Archives for April 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm Explains Mind-Body Connection

Marla AhlgrimmThe human body is an intricate machine. It has many moving parts which impact one another in profound ways, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The women’s health expert says one of the more surprising connections is the one between the gut and a person’s mood. Here, Ahlgrimm touches on key aspects of depression and how it may be linked to diet.

Q: What is depression?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Depression is an unrelenting feeling of sadness and may be triggered by certain life events, such as the death of a close friend or relative. Chemical imbalance has also been linked to depression. While most cases of depression are resolved within months with professional guidance, some people are persistently “down in the dumps.” Researchers at the University College Cork believe these individuals may suffer from a deficiency of serotonin– the body’s “happy” hormone – resulting from poor gut health.

Q: How is serotonin production influenced by diet?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Most of the body’s serotonin is made in the small intestines. Unhealthy bacteria, along with food allergies and gluten sensitivity, affect how well the intestines can produce serotonin.

Q: Do gut microbes of men and women react to diet in the same way?

Marla Ahlgrimm: No, in fact, men and women following the exact same diet have vastly different types of bacteria in the intestines. Certain strains of these bacteria have a profound impact on mental health. Hormones may be the reason behind the difference, and may also explain why depression is diagnosed more often in women than men.

Q: Is it possible to change the bacteria living inside the body?

Marla Ahlgrimm: It is! Since diet plays a major role in gut health, eating healthier foods may help. Foods containing high levels of probiotics are especially beneficial. Magnesium supplements and regular physical activity have also been shown to have a positive effect on gut health and overall wellbeing.

Calcium Supplements Unlikely to Prevent Fractures or Boost Bone Health, Says Marla Ahlgrimm

Marla AhlgrimmGeneral guidelines advise men and women over age 50 to consume at least 1000 mg of calcium per day. Many people, fearful that diet does not provide adequate levels of the nutrient, utilize over-the-counter supplements to ensure these recommendations are met. However, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, a new study has found there is no evidence that suggests calcium can prevent bone density loss or fractures. Scientists from New Zealand analyzed two separate randomized controlled trials, neither of which provided any evidence that calcium supplements were beneficial. Here, Ahlgrimm answers general questions about this nutrient and notes the potential risks of supplemental calcium.

Q: What benefits does calcium provide?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Calcium derived from natural sources, including dairy products, leafy green vegetables, calcium-fortified foods, and edible fish bones, is utilized by the body to build and maintain strong bones. Calcium is also vital to cardiovascular health.

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Q & A with Marla Ahlgrimm | Mammography Screening Guidelines Updated

Marla AhlgrimmIn 2015, the American Cancer Society made the recommendation to delay initial breast cancer screening by five years in women with normal risks. Here, Marla Ahlgrimm answers common questions related to these new guidelines.

Q: How common is breast cancer?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Breast cancer is the second most dominant cause of cancer-related deaths for women in the United States, with approximately 230,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed each year.

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Women’s Healthcare Expert Marla Ahlgrimm on Cancer/Alcohol Connection

Marla AhlgrimmIn October 2015, the results of a collaboration between five major Spanish universities studying the relationship between alcohol intake and breast cancer were released. The study found that alcohol consumption greatly increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, reports Marla Ahlgrimm. Here, Ahlgrimm takes a look at the study results and stresses the importance of limiting alcoholic beverage consumption.

Q: How many women took part in the study?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition included 334,850 women. These volunteers were followed over the course of 11 years and their alcohol consumption noted. The study was organized in an effort to confirm previous data, which indicated alcohol intake increases the risk of breast cancer in women.

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Marla Ahlgrimm | Postmenopausal Vaginal Complaints Linked with Other Pelvic Problems

Marla AhlgrimmIn this brief Q&A session, Marla Ahlgrimm discusses vulvovaginal troubles and touches on the alarming trend of postmenopausal women forgoing care.

Q: What types of vaginal issues are common after menopause?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Dryness and irritation are two of the most reported. However, these seem to go hand in hand with other pelvic issues, including vaginal discharge and odor.

Q: Do symptoms such as these impact women’s lives?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes! A recent research project jointly conducted by Yale, Dartmouth, and the Connecticut Healthcare System found that over three quarters of the study’s sexually active participants acknowledged vaginal issues as having a negative effect on their sex lives. One third mentioned an overall impact on their lifestyle.

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