The REAL Bullfrog Sunscreen

Ever wonder why animals don’t get sunburns? While we lather up with our SPF 30, animals spend their entire lives outside and never seem to be affected.

Researchers at Oregon State University have found that various animal species naturally produce their own sunscreen. According their study, published in the journal eLife, fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds produce a compound called gadusol, which provides protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Humans create a similar compound, melanin, which is a dark pigment, to help protect our skin. But of course as we already know, we need the extra protection of sunscreen for our sensitive skin.

An NPR article says that these animals aren’t the only ones with these compounds, but algae and fungi have their own chemicals which help sop up UV rays as well. Before this new discovery, it was thought that fish and amphibians obtained gadusol through ingesting algae and fungi.

Taifo Mahmud, lead author and professor at the OSU College of Pharmacy says while these species can produce gadusol, humans and mammals are not equipped with the same ability.

Scientists are currently experimenting with yeast to create gadusol, meaning that, before long, we might see some new ingredients in our own sunscreen.

“What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?”

What could be bad news for your sweet tooth is good news for your health.

It looks like the candy man himself may finally be taking advice from the oompa loompa’s themselves, as candy maker Mars — of Twix, M&M’s and Snickers fame — said last week it supports government recommendations to limit sugar intake and label sweets with the amount of added sugar they contain.

According to this CNN article, Mars isn’t the only confectioner to back down on the sugar. Nestle was the first major candy company to announce their plans to remove all artificial color and flavors from its chocolates, earlier this year. Kraft Foods, the maker of everyone’s favorite macaroni and cheese, has said it’s removing all artificial elements as well.

Likewise, popular chains like Panera Bread Company and Chipotle have begun changing their menus in order to offer customers healthier options.

Mars said it endorses recommendations by global health authorities to limit the amount of sugar consumers eat to no more than 10 percent of their daily calorie intake. The company has also taken the initiative to put the words “added sugar” on product packages that have added sugars and syrups, which are often used to make foods sweeter and give them a longer shelf-life.

How to Fight Germs

In the healthcare field, we are constantly surrounded by germs and bacteria of patients brought in with illnesses, colds and other sicknesses.

Unfortunately, not every one of us have the time surgeons generally do to “scrub” before administering care. Therefore, we generally turn to the fastest germ killer known to man – hand sanitizer. But is this simple antiseptic causing you more harm than help?

The FDA is investigating this product to see if this product’s healthy guarantees are as safe and effective as advertised. On Friday, the FDA said there are potential hormonal effects and bacterial resistance of ‘active’ ingredients in antiseptics, and they are looking to see if hand sanitizer is even appropriate for use in a healthcare setting.

Since the 70s, healthcare practices have changed greatly. Therefore, our products and their effectiveness must change as well.

The main ingredients in antiseptics are alcohol and iodine. We’re not likely to see a recall of hand sanitizer anytime soon, but the FDA says they will be continuing to see if there is anything else they can add to this product to make it an adequate piece of germ-fighting equipment in the healthcare setting.

Zen: Easy as 1, 2, 3, Fore!

Want to improve your golf swing? Perhaps it’s time for a little more “zen.”

Masters champions such as Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth haven’t just practiced their golfing techniques on the course. They’ve also practiced on their mats, as yoga has become more popular among athletes in recent years.

Dana Santas, a professional sports yoga trainer has shared with CNN a few positions for golfers to try to help not only their swings but also their back, shoulders and knees. The three she recommends highest are:

  1.  Sphinx – Helps with proper mid-back extension, strengthens shoulder girdle, opens front of shoulders and chest and lengthens low back.
  2. Twisting Chair – Promotes thoracic spine rotation and shoulder girdle function, stabilizes your low back, activates glute muscles, encourages ankle mobility, strengthens adductors (groins), core and legs.
  3. Half child’s pose with internal hip rotation – Stabilizes and lengthens lower back muscles, stretches upper back and shoulders and encourages ankle mobility.

Listeria Hysteria

From candy apples to Sabra’s hummus — and now Blue Bell? These products have all been recalled within the past year due to concerns of listeria infection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), however, Blue Bell’s ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and other products have shown traces of listeria dating back to 2010. Hopefully you’ve been lucky and avoided this brand in the last few years.

The company has now recalled all of its products sold in 23 states, as of Monday, April 20. As you might have seen in my blog post about listeria in candy apples back in December, this bacteria can become a serious infection and even fatal in young children, elderly and those with weak immune systems.

According to CNN, three people in Kansas have died in the past year and 10 people in four states have fallen ill from the bacteria believed to have come from Blue Bell products. Those who became sick were in Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Unfortunately, the origin of this bacteria in products is still unknown, but Blue Bell is assuming the bacteria has been lurking in their factory for some time. The bacteria could live for years on surfaces such as drains or pipes.

The company has publicly apologized and said they’re putting new safety measures in place, along with extensive cleaning methods and sanitizing equipment.