Monthly Archives: May 2012

What’s Really Behind Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an extremely common medical problem.  Health-care providers can’t seem to agree on what CFS is, what causes it, how to diagnose it — or even whether it exists at all. Many medical doctors even believe that CFS is strictly a psychological problem and automatically prescribe antidepressants.

The facts: Millions of Americans suffer from fatigue and need medical help. To complicate matters further, CFS is not a single disease with a sole cause or a simple cure. Rather, it is the manifestation of one or more underlying health problems, such as infections, hormone imbalances or numerous other conditions. The goal of treatment is not simply to mask the symptoms — it is to identify the root cause or causes in an individual patient and then recommend the appropriate healing therapies.

CHRONIC INFECTIONPersistent infection is an often-missed cause of CFS. Examples…

Various viruses. Sometimes viruses that normally die off within weeks instead linger on, weakening the immune system and compromising energy production.  Possible culprits: Herpes Viruses (Epstein-Barr/Mononucleosis, Herpes Virus 6).

Bacterial infections. When the normal balance of friendly bacteria in the gut is disturbed — for instance, due to a high-sugar diet or use of antibiotics — harmful bacteria proliferate in the digestive tract. This can overtax the immune system and lead to chronic fatigue.

CARDIOVASCULAR PROBLEMS – Fatigue is a common symptom of various cardiovascular conditions that impair circulation and limit the oxygen available to the brain and muscles.

Congestive heart failure. This occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Symptoms include chest pain, heart palpitations and swollen ankles

Chronic hypotension (low blood pressure). Repeated blood pressure readings below 90/60 mmHg indicate hypotension. Other symptoms include fatigue, dizziness or fainting, rapid, shallow breathing, cold clammy skin, pallor, blurred vision, nausea, excessive thirst, trouble concentrating, and/or depression.

Neurally mediated hypotension. With this type of low blood pressure, people become dizzy only after standing or sitting for a prolonged time, and may feel nauseated if they do not lie down. Possible cause: When the adrenal glands (which secrete stress hormones) do not function well, the resulting hormone imbalance may interfere with the nerves’ signals between the heart and brain, impairing the body’s ability to maintain equilibrium.

HORMONE IMBALANCES – When hormones are out of balance, fatigue is common. If you are diagnosed with a hormone deficiency and hormone therapy is recommended, ask your doctor about bioidentical hormones. Unlike synthetic hormone drugs, bioidentical hormones have the same molecular structure as those produced by the human body.  All should be used under a doctor’s guidance.

Adrenal fatigue (AF). In stressful situations, the adrenal glands produce the hormones cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). With AF, this mechanism is overwhelmed by prolonged physical or emotional stress, and these hormones become depleted. Because cortisol and DHEA are vital to energy production, blood sugar control and the anti-inflammatory response, AF can cause unremitting fatigue. Additional symptoms include mood swings, low libido, poor concentration and memory, light-headedness, low back pain, slow recovery from illness, salt and/or sugar cravings, and inability to lose or gain weight despite calorie reduction or increase.

Estrogen and/or progesterone deficiency. A woman’s production of these hormones naturally decreases at menopause but if levels drop too low, she may experience fatigue along with menopausal symptoms, such as severe hot flashes.

Low testosterone. This is common among men, especially those over age 60. Obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure increase the risk for testosterone deficiency. Symptoms include fatigue, reduced muscle mass, weight gain and joint pain.

Growth hormone deficiency. Symptoms, which usually appear after age 65, include fatigue, reduced muscle mass and strength, loss of skin elasticity and increased abdominal fat.

Hypothyroidism (thyroid hormone deficiency). In addition to fatigue, hypothyroidism patients typically have unexplained weight gain, low body temperature, cold hands and feet, frequent chills, dry skin, constipation, and/or depression.


To identify and treat the root cause of an individual’s chronic fatigue, doctors must take into account all accompanying symptoms. If you experience fatigue and…

  • Mood swings, memory problems and/or low back pain, the cause may be adrenal fatigue.
  • A history of root canal problems, the cause may be bacterial infection.
  • Chest pain and/or heart palpitations, the cause may be congestive heart failure.
  • Yellow skin and/or unexplained weight loss, the cause may be hepatitis.
  • Hot flashes, weight gain and/or reduced muscle mass, the cause may be hormone deficiency.
  • Dizziness, nausea and/or clammy skin, the cause may be hypotension (abnormally low blood pressure).
  • Low body temperature, weight gain and/or dry skin, the cause may be hypothyroidism.
  • Flulike symptoms or mononucleosis, the cause may be a viral infection.


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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Health and Science


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Do You Eat More If Your Plate Is The Same Color As Your Food?

Pasta with pesto sauce, a traditional Ligurian...

Some researchers say changing the color of your plate can keep you from eating more.

A study in the journal of consumer research found people served themselves more food, if the plate color matched their food color.

Spaghetti with red marinara sauce seem to disappear on a red plate, but on a white plate the serving size looked bigger because of the contrast even if both plates are the same size.

Pasta with green pesto sauce on a white plate looked larger than on a green flowered plate.

The theory is: the more contrast, the less you’re likely to eat.

Researchers say the plate that helps you to eat the least amount is one that is blue, that color has the least appealing blend with food.

Just in case you don’t have a any blue dishes, just make sure you food does not match your plate.


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It Will Hurt…


Run A 5K With A Splash Of Mud

A mud run participant takes a tumble and slide...

I have officially completed my first 5K!  Yeah me!  This was no flat terrain, asphalt, train-on-a-treadmill run.  No, no, no.  The venue was situated on country farm land, donned with horse stables (watch your step), and consisted of rocky dirt back roads, 3-story-high hills, obstacles manned with marines shouting, “Go! Go! Go!”  Oh, and MUD…a lot of it.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Aug 13, 2011) Runners nav...

Mile 1:  I paced myself, slow and steady, naive at how easy the first mile had been.  Note to self #1:  You can do this!  Ahead was a seemingly large hill.  I overheard a fellow runner behind me coach his teammates to tackle the hill running up on their toes.  I studiously obliged and conquered the bump in the road on the balls of my feet.  Running down the hill, I hoped that my gasps of air weren’t as loud to my allies as they were to me.  I caught my breath and looked on ahead only to find yet another ghastly huge hill.  Ugh.  This time I walked up, flat-footed, finding any divot I could for moral support.  What was that whole toe thing for anyway?  Extremely hot and exhausted, a girl confided that the hills were the worst part of the race.  I cautiously believed her, using it as motivation to trudge on.  After a couple of standard obstacles, push ups and rope ladders, I noticed the approach of the first mud pit.  Fear brewed in the bottom of my stomach.  I was strategically eying a way around it, perhaps to chicken out.  No dice.  I dove to my knees and climbed under the ropes in the watery mud, paying close attention to keep my mouth tightly closed.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Aug 13, 2011) Runners nav...

Mile 2:  Note to self #2:  Pigs got it right!  Mud does cool you off.  With my new found second wind, I picked up the pace.  Slip sliding my way out of the mud pit I got back on course.  Passing up a group dressed like superman, I reminded myself of the undying determination I possess.  Note to self #3:  I too can be like Superman to get through this….<imagine cape on back>.

Lemoore, Calif. (June 11, 2005) - Participants...

Mile 3:  As I approached the obstacle course in last leg of the race, I started to question my trust in that girl’s affirmation of the hills being the hardest part of the race.  No sooner did the mud dry on my body had I been thrust, yet again, into a pool of mud.  Climbing under ropes, over hurdles and walls, and through muddy tunnels, I breezed through the last course with pure acuity.  I was thoroughly proud of my accomplishment, and as I crossed the finish line, was awaiting the paparazzi to photograph my triumphant finish.  What?  Stirred back into reality, I gracefully and gratefully accepted my much earned dog tags and headed toward the make-shift showers to hose off.  I did it!

Note to self #4, 5, and 6:  Next time don’t wear shorts with pockets as the mud accumulates in them and wears you down;  Don’t wear shorts (no explanation needed); and train, train, train, and train some more.

When I returned home, I showered, took a much needed nap, then bathed in Icy Hot….repeatedly.  Oh, and I found some other mud runs to accomplish.  What can I say?  I’m hooked!



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Can Black Pepper Nix the Formation of Fat Cells?

An example of ground black pepper.

A new study found that piperine, the flavorful compound that gives black pepper its signature taste, may block the formation of new fat cells.

The compound that gives cayenne peppers their kick, capsaicin, has long been prized because of its pain-relieving powers and supposed ability to slightly boost metabolism, which can aid with weight loss.

But there may be an equally pungent fat-fighting pepper in your cabinet right now: common black pepper.

New research, which identifies the flavor compound piperine as black pepper’s secret fat-fighting weapon, concludes that pepper works by blocking the formation of new fat cells in the body. Other foods, such as the compound piceatannolthat is found in red wine, peanuts, and grapes, have also been recently found to have the same effect.

Prior to this study, little was known about how piperine works to control fat cells, researchers wrote in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a journal published by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Piperine works to fight fat by interfering with adipogenesis, or the gene activity that causes fat cells to form and mature, researchers found. In doing so, the compound may also set off a chain reaction that helps control fat in other ways, the researchers said in an ACS release.

It takes immature fat cells, called preadipocytes, about 10 days to go through adipogenesis. Once the process is complete, fat cells are significantly more difficult to shrink through a healthy diet and fat-burning exercise.

Before you start sprinkling pepper on everything you eat, know that more research needs to be done to determine how much black pepper is needed to consume blocking fat-cell growth. Similarly, researchers say that piperine in capsule form is also a long way off. (The study was not a clinical trial on humans, but rather a laboratory experiment that tested the compound’s effect on animal fat cells).

Past research has found that black pepper can reduce pain and inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, and lower levels of blood fat, or lipids, all of which are key to reversing the Western world’s obesity epidemic, researchers say. In the future, scientists believe that piperine may be able to be made available as an all-natural weight loss supplement.



How to Exercise in 30 Minutes or Less

Leonard Bernstein



World renowned composer and director Leonard Bernstein said, “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” How true! Fitness is no exception — without a plan, it is all too easy to let your exercise program slip right through the cracks. But if you can squeeze just 30 minutes out of your day, you can fit in a great workout. Here are some tips to turn your plan into a “great thing” for your body:

  • Schedule it. Don’t wait for extra time to show up in your day—because it won’t. Mark off 30 minutes for exercise, just as you would schedule a doctor’s appointment, and then make it a priority.
  • Don’t worry about the “right time” to exercise. It matters little if it’s morning, noon or night. Choosing a time that works within your schedule will help you establish a permanent routine and keep other obligations from undermining your plan.
  • Recruit a workout buddy. For many people, an exercise partner is the glue that helps you stick to your commitment. Choose someone with compatible fitness level and goals so that you can each progress comfortably together and feel successful.
  • Start slowly. If you are not accustomed to exercise, don’t try to do too much, too soon. Walking is a great way to begin an exercise program. It’s simple—you already know how to do it! It requires no special equipment other than a good pair of walking shoes, and best of all, you can do it anywhere.
  • Make working out fun. Consistency is a key ingredient for any successful fitness regime, so seek out activities that you like doing. It doesn’t matter what the latest craze is that’s “guaranteed” to burn thousands of calories per workout. If you don’t enjoy doing it, you will never keep it up. Choose activities that add joy, not dread, to your day.
  • Mix it up. You need cardio, strength training and flexibility-based activities for a well-rounded exercise program. Rather than walking the same route every day, mix things up by doing some strength training a couple of days per week. Try this awesome 30 minute strength training program that requires no equipment.
  • Break it up when you must. On some busy days, 30 minutes straight is just not happening. On those days, three sessions of 10 minutes of exercise is better than writing it off completely. Do some body squats at your desk, take 10 to run the stairs, or find a quiet place to stretch. You will feel better and be more productive when you get back to your daily tasks.
  • When (not if) you have to miss a day, you are not a failure. You cannot fail unless you quit. Redouble your efforts for the next day, and keep your good habit going. Don’t let a missed day turn into a missed week and a missed opportunity for success.

Source:  By Leigh Crews


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One, Two, Three, Four – I Will Lose A Pound, And More!

Jadever Body Fat Scale. Old version of model J...








How to Lose 10 Pounds Using Four Steps:

Here is a multi-step plan to help you reach your goal:

Step 1: Record what you eat.A detailed food journal is a great tool when you’re counting calories, but can be so much more. As you diet, look for patterns that show you ways to improve your plan. Review your journal for:

  • Times when you crave food; make sure you have healthy, low-calorie snacks to reach for.
  • Opportunities to replace fat — steam-cook food with water instead of in oil, try mustard on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise, and drizzle fat-free dressing on your salad.
  • Serving sizes that are too large; scale back.
  • High-calorie drinks, including soda, sweet tea, sweetened or flavored milks, sweetened coffees, alcohol, and juices; replace with water, low-fat milk, or sugar-free drinks.
  • High-calorie additions to low-calorie foods — skip the cheese and nuts on salads and the butter on potatoes, for example.

Step 2: Pick a calorie-counting goal.“Definitely having a realistic weight goal makes good sense,” says dietitian Jenna Anding PhD, RD, department of nutrition and food science at the Texas A&M System at College Station. “Eliminating 500 calories a day can help promote a one-pound-per-week weight loss. Increasing physical activity can also help promote weight loss.”

Here’s what you need to know about counting calories:

  • Aim to lose up to two pounds a week, or 1 percent of your total body weight if you are over 200 pounds.
  • You can lose 10 pounds in less than 10 weeks if you cut out or burn more than 500 calories daily. The best way is to do both — cut down on calories and increase the amount you burn through exercise.
  • Don’t eat less than 1,200 calories a day. Your body will detect a “starvation” state and will revert to storing calories instead of burning them.

Step 3: Eat filling, low-calorie foods. Replacing high-calorie foods with lower-calorie, large-volume foods will keep you full longer:

  • Increase the vegetables on your plate. “By changing your food so that you still like it but lowering the calorie density, you can trick yourself into feeling full on fewer calories,” explains Barbara Rolls, PhD, professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Penn. Foods with a lot of water in them, such as vegetables, fruits, and soups, can help you lose weight (at least 2 pounds more per year than people who just follow a low-fat diet), says Rolls.
  • Increase your use of veggies in mixed dishes like casseroles or stew.
  • Start with soup. Starting your meal with a soup of less than 200 calories can reduce your calorie intake from the main course by 20 percent.
  • Start with fruit. Eating a raw apple before a meal keeps you feeling full longer, and will cut down on your calorie consumption by about 15 percent.
  • Get enough lean protein throughout the day.

Step 4: Exercise.The people most successful at losing weight and keeping it off find ways to exercise almost every day. You can burn 100 to 200 calories daily with 30 to 45 minutes of brisk walking, and you can break up that time into segments throughout the day if that’s easier for you.

You can lose 10 pounds at any time with dedicated effort, though it may feel easier at the beginning of a diet when you are more focused and energized. Your body also senses that you’ve lost weight and has a natural tendency to gain it back. By developing good nutritional and exercise habits early on, you’re more likely to lose those last 10 pounds and keep them off.



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