Search Term: " Knee "
October 10, 2022 01:39 PM
If you're looking for a natural way to support your joints, you may want to consider adding devil's claw to your list of options. This African herb has been used traditionally by tribal peoples for hundreds of years and more recently by Europeans and North Americans. Clinical studies have shown that the naturally occurring compounds in devil's claw may help to support joint comfort.* Let's take a closer look at why devil's claw is such a popular choice for those looking for joint support.
The active compounds in devil's claw include harpagoside, phytosterols, phenolic acids and flavonoids (kaempferol). These compounds work together to promote a healthy response to typical everyday joint stress.* In other words, they help to keep your joints healthy and comfortable even when faced with daily wear and tear.
One study in particular looked at the effects of devil's claw on Knee joint discomfort. After eight weeks of supplementation with devil's claw, participants in the study reported significant improvements in their symptoms compared to those who did not take the herb.* Another small study found similar results, with participants reporting a decrease in pain and stiffness after taking devil's claw for eight weeks.**
If you're looking for a natural way to support your joints, devil's claw may be worth considering. Thanks to its abundance of active compounds, this African herb has been shown to promote a healthy response to typical everyday joint stress.* If you're thinking about giving it a try, be sure to talk to your doctor first to see if it's right for you.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Eating more omega-3-rich food may lower inflammation and arthritispain
January 05, 2019 11:15 AM
Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are showing promise in the reduction of inflammation and arthritic pain. A study was done where 167 adults who suffered from knee pain were given blood tests in order to evaluate where their levels of omega-3 fatty acids were. Those who had less omega-3 compared to omega-6 were the participants that had the most bothersome symptoms. Omega-6 differs from omega-3 in the fact that these polyunsaturated fatty acids are detrimental to health due to inflammatory responses that they induce.
"Making simple dietary changes can greatly improve your health. Eating more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fewer foods high in omega-6 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and arthritis pain, according to a study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-20-omega-3-lowers-inflammation.html
CBD can reduce inflammation and works in a different way than Omega-3 fish oil.
7 Natural Remedies for Reactive Arthritis Symptoms
September 13, 2018 06:52 PM
Arthritis is become very common amongst the age gruop above 40 years.experiencing joint pains swelling after an infection are signs of arthritis,which cause inflamation pain in feet toes,ankles back and knees.there are a lots of natural remedies to get relief from this type of pain called arthritis but times a patient needs support from some medicines also.In Conventional reactive arthritis, treatment includes over-the-counter NSAIDs to relieve inflammation and reduce pain. More severe cases may require more aggressive treatment.regular excercise and physiotherapy also helps to reduce artiritis pain.
"If you experience pain and swelling in your joints after an infection, you may have reactive arthritis."
Read more: https://draxe.com/reactive-arthritis/
You can't beat the beet for muscle recovery: Scientists reveal how the superfood heals muscle damage
January 03, 2018 11:59 AM
British scientists have discovered thag drinking beetroot juice can help repair muscle damage. It is recommended to drink it right after strenuous physical activity. In this scientific study some people were given beetroot juice anf some people were given a placebo with the same amount of calories as beetroot juice. The people who drank the beetroot juice had a quicker recovery than those who drank the placebo. The ones who drank the placebo experienced more muscle soreness.
"The findings showed that the participants exhibited a 13 percent increase in power in muscles that extended to the knee at about two hours after drinking the beetroot juice with high nitrate levels."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-09-24-beet-for-muscle-recovery-scientists-reveal-how.html
High-Fiber Diet Tied to Less Knee Arthritis
May 31, 2017 11:14 AM
A new research study from Boston University finds support for the claim that high fiber diets may help individuals avoid arthritis and more specifically knee osteoarthritis. While the benefits of an increased fiber intake seem to have been cemented, the exact reasons why fiber helps to prevent arthritis remains murky. Lead author of the new study, Zhaoli Dai suggests increased fiber intake may help as much as other treatments, but for a considerably cheaper cost.
Read more: High-Fiber Diet Tied to Less Knee Arthritis
Weight loss that works: A true story
March 05, 2017 07:59 AM
Sometimes there is no better inspiration for weight loss than hearing another person's story. Anyone who's ever struggled with their weight understands firsthand how you really feel. They want to provide you with as much help as they can. This is onesuch story. If you want to lose weight, perhaps you've now found the secret.
"Esteemed Yale physician and nutrition expert David Katz examined over 58 popular diets and found that the most successful in terms of both weight loss and nutrition consist of “real food.” By that he means plants, whole grains, nuts and seeds, as well as meat (ideally, from animals that ate plants)."
How Does a Collagen Supplement Help With Joint Pain and Also To The Skin?
Collagen is said to be the most abundant available protein in the body of humans. It forms fibers which are found in ligaments, cartilages, tendons and bones. It's a vital kind of protein in all mammals and it's about 30% the total amount of proteins in the body. Collagen fibers are responsible to ensure flexibility of the skeletal system. As ages increase as per from 25 years, collagen level decreases. This is the main reason why elderly people develop wrinkles which is a result of elasticity loss of the skin due to the decreased collagen level. Brittling of the nails, hair loss, stiffening of joints are also things that happen due to decreased collagen level. This makes collagen supplement very essential because it can prevent all that.
Clinical related studies done over many years have shown clearly that collagen supplements is not only effective in stimulating the natural production of new collagen but also it does replace any missing collagen. Supplementation of collagen helps in maintaining and improving the health of the skin, arthritis, nails and hair and also relieving the joint pains.
The collagen supplements mainly for joint pain and also arthritis are available in two major types: type II collagen and type I collagen. The type I collagen mainly helps to rebuild the cartilage in the joints. These will result in reduction of stiffness and pain which is majorly as a result of breakdown of these vital tissues. Presence of adequate cartilage will ensure improvements in joint movements. When it comes to type II collagen, it is actually the main protein which is lost during the aging process. People tend to prefer this supplement since it the collagen itself.
Collagen is very important in joint health, although many people have thought of it as a wrinkle kind of treatment. Specific types of arthritis may cause the cartilage in joints loose elasticity and after sometime cause wearing of in areas that moves the most. This area are such as ankles, Knees and wrists. With no collagen, there is not enough cartilage. Therefore, ligaments and tendons stretch to fill any missing cartilage which cause tremendous pain.
You can always find collagen at any local or internet store, and be sure you will reap its benefits.
Can MSM Work As A Lotion?
March 05, 2014 09:11 AM
What is MSM
MSM, or methyl-sulfonyl-methane, is the first sheltered, regular, symptom free solution for some sorts of torment and incendiary conditions. MSM is otherwise called Organic Sulfur. Sulfur is needed for our physique to capacity appropriately. Without enough sulfur in our framework our physique's unit capacities get languid. Defectively working units permit poison development. We all distinguish poison development manifestations, for example, muscle and joint torment and general emotions of weakness.
Benefits of MSM lotion
Applying this lotion permits you to gather MSM in the territories where you need the most profits. MSM Lotion gives alleviating quick alleviation for sore hands, elbows, hips and Knees for a long time. The MSM lotion is perfect for skin health management and upkeep carrying non-abrasiveness and flexibility to your skin health management needs.
MSM in a topical lotion serves to takes out the irritation of carpal tunnel, breaks down scar tissue, surface spots, anticipate rankling and uproot the ache from a severe singeing. These are just a couple of the numerous prizes of utilizing Rich's MSM lotion.
Use MSM Lotion consistently to carry speedy help for terrible hands and joints. This quite brilliant lotion is hand made in little bunches to present you a 99.99% unadulterated MSM (17% result) Aloe Vera, Calendula, Jojoba and Tea Tree oil in a satisfying non-oily lotion.
MSM lotion is made of all characteristic items:
Sunflower oils, aloe vera and jojoba mollify and saturate your skin for about three hours without leaving an oily film. Calendula and tea tree oil execute parasite that creates around fingernails and additionally players foot.
This fine mix of elements takes the sting out of rashes and bug nibbles, even relieves outer surface yeast contaminations.
Utilizing Rich and Pure msm lotion helps pack MSM in spots where the form needs uncommon consideration.
When you have attempted msm lotions you will concur that they are the best lotions.
Can Celadrin Help Joint Pain?
March 05, 2014 08:08 AM
In clinical studies, Celadrin cream application has been demonstrated to lessen joint torment in less than 30 minutes. This quite viable, all-common mitigating medication holds a protected mix of specific greasy acids and some menthol's to help reduce torment in the joints, advertise joint flexibility and grease and to help smooth sore muscles.
How can it function?
A long time involving usage in addition to strenuous action can certainly reduce the mobility of your joint parts in addition to deterioration your water that ones your joint parts via pain, ultimately producing osteoarthritis. Celadrin gives remedy in addition to rejuvenation of those joint parts. The item functions by lubricating your mobile walls, so improving your extra padding power involving joint parts in addition to bones. Fat have also been proven to avoid your routine involving redness, making an effort to relieve pain within the joint parts in addition to muscular tissues. When you suffer from muscle mass in addition to joint, Celadrin ointment affords the relief you have to make it through your worktime. Analyzed from prime educational facilities in addition to major medical stores, Celadrin ointment gives relief in order to aching muscular tissues in addition to joint parts.
It provides lubrication in addition to works just like a "cushion" among joint parts in addition to cartilage. Rigid joint parts in addition to pain are generally as a result of bad lubrication. Celadrin Product gives remedy in order to fatigued, aching muscular tissues in addition to joint parts. The majority of people think outcomes inside a half-hour.
Scientifically Efficient Joint pain Pain relief
The results involving human being specialized medical trial offers assist the effectiveness of Celadrin ointment. In a double-blind placebo-controlled trial run released within the Journal involving Rheumatology, forty five participants along with uncomfortable Knee joint parts - ingested both Celadrin Mutual Proper care Pain relief or even a placebo ointment to put on topically double every day intended for 1 month. Members have been evaluated on several orthopedic procedures involving development. At the conclusion in the examine, your analysts known that the Celadrin had been a simple yet effective therapy intended for enhancing Knee mobility, chance to ascend/descend stairways, chance to surge via seated, go in addition to have a seat, in addition to unilateral sense of balance. No changes have been welcomed in your placebo class. Another examine involving 28 people who have arthritis in the Knee additionally revealed major improvements throughout Knee function, range of motion in addition to pain decrease in a matter of a single week involving utilizing Celadrin ointment.
Together Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM Fight The Battle Against Joint Pain
December 18, 2013 03:36 AM
What Do Glucosamine / Chondroitin / MSM Have In Common?
In today's cultural, there seems to be a remedy for almost any ailment. If you have a headache then just take two acetaminophen every four to six hours. Maybe you have broken your arm and can recall the pain medication that was prescribed by your doctor. Unfortunately, as far as science is concerned,not a single treatment works 100% of the time. There is always some sort of relapse period during which, if an individual forgets to take their medicine the pain will return.
How Does Glucosamine Fit Into The Picture
Hundreds of individuals suffer from some sort of joint pain that is found in the Knee, hip, or shoulder area. The chance is high that you are one of those people who have been diagnosed witharthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, or bursitis. Most likely, you have also been written a prescription from your doctor for anything from a muscle relaxer to an anti-inflammatory. Be aware of the fact that these medicines will reduce pain and swelling but only for a short period of time. What happens when the pain relapses and you cannot take anymore? Perhaps, you should consider a nutrional supplement that will help your body fight from within.
What About Chondroitin
By itself, glucosamine lubricates the connective tissues of the body. Although, glucosamine cannot work without another natural compound called chondroitin. The body uses glucosamine to produce chrondroitin which is an example of a glycosaminoglycan. Better known as chondroitin sulfate, it must mix with other proteins in the body to create proteoglycans which are found in all connective tissues.
Why Does MSM Sound So Similar
Just like glucosamine and chondroitin , also known as methyl sulfonyl methane , MSM is known to help aid in the fight against osteoarthritis and joint pain. It is naturally found in humans and in certain plants and animals. Usually MSM is paired with glucosamine and chondroitin in a pill or capsule form.
Boswellia, How It Works And Its Health Benefits
December 02, 2013 07:30 AM
What is Boswellia?
Also known as Indian frankincense, boswellia is actually a natural herb that is commonly used in Ayurveda( a traditional medicine of India).The herb comes from the resin of boswellia tree which is actually rich in boswellic acid ( a substance that has anti-inflammatory effects)The herb is used to treat chronic inflammatory illnesses as well as other health conditions.
How it works.
Various studies indicate the boswellic acid can actually prevent the formation of leukotrienes in the human body. Studies also show that leukotrienes are the main cause of inflammation and can also triggers asthma symptoms. The four acids in boswellia resin are the major contributor to the herbs anti-inflammatory properties.
Health Benefits of Boswellia
A study that was conducted in 1998 showed that boswellia may help to relieve asthma. The result of the study indicated that 70% of the patient who took 300mg of boswellia 3 times daily for 6 weeks showed a great improvement in their symptoms as compared to 27% who did not took it. This is because the herb actually helps in reducing leukotrienes which causes the bronchial muscles to contract.
Studies shows that boswellic acid has the ability to prevent certain enzymes from affecting the DNA negatively thus helping to prevent cancer growth.
A study that was published in 2008 suggested that boswellia can help boost physical functioning and reduce pain to patient suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) of the Knee. The study that was done using 30 patients who suffered from OA found out that those patients who used boswellia reported to have a decrease in Knee pain .They also show some improvement on how far that could walk and flex their Knee.
Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that actually result in chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. A study that was conducted in 2007 on 31 people suffering from colitis indicated that those patients who took 400mg of boswellia 3 times daily for 6 weeks were actually more likely to go into remission as compared to those who took placebo.
Boswellia Can Help you to Reduce all type of Inflammation Pain
November 06, 2013 09:15 PM
What is Boswellia
There are so many natural medicines that can help you to fight against pain and boswellia is one of them. This is one of those herbs that are being used by various cultures as an effective pain killer since a long time. Other than this, this herb is also known to the world as Indian Frankincense and it can help you in inflammation as well as circulation of joints and stiffness of muscles.
Benefits of Boswellia
Talking about the effect of boswellia on pain, many modern researches also proved that it works great as an anti inflammatory medicine. These researches proved that boswellia contain a triterpenoids that is commonly known as boswellic acids and this is responsible for relief in pain. These researches also proved that t boswellic acids are highly beneficial in pain and it has very few toxic or harmful content compared to any other popular anti inflammatory product.
Effect of Boswellia
Other than this, researchers did some blind study in which they included 30 people that had problem of osteoarthritis of Knee and researched compared the effect of boswellia against placebo that is another good anti inflammatory product. In this study participants either received boswellia as an anti inflammatory product or they got placebo for initial 8 weeks. After that researchers switched the medicines for next 8 weeks and patients found that they received much better result in pain with boswellia compared placebo. Additionally they also found great improvement in Knee mobility, walking and reduction of Knee pain while consuming boswellia.
On the basis of these researches and its history we can easily say that boswellia can easily help you to fight against any kind of pain it gives great result in case of muscles stiffness or joint pain. Other than this, its anti inflammatory property can help you in variety of other pain including sprain, fatigue or hurting.
Can Butcher's Broom Boost Cardiovascular Health?
October 30, 2013 09:48 PM
Where to find Butchers Broom
The butcher’s broom also known as ruscus aculeatus is an evergreen low shrub that grows in the Eurasian region. It is known to produce greenish flowers that are small sized and blooms during Spring. It has leaves that produce red berries after the falling off of its female flowers. It is reputed among native cultures as much as asparagus, with the roots been eaten in various preparations.
It is mainly recurrent in woodland as a result of bird-spread though is now grown as a garden plant in regions across the world. It has general names like the pettigree, Jews’myrtle, sweet broom, petit houx and Knee holly. Its roots are deployed as medicines in different remedies.
It has been used as an effective tool to constrict capillaries and blood vessels by herbal and alternative medicine practitioners. Its efficiency in constricting blood vessels is considered to result from the constituent chemicals. This prevents the veins from pooling blood thereby improving the flow of blood in the hands, brain and legs.
It has been used to heal fractures and reduce swelling, as well as treatment for hemorrhoids and gallstones. It is reputed for constipation relief and ease of urine ejection.
As a result of its wide application and effectiveness, the German Health Commission listed it as a useful for the treatment of hemorrhoids. It is advised in medical circles that its use by pregnant women should be subject to consultation of a qualified medical practitioner to avoid possible contraindications and safeguard the fetal balance.
Clinical research is still open in several fronts to ascertain its virility and possible side effects as a result of the widespread usage across the globe by alternative medicine practitioners for a variety of medical conditions. This evidently will provide clues as to acceptable dosage and prescription in the years to come.
4. botanical.com: Broom, Butcher's
What Makes Tupelo Honey The Best Form Of Honey To Consume?
January 02, 2013 11:48 AM
The Reason Why Tupelo Honey Is The Best!
The delicious sweet honey brings water to everyone's mouth. It is available in various forms to the honey lovers in different tastes. Often the classification is on different criteria. One such classification is based on the sources from which the honey is collected and another type of classification is based on the way in which the honey is processed and packaged.
Tupelo honey forms a part of the first type of classification.
There are many other types apart from this, all of which differ in tastes besides producing various benefits. However tupelo honey has better edge over others which can be substantiated with the following explanation. Tupelo honey is made from Nyssa Ogecha, the white tupelo tree. This is found mainly in the south eastern region of the United States. The basin of the Apalachicola River is the main source for this honey. The basins of other rivers such as OchlocKnee, Chipola and Choctahatchee also contain some trees that produce tupelo honey.
Tupelo Honey Nutrient Rich!
Often it is considered as the best form of honey because of its high ratio of the level of fructose to that of glucose. This indicates that it is capable of generating energy for the body for a longer duration than other forms of honey, besides containing all the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties like other forms of honey. Tupelo honey is rich in nutritional composition with dextrose accounting for 25.29 percent, fructose for 43.25 percent, sucrose for 1.21 percent, maltose for 7.97 and other the higher sugars for 1.1 percent.
In addition to these, it also contains riboflavin, thiamine, nicotinic acid, ascorbic acid, sodium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, iron, phosphorous and calcium. Hence this is used for curing cough problems, treating sore throats and burns. Also because of its low level of dextrose and high level of fructose, its usage is often recommended for diabetics patients.
What is Shea Butter Good for?
February 24, 2012 08:12 AM
Shea butter is an all natural creamy fatty substance with exceptional moisturizing properties. It is made from the nuts of karite or shea tree that grows in the savannah regions of East and West Africa. Shea nuts are cracked, grilled, pound and boiled in water to extract the butter. Africans called it the women's gold because most of young women in Africa make a living in shea butter production.
Shea butter is so rich in antioxidants that it has the ability to heal skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and skin rashes. It gives relief from skin itch and flaking. It is rich in Vitamins A and E that hastens the healing process of such skin diseases. Vitamins A and E are powerful antioxidants that eliminate skin toxicity and shield the skin from irritants. They also prevent the skin from getting damaged. Vitamin A prevents pimples and other skin blemishes. While vitamin E keeps the skin radiantly glowing and repairs damaged skin cells.
She butter is an excellent anti stretch mark cream. The human skin is naturally elastic. However, pregnancy and weight gain cause the skin to rapidly stretched. This process affects collagen production and causes stretch marks. Collagen is glue like substance that firmly holds the cells together to prevent skin to sag. Shea butter aids in increasing collagen production to cope up with rapidly stretching skin during pregnancy and weight gain. This keeps the skin's elasticity and prevents stretch marks. Its ability to increase collagen production erases, if not reduces the appearance of stretch marks and scars. Increased collagen production firms and tones the skin and prevents it from sagging.
Shea butter and Skin Health
Shea butter is an intensive moisturizer for severe dry, flaky, rough and sunburned skin. It softens rough Knees and elbows, cracked heel and calloused hands and feet.
Shea butter delays skin aging. As people age, fine lines and wrinkles start to develop. Shea butter deeply moisturizes and rejuvenates the skin thus, prevents wrinkles and early signs of aging. It is easily absorbed by the skin as it penetrates deep into the skin making it more hydrated from the inside. It hastens skin cell regeneration and allows new skin cells to grow. This process peels away old skin, revealing younger looking skin. Skin cell regeneration repairs damaged skin caused by ultra violet rays, radiation, wind and pollution. It also aids in fast healing of wounds, insect bites and burns without leaving scar or marks. It evens out skin tone, removes dark spots and other skin blemishes by continuously renewing skin cells.
Shea butter soothes skin from irritation and stress caused by hair removal. Razor shaving, waxing and plucking leave the skin stressed and irritated. They also leave red bumps that lead to roughness and dark spots. The conditioning effect of shea butter calms red bumps and skin irritation when used as shaving cream.
Shea butter and Hair / Scalp
Shea butter works amazingly on hair and scalp, too. Dry scalp causes the it to flake. Shea butter conditions the scalp and hair follicles thus, prevents flaking and dandruf. It brings back hair's lost moisture due to frequent washing, hair styling and blow drying.
Shea butter is an excellent massage cream that treats arthritis, stiff joints and inflamed muscles. It has an anti inflammatory property relaxes swollen and stiff joints and aching muscles. It also relieves nasal congestion and inflammation when applied topically.
Glucosamine and Joing Pain
April 05, 2010 04:34 PM
Glucosamine is formed in the body from glucose. This compound is found naturally occurring in the joints of the body. It is important as a precursor and stimulant of the construction of proteoglycan synthesis, which forms the basis of cartilage. Also, glucosamine is important for the synthesis of substances that compose tendons, ligaments, the respiratory system, and the mucous membranes of the digestive and respiratory tracts.
A decline in the amount of glucosamine production occurs along with the normal aging process. This compound is involved in the natural cushioning of the joints, which means that damage and pain can result from a lack of glucosamine. When the natural cushion is gone, the bone and cartilage may rest against each other, which in turn causes deterioration. Not only can this occur in the joints, but it can also occur in the spinal column.
Glucosamine sulfate has proven to be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis. In fact, some have found that this treatment works better than conventional therapies. This is because it does more than just mask the pain. Rather, it actually aids in rebuilding and stimulating joint repair. Also, glucosamine sulfate therapy helps to prevent joint destruction. Glucosamine sulfate is responsible for helping to heal, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve damage to joint tissue, without causing the side effects that are often associated with drug therapy.
Scientific evidence shows that glucosamine metabolism is altered when osteoarthritis is present within the body. It has been found that glucosamine supplements provide an effective treatment for this condition. Studies, up to this point, have found substantial improvement in those individuals who are treated with glucosamine.
There is little risk, if any, involved in the use of glucosamine for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that this compound is very safe and does not possess any known precautions or risks. One study even determined that glucosamine sulfate has the ability to help stimulate the defense mechanisms that are present within the stomach lining. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications, on the other hand, often cause stomach problems such as ulcers.
Glucosamine sulfate has been shown to be an essential part in treating osteoarthritis. Scientific results showed significant improvement in swelling, pain, and degeneration of joints with the use of glucosamine sulfate. Not only is this compound important for reducing the symptoms that are involved with osteoarthritis, but the supplement has been found to actually reverse the degenerative process and induce healing. This compound should be considered to be a form of treatment for osteoarthritis.
It should be noted that when taking this, or any other supplement, one should consult their health care provider before beginning any type of supplementation. Glucosamine may not be recommended in some situations. Do not take glucosamine without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant. Similarly, be sure to consult your doctor first if you are breast feeding a baby. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by glucosamine, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
Hyaluronic Acid can help Restore Joint Function
December 01, 2008 10:03 AM
Hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan, is one of the main components of the extracellular matrix of connective tissue and joints, and is one of the main chemicals contained in the synovial fluid that lubricates your joints. Before we discuss how it can be used to help restore the function of damaged joints, let's have a look at what causes joint pain, and why joints can break down long before their time.
You might have heard that arthritis is an inflammatory condition, or that it is due to the immune system. This is true to an extent, and rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system problem, although osteoarthritis is a different problem altogether. Arthritis is not the only cause of joint pain of course, but is by far the most common cause. As already inferred, there are two forms of arthritis, each with a different basic cause.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint disease, and is largely due to wear and tear, injury or can be hereditary. However it is usually initiated by damage, the joint surface becomes roughened and the bone around the damaged area gets thicker to compensate. A joint is where two bones meet, and not all joints move. You have the fixed joints in your skull, for example, and those between the ribs and the spine. However, arthritis generally affects the joints associated with movement, mainly the Knees, hips, fingers, toes and elbows.
The ends of the bones are covered with a thin layer of cartilage, which can absorb shocks and both cushion the joint and allow the ends of the bones to move smoothly over each other. Round each joint is a membrane known as the synovium that is filled with the thick synovial fluid, which lubricates the cartilage. The bone ligaments hold them close to the joint, and prevent them moving too much and dislocating. Finally, the joint is completed by the tendons that attach the muscles to the bones they control.
Osteoarthritis causes a joint to deteriorate: the cartilage becomes rougher and wears, and the bone beneath the cartilage gets thicker. At the edge of the joint the bone tends to grow outwards, forming spurs and the synovium swells producing extra synovial fluid. This causes swelling and pain, and ultimately the joint can be damaged beyond repair. This process takes a number of years to reach a stage whereby pain and discomfort are felt.
Before that situation occurs, however, the joint tries to repair itself, and hyaluronic acid can take part in this process. It is mainly involved in the reparation of connective tissues such as cartilage, although there are other connective tissues which hyaluronan has been found to repair. These include skin, eyes and heart valves and hyaluronic acid can arguably be used to help repair all of them.
However, it is joint tissue with which we are concerned here, and hyaluronan is an important component of articular cartilage: the type of cartilage involved in movement (Knees, hips, etc), as opposed the type that forms your nose or the external part of your ears. It is believed that injections of hyaluronic acid can help to repair damaged articular cartilage. However, osteoarthritis is only one of the two forms of arthritis. The other is rheumatoid arthritis, and this is much more sinister.
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the attack of your joints by your own immune system, although why this happens is unknown. The most likely theory is that certain infections trigger the immune system, and it then proceeds to attack the synovial joints. Cytokines are responsible for inflammation of the synovial fluid, which can also cause fever, loss of weight and appetite, and inflammation of the blood vessels.
The body tries to generate more synovial fluid which causes swelling round the whole joint, putting pressure on the damaged areas, and generating even more pain. The inflammatory response commences and the whole area becomes seriously painful.
The smaller joints are most commonly affected, such as the fingers and toes, but it can progress to the elbows, hips and the Knees. The joints become red, swollen and finally too stiff to be used. The sinusitis eventually leads erosion of the joint and deformation.
Because hyaluronic acid behaves like the synovial fluid, it is believed that it can be used to treat both forms of arthritis. It is a glycosaminoglycan, an unbranched polysaccharide of the same type as chondroitin sulfate that is commonly used to treat arthritis. It can be used to increase the viscosity of the synovial fluid, and render a more effective lubricant.
However, it is in treatment of osteoarthritis that hyaluronan is most likely to find success. It is used to improve the viscosity of the synovial fluid, so providing increased lubrication to the joint and helping reduce the pain. In fact it not escaped notice that those who eat a diet rich in hyaluronic acid tend to live longer and look younger than those that do not do so.
Commercial preparations are currently in use or under evaluation for disorders such as glaucoma, fractures, and detached retinas, damage to cartilage, healing ligaments and osteoarthritis. These last three are particularly of interest to arthritis sufferers, and signs are that they are effective with many cases.
However, it has also been established that smoking cigarettes can negate the effect of hyaluronic acid, and excessive levels of Vitamin C can also degrade it. Estrogen treatment, however, can enhance its effect in repairing connective tissue. Zinc deficiencies have also been found to have negative results, so make sure that these factors are addressed if you are using hyaluronic acid to treat arthritis.
Something to keep in mind if you are taking hyaluronic acid orally is the size of the molecule. It is a very large molecule, and suffers from the same absorption problems as chondroitin sulfate. There are smaller hyaluronan molecule versions available if you can find them, that improve the absorption through the intestine, but if not then the dose will generally be greater than expected due to the low absorption levels due to the molecule being too large to be easily absorbed through the tissues into the bloodstream.
August 05, 2008 01:13 PM
Unlike macro-minerals such as calcium, which the body needs in gram amounts, trace minerals such as iron, selenium, zinc, silicon, chromium, sulfur, and copper are only needed in milligram or micrograms. However, these small quantities do not reflect the importance of trace minerals, as inadequate intake can have huge effects on the body. Lets discuss a few of these trace minerals.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide, with 20 to 50 percent of people affected. The average body contains only one teaspoon of iron, but this mineral is crucial in oxygen transportation throughout the bloodstream and into cells. A lack of iron will starve the body of oxygen and energy, which cause the symptoms of iron deficiency to be fatigue, foggy thinking, irritability, headaches, and lethargy.
A lot of athletes have inadequate iron intake, impairing their exercise performance as it decreases hemoglobin levels and the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the muscles while it increases the time that is needed to recover from exercise. Iron is also important in immunity, with optimal iron intake strengthening the immune system and building resistance to colds, infections, and diseases. Even though inadequate intake is a common concern, too much can also cause health problems including stomach and intestinal cramps, nausea, and constipation.
The most important function of selenium is its antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme is invaluable in protecting red blood cells and cell membranes from free radical damage. Selenium works closely with vitamin E, sometimes replacing it in certain situations. Selenium holds an important role in maintaining the immune system and has been shown to reduce the risk of many health problems which include several types of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain birth defects.
Zinc is a valuable antioxidant that supports many aspects of the immune system. Zinc works in the eyes to protect them against sunlight-related free radicals. Zinc supplements have been found to slow the progression of macular degeneration, but high intakes of zinc and other antioxidants have been shown to lower the risk of developing this eye disease in the first place. This mineral can reduce the severity and duration of the common cold when in lozenge form, if started within 24 hours of the first cold symptom and taken every couple of hours. Taking 50mg of zinc daily or higher amounts for short periods of time is a good idea, but amounts over 150mg daily could cause metallic taste, stomach upset, or impair immune function.
Many modern diets contain extremely low amounts of silicon, especially since food processing removes much of the silicon. Silicon improves the elasticity and suppleness to skin that has been damaged by excessive skin exposure. Silicon is also important in natural bone formation, since deficiencies in silicon lead to bone weakness and sluggish wound health. Bone mineral density can be improved in people with osteoporosis by raising the intake of silicon.
Chromium is important in maintaining blood sugar levels, as well as many other roles in the body. Chromium deficiency impairs the blood sugar-insulin relationship, while chromium supplementation improves insulin response. Studies have shown that supplementing with chromium picolinate improves diabetes management by lowering blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol, or triglyceride levels and reducing the reliance on blood sugar medications. This mineral is also important in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates.
Finally, Sulfur is needed in the joints to keep the connective tissues within them strong and stable. One source of sulfur, MSM, has been shown to significantly relieve pain and improve use of Knee joints in studies. Through all of the above, one can see that trace minerals are extremely important contributors to health, even in small amounts.
Essential Fatty Acids
July 24, 2008 11:19 AM
A balance in essential fatty acids is crucial for many bodily functions. It promotes good overall health as well. Particularly, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human development and achieving good health throughout life. The tissues of the body require omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in order to function properly. There are many conditions that are improved by supplementing with omega-3 oils including high cholesterol levels, prevention of strokes, cancer prevention/treatment, psoriasis and eczema, heart disease, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Diets that are high in saturated fat are often linked with high blood-cholesterol levels, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease such as coronary heart disease and stroke. Many diet therapies that aim to reduce the build-up of cholesterol and risk of CHD focus mainly on reducing the total and saturated fat intake. Dietary interventions that reduce saturated fat intake by simply three percent could even prevent about 100,000 new cases of coronary heart disease within the next 7 years. Once dietary saturated fats are decreased, they may be replaced with polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids that lower both total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.
Although a person’s genetic inheritance has a lot to do with the likelihood of developing heart disease, it is becoming increasingly clear that modifying your lifestyle can improve the effects of your genes. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S., but people can reduce their risk by adopting prevention habits. Some of the most crucial tactics are avoiding smoking, maintaining a desirable blood cholesterol level, keeping blood pressure in the normal range, and regularly engaging in aerobic exercise. Along with these lifestyle habits, alpha-linolenic acid can be taken as supplementation to improve the body’s ability to fight heart disease.
Alpha-linolenic acid has also been shown to lower the risk of stroke, which is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to lower blood pressure by small but significant amounts and have also been able to lower levels of hypertension. Essential fatty acids also have the ability to reduce inflammation of the synovial fluid in the joints, which means that they can help in rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that affects at least forty million people in the United States.
Multiple sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system that destroys myelin sheaths that cover the nerve and creates inflammation, has symptoms including blurred vision, dizziness, numbness, weakness, tremors, slurred speech, and staggering. Studies have shown that multiple sclerosis is at least partially caused by the deficiency of prostaglandins, which are produced from essential fatty acids.
Psoriasis, a skin disease that is characterized by patches of scaly skin on the Knees, elbows, and scalp, but possibly anywhere, is considered essentially incurable by conventional methods, but dietary methods have offered some hope. Because of its rich essential fatty acid content, flaxseed oil is one of the natural therapeutic agents suggested for psoriasis. There is some evidence that suggests that a consistent supply of omega-3 oils may help to prevent fat-sensitive types of cancers, as well as inhibit breast, colon, prostate, and pancreatic cancers.
May 29, 2008 12:35 PM
The Japanese have used deer antler velvet for years in treating male sexual dysfunction. Chinese medical practitioners have prescribed it to men for impotence and to women for infertility and frigidity. In the United States, it is promoted as a sexual energy booster and an aphrodisiac. Studies are ongoing to determine if these are legitimate claims. Other studies are building evidence that deer antler velvet may also be helpful in:
* Cancer prevention * Drug addiction support * Immune system support * Liver protection * Osteoporosis treatment * Pain control * Sports performance
Deer antler velvet, which has been found to contain cartilage, is also being studied for it effectiveness in treating arthritis. It is being promoted as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis. This is usually caused by physical injury or is a result of the aging process. The main cause of osteoarthritis is the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. Joints that are usually most affected are in the hands, Knees, back and hips.
Recent studies are showing that deer antler velvet contains nutrients that are important to the immune system and the joints. Some of these include calcium, phosphorus, prostaglandins, chondroitin and glucosamine sulfate.
In patients suffering from osteoarthritis, the administration of deer antler velvet has led to reduced joint pain at three and six month intervals. It has proven to be safe to take in conjunction with prescription arthritis medications.
As with any natural or herbal product, quality is the key to finding a good and helpful source of deer antler velvet. Because it is not a synthetic product, quality and effectiveness may vary between batches and suppliers.
Butcher's Broom Extract
May 02, 2008 11:04 AM
Butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is a member of the lily family, and looks a bit like a holly bush with barbed evergreen leaves and bright red berries in the fall. At one time they were collected, tied together and sold to butchers as brooms to sweep out their shops.
The stiff leaves were particularly suitable for cleaning out offal and other waste products from butchered animals and also for scrubbing butcher’s blocks. It was also used as a deterrent to rodents with their eyes on the meat! Alternative names are sweet broom, Kneeholy and Jew’s myrtle, so named because it was used during the Feast of the Tabernacles as one of the ‘four species’ used in the lulav.
The herb was commonly used in Ancient Greece and Rome, the Greeks using it to reduce swellings of various kinds and the Romans using it to treat varicose veins. It has the same uses today, only the mechanisms are understood better. It has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean area for the treatment of inflammations and problems with the circulation, and the Romans used to mash up the leaves and berries to add to wine, and they also used the roots and rhizome as a medicine by soaking them in wine. Today, it is illegal to use holly as a decoration in Italy, so butcher’s broom is used instead.
All parts of the plant are used, including the rhizome, and although it is used as a diuretic, and to control a loss of blood pressure experience by some people on standing up, it is its effect on blood vessels where its main medical benefits lie. Butcher’s Broom can strengthen certain portions of blood vessels, and change the flexibility properties of the cell walls.
The result of this is that the vessels are tightened up, which helps to maintain the flow of blood throughout the body, but also renders the cell walls less likely to leak or crack under stress. The result is a reduction in blood leakage from stretched and weakened blood vessels such as those that result in hemorrhoids, and also of conditions caused by weakened valves in the veins such as varicose veins and spider veins.
The blood pressure in the veins is very weak since they are so far away from the heart, the blood having passed through the arteries, through the capillaries and into the veins on its way back to the heart before being pumped to the lungs. When the valves become weakened, particularly in the large veins in the leg, there is little to prevent the blood from coming under the influence of gravity and pooling back down the vein, causing distention and occasional ruptures.
A ruptured varicose vein can be very serious and cause significant blood loss. Weakened valves can also lead to the formation of blood clots, which is itself a very serious condition that eventually blocks the heart or causes a stroke. Not only can butcher’s broom strengthen the vein walls and prevent leakage, and also enable them to more easily resist the pressure that can cause them to rupture, but it can also be used to break down blood clots. In fact the herb is used in many European hospitals to prevent the formation of blood clots after surgery.
The active ingredients in the rhizome are saponins that contain the aglycones ruscogenin and neuroscogenin and the associated spirostanol and furostanol glycosides. The receptors that cause vasocontraction are known as adrenoreceptors, these receptors can be selectively stimulated by butcher’s broom extract to tighten the veins and improve the return of blood. When introduced intravenously, butcher’s broom was noted to constrict venules (small veins that feed the main veins but not arterioles (the small arteries than feed the capillaries). Hence blood vessels can be selectively treated, and the effect on isolated blood vessels was enhanced by heating. Many supplements include calcium that helps to strengthen the blood vessel walls.
It is possible, therefore, to target the blood vessels that require constrictive treatment in order that they are strong enough to return blood to the heart rather than leak or distend. However, that is not the only health benefit that butcher’s broom provides. It can also be used as a diuretic. It is not a strong diuretic, but is used to relief the swelling of bruises and PMS, the reason given being that since leakage from the blood vessels is lessened, then more fluid is available to pass through the kidneys. There might be other reasons.
It is also use for the treatment of ortho static hypotension, the reduction in blood pressure that some people experience. It is believed that butcher’s broom can control this condition without increasing blood pressure, as most other remedies do, and which is almost as undesirable as the condition they are treating.
There are few problems associated with the herb, although few studies have been carried out its use by pregnant women. Although the one test that was carried indicated no effect, it would be wise for pregnant or nursing women not to use it until further studies have been carried out. Due to its effect in tightening blood vessels, its use is not recommended by anybody suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension). Many hypertension treatments are designed to render the blood vessels more elastic rather than constrict them.
In one very small study of pregnant women who used a topical cream containing butcher's broom, no side effects were seen for either the mother or the baby. However, very little information is available on how oral butcher's broom might affect a developing fetus, an infant, or a small child. Therefore, its use is not recommended during pregnancy, while breast-feeding, or during early childhood.
Because it tightens blood vessels, butcher's broom may worsen high blood pressure or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Individuals with either of these conditions should not use any form of butcher's broom without first consulting a doctor. The known side effects have already been stated, and they are fairly mild, but few studies have been made on the herb other than in Europe, and the side effects have not been fully explored. It is unlikely; however, that there are any as yet unknown serious side effects since butcher’s broom has been used now for a long time, particularly in Europe.
The term ‘ruscogenin’ is used for the collective mixture of active saponins in butcher’s broom, and many of the supplements are formulated to include from 5 to 15 mg of these. However, check the label, since standardization is not yet required in the USA, and in theory a preparation can include much more or much less ruscogenin. It is frequently supplied with other active ingredients, such as vitamin C or calcium, and perhaps even horse chestnut that affect blood vessels in a similar way. Always follow the instructions on the package, since these are designed for the specific strength of supplement you are using.
Msm Is Good For More Thank Just Joint Health
March 27, 2008 11:07 AM
When asked to think of essential minerals, sulfur is probably not the first item that comes to your mind. But organic forms of this element shine brightly within every cell. No type of sulfur shines more brightly than methylsulfonylmethane, which is commonly known as MSM. MSM helps to form a vital connective tissue component and is best known as a joint supplement. However, skin is made of the same basic stuff, a strong protein called collagen, so it isn’t surprising that MSM also provides cosmetic benefits.
Collagen, which is a mesh of protein fibers that supports all the other skin cells, is what actually holds the skin together. These fibers are extremely flexible, yet very tough, with collagen actually having a greater tensile strength than steel. There are different varieties of collagen: type I through type XII. One of the main reasons that a child’s skin is so soft and smooth is that it is filled with type III collagen, which is the kind found in fast-growing tissue. As the child ages, this type is replaced with the tougher type I collagen. However, as the skin continues to age, the amount of collagen in the body begins to decline, causing wrinkles, discoloration, and other signs of skin aging.
The protein that is found within collagen is actually loaded with sulfur, which explains why MSM has been shown to restore a softer look to those people who use it. Users of MSM report that hair grows faster and thicker with the use of MSM and nails are also stronger. Some practitioners even found that scleroderma, which is a condition marked by thick, hard skin, actually is improved by the use of MSM.
Joints also contain collagen and MSM delivers sulfur to these tissues, which is what made it a great supplement in the first place. Among people ages 40 to 76 with arthritic Knees, MSM improved the symptoms of pain and physical function. MSM is even more effective when taken in conjunction with other joint aids including glucosamine and chondroitin. One study showed that glucosamine and MSM reduced pain and swelling more quickly when they were taken together than when taken separately.
MSM also seems to help ease pain by directly stopping pain signals as they travel along the nerves. This ability has led to its use in treating conditions like back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and tendonitis. Along with younger looking skin, MSM users have reported another use: reductions in allergy miseries. Scientists have discovered that MSM seems to block histamine, which is the chemical that is responsible for allergic reactions, from reaching tissues such as the mucous membranes lining the nose.
Results from studies have been promising, as seasonal allergy sufferers report significant symptom relief and increased energy levels. For pain relief, fewer allergy attacks, and softer smoother skin, MSM is the best choice to provide your body with a healthy boost of sulfur. More information about MSM and its abilities can be found at your local health food store.
Natural Vitamin and Herbal Alternatives For Joint Health
October 18, 2007 03:58 PM
Joint tissue breaks down and arthritis sets in for a number of reasons, and there are several natural alternatives for joint health that can be use to prevent this and to treat affected joints.
Thyroid problems can slow down the production of adrenal hormones that are responsible for the production of cortisone and cosrtisol. These are anti-inflammatories, that when unavailable or in low supply can result in joint inflammation. If you suffer joint pain in the mornings that tends to improve as the day goes on, then it is likely that is the cause since adrenal activity can improve as the day progresses.
One of the main reasons for joint tissue breakdown is osteoarthritis whereby the cartilage wears down until it fails to provide the necessary protection against impact between the bones in a joint, or against the friction generated when two bones rub together. Injuries to joints can have the same effect, whereby an injury to a hip or Knee can appear to clear up and then later the cartilage wears out sooner than expected. This can take several months or many years, depending on the severity and nature of the injury concerned.
Continual wear and tear can also cause joint tissue to break down. Athletes and other sportspersons often suffer twenty years or more after retirement from their sport due to the gradual wearing down of cartilage while they were active. Once they stop, this continues to a lesser extent until the cartilage is eventually worn away sufficiently for it to stop protecting the joint.
Problems with the auto-immune system can lead to rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation of the joints. This weakens them and can eventually completely destroy the tissue. In such cases the tissues in the joint tend to swell and become extremely painful. Gout can also damage joints, especially in the big toe. This is caused through a built up of needle sharp uric acid crystals. Another cause is a deficiency in sodium and potassium in the diet that are needed to help maintain calcium in solution. When these metals are in deficiency due, for example, to an adrenal problem or some other reason, calcium can deposit right in the joints, causing undue pain.
Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies are commonly associated with arthritis sufferers, and protein deficiencies are also believed to be a contributing factor of rheumatoid arthritis, and it is also true that degenerative arthritis can accompany rheumatoid arthritis. This occurs in almost 40% of cases, and diet and nutrition are now being recognized as a major cause of both types. Deficiencies in folic acid or its natural form of folate, vitamin E, zinc and selenium have all been associated with degeneration of joint tissue, so it makes sense that a supplement of these substances can help to avoid these conditions.
Standard medical treatment, however, is for the relief of pain and reduction of inflammation through the prescribing of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Typical NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. Although it relieves pain, paracetamol is not an anti-iflammatory. An alternative to blocking the inflammatory reponse is to help to regenerate the damaged joint tissue.
However, reducing the inflammatory response to tissue damage does not address the underlying problem, but masks it. Not only that, but there are side effects associated with the use of NSAIDs. Excessive doses can create serious gastrointestinal problems, such as bleeding, ulcer perforation and even death is possible in severe cases. Anti-inflammatories cause gastric problems in up to 20% of cases
The newer Cox-2 inhibitors act on the enzyme that causes the inflammation within the joint, and while these can be very effective, they are still masking the underlying problem. Incidentally, the Cox-2 inhibitors should not be used with NSAIDs, and both increase the possibility of a myocardial infarction or heart attack. Also, if you are taking aspirin to reduce the risk of heart problems, you should be careful not to use other NSAIDs since they can interfere with the effects of the aspirin.
More effective in the long run is to treat the conditions with substances that deal with the cause of the problem. Vitamin C, for example, improves the lubrication effect of the synovial fluid in the joints, and vitamin E is a strong antioxidant that can help to repair damaged tissue and improve the circulation within the joints. Joints have very low blood circulation levels, which is a problem when trying to direct drugs to the joint tissues. Vitamin C is also good for improving the integrity of connective tissue. Zinc, manganese and copper are also instrumental in developing strong connective tissue and helping to repair the damage done to the joints.
Horsetail is a commonly used herbal remedy that can be taken as a tea, tincture or in capsules. It is the richest natural herbal source of silicon, which is used by the body to form connective tissue and collagen. Damaged connective tissue is rapidly repaired by horsetail, and its strength and elasticity significantly improved. It is commonly used in the treatment of arthritis and osteoporosis.
Cat’s Claw is used for its beneficial effect on the immune system, and frequently used successfully to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, this treatment is used more to help reduce the inflammatory effects of the condition than to effect a long lasting cure. Gotu Kola, also called Indian pennywort, is traditionally used for treating arthritis. The fresh leaves are effective in reducing the inflammation and pain, and help to improve the quality of life of arthritis sufferers. In Australia, it is referred to as ‘the arthritis herb’ and two leaves a day are said to be effective.
Another popular remedy is MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), although it is claimed to provide pain relief rather than a cure. Amino acids also seem to help, and L-cysteine helps promote collagen and connective tissue. It appears to work best when taken in combination with vitamin E and selenium that are powerful antioxidants. L-arginine has a similar effect in the reconstruction of joint tissue, again helping to repair damaged connective tissues.
There are therefore two approaches to treating both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, one providing pain relief and reducing inflammation, and the other repairing the damage done to the joint tissues. Vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and herbal remedies are used in both, though it is better to use a combination that provides pain relief and also helps to regenerate strong connective tissues in the joints.
When using combinations of remedies it is important that possible interactions are understood, and you should always seek the advice of your physician when using non-prescription remedies of any kind.
Supplements for Children
June 26, 2007 09:51 PM
Supplements for Children
While most parents try hard to make nutritious meals for their family, most children find the appeal of refined, fast, and junk food simply overwhelming. And, sadly, increasingly easy to buy and consume, as well. From kindergarten through 12th grade, in both grade schools and high schools, vending machines offer calorie laden candy bars, sugar-filled soft drinks, and snack foods loaded with fat and salt. Many school cafeterias actually sell fast-food to children for lunch every day. In fact, it seems almost everywhere children go and gather, visually enticing but nutritionally lacking snacks and soft drinks are sure to be available.
Determined to counteract this disturbing trend, parents everywhere are urgently seeking solutions to help their children get the nutrition they need. One answer is supplemental multivitamins. There are certainly plenty of multivitamins formulated for children currently on the market. However, these products vary considerably in quality and content. Some lack certain vital nutrients. Some taste terrible. Still others are loaded with sugar and artificial flavorings. The good news is that there are superior multivitamins and exceptional immune boosting products formulated specifically for children that actually taste great. In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss childhood nutrition and how to help ensure your children’s health with high quality, 100% natural flavored nutritional supplements.
Q. Do children really benefit from vitamin supplements? Can’t I make sure they get the vitamins and minerals they need from meals?
A. Even the most nutritionally vigilant parent cannot be 100% certain what nutrients are in the food they serve their children. That’s because there’s so much variability in the food we prepare. For instance, fat-soluble vitamins can withstand normal cooking, but vitamins A and E are gradually destroyed by exposure to air. Water-soluble vitamins such as B1, B6, folic acid, and pantothenic acid are destroyed by heat. Vitamin B2 is destroyed by light and heat, while light and air destroy vitamin C. Certain food preservatives and preparation methods also destroy the vitamins in food. To further complicate matters, some fruit and vegetables are grown and harvested in such a way that does not promote nutrient content – so even raw foods may be lacking.
Then there are those crazy food phases all children seemingly go through. While these phases are generally harmless in the long run, a recent alarming exception was in the news. A five-year old boy ate nothing but cheese pizza, Pop-tarts, biscuits, and water, refusing fruits, vegetables, juices and vitamins. He slowly developed limp, swollen gums, and small purple spots appeared on his skin. After five months of this extremely deficient diet, he was unable to walk or get out of bed because the pain was so severe. Doctors diagnosed the boy as having a severe vitamin C deficiency after ruling out other ailments such as leukemia. Within a week of getting vitamin C supplements, the boy’s pain and other symptoms were completely resolved. Obviously, this little boy’s story is unusual. However, even mild food phases (such as “If It’s Green It Must Be Yucky” or “The Only Good Crust Is A Cut-Off Crust”) can result in awfully lop-sided nutrition.
Q. Can multivitamins help my child’s performance in school?
A. Most teachers firmly believe that nutrition and learning go hand in hand. They are convinced that children who are well nourished possess the mental stamina that’s needed to learn and retain even difficult concepts. But can multivitamins help children become better students?
Two independent research teams recently conducted randomized trials to find the answer. The researchers followed 245 school-children aged 6 to 12 years for three months. They gave half of the children multivitamin tablets every day, and half of the children placebos. When the children were tested, the children in the multivitamins group showed an increase in their nonverbal intelligence scores. Nonverbal intelligence is closely associated with academic performance.
Q. I can’t get my children to take 100% natural flavored multivitamins because they don’t taste very appealing. Isn’t there some way to make a 100% natural multivitamin taste good enough for my children to willingly take?
A. Yes, there is! Because most children need chewable multivitamins, manufacturers need to contend with the truly terrible taste of certain minerals. Magnesium, iodine, copper, and iron are probably the worst tasting. Some solve this dilemma by skimping on the amounts of these minerals in their children’s formulas. Others cover up the bad taste with either massive amounts of sugar or artificial flavors, or both.
However, a select few multivitamin makers have discovered how to offer a natural flavored, great tasting children’s multivitamin that contains these vital minerals. The best children’s vitamins are prepared in a base of natural fruit that provides both antioxidants and other healthy phytonutrients. Children’s multivitamins made in such a fruit base have very low sugar content, as well, providing as little as four calories a day. Fructose – fruit sugar – is the preferred sweetening agent, in addition to the fruit content.
Q. What vitamins should be in a multivitamin for children?
A. There are several vitamins and minerals that children need to take each and every day. They include biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamins B12, B1, A, B6, C, D, E, and K. Let’s review a few. We’ll start with folate, one of the B vitamins. This vital vitamin helps the body use protein, helps make DNA, helps cells grow and divide, and keeps the nervous system healthy. In fact, folate is so important to children that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that folate must be added to many foods most children eat daily. Since 1998, cereal, enriched bread, flour corn meal, rice, and pasta have been folate-fortified with this B vitamin.
One of folate’s vital actions is the reduction of homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid (the building block of protein) that is normally produced in the human body. Research has shown that high levels of homocysteine can irritate blood vessels, make blood clot more easily than it should, and cause blockages in arteries increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes .
However, study after study has proven that taking folate reduces harmful homocysteine levels. While most of this research has been in adults, a recent study looked at children’s homocysteine levels. Researchers examined over 3500 children and discovered that high homocysteine levels increased the risk for heart disease in these children, especially as they grow. The researchers leading this study reinforced how critical folate is for all children.
Other critical vitamins for children are the vitamins C and E. The rates of childhood asthma have increased significantly here in the
Q. Which minerals do children need?
A. It is absolutely crucial that children get calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus every day. Sadly, however, the majority of our children are not getting the recommended amounts of many of these vital minerals. Children in
According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, only 13.5 percent of girls and 36.3 percent of boys age 12 to 19 in the
Lack of adequate calcium has immediate consequences for children, as well. The number of fractures among children and young adults has increased as a direct result of poor calcium intake. Pediatricians are also seeing children with rickets, a bone disease caused by low levels of vitamin D. Rickets became almost nonexistent after vitamin D was added to milk in the 1950s, but, due to lower milk consumption, is now appearing at greater rates around the country. And milk itself can be problematic for some children. Aside from alarming reports of hormones and herbicides in commercial dairy factory milk, even organic milk is not tolerated by all because of lactose intolerance and allergies.
Zinc is another mineral that’s vital for children. Because zinc is critical for normal growth and development, children need to take it every day. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, however, found more than half of US children ages two to 10 years fail to get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc. What’s even more troubling is that zinc is vitally connected to children’s ability to process information, pay attention, as well as remember and retain new information
Zinc does a lot to keep children healthy. More than 200 enzymes in our bodies rely on zinc. However, it’s zinc’s ability to connect with our immune systems to help fight infections that is crucial for children. While researchers are not certain how zinc precisely boosts a child’s immunity, they think that zinc might fight pneumonia and other infections by either enhancing the body’s immune status, preventing the infection from establishing itself, or improving the immune system’s ability to rid itself of the infecting organism. It’s possible that zinc does all three.
Q. No matter what I do, my children seem to come down with bad colds each year. Besides giving them a multivitamin, are there other nutritional supplements that can keep my children healthy?
A. Absolutely! In fact, there are 100% natural flavored children’s immune formula nutritional supplements that contain their good buddy zinc, vitamins B6, C, and A (as beta carotene), plus elderberry extract. Elderberry extract has been used as a traditional medicine for hundreds of years to treat colds and flu. And as it so often happens, scientific research has validated this use. In fact, scientists have discovered that elderberry keeps viruses from invading other cells and replicating. It also spurs important immune cells into action to fight invading germs.
While we previously discussed vitamin C’s ability to help children with asthma breathe easier, it also provides powerful immune protection. It speeds up the healing of wounds, such as those Knee and elbow scrapes so common in childhood. However, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and can’t be stored in the body. It must be replenished every day. When children are under increased stress (like when they get sick with a cold or flu), their vitamin C levels are more rapidly depleted.
Vitamin B6 is also water-soluble and can only work in children’s bodies for eight hours. Then more B6 must be obtained. Vitamin B6 strengthens the immune system by helping white blood cells make antibodies. Vitamin A helps make lysozymes, important anti-infectious agents found in tears, saliva, and sweat. It also stimulates the thymus gland, an important immune organ, especially in children, to work better.
Q. Should children take an immune formula every day or only when they are sick?
A. It can be taken several ways. Some parents may want to give the formula when school first starts or other times that their children are exposed to lots of germs. For a child who suffers from asthma or seasonal allergies or just seems to get sick frequently, parents could provide the immune formula every day, increasing the dose when needed. And still others might feel it’s best to give their children the immune formula only whey they do catch a cold or have the flu.
No matter how it is given, the 100% all natural flavored, immune boosting nutritional supplement can provide powerful protection against all those disease-causing germs your children are exposed to every day.
The nutritional choices we make for our children today will have a profound effect on their health tomorrow. Recent research has revealed that diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer in adults often result form nutritional deficiencies that occurred in childhood.
Thankfully, the reverse is just as true. This means that children who are well nourished with an optimal intake of minerals, vitamins, and helpful herbs can grow into healthy and happy adults. Providing high quality multivitamins and immune boosting nutritional supplements for our children can be an important part of that process.
Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain
March 30, 2007 12:09 PM
Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain
One of the biggest challenged in healthcare today is the problem of pain. There are simply too many people living each and every day with ongoing, unremitting chronic pain. And there are far too many healthcare providers who – for a variety of reasons – are failing to adequately address this serious problem.
Recently, 368 doctors who routinely care for patients with chronic pain agreed to take part in a unique study. The doctors were surveyed about the pain medicines hey prescribe, what kind of treatment goals they hope to achieve, and how they felt about their ability to help their patients. They were also presented with four chronic pain vignettes or mock case studies and asked to select the best treatment for each scenario from multiple choice answers.
Sadly, many doctors chose the worst treatment options in the case studies. The medications they reported using in their practices did not reflect current pain treatment standards. They tended to set low treatment goals 0 instead of aiming for a least a 75% reduction of pain for their patients, they settled for 10% to 20% reductions. And many of the doctors admitted they lacked confidence in their ability to relieve their patients’ pain and suffering.
Adding to the challenge are the almost daily news announcements about dangerous side effects in certain pain medications. Synthetic prescription COX-2 inhibitors, once hailed as the safest of drugs, have been linked to heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and intestinal bleeding. The over-the counter (OTC) drugs aspirin and ibuprofen kill over 16,000 people each year. And acetaminophen, the most widely used pain reducer in the
As a doctor specializing in chronic pain disorders, I know that optimal pain management can be a real challenge. However, I also know:
-You do not have to live in chronic pain.
-Your chronic pain, no matter what the cause, can be reduced, and usually
-Chronic pain can be relived both effectively and safely with powerful all-natural
Q. What is chronic pain?
A. Sudden, or acute, pain occurs when pain signals immediately fire in your nervous system alerting you to an injury, like a broken ankle, or an illness, such as appendicitis. Once the injury heals or the illness is cured, the transmission of pain signals stop.
Ongoing – or chronic pain – is much different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial injury, such as sprained back muscles, or an initial illness, such as a serious infection. There might be an ongoing cause of pain, such as arthritis, cancer, or fibromyalgia. Chronic pain also occurs without any past injury or evidence of body damage.
The most common kinds of chronic pain are headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, and neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to nerves or to the nervous system itself). While chronic pain differs in its origin and where it occurs, it is generally your body’s way of saying that something urgently needs attention, and will not o away unless its underlying causes are addressed.
These causes can usually be determined if you remember the acronym “SHIN”. This stands for Sleep, Hormonal deficiencies, Infections/Inflammation/Impingement, and Nutritional deficiencies. When these are treated, pain often resolves.
Q. Why is it so hard to effectively reduce chronic pain?
A. Unfortunately, many physicians’ entire education in pain management consists of “giving nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (pronounced en-sayds), COX-2 inhibitors, or acetaminophen and considering narcotics if the patient has cancer.
Some NSAIDs, like aspirin and ibuprofen, are available over-the-counter, while others, like the synthetic COX-2 inhibitors are only available with a doctor’s prescription. These mediations are usually inadequate and often toxic when used for chronic pain. And they do not address the problem(s) that the pain is trying to alert you to.
Q. What exactly are COX-2 inhibitors?
A. COX-2 inhibitors do pretty much what their name implies – they inhibit a natural enzyme in our body called the clclooxygenase-2, or COX-2, enzyme. There are two COX enzymes – COX-1 and COX-2 and both complete several actions in our bodies. One very important action that both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes share is the speeding up of our body’s production of prostaglandins. These hormone-like substances are made by the cells of the body and have several important functions.
Some of the most powerful prostaglandins cause inflammation, pain, and fever when we are sick or injured. Prostaglandins also protect the lining of the stomach from the damaging effects of acid. Other prostaglandins make sure our platelets (important blood cells) make blood clots when needed. Still others help our kidneys get rid of unwanted salt and water. And researchers have just recently recognized the importance of still another prostaglandin that protects our heart and blood vessels.
The NSAIDs reduce pain by reducing prostaglandin production by blocking or inhibiting the COX enzymes. In theory – less prostaglandins, less pain and welling seems reasonable. But if you really stop and think about it, it’s pretty easy to understand why this method of pain relief might result in significant consequences.
Pain and inflammation are often needed for healing. And just as needed is the protection of our stomach lining, blood clotting ability, assisting kidney function, and keeping our blood vessels healthy. And scientists are beginning to understand if you interfere with one natural response, you may be disrupting the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.
That’s why using aspirin and ibuprofen can result in stomach ulcers, kidney problems, and internal bleeding. And that’s why using synthetic COX-2 inhibitors can result in high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.
Q. Why are we just now learning about the dangers of COX-2 inhibitors and other NSAIDs?
A. That’s a good question!
Many people over the age of 65 have chronic pain conditions and are frequent users of OTC and prescription NSAIDs. This age group also experiences heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease in greater numbers. So, if a 70 year old woman who’s been using Celebrex for the past two years for arthritis in her Knees suddenly has a heart attack one morning, it would not be entirely unexpected.
For the past five or six years, researchers have been studying the possibility that NSAIDs may prevent certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and other health problems. The ongoing, close scrutiny of large group of people taking these medications by scientists who were conducting these studies has resulted in the discovery of these dangers.
Q. What kind of natural compounds relieve chronic pain?
A. There are many – glucosamine, Omega-3 fatty acids, the B vitamins – the list goes on and on. Instead of disrupting normal bodily responses, these natural compounds work in harmony with our body to eliminate chronic pain. Three very powerful and very effective all natural plant compound pain and inflammation relievers are Sweet Cherry, Boswellia serrata, and White Willow Bark.
For many years there have been anecdotal or personal reports that claimed eating Sweet Cherries, specifically Prunus avium, wipes out back pain, arthritis, and gout. While anecdotal reports generally don’t account for much in the world of science, he sheer numbers of testimonials proclaiming the Sweet Cherry’s amazing ability to reduce pain made researchers sit up and take notice.
When Sweet Cherries were examined in the lab, it was easy for scientists to understand how this natural fruit is able to relieve pain. It seems Sweet Cherry’s bright red color is the key. Like many deeply colored fruits, Sweet Cherries are full of flavonoids called anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins.
These powerful plant compounds scavenge and destroy altered oxygen compounds called free radicals. Many degenerative, chronic diseases have been associated with the tissue damage caused by free radicals, including arthritis, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and cancer. Cherry fruit extract is a natural anti-inflammatory compound, making it an excellent treatment for arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain and inflammation diseases.
A pain relieving plant compound that comes from the bark of a tree, Boswellia serrata has been used by Indian healers for hundreds of years to reduce painful inflammation. When 20th century researchers looked at extracts of Boswellia Gum Resin in the laboratory they discovered the presence of powerful plant compounds, called boswellic acids.
Researchers found Boswellic Acids reduce inflammation in several ways. They open constricted blood vessels, improving blood flow to joints. They balance levels of leukotrienes – specific chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. And Boswellic Acids block two inflammatory chemicals that increase in asthma and inflammation of the colon. In addition to being helpful in treating these 2 illnesses, Boswellia has also been clinically studied and found to be quite effective in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis without any evidence of ulcers or stomach irritation.
Another bark extract, White Willow Bark is one of the oldest and most effective pain relievers. For over 2,000 years extracts from the bark of the White Willow tree have been used to ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. It is the original source of aspirin, but when used as the entire plant medicine, White Willow Bark is much safer than aspirin and quite effective.
White Willow Bark’s active ingredient is salicin and the combination of other compounds in the bark significantly enhances its pain killing power. In two large clinical trials of patients with chronic low back pain. White Willow Bark was found to be not only safer and much more effective than standard prescription therapies, it was also 40 percent more cost effective.
Salicylic acid from White Willow Bark lowers the body’s levels of prostaglandins, easing both acute and chronic pain. White Willow Bark reduces the pain and swelling of arthritis, headache, back and neck pain, muscle aches, and menstrual cramps. But, unlike aspirin, it doesn’t cause stomach bleeding or other known adverse effects.
Q. Do Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White
A. They do indeed. Because they reduce both pain and inflammation by a broad combination of actions, these natural extracts have been proven to be excellent against arthritis, back pain, and pain from inflammatory intestinal diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and would be expected to be helpful in most kinds of pain.
Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark relieve inflammation without causing stomach irritation, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, or strokes. That’s because these natural pain killers don’t disrupt the balance of enzymes or interfere with the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.
However, as with any pain therapy, Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark work best when they are used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to relieve the most common underlying causes of chronic pain or SHIN.
In addition, although these excellent natural remedies can often offer quick pain relief, natural remedies for severe chronic pains work best when they are given at maximum allowed doses and given 6 weeks to show their full effectiveness in combination with treating the pain’s underlying causes. The best chronic pain relief results when doctors and patients work together to meet the goals of treatment.
Some important last notes: Many causes of chronic pain are serious and life threatening. Everyone who is living with chronic pain must consult their doctor or other healthcare practitioner to determine the reason for their ongoing discomfort. In other words – make sure you know why you are having chronic pain and what’s causing the pain you want to relieve.
There are some types of chronic pain that only respond to opioids, or narcotic pain relievers. Morphine sulfate is an excellent pain medication and is used to relieve surgical pain, the pain of heart attacks, and pain from serious injuries. Morphine is also the very best drug for chronic cancer pain and non-malignant chronic pain. While many people fear opioids, these powerful pain killers can dramatically improve quality of life. If you are suffering with chronic cancer pain and you are hesitant to use morphine or another opioid, I urge you to discuss your concerns with your doctor other healthcare provider. No one with cancer should live with untreated or under-treated pain.
Even chronic pain can often be eliminated when SHIN is in combination with powerfully effective natural pain relievers. But, because some people may need to take pain relievers the rest of their lives, the medications they use must be safe as well as effective. The very safest come from natural plant compounds that have been studied for their ability to relieve chronic pain. You can become pain free and Sweet Cherries, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark can help.
Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate
March 28, 2007 11:10 AM
Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis in the U.S., according to the Arthritis Foundation. One-third of all American adults have X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis of the hand, foot, Knee, or hip. Osteoarthritis is responsible for more than 7 million physician visits per year and is second only to cardiovascular disease as the cause of chronic disability in adults. As Baby Boomers age, the number of people suffering from osteoarthritis is expected to rapidly increase in the next 10 years.
While osteoarthritis research ahs led to the development of promising new prescription and over-the-counter medications aimed at reducing pain, none has created the excitement of glucosamine sulfate (GS), which actually addresses the underlying joint destruction.
Q. What is osteoarthritis?
A. Osteoarthritis is a complex, metabolic disorder of the cartilage and bones of certain joints. However, to fully understand how osteoarthritis develops, we need to understand how joints work.
A joint is formed when two or more bones are brought together and held in place by muscles and tendons. Some joints have very little range of movement, such as the joints of the ribs, while others have much more range of movement. Hips, Knees, elbows, writs, and thumbs are termed synovial joints, and have the greatest range of movement and mobility of human joints. To allow such mobility, synovial joints have a unique structure.
The bones that form synovial joints are covered with cartilage. Tough fibrous tissue encloses the area between the bone ends and is called the joint capsule. The joint cavity within the capsule is lined with an inner membrane, called synovial membrane. The membrane secretes synovial fluid, a thick, slippery fluid that fills the small space around and between the two bones. This fluid contains many substances that lubricate the joint and ease movement.
The cartilage of synovial joints serves two very important functions. First, it provides a remarkably smooth weight-bearing surface; synovial joints move easily. Secondly, synovial cartilage serves as a shock absorber, providing a soft, flexible foundation. Healthy cartilage absorbs the force of the energy, transmits the load to the bone, and distributes the mechanical stress created by joint movement.
Synovial joints function under almost continual mechanical stress. A joint’s ability to withstand or resist this stress is a reflection of its health. When the mechanical stress is too great or the joint’s ability to resist this stress is compromised, physical changes occur in the cartilage covering the bones.
Cartilage is a tough, elastic tissue, comprised mostly of water, collagen, and complex proteins called proteoglycans. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage starts to weaken, becomes frayed, and eventually breaks down. This exposes the bones of the joint, which then rub together. A gritty feeling and grinding sound may occur when an osteoarthritic joint is bent and flexed. As osteoarthritis progresses, bits of bone and cartilage often break off and float inside the joint space. The bones may enlarge, causing the joint to lose its normal shape. Tiny bone spurs may grow on the joints’ sides and edges. These physical changes in the diseased joint are responsible for progressive damage and continual pain.
People with osteoarthritis most frequently describe their pain as deep and aching. The pain not only is felt in the affected joint but may also be present in the surrounding and supporting muscles. Joint inflammation also may occur, increasing the already considerable discomfort. Joint stiffness is another unfortunate component of osteoarthritis. Exercising the joint most often results in increased pain; however, stiffness tends to follow periods of inactivity. Humid weather often makes all osteoarthritis symptoms worse. As the disease progresses, the pain may occur even when the joint is at rest, creating sleepless nights and miserable days.
Q. What causes osteoarthritis?
A. Osteoarthritis’ exact cause remains unknown. Researchers know aging doesn’t appear to cause osteoarthritis. Cartilage in people with the disease show many destructive changes not seen in older persons without the disease. However, certain conditions do seem to trigger osteoarthritis or make it worse.
Some families seem to have a lot of osteoarthritis, pointing to a genetic factor. This is most commonly seen in people who have osteoarthritis of the hands. Repeated trauma can contribute to osteoarthritis, too. Athletes, extremely active people, and individuals who have physically demanding jobs often develop the disease. Persons who have certain bone disorders are more prone to osteoarthritis due to the continuous, uneven stress in their hips and Knees.
Obesity also is a risk factor for the disease. In overweight women, osteoarthritis of the Knee is fairly common. Excess pounds also may have a direct metabolic effect on cartilage beyond the effects of increased joint stress. Obese people also often have m ore dense bones. Research has shown dense bones may provide less shock-absorbing function than thinner bones, allowing more direct trauma to the cartilage.
Q. Can osteoarthritis be prevented?
A. While there is currently no sure way to prevent osteoarthritis or slow its progression, some lifestyle changes may reduce or delay symptoms. The Arthritis Foundation states that maintaining a healthy weight, losing weight if needed, and regular exercise are effective osteoarthritis prevention measures.
Optimal calcium intake in younger years is vital to ensure a healthy aging skeletal system. Vitamins A, C, D, and E have been studied for their role in osteoarthritis prevention. These vitamins also have shown benefit in individuals who have osteoarthritis.
Q. What treatments are available for osteoarthritis?
A. The goal of treatment is to reduce or relieve pain, maintain or improve movement, and minimize any potential permanent disability. Typically, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (pronounced “n-sayds”) such as aspirin and ibuprofen are used for pain and inflammation relief. These medications are effective in treating only the pain of osteoarthritis.
These medications have many side effects, some of which are serious. NSAID-induced gastrointestinal complications cause more than 100,000 hospitalizations and nearly 16,500 deaths annually in the U.S. Aspirin can cause an extremely annoying and continual ringing in the ears. NSAIDs frequently cause damage to the stomach lining, which can produce uncomfortable heartburn and abdominal pain. Continued NSAID use may lead to the development of stomach ulcers. NSAID-related ulcers can perforate the stomach lining and cause life-threatening bleeding. Most NSAIDs also interfere with blood clotting and may cause kidney damage. When older persons take NSAIDs, dizziness, drowsiness, memory loss, and decreased attention span may occur.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol and similar medications) is similar to aspirin and other NSAIDs in its pain-relief abilities. However, acetaminophen doesn’t reduce inflammation. And while acetaminophen doesn’t have the same side effects of aspirin and other NSAIDs, if large doses are taken, liver damage can occur.
Newer medications called COX-2 inhibitors provide both pain relief and reduce inflammation without the many side effects of acetaminophen, aspirin, and other NSAIDs. More recent research has indicated that, in certain situations. COX02 inhibitors also can cause stomach lining damage and bleeding. While aspirin, NSAIDs, and COX-2 inhibitors may reduce osteoarthritis pain, they do nothing to stop or slow down cartilage deterioration. In other words, these medications have no effect on the disease itself.
That is why many believe glucosamine sulfate (GS) and chondroitin sulfate (CS) are preferable to pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications in osteoarthritis treatment: they actually improve synovial joint health. And they do this without potentially life-threatening side effects.
Q. How do GS and CS work?
A. GS improves the health of joints affected by osteoarthritis. This supplement is so effective that even physicians who mostly rely on conventional medications routinely recommend it to their patients with osteoarthritis. In fact, GS is so good at treating osteoarthritis, many physicians use it for their own osteoarthritis joints.
There is even more good news. When glucosamine sulfate is combined with low-molecular weight CS, even greater benefits can be achieved. GS and CS are naturally occurring compounds found in human joints. The right GS/CS combination actually reverses damage in joints affected by osteoarthritis, in turn significantly reducing pain and stiffness.
Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body and is found in synovial fluid. Glucosamine is a basic building block for proteoglycans, is a basic building block for proteoglycans, one of the important compounds of synovial cartilage. It also is required for the formation of lubricants and protective agents for the joints.
In Europe, GS and CS have been used to treat osteoarthritis for more than 10 years. While persons with arthritis felt much better when they took GS and CS, no one really knew how these compounds worked. When European and American researchers first started to study glucosamine, they discovered GS can reduce synovial joint inflammation. This explains why people felt better after taking it.
Q. What has additional study of GS and CS revealed?
A. As the scientific study of GS progressed, researchers determined it can stimulate the growth of cartilage cells, inhibit proteoglycans breakdown, and rebuild cartilage damaged from osteoarthritis. In other words, GS does not simply make persons with osteoarthritis feel better; GS actually makes persons with osteoarthritis get better.
GS is the form of glucosamine used in research. It’s the sulfate salt of glucosamine and breaks down into glucosamine and sulfate ions in the body. The sulfate part of GS plays an important role in proteoglycans synthesis.
CS also provides cartilage strength and resilience. CS is an important component of the cartilage proteoglycans of synovial joints. Because CS helps the production of proteoglycans, researchers believe CS works in a similar nature to GS.
Q. Couldn’t GS and CS be taken on their own? Is there any benefit in taking them together?
A. Research has discovered GS and CS act synergistically (work well together) in improving joint health. Several studies have investigated this action and it’s recommended that GS and CD be taken together. However, there may be times when your healthcare practitioner may recommend using one or the other, but not both GS and CS together. Please follow their recommendations to obtain the best results for your own unique health concerns. Low-molecular weight chondroitin sulfate (CS) is the preferred CS form, and the form that has shown the most promise in studies.
Q. Why is it important to take low-molecular weight CS?
A. When CS was first studied, it was given to six healthy volunteers, six patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and six patients with osteoarthritis. Researchers then measured the levels of CS in all study subjects. They found no evidence of CS in any of the subjects. This single study led many physicians and scientists to believe CS can’t be absorbed, and was not an effective natural treatment.
However, several other studies in healthy volunteers have reported CS can be absorbed. The distinct difference for these findings is thought to be associated with the types of CS used in the studies. Some forms are much more absorbable that others. This was demonstrated in a recent study using CS with lower molecular weight. A higher absorption is observed for low-molecular weight CS.
This means CS products with a low molecular weight may be better absorbed, allowing the CS to get into the bloodstream and the synovial fluid of joints where it’s needed.
Q. Are there other supplements that can help osteoarthritis?
A. Several vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and natural supplements have benefits for individuals with osteoarthritis. Proteolytic enzymes effectively offer relief of the pain, stiffness, and swelling of osteoarthritis.
Folic acid and vitamin B can reduce the number of tender joints and increase joint mobility. Vitamins C, D, and E not only may prevent osteoarthritis, but inhibit the disease’s progression. Niacinamide improves joint function, range of motion, and muscle strength. Clinical studies using the herb Boswellia serrata have yielded good results in osteoarthritis.
Application of ointments on osteoarthritic joints may be helpful in reducing pain and stiffness. Menthol-based preparations can provide soothing relief to painful joints. Capsaicin ointments and gel made for cayenne pepper also are very beneficial. When applied to the skin, capsaicin first stimulates, then blocks, nerve fibers that transmit pain messages. Capsaicin depletes nerve fibers of a neurotransmitter called substance P. This neurotransmitter transmits pain messages and activates inflammation in osteoarthritis. Capsaicin ointment is very effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain in many individuals.
Q. Is there anything else I can do for joint pain and stiffness?
A. When osteoarthritis occurs in the hands, use of a paraffin dip can be very comforting. A licensed health care practitioner can provide information about how to safely use paraffin dips at home.
Exercise is an excellent way to keep joints mobile, decrease pain, and increase body strength, too. Water aerobics also can reduce the pressure and stress on joints.
The Arthritis Foundation strongly suggests making movement an integral part of your life. When you’re in less pain and have more energy, more range-of-motion, and a better outlook on life, you’ll reduce stress and be a much healthier person despite your osteoarthritis.
One important last thought
When we don’t feel well, we sometimes have a tendency to self-diagnose. If you haven’t been evaluated by a licensed health care practitioner for your joint pain and stiffness, you need to do so. These symptoms may be caused by other illnesses and may require much different treatment. Only licensed health care practitioner can provide a certain diagnosis of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis may be a part of life for many of us as we age; however, constant pain and stiffness need not be. GS combined with absorbable CS can actually improve damage in joints affected by osteoarthritis and significantly reduce pain and stiffness. And it can be an empowering way to improve your health.
Benefits - Supports joint function and tissue health*
December 11, 2006 03:46 PM
To understand glucosamine's role, it is important to understand joint structure and function. Cartilage in the joints acts as a shock absorber to cushion the blows of daily wear and tear. Joint cartilage is made of a unique connective tissue that consists of collagen and proteoglycans. Collagen is a strong, fibrous, insoluble protein. Proteoglycans are large, carbohydrate-rich protein chains made up of 95 percent polysaccharides and 5 percent protein called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). GAGs are composed of repeating two-sugar units (disaccharides) that contain glucosamine sulfate and other amino sugars. Surrounding the joint cartilage is synovial fluid, which contains many substances including its chief component, hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid forms the backbone of other proteoglycans and is responsible for the thickness of synovial fluid as well as its lubricating and shock-absorbing properties. Synovial fluid also provides nutrients for the joint cartilage.
Glucosamine sulfate is a normal constituent of glycosaminoglycans in cartilage and synovial fluid. In essence, glucosamine sulfate provides important building blocks for cartilage production. Laboratory studies suggest that glucosamine may also function to stimulate production of cartilage-building proteins. It is also thought that the sulfate portion of the molecule contributes to the efficacy of glucosamine sulfate in the synovial fluid by providing the elemental sulfur needed for strengthening cartilage and aiding glycosaminoglycan synthesis. 1,2,3
Glucosamine sulfate has been the subject of research for over twenty years. Clinical trials as well as experimental studies have repeatedly supported the efficacy of oral glucosamine sulfate in supporting joint function. In one large open trial, over 1200 people took oral glucosamine sulfate for periods ranging from 36 to 64 days. In this multi-center trial, ninety-five percent of the subjects experienced greater joint comfort and increased mobility. The physicians reported "good" results in 59%, and "sufficient" results in 36%. Furthermore, the improvements in joint health lasted for up to three months after the glucosamine sulfate was discontinued. 3
Promotes optimal joint comfort, function and flexibility*
Boswellia serrata (Indian frankincense) has been used for centuries in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine to maintain healthy joints. Even today, this is one of the primary uses for this plant in Ayurvedic medicine. Boswellic acids have been shown to support healthy joint tissue, maintain circulation to joints, enhance joint mobility, and promote joint comfort in animal models without known side effects. 4
Boswellin® is an extract rich in boswellic acids. Boswellic acids are potent modulators of enzymes involved in leukotriene synthesis in vitro, promoting a healthy balanced production of these components of the immune system.5 Healthy leukotriene balance can lead to enhanced joint function. A human clinical study was conducted to assess the effects of supplementation with a formula containing Boswellia, Curcumin and other nutrients on joint function. In this double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial, participants were randomly assigned to receive the herbal formulation or a placebo for 3 months. Following this 3-month period, the treatments were reversed for an additional 3 months. The results showed that while each group was receiving the herbal formulation, they had superior joint function and a greater sense of joint comfort when compared to the placebo groups.6 Other trials lend further support to Boswellia’s ability to promote healthy joint function.4,6,7
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that has known free radical scavenging activity. This activity of Curcumin is thought to play a major part in its role as a joint protective nutrient. In fact, the numerous beneficial effects attributed of whole turmeric are thought to stem in large measure from the antioxidant properties of curcuminoids. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are highly unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures through abnormal oxidative reactions. Curcumin is not toxic to cells, even at high concentrations. Pure Curcumin was shown to be less protective than a mixture of curcuminoids, indicating a possible synergism among the curcuminoids.8
Curcumin demonstrates several other in vitro effects linked to free radical scavenging. Curcumin scavenges nitric oxide, a compound associated with the body’s inflammatory response.9 Curcumin also demonstrates in vitro inhibition of certain enzymes involved in promoting inflammatory reactions in the body. Together these results strongly suggest that Curcumin is a potent bioprotectant with a potentially wide range of therapeutic applications.9,10,11
Preliminary human trials have assessed the therapeutic potential of Curcumin, with results that verify the traditional use of turmeric as an herb to enhance joint health. In a short-term double-blind, cross-over, comparative study, eighteen people were randomized to receive Curcumin (1200 mg daily) or an alternative therapy for two-week periods. The participants in the Curcumin groups were shown to produce measurable enhancements in joint flexibility and walking time.12 Research suggests that Curcumin and Boswellia work extremely well in combination to benefit joint health and mobility, as trials combining both nutrients have yielded highly positive results.
Bioperine-Nature’s Absorption Enhancer Boosts Nutrient Absorption*
Traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulas often include black pepper or long pepper as synergistic herbs. The active ingredient in both black pepper and long pepper is the alkaloid, piperine. Experiments carried out to evaluate the scientific basis for the use of peppers have shown that piperine significantly enhances bioavailability when consumed with other substances.13 Several double-blind clinical studies have confirmed that Bioperine® increases absorption of nutrients.14
Curcumin is known to be poorly absorbed in the intestinal tract when used on its own, thereby limiting its therapeutic effectiveness. Oral doses are largely excreted in feces, and only trace amounts appear in the bloodstream. However, a study has shown that concomitant administration of 20 mg of piperine with 2 grams of Curcumin was able to enhance Curcumin bioavailability by an astounding 2000%. 15 These results speak to the wisdom of including a small amount of Bioperine® in the formulation to ensure nutrient bioavailability.
Sustained Release – For lasting joint comfort and convenient dosing
To ensure that the body can utilize all of the joint health-enhancing nutrients effectively, Best Joint Support featuring ArthriBlend-SR™ has been designed to have a sustained release delivery system. The nutrients are released over a longer period of time, maximizing absorption and providing the comfort-enhancing properties in a sustained manner. This unique delivery system allows the product to be taken just twice daily while maintaining its efficacy throughout the day.
Suggested Adult Use: Take two tablets every 12 hours. Take 4 tablets daily.
2. Tapadinhas M.J., Rivera, I.C. Bignamini, A.A. Oral glucosamine sulphate in the management of arthrosis: report on a multi-centre open investigation in Portugal. Pharmatherpeutica 1982; 3(3):157-68.
3. Vaz, A.L. Double-blind clinical evaluation of the relative efficacy of ibuprofen and glucosamine sulphate in the management of osteoarthrosis of the Knee in out-patients. Current Medical Research and Opinion 1982; 8(3):145-149.
4. Kimmatkar N, Thawani V, Hingorani L, Khiyani R. Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of Knee--a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2003 Jan;10(1):3-7.
5. Safayhi, H., Mack, T., Sabieraj, J., Anazodo, M.I., Subramanian, L.R., and Ammon, H.P.T. (1992) Boswellic acids: Novel, specific, nonredox inhibitors of 5-lipoxygenase. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 261(3), 1143-1146.
6. Boswellia serrata. Alternative Medicine Review Monographs – Volume One. 2002.
7. Kulkarni RR, Patki PS, Jog VP, Gandage SG, Patwardhan B. Treatment of osteoarthritis with a herbomineral formulation: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. J Ethnopharmacol. 1991 May-Jun;33(1-2):91-5.
8. Majeed, M., Badmaev, V., Shivakumar, U., Rajendran, R. Curcuminoids: Antioxidant Phytonutrients. 1995. Piscataway, NJ: NutriScience Publishers.
9. Snow, J.M. Herbal Monograph: Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae). The Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine, Autumn 1995:43-46.
10. Rao, S., Rao, M.N.A. Nitric oxide scavenging by curcuminoids. J Pharm. Pharmacol. 1997;49:105-7.
11. Ramsewak, R.S., DeWitt, D.L., Nair, M.G. Cytotoxicity, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities of Curcumins I-III from Curcuma longa. Phytomedicine 2000;7(4):303-308.
12. Deodhar, S.D., Sethi, R. Srimal. R.C. Preliminary study on antirheumatic activity of curcumin (diferoyl methane). Indian J Med Res 1980;71:632-34.
13. Atal, C., Zutshi, U., Rao, P. Scientific evidence on the role of Ayurvedic herbals on bioavailability of drugs. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1981;4:229-232.
14. Bioperine®–Nature's Bioavailability Enhancing Thermonutrient. Executive Summary. 1996; Sabinsa Corporation, Piscataway, N.J.
15. Shoba, G., et al. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Medica 1998;64(4):353-6.
The Skinny on Fats - Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-7, Omega-9
October 04, 2006 04:53 PM
Health experts keep changing the storey on fats. First we were told that polyunsaturated fats were better than saturated fats. Then it was discovered that refined polyunsaturates were favorite targets for free radical attack. Next, monounsaturated fats took center stage and have remained in the spotlight ever since. The Mediterranean Diet, with its high intake of olive and other oils high in monounsaturates, offers several important safeguards against cardiovascular disease, cancer and overall mortality. (Laino, de Largeril, Kokkinos, Trichopoulou). While monounsaturated fats are important for maintaining optimum health and smooth supple skin, it’s the kind of fatty acids and antioxidants they contain that make up the real story.
Dark green unrefined “extra Virgin” olive oil has a delightful full bodied flavor due to its natural antioxidants. Not only are the oils of various olive cultivars distinctive, they all help fight arterial plaque buildup. (Visioli) Olive oil has a long history in Europe as both food and medicine, and carbon dating of seeds found in spain have shown that the use of olive oil dates back 8,000 years. Gourmet chefs usually prefer particular oils for various uses in making dressing, marinades, and sauces for dipping. Olive orchards have now achieved a status second only to that of vineyards.
Macadamia nut oil is another designer oil that is fast gaining a reputation among chefs and health experts. The nuts originated in Australia where they were staples in the diets of the Aborigines. In 1881, they were introduced in Hawaii and in the 20th century, made their way to California where several cultivars are now grown. Like olive oil, macadamia nut oil is rich in antioxidants and contains the highest levels, greater than 80 percent monounsaturates, primarily polmitoleic (omega-7) than other oils. (Hiraoka-Yamamoto)
Macadamia nut oil products found in mass market are typically refined, with many of the antioxidants removed. The highest levels of antioxidants in macadamia nuts are found in the shells. During cold processing, some of these antioxidants leech into the oil, increasing its antioxidant potential. (Quinn) unrefined and organic oils have a golden color, pleasing nutty aroma and buttery flavor. Scientists have found that macadamia nut oil lowers, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and may help prevent stroke. (Yamori, Colquhoun) It is delightful on vegetables, in soups, on popcorn, and as a replacement for butter in baking.
The essential oils (Fish oils, flaxseed, GLA, DHA), which are available as liquid and packaged in black bottles, must be stored in the Refrigerator even when they have not been opened. You cannot heat or cook with them. Essential fatty acid supplements are convenient to take and have specific therapeutic value.
Cardiovascular and Nerves – Consumers have been advised to eat more fish rich in Omega-3 to reduce their risk of cardiobascular disease. However, experts worry that eating several servings of fish each week may not be safe especially during pregnancy, dursing or trying to conceive. Instead they recommend fish oil supplements such as Omega-3 from Algae , Fish oil, and Omega-6 Evening Primrose and Borage oils.
Pain Relief – A blend of cetylated fatty acids including myristate, myristoleate, laurate, oleate, palmitate and palmitoleate appear to be effective in reducing inflammation and pain in arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. (Vanderhaeghe) In a San Diego California study of sixty-four patients with osteoarthritis, an oral preparation of cetylated fatty acids known as celadrin significantly improved range of motion and flexibility. (Hesslink)
Two other studies of osteoarthritis patients at the University of Connecticut, using a topical preparation of Celadrin, showed significantly greater Knee stability, improvement in stair climbing ability, balance and strength, and reduction of pain. (Kraemer)
Animal studies at the University of Minnesota have shown that cetylated fatty acids administered either topically or orally are well tolerated and rapidly dispersed throughout the body. (Gallaher) Doses for the oral form are 1500mg three times a day. The topical cream is applied two to four times a day.
July 06, 2006 02:15 PM
Every muscle, organ, bone and tissue in the body is dependent on the kidneys. Each 30 minutes, the kidneys filter the blood, removing about two quarts of waste products and excess water a day, which become urine.
In addition to removing wastes, the kidneys release three important hormones that stimulate the body to produce more red blood cells, regulate blood pressure and help maintain calcium for bones and normal chemical balance in the body.
The kidneys regulate the body’s level of many substances necessary for life. Healthy kidneys return the right amount of chemicals such as sodium, phosphorus and potassium back to the bloodstream fro use by the body.
Because of their vital role, it is important that one’s kidneys be in good health and not stressed or impeded in their function by a buildup of toxins. Low-back pain, joint stiffness and painful menstrual cramps may all be symptoms of poor kidney health.
Kidney Rejuvenator is a proprietary blend of powerful herbs that support the kidneys’ vital functions. These herbs include:
Cinnamon Bark – reinforces circulation in the kidneys, liver spleen and stomach, and increases blood circulation and immunity. Excellent for poor kidney function. Helps balance the menstrual cycle.
Litchi fruit – contributes to healthy kidneys and liver by promoting regeneration of cells. Helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Excellent for a week sex drive, strengthens weak Knees and joints, and improves vision.
Borage leaves – helps to heal and regenerate damaged adrenal glands and kidneys. Excellent for cardiovascular function. Contribute to healthy skin and nails. Soothe sore joints and strengthen the liver.
Damiana leaf – balance both male and female hormones, which increases energy as well as oxygenating the reproductive organs.
Cedar leaves – boost the immune system and increase blood flow; also cleanse the lymphatic system and urinary tract.
Red Raspberry leaf – support kidneys, liver, spleen, reproductive system and bladder, and promotes healthy skin.
Wild Rose Root – excellent for bladder problems, soothes the liver, strengthens the immune system and reduces pain.
Fenugreek – energizes the kidneys and of all herbs; good for the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, stomach and spleen.
Benefits reported for users
Here are some of the benefits reported by users of Kidney Rejuvenator: reduction of period cramps, reduction of muscle soreness and stiffness, improved kidney / bladder function, fewer general aches and pains, greater flexibility, less joint discomfort, diminished swelling in joints, sense of well-being, and increased energy.
December 22, 2005 09:37 AM
Glucosamine & Chondroitin - JOINT HEALTH
Everyone old enough to walk appreciates the value of fl exibility and ease of movement. Unfortunately many of us take such good things for granted. A famous folksinger sang, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” That’s certainly true for millions of Americans who live with stiff and uncomfortable joints.
Fortunately there are a number of nutrients available that provide the vital components of healthy joint structure and function and ease of mobility. These nutrients are referred to as “chondroprotective agents,” and include glucosamine and chondroitin, which supply the raw material necessary to produce new cartilage, and may even help rebuild worn cartilage. Other chondroprotective nutrients and herbs, like Cetyl Myristoleate, MSM, and Boswellin, work synergistically with glucosamine and chondroitin and further support normal joint function To understand how chondroprotective agents work, one must fi rst understand how joints work. The key element in human joints is articular cartilage, the shock-absorbing tissue that connects two bones together and allows pain-free movement. Articular cartilage is comprised of two different molecules, collagen and proteoglycans, with the remainder composed primarily of water (65-85%). Collagen, a protein that binds tissue together, provides elasticity. Proteoglycans, composed of sugars and protein, absorb water, which provides lubrication and resiliency, nature’s shock absorber for your joints. Both compounds are produced by chondrocytes, caretaker cells responsible for the formation and maintenance of cartilage. A defi ciency in any one of the above constituents will increase the likelihood of wear and tear on articular cartilage, which can eventually lead to compromised joint function.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are safe, natural and effective nutrients that support healthy joint function by supplying the materials needed to produce collagen and proteoglycans.
Glucosamine is composed of glucose (a sugar) and glutamine (an amino acid). It is utilized by chondrocytes to form glycosaminoglycans (GSG) and proteoglycans (PG). Both of these constituents attract and bind water into cartilage, increasing resiliency. Research indicates that glucosamine may actually help your body repair damaged or eroded cartilage. A number of studies have been conducted on glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride, with a preponderance of positive results. Glucosamine sulfate is considered the more effective of the two. One study from the University of Liege in Liege, Belgium studied the effects of glucosamine sulfate on 212 patients with Knee osteoarthritis. Participants took either 1,500 mg glucosamine or a placebo once daily for three years. The study compared joint-space width at enrollment, one year, and at the study’s conclusion.
The 106 patients on placebo had a progressive jointspace narrowing, while participants taking glucosamine experienced no significant joint-space loss, indicating glucosamine may benefi cially modify cartilage structure.3 A study published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage in 1998 investigated the in vitro effects of glucosamine sulfate on proteoglycan and collagen production by chondrocytes taken from osteoarthritic articular cartilage. The results showed “a statistically signifi cant stimulation of PG production by chondrocytes from human osteoarthritic cartilage cultured for up to 12 days in 3-dimensional cultures.” 4 Another study from Italy enrolled eighty inpatients with established OA. They received either 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate or placebo daily for 30 days. The patients treated with glucosamine sulfate experienced a reduction in symptoms almost twice as large and twice as fast as those receiving placebo. Researchers also used electron microscopy of patient’s articular cartilage to support this hypothesis. Patients who received glucosamine sulfate showed a picture more similar to healthy cartilage. The researchers concluded that glucosamine sulfate tends to rebuild damaged articular cartilage and restore articular function.5
Chondroitin is classifi ed as a glycosaminoglycan. It bonds with collagen to form the basis of connective tissue. Chondroitin helps attract fl uid into proteoglycans, thereby bringing nutrients into cartilage and providing shock absorption. While glucosamine helps manufacture and maintain cartilage, chondroitin keeps cartilage from becoming malnourished. Chondroitin works synergistically with glucosamine, and these two nutrients form the basis of most joint health supplements on the market today. A 6-month randomized, multi-center, double-blind, doubledummy study published in 1996 compared the effectiveness of chondroitin versus a popular non-steroidal anti-infl ammatory drug (NSAID) in patients with Knee osteoarthritis (OA). One hundred and forty-six patients with Knee OA were recruited and separated into two groups; an NSAID group and a chondroitin sulfate (CS) group. The NSAID group was given the NSAID and a placebo for the fi rst month, then placebo alone for months 2-3. The CS group was given the NSAID and CS for the fi rst month, and then CS alone for months 2-3. Both groups were then given 1200mg of CS for months 4-6. “Patients treated with the NSAID showed prompt and plain reduction of clinical symptoms, which, however, reappeared after the end of treatment; in the CS group, the therapeutic response appeared later in time but lasted for up to 3 months after the end of treatment. CS seems to have slow but gradually increasing clinical activity in OA; these benefi ts last for a long period after the end of treatment.”6
NOW® Foods is your source for natural joint support products. Our Extra Strength Glucosamine & Chondroitin is one of our best-selling products, and we also have combination supplements that include MSM, Concentrace® minerals, and more. We also carry both glucosamine and chondroitin as separate products, as well as in powder and lotion forms.
Glucosamine & Chondroitin - JOINT HEALTH
December 22, 2005 09:30 AM
- US Center for Disease Control, 2005
December 07, 2005 01:27 PM
“Forty-three million Americans report that a doctor told them they have arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. Another 23 million people have chronic joint symptoms but have not been diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, limiting the activities of more than 16 million adults.” - US Center for Disease Control, 2005
This is of alarming concern, especially if you’re one of the nearly 60 million US adults who live with a joint disorder. Clearly, you don’t need to be reminded of what a struggle it can be. Mundane tasks become major, and major tasks become painful reminders of what life was like when your joints were strong and seemingly indestructible. Many sufferers lose hope, while others hopelessly lose out on so many of life’s activities.
Over the past ten years, notable advances in the nutritional sciences have paved the path for landmark products such as Glucosamine, SAMe, Chondroitin, MSM, and others. As a result, millions have found relief in these products and continue to use them in their quest towards healthy mobility. Fortunately, the science behind these popular joint support supplements has done nothing but steadily improve. Celadrin® is perhaps the most convincing proof to date. Let’s examine.
In short, Celadrin® is novel blend of acetylated fatty acids, esters and other synergistic agents that enhance cell membranes throughout the body, resulting in greater mobility and more normalized joint function. The extremely high user success rate and virtually complete absence of side effects has helped Celadrin® rise to the rank of joint support extraordinaire. Yes, this is a bold statement. However, just one look at the supporting research is enough to convince even the most skeptical critics of what a true breakthrough it is. Celadrin®’s ability to provide fast, cumulative relief continues to be evidenced by extensive clinical research, as well as a steady flow of eye-opening human trials.
Unlike popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) that simply mask joint discomfort, Celadrin® targets the source by enhancing cell membranes and restoring the vital fluids that cushion bones and joints. Ultimately, this is what makes it possible to enjoy a free range of motion without the bone-on-bone grinding that limits so many from their daily activities. Working in much the same manner that other fatty acids do, Celadrin®’s patented blend of esterified fatty acids spark positive changes at the cellular level. As this occurs, cell membranes become more responsive and less prone to articular cartilage deterioration.
“How long do I need to take it?”
Not only does it work well, studies continue to illustrate Celadrin®’s ability to work fast. This can be attributed to how easily absorbed the active ingredients are. In 2005, a University-led, placebo-controlled study examined 42 patients who struggled with Knees that were…let’s just say less than fully functional. After just 30 minutes, 100% of the subjects treated with a topical form of Celadrin® reported significant improvement in joint mobility and support. Even more impressive, each participant demonstrated continuous and restorative benefits over the course of the entire 30 day study.
“How do I use Celadrin®?”
One of the most appealing elements of Celadrin® is the flexibility that users have when it comes to taking charge of their joint health. It is available in both oral and topical forms, and each is equally effective. Some users have reported greater results by supplementing the oral form while applying the topical lotion directly to the target areas in question. Still, no two people are alike. Accordingly, the severity and nature of each individual concern will vary from person to person. Therefore, it can be wise to determine which application works best for your particular situation.
“What if I don’t have joint problems?” For openers, you’re very fortunate. If your joints are strong and fluid, Celadrin® is one of the most effortless ways to keep them that way! Cartilage breakdown is gradual, and occurs over a long, delayed, unsuspecting period of time. In many cases, there is very little warning that your Knee or shoulder is about to become part of a frightening and growing statistic. Your joints may feel fine today, but you’d be amazed at how fast that can change. Think of Celadrin® as Cartilage Insurance. You may not see an immediate need to support them right now, but if they do give out, you’ll sincerely wish you had.
“What should I look for in a Celadrin® product?”
As with every dietary supplement and joint-support product, you should always look for a quality formula from a trusted, well-established manufacturer with a history of producing quality products. NOW® Celadrin® products are scientifically formulated, tested for safety and potency and guaranteed to be of superior quality. Each full serving contains 1.5 g (1500 mg) of Celadrin® along with 300 mg of MSM for additional support. NOW® Celadrin® Liposome Lotion contains 7.5 % Celadrin® along with 1.25% USP Pharmaceutical grade natural Menthol. Both are now available at fine independent health food retailers nationwide.* credits: Jayson Kroner [mailto:email@example.com]
Celadrin and MSM Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 01:24 PM
Celadrin and MSM Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Diplomate in Advanced Nutritional Laboratory Assessment Revised 11/10/05
LIKELY USERS: People lacking flexibility or mobility; People wanting temporary control of aches and pains; People wanting to reduce pro-inflammatory body chemicals. KEY INGREDIENT(S): Celadrin® powder 500 mg. Provides 350 mg. of actual EFAC (esterified fatty acid carbons). This is a proprietary blend of Esterified Fatty Acid Carbons of Myristate, Myristoleate, Laurate, Oleate, Palmitate and Palmitoleate in a base of tapioca and silica.
MSM 100 mg.
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: CELADRIN® is an all-natural proprietary matrix of esterified (cetylated) fatty acid carbons (EFAC) derived from tallow of USA-raised cattle. This product is developed through a proprietary process of esterifying oil & has been clinically tested. Celadrin promotes joint health by improving flexibility, pain management and mobility. The myristoleic acids and the cetylated forms may alter the 5-LOX enzyme and change the leukotriene production, inhibiting inflammatory compounds.
Celadrin® may offer some noticeable benefits faster than other substances, like glucosamine and chondroitin. Though it is not a substitute for these important tissue-building nutrients. ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: MSM has synergistic abilities to reduce certain substances in the body which may affect the inflammatory process.
Contains Cetyl Myristoleate (CM, CMO), but in a patented blend of other fatty acid carbons. This product (Celadrin ®) has its own clinical studies showing safety and efficacy.
Also will be available in a softgel of the same potency (350 mg. of EFAC) as of December 2005 (product 3017, 90 softgels)
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: Three capsules a day, preferably with meals.
POSSIBLE SYNERGISTS: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Joint Support Products, Manganese, Vitamin C, other Antioxidants
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women, and people using prescription drugs, should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement.
This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. This document has not been reviewed by the FDA or by the company posting it. Information given here may vary from what is shown on the product label because this represents my own professional experience and understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients.
When taking any new dietary supplement, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full-recommended dose over time, looking for possible side effects. Repeat this process for each new supplement that you start to use.
REFERENCES: 1. J Rheumatol. 2002 Aug;29(8):1708-12. Cetylated Fatty Acids Improve Knee Function in Patients with Osteoarthritis. Hesslink R Jr, Armstrong D 3rd, Nagendran MV, Sreevatsan S, Barathur R.
Utah's Inland Sea Minerals – Topical Application
November 22, 2005 09:23 AM
Minerals provide a bounty of healing properties that have scientifically validated their use for topical applications. These applications have been shown to have powerful local and systemic effects. The health of ones skin and hair reflects inner health. Indeed, we judge the health of animals and humans alike by their outward appearance of fur or skin, respectively. The human skin is the largest organ of the body and is highly involved in the detoxification and maintenance processes of health. Skin not only excretes and eliminates toxins; it also has a tremendous capacity to absorb health supportive substances. The pharmaceutical industry frequently takes advantage of the skin’s absorptive capacity with drug therapies. Such therapies include the transdermal delivery of drugs like nicotine, hormone patches, progesterone creams and so forth. Thus, it is apparent that natural therapies can have pronounced and powerful health effects.
Clinical researchers have continued to document the clinical findings that have been observed for decades when it comes to the healing properties of topical minerals. Many of the studies on therapeutic baths have used minerals from the Dead Sea, an ancient inland sea. However, a similar and impressive array of minerals occurs in the other inland sea, the Great Salt Lake. Indeed, the high presence of magnesium from both inland seas appears to be the foremost active mineral. A comparison chart below clearly reflects the mineral analysis and similarity (see chart below). The following survey of medical research reflects a few of the many therapeutic roles for mineral salt baths. Of particular interest are the powerful effects of magnesium salts that are prevalent to both Utah’s Inland Sea and the Dead Sea that exhibit favorable effects in inflammatory disease. Arthritis:
103 patients with arthritic symptoms were treated for 1-2 weeks. They received various bath treatments with the ionic trace minerals. The study showed that the higher concentration baths offered the most impressive results. Those with the greatest physical limitation had the most pronounced improvement. Over 80 percent of the patients reported having less pain, 70 percent reported improved mobility and 60 percent were able to decrease analgesic use (i). In a different double-blind study, the use of warm mineral baths with Dead Sea salt demonstrated a lasting effect for patients suffering from degenerative arthritis. (ii)
In a clinical trial conducted by a leading research university in Germany, patients with atopic (eczema) skin disorders immersed their arms in a magnesium chloride rich bath. The participants immersed one arm in tap water the other in the therapeutic magnesium rich bath. The findings showed that skin hydration was improved and skin roughness and inflammation was reduced. The researchers stated “magnesium salts are known to bind water, influence epidermal proliferation and differentiation and enhance barrier repair.” (iii) Another study showed that magnesium salts when exposed to both psoriatic and healthy skin cells provided an important anti-proliferative effect (iv). Yet another study showed that the effects of mineral baths from the Dead Sea had lasting effects for upwards of a month after treatment. (v) Head to Head Comparison (vi) (vii)
Utah’s Inland Sea Composition Dead Sea Composition
By: Dr. Chris Meletis N. D.
Best Hyaluronic Acid w/Chondroitin Sulfate - Benefits of...
July 27, 2005 12:28 PM
• Supports Healthy Joint Structure and Function*
Components of BioCell Collagen II including collagen type II, chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid (HA) can enhance proteoglycans in the joint matrix, thereby providing support for healthy joint function and maintaining joint shock absorption and cushioning.
Chondroitin has been well studied for its effects on joint health. In a 1996 controlled, double-blind trial published in the Journal of Rheumatology, 146 volunteers consumed chondroitin sulfate daily for 6 months. Changes in joint function were measured according to several clinical parameters and carefully analyzed. After the first month, significant improvements were noted and maintained for three months after the subjects stopped taking the chondroitin sulfate.1 In an earlier double-blind study subjects taking chondroitin sulfate had improvements in joint function after three months of use, as determined by both objective and subjective measurements.2 In both studies, the benefits lasted for weeks after subjects stopped taking chondroitin sulfate.
In another controlled study, 192 subjects took chondroitin sulfate or a placebo daily for one year. At the end of the trial, chondroitin sulfate maintained healthy joint cartilage thickness, while those on placebo had decreased cartilage. Improvements in joint function also occurred. The researchers reported that chondroitin exerted a clear chondroprotective effect.3
COLLAGEN TYPE II
A number of studies have also been conducted on the administration of collagen type II to individuals that have various joint issues. Much of this research has been conducted on animal models of joint conditions while there are also studies showing the effectiveness of oral collagen type II preparations in humans for maintenance of healthy joints.
A randomized controlled trial conducted on 60 patients with joint health issues in 1993 found that oral administration of chicken collagen type II for 3 months led to a significant decrease in swollen and tender joints in this group, as compared to no measurable improvement in the placebo group. There were also no side effects seen with the treatment.4 A second multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 274 individuals with joint issues was published in 1998. The participants were given collagen type II orally for 24 weeks. Positive effects of the treatment were noted while no adverse effects were seen.5
A paper published in 2000 reviewed the literature to assess the role of hydrolyzed collagen in joint and bone health. It was found that hydrolyzed collagen when administered orally was able to support joint health in most of the trials reviewed while the author concluded that, “Its high level of safety makes it attractive as an agent for long-term use.”6
HYALURONIC ACID (HA)
Most of the literature on hyaluronic acid and joint health deals with its intra-articular use, or injections of HA directly into the joints. In this realm, there is good evidence for the effects of HA on joint function.
A study was conducted with injectable HA in individuals with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) conditions. Participants received two injections, each one week apart, or placebo injections with saline. In the HA group, the researchers found decreased clicking sounds and increased function of the joint at 1 month (90% of patients showed improvement) and 6 months (63%) of follow-up, compared to about 26% of the placebo group showing improvement at 6 months.7
A pair of researchers also conducted a literature review of the trials using HA for improving joint health that was published in 2005. Their findings indicate a positive role for HA in modifying the structure of the joint and slowing progressive deterioration of joint function and mobility.8 Hyaluronic acid seems to have a natural affinity for joint tissue, and is therefore able to help support healthy joint structure and function.
• SuSupports Healthy Joint Structure and Function*
Hyaluronic Acid and Collagen are both vital components of skin tissue. Both compounds are known to decline with aging. Collagen is a vital structural component of the skin. It is also one of the most important substances required for proper skin barrier function and health. Collagen, as a major component of the connective tissue, provides structural support, increasing elasticity and tone of the skin.
In 1994, researchers performed comparative measurements of hyaluronic acid levels in the skin of young and elderly individuals. The researchers had hypothesized that a major reason for the aged appearance of skin in the elderly is a reduction of hyaluronic acid levels. What they found using their methods is that there is a progressive reduction in the number of hyaluronic acid granules in human skin with age, until a complete absence of these granules was seen in individuals 60 years or older. These variations in HA levels with age could, according to the researchers, account for the decreased turgidity, wrinkled appearance and altered elasticity of skin tissue.9 Further research was needed to determine the effect of exogenously administered HA on the suppleness of human skin.
In a laboratory study conducted in 1998, researchers analyzed the effects of HA given to live human skin cells. Whereas the cells on their own had a low rate of renewal, hyaluronic acid added to the cells resulted in increased proliferation of skin cells in the collagen matrix. This showed that supplementing skin cells with HA caused a significant increase in the ability of cells to go through the cell cycle.10 One of the major benefits of this may be hyaluronic acid’s ability to continually renew skin tissue to help maintain a youthful appearance of the skin.
Suggested Adult Use: Take 2 capsules daily, or as directed by a health care practitioner. Take with 8-10 ounces of water, with or without food.
1. Morreale P, et al. Comparison of the antiinflammatory efficacy of chondroitin sulfate and diclofenac sodium in patients with Knee osteoarthritis. J Rheumatol (1996) 23:1385-91.
2. Mazières B, et al. Chondroitin sulfate for the treatment of coxarthrosis and gonarthrosis. A prospective, multicenter, placebo-controlled, double blind trial with five months follow up. Rev. Rhum. Mal. Ostèoartic. 1992;59(7-8):466-472.
3. Pipitone V, et al. A multicenter, triple-blind study to evaluate galactosaminoglucuronoglycan sulfate versus placebo in patients with femorotibial gonarthritis. Current Therapeutic Research 1992 52(4):608-38.
4. Trentham DE, et al. Effects of oral administration of type II collagen on rheumatoid arthritis. Science. 1993 Sep 24; 261(5129) 1727-30.
5. Barnett ML, et al. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with oral type II collagen. Results of a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum. 1998 Feb; 41(2): 290-7.
6. Moskowitz RW. Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2000 Oct;30(2):87-99.
7. Hepguler S, et al. The efficacy of intra-articular sodium hyaluronate in patients with reducing displaced disc of the temporomandibular joint. J Oral Rehab. 2002; 29: 80-86.
8. Goldberg VM, Buckwalter JA. Hyaluronans in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the Knee: evidence for disease-modifying activity. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2005 Mar;13(3):216-24.
9. Ghersetich I, et al. Hyaluronic acid in cutaneous intrinsic aging. Int J Dermatol. 1994 Feb; 33(2): 119-22.
10. Greco RM, et al. Hyaluronic acid stimulates human fibroblast proliferation within a collagen matrix. J Cell Physiol. 1998 Dec; 177(3): 465-73.
Celadrin - Benefits
July 27, 2005 11:09 AM
Increased Range of Motion in Joints*
Research has shown that Celadrin can have an impact on improving the range of motion in joints. A placebo-controlled trial conducted in 2002 showed that those individuals taking a complex containing Celadrin for 2 months had a significant improvement in Knee flexion (ability to bend the Knee) over those taking a placebo.1 Another study conducted on Celadrin published in 2004 concluded that treatment “significantly increased physical performance (as measured by a variety of orthopedic tests)” in patients with compromised Knee mobility. The study found that the subjects given Celadrin showed improvement in their ability to climb stairs, rise from a chair and walk, along with an improved sense of balance, strength and endurance.3
Maintains Joint Comfort*
The anti-inflammatory actions of Celadrin have been demonstrated by one double-blind, placebo controlled trial that showed Celadrin, when taken orally at recommended intake levels, decreased pain scores and increased walking distance compared to the group receiving placebo. The authors theorize that Celadrin may work by down-regulating the effect of certain precursors of the body’s inflammatory response.1
Suggested Adult Use: One capsule three times daily, with or without food.
2. Anonymous. Monograph: Glucosamine sulfate. Alt Med Review 1999;4:3;193-195.
3. Kraemer WJ, et al. Effect of a cetylated fatty acid topical cream on functional mobility and quality of life of patients with osteoarthritis. J Rheumatology 2004;4:767-74.
4. Crolle G, D'Este E. Glucosamine sulphate for the management of arthrosis: a controlled clinical evaluation. Curr Med Res Opin 1980;7:104-109.
5. Rovati LC. Clinical research in osteoarthritis: design and results of short-term and long-term trials with disease modifying drugs. Int J Tissue React 1992;14:243-51. Acting as a biochemical "super-thiamin," it does this through several different cellular mechanisms, as discussed below.
6. Bassleer C, et al. Stimulation of proteoglycan production by glucosamine sulfate in chondrocytes isolated from human osteoarthritic articular cartilage in vitro. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 1998;6:427-434. Med. 2002 Oct 14;162(18):2113-23.
7. Reginster JY, et al. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet 2001;357:251-56.
8. Macario, J. T., Rivera, I.C. Bignamini, A.A. Oral glucosamine sulphate in the management of arthrosis: report on a multi-centre open investigation in Portugal. Pharmatherpeutica 1982; 3(3):157-68. 9. Kraemer WJ, et al. Effect of acetylated fatty acid topical cream on functional mobility and quality of life of patients with osteoarthritis. J Rheumatol.2004 Apr;31(4):767-74. 10. Kraemer WJ,et al. Acetylated fatty acid topical cream with menthol reduces pain and improves functional performance in individuals with arthritis. J Strength Cond Res.2005 May;19(2):475-80.
Maintaining Healthy Veins
July 25, 2005 09:36 PM
More than 40 million Americans have varicose veins, a term in Latin meaning “twisted and wollen blood vessel.” Although the condition is rarely disabling, it is disfiguring, causing discomfort and embarrassment to those afflicted.
many cases, genetic predisposition and gender determine who will develop varicose veins. A full 75% of Americans with the condition ar e women. At risk some women who may experience the beginning of this condition during pregnancy as the enlarging womb presses on the veins in the abdomen, increasing the pressure in the veins of the legs.
Age is another factor as the skin becomes less elastic, lessening vein support. Some individuals are genetically edisposed to a malfunction of the one-way valves that may cause a back low of blood to pool in super ficial veins, stretching and swelling them.
some health care professionals believe that our Western diet, high in refined carbohydrates and fat and low in fiber, may cause straining during bowel movement leading to hemorrhoids (anal varicose veins) and increase pressure on the leg veins. Our Western diet also eads to obesity and cardiovascular conditions such as plaque deposits in the arteries, abnormal clotting and platelet aggregation, cardiac dysfunction or failure, all leading to a weakened venous system that could increase the chance of developing varicose veins and edema (swelling in the legs). Those who ar e predisposed to varicose veins and who stand for long periods of time, especially on hard floors, may develop them more quickly.
If you are at risk of developing this condition as you age, emphasizing a diet high in fiber, legumes and grains, fresh fruits and vegetables will improve your chances of maintaining good vein health. Other nutritional supplements that may be beneficial are horse chestnut seeds, Centella Asiatica, Milk Thistle, Butcher’s Broom and bioflavonoids.
Horse chestnut seeds have a long historical use in the treatment of varicose veins and hemorrhoids. One active ingredient that has been researched is a saponin mixture called Aescin. In a recent study, Aescin was as effective as compression stockings in reducing leg swelling in patients with chronic venous insufficiency.
Centella Asiatica is a common edible herb also known as Gotu Kola in India. When grown in Madagascar, it has a higher content of a compound called triterpenic fraction (TTFCA) than the same herb has when grown in other parts of the world. This compound has been used for many years in the treatment of venous hypertension. In a study conducted in 1989, 120mg dosage was safely used in patients with poor venous blood flow and it improved the condition after one or two months.
Often, inflammation is a component of varicose veins. Milk Thistle, another herb commonly used for the treatment of liver disorders, was also found to reduce inflammation and edema in a recent Spanish study.
A bushy ever green perennial found throughout much of the Western world is Butcher’s Broom. Its saponin glycosides ar e anti-inflammatory and helped contract blood vessels, especially veins thus making it an important component of any natural for mulation used to improve venous conditions.
Certain bioflavonoids, such as quer cetin and rutin, have also been shown to be useful in the natural tr eatment of varicose veins as a strengthener of capillary and vein walls.
There are other nutritional supplements including vitamins and minerals that may help maintain vein health as we age. They are listed in my new book “A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Medicine.” To improve vein health and to decrease your chance of developing varicose veins: do not stand for long periods of time especially on hard sur faces such as concrete. If you can’t avoid this, make sure your shoes are well cushioned. If you are sitting for long periods of time either working or traveling, take walking breaks. Stop crossing your legs and exercise regularly to incorporates rhythmical contraction of the leg muscles. Rest with your legs elevated when taking a break. W earing good support hose and avoiding tight Knee-highs will promote good blood flow.
These things can be very important if you ar e genetically pr edisposed to varicose veins. Starting nutrients early may help diminish or delay venous problems.
Micromedex, Inc. Volume 96, 1974-1998. Diehmetal. Microcirculation Laboratory, Cardiovascular Clinic, Chieti, Italy.
Efficacy of Centellase in the Treatment of Venous Hypertension Evaluated by a Combined Micro circulatory Model. G. Belcaroetal. Current Therapeutic Research, Vol. 46, No. 6, Dec. 1989.
Effect of Silymarin on Different Acute Inflammation Models and on Leukocyte Migration. R. de la Puertaetal, J. Pharm. Parmacol. 1996, 48: 968-970 Merck Sciential Review, no. 10, 1995-04-30, pp. 2
Hyaluronic Joint Complex - w/Glucosa, Chondr, & MSM - The Next Generation in Joint Formula
June 29, 2005 11:45 AM
Hyaluronic Joint Complex™ with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM The Next Generation in Joint Formulas
Every movement you make requires your joints to help your body flex, bend and twist into that next position. But with time and use, your joints can begin to break down, resulting in discomfort. Source Naturals understands how difficult it is to live with joint discomfort. That’s why we developed HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX. This powerful formula combines the most popular, scientifically researched ingredients for joint health—hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. Together, these ingredients promote joint, tendon and ligament flexibility and easy joint movement. Joints are cushions made of flexible and protective cartilage—containing outer layers that surround a lubricating fluid. It is this design of your joint and other connective tissues that gives your body structure, height and the ability to move without damaging the bones and muscles that hold you up. HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX provides the key nutrients needed to support this complex structure.
BioCell Collagen II®—Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide chain found throughout the body. It is a major component of joint tissue that helps to hold lubricating moisture in joints and cartilage, affecting their resilience, elasticity, and strength. BioCell Collagen II® is a patented hyaluronic acid, which has undergone an absorption enhancing hydrolyzation process that yields low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, and Collagen Type II peptides, unlike other preparations that have not been hydrolized. The low weight allows these compounds to deliver greater support for your joints.
Glucosamine—An Amino Sugar
Glucosamine is an amino sugar—a molecule made from an amino acid and a simple sugar. Amino sugars are the basis of virtually all connective tissues and lubricating fluids in the body. Just as amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, amino sugars are the building blocks of giant molecules called glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s), also known as proteoglycans and mucopolysaccharides. GAG’s are large, spongy, water-holding molecules that form the glue that holds us together. This substance is found in all connective tissue and mucous membranes. Numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have examined the positive effects of oral administration of 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate-the amount in one daily use of HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX. To ensure optimal absorption, this formula contains glucosamine sulfate, N-acetyl glucosamine and glucosamine HCl.
Chondroitin sulfate is the most abundant GAG in the body. Its main role is in keeping cartilage fluid and elastic. It is found naturally in the body, where it is one of the critical compounds that makes up connective tissue. Connective tissue is responsible for building and supporting cartilage found in the joints and elsewhere.
Dietary Sulfur for Joint Lubrication
Both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate provide an additional source of sulfur, a mineral that is important for healthy connective tissue. HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX also features MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, a naturally occurring form of organic sulfur found in body fluids and tissue, cow’s milk, plants and most natural foods. Sulfur may promote joint flexibility due to its role in supporting joint lubrication and movement. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the effects of MSM with promising results.
Supporting Ingredients for Joint Health:
Manganese Ascorbate and Vitamin C Manganese is involved in the production of a wide variety of enzymes. These enzymes influence such biological processes as the production of collagen and the metabolism of protein and cholesterol. Manganese is also necessary for the growth and maintenance of tissues, cartilage and bones.
The manganese ascorbate used in this formula also provides 55% vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for the production and stability of collagen, the major protein in cartilage and connective tissue. It also protects cells from harmful free radicals.
Innovative natural products, such as HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX, are an integral part of the Wellness Revolution. Taking personal responsibility for your health is at the heart of this revolution. Your local health food outlet is your source for nutritional education and advanced natural products. Source Naturals is pleased to partner with these outlets to bring you HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX—the next generation in joint formulas.
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF CAPSICUM
June 23, 2005 11:20 AM
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF CAPSICUM
Capsicum is a remarkable whole body stimulant that can boost blood flow, tone the nervous system, relieve indigestion, promote sweating, help to cauterize and heal ulcers, ease persistent pain and fight off infection. One very authoritative work on African plants suggests that Capsicum’s “regular ingestion is highly beneficial in hemorrhoids, varicose veins, anorexia, liver congestion and vascular conditions . . .the indigenous inhabitants of Africa and of the Antilles are remarkably free form all of these conditions as they use Capsicum fruit in their diet.”10 Most of the therapeutic actions of Capsicum are attributed to the alkaloid or glucoside content of the herb.11 The latest scientific studies conducted with Capsicum will be discussed in subsequent sections.
Because Capsicum boosts peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion, it expedites the therapeutic delivery and action of other herbs. In other words, the medicinal benefits of these herbs reach infected or inflamed tissue more rapidly due to enhanced blood flow.12 Consider the following statement: “Cayenne will insure the rapid and even distribution of the active principles of the rest of the herbs to critical function - al centers of the body, including those involved in cellular respiration, metabolism, data transmission, and neural-hormonal activation. Cayenne is included in several other blends for this reason. In extremely small quantities it can dramatically increase the efficiency of most other herbs.”13 Many health practitioners believe that the key to healing is CAPSICUM stimulation. Capsicum stimulates eve rything from blood flow to peristaltic action in the stomach, to intestinal transit time. The re m a rkable ability of Capsicum to stimulate organ secretion and even heart action makes it one of the strongest natural stimulants known. Se veral different kinds of herbal blends targeting various body systems will utilize Capsicum to boost the formula’s efficacy.
Capsicum is said to be unequaled for its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action. Interestingly, cultures who consume significant amounts of cayenne pepper in their diet have much lower rates of cardiovascular disease.14 Capsicum exerts a variety of desirable actions on the entire card i ovascular system. It has the extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance while actually lowering blood pressure.15 A quote taken from a card i ovascular publication re a d s , “Capsaicin has also been shown to prolong cardiac action potential in atrial muscle . . .”16 Michael T. Murray, N.D., has stated, “ Cayenne pepper [Capsicum] should be recommended as a food for its beneficial antioxidant and cardiovascular effects.”17 Herbalists have considered Capsicum as a superior “f o o d” for the heart. In fact, in cases where a heart attack is suspected administering capsicum in hot water has been thought to help lessen the severity of the attack. Capsicum can also be placed on or under the tongue in emergencies involving heart attack, stroke or hemorrhaging. 18 Note: Using Capsicum for any heart-related problem, especially a suspected heart attack should never take the place of medical attention or a physician’s care.
CAPSICUM Blood Cholesterol Reducer
Various studies have conclusively demonstrated that Capsicum reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the a rteries) by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels .19 Additional clinical studies conducted in India found that when cayenne was ingested along with dietary cholesterol, the typical rise in liver and blood serum cholesterol levels was significantly inhibited. In addition, bile acids and free cholesterol were subsequently eliminated from the body through the stool.20 Interestingly, these tests revealed that using Capsicum was actually more effective in reducing cholesterol that capsaicin alone.2 1 Daniel Mowrey, Ph.D., emphatically points out that this is just one of many examples of the superiority of whole botanicals as opposed to their isolated components.22 Note: Using Capsicum in combination with Hawthorn is a particularly good cardiovascular tonic.
Blood Pressure Equalizer
While an added bonus of Capsicum’s capability to lower blood serum cholesterol is a decrease in blood pressure, additional evidence strongly suggests that the herb initiates other mechanisms that fight hypertension .23 “Cayenne, according to another study, also reduces the blood pressure in an even more direct manner: a number of years ago, a team of researchers discove red that capsaicin acts in a reflexive manner to reduce systemic blood pressure, a kind of coronary chemoreflex.”24 Adding Garlic to Capsicum creates an even better therapeutic blend for treating hypertension.
Blood Detoxification CAPSICUM
“Cayenne is a kind of catalyst in the blood purification process . . . it acts as a diaphoretic, stimulating the excretion of wastes in the swe a t . ”25 Because Capsicum stimulates organ secretion and boosts peripheral blood flow, it would only stand to reason that it would also facilitate the faster removal of toxins from the bloodstream and lymphatic system. You may have already noticed that Capsicum is frequently added to blood-purifying herbal combinations. Circulatory Booster Researchers have found that the simulating action of Capsicum on surface capillaries can help to pre vent cold hands and feet.2 6 For this reason, it may be helpful for Reynaud’s Syndrome. Old remedies using Capsicum have even recommended placing it in socks to warm the feet and to help prevent frostbite. An old folk cure for a chilled body was a steaming hot cup of Capsicum tea. Free Radical Scavenger The rich flavonoid content of Capsicum gives it significant antioxidant capabilities. A recent study conducted in 1995 showed that Capsicum has a higher ascorbic acid content than chiles from the jalapeno or serrano varieties .27 Vitamin C and bioflavonoids can scavenge for dangerous free radicals which cause tissue damage and can predispose organs to degenerative diseases. Free radicals are found everywhere and are created as by-products of metabolic p rocesses including the act of breathing itself. Pollutants can expose the body to free radicals. An interesting study done in Mexico City and published in 1993 found that Capsicum extract was able to modulate the mutagenic activity of urban air samples.28 In other words, these potentially dangerous nitro - a romatic compounds found in polluted air were kept from mutating by red chile extract.29 Chemical breakdowns of Capsicum have also found that CAPSICUM the pepper is high in Provitamin A, which significantly contributes to its healing ability and immune fortification.30 Anti-Carcinogenic Compound Anti-cancer research recently tested Capsicum on laboratory rats and found that it does indeed demonstrate anti-cancer properties by inhibiting certain enzymes which can initiate the mutation of cells.31 What this implies is that taking Capsicum can afford the body some protection against the cellular mutation which occurs in malignant growths. Capsicum actually inhibited the formation of dangerous metabolites under laboratory conditions where they should have normally been activa t e d .3 2 This study implies that Capsicum may have many more sophisticated bio-chemical actions than previously thought.
An Impressive Pain Killer
Capsaicin has recently emerged as a remarkably effective pain reliever and has become the subject of recent clinical research . Applying capsaicin in cream or ointment form to painful joints, scar tissue or other painful conditions involving peripheral nerves confuses pain transmitters. In other worlds, capsaicin temporarily disrupts sensory nerve cell biochemistry there by impeding the relay of pain sensations from the skin surface. It does this by inhibiting a neurotransmitter called substance P. This specific compound is thought to be the main mediator of pain impulses from peripheral nerve endings.33 Substance P has also demonstrated its ability to inhibit inflammatory pain generated in arthritic joints in much the same way.34 Today, several over-the-counter topical preparations utilize capsaicin for the pain of arthritic joints. The ability of Capsicum to control severe and unresponsive pain is significant, to say the least. Modern clinical utilization of topical capsaicin may offer signifi-cant relief for a number of painful conditions including: diabetic neuropathy, cluster headaches, post-amputation pain, post-mastectomy pain, shingles and painful scar tissue.35
In the early spring of 1996, prime time national news show s reported that scientists had found that individuals who had suffered from chronic pain in post-surgical scars (heart bypass, arterial grafts, etc.) were successfully treated with topical preparations containing capsaicin. While this may have been news to many of us, clinical studies had been already published for several years that capsaicin held profound value for various kinds of pain which did not respond to established medical treatments. Typically surgical scars and regions around them can produce persistent pain or can be very sensitive to the touch even when completely healed. This type of pain phenomenon seems to respond well to capsaicin ointments and creams.
When capsaicin preparations were applied following mastectomy or breast reconstruction, pain was significantly relieved. Se veral double blind studies found that using capsaicin creams four times daily for 4 to 6 weeks resulted in much less frequent occurrence of sharp, jabbing pain.3 6 All thirteen patients studied had a 50 percent or greater improve m e n t .3 7 Various unpleasant sensations other than pain also improved with topical applications of capsaicin creams.38
MOUTH SORES FROM RADIATION OR CHEMOTHERAPY
A fascinating study conducted at the Yale Pain Management Center discove red that capsaicin could ve ry significantly lessen pain caused by mouth sores which frequently develop after chemotherapy or radiation.39 Apparently delivering the capsaicin in the form of soft candy (taffy) enabled the substance to be retained in the mouth long enough to desensitize the nerve endings causing the pain. Each one of the eleven case studies re p o rted that their pain had decreased and in two patients, it stopped entirely.40
Diabetic neuropathy is a painful nerve condition which can develop in cases of prolonged diabetes. Several double-blind studies have supported the considerable value of capsaicin creams for relieving the pain associated with this disorder.41 The results of a controlled study using Capsicum for seve re cases of diabetic neuropathy which did not respond to conventional therapy were published in 1992. A cream containing Capsicum was applied to painful areas four time a day and pain was carefully e valuated for 8 weeks at two-week intervals. The results we re impressive, to say the least. In the 22 patients who used the Capsicum the following results we re re c o rded: “Capsaicin tre a tment was more beneficial than vehicle treatment in the overall clinical improvement of pain status, as measured by physician’s global evaluation and by a categorical pain severity scale . . . In a follow-up study, approximately 50 percent of the subjects reported improved pain control or were cured . . .”42 No t e : While there was a burning sensation when the Capsicum c ream was first applied, some subjects found that its magnitude and duration lessened with continued application.43
The FDA has approved capsaicin-based ointments for the treatment of pain that results from diseases like shingles. Again, numerous studies have documented the value of capsaicin for decreasing the miserable nerve-related pain associated with shingles. The general consensus derived from these tests were that approximately 50 p e rcent of people suffering from shingles responded well to capsaicin creams, some even after 10 to 12 months.44
Note: If blisters accompany a shingles outbreak, it is better to wait until they have healed before using any capsaicin-based ointments or creams.
RELIEF FOR BURNING FEET
Frequently an uncomfortable “burning” sensation in the feet will occur in many people, particularly in diabetics. As ironic as it may seem, using capsaicin creams may actually alleviate this burning. “In various studies, diabetics who treated their burning feet with capsaicin got greater improvement and we re able to walk more easily than those not using the cream.”45 In addition, using topical applications of capsaicin as opposed to strong, oral drugs is much more preferable.
Clinical tests have confirmed that topical capsaicin ointments substantially alleviate the miserable pain that characterizes osteoand rheumatoid arthritis.46 These studies revealed that using 0.075 capsaicin cream reduced tenderness and pain.47 Dr. Michael T. Murray writes: “ . . . seventy patients with osteoarthritis and thirty - one with rheumatoid arthritis received capsaicin or placebo for 4 weeks. The patients were instructed to apply 0.025 percent capsaicin cream or its placebo to painful Knees four times daily. Significantly more relief of pain was reported by the capsaicin-treated patients than by the placebo patients throughout the study . . .”48 Anyone suffering from osteo or rheumatoid arthritis should evaluate the effectiveness of capsaicin ointments for joint pain. Ester Lipstein-Kresch, M.D., has studied the effectiveness of capsaicin creams for arthritis and has stated: “You need to apply it three or four times a day on the affected area for at least two weeks before you’ll see any improvement. An initial burning sensation at the site is not unusual for the first few days, but this goes away with continued application.”49 Note: Capsaicin is also useful for tennis elbow due to its ability to block the transmission of pain.
MIGRAINE HEADACHES (CLUSTER TYPE)
Topical applications of capsaicin ointments intranasally may also help to relieve the pain of a specific kind of migraine headache called cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are characterized by s e ve re pain which typically radiates around one eye. The term “cluster” refers to the fact that these headaches tend to occur in clusters of one to three per day and can recur at intervals. Headache pain and severity we re reducing in groups using intranasal capsaicin.5 0 This type of capsaicin treatment should be done under a physician’s care. There is some speculation that capsaicin may be more effective in pre venting migraines before they develop into a full blown attack.51
June 14, 2005 06:26 PM
by Catherine Heusel Energy Times, October 1, 1998
Quitting a bad habit presents quite a challenge. Just ask anyone who's ever tried to give up cigarettes. Or alcohol. Or even coffee. You start out with the best of intentions but cravings can push you off the straight and narrow. The result: giving up a nasty habit often means regenerating your resolve and trying again. And again. And again. While some blame an inability to give up a bad habit on poor will power, in actuality, the tenacious chains of these habits may derive from the body as well as the mind. "People don't seem to realize the effects these substances have on the body," says Joan Mathews-Larson, Ph.D., director of the Health Recovery Center, in Minneapolis, and author of Seven Weeks to Sobriety. Dr. Mathews-Larson is one of a growing number of addiction professionals who stress physical recovery when giving up a drug, whether it's caffeine or cocaine. "You can't disrupt your internal chemistry for months or years on end and then expect your body to automatically bounce back," she says. "You have to give it some help."
Breaking Off is Hard to Do
The substances we love to overdo all share a common characteristic: they mimic or enhance the body's chemical messengers. Opiate drugs such as heroin, for example, are virtually identical to substances called endorphins, neurochemicals that the body produces to mask feelings of pain. (When an injured Kerri Strug performed her final Olympic vault, her endorphins enabled her to push past her protesting nerve endings.) Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can provide a "rush" similar to that produced by adrenaline and noradrenaline, the neurochemicals that provide the quick and excited feeling that swells down your spine during frightened or thrilling moments. On the other hand, some drugs (notably alcohol and cocaine) boost the activity of several different neurochemicals, including those that control sensations of pleasure. From a biological perspective, then, none of the drugs that people take are totally unfamiliar to the body. Your body makes similar chemicals all the time, in response to specific events and needs. "The main advantage of drugs is that they act powerfully and immediately," explains Andrew Weil, M.D., in his book, From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind Altering Drugs. "Their main disadvantage is that they reinforce the notion that the state we desire comes from something outside us."
Another serious disadvantage of drugs resides in their impact on the body's everyday neurochemical balance. Under normal circumstances, the body maintains its internal chemical environment on a fairly even keel. It may pump out oodles of adrenaline in response to a specific threat, like a near miss on the highway, but for every such scary "high" a corresponding low sets in: that rubbery-Kneed sense of relief you feel when things calm down.
Over time, the body mistakes the introduction of mind-altering, foreign chemicals as an excess of its own production of neurochemicals. As a result it slows down its own manufacture of these vital substances. So when you stop drinking caffeine or other stimulating drugs, the body finds its neurochemical receptors begging for relief: Cravings raise their ugly heads while so-called withdrawal symptoms raise your discomfort level. A general sense of ill health sets in until the body's natural production of neurotransmitter production reaches an acceptable level.
Breaking a bad habit may be complicated by a lack of regenerative health habits. "A proper diet is pretty low on an addict's list of priorities," says Mathews-Larson. "Most of the people we see live on fast food and junk food." Many people trying to give up bad habits are attacked by the chemical and physical problems resulting from eating fatty foods and not exercising: their bodies are chemically and physically challenged from a poor lifestyle.
Fortunately, recovery from a bad habit can be enhanced by balancing your diet, exercising and using nutritional supplements to straighten out your interior biochemical environment.
"We target substances that are essential for maintaining optimal brain chemistry," points out Mathews-Larson. Foremost among these substances are a variety of amino acids that the body needs to rebuild its supply of neurotransmitters. In addition, nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin C are often in short supply among those who indulge in addictive drugs and alcohol.
Exercise and meditation are equally important to recovery, since both activities naturally prompt production of mood-enhancing neurochemicals. (The so-called "runner's high" is believed to result from endorphins and other neurochemicals stimulated by jogging.) More importantly, natural stimulation that pushes the body to create its own, endogenous supply of feel-good chemicals produces a longer sense of well-being than the transitory high induced by drugs and alcohol. "The potential for highs is always there, and many techniques exist for eliciting them," declares Dr. Weil. "Drug highs differ from other highs only in superficial ways."
To experienced treatment professionals such as Mathews-Larson, kicking a long-standing habit depends on learning to appreciate the natural high of good health, through an overall healthy lifestyle. "It's not enough to just stop using the substance you abused," she contends. "You have to build a high quality of life for yourself, so you can fully enjoy every day."
Recommended Reading: Seven Weeks to Sobriety, by Joan Mathews-Larson (Fawcett Books, 1997) Healing Anxiety With Herbs by Harold H. Bloomfield. (Harper Collins, 1998.)
Acupuncture nutrient Connection
June 12, 2005 05:53 PM
Acupuncture nutrient Connection by Robert Gluck Energy Times, November 1, 1998
The theory behind the practice of acupuncture confounds western science. This therapy, originating in Asia, is based on the concept that currents of energy called meridians flow through your body. However, no one has ever been able to conclusively demonstrate the existence of these meridians.
Despite the evasiveness of these energy streams, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that alterations in these energy flows can disrupt health and cause pain. Consequently, an acupuncturist punctures your skin with specialized needles to redirect the body's vital energy.
Despite the fact that western scientists have not been able to find satisfactory evidence of the existence of these energetic meridians, studies show that acupuncture works and is especially effective at relieving pain. This therapy has been used to alleviate a variety of conditions including chronic pain, nausea and even mental illness. In addition, some practitioners apply it to those trying to shake off the chains of drug addiction. (More recently, many practitioners now also successfully use acupuncture to relieve physical problems in animals.)
Of course, no matter what your perspective on this therapy, acupuncture's no panacea. While you might use acupuncture to relieve the discomforts of chemotherapy, you wouldn't use this technique as your primary weapon against a dangerous disease like cancer. Still, this reliable therapy occupies a welcome spot as an adjunct to many mainstream therapies. Consequently, many mainstream practitioners accept the validity of using acupuncture and many managed care companies reimburse this therapy. Some HMOs even keep a list of approved acupuncturists that they make available to enrollees.
Acupuncture East and West
The practice of acupuncture dates back at least 2200 years ago in Asia. Only during the last forty years has it become well-known and widely available in the United States. Today, 29 accredited acupuncture schools train practitioners in North America. In addition, traditional healers in Belize (south of Mexico) have been found to use a form of acupuncture derived from traditional Mayan medicine.
Is the use of acupuncture by Mayan shamans coincidence? Or further evidence that acupuncture meridians really exist? No one knows for sure, although some experts believe the Mayan use of this therapy supports the notion that the original ancestors of the Mayans migrated from Asia.
Acupuncturists insert needles into the body to relieve pain or enhance bodily functions. TCM holds that acupuncture, and the manipulation of these tiny needles, moves and manipulates qi (pronounced chee), the body's energy force.
"Acupuncture is a method of balancing the body's energy," says Carol Alexander, an acupuncturist at the North Jersey Health and Pain Relief Center in Hackettstown, New Jersey. "Disease occurs because of an imbalance...Insertion of the acupuncture needles into meridians will bring about the balance of qi." Alexander has practiced acupuncture for 10 years and studied at the Tri-State School of Traditional Acupuncture in Stanford Connecticut.
Alexander says patients sometimes suffer a blockage of qi or display too much or too little qi. The manipulation and placement of the acupuncture needles vary according to the need for adjusting meridian energy flow.
Acupuncture can be used to prevent disease and, if disease is already rampant, it can be used to help the body correct the problem.
In conjunction with her use of acupuncture needles, Alexander rarely prescribes single herbs but uses combinations of whole herbs that are very specific for different diseases and disease patterns. "Certain herbs, such as ginseng, are very prized in Chinese medicine," Alexander notes.
"Astragalus is an herb used in China and around the world to tonify the qi and increase qi energy as well as stimulate the immune system."
Alexander uses licorice root for assisting digestion and for helping women with menopausal discomforts. On the other hand, she recommends whole food concentrates like bee pollen granules for enhancing the immune system, peppermint for treating gastro-intestinal problems plus fiber supplements as well as the antioxidant/antihistamine quercetin, coenzyme Q10 and melatonin.
"In terms of classes of nutrients, I use a lot of whole food concentrates: the green concentrates like barley greens, wheat grass powder, spirulina and blue-green algae," Alexander says. "These are high in minerals, antioxidants, nutrients and fatty acids. I also use some soy products because the isoflavone concentrates are very much anti-cancer."
The Fine Points of Acupuncture
Acupuncture needles are very fine, as thin as hairs. They are available in a variety of diameters and lengths. When an acupuncturist inserts these needles, the sensation is that of mild pinpricks. (The needles enter the body at depths of only 1/8th inch to two inches.) In many cases people experience mild pleasure during needle manipulation.
"From a Western point of view it's important to explain that there is a distinct function of acupuncture treatment and that is to increase circulation," Alexander says. "We do stimulate nerves and we know that with the stimulation of nerves many neurochemicals and neurotransmitters are released. They move through the nerves and find receptor sights, some in the brain, some in other parts of the body."
By stimulating nerves, acupuncturists can calm inflammation and deaden pain. These effects are believed to be linked to the release of endorphins and dinorphins, powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories that the body produces for itself. Most acupuncturists use this therapy as part of an overall, multi-faceted treatment plan.
"Qi is what makes you different from a sack of chemicals," points out David Molony, an acupuncturist at the Lehigh Valley Acupuncture Center in Catasaqua, Pennsylvania who studied at the Nanjing Traditional Medicine Hospital in China and has lectured at Cornell University.
What You Need
"You can manipulate qi with acupuncture, herbs and diet. Because people's bodies work differently, there are different approaches. When you ask the question what nutrients and herbs are effective at enhancing acupuncture, it depends on what the person needs, according to an Oriental Medicine diagnosis."
An Oriental Medical examination, Molony says, begins with a long list of health questions designed to reveal factors that contribute to disease. A practitioner measures your pulse in several different places along your arm, inspects your tongue, may press on your stomach, sniff your general odor and closely examine your nails and skin for signs of problems.
"You take in everything you can," adds Molony, a board member of the Acupuncture Society of Pennsylvania and former board member of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. "This gives you clues that you need in order to make your diagnosis."
Acupuncturists use nutrients and herbs that complement the treatment, as well as dietary and lifestyle counseling. Some acupuncturists don't specialize in herbal remedies, so these practitioners might go to a specialist like David Winston for advice. Winston, an herb expert skilled in Cherokee, Chinese and Western eclectic herbal medicine, works as an instructor, lecturer and consultant.
"In China, acupuncture is considered a complementary therapy; you generally don't go for treatment and get purely acupuncture," says Winston who is working on a book about saw palmetto. "Herbal medicine, diet and qi gong are important therapies in their own right and acupuncture is one of those therapies. Qi gong is a form of martial arts that focuses on unique breathing and visualization methods. Qi is not exactly energy, it's energy in movement; it's what makes the blood move."
Acupuncture is used to open blockages that sometimes build up in what TCM practitioners characterize as excessive heat or cold. These hot and cold spots do not always literally refer to the temperature of the body but are meant to depict changes in the character of the body's vital energy.
Chinese acupuncturists don't necessarily treat diseases, but target clusters of physical discomforts. Winston says, "Herbal formulas change depending on the 'symptom pictures.' Somebody could have acute appendicitis but the symptom picture could vary. Usually Chinese acupuncturists use herbs like isatis (a very cold, drying herb that's a powerful anti-bacterial agent) and coptis (a powerful anti-bacterial herb)."
Americans often visit acupuncturists complaining of back pain or some type of musculoskeletal problem-a wrenched Knee, a ligament that hasn't healed properly or perhaps a torn rotator cuff. "If the injury is hot to the touch, it's red, it's inflammatory-that's a condition where there's excessive heat and in that condition the acupuncturist would give herbs that are cooling and anti-inflammatory such as the root of large leaf gentian."
Pain that Moves
If someone suffers pain that moves, pain that is sometimes exacerbated by damp or humid conditions, acupuncturists often prescribe clematis root, a wild variety of the garden plant that is an anti-spasmodic, or acanthopanax, a relative of Siberian ginseng used for damp pain.
"If there's pain with excessive dampness," Winston says, "acupuncturists might use duhuo, a drying herb that opens the meridians."
Molony agrees with Winston that when it comes to choosing herbs to enhance acupuncture, accurate analysis of the root cause of the health problem is paramount to making the right decisions. For example, if a person is qi deficient and her tongue is thickly coated, she may not be processing her energy properly. Phlegm builds up, decreasing energy. "What you want to do is give them herbs that move phlegm, like citrus peel, and combine that with acupuncture points that move phlegm also," Molony says.
For stimulating metabolism, Molony uses lactoferin-processed colostrum from cows. He uses ginseng and atractylodes as qi tonics and he adds herbs like magnolia bark or atractylodes alba.
He believes antioxidants are helpful too, as preventive medicines, including vitamins C and E. These valuable nutrients disarm the harm that reactive molecules can wreak within the body.
So how important are herbs and nutrition to enhance acupuncture's effectiveness? Acupuncturists seem to agree that healthy doses of antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E plus antioxidants from grapeseed extract) as well as specialized herbs, turn this therapy into a highly effective healing tool. Those wanting to benefit from this penetrating technique should stock up on nutrients. Then sit back, relax, kick off your shoes and let the acupuncturist do her stuff.
Health Movements - Joining mind and body with healthy movement generates harmony
June 12, 2005 05:49 PM
Health Movements by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, December 6, 2003
Mind/body exercises like yoga (especially the super-popular Bikram variety), tai chi and Pilates aren't just trendy, they're custom made to soothe the rough edges of modern life. So often does today's fast-paced world emphasize the mental and competitive aspects of existence that its inhabitants frequently neglect the necessity of gentle movement for the body. But these exercises are an antidote to the tendency to view the mind and body as separate entities.
Modern science is validating what traditional teachers have always known: The mind dwells in every cell. Joining mind and body with healthy movement generates harmony, lowers your chance of chronic illness and promotes emotional stability.
No one knows when yoga first appeared. Historians and archaeologists figure the practice was initiated in India somewhere between 3,000 and 1,500 BCE. But the father of the modern forms of yoga is considered to be a man named Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra around 200 CE.
The literal translation of the word yoga is "union." As Jennifer Schwamm Willis notes in her book The Joy of Yoga (Marlowe), this practice represents "the union of body, mind and spirit." The purpose of learning the fundamental movements of yoga is to connect with your body, release knots of tension and improve strength and flexibility. In that way, the physical balance during a yoga session translates into inner balance during times of crisis or distress. Schwamm points out that ancient yoga practitioners believed "the aim of yoga is to quiet the fluctuations of the mind, to create stillness in order to hear one's inner voice..."
Yoga is used by many for stress relief. But it has other important uses: In a study presented by Oregon Health & Science University at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in April 2003, yoga was shown to benefit folks with multiple sclerosis. The researchers found that participants who regularly attended yoga class for six months suffered less fatigue and improved their quality of life.
A yoga class generally begins with warm-up postures, moves on to a core group of basic postures, and ends with poses meant to cool you down. An important aspect of yoga is breath work and control. Movement in and out of poses involves carefully orchestrated breath work. Inhalation and exhalation in timed sync with movement lies at the heart of yoga's benefits. Yoga beginners often feel stiff and inflexible. But with gentle, patient, regular practice, greater flexibility, strength and balance can be had. Experts say that a yoga session does not demand struggle; it asks for surrender. If one pose causes discomfort, try another.
One particular form of yoga, Bikram, is hot in terms of both popularity and room temperature: Not only is it one of the biggest trends in the fitness world, this demanding, aerobic take on yoga is conducted in heated rooms designed to maximize muscle relaxation and minimize injury risk. The heat also helps facilitate cleansing and detoxification. It was created by Bikram Choudhury, a four-time Indian yoga champ who founded the Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills, California.
As in other types of yoga, Bikram uses asanas, or poses, handed down through generations of yoga teachers. In this case, though, 26 asanas are done in a prescribed order over a 90-minute period. Everyone, from novice to expert, works out together, the idea being that each individual is working to stretch his or her own limits by becoming stronger, more flexible and less prone to illness.
Bikram yoga stresses the tourniquet effect, in which blood floods through vessels after they've momentarily been squeezed shut. This pressurizing effect is supposed to flush out debris, quickening circulation and releasing stress. The tourniquet effect also helps cleanse the lymphatic system. Proponents say Bikram improves balance, concentration and posture; increases energy; and eases sleep.
Like any other exercise program, Bikram yoga requires diligence: one center says a minimum of 10 classes over 30 days is needed for maximum benefits. And while hydration is important during all fitness routines, consuming adequate water is crucial when you're exercising in a hot room.
Tai chi (also known as taiji or tai chi ch'uan) consists of a series of fluid movements that build endurance, increase flexibility and balance, and foster alertness of mind and spirit. Tai chi developed around the 13th century as a form of martial arts in China based on the power of flow and grace, rooting and yielding, flexibility and endurance. To the onlooker, a person practicing the movements of tai chi has the quality of someone swimming in air.
This gentle form of movement can be practiced by people of almost all ages and physical conditions. Tai chi does not require special equipment, props or a floor mat. As a non-impact form of exercise, tai chi delivers minimal stress to the joints. Tai chi emphasizes proper body alignment and uses the large muscles in the legs to relieve stress from the hips, back and shoulders. It strengthens joints, increases range of motion and improves circulation of all body fluids. Like many other forms of mind/body exercise, tai chi relieves stress.
Tricia Yu, author of Tai Chi: Mind and Body (DK), has been practicing tai chi for over 30 years. She believes that tai chi not only has benefits as a health exercise, but that it "can have a beneficial effect on your mental and emotional states, as well as help you to feel connected with your surroundings." Yu adds, "Like yoga, tai chi originated in a culture that views the mind and body not as separate but rather as different expressions or states of qi-vital energy or life force."
Current research has validated the health benefits of tai chi. One study found that the Knee strength of elderly people practicing tai chi improves significantly (J Gerontol A Biol Med Sci 2003 August; 58:M763-6). Participants in this study, whose average age was 72 years, benefited significantly after five months of tai chi. For the elderly, this extra strength and control translates into fewer falls and injuries.
Tai chi may help immunity. In a study published in the September 2003 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers reported that elderly folks who participated in a tai chi class for a period of 15 weeks "saw an improvement in factors that suppress shingles [a painful viral condition] increase by 50%." They also showed an increased ability to move throughout the day and a significant improvement in their general health.
Joseph Pilates (1880-1968) was a sickly child afflicted with asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. Determined to recover his health, Pilates studied both Eastern and Western forms of exercise, incorporating moves from gymnastics, yoga and wrestling, along with controlled breathing. With his wife, Clara, Joseph Pilates developed the form of exercise known today as simply Pilates. In the 1920s, Joseph left his native Germany and came to New York City and began teaching his exercise style in dance studios.
Today, Pilates has gained acceptance both as an exercise style for fitness and as a system for physical rehabilitation. Because of its benefits, Pilates is practiced in hospitals, wellness centers, gyms and specialized Pilates studios. It is used by athletes, dancers and anyone looking to increase endurance and improve flexibility, balance and muscle tone.
The basic principle of Pilates focuses on increasing what is called core strength. Core muscle groups include the abdominal, pelvic floor and back muscles. If these muscle groups are strong, then the body is balanced and strong. The Pilates method also encourages flexibility by building long, strong muscles without bulk.
The Stott method is one of the most popular forms of Pilates. This technique combines traditional Pilates exercises with movements updated to conform with modern knowledge about the biomechanics of the human body. By stabilizing muscles in the pelvis and shoulders, and keeping the spine and pelvis in safe, neutral positions, knowledgeable Pilates instructors minimize the chance of injury during these exercises.
Pilates exercises have been shown to help reduce back pain. Researchers report that "Pilates method can be useful for patients with chronic low back pain and deconditioning" (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2002 May; 25/4:E3).
According to Ken Endelman, the founder of Balanced Body, maker of Pilates equipment, "Pilates is a full-body exercise. It focuses on flexibility and control, not adding bulk; bulk defeats flexibility. This flexibility is particularly important as we age. Staying flexible is key, and Pilates is good at those types of things."
A Pilates routine can be structured to fit your specific physical needs or goals. Instructors use specially designed equipment along with mat work to improve fitness. The human body was designed to move. Again and again, research shows that exercise maintains health, vitality, longevity, weight and quality of life. If you match your exercise with your physical needs and goals, and your personality, you are more likely to stay with that program whether it is aerobics, walking, Pilates or yoga. For real benefits, physical fitness has to be a lifetime endeavor.
The Flex Factor
June 11, 2005 05:18 PM
The Flex Factor by Thomas Dunville Energy Times, February 10, 2004
Arthritis, according to recent research, presents its sufferers with a Catch-22: The nagging pain of this condition can send your spirits plummeting. But, then, the depression spurred by the disconsolate persistence of arthritic pain can make the condition worse.
Part of the trick is not to give in. If you can keep a bright mood even as your joints start to ache, the pain may lessen.
While nobody can offer a guaranteed, 100% effective cure for arthritis, you don't have to be a passive victim. Exercise, the proper nutrients and a positive, can-do attitude can ease arthritis pain so effectively that scientists have been able to measure the difference. While medical researchers recognize the existence of over 100 types of arthritis, most people with achy joints suffer from osteoarthritis, which is caused by everyday wear and is found in just about everyone over age 60. When this condition occurs, the body's cushioning, its cartilage, thins and the inner surfaces of joints grind together painfully.
Although aging itself increases your chances of enduring achy joints, other factors can also put you in the way of osteoarthritis. If you carry too much weight, it can wear on your joints. In addition, suffering a joint injury when you're young can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis as you age.
In another prevalent form of joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the membranes lining the joints, causing swelling and pain. About 2 million Americans suffer from RA, which affects women about twice as often as men.
Exercise Away Arthritic Woes
Weekend warriors, don't despair! Arthritis doesn't have to mean the end of your weekend athletic wars. Matter of fact, in many cases, experts now recommend exercise to reduce the effects of arthritis.
While that might sound counterintuitive, a study out of the Netherlands shows that folks in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis who work out twice a week for about an hour each session may enjoy better physical and mental health than couch potatoes who receive physical therapy.
The Dutch study took 150 people, many of whom had just started to suffer from rheumatism, and enrolled them in RAPIT, an acronym for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients in Training. Rather than letting these folks rest their inflamed joints, twice a week the research team took them to the gym where they did:
When the researchers compared the physical changes in these arthritis sufferers with 150 others with similar arthritis complaints who underwent physical therapy without organized physical activity, they found that after two years the exercisers had benefited greatly. They were stronger and more aerobically fit, could perform everyday tasks more effectively and possessed a better, more optimistic mental attitude (Arthritis and Rheumatism 2003; 48(9):2415-24).
However, the exercisers who were already suffering severe rheumatoid arthritis did experience some extra joint damage, so the researchers believe this kind of program is better for those in the early stages of the disease. " This study demonstrates that participation in long-term high-intensity exercise classes decreases the level of psychological distress in RA patients," says researcher Zuzana de Jong, MD, a professor at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.
Fish Oil Lowers Arthritis Risk
Fish oil-in particular, cod liver oil-may be able to help ease osteoarthritis.
In looking at the effects of fish oil, researchers at Cardiff, Wales, discovered indications that "...the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can reduce cartilage degradation and inflammation in arthritic disease," according to Bruce Caterson, PhD, one of the scientists involved.
Dr. Caterson adds, "Our most recent work shows that by exposing human osteoarthritic cartilage to cod liver oil in the laboratory for just 24 hours we can turn off, or reverse, the action of the degradative enzymes and inflammatory factors affecting the tissue." John Harwood, PhD, another member of the Cardiff research team, adds, "This is where science and old wives' tales coincide. Our findings are consistent with advice that taking cod liver oil in early adulthood could prevent the onset of osteoarthritis and would reduce the harmful symptoms associated with the disease."
Dr. Caterson further explains that the omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil inhibit enzymes that break down aggrecan and collagen, substances that cushion joints. Consequently, cartilage stays healthier, inflammation is lessened and arthritic pain decreases. The anti-inflammatory action of omega-3s in fighting rheumatoid arthritis is also supported by studies performed in the US (Am J Clin Nutr 2000; 71(1 Suppl):349S-51S).
Other research shows that if you take natural vitamin E along with fish oil, you may improve even further your odds of relieving arthritis or lessening its effects (JACN 10/30/00).
Glucosamine, the stuff that cartilage is made from, has been shown to lower the risk of arthritis and possibly relieve its pain. This natural substance, made from a sugar and a molecule called an amine, is a building block of joint tissue. As a result, experts believe, when you take it in supplemental form, the body may use it to repair joints that have been damaged by arthritis. For instance, an investigation of osteoarthritis of the Knee performed at the University of Liege in Belgium showed that taking glucosamine could stop joints from deteriorating.
The study, which involved more than 200 people suffering from osteoarthritis, found that in three years of taking glucosamine supplements, many arthritis sufferers found that their condition actually improved (Lancet 2001 Jan 27; 357).
Other Arthritis Fighters
Chondroitin sulfate is another material that goes into the making of cartilage. Chondroitin helps cartilage stay hydrated and permits the flow of nutrients through the joint tissues. In addition, researchers believe that chondroitin helps fight inflammation, which can otherwise cause pain and stiffness as well as joint destruction.
Taken together with glucosamine, chondroitin is believed to hasten the healing of bone and cartilage. Another substance that may help ease the ache of arthritis is methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a naturally occurring sulfur-bearing compound. "MSM appears to have anti-inflammatory effects when administered orally, intravenously or topically," says MSM researcher Stanley Jacob, MD, FACS, of the Oregon Health & Science University. That means it has shown an ability to reduce the heat, pain and swelling associated with arthritic conditions. MSM may also be able to reduce muscle spasms around joints and reduce the formation of scar tissue.
Herbal medicine has long been used by folks with achy joints. The yellow spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), a staple of Indian cooking, is a traditional Indian remedy for arthritis because of its painkilling properties. Ginger (Zingiber officinale), another culinary favorite, restrains the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. And willow bark (Salix sp), the source of aspirin, is longer-acting and doesn't irritate the stomach lining.
Those who suffer arthritis know that its pain and discomfort are often no laughing matter. But if you don't take arthritis lying down and manage to keep a smile on your face-and avail yourself of nature's remedies-you can get the upper hand on this often debilitating condition.
The Joints Are Jumping
June 11, 2005 04:56 PM
The Joints Are Jumping by Rachel Alexander Energy Times, October 8, 2003
It usually starts with a twinge in your back or an ache in your Knees: Knee stiffness, back pain and joint inflammation can signal the beginning of arthritis.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, arthritis affects over 42 million Americans-that's 1 in every 3 adults-and costs the economy nearly $65 billion annually. But as common as arthritis is, it doesn't have to extract a high cost from your joints.
Who's At Risk?
Arthritis literally means an "inflammation of the joints" and can affect anyone-from small children to 80-year-olds. Some groups are more prone to certain types of arthritis; for instance, those over 40 are at greater risk for developing osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition of the joints.
According to Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, more than 50% of all individuals over the age of 40 have x-ray signs of osteoarthritis in weight-bearing joints (such as those in the Knees and hips), and nearly half of those over 65 have measurable symptoms of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is often caused by overuse, age, excess weight or genetics, or by a combination of these factors.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is a disease of the immune system that affects the joints, which can make it harder to diagnose because early symptoms-fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite and low-grade fever-can mimic other chronic conditions.
Stiffness and pain may or may not accompany the initial symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. However, joints eventually become inflamed and swollen. Although less common that osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 2 million Americans.
Covering Up the Signs
Treating arthritis can involve the use of both conventional and non-conventional therapies.
"In osteoarthritis specifically, conventional medicine has just been focused on covering up the symptoms," says Jason Theodosakis, MD, author of The Arthritis Cure (St. Martin's Press). "In the history of medicine, this approach has been considered primitive."
But Dr. Theodosakis points out that treatment often depends on the type of arthritis involved: "Rheumatoid arthritis patients should be taking prescription drugs that are known to prevent the disease from progressing. [Use] alternative medicine as an adjunct..."
Conventional therapies often involve the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicines, such as ibuprofen and naproxen. The chief drawback of NSAIDs is the toll these treatments extort from the gastrointestinal system.
In fact, a 2002 study conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida, Tampa, found that more than 15% of patients developed digestive problems after a five-week course of ibuprofen. In addition, ibuprofen may increase blood pressure.
Newer prescription NSAIDs called COX-2 inhibitors, which work by suppressing the body's inflammatory response, also carry risks of side effects ranging from diarrhea and fluid retention to liver damage and kidney problems. In addition, people with asthma or chronic allergies (including to aspirin) should not take these medicines.
Corticosteroids-another treatment option that has been used to lessen inflammation-can cause side effects such as increased appetite, mood changes and even immune system breakdown.
A growing body of evidence shows that nutrients such as glucosamine and MSM, coupled with lifestyle changes, can help decrease or eliminate some of the aches and pains of arthritis. Glucosamine is a natural chemical that helps build joints. When the cartilage in joints deteriorates due to age or other factors, studies indicate that glucosamine provides the necessary building blocks for rebuilding and repairing this tissue.
In one investigation (Archives of Internal Medicine 2002; 162:2113-23), scientists discovered that glucosamine slowed the progression of osteoarthritis and improved symptoms for over 200 patients. Another study, conducted by researchers in the Netherlands, demonstrated that a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin holds promise for conditions such as spinal disc degeneration.
To date, several studies have confirmed glucosamine's ability to help the symptoms of arthritis, and the National Institutes of Health is currently supporting research to further study the benefits of glucosamine.
Other Joint Aids
MSM is often an adjunct therapy as it does not work directly on joints, but provides the raw materials, in this case sulfur, to help rebuild cartilage in the joint matrix. Studies indicate that sulfur has a protective effect and may interact with magnesium, an essential bone nutrient.
Traditionally, the herb horsetail (Equisetum arvense) has been used to supply silica, a mineral component of nails, bones and joints. Its support of these structures can help in the fight against arthritis.
As the body ages, it may lose much of its silica reserves. Resupplying much of this mineral may help support joints. In addition, experts believe, silica can help the body use calcium more effectively and support bone health.
Since rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic affliction, you should work with a trained health professional in treating it. Complementary care practitioners often use antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamins C and E, to reduce free radical damage, along with pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) to lessen morning stiffness.
A Joint Project
According to Dr. Theodosakis, exercise is the key to dealing with arthritis: "[Start with] an individualized exercise program that strengthens the joints without causing more damage...and an eating program to control your weight if you are currently overweight." To limit the effects of arthritis, you should quit smoking, since smoking generates free radicals that can harm the tissues which make up joints. In addition, a strict vegan diet may help alleviate some of the pains of rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Theodosakis also recommends looking for hidden causes of symptoms, such as food allergies, that may contribute to arthritis.
Heat helps ease arthritis pain and encourages both blood flow and tissue repair. A plain, old-fashioned hot water bottle works quite well. Or you can use one of the newer heat-generating wraps, which are thin enough to be worn under clothing and don't have to be constantly reheated.
You can't always avoid arthritis, especially as you get older. But you don't have to let it get the better of you.
June 10, 2005 02:48 PM
by column Energy Times, April 1, 1999
If you've ever felt burned out, bored and/or just plain tired of your exercise program, you may be in need of a taste of cross training. When your exercise routine becomes too routine, you run not only the risk of losing your motivation for physical activity, but you may also run an added chance of injury. The possible cause: overusing particular muscles that receive an excessive amount of stress as other muscles practically atrophy while waiting for a chance to show off their stuff.
For instance, if you are a devoted runner who spends hours jogging, your upper body may wither unless you give it a reason not to. At the same time, your achilles, hamstrings, Knees and lower back muscles may protest those miles after miles. As Frank Jobe, MD, Neal EllAttrache, MD, and Karen Mohr, PT, point out in Athletic Forever (Contemporary), "Dedicated runners are among the most injury-prone of all athletes. If running is your main form of exercise, you have a 37 to 56 percent chance of sustaining an injury each year and your chances for a recurrence of that injury are as high as 70 percent."
The basic principle of cross training is simple: take part in various activities that supplement each other. Runners should lift some weights or at least shoot a few hoops to keep those arms and shoulders toned. Bikers should walk or run now and then to keep their bones healthy. (Bicycling, since it is not a weight bearing exercise, does little to promote bone strength.) Swimmers should find something to do on dry land so that their bones react to gravity and grow stronger. And, no matter what your sport, you should stay well-nourished and supplied with plenty of antioxidants.
As Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, points out in Optimum Health (Bantam), while athletes may enjoy health benefits from exercise, "The vigorous training pursued by competitive athletes renders them more prone to catabolic stress-a situation in which tissues are constantly broken down."
He goes on to point out that the low fat diet many athletes follow may be short of antioxidant nutrients. Unfortunately, that shortage can lead to injury. The metabolic acceleration caused by athletic activity may increase potentially harmful oxidative stress at the cellular level. Without antioxidant nutrients to help quell that stress... Well, the results may not be pretty. Potentially, that kind of oxidative damage may, theoretically, lead to cancer or heart disease. As Dr. Sinatra says, in those circumstances, "the supplemental use of glutathione, vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium seems reasonable. Some athletes, such as menstruating women, may also need iron supplementation."
In addition, water is crucial for athletes to stay adequately hydrated during activity. According to Daniel Gastelu and Fred Hatfield, PhD, in Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance (Avery), when you run short of water "this can adversely affect performance and, in the long run, can cause peaks and valleys in the athlete's performance." In addition, they advise using sports drinks to stay adequately supplied with electrolytes. "The major electrolytes found in bodily fluids are chloride, magnesium, potassium and sodium."
Electrolytes serve a host of duties, including keeping the heart muscle functioning properly. Gastelu and Hatfield explain, "An electrolyte is an ion that is required by the body to regulate the electric charge and flow of water between the cells and the bloodstream."
Getting Better All the Time
Even if you cross train religiously and try to avoid overdoing one particular sport, sooner or later you may incur injury. If you do (or even before you hurt yourself), the trio of Stanley W. Jacob, MD, Ronald M. Lawrence, MD, PhD, and Martin Zucker, authors of The Miracle of MSM (Putnam), believe that methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) can provide reliable relief for pain and suffering.
"Many people experience rapid relief after starting MSM," say this trio. They go on to claim that "this nutritional supplement has real potential to make a significant impact on the quality of life."
"Your main enemy in the hours following an injury is inflammation," warns Athletic Forever. For injury, they recommend RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. In other words, put the injured body part in a firmly wrapped bandage (don't cut off the circulation!) Keep the injury cold but don't put ice directly on it (watch out for frost bite). Rest a while and keep the injury elevated. Then, don't exercise again until you've fully recovered.
Fighting Arthritis Naturally
June 10, 2005 02:16 PM
Fighting Arthritis Naturally
by Donna Lee Nardo Energy Times, January 8, 2002
The annoying pain of arthritis grows ever more annoying: one of every six Americans, 43 million people, suffer arthritis, the leading cause of disability in the US. No pharmaceutical can reliably cure arthritis or slow its progression without possibly causing side effects. But you can help heal your hurting joints with nutrients and other natural substances.
Every move you make hinges on healthy joints. The hinge joints in your fingers, Knees and elbows swing back and forth. Ball and socket joints in our hips and shoulders twist and turn our arms and legs. But when arthritis attacks, joint function narrows, causing pain, stiffness, swelling and inflammation. While scientists search for the root cause of arthritis, they recognize that aging, injuries, allergies, a genetic tendency toward arthritis and being overweight all contribute to your risk. Researcher have identified more than 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout, lupus, scleroderma, vasculitis, myositis, infectious arthritis, degenerative joint disease and spondylitis. OA and RA represent two of the most common arthritis forms. OA generally attacks the finger joints and larger joints like the hips and Knees. Cartilage lining the joint deteriorates, often as a by-product of aging, but this deterioration can happen at any age. Sprains, fractures and repetitive injuries can increase your chances of osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when joints become inflamed and your immune system apparently releases antibodies in response to allergens. This type of arthritis can destroy and immobilize joints. Traditionally, doctors have treated arthritis with acetaminophen, aspirin and other drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, NSAIDs often offer only short-term relief. They can cause bleeding problems and ulcers. And while they may slow inflammation and pain, they also do nothing to repair damaged joints. A 1995 Journal of Rheumatology article also warned that prolonged NSAID use actually furthers deterioration of the joints (Oct/95; 22 (10):1941-6).
Glucosamine at Work
Scientists believe that injuries and aging deplete the body's supply of glucosamine, a natural substance that forms, maintains and repairs joint cartilage. Glucosamine supplements are thought to replenish the supply and are prescribed for arthritis therapy in many countries. Several studies indicate that glucosamine tackles pain and inflammation as effectively as NSAIDs without the side effects. It also helps rebuild arthritic joints. Research supporting glucosamine's benefits abounds in Europe and Asia. One study suggests that glucosamine sulfate supplements relieve pain as well as the NSAID ibuprofen (Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 1994; 2 (1):61-9). A recent Belgian study testing the effectiveness of glucosamine on patients with OA of the Knee captured the attention of the American medical profession. Results suggest that glucosamine promotes physical changes in joints that halt the progression of OA (Lancet 2001, Jan 27; 357 (9252):251-56). After analyzing data from scores of clinical trials, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) saw enough promise in glucosamine to launch its own multi-year study.
Scientists have been testing the orange-yellow herb turmeric and have found that it may ease arthritis discomfort. Long a staple in the medical practices of Asia, turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduce swelling and pain associated with arthritis. Researchers think this spice, used in such Indian cuisine as curry, may work more effectively than cortisone and other drugs that reduce inflammation. Ellen Kamhi, PhD, RN, and co-author of Arthritis: An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide, considers turmeric an important therapy for arthritis. "Turmeric is quite effective, and it's much safer than conventional drug anti-inflammatories, with far fewer possible adverse effects," says Dr. Kamhi, clinical instructor at the State University of New York-Stony Brook Medical School. One study on people with RA demonstrated that the natural benefits of turmeric equaled those provided by a popular prescription drug known to cause side effects (Indian J Med Res 1980; 71:632-4). Another trial, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, found that turmeric possesses unique anti-inflammatory properties (1993; 38:113-119). A trial published in 1994 also found that turmeric acts as an antioxidant to help protect joints (J Pharm Pharmacol; 46:1013-16).
As we age, our bodies require more antioxidants to fight off damage caused by destructive molecules known as free radicals. Researchers believe that antioxidant nutrients can afford arthritis protection. A 10-year study evaluating the effect of vitamins C and E on the joints concluded that both nutrients protect against cartilage deterioration (Arthritis & Rheumatism 1996, April; 39 (4):648-56). According to Dr. Kamhi, "Arthritis is a lifestyle disease (and) no one remedy, either natural or pharmaceutical, will heal or reverse the arthritic process. Organic foods, exercise, stress reduction, and supplements can lead to a marked decrease in all arthritis symptoms with minimal side effects and enhanced overall health and wellness." While arthritis often makes sufferers limit their activity, experts agree that a sedentary lifestyle only exacerbates problem joints and that exercise maintains your range of motion. The type of activity recommended for each particular form of arthritis differs: for osteoarthritis, specific exercises like stretching and moving arthritic joints can help if more strenuous exercise forms are not possible. Rheumatoid sufferers need to use extra caution to prevent inflammatory flare-ups by balancing gentle exercise with rest. In any case, keep moving: performing household chores or spending time on your hobbies will profit painful joints.
In many cases of arthritis, maintaining an appropriate weight is critical. Surplus weight places extra stress on joints and accelerates cartilage deterioration. And don't be discouraged if your mainstream doctor pooh-poohs complementary arthritis control. "Any practitioner who categorically dismisses the use of all-natural therapies," advises Dr. Kamhi, "is not keeping up with reading current medical literature."
SAMe - Supports Joint Comfort, Function and Mobility ...
June 06, 2005 08:30 AM
You’ve read about it in the media. Europeans have experienced its health benefits for two decades. Now consumers in the United States have access to a nutrient with groundbreaking potential. SAMe, a natural compound formed in our bodies from the amino acid methionine, is stirring excitement due to its wide-ranging health effects. SAMe plays a critical role in cartilage formation. Dozens of clinical studies have demonstrated that SAMe supports joint comfort, function and mobility in the spine, hips and Knees. SAMe has also been found to support a positive outlook. It affects the synthesis and activation of proteins such as mood-boosting neurotransmitters.
Technological advances have made possible the production of stable, bioavailable forms of a natural nutrient with broad-range potential. Source Naturals now offers you the fruits of that technology.
A Multipurpose Nutrient
SAMe, or S-adenosyl L-methionine, is formed when our bodies combine the amino acid L-methionine with ATP, the primary energy-carrying molecule in our cells. SAMe is a multipurpose nutrient, which is present in every living cell. Because SAMe is involved in so many vital processes, it is important that our bodies produce sufficient SAMe. However, SAMe levels tend to decline with age, and also can be affected by dietary imbalances. To produce adequate amounts, we need to consume not only methionine-containing protein foods, but also foods rich in vitamins B-6, B-12 and folic acid, which are needed to ensure the synthesis of SAMe. SAMe also is a highly unstable molecule. A lot of scientific research was needed to make it available as a supplement. Source Naturals has studied the research and offers this vital nutrient in a form your body can use.
Methylation is the Key
SAMe is known as a “methyl donor.” This means that it works by giving up a piece of itself (a methyl group consisting of one carbon and three hydrogen atoms) to other molecules. This methylation process affects the synthesis, activation and metabolism of various hormones, neurotransmitters, phospholipids, nucleic acids, proteins and other biological molecules. Methylation plays a part in many critical functions, including the maintenance of cell membranes, the removal of toxic substances from the body and the production of mood-boosting neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
Effective Joint Support
SAMe has been used in Europe for two decades for joint support. Dozens of clinical studies have demonstrated that SAMe supports joint comfort, function and mobility in the spine, hips and Knees. SAMe is important in a process called transsulfuration. The breakdown of SAMe generates sulfate groups that help maintain joint cartilage. SAMe helps to form proteoglycans, which are used to renew the matrix of cartilage.
Promotes Mental Well-Being
Studies also show that SAMe helps support a positive outlook. Although the mechanism by which SAMe promotes mental well-being is not known, we do know it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, where it affects the production of mood-boosting neurotransmitters.
Clinically Researched Potency
Source Naturals SAME is offered in the clinically researched potency of 400 mg per suggested daily use (two tablets). The tablets are enteric coated and blister packed to prevent breakdown and inactivation of ingredients. Source Naturals SAME is available in 20-tablet boxes.
GlucosaMend™ Tissue/Joint Repair Complex
June 02, 2005 11:19 AM
More than 40 million Americans experience joint discomfort. But exciting new research proves you can do something about it. Our health and well-being is inextricably linked to lifestyle choices: the right combination of exercise, weight training and supplementation can strengthen muscles and joint tissues to minimize stress and degradation. Targeted nutrition to the multiple body systems related to joint and connective tissue can help maintain flexibility and joint comfort. GLUCOSAMEND supports the musculoskeletal system with structural building blocks and tissue production cofactors, as well as aiding the body’s mechanisms for soothing relief and antioxidant defense.
Bio-Aligned Formula™ GLUCOSAMEND is uniquely effective because it is a Bio-Aligned Formula. Source Naturals evaluates the underlying causes of system imbalances. Then we design formulas that provide targeted nutrition to bring your interrelated body systems back into balance.
Musculoskeletal System—Structural Building Blocks
Certain building blocks of joints and connective tissue can help maintain joint integrity and comfort. Glucosamine is a major constituent of glycosaminoglycans, which in turn form proteoglycans, molecules that hold and bind the water that lubricates joints, disperses stress and nourishes joint tissue. The amino acids proline and lysine are structural components of collagen and elastin, which give strength to connective tissue. GLUCOSAMEND contains glucosamine sulfate, N-acetyl glucosamine, proline and lysine.
Musculoskeletal System—Tissue Production Cofactors
Some micronutrients are necessary as cofactors in the production of connective tissue. For example, vitamin C and copper help form hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, main constituents of collagen. A unique property of grape seed extract is its ability to form a bond between broken collagen fibers, helping to repair them and restore flexibility and strength to connective tissues and joints. GLUCOSAMEND provides vitamin C, zinc, manganese, copper, and grape seed extract to address these cofactors.
Soothing Relief Mechanisms
Some herbs and nutrients have the capacity to support the body’s natural mechanisms for increasing comfort. Boswellia, for example, is an herb with soothing properties, while vitamin B-6 helps to stabilize collagen and elastin. Additional herbs and nutrients, acting in conjunction with antioxidant protectors, support tissue comfort and health. GLUCOSAMEND contains Boswellia serrata, quercetin, copper, and vitamin B-6.
The health and integrity of joints and tissues—specifically of cell membranes— is supported by botanicals and nutrients that support the body’s natural antioxidant response. When tissues become damaged, the body mounts a repair process that ultimately generates free radicals. These free radicals can also break down healthy cells and tissues in the process, hence the need for antioxidants to neutralize and break the cycle. GLUCOSAMEND provides grape seed extract, vitamin C, zinc, selenium, copper, quercetin to neutralize free radicals.
Lifestyle Tips for Healthy Joints: A Strategy for WellnessSM
Healthy lifestyle habits should be part of your individual strategy for joint wellness. Source Naturals believes in a holistic approach to living. Not only can supplements bring balances to your individual body systems but certain lifestyle choices can also bio-align your health. Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity helps lubricate cartilage, strengthens muscles around joints, and promotes weight control. An exercise program geared to joint health includes stretching, mild weight training, and low-impact aerobics. Watch Your Weight: Population-based studies, including the well-known Framingham study, have consistently shown a link between obesity and challenges to joint health. Excess weight causes pressure on joints, and can speed the rate at which cartilage wears down. Eat Healthy: To support healthy joints, increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, sardines, flax seeds or flax oil, avoid excess protein intake, and replace animal with plant proteins when possible. You should also eat lots of organically grown fruits and vegetables, limit saturated fat and eliminate hydrogenated oils. Rest and Relaxation: Regularly scheduled rest gives your body time to recover and rebuild, allowing you to make the most of your exercise program. It’s important to know when to slow down. Supplementation: Source Naturals offers a range of products that can supplement your strategy for joint wellness. These include the pineapple enzyme BROMELAIN; SAME, a natural compound formed from the amino acid methionine, which has been found to support joint comfort and mobility; and CHONDROITIN to promote water retention and elasticity in cartilage and inhibit enzymes that break down cartilage.
Structural Building Blocks N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Glucosamine Sulfate, L-Lysine, L-Proline Tissue Production Cofactors Grape Seed, Copper, Manganese, Zinc, Vitamins A, B-6 and C, Niacinamide Soothing Relief Mechanisms Boswellia Serrata, Quercetin, Turmeric, Copper, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin C Antioxidant Defense Grape Seed, Quercetin, Manganese, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamins A, C and E