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  • Articles in 'Body Awareness'

    Bacteria & The Brain:

    The Powerful Behavior-Modifying Effects of The Gut

    Digestive-System2-Dream-DesignsThe gut has been called “the second brain”. Research reveals that the enteric nervous system (ENS), a branch of the autonomic nervous system that is found in the GI tract, can communicate with, and function independently of the brain. The enteric nervous system of the gut is comprised of about 500 million neurons. The enteric nervous system can “think”, “remember” and “learn” on its own accord.

    The enteric nervous system lines the mucosa of various organs: esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, gall bladder, and biliary tree.

    The ENS is involved in the regulation of several essential digestive functions. Most notably:

    • Peristalsis, intestinal motility: bowel muscular contractions
    • Digestive enzyme secretion: to break down food particles
    • Participates in the regulation of esophageal muscles: moving food to your stomach
    • Motility of the gall bladder, releasing bile into the duodenum
    • Assists the hormone secretin in releasing pancreatic enzymes
    • Exchange of fluids and electrolytes in the gut
    • Blood flow through the gastric mucosa
    • Also involved in the regulation of the gastic and esophageal sphincters: preventing acid food from entering the throat, and allowing food to pass into the duodenum from the stomach
    •  Uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, including serotonin, GABA, dopamine, acetylcholine

    Many researchers postulate that the enteric neurons have an important role to play in regulating behavior. This is likely due to the fact that the enteric nervous system communicates with the brain via the vagus nerve. It is known that strains of intestinal bacteria have a powerful regulatory effect on the enteric neurons. It is also known that these same bacterial colonies can induce behavior-modifying effects.

    In 2011, researchers from the Journal of Neurogastroenterology stated: “As Bifidobacterium longum decreases excitability of enteric neurons, it may signal to the central nervous system by activating vagal pathways at the level of the enteric nervous system.”

    What this means is that behavior is directly linked to intestinal bacteria and gut function.

    Behavior & Leaky Gut

    It is now well established that gut permeability, known as “leaky gut” has a direct effect on behavior. Studies such as this have demonstrated the link between intestinal permeability, gut infections and depression.

    A key mechanism with how intestinal permeability plays a crucial role in behavioral disorders is most due to the effect that pathogens and bacterial species have on brain and neurotransmitter function. For example, streptococcal infections have shown to cause symptoms of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), tics, and Tourette’s. Additionally, the immune response that is invoked from strep and other infections, causes tremendous systemic inflammation, including to that of the brain.

    The outer casing of gram-negative bacteria, known as lipo-polysaccharides (LPS), have shown in studies to induce massive systemic inflammation, including the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-a in the brain, as well as brain microglial activation.

    Because of the essential role of “tight junctions” in the gut lining for protecting the organism from invading antigens, a diminishment of the tight junctions leads to an increased level of permeability, allowing various pathogenic microbes easy access into circulation. This permeability of the gut wall induces high levels of inflammatory activity in the brain, nervous system and in many other locations in the body.

    Additionally, leaky gut will also feature imbalanced gut flora, and especially in the presence of pathogens and with an overgrowth of opportunistic organisms. This may involve imbalances in the same gut bacteria that communicate with the brain via the vagus nerve. So behavior and brain function are affected by the gut in more than one way.

    The Role Of Intestinal Flora In Modifying Behavior: Gut Microbiome Axis

    The intestinal flora makes up roughly 80% of the total immune defenses of the body. The gut is lined with more than 100 trillion micro-organisms, nearly ten times the amount of cells that make up the human body. There are thought to be between 400-1000 different species of bacteria that are normally found in the gut, and there exist intrinsic relationships and complex communication networks among the bacterial species.

    Immediately following birth, the act of breastfeeding results in the implantation of essential floral colonies into the infant’s gut. Studies have demonstrated that breast feeding significantly reduces the risk of childhood asthma. Breast feeding for more than 12 months has been shown to be protective against the development of rheumatoid arthritis. One study found a correlation between a shorter duration of breast feeding and the development of ADHD in children.

    Many recent studies have focused on the role that certain probiotic strains have on regulating behavior. This is fascinating because it shows the relationship between bacteria and the brain. The probiotic strain bifido infantis 35624 has been studied for its role in possibly reducing depression. Additionally, bifido infantis powerfully reduces IBS symptoms.

    Lactobacillus reuteri has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects and for its powerful modulation of the immune system, especially the inhibition of TNF-a. Additionally, L-reuteri is well established to modify the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA in the central nervous system. The same is true for lactobacillus rhamnosous.

    L-helveticus and B-longum have been studied for effectively reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

    There are a plethora of additional studies that demonstrate the role of gut microbes in regulating behavior.

    Without a doubt, continual research will emerge that identifies the intricate but profound role that bacterial balance in the gut plays at modifying behavior.

    Repair the Gut: Reduce Inflammation, Improve Cognition

    Any serious health-improvement program should address the function of the gut flora and mucosal barrier. This is magnified exponentially if one has chronic gut issues, inflammatory conditions, autoimmune disorders, and behavioral issues.

    Because there are so many factors that will impede upon your intestinal flora, maintaining proper digestion, assimilation and intestinal immunity is paramount. All of these factors work together.

    It is extremely common that when the gut is severely compromised, the mucsoal barrier is damaged, and the “tight junctions” that normally exist to keep pathogens at bay, are compromised. If this is the case, there will most likely be a greater degree of inflammation that can manifest at places in the body you wouldn’t necessarily suspect (such as the brain).

    Often accompanying gut flora imbalances are food intolerances of varying degrees. In fact, food allergies and sensitivities may be amplified when one’s gut flora is compromised. For some individuals eliminating gluten, dairy and eggs may be essential. For others, low-oxalate diets may be important.

    In many instances, it may take years of persistent attention to the gut before long-term results are achieved.

    It is the opinion of this author, from firsthand experience, that proper, individualized nutrition is the foundation for restoring the function of the gut mucosal barrier.

    Michael McEvoy has a private nutritional consulting practice. He works with clients nationally and internationally. Please contact him to learn more about his nutritional consulting services and programs.

    Sources:

    http://journals.lww.com/co-gastroenterology/Abstract/1999/07000/Pathogenesis_of_inflammatory_bowel_disease.3.aspx

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19235895

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032712001371

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0001308

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674904020810

    http://www.nature.com/ajg/journal/v101/n7/abs/ajg2006294a.html

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15765388

    British Journal of Nutrition (2011)Michae ̈l Messaoudi1*, Robert Lalonde2, Nicolas Violle1, Herve ́ Javelot3, Didier Desor4, Amine Nejdi1, Jean-Franc ̧ois Bisson1, Catherine Rougeot5, Matthieu Pichelin6, Murielle Cazaubiel6 and Jean-Marc Cazaubiel6: “Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects”

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2982.2011.01796.x/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

     

     

    Homemade Herbal Delights for Skin & Body

    Ingredients available from Way of Life:

    Jars, dried lavender, rose petals, jojoba oil, almond or apricot oil, coconut, glycerin, rose water, vitamin E, Aloe Vera gel, grape seed extract, and essential oils.

    Making Fresh Lavender Oil:

    Either pick your own or purchase your dried lavender flowers from Way of Life. If you choose to pick your own do so on a sunny day between 10 – 11AM when the dew has dried off the blossoms. Gather both open flower heads and green leaves and set them in a shady place to finish drying off for a few hours.

    Fill a large glass jar with the freshly dried lavender flowers and dried green leaves. Pour to cover, olive oil or any of the oils listed above. Make sure the oil covers all the flowers and that they can move easily in the jar, otherwise the flowers may mold. Cover the jar and place it in full sunlight for 2-4 hours. If available, blend herbs and oil in a blender to help extract the green leaves and flowers. Strain the oil mixture using cheesecloth or a clean nylon stocking. Squeeze the sock/cloth to extract the natural greenish oil. Add 20- 30 drops of lavender essential oil. Store oil in a dark bottle in a cool place. Use it as your base for making hydrating body products such as the hair mask recipe below, bath oils, lubes, massage oil, and foot scrubs.

    Lavender Oil Avocado Hair Mask

    (Adapted with permission from the book Maiden, Mother, Crone: Our Pleasure Playlist)

    This mask works well on any hair type and it is a wonderful hair conditioning treatment. The combination of avocado and lavender oil saturates the hair with protein and nourishing oils and also helps restore damaged and/or split ends. Your hair will be shiny & luscious and your scalp will be happy & healthy.

    What you’ll need: 4 TB of fresh lavender oil (see above) and 1 fresh avocado

    Prep Time: Lavender oil if making it fresh = 2 to 4 hours. Mask = 5 minutes

    In a bowl, scoop out avocado from its peel and mix until it resembles guacamole. Add around 4 tablespoons of lavender oil and blend together.

    Apply to all sections of hair, especially the ends. Sometimes combing the hair after applying the mask helps distribute the beneficial oils. Put hair in bun and put a shower cap (a plastic bag works great too) on – this helps trap heat, which maximizes the moisturizing process. The mask can stay on from anywhere from an hour to all night long. If you leave it on over night, make sure to lay a towel down just incase of any leakage. Rinse out using shampoo (I recommend shampooing your hair twice) followed by conditioner.

    Note: If the lavender oil involves too much prep work for your liking, an alternative is to use an egg. Simply substitute 1 egg for the lavender oil and proceed.

    Rose Water & Glycerin Facial Cream

    (Adapted from several online sites via www.ehow.com)

    What you’ll need: Sterilized jar with lid, 2 bowls, whisk, 3/4 cups rosewater, 1 1/2 tsp. glycerin, 21/3 cup aloe vera gel, 3 to 6 drops rose or rose geranium essential oil, Oil from 1 vitamin E capsules or equal amount of liquid Vit E, ½ tsp. grapefruit seed extract. Optional ½ cup Coconut oil

    Prep Time: less than 5 minutes

    In a glass or porcelain bowl add rose water, glycerin, aloe vera gel, rose essential oil and grapefruit seed extract. Break open the vitamin E capsule and add the oil to the mixture.

    Whisk the mixture together until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. To thicken put coconut oil in a bowl and very slowly add the rose water mix to the coconut oil. Whisking until blended and fluffy. Fill a sterilized container with a securely fitting lid and store in a cool dark place or a refrigerator between uses.

    St John’s Wort Leg and Feet Massage Oil

    (Adapted from Herbs from the Soul by Tamara Kircher)

    What you’ll need: Clean jar with lid, jojoba oil, and fresh St John’s Wort flowers

    Prep Time: 5 minutes to make – 2 weeks till ready

    Fill a clean jar full of yellow open flowers. Gently pour the oil over the flowers until fully covered.

    Close jar and let sit on a sunny windowsill for 2 weeks. Shake and turn the jar daily. After 2 weeks strain the oil using cheesecloth removing all plant material. Store the oil in a dark bottle away from sunlight. Use oil only externally, to massage into legs and feet. Or add a few drops of this amazing purple oil to an almond, apricot, or coconut oil.

     

    Understanding Trauma As A Biological Response

    Excerpted from Somatic Traumatology by David Berceli PhD

    Website: www.traumaprevention.com

    One only has to read the most basic of the literature on the function of the brain, the nervous system and the physiology of stress to understand that the mind and the body are undeniably linked. Rothschild (1994).

    Until recently most research programs on trauma and post traumatic stress symptomatology were conducted in the field of psychology. Subsequently all of the recovery programs designed to help relieve symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) addressed the psycho-emotional behaviors of the individual. However, the most recent research in the field of traumatology is helping to dispel this limited view of trauma and PTSD. The cross-fertilization of fields of study such as psychobiology, neuro-physiology and physiological psychology are revealing new levels of understanding of the effects of trauma on the human organism. This dialogue among diverse fields of medical science has increased scientific awareness of the critical interaction and mutual interdependency of autonomic body responses and neurological processes.

    This shift in awareness is increasing the recognition that trauma is primarily an autonomic, physiological and neurological response and this somatic reaction creates a secondary psychological response. Acknowledging that the human organism has a systematic set of autonomic responses that become engaged during the time of trauma allows us to study these unconscious responses. If these autonomic responses can be reversed, then the secondary psychological disruptions can be limited and the psyche of the individual can be restored to health much more readily.

    To understand these unconscious physiological reactions, we have to look at the human person as an animal species in the process of evolution. During any traumatic experience the extensor muscles are inhibited so that the flexor muscles can contract. This allows the body to bring the extremities together, creating an enclosure that gives us a sense of safety while protecting the soft, vulnerable parts: the genitals, vital organs, and the head and its contents the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. (Koch, 1997 – The Psoas Book).

    A key set of muscles that assist in this complex series of contractions are the Psoas muscles. This pair of muscles that connect the trunk, pelvis and legs are considered the fight/flight muscles. These muscles stand guard like sentinels protecting the center of gravity located just in front of C3 of the spine. These muscles help pull the body into a semi-fetal position as a way of protecting it from anticipated harm.

    Since this contraction response of the human body is autonomic, instinctual and primarily unconscious it is not necessarily under the control or awareness of the individual. Because the human organism is genetically encoded to preserve its existence, this process of contraction is the emergency survival system designed to engage itself in any real or imagined life threatening experience. Since this emergency mode is not under the control of the conscious brain, the behaviors, actions and reactions of the individual(s) are instinctual rather than calculated and conscious. So, unlike other psychological issues, traumatic experiences cannot be immediately dealt with via conscious and logical methods to achieve a resolution…

    Constructive Rest Position: Simply rest on your back. Knees bent and the feet placed parallel to each other, the width apart of the front of your hip sockets. Place your heels approximately 12-16 inches away from your buttocks. Do not push your lower back to the floor or tuck your pelvis. Rest in the position for 10 –20 minutes. Keep your arms below shoulder height letting them rest over your ribcage, to your sides or on your pelvis. Gravity releases your Psoas, calming an over active sympathetic nervous system while refreshing both body and soul.

    Got Vitamin D? It Does a Body Good

    by Jeri Ross, MPH

    A common question that skin care professions get from their clientele is… “I’ve heard recently that almost everyone is deficient in vitamin D, that we are not getting enough from the sun. I thought being in the sun was bad for you.  I mean I’m doing everything right, staying out of the sun to prevent skin cancer and I’m using sun screen.  What do you recommend?”

    What is the way to answer this question? The good news is that you can successfully increase your vitamin D to healthy levels without increasing your risk of skin cancer and the dreaded freckles, wrinkles, and leather look due to sun exposure. The following information about vitamin D is particularly critical for women.  As a Public Health Educator, I have discovered data from numerous credible sources substantiating that women deficient in vitamin D are at greater risk for breast cancer. In fact according to Dr. Cedric Garland, epidemiologist at the University of California San Diego and other prominent vitamin D researchers 58,000 new cases of breast cancer in the United States could be prevented annually by increasing serum vitamin D levels to 52 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter). Because of this newly discovered role Vitamin D plays in reducing cancer risks we have the opportunity to translate this important information in to life style behaviors that will help us have healthier, longer lives.

    Vitamin D Defined

    There’s a paradigm shift going on in medicine as new research reveals a far greater role for vitamin D in humans. Historically vitamin D combined with calcium has been attributed to developing and maintaining strong bones. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D for years has been 400 IU (international units) which researchers are now saying is far less than is needed to prevent diseases.  Vitamin D is now seen as playing a central role in controlling cellular immunity and inflammation, two vital processes that are tied to a host of age-related disease conditions including cancer. The more current recommendation for optimal cellular functioning and to aid in disease prevention is 40-80 ng/ml.

    When bare skin is exposed to sunlight UVB ultraviolet waves initiate the conversion of cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D which is eventually metabolized in the liver for utilization by the body. Vitamin D really isn’t a vitamin at all. It’s a hormone that regulates cell growth and helps to prevent the kind of wild cell proliferation that leads to cancer.  “Almost every cell in the body has receptors for vitamin D, which means that every tissue and cell needs vitamin D to function maximally,” explains Michael Holick, MD, a vitamin D researcher at Boston University School of Medicine. Research Professor Joan Lappe, PhD, RN says vitamin D enhances your body’s immune response which is the first line of defense against cancer.

    The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that more than 35% of Americans don’t even get the minimum daily value (DV) of 400 IU of vitamin D. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention completed a recent national survey at the end of winter and found that nearly 50% of African-American women ages 15-49 years were deficient.   How did this happen? Perhaps human evolution gives us some of the answers.

    Our ancestors lived naked in the sun for several million years.  Then 50,000 years ago, some of us migrated north and south to places with less sun. We put on clothes that blocked the sun and started working in buildings and living in houses. Cars replaced horses and walking. Now we are avoiding the sun altogether and applying sun block to help prevent skin cancer which prohibits the conversion of UVB to vitamin D.  All this time we have been steadily reducing the levels of vitamin D in our cells and becoming deficient of the most potent steroid hormone in our body which we are now realizing produces anti-cancer properties.

    Aging, Breast Cancer Risks and Vitamin D

    Age is a factor contributing to breast cancer. Seventy seven per cent (77%) of breast cancers are found in women over 50, the same time when our skin’s capacity to synthesize vitamin D from the sun slows down. As time goes by and our cells duplicate over and over, we have more opportunities for cancers to grow. Only 4% of breast cancers are found in women under 40.  According to the Journal of Oncology, breast cancer is diagnosed in women by:

    age  25  1 in 19,608

    age  50   1 in  50

    age  65 1 in 17

    The recent New England Journal of Medicine research report ‘Roads Leading to Breast Cancer’ explains simply that cancer results from the accumulation of mutations in genes that regulate cellular proliferation. Every time a cell divides, slight mutations occur to the genes that regulate cellular proliferation or uncontrolled cell division that characterizes cancer cells. So basic prevention includes doing something about the gene mutation in your cells that make you more vulnerable to contracting cancer with each passing day. That’s where researchers are now discovering the vital role of vitamin D in cancer prevention.

     

    Breast Cancer Prevention, Survival and Vitamin D

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that researchers at Creighton University in a 4 year study of 1,180 postmenopausal women administered 1,000 IU of vitamin D and calcium daily lowered the risk of contracting breast cancer by an astounding 77%. Dr. Pamela Goodwin of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto reported that her studies also linked low levels of vitamin D with breast cancer progression.  She found that women who were deficient were nearly twice as likely to have their cancer recur or spread over the next 10 years, and 73%  more likely to die of the disease.

    Optimize Vitamin D

    Vitamin D occurs naturally in very few foods mostly fatty fishes like salmon, tuna and red meat.  Milk is fortified with vitamin D, however, most people would have to drink three quarts a day to increase levels for disease prevention.  Dr. Holick and others now prescribe at least 1,000 IU daily. Some researchers are advocating 2,000 IU daily. That much is generally considered safe by the American Cancer Society.

    Dermatologists who are focused on preventing skin cancer advise getting D from supplements.  However, vitamin D experts are more convinced that controlled sunlight 10 to 15 minutes at least three times a week with exposing 50 percent of your body (except your face) without sunscreen in midday sun is the best method to get what you need. Multiple studies have proven that these small bursts of sunlight exposure is equivalent to approximately 20,000 IU of vitamin D.   For folks in higher latitudes from Georgia northbound and in winter months from November to March, getting enough intense sunlight for optimal levels is difficult. Also people with darker skin and everyone after the age of 50 convert less vitamin D in the skin.  So a prescribed routine would most often include both sunlight and supplements for year round protection.

    It is recommended by vitamin D experts that you test your blood levels for vitamin D to determine if you are deficient.  Remember optimal levels to give you breast cancer protection are 40-80 ng/ml. Advocates of vitamin D  suggest you test your levels during the winter months when there is less sunshine to get a more accurate reading.

    Conclusion

    October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), an annual health campaign first implemented 26 years ago. The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month organization is a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services.  www.NBCAM.org

    During October organizations have a ‘pink day’ when staff wear pink clothing or accessories at work to raise awareness and money to donate to breast cancer care or research.  Spas and clinics are perfect settings to reach women with messages and information that will help them to prevent and survive breast cancer.  Spread the word about vitamin D.  Include breast cancer prevention information in your October monthly newsletters and/or create brochures for your spa/clinic.  Taking control of our breast cancer risks and chances for survival is as easy as having a healthy relationship with none other than our own sun.  Here comes the sun and I say it’s alright.

     

    Your Vitamin D Prescription

    • 10-15 minutes midday sun 50% bare body without sunscreen (except the face)  3 times a week
    • Or 1,000 IU vitamin D supplements daily
    • Winter months 1,000 IU vitamin D supplements daily

    Jeri Ros, MPH, has worked in the medical industry for 115 years as a health educator administrator. She is currently a health educator for Insitut’ DERMed and contributes her research skills to the development of advanced cosmeceutical skin and body care formulation. For more information visit www.idermedbody.com.

    Healthy SkinRx Diet

    Eat your way to beautiful skin

    By Jeri Ross, MPH
    Health Educator
    The Bodi Buddie
    www.celluliterxworks.com

    The skin is one of the most powerful indicators of health. Wrinkles, dry or oily skin, acne, and inflammation all are signs of poor internal health, often brought on by consuming unhealthful foods and avoiding skin-healthy nutrients.

    “Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body’s internal needs, including its nutritional needs,” says Dr. Georgiana Donadio, founder of the National Institute of Whole Health.

    ScienceDaily (Nov. 15, 2007) — The old adage “you are what you eat” not only applies to our overall health and nutrition, but how our skin looks and feels as well. As the largest organ in the body, our skin can benefit from the same nutrition we get from foods that have a positive effect on our heart and other major organs.
    If you want healthy skin, you’ve got to eat a healthy diet. That’s all there is to it. There’s a reason why people who follow a strict diet for optimal health and fitness usually end up having the best-looking skin around. Is that what you want? Say ‘Yes!”
    Here are 6 healthy skin foods that you want to eat (or drink) often.
    Salmon: Dry, inflamed skin or skin that suffers from the frequent appearance of whiteheads or blackheads can benefit from supplementing with essential fatty acids EFAs), especially omega- 3s.FAs are responsible for skin repair, moisture content, and overall flexibility, but because the body cannot produce its own EFAs, they must be obtained through the diet. Omega-3s are found in cold-water fish such as salmon EFAs are also available in supplement form – such as fish oil capsules or evening primrose oil. In a study of skin cancer, people who ate diets rich in fish oils and other omega 3 fats had a 29% lower risk of squamous cell cancer than those who got very little omega 3 fats from food.

    Raw Almonds: Vitamin E, considered a powerful antioxidant with skin cancer-fighting qualities, is plentiful in almonds. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that helps to protect skin cells from UV light and other environmental factors that generate cell-damaging free radicals. Try some almond butter on a fresh cut apple. Yum!

    Spinach: Researchers have identified at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents. Spinach is an excellent source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Vitamin C helps maintain collagen, the underlying supporting structure of skin. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant to neutralize harmful elements in our skin, helping to prevent wrinkles, resist infection and keep our skin youthful. Spinach is also a good source of vitamins B, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Trade your lettuce for spinach.

    Green Tea: This beverage deserves a category all its own in any article about foods for healthy skin. Skin-health polyphenols in green tea have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the risk of damage from ultraviolet light (such as the burning rays of the sun) that causes skin cancer. A 2007 study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that drinking two to six cups a day not only helps prevent skin cancer but may reverse the effects of sun damage by neutralizing the changes that appear in sun-exposed skin. Try squeezing some fresh lemon in your green tea for an extra shot of Vitamin C.

    Water: No one disputes the role good hydration plays in keeping skin looking healthy and even young. When that hydration comes from pure, clean water — not liquids such as soda or even soup — experts say skin cells rejoice. In addition to keeping cells hydrated, water helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out, which automatically leaves skin looking better. When we’re properly hydrated, we also sweat more efficiently. Doing so helps keep skin clean and clear as well. Most authorities recommend at least 8 glasses or 2 liters of pure water daily.

    Warning: Choose your water bottles very carefully in order to prevent chemicals in the plastic from leaching into your water. Those fabulous colorful hard plastic lexan bottles made with polycarbonate plastics and identified by the #7 recycling symbol, may leach BPA. Bisphenol A is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it disturbs the hormonal messaging in our bodies. Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Use stainless steel or aluminum water bottles. It’s better for the earth too.

    Whole-wheat breads: The mineral selenium found in whole wheat grains and wheat germ promotes healthy skin. Selenium helps safeguard the skin from sun damage and delays aging by protecting skin quality and elasticity. Dietary selenium has been shown to prevent some skin cancers in animals. According to nutrition expert Liz Lipski, PhD- filling up on whole-grain products leaves less room for the “white” foods that are a worse choice for skin health. These include white-flour items (bread, cake and pasta), sugar, and white rice. All can affect insulin levels and cause inflammation that may ultimately be linked to skin break outs.

    The Core Muscle

    LIZ KOCH – Special to the Sentinel
    Article Launched: 04/09/2002 3:00:00 AM PDT

    psoas-09The day my mom went in the hospital for her hip replacement, the doctor had already performed eight of the same operations. Some 65 percent of us will have hip socket problems. Back and knee problems are as common as the cold.

    So what gives? Is it true the body wears out like an old car part?

    Or is that mindset a common but limited perspective of the healing capabilities of the human body? The industrial revolution set in motion an idea that people were like machines. Like a clockwork toy, the body was seen as capable of being taken apart, parts replaced, and the body put back together again. Although this perspective has produced powerful life-saving procedures, the view also limits the wonders of the human body and life itself.

    Broadening our understanding of the body as a living system shifts the paradigm of health. The same self-healing possibilities that repair a cut or heal a bruise are always working to self-correct every system within us Read more…

    How to exercise the brain

    by LIZ KOCH – Special to the Sentinel

    We all know exercise is essential for good health, mental alertness and emotional well being — but how many of us ever exercise our brains?

    My grandmother, who lived to be 99, could remember everyone’s birthdays (spouses, grandchildren and friends) and many details of her life and the current events of those she loved and met. She told me that to keep alert she would intentionally exercise her memory.

    “Brain gym” is what local clinical psychologist Katherine O’Connell, calls intentionally exercising the bridge between the brain’s two hemispheres. When strong and resilient, the bridge called the corpus collosum strengthens the communication between the right and left hemispheres.

    Read more…

    Unwind from scoliosis

    Alternative ways…

    by LIZ KOCH – Special to the Sentinel

    Core Awareness

    with Liz Koch & Janet Zeff, DC

    Part I – Building a Healthy Back – Liz Koch

    Core Awareness involves developing a somatic language and kinesthetically returning to the center of one’s body. The word back reflects our cultural attitude and perception that the body is flat. Because my eyes are not also in the back of my head I loose sight of me 3-dimensional quality. Instead of a facade, think of your body as 3-dimensional, having volume and in the center a core. Read more…