Brain Nutrition – The Importance of Nourishing Your Greedy Brain

We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” When it comes to the brain, our most important organ, this idea that we become what we put into our bodies through nutrition takes on even greater meaning. The importance of brain nutrition becomes quite obvious when we consider a few key factors. The brain consumes a disproportionately large portion of the nutrients ingested by the body. The function of brain cells is heavily impacted by these nutrients available in the brain. The functioning of our brain cells determines how we function. Thus our mood, attention, memory, etc., are all functions of brain nutrition.The Greedy Brain – Why 40 Percent Of All Your Nutritional Intake Is Actually Brain NutritionOur intelligent body knows how important the brain is and so allocates its resources accordingly, allowing the brain to consume a disproportionately large portion of the nutrients we ingest. The brain weighs only 1 to 2 percent of your total body weight, but 20 percent of the air you breathe, 25 percent of your blood flow, 30 percent of the water you ingest, and 40 percent of the nutrition in your bloodstream is sent to be consumed by the brain. This means that 40 percent of your nutritional intake can be directly thought of as brain nutrition.Nutrition’s Powerful Influence Over Brain FunctionNutrients available to the brain have a huge impact on the healthy functioning of our brain cells or neurons. Nutrients affect neuronal function either directly, being metabolized without precursors, or indirectly, by affecting production of other substances in the brain that determine brain cell function.The billions of brain cells or neurons communicate via neurotransmitters — including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine — that send signals through the brain’s complex of pathways. Brain function is determined in large part by the action of these chemical messengers. Losing mental agility in old age, for example, may result from the brain cells’ failing to communicate effectively rather than from cell death. Proper brain nutrition influences the production and action of neurotransmitters. For instance, research shows higher levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in lab rats that are fed blueberries, which are rich in antioxidants. Dopamine, in turn, is important for cognition, motivation, mood, attention, and learning.Other examples of nutrients which affect brain function include tyrosine, an amino acid found in protein which also supports the action of important neurotransmitters; the mineral magnesium, which can reduce hyperactivity and irritability; and omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve mood, attention, and alertness.Brain Nutrition Is Super Important To Your Well-being And Your LifeThus, nutrition has a huge impact on how we feel, think, and function. Our emotions, our memory, our ability to concentrate and accomplish tasks, and hence our lives are heavily impacted by what we put into our bodies, be it food, nutritional supplements, or drugs.Makes you think twice about eating that big mac or drinking that coke, doesn’t it? Makes you want to check the nutritional information of everything you buy at the grocery store, right? It makes you want to find out exactly what foods and supplements are beneficial for brain function and which are detrimental. You might think to yourself: what a drag! Well, the negative impact of ignorance on your brain is an even bigger drag. Knowledge is power. Now go and use brain nutrition to empower your mind and your life!

Business of Love

START-UPS TAP A BIG POTENTIALIF BUSINESS is your first love, the coming time is yours to woo. The hesitant flirting the Indian entrepreneur started with February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, a few years ago has now turned into a fullfledged affair. Varied trades spruce up their offers in the run-up to the Festival of Love, which industry experts say has become the second-biggest business opportunity in the calendar, even surpassing Diwali and New Year. Businesses, so it seems, aren’t falling behind the changing festival mix of Indian youth.For K Vaitheeswaran, who co-founded online retailer Indiaplaza, business around valentine’s Day has been growing by leaps since 2006. “Direct spending on Valentine’s day is nearly 30-40% more than Diwali, making it a rich opportunity for retail entrepreneurs to boost their topline,” he says. From gifts, candies to expensive gadgets, Indiaplaza helps lovers exchange articles through the internet, across boundaries and even away from their parents’ eyes. The first time Indiaplaza tried to cash in on Valentine’s Day was in 2002, but it was a washout then, with not much ‘awareness’ about the day.In 2003, there were protests and agitations over Valentine’s Day celebrations across the country, Mr Vaitheeswaran recalls. But the tough beginning was soon followed by a surge in the day’s appeal and business started to boom. “(The protests) created more excitement about the day’s importance. And because the protests were offline, people switched to the ecommerce website to send their gifts across. Thereafter, the sales started showing a rising trend on this festive day,” he says.According to US National Retail Federation, US consumers alone spent nearly $13.7 billion last year on Valentine’s Day shopping. This was a 22% rise from the past five years. As for the domestic market, an independent study on the consumer markets in India, presented at the 2007 International Marketing Conference, suggests that the Western fancy has started to take roots in Indian markets as well. The study noted that Valentine’s Day sales in 2007 were about 15% higher than that during Diwali at these retail outlets and this is expected to increase by 20-25% in 2008.Only the Christmas season rings in bigger revenues. And it seems entrepreneurs in the country clearly aim to boost the day into first place as more and more start-ups start to capitalise on the opportunity.Despite the pressure to buy gifts, most of the money spent on V-Day this year would keep up the trend set in the previous years. Spending would go to tokens of affection – cards, candies, flowers and nightouts. Floricultural start-up Ferns ‘N’ Petals, for instance, is gearing up for the Cupid’s arrival in a manner unlike any other. Apart from selling flowers, Vikaas Gutgutia’s company is banking on service as a major differentiator for this year. The company has planned to offer midnight delivery service, in addition to selling cakes and chocolates with its flowers on Valentine’s Day. It is also offering its customer the choice of buying gold-plated flowers. Says Pawan Gadia, vice-president at Ferns ‘N’ Petals, who jump started the company’s much-touted franchisee model, “Product innovation for such days is the key to success. You always have to think what different can you do this year which would excite the customer. A mundane run-of-the-mill product line each year does not help when you are working in such a business environment.” F’N'P is hoping to increase its Valentine’s Day sales by 40% this year, adds Mr Gadia.What is a day of gifts without cards? According to Anil Moolchandani, founder & MD of Archies, Valentine’s Day sales account for nearly 12% of the company’s full-year sales, making it the single-biggest occasional sale period for his company. “The trick is to promote and market as much as you can when your business is linked to an occasional sale,” he says. “Essentially, occasional sales help you build a brand presence and to add to this with more and more companies joining the occasional bandwagon for this day, it is becoming easier for any start-up in this space to cash in on the Valentine’s Day sales,” he adds.Archies, founded in 1979, introduced its first Valentine’s Day card in 1984 and it took sustained marketing efforts till 2000 for this occasion to “become critical mass for the company,” recalls Mr Moolchandani. Somebody once wondered cheekily why Valentine’s Day comes exactly nine months before the Children’s Day on November 14? The guys who make it all happen, the matrimonial websites, are also tapping into the business potential of Valentine’s Day.Bharat Matrimony, one of India’s largest matrimony websites, sees the day as a raw material for its business. Says Murugavel Jankiraman, founder and CEO, “We are planning to ramp up the promotional activities around Valentine’s Day period considering that online activity for our website picks up around this period. Unlike other festival days, Valentine’s Day is connected directly to our core business, and it always helps to use such events, which directly relate to your core business as effective marketing tools.”Like Bharat Matrimony, luxury bags maker Baggit too plans to leverage on this opportunity, “More than anything else, it’s an occasion to gift and dress up and clearly a fashion brand would see synergies in that. In fact, we are timing our sale this year on February 12, very close to Valentine’s Day,” says Baggit founder Nina Lekhi. “In case you have a product targeted for the youth, Valentine’s Day would be the point to test response to a particular campaign, which you might want to roll out on a larger scale later,” she adds. In short, what has worked for these entrepreneurs is the packaging of their products. “On days like the Valentine’s Day, there may be little sale in terms of quantity for many business start-ups, but the trick is to fix yourself a niche area and make it high margin business for yourself, as events like Valentine’s Day do not tend to be mass market phenomenon,” says Mr Vaitheeswaran. “With Love’s Light Wings Did I O’erperch These Walls,” said Shakespeare’s Romeo to his sweetheart Juliet.For a start-up with aspirations to make a big mark on the competitive business stage, Valentine’s Day can give wings and plant a kiss of success on the entrepreneur’s cheeks of desire.

Frequently Asked Questions About Compounding Pharmacies

If you are facing the need to use a compounding pharmacy for the first time, there’s little doubt that you have questions. Compounding pharmacies are available, but they are not commonly used by most patients. Here are the most frequently asked questions about these pharmacies.What Is a Compounding Pharmacy?In essence, this type of pharmacy is one that customizes medications that are not commercially available. Medications are prescribed by a physician, veterinarian, or other medical provider. The medications are then compounded, or put together, by a state-licensed pharmacist. These pharmacies are typically utilized for people and animals that have unique health concerns that commercially available medications cannot address.Are These Types Of Medications Safe?You must understand that compounded medications are off-label. This means that the FDA does not approve them. That said, compounded medications are considered safe when put together and sold by reputable pharmacists. Before you order or ask for a compounded medication, ask your doctor to recommend a pharmacist or pharmacy. Not all professionals are skilled in the art of compounding medications.Why Do I Need This Medication?There are a variety of reasons why you may need a compounded medication. For example, if your pain management drug is difficult for you to swallow, your pharmacist may suggest a liquid or transdermal version. If you are experiencing sensitivity to an ingredient in your hormone replacement, your doctor may have a medication compounded without that particular ingredient.Compounded pharmacies also make medications for veterinary patients. Often, flavoring is added or liquid is made in order to increase palatability for a pet.Where Do Medication Ingredients Come From?The ingredients that are put into compounded medications come from the same suppliers as the big pharmaceutical companies. These companies are inspected and regulated by the FDA. The ingredients in your compounded medications are considered safe for consumption.Who Regulates These Pharmacies?Just like typical pharmacies, compounded pharmacies and pharmacists are licensed at the state level. There is also an entity known as the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB) that has developed national standards that compounding pharmacies must follow.Does the FDA Inspect Compounding Pharmacies?The FDA does not inspect compounding pharmacies, but this should not dissuade you from making use of their services. The FDA does not inspect typical pharmacies. The regulation of pharmacies and pharmacists has always been handled by individual states. The FDA does, as has been stated, inspect and regulate the facilities that produce the ingredients that go into these medications.Compounding pharmacies are on the rise as people become more aware of them. Up until the 20th century, all pharmacies were of the compounding type. It wasn’t until just a century ago that the pharmacies we are used to seeing today arose. If your doctor suggests a compounded medication, you can feel safe in taking it. Follow the same safety protocols as you would with a typical medication, and speak with your doctor should you experience any adverse events.