It’s springtime again and unfortunately, many allergy sufferers are beginning to feel the affect of the warm weather. Mother Nature’s blossoming flowers, trees, and shrubs are releasing allergens such as pollen and ragweed into the air, which causes a chain reaction of sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and nose blowing misery for 50 million people in America. And what’s even worse, these beautiful, blossoming frenemies have catapulted allergies to the 5th spot among chronic diseases.
Now granted, this data does sound alarming, but as with all statistics, there are always variables that can skew the numbers so to speak. So what do these numbers really mean? Ok- there are many people who really do suffer miserably with allergies, but the good news is that many of them are only slightly allergic to common allergens such as pollen and ragweed. Furthermore, the severe symptoms that they experience are possibly caused by certain triggers such as dairy. So, if they avoid dairy during allergy season, their allergy symptoms might be mild or even better, might just simply go away. Now that’s data that can make everyone, especially allergy sufferers, breath more easily.
Milk does the Body Good- Well not Always!
Research has shown that dairy can actually trigger many of the allergic symptoms that people experience during the spring. Sorry dairy lovers, but you just might have to give up dairy based milk and cookies, milk shakes, and even cheese until the allergens die down in the air.
It turns out that many seasonal allergy sufferers just might be harboring an undiagnosed sensitivity to dairy. If the body has a sensitivity to dairy, it will be in a heightened attack mode after you have consumed it. Simultaneously, if seasonal allergens are introduced during this time, your body will overreact because it is already on high alert.
Conversely, if you don’t consume dairy during allergy season, your body will not be on high alert. Therefore, when allergens like ragweed and pollen are introduced, your body will see them as a minor problem and respond mildly to them-if it responds at all.
The Milk Experiment
When I first told my husband Joe this (he used to suffer horribly from allergies), he rolled his eyes and refused to entertain the concept of removing dairy from his diet. After all, I had just started studying nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition so his scientific brain dismissed the message as silliness. I’m sure he was asking himself what could she possibly know as a new student?
So, I had to speak to him on his level and I asked him to conduct his own scientific experiment. I told him to just try it for one week, which was huge because he loves milk and did not want to part with it. But alas, he acquiesced and the rest is history, as they say.
Joe was totally blown away with the results. His allergy symptoms of severe head aches (so severe he would often be bed ridden) simply went away. And so did all of the constant nose blowing and watery eyes that annoyed the both of us to no end.
That was 6 years ago and he remains pretty much allergy free when he doesn’t consume dairy during the allergy season. In addition (and perhaps most importantly), he trusts homeopathic medicine and often asks me for natural remedies to cure whatever ails him. I guess you can say that this little experiment turned out to be a win-win for both of us: The money we saved on medicine during allergy season-$100.00. Getting my husband to embrace homeopathic remedies-now that was priceless!
Are you one of those self-proclaimed night owls that will do just about anything to stay up late? Or perhaps like me, you really do have a lot going on during the day, especially if you have children. So when you finally get them to bed, you get your “second wind” so to speak.
Believe me-I get it! However, while staying up late might be good for our “to do” lists, unfortunately, it’s not so good for our health.
Scientists now know that to achieve optimal health, you have to get proper sleep that includes both, the number of hours you sleep and the time frame of when you actually start to count those hours, i.e. the time you actually go to bed.
The Eight Hours of Sleep Rule-Is it Enough?
For years, we’ve been told that we should get eight hours of sleep each night to remain healthy.
But is that really all that we need to do?
While eight hours of sleep sounds good, it means absolutely nothing if you’re not in bed by 10:00 PM and starting the clock towards your eight hours of sleep.
Sleeping the Ayurvedic Way
Getting eight hours of sleep between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM should be one of the first things listed on your “how to get healthy” list, according to Ayurvedic medicine. And before you dismiss this as strange science, take a look at the compelling scientific facts that supports the notion of going to bed by 10:00 PM.
Internal Clocks and Third Eyes-Seriously?
Our bodies have a small pea sized organ called the pineal gland, and its main function is to detect environmental light via the optic nerve found in our eyes. If it’s bright light (hopefully from the sun) the pineal gland communicates to the brain that we should awaken. Conversely, when the sun begins to set, it communicates to the brain that we should begin to sleep. This is why some scientists refer to it as a “third eye“ and others refer to it as an internal clock.
But more importantly, this very critical gland ensures that we are in sync with our environment, and if that environment consists of natural sunrises and sunsets, we can remain healthy by following those natural cues of when to go to sleep. And speaking of natural cues, this should also be a reminder that we are a part of a large cosmic universe that has a natural order. Furthermore, being in harmony with our universe can create a beautiful, rhythmic melody of good health.
Circadian Rhythm and The Sleep Process
When the sun begins to set, the pineal gland begins to sense the change and secretes melantonin to prepare you for sleep and healing. This process is called the circadian rhythm.
Usually by 9:00 or 10:00 PM, our bodies have produced an adequate amount melantonin that’s necessary to begin the healing process of repairing damaged DNA and eliminating free radicals from your body.
All that you need to do to benefit from the natural healing effects of melantonin is to be in bed by 10:00 PM and you’ll be on your way to a healthier you by the next morning.
Have you noticed President Obama lately, or rather the fact that he now has gray hair? It’s as if the gray just came out now where. Admittedly, my first thought was that the job of being the POTUS has its perks…and obviously some quirks. And while I expected the stress to take its toll on him, I never thought I’d see it play out on his head. Hmmm- perhaps being the POTUS is not that glamorous after all.
As usual, I am forever curious about how things work, so I thought I’d do a little research to see if in fact, stress really does make your hair turn gray, and what I found out is- No it doesn’t. At least not directly-there is still more research to be done in that area.
Genes that Color your Hair Gray and Blue
And while, research has ruled out stress-it’s pointing a big ol’e menacing finger at genetics. Remember when you were a teenager and, without merit, you blamed your parents for everything that went wrong in your life? Well, this time you can honestly blame them for making your days gray-or atleast your hair.
Due to heredity, it’s not uncommon to know someone (young, old, and everything in between) with gray hair. Furthermore, although gray hair is common and hereditary, I was even more shocked to discover that ethnicity determines when the graying process will actually begin. It turns out that whites tend to gray first, generally as early as their mid-30s, followed by Asians who tend to gray in their late 30s and lastly Africans, who tend to gray in their late 40s.
I still have a full head of natural, dark brown hair, so I rarely give gray hair a thought. However, I’m sure some people with gray hair might obsess tirelessly about whether or not they should cover their gray with a hair colorant. Well, if you’re one of those fretting people, your days of despair just might be over.
If you’ve been spending countless dollars, time, and effort on expensive hair colorants to disguise the relentless gray hue that has taken your mane (the one on your head and not the alternate pronunciation for man)- Your bank account and your nerves might finally be getting a big break.
A Pill for this… a Pill for that! A Pill to get… my…. Color Back?
It turns out that there’s a little supplemental pill on the market that promises to make it all go away-the gray that is, and get your hair back to the vibrant hair color that you were born with. Whomever said you can’t fool Mother Nature, obviously has never met a woman who was determined to give gray hair a one way ticket down the shower drain.
Arise-N-Shine, a nutritional supplement company based in NJ, has developed an all-natural pill called Go Away Gray that promises to stop the formation of gray hair in its tracks without the use of hair colorants. In addition, the company has also formulated a shampoo and conditioner that claims to wash the gray right out of your hair within a few months.
If these products work, this is huge news for many people because the color of our hair, right or wrong, seems to communicate something about who we are. So the hype around this relatively new miracle pill is truly justified. However, before I delve into the science behind Go Away Gray, I need to first discuss how the beautiful hues that color our tresses are made and what causes them to eventually turn gray.
Melanin Doesn’t Just Color Our Skin
As you are aware, your hair grows from bulbs of pit like structures called follicles and it gets it distinctive color from melanin, which your body naturally produces. There are basically two kinds of melanin-eumelanin, which colors your hair brown to black, and pheomelanin, which turns it blond to red. The amount of each respective melanin determines the depth of the color in your hair follicle.
Needless to say, as with everything in your body, melanin is made up of cells called melanocytes. When we are young, our bodies produce lots of properly functioning melanocytes. But (like with most things in the human body), as we age, the melanocytes slowly stop creating an adequate amount of melanin and your hair loses its color -similar to the same synthesis that occurs with vitiligo.
Hydrogen Peroxide-Melanin’s Number one Enemy
In addition to melanin, your body also produces hydrogen peroxide, which is a natural bleach or whitening agent that counteracts with the melanin. As long as you have enough melanin, hydrogen peroxide is basically harmless to your hair. Conversely, if your body stops producing enough melanin, then hydrogen peroxide becomes enemy number one to your hair color.
Without enough melanin to counteract it, hydrogen peroxide will begin to slowly build up over time, and eventually bleach our hair from the inside out.
So the big question is what actually causes peroxide to build up in the hair follicle in the first place?
The Root of the Problem
Researches found that three critical enzymes contribute directly to the build up of peroxide in the hair follicles: Catalase, MSR A and B, and Tyrosinase. When these enzymes become diminished (generally due to aging) naturally occuring hydrogen peroxide begins to build up and wreak havoc on your hair’s natural pigmentation.
The Importance of Catalase, MSR A and B, and Tyosinase on Hair Follicles
Catalase: Our hair follicles need catalase to neutralize hydrogen peroxide by causing it to decompose into harmless water and oxygen, which is then excreted from the body. When we don’t produce enough catalase this metabolic process doesn’t occur and the peroxide goes unchecked and eventually builds up-tuning our hair gray.
MSR A and B: When one defense system doesn’t work in the body, another one kicks in, which is the case with the methionine sulfoxide reductase A and B protein (MSR A and B). The MSR A and B enzyme plays a critical role in repairing the damage gray hair follicle caused by hydrogen peroxide. However, if you don’t have an adequate amount, the hydrogen peroxide will continue to build up.
Tyosinase: Tyosinase is needed to produce melanin in our hair follicles. High levels of peroxide coupled with low levels of MSR A and B and catalase will ultimately inhibit the production of tyosinase-ulitmately leading to lower levels of melanin.
As you can see, these three enzymes can cause a domino effect that leads to peroxide build up and the graying of our hair. But again, thanks to this new break through pill, that might all be changing.
Is Go Away Gray the Fountain of Youth for Hair?
Arise-N-Shine’s founder, Cathy Beggan says that Go Away Gray contains catalase as the active ingredient in her Go Away Gray supplement, shampoo, and conditioner. And as you might have guessed, she suggests that simply replenishing the catalase that is lost during aging, will once again protect your hair follicles against the graying damage caused by hydrogen peroxide.
If you’re squeamish about actually popping the pill, then Cathy recommends her shampoo and conditioner as an alternate topical solution. The reviews are mixed for the shampoo and conditioner and the only information I found on the supplement, Go Away Gray, was that it had’t been approved by the FDA. But don’t be too alarmed about that because most supplements are not FDA approved.
If you do decide to use it, swing back this way and let us know how it worked out for you.
Although there have been numerous news reports covering the fact that there’s a vitamin D deficiency epidemic in America, very few people seem to be listening. If you happen to be one of those people- I’m giving you a friendly nudge to wake you up. This is a serious topic so I won’t beat around the bush. Here’s the deal- if you suffer from any of the illnesses listed below, you just might be deficient in vitamin D.
That’s a long list of illnesses, I know. But guess what! I could have named a whole lot more, however, I think you get the point of just how important vitamin D is. And just to clarify, vitamin D deficiency might not cause all of those diseases directly. Medical doctors say that having one automimmune disease will more than likely lead to another autoimmune disease or another example is if you have high blood pressure, it’s highly possible that you will also develop diabetes.
Now having said that, if you do suffer from one of the above illnesses and/or your vitamin D levels are low, don’t despair. There are numerous ways to increase your levels and they are pretty simply to do.
For example, you could just spend a little bit of “me” time basking in the sun because it naturally provides you with vitamin D. Or, if the idea of basking in the sun doesn’t work for you, you could always eat your way to optimum levels (but that might be a whole lot of eating), which leads me to the third option. You could take a vitamin D supplement. I highly recommend the first and last options-but, I’ll discuss all three.