The Vitamin Guide to Beautiful Skin

Ever wonder why some women tend to have absolutely gorgeous skin that actually glows? Well, if you’re like me, achieving beautiful skin can become a full time job. You buy all of the right topical products that your dermatologist recommends; however, when you look in the mirror, you still see the same dull, blemished or hyper-pigmented skin. Yeah-been there done that…..but, I’ve also done something else that has worked wonders to give me beautifully glowing skin.  I noticed that whenever I detox my body, my skin gets clearer, lighter, and actually starts to glow. Yes glow!  Ladies-in the past, even my doctor has said, “Wow your skin is just glowing-you’re radiant.” Me? No way! But to my amazement, my doctor was right.  As long as I maintained a healthy diet, my skin was radiant and now I’ll share what I’ve discovered so that you can have radiant skin too.

 

While topical products have their purpose in terms of maintaining great skin- true, beautiful skin is found in the food and nutritional supplements that we consume.  Unfortunately, our foods are heavily tainted with pesticides that rob our soil of beneficial nutrients;  therefore, we must take the correct vitamins and minerals to ensure that we have beautiful skin.  

 

Vitamins for Healthy Skin

  • Vitamin A is an antioxidant that’s necessary for maintaining and repairing skin tissue.
  • Vitamin B– biotin is the single most critical B vitamin because it forms the basis of skin, nail, and hair cells.
  • Vitamin C-is an antioxidant that offers protection against free radical damage and has been known to repair damaged skin.
  • Vitamin E– is an antioxidant that’s necessary for the maintenance and repair of skin tissue.
  • Vitamin K-is great for reducing dark under eye circles only when applied topically.

 

Minerals for Healthy Skin

  • Selenium- protects skin from sun damage and possibly reduces the risk of skin cancer.
  • Zinc– Keeps skin clear because  of its amazing ability to slow down oil production. It’s great for acne proned skin.

Other Nutrients for Healthy Skin

  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid-acts similarly to vitamins A and C but is a far more powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from free radical damage.
  • Essential Fatty Acid (omega 3 fatty acids)-Essential fatty acids maintain the integrity of cellular walls. They allow good things like water to enter a cell and remain within that cell; while simultaneously ridding the cell of waste.  This results in plump skin.

 

Whether you are consuming foods with these nutrients or adding them as a supplement to your diet, you should see great results.  After all, true beauty is from the inside out.

 


Breast Thermography: Is it the Safest Screening Method for Breast Cancer?

Possibly one of the oldest forms of human cancers, breast cancer dates back to Egypt in 1600 BC.  During that time, breast cancer was untreatable and  cauterization was the only treatment performed to remove the diseased tissue.  This “treatment” went on for centuries until the 17th century, when doctors began to understand the circulatory system. They made a connection between breast cancer and lymph nodes in the arm pits, and for the first time, a more “humane” approach to treating breast cancer was born.

 

Jean Louis Petit Makes Medical History

Jean Luis Petit was the first surgeon to perform a mastectomy, which then became the only treatment provided to women who had breast cancer.  The radical mastectomy was revolutionized in America through the work of William Stewart Halstead, when he  performed the first mastectomy on American soil.  Again, this treatment remained the only conventional treatment of breast cancer until the 1970s when doctors began to understand metastases better and perceived cancer as both, systematic and localized. Armed with a clearer understanding of breast cancer and how it metastacized, American doctors began to discover better treatment options for treating women with breast cancer.  And more importantly,  life saving cancer screening devices were making their way in hospitals across America.

 

Introducing Breast Thermagraphy and Mammograms

In 1982, breast thermography was approved by the FDA for the adjunctive screening of breast cancer. Four years later, on July 8, 1986, Patrick Panetta and Jack Wennet received their patent for the first Universal Mammography Comprehension System, aka, mammograms.  Almost everyone knows what a mammogram is; yet, breast thermagraphy remains relatively unknown to most women.

 

So Why Haven’t You Heard of Breast Thermagraphy?

Doctors highly preferred the mammogram when screening for breast cancer primarily because when young women were given mammograms, they were less likely to get false postive results.  On the other hand, there were a very high amount of young women being diagnosed as false positive with breast thermography.  Needless to say, the large amount of false positives caused a major concern in the medical community.  As a result, mammograms became the most trusted method for detecting breast cancer within the conventional medical community.   But is it really more reliable than breast thermography? Let’s take a closer look at both exams.

 

The Mammogram

The life time risk for developing breast cancer 50 years ago was one in 20, and today it is one in eight. As a result of this huge increase in breast cancer diagnosis, most women today intimately know the many “ins and outs” of mammograms. They are recommended for women age 40 and above, and require her to place each nude breast, one at a time, between the two plates on the mammogram machine.

 

This procedure is often very uncomfortable to women. An ionizing high dose (1000 times higher than a chest x-ray) of radiation is administered. The radiologist gets an an x-ray image of the examined breast from above and from the side. The results are recorded on a computer or on x-ray film and are reviewed by the radiologist. After the exam is complete, the doctor will convey the results to the patient. Unfortunately, the results are not always accurate. Now the question becomes, are mammograms really saving the lives of women through early detection?

 

Research suggests that mortality from breast cancer has gone relatively unchanged for the last 40 years. Moreover, when women conducted self breast exams only (not combining it with mammograms), their rate of detecting a tumor was equal to the mammogram’s rate of accurate detection. In other words, just performing a self breast exam is as equally effective as having a mammogram in regards to detecting breast cancer early and saving your life. Research shows that if you screen 10,000 women age 50-70 with a mammogram, at best, only 26 of them will be saved. On the other hand, breast thermography boasts a rate of 87-96% accuracy. What is breast thermography and why is it so effective?

 

Breast Thermography

Breast Thermography is a clinical exam that uses infrared heat that emanates from the patient’s body. She is placed in a temperature controlled room (66°F to 70°F), and the thermographer blows cool air over her breasts. This cool air regulates the patient’s temperature so that she is at equilibrium with the room temperature. However, the pool of blood and blood vessels that the cancer cells create is not under autonomic control and is not affected by the cool air. This results in a hot spot because the pool of blood will clearly stand out. Once the patient’s body is cooled, usually 10-15 minutes, she will be asked to hold her arms up so that images can be captured. These images will include both breasts from the fronts, the sides, underneath, and from a 45 degree angle. After the procedure is complete, the patient will be asked to hold a cold gel pack for one minute, which produces a neuralgic response in the breast and cools them. This cooling only affects healthy breasts, but not cancer. If there is cancer, it will remain hot. A second set of images are taken of the breasts. In some offices the patient will get her results on the spot; while in other offices, she will leave and receive her results later. Unlike mammography, this procedure comes close to a 100% accuracy rate for early detection.

 

A breast thermography boasts an early cancer detection rate of 87-96%. It is non-invasive and does not expose women to additional radiation, which can actually cause cancer. Needless to say, this is why naturopathic doctors highly recommend it as a replacement to mammograms. According to Dr. Shawn Sieracki, a Traditional naturopath located in Lewisville, Texas, comparing breast thermography to mammography is like comparing apples to oranges. Dr. Sieracki says that mammograms find the tumor that is already present in the body, while on the other hand, breast thermography is based on physiology and will detect abnormal patterns in the breast tissue up to five year before it becomes a malignant tumor.

 

As noted above, breast thermagraphy was dismissed as ineffective because of the high rates of “false positives;” however, 5 to 10 years later, those young women who were diagnosed as false positives actually did develop breast cancer. Therefore, they were not “false positive”-they were in their very early stages of developing breast cancer and could have possibly reversed the condition before it developed into cancer. Conversely, the mammogram could not detect the developing tumor at such an early stage so those women who had a mammogram and were told that they had healthy breast, were actually in the early stages of developing breast cancer.

 

This is great news for women, especially those who have been shown to carry the BRCA1 gene. Doctors generally recommend a mastectomy for BRCA1 gene carriers. Now these women can partner with their naturopathic doctor to get frequent breast thermography exams done and immediately detect any physiological changes that might be taking place. Conversely, a frequently conducted mammogram screening might actually cause cancer due to the high level of radiation exposure.

 

So What’s the Right Answer?

Like everything else, deciding which option to use for your next annual breast exam is a personal choice. Women can continue to do self breast exams solely or in conjunction with a mammogram, but perhaps it’s best to use all three until you definitely know which exam is best for your particular situation. Consult with your physician to schedule a mammogram and to find a practitioner who specializes in breast thermography, you can visit www.breastthermography.com

Defining and Treating Alopecia Areata-Medically Speaking

Experiencing any type of hair loss (medically known as alopecia) can be a scary and stressful experience.  Alopecia can be caused by many medical conditions, including Alopecia areata.

What is Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that affects 2% of the population and triggers the autoimmune system to attack the hair follicles, which results in hair loss.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Alopecia Areata?

Anyone who has Alopecia areata may experience the following syptoms:

  • Hair loss during a short period of time on a specific side of the head-either the left or the right side

  • Hair loss that leaves small, round, smooth patches in one or more areas of the scalp, which is referred to as diffuse alopecia areata

  • Hair loss covering the entire head, which is referred to as Alopecia totalis

  • Hair loss over the entire body, which is referred to as Alopecia universalis

  • Hair loss within the beard, which is referred to as Alopecia areata barbae

  • Grow Exclamation Point Hairs, which is when the area that has been affected grows hairs in the shape of an exclamation point.  These hairs get the name Exclamation point hairs because the hairs become more narrow along the length of the strand closer to the scalp and look like an “exclamation point.”

 What Causes Alopecia Areata?

The specific cause of alopecia areata is still unknown; however, most agree that it is probably caused by genetics.  The good news is that while, some might have a genetic pre-disposition to getting alopecia areata, there are things that they can do to possibly stop the onset or effectively treat the condition.

How Do You Treat Alopecia Areata?

As with most chronic conditions, diet plays a critical role in building the immune system, which ultimately leads to better health. The following changes to your diet just might be the solution:

  • Control Your Insulin Levels- A study conducted by The Lancet, which is a highly reputable medical journal, has shown a correlation between insulin levels and the onset of hair loss in men.  Below, I have listed four of the most important ways to control insulin levels:

  • Eliminate or reduce your consumption of whole grains and starchy foods-whole grains can increase insulin resistance in some people.

  • Eliminate or reduce your consumption of sugary desserts-they have a high glycemic index and can increase the risk of developing diabetes.

  • Eliminate or reduce your consumption of fructose found naturally in honey, fruits, and fruit juices-Studies have linked these sugary substances to insulin resistance.

  • Eliminate or reduce your consumption of simple carbohydrates like refined white flour products, which includes crackers, cookies, cakes, and bread, etc…These foods increase your risk for developing diabetes.

  • Increase Your Vegetable Intake:  Plant based diets are a must for optimal health because vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and other green leafy vegetables contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that promote a healthy immune system and hair growth.

  • Increase your Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Vitamin D Levels:  Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin d3 are excellent for regulating your hormonal levels, which is paramount to great health and hair.

  • Reduce Stress Levels:  Stress increases cortisol levels in the body. While low levels of cortisol can be beneficial in “fight or flight” situations, chronically high levels can wreak havoc on your overall health and ultimately, your hair. Stress negatively impacts your body in the  the following ways:

  1. Suppresses the thyroid function

  2. Create blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia

  3. Lowers immunity and inflammatory responses in the body

As noted above, insulin resistance, chronically high cortisol levels, and low vitamins and minerals in the blood are linked indirectly to hair loss.  Once they are managed, optimal health and hair growth can be achieved.

Thinning Hair and Hair Loss: The Top 5 Reasons-Medically Speaking

Thinning hair is one of the biggest causes of embarrassment that women have as they start to age.  But wait, before you allow this minor annoyance (yes minor-it’s not life threatening) to make you feel embarrassed, let’s take a look at what could be the root cause of thinning hair or hair loss, and how you can possibly correct it.

 

The Top 5 Reasons for Thinning Hair or Hair Loss

(1).  Thinning Hair/Hair Loss Due to Menopause:   If you’ve been looking in the mirror lately, and find that you are afraid to look at the huge amount of hair that’s not on your head, your hair loss is probably due to menopause.

 

How Does Menopause Cause Hair Thinning/Loss?

Because of declining estrogen levels, hair loss is accelerated and more common in women during menopause or peri-menopause.  When your estrogen levels fall, an imbalance between estrogen and testerone occurs, which can cause hair thinning in the androgen sensitive areas of your head. This is also known as male or female pattern baldness. Androgens are important in both men and women because they regulate hair growth; as well as your sex drive-this is probably why menopause is often referred to as “men-on-pause, because everything seems to come to a screeching halt.  So if menopause is the cause of your hair loss-what can you do about it?

The Fix:   See Hair Loss Caused by Dietary Issues

 

(2).  Hair Loss Due to Autoimmune Disorders:  Perhaps your hair loss could be the result of an autoimmune disorder.  Generally, many of you report that your stylists pointed out the changes in your hair texture and hair loss and advised you to consult with a doctor. You consulted with your doctor only to discover that you had one of the following autoimmune disorders.

 

a.  If  You Were Diagnosed with Thyroid Disease:  Hair loss can be due to both, an overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism) or an underproduction of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). However, it is more common in hypothyroidism.  In addition, just like menopause, the hair loss can be rapid.  Large amounts might fall out in the shower or sink, often accompanied by changes in your hair’s texture, making it dry, coarse, or easily tangled.

How Does Thyroid Disease Cause Hair Thinning/Loss

Thyroid hormones affect metabolic growth and without them…well, your cells (including follicle cells) simply stop growing. When the thyroid gland is not functioning properly, the body will start to conserve energy by redirecting thyroid hormones from non-critical areas, i.e. your hair and skin, to more essential areas in effort to repair and regenerate those essential areas. This is the primary explanation as to why hair and skin are among the first to suffer as the thyroid hormonal levels start to drop. Moreover, research shows that hair loss is caused by a decrease in the metabolism of scalp follicles in people with low levels of thyroid hormones. In other words, there is very little metabolic reaction occurring in the scalp follicles so there is very little growth. The good news is that this type of hair loss can be reversed.

b.  If You Were Diagnosed with Diabetes:  Like Menopause and Thyroid Disease, diabetics can experience a large amount of hair loss suddenly.

 How Does Diabetes Cause Hair Thinning/Loss?

When you have diabetes, many skin problems can occur because your blood circulation is not optimal. Therefore, your wounds do not heal quickly and your body cannot fight off infections quickly.  As a result of poor circulation, you are unable to quickly re-grow or replace any hair that was lost during the normal telogen phase or shedding cycle. This results in overall hair thinning and or hair loss. In addition, hair thinning/loss could be a result of hormonal imbalances or scalp infections as well. And like thyroid disease, hair loss from diabetes can be reversed.

 c.  If You Were diagnosed with Lupus:  Finding hair on your pillow might be the first sign that you might have lupus.  In addition, when you have lupus the hair loss can be patchy and even extreme, and can occur all over your head.

 How Does Lupus Cause Hair Thinning/Loss?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease and therefore, the disease itself can cause hair loss because the body actually attacks the hair follicles, which is similar to Alopecia areata. There could also be a rash in the scalp that will also interfere with or damage the hair follicle. In this situation, the individual is left with a permanent area of alopecia. Drugs used to treat lupus, such as prednisone and immunosuppressive therapies may also be the cause of hair loss. Luckily, hair loss from lupus is usually reversible, except in the case of alopecia caused by follicle damage.

 

The Fix:  See Hair Loss Caused by Dietary Issues for These Autoimmune Disorders

 

(3).  Hair Loss Caused by Medications:  Some prescription drugs such as blood thinners and medications used to treat gout, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, and lupus, etc., can cause hair shedding that might be mistaken for thinning. Medications can cause hair loss because they interrupt the normal cycle of hair growth. You have two phases of hair growth: The telogen phase, where hair rests and eventually falls out; and the anagen phase, which is when hair grows or replaces the hair that was lost during the telogen phase.

 

How Do Medications Cause Hair Thinning/Loss?

Medications can lead to two types of hair loss: Telogen Effluvium and Anagen Effluvium.  The most common form of medication related hair loss is telogen effluvium, which causes the hair follicles to go into their resting or telogen phase prematurely.  This generally occurs within two to four months after taking the medication. Usually 100 to 150 hairs are shed per day with telogen effluvium.  Conversely, if you have Anagen Effluvim, the hair loss occurs for a different reason.

 

Anagen effluvium hair loss occurs when the hair is actively growing during the anagen phase of the hair cycle.  The medication stops the metabolic reaction of the matrix cells, i.e. the cells do not divide normally.  The matrix cells are responsible for new hair growth so if they are not multiplying properly, you have fewer cells and therefore, less hair.  Anagen Effluvium hair loss usually occurs within a few days to weeks after taking the medication. Therefore, if you’ve been taking any chemotherapy medications, you will experience a loss of hair to most or all of your head; as well as in areas of your body-including your eyebrows and eyelashes.

 

The Fix:  Usually, hair loss due to medication can be reversed once you stop taking the medication.

 

(4).   If You Have Hair Loss Caused by Mechanical Stress:  The effects of styling your hair; as well as the habit of twisting, picking or pulling your hair, can cause hair loss or thinning hair.

 

The Fix:  Stop over styling the hair and wearing hairstyles that require you to pull your hair back into a ponytail, or wear tight braids. This will reduce mechanical stress to the hair follicles and scalp.

 

(5).  Hair Loss Due to Dietary Issues:  Nutritional deficiencies can cause your hair to shed.  The core nutrients that you will need to maintain or restore your hair include vitamin A, certain B vitamins, the vitamin biotin, vitamin C, copper, iron, zinc, protein, and water.

 

In addition to vitamins, there are two primary deficiencies that will wreak havoc on your immune system and ultimately your hair-vitamin D3 and omega 3 essential fatty acids.  By simply adding these two essential nutrients back into your diet, you could be well on your way to great health and great hair.   Both vitamin D3 and omega 3 fatty acids help to regulate your hormones, which is critical to good health.  When your hormones are regulated, your body functions properly and you will have less of a need for medications.  In addition, your cells will regenerate and grow properly, and ultimately, your hair will begin to grow healthy again.

 

How Does Nutritional Deficiencies Cause Hair Thinning/Loss?

Without proper nutrition, your hair shaft becomes weak, which can result in breakage or slow hair re-growth.  In additional, nutritional deficiencies can cause chronic diseases, such as the autoimmune diseases mentioned above; as well as hormonal imbalances and metabolic disorders. As noted above, these medical conditions can result in hair loss.  However, many of these conditions can be reversed when you replenish the essential vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health.

 

The Fix Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, yellow, red, and orange fruits and vegetables and a variety of meats to get all of the vitamins you need for optimal health.  In addition, you should consume foods high in omega 3 fatty acids such as mercury-free salmon or walnuts two or three times a week; or sprinkle two tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds per day on cereal or salads.  You can also supplement your diet with fish oil, cod liver oil, borage oil, or evening primrose oil. To get more vitamin D, you can take a vitamin D3 supplement or take a mercury free cod liver oil.