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Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Moderna mRNA vaccine needs to do an about face!

Didn’t anyone tell it to target COVID-19 not facial filler!

Yes, you heard it right. The Moderna vaccine has distinguished itself from the Pfizer vaccine yet again. But, after gaining a point in the competitive scoring for easier storage and transport, it lost a point in side effects. Recently, Moderna noted that there were three reports of facial swelling in the area of facial fillers–two patients who had filler six weeks before their vaccine, and one who had filler two days after the vaccine. All were treated for the facial swelling with either steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (think Advil, etc.) and symptoms fully resolved. So, no big deal, right? All’s well that ends well?

Well, maybe. But, to assess that, you might want to understand what exactly caused the reaction. Prior vaccines worked by giving a teeny-tiny dose of the actual virus to the body and letting the immune cells figure out on their own, how to launch an attack. Moderna and Pfizer’s mRNA vaccines work differently. They each send specific information into the body in advance that directly teaches the immune responder cells how to attack the COVID-19 virus. Shortly after the information is received, the body’s immune cells begin to practice launching an attack.

Herein lies the problem. After the vaccine, the immune system is on high alert. It is looking for an enemy to attack. And, Moderna’s vaccine has in very rare instances prompted the immune cells to find and attack the harmless but foreign facial filler. All things considered, the risk of serious side effects of COVID-19 infection is both more common and more grave. Overall: It’s simply a scary but thankfully not serious case of mistaken identity!

Why Women Sabotage Other Women

Women sabotaging womenWe all know it happens. But, at the pinnacle of success, it seems even more incomprehensible. Sabotage by another woman? Why? We trained hard. We are that good. We’ve even earned the respect of male colleagues. So why the full-on strike in the face?

Author Bonnie Marcus wrote about women sabotaging other women in Forbes in her article, The Dark Side of Female Rivalry In the Workplace And What To Do About It. She explained that some women attack other women because of their own insecurity. They may lack confidence in their own ability and worry that they might not attain their own career goals. Other times, it is the fear that another woman will be a threat especially if that woman is both beautiful and intelligent.

Women often attack other women according to Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster, co-authors of Mean Girls at Work: How to Stay Professional when Things Get Personal because they can’t reconcile the need to be overtly kind and nurturing, with the truth of being covertly jealous, envious, and competitive.

Author Susan Shapiro Barash in her book, Tripping the Prom Queen, points out that competition can be healthy if it is not out of jealousy. But, women have childhood fairytales stories ingrained in their minds like those of Snow White or Cinderella, in which we learn that beautiful and talented women need to be destroyed.

Like every issue that needs to be changed, the first step is recognizing that there is a problem. Women need to collaborate and mentor each other to be successful. We need to stop comparing ourselves and secretly seething. We need to acknowledge that emotional festering leads to consumption of our energy and ultimately, our loss of power. To succeed, we need to build a power network to protect our reputation by aligning with mentors, sponsors, influencers and key decision makers. We need to remember to advocate for ourselves and speak up when we see injustice. We need to build confidence, take control and document our accomplishments. And, above all else, we need to be positive role models for other women while offering praise. After all, if one of us wins, we all win.

Tongue Brushes and Scrapers

tongue brushes and tongue scrapersTongue brushes and scrapers can be used to treat physiologic halitosis. They are favored by halitophobic patients. The origin of physiological halitosis is often post-nasal drip, gastroesophageal reflux, or poor dental hygiene. If so, treatment for those disorders can reduce or eliminate halitosis.

But, for persistent halitosis, often coming from the back of the tongue, tongue brushing and scraping can be helpful. In addition, mouth rinses with homeopathic solutions free of alcohol, (e.g. Alkalol) can also be used. In general, mouthwashes containing alcohol are to be avoided because they increase the risk of oral cancer. And, chewing gum can produce methyl mercaptan, one of the principal components of oral malodour, leading to persistent halitosis.

Tastes good, and you can wear it, too!

Drinking Green Tea - Health BenefitsGreen tea and matcha lattes sure taste good. But did you know that they have aesthetic benefits, too? Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is an active ingredient of green tea, a natural compound, and popular antioxidant. Antioxidants prevent the oxidative damage that comes from environmental and sun exposure. Theoretically, they can stop brown spots and skin cancers in their tracks! Unfortunately, they are less effective as anti-aging and wrinkle reducing treatments.

Antioxidant’s anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties make them a necessary step in the skin care regimens of redheads, freckled folk, and those with a particularly high risk for, or past history of skin cancer. Green tea is non-toxic and safe for all.

EGCG is of particular interest to product formulators because it is easy to combine with other topical ingredients because of their mutual attraction to water. However, like Vitamin C and other antioxidants it poses a challenge because it is not a stable ingredient, losing its effectiveness when exposed to oxygen and to high temperature. Recently, researchers demonstrated that EGCG is more stable when combined with alpha lipoic acid or when enclosed in nanocapsules, Although these additions add stability and enable EGCG to reach high concentrations in the skin when applied topically, they do not allow EGCG to to get absorbed systemically.

Too Cool To JUUL?

It looks like a flash drive but it’s called a Juul. A type of e-cigarette, it delivers a powerful dose of nicotine via vaporized liquids, in doses higher than most other e-cigarettes, without the cloying smell and smoke or unpleasant taste of a typical cigarette. After a decade-long decline in teen smoking, vaping or juuling has become a growing (and concerning) trend with 18.5% of eighth graders using it in 2017, up 17.5% from the year prior. The vaping market is projected to reach $5.1 billion by the end of 2018, and all three major tobacco companies are involved.

Juuling has become a teen status symbol and it is often used in the bathroom during the few minutes before or even during classes. The starter kit contains the device, charger and four flavor pods, and retails for $50. Additional liquid pods are sold separately at roughly $4.25, less than the average retail price for a pack of cigarettes. One pod is comparable to one pack of cigarettes, or 200 puffs. With nicotine-free, sweet flavored vaping sauces like “Creme Brulee,” “Mango” and “Fruit Medley” pods are particularly attractive to teens. To make matters worse, juuling can also be done with marijuana.

Make no mistake about it; e-cigarettes and juuling are absolutely addictive even if teens are blissfully ignorant of the risk! According to the Journal of the American Medical Association – Pediatrics, a growing body of research is linking teen e-cigarette use to traditional cigarette use later in life. And, a recent study in Pediatrics measured toxic levels of acrolein and propylene oxide in teen e-cigarette users compared to non-users. Side effects of use also include impulsiveness, difficulty paying attention, gum disease, lung damage, bronchitis, wheezing, and high blood pressure. Dr. Yagoda’s advice? “Say no to Juuls and dare to be too cool to Juul!”

Americans Add Sugar to EVERYTHING….

It’s no secret. Americans love sugar. That’s why sugar is in everything. Some say that it is the root cause of an epidemic sugar addiction.

Sugar is in everything. Take for example, beverages. Everyone knows that sugar is added to sparkling water to make soda. And, while black coffee may have its health benefits, a Starbucks’ Frappuccino, loaded with sugar, is not so healthy. Tropicana’s Premium Watermelon Juice contains even more sugar than watermelon!

Sugar is not only hidden in beverages. Did you know that those crispy, salty addictive potato chips, undoubtedly a savory snack, contain sugar? So does tomato sauce. Cough medicine. Teriyaki sauce. Soy milk. Low-fat and fat-free salad dressings. And, even most (vegan, too) frozen dinners. It might seem like there is no other place left for sugar to hide.

Alas, there is! Xlear nasal saline spray is marketed to alleviate congestion and relieve sinus pressure. But it contains xylitol, a sugar substitute. Why? Simple salt water is safe and effective. Sugar and its substitutes like Xylitol, provide energy to bacteria and as such could possibly result in a sinus infection. Xylitol and sugars should have no place in a sinus spray. Is a hint of sweetness on the tongue worth the risk of a possible sinus infection? Clearly, America is facing a new low in its endeavor to catch an ever-rising sugar high.

Go green! And, we don’t mean juice!


In today’s hectic, fast-paced world, pretty much anything can contribute to raising your stress levels. It is important to take steps to reduce stress as much as possible in order to improve overall health and wellness. Rx: go green! Yes, outside into the great green yonder, and here’s what will happen:

If you only have 5 minutes to spare: Exercising outdoors will not only elevate your mood, but your self-esteem as well, according to a report in Environmental Science and Technology.

Can you make it 10? Simply being outside will help you become more focused according to a study from the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago.

20 minutes is all it takes: According to researchers at the University of Rochester, if you spend 20 minutes outside daily, you will see your energy levels skyrocket.

A well-deserved 30. Spend 30 magical minutes outdoors and say good bye to depressing thoughts. Your blood pressure will drop and you’ll feel happier as well, according to research in Scientific Reports.

Importance of your Gut Microbiome for Optimal Health

Did You Know? …that your skin is not your body’s largest barrier.

While the skin is the body’s largest organ, and its main function is to act as a barrier, it is not your body’s largest barrier! The gut is. The intestines, measuring an average of 25 feet, serve as both a physical and functional barrier. They help the body to discriminate pathogens from benign microorganisms, and in doing so, educate the immune system.

While the structure of the intestinal barrier is formed early, by the end of the first trimester, its functional development continues into the postnatal period. By age 3, the gut microbiome has an adult-like profile.

Although mainly harmless, the microorganisms that live on and in our bodies provide benefits to the host, in priming the immune system, in contributing to metabolic functions, and in protecting the body against pathogens. The structure and function of the microbiome can vary depending on whether the host is in a healthy state or a specific diseased state, and many medical conditions may be caused by or related to changes in the microbiome. Your gut microbiome is important for optimal health.

Graphic Source Credit: Mercola.com

Laugh your —–SS off?

If you mentally filled in the blank with a synonym for derriere, we want you to know that that’s not what we were thinking! Because if laughing caused that, then comedienne Amy Schumer might quite literally be booty-less not booty-licious. Did you know that laughter actually reduces streSS?

According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter is the best medicine. It’s no joke: laughter increases your intake of oxygen, stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles. It releases endorphins to relieve stress and relax your body for up to 45 minutes. In fact, even the mere anticipation of laughter boosts health-protecting hormones. Go ahead, try it and make this a laughing matter!

Anti-Bacterial Soaps—Killing Germs or Us?

Many people believe that anti-bacterial soaps protect us.  This may be in part because consumers are inundated with information from organizations like the Personal Care Products Council, that urges us to believe “that banning anti-bacterial products would increase the level of risk and exposure of the general population to bacteria, leading to increased infection and disease, including 7.5 million cases of food-borne illness and $38 billion in health-care costs annually.” In addition, anti-bacterial soap manufacturers attempt to convince consumers that their anti-bacterial products are “safe and more effective than regular soap.” However, there have been no definitive studies to prove that anti-bacterial products are more beneficial than plain soap and water.

Environmental advocates and new research suggest that anti-bacterial products may be causing more harm than good, producing “superbugs that are resistant to the antibiotics long used to fight them.” Studies on one of the main chemicals in anti-bacterial products, Triclosan, show that “it [Triclosan] can interfere with hormones and cause changes in thyroid, reproductive-growth and developmental systems.” This recent evidence reinforces earlier beliefs that anti-bacterial soaps may not only be killing germs, but also harming us!

This fall, the Food and Drug Administration will review the data on anti-bacterial soaps, and make a final determination on whether they are safe, and whether they are more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness. If the FDA determines that there are safety concerns, manufacturers may be forced to reformulate their products. Either way, the debate between cleaning-product makers, researchers, and environmental advocates may be finally put to rest.