Preclinical study finds stevia is comparable to antibiotics in the treatment of Lyme disease

Image: Preclinical study finds stevia is comparable to antibiotics in the treatment of Lyme disease

(Natural News)
Research published in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology revealed yet another sweet benefit of stevia. Known for its natural sweetening properties, stevia was discovered to be a safer and even more effective alternative to conventional, toxic antibiotics in treating Lyme disease.

The researchers from the University of New Haven used an alcohol extract derived from stevia leaves, which was then administered to a biofilm of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that acts as a causative agent for Lyme disease.

Their findings indicated that the extract was “very effective” in disrupting the biofilm, resulting in a reduction of 40 percent in the bacterial mass. This was better than the results achieved from the administration of antibiotics which led to an increase in the biofilm’s size.

The antimicrobial properties of stevia originate from its pair of glycosides, steviol, and stevioside. Studies show that stevioside is potent against Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, pathogenic bacteria that are often transmitted through food. Stevia extracts are also effective against the pathogens that cause dysentery and cholera.

Stevia’s sweetness works to its advantage against microbes. To protect themselves, biofilms close their nutrition tubes when they make contact with conventional antibiotics. In the case of stevia, these tubes remain open, allowing the plant’s antibiotic phytochemicals to rush in and destroy the bacteria.

Lyme disease is a serious medical condition that can affect the heart and the nervous system. When left untreated, it can have harmful complications. The Infectious Disease Society of America recommends a two- to four-week therapy involving doxycycline. Cefoperazone, daptomycin, and combination medications are also popular treatments for the disease.

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However, there are several problems with these drugs. For one, studies show that germs are continuously changing and adapting to medications. As a result, antibiotic drugs are becoming less and less effective in killing disease-causing microbes.

In fact, up to 20 percent of people with Lyme disease may experience joint pain and fatigue for as long as six months after therapy. This condition, known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or chronic Lyme disease, is caused by so-called “persisters” or pathogens that antibiotics failed to kill.

Furthermore, antibiotic drugs are toxic and tend to cause a variety of complications on their own. In contrast, stevia extract has shown no indication of causing any adverse reaction. In tests, it was able to eliminate 100 percent of pathogens, with no viable regrowth after a week and just 10 percent regrowth after two weeks.

Other benefits of using stevia

Stevia, an herb native to South America, is known as a healthy sugar alternative thanks to its very sweet leaves. Despite being 40 times sweeter than sugar, it does not affect blood sugar levels and actually offers a slew of other health benefits.

  • It’s great for people with diabetes – Unlike sugar, stevia’s sweet components are absorbed not by the body, but by bacteria in the gut. Because of this, it is popular among diabetics who want to sweeten their food without suffering the complications that arise from consuming sugar.
  • It helps with weight loss – Stevia contains very few calories, which makes it ideal for people on a diet. Stevia can be used to make guilt-free desserts that are sweet but do not lead to weight gain.
  • It helps manage blood pressure – Certain glycosides in stevia help relax the blood vessels. They can also increase urination to eliminate extra sodium, too much of which can have hypertensive effects. Consuming stevia is also shown to reduce bad cholesterol levels in the body.
  • It helps prevent cancerBeing rich in antioxidants, stevia helps in keeping one’s cells healthy and protected from conditions like cancer.
  • It helps with teeth and skin care – Stevia’s antimicrobial properties make it great for preventing the formation of bacteria in the skin and mouth.
  • It promotes healthy bones – Stevia helps increase calcium metabolism, enabling enhanced bone density and preventing diseases like osteoporosis.

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Honeybees Can Understand A Complex Mathematical Concept, Study Proves

By Markab Algedi via The Mind Unleashed

A couple days ago, a quite interesting study was published that claims to identify the fact that bees are capable of understanding the mathematical concept of “zero.”

The study reportedly confirms that the honeybee is fully capable of understanding the quantitative value of nothing. Not only that, but they are gifted with the ability to correctly place zero at the beginning of a line of sequential numbers: they can understand zero, one, two, ect.

Of all insects out there, this is supposed to be the first concrete evidence to prove that the brain of an insect has the capability of understanding the concept of zero. This discovery has implications for the understanding of insect brains, but it also has implications about the evolution of complex number processing in living beings, according to articles reporting on the study.

Scientists say there are four distinct stages of understanding the concept of zero in both animal learning, and human culture, psychology, and history.

Stage one is a being understanding that zero means the absence of something, such as zero food, or zero air. A simple amount of visual processing ability can probably ensure a being can understand zero at this level.

Stage two is when a living being understands the difference between “nothing” and “something” with the concept of zero. For example, the absence of daylight once the sun sets is an understanding of zero as “something” vs “nothing.”

Stage three of understanding zero is defined as an understanding of the fact that a numeric value can be assigned to zero, and that zero belongs at the low end of a chronological sequence of numbers. The number line goes zero, one, two, three ect.

Stage four, the most advanced stage, is when a being fully understands that zero can be assigned a symbolic representation of “nothing,” for example 3 – 3 = 0.

So where do honeybees fall in these categories? Honeybees have officially achieved stage three in that process.

Believe it or not, it’s an elite few species across the entirety of life that are capable of understanding “zero” to this degree. The ability to learn or spontaneously develop an understanding of the concept of zero has so far only been observed in honeybees, vervet monkeys, rhesus monkeys, one African gray parrot, and a single chimpanzee.

This is definitely the first time such an advanced understanding of mathematics has been observed in any insects.

So why is zero so important? Throughout the history of humanity, it has apparently been demonstrably significant for a culture to understand it.

For centuries, the concept of zero as a number with a quantitative value went unnoticed. One early example is the Chinese using counting rods to mark a blank space, to represent a place holder in values.

By 628AD as far as we know, zero had a written record and people recognized it as a number by itself. An Indian mathematician named Brahma Gupta wrote about this in his book Brahmasputha Siddhanta.

His work constituted the first written record to provide an actual framework for people doing math to use zero when making calculations.

Image Credit: alekss / 123RF Stock Photo 

Image Credit2: Wikimedia Commons

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Study: Using Tylenol regularly can cause asthma and COPD

RJ Jhonson–A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine pointed to acetaminophen as a significant risk factor for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), among other lung conditions.

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, is a drug used to treat fever and provide relief from moderate pain. It’s an active ingredient in many common over-the-counter drugs, including cough suppressants and cold medications. Its most popular brand name is Tylenol.

The researchers, who came from the University of Nottingham in England, followed 13,500 adults from the U.S. All subjects were required to provide information on their use of acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin from 1988 to 1994.

The incidence of asthma and COPD among the subjects was then analyzed relative to their use of the aforementioned drugs. The researchers found that those who used acetaminophen had the highest risk of contracting lung conditions.

Daily users were 72 percent more likely to develop COPD and were 75 percent more prone to having asthma. Using the drug less frequently reduced the risk, but not by much; those who used acetaminophen six to 29 times in a month were also 40 percent more likely to develop asthma. The researchers did not find any apparent association between lung issues and the use of aspirin and ibuprofen.

The authors believe that excessive use of acetaminophen reduces the levels of glutathione, an antioxidant vital to the respiratory system, leading to the buildup of oxidative stress that damages lung tissue. This increases the risk of lung conditions, specifically asthma and COPD.

Excessive use of the drug has also been linked to liver damage. An assessment by the Acute Liver Failure Study Group involving 22 medical centers in the U.S. revealed that hepatotoxicity from acetaminophen had a greater likelihood of causing liver damage than other risk factors.

Apart from these, the list of acetaminophen side effects includes nausea, bloody urine or stool, fever, fatigue, and mouth sores, among others.

Natural alternatives to acetaminophen

Acetaminophen owes much of its popularity as a pain reliever and fever treatment to its ubiquity and low price. However, there are natural, effective alternatives that are cheaper but do not cause any adverse complications.

  • Capsaicin – This substance is derived from chili and is available in gel or cream form. It treats nerve, joint, and muscle discomfort by blocking pain transmissions to the brain.
  • Essential oils – Lavender, chamomile, and sage oils can be used for pain relief in several ways. They can be rubbed directly on the painful area (such as the joints) or used in aromatherapy. In either case, their unique properties calm the mind and relax the muscles.
  • Exercise – Combining exercise and stretching makes for an effective regimen against mild and even chronic body aches and pains.
  • Ginger – This vegetable has been compared to ibuprofen and paracetamol in terms of anti-inflammatory effects. When used for arthritis, it does more than just block inflammatory compounds; its antioxidant content also neutralizes both the inflammation and the acidity of fluids in the joints.
  • Turmeric – This spice isn’t just good for curry, its anti-inflammatory properties also make it great for alleviating pain. Its active ingredient, curcumin, also improves blood flow and has anti-cancer properties.
  • Valerian root – This is known as a natural tranquilizer and is often used by people who have difficulty sleeping. It has numbing properties that ease stress and tension, and make it effective as a pain reliever.
  • White willow bark – The salicin content of white willow bark turns into salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin, inside the stomach. Unlike its synthetic version, natural salicylic acid does not irritate the stomach and instead, is effective against pain, fever, and inflammation.

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Electromagnetic radiation from power lines a “very real” threat to wildlife: Study

Vicki Batts–Power lines, cell towers and other trappings of modern life may come with a higher price tag than anyone could have imagined. Research shows that the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) produced by our so-called technological advancements poses a substantial threat to wildlife (and to humans, for that matter). Environmental advocates are sounding the alarm, as the launch of 5G tech could cause even more trouble for surrounding flora and fauna.

EKLIPSE, a review panel funded by the European Union, analyzed data from 97 different studies before reaching the conclusion that EMR was a threat to insects, birds and plant life.

The threat of EMR to wildlife

The EKLIPSE analysis found that EMR was capable of disrupting the “magnetic orientation” across the the wildlife spectrum. These effects could harm birds, mammals and creepy-crawlies like insects and spiders.

In their conclusion, the study authors declared there is “an urgent need to strengthen the scientific basis of the knowledge on EMR and their potential impacts on wildlife.”

“In particular, there is a need to base future research on sound, high-quality, replicable experiments so that credible, transparent and easily accessible evidence can inform society and policy-makers to make decisions and frame their policies,” the authors stated further.

Experts say that in addition to disrupting normal movement patterns and orientation for bugs and birds, EMR can also alter insect metabolism.

The list of technologies that pose a threat to wildlife is quite lengthy already: Powerlines; radar; TV and radio broadcasting; Wi-Fi; and 2G, 3G and 4G networks are all capable of causing harm. The roll-out of 5G has many environmentalists concerned about what the toll of this purportedly faster service will take on Mother Nature.

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Buglife, an invertebrate conservation group based in the U.K., called for the assessment of the risks of EMR. CEO Matt Shardlow commented, “We apply limits to all types of pollution to protect the habitability of our environment, but as yet, even in Europe, the safe limits of electromagnetic radiation have not been determined, let alone applied.”

Shardlow stated further that just because EMR is invisible to the human eye, does not mean it’s not causing damage at a neural or cellular level.

Human health at risk, too

In addition to the growing concerns about EMR’s effect on the environment and wildlife, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that humans are being put at risk, too.

Cell phone radiation has repeatedly proven itself especially dangerous. A recent, large-scale study linked cell phone radiation to cancer in rats. After reviewing a $25-million study carried out by the National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program (NTP), a panel of experts concluded that the radio-frequency radiation from cell phones was tied to heart and brain tumors in rodent models.

The two-year NTP study featured rats that were exposed to the two types of radiation cell phones release for nine hours a day. The results included a definite link between exposure and an increased risk of heart and brain cancers. There was also a significant rise in the incidence of  liver, pancreas, prostate, and pituitary and adrenal gland cancers.

Recent research has also pointed to cell towers as a cause of cancer. All of this could easily translate to an increased cancer risk for humans, too.

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You Can Spot A Narcissist From This Facial Feature, According To New Study

Aside from suspiciously white teeth and an ungodly number of selfies on their phone, is there a way to spot a narcissist? According to a new study, look no further than their eyebrows.

New research from the University of Toronto, published in the Journal of Personality, has suggested that people with “distinctive eyebrows” are more likely to display narcissistic personality traits.

The word “narcissist” comes from the ancient Greek story of young Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. In general, people with strong narcissistic personality traits score very highly on the self-loving spectrum. They often make good first impressions, appearing to be likable and charming, but they also exhibit self-centered and selfish behavior, often with a grandiose view of their own abilities or appearance.

For an unclear reason, they also have great eyebrows too.

The team of researchers came to this conclusion by photographing almost 40 undergrad students with neutral expressions. They then got the students to carry out a psychological test known as the Narcissistic Personality Inventory to test the strength of any narcissistic traits. The researchers showed the photographs to other participants and asked them to guess how narcissistic each person was based on how they looked.

First of all, their initial results showed participants were particularly good at using eyebrows to make an estimation of the student’s levels of narcissism. In particular, eyebrow thickness and a high density of hair were most likely to be used as an accurate judge of narcissism.

They expanded on this by measuring how much perceptions of narcissism changed when swapping narcissists’ and non-narcissists’ eyebrows between faces. This showed that they rated narcissists’ faces as less narcissistic when they donned non-narcissists’ eyebrows and vice versa.

They concluded that this shows “distinctive eyebrows reveal narcissists’ personality to others,” as well as strongly influencing whether people view you as narcissistic.

So, why could this be the case? The researchers didn’t look for a mechanism to explain this link, but they note eyebrows are highly important for social functions and nonverbal communication, so we have an especially acute sense for them. Furthermore, the eyebrow can be used as a microcosm of a person’s wider appearance and identity.

Narcissists seek to be admired so maintain a high level of grooming. “Individuals reporting high levels of narcissism tend to wear more fashionable, stylish, and expensive clothing; have a neater, more organized appearance; and look more attractive,” the study authors write.

Eyebrows are also very important for facial recognition and mate selection (in both females and males), and a pair of meticulously well-kept eyebrows suggest the owner knows this.


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Have a large waistline? You most likely have a vitamin D deficiency, according to this study

Image: Have a large waistline? You most likely have a vitamin D deficiency, according to this study

(Natural News)
If you’re overweight, there are plenty of things you might worry about, from looking good in your clothes and brushing off cruel comments, to avoiding the serious health problems associated with your weight, like diabetes and cancer. However, a new study points to an often-overlooked issue facing many obese people that can have very serious and far-reaching repercussions: vitamin D deficiency.

According to a study that was presented at the European Society of Endocrinology’s yearly meeting in Barcelona, people who have higher levels of belly fat tend to have lower levels of vitamin D. This might not sound like a big deal on the surface, until you consider all of the problems that have been linked to vitamin D deficiency, which range from poor bone health to cardiovascular and autoimmune disease, and even cancer.

Researchers from the VU University Medical Center and the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands reached this conclusion after studying participants in the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity study between the ages of 45 and 65. They looked at the amounts of abdominal fat and total body fat in participants, and assessed how it related to their levels of vitamin D. To ensure they were getting an accurate picture, they adjusted for factors that could skew their results, including physical activity levels, alcohol intake, and chronic disease.

They discovered that amounts of abdominal fat as well as overall fat were linked to lower levels of vitamin D among women; abdominal fat had a bigger impact on this than total fat did. In men, it was liver fat and abdominal fat that were linked to lower levels of vitamin D. In both genders, however, higher amounts of belly fat corresponded to lower vitamin D levels.

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The purpose of the study was not to uncover cause and effect, so it’s too early to say if a lack of vitamin D can predispose people to store fat. It’s also possible that higher fat levels somehow decrease the body’s vitamin D levels. This is something the researchers plan to investigate next. What the researchers can say now for sure, however, is that people with bigger waistlines have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency and should therefore have their levels checked regularly to avoid negative health outcomes.

Getting more vitamin D

The Vitamin D Council reports that it’s simply not possible to get sufficient vitamin D from food alone, although it is possible to increase your levels somewhat with the help of foods like egg yolks and fatty fish. (Related: The 10 symptoms of vitamin D deficiency you need to recognize.)

The best and most natural way to get vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet B rays spur your body to create large amounts of vitamin D. The amount of time you need to spend outdoors depends on a lot of factors, including your geographical location, your skin tone, the time of day you go outside, and the weather. The amount of skin that you expose is also important, with more exposed skin causing your body to produce more vitamin D. In any case, however, there is no need to tan or burn to get the levels you need; experts say you can get a sufficient amount of exposure in half the time your skin would normally take to burn.

Wearing sunscreen impedes your ability to produce vitamin D because it blocks UVB rays. In fact, a clinical review shows that sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher can reduce your body’s vitamin D3 production by as much as 99 percent.

While exposure to the sun is the ideal way to ensure your body gets the vitamin D it needs, you could consider taking D3 supplements from trusted sources if you simply can’t get outside enough. (Related: Japanese study confirms vitamin D reduces cancer risk.)

Whether you maintain a healthy weight or the scale seems to climb every time you step on it, everyone can benefit from ensuring they get plenty of vitamin D.

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PTSD patients can no longer recognize positive emotions, disturbing study concludes

Image: PTSD patients can no longer recognize positive emotions, disturbing study concludes

(Natural News)
It’s great that more people are becoming aware of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how it affects those who were diagnosed with it. Recently, an addition to the list of PTSD effects has been added by researchers – one that is a bit more alarming than the others.

A study has shown that people who suffer from the disorder also develop a problem in recognizing positive emotions. And since perceiving emotions is an essential skill for humans, this finding is alarming.

The authors of the study wanted to learn more about PTSD patients following various trauma types. In addition, they aimed to discover both the correlation and dissociation between the ability to recognize emotions and childhood trauma, and number of experienced traumatic events.

Thirty-nine people diagnosed with PTSD, 44 traumatized healthy controls, and 35 non-traumatized healthy controls, aged between 18-65 years old, were the subjects in the said study. Researchers made use of short videos featuring actors showing different emotions at different levels of intensity. Each portrayal was done in reflection of a normal everyday life of people to see how the participants would perceive such expressions.

According to the results, the traumatic events experienced by a PTSD patient have more impact to his/her ability to recognize positive emotions. Furthermore, mechanisms like fewer positive interactions with primary caregivers or ambiguity of positive expressions can be linked specifically to childhood trauma.

Meanwhile, mechanisms such as avoidance and social withdrawal can be linked to both childhood trauma and the number of experienced traumatic events in a person’s life. But regardless of the means, all provided mechanisms were said to be factors that contribute to an impaired ability to recognize positive emotions.

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Understanding PTSD

In essence, PTSD is “a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.” What’s more disturbing about this condition is how anyone is susceptible to developing it since any overwhelming event can trigger the disorder. This can happen when:

  • An overwhelming event happens unexpectedly
  • The damage of the event is irreversible
  • Stressful things happen repeatedly
  • Traumatic experience happened during childhood

Following a traumatic event, symptoms of PTSD can occur within a month. But there are cases wherein people don’t start developing it until years later. Some of the common signs that a person has or is developing this particular disorder are:

  • Eating and sleeping problems
  • Low energy
  • High level of emotional stress
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Social withdrawal
  • Memory lapses
  • Emotional numbness
  • Reliving of traumatic event
  • Consciously avoiding reminders of trauma

It has been suggested that people who are experiencing any of these symptoms seek professional assistance. The need to consult a doctor is even more urgent if a person is having disturbing thoughts such as suicide or is having trouble trying to get back on track with his/her life. (Related: PTSD successfully treated with integrative treatments: Healing touch and guided imagery.)

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Would You Go Vegan To Save The World? New Study Suggests It’s The Best Option

A few years ago now, I wrote an article about alternatives to tampons and pads and highlighted some more sustainable options and outlined some of the risks associated with the use of tampons made of synthetic fibers specifically.

Now there are even more alternatives, that some people may find more accessible so it’s time for an updated version of this article with all of the new advancements in this realm to suit your needs. I get it, not everyone wants to use a menstrual cup, although some absolutely love them.

A period is something that many people have on a regular, monthly basis. Throughout our lifetime, we will have on average of 450 periods and use between 10,000-12,000 menstrual products, most of which will end up in the trash and eventually landfills. Since the majority of these products are made from plastic, rayon and chemical laden cotton, they do not biodegrade and they take thousands of years to break down.

On top of that, many of these products contain toxic chemicals that aren’t exactly good for our bodies. So, why not do what we can to limit the amount of plastic and chemical waste that ends up in our landfills, oceans, AND bodies? There are enough alternatives available now that the only excuse is essentially ignorance, laziness or straight up carelessness, if you are unaware of the alternatives, after reading this you will be fully informed.

The Cup

This is the one that most people are very wary of until they try it. Personally, I’ve been using the cup for 6 years now, and I have to say – I love it. Although, it did take me quite a few months to get used to, in my opinion it is the most sustainable option and although the reusable pads are great too, I’m just not really a pads type of person, I don’t like having that extra bulk down there. So, the cups are made of surgical grade silicon, which means they do not leach any toxins or chemicals into the body, they last a long time, although they will likely get stained over time; you can simply sanitize them by boiling them in water for 10 minutes, easy peasy.

Most cups that I have seen even come with a convenient little cotton or hemp bag to carry it in. They can hold quite a lot of fluid, depending on your flow they only need to be changed twice a day, once in the evening once in the morning, which in theory, means that you won’t even have to change it while you are out and about or at work.

Also, this method is super cost effective, assuming we spend anywhere from $3,000 – $6,000 over the course of a lifetime, even just 4 cups might cost $200 total. However, if this method just seems totally absurd to you and something that you could never see yourself actually using, have no fear, there is also the reusable pad option, which is catching on quickly…

The Reusable Pad

If again, you’re thinking something along the lines of ew…gross – then just hear me out. While the idea of having a pad that you have to wash yourself is somewhat off-putting, just think of all of the waste you’ll be saving from the landfills. There are tons of options for reusable pads and even period proof underwear, which act in the same way except they have a built-in liner. These come in many different varieties from super light to extra super flow, and even reusable liners that can be used for the day or two before or after your expected visit from Aunt Flo.

They are leak proof, generally made from organic and sustainable materials and there are so many options for you to choose to find out what works best for you and your cycle. When it’s time to wash, you simply rinse them out under hot running water and wash as you would normally with your underwear. Really, it’s not as bad as you think and the amount of waste it saves makes this option pretty much a no-brainer, well, at least one of these options.

However, if you still just can’t get around the idea of having to see or touch blood from your own cycle/body, then there is yet another option to consider…

Reusable Tampon Applicators

These are great options for times where you won’t have access to a private stall bathroom or you are out and about hiking or camping and don’t have a way to wash your pads or rinse out your cup hygienically. Reusable applicators use organic tampon inserts, similar to the smaller ones you may have seen with no applicator, and every time you have to change your tampon, you just insert a new tampon, and use the reusable applicator to insert it.

This method saves tons of plastic applicators from our landfills and oceans. Some models that are available come with a handy little carrying case and a cap. This method couldn’t be simpler, because if you are already a tampon user, it is literally the exact same method. Aside from having to simply wipe or rinse it off and sterilize it once in a while, it’s a very simple method.

Final Thoughts?

As you can clearly see there are so many easy and viable options that are not only better for your body, but better for our environment as a whole. Really, menstrual products are just one example out of millions that can be looked at in a more sustainable light and modified to reduce the amount of waste they are producing. We can all do our part to be the change, and take responsibility for our own lives and the impact we are making.

Much Love

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Being a couch potato increases your risk of asthma: Study

Image: Being a couch potato increases your risk of asthma: Study

(Natural News)
An inactive lifestyle has many negative effects, including serious chronic diseases. A study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology added one more ailment to the list – environmentally induced asthma.

The study was authored by researchers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They compared markers for chronic disease between inactive and active rats after the animals were exposed to air pollution.

To conduct their research, they divided young rats into either an active or sedentary group. The active group was given a running wheel, while the sedentary group was not.

Over the course of a seven-week observation period, the animals in the active group were free to exercise as often as they liked. In the absence of anything else to do, those in the other group lived idle lives and were limited to usual activities like eating and sleeping.

After the observation period, the researchers examined whether the rats’ level of activity offered any protection from air pollution. They exposed the rodents to either filtered air or three varying concentrations of pollutant ozone for 10 hours over two days.

Because ozone is known for causing respiratory damage, the researchers evaluated the rats’ bronchial fluid for any sign of infection. They also analyzed several markers, such as breathing frequency and volume, as well as glucose tolerance.

Not surprisingly, bronchial fluid from all animals showed an increase in white blood cell numbers, clear evidence of either an infection, allergy, or inflammation. Compared to those in the active group, however, the boost was more pronounced in the sedentary group.

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When they examined the animals’ glucose tolerance, the researchers noted the same results. Both active and sedentary rats experienced higher glucose levels, but the change was sharper in the latter group and took a longer time to stabilize following a glucose challenge.

According to the research team, their findings provide insight into the effects of environmental factors which people are exposed to on a daily basis, and the protection that an active lifestyle provides against environmentally induced chronic diseases. (Related: Exercise During Teen Years Reduces Future Breast Cancer Risk by 23 Percent.)

When inactivity starts early

The research examined the effects of a sedentary lifestyle starting from when rats were weaned until their adulthood. Therefore, it also offered a good picture of the impact of an inactive childhood on human adults.

The World Health Organization recommends at least an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day for people aged five to 17 years. These could include exercise, play, chores, or community activities.

However, a study published in Preventive Medicine found that young people these days are just as sedentary as seniors. The authors found that physical activity usually declines after the age of 35 as people begin to focus more on professional and family-related demands.

This slowdown continues until the senior years when chronic conditions begin to hold individuals back. What researchers found surprising was the discovery that younger people are not as active as they were previously thought to be. In fact, 19-year-olds spend as much active time as individuals who are 60.

Among both children and teenagers, girls were noticeably less active than boys. The lack of activity is attributed to a number of factors, among which is the time spent just sitting down in school.

This trend only worsens the already rising rate of obesity in the U.S., with more than a third of the country’s population now considered overweight. Even worse, the number of people looking to lose weight decreases every year.

The authors of the study by the EPA hope that their findings would emphasize the significance of encouraging the youth to be more active, not just as a means to improve their health, but also to lower their susceptibility to disease as adults.

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