Acetyl-L-carnitine-(ALC)

Acetyl-L-carnitine

Acetyl-L-carnitine

Overview

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is A modified amino acid formed by the acetylation of L-carnitine in the mitochondria, both of which  are used to help the body turn fat into energy .This modification gains ALC an advantage by making ALC more easily absorbed from the gut, and more readily crosses the blood-brain barrier.

ALC has a beneficial effect in treating Alzheimer’s dementia, depression in the elderly, ischemia and reperfusion of the brain, cognitive impairment of alcoholism and improving memory and thinking skills.

ALC also gained a great clinical interest for its analgesic effect in different forms of neuropathies associated with chronic pain, such as diabetic and HIV-related peripheral neuropathies.

 

Mechanism of Action

The exact mechanisms of action of ALC are unknown, but current research indicates they may be related to both ALC’s cholinergic neural transmission activity and its ability to enhance neuronal metabolism in the mitochondria

 

Clinical Indications

 

Age-related testosterone deficiency (“male menopause”).

Taking ALC helps in symptoms related to declining male hormone levels such as mood, energy and sexual dysfunction  in much the same way the male hormone testosterone does.

 

 Alzheimer’s Disease

ALC have neuroprotective properties and many studies showed a reduction in  attention deficits, behavioral deterioration, and improvement in long-term memory performance in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) after long-term treatment.

 

Cerebral Ischemia and Reperfusion

ALC plays a therapeutic role in the treatment of cerebral ischemia through mechanisms that include faster recovery and improvement of brain energy production as well as a decreased lactic acid content during early post-ischemic reperfusion.

 

Depression

ALC which is a crucial mediator of fat metabolism and energy production throughout the body, plays a special role in the brain, where it works at least in part by preventing the excessive firing of excitatory nerve cells in brain regions : the hippocampus and frontal cortex

 

Diabetes mellites

Many studies showed that ALC treatment is efficacious in alleviating Diabetes symptoms, particularly pain, and improving nerve fibers regeneration and vibration perception in patients with established diabetic neuropathy.

Other studies showed that Type 2 diabetic patients receiving ALC have a higher insulin-stimulated glucose utilization in a dose-dependent manner

 

Cardiovascular

Like L-carnitine, ALC enhances fatty acid transport for ATP production in the mitochondria of both skeletal and heart muscle, thereby affording protection from free-radical damage.

ALC ameliorate hypertension, vascular function and insulin resistance in metabolic syndrome and coronary artery disease

 

Other indications studies showed that ALC might be of a benefit in:

  • Attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and fragile X syndrome
  • Antiretroviral neuropathy
  • HIV infection
  • Diabetic Cataract
  • Peyronie’s disease
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Hepatic encephalopathy and coma

 

Dosing

ALC is usually given orally in tablet or capsule form with dosage ranging from 1-3 grams daily, in divided doses.

If administered intravenously, the dosage is usually 1500-2000 mg.

 

Side effects

ALC is considered safe, without incidence of significant side effects, even with long-term administration.

The most common adverse reactions noted have been agitation, nausea, and vomiting.

 

Pregnancy and lactation:

ALC has not been thoroughly studied clinically in pregnancy and breast-feeding mothers so it’s advised to avoid using it.

 

Special precautions and warnings:

–        Neuropathy caused by chemotherapy: ALC might worsen  nerve pain caused by taxanes (class of chemotherapy drugs).

 

  • Hypothyroidism: ALC might interfere with thyroid hormone…not to be used in hypothyroidism
  • Seizures: L-carnitine makes seizures more likely in people who have had seizures before. Since L-carnitine is related to ALC, there is a concern that this might also occur with acetyl-L-carnitine. Therefore, ALC should be avoided in patients suffering from nerve spasms.

Major Interaction

ALC may interfere with drugs that treat or prevent blood clots:

  • acenocoumarol/nicoumalone (Sintrom): ALC might increase the effectiveness of acenocoumarol which might slow blood clotting too much.

 

  • Warfarin: ALC might increase the effects of warfarin and increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. The dose of warfarin might need to be adjusted .
DHA

فوائد فيتامين E

Benefits of Vitamin E

 

Vitamin E is found naturally in many foods in eight chemical forms; alpha, beta, gamma, delta-tocopherol & alpha, beta, gamma, delta-tocotrienol. Each form has different degrees of biological activity, but alpha-tocopherol is the only form that is utilized by the human body to meet its requirements of vitamin E.

 

The concentration of vitamin E in the serum depends on liver processes. The liver secretes alpha-tocopherol into the serum, while metabolizing and excreting the other forms. Thus, the concentration of alpha-tocopherol is higher than the rest of the forms in the serum. This is what prompted researchers to focus on its effects for human health.

 

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) Antioxidant Properties

 

Alpha-tocopherol has antioxidant properties that protect cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules containing a high-energy free electron that lead to the development of chronic diseases; such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers, due to their rapid reaction with oxygen and the formation of reactive oxygen compounds (ROS).

 

ROS are formed internally when the body converts food into energy. However, the body can also be exposed to free radicals from external factors such as smoking, air pollution and UV rays.

 

Scientists are investigating the possibility that vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), in conjunction with other factors, can prevent or delay chronic diseases associated with free radical exposure. Since it’s a fat-soluble antioxidant that inhibits ROS formation when fats are oxidized.

 

Required Doses of Vitamin E

 

The National Academy of Medicine in the United States has developed a guide indicating the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for nutrients including vitamin E. The DRI consists of a set of reference values ​​that vary by age and gender, and are used to assess and plan the dietary intake of healthy people, including:

 

  • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

 

The average daily intake level is sufficient to meet the needs of nearly all healthy individuals (97-98%) and is often used to provide an adequate diet for individuals.

 

  • Estimated Average Requirement (EAR)

 

The average daily intake level is estimated to meet the requirements of 50% of healthy individuals and is often used to assess the nutritional intake of a group of people and to establish an adequate diet for them.

 

  • Adequate Intake (AI)

 

Intake at this level is considered to be able to achieve an adequate dietary intake and is used when the RDA can’t be decided.

 

  • Maximum Acceptable Level (uL)

 

The maximum amount of a daily intake that does not cause adverse health effects.

 

The daily intake requirement of alpha-tocopherol has been established based on serum levels that provide adequate protection from free radicals.

 

Each 1 mg of Vitamin E is equivalent to 1mg of its natural form (called d-alpha-tocopherol) and 2mg of its synthetic form (called dl-alpha-tocopherol).

 

 Age Group Males Females Pregnancy Lactation
0 – 6 months 4 mg 4 mg
7 – 12 months 5 mg 5 mg
1 – 3 years 6 mg 6 mg
4 – 8 years 7 mg 7 mg
9 – 13 years 11 mg 11 mg
14+ years 15 mg 15 mg 15 mg 19 mg

 

 

Sources of Vitamin E

 

Vitamin E is naturally found in wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, sunflower oil, hazelnuts, peanuts, peanut butter, corn oil, spinach, broccoli, kiwi, tomatoes, etc…

 

Synthetic vitamin E supplements are also available. These can contain a mixture of all eight of Vitamin E’s forms. Therefore, the amount supplied from artificial supplements is half the effectiveness of the same amount from the natural sources.

 

Vitamin E Deficiencies

 

Vitamin E deficiency is considered rare. Symptoms of deficiency have not been detected in people who maintain the required intake of this vitamin in their diet. However, there are some cases that may cause deficiency of this vitamin.

 

  • Premature pregnancy:

 

Some studies have indicated that pregnant women with vitamin E deficiency are more likely to give birth prematurely. Vitamin E supplements can reduce the likelihood of complications of this such as conditions affecting the retina, but in turn increase the risk of infections.

 

  • Fat malabsorption diseases:

 

The digestive tract needs fat in order to absorb vitamin E. Therefore, a deficiency in this vitamin can occur in people with one of these diseases. Symptoms of deficiency are peripheral neuropathy, ataxia, skeletal myopathy, retinopathy, and immune response dysfunction.

 

  • Certain digestive diseases:

 

People with, for example, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis or impaired liver bile secretion into the digestive tract have chronic diarrhea and therefore need water-soluble forms of vitamin E.

 

People with beta-lipoproteinemia (a rare hereditary disease) need very high doses of vitamin E supplements since this disease causes malabsorption of fats in the diet. In addition to this disease, vitamin E deficiency causes neural impulses, muscular weakness, and retinal damage that leads to blindness.

 

  • Ataxia & vitamin E deficiency:

 

A rare hereditary disease in which the liver loses its ability to secret alpha-tocopherol, resulting in neurological damage and paralysis if the patient does not take very high doses of vitamin supplements to compensate.

 

  • Vitamin E & health:

 

Several studies have highlighted the role of vitamin E in supporting health, preventing and treating disease. This effect is due to vitamin E’s antioxidant properties and its roles in anti-inflammatory processes, preventing platelet clotting and improving immunity.

 

  • Coronary Artery Diseases:

 

In-vitro studies have shown that vitamin E inhibits the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which are a causative factor for atherosclerosis. Vitamin E also prevents the formation of blood clots leading to heart attacks.

 

Additionally, several observational studies have linked a higher dietary intake of vitamin E to lower rates of heart disease. Following that, several clinical studies refuted these results and showed that vitamin E supplements are not able to prevent or delay heart disease. These studies were conducted mostly on middle-aged or older individuals with risk factors for heart disease.

 

Therefore, some researchers have suggested that studies should be conducted over a longer period of time in younger people and giving them higher doses, in order to know the possible uses of vitamin E in preventing coronary artery disease.

 

  • Cancer

 

Researchers have tried to explore the mechanisms of action of vitamin E that enable it to reduce the development of cancer. Several hypotheses were suggested. The first is vitamin E’s antioxidant properties that protect cell components from the damaging effects of free radicals. Secondly, it inhibits the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in the stomach and improves immune function.

 

Clinical studies were conducted to prove this efficacy, but the results showed the opposite and indicated that vitamin E is not useful in most cancer cases.

 

However, one study conducted on a sample of men who were smokers or ex-smokers, linked a high intake of vitamin E to a decrease in the risk of advanced prostate cancer by 71%.

 

Many other experiments have taken place, but evidence of vitamin E’s relationship with preventing cancer is still insufficient.

 

  • Ocular diseases

 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most common causes of vision loss in adults. Its pathogenesis is still unknown but oxidative stress is believed to play a role in its development.

 

If this is true, then nutrients with antioxidant properties (such as vitamin E) can be used to prevent or treat this disease.

 

One randomized clinical study found a 25% reduced risk of developing AMD among participants at risk by taking daily supplements of vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, zinc and copper. Overall, the evidence is insufficient to prove whether vitamin E has an effect on regressing AMD, whether taken alone or in combination.

 

However, these findings open up an opportunity to explore such options and suggest that there may be a way to delay the progression of AMD.

 

  • Cognitive decline

 

The brain has a high rate of oxygen consumption and a large amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids within the membranes of its neurons. It is hypothesized that taking an adequate amount of antioxidant supplements (such as vitamin E) would provide some protection against the damaging effect of free radicals that may accumulate in nerve cells that lead to the formation of neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline (such as Alzheimer’s disease).

 

A clinical study was conducted on 341 patients with moderate-severity Alzheimer’s disease over a two-year period who were randomly assigned either vitamin E or a placebo. Treatment with vitamin E has resulted in significant delays in functional impairment and the need for hospitalization or nursing home admission.

 

Subsequent studies were unable to reach these same results, but rather indicated that there was no association between vitamin E and the prevention of functional cognitive decline. More studies are still needed to explore the efficacy of vitamin E.

 

To conclude, it is best to naturally get vitamin E from diets that include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, nuts, and soy products, and limit intake of saturated fat, sugar, and sodium.

 

It is also necessary to consult a doctor before starting to take vitamin E supplements because of their interactions with other medications; such as anticoagulants, statins, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and heart disease medications.

iodine

Benefits & Uses of Iodine

Iodine is a type of mineral that’s naturally found in the earth’s soil and ocean waters. It is also found in some plant foods and in abundant quantities within iodized salt.

 

Iodine is essential for the regulation of body functions such as production of hormones necessary for fetal development inside the womb. Moreover, the availability of such hormones at normal levels in the mother’s body aids in preventing the child from being exposed to other problems later after birth.

 

How much iodine does the body need?

 

The recommended daily dose varies according to age and health status, but generally, an adult needs approximately 150 micrograms of iodine per day. However, during pregnancy and lactation, the body’s iodine demands increase.

 

Benefits of Iodine

 

  • Improves Thyroid Health

Iodine plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate and control heart function. To synthesize such hormones, the thyroid gland uses iodine. Therefore, low levels of iodine lead to problems in the thyroid gland such as hypothyroidism.

 

Sufficient amounts of iodine can easily be obtained by consuming certain foods, such as plants that grow in iodine-rich soil or by adding iodized salt to food. However, by such methods, the benefits of iodine when consumed in reasonable amounts may be exceeded, which may cause some problems. Therefore, it is not recommended to take extra supplements containing iodine without consulting a doctor.

 

  • Reduces the Incidence of Goiter

The main cause of goiter is dietary iodine deficiency. Although this doesn’t happen in countries where iodine is easily obtained from the diet. Goiter, which is the enlargement of the thyroid gland, can usually be due to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

 

In this case, iodine deficiency goiter can be treated by focusing on iodine-rich foods or taking nutritional supplements under medical supervision.

 

  • Management of Hyperthyroidism

When a patient suffers from hyperthyroidism, antithyroid drugs are the most common pharmaceutical treatment. However, if these drugs fail to treat the underlying issue, then an alternative would be using radioactive iodine, which works on destroying thyroid cells and thus reducing thyroid hormone production and secretion. The major drawback of this alternative is that it may lead to the destruction of other cells in the thyroid gland, consequently, the occurrence of hypothyroidism.

 

  • Thyroid Cancer Treatment

Radioactive iodine is also an option for treating thyroid cancer. It is used as an adjuvant postoperative treatment. It works in the same way as treating hyperthyroidism by destroying cancer cells.

 

According to the American Cancer Society, the use of radioactive iodine increases the chances of survival for people with thyroid cancer.

 

  • Fetal Nervous System Development

Pregnant women need more iodine (220 mcg per day) than the average person (150 mcg per day), as it plays an important role in the development of the fetal brain and nervous system. Some studies have found that children whose mothers suffered from iodine deficiency were more likely to have lower IQs as well as some other intellectual distortions.

 

An infant needs about 110 micrograms of iodine per day until they reach the age of six months. To avoid iodine overdose, parents should pay attention to the iodine-rich foods their infant consumes and consult a doctor regarding giving their infant additional iodine supplements during this period.

 

  • Improving Children’s Cognitive Function

It’s quite fascinating how the positive effects of sufficient iodine intake during pregnancy may extend into the infant’s childhood. These effects include a reduced likelihood of developing intellectual disabilities. It is always essential that children get the iodine they need during childhood as well.

 

  • Newborn Weight Improvements

While there is a correlation between the development of the fetal brain and the levels of iodine consumed by the mother during pregnancy, there also is a close correlation between iodine levels and the improvement of fetal weight during birth.

 

A credible study conducted on several pregnant women proved that taking tablets containing 400 micrograms of iodine per day helped in improving the fetal weight at birth and reducing goiter caused by iodine deficiency.

 

However, the study was conducted on women in developing countries who suffered from mineral deficiencies in general. To conclude, if there is no definitive iodine deficiency diagnosis in a pregnant woman, the addition of iodine does not improve the weight of the fetus, quite the contrary, it may cause many other problems.

 

  • Treatment of Fibrocystic Breasts

Fibrocystic breasts is a condition which usually occurs in women of childbearing age in which non-cancerous and painful lumps form in the breasts.

 

Despite the promise that iodine supplements can aid in the treatment of this condition, it is always necessary to consult a doctor before taking these supplements since their harms may outweigh their benefit.

 

  • Water Sterilization

Iodine is integrated in water disinfection when clean water sources are scarce (i.e. in cases of travel and natural disasters.).

 

Liquid iodine can be added at a rate of 2% per liter of water. Following that, if the water is significantly turbid, the iodine ratio can be raised to 10%. Another type of iodine can also be used in the form of tablets.

 

Despite the benefits of iodine in purifying water, there are many concerns about an increase in its concentration in the body, predisposing unwanted negative effects.

 

  • Protection during Nuclear Disasters

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends calcium iodide (KI), for thyroid gland protection from radiation injury.

 

Iodine is available in the form of hard tablets and in solution form. Although, the efficacy of iodine in such circumstances is not guaranteed to a large extent, as scientists believe that it causes digestive disorders and allergic reactions. It is also believed to affect the thyroid gland negatively in those who have preexisting thyroid gland problems.

 

  • Infection Prevention

Iodine is also used as a topical antiseptic in the form of a solution. It prevents infection by killing the bacteria surrounding minor cuts and scrapes.

 

However, it’s worth noting that iodine should not be used in/for:

  • Newborns
  • Insect or animal bites
  • Deep wounds

 

It should also not be used for a period exceeding 10 days without medical supervision.

 

Side Effects of Iodine

 

Iodine may cause some minor side effects, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Burning in the mouth and throat
  • Stomach pain

 

In severe cases, it may cause loss of consciousness.

 

As highlighted previously, iodine should not be taken without consulting a doctor in the case of preexisting thyroid conditions. Additionally, children and elderly are more susceptible to its side effects.

A bottle of capsules spilling out over a grey background.

Benefits of Zinc for Healthy Hair

Luxuriant, glossy and healthy looking hair is not just a symbol of beauty. It is also an indicative sign of the body’s general health condition. Hair; just like any other organ in the body, needs certain elements to maintain its health and growth. While important factors such as age and genetics play an important role in hair fall, these factors are also heavily influenced by nutritional deficiencies that result in a scarcity of important elements in the body. Zinc is one of these important elements that contribute to the growth of beautiful and healthy looking hair.

 

What is Zinc?

 

Zinc is a vital mineral that is utilized in many different ways in the body, including:

 

  • Catalyzing the synthesis of more than 100 enzymes.
  • Maintaining a healthy and functional immune system.
  • Involved in protein synthesis.
  • Necessary for wound healing.
  • Plays an important role in fetal development during pregnancy and later during childhood and adolescence.

 

Sources of Zinc 

 

Oysters are considered the richest source of zinc, but there are other zinc-rich sources that we can incorporate in our daily diet, such as: beans, red meat, dairy products and nuts.

 

Small amounts of zinc are needed by the body, yet many people may have zinc deficiency due to poor nutrition, diseases (eg: diabetes), malignancies and liver disease. Therefore these people need to take zinc supplements in order to compensate for its deficiency.

 

Among the many signs and symptoms indicating low zinc levels in the body, the most important are:

  • Hair fall
  • Anorexia
  • Slow wound healing
  • Facial acne and eczema
  • Slow growth
  • A strange taste in the mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor immunity
  • Mental lethargy

 

Some people are more vulnerable to the deficiency of this important mineral than others, for instance in conditions such as premature birth, people who receive parenteral nutrition, people with severe chronic diarrhea, those diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, alcoholics, and vegetarians who follow a strict diet.

 

Zinc Supplements

 

Several types of zinc supplements are available in the market, each with specific properties:

 

  • Zinc Gluconate: One of the most important over-the-counter forms of zinc supplements used to treat colds. It is available in both nasal spray and chewable tablet forms.
  • Zinc Acetate: Similar to zinc gluconate, it is used as a cold remedy to relieve symptoms and speed recovery.
  • Zinc Sulfate: In addition to its use in cases of zinc deficiency, it has been found to be effective in treating acne.
  • Zinc Picolinate: Some research has indicated that this form may be more readily absorbed by the body than other forms, including gluconate and citrate.
  • Zinc Orotate: This is the most common form of zinc supplements.
  • Zinc Citrate: Some studies have shown that this form of zinc supplementation is similar to zinc gluconate in absorption but has the advantage of having a less bitter taste which is more tolerated by patients.

 

Although these supplements are generally considered safe, it must be noted that nasal sprays containing zinc may cause a loss of smell.

 

How Does Zinc Work To Maintain Healthy Hair & Prevent Hair fall?

 

Zinc plays an important role in hair repair and growth. It also helps maintain healthy oil glands around the follicles.

 

Researchers believe that zinc acts as an inhibitor of 5-AR; the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is a powerful androgen associated with prostate enlargement and hair loss. Therefore, when this enzyme is inhibited, the formation of DHT will be prevented, thus reducing hair fall and hair loss. Researchers have also found that there is an association between taking zinc supplements and the decrease or complete prevention of hair fall in patients with hypothyroidism, as hypothyroidism is a widely known cause of hair fall.

 

Although zinc levels were lower in most people battling excessive hair fall, zinc levels were much lower in patients with alopecia and telogen effluvium compared with those suffering from androgenic hair fall. Some studies have indicated a significant improvement in hair loss and hair thinning in alopecia areata after taking zinc supplements.

 

Recommended Dose of Zinc 

 

The daily recommended adult dose is between 15-30 mg, but higher doses can be used for certain conditions such as acne, diarrhea, and respiratory infections.

 

The recommended upper limit of 40 mg should not be exceeded unless under medical supervision.

 

Zinc Side effects and Interactions

 

Zinc intake has been associated with some uncomfortable side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. In addition, taking 40 mg of zinc daily can cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, headache and fatigue.

 

Zinc may also interfere with copper absorption, and thus taking it in a large dose may cause copper levels to decrease in the body over time. Also, some studies have shown that zinc can interfere with antibiotics and reduce their effectiveness if taken at the same time.

 

Do I Have To Take Zinc Supplements To Maintain Healthy Hair?

 

Eating a healthy and balanced diet, without a doubt, is the best way to obtain the necessary minerals and vitamins for the body as a whole and for the hair in particular. Sometimes deficiencies occur whether due to malnutrition or any other causes, then in this case, supplements are taken in their appropriate doses. Some research has indicated that nutritional supplements work best for people who are already deficient in these nutrients, moreover, these supplements can be harmful if a person doesn’t need them.

 

This also applies to taking zinc supplements, as several studies have shown that taking zinc supplements when there is no documented deficiency might have a paradoxical effect and cause hair fall.

Shot of a young woman suffering with stomach cramps at home

Indigestion

Indigestion

Indigestion manifests as pain or discomfort in the upper abdominal area or a burning pain behind the breastbone. Indigestion and heartburn may occur together or alone, as heartburn can be a sign of various other diseases.

 

Symptoms of indigestion usually appear shortly after eating and drinking, and include:

 

  • Feeling of fullness and bloating.

 

We can say that indigestion is a common problem that affects both genders of all ages, however there are some risk factors:

 

  • Heavy alcohol consumption.
  • Medications that damage the stomach lining, such as aspirin and other painkillers.
  • Gastrointestinal diseases, such as ulcers.
  • Psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.

 

Causes of Indigestion

 

Indigestion can be the result of other diseases such as: stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach cancer, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic pancreatitis and thyroid diseases.

 

Some medications can also cause indigestion, such as: aspirin, NSAIDs, estrogen, some antibiotics as well as thyroid medications.

 

Lifestyle behaviors may also be a cause for the occurrence of indigestion, such as overeating, eating too quickly, eating food rich in fat, drinking alcohol in large quantities, smoking, psychological stress and fatigue.

 

How does indigestion occur?

 

Indigestion occurs when stomach acids come into contact with the protective lining of the digestive system (mucosa). These acids cause the lining to break down, resulting in irritation and inflammation, which in turn can be painful.

 

However most people do not develop inflammation in the digestive tract and their symptoms are caused by the increased sensitivity in the lining of the digestive system to stomach acid.

 

Although indigestion can be caused by smoking, alcohol consumption, pregnancy, stress or taking certain medications as mentioned earlier, in most cases it is related to eating habits.

 

Treatment of Indigestion

 

Given that indigestion is not a disease in itself, but rather a group of symptoms, its treatment revolves around eliminating the cause of these symptoms. Additionally, some preparations that relieve these symptoms can be taken as well, for example; probiotics, which are a group of beneficial bacteria coexisting in the human body that have many benefits, including:

 

  • Maintaining the health of the digestive system.
  • Relieving the upsetting symptoms of indigestion.

 

Some studies have determined that supplements containing the appropriate mixture of these beneficial bacteria will relieve the symptoms of indigestion by eliminating some harmful pathogens, the most common of which are Escherichia coli and Shigella, in addition to probiotics’ role in restoring intestinal microflora.

 

Common Types of Probiotics Used for Indigestion

 

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus

 

The human digestive system houses billions of bacteria that play an important role in maintaining its health. Among the most famous types of these bacteria are lactobacilli, which produce lactic acid that prevents the growth of harmful bacterial colonies and maintains the health of the digestive mucosa.

 

It also contributes to increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria or the microflora, including Bifidobacterium. Lactobacillus acidophilus also results in an increase in short-chain fatty acids, which in turn are beneficial for the health of the digestive system.

 

Some studies have suggested that using lactic acid as a probiotic can increase gene expression that contributes to developing an immune response in the gut helping fight off infections.

 

Another study that looked at taking lactic acid supplements with prebiotics and found that they increased the amount of lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium.

 

One study involved 60 patients with functional bowel disorders, including IBS, showed that taking a combination of lactic acid and another probiotic for 1-2 months was helpful in resolving bloating.

 

  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus

 

Studies have indicated that consumption of Lactobacillus bulgaricus during indigestion can enhance gastrointestinal balance and stimulate the growth of beneficial intestinal microbes.

 

Prior consumption of probiotics can also reduce the risk of indigestion during conditions that inhibit the growth of intestinal microbes, such as the use of antibiotics.

 

Overall, improvement in general gastrointestinal symptoms and abdominal pain and bloating was noted in IBS patients as well as a decreased risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and H. pylori-related side effects.

 

  • Bifidobacterium lactis

 

This type of bacteria is found in the small and large intestines. Several types of foods are rich in this type of bacteria, especially dairy products.

 

The main function of this bacteria is to break down waste products. They also assist in the absorption of minerals and vitamins during digestion and are taken by people who are lactose intolerant.

 

  1. lactis improves overall digestive health and contributes to the management of IBS symptoms, as well as reducing the inflammatory effect of gluten on the intestinal lining.

 

  • Streptococcus thermophilus

 

They may be the least known of the probiotics, but their many benefits are worth mentioning. One of their most important benefits is to improve digestive function as they can survive harsh conditions within the intestine without being destroyed by acid and bile.

 

They also have a significant role in the growth of beneficial bacteria. Several studies have indicated that using thermophilus with other types of probiotics is recommended to improve digestive symptoms, especially irritable bowel syndrome. In addition to their role in improving the symptoms of lactose intolerance, this strain can facilitate the digestion of milk with the help of lactic acid.

 

It should also be mentioned that Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, or any other types of probiotics are not approved by the FDA to treat any disease and should not be substituted for prescription medications. It is always recommended to consult your physician before using any of these supplements.

probiotics

Probiotics

Probiotics

Probiotics consist of live beneficial bacteria and /or yeasts that naturally live in the body. In the body’s normal state, harmful and beneficial bacteria are present, on the other hand when an infection is present, the amount of harmful bacteria outweighs the number of beneficial bacteria. This upsets the bacterial balance in the body, however the beneficial bacteria helps restore the balance and eliminate the harmful bacteria. That’s how probiotic supplements contribute to this process.

 

What are probiotics?

 

Probiotics are a mixture of live beneficial bacteria with/or yeasts that live naturally in the body.

Although bacteria are known to be pathogens, most people are unaware that the body naturally contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria in its normal state.

 

The role of beneficial bacteria in maintaining the balance and health of your body is prevalent through several ways, including eliminating excess harmful bacteria. Probiotics are part of the microbiome. A microbiome can be visualized as a forest containing many organisms. It actually contains living organisms that work in an integrated manner to keep the body healthy.

 

The organisms that make up the microbiome are called microbes. There are billions of microbes in the human body which can be divided into:

 

  • Bacteria
  • Fungi (including yeasts)
  • Viruses
  • Protozoa

 

It should be noted that microbes differ from person to person, even between twins. Not all microbes can be probiotics, in order to classify microbes into probiotics several conditions that must be met:

 

  • They are separate from their host.
  • They can survive in the intestines.
  • They have proven benefits for humans.
  • They can be used safely.

 

Where are probiotics found in the body?

 

Although the most common place for probiotics to be found is the intestines (often the large intestine), there are several places on and inside the body where probiotics are found, including:

 

  • The intestine.
  • The mouth.
  • The vagina.
  • The urinary tract.
  • The skin.
  • The lungs.

 

How do probiotics work?

 

The main function of probiotics in the body is to maintain a healthy balance. When a person is sick, harmful bacteria enter the body and their numbers increase, this causes a bacterial imbalance in the body.

 

Therefore, probiotics work to fight harmful bacteria and restore balance. Beneficial bacteria also maintain a healthy body by supporting the immune system and controlling inflammation, in addition to several other roles, including:

 

  • Aiding in the digestion of food.
  • Keep harmful bacteria under control and prevent their growth.
  • Supporting cells that line the intestines in preventing harmful bacteria from entering the blood through food and drink.
  • Aiding in medicine absorption.

 

This balance always occurs naturally in the body, which means we don’t need to take probiotic supplements to make it happen. Beneficial bacteria are naturally present in the body through an adequate daily diet that is rich in fiber and helps keep probiotics within required levels.

 

Types of Probiotics

 

There are many bacteria that can be classified as probiotics, but there are two types that are abundant in the supplement market:

 

  1. Lactobacilli
  2. Bifidobacterium

 

For probiotics made from yeasts, the most common type is Yeast boulardii.

 

Can probiotics be used to help with medical treatments?

 

Currently, there is a large amount of research revolving around the effect of probiotics on the body and although there are significant positive results, the effect of probiotics in some medical conditions as a treatment still remains under study.

 

However there are several medical conditions in which probiotics can help. Their effect varies between people and is also dependent on the type of probiotic taken. The following are some conditions where increasing the amount of probiotics through food or supplementation can help.

  • Diarrhea (whether caused by antibiotics or Clostridium difficile).
  • Inflammatory bowel.
  • Yeast infection.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI).
  • Periodontal disease.
  • Lactose intolerance.
  • Upper respiratory infections.

 

Ways to Increase Probiotics in the Body

 

You can increase the amount of probiotics in your body through food, drink and supplements. Your diet may already contain ingredients rich in probiotics, especially fermented foods such as pickles and yogurt. There are also some drinks like fermented kombucha tea or kefir that provide your body with probiotics.

 

Regardless of the food you eat, you can also take probiotics as supplements, but it is important to consult your doctor before starting any dietary supplement.

 

Foods that can be eaten to increase probiotics in the body:

 

 

  • Sourdough bread.
  • Kombucha tea.

 

Although adding foods rich in probiotics to the diet is harmless, it is still necessary to maintain a balanced diet, as focusing on one type of food can deprive the body of the benefits of other foods.

 

How can I take probiotics?

 

Probiotics can be taken through several forms:

 

  • Food
  • Drink
  • Granules or powder.

 

Probiotics can be found combined with prebiotics in the same preparation. The difference between prebiotics and probiotics is that prebiotics are complex sugars that help feed beneficial bacteria in the intestine, they include: insulin, pectin, and starches.

 

Efficacy of Probiotics

 

Research is still underway to confirm the effectiveness of probiotics in treating some conditions. Despite their many proven benefits, there is still a need to prove their effectiveness as a treatment. It is also important to remember that probiotics are not a treatment so far and do not need the approval of the FDA for use, which makes them vulnerable to false promotion and rumors by some merchants with claims of safety and efficacy.

 

Therefore, you should consult your physician before starting to use any nutritional supplement, as it can interfere with certain medications. This also applies to pregnant and breastfeeding women as well.

 

Probiotics Storage Conditions

 

Probiotics are fragile strains that are affected by light, heat and oxygen, all of which can kill them, therefore the storage instructions on their labels must be adhered to.

 

How safe are probiotics?

 

Because probiotics are naturally present in the body, they are generally considered safe, but they may cause allergic reactions, minor digestive upsets such as diarrhea and bloating in some people. In some rare cases, infection can cause the development of resistance to antibiotics.

 

Caution should be taken when taking probiotics with the following cases due to the risk of infection:

 

  • Immunocompromised patients (such as patients treated with chemotherapy).
  • Patients with life-threatening diseases.
  • Patients who have recently undergone surgery.

 

Is it necessary to take probiotics after treatment with antibiotics?

 

In cases of bacterial infections, antibiotics need to be taken, however these medications will eliminate the beneficial bacteria as well as the harmful bacteria, causing a bacterial imbalance in the body. This effect causes diarrhea in some people after taking antibiotics.

 

Some studies have indicated a relationship between the resolution of diarrhea and taking probiotics after antibiotic treatment, but this has not been proven yet and is not suitable for all people.

papaya

Benefits of Papaya

Benefits of Papaya

The Carica papaya plant’s homeland is Mexico but it grows in other tropical areas as well, such as the Caribbean and India. Its fruits, known as papaya, are characterized by their delicious taste and high nutritional value. These fruits can be added to various types of daily food such as juices and salads.

 

The leaves and fruits are used in pharmaceutical industries because of their great benefits. One small papaya, weighing around 152 grams, contains:

  • 59 calories
  • 15 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 1 gram protein
  • 157% of daily vitamin C
  • 33% of daily vitamin A
  • 14% of daily vitamin B9 (folic acid)
  • 11% of daily potassium
  • In addition to small amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamins (B1, B3, B5, E, K).

 

Benefits of Papaya

 

  • Antioxidant Effects

 

Papayas contain carotenoids, which are antioxidants that help in eliminating free radicals, thus reducing oxidative stress, which plays an important role in diseases.

 

Some research has shown that eating papaya reduces oxidative stress in elderly and people with signs of diabetes and liver disease.

 

One study indicated that lycopene; one of the carotenoids found in papaya, has the ability to reduce iron absorption which helps in cases of elevated iron stores in the body, as this condition is known to stimulate the production of free radicals.

 

 

  • Anti-cancer Properties

 

Research has shown that consuming papaya can contribute to prevention of colon and gallbladder cancers in some people. This effect is mostly due to the antioxidant action of papaya on free radicals, which have a major role in the development of cancers.

 

A study was also conducted on a group of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants to test their effect on cancer cells. As a result, papaya was the only one that showed anti-cancer activity on breast cancer cells, although more studies are still needed to confirm these claims.

 

 

  • Heart Health

 

Recent research shows that a diet rich in lycopene and vitamin C may help protect the body against heart disease. Moreover, the antioxidants in papaya can also play a role in protecting the heart and increasing the protective effects of HDL.

 

  • Diabetes

 

Preliminary studies have reported that eating ripe papaya before or after meals can lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

 

 

  • Contributes to Reduction in Inflammation

 

Chronic inflammation is the main cause of many diseases. Research has shown that fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, such as papaya, can help reduce inflammatory symptoms.

 

One study also indicated that eating foods rich in carotenoids such as papaya leads to a significant decrease in CRP levels in the blood, which is one of the indicators of the inflammatory state in the body.

 

  • Digestion

 

Papaya contains the enzyme papain, which helps in digestion of proteins. Studies have shown that eating papaya on a regular basis treats cases of constipation, bloating, and other symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, the seeds, roots and leaves may have a healing effect on peptic ulcers.

 

  • Protects Skin

 

Free radicals are one of the reasons for the appearance of signs of aging such as wrinkles and sagging that increase with age, and as we know that papaya is very beneficial for the health of the body, it also helps in maintaining the skin and making it more youthful and fresh. The reason for this is due to the presence of vitamin C and lycopene in papaya, which help reduce signs of aging and treat the skin from sun damage.

 

  • Gingivitis

 

Preliminary studies indicated that daily use of a toothpaste containing papaya leaf extract helps treat bleeding gums. Additionally, applying a gel containing papaya extract in between the spaces around the teeth can reduce gum inflammation and bleeding, especially in people with severe gingivitis.

 

  • Impact on HPV Infection

 

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted viral infection and research has indicated that eating papaya at least once a week can reduce the likelihood of HPV infection.

 

  • Effect on Wound Healing

 

Initial trials showed that applying a dressing containing papaya extract to a wound that was opened for a second time increased the speed of wound healing compared to a wound that was also opened twice and treated with a hydrogen peroxide dressing.

 

Safety Concerns

 

  • Oral

 

Papaya is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken in normal amounts with food, and POSSIBLY SAFE when used as medicine.

 

As for papaya latex (the rubbery liquid secreted by trees), it is considered unsafe if used in large quantities, because it contains the enzyme papain in larger quantities, which can lead to damage of the esophagus.

 

  • Application to the Skin

 

Papaya latex is not safe for topical application because it may cause an allergic reaction and severe skin irritation.

 

Warnings

 

  • Pregnancy & Lactation

 

Papaya is considered unsafe during pregnancy, due to the belief that the enzyme papain present in it can lead to birth defects or fetal toxicity.

 

In the case of breastfeeding, there is insufficient information to prove the safety of eating papaya, so it is advised not to eat large quantities during this period.

 

  • Diabetics

 

Patients with diabetes who are being treated with anti-diabetic medications should monitor their blood sugar when eating fermented papaya because it can lower blood sugar further, in which case they may need to adjust their medication doses.

 

  • Latex Allergy

 

In the case of latex allergy, there is a high chance that a papaya allergy also exists as well, so you should stay away from products containing it.

 

  • Surgery

 

Since papaya can affect blood sugar during and after surgery, you should stop eating it two weeks before any surgery.

ginger

Benefits of Ginger for Pregnancy

Benefits of Ginger for Pregnancy

 

Pregnancy is a sensitive stage of a woman’s life during which she is exposed to a number of physical and emotional changes. The body of a pregnant woman undergoes many changes, including: changes in reproductive hormones, lower immunity, swelling of the limbs, in addition to digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting and increased stomach acid.

 

Many commonly used medicines and natural herbal remedies cannot be used by pregnant women. Ginger is one of the plants that contains many health benefits and is considered one of the most important medicinal plants used during pregnancy. Many studies have shown that it can help control some symptoms of pregnancy such as morning sickness and vomiting safely for the mother and fetus. It has been classified as an official drug in many countries such as the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Switzerland and others.

 

Benefits of Ginger for Pregnant Women

 

  • Reduces Morning Sickness & Vomiting

 

About 80% of pregnant women suffer from symptoms of nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy. It has been found that ginger contains compounds in its roots that are able to calm and treat such symptoms.

 

Studies suggest that the main active substances responsible for this effect are gingerol and shogaol, which affect the receptors in the digestive system and speed up the process of gastric emptying. This leads to a reduction in the feeling of nausea.

 

Fresh ginger contains a large proportion of gingerol, while dried ginger contains a higher proportion of shogaol, and accordingly making tea from fresh or dried ginger gives the desired anti-nausea effect.

 

  • Relieves Pain of Uterine Contractions in Early Pregnancy

 

Studies have shown that ginger has an analgesic effect on uterine contractions that occur in the first trimester of pregnancy in some women.

 

  • Strengthens the Immune System

 

During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system becomes weak, making her more susceptible to flus, colds and even food poisoning. The antibacterial properties of ginger can be used to fight diseases and infections as well as boost the immune system.

 

  • Treats Constipation

 

About 50% of women suffer from constipation during pregnancy as a result of anatomical and hormonal changes. It is believed that ginger has the ability to stimulate the digestive system and thus can help treat and prevent constipation.

 

  • Nutrient Absorption

 

Ginger stimulates stomach and pancreatic enzymes. This can help improve the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients.

 

  • Heartburn & Flatulence

 

In moderate doses, ginger can help relieve the heartburn associated with pregnancy. However, in large doses, it can cause heartburn. Additionally, taking it before bedtime helps relieve indigestion symptoms such as bloating and gas.

 

  • It is also believed that ginger can have other benefits, including:
  • Maintaining and regulating cholesterol levels in the blood during pregnancy.
  • It helps in stimulating the mother’s blood circulation, thus improving blood flow to the fetus.

 

Recommended Dose of Ginger

 

Ginger tea is prepared by steeping fresh or dry ginger roots in hot water. Moderate amounts of ginger are considered safe for pregnant women.

 

There are no specific doses to treat nausea during pregnancy, but most research has indicated that it is permissible to consume about 1 gram of ginger per day. This amount is equivalent to drinking four cups of ginger tea or approximately 1 liter.

 

Warnings & Side Effects

 

Research has shown that using ginger during pregnancy does not increase the risk of premature birth or other complications, but it should be avoided when approaching labor because it may increase the risk of bleeding.

 

Pregnant women should avoid ginger and its products if they have had previous miscarriages, vaginal bleeding, or if they have blood clotting disorders.

 

In general, eating large amounts of ginger during pregnancy may cause unpleasant side effects such as heartburn, gas and belching, so its use should be reduced when these symptoms appear.

 

Some studies have shown that ginger can help maintain blood sugar levels in healthy people, but if you have diabetes such as gestational diabetes or type 2 diabetes, you should consult your doctor before taking it.

 

Also, if you are taking medications to treat high blood pressure or blood clotting disorders, you should consult your doctor before including ginger or its products in your diet.

Man touching his stomach in pain.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

 

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition worldwide & many people suffer as a result of it. People with IBS suffer from abdominal pain as well as accompanying problems of the large intestine, including defecation disorders, diarrhea, mucous stools, constipation and bloating.

 

There are many useful herbs for irritable bowel syndrome and its symptoms. However, more serious IBS symptoms require medical intervention and these include:

 

  • Weight loss.
  • Diarrhea at night.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Anemia due to iron deficiency.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Severe pain that does not ease when passing wind or having a bowel movement

 

Causes of IBS

 

A direct cause of irritable bowel syndrome is still not precisely identified, but there are many factors that increase the risk of developing the syndrome, including:

 

  • Intestinal muscle spasms:

 

The intestines are made up of several layers of muscles that contract to pass food. Excessive and prolonged contractions cause diarrhea and bloating. Weak contractions slow the passage of food, resulting in dry stools and constipation.

 

  • Nervous system:

 

Weakness in nerve signaling between the brain and intestines can lead to poor coordination between them. As a result, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation may arise.

 

  • Inflammation of the intestine:

 

Some studies indicate the presence of inflammatory cells in the intestine in people with IBS, where the immune system response is associated with diarrhea and constipation.

 

  • Bacterial or viral infection:

 

Some cases can develop from inflammation of the intestines or stomach. The result of this infection ranges from severe diarrhea to chronic IBS. Additionally, IBS is also accompanied by an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria.

 

  • Probiotics:

 

Scientists have noticed differences in the structure of beneficial bacteria in the gut in people with IBS.

 

Aggravating Factors

 

  • Food: It is rare for a food allergy to cause IBS, although some people experience more severe symptoms of IBS while eating certain foods such as citrus, wheat, dairy, beans, cabbage and soft drinks.

 

 

  • Stress: Although stress does not cause IBS attacks, it may increase the severity of these symptoms during the attack.

 

  • Hormones: The risk of IBS infection in females is higher than in males, and scientists believe that the reason lies in hormonal changes that occur in a woman’s body throughout the month.

 

Risk Factors

 

Irritable bowel syndrome affects some people more than others. The following factors play a role:

  • Age: Young people and those under 50 are more affected than others with IBS.

 

  • Gender: Females are more susceptible to IBS than men. Moreover, estrogen therapy before or after menopause is a risk factor.

 

  • Psychological factors: IBS is associated with psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, mental illness, emotional fluctuations, and psychological trauma resulting from assaults.

 

  • Heredity: Genetics may play a role in increasing the chances of developing IBS. A positive family history of IBS indicates that a person may be more susceptible to developing this condition.

 

Herbs & IBS

 

As mentioned previously, some herbs that are found in every kitchen can relieve the symptoms of IBS. This article highlights 3 types of these herbs:

 

  1. Fennel:

 

Fennel is used to relieve intestinal spasms, it is believed that this plant has an effect on constipation, relieving bloating, stimulating the production of stomach acids and helping reduce colic, indigestion and heartburn.

 

A study conducted in 2016 on patients taking a mixture of fennel and turmeric oils showed improvements in their condition after 30 days; their abdominal pain was significantly reduced.

 

Another study that combined a mixture of fennel, fir wood, and mint indicated that this mixture had significant positive effects in relieving abdominal problems.

 

  1. Caraway:

 

Caraway is a very well known Indian spice and in America it is sprinkled on a type of bread called “rye.”

 

Caraway is widely used in the treatment of digestive problems, including: decreased appetite, indigestion, dysentery, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain and constipation.

 

Some studies indicate that caraway is useful in treating diseases that occur as a result of stress. It also acts as a mental tonic. A study indicated that a mixture of peppermint oil and caraway oil contributed to a significant reduction in the severity of digestive spasms. The mechanism of this effect is still unclear.

 

  1. Anise:

 

Anise has been widely used in medicine since ancient times. It was used to calm stomach spasms and aid in regulating digestion.

 

A review of several animal studies showed that anise oil is a good muscle relaxant in addition to its ability to relieve symptoms of IBS, such as constipation or bloating.

 

One study included 20 people who drank a mixture of anise with other herbs and it was found that a laxative effect was prominent in the participants.

 

Anise also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. One study conducted in 2016 showed that people who took anise oil capsules had reduced symptoms of IBS after four weeks. However, the mechanism of this effect is still unclear.

Happy, middle aged woman drinking hot tea in her white kitchen. She is smiling at the camera. Woman is in her 50s and has both hands around the coffee mug. She is very genuine and warm. Green plan in of the right of the image.

Dealing with Menopause

Dealing with Menopause

 

Menopause is a natural stage in every female’s life. It often begins between the ages of 45-55 years, when the menstrual cycle stops due to a cessation in the secretion of female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) from the ovaries. This period is accompanied by a series of changes and symptoms. It also indicates the end of a woman’s reproductive years.

 

Stages of Menopause

 

Natural menopause is a slow process that comprises three phases.

 

  1. Premenopause: It begins several years before menopause, when the ovaries begin to gradually and slowly reduce estrogen production, and the signs and symptoms of menopause begin to appear. In the last year of this stage, the decline in estrogen levels is faster.
  2. Menopause: This is when a full year passes without a period, and here the ovaries have secreted most of the estrogen in them and stopped producing ovums.
  3. Post menopause: It is years after menopause, during which menopause symptoms such as hot flashes recede, but the risks resulting from the cessation of estrogen production increase with age.

 

Menopause Symptoms

 

Most women experience menopause symptoms as they approach menopause, including:

 

  • Hot flashes, which are a sudden feeling of heat in the upper part of the body. It is moderate in severity for most women, but can be severe in others and is often associated with night sweats and facial flushing.
  • Less frequent menstruation. In addition to periods being heavier or less than usual.
  • Tiredness and fatigue that can be associated with joint and muscle pain.
  • Mood swings and depression.
  • Insomnia and headache.
  • Vaginal dryness and changes in sexual desire.
  • Urinary incontinence.

 

The experience of menopause is unique to every woman and symptoms can be more severe if a sudden menopause occurs or if it’s over a short period of time.

 

The severity of symptoms can also increase in conditions affecting the health of the ovaries, such as cancer or undergoing a hysterectomy, in addition to some lifestyle habits such as smoking.

 

Menopause Diagnosis

 

The diagnosis is made by observing menstrual periods and accompanying symptoms which assist the physician in making a diagnosis.

 

Some laboratory tests can also be performed to check the levels of hormones in the blood, including:

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), whose levels rise around menopause.
  • The hormone estradiol, which helps determine the amount of estrogen secreted by the ovaries.
  • Thyroid hormones to make sure there are no problems with the thyroid gland, which can affect the menstrual cycle and cause symptoms similar to those of menopause.

 

Natural Ways to Decrease the Severity of Menopausal Symptoms

 

Lifestyle changes help many women with menopausal symptoms, including:

 

  • Eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis during menopause.
  • Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables helps aid in weight loss and maintaining an ideal weight. This plays an important role in preventing the development of diseases and relieving menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Abstaining from drinking alcohol reduces the chance of breast cancer and helps improve sleep.
  • Decreasing the consumption of caffeine, sugars and spices which may contribute to mood disorders, hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Smoking cessation is recommended because smoking may lead to primary ovarian insufficiency and increased hot flashes.
  • Regular exercise improves sleep quality and relieves menopausal symptoms. In addition to yoga and deep breathing exercises to aid in relaxation.
  • Eating protein-rich foods on a daily basis may help protect against the loss of muscle mass that occurs with age.
  • Eating foods containing plant estrogens known as phytoestrogens may have a beneficial effect on decreasing hot flashes and cardiovascular disease risk, but this effect has yet to be proven.
  • Drinking enough water during menopause is crucial to reduce dehydration. It can also help maintain an ideal weight and decrease hot flashes.
  • Avoiding refined carbohydrates because they increase the risk of depression. As well as avoiding processed foods that negatively affect bone health.
  • Using vaginal lubricants to help relieve dryness.
  • Doing Kegel exercises strengthens the pelvic muscles and helps prevent urinary incontinence.

 

Some studies have shown that soy products can help relieve hot flashes, but more studies are needed to prove the theory.

 

More evidence is still needed to prove that other natural supplements can help reduce menopausal symptoms, so consult your physician before starting to use them.

 

Treatment

 

Menopause is a natural stage and its symptoms often go away with time and without the need for treatment, but in some cases it may cause specific problems that need medical intervention and treatment.

 

Treatment plans include:

 

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT):

 

Hormonal drugs are given to replace the hormones that are no longer made by the body.

 

They can be used to help reduce hot flashes and vaginal symptoms, as well as strengthen bones.

 

However this treatment method may increase the risk of heart diseases and breast cancer, so the lowest dose that gives the required effect is usually prescribed for the shortest possible period of time.

 

  • Topical hormonal therapy:

 

The use of estrogen in the form of a vaginal cream or gel which is applied topically to help treat vaginal dryness.

 

  • Non-hormonal treatment:

 

The antidepressant drug paroxetine is used to treat hot flashes and clonidine and gabapentin can also help relieve them.

 

Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) also cause the body to use the estrogen present to treat hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

 

Osteoporosis medications or vitamin D supplements can also be used to keep bones strong.

 

Complications of Menopause

 

The lack of estrogen that occurs in menopause is directly related to an increased risk of women developing several health problems with age, including:

 

  • Heart disease.
  • Increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Appearance of signs of aging such as more wrinkles.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Disorders in the digestive and urinary systems, where the ability of the intestines and bladder to function as they should is reduced.
  • Visual disorders and eye diseases such as cataracts or macular degeneration that can cause vision loss.