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Healthways Blog

24
October
2017

The Standard American Diet, how S A D indeed

(Taken from The Plantrician Project)

american dietIt’s estimated that a minimum of 80% of all healthcare dollars are spent on treatment of conditions that are preventable.

70% of Americans are overweight or obese.

Nearly one-half of the American population will be obese by 2030, according to a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years: One out of three American children is overweight or obese.

37% of our children who are not considered overweight have one or more cardiovascular risk factors.

According to Medicare: Health care expenditures in the United States were nearly $2.6 trillion in 2010, an average of $8,402 per person.

70 million Americans have hypertension, with elevated risk for stroke and heart attack.

The War on Cancer, waged by President Nixon, began over 40 years ago, yet, trends indicate that cancer is expected to become the leading cause of death in the U.S. by 2030, according to an ASCO report.

100M Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes, with increased risk of amputation, heart disease, blindness, and limb loss.

Rates of type 2 diabetes increased by 22% among U.S. adults from 1999 to 2008.

Current trends suggest that one in three children born after 2000 will receive a type 2 diabetes diagnosis (for Hispanic children is 1 in 2).

Many experts project type 2 diabetes as the future global epidemic, with diagnosis projections as high as one in three individuals from industrialized nations that have adopted the Standard American Diet.

The share of the economy devoted to health care has increased from 7.2% in 1970 to 17.9% in 2009 and 2010, now at 18% of GDP.

The U.S. spends substantially more on health care than other developed countries. As of 2009, health spending in the U.S. was about 90% higher than in many other industrialized countries, yet it ranks near the bottom in health outcomes.

90% of the U.S. senior population consumes prescription drugs; with costs doubling in the last 30 years; complications associated with prescription drugs are the #4 cause of death with 45-50 million adverse events annually.

We’re experiencing prolonged morbidity, with life expectancy now surpassing 78 years, but with more degenerative disease; this is an alarming combination for U.S. healthcare costs.

The toxic Standard American Diet:

63% refined and processed foods: empty calories with no health benefit.

25% animal based products: meat, dairy and eggs; disease building blocks laden with fat and dietary cholesterol.

12% plant-based foods, with 6% of this being from French fries, leaving a paltry 6% of daily caloric intake coming from plant-based foods (this number also includes things like fruit juice and ketchup).

We’re consuming an average of 185 pounds of added sugar and sweeteners each year.
We’re consuming an average of 3,400 milligrams of salt a day, more than double the recommended amount (triple the amount recommended by many experts), with the majority derived from processed food.

Let's be honest and look at the evidence based science to support good nutritional ideas and teach people how to avoid preventable diseases. Are you ready to stop being sick and start being healthy? Do you believe that you can reverse your chronic illness? Let us help you with nutritional coaching that will teach you that food is medicine and how to use that knowledge to maximize your health by giving your body what it really needs to be healthy. Call today!

Categories: Healthways Blog

15
September
2017

Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes

(Taken from Harvard School of Public Health The Nutrition Source)


Introduction

preventingdiabetesIf type 2 diabetes was an infectious disease, passed from one person to another, public health officials would say we’re in the midst of an epidemic. This difficult disease, once called adult-onset diabetes, is striking an ever-growing number of adults. Even more alarming, it’s now beginning to show up in teenagers and children. 

More than 24 million Americans have diabetes; of those, about 6 million don’t know they have the disease.  In 2007, diabetes cost the U.S. an estimated $116 billion in excess medical spending, and an additional $58 billion in reduced productivity.  If the spread of type 2 diabetes continues at its present rate, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the United States will increase from about 16 million in 2005 to 48 million in 2050. Worldwide, the number of adults with diabetes will rise from 285 million in 2010 to 439 million in the year 2030. 

The problems behind the numbers are even more alarming. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure among adults. It causes mild to severe nerve damage that, coupled with diabetes-related circulation problems, often leads to the loss of a leg or foot. Diabetes significantly increases the risk of heart disease. And it’s the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., directly causing almost 70,000 deaths each year and contributing to thousands more.

The good news is that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. About 9 cases in 10 could be avoided by taking several simple steps: keeping weight under control, exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking.

Categories: Healthways Blog

10
August
2017

10 ways to keep your diet GMO-free

GMO TomatosBy Julie Taylor

It seems like everyone is talking about the dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) these days. But what are GMOs exactly?

They're the result of a laboratory process that inserts genes from one species into the genes of another to obtain a desired trait or characteristic (e.g., fast-growing salmon).

Jeffrey M. Smith, author of "Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives" and founding executive director of The Institute for Responsible Technology, a leading source of GMO-health-risk information, says several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.

In fact, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid genetically modified foods altogether.

Ready to go GMO free? Click here for 10 ways to shop smarter

Categories: Healthways Blog

23
June
2017

Pinched Nerve in the Neck

By Dr. Edwin Chun

cervicalspineHow many times have you heard someone say they got a pinched nerve in their neck? If you are like me you have heard this said before many times and may have wondered what they were talking about. Well let's look at what the term pinched nerve means exactly. The correct term for pinched nerve in the neck is cervical radiculopathy.

Don't let the big words scare you, lets break them down into their Latin roots. Cervical means Neck. Radiculopathy means (Radix) = root (pathy) = pathological state or sickness. So you could break the word cervical radiculopathy down into meaning a pathological state or sickness of the neck having to do with the roots of the spinal nerves. Well that's a great descriptor of the condition. People who have cervical radiculopathies have pain in their spinal nerves that travel down their arm or into the upper back. They often describe the pain as a "shooting pain". Lets look at the most common causes of cervical radiculopathy.

  1. Cervical Herniated Disc: This is a condition where the inner contents of the spinal disc rupture out of the disc and impinge on the spinal nerve sending pain signals throughout the nerve. A lot of injuries that result from impact such as car accidents or contact sports can result in herniated disc. Herniated disc is the most common cause of a pinched nerve (cervical radiculopathy) in young people aged 20-30 years of age.
  2. Cervical Spinal Stenosis: This is the most common cause of cervical radiculopathy in older patients over 65. Stenosis occurs as the natural degeneration or aging process in the spine results in decreased space for the spinal cord commonly due to arthritic bone growth.
  3. Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease: This is the most common cause of cervical radiculopathy in patients over 50. Sometimes when a person has degenerated spinal discs due to ageing, wear and tear, arthritis or long standing inflammation the decreased height of their discs can cause increased pressure on surrounding spinal nerves due to faulty biomechanics.

What are the symptoms of Cervical radiculopathy?

The symptoms are different depending on what spinal nerve is being affected. Patients usually report pain near and around the shoulder, sometimes the pain is dull but most often the pain is sharp, knife like shooting pain. There can be weakness and numbess associated with the pain and it can affect the entire arm down to the finger tips. It usually does affect activities of daily living involving grasping, overhead lifting, driving and turning of the head.

What are the treatments for Cervical radiculopathy?

There are many ways to treat cervical radiculopathy which normally start with nonsurgical approaches such as physical therapy and or chiropractic. In addition to treatment, it is also a good idea to try to modify a patient's activities so they do not increase the pain to the injury. Figuring out better biomechanics will help the injury to heal faster by not doing things that will aggravate the condition such as overhead lifting or turning the neck too much. More invasive treatments can include medical care in the form of medicines to reduce pain and or inflammation, as well as procedures such as injections into and around the spine where the problem is. If all else fails there is a possibility that surgery can help depending on the cause of the particular condition.

If you or a loved one is experiencing this problem contact our office to see if we can help.

Categories: Healthways Blog

18
May
2017

American College of Physicians issues guideline for treating nonradicular low back pain

Treatment recommendations include massage, acupuncture, spinal manipulation, tai chi, and yoga Philadelphia, February 14, 2017 -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends in an evidence-based clinical practice guideline published today in Annals of Internal Medicine that physicians and patients should treat acute or subacute low back pain with non-drug therapies such as superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation. If drug therapy is desired, physicians and patients should select nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or skeletal muscle relaxants.

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons for all physician visits in the U.S. Most Americans have experienced low back pain. Approximately one quarter of U.S. adults reported having low back pain lasting at least one day in the past three months. Pain is categorized as acute (lasting less than four weeks), subacute (lasting four to 12 weeks, and chronic (lasting more than 12 weeks).

“Physicians should reassure their patients that acute and subacute low back pain usually improves over time regardless of treatment,” said Nitin S. Damle, MD, MS, MACP, president, ACP. “Physicians should avoid prescribing unnecessary tests and costly and potentially harmful drugs, especially narcotics, for these patients.”

The evidence showed that acetaminophen was not effective at improving pain outcomes versus placebo. Low-quality evidence showed that systemic steroids were not effective in treating acute or subacute low back pain.

For patients with chronic low back pain, ACP recommends that physicians and patients initially select non-drug therapy with exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tai chi, yoga, motor control exercise (MCE), progressive relaxation, electromyography biofeedback, low level laser therapy, operant therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or spinal manipulation.

“For the treatment of chronic low back pain, physicians should select therapies that have the fewest harms and costs, since there were no clear comparative advantages for most treatments compared to one another,” Dr. Damle said. “Physicians should remind their patients that any of the recommended physical therapies should be administered by providers with appropriate training.”

For patients with chronic low back pain who have had an inadequate response to non-drug therapy, ACP recommends that physicians and patients consider treatment with NSAIDs as first line therapy; or tramadol or duloxetine as second line therapy. Physicians should only consider opioids as an option in patients who have failed the aforementioned treatments and only if the potential benefits outweigh the risks for individual patients and after a discussion of known risks and realistic benefits with patients.

“Physicians should consider opioids as a last option for treatment and only in patients who have failed other therapies, as they are associated with substantial harms, including the risk of addiction or accidental overdose,” said Dr. Damle.

“Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain” is based on a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews published on noninvasive pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments of nonradicular low back pain. Clinical outcomes evaluated included reduction or elimination of low back pain, improvement in back-specific and overall function, improvement in health-related quality of life, reduction in work disability/return to work, global improvement, number of back pain episodes or time between episodes, patient satisfaction, and adverse effects.

The evidence was insufficient or lacking to determine treatments for radicular low back pain. The evidence also was insufficient for most physical modalities and for which patients are likely to benefit from which specific therapy. The guideline does not address topical therapies or epidural injection therapies.

ACP’s clinical practice guidelines are developed through a rigorous process based on an extensive review of the highest quality evidence available, including randomized control trials and data from observational studies. ACP also identifies gaps in evidence and direction for future research through its guidelines development process.

ACP’s previous recommendations for treating low back pain were published in “Diagnosis and Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Joint Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society” in 2007. Some evidence has changed since the 2007 guideline and supporting evidence reviews. The 2007 guideline did not assess mindfulness-based stress reduction, MCE, taping, or tai chi.

About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States. ACP members include 148,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness.

Categories: Healthways Blog

26
April
2017

The Anti-Inflammatory, Iodine-Rich Power of Kelp

ARTICLE BY DR. AXE | READ FULL ARTICLE

ocean kelpSeaweed: It’s not just for sushi anymore. In fact, kelp, a form of seaweed, has made its way into kitchens of health-conscious people all over the world — and that’s perfectly OK with me.

Considered by many to be a superfood because of its wide variety of nutrients, kelp has been a staple of several Asian cultures for centuries. While its popularity in the western world is a more recent event, as more people discover the many benefits this vegetable has to offer, it’s quickly becoming part of a healthy, balanced diet for a large number of Americans as well.

This seaweed is effective in weight loss, supports thyroid health, has been proven to reduce the risk of many forms of cancer and even keeps your bones strong. Get to know the power of mighty kelp.

Top 7 Kelp Benefits

1. Great Source of Iodine

Do you know if you’re eating enough iodine? That’s an important question, because iodine-rich foods help protect you from a dangerous deficiency. Iodine is a vital nutrient that helps support a healthy thyroid, protects against certain kinds of cancer, promotes healthy growth and development in babies and children, and even helps you maintain a healthy brain.

Because kelp contains an extremely high level of iodine (up to 2,984 micrograms in some varieties), it’s one of the best ways to maintain a healthy level of iodine. Powdered kelp has been used to treat hypothyroidism in patients with severe motor intellectual disabilities, who are at a very high risk of iodine deficiency. (1)

2. Helps You Lose Weight

Not only is kelp a nutrient-rich food that’s beneficial to any diet, but it also has specific fat-fighting properties. A protein found in most varieties, known as fucoxanthin, has been shown to significantly reduce fat tissue — one of the reasons I recommend it as a healthy weight loss supplement. (2) A study out of Moscow also found that a combination of pomegranate seed oil with fucoxanthin promoted weight loss and increased liver function. (3)

Another way kelp can be helpful when losing weight is by the presence of particular molecules known as alginates. These alginates are prevalent in some varieties of kelp more than others. One study studied the effect of kelp on pancreatic lipase, finding that its consumption reduced this process by which the pancreas overprocesses fat and stores too much in the body. Instead, this seaweed was a vital factor in helping the body expel fat via excrement, rather than absorb large amounts. (4) Essentially, this means it’s considered a lipase inhibitor.

3. May Prevent or Treat Diabetes

Those at risk for or who have diabetes may also find kelp a welcome addition to their diabetic diet plan. A Korean study published in Nutrition Research and Practice found that kelp consumption greatly improved blood glucose levels, positively influenced glycemic control and increased antioxidant enzyme activities in patients with type II diabetes. (5)

4. Helps with Some Blood-Related Disorders

There’s a power nutrient found in many varieties of kelp that, among other things, has shown effectiveness against blood-related problems. It’s called fucoidan.

Fucoidan has shown effectiveness in preventing blood clots that can lead to dangerous health problems, including stroke and heart attack. It’s so effective, in fact, that researchers cite it as having potential to be used as an oral antithrombotic agent, potentially reducing the need of prescription drugs to treat clotting problems. (6) This may be relevant especially to those suffering from or at risk for diabetes, as a common complication of diabetes includes excessive clotting — making this brown seaweed a double-whammy on diabetes.

Fucoidan also protects cells in your body from ischemic damage, meaning damage caused by improper levels of blood flow to certain parts of the body. (7)

5. Slows the Growth of Many Types of Cancer

Multiple nutrients in kelp function in tandem to give you protection against cancer. The presence of fucoxanthin was found to be effective against a number of types of prostate cancer. In addition, fucoxanthin can help remove drug resistance in cancer patients undergoing dangerous chemotherapy treatments, thereby reducing the amount of harmful drugs introduced into one’s system in order to treat cancer. (8) While my recommendation is generally to avoid traditional cancer treatments, the impact is still significant for many who choose to go that route.

However, when it comes to cancer-fighting nutrients, fucoidan wins the top spot. Studies on fucoidan have found that it causes cancer cells to die (a process known as “apoptosis”) in leukemia, colon, breast and lung cancer. (9, 10, 11) It’s the fucoidan and fucoxanthin combo that makes this sea vegetable one of the most effective cancer-fighting foods.

6. Natural Anti-Inflammatory

As a general defense against most diseases, I always recommend following a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation is at the root of most diseases, and it’s hypothesized that chronic inflammation may be caused by an overactive immune system, flooding the body with dangerous hormones.

Certain kinds of kelp have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties (and serve as antioxidants), meaning they help reduce the overall inflammation in your body, which in turn reduces your probability of disease. (12) Fucoidan, found in kelp, has also been shown to work as an anti-inflammatory and also to improve cholesterol levels in the blood, responsible for heart conditions. (13)

7. Helps Prevent Bone Loss

Are you at risk for osteoporosis or other bone diseases? Kelp can help with that, too! First, it’s a rich source of vitamin K — you get almost a quarter of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K in just one serving. One of the many benefits of vitamin K is its role in creating denser bones that don’t as easily succumb to arthritis and osteoporosis. It’s also worthwhile to note that if you’ve been on antibiotics lately, you might need to increase your vitamin K intake to avoid vitamin K deficiency.

However, people on blood-thinning drugs ought to avoid extra vitamin K, as it can affect how the drugs work.

Fucoidan also contributes to healthy bones. Low molecular weight fucoidan helps prevent age-related bone loss and improves the mineral density in bones. (14

READ FULL ARTICLE FROM DRAXE.COM

Categories: Healthways Blog

22
March
2017

Vitamin K2: The Missing Nutrient for Heart and Bone Health

healthy skeletonBy Dr. Mercola

Most everyone, including many conventional physicians, have begun to appreciate the importance and value of vitamin D. Few, however, recognize the importance of vitamin K2, which is nearly as important as vitamin D.

Dr. Dennis Goodman,1 who was born in South Africa and trained at the University of Cape Town, has multiple board certifications in cardiology (and several subspecialties) and holistic integrative medicine.

After his internship at the Grootte Schuur Hospital—where Dr. Christian Barnard did the first heart transplant in 1967—he came to the US, where he did his cardiology fellowship at the at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where Dr. Michael DeBakey performed the first bypass surgery.

"I was really very lucky to be in a situation where I had these two cardiac giants as mentors and teachers," he says.

Dr. Goodman is also the chairman of the Department of Integrative Medicine at the New York University (NYU), and has authored the book, Vitamin K2: The Missing Nutrient for Heart and Bone Health.

In it, he explains why vitamin K2 is every bit as important as vitamin D.

“For 20 years I was putting stents in; running around day and night at the hospital. When I got called to the emergency room for someone having a heart attack, I was like a fireman putting out a fire in a house.

Sometimes, you were very lucky and could save the house from burning down, and sometimes not.

What I started to realize is that prevention is really the key for us to making the maximum impact. I’ve always been interested in the idea that everything we need to be healthy is provided by the Lord above –namely what’s out there for us to eat.

80 percent of these chronic diseases including atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes, diabetes, and obesity are preventable. So I got into the whole idea of learning integrative medicine,” he says.

He was the chief of cardiology at Scripps Memorial, and went on to Scripps Clinic for Integrative Medicine for many years.

“Obviously, when you understand holistic medicine, you understand that so much of what we’re doing, unfortunately, in traditional medicine is procedures, testing, and prescribing drugs, because that’s what we’re taught—and making diagnoses instead of taking care of people who basically may not have a disease, but are not healthy and well.”

As a cardiologist, it's quite appropriate to delve into vitamin K2, as it has two crucial functions: one is in cardiovascular health and the other is in bone restoration.

It performs many other functions as well, but by helping remove calcium from the lining of the blood vessels, vitamin K2 helps prevent occlusions from atherosclerosis.

Vitamin K Basics

Vitamins K1 and K2 are part of a family, but they are very different in their activity and function. Vitamin K1, found in green leafy vegetables, is a fat-soluble vitamin involved in the production of coagulation factors, which are critical for stopping bleeding.

This is why when someone's on a blood thinner such as warfarin, they need to be careful not to take too much vitamin K1, as it will antagonize the effect of drug. Vitamin K2 is very different. There's a complex biochemistry that occurs with K2 involving two enzymes:

  • Matrix Gla-protein (MGP)
  • Osteocalcin

Categories: Healthways Blog

16
January
2017

How Vegetable Extracts Protect Against Cancer

TAKEN FROM LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE

vegetableextractsApigenin is a polyphenol found in vegetables such as parsley and celery. It is receiving increased attention as a low-cost nutrient to protect against common cancers.

What makes apigenin so fascinating is how it functions to starve cancer cells, promote cancer cell destruction, and protect cellular DNA against environmental toxins (that can result in future malignancies).

Compounds such as indole-3-carbinol (I3C) are found in cruciferous vegetables. These cruciferous compounds have been shown to work in complementary ways with apigenin (non-cruciferous) to combat cancer and other age-related diseases.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Oncology:

“Cancer prevention through diet may be largely achievable by increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. Considerable attention has been devoted to identifying plant-derived dietary agents which could be developed as promising chemopreventives. One such agent is apigenin.”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Health Benefits of Vegetable Extracts

  • Vegetable extracts present in broccoli, celery, parsley, kale, Brussels sprouts, and many others—have long been revered for their health-promoting benefits.
  • It is now recognized that four compounds, apigenin, I3C, DIM, and BITC, are responsible for the majority of that protection, and in very specific and complementary ways.
  • All four have powerful cancer-protective effects, attacking and preventing malignancies through a multitude of overlapping mechanisms.
  • Apigenin also has exceptional cardiovascular, metabolic, and neuroprotective properties, while I3C/DIM promote cardiovascular and liver health.
  • Consumption of these plant compounds provides broad-spectrum protection against many of the most common symptoms of aging.

Click here to read the full story from Life Extension Magazine 

Categories: Healthways Blog

02
November
2016

Beta-Sitosterol Plant Extract

Taken from The University of Michigan Health System

soybeanplantWhat is beta-sitosterol plant extract?

Beta-sitosterol is one of many sterols that come from plants (phytosterols) and have a structure like the cholesterol produced in the body. You can find phytosterols in many plants and thus in foods such as rice bran, wheat germ, corn oils, soybeans, and peanuts. Beta-sitosterol is also available as a dietary supplement.
What is beta-sitosterol used for?

Beta-sitosterol is said to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of some cancers. It also is said to relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). How beta-sitosterol works is not known. It may be related to cholesterol metabolism or anti-inflammatory effects.

A review of studies done on beta-sitosterol showed that men who took it had fewer symptoms than men who took a placebo. Symptoms were measured using the American Urological Association (AUA) symptom index. Men who took beta-sitosterol also had a better urine flow rate then men who took a placebo.

Research supports the fact that phytosterols, including beta-sitosterol, can reduce cholesterol levels. Some studies suggest that phytosterols may reduce the risk of some cancers, but more research is needed to know how well they really work.

Is beta-sitosterol safe?

Few problems have been reported among men taking beta-sitosterol for BPH. Some men may have problems with their stomach and digestion. Beta-sitosterol's ability to prevent complications of BPH is not known.

Men who have problems urinating should see a doctor to rule out prostate cancer or other diseases. Prostate cancer is treatable, but treatment may be more successful when you find and treat the cancer as early as possible.

Some studies have shown that phytosterols can help lower cholesterol. But the long-term effects of eating foods that have phytosterols added to them (for example, some margarines) or taking phytosterols as a dietary supplement are not yet known.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way it regulates medicines. A dietary supplement can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works.

Always tell your doctor if you are using a dietary supplement or if you are thinking about combining a dietary supplement with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a dietary supplement. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

When using dietary supplements, keep in mind the following:

  • Like conventional medicines, dietary supplements may cause side effects, trigger allergic reactions, or interact with prescription and nonprescription medicines or other supplements you might be taking. A side effect or interaction with another medicine or supplement may make other health conditions worse.
  • The way dietary supplements are manufactured may not be standardized. Because of this, how well they work or any side effects they cause may differ among brands or even within different lots of the same brand. The form of the supplement that you buy in health food or grocery stores may not be the same as the form used in research.
  • Other than for vitamins and minerals, the long-term effects of most dietary supplements are not known.

If you are interested in this supplement for your health feel free to contact any one of our healthcare providers to get the best recommended dosages for your goal. 

Categories: Healthways Blog

01
September
2016

5-Htp Benefits

Article taken from Herbwisdom.com

htpMost 5-HTP also known as oxitriptan (INN)is extracted from the seeds of a woody climbing shrub native to West Africa, called the Griffonia simplicifolia plant.

What is 5-HTP?

5-HTP or "hydroxy L-tryptophan" (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a naturally-occurring amino acid and is the precursor and metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin from tryptophan. 5-HTP is converted to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT), with the help of vitamin B6. This occurs both in nervous tissue and in the liver. 5-HTP crosses the blood-brain barrier (while 5-HT does not). Supplementation with 5-HTP therefore increases production of serotonin.

5-HTP health benefits

Widely used to help with obesity (dieting), PMS, migraines, depression, anxiety, insomnia and addictive behaviour. 5 HTP increases production of serotonin. Serotonin levels in the nervous system are essential for so many aspects of our daily lives. Serotonin is responsible for feelings of well being, satisfaction and for normal sleep patterns. Obesity, PMS, migraines, depression, anxiety, insomnia and addictive behavior have all been associated with low levels of serotonin. Serotonin plays an important role in controlling anger, aggression, body temperature, mood, sleep, human sexuality, appetite, and metabolism, as well as stimulating vomiting.

It is thought the hectic modern lifestyle of stress and bad eating habits lowers serotonin levels in the body. It is known that irritability, aggression, impatience, anxiety and worrying cause the body to release serotonin. This serotonin then needs to be replenished by the body from the food you eat. But serotonin is not found in large quantities in most diets so the body has to makes it itself from foods which contain L-tryptophan, such as chocolate, oats, bananas, dried dates, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, meat, fish, turkey, chicken, sesame, chickpeas, and peanuts. Many people therefore crave the foods listed (fats and carbohydrates), especially when stressed, causing weight gain, depression, headaches, and muscle aches.

Atkins Diet - reduce cravings

Clinical studies have shown that supplementing with 5-HTP produces positive results in weight loss, anxiety and depression. It improves sleep patterns and reduces carbohydrate cravings in those on low carbohydrate diets (such as The Atkins Diet). Anyone using a weight loss program similar to the Atkins Diet could experience a reduction in serotonin levels due to the fact that carbohydrates stimulate serotonin production in the body. Serotonin release is triggered by a carbohydrate load (sugar etc.) and it is thought that's why we often crave Carbohydrates under stress as we want to stimulate this serotonin release. When the brain produces serotonin, tension is eased. Conversely when the brain produces dopamine or norepinephrine (noradrenaline), we tend to think and act more quickly and are generally more alert. Therefore eating carbohydrates seems to have a calming effect, while proteins increase alertness.

Taking 5-HTP supplements can stop this craving for fats and carbohydrates, as well as providing the body with the means to control all those other functions listed above, such as anger, appetite and sleep.

Help with Depression and Anxiety

Some research has been done into 5-HTP and shows it has potential to help with depression and possibly anxiety, panic disorder, sleep disorders and obesity. 5-HTP seems to have the same effects as SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors) antidepressants.

Prescription drugs that raise serotonin levels are prescribed for all of these problems, but many people believe 5-HTP is a natural way to accomplish the same thing.

Dosage

For improving sleep, it is widely recommended to take 5-HTP 30 mins before going to bed, as apart from producing Serotonin, 5-HTP also produces Melatonin, which is a sleep-inducing hormone. The usual dosage is either a 50mg or 100mg tablet. The effects of taking 5-HTP can be felt within 10 to 30 mins.

Try to buy 5-HTP which also contains vitamin B6, as Vit B6 is needed for 5-HTP conversion into serotonin.

Much higher doses seem to be required for weight loss and to reduce migraines. Dosages up to around 900mg a day seem to be widely reported.

5-HTP is usually tolerated much better than traditional antidepressants. Excess 5-HTP is thought to be metabolized and excreted, especially when taken with Vitamin B6.

Why not try some today and see if you too can reduce your cravings, stress and anger levels, as well as getting a good night's sleep!

Categories: Healthways Blog

27
July
2016

Magnesium Supplements May Help to Lower Blood Pressure

By Sara G. Miller - Taken from www.livescience.com

blood pressure

Getting enough magnesium may help keep blood pressure under control, a new meta-analysis of previous research finds.

People in studies who took magnesium supplements had lower blood pressure after three months compared with people who did not take magnesium supplements, according to the analysis, published today (July 11) in the journal Hypertension.

"With its relative safety and low cost, magnesium supplements could be considered as an option for lowering blood pressure in high-risk persons or hypertension patients," lead author Dr. Yiqing Song, an associate professor of epidemiology at Indiana University, said in a statement. [Heart Disease: Types, Prevention & Treatment]

In their meta-analysis, the researchers looked at 34 studies totaling more than 2,000 patients. All of the studies were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, meaning that some of the people in each study were given a placebo instead of magnesium, and neither the participants nor the researchers knew who received the placebo or the magnesium. The studies ranged in length from three weeks to six months, and participants took between 240 and 960 milligrams of magnesium each day during their studies.

The researchers found that taking 368 mg of magnesium supplements daily for three months reduced people's systolic blood pressure by an average of 2 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and reduced their diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.8 mm Hg. (Systolic blood pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading; diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number.)

Read the full article from livescience.com

Categories: Healthways Blog

12
May
2016

Turmeric and Frankincense in Inflammation: An Update

Study examines botanical remedies as treatments for various inflammatory conditions


By Jeremy Appleton, ND

Abstract

Botanical remedies have been used for centuries to treat various inflammatory conditions. Recent research has elucidated many mechanisms of action for such herbs, including modulation of cytokines, downregulation of NF-kB, and the inhibition of cyclooxygenase enzymes. It has also indentified active constituents and led the way to developments for enhancing the bioavailability and efficacy of these natural anti-inflammatory agents. This review describes some recent advances in our understanding of the actions and efficacy of 2 ancient anti-inflammatory herbs—turmeric (Curcuma longa) and frankincense (Boswellia serrata)—with modern examples of the evidence of their efficacy in osteoarthritis.

Introduction

Inflammatory conditions are common in clinical practice. Acute inflammation is a part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. It is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process. Thus, inflammation is required for the healing of wounds and infection.

In acute inflammation, a cascade of biochemical events propagates the inflammatory response, involving the local vascular system, immune system, and various cells within the injured tissue. Chronic inflammation leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation and is uniquely characterized by a simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process. Inflammation must therefore be controlled to ameliorate symptoms and prevent chronic inflammatory disease.

Numerous inflammatory mediators have been identified as being critical in regulation of the inflammation response. The nuclear factor NF-kB is considered as to be a nearly archetypal pro-inflammatory pathway, because NF-kB is so decisive in its control of the expression of genes that lead to upregulation of cytokines (a proinflammatory event). NF-kB, unsurprisingly, is chronically active in many inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, sepsis, gastritis, asthma, among others.

Categories: Healthways Blog

04
April
2016

Omega-3 fatty acids

Taken from Univ. of Maryland Medical Center reference guide:
 

Overview

omega3fattyacidsOmega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. They are necessary for human health, but the body can't make them. You have to get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafoods including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. They have also become popular because they may reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.

It is important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The typical American diet contains 14 to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which many nutritionally-oriented physicians consider to be way too high on the omega-6 side. Indeed, studies suggest that higher dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ratios appear to be associated with worsening inflammation over time and a higher risk of death among hemodialysis patients.

The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, has a healthier balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Many studies have shown that people who follow this diet are less likely to develop heart disease. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, and moderate wine consumption.

Categories: Healthways Blog

17
February
2016

Better Together

May 2010 / Jack Challem

Better Together

How carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, and CoQ10 work synergistically to increase energy, lower blood sugar, and strengthen your heart and circulation.

BACKGROUND: Nutrients work as a team, and some nutrients work very closely together. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), carnitine, and alpha-lipoic acid are a great example. They function in related biochemical pathways toward the same result: breaking down food molecules to create energy. This energy, in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), acts as a biological battery that drives all cell activities.

DETAILS: The ultimate breakdown of food to create ATP occurs in tiny cell structures called mitochondria. Two chemical processes within mitochondria—biochemists call them the Krebs cycle and oxidative phosphorylation— govern most of the energy-producing chemical reactions. It’s in these processes that CoQ10, carnitine, and alpha-lipoic acid do their jobs.

BIG-PICTURE IMPLICATIONS: ATP provides the oomph to make things happen, from moving immune cells to fight infections to making your muscles flex. Researchers gained a fundamental perspective of these processes when they discovered that a group of inherited diseases, called mitochondrial myopathies, were caused by defects in the body’s ability to make energy.

Subsequently, researchers discovered that CoQ10, carnitine, and alpha-lipoic acid could improve energy levels in people with these myopathies. Studies have also found that people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and more generalized fatigue can benefit from these supplements. Many scientists now believe that the aging process begins with a deterioration of mitochondrial activity—and tantalizing research suggests that these and other nutrients can slow the aging process.

What They Do
Carnitine. This vitamin-like nutrient helps transport fats into mitochondria, where they are burned for energy. In a study of 66 centenarians, doctors found that taking 2 grams of carnitine daily led to significant improvement in physical and mental fatigue, greater muscle mass, and sharper thinking.

DID YOU KNOW?
Taking CoQ10 supplements can help boost collagen and elastin production, which helps protect skin from aging.

Alpha-lipoic acid. This antioxidant plays multiple roles as a cofactor in the energy-generating Krebs cycle. A patient case history described by European doctors illustrates its benefits: As a child, the patient had been thin, weak, and exercise intolerant. By her early 20s, she had developed eye-muscle disorders and droopy eyelids. When examined in her early 30s, she had very weak arm and leg muscles. Tests found that she was producing low levels of ATP. So the doctors gave her 200 milligrams of alpha-lipoic acid three times daily. After several months, tests indicated that her ATP production had increased substantially and her overall energy levels had improved as well.

CoQ10. This vitamin-like nutrient helps shuttle around energy-carrying electrons to maximize ATP production. Supplements can boost energy levels and enhance stamina. In one study, Japanese researchers reported that people were able to bicycle faster and had quicker recovery times after just one week of taking 300 milligrams of CoQ10 daily.

ACCESSORY NUTRIENTS: Carnitine is available in several forms, including L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine. Vitamin C is needed for the body to make its own carnitine. Energy production can also be enhanced with vitamins B1, B2, and B3, magnesium, ribose, and creatine monohydrate.

THE SYNERGISTIC PAYOFF: Some cardiologists have used CoQ10 to help patients recover from cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Studies have found that acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid together can boost energy and mental function. For improving energy levels, combining lipoic acid with L-carnitine (or acetyl-L-carnitine), and CoQ10 is an ideal approach.

WHAT YOU SHOULD TAKE: Take approximately 100 milligrams of CoQ10, 1,000 milligrams of carnitine, and 200 milligrams of alpha-lipoic acid daily to boost energy. For more serious health problems, such as heart failure, consider taking 200 milligrams of CoQ10, 2,000 milligrams of carnitine, and 400 milligrams of alpha-lipoic acid daily—but please work with your physician.

Categories: Healthways Blog

09
October
2015

Cellular Oxygen "The Key to Better Health"

By Dr. Edwin Chun

o2 The human body can live days without water, weeks without food, but only minutes without oxygen. The reason stems from how vital each of these factors are to the cells of our body which keep us alive. The most important factor vital to good health is oxygen. This should mean that if we were to increase oxygen to certain people we should see health benefits.

Well, that's exactly what happens in these next two examples.

The first example is football players who are exposed to some of the most extreme physical conditions, i.e. playing in the heat, snow, with heavy protective gear, enduring tackles, etc... What do they do when they go to the sideline exhausted from exertion? They take in oxygen. Why? Because the oxygen will help them to get rid of lactic acid and recharge their cells. Boosting oxygen to the body for temporary periods will increase physical performance and endurance while decreasing fatigue. The reason is that oxygen acts as an anti-inflammatory within the tissues (blood vessels, muscles, joints) and it also is crucial to the proper cellular functioning of the creation of energy within the cell. The next example of the health benefit of oxygen is its importance in surviving life or death situations. Oxygen is one of the first things paramedics will give a person in a state of life or death. Oxygen is present in every ambulance in most of the world for a reason, and many EMTs and paramedics can tell you about the life saving effects of it. So these are some extreme examples, but what about everyday people and everyday situations.

The most commonly encountered problem many of us face daily is stress. Financial pressures, health issues, traffic, air pollution, noise pollution, bombardment of negative information from the media, etc. The cumulative effect of chronic stress on the body can be devastating leading to diseases such as hypertension, ulcers, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches, IBS, depression, anxiety, heart disease, kidney failure, chronic uncontrolled systemic inflammation, etc.  Stress over stimulates our sympathetic nervous system. This is the part of our nervous system known as the "fight or flight system" designed to put our bodies in survival mode preparivng us for dangerous situations. This part of our nervous system will constrict peripheral blood vessels, increase heart rate and raise blood pressure. Stress reactions happen in the body frequently when the body encounters noxious stimuli such as pain, danger, anger, loss, fear etc... While this survival mechanism is very important to us momentarily it’s not meant to occur for prolonged periods of time. When this does happen for prolonged periods of time it will have deleterious effects on health. Over stressing the sympathetic nervous system will cause the body to eventually crash as the cells use up all of their energy and are no longer able to recreate more energy. Because the body is in a stressed state it will favor using anaerobic metabolic pathways in the creation of energy. As a result of this, the tissues of the body will build up metabolic acidic wastes (lactic acid) and become inflamed. When the system finally crashes to correct itself, the person will feel drained, feeling burnt out is a good descriptor for this. This decreased energy state within the body leaves it vulnerable to attack from pathogens such as viruses and bacteria because the immune system has less energy to fight disease.

Some Basics of Metabolism - Cellular Respiration creates ATP. Cellular work requires ATP.

Cell Energy

Let's look at some basics of cellular respiration which is the process of how our bodies break down nutrients we get from foods to create ATP (cellular energy). ATP is the universal energy source for cells. It is required by our cells as a fuel to perform the countless number of reactions that sustain our bodies (i.e. digestion, tissue repair, immunity, movement, breathing). Without it, our bodies would come to a halt. The food we eat is broken down to sugars (glucose) and this sugar is then converted into ATP within the cell through metabolic pathways that:

  1. Use oxygen = aerobic respiration (with oxygen) or
  2. Do not use oxygen= anaerobic respiration (without oxygen).

The main concept to understand in this somewhat complex process is that with oxygen, aerobic respiration produces +30 ATP per glucose molecule while without oxygen anaerobic respiration produces just 2 ATP.  You can probably figure out then that it is better for the cell to metabolize energy aerobically with oxygen to get more ATP in the cell than without oxygen.  More ATP in the cell means more energy for the cell to do all the work required to sustain our bodies in a healthy state.  Less ATP means the cells would have less energy to do the same work making it more difficult and probably not allowing the cells to carry out all the necessary reactions for good health.

How this relates to oxygen is that Dr. Manfred Von Ardenne, a pioneer in medical oxygen research, discovered that when the body is dealing with a noxious stimuli such as stress, disease, pain etc., the effect in the microvasculature (capillaries, arterioles and venules) would be a choking off of the capillary. The capillary is the major route of transport of oxygen and waste removal for the body’s tissues. After careful research he discovered this was due to the endothelial cells (which line the inside of the entire vascular system) losing energy by the processing of energy anaerobically. The effect within the cell from the energy loss would create a swelling of the endothelial cell wall. The effect on the microcirculation would be a decrease of oxygen delivery to the tissues, a decrease of clearance of metabolic wastes (lactic acid) and a decrease in the body’s ability to fight infections in the tissues due to decreased capillary access.

An easier way to understand this is that cells that can't breathe, can't be healthy. This is an important concept to understand in health. When people get to the point they feel burnt out from overwork, not enough sleep, poor diet, stress, living with a disease etc., they are in a state of functional oxygen deficiency. If you are suffering from a chronic disease how did you get it in the first place? Most chronic diseases have in common endothelial dysfunction and therefore functional oxygen deficiency. This is not to say that functional oxygen deficiency is the cause of the disease but it may be associated with the disease you may be suffering from.

Tiredness 2

Functional oxygen deficiency is when:

  1. There is not enough oxygen getting to the cells due to the possibility of poor transport such as in endothelial dysfunction which is common in most chronic diseases.
  2. There is underutilization of oxygen in the tissues due to mitochondrial enzyme deficiencies.
  3. The cells are using and require more oxygen than is being delivered at that time creating a shortage of oxygen in the cell.

A good example of functional oxygen deficiency is an athlete who is pushing himself and using up all of his oxygen and ATP. This forces his cells into prolonged periods of anaerobic respiration creating a lactic acid build up with subsequent muscle soreness and fatigue. This is also a good example for people dealing with stress. Pushing themselves and over stimulating their sympathetic nervous systems will slowly begin choking off oxygen to their tissues and organs as they begin to favor anaerobic metabolism. They will also experience the effects of inflammation in their tissues as the lactic acid and wastes build up. This can begin to have bad effects on their health such as increased blood pressure, worsening circulation, digestive problems etc.

An easy solution to correcting functional oxygen deficiency is through use of the EWOT procedure. Increasing oxygen to the cells while the body performs aerobic exercise will increase aerobic cellular respiration creating more ATP within the cell favoring an aerobic metabolic state. An aerobic favored metabolic state is associated with more energy, vitality, and health. This is the necessary energy state within the cell for good health (optimum cellular functioning). Additionally using the EWOT improves the removal of acidic waste (lactic acid) from tissues through re--enlarged capillaries and de-acidifies the body. EWOT alkalizes the body and raises blood PH through oxygenation.

EWOT will improve functional respiration meaning the cardiorespiratory system along with the musculoskeletal system, bones, joints, muscles and all the organs needed to perform sustained movement i.e. brain, cerebellum.

Unlike other oxygenation systems ozone or hyperbarics, EWOT forces the body to use the additional oxygen to create work in the body, using the ATP to drive the heart, lungs, muscles etc. The increased oxygenation can then get deeper into tissues and organs that may have been shut down for years due to poor health and or disease related endothelial dysfunction. The process will enable healing and restoration of health.

Categories: Healthways Blog

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