MSG, Cinnamon, and Bad, Bad Food

(c) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

Asian food is one of my favorites. I love going to Chinese buffets, I love going to sushi places, and I love Mongolian barbecue joints where they cook your food in front of you.

It’s awesome. The bad part is that it is a well known fact that almost all of these restaurants use MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) as a flavor enhancer. Actually, to be perfectly blunt…almost all processed foods inAmericahave one form of MSG or another added to them. Often, it’s added in under a very sneaky name so that you won’t know that the company has actually added MSG to the product.

Some other names companies use to fly MSG in under your radar are the following:

“soy extract, natural flavoring, carrageenan, and hydrolyzed proteins.”

Why is all of this bad?

It’s bad because MSG (no matter what you call it) is a neurotoxin that kills brain cells. It also has been shown to increase one’s chances of becoming obese.

According to Dr. Blaylock, “MSG destroys neurons in the hypothalamus of the brain that the hormone leptin, which regulates metabolism and appetite, needs to control obesity.”

Great. So MSG can cause you to become both fat, stupid and possibly dead. Great product. Wonderful!

Despite knowing this, the FDA allows food manufacturers to include it, as I mentioned above, in almost all processed foods. So, what do you do when you are dying for wanton soup?

Well, at least one study has shown that cinnamon extract blocks the brain killing effects of glutamate. (Phytotherapy Research)

Outside of grabbing cinnamon bark off the tree and chewing it each time you want an egg roll, you could also consider taking a cinnamon supplement, or a supplement that contains cinnamon on a daily basis.
It is very hard inAmerica to avoid all processed foods. Thus, it is hard to avoid MSG consumption altogether. A great way to try and counter balance that intake is to make sure you are taking an MSG antidote.

Just one brand that carries cinnamon in their supplements and which I urge you to google for more information are: Gene-Eden formula VX-101.

There are many other brands out there, but the above not only helps guard against MSG brain death, but all the ingredients are also natural antivirals…and so help to lower the numbers of latent viruses many people are chronicly infected with.

My advice…stear clear of MSG unless you, like me, have insane cravings for Chicken Lo Mein. Then be smart about it and make sure you do something to counter the poison you’re downing.

Then enjoy.

References:

Shimada Y, Goto H, Kogure T, Kohta K, Shintani T, Itoh T, Terasawa K., “Extract prepared from the bark of Cinnamomum cassia Blume prevents glutamate-induced neuronal death in cultured cerebellar granule cells.” Phytotherapy Research,14 Sept. 2000


Neonatal Herpes Simplex: Let’s Get Virucidal

(c) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

As I grew up, I watched my mom coming home from work sad and depressed a lot. As a neonatal intensive care R.N. she had the opportunity (and I use that word reluctantly) to see a lot of horrible things.

Many times, there were babies so premature, or with some awful malady for which there is no cure, that there was nothing modern medicine could really do for them.

They died in pain, and their parents were left grief stricken. I am certain they felt a sense of helplessness.

I know many times doctors and nurses both have this feeling. I know my mom did. Many times the doctors leave the nurses to deal with the grieving parents, and the nurses are often as emotionally distraught on the inside as the parents are. They might not have carried the baby for nine months, but they are by the baby’s bedside through every tortuous procedure the doctors prescribe.

Sometimes, it’s not that bad. When a baby is born with, or acquires, Neonatal Herpes it is …it is that bad.

Neonatal herpes can occur when the neonate is exposed to herpes simplex virus [HSV] in the maternal genital tract during labour,” write C. Gardella and Z. Brown, from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington in Seattle.

About 85% of Neonatal Herpes (HSV) infections occur during delivery, about 5% in utero, and about 10% after birth. (CDC.gov)

According to an article entitled, “Neonatal herpes: what have we learned,” there are three different ways that HSV shows up in a newborn. It can show up on the skin, eyes, or mouth (SEM), it can present itself as disseminated herpes (DIS), or central nervous system herpes (CNS).

Symptoms can include external lesions with SEM, affected liver function with DIS, and seizures, tremors and lethargy in CNS.

Of these three, disseminated herpes is the most severe form with a death rate of around 85% of those babies infected.  (CDC.gov) Neonatal HSV rates in the U.S. are estimated to be between 1 in 3,000 and 1 in 6,000 live births. In developing countries, it’s higher than that.

Perhaps you can imagine the horror of seeing a tiny body in pain, with visible sores afflicting the child.

My mom doesn’t have to imagine it. She’s seen it up close.

Medical personnel see these kinds of terrible afflictions on a regular basis. They fight hard to help these babies although there is no ready cure. It’s a great reason to respect both the doctors and nurses in your community.

As with any sexually transmitted disease…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

“Current published US and Canadian guidelines for neonatal herpes prevention focus on pregnant women with symptomatic genital herpes and recommend a thorough examination for genital lesions when labor begins.

If such lesions are identified, cesarean delivery should be performed to avoid contact with infected genital secretions. To prevent genital lesions at the time of labor, women with frequent recurrent lesions during pregnancy may be given antiviral suppressive therapy from 36 weeks of gestation until delivery.

This has been shown to reduce the risk for genital lesions that would necessitate cesarean delivery and to reduce, but not eliminate, viral shedding during delivery.” (Prevention of Neonatal Herpes Reviewed)

Despite the above criteria for prevention, rates of infection have not gone down. Some of this, I am sure is due to risky behavior on the part of one or both parents.

From an alternative medicine point of view, there are antiviral supplements out there that pregnant women who may or may not have Herpes ought to be taking. If the supplement contains cinnamon, I believe women ought to be taking it.

Why?

Cinnamon contains Eugenol, which has been scientifically shown to be virucidal. That’s right. It dispatches viruses with extreme prejudice.

Specifically, Eugenol doesn’t let the virus reproduce.

It “was tested for antiviral activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2 viruses. In vitro, it was found that the replication of these viruses was inhibited in the presence of this compound.” (Phytotherapy Research)

My prescription? (I’m not a doctor and I’m not giving medical advice…just my opinion) If you don’t have HSV, make sure neither you, nor your partner is sleeping around before or after getting pregnant.

If you already have HSV-1 or HSV-2 and you are infected in the genital region…whether you are showing symptoms or not…you should be taking antiviral supplements in order to reduce the risk of passing the virus on to your baby. If your doctor prescribes an actual antiviral medicine, take that too.

However, remember that it’s not just your life you are messing with. There could be a baby either scarred for life…or dead…because of your life decisions.

Something to think about.

References:

Laurie Barclay, MD Charles P. Vega, MD “Prevention of Neonatal Herpes Reviewed” MedScape Education 13 Jan. 2011 WEB

Knezevic A, Martic J, Stanojevic M, Jankovic S, Nedeljkovic J, Nikolic L, Pasic S, Jankovic B, Jovanovic T. “Disseminated neonatal herpes caused by herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2.” Emerging Infectious Diseases, Feb. 2007

Kimberlin DW, Whitley RJ (2005). “Neonatal herpes: what have we learned”. Semin Pediatr Infect Dis 16 (1): 7–16.

Benencia F, Courrèges MC. “In vitro and in vivo activity of eugenol on human herpesvirus.” Phytotherapy Research, Nov. 2000

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Fybromyalgia: Please Don’t Bring the Pain!

(c) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

If pain is weakness leaving the body, I’ll just stay weak. Thank you.

In my last blog posting, I discussed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In this posting, I’d like to talk about Fibromyalgia, or FM which is similar in many respects to CFS. Like CFS, little is known about the causes of Fibromyalgia.

Unlike with CFS, I don’t personally know anyone with Fibromyalgia. However, I recently saw a report on the disease on Fox News’ “Health Storm Center” (which I have conveniently given a link to in order that you can have the pleasure of viewing it) that made me realize how close the affliction actually is to CFS.

Since I just did a blog on CFS…I thought, you know, why not this too?

Please copy and paste the link into your browser to view the video:  http://video.foxnews.com/v/4433944/fighting-fibromyalgia/

As you can see from the video, the disease has many of the same manifestations as CFS, such as: “fatigue, disturbed sleep, stiffness, reduced functioning, dyscognition, and depressed mood.” (American Journal of Therapeutics) Further, since patients may have one or many of the varying symptoms, (which other disease processes also exhibit) diagnosis is difficult.

Also according to the American Journal of Therapeutics, “Many patients also have comorbid [In medicine, comorbidity is either the presence of one or more disorders (or diseases) in addition to a primary disease or disorder, or the effect of such additional disorders or diseases.] conditions such as depression, irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular disorder, or migraine.”

Fibromyalgia first became noticed in 1824 when it was described by a doctor in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Fibromyalgia: A Comprehensive Approach) Since then, the disease has been linked to chronic infection by the Epstein Barr Virus. (Acta Medica Portuguesa)

Since there is no cure for this malady that has no proven cause, the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” really holds true. If you’re already healthy, then helping to prevent yourself from acquiring viruses that are linked to FM by boosting your immune system makes sense.

I think that since there are antiviral supplements on the market that have been scientifically shown to kill some of the more common human viruses out there, (just Google, “Gene Eden” ) one could combine taking these supplements with light exercise, stress management techniques, (a bit of calming yoga anyone?) and doing one’s best to get better sleep.

Besides sleep, you could also enhance your energy levels with a B vitamin supplement.

Finally, since chronic viral infections can cause chronic tissue inflammation, anti-inflammatory foods like zinc, ginger, fish oil, and turmeric should also be part of a preventative regimen.

I have to wonder…if the average person attempted to prevent the onset of Fibromyalgia by preventing a chronic viral infection…would diagnoses of FM be reduced?

References:



McCarberg BH. “Clinical Overview of Fibromyalgia.” American Journal of Therapeutics,15 Feb. 2011
ME Williamson, “Fibromyalgia: A Comprehensive Approach,” (New York: Walker and Company, 1996)
Branco JC, Tavares V, Abreu I, Humbel RL “Viral infection and Fibromyalgia,” Acta Medica Portuguesa,  7 June, 1994

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XXX Healthy Sex: And Its Benefits to You

(c) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

My girlfriend and I were discussing the health benefits of being a vegetarian. Somehow, the subject went from talking about food, to talking about sex. Don’t ask me how. Maybe it’s a mental connection…food…sex…they both provide a form of sustenance and pleasure.

One of the things that can really affect a person’s health, whether male or female is sex. There are great benefits when one partakes in regular, stress free, spontaneous, sexual activity. Reduce the stress, and the potential for mind-blowing, xxx sex increases dramatically!

In my previous blog postings so far, I’ve talked about at least one sexually transmitted disease and the conventional and alternative therapies out there to treat it. Thus, it’s obvious that there are also potential downsides to sexual activity. It’s a “duh” statement. In today’s world of hyper-sexuality there are myriad pitfalls that await those who partake without being wise.

But, in this blog I want to talk about some benefits…and how to enjoy those benefits in a manner that is healthy, protected, as well as stress and worry free.

There are studies that show that sex begins in the brain. There are a million and one different factors that can go into arousal and that are the reasons for why someone is or isn’t interested in sex at any given time.

Let’s start with creating a healthy environment. When I talk about a healthy environment, I mean first of all creating for yourself circumstances that allow for healthy sexual contact. This in turn will allow for stress free, fulfilling sex.

How does one do this? One of the biggest stressors when it comes to sex is worry and fears relating to the sexual health of your partner. Is he carrying a nasty surprise that he may or may not know about? If she’s got something…is she irresponsibly having sex with you anyway?

Questions like these are a great argument for really taking the time to know a person before jumping in to bed with him or her. And, if you are jumping into bed…being able to trust your partner is paramount. Are you the only person your partner is doing the horizontal mombo with? Is your relationship affair free?

Thus, knowledge of your partner and the ability to trust him or her are the first steps in creating a worry, stress free situation in which to enjoy the benefits of sex.

The next steps are for those who are actively engaged in sexual activity but that go ahead and do so with more than one partner. It’s advisable (again) to at least know your partners’ health status before going on with a little bow-chika-bow-wow.

I’d also advise the use of a condom and because there are some diseases that condoms don’t protect against (such as HPV since it is transmitted through any sexual, skin-to-skin, contact) one should also be taking antiviral supplements. It pays to remember that safe IS sexy.  The supplements help to reduce the viral load and I think that if you are engaging in potentially risky behavior, then taking these on a regular basis is not only smart…it can also ease your mind since infections often occur when the viral payload that’s passed is significant.

Reduce the load…reduce the chances of contracting (or passing on) a revolting affliction.  No one wants him to hold you in his armchair where you can feel his disease, thank you very much!

Now, on to the actual health benefits of an active, healthy, sex life!

1. Good, healthy sex actually helps lift your mood! According to the medical journal, Biological Psychology, “Penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) but not other sexual behavior is associated with better psychological and physiological function.” (Biological Psychology)

What does that mean for you? Having straight, knocking boots, penis entering vagina and exiting again sex increases your confidence, makes you feel better about yourself, and causes your brain to flood with “feel good” chemicals.

2.  Less Stress = Better Sex! According to the Journal of Family Psychology, “Findings suggest that higher self-reported stress in daily life was associated with lower levels of sexual activity and satisfaction and a decrease in relationship satisfaction.”

Basically, the less stress you have…the better sexual and relationship satisfaction you have. There are a number of ways to reduce that stress including yoga, exercise, removal of fear regarding STD’s etc. (great reason to take antiviral supplements!), get a massage, listen to music…the laundry list could go on and on.

3. It lowers your blood pressure! “greater HRV and lower DBP (diastolic blood pressure) were both associated with greater PVI (but not masturbation or non-coital sex with a partner) in cohabiting subjects, but not in non-cohabiting subjects. (Biological Psychology)

Those who put the beef in the taco enjoy the benefits of a better cardiovascular system!

4. Frequent, good sex boosts your immune system! “Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections.” (Psychological Reports Journal)

There are other health benefits to a healthy sexual life. Some of those include higher self-esteem, greater intimacy, and for men…reduced risk of prostate cancer. (According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, “high ejaculation frequency was related to decreased risk of total prostate cancer.”)

Being a guy, most people would expect me to say when asked, “What are the benefits of sex,” something like,”uh…duh!”…simply because the male response is stereotypically obvious.

But, for me, I think some of the major benefits lie in the fact that sex can be pretty spiritual. This could be lumped in with increasing intimacy but there are times when I think it can help you focus, bring you into the now, and help you to stop worrying about external, future events. I think from my point of view, that there is nothing stronger to help a man open up emotionally to one’s partner. Nothing else, when both partners are honest with one another down to the depths of their beings, allows both to experience the other’s essence.

It’s definitely more than just sharing one’s body. It’s creating (or deepening) an emotional and spiritual bond with another person. Feelings of love and passion can be stronger during the act of lovemaking than at any other time!

That’s why I don’t think people should just give it away. And if you do…make sure he, she, or they…damn well deserve it.


References:

Brody S, Veit R, Rau H, “A preliminary report relating frequency of vaginal intercourse to heart rate variability, Valsalva ratio, blood pressure, and cohabitation status.” Biological Psychology, April 2000

Brody S, “Blood pressure reactivity to stress is better for people who recently had penile-vaginal intercourse than for people who had other or no sexual activity.” Biological Psychology, February 2006

J Fam Psychol. “;”The association between daily stress and sexual activity. , Journal of Family Psychology, June 2010

Charnetski CJ, Brennan FX., “Sexual frequency and salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA).” Psychological report Journal, June 2004

Leitzmann MF, Platz EA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Giovannucci E., “Ejaculation frequency and subsequent risk of prostate cancer.” JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 7 April, 2004

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Antiviral Supplements, Interferon, HPV…and You.

(c) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

I thought about taking a look at one of the most common sexually transmitted, viral diseases in this blog posting. When it comes to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) there are a few pharmaceutically manufactured antiviral drugs out there to treat the disease, and there are also antiviral supplements one can take.

Some of those antiviral supplements include trace elements like Selenium which I’ll talk more about below. (Those antiviral supplements can be good for those that live in areas that have a deficiency of Selenium in the soil.)

Now, let’s talk about concrete reality and what the HPV virus is, what diseases it causes, and what medications and antiviral supplements might be appropriate in terms of treatment.

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are common viruses that can cause warts. There are more than 100 types of HPV. Most are harmless, but about 30 types put you at risk for cancer. These types affect the genitals and you get them through sexual contact with an infected partner. They are classified as either low-risk or high-risk. Low-risk HPV can cause genital warts. High-risk HPV can lead to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus in women. In men, it can lead to cancers of the anus and penis.

Although some people develop genital warts from HPV infection, others have no symptoms. Your health care provider can treat or remove the warts. In women, Pap smears can detect changes in the cervix that might lead to cancer.”

If you’ve seen pictures, the warts can be pretty disgusting. They can be flat, raised, or cauliflower shaped.

The good news is that there are a number of treatments both conventional as well as alternative out there that treat the diseases the HPV virus causes. The bad news is that there is no cure for the HPV virus itself.

First, I think the best treatment is prevention. The best method of prevention is abstinence. However this doesn’t just mean abstinence in terms of actual intercourse. When it comes to HPV, it means abstinence of all forms of sexual, skin-to-skin, contact. Really knowing, and being able to trust, one’s sexual partner is paramount!

The second best form of prevention is being monogamous.

For the many people that have acquired the virus, I would like to focus on just one conventional, pharmaceutical medication and then talk about one alternative herbal remedy.

One of the more traditional treatments for HPV in recent years is Interferon which is a type of antiviral medication used to treat HPV. “The Interferon alfa-2a medication is delivered as a series of injections. It is given to prevent tumor cells or viruses from growing inside your body. It does not work for all patients, however, and some patients respond to the drug better than others.” (The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.)

The thing here, as with other conventional medicines I’ve discussed in my previous blogs, is that Interferon has both multiple, potential side effects…as well as studies which suggest that it has highly controversial results in terms of its effectiveness for both antiviral therapy as well as anti-cancer (brought on by a high-risk HPV virus) treatment.

According to the Anticancer Research Journal, “Previous studies on the effectiveness of interferon (IFN) therapy in the treatment of cervical carcinoma have produced highly inconsistent results and the conclusion regarding the efficacy of IFNs has been quite controversial.” – And – “Treatment with an increasing concentration of IFN-alpha preparations did not always correlate with a stepwise inhibition of HPV replication.”

In terms of side effects, “Flu-like symptoms following each injection include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and pains, malaise) occur with all of the interferons. These symptoms vary from mild to severe and occur in up to half of all patients.” (Medicinenet.com)

Knowing the above, why would anyone prescribe it? I suppose when some doctors practice medicine, they really are practicing…and they’re using you as a guinea pig.

It’s not nice at all.

In contrast, while there is no cure for HPV, there are herbs and trace elements out there with significant antiviral properties. Taking antiviral supplements could, theoretically, help to lower the viral loads within the body. This includes HPV.

One trace element that has been shown to have an effect on a broad range of viruses is Selenium. It’s been shown that those with a nutritional deficiency in Selenium have an increased risk of viral infection. More than this, if infected, the viral infection shows an increase in virulence in those with a Selenium deficiency. (The Journal of Nutrition)

In my personal opinion, (and I’m not a doctor), I’d say that if medical experts are experimenting on us all with prescriptions that may, or may not help, it makes sense to at least provide our bodies with the nutritional elements that have natural, proven antiviral properties.

It may not cure us…but it’s got to be better than solely using medication that pharmaceutical companies and doctors can’t even prove works.

References:

U.S. National Library of Medicine, “HPV Also called: Human Papillomavirus” MedlinePlus, 13 April, 2011

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. “Interferon Alfa-2a and Alfa-2b Injection” http://www.nlm.nih.gov 23 March, 2011
Sen EMcLaughlin-Drubin MMeyers C, “Efficacy of two commercial preparations of interferon-alpha on human papillomavirus replication.” Anti-Cancer Research Journal, March – April, 2005

Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD, “Interferon” MedicineNet.com, 1996 – 2011

Beck MA, Levander OA, Handy J, “Selenium deficiency and viral infection.” The Journal of Nutrition, May 2003

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