Archive for the ‘Weight Gain’ Category

What is Cortisol?

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What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone that is released when your body is under stress, which is why it is often referred to as the “stress hormone”. Having knowledge of how this hormone can affect your body is crucial when trying to balance your hormones, which in turn can help you achieve better health. Cortisol is created in the adrenal glands and the release of this hormone is controlled by the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland. Most of the cells in the body have cortisol receptors, thus the secretion of it can affect many functions in your body. A few examples of functions cortisol effects are:order online lab tests

  • regulating metabolism,
  • reducing bodily inflammation,
  • controlling blood sugar levels, and
  • helping the creation of memories.

High cortisol levels can be caused by Cushing syndrome, which is tumors on the pituitary or adrenal glands. People who have Cushing syndrome can experience weight gain in the abdomen, chest, and face, as well as high blood pressure, skin changes, osteoporosis, mood swings, and flushed face. High cortisol levels that aren’t caused by Cushing syndrome can cause anxiety and depression and in women a change in libido and menstrual cycle. On the other hand, however, low cortisol levels can also have some negative effects on the body. Low levels of cortisol can cause primary adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease. Symptoms include weight loss, skin changes, fatigue, and mood swings. Addison disease can damage adrenal glands.

Cortisol levels are crucial for many bodily functions, which is why it’s important to make sure your levels of cortisol are regular. You can order your own cortisol blood test to check your levels here.

 


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What is the Best Non-Dairy Milk?

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What is the Best Non-Dairy Milk?

In recent years more and more people have traded cow’s milk for non-dairy milk options. There are so many different kinds of non-dairy milk including almond, soy, oat, cashew, hemp, and coconut that it can be overwhelming to decide which is the best option for you. The following is a list of a few different non-dairy kinds of milk, the health benefits they offer, and a brief description of their taste so that you can decide what might be the best option for you:

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  • Almond milk

    This is probably one of the most popular options among non-dairy milk, it has a very smooth consistency and a mellow taste. Of course, this varies among different brands and different flavors of almond milk. One of the most attractive features of almond milk is that it is quite low in calories, at about 40 calories per cup. However, this also means that it is low in protein, with only 1 gram per cup. When deciding on what almond milk to get, you should watch out for the carrageenan in it. Carrageenan is extracted from purple and red seaweed and is used a thickening agent in foods. Carrageenans can cause bloating, inflammation, and irritable bowel syndrome, so it is important that you choose almond milk that is carrageenan free.

  • Coconut milk

    Don’t get this confused with coconut water, coconut milk is made by grinding the meat from coconuts with water, and then squeezing the pulp. It has a sweet nutty flavor with a viscous consistency. It has an average of 50 calories per cup, 1 gram of protein per cup, and 5 grams of saturated fat per cup. When choosing coconut milk you should look for one that has no emulsifiers. Emulsifiers are food additives that help stabilize processed foods and can cause side effects like fatigue, pain, tissue damage, and chronic inflammation.

  • Oat milk

    This type of non-dairy milk is becoming increasingly popular with a mild taste, a thick consistency similar to cow’s milk, and is slightly sweet. This is a higher calorie non-dairy milk option with 130 calories per cup, 2 grams of fiber per cup, and 4 grams of protein per cup. Many oat kinds of milk are made using canola oil, so if this is something you’d like to avoid you can always make your own oat milk at home!


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What is the Pancreas?

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What is the Pancreas?

The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum, the very first part of the small intestine. It is responsible for secreting enzymes into the duodenum through a tube called the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic enzymes join with a liquid produced in the liver, bile, and stores it in the gallbladder to digest food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream, which helps the body regulate the glucose it takes from food for energy. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. With pancreatitis, sometimes the enzymes become activated and begin to digest the pancreas itself. Treatment can be very painful and requires hospitalization most of the time. online lab tests If it’s not caught early, it can turn into a life-threatening illness. The most common cause of acute pancreatitis is the presence of gallstones which are small, stone-like substances made of hardened bile that can cause inflammation in the pancreas as they pass through the common bile duct.  Heavy alcohol consumption is another common cause.  Acute pancreatitis can occur within hours or as long as 2 days after consuming alcohol. Other causes of acute pancreatitis include abdominal trauma, medications, infections, tumors, and genetic abnormalities of the pancreas. Researchers studied the problem of pancreatitis and learned that eating vegetables can lower the risk of developing pancreatitis.   The study found that people who ate at least four servings of vegetables a day lowered their risk of developing pancreatitis by 44 percent compared to people who seldom ate vegetables. The following are a few ways that may help prevent pancreatitis:

  1. Limit your intake of alcohol.
  2. Keep your triglycerides in a healthy range (less than 150 mg/dL).  Triglycerides are included as part of the Lipid (Cholesterol) Panel.
  3. Eat four or more servings of vegetables each day.

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The relationship between diet and prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Although the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is nearly 99 percent when found and treated early, research indicates that a healthy diet may help prevent this cancer from developing. Common risk factors for prostate cancer include: being over age 65, having a family history of prostate cancer, being African American, and being obese. Newer research suggests that a poor diet may also add to that list. Once a man has prostate cancer, diet may affect how quickly cancer grows and if it comes back after a man has been treated. Men who consume a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Men at risk for prostate cancer also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables, however, doctors are not sure which of these factors is responsible for raising the risk. order online lab testsSome studies have linked eating a lot of animal fat to a higher risk of prostate cancer. And researchers believe it might be the way that the animal fat is cooked that makes a difference. Several studies have suggested that diets high in certain vegetables (including tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, soy, beans, and other legumes) or fish may be linked with a lower risk of prostate cancer, especially more advanced cancers. These types of food contain a variety of phytochemicals that promote health. Prostate cancer is treatable, but it is also highly preventable. To prevent prostate cancer, men should eat a balanced and healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Low-fat dairy products, fish, and poultry may also be consumed in moderation.

Talk to your physician about ordering a PSA blood test to determine your PSA levels.


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Should You be Eating More Fermented Foods?

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Should You be Eating More Fermented Foods?

           Fermented foods have many health benefits and you might want to start incorporating them in your diet. Fermented foods are foods that have been through the fermentation process, which is the process of transforming carbs into alcohol or organic acids by using yeast or bacteria. Not only does this process help to preserve the food, but it also creates strains of probiotics, enzymes, B-vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

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These probiotic-rich foods break the food down to a form that is easier to digest, which is why one of the health benefits of fermented foods is improved digestion. Probiotics are also great for your gut health, which is linked to cognitive function and maintaining the healthy weight. A few other benefits of consuming fermented foods is that it helps you absorb food better, boosts the immune system, and can help treat irritable bowel disease (IBD). A few examples of fermented foods are kombucha, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, probiotic yogurt, and natto. Many of these fermented foods can be made at home, so they are also budget-friendly and can be made to your liking. If you are having problems with your digestion, or just want to boost your overall health Importance of Zinc for your health, you may want to start incorporating some of these fermented foods in your diet.


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Can oral hygiene increase inflammation?

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Can oral hygiene increase inflammation?

There are many medical articles, including clinical studies, that show correlations between the mouth and body – poor oral hygiene can cause many health issues within your body.  Poor oral hygiene causes overgrowth of bad bacteria which can lead to gum disease and gum disease creates inflammation, which in turn can lead to heart disease.

Granted, if you have poor oral hygiene you won’t necessarily have heart disease, but a healthy mouth can lower chances of getting other factors that lead to heart disease.

Gum disease has been found to affect up to 75 percent of all adults and is primarily caused by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth, especially the gums.  When there is a significant amount of bacteria, the gums react and red, swell and bleed.  Gum disease is known as gingivitis and if left untreated can provide serious tissue and/or bone damage.

The American Heart Association has conducted studies showing the relationship between gum disease and heart disease.  There is a direct causal relationship with a strong association, meaning there’s an increased risk of heart attack.Order online lab tests

Additional research is being conducted, however, the biggest factor seems to be inflammation because this is the way bacteria enters the bloodstream.  Many people test their blood for inflammation :

The Cardiac C-Reactive Protein Test (hs) is a tool for assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

CRP is a protein that is found in the blood when certain inflammatory processes are happening. It is now known that arteriosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries are a process of inflammation that correlates with C-reactive protein, and it is believed to be a good way to predict heart disease. The test can help estimate your chances of developing cardiovascular disease and your risk of having a sudden heart attack. This blood test was redesigned from the traditional C-Reactive Protein test to be sensitive enough to detect chronic low-level inflammation. Test results are independent of cholesterol, family history, and other traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The test can be done along with traditional tests, such as cholesterol, to determine your risk. Recent illness or tissue injury, and chronic inflammation from arthritis can increase CRP levels and falsely influence the risk rating for heart disease from this test.

Research has also shown that significant numbers of premature and low-weight births are accompanied by unhealthy gums.   Hormonal changes during pregnancy can exacerbate sensitive gums and can aggravate symptoms.

There is a stronger connection with diabetes and gum disease: poorly managed diabetes jeopardizes the immune system, causing the body to work harder to fight any infections.  Inflammation can be increased thereby creating an environment for developing gum disease.  Increased levels of inflammation are related to a reduction in insulin sensitivity and higher blood sugar.

Stress is also known to compromise the immune system and increases the risk of developing infection.  It appears that cortisol, which is released when stressed, weakens the immune system and leaves strained

bodies with a higher likelihood of getting an infection.  Finally, when you are stressed out, you are less likely to take care of yourself, including getting enough sleep.

 


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Importance of Zinc for your health

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Importance of Zinc for your health:

Zinc is one of the most important minerals necessary for your overall health. Zinc has many functions in your body such as helping break down carbohydrates, immune system, wound healing, cell growth, and cell division. Research has found that taking a zinc supplement may reduce your chances of getting the common cold, or can make the symptoms of your cold less severe. There is conflicting research on this so be sure to discuss any supplements with your physician.

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You can get a good source of zinc by consuming certain foods like lamb, beef, pork, whole grains, nuts, yeast, and legumes. Diets that are high in animal protein tend to be high in zinc since animal protein is more available for use in the body than plant protein. You can also opt for a zinc supplement like zinc acetate, zinc sulfate, or zinc gluconate. Some symptoms of zinc deficiency include slow growth, hair loss, suffering from frequent infections, skin sores, the long wound healing process, and poor appetite. If you believe you have a zinc deficiency, speak to your physician about possibly taking a supplement or making some changes to your diet. You can check your zinc levels with a zinc blood lab test.


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Why it is important to check your Hemoglobin A1C levels if you are a diabetic:

If you are diabetic, you know that it is crucial to maintain and test your blood sugar levels daily. However, you may not have known that it is also very important to check your hemoglobin levels as well. Hemoglobin is a red protein that transports oxygen in the vertebrates. One of the types of hemoglobin is called hemoglobin A (HbA), and hemoglobin A1c is a subtype of HbA. Molecules of glucose (sugar) in the blood bind to hemoglobin A1c and stay bound to it for months. Therefore, the higher amount of blood glucose means a higher amount of hemoglobin A1c, and by measuring its value, you can get your average blood sugar level during the past 8 to 12 weeks. The hemoglobin A1c test is commonly used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes because it measures average blood glucose levels over a period of two to three months. After being diagnosed, the A1c test is then used to measure how well you are managing your diabetes.online lab tests This test can also go by other names such as glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c, and HbA1c, but no matter what you call it, the results will show a high A1c level, then your blood sugar is not well-control ed. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, if you are not managing your blood sugar, then there will be a higher risk of diabetes-related complications including kidney failure, vision problems, and leg or foot numbness. Conversely, the lower your A1c level, the lower your risk for diabetic complications. The A1c test is referred to as the “gold standard” for evaluating the risk of damage to tissues caused by high blood sugar levels. This is why it is one of the most useful tools to determine how effectively your diet and your diabetes medication are regulating your blood sugar. In turn, it can also help your doctor determine whether your medication needs to be adjusted. If you are diabetic and would like to have better insight into your blood sugar levels, get a hemoglobin A1c test. Please discuss your test results with your physician.  If you have diabetes, be mindful of your blood sugar levels because it can reduce your risk for long-term health problems, like eye, heart, and kidney problems, and even stroke.

 


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Should you buy generic or brand name drugs?

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The use of prescription medicine has increased over the years.  Likewise, the use of generic drugs has increased versus their brand name counterparts.  In fact, about 8 in 10 prescriptions filled in the US are for generic drugs.  Many people question the safety of generic drugs, but the FDA has concluded that generics provide the same quality and performance as brand-name drugs:

  • Generics must have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand-name drug
  • Generic manufacturers have to prove that the drug is the bioequivalent as the brand-name drug
  • Generic manufacturers must pass the same quality standards as the brand-name drug manufacturer.order online lab tests

Many people don’t know that a lot of the generic drugs are made in the same manufacturing plant as the brand-name drug! Millions of dollars are saved annually when patients switch from brand name to generic drugs Generic vs. Brand Name Drugs. The FDA estimates that generics saved patients $158 billion dollars in just one year.  Paying significantly lower prices for a generic doesn’t mean you are sacrificing quality or effectiveness of the drug.  When a brand-name drug becomes generic, they do not need to repeat the costly clinical trials.  They also usually do not pay for expensive advertising, marketing, and direct promotion to physician offices and hospitals.  Finally, there is usually more than one manufacturer that is producing the generic drug which means the competition further decreases the drug price. Discuss the use of generic drugs versus brand-name drugs with your physician to see if generics are a cost-saving option for you.


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Why You Should Wear Sunscreen Year Round

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With summer officially gone, the beginning of fall means cooler temperatures, and often times people think you do not have to wear sunscreen any other time than in the summer. In reality, you should be wearing sunscreen Vitamin D Testing. Is it Necessary? every day, regardless of the temperature outside or if it is even sunny. Sunscreen is the one skincare that works upon application and helps prevent wrinkles and even skin cancer. Studies show that only about 30% of American women and 14% of American men wear sunscreen, which is incredibly low numbers. Many cases of cancer could have been prevented by simply applying sunscreen before going outside.online lab testing services

The following are some tips you should follow to make sure your skin is protected year-round:

  1. A very common misconception is that just because it is cloudy outside, you don’t need to wear sunscreen. Up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds, so don’t believe that cloud cover will save you from damaging sun rays. Apply sunscreen.
  2. Wear sunscreen under your makeup. There are foundations and powders that contain SPF (sun protection factor), but you would need about 10 times the normal amount of foundation/powder to get the right protection from the sun. You should opt for a moisturizer with broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 15 and apply foundation over it.

Don’t spend too much time under the sun between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm because the sun’s rays are most intense and more likely to damage your skin during these times.


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