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Health Conditions

Nitric Oxide and Bone Cell Formation

Nitric Oxide (NO) is a simple molecule consisting of one atom of nitrogen and one of oxygen, making it even simpler than water. Research into the effects of this small but important molecule began in the 1970’s when scientists started to examine why blood vessels relaxed when certain compounds were added. This led to the discovery of NO and its amazing effects in the body, with NO being named the molecule of the year in 1992. In 1998, twenty-some years after this research first began, a Nobel Prize was awarded to these researchers for their breakthrough discoveries regarding NO. Over

Memory and Cognitive Performance

The human brain is like no other in terms of its ability to simultaneously synthesize information and carry out complex tasks on a regular basis. While it would be naive to say that we fully understand its interrelationship with the rest of the body and our environment, modern research has made great strides to elucidate its various structures and functions. Here is a brief look at our current understanding of cognitive function and the risk factors that threaten its well-being. While a focus on memory is highlighted, all aspects of cognitive performance including language, reaction time, focus, mood and information

Skeletal Development and its Influential Factors

A typical adult human skeleton consists of 206 bones. The skeleton gives support to the body and acts as a reservoir of various minerals. In spite of its solid appearance, the bone constitutes a very dynamic tissue that undergoes a continuous process of formation and resorption. The complex molecular mechanisms regulating bone remodeling are not fully understood, but we know that it involves a crosstalk between two types of cells: bone breakdown and resorption cells called osteoclasts and cells that form bone called osteoblasts. Osteoclasts degrade the mineral matrix in response to a variety of signals, while osteoblasts deposit new

Essential Magnesium for Supporting an Active Body

As one of the most important nutrients in the diet, magnesium offers several health enhancing benefits. The body uses magnesium for essential cellular functions such as producing energy, maintaining normal functioning of the nerves and muscles, heart rhythm, immunity and bone health. More than 300 biological processes occurring in the body require magnesium. Thankfully, magnesium is relatively easy to obtain through a healthful diet. However, for some people magnesium absorption may be impaired for a number of reasons such as depleted soils, having intestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease or colitis, and/or as a result of taking certain types of medications.

The World of Probiotics: Good Bugs vs. Bad Bugs

Understanding Different Strains of Bacteria, Symbiosis, and Why Many Probiotics Don’t Work The original definition of probiotics was established in 1953 but was somewhat confusing. Today, probiotics simply mean live microorganisms which when reaching the intestines in large numbers will exert positive health effects. Probiotic literally means pro-life or health promoting organisms. There are trillions of bacteria that have set up shop in our intestines (both small and large) and represent a very large and diverse group. Not all of these are friendly; there are a significant number that are hostile such as E. coli or Salmonella or Cryptosporidium that

The Ups and Downs of Heartburn

Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that can extend to the neck, throat, and face. It is often worsened by bending over or lying down. It is the primary symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is the movement of stomach acid into the esophagus. GERD is caused by frequent acid reflux, the backup of stomach acid into the esophagus. When swallowing, the lower esophageal sphincter which is a circular band of muscle around the bottom part of the esophagus, relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach. Then it closes again. However, if

The Gut-Brain Connection

Have you ever experienced butterflies in the stomach before an important meeting? Does attempting to “cure” the blues with Ben and Jerry’s sound familiar? If so, then you are already acquainted with the existence of a connection between our moods and our gut. Indeed, the brain and the digestive system are linked by complex pathways where information flows back and forth on a continual basis: certain feelings and thoughts can stimulate an exaggerated gut response, while sensitized nerves in the gut can trigger changes in the brain. The Nervous System and the “Second Brain” The nervous system is a complex

Methylation & HomocysteineTheir Vital Roles in Heart Health

A subject that is gaining much attention in many circles of medicine these days is methylation, as it pertains to our body’s functions and in particular the management of homocysteine. With respect to statistics of heart disease in Canada, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, every seven minutes in Canada someone will die of heart disease or stroke. They are both in the top three causes of death for Canadians. Although numbers have improved with respect to heart disease over the years, these are still very sobering statistics.Thus, in looking at a preventative approach and management strategy for heart

Sleep Disturbance: The Silent Killer

A bad night’s sleep can be frustrating for many reasons, but we rarely consider its impact beyond the associated fatigue or the sluggish day of work. Sleep deprivation is associated with both short and long term health concerns, and the evidence is only mounting. From a very basic standpoint, poor sleep makes us less cognitively sharp and therefore at a greater risk for careless mistakes. This is consistent with many studies finding that self-reported sleep problems, short sleep duration, fatigue and daytime sleepiness are all linked in some way to workplace injuries due to accidents.1 Nevertheless, what about the health

Is Stress Making You Sick?

Arguably, we are more stressed today than ever before in human history. As a result, stress accounts for 75 – 90% of all primary care visits in the US, and prescriptions for antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications are sky-rocketing. Many people recourse to self-medicating with substances such as stimulants, drugs, alcohol, tobacco and even food in an attempt to manage their mental stress. Stress is also considered to be the number one reason why people eat poorly and quit healthy lifestyle programs. Chronic stress is now acknowledged as a key driver behind most of our modern health complaints, both psychological and

The Many Faces of Magnesium: The Secret Agent of Health

Magnesium is one of those supplements that is very well known for its benefits throughout the natural health community. However, one of the problems with magnesium’s almost celebrity status is that the details of the multiple benefits that it has to offer are often overlooked and underappreciated. This article explores the key role that magnesium plays in a number of disease processes. Additionally, it will highlight the benefits of certain often overlooked magnesium compounds (chelates), which complement magnesium by exerting their own beneficial effects. Magnesium is Vital Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical processes in the body. One of

Heart Structure and Function 101:

The Plumbing and Wiring Systems of Your Heart The heart is the most important muscle in the body. Yes, it is a striated muscle that functions and contracts similarly to an arm muscle, or a leg muscle. However, as we know, it has the very unique ability to contract tirelessly at a constant beat, pushing blood, oxygen and nutrients to the rest of our muscles, tissues and cells so that the body can function as a whole unit. The heart is made up of two very important systems: these can be thought of as an electrical system and a plumbing

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