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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Magnesium

Magnesium is frequently prescribed for symptoms accompanying premenstrual syndrome (PMS), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and perimenopause. A 2017 literature review, “Magnesium in the gynecological practice,” describes its importance in the prevention and treatment of several conditions relevant to women’s health. For example, research has demonstrated magnesium helps reduce dysmenorrhea, calms the nervous system and reduces stress, which can in turn positively affect the menstrual cycle and health. However, too much magnesium can cause diarrhea and lower blood pressure and it can interact with many medications, including antibiotics such as Cipro, Levaquin and tetracycline. Make sure to ask your doctor before taking magnesium supplements, especially if you have digestive problems or heart disease.


Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. It constitutes 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent of total body weight. Calcium is known for its structural role in bones and teeth; however, it can also reduce menstrual pain through maintaining muscle tone. A study published in Pain Medicine demonstrated intake of calcium alone was effective in reducing menstrual pain intensity, and maintaining a proper blood calcium level decreases depression and irritability. The best way to increase calcium levels is by modifying your diet to add milk, cheese and yogurt. Other foods rich in calcium include beans, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Remember, calcium needs vitamin D to be absorbed, so include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet to gain the full benefits of calcium.


Consuming the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals are essential for overall health. Consult with a physician or gynecologist/obstetrician prior to starting a dietary supplements regimen.


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VITAMINS & MINERALS THAT HELP PAINFUL PERIODS

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.

B1 supplementation helped reduce both mental and physical symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle (Abdollahifard et al., 2014). The RDA for B1 is 0.9mg to 1.1mg for women between 14 and 60 years of age (provided in a half-cup serving of white enriched rice). The National Institutes of Health recommends foods such as fortified cereals and rice or black beans to increase dietary consumption of B1.


Vitamin E

Nuts, seeds, avocados and vegetable oils are rich in vitamin E, which may help reduce menstrual pain. A research study including 1,000 women found taking 500 IU of vitamin E daily for five days (two days prior to and three days after the onset of the period) decreased reported menstrual pain (Ziaei et al., 2001). More recently, a study found using vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids in combination are more effective in reducing menstrual pain than used separately (Sadeghi et al., 2018). However, vitamin E can increase the risk of bleeding, especially in people taking blood thinner medication. People with heart disease and diabetes should consult their doctor before taking high doses of vitamin E.

Do you have back pain, headaches and stomach issues during your menstrual cycle?  If so, you are not alone. Research has shown over 90 percent of women experience premenstrual symptoms, and more than 50 percent of women report pain during their period.


The discomfort that can accompany periods is called dysmenorrhea. Some women experience very severe symptoms that interfere with work and school. Recently, nutritional studies have discovered specific vitamins and minerals may have a helpful role in reducing menstrual pain.


Vitamin D

The adult diet commonly lacks vitamin D, but its benefits for reducing menstrual cramping make it an important nutrient in a woman’s diet. A study from Gynecological Endocrinology determined women receiving 50,000 IU of vitamin D per week over eight weeks reported significantly reduced pain during their menstrual cycle (Moini et al., 2016). The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU for women between 14 and 50 years of age (1 cup of vitamin D fortified milk contains about 120 IU of vitamin D). To increase your dietary vitamin D intake, the Mayo Clinic suggests eating fatty fish such as salmon, drinking fortified milk and/or taking a vitamin D supplement.


Vitamin B1

A study from the Global Journal of Health Sciences found vitamin