Acidophilus Pearls

Best Probiotics
Acidophilus Pearls

As my past two articles on this topic should indicate: (Top-5 Probiotics and Best Probiotic), I am a big believer in Probiotics as a way to keep your digestive and immune system healthy. In my 7 or 8 years of experience taking probiotics or acidophilus, I have no doubt that they work, but I also have learned that they are by-no-means, all created equal. Some brands of Probiotics can be very expensive, but how can we be sure they are worth the extra money? The Acidophilus Pearls is by far one of the most popular, but it is also among the very most expensive. I’ve found three others that I believe are extremely effective at subduing bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and other IBS symptoms:

  • Primadophilus Reuteri
  • Sustenex
  • Acidophilus Pearls

I have read nothing but positive reviews on Acidophilus Pearls, but they are at least 2-3 times as expensive as these other three brands. Acidophilus Pearls used to be very affordable when I first discovered them about 6 years ago at my local vitamin store. Unfortunately, as word got out on how effective it was, the price on this popular variety of Acidophilus Pearls went up accordingly. A 90-capsule bottle of Acidophilus Pearls costs about $17.00 and it needs to be refrigerated. Sustenex, on the other hand, requires no refrigeration and costs about $13.00 for a 30-capsule package. Acidophilus Pearls, also require no refrigeration, and the average price is around $14-$15.00 at my local vitamin store. Align Probiotics also require no refrigeration and sell for about $30.00 for a 30-Capsule package. How do we decide if they’re worth the extra money? I’ve already learned that Sustenex, Acidophilus Pearls and Reuteri probiotics work pretty well for me, so what could possibly make me believe that Align Probiotics are worth the extra money? There is only one way to make a case for the Best Probiotics: That is, what do people say about them?

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Patanase Nasal Spray

What is Patanase?

Patanase Nasal Spray
Does Patanase Really Work?

Patanase Nasal Spray is a prescription used to treat seasonal allergies. In medical terms, Patanase is described as an H1 Receptor Antagonist. Basically, this means that Patanase is an antihistamine that blocks allergy symptoms. Patanase is unlike Nasonex, Flonase and Rhinocort which are steroidal nasal sprays. These older prescription, steroidal allergy medications have have been on the market for quite a number of years, and I have a little bit of experience with all of them. Patanase was approved for market by the FDA in April of 2008, making it the newest prescription, nasal allergy spray on the market. What all of the other steroidal prescription nasal, allergy sprays have in common is that they need to be used for a few days or more before they become effective at reducing seasonal allergy symptoms. Unlike an over-the-counter antihistamine which goes to work on your allergy symptoms within an hour, these prescription steroidal nasal sprays require regular use for 1-2 weeks before they become effective at blocking your allergies. Steroidal sprays, seemed well suited for people like me whose allergies persist through every season. They are used to prevent allergy symptoms over long periods of time. One of their advantages is is that they do not cause the drowsiness associated with over-the-counter antihistamines. Patanase, on the other hand, will go to work right away on your stuffy or sneezy nose, without the risk associated with long-term side effects of nasal steroids. The other over-the-counter choice for nasal allergies

Allergy Nasal Spray
Decongestant Nasal Spray

are Decongestant Nasal Sprays which have short-term side effects that are even worse than antihistamines. Prolonged use of these decongestant nasal sprays will almost always result in an addictive, chronic stuffy nose. Once you’ve started using a decongestant nasal spray, it is extremely hard to break the habit. Over-the-counter antihistamines are a choice that should never be used if you plan on being active or need to stay awake. Most of us just can’t function during the day when using these non-prescription types of antihistamines. I frequently suffer from sinus congestion regardless of the season or time of year. When I first heard about Patanase I was curious as to how it compared to these other prescription nasal sprays. How effective is Patanase at relieving allergy symptoms and what kinds of side effects or long term risks are associated with using this new, allergy drug?

Patanase vs Nasonex

Nasonex vs Patanase
Nasonex vs Patanase

I have shamelessly used Nasonex regularly for several years to help keep my nose clear enough to sleep at night. Knowing that it is never a good idea to use any drug for a prolonged period of time, I finally weened myself of Nasonex about a month ago. I made the decision when my doctor finally refused to refill my prescription without a check-up. Having been off of Nasonex for a few weeks now, I’ve realized that there are many night when I can breathe well enough without the help of any drugs at all, thanks mostly to the alkalol sinus rinse, described here: Alkalol Sinus Remedy. I often wondered if there was something else I could take on a short-term, as needed basis, that wouldn’t be addictive or have long term side effects. That’s when I discovered Patanase. Patanase is advertised as a fast-acting, long-last, non-steroidal allergy reducer for adults 12-years of age and older. Like any drug, there are some described side effects such as bloody nose, dizziness, sleepiness, etc. However, unlike steroidal nasal sprays, Patanase does not have to be used regularly to be effective. In fact, Patanase can be used as needed just like any over-the-counter spray or antihistamine pill. The recommended dosage for Patanase is two sprays per day in each nostril twice a day as opposed to two sprays per nostril once a day for Nasonex. The makers of Patanase indicate that two sprays in each nostril should provide prompt relief of allergy symptoms within 30 minutes. If that is truly the case, then the big advantage Patanase has over Nasonex is that you don’t have to continue taking it everyday to prevent allergy symptoms. Instead, you can use Patanase only when your allergy symptoms act up and your nasal passages require some relief.

Patanase Side Effects

I can say with absolute certainty that any and all drugs have side effects that are understated by doctors and drug companies. Prolonged use of Nasonex, for example, was causing my nose to bleed and even making me feel slightly edgy. Antihistmines like Claritin and Alavert make me feel a little drowsy and depressed. When I asked my doctor about these side effects a few years ago, he referred to a chart which indicated that an insignificantly small number of people experience these symptoms (less than 1%). I have a hard time believing this because many people I know describe the same side effects. If there is one big minus for Patanase, it’s that it has a rather daunting side effect list. While none of the side effects seem serious, a significantly large number of users sampled (12%) reported bitter taste in the mouth. I imagine that this particular side effect is one that would bother me. If they say 12%, my guess is at least half of the people are noticing this. Other, less frequent side effects include headaches, bloody nose, sores in the nose, and the most serious; a hole in the nasal septum. Because this is not a drug that you take all the time, I am willing to put up with a few of the side effect risks associated with Patanase.

Does Patanase Nasal Spray Really Work?

Patanase is recommended for seasonal allergies. My allergies are random, unpredictable and seem to persist throughout all four seasons; spring, summer, fall and winter. I believe, however, that my symptoms are still the result of the same kinds of things that irritate seasonal allergy sufferers. Because Patanase is an antihistamine, it should be able to prevent the symptoms associated with my year long allergies that stuff up my nose and make it hard to sleep at night. Patanase is something I could spray in my nose to get fast relief from the stuffiness, associated with these seasonal allergies that bother me at night. Sudafed is very effective at clearing up my nose, but it also keeps me awake at night. In the past, I’ve used antihistamines before I go to bed to stop them from occurring, and that seems to be a pretty effective way to keep allergies at bay. However, there were two problems with the antihistamine tablets: One, I don’t want to be taking them everyday. Two, they aren’t really effective at reducing my most prominent symptom which is a stuffy nose. My big question about Patanase is whether or not it is a good short-term solution for clearing a stuffy nose in the middle of the night. According to the drug company’s website, a stuffy nose and sinus pressure are among the symptoms that Patanase does address. I have no doubt that Patanase is very effective at treating the seasonal allergies most people suffer, but how will it do with my chronic problem with night time nasal congestion? I will be making a trip to the doctor this week to ask for a Patanase Prescription and find out. I will use Patanase for a couple of weeks before I present you with my verdict on how well it works. Please check back soon. Meanwhile, those of you who have used or are using Patanase, please leave us some feedback in the comment section.

Please Give me your Feedback on Patanase Nasal Spray

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The Review

Alkalol Sinus Remedy
Alkalol Sinus AlRemedy

When I wrote about Alkalol last year, I didn’t have enough experience with the product to realize how valuable it is as a sinus congestion preventative. I had used this sinus remedy in the past for treating head colds and sinus congestion, but usually stopped using it when my symptoms improved. As reported in my Neilmed Sinus Rinse, alkalol really helps. Since that time, I’ve learned that it not only helps clear up congestion, but it prevents it from occurring in the first place. For the last several years, I’ve had problems sleeping at night because the right side of my nose clogs up. It helps to sleep on my left side, but then I get sore and restless from not being able to roll over. If I attempt to sleep on my right side, I wake up with a stuffed up nasal passage and sinus headache underneath my right eye. I’ve tried so many things, including the Neilmed Sinus Rinse, which does help, but not completely.

It seems surprising to me that most people have never heard of this product, or know where to find it and how to use it. I decided it would be worth describing this sinus remedy solution in greater detail and how I use it to keep my nasal passages clear while I sleep at night.

Alkalol is a 16oz bottle of natural antiseptic including antiseptic, menthol, eucalyptol, camphor, oils of wintergreen, spearmint, pine, and cinnamon. It is actually a very pleasant smelling liquid. To use for sinus congestion, I recommend mixing a saline solution along with it into the neilmed sinus rinse container or any other type of sinus rinse dispenser. The Neilmed sinus rinse kit comes with individual packages of saline powder. If you’re a chronic sinus sufferer, you will want to learn to make your own saline mixture to save money. I use about 2/3rds salt to 1/3rd baking soda and keep a cup in the medicine cabinet with a small spoon. My procedure is to use both products together. The instructions on the bottle, recommend using it at full strength. I think it is way too strong for that and could actually do damage or irritate your sinuses if you breathe it up your nose at 100% strength. I tried it this way the very first time and it was extremely painful. Here is the way I use Alkalol: I fill the Neilmed sinus bottle with warm water up to about ½” below the recommended line. Next, I mix about 2/3rd teaspoon of the saline powder into the bottle, then fill it the rest of the way up with the solution. I screw the nose dropper and syringe onto the bottle and shake to mix. Next, I simply breath the solution through one nostril until it flows out the other. I do this until the bottle is empty. Aftewards, I rinse and thoroughly clean the bottle with soap and spray off with rubbing alcohol. Finally, I simply clean and gently blow my nose. You wouldn’t believe how refreshing and invigorating this feels and it keeps your nose feeling clear for hours. I do this procedure twice a day; once at night before bed and once in the morning. I have tried this extensively, on and off for the last 6 months and I am convinced that I sleep and breathe 100% better when I use the alkalol mixture as opposed to just a saline rinse, alone.

Another good reason for not using the product at full strength is the price. The price of a 16oz bottle is reasonable, but I’d go through several bottles a week if I was using it at full strength, twice a day. I’ve found alkalol for $4.99 a bottle at Safeway, in the sinus aisle; $4.39 at the Kmart Pharmacy, and for only $3.99 at the King Soopers Pharmacy. If you don’t see this in the aisle, ask the pharmacist for it. It is a completely natural antiseptic, so I’m not sure why it’s kept behind the pharmacy counter in most cases.

It can sometimes be difficult to find alkalol at the drug store of your favorite grocery store. Most often, you will have to ask the pharmacist for it, and in some cases they will not even stock it unless you ask them to! Don’t get caught off-guard with a stuffy head-cold or sinus infection without some on hand.

If you suffer from sinus congestion, particularly at night, please try my twice a day remedy of saline and alkalol. Please leave a comment on how well it works for you.

How well does Alkalol work for you?

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Best Lip Balm

Best Lip Balm
Natural Ice Lip Balm

Best Lip Balm

Review Update

While Natural Ice is still a best lip balm favorite of mine for sentimental reasons, I’ve found a couple of other products I like better:

The thing I like about these products are two-fold: One, low price. Two, all-natural ingredients. Not only that, they feel good on the lips. These natural lip balms tend to go on kind of thin and don’t last as long as some of the others, but for the price, you can keep some on hand to use all day long.

Natural Ice Lip Balm Review

Why should I do a review on Natural Ice Lip Balm? Well, because after smashing my lips against a piece of hard steel for the better part of my life, I’d have to say I qualify as a bit of an expert. Unless, you too, are a trumpet or brass player, you might ask why someone would choose to spend their life putting their lips through this torture. If I haven’t just answered your question, I suggest you refer to my article on, Read Naturally. The important thing to know is that being a trumpet player has made me a chronic lip balm user. Those of you who are just occasional lip balm users, may not agree with the information presented here and I will explain why later. For many brass and reed players, lip balm is a way of life. You will notice them as the guys or gals always having a stick of lip balm or ChapStick in their pockets. Long after I gave up playing the horn, I still need to have a stick of lip balm with me at all times during the day as well as by my bed side at night. The best lip balm needs to be something that doesn’t offend. The other thing is that I noticed is that nobody else seems to be doing reviews on Lip Balm these days – and even fewer people have heard of Natural Ice lip balm. Why not?  We may not all be trumpet players, but we all have lips, right? Perhaps it is something that is taken for granted or regarded as a personal preference, but I will say from my own personal experience that there may be a better lip balm than the one you are currently using.  A trumpet-playing college roommate convinced me of this when he introduced me to one that I had never tried, but became my lasting favorite ever since; Natural Ice Lip Balm.
If lip balm is something that you use infrequently for chapped, dried or cracked lips, just use whatever heals them the quickest and move on. For the rest of us who are obsessed with the way our lips feel at all hours of the day and night, it is important to find a lip balm that is not too sticky, not too waxy; doesn’t burn the lips or smell like a medicine cabinet. There is a time and place for extreme treatment and protection, but every-day lip balm has to make our lips feel, well…normal. So, with our criteria for this review set as, ‘normal-healthy-feeling-lips’, let’s discuss three of the most popular brands; ChapStick, Carmex, Burt’s Bees Wax and compare them to my favorite, Natural Ice.


ChapStick has been a trademark name for lip balm for as long as I can remember. It goes back to at least the mid-70’s when an Olympic skier, Susie Chaffee (nicknamed Susie Chapstick), starred in commercials advertising the product. One word describes ChapStick: Waxy. As long as you’re putting wax on your lips, they’re not going to feel smooth, soft and normal. ChapStick is the worst one I’ve tried. Not only is its texture waxy, but it contains Octinoxate, Octisalate, Octocrylene and Oxybenzone. At least one, if not all of these ingredients make my lips itch. Not everyone has this reaction to ChapStick, but those who do, know what I am talking about. ChapStick? No thanks, Susie.


Before I discovered my favorite back in college, I used Carmex. Carmex is less waxy than ChapStick and far better at keeping my lips moist. However, it has one annoying quality. Carmex contains Camphor, Menthol and Phenol. One or more of those ingredients come on a little too strong, not only on the lips but the nose as well. Carmex tries too hard to please and as a result comes off a bit arrogant and obnoxious. Lick your lips and go on to the next one.

Burt’s Bees Wax

Burt’s Bees Wax gave my long-time favorite a run for the money the first time I tried it two years ago.
It was wrapped along with some other Christmas gifts to me from my daughter, who presented it as a ‘Very Fine, High Quality Lip Balm’. I put it on and was instantly impressed. It felt cool, soothing, yet moist and warm at the same time. Not overly brash or obnoxious like the Carmex. Wow, I thought that perhaps I had finally found a new favorite. My new found joy was short-lived, however, upon taking a glimpse in the mirror and seeing that my lips were completely white. It looked like I had just attempted to put a powdered-donut in my mouth and missed. Burts Bees Wax does contain real wax from bees and hives as well as lanolin, coconut oil, sunflower oil. No where on the listed ingredients, though, do I see powdered donuts sugar, so why does it make my lips look that way? I found myself rubbing the balm off to remove the whitish-looking freak lips, but that sort of ruins the purpose of a lip balm, doesn’t it? For that reason alone, Burt’s Bees Wax is for the birds.

Why Natural Ice Lip Balm is the Best

As its name implies, Natural Ice goes on very naturally. It feels cooling and soothing without being overbearing, obnoxious, pretentious and rude like Carmex. It leaves very little wax buildup on your lips and unlike Burt’s Bees Wax, doesn’t make you look like a clown. Natural Ice was not only known by that name. Years ago, when I first discovered it, it was called Mentholatum stick. As its name once implied, it contains menthol. Natural Ice has only changed by name and it remains my favorite today.
Let’s rank them:

Lip Balm Ratings

ChapStick: 70
Burt’s Bees Wax: 80
Carmex: 82
Natural Ice Lip Balm: 90

Best Lip Balm Conclusions

Okay, I realize that the other brands are popular for a reason. Also, I realize there are about 6,524 other brands which I have not mentioned or even tried. I’m not a snob about Natural Ice, it just happens to be what’s best for me. In fact, I’ve saved you some time and found where you can buy your favorite brands online. By the way, this is one of the few places, you can still find Natural Ice. Choose the one you like best.

Chapstick Addiction

The best lip balm may be the one that isn’t addicting. After so many years of playing trumpet and thinking I’ve needed some sort of lip balm everyday, I’ve begun noticing I’m addicted to the stuff, whether I play the trumpet or not. I’ve looked into all natural ingredients and ditched all artificial lip balms such as Carmex. If a lip balm has an unknown ingredient which cannot pronounce or spell, odds are good that it is not good for your lips. I’ve begun using coconut oil and slow seem to be weening myself of the habit. Best lip balm is the one that doesn’t have chemicals and create an addiction.

How do you rate Natural Ice?

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How to Lower Cholesterol Fears

Do you want to know how to lower cholesterol? If you’re worried about high cholesterol and concerned about the fat in your diet, you’re not alone. There are literally millions of physically healthy people just like you; obsessed with their blood cholesterol levels and afraid to eat a tasty, satisfying meal. How did we get ourselves in this mess where we even started to worry about things like how to lower cholesterol?

Does Your Doctor even Know How to Lower Cholesterol?

With the help of their own doctors, thousands of healthy people each day are turned into worrisome patients and putting life-long dangerous chemicals into their bodies in an effort to bring down cholesterol numbers to stave off heart disease. Understandably, these newly created patients are concerned, torn and divided over the prospect of following their doctor’s advice which usually consists of taking a life long prescription of statin drugs, eating a bland low-fat diet or both. If this sounds like you, then you might be one of the many millions of human beings suffering from a serious ailment known as UCO (Unnecessary Cholesterol Obsession). It is important to understand that both you and your doctor share this same problem and learn how to take the appropriate steps to address it. The first step in battling this horrible disease is to admit that you really do have a problem and recognize that it has nothing to do with cholesterol. You have to know and believe that your true illness is an unnecessary fear of high cholesterol. The second step is to recognize that your doctor prescribing that Lipitor prescription shares your same affliction. The third step is to recognize that the most popular prescribed drug will do absolutely nothing to solve your genuine problem which is the fear of cholesterol rather than cholesterol itself. Fourth, you need to understand that UCO is not your fault. This fear with cholesterol has been many years in the making, and your best weapon to combat this dreaded ailment is to educate yourself. Nothing beats a phobia like the power of knowledge.

As a reformed UCO (Unnecessary Cholesterol Obsession) patient myself, I remember what I felt like when my doctor first told me that I had ‘high’ cholesterol. My pulse raced, my blood pressure soared, and I feared I was already well on my way to having heart disease. My total cholesterol was 253 and my LDL–HDL ratios were completely whacked out according to my doctor, whom tried to reassure me my by stating that, he too, would be taking Lipitor for life. Yes, my own doctor has UCO! Astounding, isn’t it? Well, that was 7 years ago, and I might have joined him in taking his advice, until a peculiar thing happened to me which caused me to throw-away my Lipitor prescription:

If you’re Still Asking How to Lower Cholesterol

I discovered Dr. Uffe Ravnskov’s,Cholesterol Myths

The Cholesterol Myths website link and resources below are filled with carefully presented facts. As you read through this information, you will soon learn that it is not merely the subject of opinion, but sensible, statistical interpretations of clinical trials, which are carefully footnoted and referenced. I soon learned that when the clinical studies are interpreted in their proper context, the truth is consistent from one cholesterol skeptic to the next. While there are dozens of reasons to lower your cholesterol fears, three facts presented in these resources were the key in helping me with my own:

  • One: Cholesterol Levels in Our Blood Have Little to Do with Heart Disease

    Actual Cholesterol trial studies indicate that cholesterol levels in our blood play very little role in heart disease. Clinical trial summaries and conclusions have tried to make the case that high cholesterol is a primary cause, but some quick research shows a very different picture. See Myth # 1:Cholesterol Myth # 1
  • Two: Half of all coronary events occur in people with low or normal cholesterol

    Yes, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Of the million or so heart attacks each year, half of the victims have what’s considered ‘low or healthy’ cholesterol levels. So, despite the cholesterol levels in people’s blood, coronary disease looks and behaves exactly the same way. If high cholesterol truly played a primary role in this disease shouldn’t the arteries of those with low cholesterol behave and look very differently than those with high?  See Cholesterol Myth # 2: The Cholesterol Myths, Myth # 2
  • Three: Dietary Fat intake Has Little to Do With Our Cholesterol Readings

    The amount of saturated fat and cholesterol we consume makes very little difference in changing our blood cholesterol levels or the health of our heart and arteries. If it did your doctor wouldn’t be trying to sell you on a dangerous drug like Lipitor. Overlooked is the liver and role it plays in regulating cholesterol levels in our blood. Read Cholesterol Myth # 3: The Cholesterol Myths, Myth # 3

You may be wondering by now (as did I), “Are there more doctors like Uffe Ravnskov, who agree that this Cholesterol Theory is a bunch of nonsense?” The answer is a resounding, yes. There are many of them. Below are numerous resources in the form of Articles, Books and Websites that are sure to lower your Cholesterol Fears within days, and eventually eliminate your cholesterol fear entirely.

How to Lower Cholesterol Fears (Articles and Links)

How to Lower Cholesterol
Cholesterol Skeptics Network

THINCS is a growing organization of Cholesterol Skeptics comprised of Doctors, Physicians, Scientists, Nutritionists and Academicians dedicated to dispelling the mainstream theory of cholesterol. This link will lead you to many excellent articles and books from scores of experts who agree that the basic premise of cholesterol’s role in Heart Disease is faulty. Armed with this new information, you can rid yourself of UCO (unnecessary cholesterol obsession) and say goodbye to your cholesterol fears forever.

How to Lower Cholesterol Worries
The Oiling of America

The Oiling of America by Mary Enig (PHD) and Sally Fallon
An excellent, well-written and extremely interesting article on the history behind the invention of the Cholesterol Theory and how dietary fat became known as today’s unnecessary villain in heart disease. This essay will truly make you appreciate the foods that you’ve always loved, but were brainwashed to think you shouldn’t eat.

How to Lower Cholesterol (Fears)
The Cholesterol Myths

Dr. Uffe Ravnskov is the pioneer in the battle against the faulty Cholesterol Theory. I consider him a true hero. The website link on Cholesterol Myths has only a fraction of the information found in his book. The Cholesterol Myths is the one book you must have.

Cholesterol Myths Books and Resources

How To Lower Cholesterol (Fears)

Dr. Malcom Kendrik is another favorite of mine, and also one of the pioneers in the fight against the phony cholesterol theory. His witty, inciteful approach in this book is fun to ready.  Easily, one of the best books on the market is the “Great Cholesterol Con” and it can be purchased for a very reasonable price online.

I absolutely love the nutritional advice by Mary Enig. Know Your Fats will not only Lower your Cholesterol Fears, but make sure you eat plenty of it each day.

NEW The Great Cholesterol Con – Colpo, Anthony
Another great book, with the same title as Malcom Kendrik’s. More great information, and you will see that there is nothing of contradictory importance in any of these great books.

With the help of the excellent books and resources above, you will not only lower your cholesterol fears, but eliminate them entirely. Have a healthy 2009 and stop worrying how to lower cholesterol.

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Zicam Cold Remedy

zicam cold remedy
zicam cold remedy

Zicam is a homeopathic common cold remedy which claims to prevent and reduce the duration and severity of common cold symptoms.  Does Zicam Really Work? What Zicam doesn’t claim to do is to completely cure you of a cold that you already have. The key is to catch the cold before it catches you. The key is also that it’s a common cold, not some other nasty virus , which we’ll explain later. Zicam claims to be most effective when it is used at the very first, noticeable symptoms of a common cold. So, the very instant you notice a tickly nose, scratchy throat, sneezing, sniffling or any other cold symptoms that are familiar to you, is the time to begin using the Zicam Cold Remedy.  The makers of Zicam site clinical research that suggests the duration of colds can be reduced by up to 75%. Also, they claim that the severity of symptoms is greatly reduced, though there is no research cited on this. The average cold lasts 3-7 days, so if you don’t begin using Zicam until your 2nd or 4rd day into a cold, it may have little or no benefit. The makers of Zicam make other products designed to treat the symptoms, as well, which can be purchased at the bottom of this article. The emphasis of this review is to describe what Zicam is, how Zicam works, and make a case for whether or not Zicam is effective against the common cold.

What is Zicam?

Zicam is a nasal gel formula, consisting of the active ingredient, Zincum Gluconicum. Clinical research studies have revealed that certain forms of zinc might be effective in treating and preventing colds. According to Zicam makers, the Zincum Gluconicum is the most effective. It is sold in two forms: Zicam Cold Remedy Gel Swabs and Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel. The Gel Swabs Cold Remedy includes 20 swabs. The Nasal Gel Cold Remedy comes in a .5 fluid ounce bottle with trigger applicator.

How do I use Zicam?

The instant you think you’re catching a cold, open up one of the prepackaged Zicam Gel Nasal Swabs and apply the gel just inside both of your nostrils. For the .5 fluid ounce Zicam Nasal Gel, insert the applicator about 1/8″ of the way inside your nostril, point the applicator slightly outward and push down on the trigger applicator. Do not sniff the gel up your nose; gently massage the outside of your nostrils to rub it in. Reapply every four hours, and continue to do so up to 48 hours after the symptoms of your cold have disappeared.

Does Zicam really work?

The answer is yes and no. This is not a very scientific answer, but at least it is consistent with my own research which I will reveal in this non-scientific research article. In the past three years, I have had a total of 11 colds. Here are the results of the Zicam treatment of these colds through three years of use:

  • Year-1
    I either had no colds at all, or the Zicam made it seem that way. On four different occasions, when I experienced cold symptoms early-on, I began using Zicam Nasal Gel in the first two days. In each case, the cold symptoms either completely vanished by 2nd day, or were so insignificant they were forgotten.
  • Year-2
    I experienced what I would consider a ‘common cold’ two times, but neither of them lasted longer than 5 days. I used Zicam throughout, and it seemed to keep the colds in check. The Zicam didn’t completely relieve all of the symptoms, but it did seem to keep the nasal congestion at a tolerable level, and the lingering affects of the cold vanished much more quickly than I expected. Two other times, I felt colds coming on as I did in year-1. After using Zicam, they either vanished, or were never actually colds at all.  I should also mention, that I went to the doctor for a sinus infection. The symptoms were nothing like a cold, and as would be expected, the Zicam was of no benefit.
  • Year 3
    This was my sickliest year in over a decade. In the early fall, I had another one of those almost-maybe-kind-of-sort of colds. As usual, the Zicam seemed to stop it in its tracks. The fun started in December. My symptoms began with body aches, fever and a tickly nose. I began using Zicam, but things got worse from there. I ended up being sick for 10 days with terrible head congestion that later turned into a lingering cough. The Zicam was of no use. It wasn’t until 2 weeks later that I was completely well. As if this wasn’t enough, I got hit again in late February. The symptoms began with a fever that lasted for three days. Again, the Zicam was of no use. I was coughing and sick for 3-4 week with what may have been the honest-to-goodness flu, not a common cold. Then, just for kicks I decided to get sick with another cold in June! This one was your proto-typical common cold. There was no fever, but lots of nasal congestion, even though I was taking Zicam! The cold did seem to stop 4-days later, just as abruptly as it came, so how much good the Zicam did is a mystery.


Side Effects of Zicam: Loss of Taste and Smell

The only side effect I’ve ever noticed with Zicam is that my wallet is $11 or $12 lighter every time I purchase it at the local grocery or drug store. As of this writing there were no known side effects to using this product, according to the Zicam makers. New information on Anosmia (loss of taste and smell) is below. For more information, visit their website:

Conclusion on Zicam Cold Remedy Effectiveness

As you can see, there is lots of uncertainty involved in reaching a conclusion about the effectiveness of Zincum Gluconicum-based Zicam Cold Remedies. The common-cold is a bit of a misnomer in that all colds seem to come with their own unique set of symptoms, severity and durations. In using Zicam in the past 3 years; I’ve had 6 possible colds that were nearly non-existent, 3 certain colds  that seemed to end much quicker than usual, and  2 sicknesses that were probably something much worse than a cold. The one conclusion I can make with confidence is that Zicam was of no benefit to the flu-type bug or other severe viruses that began with a fever and coughing. I did seem to be better off against those common, ordinary cold bugs that normally pester and annoy me with a stuffy nose for several days. For this reason, I’ll continue to use Zicam rather than face the risks of lengthier common colds. But, does Zicam really work? To answer the question, a second time: Yes and no. While using Zicam, some colds seemed like they were never colds to begin with, some colds seemed not to last as long as I expected, and some colds ended up not being colds at all, but something much worse. So, yes, the perception is that Zicam really does work. The reality is that there is no way to be sure using my own unscientific research. What’s more important is that sometimes, perception is just as valuable as reality.  Therefore, My rating is based on the perception of how well Zicam worked for me.

Loss of Taste and Smell

Zicam Nasal gel products have been taken off the market, due to a reported side effect from users known as, anosmia. (Loss of Smell)
In my many years of using the product, I have never experienced a loss of smell and/or taste. Apparently, several people have experienced these side effects and several law suits later, Zicam took their nasal gel Cold Remedy products off the market. I have been using the alternative Zicam products like the mouth spray. I will report on its effectiveness in an updated review on Zicam Cold Remedy Products.

Zicam Ratings

  • Effectiveness: 80
  • Ease of Use: 80
  • Symptoms: 80
  • Cost: 70
  • Final Rating: 77
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Neilmed Sinus Rinse

Neilmed Sinus Rinse
a Review

Sinusitis and Allergies Relief

NeilMed Sinus Rinse
NeilMed Sinus Rinse

Neilmed Sinus Rinse products are worth trying if you wake up in the morning from a restless sleep with a headache and/or painful pressure behind one or both eyes. It hurts just to keep your eyes open and you wish you could plug your ears.  Your kids seem like such annoying brats and your spouses voice sounds like fingernails scraping a chalkboard. This happens at least once or twice a week; sometimes more, but why? It’s really pretty simple: Your kids really are brats and your spouse is a nag.  However, that doesn’t explain the pain and pressure behind the eyes. You’ve probably got sinusitis; a common condition usually caused by allergies, and sometimes irritated by bratty kids and a nagging spouse. Taking a Valium will help the first problem.  An ant-inflammatory like Aleve or ibuprofen, combined with decongestants such as Sudafed can help the pain and pressure, but do you really want to be pushing drugs through your body several times a week? There are other ways to alleviate the pain and help heal the sinuses of allergy sufferers.  You should also learn to be more tolerant of your spouse and kids, but that topic is for another day and will be covered in an upcoming review about single malt scotch. For this review, we will cover two products that significantly reduce the symptoms and pain associated with sinus problems caused by common allergies.  Sinus Relief and Allergy Relief comes in the form of two, very inexpensive products: NeilMed and ALKALOL.

Neilmed Sinus Rinse Kit

NeilMed is a product that consists of a plastic bottle irrigation device and 50 or 100 single-use packages of a powdery substance consisting basically of salt and baking sodium. (sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate) The NeilMed kit uses a technique known as, ‘large-volume sinus irrigation’ Basically, this means rinsing your sinuses out with a large amount of saline solution. Neilmed is basically a sinus rinse product. For years, saline nasal sprays have been on the market.  While these help to moisturize your nasal passages, they do not thoroughly wash out your sinuses like the NeilMed Sinus Relief products do. The NeilMed Sinus Rinse Regular Nasal Wash kit includes one 8oz plastic, irrigator bottle and 50 packets of solution.

What is ALKALOL?

Alkalol is a liquid nasal and mouthwash that has been around since 1896. It is a special formula designed to provide soothing relief from allergies, sinuses, head colds and throat irritations. A 16oz bottle of alkalol contains Purified water (USP); Menthol; Eucalyptol; Thymol; Camphor; Benzoin; Oils of Wintergreen, Spearmint, Pine, and Cinnamon; Potassium Alum; Potassium Chlorate; Sodium Bicarbonate; Sodium Chloride; Alcohol (2/100 of 1%); Caramel Color. Alkalol is not something to use in place of a NeilMed sinus irrigation kit, but it can be used with it, as we’ll explain.

How to use the NeilMed Sinus Rinse Irrigator with ALKALOL

The NeilMed sinus rinse works by mixing one package of the saline powder and water into the plastic irrigation bottle. A black line on the clear-plastic, Neilmed bottle will show you how much water to use. Also, it is preferable to use distilled water for its purity. The water should be warm, but not so hot that it burns your nostrils. Also, you may be curious as to how you can save money and make your own saline solution. This is certainly possible, but be careful. Too much or too little salt can do more harm to your sinuses than good. For this reason, nothing beats the convenience of the perfect, pre-measured packages. With the NeilMed bottle full of solution, screw on the syringe-attached lid, cover the opening with your finger and shake well to mix and dissolve the powder. Start by pushing the opening of the bottle against one of your nostrils and gently squeeze until water starts flowing into your nose over a bathroom sink. The secret – and this part takes practice, is to get the nasal rinse solution to completely flow through one nostril and out the other nostril. You may switch nostrils if you wish, until the entire bottle of nasal-rinse solution has flowed through your nasal passage. It is normal for your nose to run for a while after doing this. Remember, the idea is to rinse and drain your sinuses. Also, sodium is a known healing agent. So, using NeilMed is not a one-time remedy, but a routine that can be used once or twice a day, or as often as you feel it is needed.

ALKALOL Sinus Relief
ALKALOL Sinus Relief

ALKALOL can be used in conjunction with your sinus-rinse routine. Simply mix the ALKALOL formula in with the water that you use in your NeilMed nasal bottle. The ALKALOL formula is very strong, so start out with a couple of tablespoons and see how it feels. You can increase it slowly, if you desire a more powerful dose of the menthol.

Results For Sinus Relief Neilmed Products

I’ve been using the NeilMed sinus rinse product for two years on a daily basis, and wouldn’t be without it. I actually look forward to giving my nasal passages this treatment each and every morning. This routine will leave your nasal passages feeling clean and refreshed. You will breathe better! I also will attest to the fact that my frequency of headaches and problems with sinus pressure has been reduced with usage of this product. When things get particularly bad, I will use the NeilMed rinse two or three times a day. It really is a necessity for allergy sufferers. ALKALOL takes the refreshing feeling of a sinus rinse one step further, by adding an invigorating menthol aroma to the experience. I have found it useful to add ALKALOL to your solution when you are experiencing an unusually stuffy nose, like those associated with head colds. I discovered this product last year at the local Safeway store in the allergy and cold drug section. A NeilMed Sinus Rinse package with 50 packets of solution can be purchased for around $12-$14 dollars. A 16oz bottle of Alkalol sells for about $6.99, but can be bought online in 3-packs for $13.00. For sinus relief…for allergy relief, both ALKALOL and the NeilMed Sinus Rinse products get high ratings.

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What is the best Recumbent Exercise Bike for under $500? Recumbent Bike Review

It happens once in a great while that I buy a product which exceeds my expectations by so much that it feels like I stole it. This is one of those rare finds that proves what you pay for isn’t necessarily what you get. With the Stamina R360s, you get far more than you expected – and then some.

What is a Recumbent Exercise Bike?

Unlike traditional exercise bikes, recumbent bikes have a comfortable, adjustable reclining, full seat. My wife and I decided it would be useful to have an exercise bike for those days when the weather is too hot or too cold. Also, bikes are a great way to get aerobic exercise without putting stress on the knees, backs, hips, shins and other parts of the body that tend to give us problems as we get into our 30’s, 40’s and beyond. I’ve been a regular member of an exercise gym for the last several years, and have learned to know what I like in exercise equipment. I expected to pay $300 or more to get a low-end recumbent that would provide reasonable quality and features. From past experience, I prefer the comfortable seats of the recumbent bike over the traditional, upright bikes. For $300, I hoped the bike would come with some of the basic features that I use: Heart Rate monitoring, magnetic resistance and gauge for measuring speed, time and distance. I found exactly what I want, with one exception: The Stamina R360s does not cost $300 or more. It doesn’t cost $200 or more. It costs $108.67 at Walmart! You might ask, “Why would you pay $108.67 for a bike when your budget was for $300” The simple answer is that after reading numbers upon numbers of user reviews, all of them have a fair amount of negative feedback – even recumbent bikes costing $500 or more. So, recognizing that no bike under $500 is going to be perfect, why not save some money and buy the one that is the least expensive? The Stamina R360s had a large number of online opinions, and most of them were very favorable. Also, the Stamina R360s includes the most essential features required in a recumbent bike.

Stamina R360S Features

So, what exactly do you get for $108.67? A darn good recumbent exercise bike, built on a solid, thick, metal frame with comfortable, gray-colored seat and back support. There are lower handles at the back, with pulse sensors and touch controls for increasing or decreasing the resistance. In the front of the bike is an LCD screen with large, easy-to-read black numbers which indicate, time, speed, distance, calories burned, and pulse rate. Exercise data will scan and revolve from one to the next, as you continue your work out. Or you can lock-into one particular set of data by pressing the mode button while that feature is displayed. For example, if I want to view my pulse for a fixed amount of time, I press the Mode button while my pulse is displayed, and it becomes permanent until I press the mode button a second time. The pulse is measured by the sensors which are comfortably located on the handle-bars in the rear. If that isn’t convenient enough, these rear handle bars also have thumb-push buttons on the ends of them for controlling the resistance of your workout. The Stamina R360s uses magnetic resistance which is a technology you’d expect to find only on more expensive bikes. The left thumb-button makes the bike easier to peddle and the right thumb-button makes it more difficult. The manual was clear and well done, and assembly was a breeze. I am by no means a mechanical person and it required no more than an hour to have it fully assembled.

Stamina R360S Operation and Performance

While you’re thinking this bike seems very well equipped for the price, you are probably wondering if the actual operation and performance live up to the hype. Yes, they do – at least in the short-run. For starters, the operation of the R360s is extremely quiet – quieter than many of the bikes I’ve used at the gym. Though it is no where near as heavy as a commercial-grade exercise bike, it feels solid and doesn’t move when I am riding it, even at a high speed. At 170lbs, I feel very confident and stable using it, and have no doubt that it would handle at least another 50lbs. The bike will accommodate a large range of different sized children and adults through an adjustable knob on the base. One very minor annoyance is that there is no provision for adjusting the seating distance while you are riding. In fact, making adjustments, even when you’re off of the bike, proved to be a slightly difficult task. This is not much of a problem for me, because my wife and I are both comfortable using the same seating adjustment. I could see how this might be a bit of a drawback for several different-sized family members who want to share the bike. The touch buttons for operating the magnetic resistance are very easy to use and work quite well. I am also completely satisfied with the range of resistance, which makes it very easy to peddle at the very lightest setting and more than difficult enough to really tax your legs at it’s very highest. The pulse reading is extremely accurate. To verify this, I worked out using my Timex, TG971 Heart Rate monitor to compare. The two readings were identical. Also, the LCD screen is very easy to operate and includes very large numbers which are viewable from anywhere the bike seating is adjusted. Also, the LCD display has a small pocket for holding your MP3 player. The cushions on the seat and back support are adequate, but a little bit thin. Not a problem, because you can always buffer it with a pillow or extra cushion of your own. When I say quiet, I mean whisper quiet. You really can watch television while working out, without even adjusting your volume beyond your normal listening level.

Stamina R360S Conclusion

The only possible drawback I can see with this a bike at this price is the fear of the unknown. That is, wondering whether or not it will hold up and last over time and extended use. I was paying $39.95 a month for my health gym membership. The R360s includes a 90 day parts warranty and 1 year for the frame. That should at least cover 3 months of gym membership fees. Personally, I cannot see much going wrong with the frame. My concern would be with the moving parts, the electronics and magnetic resistance. Meanwhile, I hope to be getting many good aerobic workouts with this machine. I will report back in three to six months on how good the $108.67 investment is holding up in value.Stamina bike models have changed since this review.

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Timex Heart Watch Review

Best Heart Rate Monitor Under $50

Pros: Accurate pulse readings. Crisp display. Comfortable chest strap.
Attractive style in the size of a regular watch. Easy to setup and use
Affordable price.  Includes the essentials of a more expensive Exercise Heart Rate Monitor

Cons: Lacks functionality for uploading, downloading and storing exercise data

Introduction to the Timex T5G971

The T5G971 is a Timex Heart Rate Monitor. The T5G971 looks like a regular sports watch, yet in addition to keeping time, serves as a full-featured Exercise Heart Rate Monitor. The T5G971, with the use of the included Chest-Strap, will accurately display a digital reading of your pulse while you workout, jog, run, walk, or simply type on your computer, as I am doing now. Unlike other heart rate monitor watches in the entry level price range, the T5G971 includes a chest strap with built-in sensors, meaning that you do not have to place your finger on a heart-rate sensor to get a reading of your pulse. Judging by the price, the T5G971 is obviously not the best heart rate monitor you can buy. One of the more popular ones is the Polar F4 Heart Rate Monitor which costs about $20 more, but has a few more bells and whistles. As a previous owner of one of the Timex finger-sensor models, I can tell you that the chest-strap is the only way to go. My previous watch was never of much use to me, as I had a difficult time getting it to recognize my pulse through the finger sensor. What’s worse, the movement during an actual workout made it impossible to use during an exercise session without stopping first to steady my finger on the sensor. Unless it has a chest strap, I have concluded it cannot be a worthwhile exercise heart rate monitor. While I was skeptical of trying another Timex Heart Rate Monitor watch, I received this from my daughter as a Father’s Day gift, and the chest-strap has made all the difference in the world. It really works, and works quite well!


The T5G971 Timex Heart Watch feels sturdy and well-built. The wrist strap comes with several adjustment notches for fitting any-size wrist. The Chest Strap is a flexible rubber band with sensors underneath which fits comfortable underneath your sternum and fits into an adjustable-sized snap in front. There are five buttons for operating the watch: On the left hand side is a setup button for programming the watch, and a Recall button for displaying workout information. Along the right hand side, is an Indigo Light and Heart Rate Recovery button. The fifth button, on the bottom of the top bezel is for turning the pulse display On/Off, as well as toggling an audible timer.


In addition to keeping your current pulse and time, the Timex T5G971 keeps track of and records your average heart rate, maximum heart rate, calories burned, and Target Heart Rate zones. Supplemental exercise instructions are included for helping you determine your heart rate zones. Your maximum and minimum heart rate zones are easily programmed into the watch, along with your weight for determining the number of calories you burned during a workout. By far, my favorite feature is the 1-Minute Heart Rate Recovery function, which through the press of a single button, will measure how many beats your heart rate slows down when you’ve stopped exercising. This is a great way to determine the level of your cardio fitness, without having to look at a watch or clock to determine when a minute has passed by since you stopped exercising. The built-in timer does it for you and records the number of beats per minute that your heart recovers after you’ve ceased exercising. Target heart rate zones are programmed by holding onto the Set Button, while the watch is tracking your pulse, and then choosing your minimum and maximum heart-rate zones, as well as your maximum pulse. You will also be able to enter your weight for tracking calories. The watch will begin recording information about your work-out, upon the moment it first begins to track your pulse. When you have finished your work out, you can press the recall button and continue tapping on it to scroll through your fitness data; Workout-Time, AVG Heart-Beat, Recovery Rate, Time in Rate Zone, Peak Heart Rate, and calories burned. It’s really that simple.


While more expensive watches such as the Polar F11 (selling for about $90 more) have the ability to record and upload data to and from a PC, the Timex T5G971 does a great job at doing what it’s intended to do – that is, keeping accurate track of your pulse and providing you with the most vital cardio workout data. I found the watch fairly tricky to setup for the first time, but this is pretty much true of all watches which use a limited number of buttons for programming them. Also, I’ve had some trouble from time to time, getting a pulse reading when the Chest Strap is first installed. Once the pulse is detected, it never fails to continue working even under very vigorous exercise and movement. I’ve tested the watches accuracy by timing my pulse with a 2nd-hand and comparing. The results are identical, so I am confident that the Timex is always giving me data which is 100% accurate. For it’s low-price, accuracy and essential features, I highly recommend this watch to anyone who doesn’t need or care about interaction with their computer.

Other Heart Rate Watch Monitors

Check back soon for more reviews as new products become available.

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Best Probiotic Formula

  • What are Probiotics / Acidophilus Used for?
  • Why take Probiotics / Acidophilus?
  • What is the Best Probiotic formula?
  • Where to buy Probiotics?

Best Probiotic | Reuteri

What is Acidophilus or Probiotics?

Years ago, I discovered a great little secret for keeping your stomach feeling healthy and happy: Probiotics, otherwise known as acidophilus, are known as the ‘good or friendly’ bacteria that aid the immune and digestive system. Unlike antibiotics, which kill bacteria in your body, Probiotics actually colonize your body with these friendly or good bacteria, such as Lactobacillus or Bifidus-Regularis.


Why take Probiotics Acidophilus?

One reason is that you’ve recently taken antibiotics for an infection. Antibiotics, which kill infectious bacteria, can also deplete the body of the bacteria that’s good for your immune system. If you’ve ever had an upset stomach while taking antibiotics, this is probably what caused it. While Yogurt has been a long-time, natural way of filling your stomach with millions of these beneficial bacteria, probiotics offer a much more powerful way. The top brands on the market claim to provide, not millions, but billions of the helpful and effective bacterial agents found in Yogurt. I can claim, first-hand that they really work, but not all brands are created equal. I tried several before discovering one that seems to trump all the others.


What is the Best Probiotics Formula?

About 4 years ago, a Sales Rep at the vitamin cottage recommended Reuteri, by Nature’s Way. You can find it in the refrigerated section of supplements at any good vitamin and health store. For treating most common stomach ailments; IBS, Diarrhea, Constipation, bloating, gas, etc., Reuteri is remarkable. Back when I first tried Reuteri, I was going through a particularly rough time with my digestive system. After several months of this, I actually visited my doctor and had some blood tests done. Though nothing was found, my doctor referred me to a Gastroenterologist for further testing. About a week before my appointment, I was visiting my local Vitamin Cottage, when the thought struck me that I should try Probiotics or acidophilus again to see if it helps. But there are so many brands. Which one would be best? I happened to ask an extremely knowledgeable sales rep, who led me to a refrigerated section of the store, and picked up a bottle of the Reuteri, and said, “This stuff is really amazing”. He recommended starting out with 1 capsule a day, and increasing it to two and even three, after a period of a week. Upon checking out at the cash register, the woman who rang me up, gave her very own endorsement of the product as well. I started taking the Reuteri about a week before my GI appointment. Believe it or not, by the time the appointment I visited the doctor, my symptoms were 90% gone – and this was after several months of problems. The doctor diagnosed me with IBS, and said to keep up with the Probiotics. I replied, ‘not just any Probiotics – Reuteri’!

That was four years ago, and since, then I have never had any long-term problems. When I feel my system acting up, I simply increase my dosage by a pill or two, and it works! Whether you are suffering from IBS, problems with diarrhea, constipation, bloating or even nauseousness, I guarantee that Reuteri will help you.

I should also mention that the price of this product has nearly doubled since I purchased my first bottle. That is testimony to the fact it really works! I have recommended this product to many other friends, co-workers, customers, family members, etc., and have yet to find someone who told me it didn’t help them. Give Reuteri a try – you won’t regret it.

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