Can breathing make us superhuman?

Can breathing make us superhuman?

Can Breathing Make You Super Human?

With Dr Marc

The Wim Hof Method has been written up by Discovery Magazine who calls for more research and I am hoping to respond with the RMIT University survey of the Wim Hof Method (available at www.whmsurvey.org).

The ability to consciously control the breath and be comfortable in extreme situations may be a key to wellness and I agree that;
“Promising research is ahead, however, and Hof and others already hint at the possible rewards. . . These studies might end up confirming once and for all what practitioners of yoga and other physical and mental practices have known intuitively for years. It may be that the duality of breath — at once automatic and controllable — runs even deeper. It’s not just our lungs that we can consciously grasp hold of, it’s our physiology as a whole.”

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Glowing Skin & Healthy Eating

Glowing Skin & Healthy Eating

I know which creams to buy to keep my skin looking young and I try to eat well to boost my antioxidants. Are there any natural foods that have anti-ageing properties that will benefit my skin?

Skin reflects overall health so foods that benefit your overall health are likely to also benefit your skin. Healthy skin has a natural colour and glow produced by the combination of red from haemoglobin in the blood, brown from melanin produced by melanocytes in the epidermis and orange/yellow from carotenoids in subcutaneous fat. Carotenoids are fat-soluble, red orange and yellow anti-oxidants that provide natural sun protection. Beta carotene is the most important carotenoid for skin as it protects the skin from sun damage as well as being converted into vitamin A which is essential for healthy skin, hair and eyes.

Beta carotene is present in orange coloured foods such as carrots, pumpklin, sweet potato, apricots, mangos, oranges etc. as well as being present in green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach making all these foods contribute to healthy skin. The highest natural source of beta carotene is the marine phytoplankton known as Dunaliella salina which produces massive amounts of beta carotene in response to the stress of high salt environments. Dunalella Salina can be taken as an organically grown, whole-food supplement (Algotene), with two to three grams a day providing limited sun protection as well as acting as a source of vitamin A.

In addition to carotenoid-rich, yellow-orange fruits and vegetables, water is vitally important for keeping the skin hydrated and aiding excretion of toxins, Recent research also suggest that in addition to its many other benefits, long-term intake of dark chocolate may improve skin blood flow, hydration and elasticity while also reducing roughness and scaling and contributing to natural sun protection.

BPA’s & the Endocrine System

BPA’s & the Endocrine System

I have heard that EDC such as BPA and phthalates may be dangerous and interrupt the endocrine system. What are they and how can I avoid them?

with Dr Marc

Endocrine disrupting chemicals are a broad class of chemicals that can interfere with the natural hormonal control systems of the body and effect cell metabolism, reproduction, development and behaviour. Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are endocrine disruptors that are in widespread use and found in our environment, food, and consumer products as well as in most people in the modern world.

BPA is a key ingredient in polycarbonate plastics and is used in many common products including baby and water bottles, medical and dental devices, CDs and DVDs, thermal receipt paper, household electronics, as well as in the lining of almost all food and beverage cans. Phthalates are a group of plasticizer compounds that are used to soften PVC plastics as well as being used in a wide variety of consumer goods such as children’s toys, personal care products, adhesives, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, textiles, detergents as well as food products and packaging.

Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals can lead to a range of conditions such as infertility, reproductive abnormalities, various cancers, obesity, impaired intellectual development and impaired immune function with the effects varying according to the age at exposure, the extent of exposure and the mixture of chemicals. While the consequences of being exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals is not yet fully understood, it is known that a small dose of an endocrine disrupting chemical during pregnancy that may not significantly affect the mother, can profoundly affect the developing fetus in ways that may not become evident much later. This was recently demonstrated by a study done at Columbia University that found that the level of phthalates in mother’s urine during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy correlated with the intellectual development of her child at aged 3.

The latent effects of fetal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals may also extend into adulthood and early exposure to such chemicals in animal studies has been found to damage natural weight-control mechanisms and foster dietary choices that favour high fat intake and the development of metabolic syndrome, diabetes and obesity. Thus exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals has been suggested as a contributing factor for the global epidemic of diseases such as obesity, diabetes and ADHD.

While it may be impossible to completely avoid exposure to BPA and pthalates in the modern world recently there has been moves internationally to restrict their use and there are some simple lifestyle measures that can also help reduce exposure. These measures begin with reducing the amount of plastics used, choosing only natural organic homecare products and choosing glass, ceramic or stainless steel food and beverage containers and avoiding canned food and food packed in plastic. If plastic containers are used, do not to put them in the dishwasher or microwave and where possible select products that are labeled BPA free.

A recent study found that families eating fresh unpackaged, organic food were able to drop their BPA levels by 66% and phthalate levels by 55% in just 3 days. Similarly, American toddlers eating mostly organic food were found to have less than one sixth the pesticide residues in their urine.

While it may not be possible to completely eliminate BPA and pthalates from your life, the above measures may go a long way to reducing your exposure and increasing your consumption of fresh non-packaged food is likely to have many additional health benefits.

Navigating Incontinence

Navigating Incontinence

I’ve been diagnosed with having incontinence but find the topic hard to discuss with my GP. Are there any natural remedies that might help ease my symptoms or any new approach to treating the condition?

with Dr Marc

There are many possible reasons for incontinence, which can include both urinary and fecal incontinence and there are many different approaches to treatment ranging from exercises to biofeedback to surgery.

Urinary incontinence is a very common problem, particularly in women as they age with one third of women over 60 experiencing bladder problems but can happen at any age. Stress incontinence, which is the most common type of urinary incontinence, occurs when small amounts of urine escape during coughing, laughing, sneezing, or other movements that increase intra-abdominal pressure. This type of incontinence is often exacerbated by changes in the pelvic floor during pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. The treatment of incontinence will depend on the type and cause. Stress incontinence is often treated through pelvic floor muscle exercises such as Kegel exercises.

While most forms of incontinence are benign and treatable, it is important to exclude sinister causes such as infection or tumours. It is therefore important to have a medical examination and possibly referral to a urologist. It may help your practitioner for you to keep a diary of your incontinence including the circumstances of when it happens and the amount of urine released. It is disturbing that you are not comfortable discussing incontinence with your GP. Was it your GP who diagnosed you? It is important to feel comfortable having frank and open discussions with your health practitioners. I suggest trying to directly address this issue with your GP or, if you find this hard, try finding another doctor or healthcare provider with who you feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues.