Restoring Magnesium Levels With Epsom Salt Baths

epsom-salt-bath

Written by Dr. Taz Bhatia, MD

Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the body needed for many physiologic functions. It is critical for healthy digestion, good bone density, proper nerve and muscle function and prenatal health.

Since this mineral is so indispensable, it’s no surprise that magnesium deficiency can be a root issue of several chronic health problems.

We’ve been talking about magnesium deficiency for quite some time now. Although awareness has been raised, the problem isn’t going away. The modern lifestyle lends itself to magnesium depletion so, in reality, magnesium therapy should be an ongoing process for many of us. Read more  »

Are You Sabotaging Your Weight-Loss Plan?

weightlossdiet

If losing weight is one of your goals, you’re not alone. A recent Gallup poll found that 51% of adults in America want to lose weight, but barely half as many (25%) say they’re seriously working toward that goal. If you’ve tried different weight-loss plans but have struggled to maintain any of them, there’s a very good chance that you’re sabotaging your own efforts.

Did you go shopping to stock your kitchen with the approved foods on your list? Have you added weekly yoga and Spinning classes to your calendar? And have you even considered how you’re going to deal with the emotional triggers that come up during the plan? I bet your emotions didn’t cross your mind when you decided to lose weight. However, if you’ve ever reached for a chocolate bar or a bag of blue chips after a fight with your husband or a bad day at the office, then you need to learn how to manage your emotions, or the weight will never stay off.

I’ve found that in order to stick to any weight-loss plan, you need to problem solve ahead of time. So if you’re ready to make a new start, try these three tips to achieve your weight-loss goals and make positive changes in your life. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Music, Hand Washing and Foot Pain

Listening to music while you work out may boost performance. It seems like most people in today’s gyms are wearing headphones and a new study out this week shows why having some our own personal playlist may be so appealing. The authors “recruited 20 young, healthy adult volunteers, without experience in high-intensity interval training….Using stationary bicycles, they completed four 30-second bouts of what the researchers call “all-out” pedaling, at the highest intensity that each volunteer could stand. Each 30-second bout was followed by four minutes of recovery time.” The participants repeated the regimen on two other occasions, once with their own music and once without. “The volunteers all reported that the intervals had been hard. In fact, their feelings about the difficulty were almost identical, whether they had been listening to music or not. What is interesting is that their power output had been substantially greater when they were listening to music, but they did not find that effort to be more unpleasant.” Planning to push yourself during your next workout? Make sure you have some tunes to keep you company. (NYT)

Doctors are washing their hands but patients aren’t. While there’s been a big push to stop infection by having doctors wash their hands in the hospital, no similar encouragement has been given to patients. A new study has now indicated that “hand washing followed less than a third of bathroom visits, and washing or hand-sanitizer use happened only rarely after patients entered or left a room.” This is concerning because patients, like doctors, can carry serious infection. “One in 25 hospital patients has at least one infection contracted at the hospital at any given time…many of them serious or even life threatening.” The researchers found that many common spaces, like kitchens or common rooms, are used by patients without any hand washing. “The researchers point to a previous study that found requiring patients to disinfect their hands four times a day significantly reduced the number of respiratory and gastrointestinal disease outbreaks in a psychiatric ward.” The message? Stopping infection is everyone’s responsibility, not just your doctor’s. (Fox)

Extra depth shoes help all foot pain in older adults. Foot pain is a common complaint in old age, but it can prove very difficult to treat. “The structure and function of the foot changes significantly with age…. With advancing age, the foot to exhibits increased soft tissue stiffness, decreased range of motion, decreased strength, and a more pronated posture.” This changes the way weight is distributed on the foot, which can lead to problems down the road. The researchers set out to see if extra depth shoes, normally used in diabetic patients, might help with foot pain from other causes. “The extra-depth footwear group was more likely to report their foot pain had moderately or markedly improved over the four month period and they also developed fewer keratotic lesions, like corns or calluses, than the comparison group. When the participants took the foot health questionnaire again, the special footwear group scored 11 points better for pain and 10 points better for function than the comparison group.” These findings held regardless of the cause of foot pain. (Reuters)

Olive Oil Found to Be Best for Frying

Olive oil

We all know we’re supposed to go for baked or grilled when we have the option, but we all indulge in a fried food once in a while. Fried food is delicious because of the fats and oils that are infused into the food during the frying process, not to mention the crispy layer of bread crumbs that’s often added on top. Unfortunately, those two ingredients are also what can make fried food so bad for you. Read more  »

The Most Common Culprits of Stress Fractures in Your Feet

feet-stress-fractures

Throughout the day, our feet are the recipients of constant pounding and stress. Whether from the hard pavements of the streets or cramped conditions of work heels or dress shoes, our feet frequently take a good beating. Dramatic daily overuse can occasionally cause fractures in our feet called stress fractures. Stress fractures are the result of chronic overuse or repetitive force, which can lead to small hairline cracks in the bones of the foot.

The most common sites of these stress fractures are in the weight bearing bones of the feet. In my office, I frequently see stress fractures on the metatarsals, which are the long bones in the middle of the foot. However, they are also common on the heel and the midfoot bones. Here are some of the reasons fractures like this occur. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Breast Cancer, Vaccines and Walnuts

One version of a gene may protect Latinas from breast cancer. The average woman has about a 1 in 7 chance of developing breast cancer at some point in her life, but that number drops to 1 in 10 if you’re a Latina. A new study has found that “a genetic trait protects many women of Latin American descent from breast cancer” and that the “single difference in the human genome makes Latinas who inherit it about 40% less likely to develop breast cancer.” If a woman inherits two copies of the protective version, her risk drops by 80%. “Women who carry the genetic variant have breast tissue that appears less dense on mammograms. High-density breast tissue is a known risk factor for breast cancer. The hereditary quirk appears to have originated in indigenous American peoples in South America, and it doesn’t appear equally in all Hispanic women. As many as 20% of Latinas in California are likely to have at least one copy of the variant, significantly lowering their risk of breast cancer, while about 10% of Puerto Rican women are likely to have inherited it, the researchers said.” (WSJ)

Vaccines don’t cause multiple sclerosis. Some anti-vaccine advocates had said in the past that vaccines could lead to multiple sclerosis (MS), but the studies had been small and gave conflicting evidence. “Scientists looked at about 4,700 people who received vaccines against hepatitis B (Hep B) and the human papillomavirus (HPV), and found no long-term risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) or similar nervous-system diseases.” The authors think the small association in past research may be due to a triggering effect of infections. “The vaccine, like an infection, may accelerate the disease’s progression in patients who already have MS or other neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases. It may be that after vaccinations, patients move more quickly from the ‘subclinical’ stage of the disease, when no outward symptoms are seen, to a stage with visible symptoms.” In other words, the past association was probably just an unhappy coincidence. (Fox)

Walnuts may help delay Alzheimer’s disease. Nuts have shown their health benefits over and over and a new study out this week provides just one more reason to eat them. “Researchers at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities said experiments with Alzheimer’s-susceptible mice found that subjects that consumed walnuts showed significant improvement in their learning skills and memory compared with mice without them in their diet.” Learning and memory weren’t the only beneficiaries. “The study also found improvement in motor skills and reduction in anxiety. The mice in the experiment consumed an amount of walnuts that would be the equivalent for humans of eating about 1 to 1.5 ounces of walnuts a day.” The study comes after findings that walnut extract was helpful in reducing damage caused by brain proteins involved in Alzheimer’s. This study moved on to see whether that translated to whole walnuts. (Washington Post)

Aging Positively Leads to Mental and Physical Gains

119134852

The media loves to plaster the virtues of youth in magazines, TV shows and billboards whenever it gets the chance. On the flip side, old age is often viewed negatively, and old people are often depicted as being slow, less intelligent, frail and often unable to care for themselves. In spite of all this cultural negativity, a new study has found that subtle positive messaging can lead to a healthier outlook on getting older and that those new attitudes can translate into benefits for the body as well as the mind. Read more  »