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What supplements should I take?

If you are thinking about starting a family, it is a good idea to begin taking supplements before you become pregnant to ensure your body is top-notch when you actually do conceive. That way, your little bundle of joy will have the best from the very beginning. There are several nutritional supplements that have been proven to increase your health, and the health of your unborn baby.

Folic Acid

Before conception and during the pregnancy, folic acid packs a mighty punch. It prevents spina bifidaand other neurological defects and helps increase the production of DNA and RNA that carry the baby’s genetic codes. Folic acid is not only found in pill form; naturally it is found in greens, beans, oranges, beets, whole-wheat, and liver. Eating foods rich in this particular B-Vitamin in addition to taking asupplement will greatly increase the chances of your baby being healthy.

Zinc and Selenium

These minerals also contribute to a healthy pregnancy before, during, and after the baby is born. They have powerful antioxidant qualities and can prevent unhealthy pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia and restricted fetal growth and development. Taking zinc and selenium can increase sperm count in men and can help prevent chromosomal abnormalities of an unborn child. Many foods that have high amounts of zinc also contain selenium, such as meat, seafood, and poultry. Not a meat eater? Selenium and zinc can also be found in milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids such as Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is a contributor to an unborn baby’s brain development. Quite frankly, DHA is the nutrition of the brain. Brain and eye development actually depend on DHA, and it can be found in oily fish, eggs, and meats; however, before, during, and after pregnancy is the important time to take a supplement as well to be sure you are getting what you and baby need. Additionally, prenatal vitamins are an excellent choice and contain a variety of supplements in just one pill a day. Of course, eating nutrient-rich foods is crucial to a healthy pregnancy. Consulting with your doctor before you begin any nutritional supplement is also very important, as your doctor will tell you what vitamins and minerals to consume as well as what to avoid. Here’s to a healthy and fulfilling pregnancy from before the beginning to after!


Acupuncture and Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux is the burning sensation people feel from the buildup of acid in the stomach. Also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, the valve called the lower esophageal sphincter is supposed to close when food goes through it. If this valve does not close all the way or if it opens after closing, the acid can come back up. This acid may move up into the esophagus, causing heartburn. Some people have this feeling after they eat, and may only have it a few times. Others may have it several times a week. Depending on how much this occurs, the pain may be either a small annoyance or a painful, persistent problem.

Causes of Acid Reflux

People that have acid reflux may have a hiatal hernia, when the upper section of the stomach and lower esophageal sphincter appear over the diaphragm. This allows for acid to escape into the esophagus. Other causes are obesity, lying down after eating, smoking, pregnancy, drinking a lot of coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol, and taking certain medications.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux

The common symptoms are heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest), a sour taste that comes into the mouth after burping, bloating, black stools, hiccups, and the feeling that food is stuck in the throat. Symptoms can vary from person to person in severity and timing.

Acupuncture and Acid Reflux

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acid Reflux (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is due to the dysfunction of the stomach system due to disagreement between the liver and the stomach. Acupuncture can help with acid reflux by reducing the relaxations of the lower esophageal sphincter. The specific pressure points are stimulated to keep the sphincter in place and to regulate the gastric motility and secretions. The stimulation of the pressure points also controls the neuropeptide release, hormone, and metabolism.

Acupuncture can be safely used alone or with other treatment options to control acid reflux. It is an effective form of treatment, and may bring much needed relief. If you suffer from this condition, either sporadically or recurrently, acupuncture may be the ideal alternative for you.


Why is sleep important during pregnancy?

When carrying a baby, everyday life can be quite tiring, especially in the last few months. This is why sleep is so very welcomed! Many women experience difficulty with sleeping due to anxiety of the upcoming arrival, stress, or aches and pains. Knowing that quality sleep is important for many reasons, it still can be challenging to get a good-night’s rest.
Sleep is crucial during pregnancy for various reasons. For one, it is important for the body to have time to rejuvenate itself so you can get through the day without feeling overly tired. This is because even with a good night’s rest, you may still feel tired due to the incredibly immense changes that are taking place inside your body. So, even in addition to a good night’s sleep, you may even need a nap during the day to accommodate for all of the hard work your body is performing to create your little one.
Your immune system depends on a restful night’s sleep. Too many restless nights can cause your body to trigger its inflammatory response. When this happens, cytokines are produced in greater numbers. These molecules (that are being overproduced) signal your cells in an immune response, as if somethingis inflamed. The healthy cells are then attacked by the cytokines, which then destroys the tissue that actually is there to keep sickness away. With all of this (which can be triggered by lack of sleep) your immune system can become significantly weaker and more susceptible to illness.
Even if you are not expecting, sleep is vital to a healthy life. Not enough sleep negatively affects how our body deals with stress, how our bodies regulate our emotions, and how we deal with people and normal day-to-day tasks. Lack of sleep ruins concentration, affects the nervous system, stops cognitive functions, causes high blood pressure, weight gain, and so much more. If you are pregnant, it is extra important that you get the sleep your body needs to nurture the development of your baby.
Pregnancy can pose some challenges in the sleep department, which is well-known. If you are having trouble sleeping and getting the rest you need, talking to your doctor can help you find methods and strategies that can ensure you get the Z’s you need!


Why should I be taking supplements?

Iron is important because it helps in preventing anemia, it helps the body transport oxygen more efficiently, and it reduces any risk of preterm delivery. Eating foods rich in iron, such as red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, pork, leafy greens, and dried fruits is important, but it can be hard to be sure you are getting all you need. Prenatal vitamins can supplement your ever- changing body with the amount you need to help you and your baby be healthy.

Being pregnant, your bones need to be strong and in good health. Calcium is the necessary mineral to help build and strengthen your baby’s teeth and bones. The thing with calcium is that a pregnant woman’s body utilizes the mineral much more efficiently than if she wasn’t expecting, so increasing the calcium isn’t as necessary as just getting the amount you need. Prenatal vitamins contain the proper amount, but you need to be sure you are eating calcium and vitamin D-enriched foods, as well. Foods that contain calcium are dairy, dairy, and more dairy, but also leafy greens and fruit!

If you are a fish-lover, then you are in luck with finding DHA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is found in salmon, tilapia, shrimp, scallops, halibut, herring, and sardines. The baby’s brain development and vision can greatly benefit from this fatty acid, and you can, too! Be sure to check with your doctor about mercury content, though. Too much mercury can be harmful, but finding fish that are low in mercury content is easy. Not a fish eater? Liver is a great source of DHA!

Don’t forget the folic acid! Begin taking prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid before you becomepregnant to ensure it is in your system. Folic acid helps prevent spina bifida and other neurological problems. In addition to the supplement, foods rich in folic acid should be eaten. These are foods such as dark leafy greens, asparagus, citrus fruits, lentils, beans, and avocado.

Just because you are taking a prenatal supplement with all of these (and more!) doesn’t mean you can skimp on a healthy diet rich in nutrients. The best place to get the nutrition you and your baby needs is from healthy foods. Prenatal supplements make up for what you don’t get each day; prenatal supplements plus healthy eating equals a win, win!


Hypothyroidism: How Acupuncture Can Help

When the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, the condition is called hypothyroidism. The hormones that the thyroid produces are the regulators of the body’s metabolism and assists with many other important aspects of the body, such as muscle control, digestive system, the heart, the brain, and healthy bones. Iodine is very important to have in the diet to help the thyroid perform its duties. Taking supplements, however, may not be the only treatment in this disorder.

Symptoms of Underactive Thyroid

In the beginning, symptoms of this disorder may be not really noticeable or dismissed as normal symptoms of aging, such as with fatigue and weight gain. But as the hypothyroidism worsens, the symptoms become more apparent. Becoming sensitive to the cold, dry skin, a puffy face, weakness in the muscles, regular constipation, joint pain and stiffness, a higher cholesterol level, and hair thinning are some of the common indicators of this disorder. While being very important to seek medical attention for hypothyroidism before it gets out of hand and causes more severe symptoms, there are many treatments available for this condition.

Acupuncture and Hypothyroidism

A holistic approach, acupuncture is quite effective in treating hypothyroidism. By awakening the body and encouraging the body to use its natural medicine to treat and heal, acupuncture is the treatment of choice for many. Restoring the balance of the system by activating the pressure points associated with hypothyroidism, the thyroid may respond in a positive way. Studies have shown that stimulating the kidney energy channel (meridian) has been quite effective. Kidney energy depletion has been identified as a possible reason for hypothyroidism. All individuals are unique in their diagnosis, and once the acupuncturist speaks with the patient, the mode of treatment will be created.

If you suffer from an underactive thyroid, acupuncture may be for you. You may also consider using acupuncture in addition to other natural treatment methods as well. Many acupuncturists also give herbs to accentuate the healing process, as well as a special diet for their patients.


How Acupuncture Can Help with Insomnia

Individuals that suffer from insomnia, either chronic or acute, know the misery associated with this disorder. Not being able to get a good night’s sleep can wreak havoc on your system by having a negative effect on concentration, memory, emotional well-being, and sex drive. Insomnia can also affect the skin’s health, healthy bodily functions that need rest, and judgment.

Acute and Chronic Insomnia

Acute Insomnia is the inability to sleep because of a certain health ailment, illness, or because of medications that are being taken. Acute insomnia can also be caused by emotional difficulties, such as anxiety or worry over a life situation, normal sleep routine interference, stress, or sadness from a death of a loved one. It is usually short term. The inability to sleep that is unrelated to a short-term sickness, medication, or anxiety that lasts long term is chronic insomnia. It can be caused by depression or anxiety that lasts for a long time, or illnesses that have lasted more than a month. Chronic insomnia can be debilitating, as people that cannot get the sleep they need leads to many negative health and wellness issues. Chronic insomnia is identified as the inability to sleep for three or more nights a week for more than four weeks.

Symptoms of Insomnia

When people suffer from insomnia, the symptoms are usually easily recognizable. Sleepiness in the day, feeling tired and “worn out” all the time, difficulty concentrating on tasks, difficulty remembering things, irritability, and an overall sense of lethargy are common symptoms. These feelings can be frustrating and can cause anxiety and worry about not being able to rest.

How Acupuncture Can Help

“Qi”, or the body’s life energy flow, must have sleep to be in balance. If you are dealing with insomnia, you will find that the acupuncturist will create a method of treatment just for you. There are many forms of acupuncture treatment for insomnia, and it is important to find the root of the problem. Once the acupuncturist discovers the root of the sleep disorder, a proper acupuncture treatment will be administered.

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