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The cranial nerves are the nerves responsible for connecting your brain to the various parts of your neck, trunk, and head. There are 12 nerves all in all and each is named according to its structure or function. Each nerve also comes with a corresponding Roman number from I to XII. The number is based on where they are located, from the front towards the back. For instance, if your olfactory nerve is near the front of your head, then this will be assigned with “I”.

The functions of the nerves are often categorized as either motor or sensory. Motor nerves are responsible for controlling the function and movement of the gland muscles.

Read on to learn more about the 12 different cranial nerves and how they work.

Olfactory Nerve

The Olfactory Nerve is responsible for transmitting sensory information towards your brain regarding the smells you have encountered. Once you start inhaling aromatic molecules, they get dissolved immediately in a moist lining at the roof portion of your nasal cavity, known as the olfactory epithelium. This is what stimulates the receptors responsible for generating the nerve impulses, which move into your olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb is oval shaped and contains specialized nerve cells.

From the olfactory bulb, the nerve would pass towards your olfactory tract, which is located right below your brain’s frontal lobe. The nerve signals are then sent to the areas of the brain responsible for the memory as well as the recognition of smells.

Optic Nerve

The optic nerve is responsible for the sensory nerve involving the vision. As soon as the light gets into your eyes, it will get into contact with your retina’s special receptors known as the cones and rods. The rods are often found in large numbers and they are the most sensitive to light. They are more specialized for the night vision or the black and white vision.

On the other hand, cones present in smaller numbers than rods. They tend to have lower light sensitivity unlike rods and are often more involved with the color vision.

The information that the cones and rods would receive is transmitted from the retina towards the optic nerve. Once they are in your skull, both the optic nerves will meet in order to produce the optic chiasm. In the optic chiasm, the nerve fibers coming from half of each retina will create two separate optic tracts.

Through each of the optic tract, the nerve impulses will eventually get into your visual cortex and this will then process the information it receives. Your visual cortex is often found at the back portion of your brain.

Oculomotor Nerve

The Oculomotor nerve comes with two motor functions and these are the pupil response and muscle function.

Pupil Response. This also helps in controlling the size of your pupil and the manner it responds to light.

Muscle Function. The oculomotor nerve provides a motor function to 4 of the 6 muscles in your eyes. These muscles assist your eyes in moving and focusing on certain objects.

Trochlear Nerve

The trochlear nerve is responsible for controlling the superior oblique muscle. This muscle is responsible for the inward and downward movements of the eyes. It comes from the back portion of the midbrain. Just like the oculomotor nerve, this nerve moves forward until such time that it reaches your eye sockets and this is where it stimulates the muscle for the superior oblique.

Trigeminal Nerve

The trigeminal nerve is the biggest part of your cranial nerves and it has both the motor and sensory functions.

This nerve has three divisions and these are the following:

Ophthalmic. This sends sensory information coming from the upper portion of your face, which includes the scalp, forehead, as well as your upper eyelids.

Maxillary. This part communicates the sensory information coming from the middle part of your face, which includes your upper lip, nasal cavity, and cheeks.

Mandibular. This has both the motor and sensory function and it works by sending sensory information coming from your lower lip, chin, and ears. It’s also responsible for controlling the movements of the muscles in your ear and jaw.

The trigeminal nerve comes from a group of nuclei, which is a collection of nerve cells, within the midbrain and the medulla area of your brainstem. Soon, the nuclei will come up with a separate motor and sensory root.

The motor root of the trigeminal nerve passes underneath the sensory root and is distributed into the mandibular division. On the other hand, the sensory root branches towards the maxillary, ophthalmic, and the mandibular divisions.

Abducens Nerve

The abducens nerve is responsible for controlling another muscle that’s linked to the eye movement known as the lateral rectus muscle. This is the muscle that’s involved in the outward eye movement. For instance, this is what you’ll use if you’re looking to the side direction.

The nerve, which is also known as the abducent nerve, begins in your brainstem’s pons region. It will soon get into your eye socket and will begin controlling the lateral rectus muscle.

Facial Nerve

The facial nerve is responsible for providing both motor and sensory functions, which include the following:

  • Communicating the sensations coming from the outer parts of your ear.
  • Moving the muscles used for facial expressions including some muscles in your jaw.
  • Providing glands in your neck and head area, including the tear-producing glands and salivary glands.
  • Providing a sense of taste for the most part of your tongue.

Your facial nerve consists of a very complex path, which originates from your brainstem’s pons area and this is where it has both the sensory and motor root. Soon, these two nerves will combine together in order to form a facial nerve.

Vestibulocochlear Nerve

The vestibulocochlear nerve consists of the sensory functions that involve balance and hearing. This consists of two parts, the vestibular portion, and the cochlear portion.

Vestibular Portion. This is a set of special cells that are capable of keeping track of both the rotational and linear movements of your head. The information is then passed into the vestibular nerve in order to adjust your equilibrium and balance.

Cochlear Portion. These are specialized cells in your ear and are capable of detecting vibrations coming from the sound based on the pitch and loudness of the sound. It generates nerve impulses that get transmitted towards the cochlear nerve.

Both the vestibular and cochlear portion of your vestibulocochlear nerve comes from the separate areas of your brain. The cochlear begins in the part of your brain known as the inferior cerebellar peduncle.

Glossopharyngeal Nerve

The glossopharyngeal nerve includes the following motor and sensory functions:

  • Provides a sense of taste for your tongue’s back portion.
  • Sending sensory information coming from your sinuses, parts of your inner ear, back of your throat and at the back part of your tongue.
  • Stimulating for the voluntary movement of the muscle that’s at the back of the throat.

The glossopharyngeal nerve comes from that part of your brainstem known as the medulla oblongata. Eventually, it extends towards your throat and neck region.

Vagus Nerve

 

The vagus nerve is a truly diverse nerve and it has both the motor and sensory functions that include:

  • Allows motor control of the muscles in your throat.
  • Communicating sensation information coming from your ear canal and some parts of your throat.
  • Provides a sense of taste at your tongue’s root.
  • Sending sensory information coming from the organs in your trunk and chest, including your intestines and heart.
  • Stimulating the muscles of the organs in your trunk and chest that includes those that move food within your digestive tract.

Of all the cranial nerves, it is the vagus nerve that tends to have the longest pathway. It comes from the head and extends all the way to the abdomen. It came from the part of the brainstem known as the medulla.

Accessory Nerve

The accessory nerve is a motor nerve responsible for controlling your neck muscles. The muscles allow you to extend, flex and rotate both your shoulders and neck.

It’s divided into two parts, the cranial and the spinal. The cranial portion begins in your medulla oblongata while the spinal portion comes from the upper part of the spinal cord. These parts would briefly meet before the nerve’s spinal part will move to supply the muscles of the neck.

Hypoglossal Nerve

The 12th cranial nerve is the hypoglossal nerve and it’s responsible for the movement of most of the muscles in your tongue. It begins in the medulla oblongata and then it moves towards the jaw before reaching the tongue.

Top 10 Foods for Your Nervous System

Eating healthy is important for both our physical and mental wellbeing. Yet there are times that our body would require specific nutrients for it to be healthier and more active. Since the brain is an important part of our body, it would also require some nutrients for it to be able to function well. So here’s a list of foods that can help to improve the functioning of both your brain as well as your nervous system.

Green Leafy Vegetables

Leafy greens are a good source of Vitamin C, B complex, Vitamin E, Magnesium, and all the other essential nutrients for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B is important in circulating and synthesizing the neurotransmitters. These are brain chemicals that help to regulate respiration, digestion, and heartbeat. Magnesium also helps to calm the nerves while Vitamin C and E act as anti-aging.

Fish

The nerves are kept protected by the myelin sheaths, which has a high level of fatty acid. Thus, people who are fatty acid deficient could suffer from damages to their nerves. Fish contains a good amount of Omega 3 Fatty acid, which helps in the healing of the nervous system and the nerves.

Dark Chocolate

Not all chocolates are created the same. As a matter of fact, 70% of the chocolates in the market is highly processed and don’t have that many benefits. But this is not the case with dark chocolates as it’s filled with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties can help to lower blood pressure and improve the flow of blood in both the heart and the brain. Milk chocolates and white chocolates must be avoided when it comes to chocolates. Instead, opt for the dark chocolates that have at least 70 percent of cocoa since they are minimally processed and can benefit your brain.

Broccoli

Broccoli is high in Vitamin K, a nutrient that’s known to improve cognitive skills and brainpower. Several studies show that because broccoli contains a good amount of glucosinolates, a compound that can minimize the breakdown of neurotransmitter that the central nervous system needs to be able to function properly, it can help keep our memory sharp and our brain healthy.

Eggs

A study done at Boston University has observed 1,400 healthy adults who were asked to consume eggs daily. Results show that regular consumption of eggs could lead to better performance in a memory test. Eggs are rich in B vitamin and choline and the choline from the eggs is what the brain will use to produce acetylcholine. This is a neurotransmitter that’s essential for the communication and memory of our brain cells.

Salmon

As mentioned above, the Omega 3 fatty acid plays an important role in the cognitive functioning. As stated by the NY Times Journal, a low level of the omega 3 could lead to poor mental performance. Furthermore, a research done in the University of Pittsburgh has shown that a group of adults who have increased their intake of the Omega 3 fatty acids over a 6-month period has shown great improvement in their test results.

Avocados

Avocados are rich in both Folate and Vitamin K. They help to prevent blood clot and can, therefore, protect you against stroke. In addition, avocados also help to improve concentration and memory, and the best thing about avocados is that they have high protein but less sugar content, unlike other fruits.

Almonds

Almonds contain high levels of the Omega 3 fatty acids, which greatly help to keep the brain healthy. Just like salmon, almonds are also rich in Vitamin E.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Aside from this, the seeds are rich in powerful antioxidants that keep the brain and the body protected against free radical damage. The magnesium in pumpkin seeds is also essential for memory and learning and having a low level of magnesium has been linked to several neurological diseases, which include depression, migraines, and epilepsy.

Nuts

A study in 2014 has shown that nuts can greatly improve cognition skills while helping to prevent neurological disorders. Furthermore, another study has also found that those who eat nuts on a regular basis have sharper memory unlike those who don’t eat nuts. There are plenty of nutrients that one can get from nuts and these include antioxidants, healthy fats, and Vitamin E. All these are good for the brain.

How to Relax the Nervous System Naturally

In this modern life we live in, we’re often bombarded with information and lots of sensory input and this triggers our “fight or flight” response. As a result, the hypothalamus will trigger the adrenal glands to release stress hormones like the cortisol and adrenaline. The stress hormone level that’s chronically elevated could lead to anxiety, high blood pressure, obesity, insomnia, and depression.

Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can all help in relaxing the nervous system while maintaining a good physical and mental health.

Achieving Balance

You may not be able to avoid stress entirely but exercising regularly can somehow help you to manage it. Performing aerobic exercises can help to improve the flow of oxygen and blood in your body, which in turn normalizes your level of blood pressure and heart rate. This also helps to reduce fatigue and boost your energy level. Performing physical activity can also help to lower the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, and helps to stimulate the release of endorphins, a mood-elevating hormone.

Health experts recommend performing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, such as swimming, bicycling, walking, or playing tennis. These activities can help to get your heart rate pumping and minimize tension.

Breathe Deeply

There are certain breathing exercises that can help to calm the nervous system down. While stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, performing breathing exercises can help to supply the brain with an increased oxygen level. As a result, the parasympathetic system will be stimulated and elicits a relaxation response.

Serenity Instead of Stress

Meditation is a great way to quite your mind. It allows you to focus your thoughts, which calms your nerve in the process. Most of our daily stresses are out of our control. With meditation, you’ll learn to take charge of where your thoughts and energy should flow.

Meditation that includes guided imagery or visualization, as well as chanting, can help to clear your mind. Studies on neuroimaging have shown that meditation can greatly help to relieve pain, stress, and anxiety, which is beneficial for the brain.

Reach Out

Having an adequate social support has also been shown to enhance a person’s ability to cope better and manage life’s challenges and setbacks. One study has found that people who would often reach out to others fur support are more likely to be able to adopt healthy behaviors when it comes to managing stress. They are also more optimistic and confident about the future.

This is why the American Psychological Association has recommended talking your problems out to family members, friends, and co-workers. If you believe that you can benefit from stress management assistance, you may need to consult with a licensed psychologist or a mental health professional.

How to Hack Your Nervous System

Our vagus nerve is an important nerve, which not a lot of people know that they have.

The vagus nerve is basically long and meandering sensory fibers and a bundle of motors which connect the brain stem to the lungs, heart, and gut. It also branches out to connect with the spleen, liver, gallbladder, female fertility organs, ureter, ears, neck, kidneys, and tongue. The vagus nerve powers our involuntary nerve center and controls some of the unconscious body functions, including everything that’s keeping our heart rate constant, from breathing, sweating, to food digestion. Furthermore, it also helps to regulate the level of blood glucose and blood pressure and promotes proper functioning of the kidney. It also helps to release bile, testosterone, and assists in the secretion of saliva.

The vagus nerve comes with fibers that innervate all of the internal organs in our body. Processing and managing emotions take place within the vagal nerve in between the brain, gut, and the heart, and this is why we tend to have a strong gut reaction towards intense emotional and mental states.

Dysfunction of the vagus nerve can also result in a lot of problems in the body. This includes obesity, difficulty in swallowing, fainting, gastrointestinal diseases, mood disorders, chronic inflammation, deficiency of B12, seizures, and impaired cough.

On the other hand, the vagus nerve stimulation has also been shown to improve certain conditions, like:

  • Alcohol addiction
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Bad blood circulation
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Leaky Gut
  • Migraines
  • Mood disorder
  • Obesity
  • Tinnitus

A Closer Look at this Super Nerve

The vagus nerve is the longest of all the 12 cranial nerves and almost 80% of its nerve fibers work by driving information coming from the body towards the brain. However, its fifth lane runs towards the opposite direction and shuttles signals coming from the brain towards the different parts of the body.

The vagus nerve is anchored in the brain stem and travels into the neck and the chest and splits into the right and left vagus. Each of the lanes is composed of up to 10,000 of nerve fibers branching into the lungs, heart, pancreas, stomach, and in almost every organ at the abdomen.

The vagus nerve makes use of the acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates the contraction of muscles in the parasympathetic nervous system. Neurotransmitter works like a chemical messenger that’s released at the end of the nerve fiber and allows for signals to be moved from one point to another, which helps to stimulate the various organs in the body. For instance, if your brain won’t be able to communicate with the diaphragm for the release of the acetylcholine coming from the vagus nerve, then that’s when we stop breathing.

There are certain substances that could intervene with the production of the acetylcholine. Examples are Botox and heavy metal mercury. Botox is said to trigger the possibility of shutting down of the vagus nerve that could cause death. On the other hand, mercury attaches with the thiol protein that’s on the heart muscle receptors, which makes it difficult for the heart muscles to receive the electrical impulse for vagus nerve. This will then lead to problems in the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, the mercury that gets into the atmosphere could interfere with the production of acetylcholine. Vaccines that are laden with mercury also could also affect the vagus nerve and may lead to autism among children.

The damage to the vagus nerve may also happen as a result of alcoholism, diabetes, and upper respiratory infections, or have part of the nerve accidentally severed during the operation. Stress can also lead to the inflammation of the nerve, as well as anxiety and fatigue.

Many also believe that diet plays an important role in the overall health of the vagus nerve. A cafeteria diet that comprises of high-fat and high-carb food full of junk has the tendency to reduce the sensitivity of the vagus nerve.

A Feeling in Your Gut

to as the second brain or the backup brain that’s centered within our solar plexus.

Keeping the vagus nerve and the gut healthy can greatly impact our mental health. A recent study shows that antibiotics could make us aggressive if they upset our gut’s microbiome balance. A significant study done last year in Ontario Canada has found that certain beneficial gut microbes can help to prevent PTSD. Probiotics can also help to keep the vagus nerve and the gut signals healthy, as per the reports of the NCBI or the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Boosting with Electricity

Doctors have long been exploiting the nerve’s influence on the brain. Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve, also known as the vagus nerve stimulation or VNS, is sometimes used to treat depression and epilepsy. The VNS is designed to help prevent seizures by sending mild and regular electrical pulses towards the brain via the vagus nerve.

A device that works like a pacemaker supplies the electrical pulses. This device is placed below the skin of the chest wall and a wire will run from it to get into the vagus nerve at the neck. A group of researchers who have been studying the effects of vagus stimulation in treating epilepsy have noticed that patients experienced another benefit that’s not related to seizure reduction, for their moods have also improved.

A study in 2016 has shown how stimulating the vagus nerve using the bio-electronic device can significantly improve the measures of the disease activity among patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory condition that affects more than a million people in the US and has cost billions of dollars for the treatment.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Techniques

The vagus nerve does not need to be shocked to shape. Just like the muscles, it can also be strengthened and toned.

Below are some of the things that you can do to significantly improve your health.

Positive Social Relationships

In one study, participants were asked to think compassionately about others and were asked to silently repeat positive phrases regarding their family and friends. The meditators have shown an overall increase in their positive emotions, such as joy, serenity, and hope right after they have completed the class. The positive thoughts they show unto others have led to the improvement of the vagal functions as seen in the variability of heart rate.  The results also show a more toned vagus nerve as compared to when merely doing meditation.

Cold

Studies have shown that once your body adjusts to cold, your sympathetic system will decline and your parasympathetic system will increase. This is thanks to the vagus nerve. Any type of acute cold exposure, which includes drinking ice-cold water, could help to increase the vagus nerve activation.

Gargling

Another home remedy used for an under-stimulated vagus nerve is gargling. Gargling can help to stimulate the muscles of the pallet that are fired by the vagus nerve. Patients will typically tear up a bit, which is a good sign. This has resulted in an improvement of the working memory performance.

Singing and Chanting

Mantra chanting, humming, and singing, can all increase the HRV or heart rate variability.  When you sing, you’re like initiating a vagal pump, which sends out relaxing waves. If you sing at the top of your lungs, the muscles at the back of your throat will be worked on and this will activate the vagus. Singing in groups, which is usually done in churches, also helps to increase the vagus function and the HRV.

Massage

The vagus nerve can also be stimulated by massaging your feet, as well as your neck, along with the carotid sinus, which is located at the carotid arteries on any side of your neck. Neck massage can also help to minimize seizures, while a foot massage can help to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Pressure massage can also help to activate the vagus nerve.

Laughter

Laughter and happiness are both natural immune boosters. Laughter can also help to stimulate the vagus nerve. Research shows that laughing can help to improve the HRV in a group environment.

There are several case reports about people fainting as a result of too much laughter and this may be due to the overstimulation of the vagus nerve. Fainting may also happen after urination, swallowing, coughing, and bowel movement. All of these activities are helped by the vagus activation.

The post The Complete Guide to Keeping the Cranial Nerves Healthy appeared first on Positive Health Wellness.

Source: Postive health Welness

Losing weight is not easy. In fact, most people today are easily tempted by quick fixes like taking weight loss pills that are usually marketed as organic fat burners. In the United States alone, surveys show that around 15 percent of adults have taken weight-loss supplements at some point in their lives. Of this figure, about 20 percent are women.

However, before trying any of these products, it’s highly advisable to consider the fact that most diet pills, drinks, and formulas can have unknown side effects and interactions even though some of them are labeled as “natural” or “organic.”

Food supplements and medications or other drugs are regulated differently. Typically, prescription medicines are kept out of public’s hands until their effectivity is confirmed by clinical trials results. Aside from that, it should also be proven that they are not harmful to the majority of patients who took them.

On the other hand, dietary supplements are generally considered safe until proven unsafe.

Since dietary supplements, which typically include weight loss pills, enzymes, herbs, and teas, are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like other medications are, you may be wondering if they are indeed safe to take. Or, if weight loss pills and other so-called fat-burning supplements are effective enough to make them worthy of any potential risk involved?

According to studies, fat-burning supplements have side effects like nausea, headaches, anxiety, indigestion, and insomnia. In some cases, people may experience adverse effects which are reportedly caused by some factors like medication interactions, too much caffeine ingestion, or consumption of “filler” ingredients that are not even included on the product’s label. Without any lifestyle change, weight loss products will not likely be enough to sustain real weight loss even if they can lift your energy and mood.

The question now is: what is the best weight loss dietary supplement available on the market today that doesn’t have the same risks?

As you will learn in the following discussion, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight includes natural methods like consumption of food-based fat burners like CLA or conjugated linoleic acid, foods that are fat-burning and are rich in protein and fiber, green tea, or the use of grapefruit essential oil. All of these while exercising healthy lifestyle habits like staying active and eating a healthy diet.

A weight loss pill can help you fill in the gap between where your weight is and where you want it to be during those times when diet and exercise are not enough.

There are plenty of ways in which weight loss pills work like increasing your body’s baseline metabolic rate, filling you up and tamping down on your feelings of hunger to make you take less food, and blocking or slowing down the absorption of the food that you eat.

It is indeed a series of complicated mechanism that determines how a human body gains and loses weight. Fortunately for you, we have already looked and compiled the best weight loss pills on the market today. We have also ranked them according to their effectivity to make it easier for you to decide which one to choose.

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  • FDA Approved

Evlution Leanmode

This product has an impressive ingredient list. However, some of it is under dosed. For instance, the recommended CLA dosage for its effectiveness is 2-4 grams daily which is equivalent to 4+ servings of the product. The recommended Acetyl L-Carnitine dosage is 1-2g or 2+ servings of the product. The recommended green tea leaf extract dosage is only about 1g daily depending on where you look and so on.

Perhaps the most significant thing about this product is that it suppresses appetite effectively. It makes you feel satiated after every daily does. Generally speaking, this product is recommended to anyone who is in search of a stim free fat burner.

Pros

  • Appetite suppression
  • Fat loss
  • Increases energy levels

Cons

  • Not dosed well

MELT Fat Burner

A product of the sports nutrition supplement manufacturer LMNITRIX, MELT Fat Burner. Just like other fat burners available today such as BELDT, this dietary supplement has very little information online. In fact, even in LMNITRIX’s official website, there’s insufficient detail about MELT Fat Burner.

MELT Fat Burner claims that its formula is safe and powerful. Its manufacturer said that the ingredients included in the product wouldn’t cause jitters or crash. According to some information I gathered from another dietary supplement store, MELT’s proprietary composition includes L-Carnitine, beta-phenylethylamine HCI, hordenine HCI, yohimbine extract, capsimax, synephrine, higenamine, and huperzine A.

The product also has caffeine anhydrous and choline bitartrate. On the other hand, its inactive ingredients include gelatin and titanium dioxide. What’s surprising is that LMNITRIX is marketing MELT Fat Burner as a “no jitter” dietary supplement brand despite the fact that its formula contains caffeine. Since there is no available information about how MELT Fat Burner can trigger weight loss, we will review each of its primary ingredients and see how the product delivers its slimming effects from there.

Like many fat burners on the market today, MELT Fat Burner has capsimax or capsicum. According to experts, the latter can be considered as a thermogenic agent, a specific compound that could provoke fat burning effects in the body. Dendrobium extract which is part of the orchid plant family is also present in the list of ingredients. Primarily, this extract is utilized in improving the performance of athletes, hair growth, immune function, and many more.

Another noticeable ingredient is the hordenine which is commonly used by many sports nutrition and bodybuilding supplement manufacturers in their dietary pills. In one study, it was found that hordenine is a norepinephrine and can have a direct effect on a person’s heart rate. It can also trigger the release of stored energy, increase blood flow, and others.

Pros

  • Natural formula
  • Some good reviews online
  • May trigger thermogenesis and fat burning effects
  • Can help boost your physical performance
  • May help enhance memory and energy levels
  • 30-days money back guarantee

Cons

  • Servings need improvement
  • Proprietary blend
  • Many ineffective ingredients

Old School Labs Vintage Burn

Designed for the consumption of both men and women, the Vintage Burn is considered a thermogenic fat burning supplement that provides beneficial results. It is highly efficient when it comes to converting stored fat to energy because it increases a person’s metabolism and mental focus while keeping him or her in a good mood.

Aside from the above mentioned good effects, Vintage Burn is also regarded as the only fat burning supplement that can preserve muscles instead of burning them like fats.

In essence, essential weight loss supplements have plenty of benefits. For instance, they can increase your metabolism to help you gain enough energy to exercise. Furthermore, they could suppress your appetite and help you lose weight by burning unnecessary fats.

The only problem with dietary supplements is that they cannot distinguish the difference between muscle and fat. Thus, they also end up burning muscle too.

To date, many weight loss supplements are claiming that they are thermogenic and effective with burning fat. However, most of them don’t really work, and if they do burn fat, they also eliminate the muscle together with it. Thus, buying this kind of food supplements becomes a waste not just of money but muscle as well.

But, Vintage Blend’s formula is specially blended to burn fat without compromising the muscle and overall strength of a person. The product could help you meet your weight and fitness goals in no time because you will be retaining the quality muscle that expedites the burning of calories thrice as fast as fat per pound.

Vintage Burn is the leading trusted product by athletes and is considered one of the best supplements of its kind. In fact, aside from being a bestselling supplement, Vintage Burn is the first and only supplement in the world could burn fats while preserving the muscle of both men and women.

Vintage Burn is third-party tested. It was even featured by the Los Angeles Confidential Magazine who referred to it as the “fat burner that preserves muscle.”

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Eliminates fat while it does not reduce muscle
  • The makers are easy to contact and reply promptly.
  • The transparency policy allows you to know about all the ingredients the product contains
  • If you are not satisfied with the product, you can get a full refund.

Cons

  • You can only use the product for sixty days.
  • The product contains caffeine, which is a stimulant.

Alli Diet Pills

Alli diet pill is a weight loss supplement that has 60 mg of the orlistat prescription drug. This allows people who take Alli to lose up to 50 percent more weight as compared to regular diet and exercise alone.

Alli dietary supplement acts slowly, and the user must wait for at least two months to see results. It is said that people ages 18 and above who are obese or overweight could greatly benefit from Alli if they are already on a low-calorie diet.

Alli is an FDA-approved dietary supplement which is the first of its kind. It reportedly targets the body’s fat deposits which help in improving any dieting efforts. Taking Alli with meals could allegedly help the body absorb fewer fats from the food. This results in lower calorie intake and eventual weight loss.

Despite its many excellent benefits, it is important to remember that Alli is still not a “miracle pill.” Taking it during a short period won’t result in massive weight loss.

If you’re already on any medication, it is highly advisable to check with your attending physician first before taking Alli or any weight loss supplement. If taken correctly, Alli is generally safe. FDA has approved the product for consumption of dieters ages 18 and above. It is highly recommended to at least have a BMI of around 25 when taking Alli. Take note that it is dangerous for underweight individuals to block fat as it may cause serious health problems.

When using Alli, people are advised not to eat over 5 grams of fat per meal.

Pros

  • Blocks small amounts of fat from the body absorbing them.
  • May block the enzymes that cause weight gain.
  • Could reduce type-II diabetes risk and protect users against certain heart conditions.

Cons

  • Poor bowel control
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Skin rash

Genius Diet Pills

Looking for another fat burning supplement to help you lose weight? You might want to try Genius Burn. This product is known as a 3-in-1 formula that can boost brain power and improve a person’s cognitive abilities while burning fat.

The products fat-burning property could allegedly help anyone in shedding some unwanted pounds. Genius Burn is also caffeine-free which makes it a suitable supplement for nearly everyone. It is also called as a nootropic supplement made from a combination of nine ingredients.

Aside from burning fat, Genius Burn boasts of the following benefits: better memory and learning ability, stress level reduction, improved cognition, and increase energy. Meaning, the product is not just right for the body, it is also beneficial to the brain.

Genius Brand, the company behind Genius Burn, is dedicated to creating and manufacturing for its customers. They ensure that the products they offer produce reliable results and can be obtained by individuals at an affordable cost. For instance, Genius Burn can produce four times better results than other available fat burners today.

Each ingredient of Genius Burn has low dosage and is considered safe. It is highly unlikely that it will cause any adverse side effects. Some dieters may still observe subtle side effects as in the case of other diet supplement products, but nothing alarming or severe. Genius Burn is made from all-natural ingredients which is one of its most significant advantages.

However, as with other food supplements, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a medical professional or your attending physician before taking Genius Burn. Expert opinion is essential to avoid any unexpected complications or mishap.

Pros

  • Consists of all natural ingredients
  • Free from caffeine
  • Produces only mild side effects
  • Positive results posted by customers

Cons

  • Lack of evidence to back up the claims
  • Very less or no actual weight loss achieved
  • Can only be purchased through Amazon
  • Not available to retailers

Lean PM

If you want a slim, healthy figure, the best product that I could recommend is the Lean PM food supplement. This product is specifically designed to help weight conscious individuals lose weight and turn their bodies into the figure they always dreamed about. Lean PM is meant to help with appetite management, weight loss, and energy while burning unnecessary fat.

While Lean PM has been reformulated from a previous product, its manufacturer claims that it is far greater than its predecessor. Its many benefits include boosting energy, enhancing and increasing the contentment that must come with every hard work dedicated to achieving a lean body figure. It could also help improve a dieter’s metabolic rate and provide anyone with just the right amount of energy at the right time.

Lean PM reportedly incorporates progressive nutritional science and natural sources to make it more useful while setting higher standards for other fat burning food supplements. It could significantly improve a dieter’s mood and total sense of health while helping the subdue their desire to eat. This ensures that your food cravings would not make it difficult for you to lose weight.

It is strictly essential to follow the usage direction of Lean PM which is indicated on its official website.

According to the site, a dieter must only consume one Lean PM tablet per day in the morning. It is also indicated that the pill must not be taken later in the day and should not be taken on an empty stomach. A dieter must not also surpass that recommended dose and that the 45 capsules must only be taken for 45 days.

Once the dose has been completed, a dieter may continue with a 30-day gap in between. This is because taking the pill consecutively is dangerous. A dieter is advised to consult a doctor first before taking Lean PM. The product is not for the consumption of individuals age 18 and below or of lactating and pregnant women.

Pros

  • Increase fat loss
  • Burn more calories
  • Suppress appetite
  • Natural sleep aid

Cons

  • Headaches
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Anxiety

Atrafen

Unlike other weight loss pills available on the market today, Atrafen is considered a new supplement for weight loss and fat burning. It differs from its other metabolism and fat-burning supplement competitors because it is made from advanced formula and design.

While the product claims that it was created with the help of food engineers and scientists, together with some fitness experts, we have observed that there are a few things that Atrafen lacks.

There are many reviews about the before and after effects of Atrafen found on its official website, as well as on the Atrafen Amazon product page. However, there’s really not much proof provided to support its effectiveness or its natural extracts. It is also noticeable that despite their assertion, there are no research studies or proven professional reviews to confirm its efficiency.

However, despite the lack of information, the formula of the product appears to be well-made. Some users of Atrafen have even claimed that they observed positive results after taking it. The product has some noticeable side effects, regardless if you’re taking Atrafen OM, Atrafen Drops, or Atrafen Elite. This is because of the lack of research study to confirm that the product indeed provides all of its claimed benefits without adverse side effects.

There is no actual confirmation about some dangerous uses of the Atrafen Elite which makes its ingredients not really safe. For instance, one of its components, the Raspberry ketones, could allegedly produce cardio-toxic effects on the body. This could potentially lead to reproduction and development problems as per a study conducted in 2015 about the said ingredient.

Furthermore, the product has no confirmed findings that the caffeine found in two of its ingredients can cause blood pressure issues and other problems.

Pros

  • Thermogenic Benefits
  • Metabolism Booster
  • Appetite Suppressant
  • Enhanced Energy
  • Improved Focus

Cons

  • Headaches
  • Stroke
  • Heart complications
  • Mood swings

PhenELITE

If you are searching for a product that is all-natural, can help you manage your appetite, and promotes extreme weight loss, PhenELITE is the one for you. This product is designed to produce weight loss results in just 4 to 6 weeks. It is considered safe and can be purchased over the counter.

PhenELITE has a potent fat-burning formula that aids in boosting metabolism, increasing energy, and enhancing mental focus while attacking stubborn fat cells. This product suppresses appetite which will ensure that your food cravings will not get in the way of your weight loss program.

Currently, PhenELITE is claimed to be one of the highest-rated pharmaceutical-grade weight loss supplements available on the market today. Because it is deemed as a “hyper-metabolizing fat burner and appetite suppressor,” it produces fast weight loss results.

This dietary supplement is said to contain a Proprietary Formula of 1,200mg per serving/dose. It has nine different ingredients and has been emphasized to be all-natural.

The product has some green tea extract which, according to a research from Physiology & Behavior back in 2010, could improve weight maintenance.

Some of the significant benefits of PhenElite include faster metabolism, appetite suppression, improved concentration, lesser food cravings, fat burning, and rapid weight loss which all sounds great! Right?

Pros

  • Easy to find/purchase over-the-counter via online shops like Amazon.
  • Made in a strict GMP-certified an FDA-approved lab.
  • It comes in a convenient capsule form.
  • It ensures fast weight-loss results.
  • Contains ingredients shown to boost metabolism and suppress hunger.
  • Increases energy levels.
  • Reasonably priced.

Cons

  • Quite a few users complained of no real weight loss results from PhenELITE.
  • Is not available in certain stores such as Walmart, GNC or Walgreens.
  • There is no official website available.
  • Some users may experience side effects from PhenELITE capsules.

Hydroxycut Ultra

Considered not just a metabolic accelerator but a potent energy booster as well, Hydroxycut Ultra is said to be the best weight loss pill. The product reportedly works on men and women and claims to help dieters shed unwanted fats very fast.

The product is produced by Lovate Health Sciences and was released to the public as a robust weight loss pill under the Hydroxycut brand.

According to its manufacturers, Hydroxycut Ultra is considered one of the best weight loss pills. They claim that it can help dieters gain the body they only dreamed of. The manufacturers also said that all the ingredients that come in the product are tested and are safe. Each component has gone through proper research before use to ensure that it is harmless to consumers.

The dietary supplement could allegedly enhance metabolism which could ultimately lead to extreme weight loss. Women who used the product claimed that they’re able to get the ideal bikini body they want while the men reported that they gain extreme muscle and definition.

It is highly advisable to take Hydroxycut Ultra according to its use because it’s a very effective weight loss pill. To prevent adverse side effects due to wrong or uncontrolled consumption of any of the ingredient in the said supplement, the manufacturers have provided the dosages.

As per the manufacturers, the dietary supplement works effectively when a dieter takes 4 pills a day. One serving size which is equivalent to two tablets must be taken two times a day. It is also vital to take Hydroxycut Ultra 30 to 60 minutes before a dieter’s two most important meals of the day.

Pros

  • Muscle Mass Gain
  • Weight Loss
  • High Energy Levels
  • Increased Metabolic Rate

Cons

  • Does not offer a money-back guarantee
  • Associated with liver damage
  • No solid research to back up claims

Dub Nutrition Fat Burner

Among the fat burners included in this list, Dub Nutrition Fat Burner can be considered as the supplement with the least satisfying ingredients. One of the primary problems we observed has to do with the proprietary blend. There is no way for a person to know how much of each ingredient he or she is getting. Without this significant information, it would be difficult to know just how effective the Dub Nutrition dietary supplement is.

However, three of its main ingredients, the Chromium, Guarana (Caffeine), and Green Tea could have positive effects. Still, it would have been better if it is indicated how much of these ingredients are included in the product.

We also noted that Dub Nutrition Fat Burner could provide better results if it has more thermogenic or at least another appetite suppressant. For instance, including Green Coffee Bean, Cayenne Pepper, and L-Carnitine would be great for increasing metabolism and burning the body’s extra calories.

In addition to that, having Glucomannan could also improve the product since it is a reliable fibrous complex that usually swells in the stomach, suppressing appetite.

Glucomannan is a reliable fibrous complex that would swell in your stomach and help decrease your appetite. Unfortunately, many of the ingredients we mentioned are not included in the product. However, Dub Nutrition Fat Burner is said to be made from all-natural ingredients and has no side effects.

Pros

  • Contains Chromium, Green Tea, and Guarana

Cons

  • Missing Core Nutrients
  • Some Ineffective Ingredients
  • Servings Could Be Increased

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  • Evlution Nutrition Lean Mode Stimulant-Free Weight Loss Support
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Stimulat Free Fat Burner
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • MELT ✮ Thermogenic Fat Burner for Men and Women
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Natural formula
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Old School Labs Vintage Burn
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Muscle Preserving Fat Burner
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  • alli Diet Pills for Weight Loss
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • FDA Approved

What Are Fat Burners?

Fat burners are also known as thermogenic. These thermogenic supplements significantly help in burning stored body fat by utilizing the body’s fat reserves as sources of energy.

Most manufacturers of thermogenic diet pills claim that their dietary supplements could profoundly improve weight loss without much effort by boosting a person’s metabolism. This is the case despite the fact that the FDA has continuously scrutinized the legitimacy of these claims. Some of these pills are said to be more helpful in suppressing appetite, managing a person’s cravings for junk foods, and giving more energy that can be used for strenuous activities.

The underlying question now is if the weight loss claims associated with these dietary supplement ingredients true. The answer seems to depend on the following factors: the kind of fat burner in question, the components included in the product, the required number of doses to take, and a person’s response to the dietary supplement.

Fat burning brands use varying kinds of ingredients for their thermogenic supplements. However, most supplements have a mix of stimulants, acids, and herb Some studies to support the efficacy of thermogenic supplements said that it seems to work for some people while in rare cases, its ingredients could have adverse side effects.

The types of ingredients found in many weight loss pills, such as balloon weight loss capsules, include:

  • Caffeine. According to studies, caffeine could have modest effects on body weight or decrease weight gain over time. While caffeine is generally okay when consumed in small to moderate amounts, some people still experience side effects like heart palpitations and restlessness.
  • Guarana. Guarana is considered the highest concentration of caffeine found in any plant. It is said that it contains up to 3.5 percent to 5.8 percent caffeine by volume. On the other hand, coffee only has up to 2 percent. People who want to increase their mental focus and energy reportedly use about 200 to 800 milligrams of guarana a day, which is generally accepted as safe. However, guarana intake could also have side effects like sleep difficulty, anxiety, indigestion, changes in blood pressure, palpitations, and addiction.
  • Green Tea Extract. Perhaps one of the safest ingredients among the list of most popular weight loss ingredients is the Green Tea extract. Unfortunately, many reported that it’s highly unlikely to work and may not produce any noticeable results. Among its adverse effects are headaches and urinary tract infections. Its benefits may include a subtle increase in energy expenditure and fat oxidation.
  • Garcinia Cambogia. As per studies, garcinia cambogia has little to no effect on our body weight. While some dieters reported reduced hunger, many also claimed to experience side effects like loose stool, diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal discomfort, and constipation.
  • Ephedrine. Ephedrine is a banned dietary supplement ingredient in the United States because of safety concerns. The ingredient reportedly has unwanted effects like anxiety, mood swings, nausea, hypertension, vomiting, palpitation, seizures, and in worst cases, stroke, heart attack, and even death.

While it appears that these active ingredients could help in weight loss when taken in small to moderate amounts, they are not clear for everybody. However, instead of turning to dietary supplements to help you shed some weight, there are still some safe alternatives that can work long term without any risk.

Potential Risks of Fat Burners

Here are some serious risks related to “fat-burning supplements” and other fat burners that you might want to consider before taking these products:

Lack of Evidence for Safety

To date, most weight loss supplements have not undergone the necessary clinical trials to prove their efficacy. Most also do not include any evaluation studies conducted under controlled environment with human volunteers. Unfortunately, the FDA does not require the manufacturers of these supplements to test their new ingredients or even include a list of potential risk and side effects in their product labels. This makes it difficult to know what elements you have ingested while taking dietary supplements.

Faculty Labeling and Dangerous Ingredients

Negligence in labeling some weight loss ingredients like acid, herbs, and enzymes in laboratories usually results in tainting them with bacterial germs, pesticides, fillers, and even toxic heavy metals. In one case, it was reported that a specific supplement advertised for women consumption had contained the weight loss drug sibutramine. This substance has been banned in the United States because it could potentially cause a stroke or heart attack.

Harmful Interactions with Medications or Other Supplements

Since weight loss products are not regulated, these dietary supplements could be taken without clearance or advice from a health professional. This usually results in harmful side effects and interactions for people who are already under medication. To date, the United States has no controlled system where people can report any adverse reactions or side effects of the dietary supplements they take. Though doctors or affected individuals may report problems to the FDA, the U.S. law does not require them to do so.

Too Much Caffeine or Other Stimulants

Yerba mate or Guarana are just two of the most common caffeine ingredient often included in dietary food supplements. While they are generally not harmful when ingested, most manufacturers include these ingredients in amounts higher than the usual. Caffeine is commonly used in supplements because of its unique effect of curbing a person’s appetite while increasing the person’s energy in activities. However, too much of something has some severe consequences. Too much caffeine may cause jitteriness, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, palpitations, diarrhea, and other side effects.

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There’s no easy way to weight loss. However, taking dietary food supplements or thermogenic agents while dieting and exercising could significantly help in speeding the weight loss process. Then again, one must remember that supplements are not magic pills. You must still exert enough discipline and effort to help yourself achieve that body figure that you always dreamed of.

The dietary supplement marketplace is congested with many fat burners or thermogenic agent brands that offer similar benefits. It is always essential that you make the right choice. At this point, we highly recommend Evlution Leanmode. While the other supplements included in our list offer fantastic features and benefits, Evlution Leanmode can be considered a total package. While it still has tons of room for improvement, it has proven its efficacy when it comes to suppressing appetite, burning fat, and turning them into energy that can be used by the body in performing physical activities.

Always remember that this list is just a guide, and the final choice lies in your hands. When it comes to your health and weight loss efforts, make sure that you are only choosing the safest and most effective food supplement that you can combine with your diet and exercise.

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Sciatic nerve pain can sometimes be so excruciating and debilitating to the extent that it keeps you on your couch for the rest of the day. The condition can be caused by a number of reasons. A ruptured disk, injury, and the narrowing of the spinal canal are however some of the most common causes of sciatic nerve pain.

Many certified physical therapists agree though that while causes for sciatic nerve pain vary from patient to patient, the key to treatment is an early diagnosis. Knowing where the pain is originating from is vital in dealing with it. Some homemade solutions like stretching and trying to rotate the hip can offer some immediate relief too. However, you will still need to seek additional medical help just to be sure.

Symptoms

Sciatica may have many symptoms that will often vary from one patient to another. Some patients may experience a mild ache while in some cases the pain can be too much to bear. Sciatic pain often runs from your lower back down your hips until it reaches the legs. This leads to significant impairment of normal mobility.

Some of the other effects include numbness in the affected area and tingling sensations. Other patients may also experience some level of muscle weakness across their thighs right down to the calf and foot. The pain gets worse if you have a cold. Coughing and sneezing with sciatica is not always the best thing to do.

In most cases, the pain resulting from sciatica will be experienced on one side of the body. Although it’s important to seek medical advice, the pain can easily be relived through simple physical therapy, massage treatment, or basic chiropractic treatment. It’s also important to work on improving your body strength and flexibility, especially around your core muscles in order to reduce the risk of sciatica in the future. Applying some ice packs and heat on the affected areas may also offer some relief.

Different Types of Sciatic Nerve Pain?

Most sciatica pain comes from the lower back area. The pain can start right from your abdomen and spread downwards to your legs and thighs. However, different people experience different types of sciatica pain. Here are some of the common origins of this pain:

Sciatica from the L4 Nerve Root

The L3 and L4 nerve roots are located around the lower spine. Symptoms of this kind of pain may vary from one patient to another. However, most of the time you may experience some numbness or pain around your medial lower leg and foot. The muscles around the foot will also get weak making hard for you to bring the feet up and down as normal. Some patients may experience some knee-jerk reflexes. This kind of pain will most definitely make it impossible for you to walk on your heels.

Sciatica from S1 Nerve Root

The S1 nerve root is also located along the lower spine. Sciatica pain in this area will have some unique symptoms. First, the patient will experience some pain or numbness on the lateral or the outside of his or her feet. The pain can sometimes weaken the feet muscle to an extent the patient is unable to lift it off the ground. The pain will also prevent you from tiptoeing. However, there is a reduced knee-jerk reflex.

Sciatica L5 Nerve Root

When the L5 nerve root is affected by sciatica pain, the patient will start to experience weakness in the extension of the big toe. This may spread over to the ankles too. This condition is commonly referred to as foot drop. The L5 nerve root is found on the lower back area on your body. Symptoms for this kind of pain include numbness or pain at the top of the foot especially on the web between the big toes and the second toe.

It is important to note though that these symptoms are not universal. Each case of sciatica is different and it would be best to seek additional diagnosis just to be sure what you are dealing with.

Conditions That May Lead to Sciatica Pain

There are a number of lower back conditions that may lead to the occurrence of sciatica pain. However, a lumbar herniated disc is the most common condition that leads to severe sciatic pain. Other common disorders that may cause this pain include lumbar degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and arthritis affecting the spine.

Conditions with Symptoms Similar to Sciatica

There are also a few conditions out there that may have similar symptoms to sciatica pain.

Here they are:

The Increased Pressure Around the Sacral Nerve Roots Caused by Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction may have some sciatica-like symptoms. Patients who have this condition may experience pain or numbness in the legs and feet. Sometimes the ache may feel as if it’s within the feet than linear.

Piriformis Muscle Problems and Its Pressure on the Sacral Nerve. The Piriformis muscle problem will normally increase the amount of pressure on the sacral nerve. This pressure will then tighten and irritate the sciatic nerves. This will lead to pain or numbness on the leg that gets more intense around the knee. The pain will also start on the leg’s rear instead of the lower back. The only good news about this is that more often than not pain and numbness will not be experienced on the lower back.

In addition to these conditions, a sudden increase in body weight can lead to sciatica pain. Pregnant women, in particular, may run a bigger risk of this.

The Difference Between Sciatica Pain and Referred Pain?

To put it more simply, sciatica is simply used to classify any kind of pain that radiates directly into the leg. However, even referred pain may be classified as pain radiating directly into the leg. So, this is how to differentiate between the two.

The sciatic nerve causes the pain in sciatica. If the pain on your leg is coming from the nerve, then this can be defined as sciatic pain.

However, if the pain on the leg is simply referred to from a joint issue, then you cannot use sciatic pain to classify this kind of pain.

Referred pain often comes from arthritis and other joint related issues. Although this pain may feel or have the symptoms of sciatica, it’s not really a sciatic pain. In addition to this, there are some additional unique sciatica pain symptoms that can easily be identified by a professional physical therapist. These symptoms will, however, vary based on the severity of the pain and where it’s originating from.

Can Sciatica Pain Be An Emergency Condition?

As we have indicated above, most of the time sciatic pain can be treated with simple homemade solutions that relieve the pain after a while. However, there are some cases where this pain may, in fact, be an emergency condition. But it’s something very rare.

There are two types of symptoms that may indicate your sciatica needs more immediate medical attention. Here they are:

Cauda Equina Syndrome

If the patient is experiencing bowel or bladder incontinence as part of the sciatica pain, then they may need to seek more help. Weakness and loss of sensation on the legs is also another sign of Cauda Equina syndrome. This condition simply causes significant compression of the nerve sac around the lower spine. This puts you at significant risk and you must get treated immediately.

Nerve Damage

In some cases, muscle weakness in the legs and numbness may indicate some nerve damage. In such a situation getting professional help is highly advised. When your sciatic pain becomes more severe than normal, you should have it checked too. Sciatic pain is mostly caused by a small irritation of the nerve. This is not something to worry about. The pain will gradually go away after a few days and you will be fine. However, if the pain is severe and persistent for some time, you will need surgery to fix damaged nerves.

Risk Factors

Although not everybody suffers from sciatica, there are some risk factors out there that may expose you to this condition. It doesn’t matter whether you are an athlete or a less active person, sciatica affects all people. Nonetheless, people who live a sedentary kind of lifestyle are more likely to develop sciatica than those who exercise a few days in the week. However, too much exercise may cause sciatica pain. For example, endurance athletes are easily susceptible to sciatica pain due to overworked and overstretched muscles.

Aging is also a very significant risk factor. In fact, it is the most common cause of sciatica pain. People between the ages of 30 and 60 will experience spinal degeneration as part of the natural aging process. These people may also experience other conditions such as bone spurs, herniated disks, and joint dysfunction. All these conditions may lead to sciatic pain. People who suffer from obesity and diabetes will also have a bigger risk of experiencing the condition.

What’s the Good News?

Well, even though the pain of sciatica will be excruciating, you will be happy to know that there is treatment. You need to see a physical therapist though. The professional will help you determine whether your sciatica can be relieved easily using traditional treatments such as Chiropractic adjustment, cold therapy, or static stretching. A lot of people tend to respond better to simple treatment techniques and will feel way better after a few days.

Chiropractic adjustment and simple massage treatments are two common simple options that can be used. These procedures may also help to align your spine which will help address other underlying conditions you don’t know about. Massage also improves the circulation of blood leading to better relaxation. These factors will reduce the risk of sciatica reoccurrence in the future. In case you are only experiencing some minor pain and numbness, you can get cold and heat treatments to help.

In cases where noninvasive measures have failed to work or produce the required results, your doctor may be forced to recommend surgery as a treatment option. However, surgery is not always the best choice for everyone. The Cleveland Clinic, in fact, notes that sciatica can go away even without any treatment. This will take the best part of two months but it’s often less risky compared to surgery.

The biggest advantage you get with surgery is that it provides almost instant relief. Most nonsurgical treatments will need time to take full effect. Regardless of your condition, it is important to note that treatment has to be personalized to the needs of the patient. Talk to your doctor and see what options work best for you.

Improving Core and Back Strength

The musculature on your spine and abdomen is very important but at times it may get weak or too tight. This prevents it from supporting your body as needed. Poor posture and sick muscles are some of the common causes of spine misalignment. These factors will increase your risk of sciatica and other back pain conditions.

However, you can avoid all this by strengthening your core using simple and gentle exercises. This will help improve your posture and your ability to respond to stress in these areas. Eventually, you will reduce the risk of sciatica significantly. But people who are recovering from sciatica must avoid intense high impact exercises such as plyometrics and run until they are fully healed.

Increasing Hamstring and Hip Flexibility

Glutes, stiff hamstrings, and hips play a significant role in altering your posture. If not in good shape, they may also increase the stress on your lower back. This will increase the risk of sciatica pain. In order to deal with this, create a simple stretching routine targeting your hips and your hamstring areas. This routine will also be very beneficial to your piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle is simply a small muscle in the body attached between the base of your spine and just above the sciatic nerve. If the muscle is weakened, it can lead to aggravation and pain. Nonetheless, a simple and regular stretching routine will help you deal with all these issues.

Medications

Physical therapy is often the first real option for people who are suffering from sciatica. However, there are still a few other medical options that can be explored. This becomes necessary if you don’t feel any relief from the pain after physical therapy. The most common drugs used to treat sciatica include the following:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Narcotics
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Epidural steroidal injections
  • Tricyclic antidepressants

The anti-inflammatory drugs will come handy in relieving the pain that is caused by sciatica. Anti-inflammatory drugs may include both steroidal and non-steroidal. Some of the common non-steroidal drugs are ibuprofen and naproxen. You may also get a prescription of COX-2 inhibitors. The inhibitors help to relieve pain by blocking the production of the pain hormones in the body.

The role of muscle relaxants is to help loosen up the tightened muscle caused by sciatica. Narcotics too can help relax muscles but mostly they tend to relieve the pain. The same goes for the epidural steroidal injections. The tricyclic antidepressants and the anti-seizure medicine are also going to help alleviate the symptoms of sciatica. However, this is not their primary goal. This practice is called off-label drug use. It is the process in which a drug approved by the FDA is used for a different purpose other than what it’s meant for. In that case, these drugs must be administered with strict advice from your doctor to avoid any issues in the future.

Chiropractic, Acupuncture, and Massage Treatments

There are also other alternative treatments that you can use. Chiropractic treatment, in particular, can really help relieve the pain if done by a professional. The main goal of chiropractic treatment is to adjust your spine in order to increase the rate of spinal movements in the body. This can go a long way in alleviating the pain resulting from sciatica. Chiropractic treatment may also help deal with back pains too but it’s often less effective for radiating pain. Massage will help to loosen up the tight muscles caused by sciatica. There is also some research suggesting that regular sessions of acupuncture can help relieve sciatica. However, you must always visit a licensed acupuncture practitioner to avoid any issues.

Heat and Cold Treatments

 

The moment you start experiencing sciatica pain, you can apply a cold pack on the area affected. This will provide a soothing feeling that will eventually help relieve your pain. Simply wrap up a cold pack in a towel and gently apply it on the painful area. Make sure you do this on a regular basis. Three times a day for about 20 minutes should help you get relief from the pain eventually.

In case the cold treatment did not work, you may try heat instead. You will need a heat lamp for this. Set it on the lowest settings possible and then gently pat the affected area for about 20 minutes. You may also use a hot pack or a heating pad for this. If there is still pain after this try using both cold and heat treatments at the same time, simply alternate each treatment and see if this helps.

Exercises to Help Deal with Sciatic Nerve Pain

Exercise is an important lifestyle choice that can help deal with sciatica symptoms and prevent its future reoccurrence.

Here are six major exercises that you can try:

Reclining Pigeon Pose

The pigeon pose is mostly used in Yoga. Although there are multiple versions of this pose, it is used to simply open up the hips. The reclining pigeon pose is often the easiest beginner version. If you have never done this before, start with this one.

Here are some tips on how to pull it off:

  • While flat on your back, bring up your right leg to form a right angle. Clasp both of your hands just beneath your thighs and then lock your fingers.
  • Secondly, lift your left leg and gently place it on top of the right ankle.
  • Hold this position for a few minutes, once you are done repeat the steps above for the left leg too.

In case you are recovering from sciatica, you will need to do the beginner reclining pigeon pose until the pain is fully gone. After that, you may consider more advanced pigeon poses listed below.

Sitting Pigeon Pose

The sitting pigeon pose is far more advanced than the reclining pigeon pose. Here is how to do it:

  • Sit on a flat surface with your legs stretched out in front of you. Make sure they are as straight as possible.
  • Bend your right leg and put the right ankle on top of your left knee.
  • Lean forward and try to reach your thighs with your body. Try to go as far as you can.
  • Hold this position for about thirty seconds and repeat the same procedures for the other leg.

The Forward Pigeon Pose

This is also another advanced technique. To do it, follow the following steps:

  • Kneel on all fours on a flat surface
  • Gently pick up your right leg and steadily move it forward. The lower leg should be rooted on the ground. Make sure the lifted right foot is in front of the left one.
  • Stretch the leg as far as you can. Shift your body weight gently now from your hands. Do it until the legs support your body without the hands.
  • Lock into this position and take a few deep breaths before trying it on the other foot.

Knee to Opposite Shoulder

This simple exercise will help to loosen up the gluteal and piriformis muscles and, in the process,  it will help relieve sciatica pain. Follow the following steps:

  • Lie on your back and extend your legs and your feet upwards.
  • Gently bend your right leg and lock your hands around the knee
  • Pull the leg across your body gently towards your left shoulder. Try to reach as close to the shoulder as you can and then hold this position for about 30 seconds.
  • Return to the starting point and repeat this for the other leg. 3 reps on each side should be enough.

Sitting Spinal Stretch

Sciatica pain will normally be triggered when the vertebrae are compressed. This exercise is simply designed to create space within the spine in order to decompress it and relieve the pain.

Follow the steps below:

  • Start by sitting on a flat surface. Extend your legs out and flex your feet upwards.
  • Bend your right knee and make sure your foot is flat on the floor.
  • Place your left elbow on the right knee and then try to move your body to the right.
  • Move as far as you can to the right in this position and hold it for about 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise for the other leg.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

This stretch will ease the pain on your hamstring. Here is how you do it:

  • Find an elevated surface and place your right foot. A chair can work in this case. Simply lie on the floor and raise your foot to it.
  • Once you are in position bend your body forwards lightly. For a beginner, you don’t need to go further. No need to push your body to the limit too especially if you are still in pain.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat it for the other foot.

Be Cautious When You Exercise

You should never assume that you are fit or flexible enough to pull off all these stretches or exercises. Don’t also believe everything you watch on YouTube. The exercises we have listed above can be very tricky and it would be best to take it easy at first before getting into it. Besides, many physical therapists believe that exercises to relieve sciatica pain should be personalized. There is simply no one-size-fits-all routine. You need to find that one simple stretch that is working for you. In addition to this, exercise may not always work. In that case, if you are experiencing sciatic pain for more than 30 days get medical help immediately.

Natural Treatments

There are also a few natural sciatic pain treatments but they all depend on what is causing the pain in the first place. You may need to also consult your doctor before seeking any natural treatment option. In addition to this, natural treatments too must be administered by licensed and qualified practitioners. Here are some of the common natural sciatica treatments that you can explore:

Chiropractic Spinal Adjustments

Chiropractic spinal adjustment is not just designed for sciatica pain. It can also help address a number of other spinal issues including back pains. Nonetheless, before spinal adjustment is done the chiropractor must do a complete diagnosis to know the kind of spinal injury they are dealing with. There are physical exams that can be done at the chiropractic clinics to determine whether you have sciatica or not. X rays and MRI scans are however more commonly used since they are far more accurate in detecting issues with the spine.

One study done in the US found that participants in the study who suffered from sciatic pain got significant relief from the pain after undergoing chiropractic care.

Yoga

Movement can sometimes aggravate sciatic pain but it may also help in other cases. For most people, sitting for far too long or standing for a long time triggers the sciatica pain. Others may also feel the pain if they move abruptly. Movements that shorten the spine like raising your legs or bringing your knees towards your chest will often trigger sciatic pain. However, movements that lengthen the spine will offer relief. Lying down or yoga can help with this. There are so many studies that have linked regular yoga to sciatic pain relief. Give it a try.

Massage Therapy and Acupuncture

Most people are of course familiar with the concept of acupuncture. We all know it involves tiny needles but has you ever wondered what’s the science behind it? Well, this is, in fact, a traditional Chinese treatment that is designed to open up the body’s natural flow of energy. This, on the other hand, helps to improve blood flow leading to pain relief. The same effect can also be achieved with massage therapy. Massage will help stimulate blood flow. It will also help in muscle relaxation leading to pain relief from sciatica.

Avoid Sitting for Long Hours

Being active can also help reduce sciatica pain. This may also lead to severe back pains if you’re sitting posture is not good enough. Try to move around if you can. If you can fix in a quick light exercise routine in your schedule, that will be even better. You don’t even have to do it every day. Two or three days of simple exercises can help a lot in relieving sciatic pain.

Try Using Heating Pads

Heat treatment is very common in dealing with sciatica pain. Simply get a heating pad and set it on the lowest settings possible. Place it in the area feeling the pain and gently pat it for a few minutes. Normally, it takes 15 to 20 minutes for the best results. Try and also make this a regular thing. Practice it three or four times a day and your pain will soon be gone.

Reduce Inflammation

Studies show that at least 10% of all people who suffer from regular back pains have sciatica. Nonetheless, there are other risks factors that may lead to this. For example, sitting for long periods, driving a truck for long hours, being tall or even being overweight may all lead to sciatica pain. However, most of the time it starts like a normal inflammation. Dealing with these inflammations as soon as possible will help reduce the risk of sciatica pain in the future.

Conclusion

Sciatica is a painful condition that will make everyday life quite unbearable. The only good news you can take from this is that treatments are available and many of them are quite effective in dealing with the pain. In case you are suffering from this condition, talk to your doctor and see what treatment options are ideal for you.

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You can ignore beauty care advice but keep in mind one thing, that sunscreens are the most significant skin-care products to keep you safe daily. Until more recently, the skin has been known only to be exposed to heat from the sun’s rays. Thanks to medical advancements, it’s now a known fact that aside from the heat, UVA and UVB rays from the sun are also menaces we must deal with as these can cause skin discolorations, wrinkles, and even skin cancer.

A sunscreen product with SPF can protect our skin from all these plus an added benefit of keeping hyperpigmentation and dark spots on the skin from spreading or getting worse. It’s highly recommended that we should use sunscreens every day, each time we leave home. Of course, one should also take into account the type of sunscreen to use because not all are good ones.

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61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Non-Greasy Sunscreen Stick
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Broad Spectrum SPF 70
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Helps Reverse Skin Dehydration
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Sun Bum Premium Sunscreen Face Stick
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Broad Spectrum UVA / UVB Protection
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen with Cellular Response Technology
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Non-comedogenic, kid-friendly and water-resistant.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick Sunscreen

This sunscreen will provide you with powerful protection from the sun. It’s made with a breakthrough formulation and it comes in the form of a lightweight, easy-to-use stick. You can use it to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun each and every day. With this product, applying sunscreen is made easy!

The Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick Sunscreen will glide on smoothly without having to make your hands messy. It’s a non-greasy sunscreen for the face which will give you a non-shiny finish as well as a weightless feel. It will help provide you with broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays.

By applying this sunscreen, you can help protect your skin from skin damage as well as from skin cancer. It’s specifically formulated for the face but you can also use it for your body. This is a convenient sunscreen which is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It’s definitely one of the best!

Pros

  • Water-resistant sunscreen for up to 80 minutes which comes in the form of a convenient stick.
  • Suitable for use on the face and the body.
  • Made with a powerful formula with SPF 70 broad-spectrum protection which you can use daily.

Cons

  • You still have to rub the sunscreen on your face for it to stay on.
  • Not suitable for children.

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen

This sunscreen for face will provide you with sun protection as well as hydration. Applying this to your skin will make it feel smooth and soft while making it healthier too. This sunscreen contains Active Naturals oat which delivers broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It’s even water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

The Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen is made with an oil-free, non-comedogenic formulation which gets absorbed by the skin quickly. You can use this sunscreen for your face as well as for the rest of your body. It comes from a dermatologist-recommended brand and it will nourish and protect your skin.

This sweat-resistant sunscreen lotion is also very easy to apply. It’s a broad spectrum sunscreen that’s also recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as it will be able to keep your skin well-protected. And because of its ingredients, it has moisturizing benefits too! Talk about a great sunscreen!

Pros

  • Dermatologist-recommended sunscreen that’s waterproof for up to 80 minutes.
  • Contains Active Naturals oat which soothes, moisturizes, and nourishes the skin.
  • Oil-free, non-comedogenic and gets absorbed by the skin quickly.

Cons

  • May leave a white film on the face.
  • Not suitable for those with darker skin tones.

Sun Bum Premium Sunscreen Face Stick

This is another broad-spectrum sunscreen for the face which will provide you with UVA and UVB protection. The Sun Bum Premium Sunscreen Face Stick is easy to use making it perfect for adults and kids too. It’s specially formulated for those with sensitive skin so you can use it daily. It’s a water-resistant sunscreen for up to 80 minutes. Aside from protecting your skin, it can also help moisturize and prevent the skin from premature aging.

Pros

  • Suitable for children and adults too.
  • It’s hypoallergenic and gentle enough to be used daily.
  • Also, it’s free of PABA, oil, and gluten.

Cons

  • Some say it has a waxy texture.
  • May cause rashes in some kids.

Supergoop!Everyday Sunscreen

This is an everyday sunscreen for the face that’s made with a special Cellular Response Technology. It has SPF 50; broad-spectrum protection and you can use it for your face as well as your body. The Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen is an oil-free lotion that’s non-comedogenic too. It contains potent antioxidants which will also protect and preserve the youthful glow of your skin. It’s made with a feel-good formulation that’s lightweight, moisturizing, and gets absorbed by the skin quickly too.

Pros

  • Oil-free sunscreen which is suitable for the face and the body.
  • Protects the skin and moisturizes it too.
  • Water-resistant, non-comedogenic, and suitable for kids too.

Cons

  • It’s quite greasy.
  • It’s fairly expensive.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Face Sunscreen

This is a sunscreen for the face that’s also a face serum. It’s specially formulated with the distinct Cell-OX Shield Technology which contains antioxidants as well and UVA and UVB filters. The La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Face Sunscreen will provide you with SPF 50 broad spectrum protection. It also has anti-aging benefits which means that it will improve your skin’s texture by reducing the appearance of dark spots, fine lines, and more.

Pros

  • 2-in-1 sunscreen and face serum with anti-aging properties.
  • Suitable for those with sensitive skin.
  • Has UVA/UVB filters and delivers antioxidants as well to keep the skin protected.

Cons

  • It’s fairly greasy.

Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen

This sunscreen for face will give your skin a radiant glow while improving its health internally. The Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen is crafted with a special formula of calcified red algae and minerals which are custom-defined. These will nourish your skin as well as protect it. With this sunscreen for face, you can prevent up to 90%. It will give you a delicately radiant finish while concealing skin imperfections too.

Pros

  • An award-winning brush-on sunscreen that’s lightweight.
  • Dermatologist-recommended and provides sheer coverage.
  • Suitable for an acne-prone and sensitive skin.

Cons

  • It’s quite dry when applied on the skin.

Biore Sarasara UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen

This sunscreen comes from one of the most famous brands out there. The Biore Sarasara UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen is an SPF 50 sunscreen for the face and the body. It’s water-based and you can easily wash it off using a regular skin cleanser. The sunscreen has a fresh aroma of fruits making it appealing to both kids and adults.

Pros

  • The sunscreen will provide you with SPF 50 protection.
  • Ideal for use on the face and the body.
  • Has a pleasant aroma of fresh fruits.

Cons

  • Tends to dry up quickly.
  • Doesn’t have unblocking properties.

Clarins Sunscreen for Face

This sunscreen for the face is suitable for sensitive skin and it will provide you with high levels of protection. It has a weightless texture and it also dissolves in the skin quickly. With the Clarins Sunscreen for Face will help prevent skin aging induced by the sun while promoting a long-lasting and even tan. It’s specially formulated with Phyto-Sunactyl 2 Complex to provide you with enhanced protection. This sunscreen will definitely leave your skin looking youthful and feeling nourished.

Pros

  • A high-quality sunscreen that provides superior protection.
  • Lightweight and suitable for those with sensitive skin.
  • Promotes a long-lasting tan that’s even too.

Cons

  • It’s quite oily.
  • Some customers don’t appreciate the smell.

Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

If you’re looking for an ultra-light sunscreen for the face that will provide you with high-performance protection, then the Hawaiian Tropic Island Sports Broad Spectrum Sunscreen is the one for you. Applying this sunscreen for the face with leave your skin looking beautiful and healthy. It’s breathable, non-greasy, and will get absorbed by your skin quickly. The sunscreen is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation and is also sweat-resistant and non-comedogenic.

Pros

  • An ultra-light sunscreen that’s breathable and non-comedogenic.
  • Sweat-resistant and gets absorbed by the skin quickly.
  • Also, water-resistant for up to 80-minutes.

Cons

  • Some say they still get burned after application.
  • It’s quite watery.

3LAB Perfect Sunscreen

This sunscreen will provide you with ultimate protection from the sun. The 3LAB Perfect Sunscreen also helps fight off damages caused by free radicals. It’s made with a lightweight formula and a unique polymer technology. It won’t feel heavy on your skin but it will protect it effectively. The sunscreen also contains ingredients which will help combat the appearance of the common aging signs such as wrinkles, sun spots, and more.

Pros

  • Broad spectrum sunscreen that’s suitable for the face and body.
  • Protects the skin against the UV rays which may be harmful.
  • Oil-free and has natural anti-inflammatory properties.

Cons

  • It’s quite greasy.
  • Tends to leave a white film.

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61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Non-Greasy Sunscreen Stick
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Broad Spectrum SPF 70
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Helps Reverse Skin Dehydration
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Sun Bum Premium Sunscreen Face Stick
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Broad Spectrum UVA / UVB Protection
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen with Cellular Response Technology
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Non-comedogenic, kid-friendly and water-resistant.

Who Needs Sunscreen for Face?

Sunscreen for the face is the most important product that can protect your skin from the daily onslaught of the sun’s rays. Almost all dermatologists are recommending its use for the simple reason that it actually works. Preventing sunburn is the first priority for using the product as it reduces the risks of skin cancer.

Because of advanced formulas, sunscreens can also make you look and feel younger. Research has demonstrated that sunscreens can protect the skin from deadly UV rays that can cause premature aging. They can also reverse the signs of aging by reducing the appearance of dark spots, improve texture, and boost brightness.

Your choice of sunscreen for face should be different from the one you will use on your body. The product’s label should read “broad spectrum” as this will ensure protection from both UVA which causes aging and from UVB which burns the skin. Some products only have UVB protection. With regards to SPF contents, the product should have an SPF of 30 and above.

What Are the Benefits of Sunscreen for Face?

Using sunscreen has multiple benefits for your health. Primarily, it will protect the skin from the sun’s harmful radiations. This will decrease the risks of developing sunburn, skin cancer, and even premature aging. For optimum protection, choose the appropriate sunscreen, wear it regularly, and use the product as directed.

Sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer. Ultra Violet rays are those deadly radiations of the sun which can prompt some harmful changes on a person’s skin. There are two types of UVs, first are the UVAs and second, UVBs which are less common but can still cause damage to the skin. UBAs and UVBs both be a factor in the development of skin cancer. This makes it essential that sunscreens should be used daily, all-year round. Everybody should be using it, regardless of the color of your skin.

They can also prevent the premature aging of the skin. The regular use of sunscreen can help put a stop to premature aging. An experiment was conducted to prove the effects of sunscreens. One group was required to apply sunscreen daily. The other group involved only the discretionary use of the product. Conclusions of the study showed that there were less aging effects on the group that was directed to use sunscreen as compared to the other group who used it only on discretion. Aside from premature aging, sunscreens can also help prevent the appearance of age spots.

Sunscreen for the face is important in the prevention of sunburn. This is perhaps the most harmful effect of the sun’s rays on the skin. Beach frequenters are surely aware of this. Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause sunburn which is characterized by the reddening of the skin, swelling, and peeling. Sunburn can be caused not only by the sun but also by prolonged exposure to UV rays in tanning beds.

Severe sunburn can cause blistering which can bring about permanent damage to the skin. This could further lead to an increase in the risk of skin cancer. Those who have prolonged and frequent exposure to the sun’s rays have a greater risk of developing melanoma, the worst type of skin cancer. The best way to prevent sunburn and its long-term side effect is to use sunscreen.

What Are Sunscreens for the Face?

To protect the skin, sunscreen should be a must item in every beauty kit. It must be applied even during bad or cloudy weather conditions because radiation, especially UV rays, is a constant factor that can damage our skins.

Ultraviolet rays are a kind of energy that originates from the sun. It’s also the main cause of many types of skin cancer. On cloudy or dark skies, these rays still penetrate our atmosphere. Surprisingly, overcast shadows at times can still cause mild types of sunburn.

UVA rays comprise about 95% of the UVs that reach the surface of the Earth. UVA waves are usually longer and can penetrate the skin deeply until the hypodermis, a subcutaneous fat just beneath the skin, and this functions as insulation and padding for the body. Seasons don’t matter with UVAs. They are present the whole year round during daytime.

UVB rays are short-waved radiations that can cause sunburns and reddening of the skin which can eventually lead to some type of skin cancer. While infrared rays can penetrate through the subcutaneous layers which are very deep.

Sunscreens for the face are formulated specifically for the face are lighter. They also absorb faster than sunscreens for the body. Because the face and body have different requirements, there is no one sunscreen that can fit all options. There’s a wide range of sunscreens you can choose from depending upon what you need.

There are products that are oil-free, anti-aging, tinted, and the formulas can work for different people. When making your choice, consider your skin, tone type, and any other concerns, to that matter. It’s best suggested to buy a sunscreen that is labeled “broad spectrum”, as it will provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Also, consider the SPF value as this will indicate protection against UVB rays.

Always make it a point to apply sunscreen when you go outdoors. The most important function of sunscreen for the face is to filter out UVA and UVB rays as these are the main causes of skin cancers, premature aging, lines, pigmentation problems, poor complexion, and wrinkles. You would be ensured of a more youthful appearance if you use sunscreens every day.

For the ladies, there are many sunscreen brands available that can really sit well under your makeup. There are different kinds of sunscreens that are available in the market today: mineral, chemical and one that combines both.

First, there are mineral sunscreens which are sometimes called physical sunscreens.  The natural and active ingredients of this type used to block UV rays are titanium oxide and zinc oxide. They will sit on the surface of the skin and reflect any UV light rays away.

Chemical or synthetic sunscreens contain a combo of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, octisalate, avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, and octocrylene. These chemicals can absorb the UV light rays into the skin then convert them into heat and light which won’t cause damage.

There is really no difference in how these types work when it comes to protecting your skin from UV rays. The choice now is which type will best work for your skin.

How Do You Properly Apply Sunscreen for the Face?

It will take just about an ounce of the sunscreen to fully cover any exposed facial skin in adults. If you are using the gel-based or cream types, squeeze the required amount into the palm then spread it evenly over the areas that will be exposed to sunlight. Buff well into the skin to ensure that the sunscreen is absorbed completely. Repeat the procedure every two hours.

If you are using the spray type, hold the bottle upright and move it to and fro across the skin that will be exposed to sunlight. Spray generously and make sure all areas are covered. And be sure not to inhale it. Also, be very careful when applying the spray sunscreen on your face or when children are around.

You can apply the product on your face thirty minutes before exposure to sunlight. You can also use sunscreen under makeup. Also make it a point to stay indoors if you can, when the UV radiation is most intense. This usually happens between noon time until early evening.

Extra protection against the sun can be done by wearing sunglasses. A cap stole or scarf can also provide some help. Remember the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” To achieve this, buy the best sunscreen for face and this will keep your skin young, beautiful, and healthy.

What Features Should the Sunscreen for Face Have?

There are several sunscreen features you need to be wary about before buying one. First of all, check its manufacture date. When it comes to such products, we all should agree that the fresher the product, the more efficacy it will have. The ingredients in products tend to break down in time and sunscreens are no different. Check the dates on the sunscreen to ensure you get from the freshest stock possible. Also, remember to entirely use the contents of your product before buying a new one. You will be avoiding the stocking up of sunscreens in your closet till they expire.

Get one which is made by a well-known and trusted the brand. To get the best choice will entail a little more money. But this will make sure you are getting the best. Go for proven international brands if possible. These products usually comply with strict regulations before being certified.

The product shouldn’t contain any dangerous ingredients. Always make it a point to check the ingredients of the sunscreen you are purchasing. Some ingredients which can provide protection from UV rays can also cause harmful effects.  The chemical oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor which can cause some allergic reactions. Also, avoid those with titanium oxide and zinc oxide. The latter chemical can make your face appear pale and ghostly. Both can do harm to the skin.

Go for products which will provide sweat and water resistance. Obviously, this feature is a must for those who would want to spend time on the beach. Water-resistant should be self-explanatory. If your sunscreen should cause stinging sensations on your face and body, throw it out immediately and buy one that your skin will feel comfortable with.

Important Factors to Keep in Mind

Skin Type That’s Compatible With the Sunscreen for Face

What type of sunscreen to use on your face can depend upon several factors. For incidental sun exposure which means you stay outside for only a few minutes, it’s recommended to use a sunscreen with SPF 15. This will filter out about 95% of the UV radiation which is acceptable.

Facial skin that is prone to rosacea and acne should avoid any products that contain fragrances, preservatives, alcohol, and chemicals like oxybenzone or PABA. Also, avoid greasy sunscreens since they can make acne allergies worse. Some gel-formulas containing alcohol can be used as they are less likely to exacerbate the condition.

If you have dry skin, moisturizers are often the solution to dry skin and these are now part of many sunscreens to take care of dry conditions. These can include lanolin, silicones, and oils. Moisturizing sunscreens are usually in the form of creams, ointments, and lotions. Those who have dry skin should look at the sunscreen labels and make sure they have the right choice.

For people who are suffering from melasma, have skin cancer history or have skin that’s very fair, it’s recommended that they use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more. This should give them extra protection from UV rays. Frequent reapplication in such cases become necessary.

It’s wrong to presume that darkly-toned persons don’t need to use sunscreens because they can rarely get sunburned. What they should know is that exposure to the sun’s UV rays can do DNA damage. If these dark-toned guys decide to use sunscreens, they should avoid the physical sunscreens, especially those that are titanium-based because they can look white and chalky when applied on the skin.

Those of age can also benefit from the use of sunscreens. All of us, young or old, still need protection from the sun’s UV rays. This will lessen the risk of developing skin cancer in any form. Without sunscreen, skin aging could be accelerated and this could lead to sagging, age spots, leathery skin, and wrinkles.

Protection of the Sunscreen for Face

Broad spectrum sunscreens are the best protection against the deadly UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Both of these rays can cause skin damage and there is a need to protect the skin from their effects. Wrinkles and skin aging are caused by overexposure to UVA rays while sunburn and skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UVB rays.

For maximum protection against such UV rays, it’s recommended to wear sunscreens with an SPF of 30 and above. You can use a sunscreen with a higher SPF which may guarantee more protection. However, there is no sunscreen with an SPF of 100. Also, note that the effectiveness of these sunscreens will last the same amount of time, no matter what the SPF number is.

Texture of the Sunscreen for Face for Your Skin Type

Many believe that a sunscreen’s texture has something to do with its effectiveness. This is a false assumption because various textures of sunscreens are equally effective when it comes to protecting the skin from UV rays. Just to make their products more appealing, manufacturers have raised the SFP factor of their products to 30 or more, even for oil-based ones which many people think as inefficient. Which sunscreen to buy is then left to the consumer and becomes an entirely personal decision.

If you are looking for a glossy effect, oils will be the best choice. For those who are impatient who prefer something light and non-sticky, spray sunscreens will satisfy their needs. This is a quality found only in sprays and is fast becoming a very popular choice. Whether oils or sprays, the sunscreen still needs to be massaged into the skin to get optimum protection.

Milk is another form of sunscreen. This has been improved so it could leave behind a light and glossy layer. But this one can prove to be rather sticky with some skin types. Creams , on the other hand, offer the highest SPF and are more water-resistant when compared to the other forms.  These are also the best sunscreens for dry skin.

Protecting the face from the sun is the main function of sunscreens, adding SPF and texture to make it more effective. Foundations and powders do have a certain amount of SFP and are generally listed in the product’s label. But these tend to be light and are not the best protection when one should spend long hours outdoors or on the beach.

The face is exposed to the sun’s UV rays a lot more than the body is. This, logically, would lead to faster aging of the skin, a loss of elasticity and an increase in age spots. These could all be avoided by using daily the right sunscreen for your skin.

You can use the same sunscreen for both your body and your face. But remember that certain textures are better adapted for the face and this becomes more comfortable when used on a daily basis. Sunscreens are now available in different forms. Usually, the sunscreen choice is based on the SPF factor but the search for the perfect sunscreen can now be fine-tuned to include features like anti-aging, anti-spot, anti-wrinkle, and more.

Physical or Chemical Sunscreen for Face

Sunscreens can either be physical sunscreens or chemical sunscreens. Sometimes, it could be a combination of both. Physical sunscreens typically contain active mineral components which can include titanium oxide or even zinc oxide. When applied, these minerals would sit on the skin’s surface, deflecting and scattering the UV rays. They are also known as physical blockers.

Since physical sunscreens offer protection against UVA and UVB rays, they are “broad spectrum” by nature. When it’s applied, the sunscreen begins its work of protecting the skin from UV rays. No wait time needed. Its effectiveness can last longer under direct UV light. But it’s diminished if one is engaged in certain activities makes the skin sweaty or wet.

There are fewer chances for physical sunscreens to cause stinging irritations making it ideal for those with sensitive skin. They are recommended for people who have heat-activated skin since the screen can deflect the heat from the sun. Those with reddened skin and rosacea can benefit from this.

This type doesn’t clog pores, making it a great choice for skin that’s prone to blemishes. The shelf life of physical sunscreens is longer too. But because they can rub-off, rinse-off, and sweat-off quite easily, there is a need for reapplication, especially when outdoors. Some types can leave a whitish-cast, making the formula unsuited for those who have medium and dark skin.

They can be too opaque and chalky when used under makeup and this can result in the formation of an occlusive film. This can increase perspiration which will cause the sunscreen to wear off faster. Since the texture is thicker, this will need some effort to actually rub the sunscreen in. This may cause some white drips to form when sweating. If you don’t apply the sunscreen correctly and generously, there will be less protection against because the UV rays can penetrate through molecules of the sunscreen.

Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, contain organic compounds, meaning they are carbon-based as all living things are. Such compounds can include oxybenzone, octisalate, avobenzone, and octinoxate. When used in a  chemical sunscreen, these can cause a chemical reaction that will convert UV rays into light and heat then releasing such from your skin. They are also known as organic or chemical absorbers.

In terms of consistency, chemical sunscreens are thinner and easier to spread. This property makes it more wearable on a daily basis. Furthermore, this same property can protect your skin more efficiently because there will be no gaps between molecules after it is applied. Additional ingredients which offer other skin benefits such as enzymes and peptides can also be easily added.

On the downside, they may increase the already existing discoloration and brown spots. This is caused by a higher skin temperature brought about by the use of the sunscreen. Unlike physical sunscreens, this type needs about 20 minutes before it can begin its work. There is also the possibility of irritations and stinging sensations. This is because of the different ingredients used to achieve the “broad spectrum”  UVA and UVB protection.

When the SPF becomes higher, there is a higher risk of irritations, especially for those with sensitive skins. When exposed to direct sunlight, the protection it provides will be used up a lot more rapidly. Reapplication, therefore, becomes more frequent. Because chemical sunscreens convert UV rays into heat,  such can aggravate flushing and redness on the rosacea-prone skin. For those with oily skin, the sunscreen can cause pores to clog. And if the sunscreen drips into your eyes through sweat, this can cause stinging sensations.

Oxybenzon as an ingredient in some chemical sunscreens has been found to be quite disruptive to the functions of hormones. But more studies are needed to prove this. There is no one way to tell which the best sunscreen since each formula is is different from all the rest. You can subject yourself to a patch test to determine compatibility. Don’t base your decision on what the labels tell you.

Expiration Date of the Sunscreen for Face

We are basically creatures of habit. For one, we might use the same sunscreen product for years. Maybe because you don’t feel anything wrong with it. Maybe because you are that confident because the product is FDA approved. Here’s a small food for thought. The FDA requires that sunscreens should maintain the original strength at least for three years.

But what is more important is that you use sunscreen the whole year even when the forecast is cloudy or rain. Also, check on your sunscreen’s expiration date. If it doesn’t have one, write down the date when you purchased it so you would know if it’s time to get rid of it. Changes in color and consistency should also give you an inkling that it is time to purchase a new bottle.

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Conclusion

Sunscreens have become an important factor for skin health, especially with the discovery of UV rays. During earlier times, we always thought that sunburn was the worse the sun can do for us, health-wise. Of course, we cannot live without that shining star above us. But we now need protection from UV rays as they can wreak havoc on our health.

UVs do not only give us a sunburn. They can also cause premature aging, wrinkles and skin cancer. The most effective weapon we have to prevent the effects of UV rays is sunscreen, which can serve as a defense barrier between the sun’s rays and the body. The advancement of medical studies has yielded for us the best protection against the sun’s rays. Sunscreens now can cater to the needs of each person, depending on skin type and tone.

Applications need to be done on a daily basis for sunscreens to become effective. It will now be up to you to comply with the rules to protect yourself from the sun’s deadly rays.

 

 

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Folic acid, also known as Folate, is a type of vitamin B and it’s responsible for many things like producing DNA, producing red blood cells, and repairing DNA.

If your diet lacks folate, you could end up suffering from folate deficiency. There are numerous foods and drinks that are a good source of folate, most specifically those dark green vegetables and citrus juices. If you don’t get enough in just a few weeks, you’ll immediately suffer from deficiency. You can also suffer from deficiency if you have a condition that makes your body incapable of absorbing folate.

Folate deficiency could develop to anemia, a condition where you will have very few red blood cells (RBC). Anemia will deny your tissues of the oxygen that it needs since it’s the RBC that’s responsible for carrying the oxygen. Folate is especially necessary for women who are in the childbearing stage. Pregnant women suffering from folate deficiency could give birth to a baby with birth defects.

Most people are getting folate from food. Several foods today have additional folate in them, which helps prevent folate deficiency. Furthermore, supplements are highly recommended for pregnant women.

Folate Deficiency Symptoms

Most symptoms of folate deficiency are subtle and may include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Gray hair
  • Growth problems
  • Mouth sores
  • Swelling tongue

Below are the symptoms of anemia, which occur as a result of folate deficiency:

  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Pale skin
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness

What Causes Folate Deficiency?

Folate is a type of water-soluble vitamin. It gets dissolved in water and doesn’t get stored in your cells. As a result, you must keep on taking folate since your body is unable to keep some reserve. The excess amount of water-soluble vitamins is released through urine.

Here are some of the main causes of folate deficiency.

Diet. A diet that doesn’t include a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as fortified cereals, are often the main reason behind folate deficiency. Furthermore, overcooking food could end up destroying the vitamins in them. The level of folate in your body could decrease in only a few weeks if you deprive yourself of foods that are rich in folate.

Disease. There are certain conditions that could affect the absorption of the gastrointestinal tract, which could lead to folate deficiencies. Among these diseases are:

  • Celiac disease
  • Certain types of cancers
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Severe problems in the kidney, which requires dialysis

Genetics. There are some people who have a genetic mutation, which prevents their body from efficiently and properly converting supplemental or dietary folate into its usable form.

Medication Side Effects. Certain medications may also lead to folate deficiency and this could include the following:

  • Methotrexate
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

Excessive Alcohol Intake. Alcohol could also interfere with the absorption of folate. It increases the excretion of folate and releases it through the urine.

How to Diagnose Folate Deficiency?

Folate deficiency is diagnosed through a blood test. The test is often performed among pregnant women when they go for prenatal check-ups.

Severe complications could take place when you’re suffering from the deficiency of folic acid. It’s because folic acid is essential for the production of RBCs in the body. Severe deficiency could also result in megaloblastic anemia. This is a condition that takes place when the red blood cells are not developed completely and are often larger than the usual size. The deficiency can also possibly lead to the low platelet count and white blood cells. Folate deficiency can also make the fetus to develop serious birth defects in the brain and spinal cord.

Folate Deficiency Complications

Folate is important for the production of red blood cells. Complications of the folate deficiency could include the following:

  • Low level of platelets and white blood cells.
  • Megaloblastic anemia, which could lead to the development of red blood cells that are larger than the usual.
  • Serious birth defects affecting the brain and spinal cord of the fetus.

Folate Deficiency Treatment

The treatment of folate deficiency will simply require increasing the intake of folate. Aside from getting it from foods or drinks, folate can also be taken from folate supplements. Those who have a genetic mutation, which affects their body’s ability to absorb folate, called the MTHFR, may need to take methylated folate in order to prevent folate deficiency.

In supplements, folate is usually added to other B vitamins. These are also known as the Vitamin B complexes. Women who are pregnant must totally avoid alcohol and those who have folate deficiency must also lessen their intake of alcohol.

Precautions with Folic Acid Foods

Folate deficiency may also trigger several negative symptoms like fatigue, weakness, irritability, and headaches. It could also indicate that there are some other underlying nutrient deficiencies because it usually occurs along with some other vitamin deficiencies. If you feel like you are suffering from folate deficiency, it would be a good idea to see your doctor and get your folate levels tested.

The best way to meet your folate needs is to get it from whole foods, such as legumes, fruits, and vegetables since they don’t come with any risk of side effects. But if you prefer to add folic acid supplements to your diet, you have to be mindful of the amount you are consuming. You should only take less than 1,000 micrograms every day in order to prevent any negative side effects.

Folic Acid Benefits

Folic Acid for Pregnancy. Folic acid is highly beneficial during the period of pre-conception and during the pregnancy as well. Folate can help to prevent birth defects, enhance the development of the fetus, and increase the chances of conceiving. Those who are planning to conceive are often asked to take folate daily. However, the folic acid supplements must be taken per the dosage recommended by the doctor.

Folic acid intake during pregnancy will not only prevent the baby from any birth defects but it also keeps the baby protected against other problems, such as:

  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Low birth weight
  • Miscarriage
  • Poor growth in the womb
  • Premature birth

Depression. Folic acid is also used to treat depression and improve mood. Taking an adequate amount of folate can help in the proper functioning of the brain.

Digestion. Along with Vitamin C and Vitamin B12, folic acid helps the body in using and digesting proteins.

Acne. Folic acid, along with other important antioxidants, can help in eliminating the toxins from your body, which prevents the growth of acne. However, we must also note that folate overdose could lead to dry and patchy skin, as well as acne.

Hair Growth. Folic acid also plays a key role in hair growth. It helps to renew the cells that help the hair to grow. In fact, deficiency of folate could lead to the premature graying of hair and eventually hair loss.

Red Blood Cells. Folate also plays an important function in the red blood cells (RBC). Folic acid supplements can also help in the production of white blood cells.

Healthy Glow. Proper intake of folate can help to give the skin a natural and healthy glow.

Heart Disease. Along with Vitamin B12, folic acid helps the heart in many ways. For one, they help to minimize clotting, which could possibly lead to cardiovascular diseases. Thus, folate helps to minimize any chances of heart attacks.

Cancer. Folic acid has been shown to help prevent the multiplication of cancer cells. Thus, intake of folate supplement can help to protect you against colon cancer. Furthermore, it can also help to prevent pancreatic cancer and cervical cancer.

Firm Skin. Folate can help to improve the firmness of the skin. It also reduces the signs of skin aging.

Alzheimer’s. Consuming an adequate amount of folate can help to ease the suffering of those with Alzheimer’s disease. This is because folic acid has been shown to prevent memory loss resulting from aging.

Diabetes. Folic acid has also been shown to help minimize fat content in blood. This could help in managing obesity, which also leads to the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes.

Male Fertility. Folic acid is not only important for moms to be. It’s also essential for dads to be as it helps in conception by correcting motility and improving sperm counts.

Gum Infection. Folate can be applied directly to the gums in order to heal gum infections.

Anemia. Anemia is one of the most common conditions that affect millions of people worldwide, from the kids to the elderly. Women are especially at high risk of becoming anemic since they have the tendency to ignore their health issues and don’t care much about their diet.

If you find yourself feeling tired at all times and you often feel dizzy and look pale, you must get yourself checked for anemia. Some other symptoms of anemia include pain in the chest, difficulty in breathing, palpitations, and headaches. Both folic acid and iron will not only prevent anemia, but they also help to cure anemia.

As you may know, iron is essential for the red blood cells. In the same way, folate can also help the Vitamin B12 in the development of RBC. It’s important that you adhere to your daily-required intake of folic acid and iron so as to get enough blood pumping into your veins.

Menstruation. Some women tend to lose a lot of blood during their period. If you’re suffering from extremely heavy flow during your periods and you feel even more exhausted, the reason might be because you lack folic acid and iron. Eating foods that are high in folic acid and iron can help to improve your condition. See your doctor and ask if there is a need for you to take folic acid supplements.

Important Tips for Folic Acid Consumption

  • Alcohol and tobacco can also help to lower down the level of folic acid and thus, high intake of alcohol and smoking could lead to the deficiency of folate.
  • Avoid taking folic acid in excess dosage.
  • Consume folate only after proper consultation with your doctor.
  • Deficiency of folic acid could lead to diarrhea, irritability, gingivitis, poor growth, forgetfulness, loss of appetite, tongue inflammation, sluggishness, shortness of breath, and seborrhea dermatitis.
  • Taking birth control pills is also one of the reasons for the lack of folate in the body.

Is Folic Acid Good for Hair Growth?

Consuming folate regularly help to facilitate an unhindered growth of tissues, allowing the cells to function with no interruption. The unhindered growth of tissues is important when it comes to the matters of hair growth, skin, and nails. Folic acid has been shown to boost the generation of healthy cells, which stimulates the growth of hair in both men and women.

A recent study has also established that folate is effective in treating alopecia. Consuming folic acid regularly has been shown to help in baldness among men. Here are the many ways in which the folate can benefit your hair.

  • As folate speeds up the division of body cells, it also assists in the growth of hair.
  • Folic acid deficiency is one of the main causes of the premature graying of the hair. Hair discoloration takes place as a result of a process known as the megaloblastic anemia, that refers to the abnormal increase of red blood corpuscles. Consuming folate regularly can help to normalize the production of red blood cells.
  • Folic acid helps in the metabolizing of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It also assists in the absorption of the various nutrients in our body. In doing so, your hair follicles would be able to receive the necessary nutrition coming from the foods you consume.
  • Proper synthesis of nutrients can help to keep the hair follicles nourished. This can also add volume and shine to your hair.

How to Use Folic Acid for Hair Growth

Folic Acid and Biotin for Hair Growth

Although a lot of people are already taking Biotin to aid in the growth of their hair and nails, it does not often produce the results that they desire. Taking biotin along with folic acid can surely make a huge difference when it comes to the growth of hair. These vitamins are food for the hair and can help to boost the rate at which your hair will grow. With regular consumption of folate, you’ll notice a visible growth of hair in only a couple of months of taking the supplements. However, it’s important that you talk to your doctor or any healthcare professional before you decide to take any form of folic acid supplements. Nuts, eggs, whole grains, legumes, meats, and other food sources also contain a good amount of Biotin.

Folic Acid Food Sources

If you’re a bit skeptical about taking supplements, you can always opt for natural food sources for your folic acid. Aside from consuming healthier foods, you’ll also less likely to suffer from side effects brought about by these supplements. Some of the best sources of folate are leafy greens and fruits. All dried beans, citrus fruits, and leafy greens, such as spinach are also ideal sources of folate. French beans, capsicum, chilies, and broccoli are also good sources of folate.

Folic Acid and Zinc for Hair Growth

 If you’re suffering from hair loss problem resulting from the deficiency of zinc, you should increase your consumption of zinc and folate. This is a sure-fire way of boosting your hair growth. While biotin works by maintaining the overall health of your nails and hair, zinc’s role is to prevent hair loss, which is often a result of weak follicles. However, you should always get a proper diagnosis before you decide to take any form of supplements. Nuts, oysters, eggs, spinach, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas are also some of the best sources of zinc.

History

Folate is especially essential for supporting your body’s growth and development. Deficiency of folate is one of the main reasons behind birth defects, including anencephaly and spina bifida. The link between neural tube defects and folate deficiency was first discovered in 1965, however, recommendations on the intake of folate during pregnancy did not start until after about a decade later when multiple tests show that intake of folate can help to minimize the occurrences of neural tube defects.

The CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended in 1991 that women who have a history of pregnancies affected by the neural tube defects should start taking folic acid in about 4,000 micrograms from the time they started planning to get pregnant. A year after, the Public Health Service of the United States has advised that all women who are at the childbearing stage must start taking at least 400 micrograms of folate every day either by eating natural foods or supplementation of folate.

However, the neural tube will close in only 28 days after the conception. Since 50% of pregnancies in the US are not planned, most women must start to supplement themselves of folic acid even before getting pregnant.

In 1996, the US has authorized the regulation that mandated the fortification of enriched cereal grains containing folic acid. By 1998, the program was implemented fully and today, there are 53 countries from around the world that have a regulation in place for the fortification of wheat flour in a bid to minimize the risk of birth defects.

Folate vs. Folic Acid

So we now know what folate is, but what about folic acid? They are pretty much the same except for a few distinct differences.

Both folic acid and folate are the different forms of Vitamin B9, however, folate is basically the natural form of the vitamins. On the other hand, folic acid is the synthetic form of Vitamin B9 and it’s used in various supplements added to certain food products as well, including flour and breakfast cereals.

Our digestive system works by converting folate to the active form of Vitamin B9, also known as the 5-MTHF. However, this is not applicable to folic acid. Folic acid works by converting the 5-MTHF in the liver and other tissues instead of the digestive system. This is why the process is not too efficient. Thus, if you’re taking a folic acid supplement, your body will take time to get it converted to 5-MTHF.

This is when the problem would arise. Even just a tiny dose of folic acid per day won’t get metabolized completely until the following dose. This will, therefore, result in a higher level of un-metabolized folic acid on your bloodstream and this could greatly lead to severe complications.

This leads to the answer to the question we’ve asked earlier. When it’s folate, there’s no issue about it not going to be metabolized since it is in natural form. It will be metabolized in the digestive system, which means that there won’t be any complications.

Signs of Excess Folic Acid Consumption

If you acquire your folate from food, there isn’t a need to be concerned about over consuming it and getting enough folate. However, it’s important that you stick to the recommended dosage in order to prevent any adverse side effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, skin reactions, confusion, etc. Some other possible side effects of excess folic acid are changes in sex drive, epilepsy, mood changes, and difficulty in sleeping. The upper limit of folic acid coming from supplements and fortified foods has been set at 1,000 micrograms per day.

Some studies have suggested that the enzyme that converts folic acid to its usable form tend to be very slow, which causes the un-metabolized folic acid to accumulate in the tissues and plasma. Although more research is required when it comes to this, high intake of folic acid coming from supplementation might be linked to an increased risk of colorectal tumor and prostate cancer.

Another problem with the excess folic acid is that it could mask the deficiency of Vitamin B12 and this can have dangerous effects on our health if it’s left untreated. Long-term deficiency of Vitamin B12 can also lead to problems like fatigue, anemia, nerve damage, as well as neurological changes.

How to Use Folic Acid

People should ideally get most of their folate from natural and whole food sources, such as vegetables and fruits. These nutrient-dense foods will not only provide you with folate, but they also contain some other vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body.

If you’re not able to meet your folate needs by eating whole foods or if you’re suffering from a condition that could prevent and impair the absorption of folate, your doctor might prescribe you with folic acid supplements.

Most adults should take up to 400 micrograms of folate each day, however, the daily requirements would be higher for breastfeeding or pregnant women. The dosage of folic acid for women ranges anywhere between 100 and 800 micrograms and most of the prenatal vitamins would normally contain 600 to 800 micrograms of folic acid for every serving.

If you do prefer to take supplements, choose L-methylfolate instead of the folic acid. This is a biologically active form of folate and some studies suggest that this can help to mitigate some of the risks associated with high folic acid intake. In addition, make sure you include a wide range of vegetables and fruits that are rich in folate in order to ensure that you’re able to meet your daily micronutrient needs.

Foods High in Folic Acid

Broccoli. One serving of broccoli is equivalent to 91 g and this has 57.3 micrograms of folate. Thus, it’s capable of meeting 14% of your daily requirement of folate. In addition, broccoli is also filled with Vitamins K and A.

Vitamin K can help to prevent inflammation and osteoporosis while Vitamin A is essential for maintaining good health of the teeth and skin. It also plays a significant role in producing pigments in the eye’s retina.

Pinto Beans. Serving size – 1 cup (193 g)

A serving of the beans is equivalent to 193 grams and that’s a whopping 1,013 micrograms of folate. The beans have 670 calories but with only a small amount of saturated fat. Furthermore, the pinto beans contain a good amount of potassium and studies show that optimum consumption of potassium can help to minimize the risk of stroke.

Seeds and Nuts. A serving of flaxseeds is equivalent to 168 grams while a serving of sunflower seeds is 46 grams, and almonds are 95 grams.

Flaxseeds have 146 micrograms of folate for every serving and sunflower seeds have 104 mcg, while almonds have 48 mcg.

You can consume these seeds and nuts in raw form or add them to your salad or other healthy meals. Flaxseeds also contain manganese and some other vitamins, both of which can help to support your nervous system and immune system, as well as your bones, and some other bodily process. Both almonds and sunflower seeds also contain a good amount of Vitamin E, which promotes healthy eyes and skin.

Asparagus. One serving size of almonds has 134 grams and this has 70 mcg of folate. Furthermore, it also contains only 27 calories although a big portion of these calories came from sugar. Asparagus is also a good source of riboflavin and iron. Riboflavin plays an important role in the metabolism of folate while iron is essential in the production of hemoglobin, which is an important part of the blood cells that can sustain life.

Yeast Extract Spread. One serving of this spread is equivalent to 6 grams and it has 60.6 mcg of folate. Although it’s high in sodium, it only contains 9 calories. You can consume the spread with crackers, toast, and sandwiches. If you’re unable to tolerate its strong taste, you can only use a small amount of the spread.

Another major compound that the yeast extract spread has is niacin. According to a study, niacin can help to lower the level of bad cholesterol in the body.

Liver. If you are non-vegetarian, you will be happy to know that chicken liver and beef liver have a good amount of folate in them. These foods are also rich in selenium that has been found to prevent certain types of heart disorders and cancer. However, the liver is rich in trans-fat and cholesterol and must, therefore, be consumed in moderation.

Herbs. Herbs like basil and rosemary are also good sources of folate. A serving of basil and rosemary has 3.6 mcg and 1.6 mcg of folate respectively. Studies were conducted in India and have shown that both herbs are effective in treating hypertension.

Avocados. A serving of avocados has 122 mcg of folate. Furthermore, avocados contain a good amount of Vitamin C, which displays cardio-protective properties among overweight and obese individuals. In addition, the phytochemicals found in the avocado pack a truly powerful punch.

Soybeans. Mature soybeans have 697 mcg of folate and green soybeans have 422 for every serving. These foods, however, are high in calories. Yet soybeans are good sources of protein and as per a study was done in the University of South Carolina, soybean protein can help to lessen bad cholesterol. It also has positive influences in the calcium balance and the bone among women in the post-menopausal age.

Arugula. One serving of arugula has 1.9 micrograms of folate and this food has extremely low saturated fat content and cholesterol. As a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, this food is truly rich in various benefits.

Black-Eyed Peas. A serving of black-eyed peas has 358 micrograms of folate. Furthermore, it has low saturated fat, less cholesterol and low in sodium.

Bananas. One serving of bananas has 45 mcg of folate and this is 11% of your daily requirement of folate. Furthermore, bananas are good sources of Vitamin B6 and help the body to prepare the antibodies to fight off various diseases. Vitamin B6 is also effective at maintaining the normal nerve function and keeps the level of blood sugar within the normal range.

Tomatoes. A serving of tomatoes has 22 micrograms of folate. These vegetables have less saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. They are also a great source of carotenoids, such as lycopene and beta-carotene, and these exhibit anti-tumor and antioxidant properties.

Chili Powder. For most Indians, no day goes by without eating a dash of chili powder. This is somehow beneficial for the body since a tablespoon of chili powder has 7.5 mcg of folate. The chili powder comes with several other benefits as well. Aside from stimulating the blood circulation, it also enhances metabolism and digestion.

Papaya. One serving of papaya has up to 53 micrograms of folate. Furthermore, papaya is also a great source of Vitamin A and C and it’s used to prevent and treat several disorders in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as intestinal infections.

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