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  • Home Remedies for Dandruff

    Wednesday, June 03, 2020
    Home Remedies for Dandruff

    Dandruff, a chronic condition characterized by flaking scalp skin, is often itchy, and always no fun. And it’s a very real presence in many people’s lives that has been estimated to affect approximately 50 million Americans. So, with many of us fighting this flaky foe, which natural remedies should we trust to work? An article on Healthline reported on two essential oils that may have anti-dandruff effects in various populations:

    • Tea tree oil. This oil comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree and may be effective when dandruff is caused by fungus. In one study, 126 participants were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo shampoo, or a 5% tea tree oil solution mixed with shampoo, to use daily for four weeks. The participants who used the tea tree oil shampoo reported a 41% improvement in dandruff scores based on scaliness, itchiness, and greasiness, compared with an 11% improvement reported by those using the placebo.
    • Eucalyptus oil. The essential oil extracted from eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus) leaves is also used to treat fungal infections on the skin. One Indian study found that a solution containing eucalyptus essential oil plus Indian borage (Coleus amboinicus) essential oil, diluted with coconut oil, had anti-dandruff effects in people with dandruff caused by fungal infection. The study recommended that these essential oils be used in the production of anti-fungal products.

    Of course, not all dandruff is caused by fungus. Other causes can include oily skin, dry skin, and allergic reactions. Before you decide on a treatment route, it’s important to consult with your healthcare practitioner to understand the root cause of your own dandruff so that you can come up with an effective strategy.

    Source: Healthline

  • Fruit Polyphenols May Help Endurance Athletes Go the Distance

    Monday, June 01, 2020
    New Science
    Fruit Polyphenols May Help Endurance Athletes Go the Distance

    Marathon runners, triathletes, and the like may do well to keep their fruit baskets well-stocked— research has discovered that, in addition to potentially aiding recovery, polyphenols from apples and grapes may also boost endurance. Published in Nutrients, the double-blind study recruited 48 active men, ages 25 to 37, to perform three high-intensity cycling tests. For the first test, the men cycled at 70% of their predetermined maximum aerobic power for as long as they could until exhaustion. For the second test, the men were randomly given 500 mg of a supplement with a polyphenol profile similar to that in apples and grapes or a placebo the evening before and one hour prior to a cycling test. During the cycling test, they cycled until exhaustion at 70% of their maximum power. For the third test a week later, the men swapped treatments and again cycled until exhaustion at 70% of their maximum power. During all three tests, researchers timed how long the men took to reach exhaustion, as well as physical parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and oxygen use. In addition, the men used a scale to report on their perceived level of exertion every four minutes while cycling. Researchers found that:

    • Compared with the placebo, the men cycled an average of 9.7% longer after receiving the polyphenol supplement.
    • Taking the polyphenol supplement was also associated with a 12.8% average increase in time to reach their maximum perceived level of exertion.
    • None of the physical parameters measured during exercise were affected by the polyphenol supplement, but supplement use was associated with a longer respiratory recovery time, which may have been due to the longer exercise time.

    These findings suggest polyphenols from apples and grapes may help endurance athletes up their game. It’s important to note, however, that this research was funded by the manufacturer of the polyphenol supplement used in the study; therefore, unaffiliated research is needed to confirm these results. In the meantime, while polyphenols from eating fruit are different from polyphenol supplements because your body may absorb them differently, apples and grapes do make great snacks and are an excellent pre-exercise choice to give you extra fuel. And you may not have to eat an extraordinary amount to get a lot of polyphenols: depending on the variety, an apple has about 136 mg of polyphenols, and around 2/3 of a cup of blue-black grapes has about 169 mg of polyphenols.

    Source: Nutrients

  • Vitamin D May Help Repair Cardiovascular Damage

    Wednesday, May 27, 2020
    New Science
    Vitamin D May Help Repair Cardiovascular Damage

    Chronic hypertension can have detrimental effects throughout the body, in part by damaging endothelial cells (the cells that line the inner blood vessels) and disrupting healthy vascular function. Luckily, other factors protect endothelial cells and preserve normal vascular function. According to findings from an in-vitro study in the International Journal of Nanomedicine, vitamin D may be one of those factors. To explore this possibility, researchers simulated the effect of hypertension on endothelial cells donated by Black and White subjects by exposing these cells to a biochemical that raises blood pressure: angiotensin II. Angiotensin II affects endothelial cells by decreasing their production of nitric oxide—a vascular relaxant that helps blood flow—and increasing their production of peroxynitrite—a vascular constrictor that restricts blood flow. When researchers added vitamin D into the environment surrounding the hypertensive endothelial cells, they found it reversed the effects of angiotensin II: nitric oxide concentrations increased and peroxynitrite levels decreased.

    Poor vascular function is a major concern not only in people with hypertension but also in people with other cardiovascular risk factors, including obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. This study’s findings begin to shed light on the ways in which vitamin D may contribute to blood vessel health. To raise your vitamin D levels, spend time in the sun, which stimulates your body to synthesize the vitamin—just be sure to practice sun safety. If you have limited sun exposure, consult with your healthcare practitioner to see if a vitamin D supplement is a good option.

    Source: International Journal of Nanomedicine

  • To Eat or Not to Eat Before Exercise?

    Wednesday, May 20, 2020
    To Eat or Not to Eat Before Exercise?

    Is it best to eat before your run or to wait until after? The answer is not so simple. As Healthline reported, certain findings suggest fasting before exercise may help burn more fat, but some experts aren’t sure that strategy is good for overall fitness. Here’s what you need to know to decide for yourself:

    • A 2017 study published in American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism found that ten overweight, but otherwise healthy, men used more fat for energy when they fasted before a moderate-intensity walk than when they ate before the walk.
    • A meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition concurred with the 2017 study: after looking at data from 27 studies with a total of 273 participants, researchers found that, compared with eating before exercise, fasting resulted in increased fat usage for energy during exercise.
    • Another study also published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that, after an overnight fast, skipping breakfast boosted fat burning. The 12 active men included in the study used 20% more fat for energy during a moderate-intensity run when they skipped breakfast, compared with when they ate breakfast.

    While these studies found fasting to be beneficial in terms of fat tissue breakdown, some experts aren’t convinced this is ideal. For example, Jennifer Lea, director of client training and performance coach at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, stressed that your body performs better when it has food for fuel. Without fuel, your body will break down stored fat, but it will also break down protein, reducing your muscle-building ability. She concluded that, overall, this does you a disservice, since muscle mass is important for healthy aging, performance, and metabolism. Instead of fasting before exercise, Lea recommended:

    • Eating within two hours of exercise, ideally carbs and a little bit of protein—think a banana or a slice of toast with a thin spread of peanut butter.
    • Experimenting with timing to find what works for you. Some people feel fine with a small snack right before a workout, while others need time for their stomach to settle after eating.

    Source: Healthline

  • Helpful Stop-Smoking Tips for People with Diabetes

    Monday, May 18, 2020
    Helpful Stop-Smoking Tips for People with Diabetes

    Besides helping control blood sugar, quitting smoking directly affects your risk of developing conditions such as heart and kidney disease and diabetic retinopathy. To get started on your path toward becoming a non-smoker, the American Cancer Society recommends the following strategies:

    • Set a “quit date” and spread the word. Pick a day with special meaning, such as a birthday or anniversary. Share your quit date with your friends and family for support. Also, share the date with a doctor, as they may be able to prescribe a medication to aid the quitting process.
    • Make smoking difficult. Don’t leave smoking-related items, such as lighters, ashtrays, and matches, around the house.
    • Breathe through the urge. Inhale deeply and count to ten when cravings strike.
    • Keep your fingers occupied. Pick up knitting or text a friend to keep from lighting up.
    • Get active. According to at least one study, exercise can help decrease nicotine cravings while giving you something healthy to do in place of smoking.

    Source: American Cancer Society

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Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.