July 15, 2010

Mice Study: Socialization Reduces Cancer

Hanging out with your friends and family may actually reduce cancer, according to a new study. Conducted at the Ohio State University (OSU), research with mice found that those with tumors actually went into remission when placed in environments with more mice. Care2 reports:

After three weeks in the new environment, only one in 20 of the cancerous mice showed no improvement. In most of the mice, tumor mass shrank 77 percent, and the size 43 percent. Apparently the key to the improvement was the new complex social interaction. More physical exercise alone, had no impact.

Although the results may not transfer directly to humans, social interaction in the form of love and support is important for every human to live healthily, especially those with serious illnesses.

Photo: ernest figueras

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 8, 2010

New Study: Virgin Olive Oil Protects Against Breast Cancer

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Researchers at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona have discovered that a "key mechanism" in virgin olive oil protects against breast cancer. Eureka Alert explains:

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in Western countries. Research carried out with animal models demonstrate that a diet rich in fats is directly related to the incidence of cancer. Some types of fats however can play a protective role against the development of these tumours. Such is the case of virgin olive oil, rich in oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, and containing several bioactive compounds such as antioxidants. A moderate and regular intake of virgin olive oil, characteristic of the Mediterranean diet, is associated with low incidences of specific types of cancer, including breast cancer, as well as with having a protective role against coronary diseases and other health problems...

Scientists demonstrated that virgin olive oil is associated with higher incidences of benign breast tumours and at the same time with a decrease in the activity of the p21Ras oncogene, which spurs uncontrolled cell proliferation and stimulates the growth of tumours. In addition, olive oil suppresses the activity of some proteins, such as the AKT, essential for the survival of cells since they prevent apoptosis, the cell's "suicide" programme. Between proliferation and apoptosis in tumour cells, these effects tip the balance towards cell death, thereby slowing the growth of tumours.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 5, 2010

EWG Safe Sunscreen Recommendation: Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

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The news on the safety of sunscreen is scary, especially the potential for sunscreen ingredients to cause cancer. One product my family relies on that made EWG's top list is Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance Free SPF 30.

This fragrance free, lightweight lotion for all-over use helps prevent sunburn with an effective, mineral-based, UVA & UVB broad-spectrum reflective barrier. Contains extracts of aloe vera, green tea and lavender soothe and repair, protecting sensitive skin against the free radical damage that often results from exposure to the sun. Formulated with natural titamium dioxide, this sunscreen lotion contains vitamin E, organic sunflower and jojoba oils plus organic green tea and organic aloe to care for sensitive, sun-exposed skin.

I've put this sunscreen to the test during backpacking trips, and it offers great protection under the harshest conditions.  EWG gave it an overall hazard score of 2.  Alba Botanica also makes a kids' version.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 2, 2010

4th of July Fun: EcoSMART "Organic" Natural Insect Repellant

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Fourth of July weekend is rapidly approaching, and I am sure you will be spending some time outside. From BBQs to fireworks, bugs can be a nuisance to your outdoor fun. Insect repellants containing the pesticide DEET are know to have adverse health effects, especially for children. One natural alternative is EcoSMART Organic Natural Insect Repellent.

Harnessing Nature's own defense against insects ― essential oils ― EcoSMART's non-toxic, botanical skin repellent is safe for use on children of all ages, and works as effectively as DEET and synthetic chemicals. A revolutionary plant based formula is the secret to the efficacy of EcoSMART's insect repellent. Unlike conventional DEET-based formulas, EcoSMART's patented technology uses 100 percent food grade ingredients to keep mosquitoes, gnats and more away for hours. It has a fresh, natural scent is non-oily and dries quickly.

Using rosemary, cinnamon, and lemongrass oils, this naturally-based repellant uses the word "organic" on it's label. That is my only problem with this product, as the ingredients are not certified organically-grown, and the word usage seems to be part of the marketing confusion many personal care products create for consumers.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

June 28, 2010

Probiotics for When Antibiotics Are Necessary

It's been a week since I have been able to post, and I apologize to our readers. I had been suffering from an extremely painful sore throat and ear ache that led to four trips to the emergency room. Eventually, I was diagnosed with an abscess on my tonsil that had to be removed. Throughout all of the treatments, I was given heavy amounts of super antibiotics orally and intravenously. Today, I am slowly on the mend, but antibiotics are part of my life for the next two weeks.

One advice consistent from friends and doctors was to take Probiotics. We chose New Chapter Organics Probiotic All-Flora, Vegetarian Capsules

Probiotic All-Flora contains nine strains of live probiotics cultured together on a non-dairy whole-food medium and then combined with growth-stimulating prebiotic Organic Apples, and Organic Inulin sourced from Organic Jerusalem Artichokes. The live probiotics in Probiotic All-Flora, including revered probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus helveticus, help support optimal digestive and immune system function...


Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that occur naturally in the human intestinal tract. Foods "cultured" with beneficial strains of probiotics such as yogurt and kefir have been used throughout history to improve overall health and vitality, and today, there are many studies reinforcing their ability to balance and promote digestive health.* Probiotics also play an important role in modulating the immune system, 70% of which is located in the gut.

Antibiotics kill all of the bacteria in your body, both good and bad. You need to replenish the good bacteria while taking them and for awhile afterward.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 27, 2010

International Ban on US Milk: 20% Still Contains rBGH

The rest of the world does not want our milk and hasn't for over ten years! In 1999 over concerns of growth hormones used in US dairy production, the United Nations Food Safety Agency did not endorse rBGH essentially banning US milk. Despite international concerns, 20 percent of US milk still contains the hormone. Healthy Child Healthy World reports:

About 20 percent of our milk is genetically engineered, technically known as rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone), which contains high levels of a natural growth factor known as IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor one). This survives digestion and is readily absorbed from the small intestine into the blood. Increased levels of IGF-1 have been shown to increase risks of breast cancer in 19 scientific publications, risks of colon cancer in 10 publications, and prostate cancer in seven publications. Of further concern, increased IGF-1 levels block natural defense mechanisms against early microscopic cancers, known as apoptosis.

Image: Muffet

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 20, 2010

California Considering Allowing Carcinogen Methyl Iodide on Strawberries

If you eat strawberries, chances are they are grown in either California or Florida. California is considering the use of methyl iodide on strawberry fields. Credo explains:

California is on the verge of approving a potent carcinogenic gas for use on strawberry fields and other food crops. The chemical -- methyl iodide -- is so toxic that scientists in labs use only small amounts with special protective equipment, yet agricultural applications mean it could be released directly into the air and water...
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved methyl iodide for agricultural use in 2007, amid criticism from more than 50 prominent scientists that the process was hidden from public view and the research focus was too limited. California followed with its own review. Even though a report from an independent panel of scientists in the California study declared that "methyl iodide is a highly toxic chemical and we expect that any anticipated scenario for the agricultural or structural fumigation use of this agent would result in exposures to a large number of the public and thus would have a significant adverse impact on public health," the Department of Pesticide Regulation nonetheless proposed that the chemical be approved.

One more reason to support organic farmers or grow your own!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 14, 2010

Exercise and Fitness: Powerhouse Hit the Deck Cards

The most important thing you can do for your health, besides eating well, is exercise! I have my routine of daily hikes and yoga practice, but Powerhouse has another solution that does not require expensive equipment or gym membership.

Powerhouse Hit the Deck - Exercise Cards and Interval Timer is great for traveling or fitness inspiration in the home. The cards are labeled by three intensities: no sweat, I'm glistening, and sweating buckets.

Set the interval timer, draw your first card and perform as many repetitions of the exercise on the card as possible. When the timer beeps, draw your next card! Each card provides both cardiovascular and resistance training at the same time, making your workout more efficient and effective. This portable and easy to use fitness program can be done anywhere, anytime, with no fitness equipment needed. It's perfect for the traveling executive or anyone who can't work out at the gym. You can lose weight, improve fitness, increase energy, manage stress and improve the quality of your sleep by making this a regular part of your fitness routine. Whether you are just starting out or are an advanced exerciser, PowerHouse Hit the Deck provides the appropriate intensity for the results you want."

Although there is a recommended program for using the cards, I like just pulling a random card out of the deck and seeing what I get. The timer also ensures you perform the exercises for a set duration and helps you set goals.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 13, 2010

FDA Misses Self-Imposed BPA Safety Deadlines

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By now, knowledge that plastics and cans contain an endocrine disrupting chemical called Bisphenol-A (BPA) is common knowledge; however, after making promises to truly study the safety of this prevalent chemical, the FDA has failed the American public once again. Natural News reports:

In September 2008, the U.S. National Toxicology Program affirmed its concern over the health effects of the widespread chemical, especially in infants and children...

Yet the FDA still officially considers BPA safe, based solely on two industry-funded studies. Responding to criticism that it had failed to properly consider the full body of evidence on the chemical, the FDA announced in June that it would conduct a new review and issue new guidelines within "weeks."

In August, the agency announced that the findings would be released on November 30. When it became clear that it would miss that deadline as well, the agency pushed the date back to January 1. To date, the agency has yet to issue its findings.

In the meantime, consumers should be prudent and avoid all products containing BPA where possible.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 7, 2010

Natural Herbal Insomnia Remedies: Skullcap and Valerian

Occasionally, I have trouble falling asleep. Whether it is from an active, wandering mind or the full moon, I have found relief through two herbal tinctures: skullcap and Valerian. I have used both of these herbs independently and together. I find that valerian aids in relaxing the body, and skullcap settles the mind. I am not an herbalist, but in my personal experience, these two herbs are great sleep aids. In fact, I keep them by my bedside.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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