Thursday, July 10th, 2014
PMS stands for premenstrual symptoms and describes the discomfort many women experience leading up to and during the first day or two of their monthly menstruation period. Some professionals believe PMS is caused by hormone changes that naturally occur in the female body or from chemical changes in the brain. (Or a combination of both!) A person that suffers from a depression or anxiety disorder may experience heightened symptoms. A bad diet and sedentary lifestyle can also aggravate the body, creating less manageable symptoms. Not all women will experience the same symptoms and the severity may differ as well. Research has found that almost 75% of all women will experience PMS, though only a fraction will suffer severe symptoms that cause difficulties with their every day life. Symptoms can include:
• Mood swings (anger, anxiety, crying, withdrawl)
• Emotional sadness and irritability
• Breast pains and sensitivity
• Food cravings for carbohydrates or loss of appetite
• Inability to concentrate
• Bloating and fluid retention
• Sleep disturbances
• Joint and muscle soreness
• Diarrhea or constipation
Natural herbal supplements and remedies may help to alleviate PMS symptoms. These should be used in conjunction with regular exercise and an increase in calcium consumption while maintaining a diet low in refined sugar and sodium. Limiting alcohol and caffeine can also help some women with their physical symptoms. Sometimes the consumption of certain meats and dairy can offset a woman’s hormone levels.
The supplements include:
• Evening Primrose oil (helps with breast sensitivity)
• Black Cohosh
• Chaste Tree extract or Chasteberry (may limit prolactin production and help with breast sensitivity, cramping and bloating)
• Ginko Biloba (helps with mood swings and breast sensitivity)
• St. John’s Wort (helps with depressing feelings)
• Dandelion Leaf (helps with bloating)
• Vitamin B6
• Raspberry Leaf
Some people may require a more intense for of treatment for their PMS symptoms, and may turn to modern medicine for help. Certain drugs are available to help with overwhelming symptoms. These may include:
• Anti depressants (SSRIs) to adjust chemical secretions in the brain and change serotonin levels.
• Nonsteroidal anti inflammatories
• Birth control pills
• Hormone Therapy
• Depo Provera injection to halt ovulation
Herbal supplements may affect a person’s hormones and chemical balance and interfere with certain medications. A trusted medical provider should be contacted before any supplementation is used or if you feel your symptoms are out of control and cannot be managed independently.
Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
With the excitement and camaraderie surrounding the festivities of the World Cup, many avid soccer players may feel the need to improve their personal performance. This could be to better the team they are already a part of or to perhaps join a team. Soccer, like any sport, can require training and maintenance of proper sports nutrition to perform with stamina and accuracy. During a game, a soccer player can easily run over 10 miles with only brief breaks in between segments of movement. This much physical activity requires a conditioned body and plenty of fuel.
The food that a person consumes has a direct affect on the way they feel, function and the amount of energy they have. What does proper sports nutrition look like for a soccer player? An athlete should consume a diet high in complex carbohydrates a few days before a game to ensure there is enough fuel to manage the amount of energy being used by the body. The body will rely on this food group for about half of the energy used. This includes:
• Variety of grains, including corn
• Spaghetti and lasagna
• Cereal (not sweetened)
A soccer player may not need to consume as much protein as they think; only a small portion of the energy used during a game may actually come from protein. Eating lean chicken, fish, dairy, peanut butter or eggs are good choices to make when wanting to eat a protein with your meal. Avoid fried foods and eat healthy fats, not the bad ones. Fatty foods may actually slow a person’s digestion, which can cause adverse effects to athlete’s energy levels. Good fats can be found in dairy, oily fish, nuts and avocadoes. Dairy is very important to consider when maintaining a proper diet. However, if dairy is not a viable option for someone, they can choose to take calcium, protein and vitamin D supplements as a substitute.
Proper sports nutrition for a soccer player includes regular consumption of fruits and vegetables to ensure the body is well satisfied with vitamins and minerals. Eating leafy greens and certain grains will guarantee the body a good source of iron, which can be imperative for many female athletes.
After a game, a soccer player should be mindful of the energy they just expended from their body; the carbohydrates and fluid should be replaced as soon as possible. This can be aided through sports drinks.
Thursday, June 26th, 2014
H. Pylori is a bacteria that can be found in the human stomach and has the potential to never be detected or cause serious problems for its victim. When an infection of this bacteria is present, a person can develop ulcers or gastritis. (Not all people that have the infection will develop an ulcer.) Many people that have the bacteria present in their bodies may never suffer symptoms or complications, though. Symptoms of having an H. pylori bacterial problem could be:
• No appetite
• Loss of weight
• Abdominal pain
• Excessive burping
• Nausea or vomiting (sometimes with blood)
• Problems with swallowing
• Black, tacky bowel movements
The spiral shape of the bacteria helps it to work its way through the mucus lining of the stomach and allows the lining of the stomach to be exposed to digestive acids. H. pylori can cause inflammation in the stomach by connecting to tissue cells which also stimulates acid production. A long standing infection can sometimes lead to stomach cancer, though this is relatively rare. A myriad of tests and screenings are available to see if a person does in fact have an H. pylori bacterial infection and not another GI complication or illness. Many health care providers offer X rays, examination of stool, endoscopy or blood and breath testing. The right screening is determined person to person and based off of health and symptoms of the patient.
Some professionals believe that the H. pylori bacteria is spread through contaminated food and water or person to person, though the verdict is still out. Many believe that the bacteria is collected during childhood and can develop problems as a person ages. Close to 20% of the population below middle age are infected and half of all senior citizens in America. Worldwide, over half of all people have H. pylori bacteria present in their digestive tract. For many people that live in poverty, underdeveloped countries without clean water or live in cramped conditions with multiple people, the risk of getting infected is higher. Luckily, this bacteria can be wiped out with antibiotics. In addition to this, antacids, PPI’s and H2 blockers can be prescribed to alleviate the symptoms associated with infection. For people that have developed and ulcer, they can receive additional treatments or surgeries if necessary.
Prevention against an H. pylori infection includes washing hands, consuming clean water, safely storing food and clean preparation of food. A person that suspects they may have been exposed to the bacteria or believes they are showing signs of an infection may choose to discuss testing with the medical provider.