Tag Archives: Vitamin B12

Some Health Quaries & Answers

Bundle Of Joy:-

Q: My grandmother wraps up children in a bed sheet all the time so that they cannot move. She says it makes them sleep better.

A: She is following an ancient practice called “swaddling”. This involves wrapping the baby so that its hands and legs are inside the sheet. Newborn babies sleep better when they are swaddled as it makes them feel they are still in the womb. But this should be discontinued after 10-14 days as the baby needs to move its arms and legs freely to grow and develop normally.

By-pass surgery :-
Q: I am a 58-year-old woman. I underwent hysterectomy at 40. Of late, I’ve been developing a vague chest pain while climbing stairs. I consulted a cardiologist. He did an angiogram and said I had triple vessel block and advised immediate by-pass surgery. A second surgeon, however, said that since I had well-developed collaterals, there was no need for surgery now. He advised revaluation with a stress test every year.

A: I would go with the more conservative approach and not of the knife-happy surgical team. If your collaterals are well developed, you can probably continue indefinitely without a problem. You need to make sure the collaterals stay patent by walking an hour a day on level ground and maintaining your ideal body weight.

Vitamin deficiency :-
Q: I feel very tired all the time. My muscles pain and I cannot eat any spicy food. I went to a physician who prescribed a battery of tests. Finally, he said I had vitamin D deficiency, anaemia and vitamin B12 deficiency. I am only 37.

A: Vitamin D deficiency is common in India and much of the time it goes unrecognised. It may occur because of our lifestyle (remaining indoors) or it may be a genetic problem. A lot of research is being carried out. The deficiency makes the bones weak and this is reflected as muscle pain.

The stomach contains some cells that are essential for the body to bind and absorb vitamin B12. If those cells are damaged or wasted away, you will not only develop intolerance to spicy food but also adequate amounts of vitamin B12 will not be absorbed. Vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cell formation. That is why you are anaemic.

Your doctor will be able to treat all of this with medical supplements. Once your body responds, your symptoms will disappear.

TV and chips :-
Q: My niece is 10 years old. She is 150 cm tall and weighs 50 kg. I think she is fat. She watches cartoons all day and eats potato chips. Please advise.

A: Being fat or thin is a perception which may be incorrect. You need to find her ideal body weight using the calculation 23 x 1.5 x 1.5 = 51.75 (height in metre squared multiplied by 23). As per the calculation, if you have measured her height correctly, she is not overweight. On the other hand she may have no muscle mass, poor posture and a general round appearance. She does, however, need to curtail her television viewing, stop snacking and become physically more active.

This often involves a change of lifestyle for the whole family. Children learn a great deal by watching their parents and other family members.

Anti-obesity pill :-
Q: I want some tablets to lose weight. All this advice about diet and exercise really depresses me. Exercise makes my body ache and diets make me hungry.

A: Weight gain and loss are usually gradual processes. When we gain weight, we are probably unaware of it until our clothes become tight and people make unkind remarks. Very rarely do people weigh themselves regularly. For many, maintaining the ideal body weight involves a lifetime of concentrated effort.

Try to control your total calorie intake. Say no to second helpings and avoid fat-filled snacks. Jog, walk or run for an hour every day. That way your body will utilise the food you consume more efficiently.

There are no “weight control” tablets. There are appetite suppressants but they have been banned in India as well as abroad as they were found to cause dangerous, non-reversible, life threatening side effects.

Taking thyroid hormones to increase your basal metabolic rate or steroids to “bulk up” is equally dangerous. Some advertised commercially available weight loss supplements contain these.

Pregnancy puff :-
Q: I have wheezing. I think it’s asthma. I am now pregnant and my doctor switched me from tablets to inhalers. Are they safe for the baby?

A: Inhalers deliver the medicine direct to your lungs which will help you stop the wheezing. Tablets, on the other hand, enter the bloodstream and go all over the body, including the lungs. Many also cross the placenta and reach the baby. Your doctor is right — inhalers are better.

All answers are given by Dr Gita Mathai , a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore. Questions on health issues may be emailed to her at yourhealthgm@yahoo.co.in

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Nutrition for Healthy Skin

Along with hair and nails, skin is the fastest growing and most superficial tissue in the body. As such, it has a high demand for nutrients in order to continuously replenish itself with rapidly developing immature skin cells from the layers below. Even a marginal deficiency of nutrients such as vitamin A, the carotenoids, vitamin D, vitamins B1 and B2, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin E, vitamin C or essential fatty acids can result in impaired development of skin cells, resulting in skin that is less smooth, prone to lesions, less elastic and more likely to suffer accelerated aging.

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Here are some of the more common skin problems and the nutritional supplements that can help you get rid of them:

For sun- and chemical-induced free-radical damage that causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkling, cancerous conditions, other forms of skin damage, the appropriate supplement contains optimal levels of antioxidants to help protect your skin from the aging and damaging effects caused by the sun: Antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc intercept and neutralize free radicals and defend skin cells from these damaging effects. Antioxidants also protect skin from ultraviolet light damage.

For skin disorders such as dermatitis (skin inflammation problems), lack of smoothness, seborrhoea-like scaly lesions, irregular pigmentation, the appropriate supplement contains B vitamins at sufficient doses to ensure the healthy development of skin cells: B-vitamin supplementation corrects these skin problems and successfully treats a wide range of dermatitis problems. B vitamins also help to improve the smoothness and texture of the skin.

For unhealthy skin, acne and other conditions, the appropriate supplement provides adequate daily doses of zinc and selenium to enhance your skin’s vitality and appearance: Zinc improves oil gland function, local skin hormone activation, wound healing, inflammation control within the skin and tissue regeneration of skin cells. Selenium plays a key role in antioxidant protection and in the prevention and management of various skin conditions.

Healthy skin is an important step toward a healthy, happy you, so what are you waiting for? Ask your doctor about how to give yourself an “inner facial” with the right nutrition.

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Source:to your Health : April 13. 2010

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Vitamin B12 Keeps Your Brain Young

The structure of Vitamin B12

Image via Wikipedia

Older individuals with low levels of vitamin B12 are at increased risk of having brain atrophy or shrinkage. Brain atrophy is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and impaired cognitive function.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a public health problem, especially among older people.

In a study involving more than 100 volunteers aged 61 to 87, all participants underwent annual clinical exams, MRI scans and cognitive tests, and had blood samples taken. Individuals with lower vitamin B12 levels at the start of the study had a greater decrease in brain volume. Those with the lowest B12 levels had a sixfold greater rate of brain volume loss compared with those who had the highest levels.

However, none of the participants were actually deficient in vitamin B12 — they just had low levels within a normal range.

Other risk factors for brain atrophy include high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
You may click to see->Depression-Vitamine B12 may be answer

Vitamin B12 comes from Animals

Sources:
U.S. News & World Report September 8, 2008
Neurology 2008; 71: 826-832

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Eating Veggies Shrinks the Brain

Scientists have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain-with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage.

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Vegans and vegetarians are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia and inflammation of the nervous system. Yeast extracts are one of the few vegetarian foods which provide good levels of the vitamin.

The link was discovered by Oxford University scientists who used memory tests, physical checks and brain scans to examine 107 people between the ages of 61 and 87.

When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage. It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12.

Brain scans of more than 1,800 people found that people who downed 14 drinks or more a week had 1.6% more brain shrinkage than teetotallers. Women in their seventies were the most at risk.

Beer does less damage than wine according to a study in Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Researchers found that the hippocampus-the part of the brain that stores memories – was 10% smaller in beer drinkers than those who stuck to wine.

And being overweight or obese is linked to brain loss, Swedish researchers discovered. Scans of around 300 women found that those with brain shrink had an average body mass index of 27 And for every one point increase in their BMI the loss rose by 13 to 16%.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)

Botanical Name:Angelica sinensis.
Family: Apiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Apiales
Genus: Angelica
Species: A. sinensis

Synonyms:American angelica, Angelica acutiloba , Angelica archangelica , Angelica atropurpurea , Angelica dahurica , Angelica edulis , Angelica gigas , Angelica keiskei , Angelica koreana , Angelica polymorpha var. sinensis Oliv. , Angelica pubescens , Angelica radix, Angelica root, Angelica silvestris , Angelique, Archangelica officinalis Moench or Hoffm, beta-sitosterol, Chinese Angelica, Chinese Danggui, Danggui, Dang Gui®, Danggui-Nian-Tong-Tang (DGNTT), Dang quai, Dong Kwai, Dong qua, Dong quai extract, Dong quai root, Dong qui, dry-kuei, engelwurzel, European angelica, European Dong quai, Female ginseng, FP3340010, FP334015, FT334010, garden angelica, Heiligenwurzel, Japanese angelica, Kinesisk Kvan (Danish), Kinesisk Kvanurt (Danish), Ligusticum glaucescens franch, Ligusticum officinale Koch, Ligustilides, phytoestrogen, Qingui, radix Angelica sinensis , root of the Holy Ghost, Tan Kue Bai Zhi, Tang Kuei, Tang Kuei Root®, Tang kwei, Tang quai, Tanggui (Korean), Tanggwi (Korean), Toki (Japanese), wild angelica, wild Chin quai, women’s ginseng, Yuan Nan wild Dong quai, Yungui.

Common Name : Dang Gui – Dong Quai – Chinese Angelica
Other Names: Angelica sinensis, Chinese angelica, dang gui, tang kuei

Habitat :Dong Quai  is native to China, Japan, and Korea.  It grows on high ground in cool and damp areas of western and north-western China. Forests.

Description: Dong Quai is a perennial herb , growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.7 m (2ft 4in)  The herb produces white flowers with a green hue that bloom from May to August, and the plant is typically found growing in moist mountain gullies, meadows, along river banks and in coastal areas.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile. The root of the Dong Quai plant has a number of medicinal appications.

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Dong Quai, or traditionally known as Chinese Angelica, is commonly used for treating conditions in females in both America and China. Traditional Chinese medicine, frequently refers to Dong Quai as female ginseng.

Dong quai comes in tablet, liquid extract, and raw root forms. In Chinese medicine, dong quai is often boiled or soaked in wine. The root is removed and the liquid is taken orally.

Medicinal Uses:

Often called “the female ginseng.”  Though dong quai has no specific hormonal action, it exerts a regulating and normalizing influence on hormonal production through its positive action on the liver and endocrine system.  It has a sweet and unusually thick pungent taste and is warming and moistening to the body.  Chinese angelica is taken in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a tonic for “deficient blood” conditions, anemia and for the symptoms of anemia due to blood loss, pale complexion, palpitations, and lowered vitality.  Chinese angelica regulates the menstrual cycle, relieves menstrual pains and cramps and is a tonic for women with heavy menstrual bleeding who risk becoming anemic.  Since it also stimulates menstrual bleeding, other tonic herbs, such as nettle, are best taken during menstruation if the flow is heavy.  It is also a uterine tonic and helps infertility.  Chinese angelica is a “warming” herb, improving the circulation to the abdomen and to the hands and feet.  It strengthens the digestion and it also is useful in the treatment of abscesses and boils.  Research has shown that the whole plant, including the rhizome, strengthens liver function and the whole rhizome has an antibiotic effect.  In China, physicians inject their patients with Dong quai extract to treat sciatic pain.  Clinical trials show that when this extract is injected into the acupuncture points used to treat sciatica, about 90% of people receiving treatment report significant improvement.
In Chinese medicine, different parts of the dong quai root are believed to have different actions – the head of the root has anticoagulant activity, the main part of the root is a tonic, and the end of the root eliminates blood stagnation. it is considered the “female ginseng” because of its balancing effect on the female hormonal system. However, studies have not found dong quai to have hormone-like effects.

*Menopause
*Weakness after childbirth
*Women’s tonic
*Chronic nasal or sinus congestion
*PMS, painful menstruation
*Irregular menstrual bleeding
*Fibroid tumors
*High blood pressure
*Blood tonic
*Fibrocystic breast disease
*Rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis
*Anemia
*Allergies
*Constipation
*Shingles
*Hepatitis
*Headache

In Chinese medicine, Dong quai is most often used in combination with other herbs, and is used as a component of formulas for liver qi stasis and spleen deficiency. It is believed to work best in patients with a yin profile, and is considered to be a mildly warming herb. Dong quai is thought to return the body to proper order by nourishing the blood and harmonizing vital energy. The name Dong quai translates as “return to order” based on its alleged restorative properties.

Although Dong quai has many historical and theoretical uses based on animal studies, there is little human evidence supporting the effects of Dong quai for any condition. Most of the available clinical studies have either been poorly designed or reported insignificant results. Also, most have examined combination formulas containing multiple ingredients in addition to Dong quai, making it difficult to determine which ingredient may cause certain effects.

Other Uses:    This plant is said to contain vitamin B12

Chinese
Its drying root is commonly known in Chinese as Radix Angelicae Sinensis, or Chinese angelica is widely used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat gynecological ailments, fatigue, mild anemia and high blood pressure. Chinese angelica possesses the distinction of being one of the few good non-animal sources of Vitamin B12, along with some varieties of yeast and microalgae like spirulina. It has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and sedative effects. The plant’s phytochemicals consist of coumarins, phytosterols, polysaccharides, ferulate, and flavonoids.

It is also used as an aphrodisiac.

Possible Side Effects and Safety Concerns
Dong quai should not be used by people with bleeding disorders, excessive menstrual bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, or during infections such as colds and flu. Call your health practitioner if you experience bleeding, unusual bruising, diarrhea, or fever.

Dong quai may contain estrogen-like compounds and should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with breast cancer.

People taking blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as warfarin should not use Dong quai.

Dong quai should not be used during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. It should also not be used during breast-feeding.

Dong quai can cause photosensitivity, so people should limit sun exposure and wear sunblock.

Prohibition
Being a uterine tonic and hormonal regulator this herb is an effective herb for female reproductive system. It is often used in premenstrual syndrome formulas as well as menopausal formulas. However, this herb is not recommended during pregnancy due to possible hormonal, anticoagulant, and anti-platelet properties. Animal research has noted conflicting effects on the uterus, with reports of both stimulation and relaxation. Dong quai is traditionally viewed as increasing the risk of miscarriage.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dong_quai
http://www.nutrasanus.com/dong-quai.html
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/DongQuai.htm

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Angelica+sinensis

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