You thought melatonin was to help you sleep, but it has many anti aging factors

Melatonin has long been though of as a hormone you can take just to help you get a better nights sleep. It is one of the regulators of your circadian rhythm, but beyond making you sleepy when the sun goes down, it does much more.

Melatonin production declines as we age. Researchers  believe that this may contribute to the aging process and the general decline in health.  So popping a melatonin before you go to sleep may help you sleep better and turn back the clock. 
Below are seven key benefits of melatonin:
  1. Antioxidant Defense – Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. It is 200% more powerful than vitamin E and is superior to vitamin C.  In post menopausal women melatonin has been found to inhibit lipid per oxidation which in turn helps prevent heart disease.
  2. Fights Heart Disease – There is research showing that melatonin can protect the heart muscle from oxidative damage and decreasing the levels of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. It also helps with blood sugar management. Tame these and you’ve greatly reduced your risk of heart disease.
  3. Cancer Prevention – Melatonin has been shown to exhibit anti-carcinogenic properties and can also induce cancer cell death – apoptosis. For those undergoing conventional cancer therapy it has been shown to slow the cancer progression and lessen the side effects of the chemotherapy.
  4. Diabetes – Diabetes like cancer and heart disease all have one thing in common – Free radicals. These free radicals can cause damage to the cells, damage to your DNA, oxidation of lipids, and many other cellular defects. The high blood levels in diabetics causes a hire rise in oxidative stress and the release of free radicals. Melatonin comes to the rescue by quenching many of these damaging free radicals. Melatonin has also been shown to protect the pancreatic beta cells, kidney’s, eyes, and heart from the damages caused by the side effects of diabetes.
  5. Alzheimers – Another unique property of melatonin is that it can cross the blood-brain barrier. It not only crosses the blood brain barrier, but has also been shown to protect it. Melatonin has been shown to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and protecting delicate internal cellular structures. Melatonin also exhibits profound neruoprotective effects against the beta amyloid plaque, one of the suspected causes of Alzheimer’s.
  6. Combat Obesity – Obesity has been found to be correlated with stress, emotional eating, and sleep deprivation, and hormonal changes later in life. Melatonin’s basic function of aiding in sleep can reduce stress, cortisol, and emotional eating – We all know how much better we feel after a good nights sleep.
  7. Osteoporosis – Research has also found that melatonin has beneficial effects on bone repair and rebuilding. In a recent double-blind placebo controlled study with peri-meanopausal women found that melatonin improved sleep and increased the bio markers of indicating bone formation and decreased the levels of makers indicating bone depleting.  Osteoporosis occurs when the rate of bone depletion exceeds the rate of bone formation.
So with all these benefits is there any reason you shouldn’t be taking extra melatonin?  Melatonin has been shown to be safe with no side effects when taken in consistent dosages of less than 10 mg/day.
We all make melatonin naturally, but as we age we produce less and less. Also our life does all it can to combat melatonin production.
Melatonin is produced primarily in the pineal gland in the brain and in the retinas of the eyes. remember when you were out camping. The sun goes down and the sky and gets more red. It is that shift from the bluish bright day light to the reddish dusk light that starts the melatonin production. When it is finally dark melatonin production is at its height and you fall asleep.  Then when the sun comes up in the morning your eyes see the light and the light, especially more more blueish morning light quickly shuts down melatonin production and flushes the melatonin in your system out. 
So knowing now melatonin production works, now look at our typical life. When the light goes down we flip on the lights. When we finally go to bed, we are looking at our phones, iPads, and watching TV. All are bright bluish light. Then when the light is finally off you have an assortment of little lights on your chargers, phones, alarm clocks, etc. You also have street lights shining through the window. So without total darkness, you don’t sleep well because you are sabotaging your melatonin production.
So leave the TV in the bedroom off, cover all the little blinking lights, and close the blinds. That will help, but pop a very inexpensive melatonin tablet under your tongue and hour before you go to sleep and enjoy better sleep and better health.
One word of caution, not all melatonin is created equal. Most of what you’ll find on the store shelves comes from the pineal glands and eyes of cattle. It is very difficult to purify and live viruses from the cows brain, like mad cow disease, can survive intact in the tablets. This is why many countries have outlawed melatonin sales.  The product I use and recommend is pure 100% bio-identical melatonin, but synthesized in a lab so that there is no risk of viral contamination. So chose your melatonin wisely.

How stress & bad food Wreak Havoc on Your Skin – and What to Do About It!

The Holidays are just barely behind us, but now comes the stress of the Christmas bills, we may still not be eating the best either. Stress is the last thing your body, and your skin, needs this time of year. Besides stress, there are other factors that can cause your skin to be dry, blemished, and dull.

Lack of sleep.

Sleep is very important to skin health, because it’s the only opportunity your skin gets to repair itself. No matter how many tasks you have to do, make sure you allow at least 7-8 hours for your skin to rejuvenate and heal from the barrages of the day.

What you can do – Ambian, Lunesta, and other sleeping pills aren’t the cure as they are addictive to one degree or another. Alcohol also doesn’t help as it may help you get to sleep, but then you wake up a few hours later from the sugar. Some things which do help and are healthy are:

  • Don’t eat within 3 hours of going to sleep. If you have a full stomach your body is putting energy towards digesting the meal, not repairing your body. You’l find you may sleep well, but you may not really feel refreshed.
  • Don’t consume caffeine in the afternoon or evening as it can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Even if it has been a hectic day, try to spend 30 minutes letting your brain wind down: Read, meditate, listen to soothing music, etc.
  • Dim your bedroom. The light from at TV or computer monitor is very harsh and stimulates your brain. Bathe your bedroom in soft warm light, think of a candle light. Your brain associates the reddish lights, like sunset, with approaching night and begins to produce melatonin. The harsh white/blue light from a TV, computer, laptop, tablet, and cell phone resembles daylight and tells your brain to stop producing melatonin and to wake up!!
  • Speaking of melatonin, it is the sleep hormone and take 0.5 to 2.0 mg and let it dissolve under your tongue and hour before you go to bed and you’ll find you’ll fall quickly to sleep. Melatonin is a strong antioxidant and is actually good for your skin too. Just use caution with over the counter melatonin as most of what is available comes from the pineal glands and retinas of cows and because they can’t get it 100% pure they have found fully intact viruses, like mad cow disease, in melatonin tablets. This is why melatonin is illegal in many countries. The brand of Melatonin I use and recommend  have developed a process to synthesize natural human melatonin in the lab so that it is 100% pure and no chance of any bovine viruses.

Bad food.

Although there is still debate on whether or not diet is linked directly to acne breakouts, the general consensus is that certain foods to certain people can trigger acne flare-ups, and that eating more healthy foods will only help your skin. However, remember that a pimple, papule, or cyst takes days, if not weeks to form and surface. So the results of an overload of candy, chocolate, fatty and salty foods that may contribute to a breakout will appear later in the month. If you want nice, clear skin during, and after, the holidays, try to balance your diet as much as possible, drink plenty of water, and avoid dairy if you can (it is the largest culprit of acne flare-ups). However, don”t be afraid to indulge every now and then; as long as you generally eat well and follow a skin care regimen, your skin will be fine.

In general foods which are High Glycemic, meaning that the rapidly raise your blood glucose levels, will also cause general inflammation which will show in your skin and can cause other damage in your body you can’t see. In general avoid white foods. For example, white flour, sugar, white rice, potatoes, etc. These foods are typically highly refined and in the case of flour and white rice, all the fiber and the nutritional parts have been stripped away and all that is left is the starchy part which is very quickly digested, absorbed, and turned to sugar. Not only are these foods bad for your skin, they also cause you to gain weight.

Exposure to the elements

Whether your winter vacations are white and cozy or sandy and sunny, the weather – heat and cold – affects your skin, especially sensitive areas on your face. Cold weather strips your skin of moisture, while hot weather can bring about an overproduction of oil in your skin, as well as too much sun exposure. Both of these problems can be solved with one product – a moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher. Your skin will be hydrated and protected from any type of weather that comes your way this winter.

Sleep Makes the Body Leaner

From MedPage Today:

Diet and exercise are important factors in a healthy lifestyle, but a third factor — sleep — may be the real key to eliminating fat, according to a small study.

Middle-age, overweight patients who slept 8.5 hours burned more fat than those who slept just 5.5 hours, according to Plamen D. Penev, MD, PhD, of the University of Chicago, and colleagues, who reported their findings in the Oct. 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. 

By contrast, those who were sleep deprived burned more lean muscle mass. They also found participants in the sleep deprivation group were hungrier and expended less energy to compensate for reduced sleep.

Researchers concluded that sleep loss while dieting, “amplifies the pattern of ghrelin-associated changes in human hunger, glucose and fat utilization, and energy metabolism.”
The study measured fat and fat-free body mass loss, as well as secondary endpoint measures of caloric use, energy expenditure, hunger, and 24-hour metabolic hormone concentrations in 12 sedentary nonsmokers. The average age was 41 and at baseline the participants slept an average of 7.7 hours each night. Body mass indices ranged from 25 kg/m2to 35 kg/m.
Only 10 of the 12 volunteers completed the study (seven men).
Patients were randomly assigned to sleep for either 8.5 or 5.5 hours each night over 14 days and then crossed over for a second 14-day period at least three months later. Sleep was recorded nightly and patients were not allowed daytime naps.
Those in the study were given the same diet with calorie counts based on 90% of resting metabolic rate. Actual consumption was measured by weighing food before and after each meal.
Patients’ energy expenditure, hunger scores, respiratory quotients, body water changes, and body composition were measured. Additionally, the researchers measured metabolic hormone levels, including acylated ghrelin, which acts as a switch to control energy expenditure, hunger, and fat retention, as well as regulate glucose production in the liver.
Regardless of sleep duration, patients lost about 3 kg, but the weight loss came from mostly lean mass in the sleep deprivation group — 2.4 kg versus 1.5 in those who slept for 8.5 hours. Conversely, those who slept for more than 8 hours lost an average of 1.4 kg versus just 0.4 kg of fat loss in the sleep deprivation arm.
Also, patients in the sleep deprivation group were hungrier and 24-hour acylated ghrelin levels increased from an average 73 ng/L pretreatment to 84 ng/L group versus a decline in acylated ghrelin levels (81 ng/L to 75 ng/L) in the normal sleep group, which was statistically significant (P=0.04).
Alternately, resting metabolic rates were significantly higher in the better rested arm and 24-hour plasma epinephrine concentrations were lower, (P=0.005 for both).
There were no significant differences in the measures of the fractional thermic effect of food and 24-hour norepinephrine, cortisol, growth hormone, and thyroid hormone concentrations at the end of study between conditions.
The study was limited by its small sample size and short duration. The authors suggested, however, that the findings supported a larger trial with longer follow-up to examine long-term effects of reduced sleep on body composition, and energy metabolism.

Primary source: Annals of Internal Medicine
Source reference:
Nedeltcheva, AV. “Insufficient Sleep Undermines Dietary Efforts to Reduce Adiposity” Ann Intern Med 2010; 153: 435-441.

For those who have problems falling asleep, or staying asleep melatonin can be helpful. If you look for melatonin be sure it is synthetic and a pharmaceutical grade supplement. “Natural” melatonin is extracted from animal pineal glands, eyes, and digestive tract tissue. In this extraction it is common for viruses and other bio-products to contaminate the melatonin. This is why a number of countries have banned melatonin products. What I use is a bio-identical melatonin synthesized by a Swiss pharmaceutical company which is 100% pure melatonin and does not contain any biological contaminants.

Also a shameless plug, if you are in the Metro Denver Boulder area and looking for Laser Hair Removal, please visit Bella Pelle Laser in Broomfield

The Top 6 Things You Can Do for Cold Prevention

Okay! Here is the culmination of scientific research and many years of pharmacy experience to sift out what really works for cold prevention and what doesn’t.
Remember, you want to do these things all the time, because you need to prevent the cold in the first place. Treating a cold is impossible. All those things in the drugstore can only help you feel a little better when you have one. There is nothing that can actually make it go away any faster.

I would venture to say that most of the recommendations in this list are not going to shock any of you. Most of them are common sense. Of course, knowing you’re supposed to do these things and actually doing them are two totally different things, right?
But seriously, if you regularly follow all of these recommendations, you’ll be amazed at the difference. They’re all important, but I would say that #1 and #6 are probably the most important.
These recommendations are based on the fact that the best way to both prevent AND treat a cold is to have your immune system functioning at peak efficiency.
So here’s how to do that:

  1. Wash Your Hands A Lot!!!!!
    This is absolutely the #1 most important thing you can do for cold prevention. 95% of the time, a cold virus gets into your body through touch. You touch something that has a cold virus on it, then you touch a mucus membrane (eyes, nose, mouth) and Voila! The cold virus has now entered your body.
    So for sure wash your hands before you eat. But also try to do it after you’ve been in “high-risk” situations: around someone you know who already has a cold, in a doctor’s office or hospital, after wheeling the shopping cart around the grocery store… I think you get the idea.
    For the same reason, keep your hands away from your face. If you don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth, the cold virus can’t get in.
    If you already have a cold, please please wash your hands even more. The best cold prevention is to have the “Typhoid Marys” not spread it around in the first place. Every single time you blow your nose, wash your hands. If you need to sneeze or cough, cover your mouth. But NOT into your fist- you get all the germs on the inside of your hand and then you just spread them around to everything you touch. Cough or sneeze onto the back of your hand or your forearm.
  2. Get Enough Sleep
    When you’re sleep-deprived, your immune system suffers (along with many other things).
    Everyone is different, some people only need 6 hours a night- others need 10. I’m sure you’ve figured out how much you need by now. Even an hour or two less increases the stress on your body and it adds up.
  3. Drink lots of fluids.
    I know you’ve all heard this a million times before. Yet still MOST people are going through life chronically dehydrated- an estimated 75%.
    Your body functions best when it’s fully hydrated. Even mild dehydration will slow down your metabolism, speed up aging, reduce muscle recovery after exercise and reduce resistance to disease (hence its importance in cold prevention). Dehydration is also a major cause of headaches, daytime fatigue, muscle cramping, mid-day munchies (thirst is often mistaken for hunger), and problems with concentration and memory. Do I need to go on? Your body is mostly water- this should not be a surprise for anyone.
    If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
    The 8 glasses a day rule is actually a little low, but you usually get a glass or two of fluid from foods or juices also. To figure out what you need, take your weight in pounds and divide it in half. That’s how many ounces you need every day. Most glasses are 8 ounces, so if you divide that number by 8, that’s how many glasses you need. For example: 150lbs. divide by 2= 75 ounces per day divide by 8= just over 9 glasses per day.
    Don’t do it all at once or you’ll be running to the bathroom constantly and you’ll quit. Increase by a glass or two every week.
    Water is of course the best choice. It’s exactly what your body needs, it has zero calories and it doesn’t have other things in it that can actually make matters worse. Like caffeine & salt. I know coffee & tea have some good antioxidants in them, BUT moderation is key. Caffeine is a diuretic, so it is actually dehydrating. For every caffeinated drink you have, have an extra glass of water.
    And don’t even get me started on carbonated drinks… Most people drink way too many of these. If you’re having more than 1 per week (and that’s being generous), it’s too much in my opinion. Definitely daily is insane. There is NOTHING good about these things (and lots of bad things). Added to the huge list of problems that they cause, they are also dehydrating (even if it’s not caffeinated). Nuff said.
  4. Get regular exercise.I know you’ve all heard this a million times before too. Yet still MOST people are going through life as virtual couch potatoes.
    How do you expect your body to function optimally if most of it never gets used regularly? Would you expect your car to run properly if it hadn’t been used in several years?
    If you’re “lazy”, your immune system is lazy too. When you exercise regularly, your body keeps everything in your body in top shape (including your immune system), not just your heart and muscles. That’s why you need it for cold prevention.
  5. Relax and de-stressOkay, first I tell you to exercise, then I tell you to relax. No, these do not contradict themselves.
    First of all, regular exercise decreases your body’s release of “stress” hormones (cortisol) and increases release of “happy” hormones (endorphins).
    And it’s mental relaxation and stress I’m talking about.
    Basically, just take time to do things that you enjoy and relieve stress.
    People that run themselves into the ground (you know the kind I’m talking about) get sick much more often because their immune systems aren’t functioning properly due to the constant presence of “stress” hormones in their body.
    So kick back, relax and take some “me” time. And if anyone asks, just say you’re doing some cold prevention.
  6. Take a high quality supplement that has LOTS of antioxidants.This would actually be my #2 most important thing to do for cold prevention. But I’m putting it last on my list so you’ll remember it.

    Taking the right antioxidant supplement will give your body everything it needs to function optimally.
    Again, if your body is functioning optimally, so will your immune system. And an optimally functioning immune system will destroy cold and flu viruses before they have a chance to take hold.

    And this isn’t just theory- I can personally vouch for this. As a pharmacist, I used to get 4 or 5 colds per year, being around all those sick people everyday. Once those colds took hold, I was miserable for at least 1 week and the cough would hang around for 2 or 3 weeks. And I was a pretty healthy person to begin with- I was doing the other 5 things on this list…
    My family and I started taking high quality antioxidant supplements because I knew it was important to protect our good health. We never expected to feel any better- we already felt great!
    After 8 or 9 months, I realized that nobody in the family had been sick since we started taking them! Amazing! Especially when you consider that my daughter had been sick for 4 straight months the year before. (No, I’m not exaggerating. She caught every cold that went through her class, I’m sure.)
    Now, my husband and I get only 1 cold per year and our children get only 2 or 3 (they’re still young and in school and haven’t figured out the importance of rule #1 yet- handwashing!). AND when we get a cold now, it’s barely noticeable- your nose is just runny for a few days. No more being stuffed up and I don’t even get a cough anymore- we don’t feel miserable and it doesn’t even slow us down. Done and over with in 4 days. That’s the bonus of having an optimally functioning immune system- it gets going faster and doesn’t let the virus get too far along.
    This phenomenon is not exclusive to our family either. As you may have noticed by now, I am quite passionate about the importance of antioxidant supplements, so I have recommended them to my friends and family. They all report the same results of not getting sick when everyone else around them is.
    So for cold prevention alone, it’s totally worth it to take high quality antioxidant supplements. The added health benefits and disease prevention you’ll get are an added bonus (albeit an important bonus).

    If you follow these 6 rules, you’ll be the healthiest person you know. Not only do they work for cold prevention, but many other diseases as well…

Thanks to Kathy Russ for this information. She is a pharmacist with 15 years experience.

More active kids have easier time falling asleep

If you’re one of those parents who likes to let their kids run themselves ragged so they fall asleep more easily, you may be onto something: the more activity kids get, the faster they’ll drop off to sleep, according to a new study.

The study, in 591 seven-year-olds, also found that kids who spent more time in sedentary activities took longer to actually fall asleep after they went to bed.

Up to one in six parents of school-aged children report that their child has difficulty falling asleep, Dr. Ed A. Mitchell of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, the study’s lead author, told Reuters Health by email. The study’s findings, he said, emphasize that physical activity isn’t only important for fitness, heart health, and weight control, but also for good sleep.

Mitchell and his team had children wear an activity-measuring device around their waists for 24 hours. They report their findings in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Most children took about 26 minutes to fall asleep after bedtime, they found. The more activity a child did, the less time it took him to fall asleep.

“We showed that one hour of vigorous activity (equivalent to running) reduced the time to fall asleep by almost 6 minutes,” Mitchell said.

“However, the average amount of vigorous activity was only 43 minutes,” Mitchell said. Also, he added, the children tended to be active in short bursts. “Their activity might better be described as stop-go rather than continuous as an adult might do when they exercise.”

And for every hour a child spent each day being sedentary, it took them 3 minutes longer to get to sleep.

The researchers also found that children who took less time to get to sleep stayed asleep for longer, and vice versa.

“Fortunately, difficulty getting to sleep wasn’t associated with other health problems,” Mitchell said, although getting less sleep has been linked to obesity.

SOURCE: Archives of Disease in Childhood, September 2009.

This also works for parents and adults too. If you exercise regularly you’ll find you sleep better, the only precaution is don’t exercise late in the evening – best to exercise in the morning and it will rev up your metabolism for the entire day and you’ll sleep like a baby.