Sunday, August 17, 2014

11% of the 3,705 high-schoolers use” synthetic human growth hormones without a prescription.

A generation aware of the risks of eating disorders now has  
performance-enhancing drugs available at a click--but not much information on their possible side effects.

A new survey from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids found that 11% of the 3,705 high-schoolers surveyed reported “having used” synthetic human growth hormones without a prescription. This reflects that use may have more than doubled from when a similar survey was conducted four years ago. One in five teens even reported knowing at least one friend who uses a performance-enhancing drug (PEDs).

As an educator who works with children and teens around the country and a high school senior, we believe that more young people are turning to steroids and other PEDs for one reason: the constant pressure for both boys and girls to have a “perfect” body.

It’s common knowledge that girls are under tremendous pressure to conform to an unhealthy and unrealistically thin body image. It may seem odd that some girls would look to PEDs to achieve this “perfect” body, but a quick internet search reveals thousands of advertisements for steroids promising weight loss specifically for women. This generation of girls has grown up knowing about eating disorders and their potential health dangers. Is it possible that girls today are now seeking out drugs (that they can instantly buy online) because they think it will give them the edge to achieve the ideal body—without knowing their possible side affects?
For boys, the common assumption is that steroid use is associated with athletes. But there’s increased cultural pressure for all boys, not just athletes, to fit a hyper masculine body image. It begins early (for example, 6-year-old boys commonly believe they should have a six pack) and then intensifies as the boys get older. Combine that with our collective inability or unwillingness to give boys a language, and therefore permission, to talk about the pressure boys feel to conform to an unrealistic image of masculinity (as we regularly do for girls with cultural messages of femininity) and it’s almost impossible for boys to admit their shame and inadequacy. Consequently, they’re driven to solve the “problem” privately, however they can. In that light, taking PEDs for purely aesthetic reasons becomes a logical decision.
For high school athletes, it’s all about getting bigger and better. Almost every guy wants to gain weight and muscle. Even among non-athletes, many boys get teased for being skinny and small or having “moobs (“man boobs”). But just as constant is boys’ insistence that they can never share these humiliations publicly. In the rare times they do complain, adults hardly give it the serious consideration they do when girls are targeted in the same way.
In the January issue of JAMA Pediatrics, a study (Prospective Associations of Concerns About Physique and the Development of Obesity, Binge Drinking, and Drug Use Among Adolescent Boys and Young Adult Men) reported that 18% of boys are highly concerned about their weight and physique. They’re also at increased risk for a variety of negative outcomes: Boys in the study who were extremely concerned about weight were more likely to be depressed, and more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors such as binge drinking and drug use. Though 18% might be on the low side, between 28% and 68% of young men at a normal weight perceive themselves to be underweight, according to the .
What’s the cost? The common assumption is that boys don’t care about being teased about body image the way girls do. We challenge that assumption and want to shift the conversation about PEDs and body image so we all believe boys have the right to receive the same empowering messages that girls get. We live in a culture that can undermine your sense of self by giving you one, almost impossible, image of an “acceptable” body. Boys, just like girls, have the right to know that. Boys, just like girls, have the right to acknowledge that it affects your sense of self and you have the right to talk about it without being dismissed or ridiculed. And finally, boys, just like girls, have the right to be educated about these issues so they don’t risk their physical health and emotional well being to chase an impossible ideal.
Rosalind Wiseman is the author of Masterminds &Wingmen andQueen Bees & Wannabes. Keo Jamieson is a senior at Boulder High School in Boulder, Colorado.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Depression is a Disease


2014 in Uncategorized by Kathleen Barnes
I am devastated by the untimely death of actor Robin Williams, as I am sure many of you are as well. It’s hard to understand how such a brilliant comedian could fall into such profound despair that he would take his own life.
Let me say it without any equivocation: Depression is a disease. It is caused by brain chemistry imbalances. You cannot “tough it out” or “get over it” anymore than you can “tough out” or “get over” diabetes or cancer or Alzheimer’s.
This is first hurdle that society needs to clear: We must erase the stigma of depression. People who are depressed are no more responsible for their conditions than someone who has cancer.
Now, of course, I am talking about clinical depression here. This prolonged sadness that sometimes lasts for a lifetime, is very different from the sadness and grief from the death of someone close to you, the loss of a job or the end of a relationship.
What’s the difference? If you can put a finger on the cause of your sadness, it’s probably not depression and it will pass in time. That isn’t in any way to belittle the sadness and grief that comes from these kinds of losses, but the sadness will heal in time.
Depression does not heal.
Yes, there are all sorts of prescription drugs out there to address depression. Only about 40% of them work at all and their effectiveness is very individual. Plus there are some very serious side effects associated with virtually every single one of them.
Why not look at some more natural and basic ways to address brain chemistry imbalances?
First of all, there are certain nutrients are essential to brain health:
  • All B vitamins, especially folate.
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine
  • 5-HTP that helps your body form tryptophan
  • Healthy fats
Here are a few more:
Rhodiola: Rhodiola is a powerful adaptogen, much like ginseng, meaning it relieves whatever challenges your brain is experiencing. Rhodiola actually works like a smart pill on your brain chemicals. It doesn’t disturb your body’s normal biological climate, it simply works to give you a boost when you need one and calm you down when you need to calm down.
I’ve seen many, many people with deep depression respond fast to rhodiola.
Russian research proves rhodiola can actually triple your body’s ability to produce feel-good hormones like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Other studies show that subjects exposed to extreme stress improved their performance by up to 159% when they had rhodiola in their systems! Rhodiola actually changes the way your body responds to increased demands on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, returning your body’s stress response system to balance.
Light and exercise. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects as many as 5 percent of us in winter when the days get shorter and we are literally getting less light and less vitamin D in our lives – and to our brains. The problem is compounded because most of us prefer to huddle by a warm fireplace rather than get out and play in the snow.
What you need to do is the exact opposite! Get outside, get as much sun and light as you can get and you’ll most likely feel better. Many people get help by sitting in front of a full spectrum light box from 30 to 60 minutes a day.
Even if your depression isn’t caused by the shorter days, there is abundant scientific evidence that shows that exercise helps relieves, so a good brisk walk may work wonders for you!
For depression, experts advise starting with about 400 mg daily and working up to 700 mg, if needed. Results are usually noticeable within two weeks.
St. John’s wort. Scientific research has shown over and over that St. John’s wort can help relieve the symptoms of mild to moderate depression.
A British Medial Council review of studies shows that taking St. John’s wort for as little as four weeks provided relief in at least 69 percent of those who took it and in some studies, 100 percent reported their moods improved when they took the herb. That makes it at least as effective as some prescription antidepressants, without the serious side effects of many prescription medications. Better yet, 69 percent of those who took St. John’s wort for a year or more were able to keep depression at bay.
The dosage most commonly used in scientific studies was 600 to 1200 milligrams daily.
Good fats.  Eating a piece of salmon, sprinkling ground flaxseed on your salad or swallowing a few fish oil capsules may go a long way toward improving your mood, according to a review published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Several studies confirm that many people suffering from depression has low intake of those all important Omega-3 fatty acids, those good fats found in fish like salmon and tuna, and on. The other, hand, those who ate the most fatty fish were the least likely to experience depression.
You’ll need to take 3 to 6 grams of good quality fish oil a day to help beat the blues.
SAM-e. S-adenosyl-L-methionine is an effective treatment for depression, according to research from the University of California at Irvine. SAM-e relieved depression in 62% of subjects in just four weeks, compared to a success rate of only 50% for desipramine, an anti-depressant drug sold under the brand name Norapramin.
The study also showed that those with the most SAM-e in their blood, regardless of how they were treated, scored much lower on standard tests for depression.
Most studies found that between 800 and 1600 milligrams of SAM-e was the most effective dose
It’s likely one or more of these natural remedies for depression will help you, although it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before you start taking any of them, since some may interact with other medications.
My Best to You, Dr. Kathleen Fuller   

Friday, August 15, 2014

Is Stevia Genetically Modified?

Stevia has gained a loyal following since it was approved for use by the FDA in 2008. The zero-calorie sweetener is found in soft drinks, yogurts, and in stand-alone packets that people can use to sweeten whatever they like.
Stevia is a plant with leaves that are very sweet. When synthesized through a relatively complex process, the resulting extract is 300 times sweeter than table sugar.
What many people don’t realize, is that the stevia powder they are adding to their food is not 100% pure stevia. In fact, there is hardly any stevia extract in it. Because stevia is so sweet, only a tiny amount is required. Most of the powder in the packet is simply filler.
Take Truvia, a very popular stevia sweetener, for example. Here is its ingredient list:
Erythritol, Rebiana, Natural Flavors.
Rebiana is the stevia extract.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol occurring naturally in fruits. However, it is much cheaper to produce industrially. It is the product of fermenting glucose with yeast called Moniliella pollinis. In the US, the glucose feedstock for the yeast is usually sourced from GMO corn.
So while this stevia powder is not genetically modified per se, purists may object to its use. That’s what a company called Steviva is betting on. Their Erysweet product is made from non-GMO ingredients sourced in Europe.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dancing to Free Your Emotions

Dance Movement Therapy in Eating Disorder Treatment

Addictions and disorders do not affect just one aspect of an individual – they profoundly and negatively impact the brain as well as the body. Therefore, the most effective treatment approach involves therapeutic integration, meaning not just one type of therapy is used in the healing process, but many.
Talk therapy, which is an essential component of any treatment, deals with a woman’s mind: her thoughts, background, experiences, emotions, etc. Expressive therapies also address feelings and emotions, but do so through the avenue of her body.
Dance movement therapy (DMT) is the psycho-therapeutic use of movement as a process that furthers the emotional, cognitive, social and physical integration of the individual. In other words, DMT uses therapeutic movement to improve the mental and physical well-being of the person.
DMT recognizes that the brain and body are inextricably connected. Whereas the brain may identify and label an emotion, the sensation of this emotion resides in the body.
Consider stress, something everyone is familiar with, as an example: you are late again to work, there’s too much traffic, and you could lose your job. The stress and anxious thoughts start in your mind, but you feel it in your body: heart racing, sweaty palms, rapid breathing. Your brain and body are clearly connected.
DMT is conducted in supportive, non-judgmental groups. This allows women to freely express themselves, enjoy the strength and versatility of their own bodies and encourage one another. At the onset of therapy, women often feel anxious, self-conscious, shut down; the entire experience is foreign and can prove daunting.
In time, many experience the liberation to be found in movement as they grow in awareness and interpersonal interaction. Perhaps most significant, they discover hope. The future can actually contain exciting experiences, laughter, positive moments and joy. For women who have been controlled by a disease or addiction and have not felt happy for a very long time, this is a life-changing revelation.
Eating disordered women in particular often hate their bodies, viewing them as the enemy, something they need to control. Dance Movement Therapy strives to move women from a state of self-image to self-perception; in essence, to shift their focus from the external to the internal. Self-image is predicated on what is seen in the mirror; with these women, it is rarely positive.
Conversely, self-perception is how they feel in their bodies. Women are encouraged to notice how incredible their bodies are: strong, flexible, resilient, and even strikingly graceful. Their bodies can even express the most intense emotion, without using a single word.
DMT is designed to reestablish a connection between a woman’s mind and body. This expressive therapy, in conjunction with other treatment modalities such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and the 12 step program, offer women the best possible chance for complete and lasting recovery.

Blog Post Contributed by Kim Rothwell BC-DMT, LCPC, CADC, Dance Movement Therapist, Timberline Knolls

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gender Based Eating

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. It may sound trite and hackneyed, but recent research proves that men and women are very different and not just in the obvious ways.
We know that we all need basic nutrients and the human body has certain basic nutritional needs. That’s why we are so focused on getting sufficient vitamins A, B, C, D, E and more. That’s why we chow down our magnesium, selenium, CoQ10 and more.
Yet in the past few years, scientists are finding that some substances that are good for women may actually be harmful for men and vice versa. The wonders of red wine, iron and healthy fats may not be right for everyone.
Here is where some of the big differences lie:
gender-foodAlcohol: There is strong body of evidence that shows the health benefits of moderate intake of alcohol, especially antioxidant-rich red wine, for almost everyone.  In fact, moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and promote long life into old age.
Doctors are reluctant to recommend that their patients take up drinking for its health benefits—and for good reason.
The line between the health benefits and health detriments of alcohol consumption is an extremely fine one. There is conflicting evidence, so no one can say for sure where that line lies, especially for women.
Several studies show that women who drink even moderate amounts of alcohol are at increased risk of breast cancer.
In fact, less than one drink a day can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer by as much as 30 percent, according to a huge study of nearly a quarter of a million women sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
And Johns Hopkins researchers found that drinking even small amounts can more than double the risk for women who are genetically predisposed to breast cancer.
The bottom line: Don’t start drinking because it’s “healthy” and if you’re a woman and you’re at high risk for breast cancer, you might want to reconsider giving up the daily glass of wine.
Good fats: Healthy fats are essential to all human health and both men and women benefit from omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish and flax in terms of heart and brain health, strong joints, child health and overall longevity. Most experts also recommend monounsaturated fats like those in olive and canola oils.
However, alpha linolenic acid (ALA) found in canola and flaxseed oils may increase the risk of prostate cancer in men.
The bottom line: There are conflicting studies on the subject, but if you’re at high risk for prostate cancer and you want to protect your heart, gets your good fats from fish and olive oil.
Iron:  Here’s another one when where what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander. Women are often deficient in iron, but men rarely are.
Watch out for those steaks and burgers, guys. Two Harvard studies show that men who ate the most heme iron (the kind found in red meat) had much higher risks of Type 2 diabetes and fatal heart attacks. University of Kentucky researchers found that these red meat eaters also had a higher risk of gallstones.
The bottom line: Go easy on the red meat and opt for chicken or fish most of the time.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Are You Near a Farmers Market?

Farmers Market
National Farmers Market Week is this week, so go out and support your local farmers, while buying and eating some of the freshest and tastiest produce you can put your hands on.
According to the USDA, the number of Farmers Markets has exploded in the past 5 years from under 5000 in 2008 to over 8000 today. To find a farmers market near you, look for one of the following directories:
My Best to You, Dr Kathleen Fuller  

Mom Has a Message For the Men Who Mocked Her Stretch Mark

Tanis Jex-Blake was hoping to enjoy a day of sun, sand, and surf with her family. But instead, the Canadian mother of five endured a lot of pain (and we're not talking about sunburn). While sunbathing in her bikini, something she hasn't done since giving birth to her first child 13 years ago, Blake overheard a group of people commenting on her stretch-mark-covered stomach.
"All of a sudden I heard, 'Oh my god, look at that, that's f*cking nasty, that's disgusting, look how gross that is,'" she tells a local news network.
After a tear-filled drive home, Blake took to Facebook to share her feelings on that day's events. Along with a photo of her postbaby tummy, she posted the following message:
"I'm sorry if my first attempt at sun tanning in a bikini in public in 13 years "grossed you out." I'm sorry that my stomach isn't flat and tight. I'm sorry that my belly is covered in stretch marks. I'm NOT sorry that my body has housed, grown, protected, birthed and nurtured FIVE fabulous, healthy, intelligent and wonderful human beings. I'm sorry if my 33-year-old, 125 lb. body offended you so much that you felt that pointing, laughing, and pretending to kick me. But I'll have you know that as I looked at your "perfect" young bodies, I could only think to myself, "what great and amazing feat has YOUR body done?" I'll also have you know that I held my head high, unflinching as you mocked me, pretending that what you said and did had no effect on me; but I cried in the car on the drive home. Thanks for ruining my day. It's people like you who make this world an ugly hateful place. I can't help but feel sorry for the women who will one day bear your children and become "gross" in your eyes as their bodies change during the miraculous process of pregnancy. I can only hope that one day you'll realize that my battle scars are something to be proud of, not ashamed of."
Though the three recipients of the letter may not have read it, plenty of others have. More than 6,500 people have shared Blake's message and almost 10,000 have "liked" it since it was posted. Blake hopes her words will change the way women and society view stretch marks.
"I hope more moms feel confident about the way their bodies look after bearing children," she tells Huffington Post. "These aren't scars to be ashamed of. They are our badges of honor, and we should wear them with pride."
From now on, we will.
My Best to You, Dr. Kathleen Fuller