CARDIO EXERCISE GOOD FOR MORE THAN YOUR HEART
You probably already know that cardio, or “aerobic,” exercise — the kind that gets your heart pumping — is good for your ticker. It lowers your resting pulse and strengthens your heart muscle. That’s why, as you slowly lengthen your cardio workouts, you’re able to go for longer time and distance. But your heart isn’t the only part of your body that benefits.
Heart Health Is Just the Start
Cardio may be good for your shut-eye. Scientists know that it can help you keep an even mood, wind down at bedtime, and set up a healthy sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm). The exact brain effects aren’t always clear, but people who exercise more tend to get more of the deep “slow wave” sleep that helps renew the brain and body. But try not to exercise too close to bedtime, which disrupts sleep for some people.
Lower Your Blood Sugar
Health Benefits of Cherries
Cherries for gout
Cherries are especially useful for treating gout. Gout is a kind of arthritis linked to an unusually high amount of uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid is made in the liver and sometimes too much uric acid is made. Needle-like crystals form as uric acid levels increase, and these crystals build up in the joints over time, resulting in the pain and inflammation typical of gout.
Bing cherries have antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties, in particular a compound known as cyanidin, which has been found to inhibit the activity of the enzyme involved in the making of uric acid. Research has revealed that eating the equivalent of a pound of fresh cherries each day is highly effective for lowering uric acid levels.
One study demonstrated that healthy people who ate Bing cherries for 28 days had reduced inflammation markers and they stayed low for days despite discontinuation of cherry consumption.
Another study has also shown that eating cherries may lower risk of gout attacks. Gout sufferers consuming cherries for a 2 day period had a 35 % reduced risk of gout attacks when compared with those not eating cherries. The risk of gout flare continued decreasing with the increase of cherry intake, up to 3 servings over 2 days. It was found that additional cherry intake did not provide any extra benefit.
Nutritional value of cherries (red) per 100g:
- How many calories in cherries – 50
- How much protein in cherries – 1g
- How many carbs in cherries – 12g
- What is the fat content of cherries – 0.3g
Nutrients in cherries
Cherries are a very good source of vitamins C and A. They are a good source of copper, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese.
Cherries and blood pressure
Montmorency tart cherry juice lowers blood pressure
Consuming tart cherry juice is as effective for reducing high blood pressure as blood pressure lowering medications. Participants of a 2016 study who had early signs of hypertension experienced a blood pressure reduction of 7% three hours after consuming a Montmorency tart cherry concentrate and water mixture.
The blood pressure readings of the 15 participants was least 130/90 mmHg, which means they had a higher risk of having cardiovascular related problems. They consumed either 60ml of tart cherry juice concentrate or 60ml of a commercial fruit-flavored drink.
Blood pressure was taken before consuming the Montmorency cherry concentrate and was measured thereafter on an hourly basis. The participants consuming the Montmorency cherry concentrate experienced a blood pressure reduction of 7 mmHg in the 3 hours after consumption.
The greatest systolic blood pressure improvement occurred when vanillic and protocatechuic, the cherry concentrate’s phenolic acids, reached peak plasma levels. The reduction in blood pressure from the consumption of the Montmorency cherry concentrate was comparable to the reduction achieved by blood pressure lowering medication.
A 2018 study found that consuming Montmorency tart cherry juice reduced systolic blood pressure in individuals between the ages of 65 and 80. The 34 study participants in this 12-week randomized controlled trial were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups.
The 1st group drank 240ml of Montmorency tart cherry juice in the morning and 240ml in the evening every day for the 12 weeks. The 2nd group drank the equivalent amount of a cherry flavored placebo drink devoid of tart cherries. Blood pressure as well as blood sugar, insulin, weight and cholesterol were measured when the study began and again when it ended.
The Montmorency tart cherry juice group had a significant reduction (4.1 mmHg) in systolic blood pressure in comparison to the drink placebo drink group.
How much tart cherry juice should you drink a day to lower blood pressure?
The participants in the 2016 study drank 60ml of tart cherry juice concentrate, which is estimated to be equivalent to about 500g of whole tart cherries.
The participants in the 2018 study drank 480 ml tart cherry juice, which was prepared from 68ml Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate diluted with 412ml water.
Tart cherry juice for sleep
Melatonin in cherries
Montmorency tart cherries have been found to contain substantial amounts of the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Although some other foods also have melatonin, the quantity is too low to be effective, but, according to research, Montmorency cherries have 0.1 to 0.3 milligram of melatonin a serving, and contain about 6 times more melatonin compared to Balaton cherries. At this dosage melatonin has been proven to be an efficient sleep inducer.
A 2014 study concluded that Montmorency tart cherry juice helps in improving the quality and duration of sleep, as well as help in reducing insomnia severity. The 7 study participants who suffered from insomnia that consumed the cherry juice in the morning as well as at night slept over an hour longer each night.
Besides Montmorency tart cherries being a good source of melatonin, tart cherry juice also helps in increasing the availability of the essential amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin which helps with sleep. The tart cherry juice inhibits a tryptophan degrading enzyme and degradation of tryptophan is a predictor of insomnia. The researchers suggest the melatonin and tryptophan combination in Montmorency tart cherries is likely contributing to the benefits of tart cherries for sleep.
Cherries for weight loss
A 2008 animal study has suggested that tart cherries have significant potential for reducing belly fat. Obese rats that were given tart cherry powder combined with a high-fat diet gained less weight than rats that were not given cherries. After 12 weeks, the rats that were given the tart cherry powder had 54% body fat in comparison to 63% for rats that were fed a “Western diet”. The difference in weight gain was particularly pronounced in fat around the waist area, the rats that were given the cherry powder gained less belly fat.
The rats were given either a high fat and moderate carbohydrate diet, or a low fat and high carbohydrate diet, both of which came either with or without tart cherry powder. The cherry enriched diet rats experienced a total cholesterol level reduction of approximately 11%.The TNF-alpha inflammation marker was reduced by 40% and interleukin 6 (IL-6) was reduced by 31%.
Cherries and cancer
Cherries have quite high levels of anthocyanins (the flavonoids giving cherries their intense red color), which give them anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and chemopreventative properties. Tart cherries contain the natural compound perillyl alcohol, which seems to be very effective in reducing the incidence of all kinds of cancer. Perillyl alcohol has tested well for treating advanced prostate, breast and ovary cancers. Research suggests that substances in tart cherries can reduce the formation of the carcinogenic chemicals (HCAAs) that develop from the charring of meat.
Cherries for colon cancer
Two of the anthocyanidins present in cherries, quercetin and isoquerxitrin, have been found to prevent the growth of colon cancer.
Cherries for breast cancer
Cyandin-3-glucoside, another anthocyanin found in cherries and other fruits, has antioxidative and anti‐inflammatory properties and also induces the death of breast cancer cells. Cyandin-3-glucoside inhibits the cytokine VEGF, which plays a key role in tumor angiogenesis. Angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation) plays a major role in breast cancer progression by providing cancer cells with nutrients, oxygen, and blood vessels for cancer cells to spread.
Delphinidin is another anthocyanin found in cherries and other brightly colored fruits and veggies, and is also found in certain dietary supplements used as complementary cancer treatment. Delphinidin induces cell death in HER2+ breast cancer cells. Delphinidin also inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in breast cancer cells.
Tart cherry juice benefits for exercise
Tart cherry juice improves exercise recovery
Cherries help to alleviate muscle soreness after exercising. A cup of tart cherry juice can help in reducing the soreness and inflammation of the muscles that is experienced after strenuous exercise. Marathon runners consuming tart cherry juice twice a day for 7 days before a race experienced less post race pain compared to runners not consuming cherry juice.
A 2011 study revealed that men who had tart cherry juice after weight training exercises experienced less muscle pain as well as less strength loss.
A 2019 study found that active women consuming tart cherry concentrate twice a day for eight days experienced reduced muscle soreness after exercising.
Tart cherry juice improves exercise performance
A 2019 study concluded that Montmorency cherry supplementation improves cycling performance. Eight trained cyclists supplementing Montmorency tart cherry for 7 days improved cycling time-trial performance. The exercise performance improvement was accompanied by muscle oxygenation enhancement which suggests that the cherry polyphenols’ vasoactive properties could be supporting the performance improvement effects.
Tart cherry juice for arthritis
Commonly used pain medication for osteoarthritis doesn’t actually reduce inflammation and has unwanted side effects such as kidney or liver damage. The pain relieving properties of tart cherries have been show to be effective for the relief of pain associated with osteoarthritis without the side effects of conventional treatments.
A 2007 study revealed that pain and function improved significantly in osteoarthritis of the knee patients when they were given tart cherries in supplement form for 8 weeks.
Cherry juice for inflammation
In a 2012 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 20 patients suffering from inflammatory osteoarthritis had significant reductions in inflammation markers after consuming tart cherry juice twice daily for 3 weeks.
The study participants included twenty 40 to 70 year old women experiencing at least moderate osteoarthritis pain. They consumed 10.5-ounces of tart cherry juice or a placebo cherry drink twice daily for 3 weeks. There was a statistically significant reduction in inflammation among those individuals who consumed the tart cherry juice, which was indicated by reduced C-reactive protein levels. The reduction in inflammation was greatest for individuals who had shown the highest levels of inflammation at the beginning of the study.
Cherry juice for pain relief
Cherries are a natural pain reliever. Researchers have found that anthocyanidins from cherries have the ability to block both COX-1 and COX-2, enzymes considered to cause pain. Of all the fruits which were tested, cherries had the highest amounts of key anthocyanidins. The COX-inhibitory activities of the anthocyanidins in cherries were even found to be comparable to those of naproxen and ibuprofen.
Tart cherries and cholesterol
Elevated LDL cholesterol levels are a risk factor for atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. The standard medical approach to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels to a safer range is to prescribe statins to reduce blood lipid levels. However, some patients encounter Statins are however not without side effects such as muscle pain to liver dysfunction.
A 2011 study reported a 26% reduction in cholesterol levels in mice fed tart cherry powder. A reduction in early death of 65% was also reported, which was believed to be as a result of an improvement in cardiovascular health.
Another 2011 study in humans reported a reduction in of triglycerides levels of more than 17% on average after consuming 8-ounces of tart cherry juice daily for 4 weeks.
A 2018 study reported a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol levels after participants drank Montmorency tart cherry juice made from concentrate. Study participants drinking 480ml of Montmorency tart cherry juice daily for 12 weeks experienced a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels as well as lower levels of total cholesterol.
Benefits of cherries for skin
What is oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress when the body has an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals. Free radicals are produced by the cells of the body during normal metabolic processes, and free radical neutralizing antioxidants are also produced by the cells. The body usually maintains a balance between free radicals and antioxidants.
Oxidative stress plays an important part in the aging process, especially in the skin. Aging results in the thinning of the epidermal (outer) as well as dermal (under) layers of the skin. This leads to fine wrinkles as a result of reduction of elastic fibers, collagen, and hyaluronic acid.
What are antioxidants?
Free radicals are unstable molecules which can cause damage in the body, and antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving the free radical an electron. Antioxidants are produced naturally by the body and can also come from food such as fruit and veggies.
Several human studies have shown that sweet as well as tart cherries reduce oxidative stress. Melatonin, carotenoids, anthocyanins, polyphenols, and vitamins C and E are all contributors to the antioxidant properties of cherries.
Cherries are an excellent source of anthocyanins, the flavonoid pigment that gives the cherry it’s color, and which has the greatest antioxidant capacity of any of the flavonoids. Tart cherries have more anthocyanins in comparison to sweet cherries. Scientific evidence has suggested that anthocyanins could possibly delay the appearance of signs of skin aging.
Cherry juice and diabetes
There is some evidence to suggest that consumption of cherries could help in promoting healthy glucose regulation and reducing diabetes risk.
The enzymes dipeptidyl peptidase-4 and α glucosidase which are involved in the promotion of diabetes are inhibited by chlorogenic acid, one the main polyphenols of tart cherry juice.
Study results suggest that blood glucose could be reduced from anthocyanins by slowing the production of glucose from complex carbohydrates. The production of glucagon by pancreatic α cells could also be reduced, and hepatic glucose uptake and production of insulin by pancreatic β cells increased.
A 2008 study revealed a significant decrease in hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) after diabetic women supplemented 40 mL of concentrated tart cherry juice day for 6 weeks. Fasting blood glucose was also decreased by 8%.
History of cherries
Cherries were named after the ancient Turkish town of Cerasus and go as far back to at least 300 B.C.
Cherries were among the first fruits the early settlers brought to America. The first cherry orchard was planted in northern Michigan in the 1600s. The 1st commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893.
The ultimate celebration of cherries is the National Cherry Festival, which is held each year in July in Traverse City, Michigan.
Cherry trees have played a part in American folklore since George Washington chopped down his father’s cherry tree, then couldn’t tell a lie and told his father what he’d done.
Sweet cherries are cultivated throughout North America and Europe. France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Russia are big producers in Europe. Sour cherries are cultivated in Eastern Europe, Germany, Russia, and the United States. Germany tops the world in cherry production, followed by the United States.
Top 10 Foods to Battle Arthritis
More than 54 million American adults suffer from some form of arthritis according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Furthermore, the CDC predicts that by the year 2040, an estimated 78 million adults are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
But experts say that eating the right, anti-inflammatory diet can help protect your joints and alleviate some of the symptoms of this potentially painful disease. These same anti-inflammatory foods can also stave off other dreaded diseases as well, because we know that inflammation plays a major role in almost every major disease. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it’s the culprit in many forms of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even depression.
According to Health Fitness Revolution, here are the top 10 foods and nutrients to eat to treat your arthritis — and improve your health:
- Foods rich in calcium. Dairy products that are low in fat like milk and yogurt are rich in calcium and vitamin D, which can help increase the strength in your bones and joints. If you are lactose intolerant take a supplement or eat leafy, green veggies.
- Vitamin C. This water-soluble vitamin is essential to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. Consume more fruits like strawberries, pineapples and kiwis.
- Broccoli. Aside from being rich in vitamin C, broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound that can help prevent and slow down the progression of osteoarthritis.
- Garlic. Garlic contains diallyl disulfide, a compound that can help alleviate arthritis. Chop garlic into your pasta, soups and stews or take supplements such as Kyolic Aged Garlic extract. Adding garlic to your diet could benefit not only arthritis symptoms but also your overall health since it has also been associated with reduced risk of certain cancers and heart disease.
- Fish. Fatty fish contains inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce the inflammation in your joints and relieve pain. Aim for at least 4 ounces of fish, like salmon, herring, sardines or cod, twice weekly to reap the benefits.
- Soy. Like fish, soy also contains omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re aren’t a fan of fish, try eating soybeans with your meals. Soybeans are low in fat, with lots of protein and fiber.
- Tart cherries. You may find relief from these cherries that are chock full of powerful anthocyanins, antioxidants that give the cherries their red color. You can find tart cherry supplements at your health food store or eat the actual cherries themselves. Tart cherry juice is a great tasting option but look for the unsweetened variety.
- Green tea. Studies have shown that an antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) actually cancels the molecules that come together to cause joint damage. Green tea is also full of polyphenols that are great for healthy joints.
- Whole grains. Whole grains should be your new best friend. They contain a compound called CRP which can help reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Eating breakfast of whole grain cereal or oatmeal is a great way to introduce whole grains into your diet.
- Ginger. A recent study assessed the effects of ginger extract on patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. A whopping 63% experienced improvements in knee pain after only six weeks. You can consume ginger in fresh, powdered or dried form or use the extract itself.
You Are What You Eat, So Dont Be Cheap, Easy, or Fake
Did you have Mononucleosis?
Millions of young Americans have lived through the fatigue and discomfort of mononucleosis.
Now, new research suggests, but doesn’t prove, that the virus that causes the illness may be linked to an increased risk for seven other serious immune-system diseases.
Those diseases include lupus; multiple sclerosis; rheumatoid arthritis; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; inflammatory bowel disease; celiac disease, crohns disease and type 1 diabetes.
“Mono” is a contagious illness that occurs most often in teens and young adults. It’s caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, one of the most common human viruses.
“Epstein-Barr virus infects over 90 percent of adults, and the infection lasts for a lifetime,” said study lead author Dr. John Harley.
“The new results are building a strong case that this virus is also involved in causing a number of autoimmune diseases for at least some patients,” added Harley. He is director of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology.
“It is the kind of circumstantial evidence that is comparable to a smoking gun,” he added.
And those seven diseases affect roughly 8 million Americans, Harley and his colleagues said.
However, one expert said people who have had mono shouldn’t panic.
The findings “should not be a cause for alarm,” said Dr. David Pisetsky, a professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C.
“In modern life everyone has been exposed and infected with Epstein-Barr,” he noted. “And if 99 percent of people have been exposed to Epstein-Barr, and only 0.1 percent have lupus, it means there really must be other factors at play that affect risk,” Pisetsky explained.
“I really don’t think it’s a reason for undue concern,” he added. Pisetsky is also on the scientific advisory board for the Lupus Research Alliance.
Harley’s in-depth genetic analysis revealed that at the cellular level, the Epstein-Barr virus shares a number of abnormal viral on-off switches (“transcription factors”) in common with those seven other illnesses.
Those transcription factors are meant to move along the human genome (DNA roadmap), jumpstarting cells into performing necessary tasks.
But the abnormal switches found in Epstein-Barr hijack this process. First, they bind to a specific protein — known as EBNA2. Then they move about the genome in search of disease trigger points. Once docked at a respective trigger point, the risk for that particular disease goes up, the new research suggests.
Harley said he and other scientists will continue to examine additional factors that likely also contribute to autoimmune risk. Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.
As the cause of mononucleosis, Epstein-Barr is typically transmitted via saliva, giving rise to its nickname as the “kissing disease.”
Kids and teens with mono may have a fever, muscle aches and sore throat. They often feel exhausted. However, many people — especially young children — experience no symptoms. And in most cases, mono resolves within a couple of weeks.
The new findings stem from an extensive genetic review of potential links between the Epstein-Barr virus and roughly 200 illnesses. However, the study could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The review actually uncovered preliminary links to 94 additional diseases, including breast cancer. But Harley’s team said further investigation is needed to confirm those associations.
Tim Coetzee is chief advocate for services and research with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He characterizes the new findings as “an important contribution.”
“We need these kinds of studies to help us unravel how this virus could trigger disease,” he said. “The paper is also a powerful demonstration about how detailed genetic studies can help us understand human diseases.”
Careful research like this, Coetzee added, “will give us the knowledge we need to better understand the complexity of autoimmune diseases, and importantly point the way to potential prevention of these.”
Ask yourself if you have had a lot of strep throats, asthma, bronchitis or mono in your life. Are you one who has allergies, If so, make an appointment with us, and we can work together to prevent any of these diseases from attacking you.
Health and Wellness Associates
Director of Personalized Health Care
Preventative and Restorative Medicine
High-Fat, High-Carb Diet Causes Arthritis
Australian researchers have found that a diet high in saturated fat is a prime suspect in the onset of osteoarthritis after finding that it changes the composition of cartilage, especially in the weight-bearing joints of the hip and knee.
“Our findings suggest that it’s not wear and tear but diet that has a lot to do with the onset of osteoarthritis,” said lead researcher Professor Yin Xiao.
In possibly the first study to investigate the link between osteoarthritis and common dietary fatty acids, scientists at the Queensland University of Technology studied the effects of diets rich in a variety of fatty acids, found in butter, coconut oil, palm oil, and animal fat, and simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs found in sugar, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup and the combination of high-fat, high-carb foods are commonly known as “junk food.”
“The main function of cartilage is to seal the bone ends in a joint and absorb pressure on the bones during weight-bearing movement such as walking,” said Xiao.
“We found that a diet containing simple carbohydrates together with 20 percent saturated fats produced osteoarthritic-like changes in the knee.
“Saturated fatty acid deposits in the cartilage change its metabolism and weaken the cartilage, making it more prone to damage. This would, in turn, lead to osteoarthritic pain from the loss of the cushioning effect of cartilage.
“We also found changes in the bone under the cartilage on a diet rich in saturated fat.”
But when the team tested lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid found in coconut oil, their findings were different. “Interestingly, when we replaced the meat fat in the diet with lauric acid we found decreased signs of cartilage deterioration and metabolic syndrome so it seems to have a protective effect,” said researcher Sunder Sekar.
He said fatty acids could cause tissue inflammation throughout the entire joint. “We tested a variety of saturated fats and found that long term use of animal fat, butter, and palm oil could weaken the cartilage.
“Replacement of traditional diets containing coconut-derived lauric acid with palm oil-derived palmitic acid or animal fat-derived stearic acid has the potential to worsen the development of both metabolic syndrome and osteoarthritis,” Sekar said.
Other studies have found that coconut oil benefits the body in many ways, including reducing the deep abdominal fat that’s a risk for heart disease, and reducing the buildup of proteins in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr P Carrothers
Yoga Reduces Major Depression: Harvard Study
A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that yoga combined with coherent breathing instruction significantly reduced symptoms in people with major depressive disorder.
Major depressive disorder (MDD), which is also known simply as depression, is characterized by persistent depressed mood along with a loss of interest in daily activities, low energy, and pain without an obvious cause that interferes with daily activities and enjoyment of life. It is commonly treated with medication or psychotherapy (talk therapy), or a combination of the two.
In the study, adults 18 to 64 years of age with MDD participated in either three (high-dose intervention) or two (low-dose) yoga classes per week and practiced coherent breathing at five breaths per minute. Symptoms of depression were measured at the beginning and throughout the 12-week study.
Volunteers who took three yoga classes a week were more likely to achieve lower depression scores after 12 weeks than subjects who took two classes.
“The practical findings for this integrative health intervention is that it worked for participants who were both on and off antidepressant medications, and for those time-pressed, the two times per week dose also performed well,” says John Weeks, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
The study was conducted by researchers from major institutions including Harvard School of Medicine and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Other recent studies have found that yoga is beneficial for a number of health issues. A study by scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine concluded that yoga may ease low back pain and improve ease of movement in patients.
Researchers from Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital found that people who practice deep relaxation techniques, including yoga and meditation, make 42 percent fewer trips to their doctors, and lab use dropped by 44 percent when compared to the year before training.
Yoga may also be a safe and effective way for people with arthritis to keep moving, according to a study from Johns Hopkins. A group of 75 volunteers with two common forms of arthritis, knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, were either put on a wait list or participated in twice-weekly yoga classes plus a weekly at-home session.
After eight weeks, those who were in the yoga group reported a 20 percent improvement in pain, mood, and the ability to perform daily activities when compared to the control group.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr Anna Sullivan
The Seven Most Dangerous Prescriptions You Can Take
A damning Harvard University report has advised that according to the European Commission, about 328,000 patients in the U.S. and Europe die from prescription drugs each year – making prescription drugs the 4th highest cause of death, on a par with stroke.
We could get into legal trouble if we advised you to go against the recommendations of your doctor; however, we can advise you to be as informed as possible about the risks involved in taking prescription meds.
According to the World Health Organization, the pharmaceutical industry is worth 300 billion dollars annually – with an additional hundred million expected to add to the value in the next three years. A third of this entire multi-billion-dollar market is controlled by ten of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. According to CMR International, a partner of Thomas Reuters, global pharmaceutical sales reached one trillion dollars in 2014 and will be booming to 1.3 trillion by 2018.
It goes without saying that this is big business – but like every big business, there is a dark side as well. Can we really trust the research – seeing as the same companies selling the pills are funding many of the medical journals and medical schools? And then we have the issue of doctors receiving kickbacks for prescribing certain drugs, after being “educated” on the benefits of the drugs by pharma salesmen.
Remember that doctors do not get paid from your insurance company unless they write a prescription or a procedure, or a follow up with another doctor.
Take a look at this list of seven of the most dangerous prescription drug types and see how they can hurt you.
#1: Sleeping Pills (OTC and prescribed)
The use of sleeping pills has been associated with an increased risk factor for stroke. A study published by Petrov, et. al. in 2014 revealed that over-the-counter and prescription sleeping pills increased a person’s risk for stroke, independently and beyond any of the other known risk factors like blood pressure, personal history of heart disease, and vices like smoking and drinking alcohol. Isn’t it worrying that compared to all other factors that place a person at risk for stroke, sleeping pills top that list?
This includes any medications that make you drowsy i.e. Benadryl, Night time Nyquil, Tylenol Pm, Valerian, and such.
#2: Cholesterol Drugs (Statins)
Did you know that deaths attributed to heart failure more than doubled from 1989 to 1997, while statins were first given pre-market approval in 1987? This is an alarming “coincidence” – to say the least. Interference with production of Co-Q10 by statin drugs has been proposed as the most likely explanation.
Drugs that are meant to control your cholesterol levels may also be damaging your liver. Hepatotoxicity is not completely absent among people who undergo statin therapy, but it is uncommon. However, several studies have discovered that statins cause severe liver damage, especially in in dosages higher than 50 milligrams per day – a scary thing to realize when statin dosages can climb up to 80 milligrams per day when a person has high or uncontrollable cholesterol levels. Atorvastatin, Simvastatin, Fluvastatin, Lovastatin, and Pravastatin have all been linked to liver injury.
#3: Blood Pressure Drugs (Beta-blockers, Calcium channel blockers)
Among the different drugs prescribed to manage hypertension, calcium channel blockers have been found to be the most common ones linked to adverse drugs reactions (ADRs). The most common ones linked to CCBs are bipedal edema, chest pain, hypersensitivity, and difficulty of breathing. A recent study published in 2014 discovered that immediate-release CCB use was positively associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. On the other hand, beta-blockers have been associated with several adverse side effects, such as increased incidence of post-operative dysrhythmia, troponin elevation, and heart failure, risk for hepatic failure, and small-for-gestational age births.
#4: Alzheimer’s Drugs
While the positive effects of psychotropic drugs have been well-documented, there have also been studies revealed their adverse effects. A study conducted on the pharmacological treatment of Alzheimer’s disease found that antipsychotics increased a person’s risk for developing diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and stroke, and even overall mortality. The most popular drug prescribed for Alzheimer’s is Aricept or Donezepil and has been linked to nausea, diarrhea, malaise, dizziness, and insomnia.
#5: Arthritis Drugs (NSAIDs)
It is so easy to be prescribed a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for pain, and even easier to purchase one from the pharmacy. What most people fail to realize is that NSAIDs are one of the leading causes of drug-related morbidity, especially in elderly and immunocompromised people. They have been directly linked to gastrointestinal problems, destroying the inner lining of the stomach and increasing the risk for ulceration and internal bleeding. Renal effects have also been linked to NSAID use, causing fluid and sodium retention and hypertension (and eventual cardiovascular problems). In worse case scenarios, people with severe kidney problems might even require dialysis. This seemingly innocuous drug is one of if not the most dangerous ones on this list.
#6: Diabetes Drugs (Actos, Avanida, Byetta, Metformin)
Another class of drugs to watch out for are those prescribed to manage high blood sugar, a characteristic symptom of diabetes. Liver damage has been linked to metformin use. In a study focusing on different ADRs, metformin-induced hepatitis was seen in a case of a person taking 500 milligrams of Metformin three times a day and insulin glargine. Liver damage can manifest as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) and discoloration of the urine and stool. Further liver damage can cause uncontrollable bleeding and insufficient clearing of toxins from the blood.
#7: Chemotherapy (Tamoxifen)
The one category of drug on the list that is universally regarded as harmful to a person’s health is chemotherapeutic drugs. When people diagnosed with cancer are advised to undergo chemotherapy, they are prepped for the side effects they will undoubtedly experience along with it. Chemotherapeutic drugs are strong enough to kill rapidly proliferating cancer cells – however there is collateral damage: Healthy cells are also killed and it’s the oft-repeated hope with chemotherapy that it “kills the cancer and doesn’t kill you”. Weakness, hair loss, and appetite loss, are the mildest of these side effects, with more serious ones involving blood in the urine or stool, high-grade fever, severe pain over the chemotherapy infusion site, vomiting and diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. Chemotherapy is known to kill a significant number of cancer patients.
Try to do everything you can not to start any of these medications. Once you have taken them for a while, your body gets lazy and does not want to work, and lets the pill do all the work. Then you are on them for life.
Call us if you need help getting off medications, or hopefully never getting on any medications.
Health and Wellness Associates
“But how can I be sure that I actually have inflammation?”
If you suspect you might be dealing with inflammation, there are tests that can help determine the type and level of inflammation you may have. However, I’d ask you a few questions before you spend the money, time and effort getting these specialized tests ordered. Are you struggling with sugar or carb cravings? Are you having a difficult time shedding those last 10, 20 or 100 pounds? Do you ever struggle with digestive issues such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating or gas? What about low energy levels? Have you ever followed a low-fat diet? How often do you eat foods cooked in vegetable oil? Do you sometimes push yourself too hard at the gym hoping to burn some extra calories? Did you find out at some point in your life that you have a food sensitivity or allergy? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you probably have some chronic inflammation going on that needs to heal in order for your health to improve/symptoms to go away. Nearly everyone today is living in a state of chronic inflammation unless you’ve taken the measures to do something about it. Most of us have eaten low-fat, even if we didn’t want to, just based on what was available to us at the time. Intentionally or not, almost all of us have consumed processed foods, vegetables oils and trans fats more than our bodies would like.
There are two tests that can show if you have inflammation:
- C-Reactive Protein: CRP is a general blood marker of inflammation. It measures a protein that signals a response to inflammation. It doesn’t tell us the specific cause, but it does tell us that an inflammatory response exists. Make sure you don’t have any acute inflammation going on (from a recent injury, sickness or stubbed toe) when you get this test done because CRP will be elevated in response to any inflammation, acute or chronic. You want your CRP level well below 1 and preferably at 0, indicating that no inflammation exists.
- Fasting blood insulin: A high insulin level when fasting may indicate chronic inflammation in the body. Remember, insulin will be high as a response to elevated blood glucose because insulin acts as a vehicle for removing glucose from the blood into storage. When insulin is high, cortisol (your stress-hormone) is being released to inhibit insulin production. As mentioned in the previous blog (LINK) elevated stress is one of the many causes of inflammation. This test would be a second option, as the CRP test is our go-to for testing inflammation.
Lastly, kneel down. How hard is it to get up. That can tell us more than either test result. And it saves you a lot of money.
These two markers can be helpful, but we certainly don’t consider them to be the be-all end-all. Other clues that you may have chronic inflammation are chronic fatigue, being overweight and difficulty losing weight, chronic aches and pains, indigestion, dry skin, acne, psoriasis, and allergies. We recommend following our anti-inflammatory PFC approach to nutrition and embracing a supplement regimen to take care of any chronic inflammation that may exist.
How to HEAL Inflammation
Now that we understand what can be contributing to inflammation, let’s talk about the healing process. Healing chronic inflammation doesn’t look the same for everyone, but if you follow the steps listed below you can be sure you are heading in the right direction. You need to REMOVE what is causing inflammation in the first place and then HEAL the damage. Yes, this will take time, so be patient as you won’t regret the improved life you can live!
Our approach to healing inflammation is a three-pronged approach:
Remove inflammation triggers by reducing your intake of inflammatory foods and participating in lifestyle habits that are causing the inflammation (i.e. avoid the bullets listed in the previous blog.
Heal existing inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods and supplements.
Be patient. Just like the chronic inflammation didn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t heal overnight. Give your body time to do its job and support it along the way.
Fight Inflammation with Healthy Fat
Healthy fats (yes these include saturated fats!) help heal inflammation. Translation: eat more butter, coconut oil, olives and avocado (unless you have sensitivities to any of those) which are nourishing, healing, healthy fats. Fat, including saturated fat, supports many of the body’s critical functions, including protecting against toxic overload, strengthening cell membranes (which make the skin more resilient against inflammation), stabilizing blood sugars, and providing a vehicle for your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins (leading to improved immune function). It’s important to be picky about the fats you’re using. The good ones will promote healing and the bad ones will promote more inflammation! It is also beneficial to make the switch to pastured, grass fed meats, as antibiotics in conventional meat can cause inflammation.
Inflammation Fighting Supplements
Along with avoiding bad habits and potentially damaging foods listed in the previous blog, many of our clients who have been dealing with chronic inflammation for years find that a healing supplement regimen is necessary. Three key supplements that combat chronic inflammation are: probiotics, L-glutamine, and fish oil. A probiotic supplement helps repopulate the healthy bacteria in the gut, which are essential for the healing process and get depleted over time from eating processed foods, sugars and trans fats (the foods that cause inflammation). You must work with someone who can determine for you which probiotic works for you. They are all different and there are different enzymes in each bottle. L-Glutamine works on the integrity of the thin lining of the digestive tract, which can become inflamed over time. Fish oil specifically targets that inflammation and reduces it. This is why many of our clients find relief in back pain and joint pain when they start using our fish oil.
The amount of each supplement is individualized and depends on your lifestyle, your history, your goals and how much healing needs to happen. In general, we recommend starting with an intense regimen, taking all three of these, three times each day (ideally 15-20 minutes before each meal.). Our recommendations may increase or decrease based on your specific circumstances, but this is a good starting point for most people.
Changing habits, eating nourishing, real foods in balance, listening to your body, and giving it time to heal is imperative. Because chronic inflammation is the root cause of SO MANY health issues, it’s worth it to make the effort to calm and eliminate the damage that is taking place in your body that you can’t see. Once your body begins to heal, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. The damage didn’t occur over night, so to expect your body to be able to heal overnight can just cause frustration. You must be patient, and allow your body to do what it was meant to do, which is to use the healthy nutrients you consume to help it function at its greatest potential.
Never eliminate everything from your diet at once. If you are working with someone and they recommend this, they are so very wrong. Many people can develop seizures from eliminating everything at once.
As always, we suggest working with one of our health team for individualized recommendations if you feel you aren’t sure where to start, or how to go about cutting out certain foods or changing some unhealthy habits. We are here for you!
Health and Wellness Associates
Natural Ingredient Found in Pain Creams
Capsaicin is an ingredient in many topical skin preparations used to relieve pain. Capsaicin is available as a cream, ointment, stick, pad, gel, liquid, or lotion. It is marketed under many brand names including Zostrix, Icy Hot Arthritis Therapy, Capsagel, and Arthricare for Women.
Here are 10 things you should know about capsaicin:
1 – Capsaicin is the active component of chili peppers.
Capsaicin is an irritant to humans, producing a burning sensation in any tissue it touches.
Capsaicin works by depleting or interfering with substance P, a chemical involved in transmitting pain impulses to the brain. The properties of capsaicin make it an option for relieving pain associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetic neuropathy. Capsaicin is used to relieve muscle pain, joint pain, or nerve pain.
2 – Capsaicin is available over the counter.
You do not need a prescription for capsaicin from your doctor. You can find products containing capsaicin in your drugstore for over-the-counter purchase. You should follow the directions given by your doctor or the directions on the label (there are different dosages or strengths of capsaicin available). For pain relief, capsaicin is usually used 3 or 4 times a day. You should rub the capsaicin cream or gel into the painful area until no more cream is visible on the skin.
Wash hands thoroughly after applying capsaicin to other areas of the body.
If the capsaicin was applied for hand pain, however, wash your hands after 30 minutes.
3 – Don’t use extra doses of capsaicin.
Stick to the directions, but if you should inadvertently miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember — unless it’s close to the time of the next dose.
4 – Capsaicin has no known drug interactions.
Though there are no recognized drug interactions with capsaicin, ask your doctor to be sure that you can use capsaicin, and continue to take your current medications.
5 – Capsaicin may cause a burning sensation.
You will likely experience a warm, burning, stinging sensation when you begin using capsaicin. The sensation, which is expected when beginning use, may continue for 2 to 4 weeks. The sensation should lessen the longer you use capsaicin. Reducing the number of daily doses of capsaicin will not reduce the sensation, but it may reduce the pain relief achieved.
6 – Arthritis pain relief is not immediate.
Even with regular use of capsaicin, arthritis pain relief will take some time. Pain relief from arthritis typically is evident 1 to 2 weeks after starting capsaicin. To prevent pain from returning, capsaicin must be continued. However, if pain is not better after using capsaicin for 3 or 4 weeks, talk to your doctor. It may not be worth it to continue.
7 – Capsaicin must be handled with care.
Be aware of what can happen if you get capsaicin in your eyes or on other sensitive body parts because of the burning sensation it causes.
If capsaicin gets in your eyes, immediately flush your eyes with water. To rid other sensitive areas of capsaicin and the burning feeling, wash the areas with warm soapy water. Keep capsaicin out of reach of children.
8 – Some people should not use capsaicin.
There are warnings about using capsaicin under certain circumstances. Before using capsaicin, tell your doctor about:
previous allergic reactions to capsaicin, hot peppers, other drugs, dyes, foods, preservatives
pregnancy or current attempts to become pregnant
Also, be aware that capsaicin should not be used by children under two years of age.
9 – Research supports the use of capsaicin for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
A study from 1991 involved 70 osteoarthritis patients and 31 rheumatoid arthritis patients. Patients were instructed to apply 0.025% capsaicin or placebo to painful knees, four times a day. Results revealed that 80% of patients treated with capsaicin experienced pain reduction following two weeks of treatment.
10 – Research also supports the use of capsaicin for osteoarthritis of the hands.
Capsaicin 0.075% was evaluated for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in a 4-week study, published in 1992. All of the study participants had significant hand pain and applied capsaicin to their hands four times daily. It was found that capsaicin reduced tenderness and pain in osteoarthritis of the hand patients, but not rheumatoid arthritis patients when compared to placebo.
We have been very successful reversing RA, Rheumatoid Arthritis, osteoarthritis, and many forms of joint pain, so please call us if you need help with any of these conditions.
Health and Wellness Associates