A vegetarian diet effectively lowers heart disease and stroke risk

Date: March 5, 2015
Source: American Heart Association
Summary: A pro-vegetarian diet that emphasizes a higher proportion of plant-based foods compared to animal-based foods may help lower the risks of dying from heart disease and stroke by up to 20 percent, according to a large-scale study. Researchers suggest that substituting some of the meat in your diet with vegetables may be a simple way to lower the risk of heart-related death.
Related articles found at this link (science daily website)

Advancing consciousness

visions of Enoch (חֲנוֹךְ)

Enoch (חֲנוֹךְ), the several generations grandson of Adam and the great-grandfather of Noah was a holy man who was blessed and lifted up into heaven wherein he was changed into an immortal being due to his righteousness and holiness. Before he was taken into the heavens, he was given detailed knowledge and shown many wonders, including the breadth and depth of the universe as it is and visions of the future. He then shared his knowledge and shared his visions with the intent and desire for all to see and know and understand. In this video, part of what he had shared is read to us. It begins by explaining in depth the movement of the sun in relation to the earth and the moon as the sun and earth and moon all follow their course in the heavens that we call today the universe and outer space. Then he tells of Adam and Eve and the events that took place accordingly. This information has been largely lost to the majority of mankind for generations only to resurface for all to see in recent years. Enjoy.

Allergy: A Type 1 Hypersensitivity Reaction

Allergy: A Type 1 Hypersensitivity Reaction

An allergy is a medical condition that causes someone to become sick after eating, touching, or breathing something that usually has little or no effect to the average person. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “Allergy” as, “exaggerated or pathological immunological reaction (as by sneezing, difficulty breathing, itching, or skin rashes) to substances, situations, or physical states that are without comparable effect on the average individual. “Hypersensitivity” is defined as, abnormally susceptible physiologically to a specific agent (as a drug or antigen). In this article, a type 1 hypersensitivity reaction will be discussed in detail, as well as treatments that can help to reduce the symptoms and potentially cure the allergic reaction completely.

Type 1 hypersensitivity (aka immediate or anaphylactic hypersensitivity) may involve skin, eyes, nasopharynx, bronchopulmonary tissues, and GIT (gastrointestinal tract). The reaction generally takes 15-30 minutes to occur after exposure to the antigen. However, in some cases, it can take 10-12 hours. The symptoms can be anywhere from a minor inconvenience to death.

In a type 1 hypersensitivity reaction, an antigen (a harmful/potentially harmful substance foreign to the body) is presented to CD4 glycoprotein cells (cluster of differentiation cells) and T-helper cells. This stimulates B-cells to produce Immunoglobulin class E (IgE) antibodies specific to the antigen. IgE antibodies then bind to Fc protein receptors on the surface of mast cells and basophils (both rich in histamine and anticoagulant heparin). Mast cells and basophils are then “sensitized” so when a second exposure of the same kind of antigen occurs, this cross links the cell-bound IgE and results in the release of pharmacologically active substances. Cross-linking of IgE Fc-receptor is extremely important in mast cell triggering. Antimicrobial cytotoxic granules are released, calcium ions (Ca2+, signaling transduction) are increased, and histamine (increases the permeability of the capillaries to white blood cells and some proteins to allow them to engage pathogens in the infected tissues), prostaglandin (hormone-like lipid compounds that regulate the contraction and relaxation of smooth muscle tissue), and leukotriene (use lipid signaling to convey information to either the cell producing them or neighboring cells in order to regulate immune responses) are secreted into the surrounding tissue area. Smooth muscle contraction and vasodilation are the main effects in the overall scheme.

Standard Treatments

Type 1 hypersensitivity is classified into an immediate and late-phase reaction. The immediate hypersensitivity reaction occurs minutes after exposure and results in the release of vasoactive amines and lipid mediators. The late-phase reaction occurs 2–4 hours after exposure and includes the release of cytokines (proteins important for cell signaling which impacts cell behavior).

Diagnostic tests include skin tests (skin prick and intradermal) which measure total IgE and specific IgE antibodies against the suspected allergens. Increased IgE levels are indicative of a potential atopic condition (a genetic disposition to develop an allergic reaction and produce elevated levels of IgE upon exposure to an environmental antigen, especially one inhaled or ingested). Symptomatic treatment is given with antihistamines (these block histamine receptors). Chromolyn sodium inhibits mast cell degeneration by inhibiting calcium ion influx (research suggests). Late-phase symptoms are treated with leukotriene receptor blockers or inhibitors of the cyclooxygenase pathway. Singulair and Accolate are leukotriene receptor blockers and Zileutoin are inhibitors of the cyclooxygenase pathway.

Bronchodilators (inhalants) such as isoproterenol derivatives provide short-term symptomatic relief from bronchoconstriction. Terbutaline and Albuterol are used in this case. Hyposensitization, immunotherapy or desensitization, is a treatment for insect venoms and some pollens.

Alternative and Natural Medicine

For many years it has been believed that honey could help relieve allergies by desensitizing allergy sufferers to the pollen in the air. Many scientists argue whether or not honey has a significant impact in treating allergies. However, studies show (by Finnish researchers) that people allergic to birch pollen were able to control their allergy symptoms more than those who used mainstream allergy medication when they consumed honey that contained birch pollen.

Acupuncture has proven to help relieve symptoms and help sufferers breathe better. This has been a successful treatment for many years. However, consistent treatment is required in order to relieve symptoms. When acupuncture treatments stop, the symptoms often times will reappear.

Butterbur is known to a successful natural cure. There is strong evidence supporting its effects. The plants commonly referred to as butterbur are found in the daisy family Asteraceae in the genus Petasites. The herb works as a leukotriene inhibitor. The inhibitor will block some chemicals that cause swelling in the nasal passages. This is a natural remedy that can successfully be used in the place of Singular. Research shows that an extract of butterbur root is just as effective at relieving nasal symptoms as antihistamines like Zyrtec and Allegra. This natural remedy is safer than mainstream medications because it doesn’t cause sleepiness (a common side effects of antihistamines). Many medications are also known to make one restless and uncomfortable. Butterbur, therefore, is a safe and healthy alternative.

There are many other natural remedies that show promising results in treating allergies. Quercetin, found in many fruits and vegetables, works as a mast cell stabilizer. It helps to block histamine that causes inflammation. Studies show great results with quercetin, however, more evidence is being attained to provide more facts. There are other natural treatments that show promising results, yet, more evidence is needed to make it a fact. Some of these natural remedies include, stinging nettle, bromelain (reduces nasal swelling), phleum pratense (helps reduce eye irritation), and tinospora cordifolia (helps reduce sneezing, itching, and nasal discharge). Echinacea, grape seed extract, pine bark extract, vitamin C, cat’s claw, albizzia, baical skullcap, goldenseal, and spirulina are known to help relieve symptoms as well, but more research needs to be conducted in order to make it official.

Knowledge is Power

Understanding what exactly is happening in a type 1 hypersensitivity reaction is crucial in seeking an effective treatment. Now that we understand the process of the reaction, we are armed with sufficient knowledge to start making progress toward a cure. Lots of research is needed to be certain that a particular treatment will be successful.

Many people do not like to take mainstream medications due to the long list of side effects and the potential dangers involved in using some of the medications. Many of these medications DO help relieve symptoms, but the side effects that accompany the treatment can be just as bad as the allergic reaction itself. Albuterol, for example, is known to cause shakiness in the arms and legs and it increases the heart rate for many users. Diarrhea, headache, stomach pain, and nausea are common side effects of many allergy medications.

It is said that in nature, for every plant that causes a negative reaction that there is another plant that will balance it out and provide a cure. While modern society tends to gravitate toward innovative technology for answers, it is unwise to ignore the natural world when seeking help. The more we lose touch with nature, the more we will encounter problems.

The best way to fight against the negative effects of allergies is to embrace the wisdom of the ancients. Getting enough sleep (balanced; not too much not too little), engaging in daily exercise (especially advanced systems like Yoga, Mo Pai Nei Kung, and T’aijiquan), and maintaining a proper diet free of unhealthy chemicals (such as preservatives and artificial flavors), processed foods, and most meat, will naturally build resistance against antigens and will strengthen bodily health to such an extent that one can overcome (or significantly reduce) all allergies. To reach the pinnacle of good health one must maintain a heightened state of consciousness. The more loving, caring, happy, and positive we can be, the better our health will be.

Resources:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/allergy

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Allergies/alternative-allergy-remedies-fact-fiction/story?id=18792233#1

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/allergies-allergy?page=2

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/136217-treatment

http://www.drugs.com/sfx/albuterol-side-effects.html

http://www.pathlights.com/nr_encyclopedia/

where does your food come from?

Infection and Immunity article about cigarette smoke

Cigarette Smoke Exposure Impairs Pulmonary Bacterial Clearance and Alveolar Macrophage Complement-Mediated Phagocytosis of Streptococcus pneumoniae

Cigarette smoke exposure increases the risk of pulmonary and invasive infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most commonly isolated organism from patients with community-acquired pneumonia. Despite this association, the mechanisms by which cigarette smoke exposure diminishes host defense against S. pneumoniae infections are poorly understood. In this study, we compared the responses of BALB/c mice following an intratracheal challenge with S. pneumoniae after 5 weeks of exposure to room air or cigarette smoke in a whole-body exposure chamber in vivo and the effects of cigarette smoke on alveolar macrophage phagocytosis of S. pneumoniae in vitro. Bacterial burdens in cigarette smoke-exposed mice were increased at 24 and 48 h postinfection, and this was accompanied by a more pronounced clinical appearance of illness, hypothermia, and increased lung homogenate cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). We also found greater numbers of neutrophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid recovered from cigarette smoke-exposed mice following a challenge with heat-killed S. pneumoniae. Interestingly, overnight culture of alveolar macrophages with 1% cigarette smoke extract, a level that did not affect alveolar macrophage viability, reduced complement-mediated phagocytosis of S. pneumoniae, while the ingestion of unopsonized bacteria or IgG-coated microspheres was not affected. This murine model provides robust additional support to the hypothesis that cigarette smoke exposure increases the risk of pneumococcal pneumonia and defines a novel cellular mechanism to help explain this immunosuppressive effect.

Full Article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2825918/

focused Qi

Harvard Study Documents the Health Benefits of Tai Chi

This gentle form of exercise can prevent or ease many ills of aging and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life. Now a Harvard Study documents some of the benefits of this age-old system of martial arts, meditation, health and longevity.

Tai Chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health.

In this low-impact, slow-motion exercise, you go without pausing through a series of motions named for animal actions — for example, “white crane spreads its wings” — or martial arts moves, such as “box both ears.” As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention — as in some kinds of meditation — on your bodily sensations. Tai chi differs from other types of exercise in several respects. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Tai chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery.

Tai chi movement

A tai chi class practices a short form at the Tree of Life Tai Chi Center in Watertown, Mass.

“A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for tai chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age,” says Peter M. Wayne, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard Medical School’s Osher Research Center. An adjunct therapy is one that’s used together with primary medical treatments, either to address a disease itself or its primary symptoms, or, more generally, to improve a patient’s functioning and quality of life.

Belief System

You don’t need to subscribe to or learn much about tai chi’s roots in Chinese philosophy to enjoy its health benefits, but these concepts can help make sense of its approach:

  • Qi — an energy force thought to flow through the body; tai chi is said to unblock and encourage the proper flow of qi.
  • Yin and yang — opposing elements thought to make up the universe that need to be kept in harmony. Tai chi is said to promote this balance.

Tai Chi In Motion

A tai chi class might include these parts:

Warm-up. Easy motions, such as shoulder circles, turning the head from side to side, or rocking back and forth, help you to loosen your muscles and joints and focus on your breath and body.

Instruction and practice of tai chi forms. Short forms — forms are sets of movements — may include a dozen or fewer movements; long forms may include hundreds. Different styles require smaller or larger movements. A short form with smaller, slower movements is usually recommended at the beginning, especially if you’re older or not in good condition.

Qigong (or chi kung). Translated as “breath work” or “energy work,” this consists of a few minutes of gentle breathing sometimes combined with movement. The idea is to help relax the mind and mobilize the body’s energy. Qigong may be practiced standing, sitting, or lying down.

Getting started
The benefits of tai chi are generally greatest if you begin before you develop a chronic illness or functional limitations. Tai chi is very safe, and no fancy equipment is needed, so it’s easy to get started. Here’s some advice for doing so:

Don’t be intimidated by the language. Names like Yang, Wu, and Cheng are given to various branches of tai chi, in honor of people who devised the sets of movements called forms. Certain programs emphasize the martial arts aspect of tai chi rather than its potential for healing and stress reduction. In some forms, you learn long sequences of movements, while others involve shorter series and more focus on breathing and meditation. The name is less important than finding an approach that matches your interests and needs.

Check with your doctor . If you have a limiting musculoskeletal problem or medical condition — or if you take medications that can make you dizzy or lightheaded — check with your doctor before starting tai chi. Given its excellent safety record, chances are that you’ll be encouraged to try it.

Consider observing and taking a class. Taking a class may be the best way to learn tai chi. Seeing a teacher in action, getting feedback, and experiencing the camaraderie of a group are all pluses. Most teachers will let you observe the class first to see if you feel comfortable with the approach and atmosphere. Instruction can be individualized. Ask about classes at your local Y, senior center, or community education center. The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org; 800-283-7800, toll-free) can tell you whether its tai chi program, a 12-movement, easy-to-learn sequence, is offered in your area.

If you’d rather learn at home, you can buy or rent videos geared to your interests and fitness needs (see “Selected resources”). Although there are some excellent tai chi books, it can be difficult to appreciate the flow of movements from still photos or illustrations.

Talk to the instructor. There’s no standard training or licensing for tai chi instructors, so you’ll need to rely on recommendations from friends or clinicians and, of course, your own judgment. Look for an experienced teacher who will accommodate individual health concerns or levels of coordination and fitness.

Dress comfortably. Choose loose-fitting clothes that don’t restrict your range of motion. You can practice barefoot or in lightweight, comfortable, and flexible shoes. Tai chi shoes are available, but ones you find in your closet will probably work fine. You’ll need shoes that won’t slip and can provide enough support to help you balance, but have soles thin enough to allow you to feel the ground. Running shoes, designed to propel you forward, are usually unsuitable.

Gauge your progress. Most beginning programs and tai chi interventions tested in medical research last at least 12 weeks, with instruction once or twice a week and practice at home. By the end of that time, you should know whether you enjoy tai chi, and you may already notice positive physical and psychological changes.

No pain, big gains

Although tai chi is slow and gentle and doesn’t leave you breathless, it addresses the key components of fitness — muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning. Here’s some of the evidence:

Muscle strength. In a 2006 study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Stanford University researchers reported benefits of tai chi in 39 women and men, average age 66, with below-average fitness and at least one cardiovascular risk factor. After taking 36 tai chi classes in 12 weeks, they showed improvement in both lower-body strength (measured by the number of times they could rise from a chair in 30 seconds) and upper-body strength (measured by their ability to do arm curls).

In a Japanese study using the same strength measures, 113 older adults were assigned to different 12-week exercise programs, including tai chi, brisk walking, and resistance training. People who did tai chi improved more than 30% in lower-body strength and 25% in arm strength — almost as much as those who participated in resistance training, and more than those assigned to brisk walking.

“Although you aren’t working with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in tai chi strengthens your upper body,” says internist Dr. Gloria Yeh, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “Tai chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen.”

Flexibility. Women in the 2006 Stanford study significantly boosted upper- and lower-body flexibility as well as strength.

Balance. Tai chi improves balance and, according to some studies, reduces falls. Proprioception — the ability to sense the position of one’s body in space — declines with age. Tai chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments. Tai chi also improves muscle strength and flexibility, which makes it easier to recover from a stumble. Fear of falling can make you more likely to fall; some studies have found that tai chi training helps reduce that fear.

Aerobic conditioning. Depending on the speed and size of the movements, tai chi can provide some aerobic benefits. But in the Japanese study, only participants assigned to brisk walking gained much aerobic fitness. If your clinician advises a more intense cardio workout with a higher heart rate than tai chi can offer, you may need something more aerobic as well.

Tai chi for medical conditions

When combined with standard treatment, tai chi appears to be helpful for several medical conditions. For example:

Arthritis. In a 40-person study at Tufts University, presented in October 2008 at a meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, an hour of tai chi twice a week for 12 weeks reduced pain and improved mood and physical functioning more than standard stretching exercises in people with severe knee osteoarthritis. According to a Korean study published in December 2008 in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, eight weeks of tai chi classes followed by eight weeks of home practice significantly improved flexibility and slowed the disease process in patients with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful and debilitating inflammatory form of arthritis that affects the spine.

Low bone density. A review of six controlled studies by Dr. Wayne and other Harvard researchers indicates that tai chi may be a safe and effective way to maintain bone density in postmenopausal women. A controlled study of tai chi in women with osteopenia (diminished bone density not as severe as osteoporosis) is under way at the Osher Research Center and Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Breast cancer. Tai chi has shown potential for improving quality of life and functional capacity (the physical ability to carry out normal daily activities, such as work or exercise) in women suffering from breast cancer or the side effects of breast cancer treatment. For example, a 2008 study at the University of Rochester, published in Medicine and Sport Science, found that quality of life and functional capacity (including aerobic capacity, muscular strength, and flexibility) improved in women with breast cancer who did 12 weeks of tai chi, while declining in a control group that received only supportive therapy.

Heart disease. A 53-person study at National Taiwan University found that a year of tai chi significantly boosted exercise capacity, lowered blood pressure, and improved levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and C-reactive protein in people at high risk for heart disease. The study, which was published in the September 2008 Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found no improvement in a control group that did not practice tai chi.

Heart failure. In a 30-person pilot study at Harvard Medical School, 12 weeks of tai chi improved participants’ ability to walk and quality of life. It also reduced blood levels of B-type natriuretic protein, an indicator of heart failure. A 150-patient controlled trial is under way.

Hypertension. In a review of 26 studies in English or Chinese published in Preventive Cardiology (Spring 2008), Dr. Yeh reported that in 85% of trials, tai chi lowered blood pressure — with improvements ranging from 3 to 32 mm Hg in systolic pressure and from 2 to 18 mm Hg in diastolic pressure.

Parkinson’s disease. A 33-person pilot study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, published in Gait and Posture (October 2008), found that people with mild to moderately severe Parkinson’s disease showed improved balance, walking ability, and overall well-being after 20 tai chi sessions.

Sleep problems. In a University of California, Los Angeles, study of 112 healthy older adults with moderate sleep complaints, 16 weeks of tai chi improved the quality and duration of sleep significantly more than standard sleep education. The study was published in the July 2008 issue of the journal Sleep.

Stroke. In 136 patients who’d had a stroke at least six months earlier, 12 weeks of tai chi improved standing balance more than a general exercise program that entailed breathing, stretching, and mobilizing muscles and joints involved in sitting and walking. Findings were published in the January 2009 issue of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.

Selected resources

Tai Chi Health
www.taichihealth.com

Tai Chi Productions
www.taichiforhealth.com

A Scientific Foundation Towards a Complete Theory of Qi
http://www.amazon.com/Scientific-Foundation-Towards-Complete-ebook/dp/B00CLJ7FHO

beast it

bending light

photo7photo2photo3photo6

We did some physics experiments today. These are pictures of light bending after passing through a semi-solid substance with an index of refraction similar to water :-)

Healthy Living

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