Month: February 2017

What Is the Vagus Nerve? (and How Does It Impact Health, Mood and Performance?)

In recent years, I’ve regularly vouched for the gut as our long-abused secondary brain. Given what most of us grew up learning in school, it can feel like a mammoth shift. Science and philosophy have long revered the brain as seat of consciousness, even the seat of humanity itself. But when it comes down to it, everything is interconnected. Our consciousness extends well beyond the brain. How we feel and who we are encompasses a much more expansive and intricate system than any of us learned in high school biology. At the center of this paradigm revision is something called the vagus nerve.

Vagus…as a word it sounds a little off-putting. If someone called me a vagus, I’d probably be mildly offended. But the literary origins of this word are actually kind of mystical: “vagus” in Latin translates to “wandering.” And I’d struggle to find a more apt definition.

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8 Alternative Therapies Worth Considering

Here at Mark’s Daily Apple, I avoid writing off anything without first investigating it. I keep one foot in the “alternative” health world and one in the “conventional” realm, making sure to maintain a skeptical—but openminded—stance on everything. There’s no other way to do it, if you’re honest. At least as far as I can tell.

No, not every alternative therapy works. A lot of it is pure hogwash. But whether we’re talking about off-label uses of conventional drugs and illegal drugs, natural pharmacological agents, or downright outlandish-sounding interventions, some therapies are worth considering. Not trying, necessarily. Considering.

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A Primal Look at Gestational Diabetes

Every pregnant woman I’ve ever known has hated the oral glucose tolerance test. Yet, they still do it. Drinking a tall glass of sickly sweet orange-flavored glucose water on an empty stomach is thoroughly disgusting, but it, apparently, offers a rare and valuable glimpse into the state of a woman’s perinatal health.

What they’re testing for is gestational diabetes mellitus—a variant of diabetes characterized by pancreatic insufficiency during pregnancy.

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Dear Mark: Hydroponic vs. Regular Vegetables; Lowering Blood Pressure Without Meds

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions. First up, do the nutrient contents of hydroponic produce differ from soil-grown produce? If so, in what way? Then I give a few (somehwat unprompted) tips for lowering blood pressure without meds. While meds can and do help people overcome or mitigate hypertension, we should apply other options. What are these possibilities?

Let’s go:

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Weekend Link Love – Edition 439

RESEARCH OF THE WEEK
This bacteria links arthritis to Crohn’s disease.

Tobacco use may not be healthy, but some methods of consumption are far worse than others.

Male-type brains linked to higher autism risk in females.

Smokers should switch to vaping.

Not smoking, drinking little or no alcohol, avoiding weight gain, and exercising regularly all reduce cancer risk.

Parkinson’s patients should definitely exercise.

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Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe means “cheese and pepper” and that’s all you need to make this gloriously simple pasta dish. Yes, pasta. If you have a favorite brand of gluten-free pasta, go for it. If not, “zoodles” work well for this dish, too. What matters most here is not the noodle, it’s the cacio e pepe.

The type of cheese used for this classic Italian dish matters in a big way. It’s not just any cheese, it’s Pecorino Romano, an aged Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. Don’t buy cheese labeled only “Romano,” and don’t buy it pre-grated. What you want is the real deal—a wedge of genuine Italian Pecorino Romano.

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