Category Archives: Health Tips

Daily Tips That Make Skin Care for Acne and Anti-Aging Easy

skin care for acne and anti-aging

Skin care is a hobby and preoccupation for a growing number of people. Whether we’re fighting skin blemishes or trying to preserve the health and appearance of our skin as we grow older, skin care is a challenging and rewarding process that we all can take part in. 

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and careful observation of its appearance will reveal that it’s never exactly the same at any given time. Your complexion fluctuates, dry patches come and go, and the appearance of health and vitality can be there one minute and gone the next. So whether you’re trying to clear your skin from troublesome acne, or simply trying to maintain your epidermis’ youthful glow, here are some means and methods with which to address acne and anti-aging. 

Stabilize Your Diet and Nutrition

Diet and nutrition have almost as much to do with skin health as any other factor. Micronutrients like vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids are integral for the health and attractive appearance of your skin. All of these and more can be found in a widely varied diet of high quality whole foods, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. Processed foods should be kept to a minimum, as should any foods that include ingredients or preservatives that you can’t easily pronounce when reading the side of the container. When at all possible, make your own meals from scratch. 

In addition to your meals, consider supplements that can go beyond the nutrition found on your dinner plate. Moringa, Jojoba, & Rose Hip Oil by Desert Essence and Gentle Cleansing Wash by MyChelle Dermaceuticals are perfect examples. The former can soothe skin irritations, such as acne, as well as prime and preserve healthy skin. The latter can gently remove harmful oils and other impurities which inflame the skin during acne breakouts, or can simply work as a makeup remover or general cleanser for all kinds of skin types. 

Providing nutrition directly to the skin surface, as in these two examples, can work faster at improving skin health than generalized nutrition taken in through diet. However, you should probably do both!

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is important for the health of your skin, because water makes up most of the weight of our skin. It’s water that allows nutrition to reach skin cells, through the blood in the capillaries, and water composes part of the barrier found around the body of cells that make up your epidermis. Simply put, without water your skin can’t be healthy, so make sure you drink plenty of it! 

Hydration is especially important when it’s very cold or very hot, or when the air is dry. Hydration is also necessary before, during, and after exercise, or any other time your temperature is elevated. You can hydrate your skin from the outside with a high-quality lotion made of natural ingredients, as needed, but especially right before bed. This is a great tip for general skin care, as well as acne and anti-aging.

Wear Sunscreen

Protecting your skin from the sun will work wonders for its appearance. Wrinkles and fine lines are most often the result of damage that ages the skin, causing it to lose its softness and elasticity. Sun damage is the worst culprit for many of us. Even if you go outside in the sun for only a few minutes each day, this time adds up! You should strongly consider getting in the habit of applying sunscreen to your face, at least, whenever you go outdoors during the day. 

All of these methods will help you improve your skin quality, especially if you have chronic conditions like acne. For those without acne, these techniques will help you improve the health and appearance of your skin, reducing the signs of aging for life. 

Muscle Cramps – All Pain No Gain

MusclePainBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

If you have ever experienced a sudden and severe muscle contraction, and the majority of us have, you’ll know just how painful that experience can be.  While muscle cramps generally last only a few seconds to a few minutes, the often surprising and sudden onset and intensity are not as quickly forgotten.  Muscle soreness may remain for several days and it may take up to a week for the muscle to return to a normal, pain free state.  A cramp occurs when a muscle involuntarily contracts and does not release.  Skeletal muscles, which we voluntarily control, are most likely to be affected.  Most often cramping occurs in the calf, hamstring or quadricep muscles but hand and foot cramps are also common. 

Causes of muscle cramping can include muscle fatigue, inadequate stretching, poor conditioning, dehydration and electrolyte depletion. Low levels of potassium and calcium may also cause muscle cramping, as both minerals contribute to healthy muscle function. Those most susceptible to cramping include athletes, who often develop cramps at the end of intense or prolonged exercise, and the elderly due to normal muscle atrophy and the body’s lessened ability to respond to thirst and temperature changes.  Those who are ill, overweight or taking certain medications are also at high risk of cramping. 

True cramps, one of four basic categories of skeletal muscle cramps, are the most common type.  True cramps are most likely the result of hyperexcitability of the nerves that stimulate the muscles and can occur under a variety of circumstances.  These can include:

Injury to the muscle or a broken bone can cause persistent spasms as a protective mechanism to keep the muscle or bone stable in order to recover. 

Strenuous physical activity, overuse of muscles and muscle fatigue can cause cramping during exercise or while at rest many hours later.  Rest cramps, which often strike during the night,  can be painful, frequent and sleep disruptive. 

Dehydration caused by excess fluid loss during vigorous activities increases the likelihood of cramping.  Poor fluid intake, diuretic medications , and sodium depletion are all contributing factors that can result in dehydration. 

Low blood calcium or magnesium levels can directly impact and overstimulate nerve endings and muscles, increasing the predisposition for true muscle cramping.  Low levels of calcium and magnesium can be the result of pregnancy, diuretic medications, inadequate dietary absorption or poorly functioning parathyroid glands, which regulate calcium balance. 

Low potassium blood levels can cause cramping and muscle weakness, as potassium affects the way neuromuscular cells discharge and regenerate energy.  When potassium levels are low, muscles and nerves cannot function properly. 

Vitamin deficiencies including thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5) and pyridoxine (B6) can also lead to muscle cramping although the exact reasons are unclear. 

Poor circulation, which results in decreased oxygen in the muscle tissue, can cause severe pain and cramping. 

Initially, stretching the muscle will often relieve a cramp especially in the feet and legs.  Gentle muscle massage can help to relax the muscle.  Later on, a warm bath or a heating pad may help relieve the soreness that may follow a cramp or muscle spasm often called a Charlie horse.  Fluid and electrolyte, especially sodium and potassium, replacement is critical for treating or preventing cramping.  If cramping is severe or persistent or not associated with an obvious cause, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, which may require a visit to your healthcare professional.   

To prevent muscle cramping, stretch before and after exercise, hydrate before, during and after the activity, and make sure to get adequate amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium.  Although cramps are painful, the discomfort is generally short lived.  Giving your muscles a little TLC can prevent or lessen the occurrence of muscle cramping, allowing for a great exercise session or a good night’s sleep. 

Try these products for relief of muscle cramping:

Spaz Out® by Metabolic Maintenance is a balanced mineral formula that is designed to replenish the mineral electrolytes most at risk of deficiency in those with muscle cramping.  Contains calcium, magnesium and potassium and other minerals. 

Muscle Cramp/Tension Formula by Pure Encapsulations contains important electrolytes and soothing herbs to relieve occasional nighttime muscle cramps, minor muscle cramps associated with exercise and overall muscle tension. 

Restore by Heel/BHI is a homeopathic formula for the temporary relief of muscle soreness, burning  and cramping resulting from physical exertion or lactic acid buildup.

How Probiotics Aid Optimal Health

ProbioticsgfxBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Probiotics have been used for thousands of years in the belief that they hold the key to health and wellness.  Probiotics have increasingly undergone rigorous scientific evaluation and there is strong evidence that these friendly bacteria are helpful in treating and preventing a wide variety of ailments.  Research shows that probiotics are particularly useful in supporting the gastrointestinal tract, relieving digestive issues, warding off infection and boosting the immune system. 

The human microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria that are intimately involved in promoting broad spectrum health at the molecular level.  The many diverse strains of probiotics that inhabit every normal, healthy bowel provide different benefits and work synergistically to keep pathogens in check and aid the digestion and absorption of nutrients.  Beneficial microflora help to regulate immune responses and promote the health and function of the inner intestinal lining, strengthening its ability to bar potentially dangerous organisms.  

Many factors contribute to an unhealthy balance of microflora, which can lead to an increased risk of metabolic and inflammatory chronic diseases.  Modern diets, unhealthy lifestyle factors, pollution, the overuse of antibiotics and even simple aging can shift the balance of a disease-preventing state towards a disease-promoting state.  A negative change in the intestinal microbiome is associated with chronic age-related diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer and metabolic syndrome.  Allergies, asthma and obesity are also related to an abundance of unhealthy bacteria.

Many chronic degenerative diseases are the result of a poorly functioning immune system.  The majority of the immune system is based in the gut, which produces more antibodies than the rest of the body combined.  Supplementation with probiotics can restore and rebalance the microbiome, strengthening its ability to interact with the immune system and boosting the population of cells that destroy harmful, infecting organisms.  Probiotics boost intestinal regularity and can significantly and beneficially impact minor digestive issues, as well as the  more serious conditions of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates, which provide the fuel that probiotics need to thrive.  When combined with a probiotic they form a mutually beneficial relationship, working together to maintain a healthy intestinal flora.  Tending to your gut microflora is essential to good health.  A healthy diet, which includes naturally fermented foods such as yogurt or pickled vegetables and devoid of sugars that nourish pathogenic bacteria, combined with  a high-quality supplement will support a flourishing population of beneficial bacteria, providing the body’s first line of defense against all illness and disease. 

BioDolphilus – Fos by Biotics ResearchBioDolphilus supplies the probiotics Lactobacillus acidophilus (DDS-I strain) and Bifidobacterium bifidum in a prebiotic base of fructooligosaccharides.  Pleasant tasting powder can be mixed with a beverage of your choice. 

UltraFlora Advanced by Metagenics UltraFlora Advanced supports healthy intestinal and immune function on multiple levels with a patented blend of probiotics, prebiotic fibers, and immunoglobulins provided in a powder base.

Multi-Probiotic 15 Billion by Douglas Laboratories –  Multi-Probiotic 15 Billion supports intestinal flora with potent amounts of live beneficial prebiotics and probiotics.  One capsule contains a multi-strain blend of 15 billion CFU. 

OrthoBiotic by Ortho Molecular –  Ortho Biotic contains seven carefully assembled strains of probiotic microorganisms that bolster the immune system and promote the health and optimal functioning of the gastrointestinal system.  Proprietary blend of 20 billion CFU per capsule is scientifically formulated for room temperature storage.