Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You're Glowing

image by Kobayashi et al.

A recent observation by Japanese scientists gives new meaning to the words "you're glowing". Along with fireflies and jellyfish, humans emit small quantities of light, about 1000 times lower than what our eyes can detect. Place a human in front of a super-sensitive photon-detecting camera in the dark, however, and watch him glow! When imaging five healthy males for 20 minute intervals every 3 hours, researchers determined that the levels of "glowing" fluctuated throughout the day, peaking by 4 PM. The face exhibited the most amount of glow. The cause of glowing is likely due to the byproduct of chemical reactions taking place in our bodies involving free radicals, with glow fluctuations reflecting changes in our metabolism during the day.

Reference: Kobayashi M, Kikuchi D, Okamura H. (2009) Imaging of ultraweak spontaneous photon emission from human body displaying diurnal rhythm. PLoS ONE 4(7): e6256.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006256

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Aloe Vera- Not Only for Cuts and Sunburns

photo by randomidea

A friend of mine was telling me about an article he read recently describing the health benefits of drinking aloe vera juice, particularly in aiding digestive issues. When we think of aloe vera, we usually think about using it to treat minor cuts, scrapes and burns- not cleansing our colons. Drinking aloe vera juice regularly helps repair damaged gut tissues and gently breaks down and washes out unabsorbed food particles in our colons. As an anti-inflammatory agent, aloe vera soothes digestive tract irritations, ulcers, colitis and acid reflux. It also encourages the release of pepsin, a gastric enzyme which degrades food proteins into amino acids. Although the initial phase of drinking aloe vera juice may cause diarrhea or stomach cramps during the "cleansing process" as toxins and build-up are removed, symptoms typically go away within a few days followed by increased intestinal function and relief from whatever was troubling you to begin with. So if you are suffering from irritable bowel symptom (IBS), heartburn, constipation, ulcers, or any other digestive issue, it's worth trying out aloe vera juice!