Archive for the ‘EXERCISE FITNESS’ Category

Draining Your Lymph Fluids is easy & Important

Friday, September 8th, 2017

The lymphatic system plays a very important role in the human body’s fight against disease. It’s largely made up of a network of thin tubes (filled with clear lymphatic fluid) and lymph nodes. The thymus, spleen and bone marrow also all play vital parts in the function of the lymphatic system.

The lymph nodes house the lymphatic fluid which contains lymphocytes and other white blood cells, vital components of our blood that fight infection and cancer.

If our lymph fluids get backed up in the nodes or if there are problems with our lymph ducts, it can cause the nodes to swell and become inflamed, on top of compromising the body’s immune system. [1]

White blood cells are the primary reason why the lymphatic system is so important. If your blood is drawn during a medical checkup, WBC levels are one of the things your doctor will look at in determining if you have an infection. When pathogens invade the body, white blood cells exit the lymph nodes and enter the bloodstream to fight the infection – this is characterized typically by two things: a fever and a high WBC count. Low WBC counts in the presence of a fever can signify a problem with your immunity. [2]

Unlike the cardiovascular system however, the lymphatic system is not a closed system – and in humans it does not have a pump. This means that the movement of the lymph fluid relies on the physical movement of the body in order to circulate and prevent the nodes and ducts from becoming blocked with dead white blood cells. Without adequate movement of the fluid, lymph nodes can become infected and disturb the normal homeostasis in the body’s immune and vascular systems. In the brain, a lack of lymph drainage can damage memory and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. The same thing happens when the lymph nodes near our major organ systems don’t flow and drain effectively – it can cause widespread organ dysfunction

Lymph node word cloud concept

Certain kinds of movement and exercise are regarded as beneficial to the lymphatic system as they assist the movement and drainage of the lymph.

Natural Drainage Of Lymph: 3 Methods

#1: Massage

This method is one of the most popular ways to manually drain your lymph nodes, particularly in areas like the breast and armpit. When massaging the breast, gently make circular motions that lead away from the areola and towards the armpit, then downwards. This promotes drainage of the lymph fluid away from the nodes of the breast and axilla to the body’s vasculature. You can also apply this technique to other lymph nodes of the body.

#2: Exercise

Another way to effectively get all your lymph nodes properly drained is to exercise! Moderate exercise that helps improve vascular circulation also promotes adequate drainage of lymph fluid, about two to three times better than not doing any exercise at all. This is because lymph flow in and out of the nodes is increased during exercise. You can try jogging, walking, cycling, or other similar exercises for at least 30 minutes, three times a week to promote proper drainage of your lymph nodes.

#3: Rebound Therapy

This last method is technically a form of exercise but warrants its own special focus as a unique and valuable drainage method. Rebound therapy is slowly gaining recognition for a variety of health benefits that range from physical to emotional. Have you ever wondered why kids instinctively want to bounce – on anything from a bouncy castle to your newly made double bed? There might be something to it… it’s really good for your health!

Through gentle bouncing or rebounding on a trampoline (or similar surface), circulation and lymph drainage is improved, aside from promoting an increased state of wellbeing. The science behind it lies with the lymph ducts’ valves. In this regard, bouncing can be likened to a more intense form of walking. When pressure is placed on the lower extremities (when you prepare for a bounce or take a step), the valves in the lymph ducts close and open when the pressure is released. When you bounce, the valves close and open more fully than walking or jogging, promoting better lymph fluid evacuation.

Many people who are into this exercise obtain a special rebounding trampoline – a portable 36″ (or similar size) mini-trampoline that allows them to get in their bounce time. It’s a great form of exercise and lots of fun – just put on your favorite music and bounce to it, what could be more awesome than that? ? Here’s an example of a rebounding trampoline on Amazon that got TONS of great reviews if you want to learn more: Stamina 36 inch Folding Trampoline


[1] National Institutes of Health. Lymph system.

[2] National Institutes of Health. WBC count.

[3] Weller, R., Djuanda, E., Yow, H. & Carare, R. (2009). Lymphatic drainage of the brain and of neurological disease.

[4] Estourgie, S., et. al. (2004). Lymphatic Drainage Patters From the Breast.

[5] Lane, K., et. al. (2005). Exercise and the Lymphatic System.

[6] Zimmermann, B. (2014). Flush Out Body Toxins Through Rebounding Exercise.

[7] Rennie, J. (2007). Learning Disability: Physical Therapy Treatment, A Collaborative Approach.


Henry Sapiecha

How to Build a better brain

Friday, August 26th, 2016

growing a brain image

Experts — Posted 04/02/16

Brain expert Dr Jenny Brockis explains why we should do Sudoku and learn languages – and why the best thinking comes from a calm, rested brain.

We’ve been talking about the need for greater physical health for decades. We know how important healthy eating and exercise are – but until recently, better brain health hasn’t been included in the equation. The primary reason is that our understanding of the human brain is still very much in its infancy.

Fortunately we now have a wealth of neuroscientific information available to us at this critical time when the burden of multiple chronic medical conditions in a rapidly ageing population, along with spiralling levels of stress, anxiety and depression, desperately need sorting out.

There are a number of lifestyle elements that contribute to brain fitness: good food, exercise, enough sleep, mental challenge and stress management. If you have a healthy brain, you start to think better. It’s easier to stay focused, keep things in perspective, stay positive and be more mindful.

Brain fitness is crucial to health and wellbeing across the trajectory of our lifespan. That means if we teach our kids how to build healthier brains they will grow into brain healthy adults.

Rustic desktop with work accessories. Objects in and out of frame layout with mostly silver color items.

“Brain fitness is about continuing to learn new things that with practice we can get better at. Learning a new language, picking up a musical instrument or signing up for a photography class are all great ways to stretch your mental muscle.”

How to keep your brain strong

Healthy food is important for nourishing your brain, and regular exercise keeps your brain fit as well as your body. Along with these healthy habits, there are some strategies you can use to reduce the effects of stress and brain overload, and to keep your neural connections strong.

Here are some things to try:

1. Reduce stress

Look for ways to manage stress levels by practising relaxation and taking time out. Tai chi, yoga, pilates and meditation are perfect ways to de-stress your day.

2. Create some breathing space

We need time to think, to pause and reflect. So switch off from all that technology regularly and give your brain a break. A 15 minute session to still your mind is all it takes – turn off your phone, close the door and just be.

3. Stretch your mental muscle

Practise being a five-year-old. Be curious about the world, ask questions, explore and try out new activities, especially those you don’t think you will necessarily be any good at. The more effort we apply to our learning the stronger those new neural connections will be. Many of us carry limiting self-beliefs: “I’m no good at (insert here – art, maths, dancing, etc)”. But if you feel drawn to trying something, give it a go anyway – you might surprise yourself.

Brain fitness is about continuing to learn new things that with practice we can get better at. Learning a new language, picking up a musical instrument or signing up for a photography class are all great ways to stretch your mental muscle. And the best thing is, the more we use that muscle the stronger it gets.

4. Connect with people

Staying connected and engaged with our world has been shown to be vital to our health and wellbeing on both a physical and mental level. Joining a club or volunteering are two ways we can widen our group of contacts.

A young man is sitting on a sofa with a cat and is reading a big book

A young man is sitting on a sofa with a cat and is reading a big book

“Break up your work session into blocks of 25 to 90 minutes, and take regular brain breaks of 15 to 20 minutes in between.”

The brain in focus

Much of my work is centred around the “science of high performance thinking.” A high performance brain is a brain that is operating to its true capacity. It’s not about being the best – just your best. It’s about the idea that if we look after our brain, and use it in the way it was designed to operate, we get more done, at a higher level and with fewer mistakes. This leads us to feel less stressed and enjoy a greater sense of achievement and happiness.

Here are three things about brain performance that might surprise you:

1. Multitasking is the one brain function that gets worse with practice

We multitask because we think we can, we think we’re good at it and we think it will save us time and energy. Sadly, this is wrong on all levels.

The brain is designed to be able to focus on only one thing at a time. While we can divide our attention and undertake lots of activities simultaneously, only one can really have our full focus. Trying to multi task exhausts our brain, causes us to make more mistakes, reduces memory, and causes us to take longer to finish our work.

2. We’re not designed for long periods of focus

When we’re working, studying, or focusing on a big task, it’s tempting to think we should switch our brain into overdrive and keep going all day long. But like everything else, our brain needs regular breaks to allow our subconscious to consolidate our thoughts, prioritise what needs to be kept for long-term memory and reboot our mental energy levels.

So what should we do instead? Break up your work session into blocks of 25 to 90 minutes, and take regular brain breaks of 15 to 20 minutes in between.

3. Our best thinking comes from a rested brain

Getting enough good quality, uninterrupted sleep each night is essential for better brain health and function. Our brain is very active at night – doing important tasks like laying down long term memory, deepening our understanding of what we have learnt, as well as loosening up those synaptic connections no longer required. Understandably, it needs some solid quiet time to get this done.

We also need sleep for better mood and emotional regulation. We only have to deal with a cranky, sleep deprived two-year-old to know how true that is!

Plus, sleeping is the time we take out the brain’s trash. Our brain is highly metabolically active and builds up a considerable amount of waste each day. Sleep allows our brain to give itself a good flush each night, so we’re good to go next morning.

Jenny’s latest book, Future Brain, is available now. Learn more about brain health at


Henry Sapiecha


Monday, January 10th, 2011

The 7-minute exercise plan for diabetes prevention

Exercise is overrated. I’m always reading more proof that says you don’t need to run a marathon to receive the benefits of a little exercise. Like this British study that claims you can control or prevent diabetes with as little as seven minutes of exercise… per week.

The study’s leader, University of Edinburgh biologist James Timmons, says that you can get the same benefits from minimal amounts of exercise as you can from workouts that last for hours. “This is such a brief amount of exercise you can do it without breaking a sweat,” Timmons said.

In the study, out-of-shape men in their 20s were asked to ride an exercise bike a few times each day – in 30 second bursts of pedaling – two days a week. After just two weeks, the all of the men were 23 % more effective at processing the insulin.

I’ve warned you many times about the potential dangers of over-rigorous exercise, so this minimalist approach appeals to me – and it should to you, too! Like I always say, skip the gym membership and just go for a brisk walk.

Always providing your brain with vigorous exercise,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, December 3rd, 2010

The bone destroying disease Osteoarthritis is one of the many types of arthritis that causes degeneration of the joints significantly affecting a person’s quality of life.  It is oftentimes characterized by joint stiffness, swelling in the affected area and pain.   The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases said that osteoarthritis is perhaps one of the most frequently-occurring forms of arthritis – the others being rheumatoid arthritis and gout – that affects approximately 27 million people, aged 25 or more, in the United States alone.

What is Osteoarthritis?

For many years, medical experts have devoted time, effort and money in order to determine the exact cause of osteoarthritis.  Sadly, the answers remain elusive. The damage in osteoarthritis starts at the cartilage – a tough connective tissue that is found in between joints as well as in other areas of the body such as the larynx and the outer ear – which is supposed to act as a “cushion” in order to prevent the end of two bones from rubbing unto each other. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage between the joints loses its elasticity and then degenerates.  In time, the cartilage may thin out, or disappear altogether, causing bones to rub unto each other leading to extreme pain.

The following factors may lead to the development of osteoarthritis:

  • Medical experts have discovered that genes, or heredity, can actually make a person more predisposed to develop osteoarthritis.  A particular gene is responsible for collagen production.  Collagen is an important protein component in cartilage.  Abnormality in the gene may lead to premature degradation of cartilage which may cause osteoarthritis.
  • Obesity puts on excessive amounts of pressure in the joints because of the excess weight, which may cause strain. The joints that are responsible in weight-bearing, such as the hip, knee and ankle joints, are the ones that are most commonly affected.
  • Being inactive for long periods may cause the joints to become stiff, dysfunctional and painful because muscles around the joint can weaken with inactivity.
  • On the other hand, overuse of the joints, or continuously exposing them to extreme, high-impact activities can cause repetitive strains and stresses. This may also lead to joint injuries.
  • It is said that the main cause of osteoarthritis is wear-and-tear.  In old age, the joints have been exposed to too much activity since childhood and this puts the person at increased risk for osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis can be debilitating.  It can significantly affect a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living sometimes causing the patient to lose independence.  Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Nodules in the fingers
  • Tenderness in the joints
  • Swelling
  • Crepitus (crackling sound upon joint movement)
  • Difficulty in movement

A Study on Osteoarthritis

The effects of osteoarthritis can be devastating.  This propels people, especially those who are in the field of medicine, to continuously look for ways to prevent the onset of the condition or to somehow slow its progression.

In line with this, a group of researchers enrolled 132 participants (66 men and 99 women whose ages ranged from 45 to 55) in the National Institutes of Health Osteoarthritis Initiative who have not exhibited signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis but whose risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee is high.  In addition, 33 body mass index- and age-matched controls were also included in the study.

Basing on the participant’s response to the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) questionnaire, they were divided into three strength training and exercise levels.  The strength training groups were divided as to how often they performed these exercises:  none at all, minimal only and frequently.  The exercise levels were composed of sedentary, light and moderate to strenuous. Also, analysis was made on knee-bending activities.

What the Study Revealed

According to the senior author of the study, Dr. Thomas M. Link, the results revealed that joining in high impact activities like running for more than an hour daily, thrice a week or more, is linked to more cartilage degeneration and can potentially increase the risk for osteoarthritis development.  On one hand, participating in light exercise and avoiding repeated knee-bending activities can protect a person from osteoarthritis. Dr. Link is from San Francisco’s University of California, a chief of musculoskeletal imaging and a professor of radiology.

The participants were asked to undergo MRI exams, which showed that the group who engaged in light exercises and those with minimal strength training had the healthiest cartilage in the knee, as compared to the participants who either had frequent or no strength training at all. Women who indulged in moderate to strenuous exercises and did strength training were also linked to increased water content and degenerated collagen in their knees. A co-author of the study, Keegan K. Novis, B.S., R.N., said that the results suggests that performing moderate to strenuous exercises can speed up the degeneration of cartilage, putting women at a higher risk for osteoarthritis.

Moreover, the findings also indicated that doing knee-bending activities frequently, like climbing up more than 10 flights of stairs per day, squatting or kneeling for a minimum of 30 minutes daily, or lifting objects that weighs more than 25 pound, were linked to cartilage abnormalities and higher water content.


The researchers suggested that performing light exercises, like frequent walking and swimming, is a much safer choice in order to help maintain healthy cartilage and, of course, healthy joints.

How to Promote Healthy Joints Naturally

You probably have heard this many times already, but nevertheless, I’ll say it again: healthy eating helps promote a healthy body.  Contrary to what some people say, taking medications does not cure everything.  Aside from the expenses, you are also in danger of adverse effects that it can bring.  How about going for what is natural? You could start with making the decision to eat healthy, and eat foods that will help promote healthy joints.  Here are some of them:

  • Glucosamine is a compound that produces glycosaminoglycan which is needed for healthy cartilage.  Some of the foods that are rich in glucosamine include sweet almond oil, crab shells, lobster shells and shrimp shells.
  • Manganese is a mineral that helps build healthy cartilage. This supports the function of glucosamine inside the body.  Examples of food sources of manganese are nuts, green leafy vegetables, seafoods, whole grain breads and beans.
  • Omega-3 Fatty acids exert anti-inflammatory effects that helps ease swelling and pain associated with osteoarthritis.  Top food sources for Omega-3 Fatty Acids are egg yolks, walnuts, flax seeds, cod liver oil, and salmon.
  • Vitamin C helps the body in forming collagen which is a protein found in cartilage, tendons and bones.  Examples are kiwi fruit, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, papaya, potatoes, peaches, nectarines, lychees, raspberries, grapefruit, guava, black currant, orange, lemon, cabbage, cauliflower, and many more.
  • Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Alzheimer’s disease is a common health issue during the age of senility. It is the most familiar and common form of dementia and is considered to be an incurable and terminal degenerative disease. Alzheimer’s disease usually starts at 65 but it may happen at an earlier age. Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease is only limited to care-giving, psychosocial, medical and environmental intervention. Despite the disease’s increasing popularity in people in old age, different studies have found different ways of reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Theories on Alzheimer’s Disease

Different conflicting theories argue on the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease. The oldest theory called the cholinergic hypothesis suggests that the disease is caused by the weakened synthesis of acetylcholine in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for promoting and maintaining a healthy communication with the sections of the brain. But due to the lack of efficacy exhibited by medications to improve the synthesis of acetylcholine, the theory has not gained and maintained support form the medical schools.

Another theory suggests that Alzheimer’s disease is implied by a specific disorder in the human genome. The well-established observation is that people who have this specific genetic abnormality develop the disease as early as the age of 40.  This gives the theory a stronger standpoint than its older opponent. Medical experts strongly suggest that the development of Alzheimer’s disease can be brought about by a certain genetic trait. But they also add that the person’s overall lifestyle greatly influence its onset. In a study conducted in order to examine the risk and development of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers found that walking can slow down the progression of the disease.

Though there hasn’t been any concrete evidence found in order to support suggested methods to avoid or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, medical experts are consistent on the idea that diet and sufficient mental and physical exercise can strongly influence the progression of the disease. The simple habit of walking was found by a group of researchers from Pennsylvania to slow down cognitive decline in a group of adults with mild conditions of cognitive impairment.

Walking against Alzheimer’s Disease

A study presented at the annual conference of the Radiological Society of North America suggested that walking can slow down cognitive decline in adults experiencing mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and even in adults with no signs of cognitive impairment. Lead researcher from the University of Pittsburgh Department Of Radiology, Cyrus Raji, said that they had found that walking for a minimum of five miles a week helps protect the brain from damage, especially in areas responsible for learning and memory, for ten years. They also found that it slows down the decline of memory loss for over years.

In the data provided by the National Institute of Aging, around 2 to 5 million Americans suffer from the disease and the numbers are expected to increase in the next years. The fact that Alzheimer’s disease is irreversible and that no cure has been found to make the brain recover from the damage makes it one of the biggest health issues in the world. Minor cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition wherein in a person experiences serious age-related memory loss but not as grave as that of Alzheimer’s disease. But around 50 percent of MCI cases continue to develop into a full blown Alzheimer’s disease. Raji said that the best way of coping with the problem, since treatment is not yet available, is to find ways to alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, slow down its progression and help improve the patient’s quality of life.

Study Details

The study will last for 20 years and will examine the relationship between brain health and physical activity. The researchers gathered a group of 127 adults with cognitive impairment and 299 healthy adults. The group with cognitive impairment consists of 44 people with Alzheimer’s disease and 83 with mild cognitive impairment. They monitored how frequent and far the study participants walked in a period of seven days and after 10 years, they underwent MRI examinations to determine and identify the changes in their brain. Researchers looked closely at brain volume since it is directly related to the brain’s health condition; higher brain volume means healthier brain while a decline could mean that brain cells are dying. They were also asked to take an examination to test their cognitive skills for 5 years. The results of the cognitive exams directly corresponded with the MRI results with adjustments made to discharge the influence of variables like education, gender, head size and body fat composition.

The study concluded that increased physical activities results to greater brain volume. Study participants with mild cognitive impairment had to walk at least 5 miles in a weak in order to offset the cognitive decline while healthy participants needed a minimum of six miles per week to reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment. Raji added that walking is not a cure against Alzheimer’s disease but refers to the activity as an effective means of reducing memory loss associated with ageing and lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The Numerous Health Benefits of Walking

We walk on a daily basis. But despite the inevitability of the need for walking, some people are still not getting enough of the activity. The availability of new technologies that bypasses the necessities for walking like Segways, lifts and other devices that moves people to short distances wherein walking was previously required deprives people of its various health benefits.

Walking is the most natural form of physical activity. The movement of the legs and hands requires enough exertion to promote healthier breathing and blood circulation. More oxygen gets circulated in the blood and to the brain. This helps the body maintain health cognitive and physical function. Walking has also been found to boost the immune system, manage weight, prevent and control disease, prevent osteoporosis and a lot more.

A study showed that it is easier to exercise when it is part of our daily lives. Walking to nearby locations is an effective means of getting enough exercise without getting stressed too much about maintaining the activity. Going to the gym or participating in a certain physical activity may be challenging for some people since these may require too much self-discipline.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010


The use of cinnamon can be traced way back remote times – Moses is said to have used cinnamon when he made the holy oil, and ancient nations gave cinnamon as a gift for monarchs and gods.  Cinnamon has been regarded as a very valuable spice, its value sometimes being likened to gold. Nations who were involved in trading centuries ago regard cinnamon as highly-priced and highly-coveted item.

Over the years, people have discovered the source of cinnamon and, with the advent of technology, acquiring cinnamon is no longer very difficult.  Cinnamon has been used as a condiment for cooking, giving the dish a sweet flavour coupled with an aroma like no other. Liqueurs, tea, cocoa, chocolates, breads and fruits have benefitted from the use of cinnamon.

Medical experts have been studying the health benefits that one can get from the consumption of cinnamon.  One case to prove that point is a recent randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study conducted by researchers from London’s Imperial College regarding the benefits of cinnamon on diabetes patients.

Cinnamon and Diabetes:  Is there a link?

In order to find the association between cinnamon and its effects on patients with diabetes, a group of researchers from the Imperial College in London, headed by Dr. Rajadurai Akilen, conducted a study which involved 58 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and whose mean age was 55. Each participant was randomly assigned to either of two groups:  one group received a supplement of 2 grams of cinnamon every day, and another group received placebo.  The length of time wherein the participants received the intervention was 12 weeks.

After the study, the results revealed that the intake of cinnamon supplement was linked to an average decrease in systolic blood pressure of 3.4 mmHg, and a decrease in diastolic blood pressure of 5.0 mmHg.  As for the results of the placebo group, no significant reduction in blood pressure was noted.

When it comes to the participants’ blood sugar level, the researchers noticed a decrease in glycated haemoglobin levels over twelve weeks in the cinnamon group – from 8.22 percent to 7.86 percent.  In the placebo group, on the other hand, researchers noted an increase in glycated haemoglobin levels – from 8.55 percent to 8.68 percent over a period of twelve weeks. Glycated haemoglobin is used in measuring the levels of sugar in the blood.

The Conclusion

Dr. Akilen and his co-workers said that the clinical trial is a first in the UK which has confirmed significant valuable effects of 2 grams cinnamon on the blood pressure and glycated haemoglobin of patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes coming from different ethnicities. The authors, writing in Diabetic Medicine, said that the 2 gram dose of cinnamon that was administered to the participants of the study was well tolerated and considered safe for the entire duration of the study. They concluded by saying that the durability and sustainability of cinnamon’s effects has not yet been tested, and its long-term safety and tolerability has not yet been determined. Nevertheless, the short-term effects of cinnamon use for type 2 diabetes patients appear to hold a lot of promise.

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

  • It helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
  • Studies have shown that it has the ability to stop yeast infections that have become resistant to medications.
  • A study conducted by researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture located in Maryland revealed that cinnamon reduced the propagation of lymphoma and leukaemia cancer cells.
  • Cinnamon is said to prevent the formation of blood clots.
  • A study conducted at the Copenhagen University revealed that patients who were given half teaspoon of cinnamon powder mixed with one tablespoon of honey each morning prior to eating breakfast experienced a significant relief in pain brought about by arthritis after one week.
  • Another study indicated that inhaling the smell of cinnamon helps boost memory and cognitive function.

The Facts on Diabetes

More and more people are being diagnosed with diabetes each day that the statistics appear to be very alarming. The European Union 25 currently has 19 million diabetics, and the numbers are expected to rise by up to 26 million by the year 2030.  Four percent of EU 25’s current total population are diabetics.  In the United States, 24 million people – or eight percent of America – are diabetics.  According to the 2005-2007 figures of the American Diabetes Association, the total cost being spent on diabetes is a whopping $174 billion, and $116 billion from this is being spent on medication.

Diabetes results from high amounts of sugar levels in the blood.  If left uncontrolled, diabetes will eventually cause problems in other parts of the body and will seriously interfere with the body parts’ normal functioning.  Examples of body parts that are most commonly affected by the complications brought about by uncontrolled diabetes include the eyes (diabetic retinopathy), feet (peripheral vascular disease), nerves (diabetic neuropathy), and the kidneys (diabetic nephropathy).  Being diagnosed with diabetes also puts a person at a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases as well as joint and bone disorders.  Sexual dysfunction, digestive and skin problems as well as oral and dental problems are long-term complications of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus.

Top Five Ways to Naturally Lower Blood Sugar Levels

  • Get Enough Sleep

Studies have shown that the quality and duration of sleep can affect the body’s ability to properly regulate the production of insulin and that interrupted or short sleep can disturb insulin production. Insulin is produced by the pancreas in order to control the levels of sugar in the blood.

In order to ensure a good night’s sleep, do some exercises during the early part of the day.  It will also help if you establish a regular time for sleeping and waking up.  Also, avoid caffeine especially before going to bed.

  • Stay Active

Regular exercise helps a person lose extra pounds and promotes better health.  However, researchers have also discovered that exercising is associated with the way the liver gives out glucose in order for it to be used by the body.  It is advised that workouts should be done right before a meal. This is according to researchers from the University of Michigan.

  • Reduce your Stress Level

Stress causes the release of hormones, such as adrenaline, responsible for the fight or flight response.  Once these hormones accumulate, fat and glucose stores are released into the blood stream which, in turn, raises the levels of sugar present in the blood.  In order to prevent this from happening, it is important that a person recognizes the stress levels in his life and then try to minimize its impact. Learn to take deep breaths, or do some meditation exercises because having the ability to relax will do wonders to one’s blood sugar levels.

  • Get More Fiber in your Diet

Aside from helping in the digestive process and in easing constipation, soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol levels, and improves blood sugar levels as well. Avoid foods processed foods and those that contain refined carbohydrates. Go for foods rich in fiber such as broccoli, whole wheat breads, beans, etc.

  • Think Mediterranean

Scientists in Spain conducted a study which revealed that a diet rich in vegetables, extra virgin olive oil and fish provided remarkable results when it comes to reducing a person’s risk of diabetes.  It is recommended that a person consume two or more servings of vegetables per day, eat three servings of fish per week, and have fresh fruits for snacks and dessert.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010



Diabetes is a serious health problem triggered by different factors like an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and other health conditions like obesity. It affects all demographics with increased prevalence in some races. Also known as diabetes mellitus, diabetes is a composition of several metabolic disorders that results to high levels of blood sugar.

The types of diabetes are classified according to the reason for the increase in blood sugar.

  • The first of type diabetes is a result of the body’s insufficient production of insulin; this is type 1 diabetes. A person with type 1 diabetes will need insulin medication which is normally injected to the body in order to manage blood sugar level.
  • Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, results to the body cells’ resistance to insulin in order to properly metabolize sugar. This condition may also be worsened by the insufficient production of insulin.

Diabetes can be diagnosed at an early stage. The condition can be genetic but lifestyle factors also play a big role in influencing the onset of the disease. Different studies have shown that the lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet can significantly increase the risk of developing diabetes. The first and most common symptoms of diabetes are:

  • frequent urination or polyuria
  • increased hunger or polyphagia
  • increased thirst or polydipsia

If the three symptoms are felt, the person is advised to go to a physician and undergo sugar blood test.

Unmanaged blood sugar can lead to several health complications; the simplest is the physiological change of the shape of the lenses in the eyes. This leads to vision changes but this effect can be easily handled by lowering blood sugar through lifestyle changes and by controlling one’s diet. In type 1 diabetes, vision change is rapid.  In type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, visual problems appear more gradually. The traditional treatment of diabetes primarily involves the introduction of insulin to the body to help it lower blood sugar level. Nowadays, more and more medical experts turn in to the natural ways of dealing with diabetes. They advise patients to limit their sugar intake and participate in more physical activities in order to manage weight and stimulate the metabolism of glucose.

The risk of developing diabetes is highly influenced by genetics, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol levels and smoking. Unhealthy diet and lack of exercise has also been proven to elevate the risk. Though medications to treat the disease is highly available, the health hazards of its continuous application poses a great risk of trading one serious health condition for another. Alternative procedures to manage blood sugar are being continuously discovered by studies to be effective in better managing diabetes without the adverse effects. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed the efficacy of combination exercise in managing the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Combination Exercise against Diabetes

A group of researchers from the Louisiana State University conducted a study evaluating the effects of combination exercise to type 2 diabetes patients. They found that the combination of resistance training and aerobic exercise can offer significant health benefits to type 2 diabetes patients by helping them manage their blood sugar levels. The results of the study were compared to diabetes management plans with either type of exercise and with no exercise at all. Researchers said that exercise can give numerous benefits to type 2 diabetes patients but despite that, it is unclear which type of exercise has greater benefits in managing the condition. This is what they aimed to find out.

The researchers gathered a group of 262 men and women who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and who did not use exercise as a means of managing their condition. The researchers compared the effects of aerobic exercise, resistance training program and a combination of the two against not exercising. After the nine-month study period, the researchers observed a significant change in the blood sugar levels in study participants who took the combination exercise program. In addition to this, the patients also needed lesser pharmaceutical medication in order to manage the disease compared to the other groups. The group who did not exercise needed to increase their medication by 39 percent compared to the group which took resistance training, 22 percent against aerobic exercise and 18 percent compared to combination exercise.

The head of the research team, Timothy S. Church, said that even though both aerobic and resistance training program have been proven to be beneficial to diabetes management, the combination of the two programs produced better results. He added that it is also important to consider the lower blood sugar levels in the combination group compared to the group with no exercise despite the latter having increased usage of diabetes medication.

The Many Health Benefits of Frequent Exercise

The list of the many health benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle can just go on and on. Here are some examples:

  • Exercising in most days of the week has been found to extend a person’s life expectancy by improving his resistance against diseases. Maintaining an active lifestyle is just as important as eating the right kinds of food.
  • Diet and exercise come hand in hand. Exercise improves the digestion, absorption and metabolism of food. This helps the body get more of the foods we eat.
  • For a fact, participating in physical activities can be fun. Playing sports, going to the gym or jogging around the park can be an effective means to socialize with other people, meet new friends and spending time with family and friends.
  • Exercise can also promote better sleep. People who exercise more have been found to sleep faster and better.
  • Participating in physical activities can also improve ones mood and energy levels.
  • On top of all these, exercise is an effective means of managing and maintaining body weight. People who don’t exercise are found to be more at risk to grow obese and are more prone to develop serious health conditions. In diabetes prevention, for example, exercising is utilized as a means of improving metabolism, control weight and shed out excess pounds.
  • Other diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases have also been associated with the lack of exercise, along with an unhealthy diet.
  • Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Understanding Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis is a common chronic health condition extensively present amongst adults. The condition is caused by the clotting of blood in the veins causing an obstruction in the blood flowing through the circulatory system. Whenever a vein experiences injury, fibrin and platelets forms a clotting in the blood to prevent further blood loss. But blood clot can also form under certain conditions. An obstruction in the blood passages of more than 25 percent of the artery walls affects the oxygen supply of the tissues resulting to a complication called embolism.

Thrombosis can be highly hereditary. A condition called hypercoagulability is a genetic deficiency wherein the blood has heightened tendencies to clot. The condition can also be caused by the quality of the walls of the blood vessels and the disturbance of blood flow due to an injured vessel causing blood stagnation; this may be brought about by sitting for a long period of time, for example.

Cases of thrombosis can be classified depending on where the condition is located. Deep vein thrombosis happens when the blood clots within the deep veins. This normally happens in the leg’s femoral veins. Superficial symptoms include reddening, swelling and chronic pain on the affected area. A study aimed at finding an effective means of alleviating the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis finds exercise as a potential supplementation to pharmaceutical intervention.

Study on the Benefits of Exercise on Deep Vein Thrombosis

A group of researchers from Canada conducted a study involving a group of thrombosis patients. They evaluated the effects of performing long-term leg exercises to the symptoms of the health condition. The researchers designed a specialized training program lasting for six months dedicated at improving leg flexibility and strength and overall fitness and they found that the program improves symptoms of deep vein thrombosis and its chronic complications. It has also been found to improve the symptoms of post-thrombotic syndrome. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

A professor of medicine from the Division of Internal Medicine and Center for Clinical Epidemiology at McGill University, Dr Susan Kahn, said that given the divergence in treatment plans for managing the symptoms of post-thrombotic syndrome, the pilot study, aimed at determining the effectiveness of exercise training to treat post-thrombosis, establishes a new approach on more effective ways of fighting the condition. The researchers, led by Dr Kahn, gathered a group of 95 thrombosis patients. The authors said that findings of the small trial procedures will need further confirmation and that conducting a larger study is recommended. A variable was that most of the patients were young active and well-educated; results may differ on different demographics. Despite the preliminary quality of their findings, the researchers concluded that exercise training designed at improving leg flexibility and strength can help alleviate the pains of post-thrombotic syndromes.

Natural Methods of Preventing Thrombosis

The body has its natural means of repairing and maintaining itself. When the vascular system experiences damage like a cut or any incision that causes blood to flow out of the blood vessels, structures dedicated at preventing blood loss works to clot the blood. But not all blood clotting is healthy to the body. Serious health problems like stroke are caused by the undesirable clotting of the blood that leads to obstructed blood flow. The condition results to the insufficient oxygen supply to the tissues and, as a result, thrombosis develops. Research has found different reasons for a person to develop thrombosis.

Smoking has never been good to the body. The different toxins and other chemicals in tobacco have been found to cause different diseases. Cancer and pulmonary diseases are on top of the list. Smoking also reduces the body’s natural ability to protect itself against diseases by weakening the immune system. A common condition that results to the development of thrombosis is hypercoagulability. This happens when the blood easily coagulates with minimal or no reason to do so. Smoking results to myocardial infraction which is associated with hypercoagulation. Though primarily genetic, the condition can be developed by unhealthy practices like smoking and prolonged immobility and bed rest.

The common pharmaceutical treatments for thrombosis include aspirin, coumadin, heparin and ticlopidines. These medications are formulated to either prevent the coagulation of blood or to dissolve blood clots that obstruct healthy blood flow. But these medications have side effects. They can slowly impair the body’s natural ability to initiate and maintain blood clots even in situations where it is highly needed to prevent blood loss.

Lowering one’s cholesterol levels is one of the best natural ways of preventing the onset and development of thrombosis. Cholesterol is known to be one of the fatty acids that can form in the wall of the arteries and thwart blood flow. Other common health conditions associated with high cholesterol levels are mostly cardiovascular in nature. In the treatment of specific types of thrombosis, medications that work to lower cholesterol levels and remove any cholesterol plaques from the walls of blood vessels are also used. But it is also important to remember that the use of pharmaceutical agents can bring about unwanted side effects – adverse reactions that may be life-threatening. So when looking for a treatment regimen, it is emphasized that one choose what is healthy, effective, and safe.

The natural food ingredients that have been found to have high potential in preventing thrombosis are aged garlic, gingko biloba, nutrients like niacin, vitamin E, vitamin K, and other anti-inflammatory compounds. Aged garlic has been used to serve as a strong food supplement to promote the health of the cardiovascular system. Garlic increases the synthesis of a chemical messenger called nitric oxide that inhibits the clotting of the blood. A study on the food ingredient found that consuming one clove of fresh garlic in a day for a period of 26 weeks can result to approximately 20 percent reduction of serum cholesterol.

Benefits of Frequent Exercise

There are numerous health benefits of exercise – and this starts with the decision to get up from the couch and resolve to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. It is not necessary to go to the gym or burden over hours of heavy weights in order to achieve a healthy body. A simple walk in the park for a few minutes in most days of the year will give you the effects necessary in order to improve and maintain body functions.

  • Exercise exerts its effect on a person’s mood. It can serve as an effective means of alleviating stress and releasing body tension.
  • Different reliable studies around the world had also established the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle in order to lower the risk of developing chronic and degenerative diseases.
  • Frequent exercising, together with a balanced diet, is the most effective means of reducing and managing body weight.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Keeping Dieting Simple for Greater Weight Loss Success

When you are dieting it is easy to bounce from one good sounding diet to the next in your bid to lose weight fast. Those who enjoy the most success when losing weight are those who are sensible about the process. Here are some tips that will help you to lose weight sensibly without making you crazy in the process.

The best way to start any attempt to lose excess weight is to record everything that you eat, and what you were doing at the time you were eating as well as how you felt during the meal or snack. Your food diary will reveal a lot about your eating habits. Your eating habits are what makes up your eating pattern which typically involves overeating for a variety of reasons including emotional eating (when you are upset, nervous, or even excited), to avoid having to talk at meals, or because you just love food and have no idea how much food you should be eating at each meal or snack. The food diary will tell a lot about what foods you eat, your food temptations, your emotional state while eating and how often you eat.

Another smart tip is to brush your teeth if you feel tempted to eat a sweet or other goodie that would destroy your goal of losing weight. Most people have an aversion to eating food right after brushing. If you must, give in to the temptation to cheat on your diet with a tasty morsel or sweet by giving yourself permission to eat it, but only half of the food item instead of the entire thing. Another way to avoid temptation is to wait ten minutes before letting yourself have the goodie in order to give yourself time to focus on other things instead of eating. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t depending on your ability to be distracted and your willpower to lose weight.

Building up willpower is sometimes easier if you have motivation that is right in front of your face when temptation to stray from your diet rears its ugly head. A motivational reminder can be a picture of the new bathing suit your are hoping to wear when you lose weight, or a photo of a wedding couple as a reminder that you want to lose weight before your wedding. Anything that is a physical reminder of your reason for wanting to lose weight will be a visible reminder when you are being tempted.

Make sure that your weight loss goals are reasonable ones and that they are attainable in the time frame that you have given yourself. Make smaller goals along the way to your ultimate goal. Get adequate amounts of sleep, drink 8 glasses of water a day, exercise daily, avoid sugar and eat smaller more frequent meals are perhaps the most important weight loss tips. Have a buddy to go through your weight loss program with, one who is also trying to lose weight or one who is able to support you and understand your weight loss efforts. Drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up, and before each meal and snack. A full glass of cold water to start your day also starts your metabolism. A metabolism that has been jumpstarted with a glass of cold water will burn more calories than a person who wakes, and does other activities besides drinking water or eating. When you drink adequate amounts of water, the water acts as a diuretic, which will then cut down on the water retention and give you a full feeling before meals and snacks so you eat less.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, June 7th, 2010

Depression & Vitamin D: The Emerging Link

Vitamin D has been linked to many health conditions before. A recent study links insufficient levels of the vitamin with the disabling condition depression

In a recent study performed by researchers from the National Institute of Aging in the United States, insufficient levels of vitamin D may be the reason why many individuals over the age of 65 are experiencing symptoms of depression.

Senior individuals often have low levels of the important vitamin because they tend to stay indoors more often, as opposed to younger, more sprightly individuals with more active lifestyles. The study was published in a medical journal on endocrinology this year.

According to Luigi Ferrucci, the lead researcher, the emerging link between vitamin D deficiency and the occurrence of depression must be further investigated.  The study involved a follow-up testing of nearly one thousand male and female respondents within a six-year period.

The researchers used a specialized scale that measured the symptoms of depression called CES-D.  The researchers discovered that those with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood tended to have poorer score in the CES-D test.  Those with higher vitamin D percentages in their blood scored better in the same test.

Alarming, global trend

Depression is fast becoming one of the leading causes of disability around the world, not just in the United States.  It is estimated that today, there are 120 million people afflicted with the condition.  Ferrucci’s study is not the first to point at the possible link between the vitamin and depression.

In an earlier study carried out two years ago, Dutch researchers reported that insufficient levels of the vitamin in the body resulted in a higher percentage of the parathyroid hormone.

This hormone, which is used by the body to regulate calcium loss, has been directly linked to a higher incidence of depression in some one thousand two hundred respondents in yet another independent study.  This is the reason why a causal pathway must be mapped out to determine just how this vitamin affects the human brain.

In a fourth related study, researchers McCann and Arnes noted that vitamin D is important for the proper functioning and health of the human brain.  The widespread presence of vitamin D receptors throughout the human brain is evidence of the vital role of the nutrient in brain health.

According to yet another scientific review, vitamin D has been associated with affecting proteins in the human brain that are responsible for governing the learning process and remembering.  If an imbalance occurs in these areas, you can just imagine a chain reaction occurring throughout the brain.

Benefits of vitamin D

There are several ways that you can get vitamin D: natural exposure to sunlight, food (like dairy products, e.g. yogurt, milk, etc.) and through vitamin supplementation.  The body only needs about 10 – 15 minutes of exposure to natural sunlight to produce vitamin D on its own.

If this is not possible, people with low levels of vitamin D should explore vitamin supplementation; this applies most especially to senior individuals who may not be eating well or are unable to engage in a more active lifestyle.  Instead of using sunscreen when going out to get your healthy dose of sunshine, you can protect your skin naturally by taking natural antioxidants like fresh wheatgrass juice and citrus fruits.

The usual recommended dose for adults is between 400 to 800 IU (international units) of vitamin D everyday. Pregnant women should be given a higher dose (800 IU) to ensure optimum bone health and proper development of the fetus.

And there are more reasons to love vitamin D! Here are some of the most important benefits:

1. It is needed for proper absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorous.  It is needed for the proper maintenance and repair of the bones and skin.

2. It strengthens and helps maintain the immune function of the body. Conditions like flu and the common cold can be warded off more efficiently if the immune system is strengthened by vitamin D.

3. It is an important nutrient that prevents the occurrence of MS (multiple sclerosis).  According to researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University, MS is less frequent in tropical countries because there is more available sunshine in these places than in temperate regions.

4. Vitamin D has also been linked to the maintenance of normal body weight (according to research from the Medical College of Georgia).

5. Vitamin D is important for brain health in the later years (60 – 79 years of age).

6. In a recent study from the Harvard Medical School, vitamin D can also reduce asthma attacks in asthmatic individuals.

7. We are exposed continually to low levels of radiation.  The good news is vitamin D can also help protect us from such exposures.

According to US cancer researchers, people with adequate levels of vitamin D have a lower risk for many types of cancer than people with low or inadequate levels of the vitamin.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 7th June 2010