Using Herbs Can Help You Lose Weight During Menopause

Herbs for weight loss are a common subject of discussion among women who are going through menopause. Weight gain is a real issue for many menopausal women. Changes in hormone levels can decrease energy, increase appetite, and contribute to water retention, all of which can lead to excess weight, particularly centered around the mid-section.

There are many different potential methods for addressing this weight gain, among them herbs for menopause. Which herbs are most effective is a matter of some debate, but there are a few that are generally believed to counter the symptoms of menopause and could be a positive factor in losing weight. As with any treatment plan, you should always consult with your doctor before taking herbs or herbal supplements.

Among the herbs for weight loss most often mentioned are dandelion, chasteberry, black currant and black cohosh. All of these herbs have been used for years to ease a variety of symptoms related to menopause and each can also be beneficial when it comes to losing weight. They should be taken in moderation and you should pay heed to the potential side effects they may cause.

Dandelion is a well-known and documented diuretic. Women in Europe have used it for generations to treat urinary tract infections. It is also among the many herbs for menopause weight loss because it helps to control water weight gain without flushing important nutrients from the system at the same time. Some people have experienced allergic reactions to dandelion, so some caution should be applied.

Since hormone imbalance is such a central part of menopause, the chasteberry is one of the most important herbs for weight loss as it directly affects hormone production. Chasteberry stimulates the production of progesterone, which can help to balance out the lack of estrogen during menopause. By balancing hormone levels, you can improve appetite and increase energy, all of which may make it easier to stick to a weight loss regimen.

As one of many herbs for menopause treatment, black currant is effective on two separate counts. Not only can it help regulate water weight gain, it also contains Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids, which are central to hormone production. By ensuring that you are getting the proper amount of these vital nutrients, you can help to ease side effects of hormone imbalance that lead to weight gain.

Black cohosh has been one of the more controversial herbs for weight loss, but it is proven to combat some of the symptoms of menopause that lead to weight gain. Things like depression, mood swings and fatigue may be alleviated by taking black cohosh, and easing these symptoms can lead to increased energy and a lessened tendency to overeat.

Of course, herbs to do not provide a cure-all for any problem, including losing weight. The best method for losing weight at any stage of your life remains eating a balanced diet and exercising. But during menopause, when it can be difficult for women to deal with the effects of hormonal changes, having a little natural boost may be just what the doctor ordered.

Common Household Items Can Be a Threat to Your Dog!

Even in the cleanest and seemingly safest house or apartment can lurk a health threat for your dog. There are many common household items that we all keep around, that can be a threat to your dog, either making it sick or causing death,

Did you know that an environmental toxin could be any substance that is outside of an animal’s body and if ingested or otherwise exposed to – can cause harmful biological change.

We live in a world that we are trying to turn “green,” and yet many of our homes are filled with things that can cause harm to our dogs.

Did you know that second hand cigarette smoke could cause cancer in dogs? Rotting food found in a garbage can has the potential of either causing an illness or a fatality.

The substances found in a home that can become a lethal threat are varied from insecticides and tainted water that pollutes the environment to a multitude of other things that seem small and insignificant.

This article I hope in some small way will open the readers eyes and possibly prevent a dog or some other pet from having to suffer an illness or die.

Dogs as you know, are one of the most curious of household pets, a monkey may have more curiosity, but when it comes to putting things into their mouths, I believe dogs have all other critters beat.

Since a dog does not have hands to figure things out with, its first choice is its mouth and whether it tastes good or not, into its mouth it goes. I have never read anywhere that dogs are gourmet eaters. It seems their philosophy is, if it fits it can be chewed and/or swallowed. The problem with this philosophy is that toxins in the objects can cause illness and/or the objects may cause serious obstructions within the dog’s body.

So what is a dog owner to do? First of all there are some simple rules to follow that will prevent some accidents from happening. Especially if you have a puppy or a dog that loves to chew, keep small things out of your dog’s reach. Things like small rubber balls, jewelry, medicine bottles of all kinds (glass or plastic), ant or mouse poison containers, household cleaners, live wires laying on the floor that can be chewed, containers holding insecticides, fertilizers, automobile liquids like antifreeze, power steering fluid and the like. Anything you do not think you would like to swallow, consider it a “no-no” for your dog.

There are many foods that can cause a toxic reaction in a dog:

– Alcohol -besides causing intoxication can cause a coma or even be fatal.

– Avocados – a fatty acid found in avocado leaves, fruit, seeds, and bark called ‘persin” can cause difficulty in breathing, abnormal fluid accumulations in the chest, abdomen and the sac around the heart.

– Chocolate – this and any chocolate related product such as cocoa powder, cocoa beans, cocoa mulch are very dangerous for dogs. These products contain caffeine and theobromine, both are nervous system stimulants and since dogs metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans it can cause a multitude of problems including death. Dark chocolate has the highest concentration.

– Coffee, tea and cola – contain caffeine and can cause a caffeine toxicity, plus tea and cola contain theobromine.

– Grapes and raisins – are highly toxic to dogs – we do not know the toxic component, but eating large amounts can cause kidney damage or failure.

– Macadamia nuts – another toxic mystery, but a dangerous food for dogs, it can cause depression, hyperthermia, weakness, muscular stiffness, tremors and increased heart rate.

– Mushrooms – contain toxins which can be fatal if eaten by a dog.

– Nutmeg – I did not know this would affect a dog, but it is on the list of very dangerous foods for dogs, and if a dog eats enough it can be fatal. I do not know what enough is – so keep it away from your dog.

– Onions and garlic – it is not known how large a quantity of onions or garlic need to be consumed by a dog (or cat), but they are considered dangerous because they contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can break apart red blood cells and cause anemia. According to what I have read consumed in large amounts can result in severe anemia and even death, if not treated by your veterinarian.

– Xylitol – this is a sugar substitute found in some gums and in sugar free candies that is extremely harmful to dogs. If a dog eats enough candy it can cause life-threatening low blood sugar, loss of coordination, depression, liver damage, collapse and seizures.

– Yeast Dough – rising yeast dough can cause gas to build up in a pet’s digestive system causing its stomach or intestines to rupture. Do not feed your dog any raw dough that has yeast in it. Once it is cooked a small amount of bread or rolls are okay for your pet.

Some plants are also very toxic to dogs. Puppies are usually the ones that are the most curious, but dogs that love to dig can run into problems, too.

The following plants in general, cause the same amount of problems and these are what the symptoms are: vomiting, diarrhea, depression, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, lethargy, drooling, tremors, seizures and upset stomach.

Amaryllis, Azaleas, Autumn Crocus. Christmas pine needles, Chrysanthemum, Cyclamen, Daffodils, some Ivies, Holly, Kalanchoe, and Lillies, Sago Palms, Oleander, Poinsettia, Tulip and Narcissus bulbs are the most common ones found in our gardens. However, the Caster Oil plant contains a highly toxic protein and one bean can kill a human and four beans can kill a horse, so I would rid my yard of such a plant just to be safe. If one bean can kill one of us, I would bet a serious chew by a puppy or dog could be lethal.

Also the new thing in the garden circle is the cocoa bean mulch that does smell like chocolate, dogs are attracted to it and will eat it. It can cause many problems including death, stick to our regular mulch to be on the safe side.

Do not let your dog swim in stagnant water or in any water that you are not certain if it is free from contamination.

Dogs are like children, they are very curious and are drawn to things because it smells good. If it smells good, it must taste good and that is where the problem lies.

All dogs are at risk when it comes to chewing or swallowing a toxic or obstructive object, especially old dogs, and young puppies. It is a good idea to “baby proof” your house by keeping things out of your dog’s reach and when outdoors, a watchful eye may prevent any mishaps.

Invest in an emergency first-aid kit for your dog. It should contain:

– a fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide (3%) to induce vomiting

– a turkey baster or large syringe to administer the peroxide into the dog’s mouth

– saline eye solution

– artificial tear gel to lubricate eyes after flushing

– forceps (tweezers) to remove stingers

– a muzzle to protect yourself against fear or excitement induced biting

– mild grease cutting dishwashing liquid for bathing skin after any contamination

– a can of your pet’s favorite wet food

– a pet carrier

Keep your vet’s phone number posted near your telephone and also keep the ASPCA Poison Control number listed 888-426-4435 (there is a charge for this service.) The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center Web Site has an alphabetical list of the most common plants, with information about their safety.

If at anytime you think your pet has ingested a toxic substance, call your vet at once. Time is of the essence and the life you save will be your pet’s.

Some Great Hospitals in Rome

Italy is an independent nation in southern Europe. Extending from the Alps to the blue waters of the Mediterranean, the nation is a boot shaped peninsula. Italy has been historically important since Roman times and millions of tourists are attracted each year to its art filled cities and ancient treasures. Healthcare in Italy is well-developed in its urban areas, though rural areas experience a shortage of medical facilities. Overall, Italy will soon become a name to be reckoned with in the field of medical services.

Rome is the capital of Italy and the seat of the supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. Rome is also the seat of a thriving film industry. The city has taken ample care to develop its medical framework to serve its residents as well as the tourists. The facilities are decent and tourists will not be left hanging in case of a medical emergency while on tour in Rome.

Most hospitals are private, but this does not necessarily mean that they offer better treatment than the public hospitals. The private are hugely comfortable, charge high rates and offer great quality beds and food compared to their public counterparts. In case you are an out-of-country visitor, it is advised that you approach the emergency wards of any hospital. You may also call the emergency services so that they can come for you in an ambulance at any hour of the day or night.

Some pharmacies stay open twenty-four hours while others have limited times of business. The pharmacies give out over the counter drugs or pills without much hassle, though it is advisable that you carry your medical history records or prescriptions with you, just as a precaution. Most hospitals have doctors and staff members who are fluent in English. The facilities are maintained according to high standards. The hospital food is of good quality and basically bread-based which appeals to American visitors.

Another appealing fact about the hospitals in Rome is that they charge very reasonable rates when compared to many facilities in US or Great Britain. The doctors and nurses are caring and will not release you till they can rest assured that you are one hundred percent all-right. Armed with the latest equipment and cutting edge medical technology, the best hospitals in Rome are Salvator Mundi International Hospital, the Rome American Hospital, Aurelia Hospital, Aventino Medical Group, Flaminio Health Center Grimaldi Medical Group, Studio Medico Internazionale, and International Medical Center. All of these hospitals also have English-speaking employees.

The Rome American Hospital: This is the most well-known hospital that Rome has to offer. The Rome American Hospital’s motto is the “Patient comes first”. Over 250 professional doctors, trained nurses manage this hospital that houses well-managed labs. It has 150 general beds and an extra 10 beds in the intensive care unit section. The Rome American hospital is most definitely the best in the business.

Aventino Medical Group: This group is a leading medical service provider. Its hospitals are all modern with quality equipment. The physicians and staff members are well-trained and dedicated to their trade. The hospital offers a number of specialties in the medical sector.

Aurelia Hospital: The Aurelia Hospital is another leading hospital in Rome that has been offering quality service for many years. It has an English-speaking staff and the doctors are trained to work according to international standards. With high quality facilities and a high-end campus, the Aurelia hospital is one center that tourists prefer.

Endangered Animals in SABAH BORNEO

Borneo, the land below the wind is very fortunate as it is richly blessed with some of the globes most amazing natural mixtures. The Bornean wilderness is known as one of the oldest tropical forests in the world. Unspoiled site, such as the Maliau Basin have not yet been fully explored, and many new researches find flora and fauna species which are unknown to Science. Data from Sabah’s state forestry department indicates that Sabah’s forest conceal about 3.59 million hectares and its formidable topography, rare habitats and climate, its relative isolation and the fact that even during the ice ages there was very little change have contributed to present’s biodiversity.

Out of these huge hectares, only approximately 910,914 hectares are considered a virgin forest. Therefore, roughly about 2.68 million hectares have been categorized as commercial forest, which means logging activities are allowed. For the past thirty years, Sabah’s amazing rainforest has much deteriorated which brings to an unfortunate side effect as vast tracks of the world’s rainforest have been used freely to develop the country. As of now, the remaining jungles are well protected, many of them in National Parks, but most of them are still easily accessible and with excellent infrastructure for travelers.

How does this affect the animals living in Borneo’s jungle you may inquire? Habitat loss, poaching for parts which is used in traditional medicine as well as pet trade are among the common key threats that led to a high percentage decline of wildlife population in the last three decades. Among the most endangered animals living in the Sabah forests are the Orangutan, Proboscis Monkeys, Pygmy Elephants, Bornean Rhinoceros and Sun Bear.

The Orangutan: The Orangutan is probably the best known primate in Borneo. It is native to Indonesia and Malaysia. Orangutans are currently found in only the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. In Sabah, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation is located approximately 25 kilometres west of Sandakan, which is the second largest city in Sabah, East Malaysia. This centre was opened in 1964 as the initial official orangutan rehabilitation project, which aims to rescue orphaned baby orangutans from the dangerous logging sites, plantations as well as illegal hunting by irresponsible individuals. These orphaned orangutans are trained to survive again in their natural habitat and will be released as soon as they are ready.

Proboscis Monkey: With its scientific name of (Nasalis larvatus), this animal is well-known for its long-nose. It is a reddish-brown arboreal Old World monkey that is endemic to the South East Asian Island of Borneo and can be found in all three nations that divide the island: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. It is most common in coastal areas and along rivers. This species is restricted to lowland habitats that may experience tides. Proboscis monkey also goes by the ‘Malay’ name of ‘Monyet Belanda’ (Dutch Monkey). Indonesians stated that the Dutch colonizers back in the days often had similarly large bellies and noses. To witness proboscis monkey in person, visitors can take a cruise along the Kinabatangan River, which is one of the most famous destinations within Sabah.

Pygmy Elephant: The Borneo elephant or also known as the Borneo pygmy elephant inhabits northeastern Borneo. Elephants are confined to the northern and northeastern parts of Borneo. In 1980s’s, there were two separate populations in Sabah ranging over the Tabin Wildlife Reserve and adjacent mostly logged forest on steep terrain; and in the hilly interior, which was largely untouched at the time. The main threats to the Pygmy Elephants today are habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, which are driven by an expanding human population. This led to growing conflicts between humans and elephants when elephants eat or trample crops. Expanding human development disrupts the elephant’s migration routes, depletes their food sources, and abolishes their natural habitat. In Sabah’s wild there are about 1,500 Borneo pygmy elephants left with a status that is rightly listed as endangered. In order to meet the Borneo Pygmy Elephant, a trip to the north and north-eastern parts of Sabah such as in Tabin, Lower and North Kinabatangan and Sabah’s central forests.

Bornean Rhinoceros: Early 20th century, Bornean Rhinoceros was extensive over Borneo Island. It suffered serious declination in distribution and numbers due to illegal hunting. By early 1980s, loss of forest habitat through conversion to permanent agriculture, specifically palm oil plantations had become another contribution to the threat towards this species. Habitat loss and illegal poaching continue to be the main threats to this species with creation of access roads deep into the rhino’s forest home which led to an influx of poachers. The Bornean rhinoceros, also known as hairy rhinoceros or Asian two-horned rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), is a rare member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses. It is the only extant species of the genus Dicerorhinus. It is the smallest rhinoceros, although it is still a huge mammal. The Lokkawi Wildlife Park (zoo) located in Lokkawi, Sabah approximately 20 minutes from Kota Kinabalu showcase Borneo Rhinos in hopes to bring exotic animals of Borneo to those who are on a short stay in Sabah or perhaps have no luck finding these animals in the wild.

Sun Bear: The sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) can be found in the tropical rainforest of Southeast Asia, ranging from northeastern India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam to southern Yunnan, a province in China, as well as on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. This species is classified as endangered by IUCN as the huge-scale deforestation that has occurred throughout the region over the past thirty years. It has radically reduced suitable habitat for the sun bear. It is alleged that the global population of sun bear has declined by more than 30% over the past three bear generations. Character wise, the sun bear’s fur is usually black, short and shiny with some under-wool and some of them are reddish or gray. It is a forest-dependent species and the amount of forest available reflects the space of habitat they have. For the past decades, the whole forested area across the region is worryingly declining, so, when the forest is gone, the bear will be as well. Sabah’s government is determined to increase the proportion of forest in the total land area to save the natural habitat of this endangered species. Visitors can get close to the world’s smallest bear at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre which is situated next to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation centre in Sandakan.

The Good, Bad And Ugly Of Ergogenic Aids

From young to old, from beginner to elite, and no matter what the sport, there’s little doubt that sports supplementation is one of the hottest topics of conversation among sportsmen and women. It’s not just the prospect of maximising athletic performance by simply swallowing a few pills or sports drinks that’s so tantalisingly attractive; there’s also the nagging fear that if you don’t indulge, you might be left trailing in your competitor’s wake as he or she takes full advantage of the huge range of products that now adorn the shelves of retailers. But what are the real benefits of using ergogenic aids, are there any drawbacks and where on earth should you start?

Supplementation – a thinking athlete’s guide to planning a program

Most athletes at some stage in their careers use one or more dietary supplements – after all, when you invest a great deal of time, effort and money in training to improve performance, the extra investment in a supplement program seems relatively small. However, the financial cost is perhaps the least important of the issues that needs to be considered before using supplements. Athletes need to think hard and exercise caution in order to reap potential benefits without the drawbacks. There are a number of fundamental questions relating to sports supplement use, including reasons for supplement use and where to begin. Others factors which need consideration include; the pros and cons of supplementation; the role of multi-nutrient supplements; the value of two of the most ergogenic supplements; the possible benefits of antioxidant nutrients.

‘Tuning up’ performance – music and video as ergogenic aids

Although you might think otherwise, not all ergogenic aids come from bottles or tubs! According to some sports psychologists, the right sounds and images at the right time are not only uplifting for the spirit, they also help you train and perform better, and can therefore also be thought of as ergogenic aids. In particular, new research suggests that listening to carefully selected music and watching personal motivational videos can be especially valuable for athletes seeking to boost performances both in training and competition Andy Lane. a sports psychologist who has carried out some research in the area of these new techniques, and explains how they can be assessed and suggests ways in which they can be incorporated into training. Some of his findings have include the following: music can be used to enhance emotions and emotions have a powerful ergogenic effect on performance and an athlete’s response to music is highly individualised but can be assessed using the ‘music mood regulation’ scale. It has also been said that music can be as an ergogenic aid, but what is this music/mood regulation scale, how can you determine what types of music are most likely to enhance performance and what are the techniques required for putting together your own music and video sequence?

Research Round-up The latest research on ergogenic aids, with new studies different ergogenic aids have included:

Creatine serum and running

In recent years, other more exotic and expensive forms of creatine have appeared, which claim to offer performance benefits over standard creatine. One of these is ‘creatine serum’, a liquid form of creatine that is claimed to offer a number of other advantages over powdered creatine. Californian researchers examined the effects of ingesting creatine serum on cross-country runners; their findings noted that runners taking the serum had significantly lower perceived rates of exertion and better endurance. However, there was no noticeable improvement in the 5000m run times of those taking the serum, which lead them to conclude that their findings did not support creatine serum as an ergogenic aid.

Phosphatidylserine as a future ergogenic aid for endurance athletes?

Phosphatidylserine is a naturally occurring lipid, which is located on the inner surface of cell membranes in most tissues of animals and plants, but according to new research by a team of Welsh scientists, it could also have the potential to enhance endurance capacity when taken as a supplement. The research team took two groups of male endurance cyslists and asked one to supplement with phosphatidylserine for 10 dryas and the other to take a placebo. After a series of tests and comparison they noticed a huge increase in time to exhaustion during the V02 max test, up to two minutes, which although is evidence of phosphatidylserine as an erogoenic supplement, this is the first test to have come to this conclusion so more research will need to be carried out for a conclusive result.

Aromatherapy- massage

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Many people turn to alternative medicine to create balance in body and soul, treating skin diseases Ahkooncionelit medicine they gave no answer, instilling peace, calm and relaxation.
One of the most important elements who provide a wide scope of problems is aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy treatment focuses on using olfactory smell through the healing process can happen.
The goal is to balance body and mind achieve a level of peace, aromas, rest, and relaxation.
Operator increases the smell the smell of lemon, for example metabolism increases the provision of the salivary gland.
The smell of rosemary and eucalyptus are working on the respiratory system problems such as colds, catarrh, asthma, muscle, glands, tissues and cells.
We smell triggers memory link us to people such emotions evokes the smell of food it can not ignore the smell is created through emotional response.
Smell allows us to experience the process here and now regardless of place and time.
Aromatherapy massage has a double impact:
Mental impact – massage breaks the cycle of pain and tension and relaxation helps to create white blood cells to download part of the patient’s defenses.
Brings a higher level of awareness and response to emotional triggers repressed memory and creates a better overall feeling that raises the level of energy and renewal of the forces of man and human contact and massage Hiunilnu especially in times of serious illnesses.
Physical effect – stimulates blood flow, lymph flow appeal, Ahahizon system strengthening, improving Hormanalit system function, lowers blood pressure, connects the organs, stimulates the nervous Ahssansiurim contact with the skin, improving the functioning of organs, reducing congestion and swelling, a scandal organs waste , pain relief, relieves joint pain, muscle pain, open block energy, balance mind and body.

Energy effect is particularly evident when the body by Cackerut relate.
 The word chakra comes the Indian language means – ‘circle’. Chakras are energy circuits in our bodies and they are scattered along the spine. Each circle circles chakras hormonal gland responsible for a nerve plexus in the body and the environment. There are seven main energy centers in the head and base end of the spine.
Aromatherapy massage is a regular massage is deep and slow massage for each patient (eg diabetes, epilepsy, pregnancy first trimester) aromatherapy massage goal is to treat a specific problem unlike the holistic Swedish massage or deep tissue muscle release in which the object or stress relief.
Aromatherapy Massage addresses a variety of problems from common skin problems like acne, skin irritation, pimples and to treat respiratory diseases such as asthma, colds, bronchitis.

Essential oils affect Aylnu through the nervous system, digestion, breathing they penetrate the blood, lymph and tissues of the body some of them contain vitamins.
Essential oils come from cells within 20 d Jack is in use and leave the body between three and four hours.
Essential oil is excreted through urine.
The aromatherapy massage is developed Yuri Margaret was a nurse after the death of her husband and son moved from Austria to France and investigated the essential oils.
Margaret Yuri conceived the idea to put Nip massage and taking orally.
Aromatherapy massage a healing start for fun, joy and acceptance.
Leading aromatherapy massage health massage name change correctly leading sites healthy sleep calm and relaxation Larngy cumulative positive approach balanced diet exercise strengthen the immune system to deal with stress and genetic and environmental Ulvsoch weak health and vitality result.
Aromatherapy Massage Oil is composed on the basis of almond or sesame oil combined with the compounds of the oils smell great sites by the smell will be in accordance incredibly patient speaks in this article already mentioned the impact of smell and memory.
 
Massage aromatherapy massage for back pain, stress relief massage, massage for strengthening the digestive system, strengthening the system Ahhormanalit massager, massager muscle pain, arthritis, strengthening a sense of sexuality in women after childbirth, for veins, the treatment of headache Abmgranut against mental or physical caused power base.
Aromatherapy massage helps various levels such as first Ahcacra (When they) Regulation of menstrual cycle, treat menstrual cramps and menopause treatments mainly depressed against the lack Abastoargan.
Very luxurious aromatherapy massage oils smell bone leading us to time travel and a sense of peace and tranquility.
Relaxing massage compound;
Took almond or sesame oil 30 ml
1 drop entertain
2 drops chamomile
2 drops geranium
1 drop mortars
2 Clary Sage
The compound is not suitable for high blood pressure, diabetes, epilepsy, two first trimester pregnancy
Aromatherapy massage will make Contra Aindakcia to fit the patient the right treatment as mentioned not everyone fits aromatherapy massage (if any diseases or other such disease tendencies)

Dear Readers: This article should not be a direct recommendation for a total area applied to prepare compounds for yourself because of the double effects of fat sites
Before each use, essential oil, obtain detailed instructions and under the supervision senior Marromatrafist

Discover the Truth of Carbohydrate Blockers

Starch or carbohydrate blockers have entered into the lucrative weight loss market which claims that they help you to lose weight and still enjoy your appealing starchy food such as potatoes, bread and pasta.

So, how does a carbohydrate blocker work? Starch blockers obstruct a certain amount of the carbohydrates from being digested. This decreases the ingestion of carbohydrate and calorie. Part of it’s makeup are bean and wheat germ extracts, more so from white kidney beans. The main active substance of carb blockers is phaseolamin. It is able to hinder alpha amylase, a digestive enzyme that converts carbohydrates. The immobilizing action of the phaseolamin leads many carbohydrates to pass undigested through the digestive system.

People with high metabolism find it easier to lose weight. Metabolism refers to your body’s process of ingesting, burning and eliminating the food you eat. If you have low metabolic rate, then you will store more fat. If this is your problem, then exercising regularly and controlling your diet will not help you to lose weight. One of the benefits of carb blockers is it’s ability to boost up your metabolic rate. With it, you will be able to shed off that weight.

There are still ongoing arguments whether these carb blockers really work. Studies by Mayo Clinic revealed that to decelerate the digestion of carbohydrate, you need between 4,000 to 6,000 mg of bean extract or phaseolamin. Unfortunately, many carb blockers in the market have lower than 4,000 mg of phaseolamin. In reality, a majority contain well below the recommended dosage which is a measly 500mg of white kidney bean extract. They also found that there is no sign of weight loss during the slowing down of the digestion of carbs.

The other reason why they don’t work is because all the clinical studies of phaseolamin are done in the laboratory. The real body has a digestive system with juices that breaks down the phaseolamin before it can function to neutralize the alpha amylase enzyme.

Pharmachem Laboratories learned from Mayo Clinic’s findings and went on to produce an improved phaseolamin variant. During the clinical tests, the new phaseolamin 2250 or Phase 2 shows that it can neutralizes more than 560 grams of dietary starch or 2,250 starch calories while the phaseolamin can only curb 30 and 45 grams of carbs. In addition, the digestive juices had no negative effect on the new 100% pure carb blocker.

So, are carbohydrate blockers for you? They may not be a major contributor to your weight loss program but they are nice to have around when you experience that occasional urge to eat your favorite carbohydrates, but remember to eat in moderate amounts. Now that you have a way to expand a little on your choice of food, you don’t feel so stressed out with a restrictive diet plan. Moreover, they can help you to stick longer with the diet program. If you are planning to take them to restrict carbohydrate digestion or to maintain your weight, do it before meals.

The Disease of Consumerism

Why the Majority of Americans are Sick and What You Can Do If You’re Ailing

Martine Osterhoff* is on her way to the mall for the fourth time this week. She’s going back to get shoes she saw earlier while shopping with her daughter. Martine admits she’ll have to use a credit card to buy the shoes, a card she’s already pushed to its limit, but as she tells her husband with a laugh, “I can’t help myself, it’s like a sickness with me.”

Martine’s problem is no laughing matter. She, like so many other Americans, is in the habit of getting what she wants, even if she doesn’t have the funds to cover her cravings. “With all the choices, I just get so caught up in the possibilities,” says Martine. “Besides, I work and pay for all my own things, so I feel like I’ve earned it.”

Gary Praxton* feels the same way. “Last year I spent $4,000 on electronic equipment for my home, simply ’cause I wanted it and I’ve earned it,” he says. “My wife was screaming at me by the end of the year, but even then I saw ads for a CD player I wanted for my office and snuck out to buy it.”

Martine and Gary are not alone in their relentless pursuit of clothes, electronics, music and other material goods.

The Disease of Consumerism:

Today’s product-oriented society screams at us for attention and demands that we buy. Americans have caved into the emotional media hype, becoming so accustomed to spending and borrowing in order to answer Consumerism’s siren call that they never question whether something should be purchased. Like Martine Osterhoff, they only ask themselves if there will be enough money to make the minimum monthly payment. Even if there aren’t enough funds, many Americans will buy a product anyway, driven to consume by a taskmaster of their own creation – one born of guilt, greed, pride, materialism, and expectation. We call this reckless spending the “Disease of Consumerism.”

This disease stems from a lack of respect towards money, a respect that’s been lost as a whole from our society since the ending of the Great Depression 60 years ago. The Depression taught people a profound respect for money and its power over life. It also taught them the importance of self-denial and the danger of over-indulgence. Unfortunately, as America came out of that great economic trial into the most prosperous time in all of history, it did not teach subsequent generations to fear and respect money as it ought. Instead, it taught its children to hold their hands out in expectation. Because of that, we now live in a time of great self-indulgence and very little financial self-control.

Today’s generation, instead of fearing that it will not have anything, fears it will not have everything.

Many people today spend money as a way to feel powerful and capable of meeting any and all desires. The Disease of Consumerism is apparent in our nation’s personal saving rate, which has hovered around a negative.02 percent in recent years!

If the Disease of Consumerism is making you sick, you can do something about it:

First, ask yourself if you may have a problem with excessive spending. Awareness is the first step.

Second, examine your feelings about spending money. Ask yourself why you need or want and item before you purchase it.

Third, begin to TRACK your spending. Examine your habits over the last 12 months by looking at receipts and other expense records. These will reveal your priorities and values. The experience will be highly emotional and may cause you to ask, “why did I spend money for that?”

Once you have a clearer picture of the way you feel about money and on what you like to spend, you are better prepared to make conscientious decisions about where money ought to be spent. Those sick with the Disease of Consumerism don’t feel the need to make a choice, but remember, you can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Health Benefits of Eating Eel

Eels may not appeal to you visually as they do look rather like black snakes, but they are nutritious, healthy, and taste very good – and you don’t have to take my word for that! I love them and I didn’t have to acquire a taste for them. I probably ate quite a few of the plastic cupfuls of jellied eels before I realized what I was eating. My grandfather adored them and that was good enough for me. They are a meaty fishy thing as far as texture goes, but as they were in a jelly, they were also slippery.

London’s East End is famous for its pie, mash and liquor, and its jellies or stewed eels. The working classes were eating them heartily in the 1800s and the tradition continues today. Tourists and locals alike can be found in the pie shops trying out the local ‘delicacies’ if you can call mashed potatoes and a meat pie covered in pea sauce which may have been made with the water leftover from cooking the eels.

Eels are good for you as they contain Omega-6 fatty acids, and so have all the benefits of other oily fish such as mackerel and salmon. They contain the minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, selenium (the feel good mineral as I like to think of it), manganese, zinc and iron. As for minerals they are a very good source of vitamins A and B12 and also a very good source of protein. They contain no carbohydrates, but have 18 amino acids and vitamins A, C, E (in the form of Alpha-Tocopherol) k, The B-complex vitamins, B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, B5, B12 and choline. This means that they are heart healthy, protect the central nervous system, help vision, promote hair growth and help rejuvenate the skin, and of course there’s selenium, good for the brain and a mood enhancer.

This year, the price of eels and elvers (baby eels) has sky-rocketed, partly because the populations in the Thames have decreased, and partly because people have woken up to the fact that eels are healthy and tasty too. In April 2012, American fishermen in Portland, Maine, were saying that a pound of eels could fetch more than $2,000. The season for elvers is short, being from February to May.

I will never forget the first time I saw these small, transparent, wriggling creatures crawling over the prawns and fish in Swansea market. I got over it though and ate them when we got home. You can still buy them there with the fresh cockles and laverbread (cooked seaweed). Jellied eels can be prepared at home, they are boiled in water and spices and the water is allowed to cool and then it becomes jelly as the eel is fatty, as I mentioned above. You can eat them hot or cold, and if you are in the East End of London, they will be served in a bowl, and you will be given them already chopped up as you traditionally eat them with a fork and spoon – no knife.

It seems as though they are not as cheap as they used to be- but they are just as tasty, so forget your prejudices and try them. They are good for you.

Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment for Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is a medical condition involving an abnormal dilatation of the large airways in the lungs, resulting from chronic infections, obstruction in the lungs, hereditary diseases, and auto immune disorders. Abnormal dilatation of the airways causes symptoms of a chronic obstructive disease in which the lungs get inflamed easily, with collapse of the airways. The common symptoms of this condition include breathlessness, prolonged bouts of disabling cough, and impaired inability to clear the lung secretions, sometimes accompanied by hemoptysis. A major involvement of the lungs can cause considerable disability to the affected individual and significantly increase the morbidity and mortality from this disease.

The modern management of bronchiectasis involves treatment of infection using antibiotics, treatment of inflammation, the use of expectorant medication, and postural drainage in order to clear accumulated lung secretions. However, this treatment is mostly conservative and only treats the symptoms without actually curing the disease. The chronic disability resulting from this disease usually prompts affected individuals to seek alternative treatments, with the maximum number of patients looking towards Ayurvedic treatment for a remission of the symptoms of this condition.

Ayurvedic treatment has a significant role to play in the long-term management and treatment of bronchiectasis. Herbal medicines are known to have a specific action on the mucosa of the respiratory tract as well as the muscular walls of the airways in the lungs. These medicines have an anti-inflammatory effect and reduce inflammation, congestion and the production of excessive fluids in the lungs. Ayurvedic medicines also reduce the damage to the airways and bring about a significant reversal in the dysfunction cause due to this damage.

Ayurvedic treatment can bring about significant improvement in the breathing capacity of the affected individual in a very short period of time after commencement of therapy. Within four to six weeks, individuals affected with bronchiectasis notice a significant change in the symptoms and in the resulting disability from this condition. Symptoms like disabling cough and large amount of expectoration reduce significantly, and affected individuals experience an improvement in overall health and notice a definite feeling of well-being. The frequency of lung infections comes down significantly and the patient notices definite improvement in overall quality of life.

Most individuals affected with bronchiectasis require Ayurvedic treatment for about four to eight months in order to benefit significantly from treatment. Depending upon the severity of symptoms and associated medical conditions, treatment needs to be tailor-made according to the presentation of symptoms in each individual. Individualized treatment gives maximum positive results and long-term improvement in this condition, which usually does not have a clear-cut treatment in the modern system of medicine. Most individuals can stop treatment after this period and can carry on life at a normal pace, provided they take precautions to avoid infections and precipitate further lung damage. Some individuals may require booster doses of treatment ranging from 2 to 3 months in the following year or two, usually at the commencement of winter. Overall, the majority of patients affected with bronchiectasis experience a dramatic change in life after completing the prescribed course of Ayurvedic treatment.

Investing In Quality Auto Repair Services – Is It Worth It?

Auto Repair Services- Why You Should Invest In Quality Auto Repair Services?

Investing in quality auto repair services can help you enjoy a safe and smooth drive. While you can always take a DIY approach for the general car maintenance services such as an oil change, tune-ups or diagnostics but always hire a professional for the complex car problems. If you want to get a better value of your car in future then you should know how to take care of your car.

Choosing A Quality Repair Shop

Always get referrals/recommendations from your friends, relatives, coworkers and other people you trust. Co-workers can help you find a good repair shop in your locality. It is always a good idea to find a good repair shop before you need one. This way you won’t have to pick someone randomly.

Thanks To The Internet!

Look online to learn about the top repair shops operating in your locality. Compare the different quotes to choose the best deal. Ask them to show the license and also check whether it’s an updated license or not.

Consult local consumer protection agency to see if there is any complaint against the repair shop from the old or existing customers. Above all, you should make sure that they can fix the problem easily.

Tips

Have a look at some of the following tips to consider before you start your search for the best repair shop:-

Tip 1

Read The Car Manual

You should always take time to read the manual and understand the specific instructions mentioned in the schedule. A manual has all the necessary information. So you should go through all the instructions carefully before choosing any repair station.

Tip 2

No Quick Decisions

Remember, it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best deal before you meet a breakdown. It will help you to make the right choice because you are not choosing someone randomly. Never ever choose a repair shop/repair mechanic without checking the testimonials. A little bit of research can help you choose the right service provider for your car.

Tip 3

Word Of Mouth

It is always a good idea to get referrals/recommendations from your friends and family. Word of mouth is still considered as one of the best ways to find a reliable professional.

Conclusion

Put a little bit of effort to find quality auto repair services. It will give you many benefits in the long run.

Happy Driving!

Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid – What RE Investors Should Know

There are 3 major drugstore chains in the US: Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid. Below are some key statistics about the 3 major drugstore chains as of 2012:

1. Walgreens ranks first with market cap of $28.51 Billion, $72.2 Billion in 2011 total revenue ($45.1B from prescription revenues), and an S&P rating of A. According to Walgreens, 75% of the US population lives within 3 miles from its stores. In April 2010, it acquired 258 Duane Reade drug stores in New York Metropolitan area which brings a total of 7841 drug stores Walgreens operates as of February 2012, including 137 hospital on-site pharmacies.

2. CVS ranks second with market cap of $56.56 Billion, $107.1 Billion in revenue ($40.5 Billion from CVS prescription revenues and $16.1B from its Caremark prescription mail order revenue), and an S&P rating of BBB+. As of December 31, 2011, CVS operates 7404 drug stores.

3. Rite Aid ranks third (fourth, behind Walmart in terms of prescription revenues) with market cap of $1.49 Billion, $26.1 Billion in revenue ($17.1B from prescription revenues), operates 4714 drug stores as of February 2011 and has an S&P rating of B-.

Investors purchase properties occupied by these drugstore chains for the following reasons:

1. The drugstore business is very recession-insensitive. People need medicine when they are sick, regardless of the state of the economy. Both rich and poor people in the US have access to medicine. Some even argue that low-income people use more medicine due to free or low-cost drugs offered by government-assisted programs. So the tenants should do well during tough time and have money to pay rent to landlords.

2. The drugstore business has a good prospect in the US:

· People are living longer and need more medicine to sustain longevity, e.g. Actonel for osteoporosis, Aricept for Alzheimer’s symptoms. Older people tend to use more medicine than younger ones as they often have more medical problems. As the 78 million baby boomers are getting closer to retiring age starting from 2008, the drugstore chains anticipate the demand for medicine to increase in next 20 years.

· The drug market continues to expand as the US population continues to grow. More and more Americans suffer from various diseases. The number of Americans suffers from seasonal allergies doubled in the last 15 years to 37 million people per Fortune magazine. They spent $5.4 Billion in 2009 for allergy drugs. As their waist lines balloon (75% of Americans are forecasted to be either overweight or obese by 2020), more Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, along with high cholesterol at younger and younger ages. In addition, doctors also recommend treating various diseases sooner than later due to better understanding about the diseases. For example, doctors now prescribe antiretroviral drugs for patients soon after infected with HIV virus instead of waiting for the infection to become AIDS. More doctors combine insulin with oral medicines to treat type-2 Diabetes instead of just oral medicines alone. All these factors increase the size of the drug market.

· Advance in genetic engineering has introduced various new genetic DNA testing kits which allow the genetic diagnosis of vulnerabilities to inherited diseases and disorders. Genetic testing is currently the highest growth segment in the diagnostics industry. Some of these genetic tests will probably transform into direct-to-consumer testing kits available in drug stores in the near future.Upon FDA approval, these new products will potentially bring in additional revenue for drug stores.

· Using a new method of tailoring molecules called structure-based design; drug companies come up with new medicines that they might not have discovered otherwise, e.g. Xalkori by Pfizer to treat lung cancer.

· The passage of Health Care Reform Bill on March 23, 2010 provides insurance coverage to an estimated 33 million more American. This is a great present to the drugstore industry.

· There are new drugs to treat previously untreatable illnesses, and new diseases, e.g. Viagra for men’s unhappiness, Avastin for colon cancer, Herceptin for breast cancer,. The new medicines are very expensive, e.g. a year’s supply of Avastin costs about $55,000. Eli Lilly has sold about $4.8 billion of Zyprexa in 2007 for schizophrenia and yet most people have never heard of this medicine.

· There are existing drugs now approved to treat new illnesses and thus increase their sales revenue. For example, Lyrica was originally intended to treat pain caused by nerve damagein people with diabetes. It is now approved by FDA to treat Fibromyalgia which affects 5.8 million Americans per WebMD.

· Big advances in genetics, biology and stem cells research are expected to produce a new class of drugs to treat diabetes, Parkinson’s and various rare genetic disorders. For example the new drug Ilaris from Novartis targets genetic causes of an inherited disorder that there are only 7000 known cases worldwide. However, Novartis hopes to gradually broaden its drugs to a blockbuster drug to more common disorders caused by similar genetics.

· Technology and modern life introduce and require new products, e.g. pregnancy test kits, Lamisil for stronger clearer toe nails, Latisse for longer & thicker eyelashes, Propecia for male hair loss, Premarin for menopausal symptoms, diabetic monitors, electronic toothbrushes, contact lenses, lenses cleaners, diet pills, vitamins, birth-control pills, IUDs, nutrition supplements and Cholesterol-lowering pills (Americans spent nearly $26B in 2006 on Cholesterol medications alone per IMS Health, a Connecticut-based consulting company that monitors pharmaceutical sales.)

· Before the customers can get to the medicine aisles or pharmacy counters, they have to pass by chocolates, sodas, digital cameras, watches, toys, dolls, beers and wines, cosmetics, video games, flowers, fragrances, and greeting cards. Drug stores hope you use the one-hour photos services there. The stores also carry seasonal items, e.g. Halloween costumes, and “As Seen on TV” merchandise, e.g. Shamwow. As a result, customers buy more than their prescriptions and medicine in these drugstores. CVS reported that non-pharmacy sales represented 30% of the company’s total sales in January of 2007. The figure for Walgreens is 34% and 37% for Rite Aid. Many pharmacy locations are in effect convenience stores especially ones that are in residential or rural areas. And so Walgreens hopes that customers also pick up WD-40, and screwdrivers at its stores instead of at Home Depot; Thai Jasmine rice, and fish sauce to avoid a trip to Safeway or Kroger Supermarkets. During the recession, sales of these non-drug items are down as customers buy what they need and not what they want. Walgreens tries to reduce the number of items by 4000. It also introduces its own private label which has higher profit margins.

· There are more and more generic medications on the market as a number of enormously popular brand-name blockbusters lose their 20-year long patents, e.g. Lipitor (best selling drug in the world to lower cholesterol) in 2010, Viagra (you know what it’s for) in 2012. Drugstores prefer to sell generic drugs to customers due to higher profit margins than the brand-name medications.

· Many people are addicted to pain killers, e.g. Hydrocodone/Oxycodone. Per the DEA in 2012, there are 1.5 million American addicted to cocaine but 7 million addicted to prescription drugs.

· This author estimates that at least 10% of the dispensed prescription drugs are not used at all and sit idle in the medicine cabinets. They are eventually expired and thrown away.

3. These companies sign very long-term NNN leases, guaranteed by their corporate assets. This makes the investment in the underlying property fairly low risk, especially for Walgreens with a S&P “A” rating. In fact, these properties are sometimes referred to as investment-grade properties. Once the drugstore chains sign the lease, they pay the rent promptly and timely. This author is not aware of any properties leased by one of these drugstore chains in which the tenants failed to pay rents. Even when the stores are closed due to weak sales (Walgreens closed 119 stores in 2007), these companies may sublease the properties to other companies, e.g. Advance Auto Parts and continue to pay rents on the master leases.

· A typical Walgreens lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 8-10 five-year options. During primary term and options, there will be no rent increases in most of the leases. This is the main disadvantage of investing in Walgreens drugstores.

· A typical CVS lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 4-5 five-year options. The rent is normally flat during the primary term and then there is a 2.5%-10% rent increase in each 5-year option.

· A typical Rite Aid lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 4-8 five-year options. The lease often has a rent increase every 5-10 years.

Investment Risks

Although the pharmacy business in general is recession-insensitive, there are risks involved in your investment:

1) The main downside about investing in pharmacies is there is little or no rent bump for a long time, e.g. 20-50 years, especially for Walgreens. So the rent is effectively reduced after inflation is factored in. This is one of the main reasons these properties do not appeal to younger investors, especially when the cap rate is low.

2) The 3 drugstore chains now have a new formidable competitor, Walmart. Walmart sells prescription drugs in more than 4000 Walmart, Sam’s Club and Neighborhood Market stores in 49 states. As of 2012, Walmart is the third largest drug retailer with $17.4B in prescription sales, just ahead of Rite Aid with $17.1B in prescription sales. The retail giant is known for launching in 2006 a highly-publicized $4 generic prescription drug program which now sells 350 generic medications for a 30-day supply. The actual number of medications is less as the medications with different strengths are counted as different medications. For example, Metformin 500 mg, 850 mg, and 1000 mg are counted as 3 medications. Walmart probably makes very little profits on these medications if any. However, the marketing campaign–created by Bill Simon, the President and CEO of Walmart US, generates a lot of publicity for Walmart. Walmart hopes to draw customers to its stores with other prescriptions where it has higher profit margins. In an unscientific survey with just one brand-name prescription of Lyrica, this author finds the lowest price at Costco, the highest price at Walgreens and Walmart at the middle. Other drug chains try to counter Walmart in different ways. Target now offers the same 350 generic medications for $4 for a 30-day supply. Walgreens has a Prescription drugs club with membership fee which offers 1400 generic medications for as little as $1/week. CVS says it will match any offers from its competitors.

3) Chief Business Correspondent Rick Newman from US World & News Report predicted that Rite Aid might not survive in 2009. Rite Aid is still around in 2012. The prediction seems to go away in 2012 as Rite Aid as it was able to refinance the long terms debts and sales revenue has increased.

4) Drugs are also sold in thousands of supermarkets, Target stores, and Costco warehouses. However, there are no drive-through windows at these stores or Walmart to conveniently drop off the prescriptions and pick up medicines. Customers will not be able to pick up their prescriptions during lunch hour or after 7PM at Target stores or supermarkets. They need to have membership to buy medicines at Costco. Others may not fill their prescriptions at Walmart because they don’t want to mingle with typical Walmart customers who are in lower income brackets. And some baby boomers don’t want their prescriptions filled at Target or Walmart because there are no comfortable chairs for them to sit down and wait for their medicines.

5) Drugs retail business to some degree is controlled by the Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs). Customers normally get prescription coverage from their health insurance companies, e.g. Blue Cross. These PBM manage prescription benefits on behalf of the insurance companies. In 2012 Walgreens lost a contract valued at over $5 Billion with Express Scripts, a major PBM. Walgreen revenue was immediately fallen in the first quarter of 2012 as Express Scripts customers cannot fill their prescriptions at Walgreens. The PBMs are also in the drugs retail business via mail orders which do not require leasing expensive retail spaces. The prescription mail orders currently capture over 20% market share of the total prescription revenue. Should customers change their prescription purchase habits to mail orders (there is no such evidence in 2012), it could have negative impact to the business of drugstore chains.

6) Many leases in areas with hurricanes and tornadoes are NNN leases with the exception of roof and structure. So if the roof is damaged, you will have to pay for the expenses.

7) The tenant may move to a new location down the road or across the street when the lease expires. This risk is high when the property is located in small town where there is low barrier for entry, i.e. lots of vacant & developable land.

8) The tenant may ask for rent concession to improve its bottom line during tough times. The possibility is higher if the tenant is Rite Aid and if the store has low sales revenue and/or higher than market rent.

9) More Americans are walking away from their prescriptions, especially the most expensive brand-name medicines. This may have negative impact on the sales revenue and profits of drug stores and consequently may cause drug store closures. According to Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solution, a health-care data company, nearly 1 in 10 new prescriptions for brand-name drugs were abandoned by people with commercial health plans in 2010. This is up 88% compared to 4 years ago just before the recession began. This trend is driven in part by higher and higher co-pays for brand name drugs as employers are shifting more insurance costs to their employees.

Among 3 drugstore chains, Walgreens and CVS pharmacies in general have the best locations-at major intersections while Rite Aid has less than premium locations. Walgreens tends to hire only the top graduates from pharmacy schools while Rite Aid settles with bottom graduates to save costs. When possible, all drugstore chains try to fill the prescriptions with generic medications which have higher profit margins.

1) Walgreens: the company was founded in 1901 by Charles Walgreen, Sr. in Chicago. While the company has existed for more than 100 years, most stores are only 5-10 years old. This is the best managed company among the three drugstore chains and also among the most admired public companies in the US. The company has been run by executives with proven track records and hires the top graduates from universities. Due to its superior financial strength–S&P A rating– and premium irreplaceable locations, properties with leases from Walgreens get the highest price per square foot and/or the lowest cap rate among the 3 drugstore chains. In addition, Walgreens gets flat rent or very low rent increases for 20 to 60 years. The cap rate is often in the low 5% to 6.5% range in 2012. Investors who buy Walgreens tend to be more mature, i.e. closer to retirement age. They are looking for a safe investment where it’s more important to get the rent check than to get appreciation. They often compare the returns on their Walgreens investment with the lower returns from US treasury bonds or Certificate of Deposits from banks. Walgreens opened many new stores in 2008 and 2009 and thus you see many new Walgreens stores for sale. It will slow down this expansion in 2010 and beyond and focus on renovation of existing stores instead.

2) CVS Pharmacy: CVS Corporation was founded in 1963 in Lowell, MA by Stanley Goldstein, Sidney Goldstein, and Ralph Hoagland. The name CVS stands for “Consumer Value Stores”. As of 2009, CVS has about 6300 stores in the US, mostly through acquisitions. In 2004, CVS bought 1,200 Eckerd Drugstores mostly in Texas and Florida. In 2006, CVS bought 700 Savon and Osco drugstores mostly in Southern California. And in 2008 CVS acquired 521 Longs Drugs stores in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona for $2.9B dollars. The acquisition of Long Drugs appears to be a good one as it CVS did not have any stores in Northern CA and Arizona. Besides, the price also included real estate. It is also bought Caremark, one of the largest PBMs and changed the corporation name to CVS Caremark. When CVS bought 1,200 Eckerd stores, it formed a single-entity LLC (Limited Liability Company) to own each Eckerd store. Each LLC signs the lease with the property owner. In the event of a default, the owner can only legally go after the assets of the LLC and not from any other CVS-owned assets. Although the owner loses the guaranty security from CVS corporate assets, this author is not aware of any incident where CVS closes a store and does not pay rent.

3) Rite-Aid: Rite Aid was founded by Alex Grass (he just passed away on Aug 27, 2009 at the age of 82) and opened its first store in 1962 as “Thrif D Discount Center” in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It officially incorporated as Rite Aid Corporation and went public in 1968. By the time Alex Grassstepped down as the company’s chairman and chief executive officer in 1995, Rite Aid was the nation’s largest drugstore chain in terms of total stores and No. 2 in terms of revenue. His son, Martin Grass, took over but was ousted in 1999 for overstatement of Rite Aid’s earnings in the late 1990s. Rite Aid is now the weakest financially among the 3 drugstore chains. In 2007, Rite-Aid acquired about 1,850 Brooks and Eckerd drugstores, mostly along the East coast to catch up with Walgreens and CVS. In the process, it added a huge long term debt and is the most leveraged drugstore chain based on its market value. The integration of Brooks and Eckerd did not seem to go well. Revenue from some of these stores went down as much as 20% after they change the sign to Rite Aid. In 2009, Rite-Aid had over 4900 stores and over $26 Billion in revenues. The figures went down in 2010 to 4780 stores and $25.53 billion in revenue. On January 21, 2009 Moody’s Investor Services downgraded Rite Aid from “Caa1” to “Caa2”, eight notches below investment grade. Both ratings are “junk” which indicate very high credit risk. Rite Aid contacted a number of its landlords in 2009 trying to get rent concession to improve the bottom line. In June 2009, Rite Aid successfully completed refinancing $1.9 Billion of its debts. In 2012, Rite Aid benefits from Walgreens contract problem with Express Scripts. Same store sales increased 2.2%, 3.2%, and 3.6% for January, February and March of 2012, respectively. Rite Aid is still losing money in fiscal year 2012 which ended in March 3, 2012. However, it is losing less, $0.43 per share in 2012 versus $0.64 per share in fiscal year 2011. The company expects better outlook in fiscal year 2013.

Things to consider when invested in a pharmacy

If you are interested in investing in a property leased by drugstore chains, here are a few things to consider:

1. If you want a low risk investment, go with Walgreens. In stable or growing areas, the degree of safety is the same whether the property is in California where you get a 5.5% cap or Texas where you may get a 6.5% cap. So, there is no significant advantage to invest in properties in California as the property value is based primarily on the cap rate. In 2012, the offered cap rate for Walgreens seems to come down from 7.5%-8.4% in 2009 to 5.5%-6.5% for new stores.

2. If you are willing to take more risk, then go with Rite-Aid. Some properties outside of California may offer up to 9% cap rate in 2012. However, among the 3 drug chains, Rite Aid has 10.5% chance of going under in 2010. Should it declare bankruptcy, Rite Aid has the option to pick and choose which locations to keep open and which locations to terminate the lease. To minimize the risk that the store is shuttered, choose a location with strong sales and low rent to revenue ratio.

3. Financing should be an important consideration. While the cap rate is lower for Walgreens than Rite Aid, you will be able to get the best rates and terms for Walgreens.

4. If you are not a conservative investor or risk taker, you may want to consider a CVS pharmacy. It has BBB+ S&P credit rating. Its cap rate is higher than Walgreens but lower than Rite Aid. Some leases may offer better rent bumps. On the other hand, some CVS leases, especially for properties in hurricane areas, e.g. Florida are not truly NNN leases where landlords are responsible for the roof and structure. So make sure you adjust the cap rate down accordingly. Some of the CVS locations have onsite Minuteclinic staffed by registered nurses. Since this clinic idea was introduced recently, it’s not clear having a clinic inside CVS is a plus or minus to the bottom line of the store.

5. All 3 drugstore chains have similar requirements. They all want highly visible, standalone, rectangular property around 10,000 – 14,500 SF on a 1.5 – 2 acre lot, preferably at a corner with about 75 – 80 parking spaces in a growing and high traffic location. They all require the property to have a drive-through. Hence, you should avoid purchasing an inline property, i.e. not standalone and property with no drive-through windows. There is a chance that these drugstores may not want to renew the lease unless the property is located in a densely-populated area with no vacant land nearby. In addition, if you acquire a property that does not meet the new requirements, for example a drive-through, you may have a problem getting financing as lenders are aware of these requirements.

6. If the pharmacy is opened 24 hours a day, it is in a better location. Drugstore chains do not open the store 24 hours day unless the location draws customers.

7. Many properties may have a percentage lease, i.e. the landlord can get additional rent when the store’s annual revenue exceeds a certain figure, e.g. $5M. However, the revenue used to compute percentage rent often excludes a page-long list of items, e.g. wine and sodas, tobacco products, items sold after 10 PM, drugs paid by governmental programs. The excluded sales revenue could account for as much as 70% of store’s gross revenue. As a result, this author has seen only 2 stores in which the landlord is able to collect additional percentage rent. The store with a percentage rent is required to report its annual sales to the landlord. As an investors, you want to invest in a store with strong gross sales, e.g. over $500 per square foot a year. In addition, you also want to check the rent to revenue ratio. If the figure is in the 2-4% range, the store is likely to be very profitable so the chance the store is shut down is low.

8. It does not matter how good the tenants are, avoid investing in declining, e.g. Detroit and/or low-income areas or small towns with less than 30,000 residents within 5 miles ring. In a small town, it may be the only drug store in town and captures most of the market share. However, if a competitor opens a new location in the area, revenue may be severely affected. In addition, the tenant can always moves to a new location down the road when the lease expires since there is low barrier to entry in a small town. These properties are easy to buy now and hard to sell later. When the credit market is tight, you may have problems finding a lender to finance these properties.

9. Many properties have an existing loan that the buyer must assume. If you have a 1031 exchange, think twice about buying this property. You should clearly understand loan assumption requirements of the lenders before moving forward. Should you fail to assume the existing loan (assuming an existing loan is a lot more difficult than getting a new loan), you may run out of time for a 1031 exchange and may be liable to pay capital gain.

10. With few exceptions, drugstore chains do not own the stores they occupy for several reasons. Here are just a couple of them:

– They know the pharmacy business but don’t know real estate. Stock investors also don’t want Walgreens to become a real estate investment company.

– Owning the real estate will require them to carry lots of long term debts which is not a brilliant idea for a publicly-traded company.

11. About 10% of the drugstore properties for sale and typically CVS pharmacies require very small amount of equity to acquire, e.g. 10% of the purchase price. However, you are required to assume an existing fully-amortized loan with zero cash flow. That is, all of the rent paid by the tenant must be used to pay down the loan. The cap rate may be in the 7-9% range, and the interest rate on the loan could be attractive in the 5.5% to 6% range. Hence, the investor pays off the loan in 10 to 20 years. However, you have no positive cash flow. This requires you to come up with outside cash to pay income tax on the rental profits (the difference between the rent and mortgage interest). The longer you own the property, the more outside cash you will need to pay income taxes as the mortgage interest will get less and less toward the end. So who would buy this kind of property?

– The investors who have substantial losses from other investment properties. By acquiring this zero cash flow property, they may offset the income from the drugstore tenant against the losses from other investment properties. For example, a property has $105,000 of rental profits a year, and the investor also has losses of $100,000 from other properties. As a result, the combined taxable profits are only $5,000.

– The uninformed investors who fail to consider that they have to raise additional cash to pay income taxes.

Out of the Box Thinking

If you put too much weight on the S&P rating of the tenants, you may end up either taking a lot of risks or passing up good opportunities.

  1. A Good location should be the key in your decision on which drug store to invest in. It’s often said a lousy business should do well at a great location while the best tenant will fail at a lousy location. A Walgreens store that is closed down later on (yes, Walgreens closed 119 stores in 2007) is still a bad investment even though Walgreens continues paying rent on time. So you don’t want to blindly invest in a drug store simply because it has a Walgreens sign on the building.
  2. No company is crazy enough to close a profitable location. It does not take rocket science to understand that a financially-weak company like Rite Aid will make every effort to keep a profitable location open. On the other hand, a financially-strong Walgreens will need justifications to keep an unprofitable location open. So how do you determine if a drug store location is profitable or not if the tenant is not required to disclose its profit & loss statement? The answer is you cannot. However, you can make an educated guess based on the store’s annual gross revenue which is often reported to the landlord as required by the percentage clause in the lease. With the gross revenue, you can determine the rent to income ratio. The lower the ratio, the more likely the store is profitable. For example, if the annual base rent is $250,000 while the store’s gross revenue is $5M then the rent to income ratio is 5%. As a rule of thumb, it’s hard to make a profit if this ratio is more than 8%. So if you see a Rite Aid with 3% rent to income ratio then you know it’s likely a very profitable location. In the event Rite Aid declares bankruptcy, it will keep this location open and continue paying rent. If you see a Rite Aid drug store with 3% rent to income ratio offering 10% cap, chances are it’s a low risk investment with good returns and the tenant will most likely to renew the lease. The weakness of corporate guaranty from Rite Aid is probably not as critical and the risk of having Rite Aid as a tenant is not really that significant.
  3. Drug stores with new 25 years leases tend to sell at lower cap, e.g. 6-7% cap on new stores versus 8.0-8.5% cap on established locations with 5-10 years remaining on the lease. This is because investors are afraid that the tenants may not renew the leases. Unfortunately, lenders also have the same fear! As a result, many lenders will not finance drug stores with 2-3 years left on the leases. The fact that drugstores with new leases have a premium on the price means they have potential of 20% depreciation (buying new at 6% cap and selling at 7.5% cap when the leases have 8 year left). Some investors will not consider investing in drug stores with 5-10 years left on the lease. They might simply ignore the fact that the established stores may be at irreplaceable locations with very strong sales. Tenants simply have no other choices other than renewing the lease.

How to Stop a Drug Dealer

How do you stop a drug dealer? How can we shut him down? How can we get him to stop selling to our friends and neighbors? It is important to know here that this is not the answer to getting someone off or staying off drugs. To remove drugs from any part of the equation is not the answer at all. If the interest is there, the addict will find their drugs. Period.

However, when returning from rehab or just getting and staying clean, some people choose to throw their current phone away and start fresh. They don’t want those former contacts to be able to contact them. And they don’t want to be tempted to dial any of them either. Let’s face it. We know very few numbers by heart any more. They are all on speed dial. Get rid of the phone, problem solved. This is a good start for many.

I would like to introduce a fantasy of mine. Let’s call this concept VOICE SPAMMING. We all know that drug dealers have one powerful tool in their arsenal. That tool is the cell phone. So I ask you, if you know a drug dealers cell phone number, how can you begin to shut him down? Or at least shut down that number?

Shutting down a drug dealer’s number is shutting down his business. Yes, he can and will go get another number. But what about all of the people that only know him by his old number? He will have to call each of them and prepare them all of the impending change or else he will lose a considerable amount of business. Then we do it again to his new number. The beauty of this concept is, that he has no idea who leaked his number in the first place.

If I am certain, and I do mean certain that I know the phone number to the person who is selling drugs to my child, this is what I would do. I would give that number to every person who would listen to me. I would email it to everyone in my contacts. I would post it in every store in town. I would distribute it to everyone at work. You get the drift.

Now, you don’t post the person’s last name. Just let the world know that his first name is “X” and he is a drug dealer. You don’t tell anyone that he is selling to your child. You just say… “myself and a few people are trying to force this guy to change his number”. That’s it. We are trying to see how many days it will take before he can no longer take the inbound calls, therefore choosing to eliminate that number.

Here is how I would suggest you go about Voice Spamming him (If this were not fiction of course). First of all, have everyone block their number before they call him. If he answers the phone, simply ask him if he sells drug. He will more than likely hang up on you. If he says yes, than you are dealing with a complete and total moron and simply laugh out loud before hanging up. If he says no, simply laugh out loud and hang up. Don’t threaten him. Just make contact once. Others will do the same. The point here is to get him thinking. That’s it.

Imagine being a drug dealer. All of a sudden, in one day, you get twenty calls from blocked numbers. Each caller has a different voice. Each call will begin to make you more and more paranoid. What would you do? You wake up tomorrow and the phone is ringing off the hook again. You would probably pack your bags and head to the bus station. On the way to the station you would probably dump that phone as well. Thus possibly saving the life of a kid across town that is calling him right now to buy a bag of dope that he would have OD’d on.

So, do you think this would work? Who knows? I guess we will never find out, after all it is a concept of fiction. Although, it is fun to dream.

Aplastic Anemia – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Aplastic anemia is a syndrome of bone marrow failure resulting in very less production of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Immune dysfunction is believed to play an important role in causing this condition. While 20% of the causes are inherited, nearly 80% of the causes are acquired and consist of unknown factors, infectious diseases, toxic exposure and drug reactions. Severe anemia, bleeding, fever and infections are common presentations of this condition.

Ayurvedic treatment of aplastic anemia is basically directed at treating the immune dysfunction and improving normal bone marrow production. Immuno-modulatory herbal medicines like Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Bala (Sida cordifolia), Nagbala (Sida humilis), Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) and Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa) are used.

Medicines like Arogya Vardhini, Punarnavadi Mandur, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Laxadi Guggulu, Laghu- Malini-Vasant, Madhu-Malini-Vasant, Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Heerak Bhasma and Abhrak Bhasma are used to stimulate the bone marrow function. In addition, medicines which act on the “Rakta” and “Majja” dhatus (tissues) of the body are also used, as these again act on the metabolism regulating bone marrow production. These medicines include Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Guduchi and Amalaki (Emblica officinalis).

Aplastic anemia is a serious medical condition and can have a potentially fatal outcome. Blood transfusion, bone marrow transplant and immuno-suppressive therapy have radically transformed the survival outlook in this condition. Ayurvedic medicines may be used as additional therapy to reduce severity, prevent infections and improve the overall survival rate of affected individuals. All treatment should be done under the care and supervision of an experienced hematologist.

Dangers of Plastic Surgery – Bhuwan

Complications from plastic surgery are extremely rare in this day and age-however, anyone who is considering having this type of surgery done should educated themselves about the possible dangers of plastic surgery. The dangers of plastic surgery can range from scarring to fatality (in the most extreme cases) and the effects of surgery can sometimes be both physically and psychologically traumatizing to patients. Complications do not occur on a regular basis, but it is important to be aware of the possible dangers of plastic surgery. The dangers of plastic surgery are directly related to the type of procedure and area on which it will be performed. Breast augmentation related dangers of plastic surgery include sensory damage around the operation site, discoloration of the skin, tissue necrosis, asymmetry, infection, formation of scar tissue, and allergic reactions to sedation. On the other hand, the dangers of plastic surgery of the face can lead to noticeable tissue damage, unnatural looking features and premature aging.

The dangers of plastic surgery will increase or decrease depending on the type of surgery performed and the individual’s reaction to surgery and anesthesia. One of the most common dangers of plastic surgery that people considering surgery should be aware of is scarring. Most plastic surgeons attempt to hide incision lines in places where they can’t be seen, like under the crease of the breast in breast augmentation plastic surgery, or in the hairline in facial plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is a procedure that has become quite common due to the influx of new technological advancements and cosmetics techniques. It has evolved into a procedure that almost anyone can undergo for reasons ranging from physical abnormalities to a purely vanity related issue.

Plastic surgery risks often have a great deal to do with the emotional and physical health of a patient. For any physically unhealthy people who may have ongoing conditions that could increase plastic surgery risks, an ethical plastic surgeon should advise against undergoing surgical procedures. Lifestyles affect the outcome of plastic surgery as well, as excessive smoking and alcohol consumption can drastically increase plastic surgery risks. Smoking not only increases recovery time, it can significantly raise the risk of necrosis, and can contribute to ugly scarring. There are also herbal supplements and prescription drugs that can increase plastic surgery risks so any of those being taken must be discussed with the plastic surgeon before treatment.Plastic surgery is not always about vanity. It is very useful to give a more standard look to the disfigured. But plastic surgery still remains a fashionable way for people to retain or gain a more youthful or more socially acceptable appearance.

Mental and emotional stability are required to undergo face-lift surgery when the bruising and swelling make it difficult to face a mirror as many people find themselves immersed in depression. The recovery from can take up to three or four months and be quite painful. Necrosis, or skin death, is a danger with most plastic surgery procedures, and is extremely elevated for those who smoke. The dangers of plastic surgery for liposuction include infection, reactions to anesthesia, blood clotting, and fluid loss, while silicone breast implant surgeries include dangers such as changes in nipple, infection, capsular contraction, excessive bleeding or breast sensitivity. Less severe liposuction dangers are bruising and scarring, numbness of the skin, and moderate issues like a change in pigmentation. Scarring and nerve damage can be much feared side effects of plastic surgery. Muscle paralysis where the surgery was performed is a result of nerve damage and can either be a temporary condition, last for weeks or months or, though rare, can even be permanent.Plastic surgery risks involve complications in the actual outcome of the surgery itself on occasion. Necrosis may occur if infection arises after a surgery. The development of Seromas from fluid collecting below the skin is another risk. Surgical errors may even result in asymmetries created in a surgical area, such a rhinoplasty creating a nasal passage that is off-center.