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antiviral herbsFlu season is upon us. Prevention is the key, but if a virus threatens your health, quick action with natural vitamins, supplements, and herbs can stop that virus in its tracks. How many of these herbs, vitamins, and anti-virals are on hand if you need them?

Vitamins
Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin C are all vital nutrients for the immune system, and are all known to help prevent help fight viruses. In particular, vitamin C is well known for it’s virus fighting properties, but if you take high doses of vitamin C to fight a virus, you should not stop taking it abruptly-taper off.

Zinc and Selenium
Zinc has been proven to be effective against the common cold and to be effective as a topical treatment for herpes sores. It is believed to be effective due to preventing replication of the virus. The immune system needs selenium to work properly and to build up the white blood cell count.

CoQ10
CoQ10 supplementation has been shown to significantly enhance the immune system.

Probiotics
Probiotics are always helpful in maintaining gut health, especially when the body is under a viral attack that involves the digestive system. Probiotic foods and drinks without added sugar can help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria. Speaking of probiotics, a healthy intestinal tract is absolutely imperative for a strong immune system. See the first source below for more.

Garlic
Garlic is anti-viral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial. You can take garlic in a tonic or, if you can handle it, chew raw garlic. It not only will help fight the virus, it will help kill any secondary infections trying to take root.

Echinacea
Echinacea not only supports the immune system, it also has been proven to reduce the severity and duration of viral infections.

Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver is believed to interfere with the enzymes that allow viruses (bacteria and fungi as well) to utilize oxygen.

Elderberry
A double blind trial showed elderberry extract’s ability to reduce symptoms of influenza and speed recovery. It also showed elderberry’s ability to enhance immune response with higher levels of antibodies in the blood. It is believed to inhibit a virus’s ability to penetrate healthy cells and protect cells with powerful antioxidants. Elderberry has also been shown to inhibit replication in four strains of herpes viruses and reduce ineffectivity of HIV strains.

Green Tea
The flavanoids in green tea are believed to fight viral infections by preventing the virus from entering host cells and by inhibiting replication.

Olive Leaf Extract
Though double blind clinical trials are needed, olive leaf extract has been shown to inhibit replication of viruses. In one study, 115 of 119 patients had a full and rapid recovery from respiratory tract infections while 120 of 172 had a full and rapid recovery from viral skin infections such as herpes.

Pau d’Arco
Pau d’arco has been used in indigenous medicine for generations. One of its compounds, lapachol, has proven effective against various viruses, including influenza, herpes simplex types I and II, and polio virus. It is believed to inhibit replication.

Liquorice Root
Studies have shown that glycyrrhizin, a compound found in liquorice root was more effective in fighting samples of coronavirus from SARS patients than four antiviral drugs. It reduces viral replication, cell absorption, and the virus’s ability to penetrate cells. It is also being used to treat HIV.

St John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort has been proven effective against influenza, herpes simplex, and HIV.

Remember that the best defense is a good offense. A healthy diet based on nutrient dense foods, exercise to move your lymph (more on lymph), and aid your immune system, as well as good quality sleep will build a strong, healthy immune system. A strong immune system will fight off viruses without you even knowing the battle ever took place.

Article Source: Antiviral Herbs

ebola in britainBritain’s health secretary is warning that the Ebola virus will arrive in his country by Christmas, as he announced a new initiative to begin screening passengers for the deadly virus at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that passengers from at-risk countries will have temperatures taken, complete a risk questionnaire and have all of their contact details taken by government health screeners. Hunt said screening at the Gatwick Airport and at Eurostar terminals would begin within days, adding that contingency plans are in place to expand the screening to additional airports at Birmingham and Manchester if the threat worsens.

Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported that Hunt believes that there will be a “handful” of cases in Britain by the holidays:

When pressed by Andy Burnham, the shadow Health Secretary, Mr Hunt said it was unlikely that cases would reach double figures, but admitted that the situation may change.

Speaking in the Commons, he told MPs that the public health risk in the UK “remains low” and a great deal of planning has gone into dealing with potential Ebola patients.

He added that “we are one of the best and most prepared countries in the world” in the event of an outbreak.

‘You are the best of our country’

That said, Hunt went on to warn that screening would only identify about 9 in 10 people at risk because there was no way of screening passengers arriving from infected countries by indirect routes.

As of this writing, the Ebola outbreak has claimed around 4,500 lives; there have been more than 8,900 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of the deadly virus in seven countries.

Hunt also paid tribute to the scores of British health workers who have gone to the affected areas to help combat the disease. “You are the best of our country,” he said, adding that predicting the exact number of cases was “genuinely very difficult.” He did say, however, that he did not expect cases to reach double digits in Britain over the next three months.

In recent weeks, the British government had opted not to begin screening, but that quickly changed after watching the situation deteriorate significantly in the West African nations currently grappling to control the outbreak.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that “vigorous steps” are being initiated to prevent the disease from reaching the United Kingdom, and he has defended government plans to begin screening measures at two of the UK’s largest airports.

‘We’re doing more than almost any other country’

Cameron also said that Britain was doing more than nearly every other country to help contain the disease and eradicate it in West Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the epidemic is now the “most severe acute health emergency in modern times,” as the number of new cases of the disease is “rising exponentially” in the three hardest-hit countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Talking to reporters in Portsmouth, Hampshire, Cameron said screening at the Heathrow and Gatwick airports would consist of more than just filling out forms. He said it would incorporate “taking temperatures and identifying symptoms.”

“There are no direct flights from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the countries affected most, but people are coming in indirectly,” he said. “We should be trying our best to screen them and that will begin this week.”

He added: “Not only are we doing more than almost any other country in the world to deal with this problem at source in Sierra Leone and other countries, we are also taking very vigorous steps here to make sure we keep our people safe.”

In addition, Hunt said that call handlers to the National Health Service’s 111 line would be asking callers with potential symptoms to reveal recent travel history to see if they had visited West Africa.

Article Source: Ebola outbreak in Great Britain

medicinal mushroomsThe world’s greatest healing systems have long revered the medicinal power of edible mushrooms. In ancient Chinese and Indian medicine, for instance, mushrooms were often prescribed to individuals suffering from a wide range of conditions ranging from fatigue to serious degenerative diseases. In Europe, mushrooms were beloved for their significant healing properties, which were often attributed to their dense concentrations of essential nutrients.

As drug-based medicine continued to soar in popularity in the 20th century, however, many cultures began to forget about the healing plants that had safeguarded their ancestors’ health for centuries. This is unfortunate, since ongoing research continues to show that some mushrooms really are disease-fighting powerhouses. The three mushrooms listed below are proven to be especially effective at treating certain conditions.

Turkey tail: cancer
Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) is a bracket fungi whose beautiful colors and patterns resemble the tail feathers of a turkey. It grows worldwide, and — being a beneficial decomposer of dead wood — often forms in huge colonies on the wounds of living and dead trees.

Turkey tail is best-known for its cancer-fighting properties. One study published in ISRN Oncology in 2012, for instance, found that taking up to 9 grams of turkey tail extract per day could improve the immune status of patients with breast cancer. Another study, published one year later in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, discovered that turkey tail — when combined with reishi, another popular disease-fighting mushroom — could induce apoptosis in leukemia cells.

Lion’s mane: cognitive dysfunction
Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a globular-shaped fungus that is easily identified by its cascading teeth-like spines, from which white spores emerge. In fact, the mushroom is also called the “pom-pom blanc” since it resembles the white poms-poms used by cheerleaders.

Lion’s mane’s positive effects on brain function are well-recorded. For example, a study published in Biomedical Research in August 2010 found that subjects who took a lion’s mane supplement for four weeks demonstrated reduced depression and anxiety compared to the placebo group. A review published in Critical Reviews in Biotechnology in March 2014 also listed lion’s mane as one of the mushrooms that can prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Chaga: metabolic disorders
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a hard and woody fungus that thrives in the coldest parts of Europe, especially Russia. Despite looking like a cracked piece of charcoal, chaga is a mushroom of considerable medicinal value, and it enjoys a long and rich association with European folklore.

While extremely versatile as a disease fighter, chaga seems to specialize in treating metabolic disorders such as diabetes due to its high concentrations of secondary metabolites (intermediates and products of metabolism). One study published in Phytotherapy Research in February 2014, for instance, found that a melanin complex of chaga “exerts antihyperglycemic and beneficial lipid-metabolic effects, making it a candidate for promising antidiabetic agent.” Research featured in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in June 2008 also showed that chaga could lower glucose levels and prevent the oxidative degradation of lipids in diabetic mice. (6)

Article Source: Mushrooms

therapeutic bathsIf you feel that your health could use a boost, or you need a little extra care, a healing soak is one of the best ways to regain equilibrium, shed toxins and calm the mind. A perfect medium for children and adults alike, therapeutic baths not only help you relax but also gently balance the system.

View any health spa menu and you will usually find an array of different healing soaks. From weight loss to detoxification and anti-aging, the variety available is impressive. All the same, enjoying a spa treatment more than once every so often is usually too costly for the average person. This is where the beauty of creating a restorative bath at home comes in. For pennies on the dollar, we can detoxify and alleviate health complaints, while easing tension and stress. It’s easier than you may think, yet the benefits are vast.

Recipes for health
As luck would have it, we need not travel extravagant distances, or spend great amounts of money, to reap the benefits of a therapeutic bath — it’s simple enough to recreate a healing spa experience in the privacy of our own home. Have a look at the following five examples for inspiration.

Clay
Gently pulling heavy metals from the body, clay is one of the best detoxifying substances available. Eytons’ Earth recommends 5 pounds of green desert calcium bentonite, Pascalite, Inland Sea or Redmond clay per bath. Fill the tub halfway with very hot water and sprinkle the clay evenly over the surface to avoid clumping. Allow to settle for 10-20 minutes. Next, add enough hot water so that the temperature is comfortable and you are able to submerge your entire body from the neck down. In the beginning, soak for 10-15 minutes. Thereafter, gradually increase the time of each bath until you’re able to comfortably soak for up to two hours. As long as your plumbing is in good condition, and the clay is completely aqueous when drained, clogging shouldn’t be an issue.

Seaweed
Rich in minerals and helpful in supporting metabolism and hormonal balance, along with the adrenal glands and thyroid, seaweed is an excellent ingredient for a therapeutic bath. Add 4 ounces of dried seaweed (kelp and dulse are good options) to a large tea ball or muslin bag. Secure the container so seaweed doesn’t clog the drain and submerge in 8 cups of boiling water. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, remove from heat and pour entire contents into the bathtub. Add additional hot water and soak until the gelatinous film from the seaweed completely dissolves from your skin.

Additionally, sodium bicarbonate, sea salt and magnesium sulfate are also beneficial. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) softens the skin and buffers the effects of radiation — dissolve 4 cups in warm water for each soak.

Sea salt can be used by itself to detoxify and ground the body, or in combination with either clay or sodium bicarbonate. Celtic or Himalayan pink salt are two excellent choices. Use 1-2 cups per bath. Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) is also detoxifying and has the added benefit of easing muscle and joint pain. Three cups dissolved in hot water is sufficient. As a general rule of thumb, soak for at least 20 minutes.

A few tips for keeping it safe
To neutralize chlorine in your bath water, add two teaspoons of vitamin C. Borax is helpful for eliminating fluoride — use 1-3 tablespoons per bath. Additionally, choose seaweed from sources that are free from contaminants and tested for heavy metals. Lastly, aim for a minimum of two detoxifying baths per week.

Article Source: Therapeutic_baths

gum diseaseGingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, to which there are many degrees. Aggressive periodontitis occurs with people who have gum disease but seem to be otherwise healthy or at least have no other disease that conventional medicine has deemed a cause of periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis includes inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth and bone loss. Necrotizing periodontal disease is a severe infection in the gingival tissues, periodontal ligament, and the bone. And then there’s Periodontitis as a manifestation of other disease(s). In all other cases of gum disease, the gums can be healed within a week, and usually within just a few days. With a case of another disease causing the periodontitis, the disease itself likely needs to be remedied to fix the gums, but the mouth can at least be brought to a much higher level of health with the following practices regardless of other chronic health conditions. For anyone with teeth that have suffered root canals or that have metal fillings, the following procedures should be followed indefinitely.

Teeth take longer, but the same rules apply. As long as they are there and aren’t completely full of filling material, there’s hope for teeth, even those with visible cavities and depleted enamel.

It starts with diet. Eat acidic, nutrient robbing junk, and your teeth and guns will rot. Get the right nutrition while you fix your gums, and ideally, you will keep your gums and the rest of your body healthy with nutrition from that point on.

Raw, organic, fresh vegetables are the most important part of our diet. Fruit is a close second. Every other type of food is a distant third. Eliminate refined, processed foods. Refined sugar, like soda for instance, is so acidic it literally leaches minerals and vitamins from your teeth and gums as it passes through. So does white rice and most breads.

Don’t smoke. Even smoking marijuana is terrible for the gums and teeth. It introduces a huge concentration of free radicals and carbon into the mouth that causes chemical reactions, rendering our cells damaged and depleting the mouth of vitamins and minerals.

Chew on garlic. It sucks, but it’s worth it. Chew on garlic regularly, and eat garlic with salads (eats lots of vegetables; make lots of very diverse salads). When you chew on garlic, chew with your mouth open, and breathe through your mouth.

Fix the intestines. Whatever infection is in your mouth, it’s in your intestines, too, and it’s seeping into your blood stream as well. Fix the intestines and typically, the whole body follows suit.

Take up oil pulling. Try coconut oil with a touch of Shillington’s formula (see below) or a microbe killing essential oil.

Floss. Even when it makes the gums bleed, it’s important to floss and floss properly; it speeds healing of the gums and prevents cavities at the gum line as well.

Wherever there is infection, there are almost always candida and bad bacteria (bad meaning it’s harming us, but all bacteria has its place). Often there are other parasites to be aware of, but not always, and that’s another article (see the further reading below).

Make your own toothpaste!

The mouthwash and toothpaste most people use is crap. This includes the most of the overpriced brands in the natural section at the local health food store. Chewing on garlic and brushing with baking soda and unrefined sea salt does more for teeth than any store bought toothpaste. Check out some of the sources below for homemade toothpaste recipes.

For very serious chronic periodontitis, or just to have a good all around mouth formula, I highly recommend doing Shillington’s Tooth and Gum Recipe (there’s also another toothpaste recipe on that page). It’s not necessary for healing gums in most cases, but it radically speeds up the process regardless of how seriously the gum health issues are, and it is truly an amazing formula with lots of benefits for your entire mouth.

Article Source: gum disease periodontitis

mass extinctionWe are currently in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event in the history of life on Earth, warns an international research team in a new scientific research review published in the journal Science.

The study was conducted by researchers from Stanford University, the University of California-Santa Barbara, Sao Paulo State University in Brazil, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Natural Environment Research Council Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in England and University College London.

Throughout the 3.5-billion-year history of life, our planet has gone through several mass extinction events, characterized by dramatic drops in species diversity. Unlike prior mass extinctions, which were caused by factors such as natural climate change or asteroid collisions, the
current mass extinction is caused exclusively by the activity of a single species: human beings.

In the new paper, the researchers refer focus on the severe drop in animal diversity that has occurred as a part of the mass extinction. They have dubbed this dramatic loss of animal life the
“anthropocene defaunation” — that is, the destruction of animal life associated with the era of human domination of the planet.

Cascade of effects

In reviewing the research, the study authors found that more than 320 species of terrestrial vertebrates have gone extinct since the year 1500, and the remaining species have had their populations decline by an average of 25 percent. Among vertebrates as a whole, 16 to 33 percent of all species are considered either threatened or endangered. The rates of decline are highest among larger animals (megafauna), which tend to grow and reproduce more slowly than smaller animals, and need larger areas of habitat to sustain them.

The loss of large vertebrates may have a cascade of ecological effects, the researchers warned. For example, studies found that areas of Kenya where large animals such as zebras, giraffes and elephants have been extirpated quickly became overgrown and experienced a boom in the population of rodents. This led directly to an increase in the rate of certain human diseases.

“Where human density is high, you get high rates of defaunation, high incidence of rodents, and thus high levels of pathogens, which increases the risks of disease transmission,” lead author Rodolfo Dirzo said. “Who would have thought that just defaunation would have all these dramatic consequences? But it can be a vicious circle.”

“Obvious consequences”
The mass extinction is not limited to vertebrates. The researchers found that, over the past 35 years (during which the human population doubled), populations of most invertebrate species decreased by 45 percent.

Invertebrates are animals without backbones, a vast category that includes everything from insects to spiders and from worms to a wide variety of ocean life.

As with the loss of megafauna, the loss of invertebrates can severely disrupt an ecosystem and thereby have serious effects on human health. For example, 75 percent of the world’s food crops are pollinated by insects. Invertebrates also provide key ecosystem functions such as decomposition and nutrient cycling.

“We tend to think about extinction as loss of a species from the face of Earth, and that’s very important, but there’s a loss of critical ecosystem functioning in which animals play a central role that we need to pay attention to as well,” Dirzo said. “Ironically, we have long considered that defaunation is a cryptic phenomenon, but I think we will end up with a situation that is non-cryptic because of the increasingly obvious consequences to the planet and to human wellbeing.”

The extinctions of both vertebrates and invertebrates are primarily caused by habitat destruction and climate disruption, the researchers found.

Article Source:Mass extinction anthropocene defaunation habitat destruction

remove bedbugsYou can eliminate bedbugs from your home without chemicals, using traps that can be built for about a dollar’s worth of supplies, say scientists at the University of Florida.

“This concept of trapping works for places where people sleep and need to be protected at those locations,” entomologist Phil Koehler said.

In recent years, bedbugs have become a growing problem across the United States, with the blood-sucking insects turning up in cities nationwide. According to an April 2013 survey by the National Pest Management Association, 99.6 percent of all pest management professionals in the country had encountered at least one bedbug infestation in the previous year. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said that most infestations occurred during summer.

The association said that summer might be a busy bedbug season because more people are traveling or relocating, and are either bringing bedbugs back into their homes or discovering them in their new location.

Although most famous for living in mattresses and bedding, bedbugs can live in nearly any furniture. Their bites are often confused for mosquito bites or rashes, allowing them to go undetected for long periods of time.

Traps are cheap, safe and effective

Because bedbugs have now become resistant to most pesticides, people often turn to extreme measures to deal with them. But Koehler warns that techniques such as mothballs, bug bombs or pesticide treatment of mattresses are either ineffective or dangerous.

In contrast, the traps are an easy way to both determine if your home has bedbugs, and to eliminate them if an infestation is confirmed. Koehler estimates that it would take about an afternoon to make the 50 traps needed to remove bedbugs from a three-bedroom apartment. Compared with the average $3,000 price tag for bedbug extermination in such a space however, the time investment may be well worth it. It can cost $1,200 to eliminate bedbugs even from a small apartment.

The traps, made with glue, masking tape and inexpensive plastic containers, present the bedbugs with a rough surface that makes it possible for them to get in, but with a smooth surface inside that makes it impossible for them to get out. They are designed to trap the insects as they move from their daytime hiding places in search of victims to feed on.

The simple nature of the traps makes them basically foolproof, Koehler said, and much safer than the alternatives.

“It’s really hard to mess this up to the point that you’d hurt anything,” he said.

Five easy steps
You can find instructions, photos and videos of how to construct the traps on the web site of the university’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. In essence, however, all that is required is:

1. Cut four pieces of rough-surfaced tape into lengths at least the height of a small plastic container.

2. Press the pieces of tape along the inside of the container, evenly spaced.

3. Wrap more tape around the outside of a larger plastic container, from its base to its upper edge.

4. Glue the smaller container inside the larger one, making sure to leave space between the walls of the containers.

5. (optional) Dust the space between the walls of the containers with baby powder.

The bedbugs will be able to climb into the larger container and perhaps even into the smaller one, but will be trapped in the “moat” between the two containers and unable to escape.

The traps should be placed underneath the legs of all furniture in the home, including beds, chairs and sofas. Trapping should continue until no more bedbugs are turning up inside the traps.

Article Source: Bedbugs, pest control & bug traps

internal parasitesInternal parasites are more common than most people realize. There are many different kinds. Internally, there’s a pretty good chance that you and a third of the people you know have them. If we consider the possibility that there are many common parasites that we are as of yet unaware of, most of us could be suffering from them. If you want to take it a step further and consider candida a parasite (most don’t group them together, but candida does fit the description), then it could be argued that most people in the world suffer from adverse health effects due to parasites.

We use the word herb loosely here, it should really read “Foods, herbs, other things you can eat to kill parasites.” But that’s not a very good title.

Garlic
Garlic is anti-bad-stuff. Viruses, fungi, bacteria, parasites, cancer, and vampires all hate garlic. It’s an absolutely amazing herb and the best in the business at killing bad stuff. It even chelates heavy metals (removes them from the body). Garlic is also a very powerful deterrent for blood sucking parasites like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.

Black Walnut-Nuts & Hull
The nuts and green hulls of black walnut (Juglans nigra) are loved by herbalists for their ability to cleanse the blood and the intestines. Black walnut hull is used to cure fungal infections. The juice from the green hulls are used to kill parasites. Only green hulls should be used.

Wormwood
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is a perennial herb with tiny yellow-green flowers. Leaves and flowers are used to treat stomach problems and wormwood is a powerful remedy for intestinal worms. Wormwood should be avoided by women who or nursing. Wormwood has strong antimicrobial properties and is used for other infections as well.

Cloves
Clove essential oil is used to dissolve eggs found in the intestines that have been left behind by worms. It’s believed to be the only herb that actually does destroy almost all parasite eggs. When used in conjunction with black walnut and wormwood, the trio break the parasite’s life-cycles. Clove is also antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. Clove oil has powerful broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties.

Thyme
Thyme is one of the best herbs for stimulating the thymus, a major gland of the immune system. Thyme helps stimulate the body’s natural defenses and works very well with echinacea to boost the ability of our immune system. Oil of thyme can eliminate growth of many parasites, and it kills them in the intestinal tract.

Oil of Oregano
Oil of oregano is infused with extremely high levels of free-radical-crushing antioxidants, and it is antiparasitic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. It is a powerful, indiscriminate killer that can reset the microbial environment in the intestines. Many studies show the effectiveness of oil of oregano with everything from parasitical infections to cancer.

Chinese Goldthread
Goldthread (Coptis chinensis) has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat all types of infections, including bacterial, parasitic, yeast, and protozoan. It contains a substance called berberine, which is responsible for the broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties.

Diatomaceous Earth
Food grade diatomaceous earth absorbs methyl mercury, E. coli, endotoxins, viruses, organophosphate pesticide residues, and drug residues. Its positive effects include killing intestinal parasites, balancing the intestinal flora, killing viruses, and absorbing toxins. It’s great for intestinal cleanses. The only side effect known is its ability to irritate the lungs if inhaled; it is a very fine powder.

Article Source: herbal remedies antiparasitic

Breast cancer is an illness that although people are aware of it, is still on the rise. A large part of the fear attached to breast cancer is a lack of understanding about what cancer is, and how cancer is treated once discovered.. The infographic below will hopefully help in this understanding and also help in increasing the awareness of this illness. The infographic explains that there are 15 types of breast cancer, and also shows what to look out for as well as showing how to examine your breasts yourself. The aim of this infographic is to increase breast cancer awareness so hopefully more suffers can identify the illness at an earlier stage increasing their chances of having successful treatment.

breast cancer awareness infographic

Test your own breast cancer awareness knowledge with our ‘little known facts quiz‘.

hearing loss in womenWomen who eat two or more servings of fish per week are significantly less likely to suffer from hearing loss, according to a study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on September 10.

“Although a decline in hearing is often considered an inevitable aspect of aging, the identification of several potentially modifiable risk factors has provided new insight into possibilities for prevention or delay of acquired hearing loss,” lead researcher Dr. Sharon G. Curhan, MD, said.

More than one-third of people over the age of 65, or 48 million people in the United States alone, suffer from some form of hearing loss.

“Acquired hearing loss is an extremely common and often disabling condition that can adversely [affect] communication, quality of life, work productivity and health,” Dr. Curhan said in an interview with MedicalResearch.com.

Twenty percent lower risk
Prior studies have suggested that the presence of certain antioxidants in the diet, including omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, might reduce the risk of heating loss. One Australian study, for example, found that higher fish intake was associated with less hearing loss.

“Omega-3 antioxidants, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and vitamin C have been the focus of a growing body of evidence showing potential hearing benefits,” said Dr. Gordon Hughes, program director of clinical trials for the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, which funded the study, as reported by NPR.

The current study collected data on 65,215 women who were enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II and were between the ages of 27 and 42 when they began the study in 1991. All participants completed detailed questionnaires about their diets and whether they were experiencing any hearing problems. They were followed until 2009, by which point 11,606 of the women had reported some form of hearing loss.

After adjusting for potential confounding variables, the researchers found that the risk of hearing loss in women who ate two or more servings of fish per week was 20 percent lower than in women who ate no fish. In addition, women with the highest intake of long-chain omega-3s had a 22 percent lower risk of hearing loss than women with the lowest intake.

When the researchers looked separately at different kinds of fish, they found that all of them were independently associated with a lower risk of hearing loss.

“Consumption of any type of fish (tuna, dark fish, light fish, or shellfish) tended to be associated with lower risk,” Dr. Curhan said.

The research was also funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Increase omega-3 intake; avoid contaminants
“A complex interaction of factors all contribute to acquired hearing loss, including lifestyle and environmental factors, age, genetics, noise exposure, and some medical conditions and medications,” Dr. Curhan said.

“However, at least some of hearing loss may be preventable and there may be factors that can be modified to help prevent or delay its onset. These findings provide evidence that modifiable dietary risk factors may help reduce the risk of hearing loss.”

Although the study could not determine why fish consumption might protect hearing, Dr. Curhan suggested that it might help protect adequate cochlear blood flow, which plays a key role in auditory health.

Prior studies have linked a diet high in omega-3s to a lower risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Omega-3s have also been linked to improved fetal development.

However, due to the high toxin levels in many fish, experts advise limiting consumption of certain highly contaminated species such as tuna, swordfish, Chilean sea bass and farmed (Atlantic) salmon.

Article Source: hearing loss fish consumption