2017 has arrived, and with it comes new opportunity to understand the role of hormone balance in our overall health.
Before getting started, we wanted to take a brief moment to reflect on the top stories of 2016 that captured your attention on the ZRT Blog. Following is a round-up of 2016's most popular posts for patients.
For millions of women the world over the transformative promise of cosmetics is that looking and feeling more beautiful translates into feeling better about ourselves.
But could the beauty products we rely on to build our confidence by hiding our flaws, also be hiding the potential to make us sick?
FDA Doesn't Regulate Cosmetics
Like most women I had always assumed that any beauty product on the shelves has undergone testing to verify its contents are safe - so much for assumptions! Once I did a little digging into the subject, I found out that unlike pharmaceuticals or pesticides, chemical ingredients contained in cosmetics do NOT have to be tested or approved before they are put on the market.
Our society is on high bug alert these days. There are those who fear microbes (the germaphobes) and those who swoop in with exciting cutting edge research for why germs are important for our wellbeing. The rest of us fall somewhere in between. Whatever our feelings are, the gut-brain axis – the imaginary line between the brain and the gut – undeniably is one of the new frontiers of neuroscience. With good reason. The state of the gut microbiome is key to human health, so let’s explore a fun way to feed our “second brain” with the help of fermentation.
Fermentation is a process during which bacteria convert carbohydrates into organic acids (e.g., alcohol), giving rise to new texture and flavor, staving off unfavorable bacteria, and thus preserving the food. Humans have relied on fermentation for thousands of years to preserve vegetables and fruits in season for long cold winter months. Fermentation not only helps the food last longer, but also packs a powerful punch of probiotics that improve digestion and metabolism, boost the immune system, aid weight loss, and even facilitate good mood through production of various neurotransmitters (Perlmutter and Loberg 2015).
Over the past few months there has been a spike in news stories related to elevated lead levels in U.S. public water systems, beginning with the crisis in Flint, Michigan. This has initiated investigations into current water testing methods and probes into violations that have been swept under the rug.
In many cases the public water supply is safe, but there's a hidden concern you need to know about – the immediate plumbing leading to drinking fountains, faucets, bathrooms, etc. in houses, apartments, schools, and workplaces could be leaching lead into the water. This can be caused by changes in water pH and temperature, additives, or the age and condition of pipes and connections.
While not exactly from 2016, this blog from late 2015 was also very popular:
Two months ago, a large team of scientists working on multiple continents published a research study that came to startling conclusions about breast cancer and natural progesterone. The team determined that unlike synthetic progestins, which increase breast cancer risks, natural progesterone has the potential to slow the growth of many breast cancer tumors or even shrink them.
While this finding is stunning, it is not new. It is one of several conclusions about progesterone that John R. Lee, M.D. and David Zava, Ph.D. made more than a decade ago when they co-wrote the book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer. Now that their findings have been confirmed by other scientists, the medical community can no longer assume that natural progesterone promotes breast cancer like progestins do. Progestins are molecularly altered synthetic versions of progesterone.