Can Melatonin Supplement Help You to Sleep

Can Melatonin improve your sleeping habits because sleep is essential to work at our optimum best? Also, it boosts our overall wellbeing.

Insomnia and other sleep disorders may affect your sleep quality. This, in turn, makes you feel cranky and tired the next day.

An energetic mind and body keep you cheerful and alert throughout the day.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by your pineal gland in your brain. This pea-sized gland helps your body to distinguish between sleeping and waking up time. Also called sleep hormone melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that provides various other benefits to your body.

During the night your body produces this sleep hormone in large quantities. The hormone levels begin to shoot up once the sun goes down. Alternatively, the levels drop during the morning time.

Body clock and the amount of light that you get each day are the deciding factors in the amount of Melatonin that your body produces.

Along with inducing sleep, Melatonin treats stomach ulcers, supports eye health, subsides heartburn, eases tinnitus symptoms, and increases the growth hormone levels in men.

Melatonin is available as a supplement in the form of liquid, pills and chewable tablets as well as in natural and artificial forms. The natural supplement is obtained from the pineal gland in animals.

How Does it Work?

This sleep hormone works along with your body’s circadian rhythm otherwise known as the body’s internal clock. Moreover, Melatonin helps to regulate your blood pressure, body temperature and hormone levels.

Its levels start to rise when it becomes dark outside. Also, it helps your body to relax by binding to receptors. For example, it binds to brain receptors to reduce nerve activity and reduces dopamine levels in your eyes to keep you awake.

In short, it helps your body to relax and makes you to sleep. Conversely, people who don’t make enough of it struggle to fall asleep. Low levels of Melatonin are caused due to many factors.

Smoking, stress, exposure to too much light during the night( including the blue light), aging and shift work drastically affect the production of Melatonin. Supplementing it in your diet helps to normalize your internal clock.

Who Should Take it?

People with the following conditions can find melatonin supplementation useful.

  • Insomnia
  • Delayed sleep phase disorder
  • Sleep work disorder where jobs disrupt regular sleep schedules
  • And to prevent or treat jet lag.

Is it Safe to Supplement it?

Melatonin usually brings fewer side effects than other sleep medicines.

Melatonin may cause problems if you take it along with blood thinners, medications that suppress the immune system, birth control pills, and diabetes drugs.

It can cause the following symptoms
Headache
Day time sleepiness
Dizziness
Anxiety
Stomach discomfort
Crankiness
Short-lived depression
And a heavy head feeling

Whenever you want to supplement Melatonin, have a word with your doctor. Experts in WebMD write that it’s always better to take a synthetic form of Melatonin than the natural one because natural versions may contain viruses.

What’s the Appropriate Dosage?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, you can take a typical dosage of 1 to 3 mg. This amount may elevate your blood melatonin levels to 1 to 20 times normal. Ryan Raman MS MD writes in Healthline that you can start with 0.5 mg or 500 mcg or 1 mg thirty minutes before your sleeping time.

If you don’t get satisfied results, then try increasing your dosage to three to five milligrams. However, your goal must be to find the lowest dose that will help you to fall asleep. Always follow the instructions that come with the supplement. If you’re unsure its best to visit your doctor.

Does Melatonin Really Work?

Research studies show that taking this supplement helps you to fall asleep. Scientists analysed 19 research studies on people with sleeping disorders and found that supplementing Melatonin reduced the time to fall asleep by an average of 7 minutes. Additionally, the research subjects reported that Melatonin significantly improved sleep quality.

Moreover, Melatonin also helps to overcome jet lag by synching your internal clock with the time change. An analytical review of 10 studies found that supplementing Melatonin for people who traveled five or more time zones significantly reduced the effects of jet lag.

Other Health Benefits

Apart from helping you to fall asleep, Melatonin has the following benefits

  • It supports eye health.
  • May treat heartburn and stomach ulcers.
  • Could help with seasonal depression
  • Can assist in increasing growth hormone levels in men.
  • Could reduce symptoms of tinnitus.

If you’re planning to supplement Melatonin, consult your doctor and tell her about any medications that you may be taking. Reducing stress and maintaining a healthy diet can also improve your sleep quality.

Manuka Honey: Uses, Benefits, and How to Purchase the Best One

Manuka honey is “nature’s version of liquid gold” gifted to you by the wild bees. Do you know that honey bees communicate with each other by dancing? Also, they have five eyes, no wonder they select the best wild manuka flowers to give you natural, healthy honey.

What is Manuka Honey?

Produced in New Zealand by bees which pollinate the Manuka trees, Manuka honey is considered as one of the most beneficial forms of honey in the world. The European honey bees pollinate the flowers of the wild, uncultivated manuka trees to give you this nature’s treasure. The antibacterial properties of this honey are what sets it apart from the traditional honey.

Benefits

Traditionally people used honey to soothe sore throats, improve digestive issues, prevent tooth decay and in wound healing. Here we’ll discuss some of the research-proven benefits of Manuka honey.

Treats stomach acid, acid reflux, and SIBO

Stomach acid, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, and acid reflux all go hand in hand. Presence of Methylglyoxal in manuka honey is responsible for its antibacterial effects and treats all these conditions. A research study found that Clostridium which is linked to all these three conditions was susceptible to manuka honey. Including this honey will significantly boost your digestive health.

Speeds up wound healing

Many research studies have shown that manuka honey enhances wound healing, decreases pain in patients suffering from burns and speeds up the regeneration of tissues.

Due to its rich antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics manuka honey helps to prevent infection in rats with ulcers. What more it even heals diabetic ulcers.

Treats acne

Hormonal changes, stress, poor diet and bacterial growth in clogged pores can cause acne. The antibacterial properties of manuka honey quicken the healing process of acne healing. Also, its anti-inflammatory properties reduce inflammation associated with acne.

Enhances oral health

Healthy gums prevent oral tooth decay while minimizing harmful oral bacteria reduces plaque formation. Studies prove that honey fights harmful oral bacteria that is linked to plaque formation, tooth decay, and gum inflammation. Specifically, this wild honey is effective at inhibiting the growth of oral bacteria P. gingivalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans.

Soothes sore throat

The antiviral and antibacterial properties of manuka honey fights against bacteria, reduce inflammation and provide relief for sore throat. Additionally, it even coats the inner lining of your throat to give you a soothing effect. A 2011 research study shows that manuka honey stalls the growth of sore throat causing strep bacteria. The National Cancer Institute has approved the use of this honey for the treatment of sore throat resulting from chemotherapy.

How to Use

Taking a couple of spoonfuls daily will be highly beneficial to your health. Also, if you find it a little too sweet then add it to your favorite herbal tea, sprouted grain toast or yogurt. In particular, a spoonful of cinnamon and manuka honey can do wonders for your sore throat. The combination is so powerful that it will help you to recover fast.

Also, add this honey to hot water and lemon juice to fight off a sore throat. Add variety to your diet by adding manuka honey to smoothies, chocolate truffles, and honey cupcakes.

More importantly, if you’re allergic to bees, take it with caution and report any adverse reactions to your doctor immediately.

How to Buy the Best Product

Here are some pointers to buying the best product

  1. Check the (unique manuka honey factor) UMF.
  2. The minimum rating is UMF 5, but it will be beneficial if it has a rating UMF 10 plus.
  3. Honey having a score UMF 10 to UMF 15 is useful because of its antibacterial properties.
  4. However, manuka honey having UMF 16 and above rating is of superior quality.
  5. Original honey will have UMF trademark on its container, labeled in Newzeland by a Newzeand company. It will have a UMF rating 5 to 16 and above.

The Ultimate Guide to Botox

Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash

For Randi Newton using botox, the anti-aging miracle toxin has been overwhelmingly positive. She writes that nobody can stop the clock, but at least we can make small tweaks to alter one’s appearance. This magical toxin can make you feel more attractive, confident and little less intimidated by the aging process. Over the past six years, she has spent $10,000 on botox and thinks that it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind and feeling good about yourself.

What is Botox

Botox is obtained from the protein botulinum toxin-a powerful poison that freezes your muscles. Simply put botox binds to your muscle receptors thus preventing them from receiving the signal to contract. It acts as a mute button between your muscle and nerve. Medically it’s used to treat some muscular conditions and cosmetically to remove wrinkles.

When injected into humans in small concentrations Botulinum toxin works by preventing signals from nerve cells reaching muscles by paralyzing them. Nerves release acetylcholine a neurotransmitter at the point where nerve endings meet muscle cells. This neurotransmitter hooks itself to the receptors on the muscle cells causing the muscle cells to contract or shorten. Botulinum toxin reduces abnormal muscle contraction and allows the muscles to become less stiff.

Does botox hurt

Since it’s administered through an injection, expect to feel a few pricks. If you really hate needles ask your dermatologist to apply a numbing cream before the procedure. Usually, it’s a quick procedure, after which you can move on with your routine with mild redness.

What are the benefits

Cosmetic benefits of Botox are noteworthy. It helps to reduce wrinkles in your neck, forehead, and mouth with minimal invasion. As a result, you can enjoy a flawless complexion. As you age, your brow may drop due to the reduced elasticity of muscles. Botox cosmetic treatments lift up your brow, make your face look less tired and gives you a youthful appearance.

Excessive underarm sweating can be an embarrassing problem for many people. Botox treatments lessen the severity of this problem. This treatment is also effective in treating people who suffer from migraine headaches. Besides these uses, Botox is used to treat eye squints and leaky bladders.

Apart from these Botox is used for the following reasons.

  • Spasm of the eyelids
  • Severe neck and shoulder muscle spasms
  • Crossed eyes
  • Overactive bladder
  • Hemifacial Spasm

What are the side effects

Botox is usually safe so long as you visit a doctor who is trained and licensed, but there are some concerns. According to the FDA sometimes the toxin moves beyond the site of injection causing double vision, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing, and urinary incontinence. Swallowing and breathing problems could endanger lives and requires medical intervention as soon as possible. Likewise, research studies report some adverse effects in therapeutic cases too.

Mild side effects linked to Botox

  • Mild pain and fluid buildup at the site of the injection
  • Headache
  • Numbness
  • Mild nausea
  • Drooping
  • General weakness
  • Flu-like illness
  • neck weakness
  • Bleeding
  • Decreased eyesight
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling
  • Hives
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue

How much does this treatment cost and how long does it last

Rates vary depending on your provider. But some hospitals charge between $150 to $400 per treated area. Cosmetic procedures are typically not covered by insurance. Though the results may not be instant, it takes five to fourteen days to see results which last up to four months. Research studies show that facial exercise speeds up the effects of botox and brings about change in your appearance by one day.

If you’re going to have this treatment, consult your doctor, get informed about the cost and plan accordingly. Afterall who doesn’t want to look young and beautiful?

What is Nordic Diet? Is it Beneficial for You

Nordic diet is not only a hot trend in the culinary world but is the backbone of some of the best restaurants in the world. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition states that Nordic food may be suitable for everyone. Plus it has a host of research-proven health benefits like reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and supporting weight loss to name a few.

What is Nordic Diet

The Nordic diet is based on the traditional eating patterns of the Nordic countries such as Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, and Greenland. Like the Mediterranean diet, it is not about weight loss. Instead, it’s a delicious way to eat healthily.

This diet promotes a lifelong approach to healthy eating. It’s mainly based on plant-based seasonal foods along with healthy fats, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. Having been around for many centuries, recently the Nordic diet was adapted from Baltic Sea Diet Pyramid to include more flavor and nutritional value. The new version of the Nordic diet includes wild foods, organic produce, fewer food additives, and more home cooked foods.

What Foods can you eat in a Nordic diet

Stressing on locally grown and sustainable food sources this diet helps in weight loss and improvement in health markers.

Foods to eat often

Berries
Fruits
Vegetables
Legumes
Whole grains
Potatoes
Nuts
Seeds
Fish
Bread
Rye
Low-fat dairy
Seafood
Herbs
Spices
Canola oil

Foods to eat in moderation

Free range eggs
Cheese
Yogurt
Game Meats

Foods to eat rarely

Red meats
Animal Fats

Foods to avoid

Processed Meats
Added Sugars
Food additives
Refined fast foods
Sugar-sweetened beverages

Health Benefits of the Nordic diet

Dieticians are so found of Nordic diet because of all the research-backed health benefits that’s its linked with.

Studies say that this beneficial diet reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. It brings not only significant improvements in metabolic health but also reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, helps in weight loss or to maintain a healthy weight, and normalize cholesterol levels. Additionally, it has been shown to reduce inflammation in fatty tissues. It even helps women who are trying to conceive.

Environmental Benefits

The best part of this diet is that it’s environmentally sustainable. Its primary focus is on consumption of fresh local ingredients. As a result, Nordic food contributes to the production of fewer greenhouse gases. Plant-based diets use fewer natural resources and cause less pollution.

Which Diet is Healthy Nordic or Mediterranean diet

The Nordic diet closely resembles the Mediterranean diet. The huge difference is it uses canola oil instead of extra virgin olive oil. Both these diets are equally beneficial because they use oils that have health-promoting fats.

Some experts say that a Nordic diet takes nutrition a few notches higher by prioritizing food quality and joining the dots between food production and environmental sustainability. But there is one caveat- using extra virgin olive oil over canola oil would be best because we have more research about this good fat.

How to Incorporate the Nordic diet into Everyday Life

Here are a few pointers to make your transition easier

    • Try to include fruits and vegetables in every meal and snack.
    • Go in for local or organic produce.
    • Eat seafood three times a week.
    • Daily eat seeds and tree nuts.
    • Include one serving of pulses daily
    • Reduce meat intake and opt for organic grass-fed meat
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Cook at home as often as you can
    • Be mindful of portion sizes.

There’s nothing magical about Nordic food; it works because it replaces processed foods with single whole grain foods. The Nordic people are known for their progressive wellness-oriented lifestyle. And the Scandinavians are consistently rated the happiest people in the world. So who knows? Following their diet patterns can impart a relaxed attitude in you and make you a happy person.

What is Ketogenic Diet- All You Need to Know

Having fed up with dieting, Caitlin Graham tried ketogenic diet as a last resort. She lost twenty-three kilograms in just four months. Graham enjoyed the sense of wellbeing more than the weight loss. She felt healthier on the inside, and her depression and anxiety drifted far away from her.

What is Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic is a low carb diet that allows your body to produce small fuel molecules, called ketones. Ketones are an alternative fuel source to your body when your glucose is in short supply. In this diet, you get more energy from proteins and fats than from carbohydrates.

Reducing your amounts of carbs to less than 50 grams per day will make your body eventually run out of fuel in 3 to 4 days. After which your body breaks down protein and fats for energy and helps you to lose weight. This action is called ketosis.

On a ketogenic diet, your body switches its fuel supply to fat burning it 24/7. This diet not only helps you to lose weight, but there are other benefits as well. You’ll feel less hunger and a steady supply of energy which will keep you active all through the day.

Who can eat a ketogenic diet

A ketogenic diet is useful for people who have epilepsy, certain brain diseases, heart disease, and even acne. Before you begin this diet have a word with your doctor.

Who should not eat a keto diet

People who take medication for diabetes, high blood pressure and women who breastfeed must avoid this diet.

Benefits of Keto Diet

In most scientific studies low carb diets have proved their worth as healthy and beneficial. Here are some of its benefits

  • Ketogenic diet reduces your appetite and helps in more weight loss in the beginning.
  • You tend to lose a significant amount of fat from your abdominal cavity.
  • Triglyceride levels drop significantly.
  • Good HDL cholesterol levels get a boost.
  • Reduced insulin and blood sugar levels
  • Ketogenic diet lowers blood pressure.
  • Low carbohydrate diet is highly effective against metabolic syndrome.
  • The ketogenic diet increases the size of your LDL cholesterol levels while reducing the number of total LDL particles in your blood stream. Smaller particles are linked to higher risk, while larger particles lower heart disease risk. Thus it boosts your heart health.
  • Ketogenic diets specifically increase brain performance. In many cases, this diet can even cure children of epilepsy.
  • Low levels of insulin associated with this diet protect you against some forms of cancer and also slows the growth of cancer cells.
  • Carbohydrates are linked to acne. Low levels of insulin when following a ketogenic diet can stop acne breakouts. Insulin can help in the formation of other hormones that cause acne breakouts.
  • Conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, sleep disorders, and Parkinson’s disease are better managed by a ketogenic diet.
  • High levels of insulin can cause the polycystic ovarian syndrome. Low carb diets such as ketogenic diet can reduce the levels of insulin. Along with exercise, and other lifestyle changes it significantly gives relief from this condition.
  • Endurance athletes such as runners and cyclists are greatly benefitted.

Dangers of Ketogenic diet

Some experts warn against it as a general weight loss plan.

Keto flu

Usually, some people experience vomit, gastrointestinal issues, fatigue and lethargy at the beginning of this diet. It is generally called the keto flu. To battle, exhaustion and lethargy try drinking plenty of liquids, organic coffee, matcha green tea, and adaptogenic herbs.

Other health issues are diarrhea, reduced athletic performance, ketoacidosis, weight regain, less muscle mass and decreased metabolism.

How to enhance ketosis on a keto diet

Reduce carbohydrates to 20 digestible grams per day. Don’t restrict fiber; it might be beneficial for ketosis. If possible include 1.5 grams of protein per day, per kg of body weight. Eat enough fat to feel satisfied. Finally, avoid snacking when you’re not hungry because if you keep on munching it reduces ketosis and slows down weight loss.

Diet with care

When your body burns its stores of fat, it can be hard on your kidneys. If you have a heart condition, high blood pressure or diabetes consult your doctor.

Salt Therapy-All You Need to Know

 

Dry salt therapy originates from speleotherapy or cave therapy. Salt therapy is the same as spending time in the salty sea breeze which offers more benefits than just relaxation. Not only does this therapy boost your immunity, but improves your breathing, enhances skin health, cures your blues, and helps you to unplug.

What is Salt Therapy?

Salt therapy is a holistic, natural therapy also known as halotherapy. This drug-free therapy uses salt microparticles to promote healthy skin, good sleep, enhanced physical fitness, better breathing, and overall wellness.

Salt has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, removes pathogens and reduces immune system oversensitivity. Likewise, it has mucolytic effects which loosen excess mucus and improves mucociliary transport.

In salt therapy salt is grounded into tiny microparticles by a halogenator and dispersed into a salt room. As you inhale the salt-enriched air, the healing process begins, and inflammation starts to reduce. The non- inhaled particles land on your skin and improve pH level, boosts microcirculation, and starts the regenerative process in your skin.

Feliks Bockowski a Polish physician found that contrary to the widespread belief that mining is dangerous to health, he found salt miners were enjoying good health and healthy skin. As a result, he started the first salt resort facility in Poland in 1839.

Similarly, during WW1 a German physician Dr. Spannahel realized that people who were hiding in salt mines and caves for fear of bombs enjoyed significant respiratory health benefits. As a result, he converted Klyutert cave as his inpatient department to study the benefits of salt therapy.

What are the Benefits of Salt Therapy?

Salt therapy has wide-ranging benefits. Salt levels affect your energy, cell activity, and blood sugar levels. Moreover, salt is a natural disinfectant and has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. The negatively charged salt ions improve your physical and mental health.

The four significant benefits of salt therapy include reducing respiratory ailments, improving skin health, reducing inflammation and immune system booster.

Reducing respiratory ailments

In a double-blind controlled pilot study, researchers studied the effects of halotherapy on kids between the ages of 5-13 years. These kids were diagnosed with mild asthma. After 14 sessions of halotherapy, they concluded that this procedure gives statically significant improvements in mild asthmatic children.

Enhancing skin health

Researchers asked volunteers with atopic dry skin, submerge their forearm in a bath solution containing dead salt, while the other hand was immersed in tap water. They noted that saltwater improved skin barrier function, hydration, as well as decrease inflammation and skin roughness.

Immunity booster

Salt has powerful antimicrobial properties. Research studies say that salt reduces bacterial food contamination. Moreover, it fights bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, and Listeria monocytogenes.

Researchers found that salt therapy not only improved lung function in chronic bronchitis patients but also enhanced immunity.

Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation causes most of the diseases. Research done on animal studies found that a hypertonic solution reduces inflammation by just bathing in it. The hypertonic solution produces an osmotic gradient through the skin. An osmotic gradient is a pressure created by water molecules. It causes water to move from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. Experts say that the osmotic gradient present in hot springs improves pain related to rheumatoid arthritis.

Does salt therapy have any risks?

Mostly salt therapy is safe. While it helps to treat asthma, salt therapy might also constrict or irritate the airways in people with asthma. Halotherapy is a complementary therapy that works alongside any medications you’re taking. Discuss with your doctor before you try this approach. Likewise never stop any medications without discussing it with your doctor while undergoing this therapy.

All You Need to Know About Beta Blockers

 

 

Do you suffer from headaches, shortness of breath and dizziness? A checkup with your doctor will inform you that you might have hypertension. As a result, your doctor could prescribe beta blockers to reduce your symptoms.

The best way to control hypertension is to know your numbers on a regular basis. If your doctor suspects hypertension, he may want to see the evidence of a sustained problem.

What are Beta Blockers

Discovery of beta blockers is considered as one of the most important contributions to the medicine in the 20th century. Beta blockers are medications that significantly reduce your blood pressure. Likewise, they also help to alleviate migraine headaches.

Also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents beta-blockers work by blocking the effects of adrenaline. To be more precise they reduce your body’s flight or fight response. Alternatively, they also reduce stress on certain parts of your body such as the brain’s blood vessels and heart.

When you’re on these medications, your heartbeat becomes slow and pumps with less force. These medications open up the blood vessels and ease blood flow. By lowering your blood pressure, they reduce heart attacks.

Doctors prescribe beta blockers for conditions such as angina, high blood pressure, anxiety, migraine, glaucoma, abnormal heart rhythms, and overactive thread symptoms.

How Do Beta Blockers Function

These medicines block the adrenaline and non-adrenaline hormones. Excess of adrenaline can cause high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, excessive sweating, and palpitations. Blocking these hormones decreases your oxygen demands and reduces the stress on your heart.

As a result, the force of contraction of your heart muscles is reduced which in turn reduces the contraction of blood vessels in your brain, heart and the rest of your body. Similarly, beta blockers block the production of a hormone by kidneys called angiotensin II. This action relaxes and widens your blood vessels which increases blood flow.

Apart from treating heart failure, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and heart attack, beta blockers also address the following conditions glaucoma, overactive thyroid, tremors, and anxiety.

Side Effects and Cautions

Many people who take these medicines do not have any side effects. However, certain people may suffer from side effects such as weight gain, cold hands or feet, and fatigue. Less commonly reported side effect include depression, shortness of breath and sleep disturbances.

What Does Research Studies Say About Beta Blockers

A research study from Penn state university states that beta blockers may help melanoma patients to live longer by boosting their immunotherapy. Not only do these medicines slow your heart but they can also affect immune cells and improve immune function. The researchers say that reducing physiological stress with beta blockers enhances the effectiveness of immunotherapy and increases the lifespan of melanoma patients.

Another research study by the European Lung Foundation concludes that this medication could reduce the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms.

Beta blockers can help reduce the spread of cancer says a study conducted by the ECCO – The European CanCer Organization. They slow down tumor growth and reduces the risk of developing secondary cancers.

These medications are generally used to treat a variety of cardiovascular conditions. However new research by York University shows that these drugs can reverse many harmful genetic changes that are linked to heart disease.

Precautions before taking beta blockers

Consult your doc before taking beta blockers. If you have asthma or diabetes, these medications can trigger a severe asthma attack and mask signs of low blood sugar. Avoid drinking or eating products that contain caffeine or alcohol as these products affect the workings of beta blockers, in your body.

Inform your doctor if you’re pregnant before taking these medicines because some may be safe during pregnancy while others may be harmful. This class of medicines may not work as well in people of African origin as in other ethnic groups.