Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

Road to Recovery with Rhodiola Rosea: A Rejuvenating Herb

Rhodiola Rosea also known as Russian Rhodiola is a herb which consists of multiple therapeutic effects.  It is found mainly in countries with colder climates such as Iceland and in mountains in Eastern Siberia.  Each part of the plant consists of various essential nutrients, but it is the roots and the rhizomes or the Rhodiola that contain the most medicinal properties.

Rhodiola Rosea has adaptogenic properties which help combat fatigue and anxiety, and increase resistance against physical, mental and environmental stresses and therefore it is also known as a rejuvenating herb.  The admirable benefits of this herb do not just stop here.  It also acts as a neuroprotective, anti-cancer, cardio protective, anti-depressive, and an anxiolytic agent.  The extracts derived from Rhodiola Rosea’s rhizomes are important in improving seasonal affective disorders (SAD), concentration and mood.

 

Depression

A research study was carried out to investigate the effectiveness of this extract in terms of treating individuals with mild to moderate depression.  This study consisted of males and females aged 18-70 years old.  This was a double blind placebo controlled study where participants arbitrarily were assigned to group A, B and C.  Group A and B received daily doses of the Rhodiola Rosea extract consisting of different potencies, and group C only received the placebo.  After 40 days it was found that participants in Group A and Group B showed less symptoms of depression and were able to sleep better than the patients in Group C, demonstrating the effectiveness of Rhodiola extract in terms of treating patients with mild to moderate depression as well as poor sleep.

This herb plays an important role in counteracting the effects of stress by interacting with hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine and cortisol.  These hormones and neurotransmitters play a crucial role in regulating our mood.  Rhodiola does this by stopping the enzyme which disintegrates the neurotransmitter that is required to stay happy.

 

Stress and Heart

Stress induced cardiac damage can be prevented by taking Rhodiola Rosea.  This herb plays an important role in preventing the release of catecholamines during highly stressful times.  Catecholamines are hormones which affect our sympathetic nervous system during flight or fight situations.  One of the major organs our sympathetic nervous system acts on is our heart.  Therefore during highly stressful times the release of catecholamine increases our heart rate, rate of contraction, and our blood pressure.  With the help of Rhodiola, the reduced release of catecholamines allows for the proper functioning of our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system to maintain homeostatis.

 

Anti-oxidant Power

The antioxidant power of this herb is also being extensively studied worldwide.  The ability of Rhodiola Rosea to counteract the damage of oxidation by radicals was found to be very high.  The anti-mutagenic and anti-cancer properties of this herb, was also shown to be powerful, having great ability to help prevent the advancement of tumors in cancer patients.

 

Weight Loss

When it comes to losing weight, again Rhodiola is not a silent player.  Some individuals who have a difficult time losing weight around certain areas of the body such as the abdomen can greatly benefit from Rhodiola.  This herb initiates lipase enzymes in our system.  These enzymes play a substantial role in the breakdown of fat found in our adipose tissues.  Research data shows that taking Rhodiola Rosea is an effective way to help shed those extra pounds.

 

Athletic Performance

This herb is also used extensively by Russian athletes to help enhance their athletic performances.  Recent studies have found Rhodiola Rosea to play an important role during intense physical exercise.  The supplementation of this herb taken by elite athletes appears to have improved the capacity to physically exercise by decreasing skeletal muscle damage and lactate levels after an intensive physical exercise session.

 

Importance of the Quality of the Herb

Not all Rhodiola Rosea supplements are equal in quality and hence effectiveness.  Some supplements have poor quality due to faulty harvesting methods, over drying and poor extraction techniques.  Since the medicinal properties are found in the root of Rhodiola Rosea, it is important that the supplements contain the Rhodiola root.  A pure and potent amount of rosavin and salidrosides which are two of the active ingredients of Rhodiola roots is an important part of a good quality Rhodiola Rosea supplement.

 

The benefits of Rhodiola Rosea are endless with the majority of research pointing to a positive impact on both physical and mental health.

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How Does Weight Affect Fertility? Looking at Both Sides of the Scale

A healthy body weight plays an important role in fertility. Being overweight or underweight can make achieving pregnancy more difficult mainly because of its effect on ovulation.

Excess weight can lead to anovulation (absence of ovulation) which often manifests as irregular menstruation. The good news is that losing weight can restore regular menstruation and bring about healthy ovulation whereby increasing the likelihood of pregnancy.

The same goes for those who are underweight. In this case, either anovulation or irregular ovulation can be an issue. With irregular ovulation, the uterine lining may not become thick enough for the fertilized egg to sufficiently implant and grow and even if it does implant, sustaining the pregnancy under such circumstances is difficult, making miscarriage a likely occurrence. In a study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, women whose body mass indexes were below 18.5 were 72% more likely to miscarry in their first trimester.

The bottom line is that too much or too little body fat will disturb the normal hormonal balance and subsequently affect menstruation and ovulation. Reaching a healthy weight can help reverse these issues and create a healthy environment for conception to occur.

With a proper daily diet plan and lifestyle modifications, both these issues can be resolved. To lose the excess weight, following a tailored weight loss dietary plan with a focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods and regular exercise can make a big difference. A 5 to 10 % weight loss can greatly impact ovulation. For those individuals who continue to have a difficult time losing weight despite all efforts, further investigation is warranted as other conditions may be involved such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which may be the cause of infertility and the difficulty behind losing the excess weight.

For those who are underweight, a healthy nutrient rich weight gain program will help bring about a healthier weight that supports fertility. Making healthy fats such as nuts and seeds, olive oil, and flaxseed oil part of every meal is an important part of this process.

Although weight is only one of the factors affecting fertility, it is an important one which should not be overlooked. Aside from optimizing the chances of pregnancy, having a healthy weight will also mean an advantage in all facets of overall wellbeing: more energy, better mood and less likelihood of pregnancy-related complications such as gestational diabetes, miscarriage as well as low birth weight.

The Most Important Meal of the Day

“Eat breakfast like a king lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”. There’s good reason for this saying. Many of my patients admit to skipping breakfast or even worse replace it with a cup of coffee instead so we always have a discussion around this topic. Breakfast allows your body to refuel for the day ahead; in essence you are “breaking your fast”. Some of the effects of skipping breakfast include fatigue, irritability, weight gain, low mood, and midmorning cravings for carbohydrates and sugar-your body has not been replenished with the fuels it needs to keep your blood sugar stable hence the cravings. Focus and concentration are also affected by skipping breakfast. This is especially seen in kids and students. Studies show that school children who eat breakfast are more alert, attentive and creative than those who don’t eat breakfast.

And for those who skip breakfast as an attempt to cut down on calories and help with their weight loss, not such a good idea. Eating breakfast actually kickstarts your metabolism for the day and skipping it makes losing weight more difficult.

If you are short on time to cook a big breakfast, simplify and plan ahead. Have a couple of boiled eggs, make a protein smoothie or prepare some oatmeal the night before, warm it up in the morning, sprinkle with some nuts and berries and that makes for a healthy quick breakfast. Having some form of protein in your breakfast is vital as this will ensure your blood sugar levels remain stable, you stay satiated for a longer period of time and you are less likely to be cave in to that midmorning cookie temptation!