Mondays: Welcoming, Embracing, and Beating the New Week

In this post today, we’ll pay tribute to the returning Monday and examine how our physical, mental, and spiritual health revolves around the first day of the week. For most persons, the weekends are a time of relaxation and enjoyment, whether it be getting extra Z’s, catching a flick, or being with friends and family. As Saturday winds down, you’ll soon realize how the same will happen the next day. Time will usher in Monday through its sheer speed, leading one to wonder where the weekend has gone and whether there’s an end in sight.

Granted, everyone has differences in mindset, drive, and motivation in regards to Monday, such that we have a person looking forward to beginning the week and the other dreading its swift return. No matter the scenario, we are all affected, and it takes a health strategy to maintain sanity as we progress through life.

It may be no coincidence that health issues occur at higher rates on Mondays, namely heart attacks (Barnett and Dobson, 2005), and increased heart rate and blood pressure (Kimura et al., 2017) due to binge drinking or work-related stress. Another scholarly article suggests the lower level of mood from having the ‘Monday Blues’ and attribute to absenteeism or not showing up to appointments (Ellis, Wiseman, and Jenkins, 2015). These literature sources all point out the role of work as potential stressors of life. Knowing that you have to go another week again may feel draining for a demanding job or routine.

Sure, we have obligations to meet and exceed job requirements, please our boss and clients, pay our bills, and fulfill life’s commitments, but there is no self-care if you don’t put the care in yourself. You see, you are the best asset to yourself. What’s the good in arriving at the office (if you are currently employed) or at the job interview (if you are searching for a job) when you are feeling sick? In both scenarios, you either give less than your best or don’t show up at all. This article will show how you can take preventive care measures to function at peak health when Monday rolls around again.

“I think, therefore I am,” written by French philosopher of the 17th Century, René Descartes, in the book Discourse on the Method. Maybe the ‘method’ refers to the thinking through of one’s life and the acquiring of knowledge and truth. In other words, you are what you think, especially about Mondays in our present discussion. Behavior and state of mind can be predicted according to authors who’ve identified factors driving one’s psyche. Remembering significant events, repeating personal thoughts, and forming stable beliefs are the key elements for influencing behavior (Glasman and Albarracín, 2006). Reassuring one’s own thoughts becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. How do you break the cycle?

It’s not as easy as welcoming Monday’s without planning and establishing short-term and long-term goals. Consider working on to improve your situation, if any, in these life aspects: (1) Your workplace, (2) Your relationships with others, and (3) Your health. Assuming a full-time and even a part-time schedule factoring the commute, most would spend a significant portion of their lives doing something work-related. It helps to identify the top stressors in what you do and see if there’s anything to make the job go smoother. Establish a to-do list of tasks to work on for the week and pick something that you want to get done. Recruit help from others if you can. We’re social beings and there’s a great chance you’ll find others willing to help. You’ll also realize that others are on the same boat as you, and that you’re not alone.

Finally, make it a habit to take care of your health by providing yourself good nutrition through a healthy diet, and getting a good stretch in and a walk or run outdoors. Being outdoors can lift one’s mood. If you’ve been indoors, give nature a try. Fifteen to thirty minutes to enjoy the fresh air may be what it takes to re-energize and re-focus for the day. This new habit may be what it takes to move forward and look forward to another self-care session with yourself, the outdoors, and the weekdays. Make peace with time, no matter what the day is.


Barnett, A. G., & Dobson, A. J. (2005). Excess in cardiovascular events on Mondays: a meta-analysis and prospective study. Journal of epidemiology and community health59(2), 109–114.

Ellis, D. A., Wiseman, R., & Jenkins, R. (2015). Mental Representations of Weekdays. PloS one10(8), e0134555.

Glasman, L. R., & Albarracín, D. (2006). Forming attitudes that predict future behavior: a meta-analysis of the attitude-behavior relation. Psychological bulletin132(5), 778–822.

Kimura, G., Inoue, N., Mizuno, H., Izumi, M., Nagatoya, K., Ohtahara, A., Munakata, M., & Workplace Hypertension Co-operative Study by 29 Rosai Hospitals belonging to the Japan Organization of Occupational Health and Safety (2017). Increased double product on Monday morning during work. Hypertension research: official journal of the Japanese Society of Hypertension40(7), 671–674.


Sucrose, Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup – What’s the Difference?

It’s a sweet world out there with a lot of options when it comes to visiting the grocery store and supermarket to stock up the pantry. Grab a packaged item off from the shelves, and the chances are good the ingredients listing shows some form of added sugar: Sucrose, fructose, or high fructose corn syrup. What complicates matters and adds confusion for consumers is how these sugar types sound similar when they have ‘ose’ at the end, but in fact, there are notable differences.

The first is the molecular structure that gives each compound its shape and form. Sucrose, a naturally-occurring sugar, is composed of glucose and fructose linked together and produced from sugar canes (pictured above) and sugar beets (PubChem, 2020). Glucose and fructose are both metabolized – or broken down – in the liver but through different pathways leading to the same byproducts: Carbon dioxide and fatty acids (Remember this ☝🏽); Furthermore, glucose causes more of a blood sugar spike and insulin release compared to fructose (Rippe and Angelopoulos, 2013). High fructose corn syrup (or HFCS as an acronym), on the other hand, is synthetic and derived from corn where the cost of production is less expensive compared to other sweeteners (Duffey and Popkin, 2008). HFCS is mostly fructose, depending on how sweet the manufacturer wants to make it for consumers according to a neuroscience article (2019).

In the grander scheme of things, sweeteners are mostly the same, with the exception that food manufacturers have control over the sweetness of their products by using HFCS as an ingredient. Sugar will be broken down and turned into carbon dioxide and fatty acids, to reiterate. Now, think back to the previous post on the metabolism of drugs and vitamins through the process of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (Remember ‘ADME?’).

There is a limit in how a person can absorb sugar and metabolize everything in time before the body is stressed. Problems arise when sugar accumulates in the bloodstream, and fatty acids build up in the liver. Excess sugar flowing systemically or lodged within organ systems can contribute to inflammation and cause damage to the joints, skin, liver, heart, pancreas, and kidneys (WebMD, 2017). Your body doesn’t need that much sugar in the first place until you might get hooked on to the sweet stuff.

Sugar cravings are real folks that it is similar to having a drug addiction. The pleasure from the experience of tasting sweetness can lead to wanting more. Repeating this cycle of behavior becomes more of a problem when your body starts to depend on sugary foods to function normally. Indeed, being stressed, anxious, and depressed are emotional states that can lead to sugar consumption according to a neuroscience article (2019).

Now we are left with two questions: (1) How do we kick the sugar cravings, and (2) How much sugar can you have in a day?

First, consider if there are any triggering events that are making you crave for sugar. Is having a burger, fries, and a soft drink your default choice for lunch? Know that there are healthy alternatives. Substitute the soft drink with fruit juice (it still contains added sugar 😱 but it’s a start). Then make the transition to sparkling water to simulate the fizz and bubbly taste of having a soda, but this time, it’s unsweetened. Make baby steps towards lowering your dependency on consuming soft drinks. Also, are there stressors in your life that are driving you to consume sugary food and beverages? Coping measures will be needed, and a support group from friends and family can help. If there is stress going on in your life right now, find a way to improve your situation and commit to a change, no matter how small.

Now second, how much sugar in grams should you have or allowed to have in a day? The American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams for men and no more than 25 grams for women in a day. To put it into perspective, a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar and having one every day is already too much since soft-drink consumption has been linked to the obesity epidemic. Because of the variations of health profiles from person to person, there is no exact amount of sugar in grams an individual can have in a day.

It’s better to simplify your life by not having to count or measure sugar grams every day. The first call to action is to substitute synthetically made food products for natural fruits made by Mother Nature such as apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, and watermelons (nothing better than a slice of watermelon in the summer evenings). Pack a fruit to snack on during the daytime when you’re at work. Try an apple or banana with some peanut butter to get the full sensation after snacking. If you depend on soft drinks for energy to function throughout the day, reduce consumption by one can (if you have multiple cans) every 2-3 weeks, depending on how much change you could handle. Substitute soft drinks with a cup of coffee or iced tea. Over time, your body will adapt to relying on fruits to satisfy your taste buds and your sweet tooth. Give these recommendations a try and let us know how it works! We will be glad to hear from you!


American Heart Association. (n.d.). How much sugar is too much? Retrieved from

Duffey, K. J., & Popkin, B. M. (2008). High-fructose corn syrup: is this what’s for dinner?. The American journal of clinical nutrition88(6), 1722S–1732S.

Hughes, L. (2017). How does too much sugar affect your body? Retrieved from

Jacques A, Chaaya N, Beecher K, Ali SA, Belmer A, Bartlett S. The impact of sugar consumption on stress driven, emotional and addictive behaviors. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2019;103:178-199.

National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Sucrose, CID=5988, (accessed on July 25, 2020)

Rippe, J. M., & Angelopoulos, T. J. (2013). Sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, and fructose, their metabolism and potential health effects: what do we really know?. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.)4(2), 236–245.


Get Your Calcium and Vitamin D: Make No Bones About It

“Milk, it does a body good” and “Got Milk” were advertising campaigns appearing in television commercials in the ’80s and ’90s – The good old days. The motivation behind the promotion of milk consumption is likely the increasing competition from soda and sport drink manufacturers in the beverage industry. For a market without a strong brand presence, this kind of dairy product was gaining traction in communicating its health benefits. Most consumers would associate calcium with milk and cheese.

And yet, with such a word of mouth of dairy products, Americans may face an issue with a growing prevalence of osteoporosis – a health issue characterized by loss of bone mass with little growth. It was estimated that 54% of adults above 50 years of age, or 53.6 million Americans, were affected by osteoporosis or low bone mass in 2010, according to an analysis of US Census data for that year (Wright et al., 2014). If these groups of adults have likely seen ads for dairy products, then why are do we see 1 in 2 individuals being affected?

A healthcare guide on the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis suggests non-drug means other than calcium: Exercise and Vitamin D (Zaheer and LeBoff, 2018). Running, lifting weights, and moving around puts some stress to the bones and muscles, which stimulates recovery, and in turn, results in the strengthening and increasing resiliency of bone structure. Your physical fitness truly becomes a matter of use it or lose it kind of deal. The elbow and knee joints are also part of the skeletal structure. Like a car having to move now and then to keep the engine and moving parts lubricated, you also have to move to maintain healthy joints and a vigor body.

Vitamin D can also help stave osteoporosis as it helps in the absorption of calcium. It goes to show that you can have a lot of calcium from your diet, but not a lot will get absorbed if there’s not enough Vitamin D that should go along with it. What are good sources of Vitamin D? One is sunlight from Mother Nature. Exposure to the sun causing a visible shade of skin can be the equivalence of receiving a Vitamin D dose of 10,000 to 25,000 IUs, compared to the following recommended dosages by age group based on a pharmacology article (2012):

  • 0-18 years old: 1,000 IUs per day
  • 19 years and older: 1,500 – 2,000 IUs per day

That same article further lists the health benefits of Vitamin D, which are the lowered risk for cancer, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, depression, autoimmune diseases, and bone fractures.

Now back to calcium on preventing osteoporosis. Believe it or not, calcium through dietary intake or supplementation is what helps prevent its loss from bones in the first place. In other words, have calcium before you lose some naturally from your bones. A recommended amount of calcium is 1,000 mg daily for women of 19-50 years of age, men of 19-70 years of age, and 1,200 mg daily for women greater than 50 years of age, and men greater than 70 years of age (Zaheer and LeBoff, 2018).

In some patient cases, drug therapy is necessary to prevent the loss of bone mass with age, so doctors may prescribe medications that do just that.

As we’ve seen, maintaining bone health is a multifactorial process made up of habits of fitness and having calcium and vitamin D daily. If you’re living in a geographic area that doesn’t get much sunlight throughout the year, you will benefit from having vitamin D in the form of supplements. There are combination calcium plus vitamin D products for adults at your local pharmacy or retailer. Ask a pharmacist which product is right for you. There are plenty of calcium and vitamin D products of different strengths for persons of different ages, from children to adults. Consider your lifestyle and ask what kinds of exercise and dietary habit works best for you.


Nair, R., & Maseeh, A. (2012). Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin. Journal of pharmacology & pharmacotherapeutics3(2), 118–126.

Wright, N. C., Looker, A. C., Saag, K. G., Curtis, J. R., Delzell, E. S., Randall, S., & Dawson-Hughes, B. (2014). The recent prevalence of osteoporosis and low bone mass in the United States based on bone mineral density at the femoral neck or lumbar spine. Journal of bone and mineral research : the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research29(11), 2520–2526.

Zaheer S, LeBoff MS. Osteoporosis: Prevention and Treatment. [Updated 2018 Nov 26]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA):, Inc.; 2000-. Available from:


Anxiety – Enemy of the Self or Maybe Your Protector

We have been adapting well to the Earth’s physical environments for as long as humankind has existed. Our legs allow us to walk across the land. Our arms provide leverage to move objects, and our hands allow precise movements to create art. All of these instances are made possible by a less understood entity, which is our minds that enable thought, perception, planning, and execution. Going from ancient civilization to a globalized and connected society took time, but it is an extraordinary achievement. The mind can do many wondrous things for the greater good and also for yourself.

It can also be a survival instinct mechanism by helping you perceive a potential threat and decide whether to confront or flee from a situation. Self-protection is what keeps you alive, but a constant alarmed state can be problematic if chronic anxiety or regular panic attacks interfere with your life. Work or school performance may suffer, and going about through the day can be a bit of a drag.

Whoever is affected by an anxiety disorder should not feel alone. About 18.1% of the US population are affected every year, and nearly one-third of them sought treatment, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (n.d.). This number may be under-reported for those who suffer in silence, which demonstrates a need for the country to expand the mental health care system. The recent global health event and social issues brought forth in the new decade may be a source of stress for everyone, and this could be a cause for concern moving forward. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Similar to how we built societies and made contributions in any shape or form, we can work together and dig ourselves out of the heightened psychological state of mind.

It all starts with the self and the surrounding community. Humans are social creatures, and having a network of friends and family can help. After all, given from the potential underutilization of health care for anxiety, talking out life’s problems with a familiar person can be a great stress relief. There’s a less feeling of shame or embarrassment compared to speaking your minds with a therapist or healthcare provider. Having a peer to voice your concerns or inner battles can alleviate the anxiety of the following types suggested by a Clinical Neuroscience article:

Fear of going out to places
Is there something out there that is causing apprehension?

Panic disorder
What are the triggering events for the symptoms such as rapid breathing, a quicker heart rate, and profuse sweating?

Post-traumatic stress disorder
Is there something that has happened in the past, such as being bullied or publicly humiliated, that you can’t seem to shake off?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Do you have recurring thoughts of performing tasks in repetition to reassure yourself?

Social phobia
Does the thought of speaking in front of a group of people or delivering a presentation make you anxious?

Generalized anxiety disorder
What’s going on within your life that is causing you to feel anxious?

Mixed anxiety and depression
Has feeling anxious driven you to depression in recent times and the past? What were the precipitating events, if any?

Thinking about the type of anxiety one may be affected will require self-reflection and a look at oneself in the mirror before talking things out with a friend. Thoughts may be racing, so being in a quiet place and alone will be a great time to focus and look at the issue at present.

If self-talk or having a companion to talk things through doesn’t help, then consider escalating to cognitive-behavioral therapy and search for help online near you (Here’s a link: The next may require drug therapy, such as anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants, regular visits with a primary care physician, or complementary and alternative medicine (Bystritsky, Khalsa, and Cameron, 2013). 

Whichever route you take, do pay attention to your progress a week, a month, or a year down the road, and adjust the treatment plan accordingly and with the guide of a helper, if necessary. Realize that you are part of the community with someone nearby who is willing to give you a helping hand. We are all facing more or less similar economic, societal, and cultural challenges of today. Coping will make us more resilient to what life throws our way in the future.


Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (n.d.). Facts & Statistics. Retrieved from

Bandelow, B., & Michaelis, S. (2015). Epidemiology of anxiety disorders in the 21st century. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience17(3), 327–335.

Bystritsky, A., Khalsa, S. S., Cameron, M. E., & Schiffman, J. (2013). Current diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders. P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management38(1), 30–57.


The Underlying Cause of the Rise of Obesity Prevalence

In the previous post on how the degree of vitamin absorption and metabolism could vary from person to person, we can see there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to supplementing for health. The same goes for the publicized food pyramid in 1992, recommending 6-11 servings of carbohydrates followed by fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and then “Use Sparingly” on “Fats, Oils & Sweets” according to the US Department of Agriculture Food Guide. It may be coincidental that the prevalence of obesity has continued to climb from 20% in 1988-1994 to 35% in 2010, based on a report posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). It’s almost as if there was little intervention to slow the growing obesity rate in America.

Speculations aside, what’s for sure is that obesity has continued to climb not only in America but also in countries around the world. This trend was brought forth by the advancement and industrialization of society spurring economic growth. Consumers have reaped the benefits of convenience, but along came the unintended consequences of buying into advertisements for food and other consumables time and time again. Public health scholars have indicated how obesity is a multifactorial disease accounted for by genetic, environmental, socioeconomic, and behavioral causes (Hruby and Hu, 2015).

If the parents are obese, there will be a likelihood that the offspring will be the same as well. The same applies to the case of weight gain or diabetes during pregnancy. Following a healthy diet and lifestyle will be one step to preventing childhood obesity.

The “It takes a village to raise a child” proverb holds when providing a supportive environment for the youth to develop and grow. “Food deserts,” which refers to areas lacking options for fresh whole foods and area populated by fast-food restaurants instead, can be a risk factor for obesity for the affected vicinity. Local infrastructure plays a role such that the availability of parks and outdoor recreational activities help promote energy expenditure critical to weight loss.

An examination of literature studying obesity prevalence across cultures, countries, and socioeconomic class has revealed a weak correlation between wealth, educational status, and obesity risk. In some countries, affluence may be associated with higher obesity rates, and in others, it may be lower income or education attainment instead.

Affordability and convenience has made food accessibility a low-hanging fruit. Food production has become cheap, and supermarkets can easily stock up on inventory for shoppers to purchase. Research has been pointing out processed foods, sweetened beverages, and potato chips to be the main culprit for weight gain. A sedentary lifestyle could have a role in adding pounds from sitting too much and not engaging in enough physical activity.

Eating less and exercising more may seem like hard work. But when we have a system that facilitates convenience of going about our lives – such as driving more and walking less, eating more frozen, packaged, and processed foods and making less healthful and whole foods for ourselves, and engaging more on sedentary activities like binge-watching streamed videos and going outdoors less – it will be hard to break this series of consumer habits. It may take baby steps for you to make the first step, perhaps two steps forward, and one step back, to make progress towards a more healthy habit. Some patience, discipline, and faith will be key to seeing yourself improve over time. Indeed, you are what you do and eat.


Fryar, C. D., Carroll, M. D., and Ogden, C. L. (2012). Prevalence of overweight, obesity, and extreme obesity among adults: United States, trends 1960-1962 through 2009-2010. Retrieved from

Hruby, A., & Hu, F. B. (2015). The Epidemiology of Obesity: A Big Picture. PharmacoEconomics33(7), 673–689.

US Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). A brief history of USDA food guides. Retrieved from


The Futile Search for the Mix of Vitamins as the Silver Bullet for Fatigue

If there were a way of fixing up a medicinal compound that worked to enhanced physical and cognitive performance for everyone, some drug companies would have created the magic pill long ago. Like how we all come in different shapes and sizes, each individual has a unique profile in responding to naturally-occurring or synthetic substances. There are many variables such as drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination (ADME) at stake to produce meaningful results of health change. The following is a brief description of each ADME stage of drug movement within the body:

First, the individual has to take or use the drug where the active ingredient becomes absorbed through organs like the small intestine (most drugs), lungs (inhalers), skin (topicals), and mouth (dissolvable tablets). Gastrointestinal issues, chronic asthma, and even dry mouth can prevent the proper absorption of ever making into the body in the first place.

Once the drug has entered systemically, it has to circulate through the bloodstream. Some drug molecules latch onto blood proteins and hence remain within the bloodstream compared to others that don’t. People with a higher body fat percentage tend to store a higher amount of fat-soluble drugs and vitamins (A, D, E, and K) within areas of the body.

Chemical processes take place to “activate” a drug circulating within the body to exert therapeutic effects. Key players known as the “enzymes” are biological agents within the body that speeds up these chemical reactions for the drug to work. Genetics and ethnic differences have a role in determining the level of activity for a specific group of enzymes that metabolizes certain drugs (Horn, 2008). And after a drug becomes “active,” it needs to become inactive so as not to exert action for too long.

A drug taken will eventually need to be cleared out through the kidneys or intestines to make way for the next dose. Chronic kidney disease is a condition that can prevent the adequate elimination of medications leaving the body as urine. When the drug is allowed to build up systemically, it can lead to severe side effects.

Hopefully, it becomes clear how “Results May Vary” after taking vitamins when considering the ADME process.

The motivation of taking vitamins is many, but it is safe to say the common reasons include to prevent fatigue, feel more energetic, and avoid illness. Before you jump into deciding which vitamins would work best for you, consider the following questions:

  • Do you have any underlying health conditions that are associated with fatigue?
  • Have you been stressed in life or at work more than usual lately?
  • Are you having issues with going to bed in time and setting a sleep schedule?
  • Is the lack of physical activity contributing to your feeling of inactivity and tiredness?
  • Does your diet have anything to do with your fatigue?

If you answer “Yes” to any of the above, then you might want to think about discussing with your healthcare provider on plans to improve your daily habits. One is “sleep hygiene” in the effort to improve your sleep environment. One recommendation is that the room you sleep in should be dark and quiet without distractions, such as browsing the Internet on your mobile device. The second recommendation is to prepare to have a discussion with your primary care doctor on whether you are affected by a health condition that needs addressing. The last is considering whether there is a personal or work-related aspect of your life that has to do something with fatigue. Working too much and too hard is a recipe for burnout.

No amount of vitamins can permanently alleviate a health situation. Some vitamins and supplements are labeled “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” After all, the drug product is tested and made for everyone, and there may be cases where the drug is ineffective for certain groups of the population. Knowing thyself and the questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare providers can provide insight into alternatives, even homeopathic ones, other than the mythical silver bullet.


Horn, J. R. (2008). Get to know an enzyme: CYP2D6. Retrieved from


Bottoms Up, Water as a Natural Resource for Health and Nutrition

Trivia question: About how much percent of the Earth’s surface is water? Want to venture a guess? The answer is 75%, according to the Earth Observatory of NASA (2010). We humans are about 60% made up of water (USGS, 2010), and 75% for babies (NPR, 2013). You see, we are like the Earth in a sense. Similar to how water cleanses the Earth, regulates temperature, and nourishes life inhabitants over a continuous cycle, the natural substance has a role in our metabolism, thermoregulation, and life sustenance. It goes to show that we need to replenish our own water supply regularly every day.

Just how much water do you need to drink a day? You’ve probably heard the “eight glasses a day” recommendation and that’s a good ballpark number, especially when spacing them out to stay hydrated throughout the day. Fruits and vegetables, as well as other beverages like milk and tea, contribute to your water intake, and you might need more if you are exercising or living in warmer climates (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Take care and pay attention to theses signs of dehydration: (1) You feel thirsty, (2) You have dry mouth, or (3) Your urine is dark yellow. Now we’re in the middle of the summer season, do what you can to have a water bottle by your side, and have some sips throughout the day.

The importance of water intake cannot be stressed enough. Being in a constant state of dehydration can impact health on many levels based on a review of literature from nutrition scholars (Popkin, D’Anci, and Rosenberg, 2010):

Performance in Physical Activity
Athletes lose water quicker through sweat and have consequently experienced fatigue and a higher level of effort upon exertion. The run or the lifting felt harder. Whether or not you’re an athlete, just moving can feel more like a drag. This becomes worse when it is hot outside. So grab a sip of water.

Memory, Alertness, and Concentration
There were a lot of studies involved in finding an association between hydration and cognitive performance with some mixed results. For example, being mildly dehydrated doesn’t significantly alter cognition, but adding heat stress can make the difference. Rehydration can help jump-start the ability to remember things short-term and staying alert. It is likely the feeling of dehydration can distract one from committing attention towards a task requiring some thinking.

Gut and Intestinal Health
The lack of hydration is linked to constipation due to a lack of water needed to promote digestion, emptying of the stomach, and passing of stool. Water is much needed in the small intestine to facilitate most of the digestion process, taking place in the longest part of the digestive system. Without adequate water, digestion is less efficient.

Kidney Health
Your kidneys act as a filter to clear out waste products, and it needs water for filtration to take place. When the filtration process doesn’t take place regularly, electrolytes and waste remain in the body, which raises the risk for issues in blood chemistry, fluid retention, and kidney stones.

Cardiovascular System
Because the amount of blood you have is related to water intake, the level of hydration can have an effect on how your heart works to pump and circulate blood through the network of blood vessels. Blood pressure and heart rate are so intertwined that they work for you to deliver blood to your organs, muscles, and brain. The lack of water increases the risk of feeling dizzy, faint, light-headed, or nauseous. 

When your head hurts, it may be because of the lack of hydration within the skull and brain. Rehydration can provide relief in 30 minutes to three hours. It can also help with migraine headaches.

Chronic Diseases
There is strong evidence indicating the relationship between dehydration and the formation of kidney stones, exercise-induced asthma, and higher blood sugar levels. However, more confirmation is needed for the role of hydration in other health issues, namely high blood pressure, blood clots, and urinary tract infections.

Water clearly has a role in not only running your body’s inner processes but also prevent health ailments. For a natural substance, it does many wonders for Earth and humankind. We are water-based entities. We would like to close this writing with a quote from actor, martial artist, and philosopher Bruce Lee:

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; you put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”


Earth Observatory. (2010). The water cycle. Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (2017). Water: how much should you drink every day? Retrieved from

NPR. (2013). Born wet, human babies are 75 percent water. Then comes the drying. Retrieved from

Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition Reviews68(8), 439–458.

USGS. (2010). The water in you: water and the human body. Retrieved from


An Overview of Inflammation: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Of all the wonders of life, the human body is one of the universe’s magnificent creations (and the mind too, but we’ll discuss more on this in another post before we digress 😄).

For instance, think about how our musculoskeletal structure permits us to move about the world, given the strategic arrangement of muscles and joints providing leverage. Also, consider the circulation and respiratory system working together in concert to draw in Earth’s elements – water and air – and assist in the delivery of nutrients to body cells and remove waste. Your body has a way to defend against injury and pathogens such as bacterial, fungal, and viral infection where the immune system recognizes and mounts a response, working to put out the fire metaphorically speaking.

The redness and sensation of heat followed by a papercut or a bruise are visual signs of the inflammatory process where white blood cells are localized to speed up the healing process. Inflammation also occurs when a person has strep throat, pneumonia, or the flu, and immune cells are working hard to clear out the active infection. Indeed inflammation has its upside to get you well soon, but that ends there.

Suppose the fire doesn’t get put out soon enough. Instead, ongoing inflammation can result in the body attacking its own cells, with example conditions including rheumatoid arthritis (inflamed joints), psoriasis (chronic skin disease), and inflammatory bowel disease (, 2018). Causes of these autoimmune disorders remain unknown as there are many factors from genetics, environmental, dietary preference, to habits at play here.

You can protect yourself against chronic inflammation by addressing the following if any applies according to Harvard Health Publishing (2019):

  • Cut back on sugar consumption and avoid food products containing high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Treat high cholesterol levels.
  • Quit smoking (harmful toxins can cause inflammation).

Without keeping inflammation in check and any intervention, chronic diseases could result in the future involving critical organs when things could turn ugly. What’s worse is that the way such conditions progress ‘silently’ and may have unnoticeable signs and symptoms. The following is a list of potential complications, according to StatPearls, a medical information database for healthcare professionals (2020):

Cardiovascular Disease
High cholesterol is one of the elements of atherosclerosis, which refers to the hardening of the arteries due to combining with fats and leading to less efficient blood flow.

Chronic inflammation of the pancreas can result in more inflammatory cells circulating within the body, affecting the eyes, nervous system, and kidney; All resulting in an increased risk for strokes and heart attacks.

Chronic Kidney Disease
The kidney filters blood, but when it is overwhelmed with clearing out excess inflammatory cells over a long duration, the body becomes less effective in removing waste and excessive fluids. A cascade of other conditions could result, such as swelling of the arms and legs, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
A breathing condition mainly attributed to smoking due to the direct inhalation of chemical irritants.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to become affected by this chronic health condition, but smoking and infections could worsen inflammation and therefore exacerbate the autoimmune response.

While the discussion on inflammation in this writing is just a small tip of a big iceberg, a key takeaway is to get a basic feel on what it is so you can have more of a conversation with your doctor and healthcare providers on actions to take to reduce the severity.

Drug therapy may be necessary for severe cases, whereas non-drug therapy can also help reduce inflammation. Examples include consuming more natural foods (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables), exercising regularly, having an adequate amount of sleep, and stressing less can also help reduce inflammation. These are the things that you can control in your self-healing journey and throughout life.


Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Playing with the fire of inflammation. Retrieved from [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. What is an inflammation? 2010 Nov 23 [Updated 2018 Feb 22]. Available from:

Pahwa R, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2020 Jul 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from:


Your Relationship with Exercising – No Pain No Gain?

Presumably, there was once upon a time when your high school gym teacher had the class perform additional sets of toe touches, laps around the track, or jumping jacks. If you take it further after school with varsity sports, your coach would more than likely have pushed you to the brink of collapse to prepare the team to win the next game or race. Does exercise have to hurt to gain improvements in strength and stamina?

Not at all! Exercise physiologist Dr. Stephen Seiler of the University of Adger found compelling results after associating athlete performance with training intensity in professional athletes. He divided up training intensity into three zones:

  • Green – Can talk during exercise
  • Yellow – Somewhat harder and can talk briefly
  • Red – Strenuous and gasping for air

What do you think is the percent of the training time that professional long-distance runners, cyclists, and a winter olympian with 15 medals spend training in the green zone? According to Dr. Seiler, it is 80 percent of the time, with the rest spent in the yellow and red zones. Check out the video -> (TEDx Talks, 2019).

This finding is great news for fitness enthusiasts, beginners, and newcomers. No matter your fitness level, you can always adapt and take your green zone where you can run faster and lift heavier by making time for exercise. You might have heard about the common recommendation of  “exercising at least five days a week” and “getting in 10,000 steps a day.” The truth of the matter is, while we have advanced as a civilization, we have evolved slowly in that we were not made to sit for long periods of time or consume processed foods. Challenge yourself to make the habit of getting and staying physical.

It is very inspiring to see on social media where posters have seen results after running, doing push-ups, or playing table tennis every day for a month or as extreme as for a year. That is not to say you have to engage in physical activity every day. You are allowed breaks to recover like professional athletes. Rather, try to do more of what our ancestors have done in the past where they had to hunt and gather food by walking more and getting outdoors. Make moving you a way of life.


TEDx Talks. (2019, December 2). How “normal people” can train like the worlds best endurance athletes | Stephen Seiler | TEDxArendal [Video].


DrugLyst 2.0 Reborn – Let’s Reconnect

First of all, let me thank you for allowing me and the DrugLyst app an opportunity to serve your self-care information needs. The Internet is full of health information, and you could be virtually anywhere in the world. Since the inception of DrugLyst in April of 2018, there were helpful feedback and comments that went to enhance this app. It started as a medication list app that checks for drug interactions within a few taps. But where’s the fun in that when there’s not much to see or do, admittingly?

I introduce the long-awaited DrugLyst – Version 2.0, the second installment of your personal health record. Now you can add in more details about the medications you take, such as how many and how often you take a prescription drug. You can also write your thoughts and pull up drug information written in simple language without the medical jargon (Resourced from – an independent medicine information website). Are you taking any vitamins and supplements? Are you up to date on your immunizations? Add them all to your list! Because you have all asked for it, now you can create a PDF document of your drug list and print a hardcopy, share it, and save it on your device.

And there’s more (actually many more)! Track your body measurements and vitals. View your progress over time through a series of graphs conveniently drawn out for you. “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” said one manager. You can get more of a hold on your health data. Have ‘Fitness Tracking’ on your device enabled on Settings and Privacy to automatically track your step counts. Track the number of bedtime hours on the default Clock app. Get an overview of your most important habits in the Health Data Statistics section.

Knowing thyself is just as important as keeping up with current health events. Amidst all of the potential for misinformation regarding online health information, DrugLyst aims to focus on delivering relevant and unbiased content for the betterment of your health. No ads. Period. What matters to your health gets posted on the News Feed. Keep up with the reading list to gain insights into better health. For example, learn the basics of how the body works without the need for taking courses or having a degree in biology.

You can always ask for help with your self-care needs. Given that minor illnesses may happen from time to time due to changing weather patterns, stressors, or random events, you have the virtual assistant – we call it Wellbot – at your disposal. Currently, Wellbot is trained to provide recommendations on over-the-counter medications for ailments such as mild-to-moderate pain, allergies, and cough, as well as pharmacist-recommended vitamins or multivitamins to take.

While Wellbot aims to learn more and become better at what it does every day, do realize that more serious health issues require the attention of a medical professional. As a medical disclaimer, consult with your healthcare provider for an assessment and discussion of plans and actions to solve a more deep-seated problem.

Again, thank you for joining our health and wellness movement. By downloading DrugLyst and trusting us in creating a reliable tool powered by state-of-the-art technologies to guide your health progress, you also have access to support, future app updates (more cool features coming soon), and guidance on medication therapy. Send us an e-mail by tapping ‘Contact’ at the ‘Me’ section.

The time is now to work towards a future full of vitality and possibilities. Stay safe and healthy out there.

-William Chiang, Pharmacist, Creator