Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Is Your Stomach Making You Stinky?

If you battle body odor, the answer may be in your gut. A study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that the same bacteria that can lead to stomach ulcers can also cause certain types of body odor.

Helicobacter pylori is found in the stomachs of about 50% of the population in the Western world. Out of these 50%, 80% show no symptoms.  This bacteria seeks out a neutral place to thrive away from stomach acid and it adheres to the stomach's internal wall. When an overgrowth of this bacteria occurs, it causes gastritis and ulcers. It can also infect the intestinal tract, leading to IBS.

So, now, what does this have to do with body odor?

When H pylori thrives in the stomach, it produces high amounts of an enzyme called urease, which breaks down urea (which exists naturally in the stomach). Urea then breaks down in to carbon dioxide and ammonia, which then is released in to the bloodstream, and then released through sweat. Most people have ammonia in their sweat, however people infected with H pylori will have higher amounts of it.

So, if you're one of those people that has a hard time with pungent odors, or experience odor shortly after cleansing, it may be ammonia in your sweat caused by H pylori in your stomach.

If you suspect that you have H pylori and have symptoms of ulcers or other gastric symptoms, visit your doctor for a complete diagnosis and treatment options.  Probiotics have been found to help ease the symptoms and control the growth of H pylori, so you may look at this as an option with your doctor.

(High levels of ammonia in sweat can also be caused by the body's inability to fully break down protein, a condition called proteinuria. Low-carb, high protein diets can also be the cause, as consuming more protein than the body can metabolize can also lead to elevated serum levels of ammonia, and thus in sweat. If you suspect that you have proteinurea, it is a serious condition; please seek medical attention.)


[This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.]

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Helpful Herbs: Calendula

Calendula, also known at Pot Marigold, is a popular herbal remedy.  But does science back up its reputation as a healer?

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant power

This study looks at the anti-inflammatory power of calendula and how it inhibits inflammatory compounds called cytokines:

Calendula was found to be a strong antioxidant that supports liver and kidney function:


This study found calendula to help breast cancer drug tamoxifen in fighting breast cancer cells:

A tea of calendula and chamomile tea was found to kill cancer cells:

Calendula extract was found to be potent against colon cancer, leukemia and melanoma:

Skin Healing

Helps reduce oxidative damage caused by UV-B radiation:

Wound-healing properties:

Helps prevent dermatitis in patients receiving radiation treatment:

Antioxidant that helps heal burns and prevent granulomas:

Many Benefits

This review looks in detail at its many benefits, including being anti-HIV, cytotoxic against cancer cells, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective (liver support) and spasmolytic (muscle-relaxant).

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Helpful Herbs: Aloe Vera

When you think of Aloe Vera most of us think about putting that green gel on after a sunburn.  But did you know that real aloe vera is  not a gel but a juice (the gel like stuff you see has thickeners in it.) Not only does aloe feel good on a sunburn, it has a number of benefits, being today's "Helpful Herb."

Cancer Protection
The full effects of ingestion of aloe vera juice are still being studied. But these these two studies found aloe to be chemoprotective:

Skin Health
This study outlines the many promising effects of aloe:
"It can be effective for genital herpes, psoriasis, human papilloma virus, seborrheic dermatitis, aphthous stomatitis, xerosis, lichen planus, frostbite, burn, wound healing and inflammation. It can also be used as a biological vehicle and an anti-microbial and antifungal agent and also as a candidate for photodynamic therapy of some kinds of cancer."

This study found that regular application of aloe helped to heal second-degree burns!

This study touts aloe as a "potential wound-healing and anti-inflammatory agent."

And finally, this study may explain why aloe helps so much with a sunburn, by boosting the skin's immune function:

Blood Sugar Health
This study looked at a standardized aloe vera extract, and how taking this as a supplement may help regulate blood sugar in those with Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes: 

And another study found that an aloe vera extract aided in liver and kidney health in diabetic rats: stating: "the results of the present study provide a scientific rationale for the use of Aloe vera as an antidiabetic agent."

Finding Aloe
Because aloe vera juice has such a high water content, it must be preserved somehow.  Most of the jars that you'll find will have thickeners and preservatives.  However, there are juices that have no preservatives, you'll just need to keep them refrigerated and use them quickly.  (Here is one.) Of course, you can always grow an aloe plant (make sure it's aloe barbedensis) and squeeze the juice right from the leaves.  Always use caution if using on an open wound. While aloe is a great healer, you don't want to introduce bacteria in to the open skin.  If you have an open wound, please visit with your doctor about treatment.  

[This article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.]