Herbs and Supplements

  1. Sunlight linked to asthma

    For years I've been a big fan of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. And I've tried to tell you to get out in the sun to soak in the many benefits of this wonderful supplement. The alternative, after all, is not good. In fact, there's a new report that's added severe allergies and asthma to the list of maladies that can result from a vitamin D deficiency.

    A study conducted by Dr. Juan C. Celedon of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston studied the link between a lack of D vitamins the incidence of allergies and asthma in over 600 Costa Rican kids.

    Yes, that's right: sunny Costa Rica. Apparently, it's possible to come up short of vitamin D even in the tropics!

    The researchers found that about one in four of the kids with respiratory issues like asthma and allergies had "insufficient" vitamin D levels. Some doctors speculate that the paradox of low levels of D vitamins in sunny regions could stem from the fact that people actually avoid the sun in these areas more because of its intensity.

    It's something to think about: if kids near the equator are harming their health by dodging the sun with too much indoor activity and overuse of sun screen, think of how much worse it would be for those of us further from the equator. All the more reason to make a point to get some sun every time you can.

  2. Breathe easier thanks to folic acid

    Speaking of natural supplements, there's more good news about vitamin B9 – better known as folic acid. I just love this stuff. Not long ago, I wrote about how this vitamin can help to cut your risk of stroke. And now researchers from Johns Hopkins Children's Center say B9 could help to treat allergies and asthma.

    After reviewing the medical histories of more than 8,000 people from as young as two to as old as 85, the study discovered that people with higher levels of folic acid in their blood were less likely to suffer from respiratory ailments including asthma and allergies.

    Folic acid is relatively easy to come by these days. It's in green, leafy vegetables, nuts, and beans. And, of course, meat is the main source of this essential nutrient.

    It's too early for the researchers to know exactly why folic acid can boost the immune response to allergens. But it's always good to find out that something you already know is good for you could actually be better for you than you thought. Vitamin B9 is already known to battle spinal birth defects and boost red blood cell health.

    This is yet another reason to load up!

  3. FDA continues its war on natural supplements

    No matter how safe something is, it can potentially be dangerous when it's used incorrectly, or if it's overused – including water.
  4. Latest "research" is nothing but a hit job on multivitamins

    A new study is claiming that there is zero evidence that multivitamins can be effective preventatives of heart disease and cancer in women.
  5. Another reason to live life on the D list

    A new study indicates that a lack of vitamin D increases your risk of catching the flu or the common cold.
  6. Allergies spur "nutty" reactions

    Only about one percent of the population suffers from nut allergies, yet it seems that more and more, peanuts are being treated as though they're as dangerous as asbestos.
  7. Omega-3 benefits for premature babies

    A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) claims that the use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements can improve the cognitive performance of kids who were born as preemies.
  8. "Cuddle chemical" battles stress

    It's not just natural herbal remedies that are on the rise. A new study reveals that more people are turning to basic, natural human interaction as a way to feel better.
  9. Financial fall puts herbal alternative on the rise

    Herbal remedies are gaining in popularity by leaps and bounds.
  10. Popular asthma drug ineffective

    Not one, but TWO studies show that the prescription steroid medications for kids with asthma actually do nothing to improve their breathing.

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