September 21, 2014

The Feel Good Report August 2013

The latest in health, fitness and beauty.

The Perils of Caffeine

If you’re like most Americans, you can’t make it through a day without a cup of coffee—whether it be iced, home-brewed or from the Starbucks next door. But if your habit leans toward the extreme (say, more than three cups a day), quitting might put you in a state of serious mental disorder. Or so says the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It seems that caffeine addiction is not something to kid around with. Troubling side effects that impair your ability to function normally (such as headaches) have placed caffeine use disorder in the mental health bible. And once it’s in there, you can bet mental health providers will be treating it with the utmost respect. So if your habit seems hard to kick, you might need professional help. Of course, shareholders of Starbucks want to remind you that withdrawal symptoms only happen if you try to quit.

Are Fitness Monitors Accurate?

We love technology. It has delivered us from things such as carbon paper and stamp licking. It has also helped us work out smarter and more efficiently. But in all things there can be growing pains. A recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise calls into question the accuracy of hip-mounted accelerators that measure the energy used to bicycle, walk, jog or whatever we call exercise. The study found that these devices underestimated the amount of energy from most activities. Another study led by Dr. Nate Meckes of Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif., included activity monitors worn on the arm, such as the Nike+ FuelBand, FitBit Flex, Jawbone Up, etc. And while all devices accurately detailed everything from a brisk walk on up, they underestimated activities such as walking uphill, sweeping and gardening, all of which burn calories. While not perfect, it is probably better to underestimate and keep working toward your daily goal.

Barefoot Running: A Step in the Wrong Direction?

We have good news and bad news about those barefoot running shoes you purchased. The good news is that they still look cool and feel great while walking down the street or shopping or heading to hot yoga. The bad news is that barefoot running might not be that great after all. You see, barefoot running supposedly promotes landing on the ball of your foot, compared to a more traditional heel landing. But researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst outfitted volunteers with barefoot shoes, noted their gaits at various speeds on treadmills, measured oxygen uptake and heart rates, and deciphered how much energy was being provided by carbohydrates. They then had the volunteers switch running style: Heelstrikers switched to forefoot and vice versa. The data showed heel-striking was the more physiologically economical stride—by a lot. So what does this mean for you? Researchers say that if you land on your forefoot naturally, it’s OK to continue. Otherwise, just
wear the shoes to look cool.

Banishing Wrinkles

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you how fabulous we look. Seriously, it’s almost embarrassing. But the secret to our wrinkle-free glow comes from sampling the latest products from some of the world’s finest beauty-related companies. Our latest love affair is the anti-wrinkle treatment patch from BioBliss. These lightweight, ultra-thin patches are infused with skin-smoothing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamins and advanced antioxidants. Most topical creams and serums just sit on the surface of your skin. But BioBliss’s proprietary ion technology gently and quickly pushes the anti-wrinkle elements into the surface of the skin, revealing visible results in as little as 30 minutes. (Which is pretty good, because we’re always in a hurry to look great.) Just stick them on and wait for glowing, wrinkle-free skin. biobliss.com

FDA-app roved Cellulite Cure

The dreaded cellulite. More than 80 percent of women suffer from the unsightly condition. Unfortunately the creams, scrubs and wraps that have become a major part of the multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry do virtually nothing to treat the cause: fibrous strands within fat cells that connect to the skin and leave dimples. But a recently approved treatment offers real hope—for a price. The first FDA-approved cellulite cure—Cellulaze, a laser procedure— targets cellulite from under the skin. Like liposuction, a wand is inserted under the skin, but, unlike lipo, it melts the fat that causes the bulging. It’s an outpatient procedure that requires local anesthesia. Experts suggest the procedure be done by a plastic surgeon with liposuction experience to avoid potential complications from an overzealous practitioner. Results are touted to last years (some say permanently). And while it’s impressive, patients remain sore for weeks and that’s not even considering the cost—anywhere from $2,500 per area on upward. cellulaze.com

What Your Fatigue Could Mean

Are you tired all the time? If so, you could be suffering from systemic candidiasis. “Roughly six million women have it and most of them don’t even know it,” says Katherine Ortiz, PA-C, M.M.S., a board-certified specialist in anti-aging and functional medicine at Advanced Medical Center in Naples. The symptoms include fatigue, indigestion, muscle weakness, bloating, loss of sexual desire, menstrual irregularities and mood swings. “It’s an overgrowth of yeast caused by overuse of antibiotics and processed food and is a huge cause of exhaustion,” Ortiz says. Surprisingly, there is a simple way to test yourself for this condition: First thing in the morning, spit into a clear glass of water. If it looks like tentacles are coming down, you need a candida cleanse and to remove processed foods from your diet (as well as all sugars) until you get back on track. Ortiz also recommends adding a probiotic culture supplement of 25-50 billion units to your diet.

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