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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is a RNA virus. This virus is characterized by an intensive mutations, so, at every infected person, the virus exists as a population of very close, but different virus quasi-species, and some of them are more successful than the others.
The dominant virus sequence changes every few weeks. This changes helps the virus to skip the immune response of the host. The infection varies in different countries, but also in different regions and population groups within one country. It is considered that around 170 million people are already infected with HCV, and every year there are 3-4 millions new infected. HCV is transmitted almost strictly through contact with an infected blood or blood products, same as the HBV (Hepatitis B virus) and HIV, with the difference that this virus is very hard to transmit through the other types of contact, although it is present in the saliva and the sperm.
Because of the parenteral way of transmission (most often: blood transfusion, drug addiction, contacts with a material contaminated with infected blood), hepatitis C is very common among the hemodialisis patients, hemophilia patients, the intravenous drug users (50-90%). There’s a risk also by nasal insufflation of cocaine (sniffing). From the other ways of transmission, there’s need to be mentioned the transmission from the mother to the newborn baby (less than 5%), the sexual transmission, which is possible, but not as often as with HBV and HIV, then the incidental injuries with needles or other instruments of the health personal (3-10%).
Additionally there are other identified ways of transmission, such as using poorly sterilized materials or instruments in endoscopy, piercing, tattooing, acupuncture, etc. There is no effective vaccine for the HCV infection, so the prevention has to consist of the basic safety measurements as of HBV and HIV.
The acute phase of the Hepatitis C is the first stage of the infection and can last even longer than 6 months. Only 30-40% of the patients with an acute HCV infection have some symptoms. Those are usually mild and few symptoms, such as weakness, and in 90% of the cases there isn’t a jaundice, and that’s why in many cases the patients aren’t even aware of the infection.
The acute phase in 15-20% of the cases result in healing and complete elimination of the virus. But, in 80-85% the acute HCV infection progresses to a chronic hepatitis. Although 15-25% of the patients with chronic hepatitis C have no obvious symptoms, the rest of the patients develop chronic active hepatitis, and 20% of them develop cirrhosis within 10-20 years.
The chronic hepatitis C can be accompanied by many autoimmune manifestations such as vasculitis, Sjogren’s syndrome, autoimmune hepatitis C type 2, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lychen planus, etc. Because there are no obvious symptoms, the diagnosis is most often coincidental. The treatment consists of combination of interferon alfa and ribavirin.

Healthy Eating Diet Advice!

We all know how to eat. Diet means knowing what to eat. Thanks to the internet, everybody knows what not to eat (sweets, junk food etc.) but there seems to be a lot of confusion about what to eat. On this diet advice and Healthy Eating plan page we try to answer that question – specifically, what should be in our diet.
Carbohydrates (Carbs)
Our first healthy eating diet advice and healthy eating diet plan is to eat your carbs. Carbohydrates are vital because it provides us the energy for our day to day activity. It is our “battery” that powers us through the day. Additionally, carbohydrates play an important role in the synthesis of our DNA, our hormones, create powerful antioxidants and protect our cells and tissues from damage and ageing. Apart from all this, carbohydrates help in the functioning of our brain cells. Which is why if we are hungry, we can’t seem think straight. If we are low on carbs, our brain cells draw energy from limited reserve fuel supply (similar to your car switching to reserve gas when you fuel tank is empty). When that is depleted, our brain puts the body into sleep mode and kind of shuts down. So now you know just how important carbohydrates are. But are all Carbohydrates good? No of course not. But that’s an issue we shall tackle elsewhere.
Our second healthy eating diets advice is to explain why we need proteins and its importance to your body. We’ve all been told that we need to include proteins in our diet but do you know why we need proteins? Proteins are needed to make antibodies which are our primary defense mechanism against diseases and infections. Proteins are required to contract and relax our muscles. So without proteins you would not be able to pick up that cup of coffee that will provide the carbohydrates to power your brain and body. Hormonal Proteins are the body messengers. They pick up signals and instructions and carry them across to the required destinations. Hormonal proteins are the “runners” within your body. Proteins make up the cells within us and create the connective tissues, tendons and ligaments. Finally, along with carrying messages, proteins perform another vital function – they transport nutrients throughout the body.
When we say people should eat fats we get looks that seem to suggest we might have lost our marbles. Our third healthy eating diet advice and healthy eating and exercise is to explain why fats are vital to our body. Fat is the long term slow release reserve energy source in our body. It gets utilized at times of distress and illness. In times gone by when surviving was tough and sickness was common, the body utilized the fat reserves to release energy required to survive. Fat is the only nutrient that can help us survive through the toughest phases of our life. Further, only fat can metabolize vitamin A,E,K and D which are also known as fat soluble vitamins. Believe it or not, fat actually protects vital organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs etc. Fat also insulates your body and prevents heat loss (Which is why overweight people feel hot quickly). Fat stimulates the flow of bile from the gall bladder. Fat also plays a vital role in pregnancy as it is required for milk production and growth of the foetus. Also, we bet you did not know that 60% of your brain is made up of fat. Finally, fat is the grease that lubricates the joints.
Our fourth healthy eating facts advice is on water and its importance to your body. For survival, water is the most important element that our body needs. Without water, you cannot utilize the nutrients that come from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Modern lifestyle, lack of exercise and stress has dulled out thirst mechanism. Instead of drinking water, we drink beer, sodas and juices all which only aggravate the problem and leads to dehydration. Dehydration leads to dullness because the body is unable to process the food you eat. In turn we rush to consume “energy pills” that promise to perk up your life and so on and so forth.

More Americans taking Vitamin D supplements

For the past decade, sales of Vitamin D have continued to skyrocket, as scientific research demonstrates a wide array of Vitamin D benefits that go beyond bone health. According to a consumer survey conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), out of the 66 percent of Americans who use dietary supplements, 27 percent say they take a Vitamin D supplement, up 16 percent from the previous year (2008).1 According to the Nutrition Business Journal, sales of Vitamin D in 2009 were up by 82 percent reaching $430 million.2 This phenomenon represents a growing number of Americans who are convinced that taking a daily Vitamin D supplement holds important benefits for maintaining health and well-being.

In response to the overwhelming body of research, the Institute of Medicine recently boosted the recommended dietary intakes (RDI) of Vitamin D. After reviewing 1,000 published studies on Vitamin D, the Institute of Medicine’s new recommendations for dietary intake of Vitamin D and calcium were released on December 1, 2010 advocating:
• 400 IUs of Vitamin D intake for infants, doubling the previous RDI.
• 600 IUS for ages 1 and 50, three times the previous RDI.
• 600 IUs for ages 51 to 70, up 50 percent from the previous RDI.
• 800 IUs for those older than 71, up 33 percent from the previous RDI.

With the release of the new RDIs, sales of the sunshine vitamin are likely to soar even higher in 2011.Nutritionists believe that it will be difficult to meet the new RDIs for Vitamin D through diet alone, particularly if you eat only limited dairy products or do not regularly include fish in your diet. Elizabeth Ward, a registered dietitian in Boston, says "There's no way that people will satisfy those recommendations for vitamin D without supplements." Not many foods contain Vitamin D which is why most people will need to modify their diets to include Vitamin-D fortified foods and beverages along with an increased intake of milk, eggs and fish. Consuming 600 IUs a day of Vitamin D from a single food would require drinking 6 cups of milk or eating 15 servings of Vitamin-D fortified cereals.3

Some experts even believe the new RDIs for Vitamin D are still too low. In response, Dr. Andrew Shao, senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, for the Council for Responsible Nutrition said, "While an increase in the recommendations for vitamin D will benefit the public overall, such a conservative increase for the nutrient lags behind the mountain of research demonstrating a need for vitamin D intake at levels possibly as high as 2,000 IU/day for adults." Doctors who concur with this view may consider prescribing a higher daily dose of Vitamin D to their patients as the upper safety limit has been set at 4,000 IUs for those aged 9 and above.

You can private label high-quality vitamin supplements through Vitacap Labs, a leading private label vitamin manufacturer that prides itself on quality manufacturing within a GMP-certified facility. Call 800-664-7475 now to find out more about how you can private label multivitamin supplements or submit a request for a free quote today. You can expect to receive a quote from Vitacap Labs within 24 hours.

Why Leg Raises Hurt Your Back

About 30 years ago we learned that straight legged sit-ups were bad for you because it caused back pain. But aren’t lying or hanging leg raises the same thing as the straight legged sit-ups – done in reverse? Aren’t you using the same muscles, whether you raise your legs and keep your upper body still or raise your upper body and keep your legs still?
Great looking abs are a goal for both men and women, but lying or hanging leg raises may be contributing more to your back pain then you think.
How Muscles Work
To understand why this exercise may not be so good for your back, you need to understand the basic bio-mechanics. Learn which muscles move what body part. Anatomy and physiology teaches you that a muscle attaches at two ends. When those two endpoints or attachment points move closer together you get muscle contraction. It is the contraction of the muscle that pulls the endpoints closer and moves your body. When the two end points move further apart, the muscle stretches and relaxes.
FYI…when one muscle contracts – an opposing or opposite muscle stretches or relaxes. Every muscle has an opposing muscle. For joint stability and staying pain free it is important to exercise both the contracted and opposing muscle, otherwise you get muscle imbalance.
Look at the bicep muscle, for an example. It attaches at the top of your shoulder and just below the crease of your elbow. When you bend your arm, or do a bicep curl, the two endpoints move closer together, and the muscle is in a state of contraction. When you straighten your arm the two points move further apart and the bicep muscle stretches or lengthens.
Every muscle in the body works on this same “pulley” principle, including your eye muscles. Look at your chest muscles. The pec’s attach along the side of your sternum and run diagonally into the top of your shoulder. Now imagine as you lower the bar when doing bench press, the two end points move further apart. The pec muscles are stretching, but as you push the bar off your chest, the two endpoints move closer together. This causes the pec muscles to contract.
Examine the Leg Raise….
The muscles primarily responsible for raising the legs are the psoas muscles, NOT the abdominal muscle. The common name for the psoas muscle is the ‘hip flexor.’ The hip flexor attaches at the upper/inside portion of your thigh muscle and sits beneath your abs and intestines. It runs up and attaches to your spinal column, more specifically your lumbar vertebra and disc. These muscles are commonly overlooked for being a primary cause of back pain, but as you start examining which muscles move your body, you will quickly see how they can be the problem.
The abdominal muscles attach at the bottom of your ribs and run down past your belly button and attach to the pubic bone. Remember a muscle contracts when the two endpoints come closer together.
To prove to you that lying or hanging leg raises don’t specifically work the abdominal muscles let me get you to lie flat on your back as if you were performing a leg raise. Place your right hand at the top of your pubic bone and your left hand on the bottom of your rib cage. Now slowly raise your legs up to the ceiling, no more than 90 degrees. Did your hands come closer together? I don’t think so!
If you keep pulling your legs past that vertical position (90 degrees) and move them closer to your head, you will notice that your pelvis will begin to rock up towards your head. You should then begin to feel your hands move closer together, this is because you are finally contracting your abdominal muscles. You are basically doing a reverse crunch.
Now, keep your hands in the same position and do a regular crunch. You will notice your hands move closer together, which tells us your abdominal muscles are doing the work, not your hip flexor.
Crunches for Great Abs
Hopefully, this will help explain why crunches and reverse crunches are some of the best exercises for your abs. Doing leg raises, or holding your feet six inches off the ground or having someone throw your legs back down after you raise them is only going to make your hip flexors tighter and put you at risk for back pain.
For years I have seen patients come to my office complaining of back pain. One of the first questions I ask them is what kind of abdominal workout they do? If they say, lying or hanging leg raises or some other type of similar movement…..I help educate them on how that specific movement could be contributing to their back pain and how to properly target their ab muscles, without hurting their low back.
In Summary…
When you do leg raises or hanging leg raises, the first 90 degrees of the leg raise is activating the hip flexors. As you go past 90 degrees, the abdominal muscles will finally begin to contract. Unfortunately most people only do their leg raises within that first 90 degrees of range of motion, which is only working your hip flexors and will eventually make you susceptible to low back pain.
It doesn’t matter if you bend your knees, or put your hands behind your back. The muscles responsible for raising your legs those first 90 degrees are your hip flexors, NOT your abs. Grab an Anatomy & Physiology book and take a look at where these muscles attach to better understand what we are talking about. The last thing you want to do is slow your progress down with an injury.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Men’s Hair Loss Treatments

Although there are some people who would love to keep their dome clean shaved, many people still agree that a well styled hair is the beauty of the scalp. Natural hair loss has however made many men unhappy as they can not keep their hair. There are many myths that surround hair loss in men. Some people believe that hair loss is as a result of stress and others even believe that it is as a result of nutrient deficiency. I laughed hard and long when a couple of my folks said they believed having your baseball cap on everyday or sweating excessively could lead to hair loss in men. Hair loss has nothing to do with all these things but the beautiful thing is where it occurs, there are treatments that can be given to address the situation. Men lose their hair because they are simply genetically predisposed to it. You would not find this too hard to believe if you consider the fact that there are men who are able to keep their hair to their old age while you would find the hair of some young men showing recession. Men lose hair when they have their follicles programmed to be sensitive to hormonal changes in their scalps. Androgenic Alopecia as the loss of hair in men is called is as a result of the hormones androgens to which the body may begin to reject.
Men’s hair loss treatments are gradually increasing processes. You would want to start slowly on the regimen you choose which you would gradually build up. Whatever regimen you may have, there are many products in the market that can help you take care of your hair loss.