Breathing Program to Improve Mental and Physical Health in Two Weeks

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

It may be hard to believe, but 9 out of 10 adults breathe incorrectly, thereby impairing their health and exacerbating anxiety and depression. Fortunately, learning to breathe correctly is not a complicated affair.

In this interview, Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist and author of “Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health,” shares a breathing program she developed that can help improve your physical and mental health in a short amount of time.

Psychologists do not typically focus on breathing. As is often the case with health pioneers, it was her personal health problems that led Vranich onto this path.

“What happened is that one year in New York, I woke up and had this dull throbbing pain in my jaw. I went to the dentist and found out I was not only grinding my teeth, I was pulverizing them because of stress …  

Being someone who sort of thrived on stress, I reached a point where it wasn’t working for me anymore … [F]inding out I had to pay thousands of dollars to get teeth replaced and fixed was my [aha] moment.

Most people take a yoga class or have a stiff drink. I decided for the yoga class. I loved the breathing we did in yoga … When I left yoga, I tried to find other classes that had to do with breathing. Most of them were vague, as far as their scientific explanations of what was going on, although they were lovely …

[C]oming from a science background, I really wanted to know why things were happening … Long story short, I found all types of breathing in sports, martial arts, birthing, singing [and] free diving. I put all those practical elements together and came up with the breathing class I give now.

I went back to my own patients [who] had anxiety and depression, and it worked really well with them … They would spend chunks of the session really wanting to do breath work. That’s how the transition happened.”

Proper Breathing Is a Cornerstone of Good Health

In her book, “Breathe,” Vranich accurately points out that breathing is a cornerstone of good health, and that changing the way you breathe can have an enormous impact, improving your sleep, cognition, eating habits, resilience to stress and more.

It can even lower your inflammation level, improve gastrointestinal (GI) function, increase longevity and reduce pain. When you’re in pain, you tense up, which in turn affects your breathing, making it shallower. This actually makes the pain feel worse, and can lead to a vicious circle where the pain becomes constant.

When it comes to breathing style, there are two basic types: vertical and horizontal breathing. Most people breathe vertically. This type of breathing makes you feel a bit taller on the in-breath, as it raises your chest and shoulders.

“Unfortunately, it’s anatomically incongruous,” Vranich says. “Your neck and shoulders were never meant to be breathing muscles. You’re not using the best part of your lungs. You’re actually telling your nervous system that you are in a stressed-out state.

If you’re not already in a stressed-out state, it’s going to make you more stressed … Horizontally is the way you see all animals on the planet breathe. They breathe and widen where the biggest part of their lungs are …

If you ask a 5-year old to take a breath, they just widen like a little puffing fish … It’s their deep breath. It’s perfect. You take a 10-year-old and ask them to take a deep breath and all of a sudden, it’s completely changed.

The 10-year-old will raise their shoulders, puff up their little chests and take this vertical, apical breath. If it doesn’t happen by age 10, definitely by age 15 … What they’re doing is mimicking their parents and what they see around them …”

How to Address Dysfunctional Breathing

The origins of dysfunctional breathing can also be traced back to excessive sitting. The average American sits 13 to 16 hours a day, which puts your body into an unnatural posture. According to Vranich, your posture affects as much as 30 percent of your breathing.

You may also have learned improper breathing through sports. Constrictive clothing such as tight waist bands, compression garments and bra straps add to the problem. Sucking in your gut also worsens the situation.

“Even if you’re not pulling in your gut because you think it makes you look thinner, you’re bracing because of anxiety. Think about it. That’s actually a posture that most of us have very often,” Vranich says. “It’s this braced middle … because it makes us feel better.

We feel like we’re ready to run or to strike. The problem with all of those things is that it takes the breath and it pushes it up, [turning it into] a vertical breath …

Luckily, dismantling it is fairly easy because somewhere in your body, you remember having breathed horizontally … [and since] it does make you feel better [when breathing horizontally], you start doing it.”

The book, “Breathe,” is a useful resource that provides a variety of different exercises and strategies to address this dysfunctional breathing. One such strategy Vranich calls “rock and roll.” You can do it either standing or sitting.

Begin by relaxing and unbracing your midsection. Take a deep breath in and actually feel the middle of your body get wider. Let your belly go. On the exhale, roll backward, tipping your hips underneath you while pressing your fingers gently into your belly, giving it a little squeeze.

These movements are exaggerated because learning a new mechanical movement is easier if you start by exaggerating it. Eventually, this will teach your body to use the diaphragm to breathe. So, on the inhale, let your belly go. On the exhale, roll back and squeeze.

“This is the most important breath,” Vranich says. “If you do anything at all, this is the most wonderful one … You want to get yourself trained to breathe that way all the time.”

Remember to Engage Your Diaphragm When Breathing

One of the key things to remember is to work with and engage your diaphragm when breathing, as this will allow you to change your breathing more easily, and make the change permanent. This is what the “rock and roll” breathing exercise teaches you.

“[While] the Buteyko [Breathing technique] focuses on your carbon dioxide levels, breathing through your nose, and posits that most people over-breathe … I focus on style of breathing.

I really look to see where you’re breathing from, because in my experience that has been what really resonates with people and what creates the most change,” Vranich says. “Although I touch on Buteyko Breathing in my book, I try to bring in breathing exercises from as many different places as possible, because I want there to be information that resonates with a really diverse group of people.

I talk about breathing that happens in singing … in martial arts … In “Breathe,” I bring in everything I possibly can, as far as breathing, to really give you a choice to see which of these different exercises works for you. But my main gift, I’d like to think, is that I look at where you’re breathing from.”

You might know that muscles will atrophy from lack of use. If you’ve been breathing improperly for several decades, it may take some time to retrain your breathing muscles before you can breathe optimally. Even athletes can have weak breathing muscles, because in order to be strong, they have to be worked out separately. It doesn’t happen automatically simply because you’re breathing heavily, and it has nothing to do with lung capacity. Your breathing muscles include your:

  • Intercostals: Muscles that run between your ribs, allowing your chest wall to move
  • Diaphragm: That thin sheet of muscle that extends across your thoracic cavity below your heart and lungs, above your digestive system
  • Obliques: The largest, outermost muscles of the lateral, anterior abdomen that give you that six-pack look
  • Pelvic floor

How to Strengthen Your Breathing Muscles

Working those muscles and really engaging them when breathing will have a dramatic effect on your ability to breathe well. Your inhale is governed by your diaphragm, while the exhale is primarily governed by your intercostals and obliques. Oftentimes, feeling short of breath is due to insufficient exhalation leaving excess residual air in your lungs. With age, your intercostals and obliques can weaken, thereby weakening your ability to exhale fully.

“When I teach, I teach the extremes so that you understand the mechanics. I make that exhale a squeeze. When you think about exhaling, most people think, ‘Inhale, exhale, let go,’ and that really messes us up. That idea of ‘exhale, let go’ makes you relax and flop down when you actually want to be narrowing your body on the exhale …

If you can think about your belly button getting closer to your spine and even your ribs coming together, that’s a really good exhale, which will obviously make your next inhale much better,” Vranich explains.

While about 50 percent of people can change their breathing for the better simply by reading the book or taking a single-session breathing class, to really change your breathing for life, most people need to commit to doing the exercises several times a day for one to three weeks.

The Importance of Stretching

Stretching helps improve your range of motion and flexibility, and proper breathing is an important aspect of effective stretching as well. Conversely, stretching can also improve your breathing. Vranich explains: 

“Since your intercostals are two layers of muscle on the inside of your ribs, the best way you can stretch them is by inhaling and then stretching … [This opens] up the spaces between your ribs … Add air to the ribcage, on the inside, and then stretch. Add a little bit more. It’s called air packing — air packing comes from free diving — then stretch a little bit deeper. You can actually focus on the side that’s collapsing and give that a little crunch …

Now, I love spinal twists. If you don’t have any injuries, if you’ve been OK’d for doing spinal twists, doing spinal twists on the exhale will definitely get you deeper into the twist using the breath … Whatever chair you’re on, taking the back of your seat … and pulling yourself around on the exhale will get you deeper into the twist.”

More Information

Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health” is a really excellent book if you want to explore different ways to improve your breathing. Vranich also teaches her breathing course live across the U.S. and conducts private sessions via Skype, Facetime or Google Hangout. An online course is also being prepared at the time of this interview.

Health professionals, such as physical therapists, life coaches, personal trainers, yoga instructors and other coaches and therapists of all kinds can also become certified breathing coaches through her Breathe Certification Teacher Training Program. This year, teacher trainings are scheduled for Los Angeles, San Francisco and London. At present, there are about 50 health professionals certified in her program. You can find more information about this, and a whole lot more, on

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How to Grow Great Lettuce

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

If you’re growing your own vegetables, now is the right time to start your lettuce. Lettuce of all kinds thrives in cool temperatures and consistently moist soil, so spring and fall, when temperatures are between 45 and 75 F, are the best times to grow them. Popular lettuce types include:

  • Loose-leaf varieties — Fast-growing delicate leaves that grow from a central stalk; cutting the outer leaves rather than pulling the whole head will allow the plant to keep growing new leaves to replace what you harvested
  • Butterhead (Boston) — Soft, tender leaves with white heart; requires cool weather and optimal soil quality to thrive
  • Mesclun blends — Spicier greens such as radicchio and mustard add flavor and color to your salads
  • Romaine — Heat-tolerant with crunchy long leaves. Use red or red-speckled varieties to add color to your meal
  • Crisphead (iceberg) — Heat-hardy with thick, crunchy leaves, high in fiber but low in overall nutrition

When and What to Plant for Spring

First, check your Farmer’s Almanac (The Old Farmer’s Almanac is now available online1) to find the last frost date for your local area. Lettuce should be sown six weeks before the last frost date. Ideal soil temperature is between 55 and 75 F. Within this range, seeds will sprout in two to eight days.

If your seeds resist sprouting, they’re probably too old. Lettuce seed should be replaced annually. Fresh seeds have a germination rate of about 80 percent, and a single standard seed packet will produce about 80 heads of lettuce.

Make sure your soil is rich in humus and retains moisture well, as the soil should never be allowed to dry out. Lettuce also needs plenty of nitrogen.  To ensure a continuous spring crop, plant your lettuce as follows:2,3,4

1. Plant seeds in cold frames six weeks before your last spring frost date.

2. At the same time, start another batch of seeds indoors under growing lights. When the seedlings are three weeks old, place them outside for two to three days to adjust before transplanting them into your planting bed.

For the first few days, use a shade cover to protect the tender plants from excessive sun and wind exposure. Reducing watering and exposing the seedlings to lower temperatures for three days before transplanting them into your garden will toughen them up further.

3. Two weeks before your last spring frost date, direct seed another batch in your garden. If the weather threatens to warm up considerably, be sure to use more heat-tolerant varieties.

Be mindful of the fact that if the soil is too warm, germination may not occur. You can encourage germination by placing the seeds on wet blotting paper and refrigerating them for five days before planting them.

4. As the seedlings begin to grow, you’ll need to thin the lettuce to allow adequate growing room. Begin thinning when the seedlings have four leaves.

Thin leaf lettuce so the plants are 4 to 6 inches apart; butterheads, 3 to 5 inches; romaine varieties need about 10 to 12 inches; and head lettuce needs about 12 to 16 inches. Rows should be about 18 inches apart.

5. Water daily. The soil must not be allowed to dry out as this will make the leaves thin and bitter. Lettuce has shallow roots, so the soil surface should be kept moist but not soggy. Adding a thick layer of mulch will help retain water and cool the soil. If the weather gets too hot, put up a shade cover.

Fall Crop Growing Tips

For a fall crop, find the date of your first fall frost and start planting seeds eight weeks before the frost date. Direct seed batches every one to two weeks for a continuous fall crop. Once you’re a month out from your first frost date, be sure to sow only cold-tolerant varieties such as the following.5

Alternatively, use a mixed seed packet, which can contain a dozen or more varieties. The hardiest ones will survive.

? Green Forest

? Hyper Red Wave

? Merlot

? Midnight Ruffles

? New Red Fire

? Oscarde

? Panisse

? Pablo

? Red Salad Bowl

? Salad Bowl

? Winter Marvel (Bibb variety)

? Winter Wonderland (Romaine)

Planting and Harvesting Tips

If you’re using a planting bed, loosen the top 10 inches of soil and mix in about an inch’s worth of compost. Seeds should be planted at a depth of about one-fourth inch, with 1 inch between seeds.

If you want, you may simply scatter the seed across your planting bed, but be sure to thin and transplant the seedlings as they start to pop up.

Lettuce can also be grown in containers, or you can add them to your flower beds as edible greenery. Growing several different varieties and planting a new batch every week or two will provide you with fresh salad greens for several months out of the year.

Adding compost or fish emulsion once or twice during growing season will promote speedy growth. If the soil is too dry, the plants can start seeding early, at which point they tend to get really bitter. Pull and discard any plant that goes to seed.

If you want to save seeds, save only those from the very last plants that go to seed, as early seeding is an undesirable trait. To prevent the seed head from toppling over, you may need to stake the plant. Once the seed pods are plump, gather them and store in a paper bag in a cool, dry place.

Harvesting is simple: If you need the whole head, simply cut the head off near the soil line. Alternatively, just cut some of the mature leaves from the outside with a pair of scissors, leaving the center in place. New leaves will continue to fill in.

The best time to harvest is in the morning, after they’ve had time to plump up with water overnight. Rinse with cool water and pat dry before storing in the refrigerator.

Harvesting your lettuce while still immature is a simple way to get more nutrition out of your lettuce. After about two to three weeks, when the plants have reached a height of about 2 inches, they’re considered microgreens. At a height of about 4 inches, they’re known as “baby greens.”

Both microgreens and baby greens are packed with higher densities of nutrients than full-grown vegetables.

Addressing Pests Without Chemicals

Common pests and ways to address them without toxic pesticides are as follows:

Slugs — Signs of a slug problem include smooth-edged holes in the outer leaves. Simple remedies include collecting them by hand (use gloves), trapping them in beer traps, or spraying cold coffee on infested plants until you see no further sign of infestation. When these approaches fail, I have had great success with Monterey Sluggo, which is OMRI certified for organic gardens.

Aphids — Aphids are typically found in the folds between leaves. Simply spraying them off with cool water can help. Ladybugs and syrphid fly larvae6 (also known as hover flies or flower flies; often mistaken for bees and wasps) are natural predators that can quickly suppress an aphids infestation.

You can tell you have active syrphid fly populations in your garden if you see black oily smears on plant foliage. This is the excrement of the larvae. If you don’t have an active syrphid fly population, you can buy live ladybugs (available online) and apply them to your garden.7

Before releasing them, refrigerate the live ladybugs for 30 minutes. It’s best to release them in the evening, so be sure to time it properly. Spray some water on the lower portion of the area infected with aphids, then sprinkle the chilled ladybugs on the lower half of the plant. The chilling will slow the ladybug’s metabolism, basically putting them to sleep for the night.

As the sun warms them up in the morning, they’ll start scavenging for food and laying eggs. So, even though many will fly away, the eggs will hatch larvae that continue feeding on the aphids, and the grown ladybugs will continue the lifecycle of laying eggs and controlling pests in your garden.

Cutworms (moth larvae)8You will typically see these caterpillars in your garden in the evening, after dusk, which is when they start to feed. During daylight hours, they can be hard to find as they curl up in different hiding spots. Cutworms can do severe damage, as they chew through the plant’s stem at the very base of the plant. They also feed on plant roots. Usually, infested plants cannot be salvaged.

To prevent cutworms, place a 4-inch-tall plant collar made from cardboard around each plant stem. Save and reuse toilet paper tubes for this purpose. Simply cut the tube in half, lengthwise, and down the center to slip it around the plant. Another alternative is to pick off the cutworms by hand. Go out after dark and use a flashlight to find them.

Place the cutworms in a bucket of soapy water. Repeat every few nights until the infestation is under control. Other chemical-free treatment alternatives include the following:

? Sprinkle used coffee grounds or ground up egg shells around your plants

? Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around each plant

? Use oak leaves as mulch around the plants

? Plant tansy near cabbages to ward off cutworms

? Fireflies are a natural predator to cutworms, so if you have them in your garden, consider yourself lucky

Preventing Plant Disease

While lettuce needs moist soil, poor drainage can lead to soggy soil that promotes bottom rot and gray mold. As a general guide, only plant lettuce in the same spot once every three years. This will prevent many soilborne diseases. To avoid bottom rot, make sure the soil is moist but well drained. Planting your lettuce on ridges elevated about 4 inches can be helpful.

Also avoid wetting the leaves when watering. Gently fold the leaves off to the side with one hand and only water the soil. Gray mold produces grayish-green or dark brown spots on the leaves. Any infected plants should be pulled and discarded far from your garden to avoid spreading.

Regrow Romaine Lettuce in a Bowl of Water

As seen in the video above, regrowing romaine lettuce requires nothing more than a shallow bowl and some water. Once you’ve cut off the leaves, leaving a couple of inches’ worth of the head, simply place it in a bowl with one-half inch of water. Replace the water daily. New leaves will begin to sprout from the center, eventually regrowing the entire plant.

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Vitamin C, B1 and Hydrocortisone Dramatically Reduce Mortality From Sepsis

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

Sepsis1 is a progressive disease process caused by an aggressive, dysfunctional immune response to an infection in the bloodstream. It starts with symptoms of infection that can progress to septic shock.

Unless treated — and the earlier the better — sepsis can result in extremely low blood pressure that is unresponsive to fluid replacement, weakening of the heart, and multiple-organ failure.

Sepsis is a common hospital-acquired infection,2,3 but common illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia, strep throat or kidney infection can also turn septic, as can localized infections caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses.

The condition becomes particularly problematic and deadly if the infection involves methicillin-resistant or vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA or VRSA) bacteria.

Each year, an estimated 1 million Americans get sepsis4 and up to half of them die.5,6,7 Treatment can be a challenge, and is becoming even more so as drug-resistant infections become more prevalent.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, sepsis is the most expensive condition being treated in U.S. hospitals, costing more than $20 billion in 20118 and $24 billion in 2014.9

The good news is a critical care physician just may have found a way to save tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year using two readily available vitamins and a steroid.

Vitamin C and Thiamine — An Inexpensive Cure for Sepsis

Vitamin C is well-known for its ability to prevent and treat infectious diseases. Previous research has shown it effectively lowers pro-inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein.10,11,12 Influenza,13 encephalitis and measles14 have all been successfully treated with high-dose vitamin C.

Studies have even shown vitamin C is selectively cytotoxic to cancer cells by
generating hydrogen peroxide when administered intravenously (IV) in high doses.
It also has a number of heart and cardiovascular benefits.

The anti-infective power of vitamin C has now been demonstrated yet again by Dr. Paul Marik, a critical care doctor at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in East Virginia.

Last January, when faced with yet another deathly ill patient, Marik decided to try a combination of intravenous (IV) vitamin C with hydrocortisone as a last-ditch effort to save the woman’s life.15

He’d recently read a colleague’s paper on vitamin C, and he knew vitamin C acts like the steroid hydrocortisone, so on a hunch, he administered the two together. It worked. While everyone expected her to die, the woman made a remarkable overnight recovery. As reported by NBC4i News:16

“The staff couldn’t believe it, so they tried it again and again — with the same results. They added a third element, thiamine, to the IV treatment as well. Today, they have used the treatment on about 150 patients and they say the result is the same …

A researcher at Old Dominion University, John Catravas, Ph.D., … did an independent
lab study that confirms the treatment’s effectiveness.”

Interestingly, Marik used a relatively small amount of vitamin C — only 1.5 grams IV. Most natural medicine physicians tend to use 25 grams or more when giving IV vitamin C, more than 20 times the dose used here. One can only wonder how much more effective a larger dose would be.

It’s All About the Right Combination of Ingredients

For the first two or three patients, only vitamin C and
hydrocortisone were used. Marik then decided to add thiamine for a number of
reasons. Importantly, it’s required for metabolism of some of the metabolites of vitamin C.

Research has also shown many patients with sepsis are vitamin deficient, and when thiamine is given, it reduces mortality. Septic shock patients who receive thiamine have also been shown to have a reduced risk of renal failure.

Marik’s retrospective before-after clinical study,17,18 published in the journal Chest, showed that giving patients IV vitamin C with hydrocortisone and thiamine (vitamin B1) for two days reduced mortality nearly five-fold, from 40 percent to 8.5 percent.

Of the 50 patients treated, only four died — and none of them actually died from sepsis. They died from their underlying disease.

Interestingly, further lab testing found that while neither vitamin C nor hydrocortisone alone are able to prevent cell death following exposure to toxins produced by bacteria, when given in combination, the concoction does protect the cells. Turns out Marik’s hunch had been a truly inspired one.

Other research has also shown thiamine reduces mortality from sepsis and helps protect against renal failure, which is why Marik decided to add it to his mixture.

The treatment has now become part of the hospital’s standard of care for sepsis, and will hopefully become standard of care for sepsis elsewhere as well. As noted by Marik, sepsis kills about 1,000 people each day in the U.S. — that’s like having three jumbo jets crash each day.

Sepsis kills more than breast cancer, colon cancer and AIDS combined, and here’s a treatment that is not only profoundly effective, but also has no side effects and is inexpensive, readily available and simple to administer. Patients and doctors really have nothing to lose by trying it.

Potential Contraindication

While more research is needed to validate the
findings, vitamin C and thiamine (vitamin B1) administration is so safe there’s really no need to avoid it. It certainly isn’t going to make the situation worse — unless you happen to be glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD)
deficient (a genetic disorder).19

G6PD is an enzyme your red blood cells need
to maintain membrane integrity. High-dose IV vitamin C is a strong pro-oxidant,
and giving a pro-oxidant to a G6PD-deficient individual can cause their red
blood cells to rupture, which could have disastrous consequences.

Fortunately, G6PC deficiency is relatively uncommon, and can be tested for. People of Mediterranean and African decent are at greater risk of being G6PC deficient. Worldwide, G6PD deficiency is thought to affect 400 million individuals, and in the U.S., an estimated 1 in 10 African American males have it.20

Anecdotal Evidence Suggests Near-Infrared Light May Protect Against Kidney Failure

On a side note, your risk of kidney failure — which is a very common outcome of sepsis — may be reduced or prevented by shining a near-infrared light on the area. I know, that sounds too amazing to be true, but according to Michael Hamblin, Ph.D., a photodynamic therapy researcher, the anecdotal evidence for this is quite strong.

“Kidney failure is the third leading cause of death. These are old folks who are dying from kidney failure. You can’t really give them transplants because they’re elderly. You put a near-infrared LED array where their kidneys are and it seems to work like a dream. [But] it’s hardly been studied at all,” Hamblin said. Again, the worst that could happen is nothing, as red and near-infrared light (630 to 830 nanometer range) is quite safe.

Other Health Benefits of Thiamine

Thiamine or
vitamin B1,21 found in pork, dark leafy greens, wheat germ, green peas,
lentils and nuts,22 is perhaps best known for its role in cellular production of energy and supporting normal neuronal activity. However, it also has a wide range of other health benefits.23 According to the Mayo Clinic, studies confirm thiamine can be helpful for a long list of diseases and disorders, including:24

  • Metabolic and
    mitochondrial disorders
  • Blood clots and clogged
  • Cerebellar ataxia
    (movement disorder caused by neurological damage)
  • Coma
  • Kidney dysfunction

Research25 published in 2013 also found thiamine supplementation can improve cardiac
function in those with heart failure. Overall, patients with heart failure tend to be deficient in thiamine, as well as other micronutrients. Thiamine deficiency has also been linked to delirium,26 thyroid fatigue and Hashimoto’s (a thyroid autoimmune disorder).27 These and other health effects may help explain why thiamine works so well (in
conjunction with vitamin C and hydrocortisone) for sepsis.

For general health purposes, adult men and women need about 1.2 and 1.1 milligrams (mg) of thiamine respectively each day. Also be aware that thiamine conversion is dependent on having sufficient amounts of sulfur. Good sources of dietary sulfur include organic pastured eggs, legumes, garlic,
onion, Brussel
, asparagus, kale and wheat germ.

Moreover, all B vitamins, including thiamine, are produced within your gut28 provided you have a healthy gut microbiome. So, eating real food, ideally organic, along with fermented foods will provide your microbiome with important fiber and beneficial bacteria to help optimize your internal vitamin B production.

To Avoid Sepsis, Understand the Cause

With sepsis affecting more than a million Americans each year, how can you avoid becoming a statistic? First, be aware that ANY infection can lead to sepsis. While it’s typically associated with hospital-acquired infections, nearly half of all cases are in fact the result of an infection acquired outside a hospital setting.29

Part of what makes it so deadly is that people typically do not suspect it, and the longer you wait to treat it, the deadlier it gets. As noted in a special report on sepsis by Consumer Reports:30

Whenever the body develops an infection, the immune system normally kicks in, producing chemicals to fight the infection. But sometimes — either because the triggering bacteria is unusually powerful or because the person’s immune system is already weakened by other health problems — those chemicals are set loose in the bloodstream and course through the body.

Instead of just fighting the local infection, those chemicals unleashed by the immune system cause widespread inflammation and damage tissues in the liver, kidneys, heart and other organs. Within hours, blood clots can begin to form, and damage to blood vessels causes blood pressure to drop, which in turn slows the delivery of vital nutrients to those organs already under attack. In the final stages, the heart weakens and organs begin to fail.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), you’re at higher risk for sepsis if you have:

  • Chronic disease. A vast majority — 7 out of 10 — of people who develop sepsis have some kind of
    chronic health condition. Those with diabetes, lung, kidney or liver disease
    tend to be particularly susceptible to infection, which raises the risk.
  • Weakened immune system, AIDS or cancer.
  • Recently spent time in a hospital, nursing home or other health care facility, as exposure to infection-causing bacteria is common in these

Common Sense Strategies to Reduce Your Risk of Sepsis

While health care workers have a responsibility to prevent infections that could potentially turn septic and to educate patients about warning signs of sepsis, you can lower your own risk by:

Promptly treating urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body, sending more than 8 million people to their health care providers every year in the U.S. alone,31 and one-quarter of sepsis cases are related to urinary tract infections.

Conventional treatment typically involves antibiotics, but research shows 90
percent of UTIs can be successfully treated with D-Mannose, a naturally occurring sugar that’s closely related to glucose. To learn more, see “D-Mannose for UTI Prevention Validated in a Clinical Trial.”

Properly clean skin wounds. About 1 in 10 sepsis cases are due to skin
infections, so always take the time to properly clean and care for wounds and
scrapes. Wash the wound with mild soap and water to clean out dirt and debris,
then cover with a sterile bandage. Diabetics should follow good foot care to
avoid dangerous foot infections.

Avoid infections
in hospitals
visiting a health care facility, be sure to wash
your own hands
, and remind doctors and nurses to wash theirs (and/or change gloves) before touching you or any equipment being used on you.

If you have to undergo a colonoscopy or other testing using a flexible medical scope, remember to call and ask how they clean their scopes and what kind of cleaning solution they use. If the answer is glutaraldehyde (brand name Cidex), find another hospital or clinic — one that uses peracetic acid. This preliminary legwork will significantly
decrease your risk of contracting an infection from a contaminated scope.

In the video below, Andrew Saul, Ph.D., co-author of the book, “Hospitals and Health: Your Orthomolecular Guide to a Shorter, Safer Hospital Stay,” discusses the dangers of hospital stays, the type of patient that tends to get killed the most, and how you can protect your health and life in the event you have to
spend time in a hospital.

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