How to tell if you have a weak immune system

How to tell if you have a weak immune system

  • December 30, 2020
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Recurrent, prolonged infections is a sign that you may have a weak immune system. Josep Suria/Shutterstock
  • Some causes of a weakened immune system are out of our control, like age and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s.

  • However, there are plenty of unhealthy habits — like not getting enough sleep and a poor diet — that can weaken your immune system and leave you more susceptible to infection. 

  • To give your immune system a boost, make sure you’re eating right, exercising regularly, and controlling stress levels.

  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

If you’ve been experiencing persistent, recurring infections, you may be suffering from a weak immune system. According to internist Louis Malinow, MD, the most common cause of a weakened immune system is age, but that isn’t the only potential factor.

Malinow says, “A weaker immune system opens the door for a higher likelihood of infection and for cancer.” Thankfully, there are ways to detect and treat a weakened immune system.

What weakens the immune system? 

Beyond age, there are many other factors that can lead to a weakened immune system.

 

“Inadequate sleep is another incredibly common cause of a weakened immune system and even a single terrible night’s sleep impairs immunity,” he says. 

However, if you’re young and getting enough sleep but still think you may have a weakened immune system, then here are some other potential reasons:  

  • An unhealthy lifestyle: Malinow says an unhealthy lifestyle consists of inadequate sleep, activity, and sunlight as well as eating processed foods (instead of whole foods). Healthy foods “have the right ingredients to amplify immune response,” he says, adding, “Alcohol is a direct bone marrow toxin and too much alcohol immediately impairs immune defenses.”

  • Medications: Chronic steroid use and other immune suppressant drugs (including Imuran, Plaquenil, and biologic agents) are primary culprits for a weak immune system, says Malinow. These medications are often used to treat autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Crohn’s and therefore should be continued unless instructed otherwise by a healthcare professional.

  • Immune system disorders: This is any condition where the immune system is not operating as it should. A person could be born with a weak immune system (otherwise known as primary immune deficiency) or have a condition that weakens the immune system (such as AIDS or leukemia).  

  • Autoimmune diseases: One type of immune system disorder is autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s, whereby the immune system misidentifies a part of the body as a potential for infection and attacks it. Experts aren’t sure what causes autoimmune diseases, though it is believed to be a combination of genetics and a triggering event. 

Signs you have a weakened immune system

Recurrent, prolonged infections: The immune system’s job is to identify, target, and destroy viruses, bacteria, and cells that do not belong in the body. If a person is routinely getting sick, their immune system probably isn’t doing its job. Other causes of recurrent infections may include severe stress or a history of tobacco use.  

Persistent fatigue: Research has shown an intricate relationship between the nervous and immune systems. When the immune system is not operating properly, those other systems experience an imbalance which can contribute to chronic fatigue. Other contributors to fatigue may include hormone issues, mental health problems, and heightened stress levels. 

Skin rashes and irritation: People often forget that the skin is an organ that interacts with, and relies on, the immune system as much as any other organ would. Weakened immune responses have been associated with a variety of skin conditions, including contact dermatitis (an allergic reaction) and psoriasis (an autoimmune condition). These conditions can also be linked to genetic predispositions. 

Stomach issues: A growing body of research has found the immune and gastrointestinal systems to be intricately linked, with a weakened immune system potentially being associated with gut issues such as irritable bowel syndrome. Genetics, certain medications and illnesses, and even recurrent surgeries can all be potential causes of stomach issues as well.  

Slow-healing wounds: The immune system plays a key role in wound healing, which is why it’s no surprise that a weakened immune system would be linked to slow-healing wounds. Other causes of delayed wound healing might include low levels of human growth hormone, zinc deficiency, or diabetes. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these signs of a weak immune system, a visit to your healthcare professional is warranted.

Insider’s takeaway

 

The immune system plays an important role in your overall health. But a variety of circumstances – from lifestyle choices to medications and health conditions – can weaken it. 

The result can be an increase in infections, chronic fatigue, skin rashes and irritation, gastrointestinal distress, and slow-healing wounds – all of which should be signs you should schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional.

Malinow says the best advice he has for improving an already weakened immune system is to:

Read the original article on Insider

Global Immuno-Oncology Drugs Market Report 2020-2030: COVID-19 Growth, Impact and Changes - ResearchAndMarkets.com | Business

Global Immuno-Oncology Drugs Market Report 2020-2030: COVID-19 Growth, Impact and Changes – ResearchAndMarkets.com | Business

  • December 30, 2020

DUBLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec 30, 2020–

The “Immuno-Oncology Drugs Global Market Report 2020-30: COVID-19 Growth and Change” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com‘s offering.

Immuno-Oncology Drugs Global Market Report 2020-30: COVID-19 Growth and Change provides the strategists, marketers and senior management with the critical information they need to assess the global immuno-oncology drugs market.

Major players in the immuno-oncology drugs market are Amgen, Inc., AstraZeneca Plc, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene Corporation, Eli Lilly and Company, Merck & Co., F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis International AG, and AbbVie Inc.

The global immuno-oncology drugs market is expected to decline from $59.64 billion in 2019 to $57.34 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -3.86%. The decline is mainly due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and the closure of industries and other commercial activities resulting in operational challenges. The entire supply chain has been disrupted, impacting the market negatively. The market is then expected to recover and reach $80.11 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 11.79%.

The immuno-oncology drugs market consists of sales of immuno-oncology drugs used for the treatment of cancer and related services by entities (organizations, sole traders and partnerships) that produce immuno-oncology drugs for cancer treatment. Immuno-oncology is the artificial stimulation of the immune system to treat cancer, improving the immune system’s ability to fight the disease. The market consists of revenue generated by the companies manufacturing immuno-oncology drugs by the sales of these products.

North America was the largest region in the immuno-oncology drugs market in 2019. Asia-Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing region in the forecast period.

In December 2019, Sanofi, a Paris-based biopharmaceutical company, acquired Synthorx, Inc. for $2.5 billion. This acquisition is expected to allow Sanofi to gain access to Synthorx’s immuno-oncology drug candidate IL-2 therapeutics for solid tumors along with its expanded genetic alphabet platform. This builds a portfolio of high-quality assets for Sanofi to lead with innovation in the oncology market. Synthorx, Inc. is a US-based clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on cancer and autoimmune disorders.

The immuno-oncology drugs market covered in the report is segmented by type into monoclonal antibodies; immune checkpoint inhibitors; immune system modulators; cancer vaccines; others, by therapeutic application into melanoma; lung cancer; blood cancer; renal cell carcinoma; prostate cancer; bladder cancer; others, and by end-user into hospitals; clinics; ambulatory surgical centers; cancer research institutes.

The high cost of immuno-oncology therapies is a key factor hampering the growth of the market. The immunotherapy drugs cost more than the other cancer drugs and people who need immunotherapy for cancer, too often are not able to afford it. High costs associated with drugs is a major issue faced by patients across the globe. The pressure to contain costs and demonstrate value is widespread. In less wealthy countries, the lack of cost-effective drugs has influenced the health conditions of the population and has led to a low average life expectancy.

Companies in the immuno-oncology drugs market are increasing their product innovation through strategic collaborations. To sustain in the increasingly competitive immuno-oncology drugs market, companies are developing innovative products as well as sharing skills and expertise with other companies. While companies have long collaborated with each other as well as with academic and research institutions in this market by way of partnerships, and in- or out-licensing deals, this trend has been increasing over the recent years.

In 2019, Takeda announced its decision to accelerate the discovery of next-generation cancer immunotherapies, through collaborations. The company will collaborate with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) to discover and develop novel chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) products for the treatment of multiple myeloma, acute myeloid leukemia and additional solid tumor indications.

The rise in the number of cancer cases across the globe is likely to contribute to the growth of the immune-oncology drugs market. According to the American Cancer Society, there were 1.7 million new cases and 0.6 million cancer deaths in 2019 in the USA. The four most common types of cancers worldwide are lung, prostate, bowel, and female breast cancer, accounting for 43% of the new cancer cases. Therefore, the rise in cancer incidence rate globally is anticipated to boost the demand for the immune-oncology drugs market over the coming years.

Companies Mentioned

  • Amgen, Inc.
  • AstraZeneca Plc
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Celgene Corporation
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Merck & Co.
  • F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Novartis International AG
  • AbbVie, Inc.
  • Pfizer Inc
  • Sanofi S.A.
  • Incyte
  • EMD Serono, Inc.
  • Gilead Sciences Inc.
  • Prometheus Therapeutics & Diagnostics
  • Aduro BioTech
  • Galena Biopharma
  • Bavarian Nordic
  • Celldex Therapeutics
  • ImmunoCellular Therapeutics
  • Takeda
  • Spectrum Pharmaceuticals
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Janssen Biotech

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/vu5r31

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201230005147/en/

CONTACT: ResearchAndMarkets.com

Laura Wood, Senior Press Manager

press@researchandmarkets.com

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KEYWORD:

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: GENERAL HEALTH PHARMACEUTICAL HEALTH ONCOLOGY

SOURCE: Research and Markets

Copyright Business Wire 2020.

PUB: 12/30/2020 07:27 AM/DISC: 12/30/2020 07:27 AM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201230005147/en

Copyright Business Wire 2020.

How Coronavirus Affected Running | Running Data 2020

How Coronavirus Affected Running | Running Data 2020

  • December 30, 2020

For many runners, 2020 started out as a calendar year full of races. A fresh decade meant there were new goals to pursue and PRs to crush.

By March, though, the COVID-19 rates in the United States spiked and canceled most of those plans. Our normal ways of life—an after-work gym session, training with friends, or jumping into a spur-of the-moment race—were put on lockdown. But runners were undaunted: With a little creativity, we were able to continue to lace up and reap all the health benefits that running confers.

How do we know? We dug into data from popular workout tracking apps and devices. And the numbers don’t lie: We logged more miles, more people started running, and we continued to race—albeit virtually. Here’s how our collective training stacked up during the pandemic.

→ We ran more—and ran outside

2020 running year

Staff

Disrupted routines didn’t deter runners from heading outside, no matter the weather. Data from MapMyRun, Garmin, and Fitbit all showed users logging more mileage—and more runs overall—from March through September of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. Fitbit’s users logged 22 percent more miles and Garmin users recorded 31 percent more miles, while MapMyRun users made a dramatic 68 percent increase in miles. And, Strava users logged 28 percent more outdoor activities than expected in March and April.

When gyms closed their doors for a portion of the year, that also meant more people traded the treadmill for the road. Garmin users logged 10 percent fewer indoor miles on the treadmill, while increasing their outdoor mileage—up 34 percent. Getting outside has more benefits than just giving you a change of scenery—soaking up sunny miles can help ensure your body has sufficient vitamin D levels, important for boosting bone health and immune system function. And previous research published in Environmental Health Perspectives correlated exercising outdoors with a slew of benefits for both mental and physical well-being.

→ We embraced virtual races

2020 running year

Staff

As races big and small were canceled due to health and safety precautions, runners decided to take matters into their own hands. According to Runcoach, an online race training and tracking platform, more than 22,000 of their users logged a race between March and June—during the bulk of spring race cancellations.

Despite a year of racing frustration, runners still turned out for longer distances in the fall as more than 32,000 runners trained for virtual races through Runcoach for the last four months of the year. That’s a 45 percent jump from the first four months of the pandemic, with the help of big virtual events like the Broad Street 10-miler, Marine Corps Marathon, and New York City Marathon hitting everyone’s calendar at that time of year.

Find Your Next Race With the 2021 Runner’s World Calendar

Solo races logged on Strava also had a large increase—44 percent of marathons were run completely alone, compared to just 14 percent in 2019. Plus, over 1 million athletes joined Strava’s monthly 5K challenge in May, the most ever on the platform in a single challenge. And even though it was a year of racing on our own, 55 percent of Strava users still hit a new PR in 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon distances.

Keeping goals in sight has a major benefit. Recent research out of the University of Oregon suggests the more goal-oriented you are, the more likely you are to engage in physical activity. Staying active is an important part of staying healthy overall—which we all needed this year.

→ We ran more midday miles

2020 running year

Staff

Social distancing took a toll on our schedules, and morning milers found opportunities for more afternoon runs. Garmin users logged 5 percent more activities in the early afternoon and evening from March to September of 2020 (between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.) than they did during the same time in 2019. And morning activities declined slightly—4 percent fewer in the morning hours (between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.). If you found yourself embracing the opportunity for extra shuteye, that’s a good thing. Skimping on adequate rest can lead to chronic fatigue, performance decline, and mood disturbances, which decrease immune function.

Plus, taking a break for a midday run can help counteract the harmful effects of hunching over a desk—at home or in an office. According to research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, regular exercise can give your body a boost after sitting for long periods. That’s because endurance training raises the amount of nitric oxide produced by your cells. This helps regulate vascular health by increasing bloodflow and lowering blood pressure.

→ We took it easier

2020 running year

Staff

Overall, runners slowed down—and that’s not a bad thing. According to data compiled by MapMyRun from mid-April to mid-September, the average pace recorded was 8.5 percent slower compared with the same range in 2019, which the MapMyRun team attributes to a new or returning runner effect. While exercise is great for boosting your health, training at higher intensities all the time may compromise your immune system.

Join Runner’s World+ for more running news! 🏃

Running—in any capacity—has many benefits for new runners, and low-​intensity, steady-state cardio can actually improve your performance while helping you avoid injury. “The chances of suffering a repetitive-motion injury greatly increases if you suddenly begin increasing the frequency and volume of your workouts,” says Joe McConkey, a Boston-based exercise physiologist and USATF-certified running coach. Plus, training at a slower pace early on can actually help build up your aerobic capacity, which helps your body use oxygen more efficiently, break down carbs and fat into energy you need to fuel longer efforts, and strengthen your slow-twitch muscles (which fire during sustained efforts).

→ More runners joined our ranks

2020 running year

Staff

Yep, there were signs of a running boom. MapMyRun saw a staggering 65 percent increase in runs logged and Garmin saw 27 percent more new users, which the Garmin team says is higher than previous years. Plus, 5.6 percent of Strava users who typically are cyclists logged runs for the first time. So one positive outcome of a strange year is that new faces should be joining us when racing and “normal” does return.

It’s also a sign that people were undeterred from staying healthy. When looking at all activities uploaded to Garmin (anything from a run to types of cross-training), there were 44 percent more activities uploaded from March to September 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. Running was certainly an easy and smart way to adopt a healthier lifestyle this year, especially since getting in 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity can help your immune system fight viruses (if you’re not already sick) and may improve your recovery from upper respiratory tract infections, according to a review published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science.

Yes, our lives were disrupted, but a trend worth celebrating is that more people discovered running’s benefits in 2020.

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Who Needs the Gym?

With limited indoor cross-training options, Fitbit users got inventive. Here are some of the most popular activities people used to stay fit.

ROLLERBLADING: This activity, potentially made popular by TikTok, nearly tripled in popularity in March to September of this year compared with the same time last year. Blading reduces impact on the shins, knees, and hips. Also, it can help build the aerobic base, says Mike Thomson, C.S.C.S. and USATF-certified coach at LifeTime Overland Park.

MEDITATION: Many of us turned to meditation—the activity saw a major increase in logs—for stress relief. Fitbit users ages 30 to 49 recorded 40,000 meditation sessions in 2020 compared with around 1,000 in 2019. The major spike supports the idea that mindfulness activities are effective at helping us chill out.

JUMPING ROPE: Using this tool works everything from your calves to your mind and builds endurance, stamina, and coordination, says Amanda Kloots, creator of AK! Rope. Many people were seeing benefits. Users ages 30 to 49 logged nearly 5,000 sessions of this cardio blast, compared with around 1,500 sessions in 2019.



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Physical Activity for Improving the Immune System of Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Time to Enhance Immunity via Functional Foods and Supplements: Hope for SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak

  • December 30, 2020

This article was originally published here

Altern Ther Health Med. 2020 Dec 29:AT6564. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a recently emerged pandemic caused by a novel virus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This disease is communicable and mainly affects the respiratory tract. The outbreak of this disease has greatly influenced human health and economic activities worldwide. The absence of any medication for this infection highlights the urgent need for the development of alternative methods for managing the spread of the disease. Our immune system operates based on a complex array of cells, processes, and chemicals that continuously protect our body from invading pathogens, including viruses, toxins, and bacteria. The present study was conducted to perform a comprehensive review of all dietary treatments for boosting immunity against viral infections. No study was found to explicitly support the use of any healthy foods or supplements to protect against COVID-19. However, this study offers details on well-researched functional foods and supplements that typically improve the immune response, which could be helpful against this newly emerged pandemic.

PMID:33373323

Volunteers share Sanofi Pasteur/GSK COVID-19 vaccine trial experiences

Volunteers share Sanofi Pasteur/GSK COVID-19 vaccine trial experiences

  • December 30, 2020

Peninsula Research Associates, based in Rolling Hills Estates, California, began operating in September as one of 10 testing sites nationwide to partake in a vaccine trial developed in partnership between pharmaceutical companies Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline.

This study’s vaccine includes adjuvants, which are ingredients that help vaccines work better at boosting the immune system to develop antibodies against COVID-19.

Phase one included a total of 441 volunteers, 73 of whom were located at the California clinic. All trial participants received one vaccination on the first day and a booster shot on day 22 if they were a part of the group receiving two doses. The ratio was an eight-to-two randomization of active to placebo, dependent on participants age.

“There’s numerous different reasons why people want to participate in our trial,” said Jordan Wertheimer, vice president of clinical operations at Peninsula Research Associates. “There’s a lot of patients who had family members test positive for COVID-19, some who passed away. A lot of people also just want to help humanity.”

Early data shows there is a clear differentiation between the two groups of trial participants; two doses are far more effective than one dose, according to Wertheimer.

Right now, Peninsula Research Associates and the other testing sites are awaiting protocols to begin Phase 2B in February 2021. The amount of patients for this phase remains unclear.

In December, a data readout revealed Sanofi Pasteur/GSK had halted the next phase of the study in order to fix the antigen concentration of their vaccine so that a higher rate of antibodies would develop. If the vaccine meets all clinical requirements and is approved by authorities, it could possibly be expected in circulation toward the end of 2021, the companies said in a press release.

“With due time, we’re hopefully going to have multiple vaccines for the physicians, the health departments and the counties all to be able to use,” said Dr. Lawrence Sher, allergist and immunologist at Peninsula Research Associates. “It’s important that we have it all out there and not consider it a race, rather, consider it production of more and more excellent vaccines. We are doing something for the greater good, which is a good feeling.”

“We’re very excited for the opportunity to work on this kind of study,” Wertheimer said. “We just want to do our part to help progress medicine forward. We’re really apt on participating in the next studies and just coming out with a vaccine to help eradicate this.”

Two volunteers involved in Peninsula Research Associates’ trial spoke with ABC News about what motivated them to join the vaccine study. Here are their stories.

The loss of a loved one

Pat Brewster, 84, lost her husband, Bob, due to the effects of COVID-19.

Prior to his coronavirus diagnosis, Bob was living in a hospice facility to receive care for Parkinson’s disease, Brewster said. On April 4, she noticed an abnormal tremor in both of her husband’s hands, which prompted her to call for a caregiver to examine him.

A low-grade fever, among other symptoms, left Bob’s doctor presuming he had a gastrointestinal virus, not COVID-19. But Brewster decided to have paramedics transport her husband to a hospital for further examination. The 88-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 on April 10 and died at the hospital three days later.

Brewster twice tested negative for COVID-19. When she received word by mailing list about a vaccine study happening locally near her Rancho Palos Verdes home in California, she jumped on the opportunity to raise awareness.

“This seemed about the only thing I could do to fight this illness,” she said. “This disease is real. A lot of people don’t think it is, or it won’t affect them. To see people not taking the precautions, I just feel like screaming, you know? It’s not just the people who die, it affects the families, too.”

Brewster joined the Sanofi Pasteur/GSK study in September, which she recalls involved a lot of forms and paperwork. During the first visit, Brewster received a urine test, blood test, nasal swab and one vaccine injection. She said she did not experience any side effects.

“I was given a chart and had to take my temperature every day for the next week or so,” she explained. “I think I went back in after two weeks and did another urine and blood test. I had a telephone conference in November, and now I don’t go back in until January.”

Due to her age, Brewster may be eligible to receive a vaccine that is currently in circulation, from Pfizer or Moderna. If the opportunity arises, the study she’s participating in will reveal whether she received the placebo or the vaccine in order to ensure she receives the best form of protection against COVID-19.

“This year has been a year of heartbreak and deprivation,” Brewster concluded. “We are still in a very dangerous stage of this pandemic. But as we head into the new year, we are armed now with hope, with more knowledge of the virus than we had originally and with the promise of highly effective vaccines. We all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and others, to do whatever we can to fight this vicious and stealthy virus.”

Giving back to the community

Debbie Hays, 59, is no stranger to helping her community for the greater good. But COVID-19 also hits too close to home. Her 79-year-old mother, who lives in an assisted living facility and has dementia, is currently battling the illness.

So when her friend reached out asking to spread the word for volunteers in the Sanofi Pasteur/GSK study, Hays jumped into action and put her own name in the hat.

“I’m one who always gives back to the community but more on the level of neighborhood cleanup or getting groceries for those who need them,” Hays said. “I never thought I’d be a part of a biomedical research study. But then I decided, ‘Hey, why not?’ It’s just nice to be able to give back to humanity in this way.”

“I’m in perfect health, so that’s another reason why I decided I could take one for the team,” she added.

According to the Torrance, California, resident, her experience in the trial thus far has been “very painless and easy.”

Intake involved a blood draw, a urine sample, temperatures taken, a health questionnaire and a vaccine, she said. Hays monitored her temperature and any changes in health on a chart at home for eight days. She then went back to the clinic to be evaluated and receive a second shot, as she was part of the trial group who received a booster vaccine.

“Some patients are on a one-shot program,” she said. “I happened to be on the two shot program. They’re trying to determine if the vaccine is strong enough to be taken care of in one or two doses.”

Hays then repeated the charting process for another eight days. She said she has not experienced any side effects to date.

“The team is really fantastic,” she said. “They explain everything so there are no surprises. They’re appreciative of us participating, and their follow-through is excellent.”

Some Valley doctors say boosting Vitamin D intake could help curve COVID-19 spread

Some Valley doctors say boosting Vitamin D intake could help curve COVID-19 spread

  • December 30, 2020

Some Valley doctors are boosting recommendations of Vitamin D to help curve the spread of COVID-19.

According to the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, low levels of Vitamin D can put people at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

Local research conducted in Starr County shows a significant number of people would be at risk. The city of Roma administered Vitamin D tests to city employees and found that 95% of adults working there had dangerously low levels of Vitamin D. 

Vitamin D helps the immune system recognize pathogens and germs in the body, helping block deadly viruses like COVID-19 from reaching healthy cells. 

Watch the video for the full story. 

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Some Valley doctors are boosting recommendations of Vitamin D to help curve the spread of COVID-19.
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The research on rosemary's health benefits is limited - here's what you need to know

The research on rosemary’s health benefits is limited – here’s what you need to know

  • December 30, 2020
  • Rosemary’s health benefits are largely based on scientific studies in animal models and test tubes, and therefore should not be taken as medical advice.
  • Consuming too much rosemary over long periods of time may pose a problem if you’re on certain medications like anticoagulants, ACE inhibitors, or diuretics.

Rosemary is a plant that is native to the Mediterranean region and is formally called Rosmarinus officinalis. You can use rosemary in many different forms, including as a fresh herb, dried herb, essential oil, and powder extract.

Rosemary has attracted attention for possible health benefits because it contains antioxidants – compounds that may protect against inflammation and certain inflammatory diseases. However, research results are mixed and more studies are needed to confirm these potential benefits.

Here’s more information on rosemary’s many uses as well as precautions linked to the plant.

How to best use rosemary

Rosemary is a versatile, fragrant herb. Here are just a few popular ways to use it:

  • With food: Rosemary helps to season foods if you are looking for alternatives, or additions, to salt. It goes great with meat like lamb, chicken, or fish, as well as staples like quinoa, brown rice, mushrooms, or potatoes. Follow recipe recommendations as they can vary depending on whether you’re using fresh or dried rosemary. For example, this quinoa recipe from New York Presbyterian Hospital calls for eight sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1½ tablespoons of the dried herb.
  • In drinks: You can make rosemary tea, or you can add fresh rosemary to alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks like lemonade and some cocktails.
  • As fragrance: If you have rosemary essential oil, you can add three to four drops of it to a diffuser to enjoy its distinct aroma.
  • As mosquito repellant: Grow rosemary around your home, or use essential oils to create a body spray that can help repel pesky mosquitoes. Reapply the body spray every two hours.

What the research says about rosemary’s health benefits

Most research around the health benefits of rosemary is either in animal models or test tubes. And the limited research conducted on humans is mostly small studies that may not be relevant to the general public.

Therefore, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional if you’re considering taking rosemary for your health. Here’s what the limited research on rosemary, involving humans, has found:

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  • A small 2012 study found improved cognitive performance and mood in subjects who were exposed to the aroma of rosemary.
  • A small 2017 study of people with Type 2 diabetes found that rosemary powder helped to reduce hemoglobin A1c, a measurement used to indicate blood sugar control.
  • Rosemary has long been used as a home remedy to treat indigestion, says Kimberly Langdon, MD, an OB-GYN at Medzino, an online service connecting patients to doctors and pharmacies. You can try it in tea or essential oil form.

Risks and side effects of rosemary

Although users tout rosemary’s many benefits, it has some risks if you use too much – and some people need to proceed with caution.

Registered dietitian nutritionist Rhyan Geiger, owner of Phoenix Vegan Dietitian, says that if you’re on any of the following types of medications, talk to your doctor before adding rosemary to your diet because it may work similarly to the medicines below, and that could lead to unwanted or even serious side effects:

  • Anticoagulants, a type of medication that thins the blood. Heparin and warfarin are commonly prescribed anticoagulants. There’s some evidence to suggest that long-term use of rosemary can make it more difficult for blood to clot, which may cause more frequent bruising and bleeding if taken in combination with anticoagulants.
  • ACE inhibitors, which are used to treat high blood pressure. Some common brand names include Monopril and Prinivil. Substances in rosemary have been found to bind to the same molecule as these medications.
  • Diuretics are used to increase urination and help rid the body of extra fluid. You may be advised to use a diuretic for kidney disorders or heart failure. Some common examples of diuretics include Lasix and Diamox. A rat study from 2000 found that rosemary may have a diuretic effect, which is why you might see warnings not to mix it with diuretic medications because you could increase the risk of dehydration and other side effects.
  • Lithium, which is used to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder. Rosemary’s potential diuretic effects are why healthcare professionals will sometimes caution against mixing the two because it could lead to abnormally high lithium levels in the body.

You might also want to avoid rosemary in supplement form while pregnant, Langdon says. While small amounts of rosemary used in food are not considered dangerous, there isn’t enough known about rosemary in supplement form and its potential interactions in pregnant and nursing people.

When buying rosemary as an essential oil or powder extract, read the label to check for third-party testing, Langdon advises. This helps ensure the product does not have contaminants such as heavy metals. You can tell if a product has third-party testing by looking for a stamp of certification.

Insider’s takeaway

Rosemary is an herb best used in food, drinks, fragrances, and as an insect repellent.

It’s a useful flavoring agent, but don’t depend on it for some of the purported health benefits associated with rosemary. More thorough research is needed to fully understand rosemary’s effects on physical and mental wellbeing.

Moreover, if you use medications such as ACE inhibitors or anticoagulants, check with your doctor before adding rosemary to your diet.

Green tea may help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism, powering your workout, and more

Green tea may help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism, powering your workout, and more

  • December 29, 2020
  • Green tea can help with weight loss by boosting your metabolism, helping you get more out of your workout, and functioning as a healthy alternative to sugary drinks.
  • The best way to drink green tea for weight loss is by brewing true green tea leaves and drinking the tea without any added sugar.
  • You can drink 3 to 4 cups of green tea per day, and drinking it before a workout may be especially helpful for weight loss.

When people are trying to lose weight, they usually focus on what to cut out of their diet. But adding green tea to your diet can be an easy, healthy addition to your weight loss journey.

While green tea may help you shed pounds, you should check with your doctor to see whether losing weight is a healthy option for you. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, then it may be worth it to try this antioxidant-rich beverage.

Here’s why green tea can help with weight loss.

Green tea may help boost metabolism

Green tea can boost metabolism because it contains caffeine. This allows you to burn more calories and helps with weight loss. “The stimulant properties of the caffeine increase the oxidation rate within the cell’s metabolism which …. increases the calories we burn,” says Hunnes.

In a small 2008 study, researchers gave obese participants either green tea or a placebo over the course of 12 weeks. The participants did not change their activity level or diets. After 12 weeks, those who had green tea lost 7.3 pounds more than those who had the placebo, and burned 183.38 calories more with their resting energy expenditure.

Green tea can help you get more out of your workout

The caffeine in green tea is responsible for this benefit. Caffeine has been shown to enhance performance in athletes when consumed close to competition, says Emily Monfiletto, RD, senior registered dietitian at Baylor College of Medicine. This is because caffeine can make you feel like you are exerting yourself less than you really are and help reduce exercise-related pain, says Monfiletto.

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Aside from enhancing performance, green tea may also help you burn more fat during a workout. In a small 2008 study, men were given green tea extract before working out. Their fat burning rate was 17% higher than those who received a placebo.

Green tea is a healthy alternative to sugary drinks

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a good idea to cut back on sugary drinks. Hunnes says green tea can have zero calories from fat if you don’t add sugar to it, and you will get nutrients like antioxidants that you wouldn’t get from drinking soda.
Green tea can also give you more sustained energy, without a crash, opposed to sugary drinks. If you replace sugary drinks with green tea, then you will be cutting back on a significant amount of calories over time, which can help result in weight loss.

“One can of soda typically contains 150 calories. Simply brewed green tea without anything added has negligible calories, so every can of soda that you replace in a day with green tea or any other calorie-free beverage, you would save 150 calories every serving,” says Monfiletto.

How to consume green tea for weight loss

Hunnes says the best way to drink green tea for weight loss is by drinking it brewed either hot or cold, without any added sugar.

You should use authentic green tea made from true green tea leaves. It should say this on the label. Hunnes says herbal teas are usually not made from true tea leaves, so you may want to stay away from those.

There are different varieties of green tea, such as sencha, matcha, and jasmine. They all offer great health benefits. They originate from the same plant, but there are differences in how they are processed, Monfiletto says.

Regardless of the type of green tea, the suggested amount is three to four cups of green tea a day, and there isn’t necessarily a “best” time to consume it, Hunnes says.

However, Monfiletto says if you are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to avoid drinking it in the afternoon and evenings so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep. She says the absolute maximum consumption of green tea should be nine or ten cups a day, based on safe caffeine limits.

Insider’s takeaway

Green tea alone likely won’t be a major factor in your weight loss, but it may help make a small difference, especially if you are replacing sugary beverages with this healthy alternative.

To experience the most significant weight loss results, you will also need to make changes to your overall diet and activity level – and green tea might just give you the boost that you need to get going.

Drinks That Support Your Immune System

Drinks That Support Your Immune System

  • December 29, 2020

When cold and flu season graces us with its presence, many of us try to do whatever we can to support our immune system. From washing our hands frequently to getting good quality sleep, avoiding getting sick is a priority for many of us in the colder months.

Nutrition can play a pivotal role in a strong immune system, and thankfully many companies are creating amazing beverages that allows us to literally drink our nutrients. From zinc to turmeric, immune-supporting ingredients are finding their way into drinks and juices, making it easier than ever to drink to our health.

Here are nine delicious, convenient, and immune-supporting drinks to buy when you’re trying to keep your body in fighting shape. Bottoms up!

What causes a weak immune system and what to do about it

What causes a weak immune system and what to do about it

  • December 29, 2020
  • Some causes of a weakened immune system are out of our control, like age and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s.
  • However, there are plenty of unhealthy habits — like not getting enough sleep and a poor diet — that can weaken your immune system and leave you more susceptible to infection. 
  • To give your immune system a boost, make sure you’re eating right, exercising regularly, and controlling stress levels.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

If you’ve been experiencing persistent, recurring infections, you may be suffering from a weak immune system. According to internist Louis Malinow, MD, the most common cause of a weakened immune system is age, but that isn’t the only potential factor.

Malinow says, “A weaker immune system opens the door for a higher likelihood of infection and for cancer.” Thankfully, there are ways to detect and treat a weakened immune system.

What weakens the immune system? 

Beyond age, there are many other factors that can lead to a weakened immune system.

“Inadequate sleep is another incredibly common cause of a weakened immune system and even a single terrible night’s sleep impairs immunity,” he says. 

However, if you’re young and getting enough sleep but still think you may have a weakened immune system, then here are some other potential reasons:  

  • An unhealthy lifestyle: Malinow says an unhealthy lifestyle consists of inadequate sleep, activity, and sunlight as well as eating processed foods (instead of whole foods). Healthy foods “have the right ingredients to amplify immune response,” he says, adding, “Alcohol is a direct bone marrow toxin and too much alcohol immediately impairs immune defenses.”
  • Medications: Chronic steroid use and other immune suppressant drugs (including Imuran, Plaquenil, and biologic agents) are primary culprits for a weak immune system, says Malinow. These medications are often used to treat autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Crohn’s and therefore should be continued unless instructed otherwise by a healthcare professional.
  • Immune system disorders: This is any condition where the immune system is not operating as it should. A person could be born with a weak immune system (otherwise known as primary immune deficiency) or have a condition that weakens the immune system (such as AIDS or leukemia).  
  • Autoimmune diseases: One type of immune system disorder is autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s, whereby the immune system misidentifies a part of the body as a potential for infection and attacks it. Experts aren’t sure what causes autoimmune diseases, though it is believed to be a combination of genetics and a triggering event. 

Signs you have a weakened immune system

Recurrent, prolonged infections: The immune system’s job is to identify, target, and destroy viruses, bacteria, and cells that do not belong in the body. If a person is routinely getting sick, their immune system probably isn’t doing its job. Other causes of recurrent infections may include severe stress or a history of tobacco use.  

Persistent fatigue: Research has shown an intricate relationship between the nervous and immune systems. When the immune system is not operating properly, those other systems experience an imbalance which can contribute to chronic fatigue. Other contributors to fatigue may include hormone issues, mental health problems, and heightened stress levels. 

Skin rashes and irritation: People often forget that the skin is an organ that interacts with, and relies on, the immune system as much as any other organ would. Weakened immune responses have been associated with a variety of skin conditions, including contact dermatitis (an allergic reaction) and psoriasis (an autoimmune condition). These conditions can also be linked to genetic predispositions. 

Stomach issues: A growing body of research has found the immune and gastrointestinal systems to be intricately linked, with a weakened immune system potentially being associated with gut issues such as irritable bowel syndrome. Genetics, certain medications and illnesses, and even recurrent surgeries can all be potential causes of stomach issues as well.  

Slow-healing wounds: The immune system plays a key role in wound healing, which is why it’s no surprise that a weakened immune system would be linked to slow-healing wounds. Other causes of delayed wound healing might include low levels of human growth hormone, zinc deficiency, or diabetes. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these signs of a weak immune system, a visit to your healthcare professional is warranted.

Insider’s takeaway

The immune system plays an important role in your overall health. But a variety of circumstances — from lifestyle choices to medications and health conditions — can weaken it. 

The result can be an increase in infections, chronic fatigue, skin rashes and irritation, gastrointestinal distress, and slow-healing wounds — all of which should be signs you should schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional.

Malinow says the best advice he has for improving an already weakened immune system is to:

capsimmunesystem.org