Monthly Archives: May 2017

Pregnancy In The Stone Age – Can We Learn Something?

The woman who became pregnant during the Stone Age faced huge risks compared with today's mother-to-be. There was no way to control bleeding or infection; Caesarean section was not an option. That we survived as a species seems remarkable – until you dig a little deeper.

The outcome of pregnancy depends on the underlying health of the mother, nutrition before and during pregnancy and the threat of infection. In all those areas the woman of 50,000 years ago was better off than her counterpart today. How is that possible in an age when there was no plumbing, no medical care and no protection from infectious diseases?

Better diet, better pregnancy

The primitive woman's diet was less likely to be deficient in important nutrients than that of today's young girls. (Ref 1) A study from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center has confirmed earlier reports that adolescent and adult pregnant women take in too little iron, zinc, folate and vitamin E.

A woman who begins pregnancy without sufficient calcium, vitamin D and other bone-building nutrients increases her risk of developing osteoporosis in middle age. But that's not the end of the story. Her infant may also be at greater risk of fracture in the future. Osteoporosis of middle age is at least partly programmed before birth, especially if the mother smokes and has little physical activity. (Ref 2, 3, 4)

Most laypersons believe that Stone Agers were hearty meat-eaters. Anthropologists know that is not so. They lived on a predominantly meat diet for only about 100,000 years, from the time that Homo sapiens developed keen hunting skills until the advent of farming. Before that time meat came from carrion and small game. The bulk of their calories came from vegetables, fruit, roots and nuts.

Plant foods contain everything that a pregnant woman needs, including vitamins, antioxidants, protein and minerals. Modern vegetarians often become deficient in vitamin B12 but small game, birds' eggs and the deliberate or accidental inclusion of insects in the Stone Age diet provided more than enough of that critical nutrient.

Folic acid deficiency in early pregnancy leads to defective formation of the infant's brain and spinal cord. Those abnormalities are much less likely among the babies of mothers who receive an adequate amount of folate, at least 400 micrograms per day. So few women eat enough green leafy vegetables to boost their folate levels, the US government requires that manufacturers of baked goods add it to their products.

Obstetricians have been prescribing multivitamins for their pregnant patients for decades but it is only in recent years that studies confirmed the wisdom of that practice. In 2002 the American Medical Association reversed a position of long standing and recommended that everyone, with no exceptions, needs a multivitamin / multimineral preparation every day in order to avoid subtle but health-damaging inadequacies of these nutrients. Taking a multivitamin reduces the risk of congenital defects of the newborn, especially those that involve the heart. Preeclampsia is a serious, sometimes fatal complication of pregnancy. Women whose intake of vitamins C and E is low have a threefold greater risk of that condition. (Ref. 5, 6)

Would these mostly vegetarian early Stone Agers have become iron-deficient? Not likely. Their diet was rich in iron as well as in Vitamin C that facilitates iron absorption. Under those conditions iron deficiency would have been rare. Cereal grains interfere with iron absorption, which explains why iron-deficiency is common in societies that subsist primarily on grains. However, one of the main reasons why Stone Age women were unlikely to be iron deficient is that they did not have nearly as many menstrual cycles as modern women do.

In a primitive society the onset of menses is about 5 years later than that of American young women. Modern hunter-gatherers, like the oldest Stone Agers, are either pregnant or nursing during most of their childbearing years and they only menstruate a few times between weaning one child and conceiving another. In those groups breastfeeding does suppress ovulation because it is literally on demand, ie, every few minutes, even throughout the night. For a modern breastfeeding mother, on demand often means no more frequently than every couple of hours and perhaps once or twice a night after the third or fourth month. Thus menses return in spite of nursing and monthly blood loss continues.

The fish-brain connection

Beginning about 150,000 years ago our ancestors discovered seafood. The increased intake of fatty acids in fish and shellfish initiated the great advance in brain size and complexity that allowed humans to progress more quickly in the next 100,000 years than they had in the preceding million. Enormous gains in toolmaking and the development of language and group communication followed.

The human brain is composed mostly of water but the solid portion is mostly fat. The body can not manufacture the omega-3 and omega-6 fats that make up so much of the structure of the brain and eye so we need them in our diet. Maternal deficiency of these nutrients, especially omega-3s, prevents the newborn brain and eyes from reaching their full potential. The best source of omega-3 fats is fish; nuts and leafy green vegetables are also good sources.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are found in every cell of the body. They allow efficient flow of nutrients, regulate nerve impulses and keep inflammation in the right balance. In a proper diet there is an equal amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. That allows the immune system to fight infection, a real threat that humans faced from the Stone Age until the age of antibiotics, a mere 70 years ago.

The advantage to the baby of a diet that is rich in omega-3 fats is obvious but mothers need it, too. Nature protects the unborn infant by tapping into the mother's stores of omega-3 fats. A woman whose intake of omega-3 fatty acids is low during the months and years preceding pregnancy will develop a deficiency of her own. This becomes worse with succeeding pregnancies if her intake of omega-3s remains low. Postpartum depression affects about 10 percent of women following delivery and it is associated with a deficiency of omega-3 fats. (Ref 7, 8)

The newest epidemic

There is one complication of pregnancy that never occurred in the Stone Age: type 2 diabetes. No disease in modern times has risen so fast. It has increased several-fold since the 1950s; between 1990 and 2001 it rose by 61 percent. Gestational diabetics (Ref. 9) are those who do not yet have the full-blown disease but they can not process blood sugar (glucose) properly during pregnancy. About half of them will develop frank diabetes in the years following delivery of their infant.

Most of us know type 2 diabetes, which was once referred to as adult-onset diabetes, as the disease that our grandparents developed in their later years. It's no longer uncommon to find it in adolescents, even in grade-schoolers. As it has dipped into the younger generation it has alarmed – but not surprised – physicians to find that it is no longer a rarity in obstetric practice.

How can we be so certain that the pregnant Stone Ager did not have diabetes? This is a lifestyle disease that has three major associations: a low level of physical activity, a diet that is high in refined grains and sugars, and obesity. Those conditions simply did not occur during the Stone Age. Their lifestyle demanded strenuous effort. Grains of any sort were not part of their diet because they require tools and controlled heat. Sugar as we know it simply did not exist and honey was an occasional lucky find. Obesity would have been non-existent, as it is today among the planet's dwindling populations of hunter-gatherers.

Diabetic mothers have more complications of pregnancy than normal women do. Their babies are 5 times as likely to die and are 3 times as likely to be born with abnormalities of various organs.

They kept germs at bay

Common wisdom states that Stone Age people were an infection-ridden lot but that simply is not true. They had powerful immune systems because of high levels of physical activity and a remarkably varied diet. Between the protective antibodies that a mother passed across the placenta and those that she conferred on her newborn via breastmilk, Stone Age babies had more protection against the germs of the day than modern infants do.

Sexually transmitted diseases do not spread very far or very fast when people live in small isolated bands as they did during the Stone Age. The likelihood that today's pregnant female will have at least one of these infections is more than 50 percent (Ref. 10). The impact on babies can be severe; some die, some will be brain-damaged.

Choice and consequences

Tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs have produced a generation of infants with problems that Stone Age babies never faced. Mothers who smoke have infants that are smaller than the norm and whose brain development may be compromised. Alcohol or cocaine use by the mother during pregnancy results in stunted growth, congenital defects and other severe problems.

Given a choice, none of us would want to live in a Stone Age world but we have neutralized the almost miraculous medical advances of the last century. We have allowed our daughters to be less physically active and to subsist on a marginal diet. If we could reverse those two factors alone there would be a dramatic decline in prematurity and other complications of pregnancy.
The lessons that we can learn from the Stone Age are not subtle, obscure or beyond our capacity to imitate them. We can produce the healthiest generation ever by making better choices for our children and for ourselves.

J. Goscienski philip, MD is the author of Health Secrets Secrets of the Stone the Age, Better Life Publishers 2005. Contact Send an him away via his web site at Http://www.stoneagedoc.com .

References

1. Giddens JB et al., Pregnant adolescent and adult women have similarly low intakes of selected nutrients, J Am Diet Assoc 2000; 100: 1334-1340

2 Cooper C et al., Review: developmental origins of osteoporotic fracture, Osteoporosis Int 2006; 17 (3): 337-47

3 Prentice A et al., Nutrition and bone growth and development, Proc Nutr Soc 2006 Nov; 65 (4): 348-60

4 Lanham SA et al., Intrauterine programming of bone. Part I: alteration of the osteogenic environment, Osteoporos Int 2008 Feb; 19 (2): 147-56

5 Keen CL et al., The Plausibility of Micronutrient Deficiencies Being a Significant Contributing Factor to the Occurrence of Pregnancy Complications, Am Soc Nutr Sciences J Nutr 2003 May; 133: 1597S-1605S

6 Bodnar LM et al., Periconceptional multivitamin use reduces the risk of preeclampsia, Am J Epidemiol 2006 Sep 1; 164 (5): 470-7

7 Freeman MP, Omega-3 fatty acids and perinatal depression: a review of the literature and recommendations for future research, Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2006 Oct-Nov; 75 (4-5): 291-7

8 Kendall-Tackett K, A new paradigm for depression in new mothers: the central role of inflammation and how breastfeeding and anti-inflammatory treatments protect maternal mental health, Int Breastfeed J 2007; 2: 6

9 Greene MF and Solomon CG, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus – Time to Treat, N Engl J Med 2005 June 16; 352 (24): 2544-46

10 Baseman JG and Koutsky LA, The epidemiology of human papillomavirus infections, J Clin Virol 2005 Mar; 32 Supple 1: S16-24

Weight Loss – How I Went From 340 to 199 Pounds, Part 1

I spent two years losing over 140 pounds the old fashioned way: proper diet and exercise. No fads. No pills. No surgery. No crazy machines. I was 30 years old and 340 pounds. With a history of heart disease and obesity in my family, I decided it was time to shed the pounds.

Almost every day I get people I have not seen in years coming up to me saying "Wow! You look great!" and then the next question … "What have you been doing?" That's why I wrote this article.

Disclaimer

Now, of course, as a general disclaimer, I have to say that the tips I'm sharing with you here are just from my own personal experience. I'm not a professional health expert – although over the past couple of years I've read dozens of books, and hundreds of articles on nutrition, exercise, and weight lifting. I'm not a doctor. You should, of course, seek your own doctor's advice before starting any kind of a weight-loss or exercise plan. I firmly believe that with the right diet and proper exercise, almost anyone should be able to lose weight and get fit safely.

Tip 1. It's All About Calories

First, the bad news. Weight gain and loss is directly tied to the amount of calories you eat versus the calories you expend through exercise. What's a calorie?

A calorie is a unit of heat energy. Specifically, it's the amount of heat energy required to raise 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. How this relates to your body is that when you eat food, the food molecules are broken down chemically and that energy is either used by your body to perform work (like building muscle, or constructing new cells) or is stored (as fat). If you take in more calories than you burn, you will start to get fat.

Now, in the world of calories, it takes 3500 calories to equal one pound of body weight. So, if you take in an extra 3500 calories in your diet this week without exercising, congratulations … you've just gained one pound (probably all body fat). The good news is that you can lose one pound of fat by either removing 3500 calories from your diet, or adding 3500 calories of exercise to your weekly schedule, or a combination of the two.

What's 3500 calories? It's actually not much if you're eating the wrong kinds of food. You can consume 3500 calories in one meal if you eat two Double Whoppers (1010 calories each), a King Size order of french fries (590), a King Size onion rings (600), and a chocolate shake (440). Do not laugh … this is what I used to eat for dinner if my family went to Burger King … or something similarly outrageous.

So the bottom line here is that if you want to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit. That means you have to burn off more calories than you eat. You had to eat more calories than you burned to get fat … now you have to reduce the calories to get lean. It's that simple. In order to know how many calories you're taking in and burning off, you need to write them down.

Tip 2. Eat Frequently Throughout the Day

Think of your body as a furnace. You want your furnace to burn fuel as efficiently as possible. In order for that to happen, you need to let it burn hot and steady throughout the day.

You need to stoke your fire often to keep it burning. Keep your metabolism running all day long by eating every 3 to 4 hours. My personal tip: I eat on hours evenly divisible by 3. That means breakfast at 9am (if I'm up that early), lunch at noon, a snack at 3pm, dinner at 6pm, a snack at 9pm, and if I ' m still up another snack at midnight.

Now, I personally work late (I usually get most of my "real work" done between the hours of 10pm and 2am) but if you need to eat at different hours, that's fine … Just take the total number of calories you ' re going to eat throughout the day and divvy them up into 3-hour intervals. Keep that fire stoked! If you can not take a break at work to eat every 3 hours, bring a protein bar with you.

If you skip breakfast, then you're extremely hungry by the time lunch comes around. Skip lunch, and you're more likely to gorge yourself at dinner. Post why? Your body is saying, "Hey! I need food badly!" If you feed yourself often, throughout the day, your body does not go into shock, and you will not get those wild cravings and hunger pangs when it's time to eat.

Tip 3. Start a Food & Exercise Journal

Do not just dismiss this section. I did! The first couple of times I read about doing this in fitness and weight-loss books, I said to myself, "I do not have the time to do this." But you know what – it really works!

I can not stress how important it is to write everything down that you eat. All you need is a little notebook. Make four columns: what you ate, how much of it you ate, how many calories were in it, and what time of the day you ate it. It's that simple. Also write down any exercise or other activities that are more strenuous than just sitting around.

Taking the time to recognize what you're eating is the first step to losing weight. A lot of people truly do not realize how much crap they're eating. When I first started doing this – and writing down everything I was eating – it really opened my eyes to the volumes of junk food I was eating before. I was a slave to cookies, chocolate, chicken wings, and pizza. When I first took the time to look up the fact that a chicken wing has 150 calories in it (yes, one wing), I was astounded. I used to eat 20 wings and 2 or 3 slices of pizza for dinner.

Now you can get yourself one of those little calorie counter booklets from your favorite book store. Sometimes you'll even see them in the grocery store. They're invaluable. Once you get to know the foods you eat on a regular basis, keeping track of what you eat is really quite simple. You will gain a better appreciation for what you're putting in your body.

So please, please, please, take my advice and journal everything you eat. You do NOT have to do this for the rest of your life … just until you hit your goal weight. By that time, you'll be able to keep a good mental track of what you're eating, and you'll be more aware of what you should eat, and how much exercise you should be getting every week.

Also, you do not have to obsess over every little calorie! Counting your calories can be as detailed as you like. If you want to track every last celery stick, by all means do so. However, you can just round your calories off to the nearest 10, or 20. Do not worry whether or not something contains 24 or 26 calories. In the end, it does not make that much of a difference … but whether something has 100 or 200 calories does.

The important thing … and I can not stress this enough … is write everything down!

Tip 4. Eat The Right Amount of Calories

We're not going to starve ourselves! In fact, proper weight loss is best accomplished by eating more frequently than you're probably used to! Let me say that again: you're going to eat more food than you are right now. You're going to eat better food, more often, but at a lower calorie intake. If you're like I used to be, you're probably skipping breakfast. This means that when lunchtime comes around, you're starving, so you probably overeat the wrong kinds of food (like pizza, wings, Chinese, etc.) for lunch – and I'll bet it's fast food or takeout. Then, you do not eat anything again for six to eight hours, and pack in a monster dinner.

Now here's what happens: your body is not getting any food first thing in the morning, so your metabolism is not getting started. Your "calorie-burning fire" does not get started in the morning, so you're not really burning as many calories as you should be. Also, your body is saying, "uh, oh – I'm not getting any food. I better hold on to whatever body fat I can because we're starving!" This is bad. If you do not eat enough food, often enough, your body will basically go into starvation mode and hang on to whatever body fat it can.

The key to unlocking your stored fat is to feed yourself enough good food so that your body does not need to store any additional fat, while at the same time getting plenty of exercise and strength training to burn whatever fat you currently have and build muscle .

There are a bunch of factors that go into calculating metabolic rates and all that jazz, but you can use this chart as a basic measurement of how many calories you should be eating as part of your weight-loss diet. Notice it's based on your current weight and your gender. Women need fewer calories then do men. Also, if you're a smaller person, you need less energy than a larger person. Use this chart to determine how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis.

WOMEN

Under 130: 1000 Calories

130-150: 1200 Calories

151-200: 1400 Calories

201-250: 1600 Calories

251-300: 1800 Calories

301-350: 2000 Calories

351-400: 2200 Calories

MEN

Under 130: 1200 Calories

130-150: 1400 Calories

151-200: 1600 Calories

201-250: 1800 Calories

251-300: 2000 Calories

301-350: 2200 Calories

351-400: 2400 Calories

Now here's something that's vitally important … you want to make sure you get enough calories every day, otherwise your body will go into "starvation" mode. You want to make sure that you eat your meals at least four times a day to keep your metabolism running. If you do not eat, your body will go into starvation mode. It will realize that it's not getting enough food, and will hold on to body fat. It's important to get enough calories spaced throughout the day to keep your fire stoked. Do not think that by starving yourself you're going to lose weight. It will be the wrong kind of weight. Remember, your body will eat it's own muscle tissue first before burning fat if it does not have enough protein.

Tip 5. Send Yourself to Boot Camp

Now, if you want to jump start your body on its way to fast weight loss, here's what you're going to do. Ignore the charts above, and drop yourself right down to a 1000-calorie-per-day diet immediately. In addition, make sure you get at least 15 minutes of walking (or some other easy, basic, extra exercise) in every day as well.

You will do this for exactly two weeks … no more … no less. Then, you will go back to eating the normal amount of calories as indicated on the chart above.

It's not going to be easy. You will not be able to eat any junk food for these first two weeks. You can, however, eat plenty of good foods – chicken, salads, whole grain breads, etc. It will not be easy, but once you get through it, you'll be able to add lots of calories back in to your diet, and feel more normal again … in fact, after eating only 1000 calories for two weeks, you'll probably have a hard time bringing yourself back up to 2000 calories (or whatever you should be at).

Here's why this works: dropping your calorie intake down to 1000 calories will shock your body into new eating habits. You will cleanse your body of toxins (like those monster grease burgers you've been eating) and get some good, healthy food in you. You will notice weight loss after the first couple of days, but you'll be keeping your energy up by eating good foods at regular intervals. You can stop any cravings you're having with water, or add some extra veggies in there – you can eat just about as much green vegetables as you want.

Tip 6. Do not Think "Fat Free " Means "Calorie Free"

Everywhere you look, it seems that "low fat" foods abound. While there are certain low-fat or no-fat foods that we are going to eat, you do not want to restrict yourself to a totally no-fat diet. There are certain fats that are good fats, and other that are bad fats. We're going to want to eat good fats because they are necessary for proper health. Bad fats, however, will make you fat.

There are tons of fad "no-fat" diets out there that have promoted the whole "low-fat" mentality. What's happened? People are still continuing to get fat eating "fat-free" foods. They eat fat-free cookies, fat-free chips, and fat-free dairy products, yet they keep getting fatter. Post why? Many fat-free foods have nearly as many calories as their full-fat versions.

Now, you start eating "fat free" potato chips thinking to yourself that you can splurge … hey, why not? They're "fat free." Well, you still load on the calories with fat-free potato chips. It's the calories that make you fat. In fact, when food manufacturers remove fat from their products, often times they replace the fat with sugar to improve the taste. Guess what … by adding sugar, they're bringing the calorie count almost back up to where the full-fat product was.

We need fat. Fat forms lining of the cell membranes in almost every cell of our bodies. Your brain is composed primarily of fat. If you do not eat enough of the right kinds of fat, your brain will not get the proper nutrition to function. Eating too little fat can also reduce your testosterone levels (equally important for women as for men).

Tip 7. Know Your Fats

Saturated Fats are bad for you. They are found mostly in beef, milk, cheese, deli meats, butter, and some tropical oils. Saturated fats increase your risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes, and obesity. Avoid or minimize saturated fat intake. Try to eat low-fat meats like chicken and turkey without the skin, and reduced-fat dairy products. If you're eating red mean, get the lowest-fat, leanest meat you can.

Trans Fats are saturated fats that are extremely bad for you. You should completely eliminate all foods with trans fats in them from your diet. These types of unnatural fats are created during food manufacturing processes such as the hydrogenation of vegetable oil. They are usually found in pastries, buns, chips, doughnuts, shortening, and other such foods. If the label says "trans fat" put that product back on the shelf. If the ingredients of any product say "partially hydrogenated" anywhere on it – put it back. One example: margarine! It's evil. It's loaded with trans-fatty acids. Avoid it at all costs. Also avoid vegetable shortening, commercial pasties, deep-fried food, and most prepared snacks, mixes, and convenience foods.

Studies have shown that saturated and trans fats are actually addictive and make you want to eat more. They have also been linked to all kinds of health problems from cancer and heart disease to diabetes.

Unsaturated Fats, on the other hand, are generally good for you. These types of fats are usually found in nuts, seeds, fish, and grains. Mono-unsaturated fats, such as the types found in olive and canola oil, will actually protect your cardiovascular system from disease. These are the types of fats we're going to load into our diet.

– Good fats: almonds, avocado, cashews, flax oil, olive oil, olives, peanut butter, peanuts, fresh fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna)

– Bad fats: butter, coconut, corn oil, cream cheese, half-and-half, lard, mayonnaise, shortening, sour cream

Keep in mind that you need fats in your diet, but even the good fats listed above have a good amount of calories in them – so take it easy! A tablespoon of olive oil, for example, as 100 calories. Almonds (which I love to snack on) have 6 calories a piece. Nuts are a great, healthy-fat snack – but just make sure to take a small handful not the whole bag!

Tip 8. Add Omega 3 Fatty Acids to Your Diet

Omega fats are unsaturated fats that are not only good for you, but they're essential for your health. Your body can not create these fats, so you must get them totally from your diet. Omega fats are helpful for many reasons, plus they are necessary for normal cell growth and development.

First, Omega fats are an excellent appetite suppressant. Part of the reason why people binge on "fat-free" foods is because fat is what makes your stomach "feel full." If you are not eating any fat in your meal, your stomach never tells your brain that you're full. Add a little good fat to your meal, and you'll feel full with less food.

Eating Omega fats helps your body to unlock stored fat so that you can use it for energy. Omega fat balances your body's ratio of insulin to glucagon. When you eat sugary foods, your body releases insulin to remove the excess sugar from your system. If you do this too often, the insulin will block the hormone glucagon – which is another hormone that functions to help your body burn fat. Too much sugar = too much insulin = not enough glucagon = little fat burning. Plus, you are at risk for diabetes. Omega fats help to balance this ratio.

Omega fats help to boost your body's metabolic rate. This also helps you to burn more calories. Omega fats are the building blocks of your cells. Your cell membranes consist of Omega fats. Since they can not be created by the body, you must get them from your diet.

A specific fat, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, is obtained from flax seeds or flax seed oil. This will be the primary fat that we'll add to our meals. You can use it on salads and in breads, add it to soups and yogurt. Do not cook with it, however, as the heat will change it's chemical properties. You will also find good doses of Omega 3 in most seafood, green leavy vegetables, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel), walnuts, olive, and canola oil.

Have fish for dinner at least twice a week – and I do not mean your beer-battered, fried haddock that the local pub serves on Fridays. Pick a fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel. Bake or grill them – do not fry them. They have very high concentrations of Omega 3 fatty acids in them. Add flax oil to your salads instead of fatty dressings. Snack on walnuts or almonds instead of cookies and chocolate. You will feel full sooner, and you'll be adding essential fatty acids to your diet to help burn calories!

Tip 9. Get Plenty of Protein

Proteins are the building blocks for your body. You need to eat lots of protein for your body to build, repair, and maintain your muscle and other lean tissues. If you do not eat enough protein, your body will break down muscle tissue, which is bad, to maintain itself. As a result, your metabolism will slow, and you will not burn body fat. Unlike fat or glucose, there's nowhere in our bodies to store protein (aside from building muscle tissue) so you have to get a lot from your diet.

How much protein should you eat? Most people should eat about 0.4 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Therefore, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be eating between 80 and 160 grams of protein per day. This is not hard to do. Eat two eggs for breakfast, and an 8-ounce serving of chicken for dinner, and you're at 60 grams of protein right there.

What kinds of protein should you eat? I like fish, chicken (white meat), turkey (white meat), soy products, beans, legumes, and eggs (whites only – yokes have a lot of fat). Soy products are a great source of protein … once you get used to the taste. I have totally switched from regular milk to soy milk. It has all the calcium, much less of the saturated fat, and none of the cholesterol of normal milk (even skim milk!)

Eat fish twice a week, chicken twice a week, turkey once a week, a vegetarian meal once a week, and then on that seventh day, go ahead and splurge with the pork or beef … just take it easy. Just make sure you choose lean sirloin cuts. Trim off any fat. Beef has a lot of saturated fat in it (it's marbled throughout the meat so you can not just cut it off). Beef is the worst meat for you – as compared to the other popular meats.

– Good protein: beans (any kind), eggs (preferably whites – yolks have a lot of fat), chicken (white meat, no skin), turkey (white meat, no skin), salmon (preferably not farmed), tuna ( packed in water, not oil), mahi mahi, any shellfish, any soy products.

– Bad protein: bacon, ham, hot dogs, beef, pork, lamb, veal.

In part 2 of this article, you'll read about nine more tips to lose weight.

Manifest Your Soul Mate in Five Powerful Steps

Valentine's Day is coming up, and many people who do not have a life partner feel depressed, lonely and even hopeless. It does not have to be that way. Each one of you can have your soul mate by next Valentine's Day, or sooner, by applying powerful spiritual principles in your daily life. If I manifested my soul mate 17 years ago, you can too.

If you've tried everything that our high-tech world has to offer in the dating arena and it has not worked, do not give up. Your soul mate is looking for you right now. I am going to reveal the five secrets to manifesting your soul mate. The first major step is to open your heart and soul to applying these spiritual principles and decide that as a child of God you are lovable and worthy of love right now.

Step One for Attracting Your Soul Mate

Step One on the path of true love is to use affirmations. You may be saying "I already know this." "What's the secret here?" The secret is to remember why affirmations work. When you have a thought and / or when you speak, your words and thoughts go out into the Universe and collect like energy. They keep attracting energy and then come back to you with that energy multiplied. The result? Conditions in your life and your experiences. Not only that, but your words have a vibration. Negative words and phrases carry a lower vibration and positive words and phrases carry a higher vibration. So you can see that affirmations are much more than positive thinking; they are powerful attractors of what you want, and do not want, in your life.

Examples of affirmations for attracting a soul mate include:

Love is my divine birthright, and I claim it now.

I give and receive love fully.

I release the past and let love flow into my life.

Add your own affirmations to this list and say them like you mean it. Keep in mind that the words Love and God are some of the most powerful words you can use to attract love, joy and peace into your life.

Step Two for Attracting Your Soul Mate

The next powerful step in attracting your soul mate is to raise your vibration. The key to finding true love is to keep that vibration high. We operate on a frequency and when our vibration rises, we are more attuned to the spiritual realm. We can more clearly hear, see and feel the angels and celestial beings who will whisper instructions in your ear or your heart to follow to unite with your soul mate. Please listen to these instructions as they will come more frequently as you live a more spiritual life. When you live from this quickened state, you are a magnet for love because you radiate peace, love and joy and an energy that your soul mate can not resist!

Tips for raising your vibration include:

Spending time in nature.
Meditating and praying daily.
Avoiding red meat and including more vegetarian meals in your diet. If you do eat read meat, bless it and try organic.
Increasing alkaline foods. Eat 80% alkaline and 20% acidic (meat, starches and processed foods are acidic). Alkaline foods include vegetables, whole grains, fruits, green drinks, etc.
Playing music. Angels love the sounds of sweet music.
Adorning your home and office with plants and flowers. Broad-leafed plants transmute negative energy and angels and elementals love flowers.
Being in service to others. Self-less service is a powerful attractor of love. Post why? Because when you give love, you also radiate love.
Living in gratitude.
Dancing and playing with abandon.
Eliminating negative speech.

Step Three for Attracting Your Soul Mate

The third secret is to use Positive Prayer daily. You can master this powerful spiritual practice and manifest not only the love of your life but the life that you love! This type of prayer always works; it's guaranteed. If you want to learn how to do this type of prayer, see "The Power of Prayer" starting on page 51 of How to Attract Your Soul Mate: The Secrets of Lasting Love, or contact a local New Thought church to enroll in a Science of Mind class.

Be careful not to outline when using Positive Prayer. That means we do not tell God how, we just set the intention and start the Law of Attraction working. Spirit will work out the details for us. When I met my husband Jeff 19 years ago, I did my Positive Prayer and had no idea where I would meet my soul mate. Jeff was drawn to move into the apartment next door to me that was being used as a storage unit. He told the apartment manager to "clean it out. I'm moving in" because he was drawn to it for an unknown reason.

Your soul mate can be on the other ends of the Earth, and you do not have to worry about how to meet him or her. Just do Positive Prayer daily, and Spirit will guide you along the way.

Step Four for Attracting Your Soul Mate

The secret's out. Mental visualization is a powerful attractor of what you want to manifest in your life. See yourself happy and with your soul mate (but please no particular person in mind). Visualize a joyous relationship and power your prayers with the vision in your mind's eye. Soon it will move from your mind's eye to being visible before you.

Step Five for Attracting Your Soul Mate

Forgiveness is the fifth step for attracting true love. As we hold onto grudges or resentments, we simply can not move on to a healthy, conscious relationship. One of the main blocks in finding true love is failure to forgive. I've seen people hold onto to grudges for over 50 years and they are not any happier for it.

Why is forgiveness a key to finding your soul mate? Because forgiveness creates a shift in energy. It sets you free. What happened happened, and we can not change it. But you can transform the energy around it. Your ability for happiness decreases as your inability to forgive increases because you have not let go and resolved past issues. Hanging onto the past will block your future. This does not mean you have to love the person who hurt you, but it does mean that you accept the gift and the healing from the situation and deepen your connection with God.

Dr. Ernest Holmes tells us, "the Universe holds nothing against us; we can not hold anything against anyone else."

Discover the Love That Awaits You

Finding your soul mate is all about giving and receiving love. These five easy, but powerful steps, lift your vibration to greater heights and open the door for love and light to stream into your heart space. Your heart is expanding right now. Just by your intention alone, you are attracting love into you life – love that is already within you waiting to be revealed in greater ways.

Use these steps and discover for yourself love beyond what you ever imagined. The Divine Lover beckons you to forgive, release, love, and live in the higher vibratory states. In doing so, you will find love in your personal relationships and from celestial beings greater than you ever imagined.

PCOS and Hair Loss – Natural Therapies Can Restore Scalp Hair

Excessive scalp hair loss is a severe challenge to a woman's self image and her standing in business and society. Although we usually think of balding as a man's problem, women actually make up forty percent of the people in North America experiencing the distress of excessive hair loss. Many women losing significant scalp hair have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Safe, effective, natural therapies that treat the hormone imbalances related to PCOS will also restore your hair to optimal health. I am delighted to offer you these indispensable tools to help you restore your hair and your health.

Women experiencing hair loss lose ground fast in today's world. At work and in her personal life a woman's appearance has much to do with her financial and social success. Men may also prefer not to go bald. But since balding is known to be caused by high levels of testosterone, a bald man may be credited with extra virility. There is no such happy story for balding women. The appearance of thinning scalp hair translates to a significant loss of personal power for women.

The medical community in general treats women's hair loss as a minor health issue. Most physicians have little inclination to address the emotional distress you feel. In many cases physicians treat balding as if it were "only" a vanity issue; they may not recognize hair loss as a red flag pointing to serious metabolic conditions, including PCOS.

The psychological pain of hair loss and its effect on our sense of empowerment is as devastating as any disfiguring disease. If you are a balding woman, your hair loss is a life altering condition with profound consequences for your health. Getting your hands on the wheel and driving yourself toward a solution for hair loss is the first step toward reviving your sense of personal strength and power. If hair loss is part of PCOS, the effort you make to restore your physical health will also renew scalp hair growth.

You need expert help to properly diagnose the cause of your hair loss. Hair loss that could have been merely temporary may become permanent if you have a delayed or incorrect diagnosis. Misdiagnoses is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of hair loss for women. The information I present here will help you identify the cause of your hair loss and ideally lead you and your doctors to proper treatments for your kind of hair loss, sooner rather than later.

Alopecia is the medical term for excessive or abnormal hair loss. There are different kinds of alopecia. What all hair loss has in common, whether it's in men or women, is that it is always a symptom of something else that's gone wrong. Your hair will remain on your head where it belongs if hormone imbalance, disease, or some other condition is not occurring. That condition may be as simple as having a gene that makes you susceptible to male or female pattern baldness. Or it may be as complex as a whole host of diseases. Hair loss may be a symptom of a short-term event such as stress, pregnancy, or a side effect of certain medications. In these situations, hair grows back when the event has passed. Substances including hormones and medication can cause a change in the hair growth patterns. When this happens, growth and shedding occur at the same time. Once the cause is dealt with, hairs go back to their random pattern of growth and shedding, and balding stops.

Alopecia: A Common Problem

Today more women than ever are experiencing hair loss – and the causes are typically quite different that what causes balding in men. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, some 30 million women in the United States are experiencing some degree of distressing scalp hair loss. The most common causes of scalp hair loss in women can include:

Mineral or vitamin deficiency – zinc, manganese, iron, vitamin B6, biotin

Essential fatty acid deficiency from a low calorie diet or eating disorders

Protein deficiency, as is common with vegetarian diets

Anemia from a low iron diet, poor digestion or any excess blood loss

Eating disorders, like anorexia, bulimia, even 'yo-yo' dieting; also compulsive or excessive physical exercise

Drug toxicity, for instance anesthesia with surgery or chemotherapy for cancer

Many prescription medications have hair loss as a potential 'side' effect, including bromocriptine, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, amphetamines, anti-cholesterol agents

Severe infections, either viral or bacterial

Severe stress, either a sudden extreme event or persistent, long term challenges

Any hypothalamic or pituitary disorder

Any liver, thyroid gland, adrenal gland or ovarian disorder, including PCOS

Any sex steroid imbalance such as low progesterone, estrogen dominance, excess testosterone or insulin

Starting or stopping any hormone therapy, including birth control pills, menopausal hormone replacement treatment or thyroid hormone replacement

Any natural event that causes big hormone changes, like child birth, breastfeeding and weaning or menopause

Perms, hair color, bleach, improper brushing / combing, pulling on the hair

Autoimmune disease such as lupus or multiple sclerosis

Allergies to foods, medicines, environmental chemicals or topical drugs

Recent hepatitis B shot. If you had a Hep B vaccine since this hair loss started, there may be a connection. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (278: 117-8, 1997) links the Hep B vaccine to increased incidence of alopecia in women.

How does an individual woman figure out why she is losing too much of her hair? To understand that, it's important to understand how hair grows.

Hair Grows in Cycles

Scalp hair grows about one-half inch per month. An individual strand of hair will grow for two to six years. Eventually each hair "rests" for a while, and then falls out. Soon after, that follicle will start growing a new strand. A healthy scalp will let about 100 of these cycling hairs fall out every day.

In folks with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, and for women with PCOS, hormones called androgens drive this process. Androgen hormones include testosterone, androsteinedione, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Men make and use relatively large amounts of androgens. Appropriate, smaller amounts of androgens are essential to women's health as well.

In those who are genetically susceptible, testosterone activates enzymes produced in the hair cell, which then cause it to be converted into the more potent androgen DHT. DHT then binds with receptors deep within the hair follicle. Eventually, so much DHT builds up that the follicle begins shrinking. It can not produce new hair reliably. Some of the follicles permanently stop producing new hairs. The end result is significant hair loss. The medical term for this condition is androgenic alopecia. Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase, which is held in a hair follicle's oil glands. Actually, it's not the amount of circulating testosterone that is the problem but the amount of DHT clogging up and shrinking scalp follicles, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive.

The process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Usually women have a tiny fraction of the amount of testosterone that men make. It seems that for women with hair loss, the actual level of testosterone is not as crucial as are changes in the amount of testosterone she has. A shift in hormone levels triggered by lifestyle or other factors, will cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women. Even when hormone blood levels remain within what doctors consider "normal", they can become high enough to cause a problem for an individual woman. The levels may not rise at all and still be a problem if you are very sensitive to even normal levels of chemicals, including hormones.

Because our hormones operate through a delicately balanced feedback system, with signals sent via the blood between the brain and body tissue, androgens do not need to be raised to trigger a problem. If the so-called female hormones, (which also are essential to men's health) are for any reason shifting in relation to androgens, the resulting imbalance can also cause problems, including hair loss.

Hormones are always changing. Testosterone levels in men drop by as much as 10 percent each decade after age thirty. Women's hormone levels shift with each menstrual cycle, or due to a lack of regular menses, in pregnancies and menopause. Eating disorders, excessive exercise, drugs and environmental toxins can also impact hormone levels.

Keys To Successful Treatment

Treatment of thinning scalp hair must be grounded in changing the habits you may have that support elevated androgens. Diet and exercise are key to maintaining optimal hormone balance. In fact, for women with PCOS, research is clear- there is no drug therapy more effective than proper diet and regular exercise. First, you get your foundational health habits in order; then, specific targeted therapies have the best chance of being effective for you.

Women with PCOS may also have excess coarse dark hair on their face and body. The only way to address the dark, coarse hair that grows out of follicles that have already been altered by excess androgens, is to destroy the follicle with laser or similar therapy. Once a follicle has changed the type of hair it produces, it will not change back. It is crucial to tame the excess androgens and prevent conversion of additional follicles, before investing in a therapy to permanently destroy facial or body hair follicles.

What Causes Women to Lose Too Much Scalp Hair?

For a long time doctors believed that androgenic alopecia was the main cause of balding in both men and women. Now we know that the process that leads to excessive hair loss in women is different. It is called female pattern hair loss.

An important difference between male and female balding is the pattern in which the hair loss occurs. Female pattern hair loss tends to happen as an overall thinning across all areas of the scalp, including the sides and back. Men lose hair from specific spots, like the temple, the crown, that bald spot in the back of the head. Male and female hormone and enzyme receptor sites are also in different areas of the scalp, causing the different gender related loss patterns of hair loss.

A second major difference is that balding in men is usually caused by a man's genetics and his age, but for women, balding can happen at any age.

Lifestyle Choices, Illness and Medical Treatments Cause Hair Loss

Most women with hair loss have multiple features of their lifestyle, diet and health-related events that contribute. Sex hormone fluctuations are responsible for most female hair loss, including those who have PCOS, a recent pregnancy, menopause, hormone replacement therapy or birth control drug side effects. Chemotherapy for cancer, anti-coagulant drugs, iron- deficiency anemia, autoimmune disease can cause hair loss. Any disease involving hormone producing glands, including the thyroid, the adrenal and pituitary glands can trigger balding in women. It is essential for all women to learn the true cause of their hair loss before engaging any particular treatment.

The complex hormonal changes that accompany polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often result in scalp hair loss. Sometimes hair loss is the first sign that a woman is suffering the metabolic disorder that also causes problems with acne, facial and body hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles and infertility. PCOS is associated with increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Thyroid disorders, anemia, chronic illness or the use of certain medications, particularly any form of hormone replacement therapy or contraceptive prescriptions- should be considered a possible cause of hair loss in women. Autoimmune disorders will result in somewhat different, often less dramatic hair loss known as alopecia areata – an inflammatory condition in which hair comes out in clumps or patches.

Any drop in estrogen levels, as happens after pregnancy, with menopause, or when changing your hormone therapy including birth control pill use, will cause what is called estrogenic alopecia. In contrast to testosterone, estrogen helps scalp hair grow faster and stay on the head longer, resulting in thicker hair. This is the reason women's hair gets fuller during pregnancy when estrogen levels are quite high, then sheds several weeks after the baby is born.

For women who do not have fertility-related hormone changes, estrogen-deficiency scalp hair loss generally starts around menopause. This form of female hair loss can be the first sign of approaching menopause. Sometimes the alopecia will not begin until a few months or even years after menstruation has ended. Not all women get noticeable alopecia after menopause but most have a little thinning.

It's not uncommon to have multiple factors involved in female hair loss. Many women with PCOS have thyroid problems, usually hypothyroidism (low thyroid function). Not only does hypothyroidism contribute to weight problems, it can also contribute to hair thinning. Some women with PCOS have both an excessively high level of testosterone and an under active thyroid.

If your hair is thinning, you may have heavy metals like lead, mercury or cadmium in your tissues. These poisonous residues saturate our environment. If you have lived near what is, or ever was an industrial or mining site, or lived with someone who works in a polluting industry, you may be contaminated. If you have ever smoked tobacco, you have a lot of cadmium in your body.

The majority of women with androgenic alopecia have diffuse thinning on all areas of the scalp. Some women may have a combination of two pattern types. Androgenic alopecia is caused by a variety of factors tied to the actions of hormones including PCOS, using contraceptives, pregnancy, and menopause. Any blood sugar and insulin hormone imbalance will lead to excess androgens. Women with insulin resistance, from chronic over-eating of refined carbohydrate food, will see more impact from androgens. Insulin resistance is associated with PCOS as well as Type 2 diabetes. Chronic stress that depletes adrenal glands can change the levels of androgens a woman produces as well. This is often the source of problems like infertility, acne and hair thinning in lean, athletic women with PCOS. Heredity may play a role in androgenic alopecia.

Any big event like childbirth or breastfeeding, malnutrition from an alteration in your diet, a severe infection, major surgery, or any extreme stress, can suddenly shift much of the 90 percent or so of your hairs that are in the growing phase or resting phase into the shedding phase. You will see this shift in the rate of hair loss 6 weeks to three month after the stressful event. This is called telogen effluvium. It is possible to lose great bunches of hair daily with full-blown telogen effluvium. Usually this type of hair loss is reversible, if major stressors are avoided. For some women however, telogen effluvium is a mysterious chronic disorder and can persist for months or years, without ever completely identifying all of the triggering factors.

Anagen effluvium happens when the hair follicle cells are so damaged they can not recover or reproduce. This is usually due to toxicity of chemotherapy for cancer. Chemotherapy is meant to destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells. Hair follicles in the growing (anagen) phase, are therefore vulnerable. Anagen effluvium means the hair shaft narrows as a result of damage to the follicle. The shaft breaks off at the narrowing and causes the loss of hair.

Traction alopecia is damage from hairstyles that pull at hair over time (braiding, cornrows, ponytails, extensions). If the condition is detected early enough, you can change your styling practice to be gentler on the follicles, and your hair will regrow.

Hormone contraceptives are a leading cause of distressing hair loss and other symptoms in women. Since the birth control pill first began being used in 1960, oral contraceptives, injections, implants, skin patches and vaginal rings have become the most commonly prescribed forms of birth control.

Unfortunately, many young women are given contraceptive hormones even when they are not sexually active, as a 'treatment' for irregular menses or acne. This is a mistake. This is not a treatment that addresses the underlying cause of problem periods or pimples. Contraceptive hormones will severely complicate a woman's hormone balance and can lead to many health problems, including significant hair loss and worsening acne.

All contraceptive drugs use synthetic hormones to suppress ovulation. These drugs cause your ovaries to stop working; they are in a kind of 'sleep' state. Instead of having your natural cycles result from a dance of signals between your body and your brain, your tissues are subject to synthetic hormones in amounts much larger than your body normally makes. There are many long and short -term consequences to ovarian suppression. Most women experience side effects using contraceptive drugs, including hair loss either during or several weeks or months after stopping the drug.

An article appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (278: 117-8, 1997) linking the Hepatitis B vaccine to increased incidence of balding in women.

Diagnostic Testing

In order to successfully treat hair loss, it is essential to understand why your hair follicles are not healthy. There are diagnostic tests that may help identify the underlying biochemistry that is contributing to your excess hair loss. However, many women with significant chemical imbalances related to their hair loss will find that these test results are within the "normal" range. That's because in many cases hair loss represents a stage of ill-health that is an early phase of a disease that will eventually fully develop. The lifestyle and dietary habits that eventually cause Type 2 diabetes and heart disease will also cause scalp hair thinning and facial hair coarsening in young women. It is usually many years before these same women have diagnostic tests that reveal they are diabetic or have coronary artery disease. Many of these women have undiagnosed PCOS.

Selective Sensitivity is the underlying problem

Another reason why diagnostic tests may be confusing is because of something called 'selective sensitivity' or 'selective resistance'. It turns out that some body cells are more sensitive than others to the same amounts of hormone. A major complicating factor for some women is that while her muscle and fat may be insulin resistant, other types of organ cells are not. The pituitary, ovaries, and adrenal glands of an insulin resistant woman are stimulated by higher levels of insulin than is desirable, which causes for instance elevated testosterone. The high levels of androgens in turn increase risk for heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Despite these possible difficulties, it is important to do our best to determine what is and is not the cause of a major symptom like persistent excessive hair loss. Diagnostic tests that can help identify the source of your metabolic imbalance are:

The hair pull test is a simple diagnostic test in which the physician lightly pulls a small amount of hair (approx. 100 simultaneously) in order to determine if there is excessive loss. Normal range is zero to three hairs per pull.

Hormone levels: Dehydroepiandrosterone, testosterone, androstenedione, prolactin, sex hormone binding globulin, follicular stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone. It is ideal to sample for FSH and LH on day 19 to 21 of your menstrual cycle, if those days can be identified.

Fasting blood glucose and insulin levels as well as cholesterol and triglyceride levels

A complete blood count plus serum iron, ferritin and total iron binding capacity

Thyroid stimulating hormone plus a thyroid function panel including T3, T4, and T3% uptake

VDRL to screen for syphilis

A scalp biopsy should be done before choosing surgical transplant

Densitometry, a magnification device, used check for shrinking of the hair shaft.

Conventional Medical Treatments For Hair Loss

You may be very interested in drug therapies of surgery to address the profound distress of excessive hair loss. It is simply human nature to hope for a simple pill or procedure that will permanently free us from our problems. Unfortunately drugs never actually provide a simple solution. Once you swallow a chemical, it is delivered all over your body; it affects your whole body. We can not control drugs so they have only the effects we want- there are always side effects that are more or less problematic. Using drug therapy means trading one problem for some others. Sometimes this is exactly the right thing to do. Other times it is a personal disaster. Most drugs will act on all your tissues there is a danger of side effects that further damage your health. Topical treatments applied directly to the scalp use the lowest doses, and are the least harmful drug choices.

You will enjoy the best results when you begin any treatment as soon as possible after hair loss begins. Stopping the adverse effects of androgens means you can prevent further hair loss. And you can support regrowth from the follicles that were dormant still healthy. Depending on how the agent you choose works, stopping treatment will result in the hair loss resuming, unless you have also made other changes in your lifestyle that keep androgens at a level that is healthy and not harmful to you.

Below you will find a list of treatments currently being used to treat hair loss in women. Some of these drugs have not been approved by the FDA for this particular application, however they have all been approved for other applications and are used "off label" to treat hair loss. Currently 2% topical Minoxidil is the only FDA approved treatment specifically for female pattern hair loss.

The effectiveness of these agents and methods will vary from woman to woman, but many women have found that using these treatments has made a positive difference in the character of their hair and their positive self-esteem. As always, treatments have the best chance of being effective if they are geared to the cause of the hair loss as well as to triggering hair growth.

Estrogen and progesterone as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), typically prescribed for women undergoing menopause for any reason, is probably the most common systemic form of treatment for androgenic alopecia in women.

Oral contraceptives will decrease the production of ovarian androgens, and thus can be used to treat women's androgenic alopecia. There are substantial reasons to avoid the use of either synthetic or bio-identical hormone treatments for your hair loss. Some birth control pills actually contribute to hair loss by triggering it or increasing it once it's been triggered by something else. Any individual woman may have a selective sensitivity to any hormone combination- what is a low androgen effect formula for one woman may be a high androgen effect for another.

I am no longer able to recommend the use of birth control pills or other hormone-based contraception to young women. Decades of evidence suggest there are plenty of known, and possibly as yet unknown health risks associated with the use of ANY from of reproductive hormones, either prescription or over-the-counter forms. It is clear that the benefits of hormonal contraceptives are accompanied by significant risks, including making it much more likely that a woman will experience hormone imbalances that lead to a long list of negative effects. Hormone replacement puts you are risk for:

Depression or other mood disorders; decreased libido

Migraines and headaches

Breast lumps, tenderness and enlargement

Vaginal bleeding between periods

High blood pressure (hypertension)

High cholesterol

Blood clot in the leg, felt as: pain in the calf; leg cramps; leg or foot swelling

Blood clot in the lung, felt as: shortness of breath; sharp chest pain; coughing up blood

Heart attack, felt as: chest pain or heaviness

Sudden loss of vision or vision changes, which can be a sign of a blood clot in the eye

Cerebral vascular accident (a stroke): impaired vision or speech; weakness or numbness in a limb; severe headache

Liver damage, seen as: yellow eyes or skin; dark urine; abdominal pain

Allergic reaction: rash; hives; itching; swelling; difficulty breathing or swallowing

Acne

Bloating, nausea and vomiting

Changes in your eyes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses

If you chose a hormone prescription for any reason, you should be sure to use only low-androgen content methods. If you have a strong predisposition for genetic hair loss, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease or any female organ cancer in your family I strongly recommend the use of another non-hormonal form of birth control.

Below is a list of birth control pills ranging from lowest androgen index to highest:

Desogen, Ortho-Cept, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Micronor, Nor-Q D, Ovcon-35, Brevicon / Modicon, Ortho Norvum 7/7/7, Ortho Novum 10-11, Tri-Norinyl, Norinyl and Ortho 1/35, Demulen 1/35, Triphasil / Tri-Levien, Nordette, Lo / Ovral, Ovrette, Ovral, Loestrin1 / 20, Loestrin 1.5 / 30.

The following hormonal contraceptives have a significant potential of causing hair loss or making it worse:

Progestin implants, such as Norplant, are small rods surgically implanted under your skin. The rods release a continuous dose of progestin to prevent ovarian function.

Progestin injections, such as Depo-Provera, are given into the muscles of the upper arm or buttocks.

The skin patch (Ortho Evra) is pasted onto your shoulder, buttocks, or other location. It releases progestin and estrogen continuously to prevent your ovaries from producing normal cycles.

The vaginal ring (NuvaRing) is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina. This method releases the lowest amounts of progestin and estrogen.

Minoxidil 2% Topical Treatment – Minoxidil seems to be more effective for women than men, for increasing scalp hair growth. The manufacturers of minoxidil recommend women use 2% minoxidil. There is a 5% solution available that has been tested and found safe enough for men. Because the makers of minoxidil have not invested in the expense of gaining FDA approval for promoting 5% minoxidil for use by women, it must be prescribed and used under a physician's supervision. Small clinical trials on 5% minoxidil for women show that the 5% solution is in fact more effective in both retaining and regrowing hair than the 2% solution.

Spironolactone (Aldactone) is a potassium-sparing diuretic used to treat high blood pressure and swelling. Spironolactone slows the production of androgens in the adrenal glands and ovaries. It prevents DHT from binding to receptor sites in the hair follicles.

Cimetidine (Tagamet) is a histamine blocker, approved to treat digestive tract ulcers. It prevents the stomach from producing digestive enzymes. Cimetidine also has been shown to block DHT from binding to hair follicle receptor sites.

Cyproterone acetate is used to reduce sexual aggression in men. Cyproterone acetate blocks DHT at hair follicle receptors. It has significant toxicity and long term side effects and is not available in the US.

Ketoconazole is a prescription topical treatment. It is primarily used as an antimicrobial for treating skin fungus. It suppresses production of androgens by adrenal glands, testicles and ovaries. Nizoral shampoo contains 2% ketoconazole. There is an over-the-counter version available. It has 1% active ingredient and is not as effective as prescription strength.

Finasteride is a drug that inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that deactivates DHT. It is sold as Proscar to treat prostate enlargement in men. Sold as Propecia it is approved by the FDA for male balding. Women should not take it if they are pregnant or might become pregnant because of the risk of feminization effects on a male fetus.

Surgical Implants

Since hair restoration surgery is an option for the vast majority of the balding men, women may want to consider it. However, the type of hair loss most women suffer from makes hair transplants a bad idea.

Few women have the type of hair loss that make them good candidates for a surgical solution. Most men lose hair in well-defined areas, for instance the receding forehead or the classic round spot on the top of the skull. Little clumps or plugs of hair are removed from areas where healthy follicles are stable and plentiful, and these are transplanted to other areas of the head. Women more often experience an overall thinning across their whole scalp, including the sides and back. Most women have few reliably stable donor sites. Offering to transplant hair from unstable donor sites is medically unethical and women must not allow their distress about balding to get in the way of a cool- eyed look at the rationale behind treatment options offered.

Are any women good candidates for hair transplant? Yes, some. A small percentage, 2% to 5% of women will have the type of hair loss that will benefit from this type of procedure. They are:

Women who have suffered hair loss due to non-hormonal causes, like traction alopecia.

Women who have scalp scars from some kind of wound or cosmetic surgery and want to repair hair loss around the incision or injury sites.

Women who have healthy and stable donor sites along with balding in a distinct pattern, like a receding hairline or thinning on the very top of the head.

Natural Remedies for Women's Hair Loss

Safe, effective natural therapies are available to help you restore scalp health and increase hair growth. Like all natural therapies, in order to be maximally effective, it is essential to work with you as an individual. Some remedies will be more useful to you than others, depending on your unique, personal physical, mental and emotional health status. It is always important to spend your health care dollars well. I offer a consultation service to help you choose and make best use of the available options for treatment. Please visit your local ND to find out how to benefit from a personal consultation. You will receive recommendations for specific natural therapies, designed for your unique health status, to help you restore your health, and your scalp hair to it's fullest and most enjoyable beauty.

Delicious Food Good for Eyes – The Eye Health Benefits of Walnuts

When it comes to snacking you would probably agree that it is difficult to find a food that is not only tasty but healthy at the same time. However, this statement is not necessarily true in all cases. For example, when it comes to eye health, if you are looking for a snack that meets this criteria, Walnuts are a good choice. Therefore, if you've ever wondered whether or not Walnuts are good for your eyes, here are some benefits of Walnuts for better vision:

Rich Omega 3 Fatty Acid Content: This eye food consists of a higher level of Omega 3 Fatty acids than other nuts. For instance, a number of scientific research studies have actually revealed that Omega 3 Fatty acids may reduce the risk for age related eye diseases such as Macular Degeneration. Eye doctors recommend a diet that consists of Omega 3 Fatty acids as this is a good way to support eye health.

Rich Antioxidant Content: Nutritionist Rebecca Katz of the "Longevity Kitchen Magazine" states: "Ounce for ounce walnuts have twice as many antioxidants than any other nuts." Research was presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society whereby scientists revealed analysis supporting this conclusion. Scientist Joe Vinson, PHD, who conducted the analysis stated: "Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and regular nuts. Vinson revealed that the quality and potency of antioxidants in Walnuts were higher than other nuts but revealed that the reason people don 't eat enough of them is that they think that they are fattening. He revealed that the kind of fat found in Walnuts is not the artery clogging type of saturated fat, but a healthy kind of fat called monounsaturated fat that actually supports heart health.

Eye Supporting Vitamins and Nutrients: This food to improve eyesight, consist of Vitamin E. In the case of Vitamin E, research studies have indicated a benefit derived from this nutrient in terms of the slowing of Cataract development.

Walnuts consist of Zinc and also Selenium. These are essential antioxidants that play a vital role in terms of protecting the eyes from the negative effects of free radicals that cause damage to eye cells. From this point of view, they are helpful in the prevention of age related vision disorders.

In terms of portions, nutritionists recommend eating a handful of walnuts a day to promote heart health and also general health. Therefore, from the point of view of general health, here are some additional benefits of Walnuts for eyes:

Eating a handful of walnuts a day not only protects your eye health, but interestingly, health experts have identified a weight loss benefit that is associated with eating this healthy snack. It is actually helpful in assisting you in maintaining or losing weight. A lot of interest in the medical community has been focused on the fact that eating walnuts in moderation, on a daily basis, can actually improve your cholesterol and triglyceride levels thereby supporting heart health.

Finding a healthy food that is not only good for your eyes but pleases your taste buds does not have to be a challenging task after all. By incorporating a handful of Walnuts into your diet, on a daily basis, you give your eyes antioxidant protection against age related vision disorders. By doing this you are also improving your general health in areas related to the promotion of good cholesterol levels, better heart health and even weight loss. Ultimately, when it comes to eating to support eye health and general health, it turns out that snacking with Walnuts proves to be an excellent healthy snack alternative.