Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2014

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W omen who tip back a few beers each week are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA), suggests a large study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism. RA is a chronic painful autoimmune disease that more often strikes women. While RA sometimes affects multiple tissues and organs, it primarily attacks the fl exible joints and can be severely disabling. Researchers in the study found that long- term moderate beer consumption (two to four beers per week, not a keg fest) cut their RA risk by 31 percent. While research indicates alcohol cuts RA risk in women, for reasons not entirely understood, beer in particular boosts the protective benefi ts even more. "The mechanism of action is very complex," said Dr. Len Horovitz, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC. Alcohol may increase estrogen, which is shown to be protective against RA, explains Dr. Daniel Arkfeld, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine. Dr. Arkfeld doesn't suggest however, non-beer drinkers start cracking a six-pack, and he cautions RA medication users to avoid mixing their meds with alcohol, due to possible liver complications. whole living Illustrations: istockphoto.com By Laura G. Owens Among the treasured gifts brought by the magi, gold, frankincense and myrrh, frankincense (also known as Boswellia) might have helped Jesus breathe a little easier. Known in Indian ayurvedic medicine, the resin of Boswellia serrata contains boswellic acid, shown to inhibit leukotriene biosynthesis involved in bronchial asthma. In a 1998 study published in the European Journal of Medical Research, researchers found that 70 percent of patients with bronchial asthma treated with Boswellia gum resin three times a day for six weeks showed multiple symptom improvement and had fewer attacks. HELPING JESUS BREATHE SIPPIN' SUDS FOR ARTHRITIS W omen always get the raw deal when it comes to hormone changes and weight gain. Estrogen dominance hits the hips and waistline as you approach menopause. In addition, xenoestrogens that mimic estrogen, such as plant-derived phyto- estrogens (e.g. soy) as well as certain synthetic chemicals, pack on pounds by disrupting proper endocrine functioning. Men aren't entirely off the hook, however. In developed Western nations (such as the U.S., Europe and Australia) where xenoestrogens are commonplace, research indicates men are at higher risk for obesity than men in developing nations. While poor diet and inactivity are part of the problem, they don't tell the entire story. In the paper, "The Estrogen Hypothesis of Obesity," co-author Professor Maciej Henneberg wrote, "Exposure to estrogen is known to cause weight gain primarily through thyroid inhibition and modulation of the hypothalamus. Soy products contain xenoestrogens, and we are concerned that in societies with a high dietary saturation of soy, such as the U.S., this could be working to 'feminize' the males. This would allow men in those communities to artifi cially imitate the female pattern of weight gain. Another well-established source of xenoestrogen is polyvinyl chloride, known as PVC. Micro- evolutionary changes, such as those caused by environmental exposure to estrogens, may contribute to changes in male estrogen and testosterone levels. "This would certainly explain concerns about sperm count reductions among men in developed nations," wrote Henneberg. WHAT'S MAKING MEN FATTER? Rock Body YOUR CHEWING GUM HEADACHES L istening to a lip-smacking, bubble blowing, gum-obsessed teen (girls tend to chew more gum than boys) is enough to give anyone a headache. Turns out young gum chewers may be giving themselves a headache. In a 2013 study with youth ages 6 to 19 with chronic migraines or tension headaches, researchers found the vast majority felt relief when they stopped chewing gum. Moreover, "Twenty of the improved patients later agreed to go back to chewing gum, and all of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms," said Dr. Nathan Watemberg. Aspartame in many sugar-free gums was once thought a headache trigger. The popular view today however, is chewing gum strains the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the area where jaw meets skull. Kids tend to chew gum long after the fl avor disappears, which puts considerable strain on the already often-used TMJ joint. 14 wholelifetimesmagazine.com

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