Natural Digestive Aids for the Upset Stomach

Are you afraid of eating certain foods because you know they will upset your stomach? Do you tend to feel bloated, gassy, or just uncomfortable after eating certain foods? I used to feel as though I had the most sensitive stomach in the world and would always be cautious with what I ate in order to avoid aggravating my stomach. However, I found that there are many natural products on the market that can help alleviate these symptoms so that I could eat what I wanted, not just what I could tolerate.

Before getting into the actual products that one can take for indigestion, I want to first emphasize how important it is to eat slowly and to chew your food as much as possible. I know this is hard because most of us are always on the go and do not have the time to sit and eat our meals in peace. However, when you eat in a hurry and do not chew your food enough, you are leaving it up to your body to do most of the work. What I mean is, mastication (chewing) is the first part of digestion. Your saliva has enzymes that help break down the food along with your teeth when you chew. Also, chewing sends a signal to your stomach to release more digestive enzymes and acid to prepare itself for the incoming food. Our stomachs work best at digesting our food when we are relaxed. This is because when we are relaxed, we have more energy to expend to our stomach and intestines to digest our food properly and thoroughly. So, try to sit and relax when eating your next meal and see if you notice a difference.

If you still find yourself becoming bloated and gassy after relaxing and chewing your food slowly, try taking one of these natural digestive aids. One of my favorites is acidophilus, also known as “good bacteria.” Good bacteria naturally lines our intestinal tract to help digest our food and absorb the nutrients. However, these good bacteria may become depleted over the years and need to be replenished. Taking papaya enzymes is also a great remedy for indigestion because our stomachs may not always produce enough digestive enzymes to break down the amount of food we consume. Licorice helps soothe the mucosal lining in our stomachs and kills harmful bacteria that inhibit normal acid production needed to digest our food. Ginger helps quell inflammation in our digestive tract and increases gastric motility to keep food moving along so that it does not just sit in our stomach and intestines. Also, putting lemon in some hot water and drinking it after a large meal can help break down your food since it acts like the acid your stomach naturally produces. Last but not least, peppermint is a great digestive aid that helps calm the stomach and alleviate bloating, however, people with GERD or acid reflux should be cautious when using this because it can worsen their condition.

Nobody wants to feel uncomfortable after eating, especially when they are among friends and family. It can be very bothersome and even frustrating when you cannot eat the foods you desire due to the fear of indigestion. However, I hope the above mentioned remedies will take away your fears so that you can actually enjoy your meals once again. Thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.


Get Rid of Acne Once and For All

Waking up with a big pimple on your nose can be rough, and trying to disguise it is even worse. Having acne problems can be very frustrating, but unfortunately, it is very common. Around 80-85% of the population suffers from  it, and I’m not just talking about facial acne, but back and chest acne as well. It can be present at all times or show up sporadically when you least expect it, but I have the solutions to keep you prepared for any situation.

Let’s start with some of the causes of acne. Hormones play a big role in this category because they control the sebum production by the sebaceous glands in our skin. Sebum serves as “food” for acne causing bacteria so, the more sebum they have, the more they can multiply. Sebum can also mix with bacteria and dead skin cells to clog our pores, which can then lead to the formation of a pimple. Glands that produce sebum have receptors for stress hormones. So, stress can stimulate these glands to produce more sebum, which can then lead to more pimples. We also tend to eat more in times of stress, and what we choose to eat can also affect our skin. If we eat foods high in fat, sugar or capsaicin (which is found in spicy food) sebum production increases. However, a diet high in fiber, nutrients and water helps get rid of toxins and nourishes our skin. Keeping our skin hydrated and moisturized can also aid in reducing acne as well since, when our skin is dry, sebaceous glands go into overdrive trying to replenish the skin’s moisture with sebum. Washing your face also helps reduce acne by getting rid of acne causing bacteria; however, washing your face more than necessary can also increase dryness. Now that we know the causes, let’s talk about treatment.

Since acne is something that is so hard to hide, people go to drastic measures in order to get rid of it. One treatment in particular that many people have tried is Accutane. Accutane may work, but have you ever seen the list of side effects that comes with it? It is scary! Some of the side effects include chest pain, elevated heartbeat, yellowing of the skin and eyes, weakened bones, thinning hair and even thoughts of suicide. Personally, I would take acne over any of those side effects. Salicylic acid is another option that people turn to; however, this treatment may work temporarily but in the long run, it can over dry the skin and cause more irritation.

There are more gentle and effective treatments for acne that many people do not know about. One of my favorites is tea tree oil, which is a natural antiseptic that effectively kills bacteria. Just one drop can get rid of your pimple in less than a day. Sulfur is also very beneficial at fighting acne. Not only does it help treat acne, but heals acne scars as well. Aloe Vera gel is another one of my favorites and is one of the best moisturizers out there. Along with moisturizing the skin, aloe also helps alleviate redness and inflammation, which is what a pimple basically is. Fish oil, if taken on a daily basis, helps promote strong and healthy skin, giving it a nice, radiant glow. Taking Vitamin A each day is also required for clear, healthy skin, but be sure not to take more than the daily recommended dose because too much can be toxic. Proper liver function is also very important for acne prevention. Milk Thistle helps detox our liver so that it can work more effectively at getting rid of waste products and toxins that can accumulate in the body and cause acne. Digestion also plays a role in acne prevention since it is what breaks down your food to absorb the necessary nutrients needed for healthy, radiant skin. Black licorice is a great supplement for a healthy digestive tract, but I am not referring to the ones full of sugar that you find at the candy store. There are natural, sugar free licorice chews that are available at most health food stores.

The best thing you can do for your skin is to keep things simple. The more harsh chemicals you use on your face, the more irritation you can cause. This doesn’t apply just for acne treatments, but for makeup as well. Your skin needs to breath and should not be covered by creams and foundation all the time. If you cannot do without your makeup, make sure what you use is noncomodogenic, oil free, and hypoallergenic. Most importantly, make sure you wash it off before going to bed, no matter how tired you are. I hope these tips help! Thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

Everything you Want and Don’t Want to Know about Rogaine and Propecia

Hair loss is a scary thought, and for most of us, a depressing reality. It is a part of the aging process and, unless you are genetically blessed, it is something you will have to deal with sooner or later. I have written about hair loss before and how there are natural remedies and preventative measures out there that are definitely worth trying at first. However, if all else fails, there are products such as Rogaine and Propecia that one can turn to. The real question, though, is: how safe and effective are they?

Finasteride, which is the generic name for Propecia, was first approved by the FDA under the name Proscar as a treatment for BPH (enlargement of the prostate gland). This medication works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to the hormone known as DHT, which also happens to be the hormone that causes hair loss in both men and women. Five years later, the FDA approved this medication under the name Propecia as a treatment for male pattern baldness. The approval for female pattern baldness was not given largely because finasteride was not proven to be as beneficial for women since our testosterone levels are naturally lower than men and also because it has the potential to cause severe birth defects in women who are pregnant. Over the years, Propecia has been shown to work better at preventing hair loss than actually promoting hair regrowth and will only cause hair to grow in places where there is still hair. So, if there are areas on the scalp that are already completely bald, taking Propecia will not help. That is why people start taking Propecia at a young age, even before their hair loss has begun, because it will not work once your hair is gone. As for the side effects of Propecia, they include decreased libido, impotence, testicular pain, and decreased semen volume. However, clinical studies have shown that these side effects occur in less than 5% of users and can be reversed once Propecia is stopped.

Rogaine, unlike Propecia, can be bought over the counter and does not need a prescription. Its generic name is minoxidil and was first introduced as a medication for hypertention. However, clinical trials showed that one of the side effects of this medication was hypertrichosis, also known as excessive hair growth. So, soon after, it became FDA approved for hair loss for both men and women. The way Rogaine works has still not been proven, but it is believed to increase blood flow to hair follicles, which then revitalizes and widens them to produce thicker strands of hair. The increased blood flow also prolongs the anagen stage of hair growth, resulting in longer strands and a higher number of them as well. It is said that Rogaine works best for the crown of the scalp for men and not for the hairline, however, it has still shown to be effective in both areas for a large majority of users. For women, it improves hair growth all over the scalp. The reason Rogaine affects men and women differently is because men and women lose hair in different places as they age. Male pattern baldness is predominant at the crown of the scalp whereas female pattern baldness is more evident in the front. Rogaine is typically safe and well tolerated if used properly since very little minoxidil is absorbed after topical application, and side effects are generally mild and rare. Side effects include facial hair growth, eczema, headache, dizziness, irritant dermatitis, and allergic contact dermatitis.

Hair loss can be due to a number of things including stress, malnutrition, hormones and even genetics. Before starting any regimen, it is always best to discover the exact cause of the problem in order to find the appropriate treatment. Propecia and Rogaine work best for hereditary hair loss and do not work for disease or stress induced hair loss. Both products can be used together if desired, but make sure to weigh the risks versus the benefits before starting and think about if the potential side effects are worth it to you. Thanks for reading, this has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.