Tag Archives: mental health

Could No Sick Leave Cause Poor Health?

work, sick, paid leave, sick leave, health, wellnessIt’s about that time of year. Cold and flu season is greatly approaching.  Although some employees may have paid sick leave, they may be afraid to use it for risk of ruining their reputation. On the other hand, maybe there is no one to cover their shift. Employees do not have a choice in workplaces where there is no paid sick leave.  If these employees stayed home, they would risk losing pay, or in some cases, their job. A recent study has shown that workplaces without paid sick leave are at risk for harming the health of their employees.

Paid Sick Leave and Health Statistics

A 2013 report by the National Partnership for Women and Families looked at the effect of paid sick leave on health outcomes.  They found that four of ten private sector workers and eight of ten low-income workers do not have access to paid sick leave. Also, these workers were 1.5 times more likely to go to work with the flu or a viral infection.  In the fall of 2009, nearly eight million workers went to work with H1N1.  In turn, these people are thought to have infected seven million of their co-workers. This string of events was likely the cause of the peak of the pandemic.

Furthermore, parents who do not have paid sick leave are more likely to send their sick kids to school or daycare. This is because the parents have no other form of childcare and cannot afford to stay home unpaid. This situation puts care givers, teachers, and classmates of the child at risk. Therefore, paid sick leave is important for the health of not only the worker, but many others as well.

Recent Research

A study of nearly 18000 workers between the ages of 18 and 64 years of age looked at the effects of paid sick leave on overall health.  Those without paid sick leave were more likely to have mental distress than those who did. In fact, those without sick leave had nearly 150-percent more mental distress. This distress can disrupt the daily life and activities of those with no paid leave. Young, Hispanic, low-income, and poorly educated groups were at greatest risk. These results suggest that lack of paid sick leave is a social justice and health disparity issue.

Protect Yourself Against Cold and Flu Season

Access to paid sick leave may not be under your control. However,  you can take steps to prevent sickness.

  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of immune-friendly fruits and vegetables.
  • Stay active each day since exercising can boost heart health, keep weight at a healthy level, and in turn protect overall health.
  • Practice good hygiene by washing your hands regularly, especially if you have contact with others in your daily life. Caregivers, healthcare workers, and teachers are just some examples of workers who may be at most risk for exposure to germs. Therefore, these workers will need to be even more diligent about washing hands often and perhaps keeping sanitizer close at hand.
  • Take immune-friendly supplements such as Biovia30 by Vita Sciences. Biovia30 is full of 30 million colony-producing units of probiotic strains to promote health digestive and immune health.

-written  by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Harvard Health Publishing (September 2014) “How to Boost Your Immune System” 

National Partnership for Women and Families (April 2013) “Paid Sick Days Improve Our Public Health” 

Preidt, R. (September 22, 2017) “Workers Without Paid Sick Leave Suffer Ill Effects” 

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Could Estrogen Help Depression?

Every once in a while, you may feel a bit gloomy, disappointed, or stressed. However, depression is much more than just having a bad day. Depression is a serious mood disorder that can make simple tasks such as eating, working, and sleeping much more sad, anxiety, depression, menopause, mental healthdifficult. A recent study has found that low estrogen levels in some women may be linked to depression.

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), depression occurs when you have several of the following symptoms for more than two weeks.

  • persistent sad mood
  • hopelessness
  • loss of interest in things that were once enjoyable
  • decreased energy
  • trouble focusing or making decisions
  • appetite or weight changes
  • thoughts of taking one’s own life
  • aches or pains with no clear cause

Also, a person may be at higher risk for depression if they have a family history of the condition. Major life changes or chronic health problems may also increase their risk. Most recently, a study in Menopause showed that a lack of estrogen exposure may put women at higher risk for depression.

The study looked at 1300 women and their level of estradiol exposure related to their depression risk. It was found that those with higher levels of estradiol exposure from the onset of menstruation to menopause had lower levels of depression.  Also, those women who had longer term use of birth control had a lower risk of the condition.  It is important to know that the number of pregnancies and use of breastfeeding did not impact these results.

There is no cause and effect of low estrogen and depression, but these study results are still important.  This is because those with earlier menopause, more frequent hot flashes, and less frequent periods all were at higher risk for depression.  Hormone changes are likely to blame for this. During such times during and after menopause, women are at much higher risk for depression than others.

Therefore, if you feel you may be dealing with depression, there are many resources for help.  There is no one treatment that will help everyone. First of all, let your doctor know if you are feeling depressed. Your doctor may be able to provide medicines that may make dealing with your depression easier to deal with. Also, they could test your hormone levels and provide hormone supplements that may reduce symptoms. Other resources for depression are listed below.

  • Talk therapy with a licensed health care provider can help you talk about your feelings. Such counseling can help you manage your stress better and cope with life issues in a healthy way.
  • Being more active through walking, running, gardening, or other exercises. The fresh air from nature and the “feel good” hormones released during exercise can help improve mood.
  • Spending time with other people such as family, friends, or support groups can improve your mood. Talking with others that care about you and your health can help you see that you are not alone in dealing with life’s issues.
  • Setting realistic goals for yourself can make life easier to deal with. Taking small steps towards your goals can make life seem less overwhelming. You should celebrate each small victory and don’t be afraid to ask others for help along the way.
  • Ask your doctor about trying certain supplements such as Estrosa by Vitasciences.  Estrosa contains compounds such as Black Cohosh that have been found to help relieve the hot flashes, weight gain, bloating, and mood swings related to menopause. For both women and men, Elevia by Vitasciences helps boost serotonin levels which can improve mood and calm the mind.

Also, foundations such as Hope for Depression provide valuable resources to help those depression, foundationwith depression learn more about the condition. Also,  this foundation helps support research efforts to find better treatments for those with depression.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Medline Plus (July 21, 2017) “Estrogen May Influence Women’s Depression Risk” https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167353.html

National Institute of Mental Health (October 2016) “Depression” https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

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Unexpected Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Fatigue, memory loss, and painful numbness and tingling are some of the earliest symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. Yet many people with even moderate vitamin B12 deficiency or worse, pernicious anemia, are surprised to learn that a host of other underlying health problems can also be attributed to not having enough vitamin B12 in your blood supply. Listed are some startling symptoms associated with severely low vitamin B12 levels.

Unexpected Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

 

Unexpected Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is such an important nutrient for survival; it should come as no surprise that a depletion of vitamin B12 should manifest itself in so many seemingly-unconnected ailments.

Scientists have seen where individuals may suffer for years from depression, heart palpitations, dizziness, or difficulty conceiving a baby without ever making the connection between that and vitamin B12 deficiency, where a few months of intense supplementation can reverse the symptoms.

Emotional difficulties, illness

Chronic depression, anxiety, and even paranoia are all listed as possible symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.  In patients diagnosed with mental disorders such as bipolar or schizophrenia, researchers have noted that an underlying vitamin B12 deficiency can worsen their symptoms even more so.

This is not to say that your anxieties or bouts of depression aren’t real. Rather, get your vitamin B12 levels checked, and see if supplementing with extra vitamin B12 has a positive effect on your emotional state- which it very likely will.

Never discontinue taking any antidepressants, antipsychotic or other medications without your doctor’s consent.

Infertility

Vitamin B12 deficiency is directly linked with many ailments that interfere with family planning. From the beginning, before trying to conceive, depletion in vitamin B12 can increase your risk for complications during pregnancy and nerve damage in utero.

Researchers have noted that mothers who have severe vitamin B12 deficiency before, during, or after pregnancy are more likely to suffer miscarriage, deliver prematurely, or give birth to a baby with neural tube defects and inability to thrive.

If you are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, then it’s a good idea to take vitamin B12 injections or other non-dietary vitamin B12 supplementations before getting pregnant, during your pregnancy, and afterwards while breastfeeding.

For more, read Vitamin B12 and your Sex Drive

Heart disease

Vitamin B12 deficiency doesn’t cause heart disease, but it can inhibit your ability to synthesize homocysteine properly. Vitamin B12 is essential for digesting the amino acid homocysteine, keeping it in check and preventing hyperhomocysteinemia- elevated homocysteine in the blood supply.

Excess homocysteine is attributed to increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. Signs may include heart palpitations, fatigue, chest pain, or shortness of breath.

To keep homocysteine levels under control, it’s important to also maintain vitamin B12 levels in your bloodstream.

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Please tell us

Have you noticed constant tiredness, sadness, or brain fog? These are common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Do you have questions about symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency? Please drop us a line below!

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