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The Link Between your Nose and Your Health

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It was long-observed that decreased sense of smell (olfaction) can predict the development of certain degenerative brain diseases, such as:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Autoimmune conditions.

It was also observed that certain fragrances, such as lemon and lavender essential oils have a positive effect on stress, skin reactions, and one’s mood. One study, for example, showed that smelling lemon essential oil can really boost your mood.

But a recent study published in the medical journal Annals of Medicine reached an even more striking conclusion: they found that healthy and active seniors over the age of 70 were almost 50% more likely to pass away in the course of the next 10 years if they have a relatively worse sense of smell. The researchers cannot explain what accounts for a large percentage of the deaths, as of the 2289 participants only 22% passed away due to neurodegenerative conditions, 6% percent died as a result of weight loss and the rest are unresolved. What’s even more surprising is that a poor sense of smell was the strongest predictor of mortality in the group of participants with excellent and good health. Thus, the study concluded that a good sense of smell in your 70’s and 80’s can predict longevity, whereas bad olfaction increases the risk of mortality. In addition, other studies suggest that a bad sense of smell can be one of the first symptoms of neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases, although the data regarding the immune effects are mainly limited to animal models.

Takeaway: Keep a close eye on your sense of smell and see your doctor if you observe that your olfaction reduced dramatically or rapidly, as it may be a warning sign of a more serious problem.

Author: TxNaturalPediatrics

By training, I am a American Board Certified Pediatrician. But in my younger years I grew up with natural alternatives. As a mom I have tried to incorporate both for my kids and it has worked wonders. And finally, as I am studying natural & alternative medicines, I realize the beauty and wisdom of living closer to earth. Hence in my practice I integrate both...for acute ailments I follow American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation but for simple and/or chronic conditions I prefer natural alternatives. In western training we were raised to think that "health is the absence of symptoms and problems". But eastern sensibilities has educated me that "Health is state that allows one to use the full capabilities of their body, mind and intellect. Therefore, healthy living is a balanced state of well being: physically, mentally, socially and spiritually." This implies that healing is not a "one-pill-fits-all", but a personalized experience.

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