Marla Ahlgrimm on The Sweetest Supplement

Marla AhlgrimmHoney has been used as a medicinal supplement for thousands of years. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, there are more than 300 different types of honey. Here, the retired pharmacist shares information on this sweet treat that can treat everything from cough to gastrointestinal disturbances.

Q: What is honey?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Honey is a byproduct of pollination, usually associated with honeybees. It is mostly natural sugar but also contains antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals such as zinc and iron.

Q: How is honey used?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Many people use honey as a sweetener for teas and confections. However, ancient healers used honey to treat cardiovascular disease, cough, and burns. There is an astounding amount of evidence in modern medical text that suggests that honey is effective for these and other conditions. It is important to note that since honey is a natural product, and there are no manufacturing processes that can replicate it accurately, that honey from one location may prove more effective than honey from another.

Q: Does honey treat coughs?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Citrus honey and eucalyptus honey are fairly reliable cough suppressants. Warm tea with honey and lemon can ease the discomfort of upper respiratory issues.

Q: What are some other medicinal applications for honey?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Ancient healers believed that honey could treat diseases of the heart. Modern science seems to support this theory. Honey, which contains antioxidants, may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in people who are at high risk of heart attack. Further, many studies suggest that honey has an antidepressant effect, and may lower anxiety in people with neurological dysfunction. It may also be used to heal burns and other skin wounds. A spoonful of honey can also quell stomach upset in many cases.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Anxiety Disorders

Marla AhlgrimmMarla Ahlgrimm describes anxiety as a feeling of nervousness, fear, worry, or unease.  Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life and occurs when you are having issues at home, at work, or in your relationships. Feeling anxious is one way that your mind helps you cope with stress. However, sometimes, people feel anxious all the time or in situations that do not warrant a strong emotional response. These people are said to have an anxiety disorder.

For someone with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and, over time, can become debilitating.  In the United States, approximately 40 million adults over the age of 18 are affected, says Marla Ahlgrimm.

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Marla Ahlgrimm: Varicose Veins

Marla AhlgrimmAccording to Marla Ahlgrimm, approximately 23 percent — roughly one in four adults — are affected by varicose veins. The majority of these are women.

Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins that usually occur on the feet and legs. They may be twisting or bulging and are sometimes lumpy. Varicose veins are often blue or dark purple in appearance, and are caused by interior valves that are weakened or damaged, Marla Ahlgrimm explains. These damaged valves fail to prevent blood from flowing backwards. This results in blood pooling in the vein, which causes it to become enlarged and swollen.

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Marla Ahlgrimm | Vision Issues Related to Hormone Fluctuations

Marla AhlgrimmIt’s easy to think that the eyes are separate from the rest of the body. After all, they move independently and require the care of a specially-trained doctor. However, as Marla Ahlgrimm explains, hormones can affect the eyes. Sudden vision changes may be a sign of a hormone imbalance.

Q: When do people typically experience vision-related changes associated with hormone fluctuation?

Marla Ahlgrimm: It is not uncommon for people entering puberty to become nearsighted. This is because the body is utilizing hormones to grow, and grow rapidly. This uptick in size is most evident in height and muscle mass, but the eyes are growing, too. After the teen years, when hormones begin to balance, vision typically stabilizes. Most pediatricians recommend a full evaluation by a qualified optometrist yearly during and after adolescence.

Q: Does birth control affect vision?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Any substance you put into the body that affects hormones can change your vision. This applies to birth control, but also anti-anxiety medicines, antidepressants, and antihistamines. Further, women who are pregnant may experience hormone changes that can trigger dry or watery eyes. This could make it difficult to wear contact lenses until after giving birth.

Q: Are hormones responsible for age-related vision loss?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Partly, yes. Many people mistakenly believe that the eyes “wear down” with age. This is not necessarily the case. Hormones, or a lack thereof, such as during menopause or when a man has low testosterone levels, can also trigger a decline in vision.

Q: Are vision changes normal?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes. When your hormones change, other parts of the body will follow suit. However, I would certainly suggest speaking with your doctor if you notice sudden changes, especially if they hinder your ability to see even with corrective lenses.

Marla Ahlgrimm: All About the Endocrine System

Marla AhlgrimmYou might be familiar with your respiratory system and your cardiovascular system, but Marla Ahlgrimm says that many people aren’t quite as acquainted with the endocrine system. The author and women’s health expert says this is a shame since the endocrine system is more or less the body’s control panel.

Q: What is the endocrine system?

Marla Ahlgrimm: This is an extensive network of glands that both manufacture and deliver hormones throughout the body. The endocrine system releases hormones that play a role in heart, tissue, and bone development. Its health also determines whether or not you develop certain diseases, including growth disorders, diabetes, and hormone disorders.

Q: How many glands make up the system?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are more than a dozen glands within the endocrine system. The thyroid, for example, is a gland in the neck with the very important job of keeping your metabolism in check. The lesser-known pineal gland is located deep inside the brain and affects sleep. Specifically for women, the ovaries are another important part of the endocrine system and are essential to human reproduction.

Q: What are some common endocrine disorders?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Diabetes is the most well known. This is when your body is unable to use or produce insulin, a hormone related to blood sugar (glucose) usage. Less common is acromegaly, or gigantism, which causes people to grow exceptionally fast. The thyroid gland can be affected with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism which is where the body produces too much or too little thyroid hormone respectively.

Q: Are endocrine disorders treatable?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Some are. Modern medicine has made it possible to identify and treat common system disorders. Some women with ovarian disorders may find hormone therapy effective while others may need to have tumors or other lesions removed to return the body back to normal. Diabetes and thyroid issues can often be managed with medications.

Marla Ahlgrimm on the Link Between Hormones and Depression

Marla AhlgrimmDepression is one of the most common complaints among women, says Marla Ahlgrimm. In fact, across the globe, and despite economic status, race, and social standing, women overwhelmingly experience downturned emotions more often than their male counterparts.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, including depression, than men. One potential reason for this is that women are often more open to being treated for depressive symptoms. However, women’s bodies experience many more hormonal changes than men, which no doubt contributes to the instances of depression among the fairer sex.

There is much that science still has to learn about the brain and how hormones affect it. One thing that is known, however, is that hormones are dictated by certain brain functions and that many of the same hormones can have a negative influence on the parts of the brain that regulate mood and emotion. An area this is seen is in women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD. This group is at a higher risk of depression than those who do not report premenstrual symptoms.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, there are ways to offset the symptoms of depression. The first, she explains, is to pay attention to your overall health. This will include eating well, spending time with friends and family, and sleeping at least seven hours every night. These actions work together to give the mind and body everything they require to be strong and healthy.

Women who experience long-lasting depression that gets worse during their period may benefit from talking to their doctor about hormonal birth control. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that birth control can be used to help stabilize hormones. The drawback of this, however, is that it is virtually impossible to become pregnant while taking birth control. Marla Ahlgrimm cautions that women who are already depressed may be at a greater risk of postpartum depression and should consult with their healthcare team prior to conception.

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