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