Does Flaxseed Improve Health?

The health benefits attributed to flaxseed in the diet are almost too numerous to mention. It reportedly offers protection against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure and is effective for relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, and migraines. Flaxseed helps people relax and improves sleep. It restores hormonal balance in women, and improves dry eye syndrome. Back in the 1950s, a German biochemist by the name of Joanna Budwig is famous for successfully treating terminally ill cancer patients by feeding them her prescribed diet including a combination of flaxseed oil and cottage cheese.

Do not rush out to buy flaxseed just yet, at least according to Nutrition Action Newsletter, a reputable publication from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. According to a December 2005 article titled Just the Flax- A Miracle Seed Comes Down to Earth, there is only limited evidence that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), one of the main ingredients of flaxseed, can protect the heart. The article also cites a 2005 study involving 45,000 men that found those who ate the highest amounts of ALA were more likely to develop advanced prostate cancer than those who ate the least ALA. The author was quick to point out that flax was not singled out, and the cancer rate was linked to ALA intake from all sources. In other words, proceed with caution.

Flaxseed is also contains extremely high levels of potent antioxidants called lignans, known best for their cancer fighting properties. Nutrition Action cites a Finnish study that reported women with the highest blood levels of lignans were 60% less likely to have breast cancer. Unfortunately, 29 of the 194 women who did develop breast cancer had some of the highest levels. Three years later the study was repeated and found no link between lignans and the incidence of breast cancer.

Confused? So are the experts. Mayoclinic.com has evaluated the data from flaxseed research and found its use as a laxative the only benefit that graded higher than unclear scientific evidence exists.

If you do not like fish, healthy aging expert Dr. Andrew Weil recommends whole flaxseed as a source of omega-3 fatty acids, but is less enthusiastic about flaxseed oil, expressing concerns about spoilage and the lack of lignans which are often removed during processing.

An article by Harvard Health Publications sums of the confusion best by concluding this: It is too early to say whether flaxseeds are right for you. They do contain lignans that function as phytoestrogens- but so does soy. They are very rich in ALA, which may reduce the risk of heart disease-but may also increase the risk of developing prostate cancer in men.

There might be something there, but it is clear we do not have all of the answers yet on the benefits or risks of taking flaxseed.

Men's Supplements May Not Help Prostate Cancer Patients: Study

As prostate cancer continues to affect about 220,000 American men each year, the sale of products believed to prevent and/or treat this disease remains brisk. Researchers, however, warn that men’s health supplements may not produce the results desired. In fact, in some cases these supplements may do more harm than good.

To arrive at those findings, researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia looked into a number of cases involving localized prostate cancer. All 2,207 men included in the study had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and each received intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) as part of their treatment. Of the men who also happened to take men’s health supplements, such as those containing saw palmetto, there was no evidence of a decreased lower risk of the cancer’s spread. Researchers also found no evidence to support that supplements lowered mortality rates or risks associated with radiation treatment. About 10 percent of the men in the study used supplements during the course of their treatments.

While researchers aren’t saying vitamin supplements are ineffective, they do say the findings indicate that men’s health supplements that reportedly have an impact on the prostate may have no real impact on prostate health. They also caution that some nutritional supplements may have adverse effects on those who take them. With that in mind, they urge men to be careful when selecting products that are labeled as men’s health supplements.

Men who are concerned about prostate health are urged to speak with their healthcare providers. Doctors can help men assess their risks for cancer and may be able to offer advice for limiting the odds of contracting the disease. Medical professionals can also help with early screening protocols for men who are deemed at risk for developing this potentially fatal disease. Regardless, it is important for everyone to clear health supplements with a healthcare provider before adding them into their routine.

Xenical: An Effective Way To Combat Obesity

According to recent government statistics, one in every three women and one in every four men in the UK are overweight. Moreover, the Department of Health had earlier predicted that nearly 6.6 million men and 6 million women in the UK will be obese by 2010. According to the WHO guidelines, a person is obese if his/her BMI exceeds 30 kg/m2. Obesity is a condition in which an excessive amount of fat is accumulated inside the body. Obesity increases the risk of other health complications, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart diseases, diabetes and cancer. However, you can easily fight obesity with Xenical.

Xenical is an FDA approved drug that aids the sliming process. The generic name for the drug is Orlistat. Average weight loss resulting from the intake of Orlistat for six months to a year is 12.4 to 13.4 pounds. Orlistat may also be taken to prevent further weight gain after the excess weight has been lost.

The drug is especially beneficial for people with a BMI of more than 30 kg/m2. However, the medicine can also be prescribed to individuals with a BMI between 27 and 30 kg/m2, if they are facing the risk of obesity induced diseases.

Xenical: How It Works

Unlike other weight loss pills that increase the metabolic rate or act on the central nervous system to reduce the appetite, Xenical works on the digestive system. Orlistat facilitates weight loss by preventing the absorption of fat by the body.

The fat that we consume in our food comprises of very large molecules. They cannot be assimilated from the gut into the bloodstream without being broken into smaller molecules. Two compounds present in the digestive juices known as gastric and pancreatic lipases break down the large fat molecules into smaller ones during the digestion process. This helps the body to absorb fat.
However, Orlistat works in the small intestine and stomach, to inhibit the action of gastric and pancreatic lipases. Once the action of lipase is inhibited, the fat molecules are no longer broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream. The undigested fat is excreted by the body in the faeces.

Xenical: Dosage

The recommended dosage for Xenical is 1 capsule (120mg) thrice a day. No additional benefits have been observed when a higher dose of Orlistat is taken. Orlistat should be consumed before, during or 1 hour after a main meal. In case you miss a meal or have a no fat meal, you may skip the dose.

Xenical should be taken along with a calorie-controlled, low fat diet and increased physical activity, to facilitate the weight loss process.

However, the drug is not recommended for nursing or pregnant women, children below 18 years and people suffering from kidney diseases, liver ailments, diabetes, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, chronic malabsorption syndrome and cholestasis. Also, you should avoid taking the drug, in case you are allergic to its ingredients.

Determining the Value and Beauty of Gemstones

Gemstones and gems are often referred to as precious or semi-precious stones. These attractive minerals are transformed into much sought-after jewelry or other adornments through a process of cutting and polishing. Other rocks, such as lapis-lazuli and organic materials, such as amber, are not minerals. However, they are frequently used in jewelry and often considered to be a gemstone as well. Gemstones are considered valuable because of their luster or other unique physical properties, in addition to their rarity, which also lends value.

The world’s foremost authority in gemology, the Gemological Institute of America was established in 1931, and is the world’s largest and most respected nonprofit institute of gemological research and learning. They, along with other gemological organizations, have created gemstone classifications to aide in understanding and appreciating the characteristics of gemstones.

The first characteristic gemologists employ is chemical composition. For example, many gems are crystals, classified by a crystal system such as cubic or trigonal or monoclinic. Gemstones are classified into groups, species and varieties. For instance, ruby is the red variety of the species corundum, while any other color of corundum is considered a sapphire. Gemstones are also identified according to their hardness, luster, and refractive index.

While there is no set standard for grading gemstones, other than the diamond’s 4 Cs, the GIA has created a system for choosing and purchasing gemstones. This system may help those interested in purchasing gemstones and understanding what makes one gem more valuable than another.

Gems and Color

Gems come in virtually every color of the spectrum. What may surprise some is that gems come in varying hues as well. The sapphire, for example, comes in blue, yellow and pink. Gem varieties such as tourmaline and garnet are available in almost every color. Prices for different gem varieties are affected by rarity, durability and popularity. Lesser-known gems are sometimes surprisingly beautiful and affordable.

For every gem, color is the most important value factor. Hue, tone and saturation are also important factors when considering a gem’s value. Brighter, more vivid colors with a medium tone are the most sought after. A “grass” green gem is typically most valued, followed by pale celadon, lime or dark hunter green, which is less expensive. Very pale, very dark or brownish-hued gems are less valuable.

Gems and Light

Light is an important factor when considering the value of a gem. The color of most gems is affected by light sources. Blue sapphires often look best illuminated by a fluorescent light, while rubies look better under incandescent lighting. When choosing a gem, always examine it under different lights, especially the light it will be worn in most.

Gems and Clarity

The way gemstones form in the earth often creates inclusions, or in laymen’s terms, a birthmark. The fewer inclusions in a gem, the rarer and more valuable it is. But inclusions are also responsible for the optical phenomena observed in many gemstones. For example, cat’s-eye chrysoberyl and star sapphires, created by inclusions, actually increase the gem’s value. In gemstones such as emerald and red tourmaline, the presence of inclusions and their lack of clarity does not detract from their value. Clarity has the most impact on value for gems with pastel colors because the inclusions are more visible to the naked eye.

Gems and Weight

Gems are sold by weight – measured in a carat, which is one-fifth of a gram. Therefore, buyers can expect to pay more per carat for a large stone than for a small one. Emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and alexandrite, for example, rarely occur in large sizes. Amethyst, citrine, blue topaz, and amber are more widely available in large sizes, so these gems have similar price per carat as smaller stones. To clarify, a one-carat emerald and one-carat ruby are the same weight but not the same size. Each is a different mineral with a different density. This difference in density also helps gemologists indentify gems.

Gems and Cut

While Mother Nature creates her gem masterpieces, it is the skilled gem cutter that releases a gem’s brilliance and beauty. As gems handle light differently, their cut helps to create the unique optical properties of its crystal structure. The cut of a gem refers to the three-dimensional shape of the gemstone and the quality of the cutting, or how well the gem’s shape delivers brilliance and beauty.

When judging the cut of a gemstone, examine how the stone returns light to the eye. Preferred cuts are symmetrical and return light across the entire surface of the gem.

Synthetic and artificial gemstones

Gemstones can be manufactured to imitate other gemstones. For instance, cubic zirconia is a synthetic diamond simulant. However, gemstones created in a lab are not imitations. Diamonds, ruby, sapphires, and emeralds are all manufactured in labs and can possess identical chemical and physical characteristics to the naturally occurring variety. These synthetic stones cost only a fraction of the natural stones. Natural gemstones are still considered more valuable because of their relative scarcity.

Foods That Is Rich In Fiber

High fiber foods are known to have many benefits. A good example of this is it helps treat constipation problems. Another role of fiber in the body is that it stabilizes bowel movements which results in the cleansing of the digestive system of the body. Fiber rich foods are also good for maintaining the blood sugar levels as well as reduce the cholesterol and high blood pressure of a person. Another advantage of high fiber foods is that it helps in the reduction of fats in the body thus losing weight is also a possible result of eating foods that are high in fiber. A lot can be gained out of eating fiber rich foods and it has been proven to be safe and effective.

Fiber food has two types, one is soluble fiber and the other is insoluble fiber. Soluble fibers are found mostly in brown rice, seeds, vegetables, oats, oat bran and seeds. And once this is dissolved in water it transforms similar to a gel which is absorbed in the intestines. The function of this type of fiber is to stabilize glucose level and cholesterol level.

The second type of fiber is insoluble fiber, this do not dissolve in water like soluble fiber does. And this is found in fruits, legumes, seeds, whole grain and etc. This passes in the digestive system wherein it removes and eliminates all toxic matters and undesired elements in the body, it is also responsible in reducing the risk of having hemorrhoids, colorectal cancer and constipation.

Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber are naturally good for the body and to take this daily will make one healthier and away from all sorts of diseases. The recommended daily intake of fiber according to medical experts has to be 20-30 grams a day in order to keep your body in shape and healthy as well. The next discussion will be focusing on some natural fiber food sources that may be useful in your search for high fiber foods.

Whole grain foods like buckwheat, millet, oats, rye, pinto beans, barley and others that are found in fiber cereals are just some of the high in fiber foods. Another is organic legumes, organic fruits and vegetables, organic nuts and seeds and many more.

There are also fiber supplements that are available in the market whereby you can take them if you had a low fiber meal though it is better that fiber be taken from natural sources because it is healthier and safer to consume everyday. Fiber supplements are also good but a better choice would be those that come from fruits and vegetables.

High fiber foods are also good in preventing cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes. So really a lot can be gained with foods that are high in fiber, it also helps one lose weight while removing all of the harmful toxins in the body through cleansing which is good if one is trying to slim down and cut down on few extra pounds.

Solid Facts About Acid Reflux Medication

You may be asking yourself if medicaments for heartburn really work, when the priority is on eliminating the real cause of your acid reflux condition and if the relief that is temporary compensates for the side effects. After all, drugs and medicaments for heartburn are readily available. Adverts show them, medicaments for heartburn are sold over the counter, and the majority of doctors happily prescribe them with the notion of instantly terminating the crippling pain of heartburn.

Usually, after swallowing, the LES or lower esophageal sphincter opens to let food pass to the stomach and then shuts to stop acid from returning into the esophagus. Heartburn, also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), comes about when the valve in the esophagus (the LES) loses its strength and instead of blocking in the other direction, lets stomach content go back into the esophagus. Acid reflux patients experience a particular burning feeling under the breastbone, often coming at night. It is this backward flow of acid coming from this acid reflux and resulting in a burning sensation that is called heartburn.

Acid reflux is a dangerous condition requiring immediate diagnosis and treatment. If neglected, acid reflux can badly damage the lining of the esophagus causing chronic inflammation and possibly even cancer of the esophagus. Persistent acid reflux with its common symptoms of heartburn can be distressing and painful enough to handicap your daily activities and significantly impact the esophagus.

Acid reflux medicaments are not imperatively the remedy of choice, even if they appear to be the most readily accessible treatment for heartburn. There are four principal classes of medicaments for use with GERD:

1. Antacids take effect by neutralizing acid in the esophagus and do this for up to a few hours. They can be bought in different formats such as liquid, chewing gum or tablets and so on.

2. Alginates encapsulate stomach contents and reduce reflux.

3. H2-receptor antagonists imitate the production of stomach acid in order to put a block on your gastric system. They take 30 to 60 minutes to start working and can then produce this effect for up to 12 hours.

4. PPI (Proton pump inhibitors) inhibit the release of acid in the stomach by acting on the stomach cells.

These medicaments all have a common element, even if they vary in the way in which they work, as well as for their duration and effect:

1. Their effect is not permanent. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a complex phenomenon, being created by a combination of factors of the environment, lifestyle and diet. However, most medicaments for acid reflux focus on treating the immediate short-term causes, so they do not bring permanent relief and skirt around the real causes of GERD.

2. Using these drugs for a long duration can produce multiple side effects. Prolonged usage of antacids can worsen the damage from long duration acid reflux: gastric acid is necessary for good digestion and immunity and continually ingesting antacid interferes with these processes. PPI therapy usually does more good than harm for side effects. Its most frequent side effects including serious headaches and diarrhea, PPI have also been associated with osteoporosis.

Medication therapy for acid reflux is based on the classical approach that compared to the holistic approach does not look after the body while eradicating the symptoms of the disease. For this reason, most medications for acid reflux will not do more than give temporary relief amidst a host of side effects. On the other hand, alternative treatments for acid reflux such as homeopathic solutions, herbal remedies, changes in lifestyle and diet, and detoxification, will solve the internal cause of acid reflux to safely and effectively stop it from happening again.

Colon Cleanse – The Colon And Colon Cleansing

Before delving into what colon cleanse is, is it not wiser to get an idea of what your colon does? That way, you will better understand why getting your colon cleansed is immensely important. In this article, we will be discussing the Colon’s role in the digestive function of the intestinal tract. Colon cleansing and its benefits will also be discussed.

What is the Colon and where is it Located?

The colon is perhaps better known as your large intestines. It basically starts at the junction between your appendix and small intestines and ends up in the opening of your anus. The colon is about 1 to 2 meters in length and is subdivided into Ascending Colon, Transverse Colon and the Descending colon. The names would be better understood by a discussing of how the colon lies in your body. Basically the colon forms and inverted letter ‘U’, the ascending portion of it starts at the appendix and ends when the colon starts to bend. The Transverse part of the colon lies horizontally – near where your liver and stomach are located. The descending portion starts out at the bend 2nd bend of the transverse colon and goes down up to the anus.

What is the function of the Colon?

Most of the digestion and absorption occurs in the stomach and small intestines. That is the reason why when the food reaches the colon, it is basically composed of water and waste. Therefore the main function of the colon is for moving the waste for removal and also to reabsorb some excess water. The fecal matter starts out soft and watery in the ascending portion, it starts to harden slightly when it reaches the transverse portion and after further re-absorption of water, it is then extruded from the body by defecating.

What is Colon Cleansing?

A Colon Cleanse or colon cleansing is the process of sweeping out any excess waste that may be present in any segment of the large intestines. It may also include cleaning out the small intestines – but that depends on the product type. You can achieve colon cleansing by using commercial available products that help take out the plaque and the excess debris that can be found in your colon’s walls. Colon Cleansing is considered to be very helpful in alleviating a lot of diseases and it has even been said to prevent the development of cancer.

Is Colon Cleansing For You?

It really depends on what you want. A lot of experts would tell you the undergoing the process would be the best for your body – and they are not kidding. They are of course basing their statements on the many positive results that have come out of satisfied individuals who have had their colons cleansed. These people walked away from the treatment feeling better and experiencing less of the symptoms that they did before.

So, there you have it: a look into what the colon is and what it does. If you feel like you need to have a colon cleansing procedure done, by all means do it. Just make sure that you are doing it safely. Consult a physician and review your product of choice thoroughly before going through with it.

Understanding Penis Pain – Why Yeast Infections Occur in Men

Regardless of how in or out of tune a man is with his own body, one thing he is sure to never miss is penis pain and abnormal discharge. There are numerous reasons for such an occurrence, ranging from a mild infection, to a sexually transmitted disease, to a serious medical condition such as cancer. One such condition – which luckily is very treatable – is the common yeast infection. Though a yeast infection may not cause serious health side effects, it can easily be passed from partner to partner, making it very important to pop in to the doctor and get treated if a yeast infection is suspected. While it is likely that most men will encounter a yeast infection at some point in their lives, engaging in a daily penis health routine will not only alert him to sudden changes, but may decrease the frequency of similar annoying, uncomfortable ailments.

What is a yeast infection… don’t they only occur in women?

While a yeast infection tends to be more common in women – and more readily spotted- it is an infection many men can get, as well. In fact, some men actually carry a yeast infection without even knowing it, as they are asymptomatic. Men who show no symptoms are (obviously) more likely to pass it to their partners, which is sometimes how a man finds out he had it to begin with.

A yeast infection is an infection caused by the fungus Candida; in men, it occurs on the penis. Despite the unpleasant images the thought of a fungus may bring up for most people, it is actually a normal part of the healthy environment and found on the skin of most people. Generally, the immune system keeps the fungus from turning into an infection, but certain circumstances lead to an infection.

What causes a yeast infection?

* Compromised Immunity: Having a compromised immune system makes one more susceptible to any type of infection, including a yeast infection. Certain issues cause chronic immunodeficiency including: an underactive thyroid gland, HIV, Lyme disease, mononucleosis, and even chronic stress.

* Antibiotics: Antibiotics are prescribed to kill invading bacteria — which cause infection. Unfortunately, an antibiotic medication is unable to discern between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Thus, it may target the wrong kind, allowing a yeast infection to occur.

* Diabetes: This is another chronic medical condition known to be associated with yeast infections. The elevated sugar levels in a diabetic’s urine creates an environment in which yeast tends to thrive.

* Sexual Transmission: While not considered a sexually transmitted infection, yeast infections can be passed from male to female and female to male during sex.

What are the symptoms?

In certain men, no symptoms ever present and he may not discover he has a yeast infection until his partner becomes symptomatic. Treatment is still recommended for these men, however; otherwise, they will continue to re-infect their partner. For men who do show signs of yeast infection, symptoms include:

* Severe itching around the head of the penis
* Irritation and soreness of the head of the penis
* White, cheesy discharge
* Redness of the head of the penis
* Blistering on the head of the penis

How to care for the penis

The best way to prevent a penile yeast infection is to use protection during sex, particularly if one’s partner suspects a yeast infection is present. A quick round of antifungal medication is commonly prescribed to treat the infection, so an infected penis is as good as new in no time. Keeping the genital area dry is also an important tip to preventing yeast infections, as the yeast that is naturally on one’s penis tends to thrive – and grow – in warm, moist conditions. Maintaining proper penis hygiene by thoroughly washing the penis regularly with mild soap and water may help prevent excessive bacteria which can eventually lead to infection. Additionally, the use of a penis health formula full of vitamins and minerals (most professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) can also keep the penis healthy. Choose one with Vitamin A, which has anti-bacterial properties and may help keep infections away.