HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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Taking a recommended dose daily of folic acid is a good way pregnant women and those who plan to become pregnant can prevent neural defects. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, ask your physician about prenatal supplements. Your baby’s health depends on it!


References


  1. Kennedy, D.O. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy – A Review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68. doi:10.3390/ nu8020068
  2. Folic acid (2018). Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html
  3. Folic acid (2018). Retrieved from www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/folic-acid.aspx
  4. Folic Acid and Pregnancy. Retrieved from www.webmd.com/baby/folic-acid-and-pregnancy#1

SPOTLIGHT ON FOLIC ACID

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

This article was team written by graduate students in the Nutritional Sciences and Pharmacology Students Association within the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Kentucky and Dr. Sara Police.

During pregnancy, the recommended daily dose increases to 600 micrograms. (3) It is relatively easy to meet this recommendation, since most commercial formulations at your pharmacy or supermarket will have 400 to 800 micrograms per dose.


For Baby’s Sake!

Folate is critical to the early development of the baby’s brain. Research has demonstrated its importance to the formation and closure of the neural tube. Maternal folate deficiency is associated with neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Spina bifida is a congenital defect where part of the spinal cord is exposed through a gap in the backbone. This can lead to paralysis of the lower limbs, permanent disability and mental handicap. Anencephaly occurs when there is incomplete development of the brain and skull. It can cause miscarriage. (4) Studies have also shown folic acid supplementation can prevent congenital heart diseases, poor growth in the womb, pre-term birth, low birth weight and miscarriage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adequate folate intake plus folic acid supplementation can reduce the risk of a baby developing these diseases by more than 50 percent. (4)  

Expecting moms, are you eating a well-balanced diet? Getting enough rest? Exercising regularly? Taking folic acid supplements?


If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, your answer should be “yes” to each of these questions. Like diet, rest and physical activity, folic acid supplementation can influence the health of your baby.


The Pregnancy Supervitamin

The B vitamin family refers to a group of eight B vitamins that work collectively to support metabolism and cellular function. (1) Each B vitamin has its own unique function. The pregnancy supervitamin, vitamin B9, is necessary for proper fetal growth and development. (2) Although we get vitamin B9 from our diet, most research recommends supplemental folic acid during pregnancy, in addition to increased intake of folate-rich foods. Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9 found in oranges, avocados, spinach, beets, beans and eggs. Supplemental folate (folic acid or FA) is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 found in fortified, processed foods such as bread, cereals, rice and pasta. Vitamin B9 is an essential nutrient because the body cannot produce it.


The Dose Matters Most

Folic acid can be consumed in a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin or alone as a supplement. According to the March of Dimes, women of childbearing age should take a multivitamin or vitamin supplement containing 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.