Acupuncture, hot flashes, cheese or butter?

Acupuncture Cools Hot Flashes

A small, yet intriguing study published in Acupuncture in Medicine found that traditional Chinese acupuncture curbed the severity of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Fifty-three middle-aged, postmenopausal women were divided into two groups; one received such treatments twice weekly for 10 weeks, while the other experienced “sham” acupuncture with blunt needles that did not penetrate the skin. In both groups, levels of estrogen and other hormones were measured before the study began and before and after the last session. Menopausal symptoms – hot flashes, vaginal dryness, urinary tract infections and mood swings – were also measured before and after the treatments, using a five-point menopause rating scale (MRS) in order to assess their severity.

At the end of the study, the women receiving Chinese acupuncture scored significantly lower on the MRS scale, with hot flashes seeing the sharpest decrease. The researchers explain that acupuncture boosts production of endorphins, which may stabilize the temperature control system of the body. They say that more investigation is needed because the study was small, but note that its results seem promising suggesting that traditional Chinese acupuncture could be an alternative for women unable or unwilling to use hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms.

Source: Natural Awakenings magazine, May 2012 issue

 

Cheese is Better than Butter

Despite traditional cautions against eating animal fats to keep cholesterol in check, Danish researchers have found that eating hard cheese is better for the arteries than consuming the equivalent number of calories in butter.

According to their study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, when hard cheese account for 13 percent of participants’ daily calories, their LDL (bad cholesterol) did not increase. When the same individuals switched to consuming more butter, their LDL levels rose. The researchers were unsure what caused the results, but noted that cheese contains a lot of calcium, which can increase the amount of fat excreted by the digestive tract.

Source: Natural Awakenings magazine, May 2012 issue

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