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Fun Fact Friday

  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men. This is mostly due to the hormonal changes that women often experience.

  • When ignored by someone whose attention means the most to you, the reaction in the brain is similar to physical pain.

 

  • Pistanthrophobia is a common fear of trusting people due to past experiences with relationships gone bad.

  • Studies show acting confidently is the surest key to success – If you fake it, you will make it.

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact
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Natural Ways to Boost Testosterone

Add Zing to Your Meals

Onions and garlic are your allies in the kitchen and in the bedroom. They help you make more and better sperm. Both raise levels of a hormone that triggers your body to make testosterone. And both have high levels of natural plant chemical called flavonoids, which safeguard your li’l swimmers against damage.

Pile on the Protein

Lean beef, chicken, fish, and eggs are some of your options. Tofu, nuts, and seeds have protein, too. Try to get about 5 to 6 ounces per day, although the ideal amount for you depends on your age, sex, and how active you are. When you don’t eat enough of these foods, your body makes more of a substance that binds with testosterone, leaving you with less T available to do its job.

Go Fish

Fatty kinds like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are rich with vitamin D. It’s a natural testosterone booster because it plays a crucial role in hormone production.

More Magnesium

This mineral blocks a protein from binding with testosterone. The result? More of the usable man-stuff floating around in your blood. Spinach is packed with magnesium. Almonds, cashews, and peanuts are good sources, too.

Order Oysters

There’s a reason why these mollusks are known for being great for fertility. They have almost five times your recommended daily dose of zinc. This mineral helps your body make testosterone. You can also get it in beef and beans. And it’s often added to breakfast cereal.

Bonus: Zinc boosts your immune system.

pomegranate-juice

 

Pick Pomegranate

Start your day with a glass of this ancient seedy fruit’s juice instead of OJ. It lowers levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, which helps raise levels of sex hormones including testosterone. And it can lower your blood pressure and put you in a better mood!

Diet Down

A Mediterranean-style diet can help keep your weight in check and protect you from insulin resistance, which is related to lower T levels. And when your testosterone is low, your fat levels go up, which can lead to your body not using insulin well. You can break this cycle.

Trade saturated fats for healthier ones such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts. Choose lean meats and whole grains. Eat lots of veggies and fruits.

Back Off the Beer

It takes only 5 days of regular drinking for your testosterone level to drop. Alcohol may throw off many parts of your body’s hormone system. Heavy drinkers can have shrunken testes, thin chest and beard hair, and higher levels of the female hormone estrogen.

Use Glass, Not Plastic

Be careful about what you store your leftovers in. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical found in some plastics, cans, and other food packaging. It can mess with your hormone-making process. After 6 months, men who worked around BPA every day had lower testosterone levels than men who didn’t.

Build Your Strength

Focus your workouts on your muscles. Hit the weight room at the gym, or get a trainer to help you with a routine on the exercise machines. Cardio has its benefits, but it doesn’t boost your testosterone like strength training can.

Be careful to not overdo it. Too much exercise can take your T level in the other direction.

Get Enough ZZZs

Your body turns up the testosterone when you fall asleep. The levels peak when you start dreaming and stay there until you wake up. But daytime testosterone levels can drop up to 15% when you get only 5 hours of sleep. Aim for 7 or 8 hours every night, even if it means a shift in your schedule or a limit to your late-night plans.

source: www.webmd.com


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How Fast Food Messes With Your Hormones

Alexandra Sifferlin @acsifferlin  April 13, 2016     

A new study shows people who eat fast food have higher levels of chemicals in their system

If you want to eat healthy, you’ll need to forgo fast food, which is high in sodium, sugar and grease. A new study supplies even more incentive to do so by finding that fast food is a source of chemicals called phthalates, which have been linked to a list of possible health burdens like hormone disruption and lower sperm count.

The new report, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that people who ate more fast food also had higher levels of two substances that occur when phthalates—which make plastic more flexible—break down in the body. “The same range of concentrations measured in this [group] overlaps with the range of concentrations that have been measured in some of epidemiological studies that find adverse health effects,” says study author Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Prior studies have shown that diet is a source of exposure for plastics chemicals like phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), and that processed food may be of particular concern. The new study is the largest to look at exposure from fast food fare specifically.

mcdonalds

To reach these findings, Zota and her co-authors looked at data from more than 8,800 people who were part of a survey where they detailed all the food they ate in the last 24 hours and then provided a urine sample. Two specific phthalate byproducts were identified: DEHP and DiNP. People who ate 35% or more of their total calories from fast food in the last 24 hours had around 24% higher levels of DEHP compared to people who didn’t eat fast food, and close to 40% higher levels of DiNP. The team also looked for traces of BPA, but did not observe a pattern.

In general, about a third of all the people in the study had eaten fast food in the prior day. “That’s a lot,” says Zota. “That alone tells you the public health impact of this type of food preparation.” It’s believed that phthalates could leach into food during preparation or packaging. Plastic gloves and conveyer belts could be sources, Zota says, and heat from cooking may also make it easier for chemicals to get into food.

The researchers say they hope the findings provide insight into how chemicals can enter our bodies. More research is needed to fully understand what effects these chemicals may have over time. “Our study helps shed light on one potential way that people can reduce their exposure to these chemicals through their diet, but it also points to a broader problem of widespread chemicals in our food systems that will require many different types of stakeholders to get involved in order to fix it,” Zota says.

source: time.com


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Study Finds Nail Polish is Messing with Your Hormones

Michelle Schoffro Cook     October 21, 2015

When you paint your nails or go for a manicure, you may be getting more than you bargained for: hormone imbalances and the potential health problems that can result.

A new Duke University-Environmental Working Group (EWG) study published in the medical journal Environment International found that the hormone disruptor triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) found in nail polish (even some seemingly “natural” ones) showed up in every woman the researchers tested, if they had recently painted their nails. The researchers tested ten different brands of nail polishes to determine which ones contained the hormone disruptor: eight of the nail polish brands contained TPHP, including two brands that did not list the ingredient on the label.

Hormone disruptors, or endocrine disruptors as they are also known, are a group of chemicals that cause hormonal imbalances, which are sometimes linked to obesity and weight gain, development of breasts in men, breast cancer and many other possible health issues.

The researchers took urine samples of the women who participated to obtain baseline readings of diphenyl phosphate (DPHP) in their urine since DPHP is a metabolite of TPHP that shows up in urine and demonstrates exposure to the toxin. Then the women painted their nails with a nail polish containing less than 1 percent of TPHP by weight and had their urine tested again 10 to 14 hour afterward. The women had a nearly seven-fold increase of DPHP in their urine, suggesting that the TPHP had made its way into the women’s bodies.

nail polish

But the researchers wanted to determine whether the TPHP found its way into their bodies through inhalation of fumes or through absorption through their nails. To do so, some women painted synthetic nails adhered to rubber gloves so that TPHP could not be absorbed. In this way, the researchers could compare their results. Urinary levels of DPHP were assessed again and found to be significantly lower in the women who wore gloves, suggesting that the primary route of TPHP into the body was through contact with the nails, not inhalation as many people might think. The researchers concluded that painting nails with nail polish is a significant source of the endocrine disruptor TPHP.

TPHP is a plasticizer that may be added to nail polishes to make them more flexible and durable. According to the Environmental Working Group, TPHP is a reproductive and developmental toxin, meaning that it can interfere with fertility and potentially fetal development. Additionally, the chemical can be toxic to the brain and nervous system and cause hormonal imbalances that could lead to many serious health effects. It is also suspected of being an environmental toxin. The organization has compiled a database of over 3,000 nail polishes, of which 49 percent disclose that they contain TPHP, but some contain the endocrine disruptor and do not disclose its presence in the products.

The scientists believe that other ingredients found in the nail polishes made the nails more permeable, thereby allowing TPHP to be absorbed through the nails into the body.

Some of the brands that contain TPHP include: Sally Hansen, Wet n Wild, Opi, Revlon, Maybelline, Essie, butter LONDON, Milani, SpaRitual, Orly, theBalm, Nuance by Salma Hayek and perhaps most surprising, Beauty without Cruelty (BWC). Check out the article, “12 Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands” to find better options but be aware that because there are insufficient regulations surrounding the use or disclosure about use, some brands may claim to be devoid of TPHP and may still contain the toxic ingredient.


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10 Reasons Why Oxytocin Is The Most Amazing Molecule In The World

George Dvorsky

Though often referred to as the “trust hormone” oxytocin is increasingly being seen as a brain chemical that does a lot more than just bring couples closer together.

New research is suggesting that oxytocin plays a crucial part in enabling us to not just forge and strengthen our social relations, but in helping us to stave off a number of psychological and physiological problems as well. But more conceptually, oxytocin is proving to be a crucial ingredient to what makes us human. Here are ten reasons why oxytocin is simply the most incredible molecule on the planet:

1. It’s easy to get

One of the neat things about oxytocin is that you can get your fix anywhere and at any time. All you need to do is simply hug someone or shake their hand. The simple act of bodily contact will cause your brain to release low levels of oxytocin — both in yourself and in the person you’re touching. It’s a near-instantaneous way to establish trust. And the good news is that the effect lingers afterward. There’s even evidence that simply gazing at someone will do the trick — or even just thinking about them. And you shouldn’t feel limited by the human species; it also helps to hug and play with your pets. And for those who can’t produce enough oxytocin on their own, or who feel they could use a boost, the molecule can be easily synthesized and administered as a drug.

2. A love potion that’s built right in

Often referred to as the “love molecule”, oxytocin is typically associated with helping couples establish a greater sense of intimacy and attachment. Oxytocin, along with dopamine and norepinephrine, are believed to be highly critical in human pair-bonding. But not only that, it also increases the desire for couples to gaze at one another, it creates sexual arousal, and it helps males maintain their erections. When you’re sexually aroused or excited, oxytocin levels increase in your brain significantly — a primary factor for bringing about an orgasm. And during the orgasm itself, the brain is flooded with oxytocin — a possible explanation for why (some) couples like to cuddle after.

3. It helps mom to be mom

But oxytocin isn’t just limited to helping couples come together — it’s an indispensable part of childbirth and mother-child bonding. Oxytocin helps women get through labour by stimulating uterine contractions, which is why it’s sometimes administered (as Pitocin) during labor. It’s been known to promote delivery and speed up contractions. After birth, mothers can establish intimacy and trust with their baby through gentle touches and even a loving gaze. In addition, mothers can pass on oxytocin to their babies through breast milk. And it’s worth noting that fathers can reap the benefits of oxytocin as well; new dads who are given a whiff of oxytocin nasal spray are more likely to encourage their children to explore during playtime and are less likely to be hostile.

4. Reduces social fears

Given its ability to break-down social barriers, induce feelings of optimism, increase self-esteem, and build trust, oxytocin is increasingly being seen as something that can help people overcome their social inhibitions and fears. Studies are showing that it may be effective in treating debilitating shyness, or to help people with social anxieties and mood disorders. It’s also thought that oxytocin could help people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. In addition, given that autism is essentially a social communication disorder, it’s being considered as a way of helping people on the spectrum as well. And lastly, oxytocin, through its trust-building actions, can help heal the wounds of a damaged relationship — another example of how the mind gets its plasticity.

5. Healing and pain relief

Amazingly, oxytocin can also be used to heal wounds (through its anti-inflammatory properties). Studies have also shown that a rise in oxytocin levels can relieve pain — everything from headaches, cramps and overall body aches. Now, that being said, the trick is to get some oxytocin action while you’re in pain — which is not so easy. This is where synthetics can certainly help. Alternately, if you find yourself in physical discomfort, you could always ask your partner for a roll in the hay. So guys, be sure to use this crucial information the next time your significant other declines your advances and tells you she has a headache.

6. A diet aid

Perhaps surprisingly, it can also be used to prevent obesity in some instances. Researchers have observed that oxytocin and oxytocin receptor-deficient mice become obese later in life — and with normal food intake. Scientists believe that the hormone might be responsible for a series of beneficial metabolic effects, both in mice and humans. Moreover, by giving oxytocin-deficient obese mice oxytocin infusions, their weight returned back to normal levels. The mice also showed a reduced glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. This clearly suggests an alternative option for those struggling to keep the weight off.

7. An antidepressant

Oxytocin was first observed to have a connection to depression through its effects on mothers suffering from postpartum syndrome. Researchers found that some new mothers were dealing with depression on account of low levels of oxytocin. In fact, they were able to predict postpartum during the pregnancy if the expectant mother had low levels of oxytocin. Recent studies of blood levels and genetic factors in depressed patients have revealed the potential for treating people with clinical depression, and even anxiety disorders.

8. Stress relief

Not surprisingly, given its ability to alleviate social anxiety and produce feelings of trust, oxytocin has the peripheral ability to reduce stress — which is no small thing when you consider the toll that stress takes on the body. Oxytocin has been observed to reduce cortisol in the body and lower blood pressure. It’s also been known to improve digestion, which is often disturbed by high stress levels. Interestingly, oxytocin and the oxytocin receptors have been found in the intestinal tract; it improves gut motility and decreases intestinal inflammation.

9. Increases generosity

In what could be seen as either a good or bad thing, oxytocin has been observed to increase generosity in humans. Evolutionary biologists, particularly those who subscribe to the selfish gene theory, have long struggled to understand why people sometimes share or give away things — often at a personal cost. But several lines of research have connected oxytocin to feelings of empathy. In one study that required persons to share money with a stranger, infusions of oxytocin were shown to make some subjects as much as 80% (wow!) more generous than those on a placebo.

10. It’s what makes us human

In other words, all the above. It’s clear that we really wouldn’t be human without it — we would simply lack the ability to be the social, caring species that we are. Now, it should be noted, however, that, while oxytocin increases in-group trust, it produces the opposite feeling for those in the out-group — so it’s not the “perfect drug” some might proclaim it to be. That being said, oxytocin plays a crucial role in forging our ability to spark and maintain relationships, while endowing us with the ability to empathize, trust, and even love one another. Without it, we would be something significantly less than what we are.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and hug someone!

source: io9.com


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How the ‘Love Hormone’ Works Its Magic

A whiff of oxytocin lit up reward center in men’s brains when they looked at their partner’s face

By Brenda Goodman  HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 25, 2013 (HealthDay News) – Scientists, and women everywhere, have long wondered exactly what keeps a man from straying with a stranger.

From a biological perspective, at least, cheating is easy to understand. The more sexual partners a man has, the more likely he’ll be to pass on his genetic material.

So why do so many men settle down, get married and stick around to raise their kids?

Researchers think they may have found a clue in oxytocin, a hormone released during sex and other intimate gestures like hugging or holding hands that’s been proven to strengthen social bonds in other mammals.

They found that the hormone appears to boost men’s attraction to their mate — even when presented with pictures of other women.

The findings are published in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the study, 20 men who were in committed relationships for 28 months, on average, took whiffs of either oxytocin nasal spray or an inactive placebo spray.

For the first test, the men looked at pictures of their partner, a woman they’d never met, or a house. The photos of the women were carefully matched so one wasn’t more attractive than the other.

In the second experiment, they looked at pictures of their partners or of women they knew but weren’t related to, perhaps someone they saw at work every day.

Then the men rated the attraction they felt to the various faces. Men consistently rated their partners as being more attractive and arousing than the other women and, in most cases, a whiff of oxytocin boosted that effect compared to the placebo.

But what really fascinated the researchers was what happened inside the men’s brains.

Under the influence of oxytocin, two areas of the brain responsible for feelings of reward and pleasure lit up when men saw their partner’s faces. But the sight of other women had the opposite effect, suppressing feelings of pleasure.

“Oxytocin triggers the reward system to activate on the partner’s face, the presence of the partner,” said study author Dr. Rene Hurlemann, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Bonn, in Germany.

“Sexual monogamy is actually quite costly for males, so there must be some form of mechanism binding males and females together, at least for some time,” Hurlemann said. “There must be some benefit, and reward is actually the strongest motivation underlying human behavior.”

An expert who was not involved in the study said the results suggest that couples who keep a high level of intimacy in their relationships can maintain stronger bonds.

“When you’re first becoming intimate, you’re releasing lots of dopamine and oxytocin. That’s creating that link between the neural systems that are processing your facial cues, your voice and the reward system” of a partner’s brain, said Larry Young, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University in Atlanta. He studies the role of oxytocin in social bonding.

As time goes on, and couples become less intimate, Young noted that linkage can decay. But activities that release oxytocin, such as really looking into another person’s eyes, holding hands, kissing and having sex may help restore the connection.

“To me, it suggests that it may be a way to help prevent the decay that can occur that leads couples to separate,” he said.

Hurlemann agreed: “I think this is the only reason that we do hug and touch each other all the time. I think this is the mechanism that keeps oxytocin levels high in relationships.”

source: WebMD News from HealthDay

 


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Stress, Hormones, and Weight Gain

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD 
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Most people admit that when they’re under stress, healthy eating habits can be difficult to maintain. Whether eating to fill an emotional need or grabbing fast food simply because there’s no time to prepare something healthy, a stressed-out lifestyle is rarely a healthy one. But weight gain when under stress may also be at least partly due to the body’s system of hormonal checks and balances, which can actually promote weight gain when you’re stressed out, according to some researchers.

Cortisol is a critical hormone with many actions in the body. Normally, cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands in a pattern called a diurnal variation, meaning that levels of cortisol in the bloodstream vary depending upon the time of day (normally, cortisol levels are highest in the early morning and lowest around midnight). Cortisol is important for the maintenance of blood pressure as well as the provision of energy for the body. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of these actions can be an increase in appetite.

Cortisol has been termed the “stress hormone” because excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or psychological stress, and the normal pattern of cortisol secretion (with levels highest in the early morning and lowest at night) can be altered. This disruption of cortisol secretion may not only promote weight gain, but it can also affect where you put on the weight. Some studies have shown that stress and elevated cortisol tend to cause fat deposition in the abdominal area rather than in the hips. This fat deposition has been referred to as “toxic fat” since abdominal fat deposition is strongly correlated with the development of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and strokes.


Stress is certainly not the only reason having for abnormal levels of cortisol. A number of diseases and conditions can result in abnormal levels of cortisol in the bloodstream. Cushing’s Syndrome is a term used by doctors to describe a condition in which various medical problems result in very high levels of cortisol, leading to changes in the body’s appearance and function.

Weight gain or loss is dependent on a number of factors including resting metabolic rate, food intake, amount of exercise, and even the types of food consumed and the times of day food is consumed. Genetic factors also likely influence our metabolism and may explain some people’s tendency to gain or lose weight more rapidly than others.

Whether or not a particular individual’s stress levels will result in high cortisol levels and weight gain is not readily predictable. The amount of cortisol secreted in response to stress can vary among individuals, with some persons being innately more “reactive” to stressful events. Studies of women who tended to react to stress with high levels of cortisol secretion have shown that these women also tended to eat more when under stress than women who secreted less cortisol. Another study demonstrated that women who stored their excess fat in the abdominal area had higher cortisol levels and reported more lifestyle stress than women who stored fat primarily in the hips.

The diet industry has attempted to capitalize on findings from these studies by promoting dietary supplements claiming to lower cortisol and enhance weight loss. No independent studies published in respected, peer-reviewed medical journals have shown that these supplements have any value in cortisol reduction or weight loss. In fact, exercise is the best method for lowering cortisol levels that have risen in response to stress and has the added benefit of burning calories to stimulate weight loss.

References: Peeke PM, Chrousos GP. Hypercortisolism and Obesity. Ann NY Acad Sci 1995 Dec 29; 771:665-76. Epel ES, McEwen B, Seeman T, Matthews K, Castellazzo G, Brownell KD, Bell J, Ickovics JR. Stress and body shape: stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat. Psychosom Med. 2000 Sep-Oct; 62(5):623-32.

Last Editorial Review: 2/27/2007