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Science confirms turmeric as effective as 14 drugs
March 26, 2019 01:45 PM
If you haven’t yet heard, turmeric is the latest super herb that is as effective as at least 14 drugs and is safe to consume in food, as a tea, or in supplement form. A 2008 study in Drugs found that turmeric worked just as well as Lipitor in decreasing blood levels of cholesterol. Another study in Phytotherapy Research found turmeric to be as effective as steroids in the treatment of chronic inflammatory eye disease. Studies conducted over the past twenty years also show turmeric to be a promising alternative to aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and tamoxifen for its anti-inflammatory and tumor suppressing properties.
"Have you heard of turmeric but weren’t sure if you should start incorporating it into your lifestyle?"
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/science-confirms-turmeric-as-effective-as-14-drugs/
Herbal supplement gingko biloba found to prevent cell death in thebrain, improve recovery from stroke
March 19, 2019 02:48 PM
Dr. Yun Xu is the head of the neurological department at Nanjing University, and he has made a breakthrough in the data supporting the herb ginkgo biloba and its neurological advantages to those who have suffered from ischemic strokes. By pairing ginkgo biloba with regular doses of Aspirin, Dr. Xu was able to measure the levels of cognitive ability among a large group of patients dealing with post-stroke difficulties. The results showed that those who had ginkgo biloba administered with their dose had improved memory function, attention, language, and more.
"Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest living species of a tree native to China. It is known to have been used in traditional medicine and as a source of food. The leaves and the nuts of the tree have a high nutrient content, and is best known for its positive effects on the brain and nervous system."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-03-herbal-supplement-gingko-biloba-found-to-prevent-cell-death-in-the-brain.html
Daily aspirin found to increase risk of heart attack by 190%
March 31, 2017 04:44 AM
aspirin may or may not increase your heart attack risks. Studies widely vary and it seems are not conclusive. It is also unclear whether or not taking NSAID such as Ibuprphen(advil/motrin) may actually increase your risk of a heart attack. These NSAID may actually increase the amounts of water and salt in the bodies system which causes a rise in blood pressure and possibilities of the aforementioned heart conditions. aspirin may be the best option but it still leaves a magnitude of possible side effects.
"Taking aspirin regularly to keep heart disease at bay may do more harm than good, according to a recent study."
Ways to Decrease the Risk of Heart Attack
February 20, 2017 12:59 PM
There are ways to decrease the risk of having a heart attack. A heart attack is a life changing event that hurts a lot of people and getting rid of the risks is one important way to avoid having this terrible thing happen. Eating right and exercise are two really important things. Replace burger with something like fish and eat more fruits and veggies.
"New evidence shows that an enteric-coated 81 milligram aspirin daily decreases the risk of a second coronary attack."
Powerful Health Benefits of Pomegranate
The abundant skinned seedy fruit, Pomegranate offers a variety of health, beauty and clinical benefits. Apart from eating the food raw, people even use pomegranate juice that helps both skin and health in some ways. Pomegranate is one of the healthy foods and should be included in the regular diet. The peel of the fruit contains the highest amount of antioxidants that are released when Pomegranate is squeezed. Drinking the juice of the fruit helps assimilate all the nutrients by the body. Experts say that one glass of pomegranate juice offers forty percent of the routine requirement of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and folic acids as well. However, one should not sweeten the juice as sugar is inflammatory and counteract the health benefits of the juice.
Pomegranate juice is recommended for pregnant women because it enables the healthy flow of blood. It is even crucial for the overall development of the fetus as well. The content of potassium in pomegranate juice prevents leg cramps. The highlight is pomegranate benefits health in many ways. The juice is considered to be a secret of vibrant skin. The juice helps reduce wrinkles on the face that are a result of continuous exposure to the sun. The juice works wonder for all types of skin and penetrates easily. The fruit helps in cell regeneration and quickens the course of wound healing. Pomegranate is known to improve the texture of skin by offering strength to the skin. Drinking a glass of pomegranate juice daily helps not just the skin but most of the organs of the body.
Tips To Soothe Your Skin After Shaving
December 26, 2016 07:59 AM
Men and women who have more sensitive skin may have to shave. This is probably due to the fact that they are more susceptible to razor burn. If you are concerned about this, there are many natural and medical remedies you can try to ease the pain. Cold compresses, lip balm, and honey are a few things that most people have handy at home. They all work to ease the burn and help the skin heal quicker. If you are looking for something a little stronger, Witch Hazel, aspirin, and aloe vera can be easily bought at most stores.
"In case you cut your skin while shaving and it is bleeding, immediate application of witch hazel can help you to stop blood flow."
NSAID stands for Non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
NSAID drugs are used by millions of people daily around the world. Most people do not even think twice about their safety, whether these kind of drugs are safe to use?
These include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.
They work by inhibiting or blocking COX 1 and 2 Enzyme pathways that cause inflammation in the body. These drugs do work but have sever health issues, this is why COX 1 and 2 enzyme pathways should never be blocked.
If you take any of these drugs and other cyclooxygenase blocking drugs, consider the consequences:
There are 16,500 deaths per year from NSAID drugs and the number keeps climbing each year. Fortunately, curcumin can help lower inflammation safely with out side effects. Consider taking curcumin instead of reaching for the NSAID drugs.
Astaxanthin Protects The Eye And More!
November 13, 2013 02:52 PM
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that is commonly found in the marine environment. It is naturally found in salmon, krill, trout, crayfish, shrimp, crustaceans and yeast. It is the chemical that is responsible for the red color in cooked shellfish and salmon meat. The algae Haematoccus has the richest natural source of astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin can also be produced synthetically, but due to the synthetic product consisting of different steriosmers it is not preferred to be used in some cases.
Unlike beta-carotene it has two more oxygenated groups on each of its ring structure, these additional functional groups make it a highly potent antioxidant and give it a configuration that is more polar than that of other carotenoids. Vitamin E has been known as the strongest antioxidant both in topical use in cosmetics and in internal use, but research has shown that astaxanthin has a greater antioxidant strength than Vitamin E. For example in the quenching of singlet oxygen it has an antioxidant strength five hundred times stronger than Vitamin E.
Unlike many other antioxidants it has the ability of crossing the blood-brain barrier and enter into the eyes, brain and central nervous system (CNS). Most diseases of the CNS and eye are caused by increased generation of free radicals or by a decrease in the ability to remove free radicals from the body. Some of the diseases that are caused by problems with inflammation and oxidation include Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Huntington’s disease. These can be prevented by taking astaxanthin.
It has anti-inflammatory properties that are related to its strong antioxidants properties. It suppresses some of the inflammatory mediators such as, prostaglandin E-2 (PGE-2), tumor necrosis factor –alpha (TNF-a), and nitric oxide. Unlike other anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen that can damage the liver and aspirin that may cause stomach bleeding, astaxanthin doesn’t have any side effects.
In people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome it has the ability of reducing pain. Studies have shown that it is able to reduce pain in rheumatoid arthritis by 40% after 8 weeks of continuous use.
It prevents Ultra Violet induces oxidative stress of the skin and prevents the photo aging of the skin. It prevents UV induced formation of wrinkles and collagen degradation in the skin. It may be applied on the skin or taken orally.
In people participating in sports it eliminates the soreness of joints after exercise, and reduces the pain caused by inflammation. This enables athletes to train harder and as a result increase their endurance, skill, and strength. This is through its ant-inflammatory and ant-oxidant effects in the mitochondria (energy producing organelle).
It strengthens the immune system, research by scientists has shown that it causes increase in production of T cells, stimulates the proliferation of lymphocytes, amplify the cytotoxicity of natural killer cells, decrease damage of DNA, and increases significantly delayed type hypersensitivity syndrome.
It prevents heart disease and reduces the risk of people already suffering from heart disease form getting a stroke or heart attack. It improves the blood lipid profiles by increasing HDL (high density lipoprotein) and decreasing LDL (low density lipoprotein).
The liver main function of the liver and kidney is the detoxification and removal of harmful substances in the body. These activities lead to the formation of free radicals. Astaxanthin being a strong antioxidant helps by destroying these free radicals hence it eliminates their oxidative effects.
As a result of its immune benefits Astaxanthin also has anti-tumor properties and as a result it prevents the development of cancer. Its prevention of cancer is also caused by its antioxidant properties and by it regulating gene expression.
The working principle of Curamin
March 22, 2013 11:49 AM
Curamin is a natural pain reliever that functions well. It has four very powerful ingredients with synergistic properties which make it very efficient in pain relieving.
These ingredients are:
Curcumin longa: a compound that is used to prevent several inflammation pathways in the human body and is a powerful antioxidant.
Boswellia serrata: a substance which slows down the performance of inflammatory enzyme.
Nattokinase is a type of enzyme which assists the cardiovascular system and also helps other inclusions to go to other regions of the human body.
DLPA stops the disintegrating of enkephalins which relieves the body muscles from pain and boost mood.
The above named components works on particular cells which are sending pathways which consist of nerves that relay unwanted signals which are eventually amplified by the interconnected and overlapping pathways. During this process, curamin ingredients come together and blocks the way going to these signaling pathways which in the long run gets rid of the messages being sent. It's very good to put into consideration that it's not the same system used with conventional synthetic medications which include; aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen and diclofenac which are used to aim at one particular pathway and leave other subsidiary pathways unchecked.
Curamin works in very distinct ways which makes it to be reliable and effective. These ways are:
Curcumin is a system modulator which immunes and safeguard the body from oxidative stress. EuroPharma Curamin is a way in which the body provides temporary relief of pain and eventually improving the natural defense mechanism of the body. Curcumina is a component of Curamin which supports the natural anti-inflammatory response of the body.
Enzyme Nattokinase is a significant component of Curamin which aids in circulation of nutrients to get where they are required and helps in getting rid of waste from the body. It also balances fibrinogen levels in the body which is crucial since too much of it leads too pain in the muscles.
It is therefore advisable to use curamin since it has no side effects.
All about curamin
December 13, 2012 11:35 AM
For those who never really hard about it, they should know that Curamin contains is up to ten times strong than the regular curcumin products. It's actually one of the best ways through which individuals will be able to balance their body's natural inflammation response and many recent and past studies support its ability. Through the removal of pro inflammatory compounds which are generally present in this plant, the impact of boswellia is very much enhanced.
DLPA was showed in many studies to actually be very helpful with maximizing the effects of enkephalins and endorphins, which are natural and very powerful pain relievers produced by the human body. Nattokinase is rounding up the formula and for those who don't have any idea what it is, they should know it's actually an enzyme. It directly affects muscle pain through its ability to have the fibrinogen levels in the body balanced and at the same time it will also ensure people have a healthy blood circulation in the body. Many people are already aware of the fact that if they take ibuprofen and also aspiring for long periods of time, they will experience serious stomach bleeding and at the same time, if they take Tylenol and ibuprofen, the toxicity in their kidneys and liver will increase very much.
However, with the more safer and also more effective alternative of Curamin, who would ever want to consider the aforementioned medicines?
Curamin, this is a natural pain killer anyone can take. Its combination of dl-phenylalanine, boswellia, cuminoids and Curcumin make it a really effective pain reliever. The way it works is that it will help with stopping the triggers that switch on pain pathways and at the same time it will also reduce the inflammation. More than ninety percent of people who have taken Curamin said that in just forty five minutes, they experienced great pain relief. At the same time, they also said there were no side effects to deal with, meaning their kidneys, stomach and intestines didn't suffer any damage. Curamin actually works in conjunction with the body's natural ability to stop inflammations which is the reason why individuals feel pain.
The president and founder of Europharma in the United States said that it is really a great and effective product which everyone who is dealing with inflammations should use. Because he trusts this product so much, millions of Americans have actually turned their attention to it and regard it now as one of the most efficient pain relievers on the market. In 2009 Curamin was awarded the prize for having the best formula so far, a formula which doesn't let people experience any side effects and at the same time, it makes their inflammations and pain go away really quickly. It seems that as time passes, Curamin is also getting better and more and more effective formulas appear. With that being said, everyone who will take Curamin in order relieve his pain or inflammation will feel great in less than an hour!
What Supplements Are Useful In Combating Blood Clots?
October 04, 2011 03:14 PM
Vitamins And Your Health
As we know for a fact, one of the properties of blood is its ability to coagulate in order to stop bleeding. This coagulated blood is commonly known as a clot. Blood clot is important to the body to prevent excessive bleeding and serves as a vital part in the process of inflammation and wound healing. However, if a clot occurs abnormally it can cause significant danger to the body. A blood clot can cause obstruction in the circulation and may result to life - threatening health conditions such as heart attacks, cerebrovascular accident or strokes and pulmonary embolism. It can also cause poor tissue oxygenation and perfusion which can damage the affected cells and might cause disability or inability to function of certain organs or body part.
There are many traditional modalities in preventing and treating abnormal blood clot formation. One of the most commonly used is the medication called aspirin in low – dosage. This conventional drug is popularly prescribed by doctors to decrease the clotting property of the blood. However, in emergency cases, a surgical procedure may be deemed important to remove the blood clot which significantly interrupts proper blood circulation.
Aside from medications, there are many supplements that have the capacity to decrease the risk of abnormal blood clotting. These include supplements high in:
1. FISH OILS. Fish oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acid which has the capacity to thin the blood. Therefore, if the blood is not viscous, the pressure inside the blood vessel is lesser as well. A high blood pressure can cause damage to the walls of the blood vessels, thus activating blood clot formation. Also, a non – viscous blood can also better circulate into smaller blood vessels than that of a viscous blood, therefore, enhancing tissue oxygenation. Clinical studies also revealed that omega – 3 fatty acids can effectively decrease Thromboxane A which is one of the clotting factors found among platelets.
2. CHAMOMILE. This herb has an anti – platelet property. It has a mild to moderate effect in regulating clot formation.
3. GINGER. Ginger has many health benefits. One of its promising benefits is its mild anti – platelet property and its ability to dissolve fibrin. This herb is widely used as a supplement to enhance blood circulation all over the body.
4. CATECHIN AND QUERCETIN. These chemical compounds are classified as antioxidants. They can effectively reduce the adhesion property of platelets.
5. CURCUMIN. This chemical comes from the spice called turmeric. This is considered to be an anti – thrombotic, as well as a potent anti – inflammatory agent.
6. DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE (DHEA). This substance is primarily an anti – aging agent. However, studies reveal that it can significantly reduce the process of inflammation by preventing the substance that can generate inflammation within the veins, arteries and capillaries called Cytokines. With decreased production of cytokines, it will result to lesser coagulation and clumping of platelets and reduced movement of bad cholesterol or Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) into the walls of the blood vessels, thus decreasing the chance of clot formation and atherosclerosis.
7. VITAMINS C AND E. These vitamins are important for preventing abnormal collagen – induced platelet activation by inhibiting the production of hydrogen peroxide. Vitamins C and E are also important in many enzymatic actions that regulate blood cholesterol levels.
Fight Inflammation, Gastric Problems, and Arthritis with Boswellia
June 14, 2011 11:49 AM
How Does Boswellia Fight Inflammation.
Boswellia fights inflammation through the action of a family of anti-inflammatory terpenes known as boswellic acids. Inflammation is a natural reaction of your immune system to tissue damage and infection, and is often associated with conditions such as arthritis, sports damage to bones and joints and bacterial infections caused by cuts and grazes. There are more serious inflammatory conditions of course, such as asthma, and boswellic acids act in the same way as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) without their unwelcome side effects.
Among the causes of inflammation are inflammatory mediators such as leukotrienes, the biosynthesis of which is blocked by boswellia. Another is the 5-lipoxygenase enzyme, also known as LOX-5, and again, the terpenoid anti-inflammatory boswellic acids block this so that the causes of inflammation in the above conditions are severely restricted. Boswellia extract is a good supplement to take for those suffering any form of arthritis, joint pain or even asthma.
Using Boswellia to treat Arthritis
Boswellia can be used to treat both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, although rheumatoid arthritis is not always easy to control. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition, in the case of osteoarthritis the inflammation being a natural response to joint damage and infection of the synovial fluid generally caused by wear and tear on the joint with aging, and also by sports injuries.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of immune disease caused by the body attacking its own joints, and while the terpenoid anti-oxidants known as boswellic acids can help to mediate the pain and other symptoms, it can do nothing to cure the condition.
If you are suffering pain through arthritis, and your joins are tender and swollen, a supplement consisting of an extract of boswellia or its terpenes can help to relieve these symptoms and to offer pain relief equivalent to that offered by synthetic NSAIDs such as aspirin and Ibuprofen.
Gastric Problems and Arthritis Pain? Perhaps Boswellia Can Help
Extracts and supplements based on the resins of the boswellia tree are commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions, and reduce the severe pain of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, ease the discomfort of colitis and also help ease the symptoms of those suffering asthma. Each of these is an inflammatory condition that would otherwise have been treated using NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
NSAIDs have a number of side effects, being particularly unsuitable for those with ulcers or any other gastric problem. The terpenoids contained in boswellia extract an effective alternative to these drugs that many try to avoid taking. Long-term use of boswellia appears a lot safer than long-term use of NSAIDs, since it doesn't promote the severe gastric problems of these synthetic drugs, such as irritation of the stomach lining or even ulcers. If you already have ulcers or other gastric problems then NSAIDs area define no-no for you, and boswellia is the ideal substitute.
Grab some boswellia today and experience relief for your self!
Curcumin and Pain
December 02, 2010 12:33 PM
Make no mistake about it: curcumin has long been identified as the compound responsible for the anti-inflammatory benefits of the ginger plant turmeric. The herb turmeric has been around for ages, cultivated for its wide array of culinary and medicinal uses that transcend regional and cultural boundaries. Apart from the popular use of its powdery form in bread, cakes, ale, and beer as a flavoring, the plant contains up to 5 per cent curcumin, which is one type of polyphenols now being looked into for its antioxidant properties.
Prostaglandin and Inflammation Pain
Autocrines and paracrines are contained in almost all tissues and organs to effectively participate in bodily defenses every time the systems call for them, for example in treating wounds. Prostaglandins are either autrocrines or paracrines that take on the job of signaling the tissues and systems implicated in defensive reactions when the body detects unwanted and harmful stimuli. Cells release autocrines to have an effect on the same cells and paracrines to aid nearby cells, making these compounds function as effective chemical messengers in immediate vicinities anywhere in the body as they are short-lived.
Prostaglandin is known as the chemical messenger causing pain and igniting fever among others. Defensive mechanisms start when cells release mediators, including prostaglandin, which brings about the known signs of inflammation. Prostaglandins relax smooth muscle cells within the walls of blood vessels in the area of inflammation and promote the flow of needed fluids like blood and plasma proteins into the spot, leading to the subsequent redness and swelling. They continue to mediate the healing process by permitting the entrance of neutrophil granulocytes, the front-line soldiers against harmful stimuli, and consequently put an end to invading pathogens. The same group of chemicals also increases pain at the same time, for example the joint pains associated with inflammation called arthritis.
Curcumin and Anti-inflammation
Painkillers, classified as analgesic drugs, work in a number of ways that in the end relieve the continual sensitization of certain body parts to pain. One group called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen targets the enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of prostaglandins aim to reduce levels of prostaglandins.
Curcumin works on the same principle. Take for example, joint pains caused by arthritis. Be reminded that individuals who complain about joint pains are suffering from varied forms of medical conditions, which one way or another contribute to the pain in addition to having excessive levels of prostaglandins in the joints involved. Damage to the joint brought about by wear and tear or forced movement involving joints spurs the body to take defensive measures that include inflammatory effects, thus the pain. The intake of curcumin and its derivatives act on the cells in its production of prostaglandins, resulting in both the easing of pain and the lessening of inflammation.
October 20, 2009 12:02 PM
For thousands of years feverfew has been used for the treatment of various ailments. History is full of references to feverfew. Dioscorides, an ancient Greek herbalist, recommended the use of feverfew almost two thousand years ago, as he valued the herb for childbirth, fevers, melancholy, and congestion of the lungs. It was also suggested for arthritis. In 1772, feverfew was suggested to be used to treat painful headaches. Many people believe that feverfew obtained its name from its use as a remedy for bringing down fevers, but this has been determined to be incorrect. Instead, the name came from the traditional Old English name for feverfew, featherfew. Featherfew came from the feather-shaped leaves of the feverfew plant.
Feverfew has been used for a long time as a natural remedy for pain relief, as it is considered an excellent remedy for migraines. This herb was used to treat any kind of pain and helped with chills and fever. Additionally, it helps in relieving colds, dizziness, tinnitus, and inflammation from arthritis. The herb works gradually and with a gentle action that allows the body to heal itself.
The most popular use of feverfew is in the prevention and relief of migraine headaches. In a study, those given the placebo had an increase in frequency and severity of headaches, nausea, and vomiting. On the other hand, those given the feverfew capsules had no increase in frequency or severity of migraines. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study was done on seventy-two volunteers. One group received capsule dried feverfew leaves, while the other received a placebo. The group taking feverfew showed less severity of attacks and a reduction in symptoms that were associated with migraines, including vomiting. There was a definite improvement in the group using feverfew and no serious side effects resulted. Because some forms of migraines are believed to be associated with abnormal platelet behavior, feverfew may be beneficial as it has been found to help restrain the release of serotonin from platelets. This prevents a migraine from occurring.
It is thought that feverfew may also be a useful treatment in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. This is because of its ability to inhibit the formation of inflammation-promoting compounds like prostaglandins and leukotriene. This herb seems to have similar properties to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), like aspirin. Feverfew may actually be even more effective with a lot fewer potential complications. Some of the studies involving feverfew and migraines have shown that feverfew may also lower blood pressure.
The leaves and flowers of the feverfew plant are used to provide alterative, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, aromatic, bitter, carminative, emmenagogue, febrifuge, nervine, parasiticide, mild purgative, stimulant, and vasodilator properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are iron, niacin, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, vitamins A and C, and zinc. Primarily, feverfew is extremely helpful in dealing with chills, colds, fever, headaches, sinus headaches, and inflammation.
Additionally, this herb is very beneficial in treating aches, ague, allergies, anxiety, arthritis, insect bites, poor circulation, dizziness, gastric disorders, nervous headaches, hot flashes, indigestion, and menopausal symptoms, absent menstruation, nervousness, tinnitus, and vertigo. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by feverfew, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
June 11, 2009 06:16 PM
The boswellia family of trees are specifically known for their fragrant, gummy sap, which possesses many medicinal uses. Among these, especially, if the use as an anti-inflammatory. It is believed that the frankincense of the bible was actually an extract from the resin of the Boswellia tree. Boswellia, which is also known as boswellin, has a long history of use in Ayurvedic healing. The resin is called salai guggal and has been used to treat asthma, arthritis, various inflammatory conditions, and to relieve joint pain and pain that results from sports injuries. The resin of the boswellia tree is also though to be helpful for treating back pain as well as some other chronic intestinal disorders.
The boswellia plant is a genus of trees that are known mainly for their fragrant resin. This resin has many pharmacological uses, particularly as anti-inflammatories. There are four main species of boswellia, producing true frankincense. Each type of resin is available in various grades. These grades depend upon the time of harvesting. The resin of the boswellia plant is hand sorted for quality. Anyone who is interested in frankincense is advised to obtain a small sample from each reputable dealer to determine the difference between each resin.
Boswellic acids are the main compounds that are believed to be at the source of boswellia’s anti-inflammatory properties. These acids have the ability to inhibit the enzymes that induce pain and inflammation in the body.
A few studies have been conducted on boswellia’s effect on sports injuries and arthritis. Among these, some have shown that boswellic acids may contain anti-inflammatory benefits that are extremely powerful. These benefits are similar to those found in ibuprofen and aspirin. One study done on rheumatoid arthritis patients found that pain and swelling were reduced after three months of treatment with boswellia. Those who used boswellia occasionally reported mild gastrointestinal distress, like heartburn and nausea, but there were no other reports of serious side-effects.
Boswellia has a long tradition of safe and effective use as a mild anti-inflammatory to alleviate pain and stiffness. It is also used to enhance mobility without serious side effects. However, further research is needed to confirm the long-term safety and effectiveness of this extract. Boswellia seems to be best taken as needed in order to reduce pain and stiffness, as opposed to being taken regularly as a maintenance herb.
The resin of boswellia is used in many herbal formulas because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Primarily, this extract is most useful in dealing with arthritis, asthma, inflammatory conditions, joint pain, and sports injuries.
A boswellia standardized extract is recommended by many doctors. When dealing with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, 150 mg of boswellic acids are taken three times per day. For example, if an extract contains 37.5% boswellic acids, 400 mg of the extract would be taken three times daily. Treatment with boswellia should generally last between eight and twelve weeks. Generally, boswellia is safe when used as directed. Rare side effects include diarrhea, skin rash, and nausea. Any inflammatory joint condition should be closely monitored by a health care professional. To date, there are no well-known drug interactions with boswellia.
Boswellia comes in capsule form at your local or internet health food store. When making a purchase always read the label to ensure that the product is standardized to its active acids to ensure quality and purity and to ensure that the herb when taken regularly will function as intended.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Boswellia is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
October 02, 2008 09:36 AM
Cartilage has several roles to play in your body, an example of which is to form curved body parts that would otherwise be unsupported, such as the external contours of your ears or a large part of your nose. Without cartilage you ears and nose would flop around a lot, and it is also contained in the spine, to prevent your discs from grinding against each other.
However, the part that we are interested in is as a shock absorber between the bones of your joints. It allows bones to slide over one another without damage, either through friction or shock, and is also nature’s shock absorber, helping to support your weight while you are active. Thus, your cartilage protects from impact damage when you are running or jumping down from a height. This type of cartilage, known as articular cartilage, is bathed in a lubricating fluid known as synovial fluid, which introduces its own problems when your cartilage becomes damaged.
This damage can occur in several ways: as the result of a fall, for example, or direct contact with the joint when playing a physical contact sport such as football or soccer. It can also become damaged through wear and tear over a period of time, such with long distance runners or soccer players (again), and is also associated with age. Many years of continual use, especially amongst those with active rather than sedentary occupations, eventually lead to wear and damage.
Problems with the joint structure itself, known as osteoarthritis, can also damage the cartilage, as can being overweight for a lengthy period. You can also experience cartilage damage if you are bedridden or other wise immobile for long periods, because the cartilage needs regular movement to function correctly. This is connected with the blood supply, which will be discussed shortly.
Cartilage is constructed of cells known as chondrocytes that generate a fibrous matrix known as collagen, a mixture of amino acids known as elastin that allows the cartilage to return to its original shape after deformation, and non-collagenous matrix tissue containing proteins, water and proteoglycans that contain sulfated glycosaminoglycan chains. That last mixture is often referred to as ‘ground substance.’
One of the problems with cartilage is its lack of a direct blood supply, and it relies on the compression and decompression of the articular cartilage, or on the flexing of elastic cartilage, to create a pumping action that drives blood to the chondrocytes. This is why inactivity can cause cartilage damage, due to a lack of blood supply, and why it is repaired more slowly than other body components.
Once an injury or wear and tear damages a joint, the body’s natural defense, the immune system, is activated, and the major part of that involved in cartilage damage is the inflammatory response. The joint becomes inflamed, the quantity of synovial fluid is increased to provide more protection and swells the joint, and enzymes (hyaluronidase) are produced which, although part of the natural defense system, actually degrade the synovial fluid and the cartilage.
This increases the amount of inflammation and the process becomes self-perpetuating, leading to the condition known as degenerative joint disease (DJD) because the body is unable to produce enough glucosamine to generate the proteoglycan needed for repair.
This is where glucosamine sulfate enters the scene. Glucosamine is a precursor for glycosaminoglycans (GAG), which as mentioned as above are components of proteoglycans in the cartilage matrix ground tissue. It has been shown to stimulate the biosynthesis of proteoglycan, and analysis has shown its presence within articular cartilage after administering it orally to patients with cartilage disease. It therefore makes its way to the right place.
Glucosamine is administered in the form of glucosamine sulfate, the highly electrically charged sulfate groups believed to aid in the compression properties of cartilage. It is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, although only about a quarter of the oral dose is eventually available to the body, and high concentrations accumulate in the liver, kidneys and in articular cartilage where it is used in the biosynthesis of GAG.
When in solution, glucosamine sulfate separates into ions: sulfate and glucosamine. Glucosamine ions are involved in the synthesis of GAG, that then combine with proteins to form proteoglycans, a component of the non-collagenous matrix of the cartilage. Although glucosamine is the major active component, there is evidence that the sulfate group contributes the stability of the matrix of the connective tissue since the uptake of sulfate ions increases with the amount of glucosamine sulfate used.
Another consideration here is that sulfate is an important part of proteoglycans, and glucosamine sulfate promotes not only the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans, but also of proteoglycans in general. Glucosamine is also active in regenerating the lubricating properties of the synovial fluid, and in hindering the activity of hyaluronidase, the enzyme that breaks down the hyaluronic acid in the synovial fluid.
Some people find that glucosamine, taken either alone or in conjunction with chondroitin sulfate and/or methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM), is more effective than the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to reduce inflammation (e.g. aspirin and Ibuprofen) and without the side effects of these substances. MSM contains dietary sulfur, which is necessary for cell structure and healthy cell repair. Methyl sulfone methane is know to be beneficial for painful conditions such as arthritis, and also improves the blood circulation. It might also play a part in helping glucosamine sulfate get to the site of the cartilage damage.
Glucosamine is a large molecule, however, and finds it difficult to make its way to the area around the joint due to the lack of a direct blood supply. It is therefore taken in relatively large doses to ensure that sufficient amounts get to where it is needed. Many people insist that glucosamine sulfate is very effective in reducing, or even eliminating, their pain, and it is finding increasing popularity in the treatment of arthritis and other conditions involving cartilage damage.
Essential Fatty Acids (omega-3) ( Primrose Oil)
September 11, 2008 09:04 AM
A deficiency in essential fatty acids can be linked to many ailments. When the body lacks linoleic acid in the diet, adverse symptoms result. Such symptoms include: acne, changes in personality or behavior, gallbladder dysfunction, slow healing wounds, cardiovascular problems, prostate inflammation, thirst due to excessive perspiration, arthritis, miscarriage, poor growth, kidney problems, muscle tremors, skin disorders, and sterility in males. Low contents or a lack of linolenic acid in the diet can also cause many adverse symptoms. These symptoms include poor growth, learning disability, tingling in the extremities, impaired motor coordination, and poor vision.
When adequate amounts of dietary fatty acids are obtained in the deficient person, adverse symptoms will disappear. Unfortunately, long-term deficiencies of essential fatty acids can eventually lead to death. Because the human body requires forty-five known essential nutrients and requires linoleic acid more than any other, researchers estimate that the body needs at least three to six grams a day of linoleic acid in order to prevent deficiency symptoms. This is equivalent to one to two percent of your daily caloric intake.
However, a much larger amount can be helpful to encourage and preserve optimum health. Although the requirements are different for each person, factors such as stress, diet, and amount of physical activity that is engaged in daily must be taken into account. For example, an obese person who eats a lot of saturated fats will need a lot more essential fatty acids than a thin person who is cautious about the amount of saturated fats that are included in their diet. Saturated fats interfere with the absorption and metabolism of linoleic acid.
A well-balanced diet will include primary nutrients such as vitamins B3, B6, C, zinc, and vitamin A. This will help the body to utilize essential fatty acids much more efficiently. It should be mentioned that the ability of lipids to hold high levels of oxygen has negative effects for those who are obese. By having increased oxygen in fat reserves, one can experience lipid oxidation, which leads to free radical formation, which in turn increases many tissue pathologies. In order to avoid this process, a diet or supplementation that is rich in antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and E is encouraged. Many factors can get in the way of fatty acid metabolism. These include a diet that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol, aging, alcohol, high blood sugar, viral infections, and aspirin use.
It is recommended that people stay away from fats that have been altered from their normal, health-giving state to the point in which they actually cause damage to the cells of the body. In an ideal state, a person who is health conscious will avoid any foods that are deep-fried, as they are especially dangerous to the human body. However, because we are all humans, it is almost impossible to eat a perfect diet in this day and age.
Therefore, taking an essential fatty acid supplement is a great idea that is recommended by many health experts to offset the damage that is often done to your body by consuming the unwanted, yet inevitable, bad fats. Essential fatty acids can regulate hormone production in the body and stabilize ones emotional state if it is due to a hormone imbalance. Have you had your essential fatty acids today?
August 15, 2008 03:51 PM
DHA is the most abundant essential fatty acid (polyunsaturated fatty acids) found in the brain and retina. DHA is essential for the proper functioning of our brains as adults, and for the development of our nervous system and visual abilities during the first 6 months of life. DHA is found in cold water fatty fish, including salmon, tuna (blue fin tuna have up to five times more DHA than other types of tuna), mackerel, sardines, shellfish, and herring. Lets take a look at what DHA can do for you.
DHA makes infant formulas more like human milk than "conventional" formula containing Alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, which are precursors to DHA. It has been an ingredient in several brands of premium infant formula sold in North America since 2001. Mead Johnson was the first infant formula manufacturer to add DHA and ARA (arachidonic acid) to its Enfamil Lipil product, several other manufacturers have followed. DHA levels in breast milk are higher if a mother's diet is high in fish.
DHA is also present normally in very high concentrations in the retina. DHA supplementation would be particularly important for mothers who have consumed excessive alcohol, because alcohol inhibits the desaturase enzymes necessary for DHA synthesis. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid, a nutrient that has been studied for its role in heart, brain and eye health. An experiment that studied the individual effects of EPA and DHA found that EPA reduced natural killer (NK) cell activity and cell-mediated immune response, but that DHA does not so this study concluded that the immune-suppressing effects of fish oil are mainly due to EPA, not DHA.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help lower triglycerides (fats in the blood), lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of blood clots, improve the health of arteries and reduce the amount of arterial plaque (which narrows arteries and causes heart disease). Many people believe that excessively high omega-6 rather than omega-3 in the modern diet is responsible for an increase in allergies and the need to take aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction).
Sunflower, safflower and corn oil are particularly rich sources of linoleic acid, which is at the root of the omega-6 fatty-acid family. The ability of enzymes to produce the omega-6 and omega-3 family of products of linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid declines with age this is why we need more omega 3 DHA in our diets. In fact, a high omega-3 fatty acid diet increases the alpha-tocopherol content of heart muscle membranes by five times, and this effect is most prominently associated with DHA because the heart muscle prefers DHA as its raw materials to manufacture and strengthen its membranes.
Dietary DHA may reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing the level of blood triglycerides in humans. Low levels of DHA result in reduction of brain serotonin levels and have been associated with ADHD, Alzheimer's disease, and depression, among other diseases, and there is mounting evidence that DHA supplementation may be effective in combating inflammatory bowel disease as well.
Dietary changes in the past century have lowered the consumption of omega-3 to a state of subclinical deficiency that is epidemiologically related to cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disorders, mental and psychiatric diseases and suboptimal neurodevelopment. Decreases in DHA in the brain are associated with cognitive decline during aging and with onset of sporadic Alzheimer disease. DHA has a positive effect on diseases such as hypertension, arthritis, atherosclerosis,, adult-onset diabetes, mellitus, thrombosis, and some cancers.
In conclusion, if consuming DHA through your diet is impossible, you can purchase DHA as a supplement in two common forms: Fish oil capsules or DHA extracted from algae. Consuming DHA may help support body tissues in which DHA is prevalent — especially the brain, nervous system, heart, retinas, and colon. Staying healthy is important, have you had your DHA today?
August 03, 2008 07:49 AM
Feverfew is often used in the treatment of migraines and fever, but it has also long been used as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is thought to be similar to aspirin in the way it reduces inflammation. aspirin works by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which cause inflammation in the body, among many other functions. Similar to aspiring and other anti-inflammatory drugs, feverfew works to inhibit the production of prostaglandins, which reduces inflammatory reactions that occur in the body. Not only may feverfew help with inflammation in cases of pain, but it also helps in cases of arthritis.
One of the oldest diseases known to man, arthritis involves one or more of the movable joints in the body. Arthritis is a general name for a variety of diseases that are characterized by joint pain and inflammation. Striking both the young and old, it is an extremely debilitating condition with symptoms ranging from mild aching to severe pain and deformity. Inflammation can often be found along with the pain, as well as morning stiffness, swelling, and tenderness being common in most cases. Arthritis has been shown to either appear suddenly, or come on slowly over an extended period of time. Diet has been found to be a primary factor in most cases, although some types of arthritis may be inherited or the result of a viral infection.
Conventional treatment of arthritis has involved the use of NSAIDs to help with inflammation and pain, but they do nothing to heal the problem. They may also inhibit the body’s own natural immune function as they temporarily eliminate symptoms. Some evidence has even shown that the use of anti-inflammatory medication for a long time may lead to further joint damage and serious side effects such as gastrointestinal, kidney, and liver problems. Because of this, many people are finding relief with natural healing. Although there are a variety of types of arthritis, the three most common forms are osteoarthritis, in which the joints wear out because of injury or normal wear and tear; rheumatoid arthritis, which is a condition that results from the immune system attacking the body tissue; and gout, which is painful inflammation that results because of excess uric acid in the blood. Rheumatoid arthritis has been found to benefit the most from the use of feverfew. Feverfew may be useful due to its ability to inhibit the formation of inflammation-promoting compounds, with properties similar to NSAIDs but with less potential complications and side effects.
Along with the treatment of arthritis, feverfew has many other possible uses. Included in these uses are: fever, high blood pressure, insect repellent, psoriasis and eczema, menstrual cramps, allergies, digestion, as a sedative to relax and induce sleep, and for its antimicrobial properties to inhibit the growth of staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria.
Because the parthenolide content of feverfew plants vary dramatically depending on the soil and location of cultivation, it is necessary to buy commercial products from reputable companies who have high quality control measures in place. The best preparations are ones using as little heat as possible, since parthenolide is highly unstable when in contact with high heat, such as freeze-drying. Freeze-dried capsules are extremely easy to use and can easily be found in many health food stores.
July 31, 2008 02:46 PM
Feverfew is most commonly used in the treatment and prevention of migraine headaches. Migraines are extremely common and can be very difficult to treat. Other methods of relieving pain have been explored because, for many migraine sufferers, conventional treatments have not been successful. Feverfew is one of the most successful forms of alternative treatments that have been found for treating migraines. Many studies have been conducted which have validated the already existing knowledge of many herbalists: feverfew is a great tool for helping to prevent migraines in many cases.
Although feverfew had long been used for treating headaches, its popularity declined with the advent of modern medicine. The herb has resurged into medical interest after the wife of a doctor who worked for the British National Coal Board had been suffering from migraines and was told by a coal miner to trey chewing on two feverfew leaves a day. After trying the herb, the woman noticed improvement, with fewer and less severe migraines. Her husband then urged a migraine specialist in London, Dr. E. Stewart Johnson, to test feverfew, with the results of several studies now showing it to be effective.
Dr. Johnson agreed to try the herb because he had many patients who had been suffering from migraine pain for years and had yet to find a successful treatment. Originally, he tried the herbal remedy on only ten of his patients. The results of this trial were so promising that it led to a study of another 270 of his patients, with seventy percent reporting that they received significant improvement when receiving feverfew for their headache pain.
Following this, a group of researchers in the City of London Migraine Clinic were led by Dr. Johnson to conduct a study, which was reported in the British Medical Journal, investigating seventeen patients who had already been using feverfew for at least three months. All were asked to discontinue use of their original method of treating with feverfew. Eight patients were given a capsule of feverfew, while the other nine were given a placebo.
Those that were given a placebo had an increase in frequency and severity of headaches, nausea, and vomiting, while those that were given feverfew capsules had no increase in frequency or severity of their migraines. This research has led to the belief that feverfew is advantageous in the prevention of migraines. Many other studies have been done to further test the effects of feverfew. It has been concluded that feverfew treatment is effective and there were always definite improvements in the group that used feverfew. Additionally, there were no serious side-effects that appeared to exist.
Feverfew seems to have similar properties as NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Also, the parthenolide that is found in feverfew is the main inhibitor for the formation of compounds that promote inflammation. Parthenolide reduces the secretory activity of blood platelets and white blood cells. This is important because migraines are thought to be associated with abnormal platelet behavior, as they are responsible for the release of serotonin, which constricts blood vessels and leads to migraine pain.
Feverfew is now recognized by the British and Canadian governments as a migraine treatment and is often prescribed by doctors. Many physicians and pharmacists have recent began to take more interest in the use of herbal remedies, especially since patients are beginning to become more interested in natural methods of healing.
Big Pharma Plays God, Stealing and Altering Pant Compounds making Synthetic Drugs
January 02, 2008 02:24 PM
It has been claimed by the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA) that the pharmaceutical companies are formulating their pharma drugs using natural plant-derived substances. This is not totally groundbreaking news, of course, since the whole pharmaceutical industry was based on natural products such as aspirin, derived from willow bark, and antibiotics derived from the penicillin mold.
While there is nothing wrong with them doing this, there are signs of their increasing lobbying to limit the supply of supplements so that Big Pharma can monopolize the production and supply of all supplements and remedies, natural or synthetic. What is disturbing is that bills such as the Adverse Event Reporting Bill, passed by Congress in February 2007 as the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act, could conceivably place greater powers into the hands of the large pharmaceutical companies to restrict the sales of natural products that are not part of their ‘approved’ prescription range.
This Act requires users and distributors of over the counter and non-prescriptive natural remedies to report any adverse effects that they believe have been caused by the remedy they are using. What this does is to require untrained people to make medical decisions as to what is causing their adverse reaction.
A patient taking several prescription drugs and a vitamin supplement might naturally assume that it is the vitamin that is causing their reaction, since they will believe the drugs to be safe. Hence they will report the vitamin supplement as being the cause. Since the act does not oblige them to report reactions from prescription drugs, then this opens the door for Big Pharma to hijack plant compounds, and then alter them to make synthetic drugs.
The position of the FDA in all of this is dubious since that body has already made many decisions that favor the large pharma companies rather than the consumer, or producers of herbal remedies.
However, there is also the opposite view that the supplement industry is unregulated, and some degree of control is long overdue. While it is difficult to argue against this, it is the form of control that is in question and also the reasons behind it.
The pharmaceutical companies have long gained through America’s ill health, and it is to their advantage for Americans to become ill or suffer from the chronic diseases that come with a sedentary lifestyle and a diet of fast foods. The industry’s short-sighted approach has been to wait until people become ill and then treated them with expensive drug, rather than prevention that would ultimate lose them customers for their products.
A happy and healthy community, regularly taking supplements that keep them fit and well, is not to the advantage of pharmaceutical companies that prefer a depressed, unfit and sick American population to which they can sell their products. Hence the smear campaigns in the press regarding ‘uncontrolled’ natural remedies, untold bills in Congress, and what could end up as the ultimate revocation of our freedom to consume the natural products of our choice.
If we are taking two or three prescription drugs for a heart condition or to reduce the cholesterol levels in our body, and also an Omega-3 fatty acids capsule, we are urged to report the capsule if we have any side effects from the cocktail. Presumably on the basis that the drugs have been approved by the FDA, and so cannot possibly cause any side effects in us. A fish oil capsule is hardly likely to cause a heart attack, but many prescription drugs can if badly prescribed. However, it is the capsule that is likely to be fingered, banned and then included in a pharmaceutical product that is cleared by the FDA.
Those that take over the counter supplements, vitamins and herbal remedies are a threat and it is difficult not to become cynical about the intentions of such Acts of Congress and the people behind them. True, the supplement and herbal industry probably does require some form of regulation, but to phrase this in such a way as to require medically untrained people to report what they perceive as being the adverse effects of supplements rings of an intention to regulate by restriction or even banning.
When that occurs, Big Pharma will take these products and fashion them into expensive prescriptive drugs that are then approved for use by the FDA. What we were at one time able to purchase from our local health store we would now have to purchase at several times the price through prescription.
The health benefits of natural nutritional supplements are well documented, and the industry are now using methods to ensure standardization of the active ingredients where possible. However, this is not always possible with foodstuffs that do not always grow in standardized ways.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was passed by Congress in 1994 to protect and preserve our rights to healthy supplementation of our diets with natural products of our choice. The FDA has systematically failed to enforce this and prosecute synthetic manufacturers who have not kept to the law. The FDA does not need new powers, but the funding to implement those already in existence.
Lobbying in Congress by interested parties should not be allowed to undermine the rights of all Americans of the freedom to consume the products that will provide them with a healthier lifestyle. The DHSEA is all that is needed to preserve this and to protect consumers from Big Pharma and their need to create conditions conducive to an increasing need for their products.
Yes, the health supplements industry likely needs some form of regulation to ensure standardization of products as far as is possible, but the way to do this is not to place medical decisions into the hands of the untrained. Do not forget that these are natural products, available freely from nature in fruit, vegetable and animal products, and are not synthesized in a laboratory as many of today’s drugs are.
However, give them a free rein, and Big Pharma will hijack these natural products, change them and then sell them to us at highly inflated prices to do the job that already do for us: keep us healthy.
Cayenne for your aches and pains!
December 22, 2007 11:15 AM
Cayenne is the spicy pepper that is found in the same family as bell peppers and jalapenos. It is responsible for putting the kick into a lot of different spicy dishes, but it also helps to promote better health. Cayenne creams have capsaicin, an active compound which has proven to ease the pain of arthritic joints, along with the discomfort from shingles, muscular aches and spasms, bursitis, diabetic neuropathy, and phantom pains that follow amputation. By rubbing capsaicin on the skin, one can get rid of the chemical messengers that usually send pain signals. Even though the source of pain will still be there, using capsaicin will cause relief from the pain. However, this effect won’t last, so you will need to keep applying the cream to continue to deplete messengers that send pain signals. To use capsaicin, start by applying it four times a day for the first four days, then cut back to twice daily. You can tell a cayenne cream is working because there is a definite tingle, sometimes even a sting when you first apply them. Be careful not to put too much of this potent stuff on irritated or broken skin and be sure to wash your hands after applying so that you do not get the cream into sensitive areas such as your eyes and mouth.
By consuming cayenne in foods or in a capsule, one can ease the pain of stomachache, cramps, gas, or indigestion. One can also benefit the cardiovascular system by lowering LDL cholesterol and can also protect the body from free radical damage. Even more promising research on cayenne has found that cayenne cranks up thermogenesis and also suppresses appetite, assisting in weight loss. This means that while your mouth is burning from the spicy food, you are also burning calories. This spicy herb has also shown promising results in its ability to protect the stomach lining from damaging effects of aspirin. If you know that you have an ulcer or gastritis, make sure to use cayenne cautiously as it could worsen those conditions.
If you are looking for a great way to cleanse your system, an effect detox drink can be made from cayenne. By simply squeezing the juice of one lemon into a pint of warm water and adding a pinch of cayenne and one tablespoon of maple syrup, an effective drink can be created. Drinking one or more cups daily will produce great effects. If you’ve decided to eat mostly raw fruits and veggies during your cleansing diet, you might find that the raw foods can be tough to digest. A lot of people have found that when their digestive fire is weak, the raw fruit and vegetables are not easily digested. By sprinkling a little cayenne on your foods, you can build up the inner digestive fire, making raw foods much more easily digested. To get all of these great and helpful benefits, you can find cayenne at any local health food store or pharmacy. Cayenne can enhance absorption of the vitamins and prescription drugs you are currently taking; always first, be sure to consult your health care practitioner to make sure that cayenne is right for you.
How to Manage Migraines Naturally: Magnesium - Feverfew - Butterbur - Ginger
December 21, 2007 10:41 AM
Before you can understand how to manage migraines naturally, it is necessary to understand exactly what they are and how certain treatments could work. It is not generally known that the word ‘migraine’ means ‘half the head’ because it frequently hurts only on the right or the left of the head of sufferer. Some people with migraines do feel pain on both sides at once, although this is not generally the case.
A migraine occurs in stages which are activated by fluctuations in the hormone content of the blood. The ‘aura’, when you see spots and flashing lights in front of your eyes, is the first stage of a migraine attack, and during this time the blood vessels in your neck and head are contracting. You could also find it difficult to concentrate and your fingers could feel cold. At this point they do not have the headache that starts when the blood vessels begin to dilate.
Rather than the contracted blood vessels slowly returning to normal, your hormones have an excessively strong reaction, and cause them to dilate rapidly and become much wider than they should be leading to a severe headache due to pressure on the nerves. Different hormones can be involves with each attack, and the range of effective natural treatments reflect this fact. During this period, your brain could swell slightly, your muscles can tense up and other things can happen to the chemical and hormonal balance of your body. That is why some herbal treatments work for some but not for others, and different people find different treatments effective for them. What works for you might not work for somebody else if their migraine has a different cause. Basically, though, migraines occur in two phases, one being associated with an excess of hormones and the other with a shortage.
It is not easy to live with a migraine since it can be completely debilitating. Some just have a severe headache, while others are affected for days at a time. The headache can become before and after the onset of the shimmering lights and other optical effects that are generated by the brain. It would certainly be useful if those prone to migraines had one or more of the possible natural remedies to hand since there is rarely time to seek to seek professional medical help once the migraine begins, and through the use of natural remedies a potentially bad attack could be nipped in the bud, and at least its effect on you reduced.
Magnesium is common in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It is an essential mineral for human biochemistry, and is also needed with calcium for healthy bone development and maintenance.
Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, and relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels helping them to relax their dilatancy that cause the migraine pain. It is also useful to help the immune function, reduces blood pressure (by the same blood vessel relaxing mechanism) and also the rhythm of your heart. Magnesium therefore provides you with many health benefits, and though the western diet is not generally deficient in magnesium, some areas can be and a magnesium-containing supplement will not do you harm.
However, particularly high dose of magnesium can lead to nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure and many other unpleasant side effects, so do not take more than the RDA (recommended daily allowance) in your supplement. Many studies have confirmed its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of migraine, but not all studies have been successful. However, the condition is so debilitating to so many people, that it should be tried although not in excess. Make sure, however, that your doctor is informed since it could interfere with other medication you are taking for your migraine.
Riboflavin, vitamin B-2, is also believed to useful in reducing the duration and frequency of migraine attacks, working in much the same way as magnesium. It is known that there are many cases of people who suffer from vitamin B-2 deficiency also suffering from migraines, and a riboflavin supplement is also worth trying if you are a consistent victim of this condition.
Feverfew is the best known of the herbal remedies for migraine, and has been used for centuries in the treatment of fevers, headache, migraine and other painful conditions such as arthritis. The active ingredient is parthenolide, an anti-inflammatory that is also an anti-hyperalgesic, and that would explain its effect on reducing the pain. It also blocks lipolysaccharide-induced osteolysis by suppressing the activity of a eukaryotic transcription factor protein known as NF-kappaB that can cause a number of immune response problems, including inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, hence its use to relieve that condition.
Its effect on migraines could be explained by this activity in repressing the inflammatory response to certain stimuli that could be brought about by hormonal activity. Because it must be taken for a few weeks before the actual problem arises in order to be effective against it, feverfew is not effective to treat an existing attack, but to prevent future attacks. Double blind studies have proved its effectiveness in many tests, but not in all. However, if you take feverfew as a regular supplement in you diet, you might never have to try magnesium or vitamin B-2 supplements.
Some people swear by the leaves of feverfew, eating one per day which is easy way to take it. It is important, however, that you do so regularly, since it can take for up to 6 – 8 weeks for you to notice a reduction in your attacks. Don’t give up after 5 or 6 weeks, but continue, since the results will be well worth it. If you stop for a week or two you will have to start all over again. You might get a sore mouth and perhaps mouth ulcers to start with, but these will eventually go once your body is used to it.
You are probably best not to take if you are pregnant since it could cause you to abort. Otherwise, however, it has been shown to be effective in many severe cases. Feverfew is bitter, and can be used as a tea with other herbs, such as rosemary, lavender and sage. If you are taking warfarin, aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs, see your doctor first, and the same is true of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). If you are taking these for arthritis, the feverfew itself might be more effective!
If you are taking feverfew as a supplement using commercially available dried leaf then the recommended dosage is around 125mg of the dried leaf. It should contain at least 0.2% of parthenolide (0.25mg/daily), although other studies have indicated that a total of 0.7 mg parthenolide a day should be taken (100mg at 0.7%). Parthenolide is unstable so don’t take it after its sell by or best by date.
Butterbur is also useful in the treatment of migraines. The active ingredient here is petasin, a sesquiterpene ester that also has anti-inflammatory properties, all though it works in a different manner to feverfew. Here, it inhibits the activities of leukotriene generation in neutrophils and eosinophils, which indicates that it also possesses anti-allergenic properties that could help asthmatics that also suffer from migraines. It does not prevent the release of histamine, but does appear to reduce smooth muscle spasm.
You should never take the raw herb, only the extract, because it contains alkaloids that can harm you. The butterbur extract, however, is a perfectly safe supplement and found effective by many people in the treatment of migraine.
If your migraine is at the front of the head, then you should try ginger. Unlike feverfew, ginger works on a migraine as it is occurring, and improvement can be achieved for a bad migraine within half an hour. In fact if, like many people, you can feel a migraine coming on, half a teaspoon of freshly ground ginger can stop the pain before it starts.
Many herbal treatments for migraine include a combination of some of the above remedies, and many people swear by them. However, migraine treatment is very personal, and you should use what works best for you. If you are also taking other medical treatments however, please make sure that you refer to your physician before using any others, and that includes herbal remedies or supplements.
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.
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.
Omega-3 Fish Oil May Protect Against Colorectal Cancer
February 27, 2007 02:05 PM
Increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. It has been proposed that anti-inflammatory prostaglandins derived from omega-3 fatty acids may inhibit the cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) enzyme and production of proinflammatory elcosanoids derived from arachidonic acid (omega-6 fatty acids), theoretically linked to cancer formation and cell proliferation. The research investigated the link between the omega-3 and -6 concentrations in the blood of 17B men with colorectal cancer (cases) and 282 age-and smoking-matched controls without cancer. In the study subset not taking aspirin, the subjects with the highest blood concentration of omega-3’s were associated with a significant 66-percent reduced risk of colorectal cancer, compared with the lowest blood concentration. “Blood levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids were associated with decreased risk of colorectal cancer among men not using aspirin,” concluded the researchers. (Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, February 2007, Volume 16, Pages 314-321)
Rutozym - Systemic Enzyme Supplement with Nattokinase
February 22, 2006 05:08 PM
Nattokinase Fact Sheet
December 08, 2005 05:14 PM
Nattokinase Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 8/8/05
LIKELY USERS: People seeking to support heart health and healthy circulation.1-6
KEY INGREDIENTS: Nattokinase, an enzyme
STRUCTURE/FUNCTION USE: Nattokinase is an enzyme isolated from Natto, a traditional Japanese fermented soy food. Natto has been consumed safely for thousands of years for its numerous health benefits. More recently, both clinical and non-clinical studies have demonstrated that Nattokinase supports heart health and promotes healthy circulation. Each serving of NOWR Nattokinase provides 2,000 FU (Fibrinolytic Units) to help keep already healthy levels of blood clotting factors within a normal range. 1-6
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: An assay of 2,000 FU (Fibrinolytic Units) is equivalent to 160 IU on the Urokinase assay. The FU assay measures Nattokinase activity by using the fibrin plate method and measuring the absorption of released low-molecular weight substances.7 NOW Nattokinase is made from non-GE (non-genetically engineered) bacteria (Bacillus subtilis var. Natto) grown on non-GE soybeans and standardized on a base of non-GE, corn-derived maltodextrin.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: Take one vegetarian Vcap once or twice a day between meals (without protein).
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Vein SupremeTM, Tru-E Bio ComplexTM, Pycnogenol®, garlic, and cayenne
SPECIFIC: People with blood coagulation disorders or who take anticoagulant (“blood thinning”) medications (including aspirin) should consult a physician before use. Do not take if prone to bleeding. Unlike some other brands, NOWR Nattokinase contains no Vitamin K (K1 or K2), which would enhance clotting.
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. 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 formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Fujita M, Hong K, Ito Y, Fujii R, Kariya K, Nishimuro S (1995) Thrombolytic effect of nattokinase on a chemically induced thrombosis model in rat. Biol Pharm Bull 18(10):1387-1391
Tru-E Bio Complex
December 08, 2005 04:58 PM
Tru-E Bio Complex TMNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 7/27/05
LIKELY USERS: Most Americans are deficient in Vitamin E 8,9,10; People needing superior antioxidant protection3,5,6; People needing cardiovascular or cholesterol support27,30,31; People needing nervous system support7; Those wanting healthier skin6; Diabetics may need additional Vitamin E24 KEY INGREDIENTS: Tocopherols from IP-Preserved, non-GMO Soy; Tocotrienols and tocopherols from non-GMO virgin palm; Tocotrienols from non-GMO annatto seed
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: NOW Tru-E Bio ComplexTM is a unique biologically balanced, patent-pending formula designed to provide optimal Vitamin E activity. This product features 100% natural, Non-Genetically Modified sources of all 8 isomers (forms) of the Vitamin E “family” in ratios similar to what is found in a healthy diet. It provides the superior benefits of foodsource Vitamin E versus those obtained from traditional E supplements.
NOW® Tru-E Bio ComplexTM has been carefully blended to supply high levels of the natural gamma and delta “desmethyl” forms of both tocopherols and tocotrienols. This is important because recent research indicates that these isomers work best as a team to quench the lipid and nitrogen free radicals known to cause injury to cells and tissues. This product supports a healthy cardiovascular system, youthful skin and nervous system function with potent antioxidants. This science-based natural Vitamin E supplement is unlike any other and the first to combine all of these benefits in one convenient non-GMO formula! 25-32
Recent research indicates that these isomers work best as a team to quench the lipid and nitrogen free radicals known to cause injury to cells and tissues.1-4, 25-32
This product supports a healthy cardiovascular system, youthful skin and nervous system function with potent antioxidants.1,4-7
Levels of Vitamin E above 100 IU daily are associated with decreased risk of coronary heart disease and certain types of cellular disorders, as well as enhancement of immune function. These vitamin E intakes are considerably above levels obtainable from diet alone. 11,12,13
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES:
This is a product that is Patent Pending, based on months of research into optimal forms, potencies and ratios of the 8 isomers of natural Vitamin E. All of the Vitamin E formulas currently on the market use potencies of tocopherols that are very dissimilar to what is found in a healthy diet, with either too low or too high amounts of gamma and alpha tocopherols for a good balance. Some do not even include tocotrienols.
All of the Vitamin E formulas on the market that do contain a mixture of tocopherols and tocotrienols tend to use either 400 IU or 100 IU of alpha tocopherol, some as little as 50-60 IU, combined with varying doses of gamma tocopherol. We have reduced the alpha tocopherol from the standard 400 IU per capsule to 200 IU, allowing more gamma tocopherol in the capsule to follow the typical ratio in a healthy diet. Other brands either cut the alpha tocopherol too low (to keep the gamma tocopherol at a good level) or else cut the gamma and other tocopherols too low (to keep the alpha tocopherol at 400 IU).
Special care was used to maintain a certain ratio of tocopherols and of tocotrienols that is unique and from natural sources. Our formula is also unique in mixing sources of tocotrienols to achieve our desired balance, whereas other formulas include only one source, despite the dissimilarity of the mixture to what is found in a healthy, varied diet.
Other formulas use either Vitamin E derived from genetically engineered soybeans and/or add soybean oil from similar sources as a base. NOW uses expensive non-GMO sources, the first formula to do so, with no soybean oil added. This enhances the quality of our product compared to every other formula on the market.
We use the expensive virgin palm oil rather than the cheap palm distillates because it is un-denatured and contributes additional, valuable oil nutrients such as CoQ10, Squalene and Sterols. Also, much of the clinical research done on tocotrienols was done using virgin palm oil sources 32
Natural Vitamin E is more effective than synthetic Vitamin E.14 - 23
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: One or two capsules per day, preferably with meal(s). Oils enhance the absorption of Vitamin E. Concentrated fiber supplements may decrease the absorption of Vitamin E, so it is best not to take both at the same meal.
SYNERGISTS: Antioxidants (Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin C Complex, Pine or Grapeseed Extracts, VitaBerry Plus+, CoQ10, etc.), Plant Sterols, Fish Oil, Flaxseed Oil, GliSODin, EGCg Green Tea Extract, Lecithin, Nuts and Seeds
SPECIFIC: aspirin and blood thinners should not be taken with Vitamin E without physician’s approval. Many other pharmaceutical drugs deplete Vitamin E, adding to the likelihood that a person will be deficient.
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 formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
1. Jiang Q, Christen S, Shigenaga MK, Ames BN (2001) g-Tocopherol, the major form of vitamin E in the US diet, deserves more attention. Am J Clin Nutr 74:714-722.
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.
Life is more enjoyable when your stomach is prepared for it.
November 28, 2005 12:05 PM
Help the stomach at Vitanet
MIGRAINE BLOCKER - Homeopathic Remedy for Headache and Migraine Relief
September 30, 2005 09:41 AM
NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT
MIGRAINE BLOCKER - Homeopathic Remedy for Headache and Migraine Relief
One tablet contains:
PepZin GI™ helps relieve occasional discomfort.
September 20, 2005 05:40 PM
PepZin GI™ helps relieve occasional discomfort.* CLINICAL TRIALS
In a randomized, multi-center, placebo-controlled double blind study, 299 patients suffering with symptoms of gastric discomfort were randomly allocated to receive either a zinc-L-carnosine complex or a placebo, or a control drug or its placebo for 8 weeks. Improvement ratings for a range of symptoms were taken at various points during the trial and compared with before treatment data. Of the 258 people who completed the trial, 136 were in the zinc-Lcarnosine group. Of the group, 92% of the participants were rated as “moderately improved” or better on an improvement scale across the category of symptoms including heartburn, tenderness, epigastric pain, diarrhea and constipation after 8 weeks.3
In another study, 28 patients with gastric discomfort were given a zinc-L-carnosine compound and monitored for 8 weeks. Improvement was rated on a scale of subjective and objective symptoms. After 4 weeks, the rate of those cases that were considered to be “significantly improved” was 68.4%. After eight weeks, the “significantly improved” number was 68.8%. Over 60% of these patients remained in the “significantly improved” category well after discontinuation of the treatment, suggesting a lasting effect of the zinc-L-carnosine compound beyond the time it is taken.4
Maintains a healthy GI environment.*
The mineral zinc in PepZin GI™ is a critical component to a number of physiological processes in our bodies. Some of these functions include growth and metabolism of cells, healing of wounds,and maintenance of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.2
PepZin GI™ may also be able to favorably maintain the bacterial balance of the stomach and GI tract. Studies suggest that the zinc-L-carnosine co m pound may have effects on certain strains of harmful bacteria and, therefore, may be able to help maintain a GI environment that is favorable to health.1 By supporting the bacterial balance in the stomach, PepZin GI™ can help maintain a healthy mucosal lining.
Supports the health of gastric cells.*
PepZin GI™ has been studied for its ability to prevent free radical damage to gastric cells. In one such study, rat gastric cells were exposed to ethanol and hydrogen peroxide, two substances known to cause free radical damage to living cells. Cells were bathed in hydrogen peroxide, ethanol, zinc-L-carnosine, or a combination of zinc-L-carnosine with either ethanol or hydrogen peroxide. While the cells bathed in ethanol and hydrogen peroxide solutions all exhibited signs of damage due to free radical production, the cells that were bathed in zinc-L-carnosine were largely protected from the effects of free radical damage. The authors concluded that the zinc compound directly protected gastric mucosal cells from oxidant stress and alcohol induced damage.5
Additional research further confirms the gastro-protective effects of PepZin GI™. In another rat study, stomach lesions were induced by administration of the chemical monochloramine, a known pro-oxidant (producer of free radicals). One of the groups of rats was fed the zinc-Lcarnosine compound prior to being exposed to monochloramine. The researchers found that the size of the lesions in the group pre-treated with zinc-L-carnosine was significantly less than the lesions in the control group. The authors concluded that the zinc compound exerted a beneficial protective effect against monochloramine-induced stomach lesions.6
The zinc-L-carnosine in PepZin GI™ has also been shown to slow the development of aspirin induced stomach damage in rats. The researchers measurably detected lower levels of TNF-alpha in rats given zinc-L-carnosine as compared to the control rats. TNF-alpha is an inflammatory cytokine that is known to be released in response to gastric damage.7 These results may suggest a role for PepZin GI™ in protecting gastric cells by occasionally reducing the levels of certain cytokines in minor inflammation of the stomach.
1. Kuwayama H, et al. Polaprezinc. Nippon Rinsho 2002 Feb; 60 Suppl 2:717-720. 2.Matsukura T,Tanaka H. Applicability of zinc complex of l-carnosine for medical use. Biochemistry (Moscow) 2000;65(7):817-823. 3.Miyoshi A, et al. Clinical evaluation of Z-103 on gastric ulcer - a multicenter double-blind comparative study with cetraxate hydrochloride. Jpn PharmTher 1992;20(1):199-223. 4.Misawa T, et al. Clinical study of Z-103 - clinical effects on gastric ulcer and influence on endocrine function. Jpn PharmTher 1992; 20(1):245-254. 5. Hiraishi H, et al. Polaprezinc protects gastric mucosal cells from noxious agents through antioxidant properties in vitro. Aliment Pharmacl Ther 1999;13:261-269. 6. Kato S, Nishiwaki H, et al. Mucosal ulcerogenic action of monochloramine in rat stomachs: effects of polaprezinc and sucralfate. Dig Dis Sci 1997;42(10):2156-2163. 7.Naito Y, et al. Effects of polaprezinc on lipid peroxidation, neutrophil accumulation, and TNF-alpha expression in rats with aspirin-induced gastric mucosal injury. Dig Dis Sci 2001;46(4):845-851.
HERBS FOR SUMMER HEALTH
July 11, 2005 09:29 PM
HERBS FOR SUMMER HEALTH
Just about everyone looks forward to the summer months when school is out and more time can be spent outside. Backpacking, hiking, camping, boating, and bike riding are just a few of the adventures available. It’s a time for connecting and becoming reacquainted with nature while exploring the out of doors. Family camping trips and backpacking through the wilderness can help us put our hectic lives in perspective and renew as well as refresh the body. Along with the adventures, a few bumps, bruises, bites and stings are expected. Before the summer holiday begins, prepare by having some herbal remedies on hand to help with minor accidents that may occur.
Aloe is one of the best choices for the first aid kit. Commercial preparations can be taken along on trips. A leaf from the plant can be sealed in a zip lock bag and tucked in the first aid kit for short term use. The plant has numerous healing abilities and can be used on minor burns, rashes, bumps, scrapes and bruises. The aloe plant is very useful for many conditions.
Modern research has proven many of the benefits of Aloe vera. It has been used effectively for treating radiation burns, skin disorders, wounds, sunburn and dermatitis, to name a few. Aloe vera can help clean, soothe and relieve pain on contact. It penetrates through all three layers of the skin rapidly to promote healing. There are many different types of aloe products. Some include:
Aloe gel: This is the undiluted gooey substance that is found in the center of the leaves. Aloe concentrate: The concentrate is the gel when the water content has been removed.
Aloe juice: The juice is a digestible version of the aloe plant made from the gel with at least 50 percent Aloe vera gel. Aloe latex (aloin): The latex is the bitter yellow liquid from the pericyclic tubules of the outer rind of the leaf. The main constituent of this is aloin.1
Aloe is known for its healing and soothing effect on burns, wounds, and rashes. It can help clean, soothe and relieve pain on contact. It is able to penetrate all three layers of the skin rapidly to promote healing. It contains salicylic acid and magnesium which work together to produce an aspirin like analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect. The transparent gel on the inner leaf is applied directly to areas of the skin to treat burns, wounds, skin irritations and frostbite. The gel can is commonly found in many first-aid creams.
Research has found that aloe when applied externally can actually help speed healing and restore skin tissue.2 It also aids in healing when used externally in cases of wounds, frostbite and burns.3 The healing of burns may be due in part to the moisturizing effect of aloe. It is easily absorbed into the skin preventing the air from drying the damaged skin tissue.4 Aloe can help with many minor irritations that can occur during the summer months. Steven R. Schechter, N.D. conducted a study in 1967 at the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati to determine the healing benefits of aloe. Research animals were being treated for laser burns. Dr. Schechter used several different preparations and consistently found the aloe vera gel to produce the most healing results. He found the gel to help with many skin disorders including burns, lesions and cancers. 5
As much as we try to avoid sun exposure, it is almost impossible to completely avoid getting a sunburn at some point in our lives. We may forget the sunscreen or stay out longer than expected. Excessive exposure to the sun can be detrimental to health. But, aloe vera may help to lessen the damaging effects of the sun. A sunburn can damage the skin as well as the immune system. Research by Dr. Faith Strickland of the Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas points to the possibility of aloe vera helping to eliminate the damage done to the immune system and skin. It may even help to restore the immune system to full function.
Many individuals have found that having an aloe vera plant growing in the home, within easy access, is an easy and simple way to treat common injuries. Commercial p reparations are also available which contain aloe. Scientists have found the plant to contain antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, anesthetic and tissue healing properties.
So why shouldn’t it be useful as a natural home remedy? Simply break off a leaf of the plant and slice down the middle of the leaf. Apply the thick inner gel to the injury whether it be a burn, insect bite, abrasion, scrape, rash, or other injury. The cut leaf can be placed directly on the wound and wrapped with gauze to secure it into place for a more serious injury. The skin will soak up of the gel as it soothes the affected area.
Toxicity is rare, but some do have allergic reactions to Aloe vera products. The aloin, found in the bitter yellow latex, containing anthraquinones, may cause severe cramping and should be avoided by pregnant women and children. Aloe can also help with the following:
GARLIC AS A NATURAL BLOOD THINNER
June 25, 2005 10:03 AM
GARLIC AS A NATURAL BLOOD THINNER
Blood clots pose a significant threat to one’s health and longevity and substantially raise the risk of heart attack or stroke. Blood clots consist of platelets and fibrin. The amount of fibrin in the body is believed to be significantly related to heart attack or stroke risk. In fact, new medical tests are currently being developed to test more carefully for fibrinogen levels in the blood as a predictor for heart attacks and stroke.
The chemical constituents of garlic can actually reduce fibrin formation and help to decrease fibrin that already exists in the blood. Some researchers have even gone as far as to state that Garlic is more effective at preventing blood clots than aspirin therapy.17
Ajoene, a sulfur compound contained in garlic seems to be responsible for its anti-clotting effect. Because ajoene is only viable at room temperature or above, it is not present in raw or freeze-dried garlic. It is believed that adding garlic to the diet can help to increase the breakdown of fibrin from 24 to 130 percent in people who have cardiovascular disease.18
Researchers reported at the First World Congress on garlic that ajoene is such a powerful anti-clotting agent that may prove valuable in cardiac surgeries, including balloon angioplasty, in which blood vessels are artificially dilated to facilitate better blood flow.19
Europeans routinely used garlic as a natural blood thinner which has none of the side-effects associated with synthetic drugs. It should be noted, however, that anyone who suffers form a hemorrhagic disorder (bleeding) should not take commercial garlic products which contain significant amounts of ajoene.
June 23, 2005 11:50 AM
June 23, 2005 11:24 AM
Ironically, if you suffer from a peptic or duodenal ulcer, the last thing you feel probably feel inclined to take is hot Cayenne Pepper. While it goes against eve rything we’ve ever heard about what aggravates an ulcer, the facts are that most “spicy” foods do just the opposite. Capsicum has the ability to serve as a local anesthetic to ulcerated tissue and can even help to control bleeding. While some individuals may be bothered by eating “peppery” or spicy foods, these foods do not cause the formation of gastric ulcers in normal people. What is particularly interesting is that people suffering from ulcers who would normally avoid Cayenne Pepper, may actually benefit from its therapeutic action. In addition, taking Capsicum may significantly reduce the risk of ever developing a peptic ulcer. A Chinese study published in 1995 stated, “Our data supports the hypothesis that the chile used has a protective effect against peptic ulcer disease.”52 Another 1995 study found that Capsicum can even protect the stomach lining from aspirin induced ulcers.5 3 As most of us are aware, aspirin can cause stomach ulceration in certain individuals if a sensitivity exists or if taken with too little liquid. Researchers concluded after experiments with human volunteers that the capsaicin content of capsicum has a pronounced gastro - protective effect on the mucous membranes of the stomach.5 4 Eighteen healthy volunteers with normal gastrointestinal mucosa took chile and water followed by 600 mg of aspirin and water. The study was conducted over a period of four weeks. Endoscopy results showed that taking 20 gm of chile before the aspirin definitely demonstrated a protective action on the stomach lining.55 In short, Capsicum has the ability to rebuild stomach tissue. Note: The ability of Capsicum to bring blood to regions of tissue at a faster rate boosts the assimilation of foods that are consumed with it.56 Several clinical studies support this phenomenon. It is thought that Capsicum initiates the release of certain substances which increase secretions and facilitate better profusion of blood to the stomach and intestines.57 Capsicum can increases the flow of digestive secretions from the salivary, gastric and intestinal glands. Capsicum and the Gastro-Intestinal Tract In 1992, researchers tested the effect of chile or Capsicum on gastrointestinal emptying. Eight healthy volunteers were evaluated before and after the addition of Capsicum to their meals. The results conclusively demonstrated that the ingestion of Capsicum greatly effects intestinal transit time.58 If food moves faster through from the stomach through the intestines, caloric assimilation and bowel evacuation may be influenced for the better. Capsicum seems to “speed up” various physiological processes. To add transit time to the list of functions Capsicum boosts comes as somewhat of a surprise and additional benefit. Capsicum and Weight Loss Capsicum may be an unheralded weight loss aid that is perfectly safe to use. Studies have suggested that Capsicum can slow fat absorption in the small intestines and actually boost the metabolic rate so the thermogenesis (fat burning) is enhanced.5 9 In many instances excessive weight gain is thought to be a result of a sluggish metabolism. Capsicum has been singled out by herbalists as an herb which may boost the burning of fat.60 Unlike other stimulants, Capsicum does not cause palpitations, hyperactivity or a rise in blood pressure. For this reason, it may be a valuable weight loss supplement that has been generally overlooked.
As mentioned earlier, capsaicin has the ability to inhibit a neurotransmitter called substance P. Interestingly, an excess of substance P has been associated with psoriasis. Michael T. Murray, in his book, The Healing Power of Herbs, points out that this finding led researchers to study the effects of capsaicin ointments on psoriasis .61 Regarding the use of such an ointment for psoriasis, he states: “ . . . In one double-blind study, forty-four patients with symmetrically distributed psoriasis lesions applied topical capsaicin to one side of their body and a placebo to the other side. After 3 to 6 weeks, significantly greater reductions in scaling and redness were observed on the capsaicint reated side. Burning, stinging, itching, and skin redness were noted by nearly half of the patients initially, but these diminished or vanished on continued applications.”62 There is no question that capsaicin based ointments should be employed for psoriasis. Tests have conclusively found that treating psoriasis with capsaicin caused significant improvement in a variety of symptoms as well as the severity of the attack.63
Capsicum has also scientifically proven its value in people suffering from vasomotor rhinitis. By using Capsicum in spray form, researchers found that it was able to significantly reduce nasal obstruction and secretion.64 It is important to understand that in these particular instances, a Capsicum solution was applied directly to the mucous membranes of the nose. It did initially cause a painful burning and stimulated nasal secretion. However, in time, after repeated applications, these side effects disappeare d .6 5 Apparently, Capsicum may block the action of peripheral nerve endings which may stimulate nasal secretion and blockage. More study of Capsicum as a viable treatment for rhinitis has been recommended. Note: One of the many pro p e rties of Capsicum is its ability to b reak up mucous congestion which makes expectoration much easier.66 For this reason, Capsicum is recommended for upper respiratory infections which are characterized by excess mucus.
Fever and Chills
While it may seem somewhat contradictory, Capsicum actually l owers the temperature of the body by stimulating the region of the hypothalamus, which cools the body.6 7 “The ingestion of cayenne peppers by cultures native to the tropics appears to help these people deal with high temperature s . ”68 Capsicum also pro- motes perspiration which helps to cool the body off. In tropical areas, local people eat substantial amounts of hot peppers on a daily basis which helps to boost the elimination of sweat and thereby keeps body temperature down. This same mechanism can be used to treat fever and chills. In addition to this action, using Capsicum for any infection that may be causing a fever is also warranted. Capsicum helps to boost immune defenses and fights microorganism invasion.
Some Final Thoughts
June 22, 2005 09:54 PM
Some Final Thoughts
One of the important proofs of the belief Pariza and Cook have in this supplement is to learn that they both take it themselves.
Cook says it is the only supplement he takes, and he believes he will take it the rest of his life. He was naturally thin because of intense exercise, but he believes that it has helped him to keep inches off during long weeks of travel. Pariza, for his part, has lost three inches from his waist during the last year, as well as about seven pounds. He said he has less of an appetite. He says he feels warmer, probably an effect of a faster metabolism. He warns that this is not a quick fix. When he first started taking this supplement, he found virtually no results. He was disappointed. But the results have come.62
Another significant thing to remember is that, today, scores of scientists around the country are now studying this nutrient. The results will pile in human studies and in other long-term clinical trials. These will give broad indications of the use of this natural, previously unrecognized nutrient.
Why would CLA be involved in so many functions?
If human studies hold true, and the expectation is that they will, you might consider this the next aspirin or the next vitamin C. Vital, remarkable nutrients seem to work on a basic level and impact a variety of systems. This is the case with CLA. What a remarkable piece of science that emerged from a charcoal grill. So, the next time charcoal briquettes sizzle with the drippings of a nice burger, remember how science has found that life, with its remarkable chemistry, finds a way to survive and thrive. No better example exists than that beef cooking on the grill. Sizzling steak covers itself with dangerous chemicals that can cause cancer. Many people feared that fact for years, and science studied those dangers earnestly. How encouraging that nature thankfully also provided other chemicals that counteract, partially at least, the effects of these dangers. CLA, just another highway of chemicals, is a quiet blessing, wiping out carcinogens, blocking dangerous fat, and striving to keep our veins clear. And it was there all along, doing its job, just waiting to be studied and understood. Now that nearly two decades of research are beginning to show how this substance can benefit our lives, a celebration of nature’s bounty seems to be in order. Let’s light up the old grill. Shall we make it steaks or burgers this time?
How Much CLA is the Right
June 22, 2005 09:53 PM
How Much CLA is the Right Amount?
That is one question for researchers to answer with detailed human studies, but if you extrapolate from university studies on animals, it could be between two and six grams a day. (Some animal studies were actually at higher levels, to one half of one percent in weight of a day’s calories.)
Some other things to consider:
Fats and Oils: Clearing the Confusion
June 21, 2005 05:31 PM
Fats and Oils: Clearing the Confusion
By Fred Pescatore, M.D.
Aside from tax forms, it's hard to find anything more confusing to consumers than fats and oils. Fat-free diehards still don't know that fat is essential for the brain, hormones, cellular membranes: life itself. The clueless still use shortening, margarine and damaged grocery store vegetable oils. But what worries me more is that supposedly educated consumers aren't even getting it right. Should we be surprised since their doctors probably don't know the truth?
Mistakes made by your customers. They:
Let's clear up these myths so consumers can get busy being confused about something else:
I hope this helps you educate consumers about the proper use of fats. Unfortunately, that still leaves a long list of other things they've been misled about.
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat!
June 14, 2005 12:04 PM
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat! by Mimi Facher Energy Times, June 1, 1997
So you're feeling a little blah, a little overweight, and you're looking to drop a few of those winter pounds gained during the colder months. Maybe you've dabbled with diets and jogged around the neighborhood a few times but you're still packing unsightly bulges. If so, you may be considering the idea of turning to supplements to help you drop those pounds. Well, two types of diet supplements now generally available, combined with a diet and exercise program, may be able to help you trim those stubborn pounds.
The first type of supplement, called metabolic optimizers, which include ephedra, caffeine and salicin (derived from willow bark), boost your metabolic rate, causing your body to burn calories faster. The second class, lipotropic substances, aid the body in fat mobilization, causing greater utilization of stored fat. These products include chromium, carnitine and hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Both classes of supplements have been around in various forms for quite a while but are now enjoying greater popularity among dieters.
Trying to cope with a weight problem is a dilemma expanding throughout modern society. According to a 1995 Harris poll, nearly 75% of Americans are overweight. Although it's well known that the way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you take in, supplements may be able to help you burn off extra calories.
Thermogenesis and You
Metabolic optimizers are supposed to aid weight loss through a process called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a natural process in which fat is burned to produce body heat. Fat that isn't burned is stored on the hips, thighs, stomach, etc. Thermogenic agents are designed to counteract your body's fat storage mechanisms by causing your body to maintain a higher metabolic rate-turning your internal thermostat up to burn fat faster. The thermogenic process can be jump-started by a number of factors including cold, exercise, certain dietary nutrients and metabolic optimizers.
The ephedra herb, also known as ma huang is one of nature's earliest medicines, known for over 5000 years to the Chinese, who used it to relieve allergies, coughing, wheezing and cold and flu symptoms. In the US, ephedra has been available since the 1800s.
The ingredients in ephedra include the alkaloids ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and norephedrine. Concentrated forms of these substances are used in today's over-the-counter cold, allergy and asthma relief formulas.
Ma huang's effectiveness as a weight loss aid is tied to its appetite suppressant and stimulant properties. By speeding up action of the thyroid gland, the ephedrine found in the herb acts a thermogenic agent, boosting the rate at which the body metabolizes fat and promoting weight loss. According to Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council, "When used as part of a total package that includes diet modification and exercise, ma huang can be highly effective in the short run because it increases the speed of the body's metabolism and suppresses appetite."
Because of their strong stimulant effect, ephedra and its derivatives have engendered some controversy. However, in its long history, billions of doses of ephedra have been consumed without problem. But ephedra supplements should only be used as directed on product labels. People with cardiovascular problems, diabetes, thyroid or prostate dysfunction, high blood pressure and those taking MAO inhibitors, pregnant or nursing should avoid this herb.
Salicin Burns Fat
Salicin, a substance derived from willow bark-which is also the original source for aspirin, a related compound-can boost the burning of fat when combined with ephedra. An animal study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that while ephedra boosted calorie burning by almost 10%, when ephedra was combined with aspirin, extra calorie burning just about doubled. Another study in the Internatioanl Journal of Obesity showed that when overweight women took aspirin and ephedrine during a meal, their bodies burned off more calories than normal. (Eating a meal produces a thermogenic effect as your body expends energy in digestion. That's why dieters are told not to skip meals. Skipping meals lowers your metabolic rate, decreasing your calorie expenditure.)
Similar studies also show that caffeine, the stimulant that gives coffee its eye-opening kick, can also boost ephedra's thermogenic properties. But before using these combinations check with a health practitioner knowledgeable about nutrition. aspirin or salicin may cause stomach upset in some people (although salicin is generally tolerated well.)
Carnitine: Lipotropic Amino Acid
To get carnitine into your system, you don't have to take it as a supplement. Your body already makes this vitamin-like substance. However, your body doesn't make that much. And it is said to be especially low in people with heart disease.
This non-essential amino acid (said to be non-essential because human bodies produce it) is a key ingredient in the formation of mitochondria membranes. Mitochondria are tiny structures in your cells that burn fats for energy. Consequently, sufficient carnitine is necessary for the movement of fat into the mitochondria where it is consumed. When not enough carnitine is present, the breakdown of long chain fatty acids slows down.
Said to improve the recovery rate for athletes (it may limit the production of lactic acid, a waste product in muscle tissue), carnitine can also lower cholesterol levels, boost levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and decrease serum triglycerides (blood fats linked to heart disease). Not bad for a nutrient that coaxes fat into those teeny, ceullular, mitochondrial furnaces.
Go for the Chrome
Chromium-based supplements work as lipotropic agents by aiding insulin use in the body. This essential trace mineral is required for normal protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism. According to Dr. Michael Janson, author of The Vitamin Revolution in Healthcare and President of the American Preventive Medical Association (APMA), "Chromium is important for proper insulin activity. Insulin moves sugar into the muscle cells, where it is burned off as energy. Chromium improves the activity of insulin, and since insulin causes fat deposition, less of it means less fat deposition." Chromium has also been shown to build muscle tissue and to reduce LDL cholesterol, which has been linked to heart disease.
Although the body's minimum requirement is low, the American diet tends to be deficient in chromium, in part because the mineral can be difficult for the body to absorb. The fact that, in nature, chromium is most powerfully concentrated in brewer's yeast, wheat germ and liver-items most Americans rarely eat-probably hasn't helped either. Other natural sources of chromium include whole grains, molasses and beef. But it is estimated that 50% of Americans are chromium deficient. An early study found that overweight adults taking a chromium supplement lost an average of 22% body fat, while maintaining or gaining lean body mass. In another study, athletes consuming 200 mcg. of chromium a day showed an average loss of 7.5 lbs. of body fat after six weeks, without a corresponding loss of muscle tisue. Overall, although some studies question chromium's precise effects, many experts are optimistic about this substance because of its relationship to insulin in the body's metabolism.
Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA)
Another possible addition to the dieter's arsenal is HCA. In nature, HCA appears chiefly in a fruit called garcinia cambogia (sometimes also called Malabar tamarind or brindall berry), a citrus plant found primarily in Asia, where the rind is often used as a flavoring agent. HCA works by inhibiting the enzyme in the body responsible for converting carbohydrates into fat. HCA causes calories to be burned in an energy cycle similar to thermogenesis and acts as somewhat of an appetite suppressant. HCA is also said to have a role in reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.
Several animal studies have shown that HCA caused significant weight loss without a reduction in lean body mass. In other words, the pounds that came off came out of fat stores, and not out of energy or muscle reserves. This means that HCA takes off not just weight but body fat, making it a potentially effective tool against weight regain.
Dr. Elson Haas, director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, CA, and author of Staying Healthy With Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, believes that HCA can be a helpful aid for dieters when used in combination with eating habit changes and exercise. He recommends an HCA and chromium blend for optimum appetite suppression. "This combination can keep the appetite down and reduce sugar cravings," he says.
Although human research data on HCA is still in the preliminary stages, the animal study results are positive, and the supplement seems to have minimal side effects in most people.
Some Overall Recommendations
You are likely to lose weight faster if you eat sensibly. This means avoiding foods high in fat or sugar (which are the most likely to add to stored body fat), but it doesn't mean starving yourself. A sensible balanced diet, along with moderate exercise, is still the best prescription for weight loss. As Dr. Haas puts it, "I'm a firm believer in diet and exercise. Using supplements responsibly can help you to lose weight provided they're combined with dietary changes and exercise. They won't work if you don't change anything." No one is suggesting that dietary supplements are a miracle cure for being overweight-as always in self-health care, there are no magic wands. But, used as directed and combined with a good diet and exercise plan, you could find that these supplements might help you work your way to a slimmer you.
Mimi Facher is a freelance writer who has contributed to Prevention, Cosmopolitan and Self.
Say Goodbye to Headaches
June 13, 2005 07:25 PM
Say Goodbye to Headaches by Susan Weiner Energy Times, December 8, 1999
What's in a name? A headache by any other name hurts just as much. But categorizing your headache can be as overwhelming as finding an obscure breakfast cereal at the supermarket. Medical folks pigeonhole headaches as tension headaches, allergy headaches, morning headaches and sinus headaches, plus the organic, migraine, cluster, trauma, TMJ, eyestrain, rebound, exertion, hormonal and muscle tension varieties. You may also suffer the self-induced hangover and toxicity headaches.
Americans are no strangers to self-medication, and as a society we battle these headaches by consuming nearly 80 billion tablets of aspirin each year, about 20 million aspirins a day, according to Burton Goldberg, co-author of An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Headaches (Future Medicine Publishing). And while we drown ourselves in over-the-counter and powerful prescription products, our tolerance, just like a drug addict's, grows. So what begins as a twodose headache slowly evolves into three, four or five doses, until you realize that no dosage can make your headache go away.
Unless you're fond of medieval practices such as ritualistic healings and bloodletting, drugs seem the only answer to headache misery. But even modern medicine has been unable to solve headaches. Rather than a cure, medications provide only temporary relief, and even that isn't guaranteed. Additionally, over-reliance on medications can lead to chronic head pain. According to Goldberg, rebound headaches often result from the consumption and withdrawal of drugs.
Halt Your Headaches
Rather than strive to simply eliminate headache pain, why not identify the underlying cause and prevent the headache? Almost always, every type of headache results from a health or lifestyle-related activity. In an ideal world, the best approach would be to eliminate the tensions, stress, frustrations, anger, insufficient sleep, excessive drinking and poor diet that contribute to your headaches. For better or for worse, however, you can't always: a. quit your job; b. ask your spouse to leave; c. sit on the beach all day; or d. all of the above. But you can make appropriate lifestyle changes and learn to express suppressed feelings.
This approach, lifestyle modification, is a treatment program based on a Loma Linda University study, originally published in Medical Hypothesis and the Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine and later explained in No More Headaches, No More Migraines: A Proven Approach to Preventing Headaches and Migraines by Zuzana Bic, DrPH and L. Francis Bic, PhD (Avery). The program, conducted on a group diagnosed with chronic migraines, dramatically decreased the frequency, intensity and duration of headaches in nine of 10 headache sufferers. Rather than demand radical life changes, the lifestyle modification program introduces gradual changes in three specific areas: nutrition, exercise and understanding stress. The study doesn't expect you to change your entire diet, join a gym and eliminate everything that triggers stress, but teaches techniques to make subtle lifestyle changes and reduce the impact of daily stress. These same techniques can also improve sleep patterns, a factor known to affect headaches. The lifestyle modification approach clarifies that while very few headaches directly result from existing acute conditions, recurring headaches often derive from a larger lifestyle factor. If these issues are ignored, the body's natural defense mechanisms may kick into overdrive and become exhausted, leaving you susceptible to other chronic diseases. By finding and eliminating the cause of your headaches, you may be saving yourself from other eventual illnesses.
Willing to make some lifestyle changes and step away from medications? Try these remedies, courtesy of Nature's Pharmacy by Lynn Paige Walker, PharmD and Ellen Hodgson Brown, JD (Prentice-Hall).
For simple headaches, start with relaxation and neck stretches. Or try rubbing your forehead with peppermint oil, a natural antispasmodic and diuretic shown in German research to be as effective as acetaminophen in easing tension headaches.
Never underestimate the old-fashioned ice pack to the forehead as an effective treatment that works by constricting the swollen blood vessels that cause your head to ache. If the ice pack isn't enough, try putting your arms in icy water up to your elbows to constrict additional blood vessels. But if it's a sinus headache you're fighting, take the opposite approach and try hot compresses.
The herbal, and original, form of aspirin is white willow bark. Used by Chinese practitioners 2,500 years ago, it contains salicin, nearly the same pain reliever found in aspirin. Other herbal aspirins include meadowsweet tea, just as effective as aspirin with few side effects. For migraines, Walker and Brown recommend feverfew and magnesium supplements, which reduce nerve excitability and migraine susceptibility. In fact, individuals with frequent headaches have been found to have low brain and tissue magnesium, says Julian Whitaker, MD, author of Julian Whitaker's Guide to Natural Healing (Prima). For all headaches, Goldberg suggests essential fatty acid supplementation with evening primrose oil (EPO), which improves circulation, helps regulate inflammation and relieves pain.
The Curse of the Migraine
Migraines, a debilitating headache distinguished by a throbbing pain, may be humanity's oldest malady. The name is derived from the word the Greek physician Galen used to describe the disorder in 200 A.D. Six-thousand-year-old Sumerian writings refer to the ravages of migraines, and prehistoric skeletons bear testimony to a crude form of trephination-holes chiseled in skulls to allow the escape of pain-creating demons, according to Lifetime Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies by Myra Cameron (Parker Publishing).
In the common migraine, throbbing pain develops gradually from distended veins around the brain and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. These miseries can be preceded by 15 to 90 minutes of an "aura," which includes visual disturbances, distorted perception, hallucinations, flashes of light and temporary loss of sight or hearing. In fact, skeptical historians attribute some of the religious visions of the Middle Ages to the visual effects of migraine aura, according to Cameron.
Snacking on high fiber foods between three light meals each day helps stabilize blood sugar and prevent migraines. And while some doctors summarily attribute migraines to diet, other experts attribute at least half of all migraines to food sensitivities. The most common edible villains are aged cheeses, yeast breads, chocolate, cured meats, citrus fruits, eggs, fermented foods, wheat, milk, milk products, alcoholic drinks and food additives, including nitrates and MSG.
Suggested daily supplements for migraine-susceptible individuals include a multivitamin, one capsule of B complex to help maintain normal vascular control, 3,000 to 6,000 milligrams in divided doses of vitamin C with bioflavonoids to assist the production of anti-stress hormones, and 500 to 1,000 milligrams of magnesium to reduce nerve excitability and pain. At the onset of a migraine, says Cameron, try homeopathic remedies, dilutions of natural substances from plants, minerals and animals. For throbbing pain, take natrum muriaticum according to package directions. Other homeopathic options to explore include iris versicolar, lac defloratum and sanguinaria.
Take Charge of Your Headaches
Headache management involves managing your life. Practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Calmly discuss your feelings. Take a leisurely stroll at lunch. Walk your dog, or a neighbor's dog, after dinner. Keep a food diary. Sit and stand tall. Skip the fast food tonight. Join a yoga class. Take vitamins and supplements. Get a two-hour massage. Turn the television off earlier and sleep in a little later.
Taking the time to care may take effort, but it will soon become second nature. Invest in yourself. It's your most precious possession.
Garlic for the Ages - eat garlic because it's good for your heart...
June 13, 2005 09:58 AM
Garlic for the Ages by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, January 1 , 2004
If you eat garlic because it's good for your heart, you swallow a plant renowned through human history: Garlic was eaten by Roman soldiers for courage; Egyptian slaves ate it to build strength; Christians, Moslems and Hindus include it in their sacred books. Others have used it as an aphrodisiac, a vampire deterrent and a magical charm.
Garlic has a long history as a culinary and medicinal herb that people either love or hate. Its pungent aroma and warming flavor captivates or repels, but its wealth of natural chemicals does great things for your heart.
Garlic (Allium sativum), a member of the onion family, is native to Siberia but, in modern times, has become a treasured naturalized citizen grown all over the world. Garlic's use in folk medicine dates back about 7,000 years, making it one of the oldest known medicinal foods or herbs.
In modern times, garlic is generally used as a condiment lending a unique, pungent flavor to dishes, but in medieval times, garlic was cooked and eaten as a vegetable in its own right. Today you can revel in a wealth of garlic choices, consuming garlic raw, cooked in various recipes, as a dried concentrated powder, as a fresh liquid extract or as aged garlic powder.
Each little clove of garlic is a powerhouse of good-for-you natural compounds, vitamins and minerals. The biologically active constituents of garlic include allyl sulfur compounds as well as the minerals germanium and selenium.
When you chop up raw garlic and allowed it to stand for about 10 minutes or more, the herb's fragments release an enzyme that converts its compounds from allyl sulfur to another natural chemical called allicin.
Although some allicin is found in garlic before it is cut apart, the yield multiplies considerably when the garlic clove is chopped or pressed and exposed to water (Garlic Conference, Newport Beach, 11/15/98; Penn State).
Many researchers believe that the more allicin produced, the better the health benefits. (Although this is still being debated among the garlic cognoscenti.)
But garlic's benefits don't end meekly on the kitchen counter with its allicin content rising.
Cooked garlic and aged garlic contain other helpful chemicals called diallyl sulphides. Consequently, in any form, garlic produces beneficial health effects.
Fortunately, since raw garlic juice or oil can often irritate the stomach lining, especially in people with sensitive stomachs and delicate digestive systems, garlic supplements and cooked garlic are both helpful for heart health.
Aged Garlic Extract
Aging garlic significantly reduces its irritating compounds and makes it easier on the stomach.
In the aged form, all of garlic's healthy sulfur-containing compounds are converted to water- soluble compounds that retain garlic's natural health benefits. In addition, the pungent odor of the garlic is greatly reduced, an outcome many people desire.
When a group of researchers at Brown University studied the effects of aged garlic extract on people's cholesterol levels, they found that after six months, cholesterol dropped about 6% (Am J Clin Nutr 1996; 64:866-70).
In another study from Brown, researchers found that aged garlic extract reduced platelet adhesion, a sticky blood problem that can cause vessel blockages (New Drug Clin 45(3):456-66). When platelets are less sticky, they are less likely to form blood clots that can cause heart attacks.
Garlic and Heart Disease
A growing body of research shows that a clove of garlic a day can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
A four-year study of 280 people who took dried garlic powder three times a day found a striking reduction in the types of arterial plaque blockages that threaten the blood supply to your heart. Interestingly, in this particular study, women displayed a greater reduction in plaque than men (Atherosclerosis 2000; 150:437-8).
Another study found that garlic may also keep important blood vessels more supple and less likely to spasm. Arterial spasms have been linked to heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems in women.
As you age, the aorta, one of the main arteries that carries blood, may harden, reducing blood flow from the heart and placing damaging stress on a number of other bodily organs. In research at Ohio State University, people who took garlic supplements had 15% less aortic stiffness than people who avoided garlic (Circulation).
In this study, scientists found that the older people enjoyed the greatest cardiovascular benefits from daily garlic use.
Researchers believe this extra benefit is linked to the fact that as you age, the endothelial tissue in the linings of the aorta and other blood vessels become less responsive to the need to dilate (expand). As a result, when more blood flow is required, and the heart pumps faster, these vessels take more of a beating from the friction of blood passing through them.
That restriction in dilation has two damaging consequences: In one instance, vessel walls can be injured. In response to these injuries, cholesterol collects on artery walls, plaque forms and the blood supply to the heart muscle can be restricted, leading to a heart attack. In other cases, arteries can restrict blood flow to the heart simply because of the inability to expand sufficiently.
The Ohio State researchers found that arteries in folks aged 70 to 80 benefited the most from taking garlic. But those in their 60s also benefited significantly.
Garlic's natural antioxidant properties can also help protect the heart from damage after surgery (BMC Pharmacology 9/02).
In a study performed on lab animals, researchers found that oxidative stress, a source of cell damage that takes place after surgery, dropped when the animals ate a diet that included garlic.
Oxidative stress can seriously reduce cardiac function, limit the amount of blood the heart can pump and cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.
Garlic Against Blood Clots
Under normal circumstances, blood clots serve a useful purpose: Cut yourself and a blood clot stops the bleeding. Without this clotting ability, you might bleed to death. But if your blood is too prone to clotting, these clumps can cut off blood supply to your heart and other organs, endangering your life.
In a study of apparently healthy individuals whose relatives had already suffered from heart disease, researchers found that their blood formed thick, tangled blood clots, increasing their risk of heart problems (Circulation rapid access 9/23/02). These blood clots are made of a substance called fibrin, a protein in the plasma that can form elastic threads that cut off blood flow.
While these researchers recommended aspirin as an anti-clotting measure for people at risk of heart disease, garlic can also help break up fibrin and possibly lower your chance of heart problems (Pharmatherapy 5(2): 83).
The fibrin that forms clots is produced by blood cells called platelets. Other scientists who have looked into garlic's benefits believe that one of its natural chemicals called ajoene may keep platelets from producing excessive fibrin and gumming up the flow of blood through arteries.
If you've rarely indulged in garlic, you may need a period of adjustment in growing accustomed to its unique taste and aroma. But its heart benefits confirm the long-ago observation by Pliny, an ancient Roman naturalist, that "garlic has powerful properties."
Vitali-Tea - Tea fits a healthy lifestyle to a T...
June 13, 2005 09:45 AM
Vitali-Tea by Leah Brinks Energy Times, October 9, 2003
If the research is even only half right, tea fits a healthy lifestyle to a T. Whenever scientists look at a teapot's contents, they find striking health benefits: Heart protection. Reduced cancer risk. Better skin.
All of these are apparently in the bag when you choose to drink tea. Tea green, tea black: Which to choose? Actually, both types come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Green tea is steamed and dried; black tea is fermented, which allows its darker color to develop. Some lesser-known types include white tea, which is actually green tea that undergoes the most minimal of handling. (Another rare white tea, white cantaloupe, is rich in antioxidants.) Oolong is a tea that falls between green and black in processing and flavor.
One increasingly popular tea color, red, is not tea at all, but an herbal brew called rooibos (technically, herbal teas are known as tisanes). This South African plant yields a citrus-flavored beverage high in vitamin C. Other herbs known for yielding flavorful infusions include chamomile, used to promote sound sleep; peppermint, a digestion easer; and rose hips, which, like rooibos, combines healthy vitamin C levels with a delightfully zesty taste.
The evidence for tea's health benefits has practically boiled over. For instance, researchers at the University of Rochester have found that green tea substances inhibit the action of a molecule irritated by tobacco smoke, a toxin central to tobacco's cancer-causing danger. This action, say the scientists, may be the reasons that smokers who drink tea suffer less cancer (Chem Res Tox 7/21/03).
The Rochester researchers found that tea helps protect a cellular molecule called the aryl hydrocarbon (AH) receptor. Ordinarily, AH is frequently disturbed by toxic substances that cause cancer and other illnesses. Tobacco smoke (as well as the pollutant dioxin) interacts with AH to initiate cancer and other problems.
But at least two chemicals in green tea-epigallocatechingallate (EGCG) and epigallocatechin (EGC)-interfere with AH's harmful activity. These substances, flavonoids similar to healthful chemicals found in grapes, wine and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, have been shown to lower cancer risk.
"It's likely that the compounds in green tea act through many different pathways," says Thomas Gasiewicz, professor and chair of Environmental Medicine and director of Rochester's Environmental Health Science Center.
In the Rochester study, Dr. Gasiewicz and his colleagues found that EGCG and EGC close down the AH receptor in cancerous animal cells and most likely produce the same benefit in human cells.
Still to be made clear is how tea is metabolized when the body digests tea, but the Rochester scientists are still peering through their microscopes and teapots to find out.
Scientists at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have found that drinking green or white tea can significantly lower your risk of colon cancer as well the prescription drug sulindac, which has been shown effective for people at high tumor risk (Carcinogenesis 3/03).
"Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and recent upswings in the sales of green tea in the United States can be attributed to reports of potential health benefits against cancer and other chronic diseases," says Gayle Orner, an OSU research associate. "Teas exert significant protective effects in experimental animal models of skin, lung, esophageal, gastric, hepatic, small intestinal, pancreatic, colon, bladder and mammary cancer."
While many people today take aspirin and similar drugs that have been shown to lower cancer risk, this study shows that drinking tea and taking low doses of these drugs, called NSAIDs, can reduce the risk even further. (High doses of NSAIDs, while protective against colon cancer, can cause internal bleeding.)
"These are pretty exciting results," Orner says. "What's especially significant is that as far as we can tell consumption of tea has none of the side effects of NSAIDs, which can be severe, including bleeding, ulcers and even death."
In this research on animals, use of tea dropped the risk of cancer by about two-thirds. According to the lab results, drinking about three large cups of tea a day should provide significant cancer protection. Based on research in Japan that looked at how green tea lowers the risk of stomach cancer, the Linus Pauling scientists urge plenty of tea drinking: "The more the better."
Studies show that nations of tea drinkers have less trouble with their hearts than residents of places where tea is hardly ever brewed. And now research is starting to zero in on the substances in tea that benefit heart health.
A study of 240 Chinese men and women who have high cholesterol has found that chemicals in tea can significantly drop harmful cholesterol (Arch Int Med 6/23/03).
"Personally, I was very surprised," says David J. Maron, MD, professor at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, lead author of the study. "I expected, if anything, a very slight cholesterol-lowering effect. But what we saw was a 16% reduction in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol."
LDL cholesterol is known as "bad" cholesterol because it can increase your risk of heart disease.
The researchers in this study gave people extracts of green and black tea enhanced with theaflavin, an antioxidant also found in green tea.
In the future, if past results are any indication, tea's rich supply of beneficial chemicals will continue to pleasantly surprise researchers with even more benefits.
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 04:08 PM
Basic Detox by Harriet Epstein , February 4, 2002
Basic Detox By Harriet Epstein Trying to stay healthy and clean in a dirty world can prove a difficult task. The rise of modern industry and agriculture has meant the widespread accumulation of toxins in our environment that can cause health problems.
As Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin point out in their book The Road to Immunity (Pocket), "Fat soluble chemicals are readily absorbed by the body but are difficult to excrete. To be excreted, they must first be enzymatically converted into water-soluble substances. Some of them can't be converted at all."
Bock and Sabin point out that a 1990 survey by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that looked at people's tissues found that everyone the agency examined had styrene (a chemical used to make plastic) and xylene (a paint and gasoline solvent) stored in their bodyfat.
The toxins that you encounter every day are not only present in air and water, but also may be found in food and medicines. If we eat beef that's been exposed to pesticides, those chemicals may be shunted into our bodyfat. Pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables may end up in a similar place.
To cope with chemicals, the human body has evolved methods for detoxifying. When we breathe out we often release inhaled toxins. Other toxins are purged through urine, feces and sweat.
One of the chief organs responsible for cleansing the body is the liver. This organ utilizes a pair of chemical pathways for breaking down and eliminating toxins. In our hectic, industrialized world, this flow of toxins can overwhelm the liver's ability to detoxify. In addition, the dual processes the liver uses to eliminate noxious substances may become unbalanced, allowing toxins produced by one pathway to build up to dangerous proportions.
Once liver function falters, toxic havoc ensues. Toxins may remain in the body, often stored indefinitely in bodyfat. The body's detoxifying systems may be swamped with toxins.
In protecting the liver and enhancing its detox functions, many naturopathic practitioners recommend the herb milk thistle (silybum marianum). According to Steven Bratman, MD, and David Kroll, PhD, authors of the Natural Health Bible (Prima), milk thistle helps the liver cope with its toxic load. Consequently, milk thistle is frequently used in Europe for liver problems like jaundice.
Bratman and Kroll point out that milk thistle "is one of the few herbs that have no real equivalent in the world of conventional medicine." As Lise Alschuler, ND, medical director at the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic, told Natural Digest, "Milk thistle protects the liver against toxic damage (and) helps prevent damage to the rest of the body."
The compounds in milk thistle that help zap toxins, known as silymarin, protect the liver by binding with substances that would otherwise interact with the liver and slow its function. They also help the liver repair itself and regenerate new liver cells.
As an extra bonus, silymarin acts as an antioxidant, protecting liver cell membranes from oxidative damage.
Dandelion has a place as another traditional treatment for toning the liver and boosting the body's filtration system. The leaves are a cornucopia of antioxidants and nutrients including B vitamins, vitamins A, C and D, plus boron, silicon, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They help detoxify by acting as a mild diuretic: they cause the body to eliminate excess fluid.
But herbalists worldwide have found the compounds in dandelion root most useful for helping alleviate liver and gall bladder malfunction. (If you think you suffer these difficulties, consult your health practitioner.) Two unique and helpful natural substances found in dandelion root are chemicals called germacranolide and eudesmanolide. The root, according to the Natural Health Bible, has traditionally been used to speed up a sluggish or congested liver as well as detoxing the body by eliminating constipation. Research indicates dandelion root may stimulate bile flow (Arzneimittel -forschung 9, 1959: 376-378).
Juniper berries (Juniperus communis), may also be taken with dandelion as a diuretic. This botanical, often used to combat urinary tract problems, is also an anti-inflammatory (Phyto Res 1, 1997: 28-31).
Heavy metals rank as dangerous toxins unleashed by modern industry. As Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, explain in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel and aluminum can "accumulate within the (body) where they can severely disrupt normal function."
Public health experts estimate at least one in five Americans has been a victim of heavy metal poisoning. Lead may be the most common villain. In your everyday life, you may be ingesting metals from your cookware, from pesticides, cigarette smoke, dental fillings, polluted fish, and chipping house paint.
Signs that you may suffer from toxicity linked to heavy metals: Unusual fatigue, Persistent headaches, Unexplained muscle pains, Anemia, Ringing in the ears or dizziness and Tremors.
Of course, if you think you suffer from heavy metal poisoning, you should see a knowledgeable health practitioner as soon as possible. Murray and Pizzorno recommend an array of precautions to protect yourself against heavy metals in the environment:
Take a daily multivitamin and mineral.
Take extra amounts of vitamin C and B-complex.
Take amino acids that contain sulfur (taurine, cysteine and methionine) and high sulfur foods like onions and garlic (or supplements). (Consult your pharmacist of health practitioner before taking individual amino acids.)
In addition, Leo Galland, MD, in his book The Four Pillars of Healing (Random House) offers these tips for keeping your digestive tract functioning at top capacity:
Take supplements of lactobacil-lus acidophilus and lactobacillus plantarum, friendly bacteria that in-habit the large intestine. These microorganisms can help break down toxins and eliminate them.
Use aspirin and ibuprofen as little as possible. They increase the permeability of the digestive system, allowing allergens and other problematic substances to enter the body.
Do not use antacids. The stomach's acidic environment is designed to kill ingested bacteria and parasites.
To fight digestive problems or heartburn, cut back on saturated fat; eat smaller meals. Chewing on calcium tablets after meals may help. Foods that can exacerbate heartburn include coffee, alcoholic beverages and very spicy foods.
Dr. Galland also recommends not eating for four hours before bed.
Environmental Free Radicals
Detoxing the body may also require taking antioxidant nutrients to fight off what are called free radicals.
Free radicals are caustic molecues thought to be involved in causing many chronic problems such as cancer and heart disease. Free radicals are created within the body and its cells every time a metabolic activity takes place. While the human body has developed its own mechanisms for defending itself against these byproducts of metabolism, exposure to pollution, radiation and other toxins may overburden the body's free radical burden. Scientists believe that taking extra antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E and carotenoids (natural substances found in many vegetarian foods) may help prevent damage by free radicals.
Environmental oxidizing agents include ionizing radiation (from industry, sun, cosmic rays, x-rays) ozone and nitrous oxide (from auto exhaust) heavy metals (mercury, cadmium, lead) and cigarette smoke, along with other chemical and compounds from food, water and air. Free radicals are believed to play a role in more than sixty different health conditions, including the aging process, cancer and arteriosclerosis. (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1993;90:7915-7922).
The good news? Reducing exposure to free radicals and increasing intake of antioxidant nutrients can shrink the risk of these health problems.
"Antioxidants can't get rid of heavy metals and solvents," says Dr. Glidden, "but they do cut down on the damage they do while they're there. As toxins wander through your body, they generate metabolic reactions, resulting in free radicals. And anti-oxidants mop them up." The liver is the last line of defense in handling toxins; supplements help it regenerate itself.
The body itself does produce enzymes like Superoxide dismutase (SOD) catalase, and glutathione peroxidase which can defend against and defuse many types of free radicals.
Supplements of these compounds are also available to augment the body's supply.
These building block nutrients include the minerals manganese, zinc, and copper for SOD and selenium for glutathione peroxidase. Many vitamins and minerals act as antioxidants. Dr. Crinnion recommends a multivitamin with "a lot of B, especially magnesium."
Since chlorinated pesticides like DDT "rob the body" of B1 and Vitamin A, he says, it's a good idea to supplement these as well.
In addition, acidophilus, a beneficial bacteria that grows in the digestive tract (and found in yogurt) may restore immunity hurt by pollutants. A study on women with recurrent vaginal candidiasis found that acidophilus cut their infections by 300% (Annals Int Med 1992; 116:353-357.)
Another immunity enhancer, colostrum, a natural immune enhancer that promotes cellular repair (Food Res Intl. 1995, 28(1):9-16) can also help the immune system battle pollution.
Vitamin C vs Pollution
A study of vitamin's C's antioxidant properties, conducted by University of Buffalo epidemiologists, and presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Epidemiologic Research, revealed that people with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum have lower levels of a marker of oxidative stress.
"It is well known that oxidative stress (cell damage caused by free radicals) plays a role in arteriosclerosis, cancer, pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions," said Holger Schunemann, M.D. a research assistant professor of social and preventive medicine at the University of Buffalo and lead author on the study.
"In this population, vitamin C was negatively associated with oxidative stress, suggesting it may play a role in protecting against these diseases." Vitamin C is the "greatest antioxidant," says Dr. Crinnion. "It has even been shown to clear lead from the blood."
A powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin E scavenges free radicals protecting cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E, "reverses toxicity of various toxic chemicals," says Dr. Walter Crinnion, "it is also a stabilizer of membranes." A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition regarding antioxidant vitamin supplementation and lipid peroxidation in smokers even indicates that an antioxidant-supplemented drink can reduce lipid peroxidation and susceptibility of LDL to oxidation in smokers and may ameliorate the oxidative stress of cigarette smoke.
Dr. Glidden recommends E preferably in the form of mixed tocopherols )If you take blood thinners, check with your health practitioner.)
Unfortunately, completely avoiding toxins in today's world is probably impossible. Civilization and toxic chemicals accompany each other hand in rubber-glove-encased hand. Still, with proper attention to nutrition and supplements to keep our bodies detoxifying, we can probably minimize health difficulties linked to these undesirables.
June 10, 2005 02:35 PM
by Jane Lane Energy Times, February 7, 1999
The cholesterol story packs enough subplots to satisfy a soap opera. There's Cholesterol: The Good, the Bad and the Awful. Cholesterol: The Stalker Behind Every (Restaurant) Door. Cholesterol Steals Your Heart Away-to the Mediterranean.
The very image of cholesterol chills the imagination. Lurid and unsavory, it would seem to bob through the bloodstream like blobs of fat congealed on cold soup, slathering itself onto arteries.
Cholesterol is in fact a normal, natural substance in our bodies, found in the brain, nerves, liver, blood and bile. Cholesterol is so crucial that each cell is equipped with the means to synthesize its own membrane cholesterol, regulating the fluidity of those membranes when they are too loose or too stiff.
We manufacture steroid hormones-the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, and the male hormone testosterone-from cholesterol. Adrenal corticosteroid hormones, which regulate water balance through the kidneys, and the hormone cortisone, the vital anti-inflammatory that also governs our stress response, come from cholesterol. Other jobs of cholesterol: production of vitamin D and bile acid (for the digestive process); healing and protecting skin, and antioxidant compensation when vitamin and mineral stores are low.
How can mere mention of this invaluable component in our body chemistry make our blood run cold?
Guilt by Association
Cholesterol's reputation as a bad character actually originates in the crowd it runs with: the lipoproteins, protein molecules to which it binds in order to travel back and forth through the bloodstream to the liver, where it is manufactured.
Not really a nasty round glob of fat at all, cholesterol is a crystalline substance, technically a steroid, but soluble in fats rather than water, thus classified as a lipid, as fats are. Thousands of cholesterol molecules bind with lipoproteins, spherical fat molecules that transport them through the bloodstream.
Three different kinds of lipoproteins participate in this necessary process, not always with the same salutary effect. Here's how they work:
High-density lipoprotein (HDL): referred to as the "good cholesterol." Carries relatively little cholesterol. Travels through the bloodstream removing excess cholesterol from the blood and tissues. HDLs return the surplus to the liver, where it may once again be incorporated into low-density lipoproteins for redelivery to the cells.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): the so-called "bad cholesterol," heavily laden with cholesterol, hauling it from the liver to all cells in the body.
Ideally, this system should be in balance. But if there is too much cholesterol for the HDLs to pick up, or an inadequate supply of HDLs, cholesterol may aggregate into plaque groups that block arteries.
Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a): the "really bad" cholesterol, can step in, providing the glue that actually sticks to the arterial wall. Lp(a) is an LDL particle with an extra adhesive protein wrapped around it, enabling it to attach fat globules to the walls of blood vessels. The potentially deadly results are atherosclerotic ("plaque") deposits. Simple LDL lacks adhesive power and presents little risk for cardiovascular disease.
Researchers confirmed the existence of Lp(a) in the August 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, disclosing that high levels of Lp(a) in the blood can double a man's risk of heart attack before age 55. Doctors estimate that about 20% of all Americans carry elevated levels of Lp(a).
One troubling aspect of the report, part of the ongoing 40-year-old Framingham Study, concerned the fact that the men who suffered heart attacks entered the project with no signs of heart disease and only slightly elevated cholesterol.
But during the 15-year investigation, 129 men out of 2,191 developed premature heart disease.
The culprit? High levels of Lp(a)
Experts don't know for certain where Lp(a) comes from, or its normal function, although they suspect the body's quotient of Lp(a) is mostly due to your genes. According to the study, they also believe that aspirin, a blood thinner, and red wine (or its grapeseed and skin extracts) may mitigate the damage of Lp(a). That also would explain why the French, who tend to wash down their fat-rich diet with red wine, experience a relatively moderate incidence of cardiovascular disease
The Terrible Triglycerides
The body also transports fats via triglycerides (TGs), the main form of body fat and the storehouse for energy. Edible oils from seeds, egg yolk and animal fats also are composed chiefly of TGs. Although not as corrosive as LDL, excess TGs intensify heart disease potential when they oxidize and damage artery linings or induce blood cells to clump.
An "acceptable" level of triglycerides is thought to be 200 milligrams, although under 150 is probably healthier. And some researchers think your triglyceride reading should be below 100. High triglycerides and low HDL often occur together, increasing the risks of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, heart and kidney failure and other degenerative diseases.
What To Do About Your Cholesterol
Have it checked. High cholesterol alone shows no symptoms. Your health practitioner can perform a laboratory test to measure your levels. Thoroughly share your own medical history and as much as you know about your family members: heredity and related illnesses definitely are important influences. People with diabetes, for example, can have high levels of triglycerides, which also may lead to pancreatitis (painful inflammation of the pancreas) at extremely high levels.
According to the National Cholesterol Education Program, a reading of under 200 mg/dL is desirable; 200 to 239 is borderline high; 240 and above is high. Your LDL level should be 130 or under; HDL should not be lower than 35. A triglyceride level below 200 is considered desirable; readings above 400 are high.
Adjust your diet. Cholesterol levels are readily controllable, primarily through changes in your diet. Leslie C. Norins, MD, PhD, suggests all-out war in his Doctor's 30-Day Cholesterol Blitz (Advanced Health Institute) with saturated fats, which raise cholesterol more than any other component in your diet, as your number-one target. Out with saturated fats like butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, red meat and some vegetable fats found in tropical oils like coconut and palm; in with fruits, vegetables, brown rice, barley (a good source of soluble fiber, the kind that soaks up fats and cholesterol and escorts them out of the body), beans, potatoes and pasta, prepared or dressed with monounsaturated fats in olive and canola oils (the so-called Mediterranean diet concept). Feast on cold-water fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines and herring) rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce serum lipids, among many other healthful advantages.
Exercise. Move it and lose it are the words to live by when it comes to cholesterol. Researchers from the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention reported in the July 2, 1998 New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 339, pages 12-20) that a weight-loss diet like that of the National Cholesterol Education Program plus exercise significantly lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol levels for men and postmenopausal women. The diet alone failed to lower LDL in these folks with high-risk lipoprotein.
Educate yourself. In addition to your health practitioner, books and magazines can guide you in cholesterol management. A trove of information is the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), launched in 1985 by the National Institute of Health. Their address is: National Cholesterol Education Program, Information Center, P.O. Box 30105, Bethesda, MD 20824-0105; telephone (301) 251-1222; they're on the web at /nhlbi/.
Recommended Reading: Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill (Alive, 1993), by Udo Erasmus.
Prescription for Nutritional Healing (Avery, 1997), by James F. Balch, MD, and Phyllis A. Balch, CNC.
The Healthy Heart Formula (Chronimed, 1997), by Frank Bary, MD.
Eradicating Heart Disease (Health Now, 1993), by Matthias Rath, MD.
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."