According to statistics from the Cleveland Clinic, one in three people over the age of 60 and nearly half of those over the age of 75 have hearing loss. A study by Frank Lin, MD, PhD, reveals that hearing loss may fast-track the shrinkage of brain tissue that occurs as we age. Hearing loss diminishes stimulation of certain areas in the brain, which are linked to other regions of the brain associated with early stages of Alzheimer's. Early hearing loss detection and treatment are imperative to minimize the changes in the brain associated with hearing loss and Alzheimer's.

shutterstock 163452452In the month of May, we focus our attention on better hearing and speech for people of all ages. Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well you can hear. It can also affect how you speak. In adults, along with aging, the most common causes of hearing loss are:

  • Exposure to everyday noises. Listening to music at high volumes or using a lawn mower can damage the structures of the inner ear and lead to hearing loss over the years. Sudden loud noises such as explosions can also damage your hearing.
  • Earwax buildup. An object in the ear, injury to the ear or head, ear infection, ruptured eardrum and other conditions can affect the middle or inner ear.

Common symptoms:

  • Muffled hearing – the feeling of having a plugged ear
  • Trouble understanding what people are saying, especially when other people are talking or when there is background noise such as a radio
  • Listening to the TV or radio at a higher volume than in the past
  • Tinnitus – ringing, roaring, hissing or buzzing in the ear
  • Pain, itching or irritation of the ear, or fluid leaking from the ear



FAQ WITH DR. Leslie Beckham

Buckhead ENT

Dr. Leslie Beckham earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences from Auburn University in 2002. She went on to complete her Masters of Science degree in Audiology in 2005 at the University of South Alabama, where she was also awarded Outstanding Clinician for Audiology by professors and clinical staff. She completed her internship and clinical fellowship at Premier Medical Group – Ear, Nose and Throat in Mobile, Alabama and subsequently worked with the practice until 2005. Dr. Beckham has also worked at Grady Memorial Hospital as an audiologist. She completed her clinical doctorate at the University of Florida, earning her Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree in 2007.

Dr. Beckham is licensed by the state of Georgia as an audiologist and is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). She joined Buckhead ENT's practice in July 2007. Dr. Beckham is originally from Brewton, Alabama and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. Buckhead, Ear, Nose & Throat, specializes in detecting hearing loss and providing treatment for patients who are experiencing hearing loss with the latest technology available.


Sponsored by: 1800 Peachtree Street NW # 700, Atlanta, GA 30309 | (404) 350-7966 |


Each year, May is designated as American Stroke Month. Why does stroke need its own month? Many people are already aware of stroke, and some know what signs to look for, but did you know that stroke is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. as well as the fifth leading cause of death? This month is a good opportunity to familiarize yourself with stroke so you can better protect yourself and your loved ones.

We know much more about stroke today than we did even a decade ago. In the not so distant past, very little could be done and physicians would just have to wait until the stroke passed before assessing the damage. Physical and occupational therapy could potentially help the victim regain lost function, but much of the damage was permanent, or even fatal. New technologies allow physicians to intervene much earlier and more effectively, reducing these risks significantly.

FAST"Stroke care is evolving," North Fulton Hospital's Stroke Coordinator Edna Kennedy says. "There are so many changes right now with interventional treatment. The goal is to reduce or even prevent disability. Every minute counts. Each minute that passes without intervention, the stroke victim loses 1.9 million neurons."

Certain symptoms are immediately recognizable as a possible stroke. The acronym FAST is a useful, easy-to-remember tool when identifying these symptoms. The first indicator is Face drooping, followed by Arm weakness and Speech difficulty. Once these symptoms begin to appear, it's Time to call 911. These are the most common indicators, however they are not the only ways in which a stroke is present. Other potential symptoms include sudden headache, loss of coordination, dizziness, trouble seeing and numbness in isolated parts of the body.

Should you experience any of these symptoms or see anyone else exhibiting these symptoms, it is imperative that you call 911 as quickly as possible. Once the first responders arrive, they will be able to swiftly transport the patient to the nearest certified primary stroke center, such as the one at North Fulton Hospital.

As Stroke Coordinator, Kennedy spends her days ensuring that the North Fulton primary stroke center exceeds the necessary requirements to maintain its certification, as well as educating the hospital staff and community about recent changes and advancements in stroke care.

"I make sure evidence based practices are being implemented with our patients," Kennedy explains. "The care should align with the national standards of care. Also, we make sure all of those measures are taken in the clinical area and monitor them to provide data to the American Stroke Association, which becomes national data."

Though she has been a registered nurse for more than 35 years, Kennedy confesses that her passion lies in education, making this an ideal position for her. "I provide education through the continuum of care. We provide community education, we educate about early recognition of signs and symptoms and timely activation of the emergency response system. I provide initial and ongoing education to the staff and physicians to make sure those measures are implemented bedside."

Thanks to efforts such as these, North Fulton's Primary Stroke Care Center is on the cutting edge of stroke care. Mortality and disability rates have taken a nosedive in this area, dropping stroke from the fourth leading cause of death to the fifth.

"Care has definitely changed for the better," Kennedy says proudly. "We're really making headway."



Sponsored by: North Fulton Pulmonary Specialists | 2500 Hospital Boulevard, Ste 340 | Roswell, GA 30076  |  Phone: (770) 740-1753 |


Friday, 24 April 2015 18:47


Wednesday, 22 April 2015 17:55

After Stroke: The Road to Recovery


By Amy Meadows

You've been admitted to the hospital with symptoms like weakness on one side of your body, facial drooping and difficulty speaking. A CT scan and an MRI have confirmed what you and your family feared: you've had a stroke. What happens next? While there is ample information available about identifying the symptoms of a stroke, there isn't as much out there about what you can expect after you or a loved one actually suffers a stroke. And there is so much you need to know to help you navigate the days, weeks and months ahead.


The First 48

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain stops, either because of a blockage of the arteries to the brain (an ischemic stroke) or a bursting or leakage of the blood vessels in and around the brain (a hemorrhagic stroke). In either case, the brain is injured, and symptoms appear because brain cells begin to die within moments. The delicate and time-sensitive nature of the condition makes the first hours after a stroke the most critical.

"Whatever type of stroke it is, we have to ensure that the weakness or deficit becomes stable. We have to test to find the cause of the stroke and prevent another stroke from happening," explains Dr. Keith A. Sanders, a board-certified physician with Atlanta Neurology and director of the Stroke Center at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital. "Typically, a patient will become stable within 12 to 24 hours." Once the patient has stabilized, a flurry of activity will begin.


SB1Early Intervention

"We have to get a lot of information fast so we can make the next choices," notes Lisa-Ann Wuermser, MD, Chief of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Grady Memorial Hospital, home to The Marcus Stroke & Neuroscience Center. Initially, those choices involve the three types of rehabilitation therapies that the patient may need: physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Physical therapy focuses on gross motor skills, such as walking. Occupational therapy deals with daily living tasks, including grooming and feeding oneself. Speech therapy tackles speaking and swallowing deficits. While some individuals may need all three types of rehabilitation, others may not.

"Every stroke is different. The type of rehab given depends on the location of the stroke in the brain, the extent of the damage and even how long it took to get treatment," says Tiffany LeCroy, a clinical nurse specialist with the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center at The Shepherd Center. Therefore, as soon as a stroke is diagnosed, a specialized therapist from each modality visits and evaluates the patient to see which areas need to be addressed. Then, an individualized treatment program is created – and it will begin in the hospital within those first 48 hours.


The Recovery Setting

Comprehensive therapy must get underway as quickly as possible. According to Chika Odioemene, stroke coordinator at DeKalb Medical Center, "When patients are in the hospital, once they are medically stable, our goal is to get them discharged in three days into rehab care."

Rehab care can happen in a variety of settings. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), an inpatient acute care facility, which offers the most intensive therapy, is either freestanding or part of a larger hospital complex. Patients typically spend two to three weeks in this unit receiving rehab "at least three hours a day, five to seven days per week," says Kelly Wright, inpatient center supervisor at DeKalb Medical Center. Less intense therapy over a longer period of time is offered at a sub-acute care nursing facility, in which Wright says patients usually receive therapy for 90 minutes per day over the course of two months or more. Some patients may be able to receive outpatient care, living at home and traveling to a therapy center several times per week for rehab. Elizabeth Wyble, head of physical and occupational therapy at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, notes that home health therapy is an option in some cases, with a therapist traveling to the patient's residence. Ultimately, the rehab setting decision comes down to the patient's safety – if they can safely handle the stairs at home, for instance – and what their insurance will cover. Wuermser observes, "If inpatient rehab is the best thing for you, but your plan doesn't cover it, it is a rude awakening."


Rehab-pic-4,-cred-Shepherd-CenterThe Daily Grind

Once the rehab setting is chosen, the real work begins. Daily therapy can involve any number of activities, from one-on-one sessions with therapists to working on specific exercises alone outside of the assigned therapy sessions. And the exercises and tools used for each type of therapy are designed specifically with the patient in mind. "We are going to work together to get you back to functioning as close as we can to how you were before the stroke," Wright says.

Physical Therapy

The legs and the arms are the primary focus of physical therapy, especially when there is any kind of paralysis involved. Melissa Nalder, stroke coordinator at Eastside Medical Center, says, "Someone who could take care of themselves may have lost the ability to do that. And they now have to relearn gross motor skills." Therefore, a physical therapist will help a patient practice isolated movements, change from one kind of movement to another and rehearse complex movements that require coordination and balance, according to NINDS; the therapist will use techniques like selective sensory stimulation-based tapping or stroking, active and passive range-of-motion exercises and temporary restraint of healthy limbs to encourage the use of impaired limbs. According to Wyble, electrical impulse equipment may be used as well to help get muscles to begin working again. As therapy progresses, she says, "We have even used Wii therapy to help people with balance and to get them to move an arm or a leg."

Additionally, with advancements in technology, many physical therapists now – or soon will – have access to virtual reality and robotic assisted devices. "The robotic assisted devices utilize a robot to direct an upper limb or a lower limb to show how the movement should take place. The robot will correct you so you can learn how to make the movement in the right direction. It helps the brain learn better," Wuermser notes. "It's fascinating. But all of these interventions are used as additional tools with the ongoing one-on-one rehab with the therapist."

Occupational Therapy

"Physical therapy and occupational therapy overlap," Wright observes. Occupational therapy also focuses on a patient's physical ability, but it zeros in on what NINDS calls self-directed activities such as personal grooming, preparing meals, housecleaning and even driving. According to NINDS, occupational therapists also "teach people how to develop compensatory strategies and change elements of their environment that limit activities of daily living." From using Velcro fasteners instead of buttons to installing grab bars in the bathroom, occupational therapists help make a SB2patient's daily living easier.

"We use activity-based therapies. We look at what their goals are and the lifestyle they want to get back to, and we cater the program to that," LeCroy says, noting that while the typical age of a stroke victim is late 60s or older, there has been a shift in recent years. "There has been a surge of younger people having strokes. We may have a young mom who has to cook a meal and care for a young child. There could be a college student whose goal is to be able to socialize and be around friends without feeling different or uncomfortable. We have to look at what their interests are and what exercises we can do that are interesting, fun and engaging. Many times, we have to think outside the box."

For a younger population, that includes using today's technology. "Laptops, iPads – these are tools the younger population uses every day," LeCroy continues. Wyble agrees. "With occupational therapy, we're dealing with fine motor coordination," she says. "Many businesspeople use a laptop, so we have their family members bring it in so they can learn to use it again."

Speech Therapy

Many patients who have had a stroke deal with aphasia, which involves everything from trouble finding words to the inability to speak, read or write. It is a cognitive impairment that has physical ramifications. NINDS reveals that speech therapists use many forms of therapy to improve comprehension, such as a patient repeating the therapist's words, practicing following directions and doing reading and writing exercises for long-term language rehabilitation.

Rehab-pic-3,-cred-Shepherd-CenterOne of the areas people don't often think about, though, is the ability to swallow after a stroke has occurred. "Difficulties with swallowing have many possible causes, including a delayed swallowing reflex, and inability to manipulate food with the tongue or an inability to detect food remaining lodged in the cheeks after swallowing," NINDS notes. Speech therapists will work with patients to identify these issues and use various exercises and techniques, including slowly increasing the texture of food, to strengthen the muscles and improve the ability to swallow. According to Wright, meal groups can be extremely beneficial when offered in a rehab setting. Bringing two to four people together to eat a meal "allows patients to see other patients going through it too," she says. "There is a social aspect that is very helpful. That's why we also bring former patients into these groups. These people are now out living in the community and being active. They come in over lunch and talk to the current patients. They talk about their recovery and show that it can happen."

With all three types of therapy, patience – from everyone involved – is a key factor in recovery. "No stroke is by the book. Everybody is different, and everybody responds to the therapies differently. It can be frustrating if a patient isn't progressing like they should, but that's when we try different things," Wyble says. "And for me, as an occupational therapist by trade, it is so rewarding when somebody performs a daily living skill, like brushing their teeth or putting their shirt on, and they know they're going to be able to do it on their own."

SB3Family Matters

From the moment a stroke occurs and through the rehab process, a patient's family becomes a lifeline. "Patients find great comfort in knowing that a loved one is there," Wuermser says. "It's very frightening. Even if you've lost the ability to speak, you can look around and see concern, you can hear the tone of someone's voice. Knowledge that a loved one is there and understanding it and getting all of the information for you can make all the difference in the world." Nalder adds that stroke patients need practical support as well. "You need someone to take you for follow up appointments, to help you with your meds, to take you to get labs done. Support is truly needed."

Rehab-pic-2,-cred-Shepherd-CenterWuermser adds that being supportive – not taking charge – is the key to successfully helping loved ones through the rehab period. "It's hard to watch a loved one struggle, and that's what therapists are asking the patient to do. But do not step in and try to help," she says. "Learn from the therapist what you can do facilitate the therapy – the therapists can guide you."

That is particularly important when post-stroke depression sets in, stemming from the loss of independence after a stroke. Grief over that loss often turns into depression, and family members can provide support when this occurs. They also must realize that it is common and treatable, which is why a neuropsychologist usually is a member of the team for a stroke patient. Medication can be valuable as well. Wuermser explains, "It's no different than a diabetic who needs insulin." The condition is usually temporary, especially when a patient receives counseling and finds a helpful support group, so as a patient recovers, depression can subside.

The Bottom Line

When a patient follows his or her rehab plan and sticks to it, recovery will occur. That is the most important thing to remember in this type of situation. "If you stay positive, you will recover," Odiomene says. "You will get those skills back." It may take many months or even years, but the recovery will happen. According to Wright, "You can continue to have gains years after you've had a stroke." While there is no guarantee that a stroke survivor will get back to being 100 percent, the improvement can be dramatic, and the activities that brought happiness before can be done again.

"When you're first coming out of a stroke, your life has changed. It's a scary time," Wyble says. "But you have the capability to recover. We see it every day." Wuermser concludes, "Life may never be the same, but there is life after stroke. There is joy to be had."


Robert-Pritchard-WorthyThe Faces of Stroke

Robert Pritchard-Worthy:
Against the Odds

Natalie Pritchard never expected her healthy, active 22-year-old son, Robert A. Pritchard-Worthy, to have a stroke. No one did. A football player and recent college graduate who was about to start graduate school at the University of Central Florida, Robert was the picture of health. But when he went out for an evening on the town with his cousin in July of 2012 and began to have seizures, his life – and his mother's life – was turned upside down. He was diagnosed with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, a rare form of stroke that results in a blood clot on the brain.

"When he was put into acute critical care, the doctor told me that he was the number one priority in the ICU that night," Natalie recalls. "They had to remove part of his skull to relieve the pressure on his brain. They didn't think he would make it through the night. And if he did make it, he would be severely disabled. He was that critical. It was a massive stroke, and he was in an induced coma for more than two weeks." Robert, Natalie's only child, had never been sick in his life. But when he woke up, Robert was completely paralyzed on his left side. He began intensive therapy and rehabilitation at Shepherd Pathways, the Shepherd Center's comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation program.

"When he came home, he was having seizures, so I had to be with him. He had to wear a protective helmet. I had to bathe him. He required 24-hour care. And he wanted to get back to school. My job was to encourage him and do everything I could to get him back there," Natalie says. "I drove him to Shepherd every day at 8 a.m. and stayed until 1:30 p.m. I was able to work while he was in therapy. My company was beyond accommodating." And when she needed help at home, her mother, sister, cousin and aunt were by her side. "Family is so important. And the community as a whole embraced us and carried me," she says.

Today, after months of therapy, Robert is preparing to graduate from UCF with a master's degree in criminal justice. Now 25, he lives on his own in Florida and is preparing for the next chapter of his life. And that is exactly what his mother wanted for him. "When this happens, you feel helpless and hopeless. He was so young. But you can't lose hope," she concludes. "You have to know you can do this. He is proof that you can return to your life."


Green,-Barry cred-himselfBarry Green:
Overcoming the Stigma

Barry Green had a stroke the night before Thanksgiving in 2012. After it happened, he suffered from aphasia and weakness on his right side. "I couldn't talk. I couldn't type. I couldn't sign my name," he recalls. "I would read and try to say the words. But even if I knew what a word was, I couldn't get it out. I couldn't put the words together."

A successful sales and marketing consultant, Green's job "depended on my memory. It was tough in the beginning. I wanted to be back to 100 percent. Four weeks of outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy put the 64-year-old stroke survivor on the long road to recovery. He supplemented his therapy with his own regimen of sit-ups every morning, playing Words with Friends on an iPad and reading. "You have to be self-motivated to get through this," he advises.

But there was one thing he didn't do right away. "I didn't tell my clients about the stroke. Only my closest friends," he says. "For me, there was this stigma. I thought it was a weakness. It took me a while to begin telling people."

Prompted by a major seizure Green experienced five months after his stroke, he finally began sharing his story. He was surprised to find that most people could not even tell. "Other people couldn't see anything wrong," he realized. "They were surprised that I had a stroke and got over it. That helped give me support – now it's much easier. When I meet new people, I tell them right up front. I can say I'm a stroke survivor."


Kagan,-Jeff cred-himselfJeff Kagan:
Time Heals

Jeff Kagan's children thought he was joking when he went into a Starbucks while on vacation and ordered a cheeseburger. "I thought I ordered coffee," he says. "I had no idea that the word 'cheeseburger' is what I said." Several other odd behaviors, like leaving the car in drive and sleeping for hours during the middle of the day, led his family to realize that something was wrong. The then 46-year-old husband, father and well-known technology industry analyst was brought to a hospital in Hilton Head, SC, and diagnosed as having had a stroke.

It was 2004, and while it may sound impossible, Kagan was told that, aside from a pharmaceutical regimen to prevent a future stroke, there was no real treatment for him. "I was told to let time heal," he says. "I could talk, and I could walk. If you didn't know me, you wouldn't know I had a stroke." Yet his memory was greatly impaired, and he had trouble thinking clearly. When he met someone, he would forget their name before their handshake had ended.

He tried his best to find a sense of normalcy as his brain took its own time to heal. "During the first five years, I felt waves of recovery," he remembers. "Every three or four months, I would feel a wave taking over my brain. Suddenly, I could do more things." By year five, he was able to write a book, "Life After Stroke: On the Road to Recovery." Now five years later, he is working full time and busier than ever. He is even working on a second book about stroke recovery.

"Stroke changes your life," Kagan concludes. "In the beginning, it can be like hell. You don't have control over different parts of your life. But you have to keep working day in and day out for years. You'll take two steps forward and one step back, but don't get discouraged. Life will get better. Recovery will happen. Just keep a positive attitude."


Kim-Phuong-NguyenKim Phuong Nguyen:
Getting Past Post-Stroke Depression

When Kim Phuong Nguyen woke up one morning, she got out of bed and fell to the ground. "I couldn't get back up. My body had become jelly," recalls the Emory Healthcare pharmacist and mother of five, who was 52 at the time. "At that moment, I didn't think I had had a stroke. But when I tried to raise my left hand, it just dropped. I couldn't control it."

Quickly, she realized what was happening. Her husband called 911, and the dispatcher told them to get to the emergency room immediately. The diagnosis was a stroke, but it was an unusual case. The stroke had been brought on by Moyamoya Disease, a rare, progressive cerebrovascular disorder caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain. Without surgery, the disease can be fatal. The problem was that Nguyen had to complete the therapy from her stroke before she could have that important procedure.

She was able to have outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy at the Emory Stroke Center, spending one hour on each modality several days a week. A friend drove her to the facility, where she had to work to recover her ability to do the technical side of her job as a pharmacist. "I would screw and unscrew a bottle for 30 minutes. I did a lot of puzzles. But my hands would hurt," she says. She got tired very quickly and found herself falling into a depression. "I had to put my faith in God," she notes. "I would go to church every day, and we would have a prayer group." That sense of community and connection helped her work through her post-stroke depression. One month after her stroke, she was able to have the surgery. Immediately, she felt a difference. "After the surgery, I functioned like normal. It was like nothing had changed," she says. And while she does still get tired at times, she has learned when to scale back and take breaks. Most importantly, though, she tries to see the experience as a positive one. "You have to look at it as lucky," she concludes. "The stroke happened, but I was still young enough to have the surgery. It was caught at such an early stage that I was able to gain everything back. I'm just so grateful, and I'm so happy."



Editorial Resources
American Stroke Association –
Tiffany LeCroy, MSN, RN, FNP-C, ACNS-BC, CRRN, Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center at The Shepherd Center –
Melissa Nalder, RN, BSN, Eastside Medical Center –
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke –
National Stroke Association –
Chika Odioemene, MSN, RN, NP, DeKalb Medical Center –
Keith A. Sanders, MD, Atlanta Neurology, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital –,
Kelly Wright, PT, DPT, DeKalb Medical Center –
Lisa-Ann Wuermser, MD, Grady Memorial Hospital –
Elizabeth Wyble, OTR/L, Emory St. Joseph's Hospital –


Wednesday, 22 April 2015 17:32

At the Farmers Market

By Morgan A. McLaughlin McFarland

With water shortages threatening food production in several states and a growing awareness of the potential health risks of some genetically modified food, eating local food has never been more important. Locally produced organic or sustainably farmed food lowers fossil fuel consumption and minimizes pollution from pesticides. And it's not just good for the environment – it's good for the economy too. A University of Georgia study found that if Georgians spent just $10 a week on meat and dairy produced in-state, over $1.9 billion dollars would flow back into the Georgia economy. So what are you waiting for? Start exploring your sustainable Atlanta food options today!


Better For You, Better For The Environment

When it comes to farming, bigger is definitely not always better. Industrial agriculture, which produces the majority of the produce, meat, dairy and eggs consumed in the United States, contributes significantly to pollution of the air, water and soil. Most industrial farms grow only a single variety of any plant that's bred for hardiness and high yield rather than superior flavor or nutrition. The pesticides and herbicides used to maintain these crops also carry health risks. The World Health Organization recently suggested that the herbicide Roundup could be linked to an increase in cancer. Animals kept in inhumane, often unclean, conditions are at a higher risk of passing foodborne illnesses like E. coli and salmonella.

SB1So if you're looking for diverse, tasty food choices that are as healthy as they are delicious, you have a better chance of finding those on small, organic farms close to home. Most organic farms are independently owned and operated family farms of 100 acres or less. Many small farms in Georgia use organic and/or sustainable farming methods to bring healthier produce, eggs, meat and other produce to restaurants and markets across the Atlanta area. Sustainable agriculture relies on environmentally friendly methods, rather than chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and produces more biodiverse crops, including heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables. Since all products labeled "organic" must be certified by the National Organic Program, consumers know those products they buy have been grown in a sustainable way, without the use of harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Organic certification isn't the only way to assure your food is sustainably grown, however. "We always tell folks that the best way to know how your food is produced is to know your farmer," says Brooke Hatfield, Communications Director at Georgia Organics, which has partnered with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to reimburse the full cost of organic certification for all Georgia farmers seeking it for the first time. "Lots of great farmers who use organic practices aren't certified, and they're often happy to show you around their farm and talk about how they grow your food. And when you know your farmer, it's easy to ask them whether they're using synthetic inputs on their farms. As more farms harness social media, that's another way for consumers to get insight."


fruits-and-vegetablesAtlanta's Farmers Markets

Where can Atlanta residents find this sustainably grown or organic local produce? Luckily for the savvy locavore, the Atlanta area offers many farmers markets. Farmers markets provide a one-stop-shopping experience, where vendors from all over the state and Southeast gather in a single location to sell locally grown produce and other locally produced goods. Find the market nearest to you, and make it a weekly part of your routine. After all, the grocery store won't miss your dollars, but your $20, $30 or $50 will mean a lot to your local farmer every week. Try any of these well-established markets to pick up your local fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy and more.


Inside the Perimeter


Brookhaven Farmers Market
April – December
Open Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Brookhaven's market has moved locations since last year and is now at University Baptist Church on Dresden Drive. Plus, check out their online seasonal availability calendar for an idea of what produce to expect each week.

Details: 1375 Fernwood Circle NE, Brookhaven, GA,


Decatur Farmers Market
Open Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
(opens at 10 a.m. January to March)

Stop by this market for seasonal produce any Saturday of the year. They also have a Wednesday market day that runs from the spring through December to accommodate more shoppers' schedules. Just be sure you visit the right location for your pickup day!

Details: On Saturdays, 498 N McDonough St., Decatur, GA. On Wednesdays, 308 Clairemont Ave., Decatur, GA.


Veggies1East Atlanta Village Farmers Market
April – December
Open Thursdays, 4 – 8 p.m.

Swing by this weekday market on the way home from work. It's located across the street from the Midway Pub and is accessible through the MARTA bus routes 34, 74, 107 and 4. They accept cash, credit, debit and double EBT/SNAP. If you just can't get enough of the local food scene, you can even volunteer at the market or at their vendor farms.

Details: 561 Flat Shoals Ave., Atlanta, GA,


Grant Park Farmers Market
April – December
Open Sundays, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

This market, which launched in 2011, takes place at the corner of Cherokee Avenue and Miledge Avenue. It's convenient to the Boulevard and Ormewood stop of MARTA bus route 32, and they accept cash, credit, debit and double EBT/SNAP. In addition to providing healthy, local food, this market focuses on nutrition education and even provides a platform for artists and musicians.

Details: 600 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta, GA,


Peachtree Road Farmers Market
April – December
Open Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. (opens at 9 a.m. starting in October)

Peachtree Road Farmers Market, a producer-only market, also offers an extensive event list to add to your day at the market. Coming up this month are chef demos, health screenings, kids' activities and even sign-up assistance for EBT benefits. Find the full event list on their website.

Details: Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, GA,


Veggies2Piedmont Park Green Market
March – December
Open Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

This market, held just inside the 12th Street entrance of Piedmont Park, offers everything from produce to ready-to-eat meals and bath products. Sign up for their weekly newsletter to stay up to date.

Details: Piedmont Park, 12th Street and Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA,


Westside Farmers Market
May – September
Open Sundays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

This market is brand new this season, but it's organized by the veterans at Community Farmers Markets, who produce three other in-town markets. Find it in the Westside Provisions
District on Howell Mill Road and
14th Street.



Outside the Perimeter


Alpharetta Farmers Market
April – December
Open Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Running since 2006, this market is sponsored by the Alpharetta Business Association. Free parking is available throughout Historic Downtown Alpharetta.

Details: 21 Milton Ave., Alpharetta, GA,


Heritage Sandy Springs
Farmers Market
April – December
Open Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

This market sits just outside the perimeter and includes more than 45 local vendors, including local jewelers and artists.

Details: 235 Sandy Springs Circle NW, Sandy Springs, GA,


Kennesaw Farmers Market
May – October
Open Tuesdays, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.

An average of 30 local farmers and merchants bring local fruits, vegetables, baked goods and other products to this market in Adams Park, now in its 11th season.

Details: 2753 Watts Drive, Kennesaw, GA,


The Marietta Square
Farmers Market
Open Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
May – October, also open Sundays, 12 – 3 p.m.

Over 65 local vendors attend this market, which offers a wide variety of produce, including heirloom varieties that you may never see at the grocery store. They offer free parking all day Saturday and Sunday in the two county parking decks.

Details: 65 Church St.,
Marietta, GA,


Whistle Stop Farmer's Market
May – August
Open Tuesdays, 4 – 8 p.m.

This market, located in Thrasher Park near Downtown Norcross, brings local food, fun and educational tools to the Norcross community through the market itself and donations to to Norcross Charity Gardens and the Stripling Elementary Garden Club.

Details: 7 Jones St., Norcross, GA,


Veggies3Roswell Farmers Market
Daily, year-round
Tuesdays – Fridays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sundays, 12 – 5 p.m.

What this market lacks in size, it makes up for in availability. It's open Tuesday through Sunday and specializes in local organic and biodynamic produce.

Details: Founders Square, 555 S. Atlanta St. #B600, Roswell, GA,


Season-Long Support

Another way to support local farmers and enjoy all the benefits of local food is to participate in a CSA program, which stands for community supported agriculture. In a CSA, one or more local farmers offer "shares" of their produce to the public, providing an assortment of locally produced goods on a regular basis. The consumer pays a subscription fee and receives produce, meat or dairy products, eggs, and other goods during the harvesting/producing season. CSAs often provide their goods in the form of a box or basket, which the consumer picks up at one of the listed delivery points, offering an even-more-local alternative. To find active CSA options, including delivery locations in your area, visit or

So whether your top priority is your own well-being, a thriving local economy or a healthy planet, you can't go wrong by heading to the farmers market or joining a CSA. After all, an apple a day keeps the doctor away – and even better if that apple is from Atlanta's own backyard.


Editorial Resources
Brooke Hatfield, Georgia Organics -
Sustainable Table -
Local Harvest -

Wednesday, 22 April 2015 17:09

Give Mom the Mother’s Day She Wants!













Sibley,-Kelley-IMG 0311--8x10Kelley Sibley
CEO of Bamboo Juices
Mom of one, age 4 months

What is an enjoyable part of mothering children at this stage?
Watching her become more interactive with me every day. She can now smile and laugh with me, which is so much fun!

What is a challenge of this stage?
Sleep! I am so tired! My baby is up during the night and up again early in the morning, and it's really hard to work all day on a few hours of sleep.

What is the biggest misconception people have about this stage?
I might be the only one who this applies to, but I just had no idea how hard it would be. My sister and friends made it look so easy.

How can Best Self readers support moms in their own lives?
Give her the gift of health. My husband watches our baby while I take a long walk and puts her to bed most nights so I can take a few minutes to read my health books that I find so inspiring. The best gift is time to do what inspires you.






Cooper,-Meghan-IMG 0247-8x10Meghan Cooper
Blogger at "JaMonkey," founder of "Yeah, Let's Go!"
Mom of two, ages 3 and 7

What is an enjoyable part of mothering children at this stage?
I love that their minds are little sponges. They pick up everything they hear – and I mean everything. I love teaching them about things and getting them interested in things that we enjoy.

What is a challenge of this stage?
Potty training. It's the worst. Lots of extra stuff to carry around and icky things to clean.

What is the biggest misconception people have about motherhood?
That we as mothers have to give things up in order to raise children, or that it takes all our abilities to do so, leaving no time for other aspects of our lives.

Around Mother's Day this year, what support would be most helpful to you?
Support from my partner to go have a mom's vacation. Moms don't get sick days or time off. We are always "on," so it would be great to be able to disconnect and unwind for some adult nurturing.







Smith,-Maria-IMG 0201-8x10Maria Smith
Blogger at "Mamalicious Maria"
Mom of four, ages 2, 5, 6 and 8

What is an enjoyable part of mothering children at this stage?
Little kids love their mama. They run to me at school pickup and are happier to see me than anyone else in my life. They are so open with their love!

What is a challenge of this stage?
Being a mom of little kids is physically hard – I tend to have a child on my hip for most of the day. Lack of sleep, organization and privacy come with the territory.

What is the biggest misconception people have about this stage?
People think it's all play dates and crafty Saturdays, but they don't understand that those play dates and projects might end in temper tantrums or a huge mess. Most people don't understand the extreme amount of patience that is necessary.

How can Best Self readers support moms in their own lives?
Do the same type of things you did when she first had her baby: bring her a meal, offer to fold her laundry, take her kids to the park so she can shower alone. Even if her "baby" is 2, she still needs everyday help.






Goldsholl,-Maria need-credMaria Goldsholl
COO of Mom Corps
Mom of two, ages 11 and 15

What is an enjoyable part of mothering children at this stage?
Watching their "adult" personalities begin to form. I'm also particularly proud when I witness kindness in them – it makes me feel like we have done something right.

What is a challenge of this stage?
When they are young, as long as you kept them safe and gave them love, you were successful. At this stage, so much more can go wrong. A woman in the supermarket once said to me, "Small kids, small problems; big kids, big problems." That couldn't be more true!

How can Best Self readers support moms in their own lives?
Help her lead a healthy life, whether it's cooking for her, helping her with childcare so she can go to the gym or just providing an ear for the release of stress. I recently joined Iron Tribe Fitness, and the community there has helped me stay focused on my goals. It is so important to help each other be healthy so that we can be the dynamic, ambitious moms we want to be!







Wood,-Brenda-IMG 0396--11x14

Brenda Wood
Evening news anchor for 11Alive
Mom of two, ages 29 and 32

What is an enjoyable part of mothering children at this stage?
The "Mommy Bank" is now officially closed. Yay! It's also such a joy to watch them establish themselves in their careers and marriages.

What is a challenge of this stage?
Letting go. Boy, is that hard! I still want to guide and protect them. Learning how to keep my mouth shut and let them "fly" without me is definitely a challenge.

What is the biggest misconception people have about this stage?
That when the kids are gone from home, mothers skip off into the sunset to frolic in free time. Not true! When kids become independent, it is a rude awakening to suddenly realize that you too are now on your own! That's a big emotional and psychological adjustment. So indulging in your newfound freedom takes a momentary backseat to discovering what your new focus in life will be.

How can Best Self readers support moms in their own lives?
Spend an unhurried, relaxed day with your mom. Just sit and talk. Dream. Laugh. Touch. Top it off with something really good to eat.







Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is compromised, leading to the death of brain tissue. While strokes can be devastating, new medications and other treatments can lead to dramatic recovery, but only if the stroke is identified and treated quickly. The American Stroke Association recommends using the acronym FAST to remember the signs and symptoms of a stroke:

  • F – Facial drooping on one side
  • A – Arm weakness that impairs raising the arm on one side
  • S – Speech difficulty, either impaired speech or difficulty understanding speech
  • T – Time is critical, and anyone with these signs needs to be evaluated immediately for stroke

Traditional "clot-busting" medications had to be used within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms, which made many patients ineligible for treatment. Newer guidelines and neurointerventional procedures, available at major stroke centers, allow more patients to benefit from improved long-term outcomes.

If you notice yourself or anyone around you experiencing these signs, note the time, call 911 and get to the hospital immediately.

To reduce your risk of having a stroke, be sure to eat well, exercise regularly, don't smoke, and follow up with your primary doctor, watching closely to allow early diagnosis and good control of:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes




Julian Bragg, MD, PHD

Midtown Neurology, P.C., a provider of IDD therapy and other neurological services in Atlanta, is the practice of Drs. Husham Mishu and Julian Bragg, who are both certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). Midtown Neurology is affiliated with the stroke program at Atlanta Medical Center, which has been designated by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. Our neurologists have committed themselves to providing you with state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options for your neurological concerns. Whether it is IDD Therapy, BOTOX treatments, migraine headache relief or any other number of neurological needs, we combine our treatments with a thorough education regarding your condition, encouraging you to become an active participant in your treatment plan. At Midtown Neurology, it is our philosophy that you have complete knowledge in order to work as a team with us to treat your condition.

Sponsored by: Midtown Neurology P.C. | Atlanta's Premier IDD Therapy Center | Phone: (404) 653-0039 |


Monday, 30 March 2015 13:14

Rapid Relief for Chronic Joint Pain

Q: What exactly is a Tenex Health TX procedure?

A: The Tenex Health TX procedure is named after the Tenex Health Corporation who developed a method for treating tendonitis. It allows you to treat tendon related joint pain without having to use an incision or surgical technique and is performed using a very advanced needle that dissolves the bad tissue near the tendon.

Q: Who can benefit from this procedure?

A: Anyone who is otherwise healthy, active and has noticed a fairly significant amount of pain of the elbow, knee, ankle, foot or shoulder is a good candidate for this procedure. This procedure is the next step after conservative treatments for those who want to remain active.

ElbowQ: What exactly does the procedure entail?

A: First, a visit to my office where an ultrasound evaluation is performed. I look for a specific type of injury to the tendon, which could be either scar or dead tissue at the spot where you are most tender. The Tenex procedure may be performed under local anesthesia. During the procedure, most patients feel the sensation of pressure, but there is no pain.

Q: How long does this procedure take?

A: Five to six minutes. Once the procedure is complete, you are then sent to the recovery room for 30 minutes and able to return home. From there, the patient will go through a post-procedure process where they keep the joint inactive for a few days, then slowly progressive activity. They will then return to the office after four weeks (to ensure that the healing process is ongoing), and at six weeks they are able to return to their full level of activity.

Q: Is this procedure covered with insurance?

A: So far, of all the procedures I've done, patients have been covered to some degree with insurance. Our office works directly with the insurance company to get that clearance before we perform the procedure.


Charles A Macneill, MD
The Physicians Spine and Rehabilitation Specialists of Georgia

Charles A. MacNeill, MD, a founding partner of The Physicians, practices in our Sandy Springs office. He received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Eckerd College in 1968 and has been named a Joseph Wharton Fellow for graduate study at the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. MacNeill also served in the U.S. Army for four years and was awarded two Bronze Stars during his tour as a Vietnamese linguist and cryptographer.

Post military, he undertook pre-med courses at Georgia Tech and then earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in 1977. He completed his residency in anesthesiology at Emory and Grady Hospitals in 1980.

Dr. MacNeill is board certified in anesthesiology and subspecialty board certified in pain medicine. He served on the faculty of the Emory School of Medicine as Assistant Clinical Professor of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. He was president of the Greater Atlanta Pain Society from 1999 to 2007 and served on the Board of Directors of the Southern Pain Society from 2004 through 2006.


Sponsored by: The Physicians Spine and Rehabilitation Specialists of Georgia
5730 Glenridge Drive, Suite 100 | Sandy Springs, Georgia 30328 | Phone: (404) 816-3000 |

Physicians-20 long


By Morgan A. McLaughlin

When most people hear the word "osteoporosis," they immediately think of a condition found only among older populations. After all, it seems that at some point we've all been warned that an elderly relative could "fall and break a hip," but in reality, it's not just that age group who should be concerned about their bone health. Find out what changes you should make today to decrease your risk of osteoporosis and its complications – and try to heal any damage that's already done.

Invisible Disease, Visible Dangers
Osteoporosis means "porous bones" and is a disease characterized by loss of bone mass and the inability to rebuild bone tissue. This can lead to an increase in broken bones, even from low-impact accidents like bumping into a piece of furniture or tripping over a step. While any of these breaks could lead to major complications, broken hips are especially dangerous for older individuals with osteoporosis. Bone mass loss and the related injuries can seriously impact lifespan and quality of life.

"People misunderstand how important osteoporosis is," says Dr. Hayes Wilson, Chief of Rheumatology at Piedmont Hospital. According to Dr. Wilson, 20 percent of older adults who sustain an osteoporosis-related hip bone break will die within a year of that injury, and 50 percent die within two years. Additionally, 50 percent of those who break a hip due to osteoporosis will lose their independence.

QUOTE1Are You At Risk?
While aging (65+) is a primary risk factor, these other groups are at higher risk for osteoporosis as well:

  • Women
  • White or Asian individuals
  • People of smaller stature
  • People with a family history (especially in the maternal line) of osteoporosis or fractures
  • People deficient in calcium and vitamin D

Certain medications or treatments for other health problems can also increase risk. "Long-time steroid use, some seizure medications, long-time anticoagulant use, some stomach acid medications and some medications used for diabetes also are associated with a higher risk of developing osteoporosis," says Dr. Michael Crowe, board-certified OB/GYN with Glenridge Northside Gynecology. Proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid can interfere with calcium absorption and increase the risk of bone mass loss. Dr. Wilson cites dietary restrictions (such as dairy allergies or diseases like celiac), eating disorders like anorexia, Crohn's-related bowel resection and certain lifestyle factors like smoking and heavy alcohol use as additional risk factors.

Early Prevention for Best Bone Health
Osteoporosis is a prime example of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. Good bone health begins with a balanced diet and sufficient calcium intake in childhood and the teen years. Weight-bearing exercise from the teen years onward also helps build and maintain bone density.

QUOTE2Dr. Tom Price, an assistant professor of geriatric medicine and gerontology and a physician with Emory Geriatric at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, says adequate calcium and vitamin D intake are critical. He recommends daily supplementation of 1200 mg of calcium and 800 IUs of vitamin D. Add these to your routine as early as possible, Dr. Price stresses, ideally before the first signs of bone density loss. Once bone loss is detected, the most effective period of osteoporosis prevention is already behind you. By then, he says, the "horse is already out of the barn, and you're chasing it with calcium."

Another key factor is magnesium, which many people are deficient in. Dr. Tasneem Bhatia from the Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine says, "Calcium and magnesium need to be in a two-to-one ratio for best absorption." Her practice recommends 400 mg of chelated magnesium (a more easily absorbed form) daily.

Diagnosis: Easy and Safebone
But how can you tell if your bones are losing density? It's not exactly like noticing a gray hair or tired feet. Thankfully, diagnosis is a very simple process. Bone densitometry (also called DEXA or DXA) scans are the most reliable and most common means of detecting osteoporosis. This advanced X-ray technology is non-invasive – no IVs or other prep required – and typically involves scanning the lower spine, hips and pelvis area. Results will indicate normal bone mass, low bone mass (osteopenia) or osteoporosis.

DEXA scans are recommended for postmenopausal women over 65 and for men over 70, though scans may be recommended earlier for those with more risk factors. Because of the increased risk for osteoporosis in women, most women should consider having a DEXA scan every two years. Referrals for this scan often come from your OB/GYN and can, in many cases, be performed at the same location and in the same visit as a mammogram.

Treating Osteopenia and Osteoporosis
Once low bone mass has been detected, most care providers will immediately prescribe calcium (1200 mg) and vitamin D (2000 IUs) supplements. Vitamin B-12 supplementation, particularly in men, can also help with retaining bone mass. Lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation and beginning weight-bearing exercise, are also prescribed at this point.

If nutritional supplementation and lifestyle changes do not indicate improvement, the next step is medication, typically bisphosphonates such as Fosamax, Boniva or Actonel. Bisphosphonates may be prescribed for a period as long as five to 10 years, though they can be difficult for some people to take. Bisphosphonates can cause heartburn and must be taken orally, twice a week, and within 30 minutes of taking them, the patient cannot lie down, eat or drink anything other than water, or take other medications.

For those who can't take bisphosphonates or for whom bisphosphonates are not working, a daily injectable medication like Forteo, or a newer, twice-yearly injectable medication like Prolia may be a better option. These medications also carry certain risks, however, and your health care provider will work with you to determine which course of treatment will be the safest and most effective for your individual needs.

Whether you are above the age of 65 or still in your 20s, you can still take steps to improve your bone health. Prevention, early diagnosis and good, evidence-based care can keep you on your feet and improve your overall quality of life.


Editorial Resources

Tasneem Bhatia, MD, Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine –

Michael E. Crowe, MD, Glenridge Northside Gynecology –

National Osteoporosis Foundation –

Thomas Price, MD, Emory Geriatric at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital –

Hayes Wilson, MD, Piedmont Hospital –



Friday, 27 March 2015 18:22

Supplement Your Success

By Taylor Arnold

As we age, our bodies often set new limits for us that didn't exist in years past. Are supplements a good way to push past those limits, exercise at our maximum level and receive all the nutrients we need? Read on as we explore some common supplement options and provide tools for evaluating these products on your own.

Go for the Goal
If you're considering taking a supplement, you likely have a goal in mind already. Maybe you want to push through fatigue during an after-work gym session, so you're looking for a supplement with caffeine. Or perhaps your muscles need extra help recovering after a workout, so you want to try a protein supplement. Like many, you may just want to round out your daily diet with a multivitamin. "Some people may use supplements to fill in dietary gaps, meet their fitness goals, support eye health, gain weight or for a number of other reasons," says Marie Spano, sports dietitian and sports nutritionist for the Atlanta Hawks.

Those scenarios are common, and the supplement industry has plenty of options to meet your needs. According to Dr. Michael Bakheet, who specializes in sports medicine with Kaiser Permanent of Georgia, "Those wanting sports performance enhancements may benefit from caffeine, whey protein and creatine," which can provide added energy and increased muscle mass. Dr. Bakheet says they have been well studied and are safe. Spano agrees, pointing out, "Creatine monohydrate is so effective that clinical trials are examining how this supplement may help those with diseases that affect the muscles."

In addition to fitness supplements, many dietary supplements such as omega-3s, vitamin D and calcium have been shown to offer health benefits. Knowing that some effective options are on the market, it's time to hit the store.

Seal the Deal
When shopping for food, you likely keep a sharp eye out for labels such as "USDA Organic," "Non-GMO Project Verified" or "Fair Trade Certified." When purchasing a supplement, you should be just as discerning, if not more so, because regulation is less strict than you may expect.

The 1994 Dietary Supplementation Health and Education Act allowed nutritional supplements to reach the marketplace without FDA approval or providing proof that the substances are safe or actually do what they claim to do. "It just requires that the substances contained in the product are on the label," explains Dr. David Marshall, director of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Sports Medicine Program. "There is no requirement for studies proving short or long-term safety with product use. This lack of regulation and high risk of impurities can put the consumer at significant risk when purchasing and using these products." Some supplements do go through independent certification processes, such as those by the National Science Foundation (NSF) or the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), and these will be marked with a seal.

SB1As with any product, your best bet is to examine the ingredients for yourself. "Buy products with detailed ingredient lists so you know what part of a plant a particular product is using, the dose and where it is manufactured," says Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, medical director at Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine. Shahida Rashid, clinical nutrition manager at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, also encourages would-be buyers to look for supplements with no additives, colors or fillers.

And keep in mind that the ingredient label isn't perfect, either. "Just because a supplement says it has 500 mg of one ingredient, it may not contain that amount," Spano explains. Studies by Harvard researchers and the U.S. Office of Inspector General show that some supplements live up to their label claims, while others do not. Rashid adds, "Remember to do your research, visit the manufacturer's website and research ingredients in the product. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is."

Supplement Side Effects
Whether you've decided to try a diet supplement or a post-workout protein shake, be sure to consider any possible side effects. For example, according to Rashid, prolonged, excessive intake of protein can be associated with decreased kidney function and osteoporosis. "Remember, too much of a good thing is not a good thing," she says. "Mega doses of vitamins and minerals can have adverse effects and even death. Always consult your doctor or a registered dietitian when taking supplements."

Even if the supplement itself does not cause problems, it could potentially interfere with any existing health concerns or other medications you're taking. For example, "Many high antioxidant supplements are not recommended during chemo or radiation," Dr. Bhatia says. Vitamin E is another one to watch out for, Spano says, because "it is a blood thinner, and your cardiologist may not want you taking high doses of this supplement." She adds that men should be especially careful with vitamin E supplements because high doses may increase prostate cancer risk. Whatever supplements you're interested in, it's a good idea to consult your physician before taking anything.

Food for Fitness
When it comes down to everyday health and fitness, you're likely better off eating a nutrient-dense diet and getting a variety of physical activity rather than relying on supplements. "I generally don't recommend 'energy boosters' or supplements for fitness," says Dr. Maziar Rezvani, director of Avicenna Integrative Medicine and Avicenna Allergy and Asthma. "These products are releasing what is already inside of you. There are more natural ways to release these mediators than taking something externally."


Try these dietary options to achieve the results you want:

Energy: Black tea or coffee can give you a boost through your workout or during the workday without the danger of accidentally supplementing with too much caffeine or spending money on a B12 injection your body may not need.

Strength: "Lean meats can help with iron and amino acid deficiencies," Dr. Bhatia says, providing protein and helping muscles rebuild after a tough workout. If it's strong bones you're looking for, opt for calcium-dense greens like spinach, kale and collard greens.

Pain relief: "Turmeric has great anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties," Dr. Bakheet says, as do citrus fruits.

Recovery: Water. "Many people forget this one simple ingredient to their diet," Dr. Bakheet says. "Simply put, staying well hydrated will help every cell in your body function at maximum efficiency."


Editorial Resources

Michael Bakheet, MD, Kaiser Permanente of Georgia –
Tasneem Bhatia, MD, Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine –
David Marshall, MD, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta –
Shahida Rashid, RD, LD, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital –
Maziar Rezvani, MD, FAAAI, Avicenna Integrative Medicine –
Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD –