Turmeric – Can It Help Prevent Alzheimer’s & Dementia?

dreamstime_m_20140621

Turmeric is an ancient spice that has been used for centuries in Indian and Chinese medicine and cooking. Traditional usage of turmeric covers a very wide spectrum of concerns ranging from topical usage as a poultice for curbing localised inflammation through to taking the powder internally for the relief of stomach complaints, bladder infections and arthritis.

With the myriad of claimed benefits, turmeric has, over the last decade, been extensively studied and it is possibly the most researched herb in the world. Turmeric contains a group of powerful antioxidant compounds collectively termed curcumin and it is this compound that is responsible for turmeric’s remarkable properties, which include: Read More…

Keep an Eye on Lash Serums

keep-an-eye-on-lash-serums

For the past two years, I have been badgering the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) about eyelash growth enhancers, some of which contain pharmaceutical substances called prostaglandin analogues used in glaucoma drugs (see my 20 January column). In June, the MHRA told me it ‘shares concern about the appropriateness of using such agents in unlicensed products’ and has referred it to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, which looks after consumer protection. But the products continue to be sold over the counter, potentially endangering people’s vision. Meanwhile, the Swedish Medical Products Agency (SMPA) has analysed 26 eyelash serums and found that nine contained prostaglandin analogues, which ‘the agency views very seriously’. It advises consumers not to use these products as it ‘may lead to serious side effects’. The SMPA is pursuing a ban and has published a full list of the products on its website: visit lakemedelsverket.se and search for ‘eyelash serums’.
Read More…

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: What Causes It And How To Control IBS

shutterstock_135416549

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very common debilitating gastrointestinal disorder that affects people in different ways. It is estimated that between 8% and 20% of the adult population are affected, mainly women between the ages of 30 and 60 years, and typical symptoms include chronic abdominal pain, bloating, and varying bouts of constipation and diarrhoea.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is termed a ‘functional disorder’. A functional disorder is a medical condition that impairs the normal function of the body where every part of the body looks completely normal under examination. We do not fully understand IBS since it is a very complex condition, but sufferers can exhibit a combination of different symptoms and signs such as abdominal bloating, constipation (IBS-C), diarrhoea (IBS-D) or alternating between both (IBS-A). Read More…

Overcoming Menopausal Vaginal Dryness

sage

Vaginal dryness during the menopause is one of the most common concerns associated with declining female sex hormones. It is estimated that one in four women experience vaginal dryness during menopause and typical symptoms include itching, painful intercourse as well as urinary discomfort. Not just confined during menopause, vaginal dryness can occur several years before the onset of menopause and for many well beyond menopause.

Glands located near the neck of the womb are responsible for producing a fluid that keeps the skin and tissues in the vagina moist and supple. The production of this fluid is directly dependant on the levels of oestrogen within the body and declining levels of oestrogen during menopause lead to vaginal dryness. Declining oestrogen levels are also responsible for the thinning and inflammation of the walls lining the vagina making them weak and vulnerable to both bacterial and fungal infections. To make matters worse, some women may also experience pain in the pelvic region as blood circulation decreases with declining oestrogen levels. For some women, the weakness in the walls of the vagina and the muscles surrounding it may also result in a problem of incontinence. All these problems can make life very difficult, depressing and debilitating.

Read More…

The Science of Staying Younger

Grapes

Staying younger without stopping time is something most of us would love to master. Yet, ageing is a multi-faceted process with numerous factors that can have an effect on it. The cells of our bodies are programmed to have a finite lifespan. Each time a cell divides, some genetic material is lost so that on average, forty to fifty cell divisions later, the cell is considered to be aged. Nutrition plays a vital role in the science of ageing. Some nutrients accelerate ageing whilst others help to protect against it. The theory of free radical damage and the role of antioxidant nutrients is well understood by most people. It states that the body produces reactive, unstable agents known as free radicals during normal metabolism, exposure to ultraviolet light or environmental toxins. Antioxidants neutralise these free radicals helping to protect the body against damage.

The science of ageing and telomeres is now rapidly growing. Among the leading experts in this field is Dr Elizabeth Blackburn from the University of California who, along with her colleagues, was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the discovery of “how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase”.

Read More…