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February Issue of Natural Alternatives
February 01, 2013

Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health


February 2013

Hello, and welcome to this edition edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!


I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a favor and pay it forward!

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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates


IN THIS ISSUE:

1) HOW DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS CAN HELP PREVENT MIGRAINES

2) COSMETIC ACUPUNCTURE: A GREAT ALTERNATIVE

3) THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF SPIRULINA


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1) HOW DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS CAN HELP PREVENT MIGRAINES
By Dr. Mercola,


An estimated 26 million Americans suffer with migraines. Approximately 80 percent of them are women. All in all, about one in five women get migraines while only one in 16 men get them, according to migraines.org.1 About 60 percent of women affected have menstrual-related migraines, meaning it tends to coincide with their menstrual cycle.

A migraine headache is characterized as an intense throbbing or pulsing headache, typically in one area or side of your head, and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

Those who have never had a migraine before can be very frightened with the neurological symptoms. The visual problems are most problematic as a migraine can simulate a stroke where you start to have disturbed vision and even short term visual loss and flashing lights.

Migraine attacks can cause debilitating pain for several hours to several days. Some migraineurs experience "aura" sensations before an attack. These are sensory warning symptoms, such as flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling in your arm or leg. The featured article2 recently brought up the dietary links to migraines – specifically how the grain- and dairy-free Paleo diet appears to help banish the pain for many people. This is not entirely surprising, considering that milk and wheat are two major food allergens.


Are Food Allergies Causing Your Migraines?

Searching the medical literature in PubMed.gov using the search term "migraine" and "food allergies" will provide you with more than 150 different studies.3 Some of the top migraine-inducing foods identified include:

* Wheat
* Cow's milk
* Grain cereals
* Cain sugar
* Yeast
*Corn
* Citrus
* Eggs

Processed foods in general can also contribute to allergies for a number of different reasons, and most processed foods contain a variety of food colorings, flavors, preservatives, and other additives that may also promote headaches and migraines. Both aspartame and MSG are notorious for causing headaches and triggering migraines. Besides noting whether or not your migraines typically occur after eating a specific food, additional questions that can help you determine whether or not you might have a food sensitivity or allergy are:


Do you experience bloating after meals, gas, frequent belching, or any kind of digestive problems? Do you have chronic constipation or diarrhea? Do you have a stuffy nose after meals? Do you have low energy or feel drowsy after eating?


If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may want to investigate further. Keeping a detailed food diary is the easiest way to start tracking down potentially migraine-inducing foods, as well as foods that cause other symptoms of sensitivity. Keep in mind that eliminating your migraines is not the only health benefit you can reap from identifying food allergies or sensitivities. Eliminating food antigens is also critical for gut health. I've written extensively on this topic, as medical science is now beginning to realize just how important your gut is, not just for physical health, but emotional and psychological health as well.


Elimination Diets Shown Helpful in Reducing or Eliminating Migraines


In a 1979 study published in the Lancet,4 60 migraineurs with food antigen immunoreactivity who were put on an elimination diet experienced profound relief. According to the author:


"The commonest foods causing reactions were wheat (78 percent), orange (65 percent), eggs (45 percent), tea and coffee (40 percent each), chocolate and milk (37 percent) each), beef (35 percent), and corn, cane sugar, and yeast (33 percent each). When an average of 10 common foods were avoided there was a dramatic fall in the number of headaches per month, 85 percent of patients becoming headache-free. The 25 percent of patients with hypertension became normotensive. Chemicals in the home environment can make this testing difficult for outpatients. Both immunological and non-immunological mechanisms may play a part in the pathogenesis of migraine caused by food intolerance."


A randomized, double blind, cross-over study published in 20105 also found that a six-week long diet restriction produced a statistically significant reduction in migraines in those diagnosed with migraine without aura. If you notice your migraines start up shortly after eating a specific food, then that's a good place to start. Keep in mind that you can also be sensitive to food additives like artificial colors, preservatives, flavor enhancers (MSG), and aspartame so read the food labels, and note the ingredients in your food journal. One of the best things you can do if you believe you are suffering from a food allergy is to do a diet elimination challenge. Simply remove all foods that contain what you believe you are allergic to and see if your symptoms improve over the next several days. Keep in mind that depending on your typical migraine frequency, you may need to avoid the suspected food for a few weeks in order to evaluate whether it had an effect or not.


To confirm the results, you'll want to reintroduce the food or drink (on an empty stomach). If the suspected food is the culprit you will generally be able to feel the allergy symptoms return within an hour, although migraines can sometimes have a longer lag time than, say, bloating or drowsiness.


Diet for Migraine Relief

Quite a few people report ridding themselves of migraines on the Paleo diet, which can be summarized as "any food that can be eaten without being processed." That means no grains, bread or pasta, and no pasteurized dairy, but does include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, some nuts and oils along with wild caught fish, organic poultry and grass-fed lean meats. You can easily mold your diet around the principles of Paleo eating by following my nutrition plan. The full details are described in the plan, but generally speaking, the following key factors apply to any "healthy diet":

Eliminate all gluten products, Eliminate the other 10 common foods that the Lancet study found helpful in making 85 percent of participants headache fre, Eliminate all artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame. My sister is one of many who will get a guaranteed migraine if she consumes any aspartame. Obviously, even if you don't have migraines, there simply is no reason to ever consume aspartame. Unprocessed whole foods Often raw or only lightly cooked (ideally, try to eat at least one-third of your food raw, or as much as you can manage) Organic or grass-fed, and free from additives and genetically modified ingredients Come from high-quality, local sources Carbohydrates primarily come from vegetables (except corn and potatoes, which should typically be avoided). Dramatically lowering your intake of non-vegetable carbs could improve leptin and insulin signaling which could also improve migraines.


I believe a return to "real food" is one of the most profound interventions for the 21st century. We've strayed so far from the foods we are designed to eat, going back to basics and refocusing your diet on fresh, whole, unprocessed, "real" food can improve just about anyone's health, regardless of what health issues you need to address.


Helpful Supplements and More

In terms of supplements that might be helpful for migraines, one of the most critical is ubiquinol (the reduced form of Coenzyme Q10). According to experts like Dr. Robert Barry, an underlying problem involved with migraines is mitochondrial dysfunction. Ubiquinol plays a vital role in ATP production, which is the basic fuel for your mitochondria. Your body does produce ubiquinol naturally, in fact it is the predominant form in most healthy cells, tissues and organs, however, with rampant pollution and poor diet, mitochondrial dysfunction has become increasingly common.


A 2005 study published in Neurology6 found that CoQ10 was superior to a placebo in preventing migraines and reducing severity. Of the patients who received 100 mg of CoQ10 three times a day, 50 percent reported significantly reduced frequency of headaches compared to only 14 percent of those who took the placebo. Ubiquinol is the reduced form of CoQ10, and studies have repeatedly demonstrated that it is far more effective than CoQ10 due to its superior bioavailability.


Other dietary supplements that can be helpful for migraines include:


Magnesium. This is probably the most important one as it contributes to relaxing the brain blood vessels that cause the pain. The best magnesium supplement I know of is magnesium threonate as it penetrates cell membranes, including the mitochondria, and no other magnesium supplement does this. Interestingly, some of the best drugs used to treat migraines are calcium channel blockers, and that is how magnesium works. Supplemental magnesium would be FAR safer than a calcium channel blocker
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12
Folic acid


A 2009 study evaluated the effect of 2 mg of folic acid, 25 mg vitamin B6, and 400 micrograms of vitamin B12 in 52 patients diagnosed with migraine with aura. Compared to the placebo group, those receiving these supplements experienced a 50 percent reduction in migraine disability over a six-month period. Previous studies, such as a 2004 study in the European Journal of Neurology,8 have also reported that high doses of B2 (riboflavin) can help prevent migraine attacks.

Patients received 400 mg riboflavin per day. Headache frequency was reduced from four days per month at baseline to two days per month after three months. Headache duration and intensity did not change significantly however. Keep in mind that prophylactic supplement regimens may take several weeks to produce results, so don't give up too soon. Typically, if the supplement is the right one, you'll notice results in about three to six months.


Exercise is something that should also be considered as an enormously useful strategy.


Last but not least, the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) often provides results for migraine headache relief. Newcomers who use this simple process by themselves tend to achieve relief 50 percent to 80 percent of the time. EFT is a very profound intervention that can be used in addition to the above strategies, it can also be useful for helping compliance to the lifestyle changes recommended.


Learn about EFT at the upcoming 2013 Tapping World Summit, Click here to register. It is a free online event.


2) COSMETIC ACUPUNCTURE: A GREAT ALTERNATIVE
By Dr. Steven Cooner


Cosmetic acupuncture is an area of Oriental medicine that reduces wrinkles; rejuvenates the skin; reduces cellulite, acne, varicose veins and scar inflammation; and augments and enhances the breasts. This specialty area of acupuncture is non-radical, has no side-effects and is a safe procedure that leaves patients feeling healthier and looking younger, while enhancing their immune system. The procedure is practically pain-free, and is usually very relaxing and beneficial to the patient’s general health and well-being, with no downtime.


Cosmetic acupuncture treats sagging cheeks, neck, buttocks, arms, breasts, legs, abs — giving them a lift, with a fuller look and appearance. It can reduce wrinkles, especially on the face. As for breast augmentation, there is usually some increase in breast size and firmness and breast development may continue for as long as three months after the treatments end. Results are usually seen within six treatments, although the average number of treatments is 12. The results usually last for a few years, but it is recommended that patients have follow-up treatments two to three times a year to ensure the longevity of the treatments.


In cosmetic acupuncture, heat and electrical stimulation are used, along with traditional needling, to accentuate the effect. Most patients are pleased with the results. Several patients have undergone this procedure after having had cosmetic surgery, especially in the area of wrinkle reduction, scar tissue tension, pain and inflammation.


Cosmetic acupuncture also is quite effective for cellulite reduction. The cellulite is softened with special needling techniques combined with heat, and then guided away from the site of accumulation.


When patients look better, they feel better. With acupuncture, blood flow is stimulated and increased in the treated areas, whether it be the face, breasts, hips, scars, legs or abdomen. A lot of patients have blockages in energy and blood flow to these regions of their bodies. By increasing the energy flow, the blood is stimulated to move to those areas of blockage. When there is not enough energy present, we increase and fill those spaces; where there is too much, we reduce the energy. Patients in general tend to look younger and have more vigor. Cosmetic acupuncture is a wonderful, natural approach to anti-aging and rejuvenation. It is a chance to recapture the feeling and look of youth, without adverse side effects.


  Drs. Steven Cooner, O.M.D., PhD., L.Ac., L.M.T., and Helene Cooner, O.M.D., L.Ac., L.M.T., are doctors of oriental medicine and state-licensed acupuncturists with over 25 years experience. They are located in Scottsdale at 3080 Civic Center (and Earll).            602-625-6612      .


Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 3, June/July 2007.


3) THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF SPIRULINA
By Dr. E. Group,

Spirulina is cyanobacterium (blue-green algae) that grows in alkaline water. Spirulina is rich in protein and nutrients and been used as a food source in Africa for centuries. Today, spirulina powders and capsules are popular nutritional supplements. And, the rich antioxidant properties and therapeutic benefits are not just for people. Preliminary research in Australia has shown that livestock feed that’s been enhanced with nutritious spirulina to improve growth, fertility, aesthetic and nutritional quality in farm animals.

Spirulina and Eye Health
Spirulina is a rich dietary source of zeaxanthin, a xanthophyll. Xanthophyll are substances similar to carotenes, the pro-eye compounds found in carrots. Zeaxanthin is a xanthophyll that has nutritional importance to human eyes in that sufficient intake may reduce risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Observational studies have shown a connection between adequate zeaxanthin and lower incidence of age-related macular degeneration.


Spirulina and Liver Health
Incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is on the rise. It is often a side effect of obesity and poor diet that occurs when a fat overload in the liver is coupled with oxidative stress. The best strategy against it is to lose any excessive body weight (fat) and make the appropriate dietary changes that will help decrease lipid levels. Additionally, supplementing with spirulina may support a boost in fatty acid oxidation. Many, many animal models have shown spirulina to significantly hinder progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by lessening inflammation through anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. A Chinese study involving mice showed that supplementation of spirulina and vitamin C could reduce enzyme activity known to be damaging to the liver. No surprise, the effect was credited to the antioxidant levels.


Spirulina and Brain Health
You may have heard of the “blood-brain barrier”, it is a separation of the brain and spinal cord from the other organs in the body. This natural mechanism is in place to keep infections from reaching your most vulnerable tissues. Your brain contains microglia cells that are the immune system for your nervous system. It’s the job of these microglia cells to constantly scavenge your central nervous system for plaque, damaged neurons, and harmful agents. When harmful agents do manage to cross the blood-brain barrier, microglial cells spring into action for defense. However, activated microglia are pro-inflammatory and inflammation in the brain is thought to be a major component in the development of degenerative brain diseases. Spirulina may be beneficial and provide resistance to the inflammatory and oxidative aspect of microglial cell activation. Research by the Department of Otolaryngology at Buddhist Dalin Tzu-Chi General Hospital in Taiwan found similar oxidation-reduction properties in Spirulina and even stated that these properties may fight against memory loss.

Spirulina Safety
The Dietary Supplements Information Expert Committee of the United States Pharmacopeial Convention undertook a safety evaluation of spirulina and assigned a Class A safety rating. [9] Spirulina is generally considered safe and is backed by a long history of use as a food source and safety in animal models. However, when purchasing spirulina or any produce you’re going to put into your body, it is important to ONLY invest in quality products that are responsibly produced so as to avoid contamination and guarantee safety.


-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!


Thank you for reading.


Livia
http://www.natural-health-and-healing.com
Brampton, Ontario, Canada


P.S. If you have a comment or suggestion, just reply to this e-mail. Your feedback is important to me.


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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.

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