Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hypothalamus and Menopause Weight Gain

The hypothalamus contains several groups of nerve cells, which has the ability to impact emotions, regulate body temperature, and control thirst, the feeling of fullness and salt cravings (when sodium levels are too high within the body, the hypothalamus sends a signal to drink fluids). Body weight is controlled by the hypothalamus through modifying our metabolism. The activities of the hypothalamus are influenced by stress, light, steroids, insulin, pleasant food smells, and invading microorganisms. This explains why we tend to overeat when we are stressed out, when the daylight time becomes shortened and when we smell something good.
Hypothalamus Controls Appetite. When menopause comes, the imbalance of the estrogen, progesterone, GABA, serotonin and dopamine profoundly influences the neuronal activity of the hypothalamus, which can cause women to be more emotional, to crave for sweets and salty food, and to have insomnia, hot flushes and night sweats. Many women told me that they cannot stop eating even though they know they are not supposed to eat too much of a certain kind of food. In this scenario, if they eat the wrong kind of food such as cookies and ice cream or drink too much coffee, their stomachs will not receive the full sensation; they can keep eating until they damage the majority of their nerves and blood vessels. We have trillions of neurons and blood vessels; if we destroy 60% of them, our body can still compensate. Once the majority of the nerves and blood vessels are damaged, it is too late to change. When we consume sugary stuff, our rewarding center lightens up, our body releases a lot of dopamine and we feel happier for a moment. The problem is that our body's function is not improved by eating junk food. We have to continue eating those rewarding foods to maintain our happiness. If we use healthy ways, such as physical exercise, taking herbs or having acupuncture treatments to produce more dopamine, we have to make an effort to initiate them. On the other hand, if we just put a piece of chocolate into our mouth, we do not need a strong will to do that, but our blood vessels and nerves are going to be damaged without our seeing them until one day our brain cannot remember our family member's name and the dementia becomes irreversible. The simple sugar is even worse than alcohol or tobacco because you can eat the sugar any time with any amount without getting drunk or being punished. On the other hand you can only drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes at certain times and places. A positive side is that when people eat sugary stuff, they become more friendly and sociable at the moment. Why can most men eat one piece of chocolate, then stop, while women have to eat ten pieces? Because women's estrogen levels fluctuate each month from 10 to 100 while men do not have these big hormone changes unless they are alcoholics or drug addicts.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dissecting the Adverse Effects of Surgical Procedures -- By Holly Hayden

People have been increasingly reliant on modern medicine. Medical interventions have been able to help prolong lives, especially with the help of modern surgical procedures. It is amazing to know that modern surgical procedures are able to do incredible things to save a person’s life.
One example of this is the bariatric surgery. It has become the more popular option, especially to those who have become morbidly obese. Though this procedure is considered to be highly effective in losing weight, the adverse effects of this procedure cannot be denied.
Nausea and vomiting are the most common adverse effects of bariatric surgery. But the more serious adverse effect would be the development of infection from the wound acquired from the surgery, resulting to leaks from the stomach into the abdominal cavity. Cases like this require the patient to undergo another operation.
Another great example would be the hemorrhoidectomy. It is a surgical procedure that is done to remove hemorrhoids. In other procedures, a circular stapling device is used to remove hemorrhoidal tissue and close the wound. However, this procedure does not require incision. What it does is that, it only lifts the hemorrhoid, after which, it is then placed back (or "stapled") in the anal canal.
The adverse effect in this procedure is that, 5% of the time, hemorrhoids come back after the surgery. It also leaves you the inability to control the bowel movement and even the bladder. Not only that, it leaves you at risk for infection of the surgical area because some of the stool may be trapped in the anal area.
All these and other medical surgical procedures provide post-operation risks and other complications. Studies show that the success of these surgical procedures like the aforementioned depends on the ability of the patient to make changes in his lifestyle.
But these conditions can be avoided. Say, hemorrhoids, for example. Hemorrhoids can be avoided from occurring or from coming back if you will be able to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. For one, you have to avoid the common causes of hemorrhoids such as eating too much processed food and prolonged sitting or standing. Acupuncture and herbs can help improve the circulation around anus so that the blood will not accumulate around anus. Acupuncture can also help tone the muscle and reduce the scar tissue after the surgery.
The same goes with other ailments as well. Taking care of your body from the inside and out will keep you from getting morbidly obese or from suffering from chronic diseases.
Holly Hayden is a respected authority on using herbs to cure your hemorrhoid naturally. Her free report on this method has helped thousands of people see Curing your hemorrhoid using herbs. Her exclusive system has already helped thousands of people treat their hemorrhoids towards elimination without surgery or ineffective creams.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Acupuncture and PCOS

Why are ovarian cysts becoming more and more common?
There are several possible bases for the increasing prevalence of ovarian cysts:
1. High insulin levels due to high sugar intake: Many doctors including Dr. Steven Hotze and Dr. Carolyn Dean suggest a connection between obesity coupled with high sugar intake and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The term Syndrome X indicates a group of symptoms including hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, elevated triglyceride, and elevated uric acid, a chemical causing severe joint pain and kidney stones. High sugar intake can trigger insulin secretion, and the high insulin level shuts down the body’s ability to burn fat, thus moving the sugar into fat cells. Furthermore, high insulin interrupts the balance between estrogen and progesterone, causing many cysts formed in ovaries.
2. Birth control pills: Many women take birth control pills to treat acne, menstrual cramps and irregular periods as well as for preventing pregnancy. Long-term use of birth control pills causes an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.
3. Hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system: When scientists transected the sympathetic nerve control over the ovaries in rats with chemically induced PCOS, the rats started ovulating again, and their cyst sizes were reduced.

Electro-acupuncture activated certain muscle-nerve fibers to deactivate the sympathetic nervous system. It also changed neuronal activities in the spinal cord and induced the release of a number of chemicals, which are important in balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves over the uterus and ovaries. Raja-Khan N. et al. published an article in Am.J.Physiol Endocrinol Metab recently, explaining that acupuncture may modulate endocrine and metabolic functions through activation of somatic afferent nerves innervating the skin and muscle. The somatic afferent nerves sends the information to the brain, which adjusts hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axes, hypothalamic-pituitary-ovary axes, and the immune system, leading to reductions in blood pressure, glucose, and inflammation.

PCOS are not always associated with obesity:
More and more women developed PCOS even though they are not overweight. They can be very fit with well-developed muscles, yet their periods are very irregular with an abnormal hormone profile, such as an increased ratio of LH/FSH, testosterone and lowered level of progesterone. They usually eat a lot of sweets, but exercise intensely, so they never gain weight, but because of higher levels of testosterone, they tend to develop acne and their periods tend to be scanty with severe cramps. Because there are many small cysts in their ovaries to release testosterone, the corpus luteum function is abnormal, leading to spotting for many days before the period comes. Very often they have periods every two to three months or eventually the periods would stop. The PCOS can lead to infertility and early menopause if it is not treated properly.

Acupuncture and Diabetic Neuropathy

In a 2011 Journal of Endocrinology Investigation, Dr. Jiang YL, et. al used a single abdominal injection of a chemical called streptozotocin (STZ) to induce high blood sugar in rats. Rats were randomly divided into six groups: control, diabetes, preventive acupuncture plus streptozotocin injection, STZ injection plus therapeutic acupuncture, streptozotocin injection plus preventive and therapeutic acupuncture, and preventive and therapeutic acupuncture control. Body weight, blood glucose, serum insulin, lipid peroxidation, and antioxidant enzymes were measured by routine standard methods. Histological analysis of pancreatic islets was conducted. Their results showed preventive acupuncture significantly reduced blood sugar levels, enhance insulin efficiency, reduced body weight and pancreatic islet damage in rats with streptozotocin injection; it also significantly reduced serum lipid peroxidation and enhanced superoxide dismutase in the serum and the pancreas, which reduced the oxidation stress and prevented the blood from clotting.
Glucose intolerance is the condition in which insulin cannot function normally due to too much sugar intake every day, which desensitizes the insulin receptors. The sharp elevated blood sugar levels right after the meal can damage the blood vessels and nerves irreversibly. The above study indicates that acupuncture treatment can prevent the blood sugar surge induced by chemicals artificially, thus acupuncture can prevent neuropathy, stroke and even dementia. The healthy blood vessels and nerves are crucial for the normal function of the heart and brain function.
In clinical practices, when we applied acupuncture to type I and type II diabetes patients after each meal, their blood sugar reading usually is lowered within two hours. Since people cannot have acupuncture everyday to lower their blood sugar, eating low glycemic index food and doing regular exercise are also very important to resensitize the insulin receptor, so that with the lowered level of insulin, people can still achieve the optimized blood sugar level. Insulin itself is a growth factor, which can cause the imbalance of the estrogen and progesterone and chronic inflammation.
Acupuncture not only can help the body stabilize the blood sugar level, but also can be used to treat neuropathy because it can improve the blood circulation to your hands and feet to facilitate the peripheral nerves’ regeneration. The most recent article in Neuroscience. 2011 by Cidral-Filho FJ et. al. indicates that manual acupuncture inhibits mechanical hypersensitivity induced by spinal nerve injury in rats. Jin Z et. al did human clinical research in 2011 and found that electroacupuncture and acupoint injection with methylcobalamin can increase motor and sensory nerve conduction velocity, control and relieve the symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Histamine and Allergies

Histamine can dilate blood vessels to bring more blood flow and white blood cells to local areas, which causes rashes, redness, heat, and pain. This process can help the body clear up damaged tissues or can lead to chronic inflammation or allergies if too much histamine is released for too long. An allergy is an abnormal, acquired sensitivity to certain substances including pollen, drugs, and numerous environmental triggers. Type I hypersensitivity is characterized by the excessive activation of mast cells and basophiles by a kind of antibody called IgE, triggering a systemic inflammatory response that can result in symptoms as benign as a runny nose or as life-threatening as anaphylactic shock and death.
It has been shown that cells that produce histamine have the most wakefulness-related firing-patterns of any neurons so far recorded. They fire rapidly during waking hours, fire more slowly during periods of relaxation or tiredness, and completely stop firing during REM and non-REM sleep. Firing of histamine-producing cells is recorded just before an animal shows signs of waking. That is why if a person does not sleep enough, he/she will produce more histamine in the body. Abnormally higher histamine level in the body can lead to chronic allergies and inflammation.
Certain kinds of drink and food can also induce higher levels of histamine such as spoiled fish and red wine. So if you have allergic reactions right now, it is wise to avoid seafood and red wine until your allergy clears up. If you have an acute injury and your body tries to clear up the damaged tissue by releasing more histamine, you may rest more than you usually do. In that way, your body will not produce too much histamine to cause chronic inflammation.
Many histamine releasing cells can be sensitized by estrogen. When women are close to menopause, their progesterone level drops dramatically and their estrogen level fluctuates, creating the condition called estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can also be caused by high sugar intake, non-ovulation cycles, too much coffee, obesity, environmental pollution, alcoholism, and post-partum hormone changes. That is why women tend to develop different kinds of allergies and autoimmune diseases during their periods of hormone changes such as puberty, pregnancy, or menopause if the histamine level is too high.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Weight loss and acupuncture

Why do some people gain weight and others do not even though they eat the same kind and amount of the food?
Scientific evidence explains the role of the sympathetic nervous system in the development of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. N. Tentolouris of the Athens University Medical School in Greece suggests that sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity is associated with both energy balance and the metabolic syndrome. Medications, which stimulate the SNS, also decrease food intake and increase the resting metabolic rate (RMR) and the thermogenic (heat-production) responses. Conversely, a blockage of the sympathetic nevous system exerts the opposite effect. Fat in the internal organs become prone to lipolysis (breakdown of fat) when epinephrine, released from the adrenal gland, combines with certain proteins found in intra-abdominal fat cells. In addition, central fat distribution is associated with disturbances in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, suggesting that a disturbed, stress-coping axis may be implicated in the development of the metabolic syndrome.
Dr. F. Kawabata et al. at Kyoto University in Japan conducted a research indicating that one of the ingredients in a non-pungent red pepper can enhance energy expenditure in humans in the same way as pungent red pepper. They investigated the effects of the repeated intake of this particular red pepper for two weeks on body weight and body fat in humans. Changes in the autonomic nervous activity after ingesting the red pepper were also measured. They observed that repeated intake of red pepper reduced the body weight and suppressed body fat accumulation. Moreover, the weight loss due to the repeated intake of red pepper correlated significantly with the increase of the sympathetic nervous response after the ingestion of the red pepper. The scientists proposed that the repeated intake of non-pungent red pepper reduced body weight and suppressed body fat accumulation by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system in humans. That is why those strong professional people, who can not stay still for a minute, never gain weight even though they eat junk food. If a person is very thin due to hyperactive sympathetic nervous system, he/she is not necessarily healthy.