Health Food Supplements – Consumer Guide

Health food supplements are one of the hottest selling products in the market these days. Their total consumption values ​​billions of dollars in the US alone. Recent surveys show that more than half of the adults in the US consume health food supplements in different forms, such as tablets, capsules, powders, soft gels, gel caps and liquids.

The increased consumption of health food supplements can be attributed to public awareness of health issues and improved standard of living in our society. Many studies have shown that there is a close correlation between health and nutrition. Insufficient supply of nutrients can weaken our body defense mechanism, causing medical problems from common ailments to more severe illnesses in the long term.

There are different types of health food supplements, including macronutrients (amino acids, proteins, essential fatty acids), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), enzymes (digestive enzymes and antioxidant enzymes), probiotics (beneficial bacteria in the gut), and herbal supplements . These supplements have unique functions in our body. They are either essential for life and good health, modulate our immune system or help with liver detoxification, digestion, mental clarity, etc.

Many people argue that there is no need to consume health food supplements as long as you have a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced diet. While this may be true, the fact is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and proper diet is difficult to achieve by many people.

Over the past few decades, the green revolution has changed the farming practices over the world. We use more chemical fertilizers, more pesticides to grow the food produce in order to increase harvest and shorten the growth period. As a result, soil nutrients and the population of beneficial soil bacteria are depleted rapidly, and the produce we grow today contain less micronutrient than before.

A stressful lifestyle, improper eating habits, imbalanced diet and increased exposure to chemicals such as environmental pollutants (air, water) and pesticides, drugs, hormones, heavy metals in foods also weaken our body gradually.

Although health food supplements can be beneficial to our health, consumers should still choose the products carefully. Currently, there is little regulation on the quality of health food supplements. Composition of some health food products may not match the label claims and the quality of raw materials and finished products is not guaranteed. Therefore, consumers should only buy from reputable health food manufacturers, read the labels carefully and read more related literatures.

Here are some general rules for buying health food supplements:

1) Supplements made from whole foods, natural sources are better than the synthetic ones. They are more bioactive, can be absorbed readily, and less likely to be contaminated by chemicals such as coal tars used in chemical synthesis.

2) Protein-bonded vitamins and minerals (vitamins and minerals in organic form, binding to amino acids) are more bioactive than the inorganic forms.

3) Buy supplements using safe extraction methods, such as cold pressed extraction or supercritical extraction. This can avoid the harmful residue from chemical extraction.

4) Herbal concentrate and extract are usually more effective than the raw herbs.

5) Organically grown or wild crafted herbs are less likely to be contaminated by heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals.

6) Read the labels, do not consume more than the recommended dose.

7) Be careful when consuming certain herbal supplements, such as Ma Huang / ephedra, Kava Kava, comfrey, etc. Some studies have shown that these herbs may cause severe side effects to some people. Stop use if unusual signs appear after consumption.

8) Some health food supplements may interact with drugs, either by decreasing or increasing their effects. Consult your doctor if you are currently taking medications.

9) Pregnant and nursing women, people with specific medical conditions such consult the doctors when consuming health food supplements.

10) If in doubt, contact the supplement manufacturers or distributors for more information of their products.

11) Health food supplements are available in many places, such as grocery stores, health food stores, drug stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, department stores, online stores, etc. Be a smart consumer, compare the price and service before purchase.

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3 Natural Tips To Stop Snoring

Here are 3 more tips to stop snoring. Implementing these tips and others I've written about in the past can help reduce your snoring or completely eliminate it.

These tips to stop snoring are all natural and require no drugs. They are things you can start doing right now to solve your problem.

How Is Your Sleeping Routine?

For some, snoring may be influenced by your sleeping routine. Going to sleep at the same time every evening and then waking up at the same time every morning may reduce your snoring.

It is unlikely that this would be the only thing causing your snoring. But, it may be contributing to it. Furthermore, having a consistent sleeping routine is better for your overall health. People with such routines find they sleep better and have more energy through out the day.

What Does Smoking Have To Do With Snoring?

This is one of the more effective tips to stop snoring. This is because smoking causes inflammation and swelling of the throat. An inflamed throat is more narrow resulting in snoring.

If you can quit smoking completely. Not only will it reduce or stop your snoring, but your overall health will drastically improve and you will feel better and have more energy.

If you do not have the energy and will power at the present moment to quit smoking, then try not smoking 2 or 3 hours before going to bed. Drink a cup of hot tea before sleeping as well to sooth your throat.

Quitting smoking is one of the more difficult tips to stop snoring to follow. Smoking is extremely addictive. However, if you set your mind to it, you can quit smoking.

What Drink Right Before Bed May Help You Stop Snoring?

For some, drinking a glass of warm milk before going to bed can reduce snoring or stop it completely. Everyone is different. This or any approach may or may not work for you.

Some people react differently to milk. It makes some people produce more mucous, which may actually cause snoring. It is worth a try however. It may just work for you.

It is better that you try all the known natural tips to stop snoring before considering medication or surgery. If you are a chronic snorer and snore loudly every night, then you should go see your doctor.

Role Of Inflammation In Heart Disease

Even though it is not proven if inflammation causes heart disease, this condition is very common for heart disease as well as stroke patients. It is thought to be a sign of heart disease, so it is important to know what it is as well as what it can do to your heart. Inflammation is caused by factors such as cigarette or tobacco smoking, bad cholesterol as well as high blood pressure. Atherosclerosis, which refers to a buildup of fatty deposits in the walls of the heart, is also attributed to inflammation since it causes the arteries to be narrow.

Even though some people might argue that the inhalation of the modern processed tobacco is not bad for health, it is linked to heart disease. Inhaling incredibly hot, burnt tobacco plant material has been found to acutely increase inflammation which is linked to heart problems. Quitting smoking lowers inflammation, and as a result chances of getting heart disease are reduced. Studies indicate that smoking causes the atherosclerotic plaque to be under a lot of stress, something which increases the possibility of it breaking off. When the atherosclerotic plaque breaks off, blood flow can be blocked as a result of the resulting rhombus lodging itself in the artery. This could cause an inflammation that could in turn cause a heart attack.

Bad cholesterol also causes inflammation that may in turn cause heart problems. The macrophages, which are cells that like gobbling up lipids and other substances, in the arterial wall receive the bad cholesterol that ends up forming atherosclerotic plaque. This makes the arteries more vulnerable to rupture. Regular cholesterol does not cause problems. It is only the oxidized bad cholesterol that gets taken up and then turned into plaque. The inflammatory response is the one that is responsible for the oxidation of the bad cholesterol which is known to cause heart disease.

Inflammation can also be linked to physical activity. If you always get the right type of exercise in the right quantities, chances of systematic inflammation will be lowered. Wrong kind or even too much of the right kind of exercise increases inflammation. Sedentary living as well as extreme overtraining have both been linked to inflammation and heart problems. Proper exercise can increase sheer stress on the arterial walls, something which causes the endothelium to be less permeable and produce more nitric oxide which prevents oxidation of bad cholesterol. This in turn protects against atherosclerosis and in turn heart disease. It is therefore important to think of exercise as not just training for the muscles, but also the arterial walls. Avoid exercises that cause too much shear since they can be inflammatory and in turn cause heart problems.

Inflammation that causes heart disease can also be caused by genetics. Some people have a genetic predisposition that directly alters the inflammatory response, something which increases chances of developing not only heart diseases but also other diseases. Such people usually have a genetic variant that increases the susceptibility of oxidation of bad cholesterol which is famously linked to increased rates of heart problems. Even though increased oxidation of the bad cholesterol does not necessarily mean that the individuals are more vulnerable to the oxidative damage resulting from the inflammatory response, the particles from the bad cholesterol are likely to cause heart disease simply by the virtue of them spending more time in the blood.

It is very important to go for cholesterol lowering medications to reduce arterial inflammation if you want to reduce chances of suffering from heart disease. It is also important to control other risk factors that are associated with inflammation and heart disease such as smoking, intake of foods that have bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. If you do not smoke and you live a healthy lifestyle, you might want to go for a checkup just to make sure that you are not at risk of heart disease due to genetic factors. If you are diagnosed and found to have a lot of bad cholesterol in your body, it is important to start taking an anti-inflammatory diet as well as fish oil supplements. You could also take anti-inflammatory herbs including turmeric and ginger. It is also important to follow your doctor's recommendations for heart health.

Health-Fitness Articles Can Be Useful

It's one of the great ironies of modern living that although there seems to be a raging epidemic of obesity and its terrible twin sisters: heart disease and diabetes, we are ever more obsessed with the whole subject of keeping fit. But then again perhaps it's not so ironic after all. In our grandparent's day, there was a lot more physical hard work to do. Labor saving devices that we take for granted these days were not available and what's more, people tended to die at a younger age in those days from infectious diseases. Hence our modern concern with keeping in shape and reading the ever growing numbers of health and fitness articles that seem to be available on the magazine racks of our local stores.

I have to say however, that looking at the covers of some of the more popular health and fitness publications does tend to dampen my enthusiasm. The people featured on those covers seem to be from another planet inhabited by the toned, the muscular and the incredibly beautiful. If you do not allow yourself to be put off however, and take a look at some of the health and fitness articles inside the magazines you are sure to pick up some really useful tips on how to get ahead in your quest for a better life style.

Here are a few of the more important tips that I've gleaned from having read countless numbers of health and fitness articles over the years. Perhaps the most important thing to take into account, according to the fitness experts, is be careful. Yes it sounds a bit boring, but if you are going to take on any fitness regime, make sure to get the go ahead from your doctor if you have any prior medical condition.

Always start your new exercise regime in a gentle, easygoing fashion. After all, it takes time for your body to adapt, especially if you are not that fit to begin with. Talk about boredom: now is not that just one of the greatest problems when it comes to exercising? But here's a great tip: only choose a form of exercise which gives you some real personal satisfaction if you are to avoid getting fed up and end up giving up the whole thing after a few days. Try and set yourself some modest goals and the sheer satisfaction of achieving something will ensure you keep going.

There's been an explosion in the numbers of health and fitness articles, books and TV shows in recent years. Perhaps it would be easy to be cynical about all this and assume that it's just another money-making racket. But, I must admit I've found some great gems of information which have been of real benefit over the years. So get going with your new fitter way of living and who knows? You may well end up looking like one of those toned models on the cover of a health and fitness magazine.

Stretch Mark Treatments

In this guide, I am going to talk you through the different stretch mark treatments available. Like any aspect of your body, your skin is unique. What might work for your friend may not be suited to you, so please bare this in mind.

1. One of the most popular treatments is microdermabrasion. This technique has been used since 1985, when it was developed in Italy. Whilst the treatment is very good, it doesn’t penetrate the dermis layer where the skin condition has set root, this is because the procedure sand blasts your skin with very tiny crystals, this only removes the top layer of the skin. The ideal use of microdermabrasion is in tandem with other treatments.

2. Probably the most cost effective treatment is massage (if you do it yourself!). If you massage the area that is affected on a daily basis you effectively reduce the thick lines on the skin by boosting the circulation and promoting new skin growth, however like most treatments you need to keep to a strict regime, as if you are hit and miss you will lower the chances of success.

3. Laser is the most expensive form of treatment; however it won’t completely remove the marks on your skin even though it will take between 4 to 6 sessions. In theory the laser only reduces the visibility of the scaring to your skin tissue. The other down fall too laser treatment is, it will not treat more mature marks meaning only the red and deep purple scars are picked up.

4. Creams and lotions after massage are the most practical form of treatment. This is because a good cream can be just as effective as something like laser or microdermabrasion. The cream I used in the past contained only natural ingredients. Retin A penetrates the skin, down to the dermis layer and then stimulates the growth of new skin cells.

Fix For Path/File Access Error

Path/File access error normally occurs when you are installing some software on you PC. This error occurs at the time when program setup tries to create a disk image of the program. Here are given certain steps to fix these errors:

· Corrupted compressed files

· Registry entry of the setup is corrupted

· Memory Issues

· Not enough space in the drive selected for installation

· Bad sectors on the disk

Corrupted Compressed Files

If the compressed file which contains the setup of program is corrupted it may result in Path/File access error. You need to remove that corrupted compressed file from your system and download it again.

Registry Entry of the Setup is Corrupted

Corrupted registry entry of the setup can also be a reason of Path/File access error. Incorrect information about the program in Windows registry may lead to this issue. To quickly solve this problem install a Registry Cleaner program and scan your system for errors.

Memory Issues

Several problems in RAM may cause Path/File access error. In order to solve the problem run a Memory Diagnostic test to solve the issue. Follow the steps to run it:

1. Press Start button on the Taskbar

2. In search bar type Windows Memory Diagnostics and hit Enter

3. Select the options

4. Restart your PC to check the problems

Bad Sectors on Disk

Bad sectors in hard disk create different kind of problems and Path/File access error is one of them. You can run a Check Disk and repair the corrupted files. Follow the steps below to run it:

1. Open My Computer

2. Select the drive which you wish to scan

3. Right-click and go to drive properties

4. Click on Tools tab

5. Press Check Now

6. Select the options and press Start to proceed

Not Enough Space in Drive:

Path/File access error may also appear if you are trying to install a program on drive which is running short of space. This can be fixed by removing some data from the drive and try installing the program again or you can run disk cleanup to delete unnecessary files.

Follow the steps below:

1. Click on Start

2. Go to Programs, Accessories, System Tools

3. Open Disk Cleanup

4. Select the drive which you want to scan

5. Click OK button

6. Follow the instructions

Path/File access error often occurs due to corrupted registry and the best way to repair Windows registry is to install Registry Cleaner.

IT Technician Jobs – Career Information and Outlook

IT Technician jobs primarily consist of troubleshooting laptop and desktop problems related to software and hardware, including servers, printers and other peripherals. Installation, configuration and maintenance of this software and hardware is also required. Typically, an IT tech is dispatched by the company he or she works for to deal with these issues.

IT Technician Jobs

A more in-depth description of what IT techs are required to do is as follows:

-Maintaining A database of the software used by the company
-Performing Backups and archiving information
-Making Sure that data protection and copyright laws are respected
-Installing New computer equipment
-Maintaining An inventory of equipment
-Making Sure that the company's network runs smoothly
-Help To purchase new equipment through recommendations
-Making Sure that the network is internally and externally secured
-Making Sure that internet connectivity and access is running smoothly
-Promoting And managing the use of the company's Intranet
-Providing IT support for employees
-Advising Managers of new developments in software and hardware

To Tech Republic to According ( ), a website offering information and resources for IT technicians, Diagnosing and eliminating viruses may Also be part of an IT technician job description.

Required Skills
In addition to technical skills, IT technicians must also be empathetic, composed and patient. This is because many of the computer users that computer technicians must deal with make the same mistakes time and time again, and many others require hours of individual training to perform even some of the most simplest tasks. It is commonly regarded that those working in this field are anti-social and prefer to be around technology rather than people. This could not be further from the truth, as excellent communication skills and a friendly personality are required for the job.

While IT technician jobs consist of different requirements and duties depending on the nature of the position, the majority of employers only hire individuals who have undergone formal education. Many employers expect applicants to hold an associate's degree in Information Technology or Computer Science. However, more employment opportunities and opportunities for career advancement are available to those who have completed a 4-year college degree.

Individuals should be experts in some of the most common software used by businesses, such as ORACLE, MS Explorer and Microsoft Office Suite. A large number of IT techs enrol in certificate problems in order to improve their existing skills and to meet the evolving needs of businesses.

Salary & Career Outlook
The demand for IT techs is estimated to grow at a faster rate than the majority of all other professions. This is due to businesses adopting new technology, particularly mobile technology, which creates the need for IT technicians to educate computer users.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for IT technician jobs stands at $ 42,000. However, this number can vary significantly depending on the type of work, industry, experience and company worked for.

Drug Addiction Clinics

Drug addiction clinics, also known as drug rehabilitation centers or rehabilitation clinics, or rehab, for short, are facilities that get people who misuse and abuse drugs and who become alcoholics treated by employing various methods. Such means include medication, therapy and counseling. When it comes to drugs though, a drug addiction clinic would fit the bill perfectly as this facility specializes in getting an addict recover from his or her drug infused haze. Such a facility also knows that an addict has a specific need when it comes to getting treated for his or her addiction.

During a patient's stay inside these clinics, his or her treatment will vary from other patients who are also staying within the clinics' confines. Treatment depends on the gravity of a patient's addiction, how long has he or she been hooked on this or that substance, how long will his or her stay be and what sort of counseling should the patient receive. Not only those though, these clinics also have outpatient options, wherein a patient does not stay within the clinics' walls.

While patients are within the drug addiction clinics, they will be attended to by a professional staff made up of nurses, doctors as well as counselors. The doctors will be letting a patient go through what is called drug detoxification, or detox for short. During this phase, a patient joins therapy sessions whenever necessary or is given the right medication to lessen the impact of his or her withdrawal from a substance. This phase is the most critical and the most crucial part of rehab but it is also the most taxing on a patient since he or she will go through very uncomfortable physical as well as behavior adjustments. Apart from drug detox, a key phase in going to rehab is also getting a patient's family, friends and loved ones involved as a patient's addiction not only affects him or her but also them.

Drug addiction clinics can and will help anybody who is addicted to drugs overcome their addiction. However, this can only happen when an addict realizes that he or she needs to check into such facilities and that he or she wants to be free from the grip of drug addiction. After all, drug addiction can be overcome once an addict comes to terms with his or her addiction and would want to change for the better, not only for him or herself but for others as well, especially those who he or she calls family.

Benefits of Alternative Medicine

It is common knowledge that a healthy body has a healthy mind. Therefore, even if you have abundant wealth but have an ailing body you are not going to enjoy life; all the riches will be a waste. Hence, it is important that when you feel unwell you need to consult a doctor in order to get rid of whatever you are suffering from.

In modern world most of our ailments are treated with generic medicines that the doctors prescribe. These medicines are chemically produced and it has been seen that most of the people suffer some kind of side effect after consuming these medicines. There is another kind of treatment which uses the traditional type of medicines produced from herbs and other natural ingredients. This is knows as alternative medicine which does not have any side effect. These medicines are available without a doctor's prescription. Now more and more people are going in for alternative treatments. For example, if you have tinnitus you can use alternative medicine for tinnitus treatment.

There are many types of alternative treatment, however not all are approved by the health care profession. This is mainly because most of them have not been analyzed and tried by the drug control authority. But it is a fact that majority of these type treatment are made from natural ingredients like herbs. These herbs contain properties that not only contain therapeutic value but have practically no side effects. As long as these drugs do not affect the health adversely, there is no problem in using these treatment for curative purpose. Therefore if you use alternative medicine for tinnitus you can be sure that there will be very little chance of any side effect.

There was a time when alternative treatment were available rarely and only in some special places. However, with advancement in technology this treatment have now been made available in packaged form. Alternative treatments are now mass produced and can be bought off-the-shelf. You need not wait for the medicine-man to prepare the medicine for you any more, just visit a drug store and buy one instantly.

Message and acupuncture are also considered alternative medicines that are a great way for improving health.

Vitamin C Overdose

Using Vitamin C products beyond recommended the limits may cause stomachaches and diarrhea. Even though the body would only use as much as it needs of the vitamin, Vitamin C Overdose can hinder metabolic activities in the body.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Vitamin C in nonsmoking adults is 75 mg per day for women and 90 mg per day for men. For smokers, the RDAs are 110 mg per day for women and 125 mg per day for men. A dose of 200 milligrams daily is almost enough to maximize plasma and lymphocyte levels.

Higher levels of Vitamin C are needed when under environmental stress such as trauma, fever or infection. Full saturation is reached with daily intakes of 200-500 mg per day (in 2-3 divided doses). This is a water-soluble protein, and anything in excess is excreted by the body. Vitamin C Overdose can cause diarrhea, gas, or stomach upset. Other side effects could be stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea, and an increased risk of developing kidney stones. Large amounts of Vitamin C reduce body levels of copper, an essential nutrient. People with iron overload diseases must avoid Vitamin C Overdose, as it increases iron absorption. Special medical advice must be taken by individuals who have kidney stones. If a pregnant mother takes 6,000 mg of Vitamin C, the baby may develop rebound scurvy due to a sudden drop in daily intake. Hemochromatosis patients should not take Vitamin C due to enhanced accumulation of non-heme iron in the presence of this vitamin.

6 Negative Effects Of Eating Fast Food

1. Fast food has a very high energy density. About 65 percent higher than a typical diet and twice as high as recommended healthy diets which makes us eat more than we otherwise would. Energy density refers to the amount of calories an item of food contains in relation to its weight. Foods with a high energy density confuse the brain’s control systems for appetite, which are based solely on portion size.

2. British researchers from the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Center and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have determined that repeated eating at McDonald’s or KFC or Burger King, people are more likely to gain weight and become obese. This is because fast food not only contains many more calories than traditional food, but also is more likely to undermine normal appetite control systems.

3. By eating a Big Mac and fries, the body consumes almost twice as many calories as you would if you ate the same weight of pasta and salad. Fast Food restaurants feed the obesity epidemic by getting people to eat many more calories than they need through persistent advertising.

4. McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King menu items using nutritional data from the fast food restaurants’ Web sites, found that when we eat high energy density foods, we don’t reduce the portion size so we get a lot more calories than we need. Our current society possesses a weak innate ability to recognize foods with a high energy density. Food intake is assessed by the size of the portion, yet a fast food meal contains many more calories than a similar sized portion of a healthy meal. The conclusion is we are all being fooled into eating too much food.

5. People get fat eating regular portion sizes, but since the food has a high energy density, people gain weight. In evolutionary terms, the human appetite was designed for low energy density foods. In other parts of the world where these foods are still the dietary staples, obesity is virtually non existent. Our bodies were never designed to cope with the high energy dense foods consumed in the West. That is a major reason why fast food in contributing to the major rise in obesity.

6. Another fact is that fast food may speed up people’s risk of clogged arteries that can lead to heart attacks. Researchers at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Francisco have demonstrated that a certain type of fat, called oxidized fat, can accelerate the buildup of plaque in arteries. And many types of fast food such as hamburgers, pizza and French fries are loaded with oxidized fat. The conclusion is fast food meals are high in saturated fat and low quality carbohydrates, white bread and lots of soda. Our bodies require fiber and more healthful types of fats. Fast food represents a dietary pattern that is the opposite of what is recommended for a healthy body.

Food Therapy in Chinese Medicine

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said: “Let food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” Food therapy is the foundation of Chinese medicine.

For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has focused on food cures.

One of the major differences between Chinese medicine and Western medicine with regard to food therapy is that the former uses diet to prevent and cure illness, while the latter seldom uses foods for symptomatic treatment of disease, other than using diet exclusively for treating obesity problems.

Another major difference is that Chinese medicine takes into consideration not just the nutrients of foods, such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, but also the flavors, the energies, and the movements of foods in relation to different body organs.

In Chinese medicine, foods have five flavors: bitter, pungent, salty, sour, and sweet. Flavors in foods don’t just give you the taste: they have an impact on your internal organs.

Foods with bitter taste, such as bitter melon (Chinese vegetable), lettuce, and radish, affect your heart and small intestine. Such foods reduce your body heat and dry your body fluids. This explains why herbs used to treat fever and diarrhea always taste bitter because of their “drying” effect.

Foods, such as chive, clove, coriander, ginger, parsley and peppermint, have a pungent flavor, which acts on your lungs and large intestine. Foods with pungent flavor induce perspiration and promote energy circulation.

Foods with salty flavor, such as salt, kelp, and seaweed, affect your kidneys and bladder. Salty foods can soften hardness, and therefore they are ideal for treating symptoms involving the hardening of muscles.

Foods, which are sour in taste, such as mango, lemon, pear, and plum, affect your liver and gall bladder. Such foods obstruct movements, and are therefore ideal for treating diarrhea and controlling excessive sweating.

Foods with a sweet flavor are sugar, banana, beef, chestnut, and watermelon, and they affect your stomach and spleen. These foods slow down acute symptoms and neutralize the toxic effects from other foods. In Western medicine, sweet foods make you gain weight because they are often loaded with “empty calories.” From the perspective of Chinese medicine, sweet foods affect your stomach and spleen, weakening your digestive functions, and therefore making you eat more and gain more.

It should be noted that some foods have more than one flavor, and this is not uncommon. Beef is sweet, while pork is both salty and sweet.

According to Chinese medicine, foods are also considered for their energies because they generate heat or cold; that is to say, they give sensation of heat or cold to the human body. For example, if you drink a glass of cold water, you body feels cold; but that sensation is only temporary, while the sensations from foods are more lasting.

The foods, whether they are hot or cold, have a more lasting sensation on your body. Foods have five energies: hot, cold, warm, cool, and neutral. Tea, for example, gives cold energy, even if it is hot tea. Pepper provides hot energy, even if it is chilled. Chicken gives warm energy, and corn has neutral energy, that is, neither hot or cold. Accordingly, if your arthritis pain is more acute and severe in cold winter days, then you should take more foods that provide hot or warm energy to reduce the cold in your joints.

Furthermore, foods have four movements: the outward movement that induces perspiration and reduces pain; the inward movement that eases bowel movements and abdominal pain; the upward movement that relieves diarrhea; and the downward movement that stops vomiting or asthma.

Chinese medicine is based on balance and harmony, in which food therapy plays a pivotal role through its flavors, energies and movements. For thousands of years, the Chinese have used food science for food cures.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is September

When September rolls around, I look like any other haggled parent standing in the checkout with three kids. The shopping cart is filled with packs of pencils, note paper, crayons, markers and tissues.

“Why do we need to buy tissues for school?” my kindergartener asked last year.

I pictured a whole class of five-year-olds with runny noses and was tempted to reply, “So kids won’t use their sleeves.” But I chose the logical, “For when your nose is runny.”

My neighbor claimed it would be a busy year when she found out I’d have one in kindergarten, one in first grade and one in middle school. But not busy enough, I thought, and again resisted the urge to let her know that I was wondering what my fifth-grader would be needing for school this year.

My fifth-grader, Daniel, never passed fourth grade. Or third, or even first. He didn’t get a school supply list. Instead he got a kit from the hospital with syringes and bandages, all very sterile.

On Memorial Day Weekend, 1996, Daniel was three and diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. After eight months of treatments, surgeries, prayers and hope, this bald-headed kid, who acknowledged he was a “Brave Cookie,” was ready to be a cancer survivor. But a staph infection entered his weakened body and we had to kiss him good-bye.

September– now meaning for me, not only back to school, but Childhood Cancer Awareness Month– has rolled around again and as I stand in line with my kids, I know why the supply lists include tissues.

Just the other day while joining other parents and children in the “shopping for school supplies frenzy,” a woman noticed the gold ribbon pinned to my t-shirt. “What’s gold for?” she asked. “I know that pink is for breast cancer.”

“Children,” I said. “Gold because our children are golden to us.”

I half expected her to show shock or horror, being one of the thousands who refuses to believe that cancer is the number one illness among children. One of those who has no idea that each year one in every 330 kids will be diagnosed with cancer before age 19.

I was ready for her to walk away from me down the aisle. Instead she mouthed the words, “Did a child of yours…?”

“Yes,” I said. “A son who would be ten now. He didn’t survive.”

Her eyes showed tears, causing mine to fill. Then this woman–a stranger–touched my arm. “I am so sorry.” She smiled at my other three children. “They are beautiful. I’m sure your son was, too.”

If you see a mother wearing a gold ribbon on her shirt–the symbol of childhood cancer awareness—please ask her about the ribbon. The opportunity to talk will help with her healing and give you new wisdom. Be aware that she may cry. Feel free to hand her a tissue. Although she has done it before, she probably shouldn’t be using her sleeve.

(Written in 2002)

Excision Tattoo Removal – It Works!

“In this article I’ll discuss a specific type of removal, one which I recommend….”

Excision tattoo removal works well on small to medium sized images, and most companies do guarantee complete removal.

The Surgical Excision Method not only works on larger images, but is really geared towards small and medium designs. This type of removal does involve removal of skin where the actual ink or dye was used during the initial creation of the design. In many cases the technician will put in stitching close to the edges to propagate healing. Although this sounds complicated; it’s not. In fact it is relatively easy and the patient should be aware of this. These procedures are normally done in medical clinics by licensed doctors and surgeons.

What about infections? Yes, to prevent infections the patient will take antibiotics prior to the surgery. This protects the body after removal. If this sounds like it’s going to hurt, rest assured that although there will be some pain, nothing compared to when the actual image was placed on the body, as local anesthesia is used on the area to dull the pain.

The skin of the tattoo is then cutaway; the epidermis and the dermis are removed in what is known as a “Full Thickness Removal.” The surgeon then stitches the skin closed with special sutures, which allows it to heal and leaves a small scar.

Removal by excision is normally used primarily on small images because it requires less skin removal and can be completed in one session.

The larger the image, the more sessions a patient may need to completely remove everything. Depending on the size, the wound may take up to a few months to completely heal. If it is especially large, the surgeon may need to perform a skin graft to help the wound heal. This procedure adds to the pain of the tattoo removal and lengthens the healing process.

Excision tattoo removal is preferred over some other removal methods because it usually results in smaller scars. It’s also less painful than some other procedures and is an Outpatient process, avoiding hospitalization.

The procedure is also not as painful as others because of the local anesthetic. The cost is also much lower than other methods; around $150-$350, depending on where you have the procedure carried out, the clinic, and the size of the design. (Please note that the price mentioned would be an approximate cost for removing a small image.)

Removal by excision has a success rate of 95 percent; although there are risks, as with any medical procedure, however excision removal has much less associated risks.

Known risks include infection of the skin graft site, pigmentation (if exposed to the sun), scarring, reactions to the anesthetic, and temporary bleeding, bruising, inflammation, and tenderness.)

Infections and reactions to the anesthetic could lead to hospitalization, prolonging the removal process. Also, if the tattoo is much deeper than normal, a deeper cut must be made to remove the ink and these deep cuts naturally take longer to heal.

The cost of your tat removal may also become more expensive than another removal method if the tattoo is extremely large. Again, excision removal is best for very small tattoos.

Patients should avoid smoking, drinking, or excessive physical activity before and after the procedure to quicken the healing process. Excision tattoo removal is simply cutting out the image and stitching the skin back together.

Plasma Donations Put a Price on Human Life

Reminiscent of a medical facility, this plasma center, built only a year before is brimming with white lab coats, face shields and medical gloves. The sound of Velcro and beeps from blood pressure machines and the whirring of hematostats as they separate blood and plasma fill the air.

The appearance is all so sterile and clinical, but the workers here are not medically certified, they are only required to have a high school diploma and all are trained by each other. Of the almost 70 workers in this building, besides the LPN nurses and the one RN, certified phlebotomists (medically trained personnel that collect blood, plasma and tissue samples from patients) are 10 % of the workforce here which is a crapshoot for professionalism in the taking of blood and plasma.

As the donors (people who give a voluntary gift of plasma) are processed through, their vitals are taken and their appearance assessed as per the companies standard operating procedures (SOP). 38% of those interviewed come because they need the money to help pay for food, rent or bills, 60 % donate because the money supplemented their vacations or spending money, the other 2 % came because they believed that they were “Saving Lives.” Most are not your typical college students, but instead housewives, part-time workers or the working poor.

Plasmapherisis (the removal, treatment, and return of blood plasma from blood circulation) began back in the 1940’s in order to harvest clotting agents by the pharmaceutical companies – now there are more than 500 donation centers in the United States and more being built every day.

The buying and selling of Blood and Plasma is a multi-billion dollar per year business. Plasma is more commercial than Blood and can not be synthetically replicated. In 1988, more than 21 years ago, the industry made over 2 billion dollars per year alone making the current numbers staggering, but incredibly secret.

US Federal regulation is more liberal than anywhere else in the world allowing up to 60 liters (127 pints) a year. The next highest producing country is Canada allowing only 15 liters per year, which is the recommendation from the World Health Organization. More than half of the plasma used in medicines worldwide is from the US.

While US donors are the source of 60% of the world’s plasma, foreign companies like huge mosquitoes, are the ones that control the product from Japan, West Germany, Austria and Canada, flying in to the US to puncture the blood and plasma supply and then fly the profits home to feed on them. Not only do foreign companies own the majority of plasma collection centers, the majority of plasma medications are also sold abroad as well.

There are two different types of plasma donations…the first is non-profit. The largest would be The American Red Cross. According to FDA regulations, truly donated plasma and blood, without any funds exchanging hands between the donor and the organization, is the only blood or plasma that can be transfused into humans. If an individual is paid any money at all, for their time or for their plasma, it can not be used to “Save Lives” per se. Because for-profit donation centers feed on the need or the greed of the economic world temperature, non-profit donation centers are suffering. When non-profit donation centers suffer, then those who need plasma: burn, shock or trauma victims go without. Those looking to make a humanitarian donations should be donating blood and plasma at non-profit donation centers like the American Red Cross.

Donations that are “paid” for are sold to drug and research companies and with the economic downturn of 2007-2009, plasma donation centers are on the rise with one of the largest Austrian Pharmaceutical backed donation centers achieving a 19% rise in stock prices within a quarter while other markets were plummeting.

The ethical question of Plasma Donation comes at a cost. Organ donation is not an unusual thing, but bodily “donation” that is suppose to help and not hinder human survival is questionable when big business gets involved, and for-profit donation of blood and plasma is very big business.

Plasma that is donated to drug and research companies is refined down and made into medicines that “Save Lives”. What is the cost of those medicines to those that would die without them? $50,000.00 to $80,000.00 per year, which can really change the slogan, “We Save Lives” to “We Cant Afford to Live”. Those without insurance or government funded backing can not afford the medications or treatments and without those “donated” treatments, die. Most are government funded solutions, which means tax payers, donors or non-donors, are paying to treat those that would die without the treatments that are suppose to be a voluntary gift…so the saying, “Give until it hurts” may be more applicable.

For-profit donation centers started targeting college students in the 1970’s to improve the quality of the plasma supply. Companies speculated that college students should be healthier than the average population. In 1999 a study was conducted by Ohio University which found that university plasma donors were not as healthy as once thought. Paid donors are three times more likely than non-donors and four times more likely then Red Cross donors to drink alcohol five or more times a week. One eighth of non-donors, one quarter of Red Cross Donors to one third of paid donors smoke tobacco. Consumption of toxins or unhealthy lifestyle is not the only issue at hand today, body piercings, tattoos and branding are other issues that pose unhealthy donation bases as well. Body art is not always visible and unless confessed to, can not always be subject to scrutiny by the donation center.

For profit donation centers will pay $8.00 -$20.00 dollars for the first donation and then to encourage the donor to come back, will pay a higher price for the second donation within the seven day period.

Depending on the weight of the individual, the donation center will take 690mL to 880mL per donation. The 880mL bottles bring a price of anywhere from $300.00 to $1,700.00 when sold to the Pharmaceutical companies. If there is anything wrong with the plasma, if it’s hemolysised (infused with red blood cells) or if the plasma is lipemic (excess fat within the plasma) the plasma is sold to veterinarian companies and bring a lesser price for the donation center.

Plasma donation was worth approximately 4.5 billion dollars in 2007. Today there are approximately 1.5 to 2 million donors worldwide and is expected to grow significantly in the struggling economy of 2009.

Because of the rapid growth within the industry, corporations train their workforce to take the donations, paying an average of $10.00 per hour. The workforce usually does not have medical certification or medical training unless they are one of the 8 LPN’s or RN’s that are hired. A licensed medical doctor covers the center with his license, but he is rarely seen on the floor of the center. He comes in maybe once a week to sign charts and watch vitals being taken once on those being trained and then he is off again, taking only his cut of the centers profits. The corporate training is not done by the LPN’s or RN or even by the doctor, it is done by regular employees that do not have medical certification or license.

Corporate training consists of reading of Standard Operating Procedures in a conference room for several hours, sometimes days, then you are put out on the floor with a trainer to watch him/her go through the motions. If you have an efficient trainer, then you can process with professionalism, but if you do not, then most Medical Historians (Someone who takes vitals, transcribed medical information and does basic phlebotomy) struggle and their bedside manner, technique and record keeping will leave much to be desired and the donors do not get the care that they may need.

In this center, processing time is a task master. This center processed 570 donors in one day with an average of 390 customers a day. From the time donors check in with the receptionist until they scan out they are timed. Time is money in this industry. When doing vitals, the Medical Historians are given a maximum of 1 minute 21 seconds to complete the processing of the donor and sending them out to the phlebotomy floor for the donation which is not much time to practice accuracy. There is no time to check your gloves for contamination issues such as plasma, mucus or blood, so donors are subject to cross-contamination every time they come into the center. Company policy states that gloves should only be changed when they are contaminated with blood, torn, cut or every two and one-half hours.

That is to save time between donors and the crack of the whip comes from the managers as they wait with stop-watches and pink slips over their white coated slave labor force. The Medical Historians are moving so fast in order to keep from getting fired that there were 2 contaminations of workers within 2 months…both from filled but broken capillary tubes that were shoved into the workers skin through their gloves or through their lab coats and scrubs and into their skin. One contamination happened when a Medical Historian tried to pull a hair out of her mouth and realized that she had just consumed the previous donors blood. Donors have to ask specifically to have the Medical Historians “change your gloves” before they are allowed to do it.

Phlebotomists on the floor are moving just as fast. They have one minute to clean, find the vein and stick the donor. They can stick 3 times, twice per arm unless there is a loss of red blood cells or the donor is in danger and needing saline, then they can stick the third time for emergencies. This causes the likelihood of Hematomas (Blood that collects under the skin or in an organ) for the donors, large bruises over 3 inches and tender areas on the arm. Sometimes, because a donor has to be stuck twice, both arms result in hematomas. Donors have to heal up for several weeks before they can return to donate, which makes the donation process an unreliable source of income for anyone.

When this center is running at full gear, processing 570 donors per day, most who work an 8 hour shift are not allowed to take lunches and sometimes not allow to take bathroom breaks. The pace is fast and furious and as soon as the donors are processed and the plasma is back in the lab, they tear down the used sets and get ready for the next donor. Used sets can be dangerous, they are suppose to be heat sealed but sometimes if there is equipment failure, the tubing doesn’t get sealed completely and when the phlebotomist pulls the tubes off the machines, plasma can splash up and out into the face, unprotected arms and saturate clothing. The Personal Protective Equipment required by OSHA doesn’t always cover everything it needs to cover, especially since Personal Protective Equipment is not fitted or trained on, so the workers are in constant hazard of contamination, which happened at least once within a 3 month period of time in this center. There are not only hazards to the Employees, but to the donors as well in this atmosphere. Because the center is trying to fill beds as soon as possible, sometimes beds are not cleaned before the donors sit down and donors can find themselves sitting in the blood of the last donor.

There are 22 Right-to-Work states in the US, which means that in order to receive lunch and bathroom breaks, they have to be contractual or within Union Guidelines, if they are not, the Department of Labor can not enforce bathroom breaks or Lunches for the workers. Of the 22 Right-to-Work states, plasma centers flood at least 13 of those states, and build fewer plasma centers in non-right to work states.

Employees have a hard 8 to 10 hour shift in front of them, not only working long hours without breaks, but working in a precise and fast paced environment as well and without the certified medical training that is desired.

Because they do not have the training and because the bottom line pushes ethics, sometimes shortcuts are taken. When the plasma is delivered to the lab, the lab tech has only 30 minutes to process all those bottles. If the bottle is leaking, that bottle has to be thrown out because it is air contaminated, if the bottles take longer then 30 minutes to process before being put in the storage freezer, they are thrown out, a loss of a lot of money. What has happened in the past is that the lab tech will push the bottles back over into more time to process, or the lab tech will process an air contaminated bottle and just wipe it down, or instead of taking samples from each of the plasma bottles as required by FDA, they will open one bottle and take all the samples from that one bottle…because it saves time. These infractions can close a center, but only if it is caught and reported to the FDA, which questions the purity and usability of the plasma in the system and poses the question of contamination of medications as well.

Workers who stay in this business have after 3 months suffer from foot problems, back problems, hip problems, headaches, varicose veins and neck problems that are not covered by Workman’s Comp and the conditions are not covered by OSHA. This doesn’t include the possibility of contamination that may render them with HIV, Hepatitis or other communicable diseases. These are long lasting ailments and conditions with long lasting effects. Although there are only a few that stay in this field longer than 6 months, Supervisory positions are no better.

Supervisors have demanding jobs as well. They oversee the operations to maintain not only FDA standards but also the Company’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedures). Supervisors not only man the course of Medical Historians, but also phlebotomists on the floor and incoming data entry. A supervisor must be trained and tested on all aspects of phlebotomy and medical history as well as incoming data. If the Medical Historians and Phlebotomy work 8 to 10 hour shifts without lunch or bathroom breaks, then the supervisor works 12 hour shifts with the same conditions and with the added responsibility of catching all non-conforming events that may give the center a Quality Incident Report that, depending on the severity, may be reported to the FDA if it effects the health of the public.

When new donors come through the door, they are required to read a “New Donor” booklet, which has in it all the side effects, what to expect and some of the documentation that they will be required to sign. From the time they check in until they are done reading the book, even the donors are timed, up to 10 minutes to read their packet of legal documents. After they are done reading, they are asked for two forms of identification, usually a current driver’s license and social security card will be sufficient. If the driver’s license is not current or an address is not current, then a piece of mail that is dated less than 60 days can be used to verify the address. Social Security must be verified by Social Security Card, current Tax Information or Pay stub.

Plasma donors are usually not aware of side effects and most likely told that plasma donations are safe in the long term…the reality is that 7% of the human population has an anaphylactic reaction to sodium citrate or saline of which they will need intravenous medications immediately. If they do not receive treatment within minutes, the reaction is fatal.

In this center, we have at least 5 to 6 lesser reactions a day, sometimes more. Immediate side effects can be fainting, bleeding, edema at the venipuncture site, nausea, vomiting, drop in blood pressure, faintness, dizziness, blurred vision, coldness, sweating or abdominal cramps.

If allowed to progress the side effects can be tingling around the mouth or in the limbs, muscle cramps, metallic taste in the mouth and further reactions can lead to irregular heartbeat or seizures.

After prolonged donations, 12% of donors will have a lowered level of antibodies, causing an inadequate immune system response and the probability of increased infection or disease for the rest of their lives.

Plasma donations can save lives, especially when given freely and as a humanitarian gesture…drug and research companies would like the public to believe that they are the good guys in order to increase the bottom line in this Multi-billion dollar business, profiting on the generosity of some and the desperation and greed of others, treating donors like Cash Cows grazing on the bottom line.

For-profit donations feed a fire-storm of ethical questions such as, “if selling human organs is immoral, unethical and illegal, then what makes selling Plasma any different?” “If harvesting a human organ and holding it ransom to those that can pay the price to live, if selling it to the highest bidder is wrong, then isn’t harvesting plasma and selling it to those that would die without it the same thing?” What is the cost of a human life? With 15 million donations a year, the plasma industry looks the donor gift horse in the mouth everyday and laughs all the way to the bank. For-Profit plasma companies have a win-win situation…donors give their plasma or practically give their plasma to the industry and the blood sucking, plasma hoarding corporations can turn around and charge $50,000.00 to $80,000.00 a year to allow a person to live, long term cost projections are at $3.7 million to $5.9 million for medications that allow one person to live a normal life…and now we can put a price on what a human life is worth to the plasma industry.