Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Great hair without a Shampoo

I have tried all types of shampoos and come to the conclusion that they damage the quality of hair in the long term. One shampoo from a well known multinational even induced hair fall some years ago. When that happened I started using the so called “natural shampoos”, but did not find them any better. I have finally come to the conclusion that it is best to use stuff that makes hair good from the inside providing chemical free nourishment. This strategy is the best but a little difficult to implement.

This is what I use now. I massage my head and oil the hair with edible grade coconut oil once a week. After applying the oil leave it in for half an hour then wash with a regular soap. The daily routine I follow is I wet my hair with milk and cover the hair with a cloth for 10 minutes and then wash it with a regular soap. This makes my hair soft. After washing out the milk I apply juice of one lime and a little glycerin mixed in some water. Leave it in for a minute and then rinse without soap or shampoo. This makes the hair shine. I haven’t used a shampoo for many years and my hair is easy to manage, soft and shiny.

There is lots of other stuff you can use for great hair. We can replace coconut oil massage with other oils. But I will recommend only non-cosmetic edible grade oils. I have tried sesame seed oil and mustard oil but have found best results with coconut oil. Plain Yogurt is also a great for hair. Flat beer gives a great sheen to hair. For scalp health one can use neem leaves. Take a handful of neem leaves and boil them in water. Strain the water and massage it into the scalp when cool. This is great for boils and fungal growths on the scalp. Fungal growths can induce baldness. Fresh neem leaves are easy to find in India. They is available in dried form but I have never tried using them in dried form.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

How air “bubble” mattresses work

How air “bubble” mattresses work
There are essentially 2 types of air mattresses available with 2 variants in each type. The first type of mattress has a bubble cell design and the second type has a ridge design. Within these two types of mattresses the variation can be that one variant may lose air through the surface of the material enabling better ventilation and the other many not. The loss of air from the surface through vents or a pours material allows heat and moisture to dissipate from under the patient providing better ventilation and reducing chances of bacterial buildup. These air mattresses come with a pump to inflate and maintain pressure. The technology is fairly simple and does not require high-tech manufacturing techniques. 

Air bubble cell mattress with pours material
The mattress I am using to treat and manage bedsores of my bedridden mother is manufactured by Kosmochem. The pump comes with a pressure adjusting knob. It has 5 bubbles along the width and 26 rows along the length. So it has 130 bubble cells. The rows of cells are interconnected with tubes so when air is pumped into the first cell using the pump, all connected cells inflate. The cells are divided into 2 sets of 65 cells each. Counting from top to the bottom the odd number rows make one interconnected set and the even number rows form the second set. Each “network” of cells has a separate inlet for connecting to the pump. The pump has 2 outlets and air is pumped through one vent at a time alternating every 10 minutes. 

The pump is a low energy consuming device with a 5 watt motor. It has two outlets which can be connected via tubes to the mattress. The vents pump low pressure airflow working one at a time. When the first vent works it pumps air into half the bubbles of the mattress the other set remains depressed. After 10 minutes the airflow in this set stops and the other set of bubbles are slowly inflated while the first set deflates losing air through the surface of the mattress. Pressure is relieved from the skin of the patient directly above the deflated bubbles and weight is transferred to the inflated bubbles. This allows space to form between the deflated bubbles and the skin allowing moisture and heat buildup to dissipate. The loss of air from the surface of the mattress creates a mild air current allowing stale air to be removed from under the patient and allowing the skin to remain dry.  The mattress is available at Amazon and but is cheaper on Snapdeals. Both links are given below with a product image.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Chronic Fatigue (My Personal Log)

This is a personal log I have started to keep track of my progress with trying to sort issues that trouble me from time to time as a patient of Chronic Fatigue and anorexia. My condition is further complicated by Orthostatic Hypotension and an allergy to air pollution. I am constantly fatigued and repeatedly go through acute episodes of throat and chest infections and stomach flu. These episodes usually last for months further compromising my ability to get proper nourishment and fresh air. During these periods I lose strength and it becomes extremely difficult for me to leave the confines of home. My intent in this post is to keep a record of my progress for myself while sharing my experience with others. I’d love to hear from the readers of this blog. Please leave a comment if you have a suggestion or anything you want to share. I will update this post from time to time.

Taking an objective view of my condition this is where I stand. Chronic Fatigue is a syndrome with no treatment. I am stuck in a town where air pollution is high. I don’t know if Orthostatic Hypotension is treatable. Doctors don’t take it seriously. Throat and chest infections and stomach flu need to be treated as and when they occur. Deviations in health due to malnutrition need to be handled on an ongoing basis.

Here is some more background of my case. I remain tired between 8am and 2pm. This pattern of feeling tired and not being able to function for a part of the day is typical of CFS patients. Sometimes it is so bad that I cannot do little things like shower or eat. Fatigue is common to many illnesses including depression. The difference is that a patient with depression will always feel better after exercise but a Chronic Fatigue patient will feel worse after exercise, like in my case. A CFS patient truly has low energy levels whereas a depressive does not want to do anything but has the strength because there are no physiological issues. Therefore if a depressive pushes herself hard enough she can function normally. A CFS patient will usually want to push herself and most times over estimates her physical ability. Due to these subtle but extremely important differences most CFS patients are diagnosed as depressives and are mistreated further complicating their lives. We need to understand that diagnosis of depression is simply the opinion of the psychiatrist and the opinion does not have any scientific basis. Because a lot of skill is needed to distinguish between depression and chronic fatigue, CFS patients are inevitably put on psychiatric medication for long periods of times without any progress. The symptoms of Chronic Fatigue, Hypothyroidism (including sub-clinical Hypothyroidism) and Depression are very similar and are often misdiagnosed by most health professionals. The psychiatrist also has a vested interest in treating the patient and I haven’t come across one who has ever said that “you are not depressed but have another condition so I am referring you to xyz. Send a perfectly healthy individual to a psychiatrist and he will be put on powerful addictive medication for life or at least till he develops a condition as a side effect.

No health professional ever want to make the effort to understand the subtle differences between Chronic Fatigue and Depression. It probably does not make economic sense for them. The return on investment is not there. If you go to a doctor with this condition every one of them will point you towards a psychiatrist who will happily give your condition a label and give you a hand full of brain altering medicines. The only gainers in this are the large pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatrist.  In addition to not understanding CFS, there are a lot of lab results doctors cannot interpret or at least do not understand their significance. There is no treatment for CFS which is my underlying condition. But other conditions arising out of this underlying issue can be treated. Lives of CFS patients are complicated by improper sleep, improper diet patterns and not getting enough fresh air and sunlight simply because we are often too tired to do anything.

Coming back to the task at hand, I am currently trying to get the following out-of-range test results evaluated. Low MCHC can mean a hypochromic anemia, a problem absorbing iron, gastrointestinal tract tumors, internal bleeding or another specific condition. High RDW can mean impaired heart or lung function red blood cell production increases to compensate for impaired heart or lung function. I my case High RDW and orthostatic hypotension may be worth evaluating.

Low Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC)  
                                                                         31.1    lab range> 33.4 – 37
High Red Cell Distribution Width –SD (RDW-SD)  
                                                                         53    lab range> 39 – 46
High Red Cell Distribution Width –CV (RDW-CV)  
                                                                         14.9   lab range> 11.5 – 14.5

In patients of CFS and anorexia anemia is common because of improper diet patterns, low immunity and repeated infections. These results may have less significance for a person who has normal energy levels and is functioning normally. But for someone like me who has CFS further complicated by anorexia the proper interpretation can mean a lot. I have decided to meet all the doctors I can till I find someone who understands the significance or is willing to at least spend the time to interpret the results.

I also have a condition in which my supine or lying down blood pressure is 30 points higher than when I am upright. This condition is known as “Orthostatic Hypotension”. This condition can affect your ability to function and can make you feel tired. The only solution I got from the cardiologist who diagnosed this was that I raise my bed on the head side by about 8 inches. I haven’t really researched this condition much and am not sure at this point how serious the condition is.

Matters are further complicated with high serum Amylase which can mean “leaky gut”. I haven’t found any endocrinologist who understands what this means and if it can be treated. Most endocrinologists only seem to work with thyroid and diabetes patients.

In addition to this my basal temperature remains low and ranges between 95 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit. This is one more thing Health care professional do not understand. Low basal body temperature can mean a hypothyroid condition. In my case this is ruled out. I have tried T3 supplementation treatment but the temperature remains low. Low basal temperature means that there is something wrong. This can however not be conclusive and requires other tests. What it indicates for sure is that metabolism is not functioning at an optimum level and energy production is low, further adding to a fatigued feeling. Because doctors do not understand this they are unable to help.

It is highly probable that all these conditions if occurring separately in a patient may not mean much but when they affect one person they become a problem for the patient. But the issue here is that a cardiologist will only look at heart issues. An endocrinologist will look at thyroid and related issues. An internist does not have enough experience with such issues. To top it no health professional is inclined to keeping himself up-to-date with new developments or studying what he did not learn in school. Most doctors I have met can only seem to be able to treat you if you have a “popular” for lack of a better word, disease or condition.

1. Doctor Chandran, Katwaria Sarai on March 21, 2015
With this in mind I visited my first doctor today. His answer was “these results mean nothing. They are used to evaluate cancers and diseases like that”. My tests show high amylase also so I asked him to look at that test result. He was unable to give me a reasonable response to that. He then asked me “Have you seen a psychiatrist”. This sort of answered my question so I thanked him and politely left his office. However during the discussion I asked him if he could give me something for anemia on clinical basis. He agreed and prescribed Fersolate, an iron supplement. For my CFS his answer was that I look too energetic to be suffering from Chronic Fatigue. He also suggested that I should find another doctor and get admitted to hospital for a few days to be evaluated for Chronic Fatigue. However this is already an established condition.

March 25, 2015
I have responded positively to Fersolate. My clinical symptoms and a positive response to the iron supplement seem to be clearly pointing towards anemia. Not knowing what to do and who to go to next, I have decided to at least get an anemia profile blood lab test done. This test will include 28 tests of 6 part Hemogram, 7 tests of lipid profile, 3 electrolytes, 3 Iron deficiency tests, Folic acid, Thyroid Stimulation Hormone, Diabetic Profile 2 tests, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D and Ferritin.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Air Mattresses for Bed Sores

My mother is bed ridden for over 2 years and has developed bed sores due to lying in bed without being able to turn over on her own. The back has developed abscesses and wounds. She has been put on antibiotic treatment. The hospital, on her last visit, told me to arrange for an air mattress for her. I did not have much information on these mattresses. To start with I thought that the bubble structure of these mattresses helps such patients because there are air channels between the bubbles and some portion of the skin does not come in contact with the mattress. However while searching for the right product I found that there are many excellent products available. In fact some products will not only prevent bedsores but can help patients heal.

The first is a mattress which comes with a pump. The pump needs to remain on while the patient is on bed an in this case 24 by 7. The bubbles on the mattress inflate and deflate sequentially while the patient is on it. This allows the contact between the body and the mattress to break and air can circulate when the contact is not there. How it works is that half the bubbles on the mattress deflate while the others half support the body. When the first set inflates the other set deflates. The product is available at amazon for INR 2400 (USD 40). A picture and link are shown below.

The Second type of mattress I discovered is even better for someone who has large bedsores already formed, like my mother. This mattress has the sequentially inflating and deflating bubbles as the first one. In addition the mattress has micro holes which can, via air loss, allow air to pass through and ventilate the patient's back. This would be a god sent for someone like my mother and hopefully her bed sores will heal. As I am writing this I have placed an order for the “KosmoCare Bubble Air Mattress MM2” which looks like a good value for money product. The product is available at amazon for INR 4,200 (USD 70). A picture and link are shown below.

I found some other products which are more expensive and one that was cheaper. The cheaper product had ridges instead of bubbles and the expensive products did not really offer anything more.

I am hoping that her wounds and sores will heal soon. I will update this post with the progress. 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Erectile Dysfunction - We worry too much

The trick to beating ED is to educate yourself and find the remedy that works for you. Working on your health and not just sexual health will solve the problem. The right diet and exercise can rid you of erectile dysfunction. This is the safest option but requires you to be patient and to give it a little time to work. You need to balance macro and micro nutrients. For healthy sexual function out body needs a balanced amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates as well as vitamins, electrolytes and other micro nutrients. Most men when faced with ED develop the wrong mental attitude which makes matters worse and it becomes a long term problem. When this happens you get stuck with performance anxiety which worsens an already bad situation. Had you not obsessed about it so much, ED would have probably cured itself. You need to consider however, that if your issue is related to an underlying disease process you need to take care of the disease. This will in most cases rid you of ED.  There are some effective exercises in Qigong and Yoga that really help. This blog has a lot of information on this so check other posts. Look for Kapal bhati and sexual Qigong. Acupressure and Acupuncture can help so give it a try.

If you are reading this you are probably concerned about your erections. ED can have psychological origins or it can be a physiological condition arising out of an underlying disease. It can sometimes be precursor to a disease that has not taken root and may be undetectable in a clinical exam or lab tests. I have done a lot of research online and offline on ED. Good quality information is a little hard to find online. One has to sift through too much to find sensible facts. The net may not be a good place for someone looking for a real solution. I recently discovered an eBook titled “ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION”. This eBook is an excellent resource of facts and critical information on ED. I have provided a link HERE. At under $10 it is a real steal.  

Diet and exercise play an important role in proper sexual function. For proper guidance on appropriate diet for improving sexual function TESTSHOCK seems like a safe and low cost option. I would try TESTSHOCK any day as against ingesting dangerous chemicals like Viagra with life threatening side effects. What I like about this product is that it is a guide for implementing a well researched diet plan for improving sexual health and performance. The author of the plan is talking a lot of sense and claims to have used the prescriptions on himself. He is recommending a safe option of a balanced diet plan to boost the enzymes and amino-acids needed for good sexual health. It looks like a safe option. I have not used the product but if I had to I would give it a try before popping a pill or injecting synthetic testosterone in my body. It is a cost effective option costing under $100 for the program. From what I know about TESTSHOCK it may be used for curing ED or for boosting sexual performance in healthy males. More product details are here.  

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Protect yourself from Swine Flu

India is battling Swine Flu yet again. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

Wash hands with a medicated soap through the day and avoid touching your face and eyes.
Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water to keep yourself hydrated
Avoid crowded placed
Avoid shaking hands
Get a good night’s sleep
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables especially those with vitamins C and A.
Eat lots of carrots and use lots of lime
Protect others and cover your mouth while coughing and sneezing
Keep up to date with information made available by government agencies.
Visit this post for updates
Use a good mask 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Foods for Reproductive Health

I have been experimenting with food for over 15 years. This is the essence of all the experiments I have done on myself during this period. I hope you gain from them as much as I have. This article is in no way a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult your health care professional for a proper diagnosis and medical advice. Eat almonds; soak 20 almonds in water at night. Remove the skins and eat them with raisins and a glass of milk every morning after exercise. It is even better if you grind the almonds with a bit of sugar, cardamom and milk and have it as a shake with raisins. Add 5 Dates and 2 Walnuts to your daily diet. Have them in the morning for breakfast. Dates taste even better when boiled in milk. Give up all types of packaged and junk food. Try and take more fruits and vegetables. Men can use Shilajeet, available in the form of capsules, tablets and liquid. Do consult a health care professional for proper dosage for you. I take one 390 milligram capsule daily manufactured by Patanjali. Include a daily glass of fresh juice made from carrots, beet, tomatoes and Indian gooseberries. For one glass you will need 200 grams of carrots, 250 grams of beet, 400 grams of tomatoes and one Indian gooseberry. Here are more details of the health benefits of these foods and Shilajit.

Almonds are a calorie rich food with high fat content but no cholesterol. In fact they help lower cholesterol levels. They are rich in minerals, vitamins and protein. Almonds contain vitamin E which is associated with improving cardiovascular health. They are rich in Magnesium. Magnesium makes the arteries less restrictive allowing for better blood flow. Almonds protect the heart against high blood pressure. Nutrients in almonds also assist in better delivery of oxygen throughout the body. Almonds are a source of good quality fat which is essential for better sexual health. Manganese and Copper present in almonds assist in energy production in the body.

Dates are rich in sugar and are digested quickly therefore are a good source of energy. They are a good protection against intestinal disturbances. Dates are good as a bowl regulator and protect against constipation. They aid libido and protect against functional disorders of the reproductive system. Dates are rich in iron and protect against anemia. They are a great general health tonic.

Walnuts contain nutrients that help the body to increase sperm production. They also increase HDL or the good cholesterol which protects the heart. Walnuts help increase semen volume and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which improve blood flow to the penis. They are anti ageing and the best source of antioxidants compared to all other nuts.

Shilajeet or Shilajit is anti-ageing. It has been used in India for thousands of years for male sexual health and strength.  It helps cell regeneration and health of old cells. It arrests tissue degeneration. It assists energy synthesis by helping metabolize proteins and vitamins. Shilajeet strengthens the immune system and promotes blood flow through the sexual system. It increases male sexual potency. It makes the reproductive system stronger and increases libido. It strengthens bones and arrests degeneration.

Milk is rich in protein and is a good source of vitamin B12 especially for vegans who don’t get sufficient supply from their diet. If you are vegan you should consider having more than one glass of milk a day. It is good for bone health and regeneration. It keeps the skin and nails healthy. Milk increases energy levels and assists the reproductive function. It improves digestion and increases red blood cells. It gives an instant boost to libido and should be consumed at night.

Carrots are a complete food. Beta-carotene found in carrots is excellent for the eyes. Carrots slow the ageing process. They are a rich source of vitamin A and also contain vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, K, biotin, potassium and thiamine. They strengthen the male sexual system and potency and are good for heart health and hypertension. Carrot juice provides energy and has antiseptic properties.

Beet Root is a super vegetable and has a big effect on blood pressure and cardiovascular health. It is anti inflammatory and purifies blood. It is best to consume beet in juice form for higher concentration of nutrients. Beets contain natural nitrates and antioxidants among other nutrients. Nitric oxide improves blood flow through the body, especially to the sexual organs. This increased blood flow assists better sexual performance. Ancient Romans considered beetroots to be an aphrodisiac. Beet juice has an energizing effect and enhances athletic ability. It improves liver health and helps the body fight the effect of pollutants from food, water and air. Beet juice helps reduce triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL). Beets are high in iron and folic acid and can help prevent anemia.

Tomatoes are commonly referred to as a vegetable but really are a fruit. They contain lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the cell membrane which in turn affects overall health. Some research suggests that lycopene may help in treatment of infertility and increase sperm count in men. They are a delicious fruit rich in vitamin C and vitamin A. They are anti inflammatory and help contain free radical damage. Free radicals cause all types health damage and disease. Tomatoes are a good source of energy but low in calories. They contain iron and B vitamins and are good for bones.

Indian gooseberries (Amla) are very rich in vitamin C which helps strengthen the immune system. One 50 gram Amla contains more than 100 milligrams of Vitamin C. Various nutrients in Amla have anti ageing properties. It balances body heat assisting in better appetite and improved digestion thereby increasing energy levels. It assists fat metabolism thereby reducing cholesterol. Amla is used as a base and added to a large number of Ayurvedic preparation which are used in diseases ranging from common colds to cancer. It is also found in ayurvedic tonics like chawanprash. Gooseberries when juiced with beetroot balance the fruity taste of beetroot. Gooseberry juice can cause constipation if used in excess.