Defining Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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coopComplementary medicine is used in conjunction with more traditional remedies; alternative medicine is used by itself.

Complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, is a category of medicine that includes a variety of treatment approaches that fall outside the realm of conventional medicine. An increasing amount of research is being done to establish the safety and efficacy of alternative medicine. But compared with traditional “Western” therapies such as drugs, research on alternative medicine is still limited.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: What’s the Difference?

It is important to understand the difference between complementary medicine and alternative medicine — the two approaches are often lumped together but are, in fact, distinct.

Complementary medicine refers to healing practices and products that work in conjunction with traditional medicine. For example, a cancer patient receiving chemotherapy may also undergo acupuncture to help manage chemo side effects like nausea and vomiting. Alternative medicine differs in that it is not used as a complement to, but rather as a substitute for traditional therapy. An example would be a cancer patient who forgoes recommended chemotherapy and instead chooses to treat the disease with specific dietary changes.

There is a third category that also often gets

How to Naturally Detox

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joAs you transition your body into springtime, you may be considering a cleanse; after all, what better way to reboot your body after the wear and tear of the cold winter months? Justine SanFilippo, MS, CHC, shares her experience below—and offers her own effective tips to naturally detox every single day.

I once went to a fancy juicing retreat in Martha’s Vineyard for a three-day detox. On my birthday. With my mom. Why I thought starving, detoxing, only drinking juice for my birthday, and dragging my mom into it was a good idea, I’ll never know. I somehow endured the three days of drinking miniscule amounts of juice and some pureed soup, but I had no energy, a constant headache, and was nauseous. The only relief was when I slept. I did lose eight pounds, but on the fourth day I had a bowl of soup for lunch and some raw vegetables, and all the weight came back. So, so much for that.

Detoxing: What is It?

We’ve heard of juice fasts, master cleanses, detoxing supplements, and juicing retreats. Detoxing is important because it helps the body remove excess toxins. Toxins can come from

How to Be Supplement Savvy

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suplementBefore you invest your time, money, and health in nutritional supplements, it’s a good idea to do some homework first.

Standing in your local pharmacy’s or health food store’s nutritional supplement section can be overwhelming if you aren’t supplement savvy.

Many supplements are marketed with promises that they’ll help you lose weight dramatically, protect you from heart disease, or conquer your diabetes. But consumers are wise to be skeptical about supplements claims.

No Regulation Required for Supplements

The supplement industry is not regulated and these companies aren’t required to show efficacy, explains Ronald Schneeweiss, professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.

This is a sharp contrast to over-the-counter or prescription medications, which have been tested in clinical trials that meet government standards for safety and efficacy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) steps in to regulate specific supplements only if safety concerns arise once consumers begin using them.

All this may leave consumers understandably confused about which claims to believe. “I think that the average consumers should be very cautious about what they buy, recognizing that what’s in the bottle may not be what’s in the label,” says

12 Steps to Manage Your Weight

Practice these simple, everyday food and fitness smarts to keep your hard-fought new weight

You’ve just lost weight and you don’t want to see that number go back up on your scale. Although gaining the weight back might feel inevitable, it doesn’t have to be. In fact a recent analysis by the National Weight Control Registry found long-term weight maintenance is possible — if you follow these key behaviors. Below, 12 tricks from dietitians and successful dieters who were able to lose and weight and keep if off.

  1. Build more lean muscle. Maintain, or even increase, your metabolism by continuing to build lean muscle. “Muscle has a higher metabolism than fat does,” explains Emily Banes, RD, clinical dietitian at Houston Northwest Medical Center. If you don’t yet train with weights, add this type of exercise to your overall program now. If you do, increase the amount of weight you’re working with to keep yourself challenged.
  2. Fight off hunger with more filling foods. A three-year University of Pittsburgh study of 284 women between the ages of 25 and 45 found that those who avoided weight gain the best were the ones whose meals kept them feeling full. “Keeping that feeling of fullness can

10 Tips for Better Digestive Health

Your digestive system breaks down the foods you eat into the nutrients your body needs. If you neglect your digestive health, your body could run into problems digesting foods and absorbing those nutrients.

10 Tips for Improving and Maintaining Your Digestive Health

Your digestive health is directly impacted by the foods you eat and the lifestyle you live. By taking steps to improve your digestive health, your digestive system will function more efficiently, improving your overall health and sense of well-being.

Try these 10 tips for your better digestive health:

  1. Eat a high-fiber diet. According to Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian in Marblehead, Mass., consuming a diet that is high in fiber and rich in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits can improve your digestive health. “A high-fiber diet helps to keep food moving through your digestive tract, making you less likely to get constipated,” Adams says, adding that a high-fiber diet can also help you prevent or treat various digestive conditions, such as diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, and irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, it can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Get insoluble and soluble fiber. It is important to consume both types of fiber, which each help your digestive system in different ways. “Insoluble fiber, also

How to eat at restaurants on a diet

Australians spend about a third of their weekly food budget on eating out. While many cafes and restaurants have upped their game when it comes to overall health and nutritional consciousness, many menus that appear good for you are still playing dress-ups. Consider these tips before you venture out next.

1. Talk to Your Waiter

Ask them to explain the menu and cooking processes to you. If you hear the words deep-fried, battered, buttery, sautéed, glazed, crispy or creamy, it’s likely these dishes have a lot of hidden kilojoules. Listen out for baked, poached, steamed, stir-fried, grilled or seared. Don’t be afraid to ask for small modifications. Good manners and an expression of gratitude will go a long way here.

2. Be Prepared

Most places have their menu online. If you’re heading to a new spot, Google them to see what’s on offer. If you don’t get a chance to do this, take the time to read the entire menu before you order. Too often we just scan until something jumps out at us, instead of considering all possibilities and then making our choice.

3. Share Any Leftovers

A study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that participants consumed about 836 additional kilojoules when

Speed up your metabolism

Ever wondered why the person next to you can eat chocolate all day and not put on weight, but you just have to look at a piece of mud cake and you’ll put on a kilo? It’s all down to metabolism. We’ve all heard the word a million times, but what does it mean? And how can we make sure ours is working for us, not against us?

Put simply, our metabolism runs our body the way an engine runs a car. The metabolism is the chemical and physiological processes the body uses to break down nutrients. It regulates the amount of kilojoules our bodies burn and kick-starts our energy levels. The higher your metabolism, the more cake you can eat.

We all burn energy at different rates. This explains why two people may eat the same food for one week, but one person gains weight and the other doesn’t. “Someone with a slower metabolism will find it harder to lose weight and find foods like chocolate, bread, butter and junk food add to the waistline,” says nutritionist Lola Berry. “Others seem to have a freakishly fast metabolism and seem to be able to get away with eating anything.”

When we hear people

Sip to Stifle the Sniffles

With the hustle and bustle of busy holiday schedules, getting the sniffles is all but certain. Don’t worry, rejoice! French Culinary Institute graduate and food blogger Rachel Dresken shared her potable secrets with us to curb cold symptoms this season. Whip up one of these delicious remedies to beat the bug and have energy to chase your little whippersnappers around endless snowbanks. Each contains a key ingredient with immune-boosting and antioxidizing properties that will leave you chipper enough to take the holidays head on!

Ginger Spiced Tea

Ginger is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that has been shown to have soothing effects on cold symptoms. Green and black teas are also rich in antioxidants and help keep the immune system in top fighting shape.

  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (1½ inches)
  • 1 (heaping) tablespoon green or black tea leaves
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Dash cinnamon

Peel and slice ginger into thin rounds. Bring water to a boil, add ginger, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Decrease heat, add tea leaves, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain into a blender. Add in milk and honey and purée until well combined. Return to pot and rewarm over low heat. Serve topped with a dash

Staying Sharp: Supplements to Maximize Cognitive Potential

Face it: We all slow down as we age. Metabolism, endurance, energy, memory— once past the peak reproductive years, the body just doesn’t respond like it used to. It’s not your imagination; research has documented the changes. Hormonal output lags, the ability to neutralize oxidative free radicals breaks down, and cells accumulate genetic damage. Telomeres, the protective endcaps of DNA strands, shorten.

For many Americans it is not the end of life that is most disconcerting, but rather the prospect of losing cognitive faculties, ambulatory function, and independence in the golden years. So as you age, the question becomes whether you are going to allow yourself to ride that slippery slope toward senility or change course to optimize the significant potential you have to live vibrantly and independently.

While there is little one can do to reverse serious diseases such as Parkinson’s, ALS, or Alzheimer’s (even though research is beginning to make progress in slowing these conditions down), there are plenty of things you can do to resist the common forces of aging so you can function as close to your optimal potential as possible—which for most of us means a pretty good quality of life.

The Foundation

In this regard, diet and lifestyle

THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO VITAMINS AT EVERY AGE

Using Vitamins to Supplement.

The plethora of vitamins on the market reads like the alphabet- literally from A- Zinc. Do we, as women need to guzzle 50 a day to be healthy? How do we make heads or tails from what the media tell us?  And at what age do we need certain vitamins? Here’s your guide to vitamins at every age according to Dr. Christopher Calapai D.O. an NYC anti-aging physician who has been called, “The Stem Cell Guru.” Dr. Calapai has been testing vitamin levels throughout his career. Each of his patients receives a blood test to find out what they are deficient in.

In a perfect world, all of our nutrient needs would come from the best source: Food. However if your diet isn’t text book perfect then take your “nutritional insurance” a.k.a. a multivitamin, suggests Dr. Calapai.  “Research shows taking a well-balanced multivitamin throughout your lifespan helps fill in nutritional gaps in your diet.”

In your 20s and 30s

• Calcium: These are the decades to bone up, as in, maintain your bone mass. Dr. Calapai recommends adults aged 19-50 years take 1,000 milligrams of calcium, daily. If you don’t receive enough calcium from your diet, you may need to take a supplement containing

Alternatives for Treating Menopause

Part 2 of 8: Black Cohosh

Many women reject the risks associated with hormone replacement therapy to treat their menopause symptoms and instead seek relief from alternative sources. As menopausal women face fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone, they will likely experience symptoms including hot flashes, insomnia, depression, breast pain, and mood swings.

Luckily, there’s an array of natural remedies available to help you cope. Just make sure to speak with your doctor before you begin taking any supplements or herbs.

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is among the most popular and longest-studied natural hot flash remedies for women who don’t want to turn to hormone replacement or antidepressants to treat their menopause symptoms.

Black cohosh is derived from a plant in the buttercup family, and it has been used for centuries. You can take black cohosh in many forms: capsules, tablets, or mixed with water.

It is thought to behave similarly to serotonin in the brain. This behavior includes easing feelings of depression and regulating body temperature. Despite this, according to the National Center on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), research to date remains mixed. Overall, the effectiveness of black cohosh as a reliable menopause treatment remains to be demonstrated.

Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies for Diabetes

Some people with diabetes use complementary or alternative therapies to treat diabetes. Although some of these therapies may be effective, others can be ineffective or even harmful. Patients who use complementary and alternative medicine need to let their health care providers know what they are doing.

Some complementary and alternative medicine therapies are discussed below. For more information, talk with your health care provider.

Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a procedure in which a practitioner inserts needles into designated points on the skin. Some scientists believe that acupuncture triggers the release of the body’s natural painkillers. Acupuncture has been shown to offer relief from chronic pain. Acupuncture is sometimes used by people with neuropathy, the painful nerve damage of diabetes.

Biofeedback
Biofeedback is a technique that helps a person become more aware of and learn to deal with the body’s response to pain. This alternative therapy emphasizes relaxation and stress-reduction techniques. Guided imagery is a relaxation technique that some professionals who use biofeedback do. With guided imagery, a person thinks of peaceful mental images, such as ocean waves. A person may also include the images of controlling or curing a chronic disease, such as diabetes. People using this technique believe their condition can be

Alternative Breast Cancer Treatments Do They Work

There’s lots of interest in alternative treatments, and studies are still ongoing. For now, however, relieving the side effects of traditional breast cancer therapies may be their best use.

Women around the world are increasingly drawn to learning about alternative breast cancer treatment.

“At my practice of integrative oncology, one in four of the patients I see is a woman living with or beyond breast cancer,” says Donald Abrams, MD, professor of clinical medicine and director of clinical programs for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “A lot of patients are interested in these kinds of interventions.”

Yet despite growing interest, the largely unregulated field of alternative medicine has left many women confused about what these therapies actually do and whether they work. Here’s an overview to help get you or your loved one started.

What Is ‘Alternative’ Breast Cancer Treatment?

Before getting into specific cancer therapies, it’s important to understand the terminology. The words “alternative,” “complementary,” and “integrative” are often used interchangeably to describe non-traditional breast cancer treatments, but they have very different meanings.

With some extreme exceptions, most non-traditional cancer therapies are not alternatives to standard treatments.

Maintain Brain Health

Health experts are quick to remind us that, from the tips of the toes to the top of the head, everything inside the body is connected. However, while focusing on losing fat and building muscle does benefit the brain, it’s important to specifically exercise our most important neurological organ, too. Here are four tips from neurosurgeon and fitness expert Brett Osborn, DO, that everyone can use to maintain brain health.

Learn new skills. Just as with other health concerns, brain health should be rooted in the prevention of disease. Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease, the causes of which, and the cure, are unknown. However, it’s widely thought that brain stimulation and activity can delay the onset of the disease. The acquisition of a new skill—whether it’s learning to play an instrument or taking up waterskiing—exercises the brain “muscle.”

Commit to actual exercise. Everyone knows that exercise helps protect the heart, but not everyone knows that physical activity is also good for the brain. The brain is not a muscle, but it can be worked just as muscles are worked during exercise, which forges new neuron pathways. There is a component of learning in exercise. For example, you cannot master the squat overnight;

Herbal Supplements Consider Safety Too

Many herbs have a long history of use and of claimed health benefits. However, some herbs have caused health problems for users.

  • It’s important to know that just because an herbal supplement is labeled “natural” does not mean it is safe or without any harmful effects. For example, the herbs kava and comfrey have been linked to serious liver damage.
  • Herbal supplements can act in the same way as drugs. Therefore, they can cause medical problems if not used correctly or if taken in large amounts. In some cases, people have experienced negative effects even though they followed the instructions on a supplement label.
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing should be especially cautious about using herbal supplements, since these products can act like drugs. This caution also applies to treating children with herbal supplements.
  • It is important to consult your health care provider before using an herbal supplement, especially if you are taking any medications (whether prescription or over-the-counter). Some herbal supplements are known to interact with medications in ways that cause health problems. Even if your provider does not know about a particular supplement, he can access the latest medical guidance on its uses, risks, and interactions.
  • If you use herbal supplements, it

Declare Immunity This Season

Getting sick isn’t fun. Unless, of course, you relish thoughts of recessing deeper into the couch, unable to muster the energy to eat, drink, sleep in a real bed, or replace the entire tissue box your nose just blew through. Luckily, there are ways to avoid this dreadful fate. Follow these tips and you’ll be dancing your way through cold and flu season.

>> De-stress! High levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) tend to suppress or lower our immune response to invading pathogens, so make time to decompress and reduce your stress level. If you find you’re responding to stressors in a less than positive way, work on mentally reframing the experiences—it’s not about the stressors, it’s about how we react to them. Whether you do yoga, cook, dance, listen to music (or make your own), take bubble baths, or embrace your inner child by curling up with coloring books, do it often!

For additional support, drink some stress-relief tea throughout the day or take adrenal support supplements. Also be sure to get adequate sleep, since increased stress and lowered immunity are among the many effects of sleep deprivation!

>> Keep moving. Exercise helps with lymph flow and circulation of white blood cells,

6 Essential Nutrients for Strong Long Hair and Nails

Fashion trends come and go, but there is one look that has always been in style: strong, sleek hair and nails. Made of the same type of cells created and organized in a different way, hair and nails require basically the same nutrients to grow healthily. Fortunately, the nutrients hair and nails need are generally easy to attain in a regular diet; unfortunately, many people still aren’t getting the right nutrition to keep their hair, nails, and body well. Dry, brittle hair and nails are some of the most off-putting indications of ill-health, so if you have these symptoms, here are the nutrients you need to get in your body ASAP.

1. Protein

Hair and nails are made primarily of a protein called keratin, which sprouts out of crucial skin cells called keratinocytes. Keratin is outrageously tough, which is why nails and hair feel stronger and harder than the rest of your body. However, to produce keratin, your body needs amino acids, which you can only take in by eating protein.

Consuming plenty of lean meats, like chicken and loin, sirloin, and round cuts, is the most efficient way to get protein. Vegetarians are often protein deficient due to their meatless diet; to

10 Ways for Men to Reduce Stress

Stress has become a major modern-day factor affecting men’s health. The tension and emotional strain of day-to-day living has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, back pain, diabetes, cancer, and a weakened immune response to disease.

Men experiencing high levels of stress can experience anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and depression, and may turn to unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, overeating, or drug abuse to help deal with their stress.

Men’s Health: The Dangers of Stress

Stress is harmful because it presses biological buttons inside men that have long outlived their usefulness. When a man had to battle wild animals to save his family, that stress prompted certain fight-or-flight responses within his body:

  • The heart rate soared to send more blood to the brain, improving quick decision-making.
  • Blood shunted into the large muscles of the arms and legs to provide more strength and speed, and away from the gut.
  • Blood sugar rose to provide more fuel for quick energy.
  • Blood began to clot more quickly, to prevent blood loss from wounds or internal damage.

It’s not hard to draw lines from those natural responses to the diseases now associated with stress.

Men’s Health: 10 Ways to Deal With Stress

So what should modern man do to short-circuit

5 Steps to Better Sleep

Having trouble falling asleep? Don’t feel rested after a nights sleep? Check out these five tips for a restful bights sleep.

  1. Stress Less

Studies have shown that stress does impact sleep. When stress is triggered, the body releases cortisol, – a hormone that is released into the bloodstream that helps the body through the stressful event. When we are under stress for a long period of time the overexposure to cortisol may result in health issues such as weight gain and sleep disruption.

The solution to stress is to find out the cause and deal with the issue. That is often easier said than done. You can also try meditation or yoga, both which are effective in managing stress. Reducing your stress will improve your sleep and improve your overall health.

  1. Eat a Lighter Dinner

Large late night meals packed with carbs can impact your sleep. Your digestive system needs to work hard to digest that food, which can cause you to have trouble falling asleep. Eating an earlier dinner (four to five hours before you go to bed) will help your food to be digested before you go to bed. Shifting your diet to eating your largest meal at lunch with

The Future of Free-From Foods

Trend, Fad—or Permanent Habit?

From trending topics like clean eating to an enhanced awareness of ingredient benefits (and detriments), it’s safe to say that free-from foods have enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years.

More people are actively seeking out pesticide-free produce—choosing those products with a certified organic or Non-GMO Project verified label—and some of those same folks are advocating for better labeling laws in the United States to make this process easier. Others are voluntarily giving up controversial ingredients like dairy or soy. And many are jumping at the chance to go gluten-free—even if they don’t have an allergy—as an assortment of gluten-free options flood both grocery store aisles and restaurant menus.

But is this trend here to stay?

As declared by the FDA, the top eight food allergens in the United States are wheat/gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shellfish. Some people are seriously allergic to these ingredients—even the most microscopic trace could instantly propel them into anaphylactic shock, a reaction characterized by itchy red hives, narrowed airways and trouble breathing, throat swelling, nausea and vomiting, and a weak pulse. If not treated quickly, anaphylactic shock can even lead to death. Others have a more mild intolerance to