Gray Hair and Stress

6a00e55255b4628834017eea94cb01970d-200wi“You’re giving me gray hair!” a cry that I’m sure I was not the only one who heard this from their mother when their difficult behavior caused her stress. True or not, it all sounded a little like a folk tale, until now. New studies from the laboratory of Dr. Robert Lefkowitz at Duke University show that chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone adrenaline damage the DNA in specific ways that could lead to a spectrum of conditions from gray hair to tumor formation.

The damage was shown to break down p53 protein, the protein that protects the genome against cancer by helping potential cancer cells either repair their cancerous nature, or self-destruct.

In this report in the August 21 issue of the journal Nature, they also showed more detail of the pathway by which adrenaline cause this damage. This included the role of a molecule called beta–arrestin-1 in the process of causing the damage.Two major conferences were held at the New York Academy of Science in the late 1960’s on the effects of psychological factors in causing cancer. An impression of this effect was present for a long time, and supported by numerous studies.

This recent paper by Lefkowitz brings a new level of proof and understanding to the relationship between chronic, excessive stress and the onset of gray hair and cancer. While other factors certainly contribute to onset of these conditions, we can now pinpoint one factor over which we may have some control.
Exercise, meditation, breathing exercises and other stress-management techniques may contribute to longer, healthier, and less gray lives.
To your health,Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Eat More Pomegranate for Beautiful Natural Skin Care

6a00e55255b4628834017eea950060970d-200wiPomegranates are back on the shelves, and hopefully, back in our hearts! I have just spotted Pomegranates on the shelves of my local produce stores at rock bottom prices, meaning they are in season nearby. They contain valuable anti-oxidants that are well known to protect the heart.

What’s news is that they also have been shown to have protective effects on the skin. Dr. Hassan Mukhtar, who I met over 10 years ago when he presented his findings on the anti-oxidant protective effects of green tea extract, EGCG,recently published studies on the protective effects of pomegranate extract against Ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage. His group’s studies, published in 2005 showed that pomegranate extract inhibited UV damage in cultured human skin cells by inhibiting the changes in two molecular pathways associated with cancer (known as NF-kappaB and MAPK).

More recent studies showed that feeding Pomegranate extract to mice protected against a wide variety of biological markers related to UV light induced development of cancer. This information is important because it substantiates the mechanism by which pomegranate protects against skin cancer induced by UV light. Some of those mechanisms of UV damage also contribute to aging of the skin. So data is emerging suggesting that food derived anti-oxidants such as pomegranate may protect against both skin aging and cancer.

You can pick up pomegranates at your local produce store and enjoy them as a snack or desert. I eat them with an old dark sweat shirt or apron on, and not my favorite light colored clothing, as the red juice from the seeds has a tendency to squirt and stain when you cut them open. It may take you a few tries to get used to the slightly tart taste.

The seeds are the size of corn kernels, and have hard seeds inside. The white pulp around them is slightly bitter, but is also loaded with anti-oxidants, so I eat some of that along with the delicious red juice in the seeds. I make sure that the seeds have the rich purple color, and toss away those that have turned brown, in some sections of the fruit.

Pomegranates have been revered for thousands of years in the Middle East. If you travel to those lands, you will notice the familiar round shape with a wide, protruding stem in paintings and jewelry. Perhaps they were revered because of benefits seen in those who ate them over generations. It’s exciting to know studies simply confirm that you now can protect both your skin and your heart by enjoying this tasty fruit.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M Dattner, MD
Holistic Dermatology & Natural Skin Care

New York


Carpe Cold: Seize the Cold

6a00e55255b4628834019101c0c9d9970c-200wiWhile I generally deal with holistic dermatology, I have lots of experience with integrative medicine as it relates to the immune system.  During cold and flu season, I tend to avoid flu vaccine.  So, over many years of working long hours in my practice, I have perfected my method for cold and flu prevention and care.

The moment I become aware of a lowered resistence–a sneeze, a tired feeling, an ache in my head or neck–is the moment a cold or flu can be prevented with a regimen of natural remedies. If I wait a bit and don’t catch the symptoms until several hours or a day after that moment, I may not be able to prevent the illness, but I can lessen its severity and duration.

Steps to take at the pivotal moment:

  • stop whatever you’re doing.  Take a nap if possible.  If not, rest your eyes for a few minutes.
  • take a very hot bath, and when you emerge from the tub, bundle yourself up, climb into bed, and let the body “sweat out the cold.”  (Be sure not to do this alone, as hot water can increase chance of fainting)
  • take healthy, regular doses of vitamins A, C, and E
  • take some echinacea or oregon graperoot
  • drink hot tea and keep the body full of fluids

Several hours of focused self-care at the right moment can prevent several days of illness, discomfort, and lost work–and it can keep you from spreading a cold or flu to loved ones.

To your health,

-Dr. Dattner

Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine
New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Saving Money and Saving your Skin in Winter

6a00e55255b4628834017eea952afa970d-200wiIn my holistic dermatology practice, I often help patients whose skin suffers in winter.  It is possible to both help your skin and save money doing it.  I emphasize this because it requires doing something very simple and at the same time very challenging: changing your habits.

Even more, it requires changing the beliefs behind those habits, so I will try to give some additional information beyond what was in my last blog, to help you make these changes.

If you have ever done dishes or wet work, with your hands in and out of water repeatedly for a while, you know how your skin becomes dry and chapped.  This is because you are washing away the oils and the salts which hold water in our skin.  In the winter when the air is dry (low humidity), bathing washes out the oils from the skin. The belief that we need a shower, especially a long, hot one, to be clean, to wake up, or to feel alive in the morning, needs a second look if your skin becomes dry and scaly in winter.  A washcloth under the arm and in the folds does a very nice job between showers, and does not dry out parts of your skin which do not need washing.
The result is that you:
  • save hot water,
  • save on lotion
  • save oils in your skin,
  • save money on heat,
  • save fresh water,
  • safe electricity

Once you have the routine down, you will save time as well.Of course there will be times and situations where you need a shower or bath. Bathing less often, faster, and soaping less areas which do not need heavy cleansing, will keep the moisture in your skin and save you money as well. I repeat the essence of my last message because I have found,
in my 30 yeasr of practice, that people often have to hear it more than once in order to reduce their bathing. Did you?

To your health,

-Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Want to avoid a stroke? Avoid these two foods.

6a00e55255b4628834019b00502860970c-200wiA number of recent reports show a dramatic rise in strokes in young and middle aged Americans. That included one report of a 51% rise in strokes in males 14- 34 years old (K Doheney Health Day). Causes were not found in the study, but explanations offered included increased obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, salt consumption, and recreational drug use.

I suggest that anything that increases fibrin formation and clotting within the blood vessels, is a possible culprit. Increased high temperature cooked foods, sugar, and other substances which lead to the process known as “glycation” may be factors in this change.

If you want to lower your risk for having a stroke, avoid eating sugary and fried foods. (Oh, and this may help clear acne naturally, too.)

To your health,

-Dr. Dattner

Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine


What Food You Might Eat to Prevent Alzheimer’s?

6a00e55255b462883401901b980627970b-200wiWell, not exactly curry…

Some of the best features of natural, unprocessed remedies made from plants is that they are often less toxic and less expensive than pharmaceuticals. However, as an integrative physician and holistic dermatologist, I believe in using the medicine that is best for each individual patient at each individual time.

Some of the best medicines that exist and are being developed are naturally occurring remedies which are strengthened through pharmaceutical concentration. For example, a friend of mine developed a highly concentrated form of blue-green algae in the form of a pill which may be beneficial for fighting virile strains of the flu.

An exciting development from researchers at New Delhi Jamia Hamdard University in India: they have successfully used cucurmin–extracted from turmeric and turned into nano form–to control and cure cirrhosis of liver in animal model experiment. The experiment has been shown to reverse severe damage to the liver.  Human trials are starting and researchers hope for major breakthroughs.

The university studies and develops traditional methods of treatment and medicines, “We have all come across references to turmeric’s healing powers in history and mythology. So, we decided to check its efficacy. It was found that when used in large doses, turmeric wasn’t particularly useful. But broken into nano particles, it worked wonders. It even reversed cirrhosis which is incurable,” said S. Ahmad, vice-chancellor of Jamia Hamdard.

Curcumin extract is an antioxidant that helps revive dying cells. As a repairing agent, it can regenerate cells that have begun to break. The experiments on animals have proved that it has no toxic effect. “The trouble with traditional medicines is that not enough studies have been done to prove their efficacy. Neither do we know how their utility could be enhanced. We are trying to fill in the blanks. In this case, the result has been fascinating and we are confident that the human trials will be successful as well,” added Ahmad.

I am excited that this and other experiments like it could pave the way for treating diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s!

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.

 


4 Ways to Stop Varicose Veins

6a00e55255b4628834017d4321224b970c-200wiVaricose veins are caused by pressure from the blood in the veins.  When there is prolonged pressure from standing upright, hormonal changes, and weakening of the elements of the vessels, the valves begin to break down, causing the veins to appear on the surface of the legs.

There are several ways to relieve the pressure. Putting your legs up in the air on a desk or doing a shoulder stand and other upside down Yoga poses throughout the day are also very helpful, if you are careful about your spine.

Eating a diet rich in bioflavinoids, and taking bioflavinoid supplements, helps prevent and improve disorders of the veins, blood vessels, and capillaries.   

When prolonged standing cannot be avoided, be sure to wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Some walking or movement of the legs periodically will help the pumping action to return blood. Your stockings should not bind anywhere. Any signs of pain or tenderness in the veins should immediately be reported to a physician, because of the possibility of venous thrombosis, with a clot that could break loose and block blood flow in vital organs like the lungs, heart or brain.

Top Four Tips for Healthy Veins from the Holistic Dermatologist:

  1. Wear good, supportive shoes, elevate your legs above the heart regularly throughout the day, and/or wear compression stockings at a pressure suggested by your doctor.
  2. Take horse chestnut extract standardized to contain 50-90 mg of aescin, 2- 3 times per day. Avoid with pregnancy, kidney or liver disease.
  3. Eat a diet rich in vitamin C and bioflavioids, or supplement them, in order to strengthen the blood vessels.
  4. Seek medical care if veins become hot, tender or rashy.

To your health,

-Dr. Alan M Dattner, MD
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Safe Cleansers, for the Earth and for your Body

6a00e55255b462883401901b980d3b970b-200wiI encourage everyone to use a holistic approach to their dermatology conditions.
Reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals is a great way to do that.  It can be a challenge at first, but your health is well worth the effort.

Here are some simple cleansing substitutes you can make yourself. They’ll help you avoid bleach, ammonia, alcohol, dyes, fragrances, and detergents, and save money. Be sure to try cleansers on a small, hidden spot of what you are cleaning to make sure it does not cause fading or discoloration of the fabric before more widespread use.

Laundry Detergent: If you use liquid detergent, add half a cup of baking soda at the beginning of the wash.  If you use powdered detergent, add half a cup of baking soda during the rinse cycle.  You can then reduce your detergent by about half.  Try different amounts to see what works best for you.

Fabric Softener: Put two cups of white vinegar in your rinse cycle. Note that vinegar can cause colors to fade a little.

Window Cleaner: Mix three tablespoons of vinegar and one quart of club soda in a spray bottle. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to air freshener, laundry detergent, and kitchen and tile cleaner for a blast of freshness.

Tub & Tile Cleanser: Mix 1 2/3 cups baking soda, a half cup high-quality liquid soap, a half cup water, and 2 tablespoons vinegar (if you add the vinegar too early it will react with the baking soda.)  

Carpet Cleaner: To absorb big spills, spread cornmeal over the spill. Wait about 15 minutes, then vacuum it up. For stains, a quarter cup biodegradable liquid soap with a third of a cup of water into a blender to make a foam.  Put the foam on the stain and rub. After rinsing, splash vinegar to finish.

Air Freshener: You can absorb odors in the fridge and in your home by putting cups of vinegar or baking soda around the house (on high surfaces to keep out of the reach of kids.)

Drain Clearing: Pour half a cup of baking soda down the sink, add a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain, and then rinse the drain with boiling water and salt. Repeat if it doesn’t work immediately.

There are also a lot of non-toxic household cleaners which are healthier for both your skin and the “skin of the earth” than the traditional cleansers on the market.  Be sure to read the label to avoid being a victim of “greenwashing” (when a product’s label is designed to look environmentally friendly, but the ingredients are the same old toxic mess.)  And as always, keep all cleaning products away from pets and children.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


What’s Toxic Wast Have to Do with You?

6a00e55255b4628834017d43214905970c-200wiIf you saw the movie The Incredible Shrinking Woman back in 1981, you’d have a comical view of how toxic chemicals might be affecting us. In the film, Lily Tomlin begins to shrink uncontrollably after being exposed to the wrong mix of chemicals in her home.

While this is an absurd and comical exaggeration, many chemicals do have mysterious and potentially toxic effects on the body. In fact, a large portion of the people who come to my holistic dermatology practice find their skin disease is somehow related to environmental toxins or allergens the body has come in contact with.

Toxins can be spread through the air and into the lungs, as side-stream smoke or factory pollution. They can come in the water, from plastic water bottles or leakage from factories into aquifers, or acid rain. They can come from the food we eat, in the form of pesticides, additive food colorings, flavorings, preservatives, or rancid oils. And they can come through the skin, from cosmetics, soaps, dish detergent, clothing dyes, etc. 

Please do not take this information as an argument that you should fear your environment. Humans are an adaptable race and will continue to live on regardless of toxins. But some of us will find our bodies have a harder time filtering out the increased toxins and allergens in our environment.

If an unexplained or un-treatable disease is affecting you, you can begin to arm yourself with detailed information about the chemicals you are exposed to in your daily life. Then, you have the opportunity to heal your condition. In the next blog, I’ll outline some alternatives to hazardous cleaning products.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.

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Photo credit:

Guy Gorek / Foter.com


Acne Attack: Best Natural Acne Treatments

6a00e55255b4628834019101c0cf71970c-200wiHaving an acne outbreak? Bacne bugging you? As a holistic dermatologist, I always
advocate for the simplest, natural solutions to a skin problem.
While acne can have many causes, which should be addressed systematically, here is a great natural solution for relief of pimple pain, redness, and soreness:

  • Put some hot water in a bowl
  • Add enough salt so the water is about as salty as tears
  • Soak the pimple with a clean washcloth for about five minutes, refreshing the cloth with water every so often
  • Repeat two to three times per day

The hot water draws the acne to the surface, opens the pores, dries the skin out, and keeps the pimple free of possible infection. Remember not to prod or poke the pimple, as this can aggravate is and introduce germs. Also, make it a habit to take note of anything different you did preceding your outbreak; did you
alter your diet?  the kind of soap you use? etc. As always, the natural approach is to examine the root cause of a disorder that arises.

To your health,

Dr. Dattner

Holistic Dermatology
New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to
treat or diagnose an illness; please see your physician for care.