Health and Wellness Blog

Exploring Health and Environmental Concerns Surrounding Sunscreen

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Even as summer vacations draw to a close in much of the nation, the perils of sunscreen to the environment remain in the news. Of local interest to those of us here in Tampa are recent media reports about a potential ban on certain types of sunscreen — namely those that might provide the best protection against the sun but are toxic to coral reefs.

Tampa Sunscreen Ban

Turns out that even tiny amounts of sunscreen that wash off a swimmer’s skin in the ocean is enough to cause corals to bleach, lose their algae food source, and make them susceptible to viral infections. In addition, the chemical oxybenzone — an active ingredient in many sunscreens — inhibits the ability of baby corals (polyps) to attach themselves to the reef.

The chemicals in commercial sunscreens may also affect the health of oyster domes and other filter-feeding organisms. Environmental concerns have risen to the point where some areas — most notably Hawaii and Key West — have banned the use of certain sunscreens. While here in Tampa, Spectrum News 9 recently ran continue reading

Does Exposure to EMFs Pose a Serious Health Risk?

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In AMC’s fictional cable TV series Better Call Saul, Saul’s older brother, Charles Lindbergh “Chuck” McGill, is convinced he suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) — often described as an “allergy” to electric and magnetic fields. Symptoms include anxiety, depression, headaches, itchy skin, blurred vision, and heart palpitations.

The condition forces Chuck to move to an electricity-free home, using gas lamps for light and foregoing many other modern conveniences. Visitors, including Chuck’s younger brother Jimmy, are forced to place their electronic devices in the mailbox and ground themselves to discharge any static electricity before entering his home. Chuck even wraps himself in what Jimmy describes as a “space blanket” to shield himself from any electromagnetic fields (EMFs).

Fast forward to the real world, where the introduction of 5G networks promises to deliver ultrafast data and connectivity to our mobile devices, and Chuck’s precautions seemfairly sensible — especially when you consider EMF radiation has been implicated as a possible cause of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and even cancer in humans, along with the deaths of large populations of bees and birds near 5G cell phone towers.

However, the truth about EMFs and their potential for causing illness in humans is far less dramatic. In this post, we separate fact from fiction and present practical precautions for keeping you and your family safe and healthy.

What are EMFs?

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are continue reading

Toxic Mold in Coffee?

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Coffee is a lightning rod for conflicting medical studies. Every few weeks it seems, a new study comes out touting the benefits or risks of drinking coffee or drinking too much coffee — an amount which is also hotly debated.

(Photo courtesy of Kari Shea on Unsplash)

According to BlueCross BlueShield, here’s where the science stands regarding the pros and cons of coffee consumption:

Pros

  • Coffee may help protect against type 2 diabetes.
  • Coffee may help reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease and may help control Parkinson’s related tremors.
  • Coffee lowers the risk of liver cancer and protects against cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Moderate coffee consumption (16 ounces daily) can help protect against heart failure.

Cons

  • Drinking too much coffee/caffeine can trigger anxiety symptoms, especially in those with underlying anxiety disorders.
  • Coffee/caffeine causes the release of adrenaline, which can lead to elevated heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Coffee can inhibit proper sleep cycles in some people, and even cause headaches for other users.

The latest round of studies has introduced a new concern for coffee lovers — the level of mycotoxins in coffee. Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by fungi, including continue reading

Heartburn Medication is Again Linked to Fatal Risks

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Heartburn has been in the news a lot lately — and we’re not referring to the type you might experience while watching a talking head or pundit on CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC.

Rather, we’re referencing recent reports that drugs commonly used to alleviate symptoms associated with heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux, and stomach and small intestine ulcers, may raise the risk of numerous fatal health conditions. Among these risks are cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and upper gastrointestinal cancer.

One such study — Estimates of mortality associated with proton pump inhibitors among US veteranswas published in May of 2019 in the British Medical Journal. In that peer-reviewed study, researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs-Saint Louis, Saint Louis University, and Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis concluded taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is associated with continue reading

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