6 Different Types of Cancer in Women

Cancer is caused by cell growth which is out of control and there are many different types of cancer which is classified by the type of cell that is affected initially. The cells which are damaged uncontrollably divide to form into lumps of tissue which are known as tumors. These tumors can alter the body functioning and grow larger. The tumors which stay in one place and have limited amount of growth are benign where the malignant tumors are more dangerous. Malignant tumors are formed when a cancer cell travels through the body in the blood or when the cell divides and grows.

Some of the different types of cancer in women are as below:

1. Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer is the most common type of cancer found in women. It begins in the breast and the cancerous cells spread to the other parts of the body. If this cancer is detected early, it can be cured or treated but if it has spread to the other parts of the body, it can be life threatening. The stage of the cancer has to be detected to decide the best treatment to undergo. Often, there are no symptoms of breast cancer in the early stages but as the cancer grows it may show the following symptoms of a change in the shape or size of the breast, a lump in the breast, nipple inversion or nipple discharge. The types of breast cancer are Invasive and non invasive.

2. Cervical Cancer: This type of cancer in women begins in the cervix which is the part of the uterus that opens to the vagina. Cervical Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. Human Papillomavirus is what causes the cervical cancer mostly. This virus is transmitted sexually and sometimes the immune system of the woman's body destroys the virus leading to normal state of the cervix. But sometimes the virus infection remains and leads to cancer. The Pap test and the HPV test should be done when recommended and should not be ignored. Treatments of cervical cancer can be systemic or local. The local treatments destroy or control the cancer cells in one area using radiation or surgery. Systemic treatments destroy or control the cells through the body using chemotherapy.

3. Ovarian Cancer: Ovarian Cancer in women causes bloating, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, difficulty in eating or urinary symptoms. It can also cause constipation, fatigue and pain in the body. A pelvic examination and pelvic ultrasound needs to be done to get tested for ovarian cancer. Surgery or chemotherapy is used for treatment of this cancer.

4. Vaginal Cancer: Vaginal Cancer in women starts in the vagina usually in the lining of the vagina and takes many years to develop. Pap tests help to detect vaginal cancers. The symptoms of vaginal cancer may be vaginal bleeding after lovemaking, pain while passing urine, pain during sexual lovemaking, constipation or abnormal discharge.

5. Vulvar Cancer: Vulvar cancer in women starts in the vulva which is the outer part of the reproductive system in females. This is not a very common type of cancer and can be cured if detected early.

6. Uterine Sacoma: This is the cancer that develops in the tissues of the uterus. The main types of uterine sarcoma are uterine leiomyosarcoma, uterine carcinosacoma, uterine adenosarcoma and endometrial sarcoma.

These are some of the conditions of cancer in women. It is required for women to undergo some tests like the Pap test and mammogram regularly to detect cancer early and to avoid cancer.

Cold and Flu Season – How Citric Acid Can Help

Right now the Christmas lights are down (hopefully) and we have officially entered cold and flu season. As the store aisles replace trees and stockings with tissues and cough drops, it’s important for everyone to be the smartest consumer possible. Don’t be fooled by fancy products that offer miracles. The fact is, everyone will end up with a cold or flu at some point in their life. When this happens, be prepared to fight the bacteria in the most economical way possible.

First and foremost, sleep and hydration is the best defense against the common cold. No one will argue that. However, everyone wants a quick fix, a way to decrease the symptoms and continue on with your life while your immune system suffers. A runny nose can be helped with tissue. Once upon a time there were only a few brands of tissue on the market, all offering the same basic thing. Nowadays, you will see that there are countless options. Tissue with menthol, tissue promising ‘anti-viral’ effects, tissue for sensitive noses. What is the best tissue to fight your cold or flu? What exactly does ‘anti-viral’ tissue mean?

Anti-viral tissue refers to tissue that has citric acid in the material. Bulk citric acid, as noted in a previous article, can be used to great affect to fight off harmful bacteria. This tissue that promises anti-viral, makes this promise because of the citric acid used. While it isn’t necessarily going to kill the bacteria inside the person infected, the tissue will help kill much of the harmful residue leftover after the tissue has been used. This makes the product perfect for parents who have sick kids at home and want to reduce the chances of themselves getting ill. The citric acid will kill the germs within about 15 minutes of contact, so when the parent goes to pickup the tissues while the child is sleeping, they can do so without a gas mask and tongs.

Citric acid can be sensitive on the skin, so be careful when using on children with sensitive skin. Also, keep in mind that it doesn’t protect against all germs, but does have a strong effect on Rhinovirus Type 1A and 2 (common cold), Influenza A and B, as well as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

While it is still important to wash your hands, the cost of anti-viral tissues is not much more than the regular brand, so it can be a great option for people wanting the extra protection. It also helps reinforce the nature of citric acid. Many people don’t realize how great the product can be for so many different uses. It can be used on furniture, door handles and other surfaces that may have gotten infected during cold and flu season. It’s anti-viral properties can help disinfect a house in an economical way. Bulk Citric Acid can be purchased wholesale, and on-line, in it’s purest form, and it much less expensive than the leading cleaning products that you see during the winter-time. So during this time of year, research the products you buy and always remember that if you can by an ingredient in it’s pure form and have the same results, do that. Avoid extra harmful chemicals that can cause other issues. Most importantly, be smart and be safe!

Health Benefits of Being in Nature

There are now scientific studies that support the health benefits of being in nature. Our hectic schedule of inside activities where air pollution is greater is slowly killing us. Here are the key health benefits of nature and why we need to be connected:

1. VITAMIN D “Those who don’t get enough Vitamin D are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s(1)” Less conclusive studies show a relationship with heart disease and diabetes. Getting your Vitamin D from natural sources is an improvement over supplements because its absorbed better.

2. IMPROVED SLEEP Americans generally don’t get enough sleep. We all have an internal biological clock or a circadian rhythm. This rhythm is set according to our exposure to the sun. Spending too much time inside can change this pattern. Taking a walk in the morning can help re-set your clock.

3. MENTAL HEALTH Studies show that the neurotransmitter serotonin is produced. This involves the regulation of mood, appetite and sleep. It also improves some mental functions like memory and learning. Serotonin can act like an anti-depressant in your body.

4. VISION Going outside protects your vision in two ways. It can prevent and reverse Computer Vision Syndrome. If you work on a computer and watch TV when not working, you are at risk. This is double or blurred vision, headaches, eye irritation and neck pain. The second protection is it protects against nearsightedness. Artificial light is proven to cause this that can be reversed in natural light.

5. FRESH AIR It’s frightening to know that indoor pollination is far worse than outdoor. Lack of fresh air can led to bronchitis, asthma, lung cancer and heart disease(1). Open windows and adding house plants help too.

6. GROUNDING A new concept to some. It refers to skin contact with nature(grass, dirt, sand). This way we absorb earth’s electrons since the planet is more negatively charged than our bodies. The theory is this reduces inflammation while increases energy. So, take off your shoes next time you walk in the park and be a kid again.

7. EXERCISE This is not a direct effect of fresh air, but a byproduct of going outside. It’s hard to be outside without doing some type of activity. Exercising outside has more benefits than in a gym. Results show people exercise longer and feel better about it when in nature.

I think the best way to take advantage of being out doors is to plan activities. If you already have your walking or exercise routine established, just move it to a greener location if need be. I always have a table and chairs on my backyard or patio because I enjoy el fresco dining. Start by making a list of all the activities you enjoy(including window shopping) and start incorporating them into you routine. So, when I tell you to Take a Hike, I mean for your health. L. Johnson

(1)Zack, (3-2014) Get Outside! 7 Scientifically-Backed Health Benefits of Being in Nature Retrieved from: appalachiantrails.com on 11-12-2014

Current Conceptualizations in Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, the most extreme form of which was previously known as manic depression, is a significant disturbance of mood characterized by 'mood swings', euphoria, high levels of energy and productivity. It is possibly the only condition where sufferers actually crave the return of some of the symptoms and it remains one of the most intriguing and disabling psychiatric disorders. Individuals with the disorder have demonstrated remarkable levels of creativity in fields such as literature, visual arts, music and history.

The disorder was described as early 1921 by Kraepelin who noted the range of symptoms, pattern of episodes and impairments in functioning. The disorder can have a lifetime prevalence of up to 2% (depending on the type of criteria being used) with many suffering from recurrent multiple and disabling episodes despite the use of mood-stabilizing medicines. Although bipolar disorder can (rarely) persist in childhood, onset is commoner in the teens or early 20s. One epidemiological study has suggested a rate of 1% among adolescents (Lewinsohn, Klein and Seeley, 1995).

The disorder is associated with high mortality and morbidity rates. Lifetime risk for suicide for people with bipolar disorder is 15%. Around one quarter of people with bipolar disorder will make a suicide attempt (usually related to the depressive component) sometime in their lives. After cardiovascular events, suicide is the most likely cause of death for individuals with bipolar disorder (Angst et al., 2002).

According to the World Health Organization, bipolar disorder is the sixth leading cause of disability worldwide wide (measured in DALYs – disability adjusted life years). The burden of living with bipolar disorder is immense in terms of lost productivity and social relationships, not only to the individual but also to families and communities in general (for example, in one study alone, bipolar disorder was thought to account for 45% of inpatient care costs; Johnson et al., 2003). Up to one third of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder remain unemployed a year after hospitalization for mania (Harrow et al., 1990).

Current conceptualizations of bipolar disorder

There has been considerable debate as to whether unipolar and bipolar disorders are categorical or dimensional constructs. Both the ICD-10 and DSM-IV assert a categorical approach to unipolar and bipolar disorder. However, some studies have argued for continuity between recurrent depressive episodes and bipolar disorder.

There is also debate about the classification of the different types of bipolar disorder. Increasingly however, there has been a move to the development of categories or subtypes of bipolar disorder such as Bipolar I and Bipolar II. The principal types of bipolar disorder, that is Bipolar I and Bipolar II, may be separate sub-types or differ merely dimensionally (eg by severity or duration), with the term 'Bipolar Spectrum' assuming dimensional differences.

The Bipolar Spectrum

I – Manic Depression
II – Depression + Hypomania
III – Hypomania in association with antidepressant medication (starting up, withdrawal). This is referred to as 'switching'.
IV – Depression superimposed on 'hyperthymic temperaments'
V and VI – Other more 'temperament' concepts

From Akiskal (2005), Journal of Affective Disorders, 84, 107-115.

Bipolar I and Bipolar II may be distinguished by a number of key characteristics. People with Bipolar I are more likely to experience more 'severe' and longer highs or manic episodes (which may include psychotic features) and require treatment in hospital than those with Bipolar II. In contrast, Bipolar II is less severe with no psychic experiences, and with episodes waiting to last only hours to a few days. Symptoms of Bipolar II may not be as obvious as those for Bipolar I. While the highs in Bipolar II, often referred to as hypomania, can also be disturbing to sufferers, they are often characterized by periods of intense productivity.

Typically, people can experience a mixture of both highs and lows at the same time, or switch during the day, giving a mixed picture. In rare cases (up to 5%), people with Bipolar Disorder only experience the highs and not the lows. The pattern of the disorder can be quite distinct with some people everyday daily mood swings and others having only one episode of mania per decade. People with bipolar disorder can experience normal moods between their swings.

The popular view holds that Bipolar II is a much milder version of bipolar disorder. However, recent evidence (eg Hadjipavlou et al., 2004) has indicated that Bipolar lI is associated with more chronic and frequent depressive episodes, greater periods of time with sub-syndromal symptoms and higher rates of attempted and completed suicide. Bipolar I and Bipolar II sufferers have equivalent levels of impairments in psychosocial functioning and in use of mental health services. Although the 'highs' in Bipolar II may be less sever than those associated with Bipolar l, the depressive episodes are equally disturbing and debilitating.

The distinction between Bipolar I and Bipolar II has important implications for treatment. In Bipolar I, the mood stabilizers (especially the gold standard, lithium) are considered to be the mainstay of treatment. The role of the mood stabilizers in Bipolar II Disorder is less clear and up for debate, especially as new antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics have come on the market. There is an increasing interest in this area and more trials are currently underway which will hopefully clarify whether each condition should be similarly trated.

In addition, Bipolar I Disorder (but not Bipolar II Disorder) is also characterized by a number of psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. These times occur during an acute manic episode but can also occur during a severe episode of melancholic depression. In Bipolar I Disorder, delusions are much more common than hallucinations.

The prevalence of Bipolar II tend to be higher in females and women with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk (around 60%) of having a depressive or manic episode during or (and more commonly) in the first few weeks after delivery. While most will suffer from depression, a significant proportion will have highs, and up to 10% will have mixed highs and lows.

Determining Diabetes – Its Causes and Symptoms

Almost anyone can be afflicted with diabetes. It is a medical disorder that affects the blood sugar level of a person resulting to different complications. Amazingly, while diabetes can be preverted or slowed down, there are lots of people in America who has this disorder, around 25 million of them.

The human body generates insulin, a fluid that has the main task of maintaining the sugar level in our blood. With diabetes, there is not enough insulin that is generated to do its job. As the sugar levels increase in our blood, many complications arise.

Diabetics experience symptoms such as urinating frequently, increased fluid intake and feeling thirsty all the time. The body also feels exhausted and tired frequently and the vision is altered. The breath of a diabetic also experiences a change in odor; a distinct "acetone" smell can be noticed.

Diabetes is blamed on a couple of reasons. This may include having the disease through genetics. Parents or family members that have a history of diabetes would probably have another in the gene pool that would have this disorder.

Other causes terribly heavily on a person's lifestyle and eating habits. If a person is fat and lacks exercise, there is a great chance that he would have diabetes. Excess intake of sweets and carbohydrates-packed foods can also lead to diabetes.

Diabetes has different types and has different treatments. But generally, doctors would recommend a diabetic to get lots of exercise and to avoid sweets, candies, excess meat intake, eggs, milk and fatty foods. Alcohol and smoking is also a big no-no. A doctor can recommend a full list of what you can eat as well as the recommended amount and quantity.

Finding Devo: A Novel Adventure by Seve Verdad – Book Review

Escape from the system?

Sports journalist Russell Martell is on holiday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. His wife Rosalita has recently died and Russell feet lost and hurt, drifting through life. Then his journalistic senses begin to come alive as he starts to get the hints of stories: not sports stories, but crime and current events, with a hint of politics. What is the real story behind a body found in strange circumances near the beach front? Is the rumor of a police raid on a suburban house really connected to drug cartels? Who is the colorful character Devon (Devo) that appears to be making a splash in town, at least according to the bar scuttlebutt? All these questions seem to draw together, but only more questions emerge. Soon Russell and his friend, Johnny Miles, will become caught up in an adventure where mystery and uncertainty abounds. How will ordinary citizens survive, let alone take action in a world of gangs, police and government? Seve Verdad's Finding Devo: A Novel Adventure is a story of mystery and action which will intrigue and excite the reader as they follow Russell and Johnny in their desperate attempt to escape disaster.

Verdad writings well and he lifts his prose with colorful phrases, giving interesting atmospheric descriptions and character details. Describing Devo, for example, Verdad writes: "But he is smooth." Smooth as a pythons belly. "Smooth as a razor blade, a bullet, a warhead" (Ch. 83). Much of the book varies between chapters in first person narrative, giving Russell's point of view, and chapters in third person narrative, giving the perspective of various other characters. This change in perspective works well to keep the story complex and interesting. The text contains quite a liberal scattering of Mexican Spanish. Sometimes an English translation is given and sometimes not. The lack of translation is at first annoying, but the reader soon notices that these phrases are not of critical importance to the plot. The book can certainly be enjoyed without knowledge of Spanish. There is occasional offensive language, both in English and Spanish, but probably less than occurs in most people's common language. Only the most conservative will be offended. Occasional there are nice hints of irony. For example Joaquín 'Garras' de Jesús, a brutal federal agent, is depicted "imagining his garras [claws] wrapped around the necks of those who might be liable for such a barbaric massacre" (Ch. 48). Who is the barbarian we wonder? Similarly there is a nice contrast between Garras meditating in order to concentrate his powers of destruction (Ch. 48) and Russell meditating in order to survive pain (Ch. 50). As a point of criticism it should be noted that the first half of the book is, in sections, a bit too wordy. The party which Russell attends gets quite a few chapters allocated to it even though it is just one night. Similarly the revelations from the computer disk, which the police find, go on chapter after chapter, even though we quickly get the basic idea of ​​what they are saying and their relevance. Also the bomb explosion gets several chapters, each one from a different character's perspective, even though the basic response of all is shock. These sections could have been condensed to make the plot move at a swifter pace. After Chapter 50, however, the book really takes off and never slows until the very finish. This point should not be overemphasized. It would be wrong to say that the first half of the book is boring: it is just a little slow in some sections.

The novel is divided into three parts. Book I Fiesta (Ch. 1-28) gives an overview of the circumstances in all its many complications, introducing the reader to the book's many main characters. This section is characterized by questions and mystery. Book II Rain (Ch. 29 – 83) is a narration of disaster, then capture and escape. It begins slowly but escalates midway into a high action and adventure narration. Book III Camacho (Ch. 84 – 114) is a further story of escape in which questions are answered and resolution is given. It should be noted, however, that even at the end of the book there are still some open questions, and indeed the reader wonders if Verdad plans a sequel. This is not a book where everything is tied up neatly.

The characters are nicely drawn and we immediately relate to them as real people. We like Russell because of his inquisitiveness and initiative. His background in sports makes him appealing to male readers. His grief over Rosalita's death shows him to be a man of some feeling, beyond his All-American bravado. But as the plot progresses the reader begins to see some of Russell's failures. He is "egotistical" (Ch. 51) and "rash" (Ch.7). Also as we read further Russell evolves from an 'ordinary' man to one who deals decisively, if perhaps extremely, with extraordinary circumstances. Devo, by contrast, remains through almost all the book a man of mystery. He is rumored to be a "pot grouper" (Prologue), but we never quite find out how he gets his money. He is differently a "psycho" (Prologue), a "wildcard" (Ch. 52) or just a good guy engaged in "shenanigans" (Prologue). Devo is quite a performer who carries off actions in which he appears to change height, change age, and even flawlessly change his voice. He performances slight-of-hand (Ch. 25 & 72) and indeed Verdad manages to make Devo seem almost mystical and magical. Devo of course has his limits. At one point he comments "I do not know everthin '" (Ch. 50), but he is certainly no' ordinary 'man. By keeping this character an enigma Verdad instills in the readers a sense of intrigue which keeps him reading. The book has quite a host of other characters which Verdad also successfully draws. He even manages to sum up quite minor characters in just a few words. Teachers' union leader, Teodoro Viareal, for example, is described as having "the voice of an excitable Chihuahua" (Ch.7).

Ambiguity is one of the novel's chief themes. As has just been noted Devo is a man of mystery. We do not know exactly how to place him. He could be a hero, but seen from other angles he is quite villainous. Moral and political ambiguities are at a premium in the book. Actions, circumstances and perspectives are described as having both good and bad points. Government officials fight for good, against terrorism, yet they are themselves corrupt and inept. Capitalism, Marxism and Anarchism are all made understandable, being both praised and criticized. Verdad constantly poses the reader questions which are not easy to answer. This is not a novel which teaches a 'correct' perspective: rather it opens up complexity. Indeed is not the world just that: complex. Are not different people, with different perspectives, able to interpret the same event in very different ways with very different conclusions?

Corruption is itself so central to this book that it must be considered as a theme in itself. Vice impairs the function of institutions which could work to the good. We all say about our little misdemeanors that 'it does not matter'. We even say our 'shadiness' gives us 'character'. But when our dishonesty ends in real trouble we are left embarrassed, and even ashamed of our actions. We immediately seek to emphasize what little good we can salvage and hide the bad.

The individual is a third important theme. We are single units, yet we are also in systems. Do our actions count or is the weight of the system too much for us to make a difference? The individual struggles for survival, and yet so much that happens is a result of external circumstances which we can not control. As single people we have a certain ignorance of the system and even naivety. Yet also as individuals we have our own talents which we can use to direct our future, and even contribute to the bigger picture. Are we better off in a system or purely as individuals, or is a mix better? Is anything other than a mix even possible?

Verdad's novel is very much set in a male world of macho toughness and competition and so there are a scattering of anti-female descriptions. Russell observes "a pair of bubble head dolls" (Ch.2). Police Lieutenant Benito Cuevas Romero thinks "Why stand women at all, but for one thing …?" (Ch. 8). Women are reduced to body parts: "… breasts – important assets for a girl" (Ch. 7). Gloria Infante Velázquez, however, stands out as a major female character who is capable, successful and dynamic. Her husband would not be a successful mayor without her help, and he is completely guided by her strong political sense. Indeed Gloria, if she had chosen so, "may have become mayor of Puerto Vallarta herself, or perhaps Guadalajara, her home town …" (Ch.5). Certainly Gloria has her failures, as any person does. She is driven by power, money and prestige. In the middle of one of her business negotiations we read: "Her eyes had darkened, become bland, almost dead. Shark eyes' (Ch. 7) But Gloria regrets her part in the major disaster that occurs. of "guilt" (Ch. 43) and immediately sets about devoting all her energies to set things right. When attacked by corrupt policemen Brenda, Russell's new love interest, fights like a "wildcat" (Ch. 60) and her sister Araceli joins the fight by hurling a baseball at the attackers. "Feminist readers will be glad to find that, in this novel, women are not meekly subordinate adjuncts to men, but rather dynamic persons in their own right.

As has just been noted Finding Devo is, at least on the surface, a world of male machoism in line with 1950's values. Both Russell and Johnny live for sports, womanizing, drinking, cockfights and have dabbled in law breaking (minor for Russell's part and major for Johnny's part). This comfortably male dominant world, however, is very much undercut when both men find themselves in real trouble. Suddenly Russell and Johnny are victims who need to be rescued. Their bravado wears as thin as they find themselves in waters way beyond their depth. Certainly it is a male who'aves' them and certainly they are not completely helpless themselves, but the brash American male image takes a beating. Quite a number of other male characters in positions of power are also undercut. Their confident acceptance of corruption in various forms, as a bonus of their 'tough-guy' power, leads to their downfall and ineffectiveness. Devo, as has been noted, remains an enigma. He is certainly a 'tough-guy' hero, but we never quite know how to take him. Is he to be invited or viewed with some doubt? He 'pulls the strings', but to what end? Rather than the traditional 1950's 'super-hero' we have an ambiguous magician who even at the end leaves us with questions. How much should we admire him? Devo has intelligence, skill and charisma, but is hardly a New Age man of feeling. Russell by contrast gains positive re-connection with his emotions and is able to associate with others in a mature way.

The indigenous people of Mexico are represented in the text, though not always in a positive light. Those people in power in the novel do not view the Indians favorably. They are described as "naco" a "pejorative word often used in Mexican Spanish to describe the bad-mannered and poorly educated people of lower social classes" (Wikipedia. Naco (slang) ). As early as Chapter 1 we read: "They have no respect. Better to send them all north. Let the gringos deal with them, fill their jails with them" (Ch. 1). But the Anarchist Carlos Mansalva (Manco) takes up the cause for the Indians. We read "The entire continent belongs to us, those of Indigenous blood" (Ch.8). Further we read of "Zapatistas" (Ch. 5 and following) the politically left Indigenous Mexican movement. The indigenous are mentioned as demonstrating for their rights (Ch.7). Indigenous people are represented chiefly by two characters: Javier Menticlaro and Paulo Pepino Revueltas (Chimp). Javier is an influential Zapatista leader, though he could be viewed as a 'bad' character. Similar Chimp holds the disputed occupation of police officer, but is certainly not represented positively. It must be remembered that ambiguity is strong in the novel and so both the good and the bad of indigenous people is discussed. Javier is a particularly ambiguous character. We can understand him as an indigenous person, but do not need to agree with his actions.

In turn with the macho atmosphere of the book LBTIQ characters are absent. There are indeed a couple of anti-Queer comments made in Chapter 2. Perhaps one positive character could have been included in the party, at the beginning of the book, and we know that police are not exclusively heterosexual. In an novel which so confirms ambiguity, and which asks so many questions, it is perhaps a missed opportunity that LGBTIQ characters were passing over.

The Aged, a much ignored group, are also absent. They may have been inappropriate in the heavy partying, high action world of the novel.

As has been mentioned ambiguity is prevalent in this novel and peaks when it is viewed from the Marxist / Capitalist debate. The Capitalist US is viewed as a very safe place compared to the Socialist Mexico, yet the Capitalist desire for money and prestige is a very major contributing factor in the crisis of the novel. Indeed Gloria's Capitalist ventures end in defeat, not triumph. But similarly Marxism is represented as being falsely hollow. Media Minister Lazarito Charlado is an appointe of the Socialist Reform Party, but is interested in the "advance … [of his] … fortunes" (Ch. 3), that is, in the personal moneys he can amass and the power and prestige he can gain. Even more the Socialist influenced Zapatista movement is portrayed as violent and aggressive. At the heart of both Capitalism and Marxism corruption can lead to a political culture where power, authority and jurisdiction are under. Anarchism, a political ideology more left than Marxism, is partially represented in the text by the activist Carlos Mansalva (Manco). Manco makes quite good arguments against Capitalism and for the advancement of the indigenous Mexican people, but he has quite violent tendencies. Even more Maco is depressed as being falsely hollow, like Lazarito, being motivated by the large amounts of money he can earn for his dubious dealings with Chimp (Ch. 58). Despite this criticism, though, Anarchism has a dominant place in the novel. The actions of private citizens are seen as being more effective than those of organizations. But can even individuals be trusted to act for the 'good'? The questions abound.

Finding Devo is very much a postmodern novel in the sense that there are no hard edges or categories anywhere. As Brenda observes: "People are brutal, Russell. The whole lot of us" (Ch. 18). Even the 'good' are capable of doing 'bad' given the right circumstances, and indeed what is good and what is bad depends on the observer's perspective. Even the 'bad' character Masked Apocalypse, who by his nom de plume is associated with the devil, is given human motivation.

Verdad has written an action adventure, rather than a more poetic book, and so there is not much imagination and symbolism in it. There are, however, a few elements of the symbolic. Devo's nickname hints at the word devolution, suggesting escape from a system, but once again questions, rather than answers, arise. Which system is being escaped from? Is it good or bad, or sometimes both, to escape a system? Is to devolve to go backwards, or is there still a creative forwards motion in it? Where exactly is Devo taking Russell? Similarly, through much of the novel unusual weather hangs over Puerto Vallarta. Light rain hangs over the city like a "mist" (Ch. 60) obscuring the view, making people feel slowly at odds. This is symbolic of the crisis of the novel where for most of the characters, the action remains a mystery. Confusion abounds and truth is obscured. People think they have the answer, but are deluded.

Looking deeper into symbolism and myth it should be noted that Devo is a magician. He uses metaphoric smoke and mirrors to trick, to obscure, when it suits him. We never quite know where exactly he stands. He uses electronic 'trickery' to help him pull off his 'secret agent' stunts. This element of the novel draws upon the cultural mythology represented by the Tarot card The Magician. Sally Annett and Rowena Shepherd observant that this card implies both "rules … [and] .. cheating" ( The Atavist Tarot : __ London: Quantum, c2003, p. 47), and both Arthur Edward Waite ( The Pictorial Key To The Tarot : __ Stamford, CT: US Games Systems, c1971, p. 72) and Giordano Berti and Tiberio Gonard ( Tarot Of The New Vision : __ Torino, Italy: Lo Scarabeo, c2005, p. 19) note that the card implies both virtue and trickery. Indeed going further Annette and Shepherd note that, when thinking of the card, "we must be aware that man's ability to manipulate the elements can be used for evil as well as good" ( Atavist Tarot , p. 49). Berti and Gonard particularly emphasize that "ambiguity" ( New Vision , p. 19) is the key to the card, and as has been noted this is a major theme in the novel. Where exactly does Devo stand in the novel? Is he a force for evil or good? Karen Hamaker-Zondag notes of the card: "He has a vision or ideal to which he is devoted, and on which he expends his energies. […] Here the Magician possesses both flexibility and courage, and his vitality makes him want to do something worthwhile. " ( Tarot As A Way Of Life: A Jungian Approach To The Tarot : __ York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1997, p. 132) Devo is certainly heroic and his mind and actions are definitely set on a particular problem or project. Sallie Nichols writes: "The Magician will include us in his plans. He welcomes us on stage as his accomplice. ( Jung And Tarot: An Archetypal Journey : __ York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weisner, 1980, p. 46) Russell and Johnny certainly became catechized in Devo's plans and in a sense he needs them to work his magic.

Seve Verdad's Finding Devo is an exciting adventure / mystery novel with interesting characterization and generally good writing style. The plot revolves around the main themes of ambiguity, corruption and the individual. There is a fairly strong political emphasis, although no one system is favored as being 'right'. Men and women are depicted realistically, and in terms that would have been positively viewed by those interested in modern Gender Studies. Indigenous Mexicans are dictated, partly favorably, partly unfavorably. At 565 pages the novel is probably not a weekend read, although it can certainly be read enjoyably over a longer period of time. I am happy to rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars.


Annett, Sally, and Shepherd, Rowena. The Atavist Tarot : __ London: Quantum, c2003.

Berti, Giordano and Gonard, Tiberio. Tarot Of The New Vision : __ Torino, Italy: Lo Scarabeo, c2005.

Hamaker-Zondag. Karen. Tarot As A Way Of Life: A Jungian Approach To The Tarot : __ York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1997.

Nichols, Sallie. Jung And Tarot: An Archetypal Journey : __ York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weisner, 1980.

Verdad, Seve. Finding Devo: A Novel Adventure : __ Encino, CA: Devo's Diversiones, c2011.

Waite, Arthur Edward. The Pictorial Key To The Tarot : __ Stamford, CT: US Games Systems, c1971.

Wikipedia. Naco (slang) : __ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naco_ (slang).

Best Night Cream for Aging Skin – Part and Parcel of Healthy Skin!

What do you think the best night cream for aging skin can do to maintain a healthy skin and body?

Do you really believe that a night cream can give a permanent solution to almost all your skin problems?

Do you know how the skin works during the night?

If you are worried about the fine lines, wrinkles and other aging signs on your face, you are here at the right place to solve your issues. It is during the night when you are asleep the skin starts its function of rejuvenation and restoration process. During your young age, this process turns out to be a natural one that is more active and fast paced. As you add up on your age, you need external factors to boost the production to maintain your health and skin. This is where the best night cream for aging skin can work out wonders!

With the best and natural night cream you tend to work on the structural proteins and fatty acids building them up and repairing them to be as precise as they were years ago. This will turn to produce more protein complexes like collagen, elastin and Hyaluronic acid so making your skin smoother, shiny, glowing, radiant and young forever!

For years the skin is concrete to pollution, dust, environment factors and other ways to make it rough and dull. The best night cream for aging skin works wonder on your skin at night replenish it to its natural oils and making it smooth and supple.

Picking out any night cream will do nothing for your skin as it is sure that jar will be just packed with chemicals that can do more harm on the long run rather than building up those dead and ruptured cells. Therefore, it is very important to pick out the product carefully having emollients and plant oils like the wheat germ oil, avocado oil, olive oil etc. Apart from the important proteins, enzymes, minerals and vitamins. This is because; these have smaller molecular mass that aids in easier penetration deep into the skin layers giving enough nourishment to the faded and tired cells underneath.

Some of the bio-active extracts that have been proven to work good on your skin in the cellular level include Active Manuka honey, babbasu, avocado oil, natural vitamin E, Phytessence Wakame, Cynergy TK and shea butter. Get trusted with the best night cream for aging skin having these special and natural ingredients that will give long lasting protection for your skin!

Vitamins, Minerals and Overall Health – Part 1

Everyone is well aware that a well balanced diet can provide them with they should be taking multivitamin / mineral supplement, but not many fully understand why. The minerals in your food are obtained from minerals in the soil, but if the soil is depleted there will be little to no minerals in the soil. Vitamins are formed naturally in plants, but no one food has all the vitamins you require on a daily basis. Everyone should take a supplement to fill in the gaps, and to promote health and vitality. However, not all supplements are created equal, and many forms of minerals and vitamins may not be absorbed. We will begin with the vitamins and their essential roles in human health.

Vitamins are classified into one of two groups, fat-soluble or water- soluble, and the group a vitamin belongs to is determined by how the vitamin is absorbed. How each vitamin is absorbed is complex, but can be simplified. If absorbed directly through the intestinal lumen into the blood stream, the vitamin is classified as water-soluble. If absorbed along with dietary fat, and transported to the liver before entering the bloodstream, the vitamin is considered fat-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins can only enter the bloodstream via the lymphatic system. Vitamins are responsible for hormone production and regulation, cellular functions, and overall homoeostasis of the body. Each vitamin has a specific function in the body and if the vitamin is absent, an individual can become ill, and possibly even die.

Water soluble vitamins are more numerous than their fat-soluble counterparts and include vitamin C and the many different types of vitamin B. Many water-soluble vitamins are heat-sensitive, and can be destroyed by cooking or processing, so eating fortified or raw foods is important to getting enough of these vitamins.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is the most well known vitamin and obtained from many fruits and vegetables, such as berries, citrus fruit, and brassica vegetables. Ascorbic acid is easily absorbed into the bloodstream and utilized by the body, so is a highly bio-available vitamin. Vitamin C is important in collagen production and rejuvenation, keeping skin and tissues healthy, metabolism of proteins and fats, and is a potent anti-oxidant. An adult should get at least 60mg a day to prevent deficiency, which can lead to a disease known as scurvy.

Vitamin B has many different forms, each with a specific yet vital function in the human body. Vitamins B1, B2, and B3, also known as thiamin, riboflavin and niacin respectively, each play a specific but functionally different role in glucose metabolism and cellular energy production. Thiamin is found in low concentrations in many foods, and fortified in milk, milk alternatives and cereal grain products. Beri beri is the disease caused by thiamin deficiency, and can cause edema, and / or mental and cardiovascular problems. The average adult should consume 1.3mg of thiamin daily to prevent deficiency. Riboflavin has an additional function as B6 that can not be converted into a useable form without the presence of riboflavin. Riboflavin is present in milk and milk alternatives, liver and meat, and fortified grain flour. 1.6mg of riboflavin is required daily to prevent deficiency symptoms. Riboflavin deficiency is not fatal but can cause skin problems, such as lesions and dermatitis. Niacin is available as nicotinic acid or nicotinamide, the common supplement form being nicotinic acid. Aside from niacin's metabolic role, niacin can have a positive impact on overall cardiovascular disease and has been shown to lower blood pressure. Tryptophan, an amino acid, is converted to niacin, so the daily intake is expressed as niacin equivalents, or NE, and 1NE of niacin is roughly equivalent to 60mg of tryptophan. Tryptophan can be found in all protein sources. Taking a high dose of niacin can cause an event known as a niacin flush, a reddening of the skin caused by blood vessel dilation just below the skin. Niacin deficiency causes a condition called pellagra, the symptoms progressing from dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and event death.

Vitamin B6 is a multifunctional vitamin, being utilized in many roles in the human body. The primary role of B6 is the breakdown of proteins into amino acids, which can affect niacin status as previously discussed. Vitamin B6 is essential to the human nervous system, as B6 is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, chemical signal hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine and epinephrine. Vitamin B6 is also involved in the production and regulation of steroid hormones. The process to convert glycogen to glucose occurs during fasting and strenuous exercise. Another important function of B6 is red blood cell formation, particularly the formation of heme, the oxygen carrying component of haemoglobin. Finally, B6 also plays a small role in immune function regulation, a process which is still under investigation. Vitamin B6 is found in many meats, grains, nuts, vegetables, and bananas, and the average adult requires 1.8mg a day to prevent becoming deficient. As vitamin B6 has many functions, being deficient has many symptoms, such as sleeplessness, dermatitis, irritability, and depression.

Folate, also called folacin and folic acid, is another vitamin with many functions throughout the body. Folate is critical to DNA and RNA synthesis and repair, required processes in every cell that actively divides, such as skin, blood cells, intestinal lumen, and sex cells, such as sperm. Folate is especially important to children and women attempting to get pregnant or are pregnant, as there are many repidly dividing cells in need of DNA and RNA. Deficiency during pregnancy leads to neural tube defect and can cause loss of life. Folic acid is the best absorbed and adults should get at least 220 mcg a day, more if trying to conceive. Symptoms of deficiency in adults include anemia, weakness and depression. A cobalamin deficiency may be masked by a folate deficiency because the same type of anemia is cause and separate testing must be used to determine the cause. Folate can be found in fruits, veggies, seeds, and legumes

The largest and most structurally complex B-vitamin is B12, or cobalamin. Cobalamin is the only vitamins to require a receptor, or 'helper', to be absorbed into the body. Due to the need for a receptor to be absorbed, cobalamin absorption can be inhibited by gastric disorders, such as pernicious anemia, colitis or atrophic gastritis. Cobalamin plays a role in metabolism, and neurological function, but the largest role fulfilled by cobalamin is the formation of red blood cells. The average adult requires 2mcg a day to avoid deficiency, and sources include meats, including fish and eggs, and some forms of algae. Cobalamin deficiency is characterized by memory loss, tiredness, weakness and dementia and can take up to 7 years to occur. A cobalamin deficiency can also be masked by a folate deficiency.

Biotin is a B-vitamin important to cellular growth and renewal, and cellular processes. Many enzymes are biotin-dependent and without biotin, cellular growth and renewal, and cellular functions would not occur. Biotin is found in many food sources, but is bound to a protein that inhibits its absorption. Pancreatic enzymes can remove the protein and allow biotin to be absorbed. Symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss, dermatitis, depression, lethargy and even hallucinations. To avoid deficiency, the average adult requirement for biotin is 30mcg a day.

Our final water-soluble vitamin is pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5. Pantothenic acid is very important in metabolism of carbohydrates and fatty acids, and is also very important to cellular energy production and the synthesis of cholesterol in the body. Pantothenic acid has been shown to aid in accelerated wound healing and even lowing cholesterol. Similar to biotin, pantothenic acid must be freed from a protein before it can be absorbed and used in the body. Pantothenic acid is widespread and found in meats, dairy, whole grains, and legumes, allowing the average adult to easily acquire 7mg a day. Deficiency is rare but presents as burning sensation in the extremities, known as Burning Feet Syndrome.

There are four vitamins considered fat-soluble; vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin A has several different forms and the compounds are known as retinoids. Retinyl ester is the form that is found in food and also stored in the liver. Foods rich in retinyl ester include fish, meat, dairy, and egg yolks. In plant food sources, compounds known as carotenoids supply retinyl ester. Carotenoids can be found in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, dark green vegetables and tomatoes. Once absorbed into the body, vitamin A is used for several functions. Retinal is the form of vitamin A responsible for vision and the ability to adjust to changes in brightness. Retinoic Acid is the form of vitamin A responsible for reproduction, growth, immune system function and cellular health. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a condition called Night Blindness, where vision recovers slowly after a bright flash of light. Night blindness is an early indicator of developing deficiency and continuing deprivation can lead to complete loss of vision. Deficiency also causes retarded growth, failure to reproduce and reduced immunity. As vitamin A is stored long-term in the body, toxicity can be caused by consuming too much of this vitamin. Excess can cause headache, vomiting, liver damage, hemorrhage, and even coma. Vitamin A is also a teratogenic, causing birth defect if too high in pregnant mothers. The recommended daily take for vitamin A is 600mcg a day for adults, 700 for pregnant mothers.

Vitamin D is synthesized in the presence of sunlight but is also available in fish and fortified milk and milk alternatives. As a multifunctional vitamin, an individual should make sure to consume the recommended 5mcg a day to maintain good health. Vitamin D has not toxicity linked to higher dosages and many now take up to five times the recommended take daily. Vitamin D is critical to calcium and phosphorus homoeostasis in the body by assisting the kidneys in recovering calcium and phosphorus if needed. Vitamin D aids in bone growth and maintenance, and ensured healthy bone density. Vitamin D is also shown to help regulate immune function and aid in disease prevention. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to improper bone formation in children, a condition known as Rickets, or loss of bone density in adulthood, a condition called osteoporosis. Both conditions are link to low dietary calcium and lack of physical activity.

Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, contributes in many roles in the body, the best known function being its potent anti-oxidant ability. This vitamin protects cells and molecules from oxidant damage that may cause harm to the body or inhibit the functions of cells. Vitamin E also contributes to gene expression and immune function, but most commonly scavenges for anything that may cause oxidative damage. Vitamin E can be found in seed oils, and some fruits, such as avocado and pumpkin and the average adult should consume 10mg a day.

Vitamin K is available in three forms for absorption; phylloquinone, menaquinone and menadione. Phylloquinone is the form found in plants, menadione is the synthetic form found in supplements, and menaquinone is the form made by intestinal bacteria, which is also the form used in the body. The first function of vitamin K is blood clotting. Vitamin K, along with calcium, is responsible for initiating the cascade to form a blood clot. Without vitamin K, an individual would not be able to stop blood flow if injured or if a blood vessel ruptures. Secondly, vitamin K is used to synthesize bone proteins and thus supports the growth and maintenance of bones. There are no toxic effects associated with vitamin K, but deficiency can cause hemorrhages. Infants are the most intolerable to deficiency as breast milk is low in vitamin K and intestinal bacterium are not yet established to make menaquinone. The daily take recommended for adults id 80mcg.

Many vitamins are essential to several functions in the human body. Minerals too have many functions and many vitamins reliably on minerals to carry out cellular functions. Part two will explore the use of minerals in the human body and identify the best sources of food.

Signs of Depression – What You Need to Look For

Unlike illnesses like measles or the common cold, someone suffering from depression rarely show physical changes that can be easily spotted. Instead it's their actions in everyday life that begin to change. Friends of the sufferer who do not know much about depression can interpret these changes as either nothing important, or worse, see them as a reason to no longer be friends with the sufferer. However once you know what to look for, depression can become obvious.

If a friend or family member begins to show several (not just one or two) of these symptoms for more than two weeks, it is possible that they are suffering from depression and need professional medical help.

1. The person has drastic change of appetite

Obviously if they are dieting this could explain the change. And other medical conditions can also trigger this symptom. But if someone who used to have a normal appetite suddenly starts gorging themselves (or eating almost nothing), and they have other symptoms on this list, it helps confirm a depression diagnosis.

2. The person has a sudden change in sleeping patterns

The classic sign of a sleeping change is a person staying it bed until after midday, but even a change to getting up really early in the morning can indicate depression.

3. The person suddenly loses interest in things and activities that they used to enjoy

Everyone's tastes and interests change over time. But when a person has been passionate about a hobby, club or regular activity for a long time then suddenly does not want anything to do with it, depression may be the cause.

4. There is energy loss and presence of fatigue

Someone who is depressed can feel constantly tired, like they do not have the energy to do anything – even if they have been sleeping and eating well.

5. The person loses hope

For someone with depression, there is never anything to hope for. They believe that bad things will always happen, and even if something good happens they will believe it's either not real, or something bad will follow very shortly to undo the good event.

6. The person has a "My life is passing by" feeling

Usually present with the loss of hope, the person begins to feel that their life is starting to unravel before their eyes, or that that no matter what they do they have no control over it. They may feel there is nothing they can do to change their life.

7. The person becomes indecisive

Someone who used to be confident in their decisions suddenly starts to second-guess themselves, becoming indecisive and not sure what decision they should make. Even something as minor as what they should eat becomes a big deal.

8. The person feels that they are unworthy

The person begins to feel that they have nothing to live for, or even that they are unworthy of being loved or appreciated. If left unchecked, this can sometimes progress into the next symptom.

9. The person is suicidal

This is a major and alarming sign that a person is depressed and medical help is needed. No matter what the situation (and even if they are not showing any other signs of depression), do not delay in getting the person help.

10. The person becomes mentally disturbed

People who know the person well will notice that their thoughts seem to totally change – they may start thinking about morbid things, or bizarre thoughts that they have never had before. In some cases, the person may even start hallucinating. This is another symptom where even if other signs of depression are not present, the person obviously needs help.

11. The person develops physical aches

For no obvious physical reason, the person starts to get aches or muscle pains in their body.

12. The person becomes antisocial

Someone who is depressed will often cut themselves off from friends and family, either making excuses about why they can not join gatherings, ignoring all calls or visits, or even promoting to meet up and then never showing. In some rare cases the person can exhibit the other extreme (they become afraid to be along and strive to always be with people, no matter how impractical).

Someone only having one or two of these symptoms is illegally to have depression. And many of these symptoms can be the result of other problems in the persons life. But when several signs are present, it is important to treat the problem seriously and try to get help for your friend or family member.

Are You a Victim of Anxiety and Stress?

Any situation that makes you feel angry, frustrated, or anxious will create stress. Since these are all emotional states, every individual will have a unique response to each situation. What gives you stress might have no effect on the next person. Anxiety is the emotional response to anything that creates fear or apprehension. Sometimes the cause of this fear is not identifiable and this increases the stress levels. Stress is actually a system booster as it causes people to face challenges and become more productive. However, that is only true when stress is supplied in low quantities. The body and mind can only handle so much and that is why excessive or consistent stress or a strong reaction to high stress is not good.

Constant stress will lead to anxiety disorders that often cause the person to resort to alcohol or other drugs that in turn lead to physical and psychological disorders like depression, heart disease, hypertension, and so on. Sometimes stress is also caused by other physical disorders like thyroid gland malfunction, low blood sugar, cardiac arrest and so on. Psychological conditions of depression and grief also increase stress. Anxiety and stress are interrelated. Each will magnify the other endlessly until something is done to break the cycle.

When anxiety and stress hit a certain level their effects will begin manifesting as physical symptoms of something going “wrong” with the body. During a panic attack the victim will exhibit symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, twitching, sweating, nausea, abdominal pains, palpitations, dizziness, hyperventilation, insomnia, and fatigue. Note that all these symptoms will not show up together or in every attack. Anxiety disorders are classified as psychiatric conditions like general anxiety disorder, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Certain prescription and recreational drugs also increase anxiety and stress either as side effects or as withdrawal symptoms. These include caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, decongestants, cold medicines, antidepressants, amphetamines, cocaine, diet pills, and thyroid medications.

Diets that are not providing the body with minimum quantity of essential nutrients will also elevate anxiety and stress. Deficiency in magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B-12 all contributes to anxiety and stress.

Performance anxiety is associated to some situations like job interviews, major examinations, or any kind of activity where results are very important and confidence is lacking. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs when the individual goes through a personal (assault, near death experience) or general trauma (like war or some natural disaster).

In order to lower anxiety and stress it is first important to identify the exact source that is contributing to their development. However, this is not so easy because in most cases there is no identifiable cause. A good way is to quiz yourself on your daily habits in the following manner.

* Are you always worrying? If yes, then what about? List all possible answers.

* Are you a compulsive thinker? Do you ever relax mentally? What do you think about?

* Is there anything (place, person, climate, situation) that always makes you feel depressed or sad?

Most of the time an open discussion with a trusted friend or relative will provide relief from anxiety and stress.

Combine that with a good diet, an exercise plan, regular hours, and meditation and relaxation techniques for complete freedom from anxiety and stress.

Seven Ways to a Better Night's Sleep

Insomnia, it is a dirty word. The results of it are poor concentration, lethargy, listlessness and lack of motivation and energy. There are many causes to sleep problems, but you can help get yourself back to a full night's sleep, and feel better and more energized in the process. Here are seven ways to improve your sleep.

1. Determine what kind of sleep issues you are having.
A sleep diary is invaluable in helping you get your sleep problems sorted. Are you having trouble getting to sleep? Are you waking frequently at night? How much caffeine or alcohol are you consuming? Did you have a stressful day? Keeping a sleep diary will help you determine and get to the bottom of your insomnia. You can take it to your doctor or health practitioner in order to help determine the best course of treatment for your sleep problems.

2. Get help from your doctor or health care practitioner.
You doctor can investigate with you a variety of ways to treat your sleep problems, and armed with your sleep diary, can be better prepared to decide a better course of treatment with your co-operation. You may also be referred to a sleep clinic, where you will either stay overnight for monitoring, or be assigned a special sleep monitor to use in your own home.

3. Try Complementary Therapies to Improve Your Sleep
With your doctor's knowledge (so that you do not get any medication interactions and side effects) you can go to a naturopath, who can help you get some natural treatments such as melatonin or a special herb mix to help you get to sleep. They can also prescribe you some relaxation therapy ideas, and help you to improve your sleep hygiene.

4. Engage in some relaxation before bed.
Christian meditation, or AM / PM PraiseMoves will help you relax before bed, and settle down for a better night's sleep. Meditation and PraiseMoves are renovated for their ability to help you relax, alleviate anxiety and feel soothed prior to going to bed for the night. Feel the tension dissolve away as you stretch and meditate to a relaxing DVD.

5. Clean up your bedroom.
Is your bedroom associated with stress? Do you have an overload of technology in your bedroom with flashing lights everywhere? LED lights have been shown to activate the serotonin production center in your brain, inhibiting the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and keeping you alert and awake. Ditch the technology out of your room, and do not do any work related activities in your room. Your bedroom should be associated with calm and peace.

6. Watch what you eat and drink, and kick bad habits to the gutter.
Excess caffeine will pump adrenalin through your body, and keep you on high alert. Many medical practitioners and naturopaths recommend you restrict the amount of caffeine you consume, to prevent you from being too anxiously prior to going to bed, and that being unable to fall sleep. Too much alcohol also affects the quality of your sleep in a negative way, so restrict or give away alcohol while you are trying to sort out your sleep problems. Nicotine also acts on the body to keep you awake, and affects your airway and breathing. Talk to your doctor about quitting cigarettes, so that you can improve your health generally, breathe easier and be able to sleep. Eat a nutritious diet with quality – plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean proteins and complex grains and carbohydrates – as recommended by nutritional councils. Improving the quality of your nutrition will help you lose weight, and reduce the side effects of obesity or excess weight on the quality of your sleep.

7. Create a sleep routine.
A relaxing routine, where you go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time, so your circadian rhythms stay steady is vital in maintaining good quality sleep. If you also have some relaxing bedtime rituals, such as a warm bath before bed, and doing some gentle stretches, having a warm beverage without any caffeine in it, and winding down for the evening will help your body prepare physiologically for sleep. If you're busy about anything, write it down, and set it aside. If you can not get to sleep, do something really repetitive and dull, such as ironing, until you feel sleepy again, and then go to sleep. It is also recommended that you do not catnap during the day for periods any longer than 20 minutes, as this will negatively affect your ability to get to sleep.

There are many ways to help work with your health practitioner to get the bottom of your insomnia. Managing your stress levels, gentle exercise, a clean and healthy diet and creating relaxing rituals before bed, and having a peaceful bedroom environment conducive to sleep will all help you regenerate that restorative night's sleep, and kick insomnia out of the bedroom for good.

Maintain Your Hair

An important part of looking good is maintaining your hair and your nails. After all, one would not want to be very well-dressed but have dirty nails and unkempt hair!

To get a really good haircut, one needs hair cutting scissors. These can be found at any store, and in hair cutting parlors. Sometimes they are also referred to as barbers scissors or hair cutting shears, or even barber shears. They are scissors which are specifically made for the purpose of cutting hair. When you go for a haircut, the hairdresser does not cut your hair with ordinary scissors, he uses hair cutting scissors for the optimal look.

The main factor about such scissors is their sharpness – scissors need to be sharp to cut and style the hair properly. The hair cutting scissors generally need to be razor-sharp in order to make sure that the hair can be cleanly cut – this will prevent any compressing or mangling. If the scissors are maintained well and kept clean, then there will be reduced incidence of split ends. So if you would like to keep nice hair, and are going for a haircut, make sure that the right hair cutting scissors are being used – which are good and sharp. You will see that some scissors are sharp, some are slightly less shaper, some are even curved, and left and right handed types are available. There is something to suit all purposes! Hair cutting scissors need to be sharpened regularly with a whetstone or any good quality professional sharpening service.

Sometimes, feathering razors are used in parlors – these serve the purpose of adding texture to a layered haircut. They can also reduce the weight from thick and heavy hair, and sometimes they are also used to soften the angles for bangs. Feathering razors are great for all sorts of haircuts – and if you have a layered haircut, then you can try feathering it to soften and accentuate your layers while at the same time maintaining its length.

As stated before, clean nails are an important part of hygiene and of looking good – just like a good haircut. That is why one needs to use cuticle nippers and nail and toe nippers. You can use these not just for home manicures and pedicures, but also just to spruce up your fingernails and toenails. Its basic hygiene, and also keeps your nails in tip-top shape! Cuticle nippers are quite similar to tweezers – but there is a cutting element, which comes in useful. They are helpful for areas that have thicker cuticles, or areas which have dead skin that can not be reached by the nail cutters. Nail and toe nippers are ideal for maintaining your fingernails and toenails. Ideally, it is sensible to soak your hands and feet in warm water first, this makes them easier to handle with the nippers. However, when using nippers of any kind, you should be careful as the blades are generally much sharper than regular nail cutters – so if you do not use them properly, then you could possibly get cut or injured.

Athlete's Foot

Do you have chronic itching or peeling on your feet, often between your toes? A diagnosis of athlete's foot is made by taking a scraping of skin and looking for fungus under a microscope. If nothing is seen, scrapings of skin are placed in a culture bottle to see if fungus grows. Drugs such as Lamisil or Nizoral usually will clear fungal infections of the skin without there is fungus in the nails. This can easily be the reason for repeating athlete's foot infections because the nails will not respond to topical drugs or the short course of oral medicine used to treat skin infections.

If you get recurring fungal skin infections and your toenails are thick, discolored yellow or white, and have debris underneath them, you will need to treat the toenail infection with Lamisil or Sporanox for 3 months to have any chance of curing the fungus problem. Also be aware that fungus loves dark, wet environments. If your feet are always sweaty, have your doctor prescribe Drysol to stop the sweating, and use anti-fungal powder in all of your shoes so that you do not reinfect yourself. Avoid going barefoot in public places where you may get reinfected.

If neither the microscopic nor culture reveal fungus, then your doctor must rule out eczema or psoriasis which cause thickening of skin. Some bacterial infections also can cause chronic peeling of the skin. These can be diagnosed with a black light or bacterial culture.

Note: My son, Dr. Gene S. Mirkin, DPM, contributed to this report. He practices podiatry in the same office building as my medical practice, Mirkin Medical Consultants, in Kensington, Maryland.

How Dirtyishes And Stale Bread Saved The World

Home Remedies – Facts or Quacks?

That's what I recently asked myself. Myths and legends often have their basis in a grain of truth. So I surprised if home remedies, alternative treatments, and folklore cures might also be based on truth. A little research provided some astounding results!

He Was No Martha Stewart

In fact, Alexander Fleming had no housekeeping skills whatsoever. During the early 1900s, Petri dishes, beakers, and test tubes were piled around his lab like dirty dishes in a bachelor's sink. That may be appropriate, because he was studying the growth of bacteria and molds. I'm sure he had no trouble getting either of those to grow in his lab. I'm not sure how he kept his experiences separate.

Cashing In On Some Bread

Fortunately, there was at least one experiment that got contaminated. He discovered that a mold growth called Penicillium (because the cells are pencil-shaped) had killed the bacteria he was culturing in one of his test dishes. The Penicillium mold is often found on bread. He was able to isolate the chemicals in the mold which killed the bacteria, which are now known as penicillins.

A Miracle Cure Is Born

The antibiotic effects of penicillin, and its cousin cephalosporin, proved to be a great aid to the medical community in fighting bacterial illnesses and diseases. Over the years these molecules have been enhanced to help them fight bacteria which had become resistant. Penicillin is still saving lives today, simply because Al Fleming was a slob. Thankfully, he was smart enough to notice his mistake and understand what it meant.

Eating moldy bread is not going to cure your illness. Instead, you might need a shot of penicillin to fight the effects of your ill-advised snack! In this case, however, this home remedy discovery is definitely a fact.

Vitamin A and Beta Carotene – What, How, When, Why to Supplement

Sources and Physiologic Functions:

Sources: Foods that are rich in vitamin A are milk, cheese, butter, eggs, liver, and such fish as herring, sardines, and tuna. The richest sources of vitamin A are the liver oils of shark, halibut, and polar bear. Rich sources of pre-vitamin A are spinach, carrots, papaya, oranges, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupes. Poor sources of vitamin A and pre-vitamin A are vegetable oils, white lard, white corn, cereals, beef, and legumes.

Food Source

Serving Size/Amt

International Units (IU)

Milk 2% 8 fl oz – 500IU; Cream Cheese 1oz 405IU; Cheddar Cheese 3.5 oz 1059IU; Egg (boiled) 1 medium 280IU; Egg (scrambled) 1 medium 416IU; Liver (beef braised) 3.5 oz 35679IU; Liver (veal braised) 3.5 oz 26883IU; Herring (raw) 3.o oz 80IU; Herring (kippered) 1 piece 51IU; Sardines (canned/oil) 2 pieces 54IU; Tuna (raw) 3.0 oz 50IU; Tuna (canned) 3.0 oz 16IU; Pre-Vitamin A (b-carotene) Spinach (boiled) ½ cup 7371IU; Spinach (raw) ½ cup 1880IU; Carrots (raw) 1 medium 2025IU; Carrots (boiled) ½ cup 19152IU; Papaya (raw) 1 medium 863IU; Oranges 1 fruit 240IU; Sweet potatoes (baked w/skin) 1 medium 24877IU; Sweet potatoes (boiled w/o skin) 1 medium 27969IU; Cantaloupes 1 cup 5158IU; Parsley ½ cup freeze dried 885IU

Biochemistry: Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin A is a collective term for retinal, retinol, retinoic acid, and b-carotene. The vitamin A in foods of animal origin, such as eggs, milk, butter, and liver, occurs largely in the form of retinyl esters. A retinyl ester is a molecule of retinol esterified with a molecule of a fatty acid, such as palmitic acid. The fatty acid is bound to the hydroxyl group of retinol. Plants do not contain vitamin A; however, some plants are rich sources of pre-vitamin A. Pre-vitamin A takes the form of a family of compounds called the carotenoids. More than 500 carotenoids occur in nature, though only about 50 of them can be used as precursors of vitamin A. The most important of these is all-trans-b-carotene. The prefix all-trans indicates that all of the double bonds are in the trans conformation rather than the cis conformation. Vegetables that are dark green, orange, and yellow are rich sources of the carotenoids. Other forms of pre-vitamin A are cryptoxanthine and a-carotene. Some carotenoids cannot be converted to vitamin A by mammals. These include lutein, lycopene, and canthaxanthine.

Vitamin A serves three classes of functions: support of epithelial cells (lungs and tracheal integrity), fetal growth and vitality of the testes, and utilization in the visual cycle. Dietary retinoic acid can support only the first function. Retinoic acid cannot be stored in the liver. Retinyl esters, retinol, and retinal are interconvertible. Retinal can be oxidized to form retinoic acid. All three functions of vitamin A can be supported by dietary retinyl esters, retinol, or retinal. Although these forms can be converted to retinoic acid, retinoic acid apparently cannot be reduced to form retinal. Dermatological problems like acne, psoriasis, Darier’s disease, and skin aging are effectively treated with retinoic acid and topical tretinoin.

Populations at risk: In the United States, patients suffering from chronic intestinal disease, malignancy, malaria, pneumonia, and anorexia nervosa are deficient in vitamin A. Requirement for this vitamin is increased in patients with appendectomy, burns, cirrhosis, and biliary obstruction. Stress can increase excretion. Zinc and protein deficiency can decrease transport. Premature infants and those suffering from cystic fibrosis and rheumatic fever are also at risk.

Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency: Night blindness is the earliest symptom.Severe vitamin A deficiency leads to xerophthalmia, which can result in corneal ulceration, Bitot’s spots, and blindness. Thickening of the bone, loss of lung elasticity, epithelial keratinization, impaired hearing, urinary calculi, and keratinization of salivary glands are also seen. In males, sperm production ceases. In females, fetuses are reabsorbed.


The hazards of excess vitamin A are well established with ingestion of excessive amounts of preformed vitamin A. Intake of 7,500-15,000 mg preformed retinal equivalents (RE) daily for periods of months to years can produce adverse effects including liver toxicity and possible birth defects. Prolonged daily consumption of <7,500 RE (<25,000 IU) is considered safe in the age group of 18-54. For the liver, it had to be taken for 6 years to become toxic. There has been one report of toxicity for doses in ranges as low as 1,500 – 3,000 mgm (5000-10,000IU), but these results were not reproducible and are contrary to the vast majority of the medical literature. There is no evidence that supplements of 3,000 mg RE (10,000 IU) are harmful to normal adults, including pregnant women and the elderly.

There is no evidence that conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A contributes to vitamin A toxicity, even when beta-carotene is ingested in large amounts. The only consistent adverse effect of high beta-carotene intakes has been coloration of the skin related to hypercarotenemia. The possibility that beta-carotene causes lung cancer will be discussed later. A review of all published evidence on beta-carotene shows two studies, the ATBC trial and the CARET which suggest adverse effects. The rest of the evidence has shown beta-carotene to be safe.

Hypervitaminosis: Early signs of chronic hypervitaminosis are reflected in the skin, which becomes dry and pruritic, the liver, which becomes enlarged and cirrhotic, and in the nervous system, where a rise in intracranial tension mimics the symptoms of a brain tumor. Hypervitaminosis in pregnancy may cause congenital malformations like precocious skeletal growth and transient hydrocephalus. Anorexia, vomiting, loss of hair, nystagmus, gingivitis, glossitis, lymph node enlargement, and delayed clotting time are other symptoms. Isotretinoin is teratogenic and is absolutely contra-indicated in women with childbearing potential unless they have unresponsive, disfiguring acne. Hyperlipidemia occurs with prolonged use of isotretinoin. Hypervitaminosis can lead to vitamin neurotoxic effects. Closely related to the neurological symptoms of hypervitaminosis are symptoms including headache, pseudotumor cerebri, and embryotoxic effects reported in patients given vitamin A analogs or retinoids. Because vitamin A and analogs enter the CNS better than most vitamins, and because retinoids have many effects on enzyme activity and gene expression, Vitamin A neurotoxicity is more likely than all other vitamins. Megadose vitamin therapy may cause injury that is confused with disease symptoms. A study showed that after 49 months of follow up, ingestion of retinol caused a 7% increase in alkaline phosphatase, 11% increase in triacylglycerol, 3% increase in cholesterol and 1% decrease in HDL. The participants were randomly assigned to receive retinol (7,576 retinol equivalents RE, or 25,000 IU) or a placebo daily. Because a 1% increase in cholesterol concentrations has been reported to be associated with a 2% increase in coronary artery disease risk, long term ingestion of 7,576 RE vitamin A should be considered with caution.

Consuming too much vitamin A could increase your risk of osteoporosis. Two studies showed that a daily vitamin A intake > 1.5 mg resulted in a 6% decrease in overall bone density and doubled the risk of hip fracture. Excess levels of this vitamin weaken bones by increasing its rate of resorption.


Vitamin A is essential for normal reproduction and development. Doses > 10,000 IU/d as supplements have been reported to cause malformations in a single epidemiologic study. Nonhuman primate data show no teratogenicity at doses of 30,000 IU/d. Because no study reports adverse effects of 10,000 IU/d preformed vitamin A supplements, and this dose is more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance during pregnancy (2670 IU or 800 RE/d), it is recommend that women living in industrialized countries or who otherwise have nutritionally adequate diets may not need to ingest more than the RDA of preformed vitamin A as supplements. If periconceptional vitamin A exposures to levels up to 30,000 IU/d (9,000 μg RE/d) do occur unintentionally, multiple animal studies do support only very low risk. Teratogenicity nor vitamin A toxicity has been observed in multiple species exposed to high doses of beta-carotene.

Elderly subjects

Elderly people who take vitamin A may be at increased risk for vitamin A overload. Greater fasting plasma retinyl esters were associated with long-term vitamin A supplement use (>5y) and biochemical evidence of liver damage. For supplemental vitamin intakes of 5,001-10,000 IU/d, elderly people showed a 2.5 fold increase in plasma retinyl esters over non-users, while there was a 1.5 fold increase for young adults.


Isozymes of alcohol and other dehydrogenases convert ethanol and retinol to their corresponding aldehydes in vitro. New pathways of retinol metabolism have been described in hepatic microsomes that involve, in part, cytochrome P450s. In view of these overlapping metabolic pathways, it is not surprising that multiple interactions between retinol, ethanol, and other drugs occur. Accordingly, prolonged use of alcohol, drugs, or both results not only in decreased dietary intake of retinoids and carotenoids, but also accelerates the breakdown of retinol through cross-induction of degradative enzymes. Depletion ensues with hepatic and extrahepatic pathology, including carcinogenesis and contribution to fetal defects. Correction of deficiency through vitamin A supplementation is recommended. It is complicated by the intrinsic hepatotoxicity of retinol, which is potentiated by concomitant alcohol consumption. Beta-carotene was considered innocuous until recently, when it was found to also interact with ethanol.The combination of beta-carotene with ethanol results in hepatotoxicity. Moreover, in smokers who also consume alcohol, beta-carotene supplementation promotes pulmonary cancer and possibly, cardiovascular complications. Thus, ethanol, while promoting a deficiency of vitamin A, also enhances its toxicity as well as that of beta-carotene. In drinkers this narrowing of the therapeutic window for retinol and beta-carotene must be taken into account when formulating treatments aimed at correcting vitamin A deficiency.

Vitamin A, as retinol or retinyl esters is used to treat deficient patients. The RDA for vitamin A is 1.0 mg of retinol or its equivalent. The international unit (IU) is used to compare the biological activities of various sources of vitamin A.


James Goodwin presents the case for carotenoids and cancer. He makes the argument that the most consistent relationship between antioxidants and cancer has been made for carotenoids to lung cancer risk. Studies have found an inverse association of lung cancer risk with the frequency of consumption of dark green and yellow vegetables. One study showed a significant decrease in the risk of lung cancer (especially squamous cell carcinoma) with higher intake of total vitamin A, especially from vegetable sources. In the Western Electric Study, the protective effect of carotenoids was found in men at all levels of cigarette smoking. A seven-fold risk of developing lung cancer was observed for those in the lowest quartile of carotene intake at baseline.

Some studies have been inconsistent about smoking status and the protective effect of beta-carotene on lung cancer. A study of supplementation with antioxidants, the ATBC Cancer Prevention study, found significantly more lung cancer cases in the smoking group receiving beta-carotene supplements. This was also found to be the case in the CARET trial of asbestos workers. They were using 20 mg/day and 30 mg/day in the ATBC and CARET trials respectively. On the other hand, there was evidence in the CARET that beta-carotene may reduce the risk of lung cancer in former smokers. In contrast to these trials, no increased risk was noted in the longer term PHS trial.

The effects of alcohol or high intakes of retinal on the liver have been proposed as explanations for the adverse findings in the CARET and ATBC trials. Data suggests that heavy concurrent smoking is a necessary condition for a promotional effect of beta-carotene. Former smokers whose tissues would theoretically have been subjected to the some mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of cigarette smoke show decreased, not increased, rates of lung cancer with beta-carotene treatment.

Studies have also been done that suggest a positive role of carotenoids for breast, esophageal, cervical, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer. In another study, people with low vitamin A intake who received vitamin A had approximately a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer, providing evidence for a protective effect due to vitamin A itself. Carotenoid consumption also appeared to decrease risk of bladder cancer for those < 65.[28] A nutrition study conducted in Linxian, China, showed that supplementation with retinol and zinc might protect against the development of gastric neoplasia.

Two trials have looked at supplementation with Cis-retinoic acid which prevented squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck in smokers, and beta-carotene which reversed the changes of oral leukoplakia.[28,29]Beta-carotene had an inverse relationship with the development of thyroid carcinoma.

Beta-carotene supplementation for 2 years produces neither benefit nor detriment in the prevention of cardiovascular disease or cancer in women. The authors explain that individuals with high intakes of fruits and vegetables containing beta-carotene experience lower risks of developing cancer.

Dr. Dutta reported that Barrett’s esophagus patients who take beta-carotene supplements apparently experience improvements that appear to be due to a hike in a protective protein called heat shock protein (HSP-70). In earlier studies, Dr. Dutta demonstrated that beta-carotene supplementation reduced the burning sensation that these patients experienced. Beta-carotene was also shown to inhibit cancer cells in vitro.


It was found that dietary carotenoids and long term vitamin C supplementation may decrease the risk of cataracts.


Lycopene occurs in tomatoes and tomato products. Protective effects of a lycopene-rich diet on some types of cancer were suggested. There are several mechanisms potentially underlying the protective effects of lycopene. Little is known about the metabolism of lycopene. Potentially biologically active oxidation products of lycopene have been identified in human plasma. Cooking is a factor in releasing the desirable antioxidants from tomatoes. Research in the field of nutrition and health has shown that monounsaturated oils such as olive oil or canola oil are most desirable in facilitating absorption of lycopene. A study showed that consumption of 70-75 mg/d of lycopene can increase plasma concentrations of lycopene necessary for enhancing human health.

Oxidative damage:

It was concluded that the consumption of tomato products may reduce the susceptibility of lymphocyte DNA to oxidative damage.

Prostate Cancer:

Tomato-based foods may be beneficial regarding prostate cancer risk. Intake of lycopene was inversely associated with risk of prostate cancer and advanced prostate cancers. Some observational studies found no beneficial effect of lycopene on prostate cancer risk.

Other cancers:

Studies showed a pattern of protection against all cancers. The beneficial effect of raw tomatoes in this population may be due to the fact that they constitute perhaps the most specific feature of the Mediterranean diet. Other animal studies have found beneficial effects of lycopene in lung neoplasia and bladder cancer.

Age-related macular degeneration:

Lycopene may be beneficial in age-related macular degeneration and cataracts

Diabetes Mellitus Type-2

Increased free radical activity and high lipid oxidation impair glucose disposal in the peripheral tissues and exacerbate diabetic complications. Because of its extended system of conjugated double bonds, beta-carotene can scavenge peroxyl radicals and exert strong antioxidant activity, suggesting a protective effect against the development of type 2 DM. Several studies show that increased intake of vegetables that are rich in carotenoids lowers risk of type 2 DM. Those assigned to a diet with more vegetables have a lower incidence of type 2 DM. It is possible that the reduction in risk with vegetables rich in carotenoids may be due not to their beta-carotene content rather than other nutrients in these foods. Supplementation with beta-carotene for an average of 12 years had no effect on the risk of type 2 DM. In a study of hemodialysis patients, risk of diabetes was inversely related to plasma beta-carotene concentration. In a study of serum beta-carotene and risk of type 2 DM, participants had a 55% lower risk of development of type 2 DM, but this association was greatly reduced after controlling for cardiovascular risk factors. Plasma levels of other carotenoids, such as lycopene and cryptoxanthin, also were found to be inversely related to glucose intolerance.

Plasma vitamin A levels in diabetics:

Patients affected by type 1 DM showed that plasma retinol is significantly decreased in younger insulin-dependent diabetic patients, while alpha-tocopherol is significantly altered in diabetic patients with nephropathy. Plasma retinal, or its ratio to cholesterol, were significantly and independently reduced in the younger subset of diabetics as compared to controls. In patients with type 2 DM showed similar results, while two other studies showed no evidence of deficiency of vitamin A in Type 2DM subjects.

Relation between dietary vitamin intake and resistance to insulin-mediated glucose disposal:

A study suggests that vitamin A intake is associated with enhanced insulin-mediated glucose disposal.


Beta-carotene supplementation had no significant impact upon melenoma risk in a trial. An overall 17% reduction in melanoma was observed among physicians randomized to 50 mg of beta-carotene, but was not statistically significant.

Nutritional Anemia in Pregnancy

Improvement in vitamin A status may contribute to the control of anemia in pregnancy. Vitamin A and iron supplementation was studied in anemic pregnant women. Maximum hemoglobin was achieved with both vitamin A and iron supplementation with one-third of the response attributable to vitamin A and two-thirds to iron. After supplementation, the proportion of women who became non-anemic was 35% in the vitamin-A-supplemented group, 68% in the iron-supplemented group, 97% in the group supplemented with both, and 16% in the placebo group.

Infectious diseases:

Trials showed that adequately supplying vitamin A, either through supplementation or adequate diet, had a major role in preventing morbidity and mortality in children in developing countries. In developed countries, vitamin A may also have a role in those with life threatening infections such as measles and those who may have a relative deficiency, such as premature infants.

Respiratory syncytial virus infection in children:

High dose vitamin A therapy is effective in reducing morbidity and mortality with measles infection. Children with acute respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection have low serum vitamin A concentrations. A trial of high dose vitamin A therapy among children 1 month to 6 years of age found no evidence of a beneficial effect of vitamin A for the treatment of RSV infection.[65] One study showed that treatment of previously healthy respiratory syncytial virus-infected infants at doses of 12,500-25,000IU is safe and well tolerated.

Crohn’s Disease:

Vitamin A therapy has been claimed to be of benefit to patients with Crohn’s disease. In one long-term study, vitamin A has shown no benefit to patients with Crohn’s disease who are in remission.

Summary Vitamin A and Carotenoids:

Vitamin A is essential for the support of the differentiation of epithelial cells and thus, maintains lung and tracheal integrity support and viability of the reproductive system and utilization in visual cycle. These three functions of vitamin A can be supported by dietary retinyl esters, retinal and retinal, but not retinoic acid. Vitamin A also stimulates immunity and is also essential for the formation of bone, protein, and growth hormone. Beta-carotene, the pre-vitamin form of vitamin A, acts as an antioxidant and also may enhance immune system functioning. Other members of the antioxidant carotene family include cryptoxanthine, a-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, and lycopene, most of which do not convert into significant amounts of vitamin A.

A number of claims have been made about the beneficial effects of vitamin A and the carotenoids, which includes: Night blindness; Retinopathy; Photosensitivity; Conjunctivitis and blepharitis; Macular degeneration; Cataract; Most infections; Urinary tract infection; Recurrent ear infection; Immune function; Minor injuries; Measles; HIV support; Crohn’s disease; Menorrhagia; Premenstrual syndrome; Abnormal pap smear; Peptic ulcer; Acne; and Alcohol withdrawal.

Night blindness is the earliest symptom of vitamin A deficiency, and vitamin A supplementation at this stage can help prevent development of xerophalmia, corneal ulceration, and blindness. Evidence exists in support of intake of vitamin A and carotenoids and decreased risk of cataracts. Vitamin A may prevent loss of lung elasticity, epithelial keratinization, salivary gland keratinization, urinary calculi, and impaired hearing. Dermatological problems like acne, psoriasis, Darier’s disease, and skin aging may also be treated effectively with retinoic acid and topical tretinoin. Improvement in vitamin A status may contribute to the control of anemia in pregnant women.

Evidence strongly suggests that higher intake of vitamin A, may significantly decrease the risk of lung cancer, especially squamous cell carcinoma. Low serum carotenoids were also found to be associated with a 200% increase risk of lung cancer. Studies suggest a positive role of carotenoids for breast, cervical, esophageal, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer. Vitamin A has shown a protective effect in the risk of breast cancer and may protect against the development of gastric neoplasia and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Carotenoid consumption has shown to decrease the risk of bladder cancer, and lycopene may reduce the susceptibility of lymphocyte DNA to oxidative damage. Supplementation with beta-carotene has shown inverse relationship with the development of thyroid cancer and also caused reversal of oral leukoplakia. Beta-carotene may also have a protective effect against the development of type 2 DM. A non-significant reduction in melanoma was observed with beta-carotene supplementation.

Populations who are prone to be deficient in this vitamin like patients with chronic intestinal diarrhea, malignancy, malaria, pneumonia, and anorexia nervosa should receive supplementation. As stress can increase the vitamin excretion, patients with appendectomy, burns, cirrhosis, and biliary obstruction may benefit from supplementation. Premature infants and those suffering from cystic fibrosis and rheumatic fever should receive vitamin A supplements.

Our recommendations for adults is 5000 IU/d of vitamin A with 100% beta-carotene. This amount can be obtained from approximately ¾ serving of boiled spinach, 2 ½ servings of raw carrots, 5 servings of raw papaya, and 1/5 serving of baked sweet potato. In general, a dose of <25000 IU is considered safe in the age group of 18-54. Beta-carotene is safe even when consumed in large amounts, and there is no evidence that conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A contributes to vitamin A toxicity.

Vitamin A in excess is hepatotoxic and neurotoxic. In pregnant woman, it may cause congenital malformations in developing fetus, like precocious skeletal development and transient hydrocephalus. Long-term ingestion may increase cholesterol concentrations and thus, increase the risk of coronary artery disease and should be considered with caution. Risk of osteoporosis and hip fractures is also increased with excess consumption.