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Popular Supplement Proved Ineffective January 12, 2010

Posted by feminestra in Health, Healthy living, Prevention.
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The popular supplement ginkgo biloba was proved to be ineffective for preventing age-related mental diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s. Studies also showed that it provides no benefit for those of normal mental states.

A clinical study, which spanned six years, studied the effects of ginkgo biloba in adults aged 72-96 showed that there was no measurable difference in cognition between those who used the placebo and those who did not. The patients were tested twice a year which measured various aspects of mental function such as attention span, memory, language, etc. Similar studies were conducted earlier in 2009 but tested the overall cognitive benefit from ginkgo biloba. No such evidence was found supporting the common belief in these studies as well.

However, critics state that mental decline is caused by a number of different factors and there is no fix all cure. The Council for Responsible Nutrition also recommends that the study should not be viewed as the final work on ginkgo biloba. Many doctors say that they have seen the benefits of ginkgo biloba first hand and will continue to recommend it to patients.

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Soy Found To Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer December 9, 2009

Posted by feminestra in Breast Cancer, Health, Menopause, Natural Menopause Relief, Prevention, Uncategorized.
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In a report published in the December 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)1, researchers in China found that breast cancer survivors who had higher intake levels of soy foods were at a lower risk of breast cancer recurrence and death. The authors of this study explained that, “Soy foods are rich in isoflavones, a major group of phytoestrogens that have been hypothesized to reduce the risk of breast cancer. However, the estrogen-like effect of isoflavones and the potential interaction between isoflavones and tamoxifen have led to concern about soy food consumption among breast cancer patients.”1

The study analyzed data from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study which was a population-based study using over 5,000 female breast cancer survivors aged 20-75. The women were diagnosed between March 2002 and April 2006 and were studied through June 2009. The study collected data about the cancer diagnosis and treatment, lifestyle after diagnosis, and cancer progression roughly six months after the initial diagnosis. The patients were reassessed after 18, 36, and 60 months after initial diagnosis.

After a follow up of 4 years there were a documented 444 deaths and 534 cancer recurrences or breast cancer-related deaths among the 5,033 patients who where surgically treated for breast cancer. The patients who had the highest intake of soy protein had a 29 percent lower risk of death and a 32 percent lower risk of breast cancer recurrence. The researchers explained in their study that, “The inverse association was evident among women with either estrogen receptor-positive or -negative breast cancer and was present in both users and nonusers of tamoxifen.”1

Soy has also been found to help with many other conditions such as menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis. Soy can be found in a number of things from chocolate bars (soy lecithin) to potato chips as well as many vegetarian food products.

2

Uses based on scientific evidence Grade*
Dietary source of protein

Soy products, such as tofu, are high in protein and are an acceptable source of dietary protein.

A
High cholesterol

Numerous human studies report that adding soy protein to the diet can moderately decrease blood levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol). Small reductions in triglycerides may also occur, while high-density lipoprotein (“good” cholesterol) is altered in some, but not all, studies. Some scientists have proposed that specific components of soybean, such as the isoflavones genistein and daidzein, may be responsible for the cholesterol-lowering properties of soy. However, this has not been clearly demonstrated in research and remains controversial. It is not known if products containing isolated soy isoflavones have the same effects as regular dietary intake of soy protein. Dietary soy protein has not been proven to affect long-term cardiovascular outcomes, such as heart attack or stroke.

A
Diarrhea (acute) in infants and young children

Numerous studies report that infants and young children (2-36 months old) with diarrhea who are fed soy formulas experience fewer daily bowel movements and fewer days of diarrhea. This research suggests that soy has benefits over other types of formula, including cow milk-based solutions. The addition of soy fiber to soy formula may increase the effectiveness. Better quality research is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.Parents are advised to speak with qualified healthcare providers if their infants experience prolonged diarrhea, become dehydrated, develop signs of infections (such as fever), or have blood in the stool. A healthcare provider should be consulted for current breastfeeding recommendations and to suggest long-term formulas that provide enough nutrition.

B
Allergies (prevention of food allergies)

Soy formulas are commonly used by infants with sensitivities to milk-based formulas. There is currently little evidence to support the use of soy formulas for preventing food allergies. Further research is needed in this field.

C
Antioxidant

There is some evidence in support of soy increasing antioxidant status in humans. In general, diets high in plant foods may offer antioxidant benefits. Further research is required in this field before recommendations can be made.

C
Bowel/intestinal disorders

The effect of soy on erosive-ulcer lesions of the alimentary tract has been examined in limited study. Overall, the effects of soy products appear beneficial. Further study is required before recommendations can be made.

C
Cancer (prevention and treatment)

Several large population studies have asked people about their eating habits and reported that higher soy intake (such as dietary tofu) is associated with a decreased risk of developing various types of cancers, including breast, prostate, and colon cancer. However, other research suggests that soy does not have this effect. Until better research is available, it remains unclear if dietary soy or soy isoflavone supplements increase or decrease the risk of these cancers.

C
Cardiovascular disease

Dietary soy protein has not been shown to affect long-term cardiovascular outcomes, such as heart attack or stroke. Research does suggest cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary soy, which in theory, may reduce the risk of heart problems. Soy has also been studied for blood pressure-lowering and blood sugar-reducing properties in people with type 2 diabetes, although the evidence is not definitive in these areas. In women with suspected cardiac ischemia, high levels of the soy isoflavone genistein have been associated with blood vessel problems. Further investigation is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.

C
Cognitive function

It is unclear if soy isoflavone supplementation in postmenopausal women can improve cognitive function. Results from studies are mixed.

C
Crohn’s disease

Due to limited human research, there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against the use of soy as a way to prevent Crohn’s disease. Further research is needed before a recommendation can be made.

C
Cyclical breast pain

It has been theorized that the “phytoestrogens” (plant-based compounds with weak estrogen-like properties) in soy may be beneficial to premenopausal women with cyclical breast pain. However, due to limited human research, there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against the use of dietary soy protein as a therapy for this condition.

C
Diabetes

Several small studies have examined the effects of soy products on blood sugar levels in people with type 2 (“adult-onset”) diabetes. Results are mixed, with some research reporting decreased blood glucose levels and other trials noting no effects. Overall, research in this area is not well designed or reported and better information is needed.

C
Exercise performance enhancement

Soy protein has been investigated as a source of protein with potential for benefit in exercise performance. In general, research findings suggest soy protein is better than no protein but is unlikely to be superior to other sources of protein. Further research is required in this field.

C
Gallstones (cholelithiasis)

Due to limited human research, there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against the use of soy as a therapy in cholelithiasis. Further research is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.

C
Gastrointestinal motility

In limited available studies, the addition of soy polysaccharide to non-regular diets increased the moisture content of stool and decreased the number of liquid stools. It is not clear if soy polysaccharide would be superior to other fiber sources in this regard.

C
High blood pressure

There is limited human research on the effects of dietary soy on blood pressure. Some research suggests that substituting soy nuts for non-soy protein may help improve blood pressure. Further research is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.

C
Infantile colic

There is currently a lack of scientific evidence to recommend for or against the use of soy formula for fussiness and gas in infants with cow’s milk allergy over a partially hydrolyzed cow’s milk protein formula.

C
Inflammation

There is currently a lack of scientific evidence to recommend for or against the use of soy protein on inflammation associated with hemodialysis (removal of waste products from the blood).

C
Iron deficiency anemia

There is currently a lack of sufficient evidence to recommend for or against the use of soy-based formula in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in children.

C
Kidney disease (chronic renal failure, nephrotic syndrome, proteinuria)

Due to limited human study, there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against the use of soy in the treatment of kidney diseases, such as nephrotic syndrome. People with kidney disease should speak with their healthcare providers about the recommended amounts of dietary protein because soy is a high-protein food.

C
Menopausal symptoms

Overall, evidence suggests that soy products containing isoflavones may help reduce menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. More study is needed to confirm this use.

C
Menstrual migraine

A phytoestrogen combination may help prevent menstrual migraine attacks. Further research is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.

C
Metabolic syndrome

Treatment with soy protein and soy nuts was evaluated in patients with metabolic syndrome and benefits were found in terms of plasma lipids in patients consuming soy nuts as part of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Further research is required in this field in terms of soy protein supplementation.

C
Obesity/weight reduction

Some research suggests that soy might be as effective as skim milk and more effective than a low-calorie diet alone in reducing weight. Other research has reported conflicting results. Further research is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.

C
Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis caused by the breakdown of cartilage. Early research suggests that intake of soy protein may be associated with reduced symptoms of osteoarthritis.

C
Osteoporosis

It has been theorized that “phytoestrogens in soy” (such as isoflavones) may increase bone mineral density in post-menopausal women and reduce the risk of fractures. However, more research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C
Quality of life

The effect of soy on quality of life has been investigated in limited study. Further study is required before recommendations can be made.

C
Rheumatoid arthritis

There is currently insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the use of soy as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

C
Skin aging

It is unclear if aglycones, a form of soy isoflavone, can improve aged skin in middle-aged women when it is taken by mouth. More research is needed.

C
Skin damage caused by the sun

A soy moisturizing cream may help improve signs of sun damage, including discoloration, blotchiness, dullness, fine lines, and overall texture. Because the cream contained other ingredients besides soy, more research with soy alone is needed.

C
Spinal cord injury

Whey protein has traditionally been used as a protein source to increase body strength. Limited available study investigated whether soy protein could be used to increase ambulation performance in patients with incomplete spinal cord injury. There is currently not enough evidence to recommend for or against the use of soy as a treatment for increased endurance in individuals with spinal cord injury.

C
Thyroid disorders

Early research suggests that soy supplements do not affect thyroid function. More research is needed.

C
Tuberculosis

It has been suggested that soy may be beneficial for tuberculosis when taken with standard medications. According to early research, soy may improve the process of detoxification, have positive effects on the liver, reduce cell damage, and decrease inflammation. Therefore, soy supplements may allow patients to safely take higher doses of antimicrobial drugs that are used to treat tuberculosis.

C
Weight gain (infants)

In limited study, weaning infants with cow’s milk allergy to soy based formula resulted in reduced weight for age as compared with formulas containing hydrolyzed proteins (broken down). Further research is required in this field.

C

*Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use;

B: Good scientific evidence for this use;

C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use;

D: Fair scientific evidence against this use;

F: Strong scientific evidence against this use.

Learn more about Soy

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Soy Found To Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer by Feminestra is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Sources: 1Journal of the American Medical Association jama.ama-assn.org.
2MedlinePlus http://www.nlm.nih.gov

Life After Menopause: Osteoporosis September 14, 2009

Posted by feminestra in Feminestra, Health, Prevention.
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Contents
Causes
Menopause
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Prevention

Osteoporosis is a disease which weakens bones making them more prone to breakage. Many times, osteoporosis is not found until a fracture has already happened, which, unfortunately, increases the risk of having another fracture due to the disease. It is hard to catch osteoporosis early because it does not have any visible or painful symptoms. However, there are steps that you can take to prevent the onset of osteoporosis, or slow the progression if you already have the disease.

Causes

The exact cause of osteoporosis is not yet known, however, we do know how it develops. Bones consist of two parts, a hard outer shell, and a sponge-like inner core. Your bones, like most of your body, are made up of living tissue which grows and dies just like any other tissue in your body. Normally, the body can build more bone than it loses. But when a bone is weakened osteoporosis: Before and Afterby osteoporosis, the inner core becomes less dense and loses mass. In other words, the “holes” in the “sponge” part of your bones become larger. This loss in bone mass is a normal part of the aging process starting around the age of 30, but when it reaches a certain point then osteoporosis has set in.

Menopause

Osteoporosis has been linked to menopause as well. The lack of estrogen and absence of menstrual periods can cause and/or accelerate the progression of osteoporosis. Women who have or are experiencing early menopause are at an even greater risk for the disease.

Symptoms

Symptoms of osteoporosis may not be initially seen until the disease has progressed quite a bit. It is often called the “silent disease” because many people do not know they have osteoporosis uosteoporosisntil they suddenly break a bone. The symptoms that do show, besides a broken bone, may be stooped posture, loss of height, and back pain caused by collapsed vertebrae. To determine if you have osteoporosis you should receive a bone mineral density (BMD) test. These are painless, accurate test using low-power x-rays to determine bone strength. These tests can provide information about your bone health and determine if you have osteoporosis before problems begin.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that are linked to osteoporosis. These include age, gender, ethnicity, bone structure, and family history. Maximum bone density is reached around the age of 30 after which, bone mass begins to decline naturally with age. The greatest risk for the disease occurs around the age of 50. Women are also at a higher risk for the disease, as much as four times as likely as men. This may be due to women’s naturally lighter, thinner bones, longer life spans, and loss of estrogen due to menopause. Ethnicity also plays a big part in the onset of osteoporosis. Studies have shown that Caucasian and Asian women have the greatest risk for the disease. Studies also showed that Caucasian women are more likely to have hip fractures then Asian and African-American women. Your natural body structure may also put you at a greater risk. People who have smaller frames are at a greater risk for the disease because they have less bone to lose than people that have bigger frames. Probably the biggest factor for whether or not you may get osteoporosis is your family history. If your parents or grandparents had or showed signs of osteoporosis, you may be at a greater risk of the disease.

Prevention

There are ways to protect against the onset or progression of osteoporosis. Most of these are simple lifestyle and dietary changes that can have a greatly change your risk for the disease. Exercise is a good way to help make your bones stronger and prevent bone loss. Try to establish a regular exercise program that has you doingmilk weight-bearing exercises at least four times a week. These can be as simple as jogging, playing tennis, and dancing. Your diet plays a big role is the health of your bones. Try to increase your intake of calcium (1,500mg a day) which can be found in milk, salmon, and dark green vegetables, and vitamin D (400-800 IU a day) which can be found in eggs, fortified milk, and fatty fish like salmon. Also limiting your alcohol consumption and not smoking can reduce your risk.

Osteoporosis can be a debilitating disease, even deadly. However, there are steps that can be taken to prevent or slow the progression of the disease. Those preventative steps will help you live a longer, healthier life.

Feminestra

Life After Menopause: Tests and Screenings to Protect your Health September 9, 2009

Posted by feminestra in Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Early Menopause, Feminestra, Health, Healthy living, Prevention.
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Menopause is a very important life transition for women. It signals a new period of life for women with its own inherent risks. After and during menopause, the body starts to change in ways that might not be apparent at first, but can lead to so serious health risks if not correctly managed. You may be aware of some of these risks already, risks such as osteoporosis, breast cancer, and cervical cancer, and are receiving regular screenings for these conditions. However, there are several other conditions that you should be aware of.

Heart Diseaseheart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American women. Because of this, you should have cholesterol screenings at least every five years, regardless of age. This should also be done with routine blood pressure tests. Your doctor may also recommend other related tests to check your hearts overall function and its response to different types of stress and activities. A recent study found a correlation between menopause symptoms and risk for heart disease, which found that woman with the worst menopause symptoms have the highest clinical risk for heart disease.

Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, as you may know, is the thinning of thosteoporosise bones making them weaker and prone to breakage. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women should have their bone density tested regularly starting at the age of 65. However, it is also recommended that women with a higher risk for osteoporosis should start screening at the age of 50. Risks factors include early menopause, tobacco use, a small frame or low body mass, history of anorexia, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and/or a family history of osteoporosis. Bone density screenings are usually non-invasive, outpatient procedures. The two most common tests are ultrasound and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA).


cancer screeningColon Cancer
Around the time that you begin menopause screening for colon cancer is a very good idea. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for Americans over the age of 50. A colonoscopy can detect this deadly cancer in its early stages which makes it a good idea to take advantage of this potentially lifesaving procedure. You should talk to your doctor about when to start these examinations and how often they should be conducted.

Breast Cancer
In one of our previous articles we talked about things that yobreast cancer prevention ribbonu can do to prevent breast cancer. As a review, you should start annual mammograms, if you have not done so. In addition to these screenings, you should conduct a self-breast exam every month. This is especially important after and during menopause as a woman’s chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer doubles after the age of 40. To learn more about breast cancer prevention please read “Breast Cancer Prevention”.

Menopause can be a trying part of life as you deal with all of the changes that your body goes through. To make sure you live to your full potential after this change, you should make these screenings and tests a part of your life. Don’t think of menopause as the end, rather as the beginning of a new chapter in the book of life, and make it a good read.

Feminestra

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Life After Menopause: Tests and Screenings to Protect your Health by Feminestra is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Cervical Cancer Prevention August 26, 2009

Posted by feminestra in Cervical Cancer, Feminestra, Prevention.
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Cervical cancer is a disease in which there is an abnormal growth of cells in the cervix. The cervix is the region of the uterus that joins the vagina. Deaths associated with cervical cancer were previously quite common in women, but deaths have lessened greatly since the development of the Pap smear.

Causes and Symptoms

There are various causes of cervical cancer but the common causes are complexities associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. This infection is a sexually transmitted disease that hinders the ability of cervical cells to overcome tumors. The HPV infection can be reduced or prevented by avoiding sexual contact with individuals who have many sexual partners. Other risk factors include smoking, low socio-economic status, and infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Most cervical cancers can be diagnosed at an early stage by the Pap test. If it remains undetected, this cancer may cause vaginal bleeding or other discharge, pelvic pain, or pain during intercourse.

Cervical Cancer After Menopause

Cervical cancer can appear at any age; however the symptoms often are non-existent for women who are going through menopause. This makes screening imperative for women who have gone through this life change. Some symptoms of menopausal cervical cancer are pelvic pain, vaginal discharge, and bleeding after intercourse. Cervical cancer can also have symptoms very similar to those of the peri-menopausal period of menopause. Therefore, women should get screened just as a precaution. The frequency of the screenings can be determined by a doctor based on your personal risk factors.

Prevention

Cervical cancer can be prevented by avoiding factors involving risk and by getting Pap tests regularly. In 2006 a vaccine effective against four different types of HPV, was discovered and approved for use in females between ages 9 and 26. This vaccine was also effective against two strains that were responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. But it is effective only in people who are free from any previous infection with HPV. This vaccine uses a modified form of bacteria to produce a powerful immune response in the body. The vaccine gives 100% protection against infection from HPV types 16 and 18, which are responsible for around 70% of all cervical cancers. It also protects against HPV types 6 and 11 that cause genital warts. This vaccine is an important headway to protect the health of women. It eliminates the root cause of many cervical cancers. Scientists have made a remarkable achievement by developing this vaccine. It will lead to the discovery of other new vaccines. Moreover, it will facilitate the mission of working towards medical needs which have not been taken care of. This vaccination is given as three injections over a six-month period. Immunization is expected to prevent most cases of cervical cancer due to HPV types included in the vaccine. Females, however, are not protected if they have been infected with the HPV types prior to vaccination. Also, it does not protect against less common HPV types not included in the vaccine; therefore, regular Pap screening remains critically important to detect precancerous changes in the cervix to allow treatment before cervical cancer develops. The safety of the vaccine was evaluated in about 11,000 individuals. Most adverse experiences in study participants who received this vaccine included mild or moderate local reactions, such as pain or tenderness at the site of injection. Some medical societies recommend an annual Pap test plus pelvic exam for all women once they have reached 18 years of age or become sexually active, whichever is earlier. At the advice of a physician, the frequency of Pap tests may be reduced if multiple tests prove negative.

Feminestra

Breast Cancer Prevention August 22, 2009

Posted by feminestra in Breast Cancer, Feminestra, Prevention.
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breast cancer prevention ribbonIn recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this and other related posts will be on top of the front page for the rest of October

Although there is no know way to completely prevent breast cancer, there are ways to reduce the risk of getting it. These include lifestyle changes in addition to certain medications that can reduce your risk as much as 50%.

Drugs

In 1998 the drug Tamoxifen was approved by the FDA. Studies showed that it reduced the risk of breast cancer in high-risk women as much as 50%.please read the latest post about Tamoxifen

In 2006 the osteoporosis drug Raloxifene was shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer just as effectively as Tamoxifen, but with fewer side effects. The Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) compared the two drugs in one of the largest breast cancer prevention studies ever. It found that both drugs greatly reduced the risk of breast with Raloxifene doing slightly better.  Women who are at high-risk should talk to their doctor and ask about Tamoxifen and Raloxifene to prevent breast cancer. For women taking menopause relief medications such as Feminestra should talk to their doctor before taking any other medications

Screenings

Another thing women can do to help prevent breast cancer is to find it as early as possible. This means that women over 40 who are at a normal risk should get a mammogram every year. For women at a higher risk should receive a mammogram and a MRI at least once a year starting around the age of 30. Before receiving a mammogram make sure that the facility has a FDA certificate, it should be display conspicuously somewhere in the office. Facilities that do not have this certificate are prohibited by law to perform mammograms. Women at high a high risk should also receive a mammogram once every three years starting at the age of 20. You should also become familiar with your breast and know what “normal” is for you. If you find anything unusual that does not go away after one menstrual cycle you should go see a doctor.

Lifestyle Changes

Perhaps the easiest thing you can do to lower your risk for breast cancer is have a healthy lifestyle. Try to have a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. Also try to maintain an ideal body weight for your height and body type, exercise, and drink in moderation, if at all.  A study at the University of Washington Seattle found that exercise and the lack of obesity significantly reduced the risk and delayed the onset of breast cancer.

Surgery

For women who have a strong family history of breast cancer may want to ask their doctors about a procedure called prophylactic mastectomy. Prophylactic mastectomy is an aggressive surgery that removes both breasts before any cancer is detected. This does not completely eliminate the risk, but it does reduce it by 90%. Women who may have this genetic abnormality may also look into prophylactic oophorectomy, removing of the ovaries. Women who have inherited the breast cancer abnormality gene are also at a greater risk for ovarian cancer.

Feminestra