1. Chemical Widely Used in Antibacterial Hand Soaps May Impair Muscle Function

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    ScienceDaily, August 13, 2012

    Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical widely used in hand soaps and other personal-care products, hinders muscle contractions at a cellular level, slows swimming in fish and reduces muscular strength in mice. (Credit: © mast3r / Fotolia)

    Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical widely used in hand soaps and other personal-care products, hinders muscle contractions at a cellular level, slows swimming in fish and reduces muscular strength in mice, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Colorado.

    The findings appear online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    “Triclosan is found in virtually everyone’s home and is pervasive in the environment,” said Isaac Pessah, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and principal investigator of the study. “These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health.”

    Triclosan is commonly found in antibacterial personal-care products such as hand soaps as well as deodorants, mouthwashes, toothpaste, bedding, clothes, carpets, toys and trash bags. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1998 estimated that more than 1 million pounds of triclosan are produced annually in the United States, and that the chemical is detectable in waterways and aquatic organisms ranging from algae to fish to dolphins, as well as in human urine, blood and breast milk.

    The investigators performed several experiments to evaluate the effects of triclosan on muscle activity, using doses similar to those that people and animals may be exposed to during everyday life.

    In “test tube” experiments, triclosan impaired the ability of isolated heart muscle cells and skeletal muscle fibers to contract. Specifically, the team evaluated the effects of triclosan on molecular channels in muscle cells that control the flow of calcium ions, creating muscle contractions. Normally, electrical stimulation (“excitation”) of isolated muscle fibers under experimental conditions evokes a muscle contraction, a phenomenon known as “excitation-contraction coupling,” the fundamental basis of any muscle movement, including heartbeats. But in the presence of triclosan, the normal communication between two proteins that function as calcium channels was impaired, causing skeletal and cardiac muscle failure.

    The team also found that triclosan impairs heart and skeletal muscle contractility in living animals. Anesthetized mice had up to a 25-percent reduction in heart function measures within 20 minutes of exposure to the chemical.

    “The effects of triclosan on cardiac function were really dramatic,” said Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, professor of cardiovascular medicine at UC Davis and a study co-author. “Although triclosan is not regulated as a drug, this compound acts like a potent cardiac depressant in our models.”

    In addition, the mice had an 18-percent reduction in grip strength for up to 60 minutes after being given a single dose of triclosan. Grip strength is a widely used measure of mouse limb strength, employed to investigate the effects of drugs and neuromuscular disorders.

    Finally, the investigators looked at the effects of triclosan exposure on fathead minnows, a small fish commonly used as a model organism for studying the potential impacts of aquatic pollutants. Those exposed to triclosan in the water for seven days had significantly reduced swimming activity compared to controls during both normal swimming and swim tests designed to imitate fish being threatened by a predator.

    “We were surprised by the large degree to which muscle activity was impaired in very different organisms and in both cardiac and skeletal muscle,” said Bruce Hammock, a study co-author and professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology. “You can imagine in animals that depend so totally on muscle activity that even a 10-percent reduction in ability can make a real difference in their survival.”

    The UC Davis research team has previously linked triclosan to other potentially harmful health effects, including disruption of reproductive hormone activity and of cell signaling in the brain.

    Chiamvimonvat cautioned that translating results from animal models to humans is a large step and would require further study. However, the fact that the effects were so striking in several animal models under different experimental conditions provides strong evidence that triclosan could have effects on animal and human health at current levels of exposure.

    “In patients with underlying heart failure, triclosan could have significant effects because it is so widely used,” Chiamvimonvat said. “However, without additional studies, it would be difficult for a physician to distinguish between natural disease progression and an environmental factor such as triclosan.”

    Pessah questioned arguments that triclosan — introduced more than 40 years ago — is safe partly because it binds to blood proteins, making it not biologically available. Although triclosan may bind to proteins in the blood, that may not necessarily make the chemical inactive, he said, and actually may facilitate its transport to critical organs. In addition, some of the current experiments were carried out in the presence of blood proteins, and disrupted muscle activity still occurred.

    Although triclosan was first developed to prevent bacterial infections in hospitals, its use has become widespread in antibacterial products used in the home. However, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, other than its use in some toothpastes to prevent gingivitis, there is no evidence that triclosan provides other health benefits or that antibacterial soaps and body washes are more effective than regular soap and water. Experts also express concern about the possibility of resistant bacterial strains developing with the overuse of antibacterial products.

    Because the chemical structure of triclosan resembles other toxic chemicals that persist in the environment, the FDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are conducting new risk assessments of the chemical. Based on their study outcomes, the researchers argue that the potential health risks call for greater restrictions.

    “We have shown that triclosan potently impairs muscle functions by interfering with signaling between two proteins that are of fundamental importance to life,” said Pessah. “Regulatory agencies should definitely be reconsidering whether it should be allowed in consumer products.”

    Said Hammock: “Triclosan can be useful in some instances, however it has become a ubiquitous ‘value added’ marketing factor that actually could be more harmful than helpful. At the very least, our findings call for a dramatic reduction in its use.”

  2. 5 Ways Magnesium Heals Your Body & Mind

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    July 24, 2012 Source: FitLife.tv

    When my clients first come to me to transform their body, often times they are spending hundreds of dollars a month on useless supplements, protein shakes and potions that they are not even absorbing because of digestion issues.

    Due to million dollar marketing budgets and misleading information many of these useless supplements could be forcing the body fat to cling to you like a bacon sweater!

    Many times the Alpha Reset will provide you with needed vitamins and minerals without having to take supplements.

    There are 22 different minerals that are important in human nutrition. Minerals and vitamins function as components of body enzymes, often needed for proper composition of bone, blood, and maintenance of normal cell function.

    In plants, most minerals are complexed with organic molecules which means that you get better mineral absorption when you consume fruits and vegetables.

    One of the most powerful but often times overlooked mineral is magnesium. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. You’ll be surprised at the benefits magnesium provides.

    Below is a chart of the recommended dietary allowance for magnesium for adults and children according to National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements.

    5 Benefits of Magnesium:

    1. Magnesium may reverse osteoporosis

    Multiple research studies conducted have suggested that calcium supplemented with magnesium improves bone mineral density. Magnesium deficiency alters calcium metabolism and the hormones that regulate calcium, resulting in osteoporosis. Intake of recommended levels of magnesium is important because it averts osteoporosis.

    2. Magnesium prevents cardiovascular diseases

    One of the most important benefits of magnesium is that it is associated with lowering the risk of coronary heart diseases. Dietary surveys have suggested that sufficient magnesium intake may reduce the chance of having a stroke. Magnesium deficiency increases the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, which increases the risk of complications after a heart attack. Therefore, consuming recommended amounts of magnesium dietary supplements may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system.

    3. Magnesium regulates high blood pressure (Hypertension)

    Magnesium plays a key role in regulating blood pressure naturally. Magnesium supplements and a diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of potassium and magnesium, are consistently associated with lowering blood pressure.

    4. Magnesium treats diabetes

    Studies show that individuals with a magnesium deficiency have a risk of developing type-2 diabetes and severe diabetic retinopathy. Magnesium aids in carbohydrate metabolism and influences the release and activity of insulin, thereby controlling blood glucose levels. It has been proven that for every 100 milligrams of increase in magnesium daily intake, there was a 15 percent decrease in the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

    5. Magnesium treats migraines, insomnia, and depression

    The numerous magnesium health benefits also include the treatment of migraines, insomnia, and symptoms of depression. Magnesium is also known to cure severe forms of psychiatric dysfunctions including panic attacks, stress, anxiety, and undue agitations. Magnesium supplements considerably reduce the severity of such attacks and may also help in reducing the rate of recurrence.

  3. Choosing Healthy Fruits and Vegetables

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    By Abigale MillerMedically reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD

    Once you start to add fruits and vegetables to your healthy eating plan, you’ll want to keep eating them. Learn what to look for when choosing produce as part of a healthy diet.

    It probably doesn’t surprise you that most Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. The American Dietary Guidelines suggest that each person eat four and a half cups, or nine servings, of fruits or vegetables each day. Many people find this difficult to manage, but with a little creativity and the right information, it’s as easy as (apple) pie!

    Healthy Eating: Why You Need Produce

    What can a diet rich in produce do for you? Besides being a delicious part of your meals, fruits and vegetables have amazing health benefits. People who eat a variety of fruits and vegetables generally have a lower incidence of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancer.

    Fruits and vegetables offer a spectacular variety of flavor, texture, and nutrition that is just waiting to be taken advantage of. Here are some tips to help you maximize the health benefits of eating produce:

    Choose a produce rainbow. Richly colored fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients compared to paler ones. Jessica Begg, RD, of Flourish Wellness & Nutrition in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, suggests dark-colored spinach as a healthy alternative to pale iceberg lettuce. Brightly colored produce like tomatoes, carrots, pink grapefruit, mangoes, and guava are a good source of carotenoids, a form of vitamin A that may help prevent heart disease. Continue reading

  4. Cucumber nutrition facts

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    Ever wonder how to beat the scorching summer heat? Remember humble crunchy cucumber! This wonderful, low calorie vegetable indeed has more nutrients to offer than just water and electrolytes.

    The vegetable is one of the oldest cultivated crops and believed to be originating in the northern plains of India. The plant is a creeper (vine) just like other same cucurbita family members, for example gourds, squashes, melons, zucchini etc. Botanically, it belongs to the cucurbitaceous family; and is known scientifically as Cucumis sativus.

    Cucumber is easy to grow. Different varieties, varying in size, shape, and color, are cultivated all around the world. In general, the fruit features dark green skin, crispy moisture rich flesh, and small edible seeds concentrated at its center. Like other squash members, cucumbers are best-harvested young, tender and just short of reaching maturity, at a stage when they taste sweet and have unique flavor. If left alone, the fruit continues to grow in size, its skin become tough and turns yellow, and seeds become hard and inedible. Fresh cucumbers are available throughout the season and can be eaten raw as is or in vegetable salads or in the form of juice.

    Cucumis melo var. flexuosusArmenian cucumbers (Cucumis melo var. flexuosus) are long, crispy, and thin-ribbed, curved, and have light green color. Although they are grouped botanically in melons family they look and taste like cucumbers.
    Small size varieties such as gherkins, American dills and French-cornichons are very small in size and usually preferred in pickling.

    Health benefits of Cucumber

    • It is one of the very low calories vegetable; provides just 15 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation, and offers some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.
    • It is a very good source of potassium, an important intracellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte; helps reduce blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium.
    • It contains unique anti-oxidants in good ratios such as ß-carotene and α-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-A, zea-xanthin and lutein. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
    • Cucumbers have mild diuretic property probably due to their high water and potassium content, which helps in checking weight gain and high blood pressure.
    • They are surprisingly have high amount of vitamin K, provides about 17 µg of this vitamin per 100 g. Vitamin-K has been found to have potential role in bone strength by promoting osteotrophic (bone mass building) activity. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

    Source: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com

  5. Top Ten Great Health Benefits of Eating Cherries

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    Cherries

    Cherries are a nutritional powerhouse fruit with so many incredible health benefits.

    1. Cherries, known as a “super-fruit”, are packed with antioxidants called anthropocentric which aid in the reduction of heart disease and cancer.

    2. Cherries are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant that helps regulate heart rhythms and the body’s sleep cycles.

    3. Cherries are an excellent source of beta carotene (vitamin A). In fact they contain 19 times more beta carotene than blueberries and strawberries.

    4. Cherries are rich in vitamins C, E, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and fiber.

    5. Cherries are referred to as “brain food”, aiding in brain health and in the prevention of memory loss.

    6. Because cherries contain anthocyanins, they can reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis and gout.

    7. Eating cherries reduces the risk of diabetes.

    8. Cherries are a good source of fiber which is important for digestive health.

    9. Cherries are a great snack or dessert choice important for weight-maintenance.

    10. Because of their powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, cherries are said to reduce pain and joint soreness for runners and athletes after workouts.

    Posted on July 18, 2012 by Rishika


Live & Die for Buddhism

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Maha Ghosananda

Maha Ghosananda

Supreme Patriarch of Cambodian Buddhism (5/23/1913 - 3/12/07). Forever in my heart...

Problems we face today

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Of the many problems we face today, some are natural calamities and must be accepted and faced with equanimity. Others, however, are of our own making, created by misunderstanding, and can be corrected...

Major Differences

Major Differences in Buddhism

Major Differences in Buddhism: There is no almighty God in Buddhism. There is no one to hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgement Day ...read more

My Reflection

My Reflection

This site is a tribute to Buddhism. Buddhism has given me a tremendous inspiration to be who and where I am today. Although I came to America at a very young age, however, I never once forget who I am and where I came from. One thing I know for sure is I was born as a Buddhist, live as a Buddhist and will leave this earth as a Buddhist. I do not believe in superstition. I only believe in karma.

A Handful of Leaves

A Handful of Leaves

Tipitaka: The pali canon (Readings in Theravada Buddhism). A vast body of literature in English translation the texts add up to several thousand printed pages. Most -- but not all -- of the Canon has already been published in English over the years. Although only a small fraction of these texts are available here at Access to Insight, this collection can nonetheless be a very good place to start.

Just the way it is

1. Accept everything just the way it is.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
7. Never be jealous.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor... read more