Categories
Condition

COPD Natural Treatments

Written by Sandy Cho, MD

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a preventable and treatable disease state characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

COPD natural treatments include dietary modifications, supplements, and exercise.

Overview

What is COPD?
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a preventable and treatable disease state characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. The airflow limitation is usually progressive and is associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases, primarily caused by cigarette smoking. COPD has a debilitating effect on the patient leading to disability and sometimes death.

The disease represents a substantial public health burden, affecting 10 million to 15 million people in the United States. Currently, COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 120,000 deaths annually, and it is expected to be the third leading cause of death by 2020.

What are signs/symptoms?
COPD is characterized by recurrent episodes of:

  • Cough
  • Sputum production
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea), especially upon exertion
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing

What causes COPD?
In the United States, the most common irritant that causes COPD is cigarette smoke. Breathing in secondhand smoke, air pollution, or chemical fumes or dust from the environment or workplace also can contribute to COPD.

An uncommon genetic disorder known as alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency may cause some cases of COPD. Other genetic factors likely make certain smokers more susceptible to the disease.

What are conventional treatments for COPD?
Current COPD therapies primarily include inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), long-acting and short-acting beta agonists (LABAs and SABAs), long-acting and short-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs and SAMAs) and combination therapies. More than half of severe or very severe COPD patients are on triple therapy (LABA, LAMA and ICS) for COPD maintenance.

Smoking cessation is essential at any stage of the disease. Although lung damage will not be reversed, smoking cessation will lead to improvements in pulmonary function.

Nutrition

Studies have shown that people following a Western diet, high in refined grains, cured and red meats, desserts, and french fries, have a greater risk for developing COPD, while those following largely plant-based diets have a lower risk.

Supplements

Supplementation with an omega 3-containing calorie supplement (400 cals/day) for 2 years significantly improved dyspnea and reduced the rate of decline in arterial oxygen saturation.

The use of antioxidants in reducing the inflammation and consequent lung damage in COPD is being investigated. One such antioxidant is red wine extract, or resveratrol. In one study it was found that resveratrol can inhibit the release of proinflammatory proteins called cytokines in the lung. A good starting dose is 200-250 mg daily.

Other antioxidants are likely to be beneficial in the treatment of COPD as well. The goal of treatment is to raise intracellular glutathione levels to counteract the oxidative stress and free radical load and minimize further lung damage  brought on by the COPD-related inflammation. Antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid, turmeric, quercetin, and N-acetylcysteine can be helpful in this regard.

Exercise

chestexerciseEspecially aerobic exercise, can improve your circulation and help the body better use oxygen, improve your COPD symptoms, and build energy levels so you can do more activities without becoming tired or short of breath. These are just a few of the many benefits of exercise. As always, consult your physician to see what is most appropriate for you.

  • Aerobic exercise: Aerobic exercise includes walking, jogging, jumping rope, bicycling (stationary or outdoor), cross-country skiing, skating, rowing, and low-impact aerobics or water aerobics. This type of exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, and improves the body’s ability to use oxygen. Over time, aerobic exercise can help decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, and improve your breathing (since your heart won’t have to work as hard during exercise).
  • Strength exercise: Strengthening exercises for the upper body are especially helpful for people with COPD, as they help increase the strength of your respiratory muscles.

  • Anthonisen NR, Skeans MA, Wise RA, Manfreda J, Kanner RE, Connett JE. The effects of a smoking cessation intervention on 14.5-year mortality: a randomized clinical trial. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(4):233-239.
  • Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of COPD, Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) 2013.
  • Jemal A, Ward E, Hao Y, Thun M. Trends in the leading causes of death in the United States, 1970-2002. JAMA. 2005;294(10):1255-1259.
  • Knobloch J, Hag H et al. Resveratrol impairs the release of steroid-resistant cytokines from bacterial endotoxin-exposed alveolar macrophages in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Basic Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology. 2011 Aug;109(2):138-43.
  • Matsuyama W, Mitsuyama H, Watanabe M, et al. Effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on inflammatory markers in COPD. Chest. 2005;128:3817-3827.
  • Rahman I. Antioxidant therapeutic advances in COPD. Therapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease. 2008 Dec;2(6):351-74.
  • Varraso R, Fung TT, Hu FB, Willett W, Camargo CA Jr. Prospective study of dietary patterns and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among US men. Thorax. 2007;62:785-790.
  • Varraso R, Fung TT, Hu FB, Willett W, Camargo CA Jr. Prospective study of dietary patterns and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among US women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86:488-495.

Updated: May 2014

Categories
Condition

Fibromyalgia Natural Treatments

Written by Dr. Rich Snyder and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD, AP, CYT, CAP

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that overall is characterized by diffuse pain and overwhelming fatigue that can be debilitating. The treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) involves an integrative treatment plan that involves treating

The treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) involves an integrative treatment plan that involves treating mind, body, and spirit. Find fibromyalgia natural treatments here.

Overview

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that overall is characterized by diffuse pain and overwhelming fatigue that can be debilitating. There are several characteristics of the fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). They can include:

  • Significant joint and muscle pain. Health professionals have identified “trigger points” that are present throughout the body that can elicit pain in particular areas when mild pressure is applied. The affected person with FMS can complain of pain all over the body.
  • Significant fatigue, especially with moderate physical exertion. Some people report requiring days to recover from what some may consider to be only mild physical exertion.
  • The person can complain of being unable to get a good night’s sleep.
  • The person may complain of frequent headaches and may also suffer from depression
  • Recurrent abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation which may be due to associated Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What causes Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)?

The specific cause of fibromyalgia is not known; however, the development of FMS has been typically thought to occur after a significant “stressor.” The stressor may involve a recent illness, including any recent physical or psychological trauma. For some people, the stressor can be as simple as taking an antibiotic that can alter the bowel flora and precipitate a flare of FMS. The role of Candida overgrowth needs to be considered as a significant contributor to the development of FMS.

There has been a lot of research done on the pain receptors in the body. These receptors may do more than just modulate pain; they may also have a role in the development of FMS but also autoimmune diseases/rheumatologic syndromes.

Is Fibromyalgia Syndrome an autoimmune condition?

No, Fibromyalgia Syndrome is NOT an autoimmune condition. Note, however, that FMS may occur on its own but can also occur in the presence of other autoimmune diseases.

What other medical conditions are associated with FMS?

Fibromyalgia can be strongly associated with many other conditions. They can include:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Adrenal Fatigue (There is a very close relationship with this condition)
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease  (GERD)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Interstitial cystitis (IC)
  • Depression

What are the conventional treatments for FMS?

The conventional treatments for FMS involves the use of prescription medication to reduce the pain and disability associated with this condition. Commonly prescribed medications include:

  • Pregabalin (Lyrica): This medication works by treating nerve and/or muscle pain and is indicated by the FDA for the treatment of FMS. This medication is usually dosed 75 mg twice a day with dose adjustments needing to be made if kidney disease is present. Side effects can include lethargy, weakness, swelling and allergic reactions.
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta): This is a medication also used for the treatment of pain, including nerve pain. It has been used in the treatment of depression as well. Potential side effects can include drowsiness, easy bruising, decreased appetite and/or constipation.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants have also been used in the treatment of not only pain but also of depression.  Other antidepressants, including Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Sertraline (Zoloft), have also been studied not only for the treatment of depression but also for pain with fibromyalgia. The medications can have what is called “anticholinergic” side effects which can include dry mouth, constipation, and urinary retention.

Holistic Treatment & Evaluation

Developing a Holistic Treatment Plan for FMS

The treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) involves an integrative treatment plan that involves treating mind, body, and spirit. Only using  prescription medications is simply not enough for the treatment of this condition. The treatment plan includes correcting nutrient deficiencies, treating pain and inflammation, searching for underlying causes of FMS, evaluating for hormonal imbalance, as well as treating the person so she can get a good night’s rest.

Getting a Holistic Based Evaluation

If you have fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), you need a detailed and personalized evaluation. This means looking for and identifying any causes of inflammation and potential infections, including Lyme disease. In addition, you should ask your healthcare provider about the following:

  • Hormonal Analysis: Fibromyalgia can be associated with many hormonal imbalances, including decreased levels of the hormones by the adrenal gland (adrenal fatigue). These can include sex hormones. Low hormone levels can also contribute to fatigue and insomnia among others.
  • The testing mentioned above is a combination of blood, urine, and saliva testing.
  • Testing for nutrient deficiencies and toxicities: There are some personalized profiles, including hair analysis that should be considered.

Nutrition

Forming a solid nutritional plan is vital as those with FMS may be nutrient-depleted. The pain can be so debilitating that one may not feel like eating. It can be very difficult to eat three meals a day. If the food that one is eating is low in nutritional value and is high in Omega 6 content, this can promote further inflammation and pain. Without proper nutrition, your body will not be able to heal. Modifying your diet and supplementation of the correct nutrient deficiencies are key in the treatment of FMS. Your diet should have high antioxidant and high nutritional value.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

A diet that is plant-based in nature and emphasizes fruits and vegetables and whole grains is necessary in the treatment of fibromyalgia. You want to as much as possible eliminate refined foods from your diet. Be aware of any food sensitivities that you may have that can exacerbate underlying inflammation and pain. Any food has the ability to stimulate an inflammatory response. One of the most common examples of this is gluten in celiac disease. On an anti-inflammatory diet, all possible sources of food sensitivities are eliminated and then reintroduced one at a time.

  • Another way is to have your blood tested for food sensitivities.
  • Be aware that different foods, even among fruits and vegetables, can have different degrees of inflammation. There is a great site at www.nutritiondata.com that has an  inflammatory index that can tell you the inflammatory power of the foods that you are eating. You want to focus on foods that have a high anti-inflammatory index.

Juicing for Fibromyalgia

Other Nutritional Recommendations:

  • Stay away from sugar: Sugar can be a potent source of inflammation. Eliminate this from your diet, and you can see a change in how you feel as well.  Sugar can also promote Candida overgrowth in the intestine which stimulates an inflammatory response via mycotoxins.
  • Juicing in the morning is a great way to start the morning and get a great anti-oxidant kick to start your day.

Intestinal Health

You read about the connection between Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). Maintaining a healthy intestinal tract reduces total body inflammation and is very important in the treatment of FMS. This aspect in the treatment of FMS is not emphasized enough. The microflora of the intestinal tract plays such an important role in the modulation of the immune system. Altered gut flora can play a major role in your ability to absorb nutrients, and it can contribute to fungal overgrowth.

Supplements for FibromyalgiaProbiotics

These should be a mainstay in any inflammatory condition. They can normalize the bowel flora and replace the bad bacteria with the good intestinal microflora. Studies specific to their benefits in FMS have been mixed, but they do have an effect on immune system modulation and are often included in any anti-inflammatory regimen. In one review article from the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, the use of probiotics provided adequate relief in the treatment of diarrhea-predominant IBS.

Digestive enzymes

Consider the use digestive enzymes to help digest food completely which helps in absorption. The ability to maximally absorb nutrients can be affected in those with chronic inflammation.

Fiber

Don’t forget the importance of including fiber in your nutrition program. Not only is it  vital for overall bowel health but it can also “bind up” toxins in the intestine and help eliminate them from the body.

Supplements

Supplementing Naturally

There are different supplements that have a role in the treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Supplements can help increase energy to the cell and the body, reduce pain and inflammation, help you get a good night’s sleep, and provide nutritional value.

Supplements that Boost Energy to the Cell

D-ribose

There are studies concerning fibromyalgia that tout the energy boost of D-ribose. D-ribose increases the energy to all of the cells of the body, especially the muscle cells. Supplementing with D-ribose can provide your heart with the energy boost that it needs.

      • D-ribose commonly comes in capsule or powdered form. The powdered form is preferred as you can add it to your morning drink.
      • The recommended starting dose is 2500 mg. Increase by 2500 mg every few weeks to reach a maximum dose of 10,000 mg.
      • Even though ribose is a “sugar” it will not raise blood glucose levels. Higher doses than 10,000 mg can cause diarrheal symptoms in some people.

Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)

Replacement of this antioxidant can help improve fibromyalgia symptoms. It has been reported that those with fibromyalgia as well as other chronic illnesses can have lower than normal levels of ubiquinone in the body.

    • Begin with low doses at 50-100 mg daily and increase to twice a day after several weeks. Smaller doses taken during the day maximizes its absorption.
    • As ubiquinone can lower blood pressure, you need to closely monitor your blood pressure. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood glucose levels as ubiquinone can lower blood glucose levels as well.

Supplements that Help Boost Nutrition

Magnesium

The role of low magnesium levels in the body and its importance in inflammation, pain, and fatigue is being researched. In one review article, the authors noted lower levels of zinc and magnesium than in the control groups. Magnesium supplementation is necessary to help counteract the fatigue and pain associated with fibromyalgia. Certain medications, such as diuretics, can lower your magnesium levels. There are several ways to increase your magnesium intake:

  • Increase the amount of leafy green vegetables, seeds (sunflower and sesame for example) and nuts (almonds and Brazil nuts for example) which contain a lot of magnesium. You should strive to at least consume 600-800 mg a day.
  • If needed, magnesium can also be supplemented either orally or in a gel or oil formulation applied directly to the skin. Chelated magnesium is a form of magnesium taken orally without the heavy metals. This can be started once a day and increased to twice a day for a total dose of 400-600 mg. Note that very high doses of magnesium can cause diarrhea. Magnesium Malate is a form of magnesium that is very well absorbed.
  • An alternative is to apply Magnesium gel or oil to your skin once or twice daily. If you have been told that you have kidney problems, you may need to have blood levels of your magnesium level followed and limit your magnesium intake.

Vitamins for FibromyalgiaVitamin D

The role of Vitamin D deficiency in the development of fibromyalgia is being evaluated; however, in one research article it was noted that in evaluating over seventy-five patients who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, over two-thirds had low or low-normal Vitamin D levels. The authors of this study also noted that occurred very frequently in those patients with depression and anxiety. Don’t forget that Vitamin D supplementation is vital for your overall bone and muscle health.

    • Ask your healthcare provider to measure a Vitamin D level, which is a simple blood test.
    • Begin Vitamin D3 at 1000 Units daily with food. Because it is a fat soluble vitamin, it is better absorbed with food.

Vitamin C

Remember that Vitamin C is an antioxidant; in terms of cellular health, because it is an electron donor, it helps to reduce oxidative stress and keep the cells in a reduced or natural state. We think that supplementation with Vitamin C may be beneficial. In one small study, 12 individuals with fibromyalgia were given a combination of 100 mg of Vitamin C and broccoli powder. They were closely followed over a period of one month. By the end of the month the participants in the trial reported an improved quality of life and reduced sensitivity to pain. Deficiency of this vitamin can directly impact adrenal health, and FMS can cause a lot of stress on the adrenal glands and is strongly associated with the development of adrenal fatigue, which is strongly associated with Fibromyalgia Syndrome.

    • The ester form of Vitamin C is better absorbed than other formulations.
    • Vitamin C at a dose of 2000 mg a day is a good starting dose.

Supplements that Relieve Pain and Inflammation

Bioflavonoids

Good antioxidant support is vital in the treatment of Fibromyalgia. Bioflavonoids are excellent antioxidants that can relieve pain and inflammation. Bioflavonoids that have been studied in the treatment of fibromyalgia include turmeric and quercetin. Quercetin may be especially effective as it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties.

    • Turmeric can be taken as a 400 mg capsule daily or as a powder that can be sprinkled on each meal.
    • Quercetin can be taken as a capsule. Usual starting dose is 500 mg a day.

Wobenzym N

This is an enzyme supplement that is used in the treatment of inflammation and pain. Enzymes in this supplement include bromelain (from pineapple) and papain (from papaya).

  • If you have allergies to pineapples or papaya, do not take this supplement.
  • It is best taken on an empty stomach; be aware that you may need to take 6-12 tablets a day for an inflammatory response.

Morinda citrifolia (Noni)

This is a tropical plant from East Asia that has been used for many years. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in the treatment of pain.

    • Noni can come in capsule or juice form. If you take the juice form, begin at 1 ounce twice a day and increase slowly to 4-6 oz a day.
    • Some forms of Noni can have a high potassium content so if you have kidney disease you need to be mindful of this.
    • Extremely high doses of this may have an adverse effect on the liver, although this is controversial. The several ounces a day that we mention here is very low dosage of this supplement.

Supplements That Can Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone that is helpful in helping you achieve a good night’s sleep. In those with FMS, one research article points out that melatonin levels are lower at night when sleeping compared to someone who does not have fibromyalgia. Supplementation with melatonin may also help pain in addition to improving the quality of sleep.

    • Start at low doses of 1-2 mg each night before going to sleep each night and increase slowly.

Valerian root

This is an herb that can help you get a good night’s rest. There have been several studies examining the efficacy of valerian root in the treatment of insomnia. In one review, the authors concluded that while further study was needed, valerian root seemed to able to improve the quality of sleep without experiencing any significant side effects.

Exercise

[themedy_media type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLZD2c_yooY”]

You need to be very careful when designing an exercise program. Strenuous activity and/or high intensity exercise can actually be counterproductive in someone with fibromyalgia. This does not mean that you will not be able to tolerate any and all exercise regimens. It means that you need to be careful, start slowly, and find out what your own limits are and increase very slowly and carefully. Meditative-based exercises can be very beneficial for someone with fibromyalgia.

Yoga for Fibromyalgia

  • Yoga: Yoga is a great way to increase muscle endurance and flexibility. It is important to start slowly and work with a certified instructor to learn the right way to do each exercise. Yoga is especially effective if started in the early stages of this condition.
  • Tai chi is another great meditative-based exercise that should be incorporated into your regimen.
  • Muscle Resistance Training: Whether you are using free weights or machines, you need to start with very low weight and lower repetitions. You need to know your limits. A good rule of thumb is to exercise until you begin to experience mild fatigue, but don’t push beyond that point. If you do, again, it can be counterproductive and you can feel worse the next day.
  • In addition to the exercise regimen mentioned above, you should also consider seeing someone who is holistically trained in helping you regain more function and flexibility. This can include seeing a structural integration specialist, chiropractor, and/or specialist in osteopathic manipulation. In general, gentle myofasical/massage techniques are preferred as again you may not be able to tolerate a deep massage.

Mind & Spirit

Tai Chi for FibromyalgiaAn important aspect of healing with fibromyalgia is recognizing the connection between mind, body and spirit. The mental and emotional aspects of treatment cannot be ignored.

  • Daily meditation is vital to calm the mind and body.
  • Daily prayer can help relax the mind and body.
  • FMS is often associated with trauma, especially emotional trauma. Helping one to recover from emotional trauma is essential to recovery. Talking with a counselor or advisor can be very helpful.
  • The role of family and friend support cannot be emphasized enough.

Updated: November 2014

  • Armstrong DJ, Meenagh GK et al. “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia.” Clinical Rheumatology. 2007 Apr;26(4):551-4.
  • Bramwell B, Ferguson S et al. “The use of ascorbigen in the treatment of fibromyalgia patients: a preliminary trial.” Alternative Medicine Reviews. 2000 Oct;5(5):455-62.
  • Bent S, Padula et al. “Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” American Journal of Medicine. 2006 Dec;119(12):1005-12.
  • Cordero MD, Cotain D et al. “Oral coenzyme Q10 supplementation improves clinical symptoms and recovers pathologic alterations in blood mononuclear cells in a fibromyalgia patient.”  Nutrition. 2012 Nov-Dec;28(11-12):1200-3.
  • Geenen R, Jacobs W et al. “Evaluation and management of endocrine dysfunction in fibromyalgia.” Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America. 2002 May;28(2):389-404.
  • Ki Cha B, Man Jung S et al. “The effect of a multispecies probiotic mixture on the symptoms and fecal microbiota in diarrhea-dominant irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2012 Mar;46(3):220-7.
  • Lucas HJ, Brauch CM et al. “Fibromyalgia–new concepts of pathogenesis and treatment.” International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. 2006 Jan-Mar;19(1):5-10.
  • Teitelbaum J, Johnson C et al. “The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2006 Nov;12(9):857-62.
  • Wikner J, Hirsch U et al. “Fibromyalgia–a syndrome associated with decreased nocturnal melatonin secretion.” Clinical Endocrinology. 1998 Aug;49(2):179-83.
  • Wilhelmsen M, Amirian I et al. “Analgesic effects of melatonin: a review of current evidence from experimental and clinical studies.” Journal of pineal Research. 2011 Oct;51(3):270-7.
  • Younger J, Noor N et al. “Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: findings of a small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover trial assessing daily pain levels.” Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2013 Feb;65(2):529-38.
Categories
Condition

Sore Throat Natural Treatments

This is a condition that is characterized by pain that may be caused by a variety of factors from drinking hot beverages, forceful use of voice such as screaming, or by an infection such as strep throat.

Sore throat natural treatments include rest, tea, vitamins, supplements and homeopathy.

Self-care Natural Remedies

  • Voice Rest: If your throat is sore, one of the best self care practices you can do is not speak.
  • Lemon tea with Honey: Make some tea by heating up water and using the juice of half of an organic lemon and add some raw, organic honey to soothe and nourish your throat.
  • Homeopathy: Lachesis remedy 30C 4x per day.
  • Homeopathy: Boiron Roxalia: Take as directed on package.
  • Supplement: Zinc Picolinate 50mg capsule daily to boost immune system
  • Vitamins: Vitamin C at least 2 grams every 3-4 hours or until bowel tolerance.
  • Iodine painting: Paint the sides of your neck with iodine and let it absorb.
  • Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Tea: Take as directed on package.
  • Thayer’s Slippery Elm lozenges: Take as directed on package.

  • Earth Clinic, earthclinic.com/CURES/sore_throat35.html#CLOVES
  • Doctor Yourself , doctoryourself.com/vitaminc2.html
  • Vitamin C foundation, www.vitamincfoundation.org
Categories
Condition

Hangover Natural Treatments

Hangover is a general term for a combination of symptoms one feels after the consumption of too much alcohol. It is usually characterized by a headache, lethargy, nausea, and possibly vomiting. It is your body’s reaction from the byproducts of the metabolization of alcohol that are considered toxic.

The following is information on hangover natural treatments.

Self-Care Natural Therapies

  • Moderation: Hands down your first self care treatment would be moderation with adequate water intake while consuming alcoholic beverages.
  • Coconut water: Your body becomes greatly depleted in minerals from drinking alcohol so replacement of these is paramount to feeling better. Drink fresh coconut water to quickly replace minerals.
  • Peppermint Tea: If nauseous, this will greatly help in reducing it. Sweeten with a little raw, organic honey as drinking can cause hypoglycemia which will contribute to your hangover.
  • Asparagus Extract: Boosts levels of key enzymes that break down alcohol after heavy drinking.
  • Homeopathy: Consider Nux Vomica remedy in 30C strength. Very good for toxicity.
  • Alka-Seltzer Gold: This is just a combination of minerals that will assist your body in alkalizing quickly that will greatly relieve some of the symptoms. Take 2 tablets every 2-4 hours. There isn’t any other medication in this form of Alka-Seltzer so it is completely safe. DO NOT SUBSTITUE any other form.
  • Water: Drink as much as you can possible tolerate as it is most likely you are dehydrated.

Professional Care Treatment

  • Kinesiology: A kinesiologiust can test for liver and spleen imbalances and strengthen if needed.

References

Categories
Condition

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Natural Treatments

Who doesn’t feel tired and out of sorts at times during the holidays? Late nights, a long to-do list and extra food and drink can do that to most anyone.

For some people, however, these feelings don’t end with the changing of the calendar year–and they aren’t just suffering withdrawal from too much of Great Aunt Phoebe’s fruitcake. They may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (also appropriately known as SAD).

SAD can perhaps best be described as depression triggered by the winter season (though some people can experience a similar phenomenon during the summer). Symptoms include feelings of depression, anxiety and fatigue along with the urge to oversleep and/or overeat. It tends to peak in December, January and February though it can strike any time from September to April in the northern hemisphere.

Seasonal Affective Disorder affects approximately half a million people a year with even more experiencing the milder “winter blues.” Seventy-five percent of sufferers are women and it commonly begins between ages 18 and 30. Risk factors include a family history and/or personal experience with depression or bipolar disorder as well as location (it’s very uncommon in people who live within 30 degrees latitude of the equator for example).

Seasonal affective disorder natural treatments include light therapy, supplementation, and environment modifications.

Self-Care Therapies

  • Bright light therapy (phototherapy)

    The dark increases the body’s production of melatonin which may lead to depression symptoms. Using a bright light can mimic sunlight and help reduce the amount of melatonin created. Typically it’s a specially designed fluorescent light box (10,000 lux) that is used for about 30 minutes a day while doing other activities.

  • Vitamin D Supplementation

    Our bodies create vitamin D when we spend time in the sun (without sunscreen) but often this naturally-occurring exposure is less during the colder, darker winter months. Some studies have shown improvement in people who have taken supplements while others have shown no change.

  • Negative air ionization

    Several studies have found people who used a high-density air ionizer (2,700,000 ions per cubic centimeter) for half an hour daily for several weeks showed an improvement in SAD symptoms. (Note those who used the low-density air ionizer (10,000 ions per cubic centimeter) did not experience as much relief.

Additional Self-Care Therapies

  • Time outdoors: For mild cases taking a walk or otherwise spending time outside (or even inside near a window) can be helpful.

Professional Care Therapies

  • For anyone not experiencing an improvement in symptoms with the above methods, it’s important to see a medical professional.

Precautions

Side effects from most of these treatments are minimal. Light therapy may cause eye strain and/or headaches and anyone taking medications that make them sensitive to light should consult with their healthcare provider before using a light box.

Excessive intake of vitamin D (more than 4000 units per day) can be dangerous and result in headaches, fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting and more.

Most importantly, keep tabs on symptoms. If they do not improve or resolve, seek help.

Summary

A more serious version of the “winter blues,” Seasonal Affective Disorder most often strikes during the dark months of winter when melatonin production increases and can cause symptoms of depression and anxiety. Fortunately there are a variety of treatment options available ranging from light boxes, vitamin D supplements and negative air ionization therapy to antidepressants when necessary.


  • Mental Health America: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
    nmha.org/go/sad
  • PubMed Health: Seasonal Affective Disorder
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002499/
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Osteoarthritis Natural Treatments

Written by Sandy Cho, MD and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a slowly progressive degenerative joint disease that commonly affects the middle-aged and elderly population. It is often referred to as “wear and tear” of the joints.

Osteoarthritis tends to affect commonly used joints such as the hands and spine, and the weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees.

Osteoarthritis natural treatments involve reducing inflammation and providing nutrition to bones and joints. Reducing total body acidity is a must as acidosis can worsen bone health.

Overview

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a slowly progressive degenerative joint disease that commonly affects the middle-aged and elderly population. Be aware that young people can also be affected by this condition. It is often referred to as “wear and tear” of the joints. It is characterized by breakdown of the cartilage (the tissue that cushions the ends of the bones between joints), bony changes of the joints, deterioration of tendons and ligaments, and various degrees of inflammation of the synovium (joint lining).

About 27 million Americans are living with osteoarthritis, the most common form of joint disease. It is a main cause of disability in older people. Osteoarthritis tends to affect commonly used joints such as the hands and spine, and the weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness in the morning or after a period of inactivity
  • Limited range of motion or decreased function of the joint
  • Swelling may be present
  • Cracking noise with joint movement may be present
  • Very advanced cases of osteoarthritis can cause significant pain and difficulty walking, especially OA of the hips and knees

What causes osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis occurs when the joint cartilage breaks down often because of mechanical stress or biochemical alterations. There is also a component of free radical damage, oxidative stress, and worsening inflammation that also significantly contributes to worsening damage to the joint. Specific risk factors include the following:

  • Age: People age 65 or older are at greatly increased risk
  • Obesity: The excess weight the person needs to bear on his/her joints adds extra stress on them
  • Excessive Joint loading: Manual labor, athletes, etc. In many cases, a person’s occupation or athletic activities require repetitive motions (such as repeated knee bending) that predispose the person to degenerative joint disease in later years
  • Trauma: Fractures, ligament injuries
  • Altered joint anatomy: Developmental hip dysplasia, dislocation due to trauma, unequal leg length, bowlegs, rheumatoid arthritis, gout
  • Deposition diseases: These can cause the cartilage to be stiffer and include hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, Gaucher’s disease
  • Genetic disposition or family history of osteoarthritis
  • Acidic, high-inflammatory diet

What are conventional treatments for osteoarthritis?

Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are initially prescribed for the treatment of OA. Gastrointestinal bleeding is a concern with long-term use of NSAIDs. If an NSAID is to be used, safety is an important issue, especially in the elderly. The risk of NSAID-induced kidney and liver damage is increased in older patients and in patients with preexisting renal or hepatic insufficiency. Thus, it is important to monitor renal and liver function.

Another common class of medications prescribed for the treatment of OA includes narcotics or narcotic-like medications. These medications have the potential to cause significant side effects, including constipation, lethargy and confusion, and depression of the respiratory drive. They are not good long-term solutions for the treatment of pain due to OA.

Topical drugs may be applied directly on the skin over the affected joints. These medicines include capsaicin cream, lidocaine and diclofenac gel.

Intra-articular injections of corticosteroids can be helpful, but more than three to four injections per year is not recommended.

Surgery becomes an option for severe cases in which the joint has serious damage, or when medical treatment fails to relieve pain and you have major loss of function. Surgery may involve arthroscopy. If the joint damage cannot be repaired, you may need a joint replacement.

Nutrition

Juicing for Fibromyalgia

Part of a holistic treatment plan for OA includes a diet that is anti-inflammatory and alkaline in nature, as well supplementation with key nutrients and minerals for building your bones and promoting joint health.

Alkaline Diet: A typical modern American diet is high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3 oils which increases the body’s inflammatory load. Increased inflammation is a significant contributor to the development of OA. Animal protein, in particular can be very inflammatory; the animal protein is processed by the body into hydrogen ions. The greater the number of hydrogen ions, the greater the total body acidity. The bone is a buffer for the continued acid load, in addition to the buffers in the blood and in the cells. Alkaline mineral salts, such as magnesium and calcium, are drawn from your bones into the bloodstream to buffer the excess acid that is built up on a daily basis. This weakens the bone over time and increases the risk of developing arthritis and other bone conditions such as osteoporosis.

An alkaline-based diet is rich in fruits and vegetables. An alkaline-based diet consists of foods high in antioxidant value that not only counter inflammation, oxidative stress, and acidosis but also provide significant nutrients that most of us are lacking.

Supplements
Supplements for Fibromyalgia

Many over-the-counter nutrition supplements have been used for treatment of osteoarthritis. Among the most widely used are glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate, calcium and vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. To ensure safety and avoid drug interactions, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these supplements. This is especially true when you are combining these supplements with prescribed drugs. Adding the right supplements to your treatment plan is important for not only providing nutrition to your joints (yes, your joints need nourishment as well) but also reducing inflammation that can help reduce pain and restore function.

Supplements That Provide Nutritional Support to the Bone and Joints

Vitamin D

Being deficient in Vitamin D is associated with the development of worsening hip and knee pain. Given that millions of people are deficient in this important vitamin, supplementation is vital. The usual recommended dose is 1000 units of Vitamin D3 taken with food to enhance absorption. Remember that your healthcare provider can measure levels of Vitamin D3 and adjust the amount you need to take.

Vitamins for Fibromyalgia

Vitamin C

Remember that Vitamin C is an antioxidant; in terms of cellular health, because it is an electron donor, it helps to reduce oxidative stress and keep the cells in a reduced or natural state. In one study, it was felt that Vitamin C may have a role in preventing osteoarthritis of the knee.

    • The ester form of Vitamin C is better absorbed than other formulations.
    • Vitamin C at a dose of 2000 mg a day is a good starting dose.

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is very beneficial for bone health. It helps in maintaining the integrity of the bones and joints. It is integral in preventing calcium loss from the bone. It also helps to maintain the health of the blood vessels by preventing calcium influx into the blood. It also is very likely to be helpful in the treatment of osteoarthritis. One study demonstrated that joints that were affected with advanced OA were associated with lower levels of Vitamin K2.

Trace Minerals

Be aware that in addition to Vitamins C, D and Vitamin K2, that trace minerals are also important for bone health. These include Boron, Selenium, Zinc, Manganese, and Magnesium.There are several good supplements out there that are good for bone health.

Supplements that Reduce Inflammation and Lessen Pain

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

A large clinical trial called the Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) that examined whether or not Glucosamine/Chondroitin together were effective in treating the pain associated with knee arthritis and if they could be used to treat the structural damage associated with OA was conducted. The authors concluded that these supplements were as effective as NSAIDS in treating pain. They also found that that they provided benefit for those experiencing moderate to severe pain. Another study concluded that chondroitin and glucosamine also helped reduce joint knee swelling. Glucosamine and chondroitin can also reduce total body inflammation, including lowering C-reactive protein levels.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

The use of this supplement, especially when used in combination with Glucosamine and Chondroitin, has been shown in studies to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis as well as help restore clinical functioning. In one clinical trial, the effects of 3 grams of MSM taken twice a day compared to placebo demonstrated a significant improvement in pain and clinical functioning.

Arnica Montana

Arnica montana may be especially effective for the treatment of knee and hand osteoarthritis. It has been demonstrated for reducing inflammation of the joints. The application of Arnica topically to the hands or knees can be very effective in reducing pain and inflammation.

Avocado-Soybean Unsaponifiable (ASU)

Several clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of ASU for the treatment of OA, especially hip OA which can be especially debilitating. In one study, approximately 400 patients were randomized to be given either 300 mg of ASU or placebo and followed over a three-year period. The authors felt that the ASU helped to reduce the joint space narrowing in the hip, meaning that it helped to reduce the degree of structural damage when compared to the placebo group.

Curcumin

The main ingredient of the commonly used spice turmeric, this antioxidant can help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with OA. It helps to reduce inflammation by reducing certain cellular pathways of inflammation, including Nf-KappaB. Another inflammatory pathway that Curcumin can inhibit is the cyclooxygenase enzyme, which is the same enzyme that is inhibited by NSAIDS. Curcumin also has other potential effects including improving heart health and has anti-cancer properties as well.

Antioxidants

The use of antioxidants are important in reducing inflammation and combating the free radical load and oxidative stress that can accompany osteoarthritis. Consider adding a supplement high in antioxidant value to your daily regimen.

Devil’s Claw

This herb has also demonstrated effectiveness for the treatment of OA. In one study examining Devils’ Claw in the treatment of hip and knee OA, the authors noted the effectiveness in reducing pain and improving joint mobility.

Omega-3Omega 3 fish oil

Supplementation with Omega 3 fish oil can decrease the inflammation and reduce the pain associated with OA. In one study, the use of Omega 3 fish oil and glucosamine together markedly showed a decrease in stiffness and pain compared to those who just received glucosamine.

  • A good anti-inflammatory dose is at least 3-4 grams a day to start and slowly increase to a maximum of 7-8 grams.
  • As this supplement can thin the blood, if you are on any blood thinners, you may wish to start at a lower dose and increase upwards.

Morinda citrifolia (Noni)

This is a tropical plant from East Asia that has been used for many years. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in the treatment of pain due to osteoarthritis.

  • Noni can come in capsule or juice form. If you take the juice form, consider beginning at 1 oz twice a day and increase slowly to 4-6 oz a day.
  • Some forms of Noni can have a high potassium content so if you have kidney disease you need to be mindful of this.
  • Extremely high doses of this may have an adverse effect on the liver, although this is controversial. The several ounces a day that we mention here is very low dosage of this supplement.

Boswellia extract

This is an herb that has anti-inflammatory properties, especially in the treatment of arthritis. It can help maintain the structural health of the joint cartilage.

Ginger

Ginger may provide significant pain relief for osteoarthritis. Its effects appear to be attributable to inhibition of the pain pathway involving cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. Effective doses range from 170 mg ginger extract 3 times per day to 250 mg 4 times per day.

Note that there are many formulations that combine many of these important supplements that can reduce pain and inflammation. There are also wonderful bone and mineral formulations that can provide the nutrients to the bones that are so desperately needed in OA.

In addition to proper nutrition and supplementation discussed above, exercise in its different forms provide much benefit to those struggling with osteoarthritis. Furthermore, proper devices, fittings, and adjustments to one’s needs provide a wealth of support and ease.

Exercise

Weight loss and exercise are very beneficial in osteoarthritis. There is a longitudinal association between obesity and osteoarthritis of the knee in men and women, although obesity is a greater risk factor in women. Excess weight puts stress on your knee joints and hips and lower back. For every 10 pounds of weight you lose over 10 years, you can reduce the chance of developing knee osteoarthritis by up to 50%. The goals of an exercise program are to maintain range of motion, muscle strength and general health. For instance, those with osteoarthritis of the knee should be taught quadriceps-strengthening exercises and should be encouraged to perform them every day.

You can further manage how osteoarthritis affects your lifestyle by making small modifications each day. These include the following:

  • Properly position and support your neck and back while sitting or sleeping.
  • Adjust furniture, such as raising a chair or toilet seat.
  • Avoid repeated motions of the joint, especially frequent bending.

Aquatherapy

Participating in a water-based exercise program can be very beneficial if you have OA. Exercising in the water is not only rejuvenating, but as it reduces the wear, tear, and constant pounding on the joints, it is an ideal choice, especially if you are suffering from arthritis or have difficulty walking. If you have a pool at home, just walking in the water for five minutes a day can help improve strength and mobility in your muscles and joints. Going to your local YMCA or YWCA or using the pool at your local gym may be an option. Check to see if there is an aquatic-based exercise program in your area. It is not difficult to develop on your own.

Assistive Devices

Many people with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee are more comfortable wearing shoes with good shock-absorbing properties or orthoses. Others also find the support of assistive devices such as braces or a walking cane helpful as they can help with performing daily activities.

You might want to work with a physical therapist or occupational therapist to learn the best exercises and to choose arthritis assistive devices. An occupational therapist can determine whether the patient needs assistive devices such as a raised toilet seat. In addition, special splints can be designed to stabilize or reduce inflammation of particular joints, such as the first carpometacarpal joint or the base of the thumb.

Bodywork

Other beneficial therapies include spa (hot tub), massage, acupuncture, osteopathic and chiropractic manipulation which can help to relieve pain, improve mobility, and keep your body in alignment. These therapies can help to improve total body flexibility. Remember OA can alter how you move and walk. Perhaps you favor one hip or one knee over the other. Over time this can completely disrupt your back and hip mechanics and cause your body to go out of alignment. These therapies can be invaluable in that regard.

Updated: March 2019


References

  • Bruyere O, Reginster JY. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis. Drugs Aging. 2007;24:573-580.
  • Cledd DO, Reda DJ et al. Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2006 Feb 23;354(8):795-808.
  • Debbi AM, Agar G et al. Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane supplementation on osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled study. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2011 Jun 27;11:50.
  • Felson DT, Anderson JJ, Naimark A, Walker AM, Meenan RF. Obesity and knee osteoarthritis. The Framingham Study. Ann Intern Med. 1988;109:18–24.
  • Googs R, Vaughn-Thomas A et al. Nutraceutical therapies for degenerative joint diseases: a critical review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2005;45(3):145-64.
  • Gruenwald J Petzel E et al. “ Effect of glucosamine sulfate with or without omega-3 fatty acids in patients with osteoarthritis.” Advances in Therapy. 2009 Sep; 26(9): 858-71.
  • Hochber MC, Clegg DO. Potential effects of chondroitin sulfate on joint swelling: a GAIT report. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 2008;16 Suppl 3:S22-4.
  • Ishi Y, Noguchi H et al. Distribution of vitamin K2 in subchondral bone in osteoarthritic knee joints. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology and Arthroscopy: 2012 Oct 16. (Electronic Publication)
  • Jager C, Hrenn M et al. “Phytomedicines prepared from Arnica flowers inhibit the transcription factors AP-1 and NF-kappaB and modulate the activity of MMP1 and MMP13 in human and bovine chondrocytes.” Planta Medica. 2009 Oct;75(12):1319-25.
  • Kim LS, Axelrod LJ et al. Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial. Osterarthritis and Cartilage. 2006 Mar;14(3):286-94
  • Laslett LL, Quinn S et al. Moderate vitamin D deficiency is associated with changes in knee and hip pain in older adults: a 5-year longitudinal study. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2013 Apr 17. (Electronic Publication)
  • Lequesne M, Mahey C et al. Structural effect of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables on joint space loss in osteoarthritis of the hip. Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2002 Feb;47(1):50-8.
  • Li LC, Lineker S, Cibere J, Crooks VA, Jones CA, Kopec JA, Lear SA, Pencharz J, Rhodes RE, Esdaile JM. Capitalizing on the teachable moment: osteoarthritis physical activity and exercise net for improving physical activity in early knee osteoarthritis. JMIR Res Protoc. 2013 May 9;2(1):e17.
  • Manek N, Lane N. Osteoarthritis: Current Concepts in Diagnosis and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2000 Mar 15;61(6):1795-1804.
  • Maheu C, Cadet C et al. Randomised, controlled trial of avocado-soybean unsaponifiable (Piascledine) effect on structure modification in hip osteoarthritis: the ERADIAS study. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2013 Jan 23. (Electronic Publication)
  • Messier SP, Loeser RF, Miller GD, et al. Exercise and dietary weight loss in overweight and obese older adults with knee osteoarthritis: the Arthritis, Diet, and Activity Promotion Trial. Arthritis Rheum. 2004;50:1501-1510.
  • Peregoy J, Wilder FV. The effects of vitamin C supplementation on incident and progressive knee osteoarthritis: a longitudinal study. Public Health Nutrition. 2011 Apr;14(4):709-15.
  • Ross SM. “Osteoarthritis: a proprietary Arnica gel is found to be as effective as ibuprofen gel in osteoarthritis of the hands.” Holistic Nursing Practice. 2008 Jul-Aug;22(4):237-9.
  • Shakibaei M, John T et al. Suppression of NF-kappaB activation by curcumin leads to inhibition of expression of cyclo-oxygenase-2 and matrix metalloproteinase-9 in human articular chondrocytes: Implications for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Biochemical Pharmacology. 2007 May 1;73(9):1434-45.
  • Shehzad A, Ha T et al. New mechanisms and the anti-inflammatory role of curcumin in obesity and obesity-related metabolic diseases. European Journal of Nutrition. 2011 Apr;50(3):151-61.
  • Shen CL, Hong KJ, Kim SW. Effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc) on decreasing the production of inflammatory mediators in sow osteoarthritic cartilage explants. J Med Food. 2004;6:323-328.
  • Tammareddi K, Morelli V, Reyes M. The Athlete’s Hip and Groin. Prim Care. 2013 Jun;40(2):313-33.
  • Wegener T, Lupke NP. Treatment of patients with arthrosis of hip or knee with an aqueous extract of devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens DC.). Phytotherapy Research. 2003 Dec;17(10):1165-72.

Categories
Condition

Motion Sickness Natural Treatments

Reviewed & edited by Dr. Jeffrey C. Lederman, DO, MPH and Julie A. Cerrato, PhD, AP, CYT, CAP

Motion sickness is a disorder where one’s brain confuses visual and sensory stimuli, resulting in feelings of nausea and imbalance.

Acceleration and deceleration while traveling by car, train, sea, air, or by other means cause the inner ear (vestibular system) to sense motion, but the eyes inform the brain that things are stationary.

The resulting discordance causes one’s brain to conclude that one of the senses is hallucinating and that this hallucination is a result of ingesting poison. In response, the brain responds by inducing vomiting, to clear the supposed toxin.

Find Motion Sickness Natural Treatments here.

Overview

Motion sickness can affect any individual at any age. From a Western Medicine standpoint, there is no general trend as to why certain people are more affected by motion sickness than others. Some factors that can play a role in inducing motion sickness include genetics, anxiety, poor ventilation, and immediate movement after eating or drinking too much.

Doctors can treat the symptoms of motion sickness with over-the-counter or prescription medication, but they cannot actually cure the condition. According to Dr. Hamid Djalilian, director of Neurotology at the University of California Irvine, “Medication will blunt the effects but there’s no way to get rid of it.”[1]

If managed effectively with proper treatment, remedies, and nutrition, the symptoms associated with motion sickness can be prevented, subdued, or at the very least, addressed when they arise. When individuals travel for more than two hours, proactive measures should be considered.

Motion Sickness FeelingHow Does Motion Sickness Feel?

Common initial symptoms associated with motion sickness are nausea, headache, and general uneasiness. Symptoms may progress in severity and include vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, excessive yawning, inability to concentrate, excessive sweating and salivation, pallor (when one turns white), and severe distress.

How Motion Sickness Is Conventionally Treated

Conventional treatments include over-the-counter or prescription medication, and holistic remedies include dietary and herbal treatments. Common over-the-counter products used to treat and prevent symptoms associated with motion sickness include antihistamines like dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), and meclizine (Antivert and Bonine, for example). While the main side effect of these products is drowsiness, meclizine is much less sedating, making it a preferred medication. Nonsedating antihistamines like fexofenadine (Allegra) are not typically helpful in combatting motion sickness.

As for prescription medications, promethazine (Promethegan), scopolamine oral pills, and scopolamine skin patches (Transderm Scop) are potential options. The patch is placed on the skin area behind the ears, and each patch can assist in preventing motion sickness for up to three days. The main side effect for scopolamine is an irritating dry mouth side effect. Keep in mind that patients with glaucoma and other health issues should avoid using this drug, and that dimenhydrinate is a potential treatment for young children. Be sure to consult your physician prior to beginning any medication.

Holistic Healing for Motion Sickness

Various holistic healing modalities can help improve the symptoms of motion sickness and treat the actual condition. Although they come from different traditions, these healing practices share some common tenets, like that of the body being a self-healing system. With a focus on natural medicine and touch, these therapies aim to restore health and balance in the body and mind.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

As a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture supports the idea that our bodies, out of balance due to years of stress and unhealthy lifestyle choices, can be brought back to equilibrium through the practice of needling points on energy channels (located throughout the body) called meridians. Acupressure, or shiatsu, works with the same system of meridians and points but does not use needles. A shiatsu practitioner uses his or her fingers to hold down acupressure points on the body, therefore rebalancing one’s chi, or life force, to promote health.

AcupressureSufferers of motion sickness can also self-apply acupressure to key areas of the body.

  • P6 – Nei Guan – Inner Pass (Pericardium Meridian)
    Location: On the palmar side of the forearm, about two finger-breadths above (away from the hand) the wrist crease.
    Purpose: Treats stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. Restores clarity to the brain and suppresses pain.
  • SJ 5 – Wai Guan – Outer Pass (San Jiao Meridian)
    Location: On the forearm, about two finger-breadths above the wrist crease.
    Purpose: Treats fever and headaches in infections of the upper respiratory tract, decongests, clears heat, and sharpens eyesight and hearing. *The previous point, P6, is often balanced with SJ 5.
  • SJ 17 – Yi Feng – Wind Screen (San Jiao Meridian)
    Location: Behind the ear, in the depression between the mastoid process and the lower jaw.
    Purpose: Sharpens hearing and corrects feelings of imbalance. This treats diseases of the ear. Nausea due to inner ear or motion sickness can also benefit from SJ17.
  • DM16 – Feng Fu – Palace of Wind (Du Mai Meridian)
    Location: On the back of the neck, one finger breadth above the midpoint of the posterior hairline.
    Purpose: Brings clarity to the brain, opens the senses, releases cramps, and treats severe neck headaches. DM16 is also a point that can treat dizziness and nausea associated with many imbalances.

AromatherapyAromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses the medicinal properties of essential oils drawn from plants and herbs to treat a variety of conditions ranging from skin disorders and infections to stress and immune deficiencies. Each essential oil emits a biofrequency that is sensed by the body. Imbalances in the body and symptoms associated with motion sickness can be “tuned” as the body responds to the oils with respect to its own biofrequency.Because of this specificity, each individual responds differently to an essential oil. Therapy is best when customized by testing essential oils and gauging the body’s response, however, some key essential oils universally assist in relieving motion sickness including peppermint oil, ginger oil, lavender oil and spearmint oil.

Peppermint, Spearmint, Lavender, Ginger Oils

  • At the onset of nausea or motion sickness, open a bottle of one of these essential oils and inhale the odor.
  • Or, using a combination of these essential oils, one may create their own mixture to inhale. According to a recent study, “Apart from the obvious benefits of utilizing each [essential oil’s] contribution to relieving nausea, the complex aroma produced will help prevent the unwanted side effect of conditioned aversion [to an individual essential oil].”[2]
  • Sucking on peppermints helps soothe stomach lining, relax stomach muscles, and ease cramping.

foot reflexologyReflexology

Reflexology, developed from an earlier European system called zone therapy, holds that the hands and feet have reflex areas that correspond to every part of the body, including organs and glands. These parts are affected by stimulating relevant reflex areas. Mainly, reflexology is used to create deep relaxation and to relieve stress and tension. The blood supply is improved by reflexology, and it promotes the unblocking of nerve impulses to harmonize and balance the body.

Because motion sickness is caused by imbalance of one’s inner ear, one can alleviate motion sickness by focusing on reflexology points of the ear. The main reflex centers related to the ears are on the base of the fourth and fifth fingers on the palm and sole of one’s hands and feet.

Pressure can be applied with the hands, or with a rubber or wooden instrument.

Useful website to find ear reflexology points

Useful website to find reflexology points

Holistic Lifestyle Changes

Preventative measures

Those who are susceptible can prevent motion sickness by putting themselves in a position where there is minimal motion. They should try to be in an area that is well ventilated and they should focus on a single point on the horizon. For short periods of travel, avoid drinking and eating, and move around as little as possible.

viewfromcarpassengerTravel Tips for Motion Sickness

If you have a history of motion sickness or might be susceptible to it, consider the following pieces of advice:

  • In a vehicle: Sit as close to the front of the vehicle as you can. If you are a passenger, pay attention to the scenery outside and in the distance. Sometimes, driving the vehicle (instead of just being a passenger) can help a lot.
  • On a train: Face forward and sit close to a window.
  • In an airplane: Request a window seat. Look out the window. The most preferable spot, where the degree of motion is lowest, is in a seat over the front edge of the wing. Open and direct the air vent to blow cool air onto your face.
  • On a ship: Choose a cabin in the middle of the ship, near the waterline. When on board the ship, go outside on deck and focus on the horizon.

Other tips:

  • Avoid heavy or acidic foods
  • Avoid smoking and avoid other people who smoke, do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol, and avoiding reading while on a vehicle.
  • Hydrate by drinking plenty of water and fluids
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Place your hand on the inside of the door or window and look at a point off in the distance while in a moving vehicle
  • Listen to music with headphones

Holistic Diet & Nutrition

There are several herbal and holistic remedies that can provide relief and comfort. These remedies focus on supplementing people with the nutrients they need in order to treat deficiencies and imbalances. Many holistic diet and nutrition products can be found at local health food stores and supermarkets.

gingerNutrition

Ginger is often recommended for preventing seasickness (Schmid et al. 1994), and is found to be better than dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) or placebo at combatting symptoms of motion sickness (Mowrey and Clayson 1982).[3] With the benefit of not causing drowsiness like other motion sickness medications, ginger helps to alleviate symptoms of nausea.

  • Pack some ginger snacks to bring with you: gingersnap cookies, ginger candy, and ginger ale all help to quell mild motion sickness. If you can’t locate any ginger ale that actually contains ginger, you can make homemade ginger ale with ginger syrup and seltzer water.
  • Make fresh ginger juice or a fresh infusion of ginger tea. Ginger tea can be made by putting one teaspoon of ground culinary ginger into a cup of boiling water, letting it steep for 5-10 minutes, and drinking as often as needed.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin B6

Nausea comes from different sources, and its possible that if you have significant amounts of nausea you may have a deficiency of Vitamin B6. Taking small doses (50 mg) of Vitamin B6 may treat feelings of nausea.

Magnesium

Furthermore, taking magnesium (100 mg) can help treat migraines associated with motion sickness, as magnesium prevents the muscle contractions that cause migraines.

Products & Equipment

sea bandsAcupressure Travel Wristbands

Travel wristbands (a.k.a. Sea bands) are bands that one wears around their wrists while traveling. They are made from cloth and they possess a plastic, circular button which is meant to be positioned over acupressure point L6 (or the Nei Guan point). By putting pressure on the point, travel wristbands can relieve motion sickness and nausea.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy nasal inhalers
The all-natural formulas in aromatherapy nasal inhalers come in two forms: ready-to-use or empty of oils. You can put your own essential oils into them to inhale, or you can purchase a ready-made complex formula of oils that combats motion sickness, like peppermint oil, spearmint oil, ginger oil, or lavender oil. Several companies offer aromatherapy nasal inhalers as the pure essential oils quickly combat dizziness and nausea that accompany motion sickness. These inhalers are natural, effective, and portable.

  • Peppermint oil
  • Spearmint oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Ginger oil

See “Aromatherapy” in Holistic Healing for Motion Sickness above.

Herbal Medicine

These three herbs provide soothing relief to stomach cramps and nausea. Keep these teas handy when traveling in order to combat motion sickness.

  • Chamomile
  • Peppermint
  • Ginger Tea

Reflexology toolsReflexology

Tools for the Feet, Hand, Head, and Body stimulate the internal organs of the body, helps blood circulation, relieve tension of the nervous system.

 

Updated: April 2014


Written by Nicole Kagan
Reviewed & edited by Julie Cerrato

  • 1 Workneh, Brooke. “FYI: What Causes Motion Sickness, And How Do You Cure It?.” Popular Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2014. www.popsci.com/science/news-articles/2012-12/fyi-what-causes-motion-sickness-and-how-do-you-cure-it
  • 2 What are Essential Oils?. (n.d.). Soothing Scents. Retrieved March 15, 2014, from soothing-scents.com/media/Medical_Use_of_Essential_Oils.pdf
  • 3 Bode, A. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
  • Crohn’s Diease: A Scientific Approach May Cure You.. (n.d.). Crohn’s Diease: A Scientific Approach May Cure You.. Retrieved March 15, 2014, from www.scdiet.net/healingcrow/HealingCrow/www.healingcrow.com/dietsmain/crohn/crohn.html
  • How to Use Aromatherapy for Nausea. (n.d.). wikiHow. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from www.wikihow.com/Use-Aromatherapy-for-Nausea
  • Lian, Y. (2005). The pictorial atlas of acupuncture: an illustrated manual of acupuncture points. Marburg: Könemann.
  • Motion sickness. (n.d.). Retrieved from medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Motion Sickness
  • Motion Sickness-Treatment Overview. (2013, March 15). WebMD. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/motion-sickness-treatment-overview
  • Navigate / search. (n.d.). AcuTake. Retrieved March 9, 2014, from acutakehealth.com/why-are-you-doing-that-point-pericardium-6
  • PEPPERMINT. (n.d.). HouseOfNutrition.com. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from www.houseofnutrition.com/peppermint.html
  • The natural choice for nausea relief. (n.d.). Why Seaband. Retrieved March 15, 2014, from www.sea-band.com/why-seaband/
  • What You Need to Know About Seasickness or Motion Sickness. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/travelers_health/hic_what_you_need_to_know_about_seasickness-or-motion-sickness.aspx
Categories
Condition

Ankylosing Spondylitis Natural Treatments

Written by Dr. Rich Snyder

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints (called the sacroiliac joints) in the lower back in between the spine and pelvis.

It is an inflammatory arthritis that particularly affects younger people, predominantly males, between the ages of 20 and 40.

Therapies can include a change in diet, adding supplements and exercise. The following provides information on ankylosing spondylitis natural treatments.

Overview

What is ankylosing spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints (called the sacroiliac joints) in the lower back in between the spine and pelvis. These joints over time often become swollen and inflamed. One potential complication of this condition is that the spinal bones can fuse together.

How do I know if I may have ankylosing spondylitis?

This is a form of inflammatory arthritis that particularly affects younger people, predominantly males, between the ages of 20 and 40. Common symptoms include worsening lower back pain in the absence of trauma; others include stiffness, and decreased ability to bend forwards.

  • In the early course of the disease, the pain can be intermittent and comes and goes. The pain can often be intense enough to awaken someone from sleep.  Physical activity and exercise can often help alleviate the pain.
  • As this condition progresses, it can involve all or part of the spine. You may notice severely limited movement in the lower spine.
  • If ankylosing spondylitis affects the mid-back (or the thoracic spine), you may not be able to fully expand your chest because the joints between the ribs are involved.

Are there any other health conditions associated with ankylosing spondylitis?

In addition to the spine, other organs of the body that can be affected by ankylosing spondylitis include the eyes, aorta, and the lungs. Remember that because this is an inflammatory condition, body areas other than just the spine can be involved.

How is this condition diagnosed?

In a young person, low back pain is often a self-limiting condition that gets better with conservative measures. In someone whose back pain still persists with some of the symptoms described above, it can and should be a red flag that further evaluation is needed.

  • There are some physical examination tests that your healthcare provider can do that can strongly suggest this condition is present. One of them is called the Schober’s test which is a measure of how well you can bend forward. Remember that with ankylosing spondylitis, movement, especially bending forwards can be extremely limited.
  • Imaging studies can be strongly suggestive of this condition. Your healthcare provider may discuss with you obtaining an X-ray of your lower back and pelvis. An MRI can also be done as a more specialized confirmatory imaging test.
  • There is a special kind of blood test called HLA-B27; this test is often positive in someone with ankylosing spondylitis.
  • This condition can often be dismissed by healthcare providers in the early stages because the symptoms are often intermittent. You know your own body better than anyone else. It is important to find a practitioner who will listen to you.

What are some common medications used in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis?

Many of the medications commonly prescribed in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis work by suppressing the immune system.  They are often prescribed by a rheumatologist, who is a medical specialist trained in the evaluation and management of inflammatory conditions. Examples include:

Methotrexate: This medication is often given once a week and the dose is increased slowly.

  • If you are on this medication, your healthcare provider will need to monitor your blood count, liver function and kidney function through routine blood work as these processes can be affected by this medication.
  • Because this medication can disrupt folate metabolism, folic acid usually needs to be supplemented.

There is a class of agents called biologic agents. One example is adalimumab (Humira). This medication inhibits a potent pro-inflammatory protein called Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF). This is an injection that strongly suppresses the immune system.

  • This medication can increase your risk of getting cancer; in addition, it can also increase the risk of developing autoantibodies and the risk of acquiring other immune related syndromes.
  • If you are ill or have an infection, this medication should be held because it can interfere with your body’s ability to fight off the infection.
  • This medication and other medications that suppress your immune system increase the risk of developing infections.

Nutrition

Your intestine is the one of the main keys to fighting and reducing total body inflammation. Forming a solid nutritional plan is vital: one of the best nutritional plans for fighting inflammation is the anti-inflammatory diet.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Foods can be a source of inflammation, especially for people with food sensitivities. Because the etiology of ankylosing spondylitis is not known, you want your nutrition plan to be as inflammatory free as possible. This is a diet similar to other diets, including the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet in that it has a focus on fruits and vegetables which in general are non-inflammatory.

  • One of the main differences in this diet is that you are looking to eliminate foods that may potentially be the cause of food sensitivities, or foods that have the ability to stimulate inflammatory responses. One of the most common examples of this is gluten in celiac disease. On an anti-inflammatory diet, all possible sources of food sensitivities are eliminated and then reintroduced one at a time.
  • Another way is to have your blood tested for food sensitivities.
  • Be aware that different foods, even among fruits and vegetables, can have different degrees of inflammation. There is a great site at www.nutritiondata.com that has an  Inflammatory index that can tell you about the inflammatory power of the foods that you are eating. You want to focus on foods that have a high anti-inflammatory index.

Other Nutritional Recommendations:

  • Stay away from sugar: sugar can be a potent source of inflammation. Eliminate this from your diet, and you can see a change in how you feel as well. Remember that Candida can also promote Candida overgrowth in the intestine which can also promote inflammation as well via the production of  mycotoxins.
  • Juicing in the morning is a great way to start the morning and get a great anti-oxidant kick to start your day.

 Supplements

Many of the supplements below help normalize immune function and bowel flora as well as reduce inflammation and pain.

Probiotics: These should be a mainstay in any inflammatory condition. They can normalize the bowel flora and replace the bad bacteria with good intestinal microflora. Studies specific to their benefits in ankylosing spondylitis have been mixed, but they do have an effect on immune system modulation and are often included in any anti-inflammatory regimen.

Fish Oil

Omega 3 fish oil

A Western diet is high in Omega 6 and is pro-inflammatory. Changing your diet to reduce Omega 6 (which can be done with an anti-inflammatory diet) and supplementing with Omega 3 fish can help reduce inflammation and pain. In one study from 2006, the use of Omega 3 fish oil markedly showed a decrease in disease activity in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.

  • A good anti-inflammatory dose begins at least 3-4 grams a day to start and slowly increased to a maximum of 7-8 grams.
  • As this supplement can thin the blood, if you are on any blood thinners, you may wish to start at a lower dose and increase the dose slowly.

Wobenzyme N

This is an enzyme supplement that is used in the treatment of inflammation and pain. Enzymes in this supplement include bromelain (from pineapple) and papain (from papaya).

  • If you have allergies to pineapples or papaya do not take this supplement.
  • It is best taken on an empty stomach; be aware that you may need to take 6-12 tablets a day for an inflammatory response.

Turmeric

Turmeric

It is a great anti-oxidant that can reduce inflammation and pain. It can be taken as a 400 mg capsule daily or as a powder that can be sprinkled on each meal.

  • In one study, Turmeric was as effective as an analgesic in controlling post-operative pain.

Tart cherry extract

Specifically Montmorency tart cherry extract is excellent for decreasing pain and inflammation.

  • It comes in tablet or liquid form. Many prefer the liquid form and good maintenance dose is 1 ounce twice a day of the liquid formulation.

Anti-inflammatory formulations

There are some good, natural pain formulations that contain many potent herbs that are great for reducing pain and inflammation in one capsule. Examples include curcumin (the main ingredient in Turmeric), Boswellia extract and Devils claw. Examples of these formulations include Arthrocin and Zyflamend.

Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency can promote inflammation and pain. For sore muscle and/or joints, the use of Magnesium gel or oil applied directly to the area can promote healing and reduce inflammation and increase joint and muscle mobility and flexibility.

Morinda citrifolia (Noni)

This is a tropical plant from East Asia that has been used for many years. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in the treatment of pain.

  • Noni can come in capsule or juice form. If you take the juice form, begin at 1 ounce twice a day and increase slowly to 4-6 oz a day.
  • Some forms of Noni can have a high potassium content, so if you have kidney disease you need to be mindful of this.
  • Extremely high doses of this may have an adverse effect on the liver, although this is controversial. The several ounces a day that we mention here is very low dosage of this supplement.

Exercise

While physical activity and exercise can help in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis, it does not mean that you will be able to tolerate any and all exercise regimens. Activities such as swimming and aqua-therapy, where there is not as much direct pressure placed on the back are preferred over running or jogging.Yoga for ankylosing spondylitis

  • Yoga: Yoga is a great way to increase back flexibility as well as decrease pain in ankylosing spondylitis. It is important to start slowly and work with a certified instructor to learn the right way to do each exercise. Yoga is especially effective if started in the early stages of this condition.
  • In addition to the exercise regimen mentioned above, if you have ankylosing spondylitis you should also consider seeing someone who is holistically trained in trying to help you regain more function and flexibility in your lower back. This can include seeing a structural integration specialist, chiropractor, and/or a specialist in osteopathic manipulation.
  • Agarwal KA, Tripathi CD et al. “Efficacy of turmeric (curcumin) in pain and postoperative fatigue after laparoscopic cholecystectomy: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study.” Surgical Endoscopy. 2011 Dec;25(12):3805-10.
  • Basar S, Uhlenhut K et al. “Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of Morinda citrifolia L. (Noni) fruit.” Phytotherapy Research. Jan;24(1):38-42Edavalath M. “Ankylosing Spondylitis.” Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. 2010 Jul;1(3):211-4.
  • Hemarajata P, Versalovic J. “Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation.” Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology. 2013 Jan;6(1):39-51.
  • Kuehl KS. “Cherry juice targets antioxidant potential and pain relief.” Medicine and Sports Science..Medicine and Sports Science. 2012;59:86-93.
  • Smith JP, Bingaman SI et al. “Therapy with the opioid antagonist naltrexone promotes mucosal healing in active Crohn’s disease: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.” 2011 Jul;56(7):2088-97.
  • Sundstrom B, StalnackeK et al. “Supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.” Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology. 2006 Sep-Oct;35(5):359-62.
  • Younger J, Noor N et al. “Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: findings of a small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover trial assessing daily pain levels.” Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2013 Feb;65(2):529-38
  • Youssef AA, Al-Deeb AE. “A double-blinded randomized controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component.” Anesthesia. 2013 Mar;68(3):260-6.

Updated: May 2013

Categories
Condition

High Cholesterol Natural Treatments

Written by Dr. Rich Snyder

Cholesterol is a fatty material made by the liver. It is essential for human life. However, cholesterol levels that are very high or cholesterol that is “inflammatory” increases your risk of heart and vascular disease.

High cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease through the formation of a cholesterol plaque over time.

The treatment of high cholesterol includes modifying your diet to a more plant-based one as well as increasing your fiber intake, incorporating supplements that normalize your cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation.

The following provides information on high cholesterol natural treatments.

Overview

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty material made by the liver. It is one of the basic building blocks of the cells in your body. It is a vital component of the cell membrane that helps protect the cell and maintain its integrity and viability. Cholesterol is also important for the production of certain vitamins, such as Vitamins A, D, E, K (called fat–soluble vitamins). It is also needed for hormone production; this includes cortisol and sex-related hormones. We not only produce cholesterol in our bodies, but we also obtain it from the foods that we eat.

Why or when is cholesterol bad?

Cholesterol, in and of itself, is not bad. It is in fact essential for human life. However, cholesterol levels that are very high or cholesterol that is “inflammatory” increases your risk of heart and vascular disease. High cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease through the formation of a cholesterol plaque over time as pictured above.

Are there different ways of looking at cholesterol?

When taking a holistic view of cholesterol, there are three different aspects that need to be considered:

  • Recognizing the different types of cholesterol
  • Understanding the nature of the cholesterol molecule itself: is the molecule small and dense (increased inflammation risk) or light and fluffy (negligible inflammation risk)
  • Recognizing that cholesterol can exist in an oxidized state or a natural/reduced state
  • It is important that you and your healthcare provider review all of these factors when looking at your cholesterol levels.

What are the different types of cholesterol?

  • The HDL, or High Density Lipoprotein, is called the “good cholesterol.” In general, the higher the HDL levels, the better.
  • LDL, or Low Density Lipoprotein, is considered to be the “bad cholesterol.” In general, it is thought that the lower the LDL levels, the better in terms of reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Triglycerides are another form of fat that is in the bloodstream. Very high levels, which can be seen with diabetes and alcohol abuse, are a risk factor for heart disease.
  • VLDL, or Very Low Density Lipoprotein, is a form of cholesterol that is also helpful in determining your heart risk. In general, the higher this number, the higher your risk of heart disease.

What do you mean by the nature of the cholesterol molecule and inflammation?

A number does not tell the whole story when it comes to cholesterol levels and determining their risk for heart and vascular disease. If you look at LDL, for example, there can be small dense particles which are thought to be more of a risk for the formation of a plaque or atherosclerosis in comparison to the larger fluffy and light particles which are non-inflammatory.

Inflammation also refers to whether the cholesterol is in a natural or “reduced” state or “oxidized” or inflammatory state. Be aware that all of the cells in our body exist in a natural or reduced state. In the setting of chronic inflammation, the cells become oxidized. This generates the formation of free radicals. This also changes the nature of the cholesterol in the cells, particularly the blood vessels, and causes them to be more inflammatory and hence, more likely to form a cholesterol plaque.

How do I know if I have high cholesterol?

There are ways to measure cholesterol numbers in the blood as well as more specialized blood testing to tell you the nature of the cholesterol profile.

  • On traditional blood work, the LDL, HDL and triglycerides levels are part of a standard lipid profile.
  • If your LDL is > 160 and you have heart disease or you have several risk factors for heart disease, this is considered to be a high number.
  • If your HDL number is < 40, it is considered to be too low.  Lower levels of HDL are risk factors for heart disease.
  • Triglyceride levels > 150 are considered to be high.

How do I know if I have abnormal cholesterol?

This is again looking not just at the number, but also inflammatory risk for cholesterol.

  • On a regular lipid profile, additional testing, including looking for certain markers such as apolipoprotein B and lipoprotein A levels, are important markers for how “atherogenic” the cholesterol particles may be.
  • There is a specialized test called the VAP or Vertical Auto Profile test that can tell you the nature of the LDL or HDL molecules that you have. If, for example, the VAP test reports that your cholesterol is larger and fluffier in nature, they are less likely to be inflammatory with lesser risk for inflammation. This is an example of a personalized test that can really help you to determine your risk for heart disease.
  • Your healthcare provider should also test for “inflammation.” In particular, blood tests, including the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and high sensitivity C-reactive protein need to be checked. The higher the level, the more likely the cholesterol is inflammatory and increases the risk of plaque formation and heart disease.

What are conventional treatments of high cholesterol?

The traditional treatment of high cholesterol levels includes the prescription use of medications. Commonly prescribed drug classes of medications used to lower cholesterol include the statins, Zetia (Ezetimibe), bile-acid resins, and Niacin.

Statins: These are medications that inhibit the formation of cholesterol. Studies have demonstrated that this class of medications has decreased the risk of heart attacks and is heart-protective for someone with risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Potential side effects of this class of medications include elevated liver enzymes (as can be measured in the blood), muscle pain or myalgias. It may also affect memory and may cause memory problemsCaution: Statins can deplete the body of ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), a potent anti-oxidant that is important not only for maintaining a healthy heartbut also for maintaining cellular health.

  • Supplementation with ubiquinone is recommended when taking this class of medications.
  • Ubiquinone can also decrease the risk of developing myalgias when taking statins and can also help in the treatment of myalgias once they begin.

Zetia (Ezetimibe): This medication blocks the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. It can be prescribed to be used in conjunction with statin therapy for the treatment of high cholesterolCaution: Because this class of medications inhibits cholesterol absorption, it can also affect the absorption of key fat-soluble vitamins, including Vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Bile acid resins: This medication also is used to block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. It can also affect the absorption of key fat-soluble vitamins, including Vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Niacin: This is used in the treatment of low HDL to raise their levels. This medication has been known to cause flushing as a side effect and aspirin is often needed to be given prior to taking a dose of Niacin. There are extended release forms of Niacin that do not have this effect.

Fenofibrate: This class of medication is used to treat high triglyceride levels. They have similar side effects to the statin class of medications, including affecting the liver and causing myalgias. Caution: If a statin and fenofibrate are taken together, this can dramatically increase the risk of developing liver problems and significant muscle pain and muscle damage. In some cases, the muscle damage can be significant enough to cause kidney failure.

Nutrition

DASH Diet

One of the most important changes necessary in the treatment of abnormal cholesterol is changing your diet.  A diet higher in fruits and vegetables is recommended. Did you know that the new Food Pyramid recommends five to seven fruits and vegetables each and every day? One of the well-studied diets is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. The DASH diet not only lowered blood pressure, the risk of developing other complications of high blood pressure and diabetes, it also helped in lowering cholesterol.

This diet advocates the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It emphasizes reducing foods high in polyunsaturated fats as well as significantly reducing the amount of meat-based protein in the diet. Notwithstanding the chemicals, toxins, food additives, antibiotics that may have been used in the preparation of the meat, high animal protein intake increases total body inflammation, which plays an important role in the development of high cholesterol.

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet

Another diet that has been extensively studied in the treatment of high cholesterol is the Mediterranean diet. Like the DASH diet, this diet stresses the consumption of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats, particularly promoting the use of olive oil over butter. Eating fish, especially salmon twice a week is recommended for its high Omega 3 content. Much research has been done advocating the many benefits of the Mediterranean diet, especially for its heart protective effects.

The basic conclusion that can be drawn is that a plant-based diet can reduce not only your inflammation levels, but also can help normalize your cholesterol levels.

Supplements

Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)

Replacement of this antioxidant is necessary to help improve blood vessel health. This is vital to take, especially if you have been prescribed a statin-based medication.

  • When starting, begin with small doses at 50-100 mg daily and increase to twice a day after several weeks. Smaller doses taken during the day maximizes its absorption. Monitor your blood pressure closely. If you have diabetes, this nutrient can also help lower your blood glucose levels so they need to be monitored as well.

Fiber

If your diet is low in fiber, a fiber-based supplement is recommended. Remember that fiber can bind the cholesterol in the intestine and prevent its absorption. Examples of commonly used fiber supplements can include a psyllium-based fiber supplement like Metamucil or more of a soluble-based fiber like Glucomannan fiber.

Garlic

This is excellent for helping to maintain the cholesterol in the natural or “reduced” state. It decreases the inflammation of “cholesterol plaque.”

  • Aged garlic extract can be taken in capsule form starting at 400-600 mg a day. As garlic is a natural blood thinner, be careful if you are on prescription blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, Plavix, or Coumadin.

Fish OilOmega 3 fish oil

Omega 3 fish oil can not only help in lowering triglycerides, it is important for maintaining the health and pliability of the blood vessels as well as tremendous for reducing inflammation. You can start at 2000 mg a day and increase slowly to a maximum of 4-5 grams a day. Be aware that Omega 3 fish oil can thin the blood, so you may need to decrease your dosage if you are taking any blood thinners.

Phytosterols

These are plant-based compounds that can be used in the treatment of high cholesterol. They can be taken independently or can be part of other formulations as well. An example of a plant-based sterol is beta-sitosterol. This can be taken once to twice daily, depending on the formulation chosen.

Red Yeast Rice

This is a natural form of the statin medications, and is used by many in the treatment of high cholesterol. There are several caveats when taking this supplement you need to be aware of:

  • Do not take prescription statins if you are taking this supplement.
  • As with the statin medications, liver tests (blood work) need to be monitoredand myalgias can occur with this supplement as well.
  • It is recommended to begin at a dose of 600 mg daily and slowly increase over the course of several weeks to a maximum dose of 1200 mg twice a day. You should be under the care of a health care provider when taking this supplement.

TurmericTurmeric

Turmeric is a great anti-oxidant to lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. It can be taken as a 400 mg capsule daily or simply by sprinkling a little Turmeric powder on each meal. It does have a blood thinning effect so be aware if you are on other blood-thinning medications as mentioned above.

Exercise

Our bodies were meant to move. Beginning an exercise regimen is crucial  to help in lowering cholesterol levels.

Walking thirty minutes four times a week has benefits of not only improving endurance, but also strengthening the heart as well as helping you lose weight. Other forms of exercise include jogging, biking, swimming and aquatic-based therapy.

Yoga for High CholesterolExercising in the water is not only rejuvenating, but as it reduces the wear, tear, and constant pounding on the joints, it is an ideal choice, especially if you are suffering from arthritis or have difficult y walking. Depending on your health issues, it is recommended that you see your health care practitioner to develop a personalized exercise regimen that matches your likes and limitations. Don’t forget to include muscle resistance training into your exercise regimen.

Yoga and tai chi represent a form of exercise that improves muscle strength and flexibility and does not require the use of expensive equipment. As mentioned above, they are great forms of exercise that can help improve cholesterol levels.

Updated: June 2019


  • Chung YH, Lee YC et al. “Statins of high versus low cholesterol-lowering efficacy and the development of severe renal failure.” Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. 2013 Mar 22.
  • Cicero AF, Ferroni A et al.  “Tolerability and safety of commonly used dietary supplements and nutraceuticals with lipid-lowering effects.” Expert Opinion on Drug Safety. 2012 Sep;11(5):753-66.
  • Roth EM, Harris WS. “Fish oil for primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.” Current Atherosclerosis Reports. 2010 Jan;12(1):66-72.
  • Srinivasan K. “Dietary spices as beneficial modulators of lipid profile in conditions of metabolic disorders and diseases.” Food and Function. 2013 Apr 25;4(4):503-21.
  • Stone NJ, Bilek S, et al. “Recent National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III update: adjustments and options.” American Journal of Cardiology. 2005 Aug 22;96(4A):53E-59E.
Categories
Condition

Asthma Natural Treatments

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the bronchial airways which is commonly associated with wheezing, increased mucus secretions and reduced lung expansion. Opinions vary as to the cause, with great emphasis placed on emotions, genetics and environmental areas.

The following is information on asthma natural treatments.

Self-Care Natural Treatments

  • Magnesium Citrate: Magnesium is the number one anti-stress mineral that also relaxes the bronchial constriction in the lungs.  It is suggested to take 250-500 mg once per day, and monitor your body.
  • Evening Primrose oil: Helps reduce inflammation. Start with 1000 mg / day.
  • Food Restriction: Eliminate all dairy for at least 2-weeks. This is known as a food sensitivity challenge.  Eliminate all dairy and monitor your breathing and energy levels. If you choose, you may try to reintroduce after the 2-week break and monitor your symptoms.
  • Cod liver oil: This also assists in reducing the inflammation.  Take 2 teaspoons daily.
  • Vitamin C:  Take to bowel tolerance.
  • Vitamin D:  If you choose to take Cod Liver Oil, there will be vitamin D in there.  If not, consider supplementing with vitamin D3 at least 2000 mg per day.

Professional Natural Therapies

  • Kinesiology: This may help isolate foods for which you may be sensitive or allergic to.
  • Homeopathy: Consider an assessment by a Homeopath to treat this issue at the core, rather than simply manage symptoms.

References

  • Andrew Weil, drweil.com/drw/u/ART00306/asthma.html
  • Natural Treatment for Asthma, altmedicine.about.com/od/aznaturalremedyindex/a/asthma.htm
  • EarthClinic, earthclinic.com/CURES/asthma.html
Categories
Condition

Sunburn Natural Treatments

Written by Dr. Snyder

Sunburn is a radiation type burn that damages the skin when it has been overexposed to ultraviolet rays of the sun or an artificial light source such as a tanning bed. Symptoms can include redness, burning, or blistering on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun. Sunburn should be thought of as damaging or “poisoning” to the skin.

Sunburn natural treatments for preventing and treating sunburn involves proper nutrition, utilizing botanical antioxidants and topical remedies, and common sense.

Overview

How does the sun cause damage to the skin?

The outer layer of the skin is called the epidermis. The sun emits ultraviolet rays that can cause damage in a number of ways, such as the following.

  • The skin can lose its stretchiness (or elasticity). Normal skin is pliable and stretchable. Over time, sun-damaged skin can lose its pliability. The skin can become tight and “scarred.”
  • Repeated overexposure to ultraviolet rays can cause skin disfigurement. Examples can include freckling and other types of skin lesions.
  • Sun damage is a leading cause of premature aging of the skin. It also increases the risk of developing skin cancer. If you are fair skinned, freckle easy, and are of Northern European ancestry, your risk of developing skin cancer increases.

Why are the ultraviolet (UV) rays dangerous?

Much of the ozone layer has been lost. It is this layer that helps protect us from the damaging effects of UV rays. A critical aspect to understand is that UV rays are ultraviolet radiation. Repeated exposure to UV radiation causes permanent skin damage and increases the risk of developing cancer.

What are some symptoms of sunburn?

The symptoms of sunburn often depend on the amount of time that is spent exposed to UV rays.

  • Redness and tenderness of the skin is the most immediate reaction.
  • Longer exposure can result in blistering of an exposed area. The area is very warm and tender to touch.
  • More prolonged exposure to the UV rays may cause you to feel sick — nausea, vomiting, and headache are some symptoms of sun poisoning (or really prolonged sunburn) that are a serious concern.

What about the needing the sun for Vitamin D? How do I accomplish this and avoid sunburn?

The sun is one of the main sources of Vitamin D for the body. Our skin contains an enzyme that helps the body process Vitamin D so that it is usable for the body. One risk factor for low Vitamin D levels is spending too little time outside. An irony of Vitamin D is that much of our needed Vitamin D comes from the sun and low Vitamin D levels actually increase the risk of developing skin! People only need 15 minutes of sun exposure a day to obtain the recommended amount of Vitamin D. You don’t need to spend hours in the sun for your body to receive the Vitamin D it needs.

Natural Prevention

A holistic approach to preventing sunburn involves proper nutrition,utilizing botanical antioxidants and topical remedies, and common sense.

Nutrition

Your diet is an important aspect to reduce the risk of sunburn. You can “eat your way” to better skin health. Foods that are high in antioxidants and Omega oils are protective against the effects of UV ray skin damage.

On a daily basis, consume foods that have a high antioxidant value. Include one or more of the following foods in your nutrition program.

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Collard Greens

Several studies have demonstrated that Omega 3s can reduce the degree of sun-induced skin damage.

The following foods are high in Omega 3 content.

  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans
  • Salmon

If you find it difficult to add these to your diet, then try adding a daily “greens” powder to your diet. Many of these powders are full of plant-based oxidants and Omega 3 content. Most often a heaping tablespoon in an 8 oz glass of water first thing in the morning is recommended. Follow the directions on the powder mixture container.

Supplements

Supplementing with herbs and antioxidants can help prevent sunburn. Use a combination of several for maximum skin protection.

Resveratrol

This antioxidant that is found in the skin of the grape is very beneficial in preventing sunburn. It is a “photo-chemoprotective agent “ that boosts skin defenses to help prevent UV ray induced skin damage. For sunburn prevention, use both the capsule form and the topical form. Take one 250 mg capsule daily in the morning and before venturing outside, apply resveratrol cream to those sun-exposed areas, such as your face, arms, and legs.

Green Tea Extract

Did you know that green tea extract can assist in the prevention of sunburn? It can be found as an ingredient in some sunscreens. In one study, the use of sunscreens that contained Green Tea Extract helped provide significant better protection from the UV rays. In another study, volunteers who had green tea extract applied to the skin prior to being exposed to solar radiation demonstrated little or no redness to the skin. When the skin cells were evaluated under a microscope, they found a reduced number of cells affected by solar radiation compared to the control group. Look for natural sunscreens that contain Green Tea Extract and apply to your skin before going outside.

Additionally, considering drinking green tea extract daily. It will provide your skin cells with antioxidant support needed to defend against sun induced skin damage.

Vitamins C and E

Both Vitamins C and E are excellent skin antioxidants and can be taken on a daily basis.

In one study, taking 2 grams of Vitamin C and 1000 units of Vitamin E daily resulted in a noticeable reduction in the redness of the skin after exposure to UV rays, as compared to the control group.

Begin with Vitamin C 1 gram a day and Vitamin E 400 IU (International Units a day).

  • The ester form of Vitamin C is recommended as it is more effectively in the body compared to the other forms.
  • In nature, there are two “types” of Vitamin E — tocopherols and tocotrienols. Read the labels when choosing a Vitamin E supplement to be sure that the bottle mentions both types.

Omega 3 Fish Oil

Omega 3 fish oil can help protect the skin from sun damage. It can dramatically decrease the skin response to acute sunburn, including reduced redness and tenderness. People can start by taking 1000 mg twice a day.

Herbs

Polypodium leucotomos

Polypodium leucotomos is an herb that has shown to protect the skin against UV radiation. Studies have demonstrated that both topical and oral forms are effective. There is an oral form of this called Fernblock. It is to be taken 30-minutes before going out into the sun.

Create Your Own Natural Sunscreen

While commercial sunscreens do provide the skin with sun protection, there can be concern with some of the other ingredients that are included. Some of them may be toxic and may increase the risk of developing cancer. You can create your own natural sunscreen.

Vegetable oils, including olive oil, and coconut oil can provide protection against the UV rays of the sun. Other oils that you can add when creating your own natural sunscreen include sesame seed oil and hemp seed oil.

Common Sense Approach

  • Avoid going outside in the middle of the day when the sun is at its brightest.
  • Wear loose fitting and light-colored clothing, as dark colors absorb more heat.
  • Wear a wide-brim hat to protect your face.

Natural Treatment of Sunburn

Here are some general principles concerning the treatment of acute sunburn:

  • For areas that are mildly red, the use of a cool compress can help.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration.
  • If there is blistering of the skin or other symptoms including nausea or headache, it’s advisable to seek medical attention.

In addition, the use of botanical antioxidants, essential oils and homeopathic remedies can help provide relief of pain and reduce inflammation.

Resveratrol Cream

This has been well studied for the treatment of acute sunburn. In one study, the effects of a topical resveratrol treatment for the treatment of acute sunburn were evaluated. There were several areas of the skin that were “designated” to receive exposure to UV rays. On one of those areas a topical anti-oxidant crème containing resveratrol was placed on one of the sunburned areas for all fifteen people for four consecutive days. The investigators noted that the area treated with resveratrol had minimal redness compared to the other sites in all fifteen individuals. They also noted that there was a decrease in the number of sunburned cells in the resveratrol treated group compared to the others. Apply this antioxidant cream to the sunburned areas twice a day.

Green tea extract

This cream also can provide the skin with the antioxidant support to minimize the pain and inflammation of acute sunburn. Massage the cream directly into the sunburned area twice a day.

Essential Oils

Essential oils, including lavender oil, sesame oil, chamomile oil, and peppermint oil can be used for the treatment of acute sunburn. They can be used in a few ways:

  1. Add a combination of these oils to your evening bath by adding a few drops of peppermint oil and chamomile oil to the bath water.
  2. Take a drop of peppermint oil and gently apply to those sunburned areas.
  3. The healing properties of lavender oil are helpful for the treatment of acute sunburn. Add 15 drops to a small spray bottle and spray on the sunburned areas.

Vitamins C and E

Using topical Vitamin C and E has beneficial effects for the treatment of acute UV damage. In several studies, the combination of these two antioxidants have demonstrated efficacy at treating acute sunburn. Apply this directly to the sunburned area twice a day.

Vitamin E normally comes in capsule form, so for the treatment of acute sunburn, use a pin to make a small hole in the capsule and gently massage the Vitamin E oil onto the sunburned area.

Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic remedies can also be used for the treatment of sunburn. The small doses used in homeopathy are effective in helping the damaged skin heal with no side effects.They can be used in conjunction with other skin based treatments.

One effective homeopathic treatment is Arnica Montana. It can reduce the skin inflammation and help promote healing of the sunburned area. You can apply Arnica Montana gel at a 30C dilution to the affected area four times a day.

Another effective option is the Boiron Calendula Cream. Calendula officinalis is the primary ingredient and it is very effective in the treatment of minor skin wounds and burns. You can apply Calendula cream to the sunburned area three times a day.

Updated: August 2013


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