Diseases and Conditions

  1. Bumped your head ages ago? It’s not too late to heal your brain

    They say that April is Parkinson's Awareness Month -- and as someone who's lived with a Parkinson's diagnosis for over a dozen years, I can't let it slip by without a mention.

    Of course, I’m a little skeptical of any of these “awareness months” for any disease or health concern, as we need to be aware all 12 months out of the year.

    So, whether it’s March, April, May, or beyond, I’ll keep bringing you the latest in what risk factors you should avoid and what natural therapies can help.

    The newest research to come out isn’t about a neurotoxin that may cause Parkinson’s… or even a new-fangled gadget or exercise routine that may help you gain some control over your movements.

    It’s about your head – specifically how what happens to the outside of it can mess up the inside.

    In recent years, we've heard a lot about how concussions are par for the course among NFL players and professional boxers. But unfortunately, these traumatic brain injuries can also strike mere mortals who suffer some kind of bump or blow to the head, too.

    And according to a new study, having even ONE concussion over the course of your life can significantly boost your chances of developing Parkinson's disease later on.

    In the study, UCSF researchers followed over 325,000 U.S. military veterans -- half of whom had experienced TBI at some point in their past -- for a dozen years.

    None of the vets had Parkinson's when the study began -- but by the end, those in the TBI group were 56 percent MORE likely to develop Parkinson's than those in the other.

    And those with a history of more severe TBI were 83 percent more likely to develop Parkinson's than those without TBI.

    Why? Well, it could be that dopamine-producing cells get damaged when your brain rattles around inside your skull – and we know that those are the very cells that die off in Parkinson's.

    More research is needed to find out if TBI could cause the buildup of abnormal proteins in your gray matter, a hallmark of Parkinson’s.

    TBI has also been linked to ongoing brain inflammation AND the disruption of your brain's ability to clear out toxins -- both of which are risk factors for Parkinson's.

    Now, there's no way to turn back the clock and undo a concussion you've had in the past. But fortunately, there are some therapies you can try, including:

    • Natural anti-inflammatories like resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes (and also available in supplement form), can ease the impact of concussion on your brain -- even DECADES after the fact.
    • Green tea’s plant compounds and caffeine have neuroprotective effects that counteract concussion and slash your risk of Parkinson's.
    • High doses of vitamin E and C may improve brain function after TBI.

    If you've had TBI in the past, talk to a doc who’s well-versed in integrative medicine about a treatment plan that's right for you.

    And if you haven’t, this doesn’t mean that you have to walk around wearing a football helmet. Just tread carefully when you’re moving about – especially if you’re a little on the older side and/or you’re on any meds that make you feel “loopy.”

    Seniors are particularly susceptible to concussions from falls, so wear those glasses, for goodness’ sake!

  2. Smooth out blood sugar spikes with THIS vitamin

    When you've got diabetes, it can feel like your blood sugar is taking you on a wild ride... and all you want is for the heart-pounding journey to be over.

    But popping a pill to get diabetes under control can be like trading the roller coaster for the "haunted house" attraction -- with terrifying side effects around every corner.

    There are no "thrills" to these "chills"!

    But according to the latest research, there's a natural way to get off the scary ride of diabetes for good -- because vitamin E can get your blood sugar under control without side effects.

    In the new meta-analysis, published in Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome, researchers analyzed a dozen studies that looked at the effects of various vitamins -- including B, C, D, and E -- on diabetes.

    And it turned out that among the vitamins tested, vitamin E showed the strongest ability to reduce both blood sugar and "glycated hemoglobin," which is a measure of your average blood sugar over the past three months. You may know that measurement better as HbA1c.

    The theory is that the powerful antioxidant properties of vitamin E can reduce the oxidative stress that damages cells in your pancreas, where insulin is made.

    In fact, previous studies have shown that vitamin E deficiency is common among those in the early stages of diabetes -- which suggests that your pancreas can't function properly without enough of it!

    What's more, the meta-analysis also found some evidence that combining vitamin E with vitamin C, another potent antioxidant, may help reduce diabetes complications.

    And that's fantastic news, since the complications of diabetes -- from nerve pain to foot damage -- can be harder to bear than the disease itself.

    Of course, the benefits of vitamin E aren't limited to diabetes. Studies have also shown that it can slow down atherosclerosis... slash your risk of age-related macular degeneration... and even protect against Alzheimer's disease.

    So, whether you're struggling with diabetes or just want to prevent it, why not up your intake of this essential vitamin?

    Leafy greens, avocados, nuts, and seeds are all rich in vitamin E -- and these foods are a delicious part of the high-protein, low-sugar Paleo (a.k.a. "caveman") diet, which can help put diabetes permanently in reverse.

    But since it gets harder to absorb vitamins and other nutrients from food as we age, it's also a good idea to take vitamin supplements.

    Most high-quality daily multivitamins have enough E (and C) to meet your needs -- and they also contain vitamin D, which helps manage blood sugar, too.

  3. Are you DRINKING your dessert?

    You drink a glass of OJ at breakfast... crack open a can of soda at lunch... and grab a fancy coffee drink mid-afternoon. Before you even get to dinner, you've already guzzled a whole meal's worth of calories -- in liquid form! And faster than you can say Jack Robinson, you could drink more sugar than you'd eat in a...
  4. Here’s why you should indulge in a weekly fish feast

    One day you're feeling swell... and the next you're overcome with fatigue, numbness, and pain. When you've got multiple sclerosis (MS), it seems like the only certainty is uncertainty. You never know when a flare-up will strike! And to make matters worse, we don't know exactly what sets off this neurodegenerative disease -- or how to cure it. But according...
  5. The garden secret to healthy arteries

    Aging sure is full of ironies. All too often, your body up and does the OPPOSITE of what you want it to do. Your hair thins, but your waistline thickens... and your bones go soft while your arteries harden. And while there's no magic elixir that'll turn back the clock on aging, a new study shows that something packed with...
  6. Save your skin by rebuilding your natural 'barrier'

    Thank goodness that it's finally April! And while we might have to endure some showers this month, at least it isn't SNOW. And we'll have some nice flowers to show for it next month. But for some folks, there's a winter worry that DOESN'T go away with the arrival of spring -- that dry, chapped skin that comes with eczema...
  7. Good for your bones... but bad for your BRAIN?

    If you've been reading my eTips for a while, you know that I was diagnosed with Parkinson's over a dozen years ago. Fortunately, I've been able to keep the disease from progressing with diet, exercise, and DETOX -- because we know that toxins from pesticides and other environmental sources are a major trigger of Parkinson's disease. And now, surprising new...
  8. How this weird sea creature can protect your brain

    If you've been reading my eTips for a while now, you know how important omega-3 fatty acids are. Specifically, the omega-3s DHA and EPA are some of the most powerful anti-inflammatories that you can find in nature. They can boost your heart health... improve diseases from diabetes to Parkinson's... and even guard your brain from Alzheimer's. Now, you might think...
  9. This tick-borne disease really latches on

    If these past few months of winter have given you "cabin fever," I'm sure you're itching for the arrival of spring. You want to get back into the great outdoors... shed those winter layers... and feel the sun on your skin once again. Fortunately, spring is officially less than a week away -- but before you hit the trail in...
  10. Insect foggers can cause illness and death

    An urgent warning about 'bug bombs' As it starts to get warmer out, we can look forward to the snow melting... the flowers blooming... and baby birds hatching in their nests. Who doesn't love spring? It's so... ALIVE! But bears aren't the only creatures that hibernate for the winter and wake up with the rising temperatures. Because while we escaped...

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