Category Archives: Rx to Wellness
15 Questions to Ask When Your Doctor Prescribes a Drug
As you probably know by now, I am a huge proponent of becoming an active participant in your healthcare. This can begin with asking the following questions when your doctor recommends a drug:
WHAT DOES THIS MEDICATION DO?
HOW, WHEN AND FOR HOW LONG SHOULD I TAKE IT?
IS THIS DRUG INTENDED TO CURE MY UNDERLYING CONDITION OR IS IT INTENDED TO GIVE ME RELIEF FROM MY SYMPTOMS?
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS? ARE THEY MINOR OR MAJOR? COMMON OR RARE?
IS IT SAFE TAKE WHILE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING? (IF APPROPRIATE TO YOU.)
HAVE LONG-TERM STUDIES BEEN DONE ON THIS DRUG? HAVE STUDIES BEEN DONE FOR THIS DRUG ON THE ELDERLY OR WOMEN? (IF APPROPRIATE TO YOU.) ASK THIS ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE THE DRUG LONG-TERM.
DO THE BENEFITS OUTWEIGH THE RISKS?
IS THIS DOSAGE INDIVIDUALIZED FOR ME, OR IS THIS A ONE-DOSE-FITS-ALL DOSAGE?
WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE TO START ME AT A LOWER DOSE AND ADJUST IT ACCORDING TO MY RESPONSE?
WHAT HERBS, SUPPLEMENTS, FOODS, DRINKS, OR ACTIVITIES SHOULD I AVOID WHILE TAKING THIS MEDICATION?
IS IT SAFE FOR ME TO TAKE THIS MEDICATION WITH OTHER DRUGS OR SUPPLEMENTS I AM TAKING?
WILL ANY TESTS BE NECESSARY WHILE I AM TAKING THIS MEDICATION?
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I MISS A DOSE OF THIS MEDICATION? TAKE IT IMMEDIATELY WHEN I REMEMBER, OR WAIT UNTIL MY NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED DOSE?
IS THERE A GENERIC VERSION OF THE MEDICATION?
WHAT ARE MY NON-DRUG ALTERNATIVES?
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr Anne Sullivan
Risk of Stroke with Nexium, Prilosec, Other Heart Burn Drugs Seen in New Study
The findings of new research raise additional concerns about the potential side effects of Nexium, Prilosec and other heart burn drugs, suggesting that certain users of the popular medications may face an increased risk of stroke.
According to preliminary findings of a study presented this week at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016, researchers from the Danish Heart Foundation indicate that the overall stroke risk with Nexium, Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors (PPI) increased 21%, especially among users of higher doses, which is a strong indicator that the drugs are likely causing the strokes.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a class of heartburn medications used by millions of Americans, including blockbuster brands like Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Dexilant, AcipHex and others, many of which have over-the-counter versions available without a prescription.
Although most users assume the drugs carry few serious side effects, often continuing to use Nexium or other PPIs for years, without any attempt to discontinue the drugs, the medications have been linked to a number of possible health risks in recent years, including heart attacks, dementia, kidney disease and kidney failure. However, some experts suggest that the link between Nexium and strokes may be most worrying, if confirmed.
“At one time, PPIs were thought to be safe, without major side effects,” Dr. Thomas Sehested, the study’s lead author, said in an American Heart Association press release. “This study further questions the cardiovascular safety of these drugs.”
The study, which has not yet been completed or peer-reviewed, looked at the records of nearly 250,000 Danish patients, with an average age of 57, who underwent an endoscopy procedure to seek out causes of stomach problems. Nearly 9,500 of those patients suffered an ischemic stroke during the six year follow up period of the study. The researchers looked to see which of those patients were taking either Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, or Prevacid.
Researchers found that the overall stroke risk with Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix and Prevacid increased by 21% for patients taking the drugs. The risk increased at higher doses for some, with high doses of Prevacid increasing the risk of stroke to 30%, and high doses of Protonix carrying the most risk of stroke with a 94% increased risk.
The study also looked at another class of heartburn drugs, known as H2 blockers, which includes Pepcid and Zantac. However, no increased risk of stroke was seen with those other drugs.
The researchers said their findings should inspire doctors to be more cautious in prescribing PPIs, and suggested that they should carefully consider if a PPI prescription is necessary and for how long to keep the patient on the drugs.
Other Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, and Protonix Health Risks
Over the past year, a growing number of Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits ,Prevacid lawsuits, Protonix lawsuits, Dexilant lawsuits and other claims have been brought against the makers of proton pump inhibitors, alleging that users and the medical community were not adequately warned about the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.
The litigation has emerged over the past year, after a series of independent studies suggested there is a link between Nexium and kidney risks, including acute interstitial nephritis, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney failure. This has raised questions in recent months about whether the drugs may be overused.
Earlier this year, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine also found an increased risk of chronic kidney disease with the heartburn medications, indicating that users of Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI may be 50% more likely when compared to non-users.
In 2014, a study published by researchers from the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy noted that not only was overuse and abuse of heartburn drugs widespread, but many who take the drugs do so for longer than four years. The study noted that this increases the risk of any side effects associated with the drugs, but it also has a large economic impact as well.
Plaintiffs claim that drug makers placed their desire for profits before consumer’s safety by withholding important safety information, alleging that if warnings had been provided about the risk of acute interstitial nephritis, kidney injury, kidney disease and kidney failure, many individuals may have been able to avoid these severe and potentially life-threatening injuries.
Given the large number of users throughout the United States, it is expected that thousands of cases may be filed in the coming months as heartburn drug injury lawyers continue to review and file cases.
We here at Health and Wellness Associates have mentioned this many times over the past few years. Luckily, we have helped many of you get off these drugs safely. If you are on any of these medications and you wish help in getting off them, please call us, or write to us, and we will be happy to get back with you.
Please share with family and loved ones.
Health and Wellness Associates
Director of Personal Healthcare and Preventative Medicine
Natural Compounds in Ordinary Foods Beat Prostate Cancer
Adding common foods to your diet can help you beat — or even avoid developing — prostate cancer, hints a study conducted at The University of Texas at Austin. Researchers discovered that several natural compounds found in foods starve cancerous tumors of the nutrition they need to thrive and spread.
For instance, a main dish of curry, which contains the spice turmeric, topped off with baked apples, whose skins contain ursolic acid, provides essential nutrients effective in fighting cancer.
Researchers used a unique method to analyze plant-based chemicals and discover specific combinations that shrink prostate tumors.
They first tested 142 natural compounds on mouse and human cell lines to see which inhibited prostate cancer cell growth when administered alone or in combination with another nutrient. The most promising active ingredients were then tested on model animals: ursolic acid, a waxy natural chemical found in apple peels and rosemary; curcumin, the bright yellow plant compound in turmeric; and resveratrol, found in red grapes and berries.
The found that when combined with either curcumin or resveratrol, ursolic acid prevented the uptake of glutamine, a nutrient necessary for cancer growth.
“These nutrients have potential anti-cancer properties and are readily available,” says Stafano Tiziani. Combinations of the nutrients, he says, “have a better effect on prostate cancer than existing drugs.
“The beauty of this study is that we were able to inhibit tumor growth in mice without toxicity,” Tiziani said.
The study was published in Precision Oncology.
Other studies have also found potential cancer therapies in foods, including turmeric, apple peels, and green tea.
Italian researchers at the University of Parma studied men with a pre-malignant form of prostate cancer called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), and found that those who took three 200 milligram capsules of green tea extract daily slashed their risk of developing prostate cancer by 90 percent when compared to men taking a placebo.
Previous studies have found that lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes and watermelons their bright red color, can decrease the risk of prostate cancer by up to 35 percent. One study found that men with precancerous changes in their prostates who took 4 milligrams of lycopene twice daily lowered the risk of their condition progressing to cancer.
A study at Britain’s University of Portsmouth found that lycopene in tomatoes becomes even more biologically active when cooked with a small amount of oil.
A study from the University of Missouri found that resveratrol can make chemotherapy and radiation more effective in men who have aggressive prostate cancer.
Researcher Michael Nicholl found that the combination of resveratrol and radiation treatment killed 97 percent of tumor cells. “It’s important to note that this killed all types of prostate tumor cells, including aggressive tumor cells,” he said.
An Italian study found that men who drank three cups of Italian-style coffee every day reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 53 percent. “Italian Style” coffee is prepared using high pressure, very high water temperature, and no filters. The benefit is probably due to the caffeine, but scientists say that the method of preparation could lead to a higher concentration of the helpful bioactive substances.
A high-fiber diet may be able to inhibit early-stage prostate cancer by stopping tumors from growing, said a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. Scientists fed one group of mice inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), a natural type of carbohydrate that’s found in large amounts in high-fiber diets. A second group of mice didn’t get the supplement. MRIs were used to monitor the progression of prostate cancer.
“The study’s results were really rather profound,” said researcher Komal Raina. “We saw dramatically reduced tumor volumes.” IP6 kept prostate tumors from making new blood vessels needed to make the cancer grow and metastasize.
Health and Wellness Associates
Sylvia Booth Hubbard
Dr P Carrothers
How Pomegranate Helps Clean Your Arteries
Arteries are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. When you have healthy arteries, blood flows through the body quite easily. As you age, fatty deposits, cholesterol and cellular waste products settle on the inner walls of your arteries. Research shows that pomegranate can actually help clean your arteries helping to keep blood flowing smoothly.
When arteries become clogged, the build up of arterial plaque can significantly reduce blood flow, and in some instances, arteries can become completely blocked. Since clogged arteries can increase your risk of stroke, heart attack and even death, it is crucial to take the necessary steps to reduce arterial plaque and do what you can to clean your arteries.
The Artery Cleaning Power of Pomegranate Juice
Making simple lifestyle changes are an excellent way to treat and prevent clogged arteries. This includes a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, but are some fruits and vegetables more helpful than others?
Pomegranates are extremely rich in antioxidants, including polyphenols, anthocyanins and tannins. Compared to other fruit juices, such as blueberry, orange and cranberry, pomegranate juice has the most antioxidant power. It is these high levels of antioxidants found in pomegranates that help clean clogged arteries.
Can Pomegranates Actually Reverse Atherosclerosis?
Promising research conducted on the benefits of pomegranate juice has found that
pomegranates can prevent clogged arteries and may even reverse the progression of atherosclerosis. Specifically, researchers have found that pomegranates encourage the production of nitric oxide, which is an essential chemical that promotes healthy blood flow and keeps the arteries open. This is helpful in reducing the effects of oxidative stress on blood vessels. Perhaps the most exciting finding from this research is the ability of pomegranates to reduce plaque accumulations that have already built up in the blood vessels.
Additional research has also found that drinking pomegranate juice had a significant effect on arterial plaque. Researchers instructed participants to drink pomegranate juice on a daily basis. Within three months, plaque accumulations were reduced by 13 percent. After one year, arterial plaque was reduced by 30 percent. Plaque accumulation actually increased by nine percent within the group of people who were not drinking pomegranate juice on a daily basis.
In addition to healthier arteries with less plaque accumulation, pomegranate juice has other positive effects on the heart, including reduced fat accumulation around the heart, reduced inflammation within the blood vessels, less oxidative stress and improved ECG results. Given the dangers of cardiovascular disease and clogged arteries, the results of this research are certainly promising. With the help of this exotic fruit, it is possible to clean your arteries and greatly reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived : Jay Jaranson
Why One-A-Day Vitamins are Not The Healthy Way To go
If you’re currently taking or considering taking a multivitamin with a recommended serving size of only one pill a day, you’re pretty much wasting your time.
It’s very doubtful can pack enough vitamins and minerals to truly make any real difference in complementing your healthy diet.
Producers of multivitamins have come up with some pretty amazing ways to compress ingredients, but not to this extreme… not down to where a single tablet provides you the vitamin and mineral levels you need on a daily basis.
And speaking of minerals, many producers of one-per-day vitamins don’t even bother including essential minerals like potassium or magnesium in adequate enough amounts to really make a difference.
What about other nutrients from sources like vegetables, fruits and herbs? Shouldn’t they be blended into your multi as well? I certainly think so.
But it’s also vitally important to know when to take your multivitamin. To maximize your multivitamin’s benefits, you should take a few tablets first thing in the morning and with lunch, or with an early dinner to help optimize your nutrient absorption.
Before we jump further into all the nutrients I believe should go into a multi, let’s first take a closer look at why all multivitamins are not created equal.
Some may in fact have little impact on your health. So remember, you must be very cautious when choosing a product to ensure that your multivitamin really benefits you.
Why You Should Avoid Synthetic Forms of Certain Vitamins Like the Plague…
In my opinion, if you shop for your supplements at discount stores, you may be seriously shortchanging yourself because many of those products typically use cheap synthetic isolate forms for certain important vitamins.
Instead of seeking a good multivitamin, millions of people take certain forms of vitamins, which may do less to support their optimal health.
You see, certain synthetic forms of vitamins are partial vitamins, combined with other chemicals. They’re completely different than vitamins from whole, real food.
When you remove a part from the whole, you get “synthetic,” “isolated” or “fractionated” pieces of the whole, but it’s simply not the same.
Here are four major problems with these kinds of vitamins…
Nature intended for you to consume food in WHOLE form because all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes are together in one package. They work synergistically to give your body the nutrition it requires for optimal health.
Your body only absorbs a percentage of some forms of vitamins and minerals – and it utilizes even less. You get the best bioavailability in combination whole food form.
Certain synthetic vitamins often give you massive quantities of some nutrients (usually the most inexpensive ones) and insufficient quantities of others.
You may experience side effects of certain synthetic vitamins because the form of the vitamin is not the natural form.
You’ve heard me say it before… Fast food and a sedentary lifestyle can be a disaster for your health. Don’t let your multivitamin add to the collateral damage.
In fact, you want to be sure your multivitamin benefits you and offers a real and significant contribution to your health, especially if you’ve already adopted healthy lifestyle practices.
Many people who suffer from allergies can not take some vitamins and minerals, and then they can not take some brands. Especially children!
Who Doesn’t Want to Feel Great All the Time?
One thing you can do to optimize your health and feel great is to maximize your immune system’s capabilities.
Because face it – everybody wants to feel good all the time, don’t they?
Now is the time to start moving toward a healthier diet and lifestyle. Start today, by adding just one raw vegetable per day to your diet… a small, doable step toward your better health.
Why make these changes today?
Because, ideally, it is best to receive all your nutrition from high-quality unprocessed foods. In fact, before focusing on finding a good multivitamin, I highly recommend first evaluating your diet and your lifestyle.
If you are eating a wholesome diet composed of raw fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and raw dairy from reliable sources, then you may have less need for a multivitamin.
Unfortunately, if you’re like most people, you may find it impractical or impossible to eat right all the time.
Therefore, even when you take the steps of adding raw veggies to your diet, getting some exercise and obtaining vitamin D from sunshine, you still might want to supplement with a high-quality multivitamin every day – just to be sure you’re getting well-balanced and optimal nutrition.
Plus, even if you do well with your diet choices, there is another important factor that involves the actual food supply itself…
Up to 50% of the Nutrient Value of Your Food May Be Lost From the Start
A number of carefully controlled studies have provided startling evidence that by the time food reaches your table, serious nutrient content could already be lost.
Some estimates report the nutrient value lost at over 50%!
This is largely the result of conventional farming methods that rely heavily on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which deplete the soil of nutrients… nutrients that must be absorbed by plants in order to be passed on to you.
And it does not necessarily end there.
In many cases, it’s likely you unknowingly further deplete the nutrients in your food – just by the way you prepare it. For many foods, cooking will seriously impair the nutritional value.
So, realizing that you cannot always obtain the whole unprocessed foods you need – and knowing how easy it is for valuable nutrients to be destroyed – you now know why I believe adding a good multivitamin to complement your diet is a sound move.
What Can a High-Quality Multivitamin Do for You?
While I cannot endorse taking a supplement in place of living a healthy lifestyle, it is true that a good multivitamin benefits your optimal health.
A high-quality multivitamin helps promote your strong immune system, building up your body’s defenses.*
If you need help if adding the correct vitamins and minerals to your personal healthcare plan, contact us and we will be happy to go over this with you.
Health and Wellness Associates
Seniors Don’t Need Statins: Study
Senior citizens with no history of heart problems appear to gain no health benefit from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, a new study suggests.
People 65 and older treated with pravastatin (Pravachol) as part of a major clinical trial had about the same risk of death as people in a placebo group, according to the results. They also appeared to suffer strokes and heart attacks at about the same rate.
“Our study shows there may not be any benefit for taking a statin therapy for primary prevention for people who are over the age of 65,” said Dr. Benjamin Han.
Statins might even pose a risk to people 75 and older, added Han, an assistant professor of medicine and population health at New York University School of Medicine.
“There was some suggestion the statin group had a little bit higher mortality than the placebo group” at that age, Han said. But, this result was not statistically significant, he noted.
Experts from the American Heart Association and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City urged doctors and patients to take these findings with a grain of salt.
“The only merit to the study is that it raises questions that haven’t been adequately answered,” said Dr. Robert Eckel, an AHA spokesman. “This is not the kind of evidence that should influence guidelines about statin therapy in adults 65 and older,” said Eckel, chair of atherosclerosis at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
For the study, Han and his colleagues analyzed data from a clinical trial conducted from 1994 to 2002, called the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT-LLT).
Most statin studies have focused on middle-aged people, so there’s little known about the effect of these medications on seniors, Han said.
With an aging population, the question keeps coming up, “Should you be on a statin medication even if you don’t have a history of cardiovascular disease?” Han said. “Will this help you in the long run?”
From the antihypertensive trial data, the researchers drew a sample that included almost 3,000 adults 65 and older with high blood pressure, but no plaque buildup in the arteries that would occur due to high cholesterol.
About half of those adults took pravastatin while half received usual care.
The researchers found no health benefit from pravastatin in these older patients. In fact, more deaths occurred in the pravastatin group than in the usual care group — 141 versus 130 among adults 65 to 74, and 92 versus 65 among adults 75 and older.
The side effects of statins, which include muscle pains and fatigue, might weigh more heavily on older people, Han said.
“Anything that can affect their physical function, anything that can affect their ability to do activities on a daily basis, puts them at a higher risk for further decline and a higher risk for mortality,” Han said.
Dr. Robert Rosenson is director of cardiometabolic disorders at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He said the new study is flawed because its conclusions rely on data from a very small number of patients. For example, the analysis of people 75 and older included only 375 people taking pravastatin and 351 in the control group.
“That’s such a small number to detect difference in events, let alone mortality when you’re dealing with a low-potency statin,” Rosenson said.
Because of this, the effects noted in the study often aren’t backed up by the statistics, he said.
“From a fundamental statistical standpoint, I think they’re far overstating their conclusion,” Rosenson said.
Rosenson also criticized the research team for choosing the ALLHAT-LLT clinical trial as source of their data.
That trial has been controversial because “it was one of the few cholesterol studies that failed to show a reduction” in heart attacks and strokes, Rosenson said.
“If you wanted to make the point that statins don’t help older people and may harm them, then that would be the study you would pick to show that the hypothesis is going to fail,” Rosenson said.
Eckel said he is “somewhat underwhelmed” by the study.
“There are so many limitations to this paper, and the authors, to their credit, list most if not all of them,” Eckel said.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the study. The results were published May 22 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
If you need help with alternatives for statins, and getting your cholesterol down, then give us a call and we will set up an appointment for you.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr P Carrothers
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
Approximately 36% of healthy young adults and approximately 57% of inpatients in the United States and Europe suffer from vitamin D deficiency – that’s a staggering figure! Vitamin D is essential to strong bones and also to optimal muscle function. It has also been connected to reduced risk of death from heart failure, various cancers, hypertension and diabetes. Yes, it’s that important.
Many of the people who are vitamin D deficient do not even know. You can always request lab testing from your doctor and this is a very good thing to do. I recently had very thorough lab work which checked everything from my thyroid function to kidney function, vitamins and minerals – and it really helps not only isolate potential issues but can also sometimes catch life threatening illnesses early!
Although we are warned against sun overexposure, the best way to get enough vitamin D is through sun exposure. How much sun you need a day depends on many factors such as age, skin color, time of the day, season, and…. the use of sunscreen. Yes, if you put sunscreen on it blocks the vitamin D production. 10 to 15 minutes of natural sun per day is considered optimal. You can even spread this out so as to reduce risk of overexposure.
It’s interesting to note that in some cultures (for example China) it is considered fashionable and chic for women to be pale, not tanned. In China women go to great lengths to preserve their alabaster complexions.
Aside from sunshine, the two other main sources of vitamin D are food and supplements. For those who – for whatever reason – wish not to expose their skin to the sun, vitamin D supplementation may be a good idea
12 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
- Muscle and Bone Weakness:
Vitamin D is important for bones, muscles and teeth. Weakened bones, teeth, or muscles may be a sign that you are not getting enough of it.
- Feeling Blue Or Sad:
Researchers have found that woman with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to be depressed or struggle with deep feelings of sadness.
- Great Pain Sensitivity:
People who struggle with chronic pains often have inadequate vitamin D levels.
- Chronic Gum Disease:
People with lower levels of vitamin D are more vulnerable for swelling, reddening, and bleeding of gums.
- High Blood Pressure:
Vitamin D is important for your heart too. When you don’t get enough of it, you’re blood pressure may rise.
- Fatigue and Sleepiness:
People with lower levels of vitamin D lack the energy during the day and may have a constant feeling of fatigue.
- Mood Swings:
Vitamin D plays a role in serotonin production. This “feel good hormone” has a major impact on our mood.
- Decreased Endurance:
Studies have shown that athletes with lower vitamin D levels preform less and have lower energy levels compared to other athletes.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, stored in our fat cells. People who are overweight or obese therefore need more vitamin D.
- Gut Issues:
People who struggle with fat absorption (ex. Crohn’s, celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and inflammatory bowel disease), may have lower vitamin D levels as well.
- Head Sweater:
Excessive head sweating is a common, early sign of vitamin D deficiency.
Adequate vitamin D can reduce allergies. A study done on 6000 individuals showed that people with low vitamin D levels are more susceptible to allergies
The concern is there are many kinds of vitamin D and which one is right for you. Contact us and that is our job to figure out what is correct for your body, not your neighbors or spouses.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr. P Carrothers
Common Painkillers Boost Heart Attack Risks
Common prescription and over-the-counter painkillers, including ibuprofen, boost the risk of heart attack, according to new research that backs earlier findings linking such drugs to cardiac hazards.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), finds that higher risk of heart attack depends on dose and arises as early as the first week of use.
But the researchers said the new findings indicate doctors and patients should more carefully weigh the risks and benefits of so-called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Such medications include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cambia), celecoxib (Celebrex), and naproxen (Midol, Aleve).
Asprin, which is also an NSAID, was not among the painkillers linked to heart attacks and has consistently been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer.
“Given that the onset of risk of acute myocardial infarction [heart attack] occurred in the first week and appeared greatest in the first month of treatment with higher doses, prescribers should consider weighing the risks and benefits of NSAIDs before instituting treatment, particularly for higher doses,” the researchers concluded.
The findings are based on an analysis of studies by an international team of researchers led by Michèle Bally of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center (CRCHUM), formerly an epidemiology doctoral student at McGill University in Canada.
The researchers examined the medical records of nearly 447,000 people, more than 61,000 of whom had a heart attack, from Canada, Finland, and the United Kingdom.
The findings showed that taking any dose of NSAIDs for one week, one month, or more than a month was associated with an increased risk of heart attack.
Overall the increased risk of a heart attack was between 20 percent and 50 percent greater for those using NSAIDs than those not taking them.
The findings also indicated the higher the dose or frequency of taking the drugs, the greater the risk of heart attack.
The study is the largest investigation of its kind to examine real-world patient experiences.
After previous studies reached similar conclusions, the Food and Drug Administration required cardiovascular risk warnings be added to the labels of all NSAIDs (except aspirin) in 2005, updated those requirements in 2015.
Health and Wellness Associates
There are some scents that remind us about the comfort of home and can soothe our bodies in the process. Case in point: the sweet and warm smell of cinnamon.
This spice is derived from the stems of the cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is then extracted, and the woody parts are removed and left to dry. This results in the formation of strips that eventually curl into the cinnamon sticks known today.
These strips can also then be ground to form cinnamon powder. The spice is native to the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia.
There are two known types of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon. Also known as Cinnamomum verum, Ceylon cinnamon is considered to be “true cinnamon,” and is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean.
Cassia cinnamon or Cinnamomum aromaticum, on the other hand, is the variety that’s more commonly used nowadays because it is less expensive compared to the former. This type of cinnamon is grown in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The first recorded use of cinnamon dates back to circa 2800 BCE by Emperor Shen Nung, known as the Father of Chinese Medicine. Cinnamon was also utilized in ancient Egyptian society to mummify the dead.
This spice became highly prized, and since cinnamon was rare and valuable, it was regarded as a gift fit for kings In medieval times, doctors used cinnamon to treat ailments such as coughs, sore throat and arthritis.
Nowadays, cinnamon is ranked as the second most popular spice in the U.S. next to black pepper. Even more important, recent research has proven that cinnamon is loaded with nutrients that your body will greatly benefit from.
Choose Cinnamon for Its Amazing Health Benefits
There is more to this spice than its comforting smell. Cinnamon has high amounts of calcium, fiber and manganese, as well as antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties. It’s highly useful for:
Enhancing antioxidant defenses: polyphenols in cinnamon can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.
Exhibiting anti-inflammatory properties: cinnamaldehyde, an oily compound responsible for cinnamon’s aroma and flavor, can help alleviate inflammation.
A study revealed that cinnamon can target inflammatory pathways and assist in preventing neurodegenerative illnesses.
Enhancing cognitive function: one study proved that the smell of cinnamon worked better than peppermint and jasmine in boosting cognitive function.
Study participants reported better scores on tasks that involved attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory and visual-motor response speed after they smelled cinnamon or chewed cinnamon-flavored gum.
Improving brain health: two compounds in cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin, were shown to inhibit the aggregation of a protein called tau.
Tau plays a big role in the structure and function of neurons.
Although this protein is normal in cell structures, if tau accumulates, it can develop “neurofibrillary tangles,” a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
Cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin were proven to protect tau from oxidative damage that can lead to dysfunction.
Supporting weight loss: cinnamon was proven to be effective in regulating postprandial glucose response, or the amount of blood sugar found in your blood after a meal.
Helping soothe sore throat and/or coughs: a water-soluble fiber called mucilage is created when you soak cinnamon sticks in water.
Mucilage then coats and soothes the throat when you drink this infusion. The antibacterial properties of the spice also help treat these ailments.
Increased blood flow and blood oxygen levels (that can assist in fighting infections) could also occur because of cinnamon’s warming properties.
Keeping cancer at bay: cinnamaldehyde was proven to thwart colon cancer cells and may be effective versus human liver cancer cells.
Preventing heart disease: not only does cinnamon help stabilize HDL cholesterol levels, but it can reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well.
Alleviating ADHD symptoms: research has shown that cinnamon was able to help enhance motivation and performance and reduce anxiety and frustration while driving.
Further, the spice assists in counteracting oxidative stress’ effects that typically manifest in kids with ADHD.
Helping diabetes patients: cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels, boost insulin sensitivity and slow down the emptying of the stomach to reduce sharp blood sugar rises after a meal.
Cinnamon was also proven to improve glycemic status, especially in the levels of fasting blood glucose among type 2 diabetes patients.
The body’s glucose metabolism is also increased by about 20 times, helping enhance the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.
Lastly, cinnamon exhibited potential in becoming an insulin substitute for type 2 diabetes patients because of the presence of a bioactive component with insulin-like effects.
How Is Cinnamon Typically Used?
Most people know cinnamon because it’s a popular ingredient in pastry.Did you know, however, that cinnamon can be utilized for medicinal purposes as well?
This spice is known to help in treating muscle spasms, vomiting, diarrhea, infections, appetite loss, erectile dysfunctions and colds, as well as help prevent ailments such as urinary tract infections, tooth decay and gum disease. Here are other brilliant ways to use cinnamon:
Athlete’s foot solution: soaking your feet in cinnamon tea aids in killing athlete’s foot-causing fungus.
Mother Earth Living suggests boiling water first and then adding a few cinnamon sticks after.
Once the mixture is ready, soak your feet in the warm water for a few minutes per night.
Nausea relief: when ingested, cinnamon tea works well in helping relieve nausea because of the catechins in the spice.
Boil 1 teaspoon of cinnamon bark in a cup of water for about 10 minutes, strain the liquid and drink.
However, if you’re pregnant, do not drink this mixture.
Hair mask: if you want to help avoid hair loss and promote hair growth, a hair mask mixed with cinnamon can lessen your worries.
Start by warming half a cup of olive oil in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of both cinnamon powder and honey, and stir.
Work this mixture onto your scalp, leave on for 15 minutes and wash hair.
Make sure to consult your physician first before applying this hair mask, especially if you’re already treating this problem.
Natural bronzer: ditch the typical bronzers that are loaded with harsh chemicals — you can make your own with three ingredients only.
Combine cinnamon powder, cocoa powder and cornstarch until the color suits your skin.
Simply add more cocoa powder if you want a darker hue or more cornstarch if you want a lighter shade.
Once you get the color you wanted, mix it with plain and unscented lotion and store in a clean jar with a lid.
Massage or baths: combine ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ cup of almond or sesame oil and ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Before using, shake the oil gently.
Ant repellent: if ants have become a recurring problem in your home, sprinkle powdered cinnamon along the windowsills to help prevent these insects from coming in, as they have an aversion to cinnamon.
Just be sure to replace the powder when they get wet.
Holiday home décor: should you feel like your home needs extra decorating, especially during the holidays, you can use cinnamon sticks to make a wreath.
You will need about 80 to 120 cinnamon sticks and a wooden wreath ring from a local craft store.
Using a hot glue gun, stick the cinnamon sticks onto the frame.
Finish off the wreath by attaching a seasonal ribbon or other embellishments.
Grow Cinnamon in Your Garden
While cinnamon isn’t typically grown in home settings, it can be easy to grow. Cinnamon typically blooms during spring to summer. It grows best when the soil is kept slightly dry, since it allows the plant to thrive for years in a pot without special care. A well-drained and acidic potting mix works best. Cinnamon plants need full to partial sun, a minimum indoor temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and adequate protection from frost.
Last but not the least, you will need cinnamon seeds. According to Laurelynn and Byron Martin, authors of the book “Growing Tasty Tropical Plants in Any Home, Anywhere,” Ceylon cinnamon can be grown from either seeds, vegetative cuttings or grafts, but it’s more difficult to propagate vegetatively than Cassia cinnamon.
Cinnamon plants, on some occasions, also produce seeds that can be picked and planted. Just make sure to get seeds when they’re ripe and black in color and plant them as soon as possible.
To ensure proper growth, fertilize the plants either weekly or biweekly only during active growth in the late winter until fall. These plants stay as small as 3 feet if you prune them regularly, but you can allow them to reach up to 8 feet tall when you repot the plant over time into a 12- to 14-inch pot.
To know when the plant has developed, check the leaves. Matured leaves often appear green or light green (when kept in high light). The cinnamon plant also allows the development of small white flowers, as well as purplish and black berries, although they are inedible.
Delicious Cinnamon Recipes
Although the two cinnamon types look and smell almost the same, this does not guarantee that you’ll be getting the health benefits the spice has to offer.
As noted by Authority Nutrition, the commonly used Cassia cinnamon contains high amounts of a compound called coumarin. Large doses of coumarin could be harmful and may lead to a higher risk of liver damage, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea or blurred vision, to name a few.
You’re better off using Ceylon cinnamon. Studies have shown that this type of cinnamon has lower coumarin content. If you want to tell Ceylon cinnamon apart from Cassia cinnamon, take note of these pointers, especially if you want to buy the spice in stick form:
More expensive, as the price may spike 10 times more than Cassia cinnamon
Tan brown color
Thin and paper-like textured bark that forms multiple layers when rolled up
Fragile and easily broken
Delicate and sweet scent with subtle notes of clove
Cassia cinnamon ( United States Cinnamon)
Commonly available and very cheap
Reddish, dark brown color
Uneven and thick bark that forms only a few layers when rolled up
Tough, difficult and if not, impossible to grind to a powder, ground into sawdust
Pungent and full-bodied taste, flavored with oils
You always want to buy cinnamon from Thailand, Saigon, or Ceylon
To maintain the spice’s freshness and taste, store it in a glass container in a cool and dark place. Ground cinnamon will last for about six months, while cinnamon sticks remain fresh for at least one year. You can also extend the shelf life by storing it in the refrigerator.
Cinnamon can also enhance the taste of savory dishes. Examples include these Almond Crusted Salmon with Steamed Broccoli and Sweet Potato Hash Brown Recipe, Flavorful Butternut Squash Breakfast Bowl Recipe and Healthy, Creamy Eggplant Moussaka Recipe. Feel free to sprinkle cinnamon on raw, grass-fed yogurt or kefir too, or add to hot water to make a potent but delicious tea.
Try Cinnamon Essential Oil Too
Apart from utilizing cinnamon in either stick or powdered form, you can also make use of cinnamon leaf oil or cinnamon essential oil. This is typically extracted from the leaves of the Ceylon cinnamon tree via steam distillation46 and can be used for the following purposes:47
Flavoring for seasonings
Ingredient in products such as creams, lotions or shampoos
Aromatherapy (try mixing 20 to 25 drops of this essential oil with ¼ cup of almond or olive oil and place the finished blend in a glass container with a narrow opening)
Disinfectant to clean surfaces like kitchen counters, toilets and chopping boards, appliances such as microwaves and refrigerators and even sneakers
Odor eliminator by combining with a few drops of water
There are a variety of ways that you can benefit from cinnamon essential oil. If you’re feeling stressed or drowsy, or need an energy boost or pick-me-up, sniff this oil. You can also help soothe sore muscles and joints, or relieve pain from muscular aches, sprains, rheumatism and arthritis. The warm and antispasmodic capability of the oil is responsible for this feat.
This essential oil also has medicinal benefits. It aids in preventing viral infections such as coughs and colds from spreading and in fighting staph infection-causing bacteria and germs in the gallbladder. Respiratory conditions such as chest congestion and bronchitis can also be relieved using this essential oil, especially when diffused in a vaporizer or burner.
Lastly, cinnamon essential oil was found to help enhance your blood by helping remove impurities and improving blood circulation. This ensures that the body’s cells get enough oxygen,48 assists in promoting metabolic activity and helps lower risk for heart attacks.
Although food with ground cinnamon or cinnamon infusions can be consumed, the same cannot be said for cinnamon essential oil. Never take this oil internally. Instead, blend with a safe carrier oil, such as coconut, olive or almond oil, or other spice oils such as black pepper, cardamom clove and ginger oils and use topically only.
Before using this essential oil, consult your physician first and take a skin patch test to see if the oil triggers allergies. Generally, cinnamon essential oil is not advised for pregnant women, since it has emmenagogue effects that can cause menstruation. It is recommended that young children avoid using this essential oil too.
Once you get the go signal to use cinnamon essential oil, always remember to properly dilute it and use in moderation. Convulsions may occur if you ingest high amounts of the oil. Cinnamon essential oil has also been linked to:
Irritation in the urinary tract, intestines and stomach lining (when taken internally)
Health and Wellness Associates