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Beware of fake bodybuilding supplements

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New Delhi, Sep 8: During this last decade there has been a huge surge in the demand for bodybuilding supplements in the country. However, a study by Assocham and business management consultant RNCOS indicates that as much as 60-70 per cent of the dietary supplement being peddled across India is counterfeit.

Not only are the manufacturers of these fake supplements duping their customers, but using various unapproved and potentially harmful chemicals in their fake offerings and putting the youngsters of our nation in harm’s way.

Another study found that nearly 80 percent of the youth who are into bodybuilding consume one or the other form of dietary supplement. Assocham estimates that the market for dietary supplements is set to double from the current $2 billion to $4 billion by 2020. Why? Well, most Indian diets are vegetarian-heavy and lack the fast-acting proteins necessary for quick muscle recovery. Health supplements bridge this gap which, in turn, aids in muscle growth.

However, most of the high-quality health supplement brands available in the market today are imported which is on the expensive side (taxes, customs and overheads on imports) especially for young adults who form a sizeable chunk of the target market which is also completely clueless on how health supplements work thus making the perfect market for fake products.

How to identify fake supplements:

One has to really look closely to figure out whether or not the supplement in question is a fake or not. Here are a few ways to tell the genuine ones from the fake:

* Check the hologram: One of the best ways to tell a fake product from the genuine one is to look for the brand’s hologram. Because most of the fake supplements in India are made in extremely low-quality facilities, the technology to properly replicate the hologram doesn’t exist

* Check the barcode: Most smartphones today support apps that can read barcodes and QR codes. Just do a quick scan; the scan of an original brand should ideally lead you to its website

* Check the packaging: This can be a bit tricky. Watch out for spelling mistakes, bizarre fonts, wrong logos and even wrong nutritional information

* Check the seal: If the seal of the product looks weird or of bad quality, chances are that it has been tampered with

* Dissolve a spoonful in water: Add a spoonful of the supplement to water at room temperature and stir for a few seconds. The original supplement will dissolve easily whereas the fake products usually leave behind clumps of the powder as residue in the glass

* Look for FSSAI approval on the packaging: The Food Safety and Standards Association of India or FSSAI is the regulatory body responsible for health supplements

India has a long way to go as far as the health and fitness of its citizens is concerned. The only way to achieve this is by empowering the youth with the right knowledge so that they really understand the science behind it.

A boost to the local manufacturers under the ‘Make In India’ initiative will give the youth access to high-quality supplements at affordable prices. Only when the youth start making informed choices will the black market of fake supplements die a well-deserved death.

IANS

Health

Natural ways to boost immunity in children

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New Delhi, Jan 21: It is natural for parents to protect their children from any harm, including the endless array of germs they are exposed to every day.

As children grow up, they are continuously exposed to various germs, especially in places such as daycare centres and preschool. Children with low immunity are highly susceptible to various types of infections. The high incidence of infections has led to an increased and inappropriate use of antibiotics, which has further resulted in antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance, a widespread problem, takes places when microbes build resistance against the medications intended to kill them due to overuse. It is one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. The best way to tackle this is to build a strong immunity, which naturally protects your child from infections. Dr. Rajesh Kumawat, Head – Medical Services & Clinical Development, The Himalaya Drug Company, shares a few tips that can help boost your child’s immunity.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet that comprises all fundamental components like proteins, minerals, vitamins, micronutrients and unsaturated fats in optimum quantity, helps build the immunity required to fight against various infections or diseases in children. Citrus fruits, carrots, green leafy vegetables, beans, strawberry, yogurt, garlic, and ginger help build immunity with their immunity-boosting properties.

Adequate Sleep

Sleep deprivation suppresses the functionality of the immune system, which makes children susceptible to infections. Adequate sleep is an absolute necessity to rejuvenate the body. Newborns need up to 18 hours of sleep a day, toddlers require 12 to 13 hours, and preschoolers need about 10 hours of sleep.

Hygiene

Maintaining hand hygiene before and after each meal, after playtime, handling pets, blowing the nose, using the restroom and arriving home from daycare helps prevent infections in children.

Herbal Solutions

Despite taking proper care, children’s immunity may be affected. Consumption of herbal dietary supplements like Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), and Guggulu (Balsamodendron mukul) can help children stay healthier as they help build immunity.

“Naturally obtained supplements strengthen the immune system. Herbs like Guduchi, Yashti Madhu, and Guggulu are natural sources of antioxidants. The antiviral property of Yashtimadhu also helps manage asthma, bronchitis, and chronic cough. The anti-inflammatory property of Guggulu helps reduce inflammation,” Dr. Kumawat added.

“Naturally obtained supplements strengthen the immune system. Herbs like Guduchi, Yashti Madhu, and Guggulu are natural sources of antioxidants. The antiviral property of Yashtimadhu also helps manage asthma, bronchitis, and chronic cough. The anti-inflammatory property of Guggulu helps reduce inflammation,” Dr. Kumawat added.

A combination of herbs may be a safe and effective adjuvant to antimicrobials in the management of recurrent infections. When co-prescribed with antibiotics, herbs may
have a role in faster recovery, reduces the duration and cost of therapy, besides preventing reinfections.

IANS

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Anti-inflammatory drugs may put you at heart attack risk

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If you have been hit by the winter cold and are thinking about taking medicines that relieve your aches, pains and congestion, be careful. Those may also put your heart at risk, the American Heart Association has warned.

A study has showed that both decongestants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), found in many cold medicines, were listed as medications that could increase blood pressure.

People who used NSAIDs while sick were more than three times as likely to have a heart attack within a week compared with the same time period about a year earlier when participants were neither sick nor taking an NSAID.

“People with uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid taking oral decongestants. And for the general population or someone with low cardiovascular risk, they should use them with the guidance of a health care provider,” said Sondra DePalma, from the University of Pittsburgh in the US.

Decongestants like pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine constrict blood vessels. They allow less fluid into your sinuses, “which dries you up”, said Erin Michos, associate director of preventive cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Univerity’s Ciccarone Center in Baltimore.

The biggest concerns are for people who have had a heart attack or stroke, or have heart failure or uncontrolled high blood pressure, Michos said, in the paper published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Importantly, healthy people might also be at risk.

For the study, researchers looked at nearly 10,000 people with respiratory infections who were hospitalised for heart attacks.

Participants were 72 years old on average at the time of their heart attacks and many had cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

People who are sick should use both classes of medications — decongestants and NSAIDs — judiciously and understand the potential side effects.

In addition, decongestants should not be taken longer than seven days before consulting with a healthcare provider, DePalma said.

One should also rest and drink plenty of fluids if symptoms are mild or moderate, DePalma noted.

IANS

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What is to be blamed for childhood cancer?

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A team of researchers has thrown light on the community beliefs about what causes cancer in children, an area which remains understudied, finds a latest research.

“Few childhood cancers are attributed to genetics or environmental factors, so when children are diagnosed with cancer, families often wonder ‘why me/why us’?” said lead author Janine Vetsch, postdoctoral research candidate from UNSW Sydney in Australia.

For the study, the team examined the beliefs of more than 600 participants — parents and childhood cancer survivors — about the causes of childhood cancer, and compared them with beliefs of 510 members of the general population.

Findings, published in Acta Oncologica, revealed that more than seven out of 10 childhood cancer survivors and survivors’ parents believed that chance or bad luck caused the cancer.

This led to most parents and survivors seem to understand that there is nothing they could have done to prevent the cancer, according to Vetsch.

However, around one in five families did believe that environmental factors and genetics played a role, despite only limited available scientific evidence, results further showed.

“It looks like healthcare professionals are successfully helping most families arrive at that view,” said Vetsch.

Such views could lead to stigma. Hence, it is important to increase community knowledge of childhood cancer causes in general.

There is a need to encourage doctors to talk about the causes with affected families to address unhelpful misconceptions,” Vetsch suggested.

IANS

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