Having Fish Oil Everyday Will Keep the Doctor Away!

Fish oil is another one of my favorites that I have been promoting to my friends and family for as long as I can remember. Whenever someone asks me what basic supplements are best to take everyday to maintain optimal health, fish oil is always at the tip of my tongue. It comes with a multitude of health benefits and is recommended for anyone at any age. Studies on fish oil are continuously being published as scientific research unveils more and more of its benefits on a daily basis. So, if you are one of the few I haven’t previously preached to about fish oil, please read on to find out more about this wonderful supplement.

First off, picking the right fish oil is very important and there are a few specific things you need to look for. Fish oil supplements that only contain omega-3 are the ones that have been proven to be most beneficial because the other omegas (such as omega-6 and omega-9) have actually been shown to induce more inflammation in the body rather than quelling it. Also, look for fish oil that is extracted from wild Alaskan salmon because it is one of the purest forms of fish oil that does not have to be processed in order to get rid of any impurities and is naturally mercury free. Now that you know which fish oil to pick, let’s talk about why you need to include it in your dietary regimen.

If you look back at my previous post on aloe vera, you will see I talked a bit about the dangers of chronic inflammation and how it is the root of most common health problems that people face. Fish oil is a key player in combating chronic inflammation and in turn reduces the risk of diseases and ailments associated with it such as heart disease, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, acne and even cancer. Fish oil also helps lower triglycerides (the building blocks of fat) thus helping reduce the risk of obesity. Also, for people with hypertension or high cholesterol, fish oil is a natural blood thinner, which helps prevent strokes and heart attacks. Fish oil also helps improve blood circulation and the delivery of oxygen and vital nutrients to cells all around the body as well. Something that most people may find hard to believe is that fish oil also helps with many cognitive disorders. For example, fish oil has been proven to protect the brain from developing Alzheimer’s disease and even Parkinson’s disease. Also, fish oil acts as a potent mood stabilizer. For people with signs of bipolar disorder or depression, fish oil has been shown to help tremendously in restoring normalcy in mood and behavior. For pregnant woman, fish oil helps build fetal and infant brain health and the development of psycho motor skills. Fish oil also has many aesthetic purposes as well including maintaining beautiful and strong hair, skin and nails. For people with dark cirles under their eyes, since fish oil helps thin the blood, it also promotes proper blood circulation to help those dark circles vanish. Last but not least, along with getting rid of your dark cirlces, fish oil also helps significantly improve eye health and vision.

The proper daily dose of fish oil is 1000mg a day. Some of you who are already familiar with fish oil may also, unfortunately, be familiar with the “fish burp.” For those of you who do not know what I’m talking about, that is the fish taste you get after consuming fish oil. However, have no fear. That problem can easily be solved with a shot of lemon juice, and in all honesty, it’s really not as bad as it sounds. I have also seen capsules that gaurantee the absence of this aftertaste so if it truly is something that you cannot handle, just know there are other alternatives out there. Don’t let this last bit deter you from going out and getting these magical pills. I promise you, you will be a believer. Thanks for reading! This has been your dose of vitamin Jas.

Hair Loss due to Vitamin Deficiency

What is one of the most common topics on people’s minds? The answer is hair, literally and figuratively (corny, I know). Being of Middle Eastern descent, I never thought I would ever have to worry about hair loss since I have had an abundance of it my entire life, up until now. There was a time when I wanted to shave half my head because I couldn’t manage. Now, I worry every time I see a strand of hair that has been pulled out into my brush. If you are like me, you should continue reading because I have found that hair loss is not solely due to aging, but also due to lacking certain vitamins and minerals in the body.

The first and most important vitamin for hair loss is biotin (also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7). Biotin helps the body produce collagen, which in turn helps grow strong and healthy hair. It makes the diameter of the hair shaft thicker and less fragile so it is more resistant to breakage as well. Biotin is also thought to prevent grey hair by producing melanin, which is a protein that gives hair and skin its color. As an added bonus, biotin also helps build strong, healthy nails and skin. Zinc also plays a critical role in hair loss because it aids in cell reproduction, hormonal balance, absorption of vitamins, and in protein synthesis, all of which promote the process of hair growth. Zinc also maintains the oil-secreting glands connected to your hair follicles, thus decreasing the chances of your hair falling out. Iron is also very important in preventing hair loss because it helps carry oxygen to your scalp and hair. Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, which is what transports oxygen in your blood throughout your body. Lastly, make sure you have enough protein in your diet. Protein helps supply your body with the building blocks it needs to grow healthy, strong hair. If you are a vegetarian, you can still get your protein from such things as beans, tofu or even dried apricots.

Some products that I have found to work really well are Biosil, which is a tasteless, liquid form of biotin you can just mix with your water and drink, and Biotin Forte, which contains both biotin and zinc along with other B vitamins. Massaging your scalp also helps because it improves blood circulation to that area, which then promotes more hair growth. Some people like to flip their head upside down as well when doing this but I don’t know how practical that would be in most places, but to each his own. Thanks for reading. This has been your daily dose of Vitamin Jas.

Plain Yogurt Is Not As Plain As You Think

Are you trying to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, or even fight off a cold? Yogurt has been shown to do all those things and more. Yogurt is filled with essential nutrients that can make your body healthier and stronger. Here are some reasons why plain yogurt isn’t so plain.

Yogurt is packed with protein to help build lean muscle, which helps burn calories faster, even when you aren’t working out! People who had yogurt as a snack lost 81% more belly fat than those who skipped it. Yogurt also contains probiotics, also know as good bacteria that  help regulate your digestion and strengthen your immune system. It also boosts the amount of T-cells in your body, which help attack foreign viruses and bacteria to prevent infection. Yogurt is also high in potassium so it helps flush out the excess sodium that your body retains, and in turn lowers your blood pressure. Yogurt can also help build strong bones since it is naturally a great source of calcium. For people who suffer from acne, applying yogurt to your face can help get rid that. This is because yogurt also has many antibiotic properties that can kill the bacteria trapped in your pores. Since yogurt is naturally acidic, it also helps draw out the excess oil in your skin, leaving your complexion soft and smooth. Yogurt also helps deliver many vitamins and nutrients to your skin to give it a healthy, glowing appearance.

Try adding a cup of yogurt to your diet every day. It is low in calories and high in nutrients. If you are thinking I am advocating going to Yogurtland and stocking up on their yogurt, you are seriously mistaken. Stick to plain, old-fashioned yogurt because that will give you the most benefits. 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.

 

Antiperspirants: Helpful or Harmful?

Sweating…it’s a natural thing. We all do it, some more than others, but it is a function that is equally important to all mammals in order to control body temperature. Antiperspirants were developed to help block sweat from being excreted by sweat glands whereas deodorants were created to mask the odor skin bacteria may produce when in contact with sweat. Deodorants were never really thought to pose much threat to our health; however, antiperspirants have been reported to cause serious illnesses such as breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Are these allegations true? Let’s discuss…

Many antiperspirants contain chemical substances such as aluminum and parabens, which have been thought to enter our body when applied to the underarm. Even though this may be true, the amount that is absorbed is so minuscule that it’s effect on the body is negligible. Aluminum salts do not work as antiperspirants by being absorbed in the body but by causing a chemical reaction with sweat to form a physical plug in the sweat duct. Even though traces of parabens and aluminum have been found in breast tumors, causation has never been proven. Some researchers have reported that aluminum compounds and parabens can cause tumor growth by mimicking the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells. However, there has never been any evidence to support this hypothesis. As for the correlation between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease, the assumption came about when high levels of aluminum deposits were found in Alzhemier’s patients in a study carried out in the early 1960’s. Since then, these findings have never been duplicated and there has never been any definitive evidence to show any link between the two. Lastly, some people believe that toxins exit our bodies through our sweat and that using an antiperspirant will trap those toxins in the body. This is completely false. As mentioned earlier, perspiration is a function used by the body for thermoregulation, not as a means to eliminate toxins. Toxins are mainly eliminated in our urine and feces through metabolism by the liver, not through our sweat.

So, go ahead…be sweat and odor free! Use your antiperspirant with a clear conscious and do not give in to the rumors that you may have read on the internet. Without scientific evidence, assumptions should never be treated as facts. Thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

 

 

 

How to Style your Hair without Damaging it

For the 1% who are genetically blessed and can get out of bed looking like they just left the hair salon, this post is not for you. For the rest of us who have to curl, straighten, gel, mousse, comb, tease, condition and style our hair so we don’t scare our family and friends, please continue reading. The more we do to our hair, the more susceptible it becomes to damage, dryness, and breakage because many hair products actually contain chemicals that strip our hair of its natural moisture and many of the styling tools we use involve a great amount of heat. This causes us to enter a vicious cycle in which we have to use more products and waste more time trying to fix our hair that has been damaged from previous styling efforts. However, there are natural products and easier styling methods out there that will keep your hair healthy and looking amazing so that you can avoid this vicious cycle all together.

Many products that claim to rehydrate your hair, repair split ends, prevent frizz, etc. actually contain chemicals that can worsen the condition of your hair over time. Alcohol is one of the main ingredients that most of these hair products use. However, alcohol is actually a drying agent that sucks the moisture out of your hair, which then increases the potential for breakage and split ends down the line. Many shampoos and conditioners contain a chemical called sodium lauryl sulfate, which is what causes that sudsy lather to form when mixed with water. This chemical has been shown to not only cause scalp irritation and hair loss, but has been proven to be carcinogenic as well. Other ingredients to avoid in your shampoo and conditioner include propylene glycol, olefin sulfonate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate, each of which cause hair loss, irritate your scalp, clog oil glands, and deteriorate hair follicles. Organic products are the way to go because they tend to steer clear of harsh chemicals such as the ones mentioned earlier and work just as well.

Along with using organic products, there are natural oils and even foods readily found around the house that can repair and protect damaged hair and give it a sleek, healthy shine. Natural oils such as argan, coconut, jojoba, almond and vitamin E all reduce frizz, restore moisture, increase shine and strengthen your hair all in one. They can be used on wet or dry hair for styling, or even left in over night or used under a heat lamp as a deep conditioning treatment. Some foods around the house that can be used to help restore moisture and nutrients to damaged hair include banana, mayonnaise, olive oil, avocado, and egg yolks. They can be applied to wet or dry hair, but should be left on for at least half an hour to let the oils and nutrients penetrate the hair.

Styling tools such as blow dryers and curling irons can reek havok on your hair over time. However, if you use natural products that work as “heat protectors,” such as the natural oils mentioned earlier, before using these styling tools, your hair will not undergo as much damage. Using ceramic curling and straightening irons are also less damaging than metal ones. Using regular curlers instead of a curling iron is also another effective alternative. Also, styling your hair when it is wet causes more damage than styling it when it is dry because your hair is not as strong when it is wet. So, try waiting until your hair has somewhat dried before styling it or even brushing it to prevent excess damage.

On top of all the tips mentioned earlier, some random things you can do to keep your hair healthy and strong include getting frequent trims, washing your hair every other day instead of every day to prevent drying it out, and massaging your scalp to increase blood flow to your hair follicles. Hope these tips help! Thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

 

 

Coconut Oil and its Long List of Benefits

From cooking, to massaging, to styling your hair, it seems as though coconut oil does it all. Coconut oil has a wide range of health benefits and can be used for aesthetic purposes as well! It has been used by those who live in native, tropical areas for thousands of years now and has been proven to be one of the primary contributors to their great shape and health. Coconut oil consists of naturally occurring, saturated fats that have been shunned by health professionals for years now. However, with all the benefits that have been shown to come along with using coconut oil, we are slowly realizing that not all saturated fats are bad.

Coconut oil mainly consists of a naturally occurring saturated fat called lauric acid. We have constantly been told that saturated fats are unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs. However, the saturated fat they are referring to is man made by a process known as hydrogenation. This process is used by manufacturers to improve the shelf life of their products even though it is detrimental to our health. However, lauric acid is a rare, naturally occurring saturated fat that does not share the same properties as man made fats. Lauric acid does not clog your arteries, increase cholesterol, cause heart disease, nor contribute to obesity. In fact, it does the complete opposite and more.

Coconut oil can help improve your health in many ways. Lauric acid is metabolized by the body into monolaurin, which is known to have anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. This helps boost your immune system and protect you against such common diseases as herpes, influenza, H. Pylori and even HIV. Lauric acid also helps increase HDL, which is known as “good cholesterol.” HDL helps remove the “bad cholesterol” in the body known as LDL, which then lowers the chances of a heart attack or stroke. Coconut oil is also very useful in reducing weight since it helps support healthy thyroid functioning and digestion. It also helps improve the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids so you get the most out of the food you eat. Coconut oil also helps regulate blood sugar by improving the secretion of insulin, thus lowering the chances of developing diabetes. Last, but not least, it is a great source of energy since coconut oil is also made up of medium chain triglycerides, which are quickly and easily metabolized by the liver.

Coconut oil can also benefit you on the outside as well as the inside. Coconut oil consists of essential proteins that help repair damaged hair and improve hair growth. It can be used on the scalp to reduce dryness and itchiness as well as dandruff. It has also been shown to be effective in killing hair lice and their eggs. Coconut oil can also be used on the skin as a moisturizer. It helps treat dry, flaky skin and even improves the skin’s elasticity to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Coconut oil can also be used to help treat various skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and other skin infections. Most importantly, it can help alleviate stress and loosen your muscles when massaged into the skin, which I’m sure all of us need from time to time.

Now that the secret is out, go take advantage of it. Not all saturated fats are created equal! Replace your cooking oil, your moisturizers and your conditioners with coconut oil and you will see and feel the difference soon after. Hope these tips help! Thanks for reading, this has been your daily dose of Vitamin Jas.

Aloe Vera: The Miracle Plant

I chose to write about aloe vera for my very first post because it truly is my Windex (like the father says from my Big Fat Greek Wedding). I use it for almost everything because it really is the most currative medicinal herb that nature has ever created.

Chronic inflammation is the key culprit in numerous diseases and ailments in the body, including irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain, heart disease, liver disease, acid reflux, high blood pressure, acne and even cancer. Inflammation is characterized by redness, heat, swelling and pain and is normally used as the body’s natural defense mechanism when something is wrong. However, when that natural defense mechanism turns into chronic inflammation, it also turns from being beneficial to being dangerous instead. Now, with all that said, let’s talk about how aloe vera comes into play. Aloe vera helps quell inflammation all throughout the body, inside and out. It helps prevent and treat the above mentioned diseases along with a slew of other ailments, including the following:

• Slows down growth of cancer tumors.
• Lowers high cholesterol.
• Thins the blood which helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
• Improves the oxygenation of your blood.
• Relieves arthrits pain.
• Protects the body from oxidative stress.
• Prevents kidney stones and kidney disease.
• Alkalizes the body since most of our diets make the pH of our body too acidic.
• Cures digestive disorders including ulcers, IBS, Crohn’s disease, constipation and even halts the progression of colon cancer.
• Lowers high blood pressure.
• Nourishes the body with minerals, vitamins, enzymes and glyconutrients.
• Heals burns, scratches, insect bites, scars and even acne.
• Stabilizes blood sugar and lowers triglycerides in diabetics.
• Maintains electrolyte balance in the body.
• Boosts cardiovascular performance and physical endurance.
• Speeds recovery from injury or physical exertion.
• Hydrates the skin and gives it a nice healthy glow.

 

Aloe vera juice can be found at almost any health food market and is considerably cheap when you take all its benefits into account. Only 2 ounces a day is enough to start seeing a significant improvement. If you don’t like the taste, mixing it with your favorite juice or smoothie helps mask the taste very well. Not only does it come as a juice, but aloe vera can be used topically as well. It comes as a gel or cream and can be used almost anywhere on the body. It can be used on your hair as a styling product, which actually helps nourish the scalp and regrow hair, or it can be used on the skin to help treat many skin disorders including acne, red marks, scars, scratches, insect bites, burns and even wrinkles. It is more hydrating than almost any other moisturizer out in the market.

I can go on and on about the miraculous benefits of aloe vera, as my friends and family can tell you, because I have experienced the benefits of aloe first hand. However, now that you know what I know, go and experience it for yourselves. You won’t regret it. Thank you for reading and don’t forget, being healthy is easy. This has been your daily dose of Vitamin Jas. Good bye.