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  • Anna B. Shannahan, MD

Insta-Great-ive Medicine Collection No. 01

As a physician who does Integrative Medicine consults for patients, I make sure to stay up to date on the latest evidence & articles surrounding wellness. I thought I should be sharing this knowledge with as many as possible!

So thank you for joining in for the 1st collection of recent wellness-related research & articles – it’s “Insta-Great-ive Medicine!”

My goals are to keep you informed (as a dual Fellowship-trained physician working at one of the 7 Osher Centers in the world I sort things out for you & bring you straight to reliable, helpful information), let you know how you can apply this new knowledge, & focus on the positive.

My biggest hope is to help you, so questions, suggestions, etc. are welcome!

(If for some reason you can’t access an article let me know & I’ll be happy to send it to you!)

1. Honey “could provide a safer, cheaper and more readily available alternative to antibiotics!"

The more we can avoid unnecessary antibiotics (for example for viral colds & viral coughs) the better - this helps fight against antibiotic resistance, & keeps you from antibiotic-related side effects. It looks like honey may be part of the solution! It’s already been studied & recommended in the past for children with cough, & new data shows it’s officially a great option for adults with colds too - in fact this study shows it’s better than usual care. It’s cheap, widely available & effective for cough & other symptoms.

To Do: Next time you have a cough or cold, try honey! (In addition to consulting your regular doctor.)


2. Yoga & meditation could be beneficial against Covid-19!

A paper written by researchers from Harvard, MIT, & other centers discusses the anti-inflammatory, immune-supporting & stress-reducing potential benefits of yoga & meditation, that can be harnessed for healing from Covid-19. This paper reviews many studies that support that these practices could be effective adjunctive means of treating and/or preventing coronavirus. The suspected mechanisms include potentially increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines (small proteins important for cell signaling). They can also be beneficial for supporting mental health during this period of social isolation. More research is needed but this is an exciting development!

To Do: If you’ve been looking for motivation to try meditation &/or yoga, this could be it! If you already have a practice, keep it up.


3. Carotenoids (pigments in mostly red, yellow, orange & dark green veggies & fruits) can have long-term benefits for female brain health.

This recent research showed that women who had higher intake of carotenoids (pigments in mostly red, yellow, orange & dark green veggies & fruits) over 15 years had less cognitive decline as they aged. You may have heard of some carotenoids - they include β-carotene, lutein & lycopene. It’s thought that carotenoids have “brain-protective function through their antioxidant properties” & “may also reduce the influence of inflammation on brain function by interacting with inflammatory signaling cascades.” The ideal combination & dose hasn’t been determined yet, & keep in mind that supplements can work differently than intake from foods so don’t go out & buy a carotenoid supplement without consulting your doctor. It’s great to hear that eating carrots, leafy greens, tomatoes & other high-carotenoid fruits & veggies can have a long-term positive effect on cognitive function in women!

To Do: Ladies, up your intake of red, yellow & orange veggies & fruits to help stay cognitively sharp.


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