Archive for May, 2017

The Awesome Way Tattoos Boost Your Health

Science shows there are plenty of easy ways to build a stronger immune system on a daily basis, including working out, staying hydrated, and even listening to music. Not usually mentioned on this list? Getting a sleeve of tattoos.

But according to a new study published online in the American Journal of Human Biology, getting multiple tattoos can actually strengthen your immunological responses, making it easier for your body to ward off illness. We know, crazy, right?!

For the study, researchers analyzed saliva samples from 24 women and five men before and after their tattoo session, measuring levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that lines portions of our gastrointestinal and respiratory systems and is a front line of defense against common infections like colds. They also looked at the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone known to suppress the immune response.

As expected, they found that those who were relatively inexperienced or receiving their first tattoo experienced a significant drop in their immunoglobulin A levels due to heightened stress. In comparison, they found that those who had more tattoo experience (determined by number of tattoos, amount of time they spent getting tattooed, how many years since their first tattoo, the percentage of their bodies covered, and the number of tattoo sessions), experienced an elevation in immunoglobulin A. So, while getting one tat can make you more susceptible to getting sick because your body’s defenses are lowered, multiple tattoos can do just the opposite.

“We think of tattooing like exercise. The first time you exercise after much sloth, it kicks your butt. You can even be more susceptible to catching a cold,” says Christopher Lynn, Ph.D., professor at the University of Alabama, and author of the study. “But with continued moderate exercise, your body adjusts.” In other words, if you’re out of shape and hit the gym, your muscles will be sore, but if you continue, the soreness fades and you’ll actually become stronger. Who knew tats and working out had so much in common?

The researchers didn’t specifically look at how long these immunity-boosting effects last, but Lynn believes that there is an extended affect, granted you don’t have an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle or experience a large environmental change, which can cause the body’s stress and immune systems to be affected.

Of course, we aren’t recommending you head to the tattoo parlor in the name of a potentially stronger immune system, but consider this one way to get all those tattoo haters off your back.

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Can This Toothpaste Cure Allergies?

As you may have noticed, spring allergy season still isn’t over. In fact, June is the peak time for grass pollen in many areas of the country, so your sneezing, itchy eyes, and fatigue may actually be getting worse.

Until now, your only hopes for coping with allergy symptoms have been drugs like antihistamines or preventive “cures” like allergy shots. The former can help ease symptoms, but they often carry not-so-great side effects like dry mouth—and recent research has even shown that if you take them enough, they may hurt your brain. As for the latter, even if you don’t mind needles, shots are a three-plus year commitment, which ultimately is too much for many people.

But there may be an easier fix: a toothpaste.
Granted, we’re not talking about your regular tube of Crest. Called Allerdent, this is a toothpaste that actually contains your allergen—if you’re allergic to a specific type of tree pollen, for example, it’ll be mixed into the paste (either by a compounding pharmacy or your own general practitioner).

It sounds outrageous, but this works in a similar way to allergy shots (and another FDA-approved treatment called sublingual immunotherapy): As you brush, small doses of the allergen get absorbed through the mucus membranes under your tongue and travel to the local lymph nodes, which contain immune system cells. This helps build up your tolerance to the substance, so you (ideally) eventually stop reacting to it at all, explains Bob Pomrenke, the vice president of allergy at QmedRx Compound Pharmacy, which helped create Allerdent.

With shots, though, you have to visit your doctor as often as twice a month for three to five years, which is inconvenient (and, for people who are scared of needles, downright stressful). Even for sublingual immunotherapy, “there’s a high dropout rate, and we wanted to find a way to increase compliance,” explains Pomrenke. Everyone brushes their teeth daily, so building into that established routine made sense. Plus, you’re meant to hold the allergen in your mouth for at least two minutes in order for it to work effectively—the same amount of time you’re supposed to spend brushing your teeth (though few people do). So you might improve your gum health as you build up your tolerance to allergies.

If you’re interested, ask your primary physician or ENT about the treatment. They can send a prescription to Allovate, or learn how to mix it themselves in their own office.

~Courtesy of Shape Magazine

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