companies in foreign countries and refers patients, if required, to foreign hospitals. Its pharmacy stocks many quality drugs and vaccines from abroad. The laboratory is well supplied to conduct various tests and the emergency department is suited to attend to critical medical emergencies. If needed, medical evacuation is also available. Telephone: 171 9002

The Importance of Pest Control

Pest control and management refers to any system or measure that seeks to eliminate or regulate the population of insects considered harmful to human and animal health and the environment. Pest control requires a lot of work and resources but it is a necessity, especially for homes. Here are the reasons why pest management is important and why every homeowner should consider applying it:

1. Preventing damage to homes and structures

In the U.S., people spend about $5 billion for the repair of damages caused by termite infestation. Termites consume wood and wood products such as plyboard and paper. Once they have burrowed into the wood components of the home, they can eat beams, floorings and walls from the inside. This makes the structure weak and vulnerable to collapse, leaving household members at a risk. Termite infestation can be especially problematic in older homes and structures that have not been treated. In areas where termites are known pests, managing a home to keep it safe from termites requires constant vigilance and assistance from pest control agencies.

2. Preventing allergies

Pests can cause a range of issues in people, such as skin allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems. Bed bugs and mosquitoes, for example, are notorious for causing skin rashes. Pests can also carry certain allegens that can cause strong allergic reactions in some people. Cockroaches, for example, can cause allergies in at least 7% of the population. They are also one of the leading causes of asthma in children.

3. Avoiding diseases and other health risks

Leprosy, skin infections, urinary tract infections, Lyme disease, intestinal infections, dysentery, dengue, malaria and food poisoning are just a few of the diseases and health problems that pests can cause. They also carry a number of bacteria and viruses that can affect human and animal health. Although many of these diseases are treatable, they can cause serious health issues in children, the elderly and immune-compromised individuals, many of whom will require professional medical treatment or hospitalization. That, in turn, can translate to millions of dollars in medical costs.

4. Preventing damage and deterioration of furniture, carpets and clothes

Pest control has to be applied in order to save furniture, carpets and clothing and avoid the expenses associated with repairs and replacements. Burrowing insects are notorious for causing damage to the wooden and fabric components of furniture. Some, such as carpet bugs, moths, cockroaches and silverfish are also attracted to fabric, often using it as a source of food.

5. Maintenance of food supply

Food supply is critical to the survival of the world’s populations. On a macro economic level, it also influences the world’s economies and supports majority of today’s active industries. Without proper pest management, almost 20% of our food supply will be wasted due to consumption of rodents. Each year, millions of dollars’ worth of food is lost to rodent attacks and infestation. By controlling the threat, it is possible to keep food supplies at manageable and useful levels. On the homefront, implementing pest control measures can help prevent food waste and contamination. Pests do not only consume food, they also leave behind undesirable organic matter such as dead skin, body parts, feces and urine, all of which can affect the quality of the food we eat.

Candida Cleanse Diet Detox – 12 Tips for Success

Here are 12 diet tips to help you eat well, cleanse successfully, and keep your meals tasting great.

1) Remember to always check the list of ingredients of anything you buy at the grocery store… MANY foods, meats included, contain added sugars, yeast, and soy products that you wouldn’t expect! When cleansing Candida, keep in mind that fresh and organic ingredients will give you the most nutritional benefit.

2) Organic Vanilla extract contains no sugar. Regular Vanilla extract does. Check the label before buying.

Vanilla extract is something most of us keep around the house and use constantly without even thinking. There should be no reason not to continue using it while on the candida diet as long as you buy the organic vanilla extract that contains no sugar. Studies have shown that vanilla can help to relieve anxiety and stress. Not a bad thing!

3) Garlic ( real cloves, not powder) helps to combat yeast and is an anti-inflammatory. To get the most benefit from garlic, chop or crush several cloves and let them sit for 15 minutes before using. Doing this triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in the garlic. Use at least 2 cloves per day.

Chop it into your salads, or cook it with your vegetables, meats, and fish. It can also be good with eggs and tomatoes in the morning!

4) Cinnamon helps to combat yeast and inflammation. It also inhibits bacterial growth, and is a source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium. Just smelling cinnamon can help your concentration and memory, and can help to stabilize your blood sugar, as well. It is a delicious addition to your vegetables, chicken, or roasts.

5) Nutmeg can help to relieve bloating and gas and is also an antibacterial, killing bad bacteria in your mouth and throat, as well as helping to cleanse and detox your liver and kidneys, helping to get rid of candida yeast. It also contains many B-complex vitamins including vitamin C, folic acid, niacin, and vitamin A, as well as many antioxidants. Use in your recipes along with cinnamon.

6) Fresh ginger will increase your circulation and assist detoxification. It is also a very potent anti-inflammatory.

Steep 1-2 slices of fresh ginger in hot water to make a stomach-settling tea. Chop some into your main meals and soups for maximum candida-fighting relief.

7) The sweetener xylitol from Birch (or Birch Sugar) is OK to use as it is a proven anti-fungal and inhibits candida yeast. Don’t use the corn-based version if possible. Whole-leaf Stevia is OK, as well, but do not use extracts because of the chemical separation factor. They both reduce bad bacteria and inhibit tooth decay.

8) Plain, unflavored yoghurt will help the growth of healthy bacteria in your colon and is a rich source of calcium. Calcium discourages excess growth of the cells lining the colon, and studies have shown that people who have diets high in calcium have lower rates of colorectal cancer. The bacterial cultures in yoghurt have also been shown to produce infection-fighting white blood cells.

9) Drinking plenty of water will help in flushing the toxins and dead yeast cells out of your body, and help keep detox symptoms to a minimum. Squeezing the juice of a lemon or lime into all the water you drink will help to increase hydration and body flushing. Put it in your tea, too!

10) Drink plenty of Detox tea, Peppermint tea, and Ginger tea to help cleanse your body of the dead yeast.

11)Breads from Pacific Bakery are all yeast and sugar-free, and are made with ancient grains. They can usually be found in the freezer section of your local health food store.

12) Eat as large a variety of vegetables as possible, preferably organic and raw, to get as much nutrition and fiber as possible and to cleanse the yeast out of your body. Make them into soups and stews, as well as salads and chopped for snacks. Vegetables are great in smoothies, as well. Just use water instead of juice to get your blender moving, and you’ve got breakfast or lunch on the go!

Finding foods that you can eat and enjoy eating while you are cleansing Candida is not always easy, but worth it for the ultimate payback of feeling great and enjoying excellent health!

Acidic Foods – 5 Acidic Foods to Avoid

Eating healthy in this day and age can indeed be quite difficult with all of the temptation that is out there today, but it is having the determination and the will-power to stick to it that will see you through. As mentioned in the title of this article, there are five types of acidic foods to stay away from, each of which will be discussed as followed.

We will be covering each of these types: dairy, meat and poultry, processed and frozen foods, refined sugar and products made with refined sugars and beverages. This article provides the latest information on 5 highly acidifying foods:

Acidic Food # 1: Dairy Products

The different types of acidic dairy foods include butter, cheese, cream, custards, eggs and yogurt.

Dairy foods are filled with hormones, pesticide residues, microforms, mycotoxins, and saturated fats. Layer on top of all those goodies milk sugar (lactose) that breaks down like any sugar and feeds harmful microforms.

Cheese and yogurt are made by fermentation. And dairy is the leader of all foods in forming sticky mucus. It is highly acid-forming. Furthermore, pasteurization destroys the beneficial enzymes milk starts out with.

Acidic Food # 2: Meat and Poultry Products

Of this category, there is meat, chicken, beef, shellfish, goat, lamb, pork, rabbit meat and turkey.

Meat and poultry and their by-products are highly acidic foods. The animals feed on stored grain and pass along all the associated problems in their meat.

There is a strong correlation between animal protein and several kinds of cancer, particularly breast, thyroid, prostate, pancreatic, endometrial, ovarian, stomach, and colon cancers. Studies show that people who get 70 percent of their protein from animal products have major health difficulties compared to those who get just 5 perfect of their protein that way. Besides, animal foods are simply dead.

Acidic Foods # 3: Refined, Processed and Frozen Food Products

Which is pretty much anything that is frozen, like frozen peas, carrots, broccoli and also the frozen mixed vegetables, not to mention take out meals or frozen meals. But it also includes many foods you may not have considered, such as canned soup, chips, cookies, doughnuts and just about anything you can get at fat food restaurants. Refined, processed and frozen foods are loaded with sugar, salt, artificial coloring and flavoring, additives, preservatives, and butter, margarine, or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated (hardened) vegetable oil – and deficient in fiber. All these types of foods are acidifying.

Acidic Food # 4: Refined Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners

Majority of people in the US is getting more than the 149 pounds of sugar a year. Did you know that you body needs only two teaspoons of blood sugar at any tie in order to function properly? This amount can be easily obtained through the digestion of unrefined carbohydrates, protein and fats.

Refined sugar, as tempting as it may be in all those cakes, candies, and cups of coffee, is, in fact, more of a pharmaceutical drug than it is a nurturing food. The minerals needed to digest sugar – chromium, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc, and magnesium – have been striped from the sugar during the refining process. This, in turn, forces that body to deplete its own mineral reserves to process the sugar.

Acidic Food # 5: Beverages

Alcohol, coffee, black tea, sodas and concentrated juices all have a negative effect on your body’s pH level.

All these products produce a lot of acid and a lot of mucus.

All of these acidic foods can affect the pH balance in your body in a very negative way. A healthy human body is slightly alkaline measuring 7.4 approximately. This ideal blood measurement means that it is slightly more alkaline than acid.

Many people wonder why they lack energy and feel so sluggish all the time. We wonder why we can not seem to lose the weight that we want to and why some of us have poor digestion. When our pH level is out of whack our bodies reflect it like this.

The human body has to have a balanced pH like any other living thing or it does not function properly. The alkaline level is important because as research has already proven, diseases can’t survive in an alkaline state. But they will live in an acidic environment.

An acidic environment will decrease your body’s ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients. It decreases your body’s energy production and limit it’s ability to repair damaged cells. It’s ability to detoxify heavy metals will be limited also. It will also make the body more susceptible to fatigue and illness.

Heart Health and Clean Arteries

Clogged arteries are responsible for a number of ailments including heart pain, high blood pressure, and peripheral arterial disease. Many of my male patients are shocked when I tell them that plaque build-up may even be causing their erectile dysfunction. How can that be? All of these conditions stem from the same cause, insufficient blood flow through arteries.

In the first part of this series, you learned how coronary artery disease and blocked arteries could lead to serious health consequences. I recommended some non-drug, non-surgical treatments you can do on your own to both prevent and improve arterial disease and its symptoms.

Now I'd like to expand on an alternative method of dissolving plaque and increasing blood flow in treaties using specific vitamins and safe chemical compounds. This therapy is called oral chelation.

What Is Chelation Therapy?

Chelation therapy has been used since about 1955 for treating heart / arterial disease. The idea of ​​using chelation for heart disease sprang from using chelation for toxic lead, arsenic, and mercury levels. A compound called calcium disodium EDTA, an amino acid, binds to those metals. The EDTA-bound metal is then removed from your body through urination.

Using this toxic metal removal model, it was thought that a variation of the same compound, disodium EDTA, would bind to plaque and remove it from arms. Based on this same principle, oral chelation formulas were created.

Oral Chelation Supplements

People have taken oral chelation supplements for years as an alternative treatment for coronary artery disease. In fact, because of their extensive use, the National Institute of Health recently began a clinical study to document the specific benefits of chelation therapy.

As I tell my patients who ask me about oral chelation formulas, I feel the better ones contain a lot of heart / artery-health promoting vitamins, minerals, and food-derived chemicals that can be of benefit in promoting heart and artery health. Let's look, then, at what I think a good oral chelation supplement may contain:

B-Vitamins – like B6, B12, and folic acid, known to be crucial to heart health in reducing homocysteine, a chemical that promotes plaque. They also maintain energy.
Magnesium, potassium, selenium – these are heart-healthy minerals that keep heart muscle functioning correctly, regulate heartbeat, and prevent cholesterol from oxidizing and turning into plaque.
Bromelain, malic acid, garlic – these food-based compounds from pineapples, green apples, and garlic dissolve saturated fats and prevent them from hardening into plaques.
TMG (trimethylglycine) – also known as betaine, derived from beets, this chemical IS actually FDA-approved for treating high homocysteine ​​levels.
EDTA – as noted above, this chemical binds to arterial plaque and removes it. EDTA is also FDA, and USDA, approved as a food additive.
NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) – a chemical found in high protein foods, it is an amino acid that, like EDTA, also acts as a toxin binding / removal agent.

How Does Oral Chelation Work?

Oral chelation formulas come in pill form and are taken like you would any other supplement. They go to work by binding to mineral deposits (sometimes calcium which plaque is), breaking it down and liquefying it so it can be removed from your arteries. Drinking plenty of filtered water daily will help flush the chelated minerals and toxins out of your blood.

It's a good idea not to take any mineral supplements until a few hours after you take a chelation formula as the minerals can be chelated out of your system. Prescription medicine should also be taken a few hours apart from chelation supplements.
Vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements should be taken as they are antioxidants which help prevent oxidation of cholesterol into plaques.

Benefits of Oral Chelation Formulas

There are several arterial health conditions which can benefit from the artery-flushing effects of oral chelation. They are:

Coronary artery disease, or CAD – blockages in the heart can cause heart attack.
Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD – lack of blood flow to legs and feet causing pain.
Erectile dysfunction – resulting from blocked arteries, lack of penile blood flow.
Carotid artery disease – reduced blood flow to the brain, can cause stroke.

Although oral chelation therapy may still be a controversial subject, it has its following of loyal supporters. According to Everyday Health, a recent survey of people who used chelation therapy, 62% said it gave them a sense of control over their heart disease. For optimal effectiveness, chelation supplements should be combined with a heart / artery healthy diet, no smoking, and beneficial exercise.

As with any supplement, read labels and be sure you have a quality oral chelation formula with ingredients such as those mentioned above. Consult a doctor familiar with the use of oral chelation formulas. They can monitor you, ensure their correct usage, and avoid any possible adverse effects that may arise.

Weight Loss – How I Went From 340 to 199 Pounds, Part 1

I spent two years losing over 140 pounds the old fashioned way: proper diet and exercise. No fads. No pills. No surgery. No crazy machines. I was 30 years old and 340 pounds. With a history of heart disease and obesity in my family, I decided it was time to shed the pounds.

Almost every day I get people I haven’t seen in years coming up to me saying “Wow! You look great!” and then the next question… “What have you been doing?” That’s why I wrote this article.

Disclaimer

Now, of course, as a general disclaimer, I have to say that the tips I’m sharing with you here are just from my own personal experience. I’m not a professional health expert – although over the past couple of years I’ve read dozens of books, and hundreds of articles on nutrition, exercise, and weight lifting. I’m not a doctor. You should, of course, seek your own doctor’s advice before starting any kind of a weight-loss or exercise plan. I firmly believe that with the right diet and proper exercise, almost anyone should be able to lose weight and get fit safely.

Tip 1. It’s All About Calories

First, the bad news. Weight gain and loss is directly tied to the amount of calories you eat versus the calories you expend through exercise. What’s a calorie?

A calorie is a unit of heat energy. Specifically, it’s the amount of heat energy required to raise 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. How this relates to your body is that when you eat food, the food molecules are broken down chemically and that energy is either used by your body to perform work (like building muscle, or constructing new cells) or is stored (as fat). If you take in more calories than you burn, you will start to get fat.

Now, in the world of calories, it takes 3500 calories to equal one pound of body weight. So, if you take in an extra 3500 calories in your diet this week without exercising, congratulations… you’ve just gained one pound (probably all body fat). The good news is that you can lose one pound of fat by either removing 3500 calories from your diet, or adding 3500 calories of exercise to your weekly schedule, or a combination of the two.

What’s 3500 calories? It’s actually not much if you’re eating the wrong kinds of food. You can consume 3500 calories in one meal if you eat two Double Whoppers (1010 calories each), a King Size order of french fries (590), a King Size onion rings (600), and a chocolate shake (440). Don’t laugh… this is what I used to eat for dinner if my family went to Burger King… or something similarly outrageous.

So the bottom line here is that if you want to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit. That means you have to burn off more calories than you eat. You had to eat more calories than you burned to get fat… now you have to reduce the calories to get lean. It’s that simple. In order to know how many calories you’re taking in and burning off, you need to write them down.

Tip 2. Eat Frequently Throughout the Day

Think of your body as a furnace. You want your furnace to burn fuel as efficiently as possible. In order for that to happen, you need to let it burn hot and steady throughout the day.

You need to stoke your fire often to keep it burning. Keep your metabolism running all day long by eating every 3 to 4 hours. My personal tip: I eat on hours evenly divisible by 3. That means breakfast at 9am (if I’m up that early), lunch at noon, a snack at 3pm, dinner at 6pm, a snack at 9pm, and if I’m still up another snack at midnight.

Now, I personally work late (I usually get most of my “real work” done between the hours of 10pm and 2am) but if you need to eat at different hours, that’s fine… Just take the total number of calories you’re going to eat throughout the day and divvy them up into 3-hour intervals. Keep that fire stoked! If you can’t take a break at work to eat every 3 hours, bring a protein bar with you.

If you skip breakfast, then you’re extremely hungry by the time lunch comes around. Skip lunch, and you’re more likely to gorge yourself at dinner. Why? Your body is saying, “Hey! I need food badly!” If you feed yourself often, throughout the day, your body doesn’t go into shock, and you won’t get those wild cravings and hunger pangs when it’s time to eat.

Tip 3. Start a Food & Exercise Journal

Don’t just dismiss this section. I did! The first couple of times I read about doing this in fitness and weight-loss books, I said to myself, “I don’t have the time to do this.” But you know what – it really works!

I cannot stress how important it is to write everything down that you eat. All you need is a little notebook. Make four columns: what you ate, how much of it you ate, how many calories were in it, and what time of the day you ate it. It’s that simple. Also write down any exercise or other activities that are more strenuous than just sitting around.

Taking the time to recognize what you’re eating is the first step to losing weight. A lot of people truly don’t realize how much crap they’re eating. When I first started doing this – and writing down everything I was eating – it really opened my eyes to the volumes of junk food I was eating before. I was a slave to cookies, chocolate, chicken wings, and pizza. When I first took the time to look up the fact that a chicken wing has 150 calories in it (yes, one wing), I was astounded. I used to eat 20 wings and 2 or 3 slices of pizza for dinner.

Now you can get yourself one of those little calorie counter booklets from your favorite book store. Sometimes you’ll even see them in the grocery store. They’re invaluable. Once you get to know the foods you eat on a regular basis, keeping track of what you eat is really quite simple. You will gain a better appreciation for what you’re putting in your body.

So please, please, please, take my advice and journal everything you eat. You do NOT have to do this for the rest of your life… just until you hit your goal weight. By that time, you’ll be able to keep a good mental track of what you’re eating, and you’ll be more aware of what you should eat, and how much exercise you should be getting every week.

Also, you do not have to obsess over every little calorie! Counting your calories can be as detailed as you like. If you want to track every last celery stick, by all means do so. However, you can just round your calories off to the nearest 10, or 20. Don’t worry whether or not something contains 24 or 26 calories. In the end, it doesn’t make that much of a difference… but whether something has 100 or 200 calories does.

The important thing… and I cannot stress this enough… is write everything down!

Tip 4. Eat The Right Amount of Calories

We’re not going to starve ourselves! In fact, proper weight loss is best accomplished by eating more frequently than you’re probably used to! Let me say that again: you’re going to eat more food than you are right now. You’re going to eat better food, more often, but at a lower calorie intake. If you’re like I used to be, you’re probably skipping breakfast. This means that when lunchtime comes around, you’re starving, so you probably overeat the wrong kinds of food (like pizza, wings, Chinese, etc.) for lunch – and I’ll bet it’s fast food or takeout. Then, you don’t eat anything again for six to eight hours, and pack in a monster dinner.

Now here’s what happens: your body isn’t getting any food first thing in the morning, so your metabolism isn’t getting started. Your “calorie-burning fire” doesn’t get started in the morning, so you’re not really burning as many calories as you should be. Also, your body is saying, “uh, oh – I’m not getting any food. I better hold on to whatever body fat I can because we’re starving!” This is bad. If you don’t eat enough food, often enough, your body will basically go into starvation mode and hang on to whatever body fat it can.

The key to unlocking your stored fat is to feed yourself enough good food so that your body doesn’t need to store any additional fat, while at the same time getting plenty of exercise and strength training to burn whatever fat you currently have and build muscle.

There are a bunch of factors that go into calculating metabolic rates and all that jazz, but you can use this chart as a basic measurement of how many calories you should be eating as part of your weight-loss diet. Notice it’s based on your current weight and your gender. Women need fewer calories then do men. Also, if you’re a smaller person, you need less energy than a larger person. Use this chart to determine how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis.

WOMEN

Under 130: 1000 Calories

130-150: 1200 Calories

151-200: 1400 Calories

201-250: 1600 Calories

251-300: 1800 Calories

301-350: 2000 Calories

351-400: 2200 Calories

MEN

Under 130: 1200 Calories

130-150: 1400 Calories

151-200: 1600 Calories

201-250: 1800 Calories

251-300: 2000 Calories

301-350: 2200 Calories

351-400: 2400 Calories

Now here’s something that’s vitally important… you want to make sure you get enough calories every day, otherwise your body will go into “starvation” mode. You want to make sure that you eat your meals at least four times a day to keep your metabolism running. If you don’t eat, your body will go into starvation mode. It will realize that it’s not getting enough food, and will hold on to body fat. It’s important to get enough calories spaced throughout the day to keep your fire stoked. Don’t think that by starving yourself you’re going to lose weight. It will be the wrong kind of weight. Remember, your body will eat it’s own muscle tissue first before burning fat if it doesn’t have enough protein.

Tip 5. Send Yourself to Boot Camp

Now, if you want to jump start your body on its way to fast weight loss, here’s what you’re going to do. Ignore the charts above, and drop yourself right down to a 1000-calorie-per-day diet immediately. In addition, make sure you get at least 15 minutes of walking (or some other easy, basic, extra exercise) in every day as well.

You will do this for exactly two weeks… no more… no less. Then, you will go back to eating the normal amount of calories as indicated on the chart above.

It’s not going to be easy. You won’t be able to eat any junk food for these first two weeks. You can, however, eat plenty of good foods – chicken, salads, whole grain breads, etc. It won’t be easy, but once you get through it, you’ll be able to add lots of calories back in to your diet, and feel more normal again… in fact, after eating only 1000 calories for two weeks, you’ll probably have a hard time bringing yourself back up to 2000 calories (or whatever you should be at).

Here’s why this works: dropping your calorie intake down to 1000 calories will shock your body into new eating habits. You will cleanse your body of toxins (like those monster grease burgers you’ve been eating) and get some good, healthy food in you. You will notice weight loss after the first couple of days, but you’ll be keeping your energy up by eating good foods at regular intervals. You can stop any cravings you’re having with water, or add some extra veggies in there – you can eat just about as much green vegetables as you want.

Tip 6. Don’t Think “Fat Free” Means “Calorie Free”

Everywhere you look, it seems that “low fat” foods abound. While there are certain low-fat or no-fat foods that we are going to eat, you don’t want to restrict yourself to a totally no-fat diet. There are certain fats that are good fats, and other that are bad fats. We’re going to want to eat good fats because they are necessary for proper health. Bad fats, however, will make you fat.

There are tons of fad “no-fat” diets out there that have promoted the whole “low-fat” mentality. What’s happened? People are still continuing to get fat eating “fat-free” foods. They eat fat-free cookies, fat-free chips, and fat-free dairy products, yet they keep getting fatter. Why? Many fat-free foods have nearly as many calories as their full-fat versions.

Now, you start eating “fat free” potato chips thinking to yourself that you can splurge… hey, why not? They’re “fat free.” Well, you still load on the calories with fat-free potato chips. It’s the calories that make you fat. In fact, when food manufacturers remove fat from their products, often times they replace the fat with sugar to improve the taste. Guess what… by adding sugar, they’re bringing the calorie count almost back up to where the full-fat product was.

We need fat. Fat forms lining of the cell membranes in almost every cell of our bodies. Your brain is composed primarily of fat. If you don’t eat enough of the right kinds of fat, your brain will not get the proper nutrition to function. Eating too little fat can also reduce your testosterone levels (equally important for women as for men).

Tip 7. Know Your Fats

Saturated Fats are bad for you. They are found mostly in beef, milk, cheese, deli meats, butter, and some tropical oils. Saturated fats increase your risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes, and obesity. Avoid or minimize saturated fat intake. Try to eat low-fat meats like chicken and turkey without the skin, and reduced-fat dairy products. If you’re eating red mean, get the lowest-fat, leanest meat you can.

Trans Fats are saturated fats that are extremely bad for you. You should completely eliminate all foods with trans fats in them from your diet. These types of unnatural fats are created during food manufacturing processes such as the hydrogenation of vegetable oil. They are usually found in pastries, buns, chips, doughnuts, shortening, and other such foods. If the label says “trans fat” put that product back on the shelf. If the ingredients of any product say “partially hydrogenated” anywhere on it – put it back. One example: margarine! It’s evil. It’s loaded with trans-fatty acids. Avoid it at all costs. Also avoid vegetable shortening, commercial pasties, deep-fried food, and most prepared snacks, mixes, and convenience foods.

Studies have shown that saturated and trans fats are actually addictive and make you want to eat more. They have also been linked to all kinds of health problems from cancer and heart disease to diabetes.

Unsaturated Fats, on the other hand, are generally good for you. These types of fats are usually found in nuts, seeds, fish, and grains. Mono-unsaturated fats, such as the types found in olive and canola oil, will actually protect your cardiovascular system from disease. These are the types of fats we’re going to load into our diet.

– Good fats: almonds, avocado, cashews, flax oil, olive oil, olives, peanut butter, peanuts, fresh fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna)

– Bad fats: butter, coconut, corn oil, cream cheese, half-and-half, lard, mayonnaise, shortening, sour cream

Keep in mind that you need fats in your diet, but even the good fats listed above have a good amount of calories in them – so take it easy! A tablespoon of olive oil, for example, as 100 calories. Almonds (which I love to snack on) have 6 calories a piece. Nuts are a great, healthy-fat snack – but just make sure to take a small handful not the whole bag!

Tip 8. Add Omega 3 Fatty Acids to Your Diet

Omega fats are unsaturated fats that are not only good for you, but they’re essential for your health. Your body cannot create these fats, so you must get them totally from your diet. Omega fats are helpful for many reasons, plus they are necessary for normal cell growth and development.

First, Omega fats are an excellent appetite suppressant. Part of the reason why people binge on “fat-free” foods is because fat is what makes your stomach “feel full.” If you aren’t eating any fat in your meal, your stomach never tells your brain that you’re full. Add a little good fat to your meal, and you’ll feel full with less food.

Eating Omega fats helps your body to unlock stored fat so that you can use it for energy. Omega fat balances your body’s ratio of insulin to glucagon. When you eat sugary foods, your body releases insulin to remove the excess sugar from your system. If you do this too often, the insulin will block the hormone glucagon – which is another hormone that functions to help your body burn fat. Too much sugar = too much insulin = not enough glucagon = little fat burning. Plus, you are at risk for diabetes. Omega fats help to balance this ratio.

Omega fats help to boost your body’s metabolic rate. This also helps you to burn more calories. Omega fats are the building blocks of your cells. Your cell membranes consist of Omega fats. Since they cannot be created by the body, you must get them from your diet.

A specific fat, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, is obtained from flax seeds or flax seed oil. This will be the primary fat that we’ll add to our meals. You can use it on salads and in breads, add it to soups and yogurt. Don’t cook with it, however, as the heat will change it’s chemical properties. You will also find good doses of Omega 3 in most seafood, green leavy vegetables, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel), walnuts, olive, and canola oil.

Have fish for dinner at least twice a week – and I don’t mean your beer-battered, fried haddock that the local pub serves on Fridays. Pick a fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel. Bake or grill them – don’t fry them. They have very high concentrations of Omega 3 fatty acids in them. Add flax oil to your salads instead of fatty dressings. Snack on walnuts or almonds instead of cookies and chocolate. You will feel full sooner, and you’ll be adding essential fatty acids to your diet to help burn calories!

Tip 9. Get Plenty of Protein

Proteins are the building blocks for your body. You need to eat lots of protein for your body to build, repair, and maintain your muscle and other lean tissues. If you don’t eat enough protein, your body will break down muscle tissue, which is bad, to maintain itself. As a result, your metabolism will slow, and you won’t burn body fat. Unlike fat or glucose, there’s nowhere in our bodies to store protein (aside from building muscle tissue) so you have to get a lot from your diet.

How much protein should you eat? Most people should eat about 0.4 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Therefore, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be eating between 80 and 160 grams of protein per day. This isn’t hard to do. Eat two eggs for breakfast, and an 8-ounce serving of chicken for dinner, and you’re at 60 grams of protein right there.

What kinds of protein should you eat? I like fish, chicken (white meat), turkey (white meat), soy products, beans, legumes, and eggs (whites only – yokes have a lot of fat). Soy products are a great source of protein… once you get used to the taste. I have totally switched from regular milk to soy milk. It has all the calcium, much less of the saturated fat, and none of the cholesterol of normal milk (even skim milk!)

Eat fish twice a week, chicken twice a week, turkey once a week, a vegetarian meal once a week, and then on that seventh day, go ahead and splurge with the pork or beef… just take it easy. Just make sure you choose lean sirloin cuts. Trim off any fat. Beef has a lot of saturated fat in it (it’s marbled throughout the meat so you can’t just cut it off). Beef is the worst meat for you – as compared to the other popular meats.

– Good protein: beans (any kind), eggs (preferably whites – yolks have a lot of fat), chicken (white meat, no skin), turkey (white meat, no skin), salmon (preferably not farmed), tuna (packed in water, not oil), mahi mahi, any shellfish, any soy products.

– Bad protein: bacon, ham, hot dogs, beef, pork, lamb, veal.

In part 2 of this article, you’ll read about nine more tips to lose weight.

PCOS and Hair Loss – Natural Therapies Can Restore Scalp Hair

Excessive scalp hair loss is a severe challenge to a woman’s self image and her standing in business and society. Although we usually think of balding as a man’s problem, women actually make up forty percent of the people in North America experiencing the distress of excessive hair loss. Many women losing significant scalp hair have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Safe, effective, natural therapies that treat the hormone imbalances related to PCOS will also restore your hair to optimal health. I am delighted to offer you these indispensable tools to help you restore your hair and your health.

Women experiencing hair loss lose ground fast in today’s world. At work and in her personal life a woman’s appearance has much to do with her financial and social success. Men may also prefer not to go bald. But since balding is known to be caused by high levels of testosterone, a bald man may be credited with extra virility. There is no such happy story for balding women. The appearance of thinning scalp hair translates to a significant loss of personal power for women.

The medical community in general treats women’s hair loss as a minor health issue. Most physicians have little inclination to address the emotional distress you feel. In many cases physicians treat balding as if it were “only” a vanity issue; they may not recognize hair loss as a red flag pointing to serious metabolic conditions, including PCOS.

The psychological pain of hair loss and its effect on our sense of empowerment is as devastating as any disfiguring disease. If you are a balding woman, your hair loss is a life altering condition with profound consequences for your health. Getting your hands on the wheel and driving yourself toward a solution for hair loss is the first step toward reviving your sense of personal strength and power. If hair loss is part of PCOS, the effort you make to restore your physical health will also renew scalp hair growth.

You need expert help to properly diagnose the cause of your hair loss. Hair loss that could have been merely temporary may become permanent if you have a delayed or incorrect diagnosis. Misdiagnoses is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of hair loss for women. The information I present here will help you identify the cause of your hair loss and ideally lead you and your doctors to proper treatments for your kind of hair loss, sooner rather than later.

Alopecia is the medical term for excessive or abnormal hair loss. There are different kinds of alopecia. What all hair loss has in common, whether it’s in men or women, is that it is always a symptom of something else that’s gone wrong. Your hair will remain on your head where it belongs if hormone imbalance, disease, or some other condition is not occurring. That condition may be as simple as having a gene that makes you susceptible to male or female pattern baldness. Or it may be as complex as a whole host of diseases. Hair loss may be a symptom of a short-term event such as stress, pregnancy, or a side effect of certain medications. In these situations, hair grows back when the event has passed. Substances including hormones and medication can cause a change in the hair growth patterns. When this happens, growth and shedding occur at the same time. Once the cause is dealt with, hairs go back to their random pattern of growth and shedding, and balding stops.

Alopecia: A Common Problem

Today more women than ever are experiencing hair loss — and the causes are typically quite different that what causes balding in men. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, some 30 million women in the United States are experiencing some degree of distressing scalp hair loss. The most common causes of scalp hair loss in women can include:

Mineral or vitamin deficiency – zinc, manganese, iron, vitamin B6, biotin

Essential fatty acid deficiency from a low calorie diet or eating disorders

Protein deficiency, as is common with vegetarian diets

Anemia from a low iron diet, poor digestion or any excess blood loss

Eating disorders, like anorexia, bulimia, even ‘yo-yo’ dieting; also compulsive or excessive physical exercise

Drug toxicity, for instance anesthesia with surgery or chemotherapy for cancer

Many prescription medications have hair loss as a potential ‘side’ effect, including bromocriptine, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, amphetamines, anti-cholesterol agents

Severe infections, either viral or bacterial

Severe stress, either a sudden extreme event or persistent, long term challenges

Any hypothalamic or pituitary disorder

Any liver, thyroid gland, adrenal gland or ovarian disorder, including PCOS

Any sex steroid imbalance such as low progesterone, estrogen dominance, excess testosterone or insulin

Starting or stopping any hormone therapy, including birth control pills, menopausal hormone replacement treatment or thyroid hormone replacement

Any natural event that causes big hormone changes, like child birth, breastfeeding and weaning or menopause

Perms, hair color, bleach, improper brushing/combing, pulling on the hair

Autoimmune disease such as lupus or multiple sclerosis

Allergies to foods, medicines, environmental chemicals or topical drugs

Recent hepatitis B shot. If you had a Hep B vaccine since this hair loss started, there may be a connection.  An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (278:117-8, 1997) links the Hep B vaccine to increased incidence of alopecia in women.

How does an individual woman figure out why she is losing too much of her hair? To understand that, it’s important to understand how hair grows.

Hair Grows in Cycles  

Scalp hair grows about one-half inch per month. An individual strand of hair will grow for two to six years. Eventually each hair “rests” for a while, and then falls out. Soon after, that follicle will start growing a new strand. A healthy scalp will let about 100 of these cycling hairs fall out every day.

In folks with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, and for women with PCOS, hormones called androgens drive this process. Androgen hormones include testosterone, androsteinedione, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Men make and use relatively large amounts of androgens. Appropriate, smaller amounts of androgens are essential to women’s health as well.

In those who are genetically susceptible, testosterone activates enzymes produced in the hair cell, which then cause it to be converted into the more potent androgen DHT.  DHT then binds with receptors deep within the hair follicle. Eventually, so much DHT builds up that the follicle begins shrinking. It can’t produce new hair reliably. Some of the follicles permanently stop producing new hairs. The end result is significant hair loss. The medical term for this condition is androgenic alopecia. Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase, which is held in a hair follicle’s oil glands. Actually, it’s not the amount of circulating testosterone that is the problem but the amount of DHT clogging up and shrinking scalp follicles, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive.

The process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Usually women have a tiny fraction of the amount of testosterone that men make. It seems that for women with hair loss, the actual level of testosterone is not as crucial as are changes in the amount of testosterone she has. A shift in hormone levels triggered by lifestyle or other factors, will cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women. Even when hormone blood levels remain within what doctors consider “normal”, they can become high enough to cause a problem for an individual woman. The levels may not rise at all and still be a problem if you are very sensitive to even normal levels of chemicals, including hormones.

Because our hormones operate through a delicately balanced feedback system, with signals sent via the blood between the brain and body tissue, androgens do not need to be raised to trigger a problem. If the so-called female hormones, (which also are essential to men’s health) are for any reason shifting in relation to androgens, the resulting imbalance can also cause problems, including hair loss.

Hormones are always changing. Testosterone levels in men drop by as much as 10 percent each decade after age thirty. Women’s hormone levels shift with each menstrual cycle, or due to a lack of regular menses, in pregnancies and menopause. Eating disorders, excessive exercise, drugs and environmental toxins can also impact hormone levels.

Keys To Successful Treatment

Treatment of thinning scalp hair must be grounded in changing the habits you may have that support elevated androgens. Diet and exercise are key to maintaining optimal hormone balance. In fact, for women with PCOS, research is clear- there is no drug therapy more effective than proper diet and regular exercise. First, you get your foundational health habits in order; then, specific targeted therapies have the best chance of being effective for you.

Women with PCOS may also have excess coarse dark hair on their face and body. The only way to address the dark, coarse hair that grows out of follicles that have already been altered by excess androgens, is to destroy the follicle with laser or similar therapy. Once a follicle has changed the type of hair it produces, it will not change back. It is crucial to tame the excess androgens and prevent conversion of additional follicles, before investing in a therapy to permanently destroy facial or body hair follicles.

What Causes Women to Lose Too Much Scalp Hair?

For a long time doctors believed that androgenic alopecia was the main cause of balding in both men and women. Now we know that the process that leads to excessive hair loss in women is different. It is called female pattern hair loss.

An important difference between male and female balding is the pattern in which the hair loss occurs. Female pattern hair loss tends to happen as an overall thinning across all areas of the scalp, including the sides and back. Men lose hair from specific spots, like the temple, the crown, that bald spot in the back of the head. Male and female hormone and enzyme receptor sites are also in different areas of the scalp, causing the different gender related loss patterns of hair loss.

A second major difference is that balding in men is usually caused by a man’s genetics and his age, but for women, balding can happen at any age.

Lifestyle Choices, Illness and Medical Treatments Cause Hair Loss

Most women with hair loss have multiple features of their lifestyle, diet and health-related events that contribute. Sex hormone fluctuations are responsible for most female hair loss, including those who have PCOS, a recent pregnancy, menopause, hormone replacement therapy or birth control drug side effects. Chemotherapy for cancer, anti-coagulant drugs, iron- deficiency anemia, autoimmune disease can cause hair loss. Any disease involving hormone producing glands, including the thyroid, the adrenal and pituitary glands can trigger balding in women. It is essential for all women to learn the true cause of their hair loss before engaging any particular treatment.

The complex hormonal changes that accompany polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often result in scalp hair loss. Sometimes hair loss is the first sign that a woman is suffering the metabolic disorder that also causes problems with acne, facial and body hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles and infertility. PCOS is associated with increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Thyroid disorders, anemia, chronic illness or the use of certain medications, particularly any form of hormone replacement therapy or contraceptive prescriptions- should be considered a possible cause of hair loss in women. Autoimmune disorders will result in somewhat different, often less dramatic hair loss known as alopecia areata — an inflammatory condition in which hair comes out in clumps or patches.

Any drop in estrogen levels, as happens after pregnancy, with menopause, or when changing your hormone therapy including birth control pill use, will cause what is called estrogenic alopecia. In contrast to testosterone, estrogen helps scalp hair grow faster and stay on the head longer, resulting in thicker hair. This is the reason women’s hair gets fuller during pregnancy when estrogen levels are quite high, then sheds several weeks after the baby is born.

For women who do not have fertility-related hormone changes, estrogen-deficiency scalp hair loss generally starts around menopause. This form of female hair loss can be the first sign of approaching menopause. Sometimes the alopecia won’t begin until a few months or even years after menstruation has ended. Not all women get noticeable alopecia after menopause but most have a little thinning.

It’s not uncommon to have multiple factors involved in female hair loss. Many women with PCOS have thyroid problems, usually hypothyroidism (low thyroid function). Not only does hypothyroidism contribute to weight problems, it can also contribute to hair thinning. Some women with PCOS have both an excessively high level of testosterone and an under active thyroid.

If your hair is thinning, you may have heavy metals like lead, mercury or cadmium in your tissues. These poisonous residues saturate our environment. If you have lived near what is, or ever was an industrial or mining site, or lived with someone who works in a polluting industry, you may be contaminated. If you have ever smoked tobacco, you have a lot of cadmium in your body.

The majority of women with androgenic alopecia have diffuse thinning on all areas of the scalp. Some women may have a combination of two pattern types. Androgenic alopecia is caused by a variety of factors tied to the actions of hormones including PCOS, using contraceptives, pregnancy, and menopause. Any blood sugar and insulin hormone imbalance will lead to excess androgens. Women with insulin resistance, from chronic over-eating of refined carbohydrate food, will see more impact from androgens. Insulin resistance is associated with PCOS as well as Type 2 diabetes. Chronic stress that depletes adrenal glands can change the levels of androgens a woman produces as well. This is often the source of problems like infertility, acne and hair thinning in lean, athletic women with PCOS. Heredity may play a role in androgenic alopecia.

Any big event like childbirth or breastfeeding, malnutrition from an alteration in your diet, a severe infection, major surgery, or any extreme stress, can suddenly shift much of the 90 percent or so of your hairs that are in the growing phase or resting phase into the shedding phase. You will see this shift in the rate of hair loss 6 weeks to three month after the stressful event. This is called telogen effluvium. It is possible to lose great bunches of hair daily with full-blown telogen effluvium. Usually this type of hair loss is reversible, if major stressors are avoided. For some women however, telogen effluvium is a mysterious chronic disorder and can persist for months or years, without ever completely identifying all of the triggering factors.

Anagen effluvium happens when the hair follicle cells are so damaged they can not recover or reproduce. This is usually due to toxicity of chemotherapy for cancer. Chemotherapy is meant to destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells. Hair follicles in the growing (anagen) phase, are therefore vulnerable. Anagen effluvium means the hair shaft narrows as a result of damage to the follicle. The shaft breaks off at the narrowing and causes the loss of hair.

Traction alopecia is damage from hairstyles that pull at hair over time (braiding, cornrows, ponytails, extensions). If the condition is detected early enough, you can change your styling practice to be gentler on the follicles, and your hair will regrow.

Hormone contraceptives are a leading cause of distressing hair loss and other symptoms in women. Since the birth control pill first began being used in 1960, oral contraceptives, injections, implants, skin patches and vaginal rings have become the most commonly prescribed forms of birth control.  

Unfortunately, many young women are given contraceptive hormones even when they are not sexually active, as a ‘treatment’ for irregular menses or acne. This is a mistake. This is not a treatment that addresses the underlying cause of problem periods or pimples. Contraceptive hormones will severely complicate a woman’s hormone balance and can lead to many health problems, including significant hair loss and worsening acne.

All contraceptive drugs use synthetic hormones to suppress ovulation. These drugs cause your ovaries to stop working; they are in a kind of ‘sleep’ state. Instead of having your natural cycles result from a dance of signals between your body and your brain, your tissues are subject to synthetic hormones in amounts much larger than your body normally makes.  There are many long and short -term consequences to ovarian suppression. Most women experience side effects using contraceptive drugs, including hair loss either during or several weeks or months after stopping the drug.

An article appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (278:117-8, 1997) linking the Hepatitis B vaccine to increased incidence of balding in women.

Diagnostic Testing

In order to successfully treat hair loss, it is essential to understand why your hair follicles are not healthy. There are diagnostic tests that may help identify the underlying biochemistry that is contributing to your excess hair loss. However, many women with significant chemical imbalances related to their hair loss will find that these test results are within the “normal” range. That’s because in many cases hair loss represents a stage of ill-health that is an early phase of a disease that will eventually fully develop. The lifestyle and dietary habits that eventually cause Type 2 diabetes and heart disease will also cause scalp hair thinning and facial hair coarsening in young women. It is usually many years before these same women have diagnostic tests that reveal they are diabetic or have coronary artery disease. Many of these women have undiagnosed PCOS.

Selective Sensitivity is the underlying problem

Another reason why diagnostic tests may be confusing is because of something called ‘selective sensitivity’ or ‘selective resistance’. It turns out that some body cells are more sensitive than others to the same amounts of hormone. A major complicating factor for some women is that while her muscle and fat may be insulin resistant, other types of organ cells are not.  The pituitary, ovaries, and adrenal glands of an insulin resistant woman are stimulated by higher levels of insulin than is desirable, which causes for instance elevated testosterone. The high levels of androgens in turn increase risk for heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Despite these possible difficulties, it is important to do our best to determine what is and isn’t the cause of a major symptom like persistent excessive hair loss. Diagnostic tests that can help identify the source of your metabolic imbalance are:

The hair pull test is a simple diagnostic test in which the physician lightly pulls a small amount of hair (approx. 100 simultaneously) in order to determine if there is excessive loss. Normal range is zero to three hairs per pull.

Hormone levels: Dehydroepiandrosterone, testosterone, androstenedione, prolactin, sex hormone binding globulin, follicular stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone. It is ideal to sample for FSH and LH on day 19 to 21 of your menstrual cycle, if those days can be identified.

Fasting blood glucose and insulin levels as well as cholesterol and triglyceride levels

A complete blood count plus serum iron, ferritin and total iron binding capacity

Thyroid stimulating hormone plus a thyroid function panel including T3, T4, and T3 % uptake

VDRL to screen for syphilis

A scalp biopsy should be done before choosing surgical transplant

Densitometry, a magnification device, used check for shrinking of the hair shaft.

Conventional Medical Treatments For Hair Loss

You may be very interested in drug therapies of surgery to address the profound distress of excessive hair loss. It is simply human nature to hope for a simple pill or procedure that will permanently free us from our problems. Unfortunately drugs never actually provide a simple solution. Once you swallow a chemical, it is delivered all over your body; it affects your whole body. We cannot control drugs so they have only the effects we want- there are always side effects that are more or less problematic. Using drug therapy means trading one problem for some others. Sometimes this is exactly the right thing to do. Other times it is a personal disaster. Most drugs will act on all your tissues there is a danger of side effects that further damage your health. Topical treatments applied directly to the scalp use the lowest doses, and are the least harmful drug choices.

You will enjoy the best results when you begin any treatment as soon as possible after hair loss begins. Stopping the adverse effects of androgens means you can prevent further hair loss. And you can support regrowth from the follicles that were dormant still healthy. Depending on how the agent you choose works, stopping treatment will result in the hair loss resuming, unless you have also made other changes in your lifestyle that keep androgens at a level that is healthy and not harmful to you.

Below you will find a list of treatments currently being used to treat hair loss in women. Some of these drugs have not been approved by the FDA for this particular application, however they have all been approved for other applications and are used “off label” to treat hair loss. Currently 2% topical Minoxidil is the only FDA approved treatment specifically for female pattern hair loss.

The effectiveness of these agents and methods will vary from woman to woman, but many women have found that using these treatments has made a positive difference in the character of their hair and their positive self-esteem. As always, treatments have the best chance of being effective if they are geared to the cause of the hair loss as well as to triggering hair growth.

Estrogen and progesterone as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), typically prescribed for women undergoing menopause for any reason, is probably the most common systemic form of treatment for androgenic alopecia in women.

Oral contraceptives will decrease the production of ovarian androgens, and thus can be used to treat women’s androgenic alopecia. There are substantial reasons to avoid the use of either synthetic or bio-identical hormone treatments for your hair loss. Some birth control pills actually contribute to hair loss by triggering it or increasing it once it’s been triggered by something else. Any individual woman may have a selective sensitivity to any hormone combination- what is a low androgen effect formula for one woman may be a high androgen effect for another.

I am no longer able to recommend the use of birth control pills or other hormone-based contraception to young women. Decades of evidence suggest there are plenty of known, and possibly as yet unknown health risks associated with the use of ANY from of reproductive hormones, either prescription or over-the-counter forms. It is clear that the benefits of hormonal contraceptives are accompanied by significant risks, including making it much more likely that a woman will experience hormone imbalances that lead to a long list of negative effects. Hormone replacement puts you are risk for:

Depression or other mood disorders; decreased libido

Migraines and headaches

Breast lumps, tenderness and enlargement

Vaginal bleeding between periods

High blood pressure (hypertension)

High cholesterol

Blood clot in the leg, felt as: pain in the calf; leg cramps; leg or foot swelling

Blood clot in the lung, felt as: shortness of breath; sharp chest pain; coughing up blood

Heart attack, felt as: chest pain or heaviness

Sudden loss of vision or vision changes, which can be a sign of a blood clot in the eye

Cerebral vascular accident (a stroke): impaired vision or speech; weakness or numbness in a limb; severe headache

Liver damage, seen as: yellow eyes or skin; dark urine; abdominal pain

Allergic reaction: rash; hives; itching; swelling; difficulty breathing or swallowing

Acne

Bloating, nausea and vomiting

Changes in your eyes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses

If you chose a hormone prescription for any reason, you should be sure to use only low-androgen content methods. If you have a strong predisposition for genetic hair loss, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease or any female organ cancer in your family I strongly recommend the use of another non-hormonal form of birth control.

Below is a list of birth control pills ranging from lowest androgen index to highest:

Desogen, Ortho-Cept, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Micronor, Nor-Q D, Ovcon-35, Brevicon/Modicon, Ortho Norvum 7/7/7, Ortho Novum 10-11, Tri-Norinyl, Norinyl and Ortho 1/35, Demulen 1/35, Triphasil/Tri-Levien, Nordette, Lo/Ovral, Ovrette, Ovral, Loestrin1/20, Loestrin 1.5/30.

The following hormonal contraceptives have a significant potential of causing hair loss or making it worse:

Progestin implants, such as Norplant, are small rods surgically implanted under your skin. The rods release a continuous dose of progestin to prevent ovarian function.

Progestin injections, such as Depo-Provera, are given into the muscles of the upper arm or buttocks.

The skin patch (Ortho Evra) is pasted onto your shoulder, buttocks, or other location. It releases progestin and estrogen continuously to prevent your ovaries from producing normal cycles.

The vaginal ring (NuvaRing) is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina. This method releases the  lowest amounts of progestin and estrogen.

Minoxidil 2% Topical Treatment – Minoxidil seems to be more effective for women than men, for increasing scalp hair growth. The manufacturers of minoxidil recommend women use 2% minoxidil. There is a 5% solution available that has been tested and found safe enough for men. Because the makers of minoxidil have not invested in the expense of gaining FDA approval for promoting 5% minoxidil for use by women, it must be prescribed and used under a physician’s supervision. Small clinical trials on 5% minoxidil for women show that the 5% solution is in fact more effective in both retaining and regrowing hair than the 2 % solution.

Spironolactone (Aldactone) is a potassium-sparing diuretic used to treat high blood pressure and swelling. Spironolactone slows the production of androgens in the adrenal glands and ovaries. It prevents DHT from binding to receptor sites in the hair follicles.

Cimetidine (Tagamet) is a histamine blocker, approved to treat digestive tract ulcers. It prevents the stomach from producing digestive enzymes. Cimetidine also has been shown to block DHT from binding to hair follicle receptor sites.

Cyproterone acetate is used to reduce sexual aggression in men. Cyproterone acetate blocks DHT at hair follicle receptors. It has significant toxicity and long term side effects and is not available in the US.

Ketoconazole is a prescription topical treatment. It is primarily used as an antimicrobial for treating skin fungus. It suppresses production of androgens by adrenal glands, testicles and ovaries. Nizoral shampoo contains 2% ketoconazole. There is an over-the-counter version available. It has 1% active ingredient and is not as effective as prescription strength.

Finasteride is a drug that inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that deactivates DHT. It is sold as Proscar to treat prostate enlargement in men. Sold as Propecia it is approved by the FDA for male balding. Women should not take it if they are pregnant or might become pregnant because of the risk of feminization effects on a male fetus.        

Surgical Implants

Since hair restoration surgery is an option for the vast majority of the balding men, women may want to consider it. However, the type of hair loss most women suffer from makes hair transplants a bad idea.

Few women have the type of hair loss that make them good candidates for a surgical solution. Most men lose hair in well-defined areas, for instance the receding forehead or the classic round spot on the top of the skull. Little clumps or plugs of hair are removed from areas where healthy follicles are stable and plentiful, and these are transplanted to other areas of the head. Women more often experience an overall thinning across their whole scalp, including the sides and back. Most women have few reliably stable donor sites. Offering to transplant hair from unstable donor sites is medically unethical and women must not allow their distress about balding to get in the way of a cool- eyed look at the rationale behind treatment options offered.

Are any women good candidates for hair transplant? Yes, some.  A small percentage, 2% to 5% of women will have the type of hair loss that will benefit from this type of procedure. They are:

Women who have suffered hair loss due to non-hormonal causes, like traction alopecia.

Women who have scalp scars from some kind of wound or cosmetic surgery and want to repair hair loss around the incision or injury sites.

Women who have healthy and stable donor sites along with balding in a distinct pattern, like a receding hairline or thinning on the very top of the head.

Natural Remedies for Women’s Hair Loss

Safe, effective natural therapies are available to help you restore scalp health and increase hair growth. Like all natural therapies, in order to be maximally effective, it is essential to work with you as an individual. Some remedies will be more useful to you than others, depending on your unique, personal physical, mental and emotional health status. It is always important to spend your health care dollars well. I offer a consultation service to help you choose and make best use of the available options for treatment. Please visit your local ND to find out how to benefit from a personal consultation. You will receive recommendations for specific natural therapies, designed for your unique health status, to help you restore your health, and your scalp hair to it’s fullest and most enjoyable beauty.