Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Information on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

We ran across this older article from Health Day News, titled “Researchers Say They've Found Common Cause of All Types of ALS”. ALS of course is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. This is degenerative disease and a terrible one at that. I just find it fatiguing that research into any degenerative disease, be it ALS, Diabetes, Parkinson’s or whatever is largely focused on drug therapy as opposed to using a holistic approach, considering all avenues of treatment including advanced doses of nutritional supplementation as a part of the overall strategy.

From Health Day News August 21, 2011 -- The apparent discovery of a common cause of all forms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) could give a boost to efforts to find a treatment for the fatal neurodegenerative disease, a new study contends.

Scientists have long struggled to identify the underlying disease process of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) and weren't even sure that a common disease process was associated with all forms of ALS. ALS afflicts an estimated 350,000 people around the world. About 50 percent of patients die within three years of the first symptoms. They progressively lose muscle strength until they're paralyzed and can't move, speak, swallow and breathe, the researchers said.

In this new study, Northwestern University researchers said they found that the basis of ALS is a malfunctioning protein recycling system in the neurons of the brain and spinal cord. Efficient recycling of the protein building blocks in the neurons are critical for optimal functioning of the neurons. They become severely damaged when they can't repair or maintain themselves.

This problem occurs in all three types of ALS: hereditary, sporadic and ALS that targets the brain, the researchers said.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature, shows that all forms of ALS share an underlying cause and offers a common target for drug therapy, according to the researchers.

"This opens up a whole new field for finding an effective treatment for ALS," study senior author Dr. Teepu Siddique, of the Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurosciences at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a university news release. "We can now test for drugs that would regulate this protein pathway or optimize it, so it functions as it should in a normal state."

This finding about the breakdown of protein recycling in ALS may also prove useful in the study of other neurodegenerative diseases, specifically Alzheimer's and other dementias, the Northwestern researchers said.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Protein - How Much is Enough?

There is considerable debate on how the body synthesizes protein. Some say no more than 50 grams at an one time; other say around 20-30 grams is the maximum limit.
And yet others will say it isn't the amount you take at any one time, it the amount of protein you get during the whole day.

Protein, of course, is necessary to repair damaged cells and to build new ones. It is a pretty fair statement to say that it is universally accepted that eating within 3 hours of your workout enhances protein synthesis and therefore recuperation and muscle building.

The average person eats about double the amount of protein that their body requires, consuming an average of almost 70 pounds per year, when the average man needs about 65 grams a day compared to the average woman's needs of around 55 grams.

Too much protein can reflect in less energy and even lethargy. Eating too much protein, especially from red and processed meats is associated with higher rates of heart disease and cancer. Although it is not the greater amount of protein that is causing the cancer, is much more likely that the affected person is not getting a complete diet of nutrients and/or is consuming too many toxins in their whole foods.

It just may not only be safer and more healthy but more and easier to consume smaller amounts of protein each day, shooting for 4 to 5 servings. One serving could be two eggs; or several tablespoons of peanut butter; a hamburger patty, a large glass of milk among other protein sources.

There seems to be an organized effort to get people to discard red meat sources of protein, such as beef which is among some of the most complete single source foods you can eat. Impact on the environment. Claims that meat and dairy production require tremendous amounts of fuel, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, and generates a large amount of greenhouse gases are all published reasons from environmental groups to stop using these sources of protein. In fact, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently published a Meat Eater’s Guide, pointing out that if you ate once less burger a week it would be the environmentally-positive equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles.

Meat is also expensive. Not all proteins are created equal -- neither at the doctor’s office, nor the cash register.

Anyway, as always the consumer should do their own research and make up their own mind. But watch out for the wacko environmentalists,....anybody seen Al Gore? Come on now, I'm just having some fun.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Truths About ADD/ADHD

I wanted to address this article for several weeks now. This is from an article entitled "The Top 10 Myths About ADHD" by the Editors at RealAge, on 18 August 2011, which appeared on Shine by Yahoo,...which I sometimes call "shine you on"......just kidding.

Just-released government statistics confirm that ADHD (attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder) is more prevalent than ever before, increasing over the past decade from 6.9% to 9% among children ages 5 to 17. With nearly 1 in 10 kids being diagnosed with ADHD, and more adults learning they have it, too, it's become commonplace to blame it for everything from bad behavior to a messy house.

Everyone, from friends and neighbors to Hollywood celebrities, has something to say about it, much of it with no basis in science. Here to help you get your facts straight, the top 10 misconceptions about ADHD:

Myth #1: Only kids have ADHD.

Although about 10% of kids 5 to 17 years old have been diagnosed with ADHD, at least 4% of adults have it, too -- and probably many more, since adult ADHD is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. That's partly because people think only kids get it.

Myth #2: All kids "outgrow" ADHD.

Not nearly always. Up to 70% of children with ADHD continue to have trouble with it in adulthood, which can create relationship problems, money troubles, work strife, and a rocky family life.

Myth #3: Medication is the only treatment for ADHD.

Medication can be useful in managing ADHD symptoms, but it's not a cure. And it's not the only treatment. Lifestyle changes, counseling, and behavior modification can significantly improve symptoms as well. Several studies suggest that a combination of ADHD treatments works best.

MyAchingKnees comment: Medication should be the last choice in my book unless you readily accept the risks of many side effects. The hands down best treatment for what may be termed ADD or ADHD is nutrition. We have had several parents who once they reduced high glycemic foods and put their children on high doses of nutritional supplements, they have seen remarkable changes in weeks. Omega 3 Fatty Acids isn't just a joint health supplement. Lack of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and/or a high ratio between Omega 6 Fatty Acids to Omega 3 Fatty Acids are thought by a increasing number of nutritionists and Medical professionals to be a major contributing factor in ADD/ADHD. Why wouldn't any parent, who has a so -called ADD/ADHD child, try a low cost, lower risk experiment of placing their child on high quality nutrients and an Omega 3 supplement to see if it will help?

Myth #4: People who have ADHD are lazy and lack intelligence and willpower.

This is totally not true. In fact, ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence or determination. It's a neurobehavioral disorder caused by changes in brain chemicals and the way the brain works. It presents unique challenges, but they can be overcome -- which many successful people have done.

MyAchingKnees comment: It is outside the realm of belief to think that a lack of nutrients, including Omega 3 Fatty Acids, has something to do with a neurobehavioral disorder? Everything from energy transfer to absorption of micro nutrients by the cells has to be effected by a lack of nutrients provided.

Myth #5: ADHD isn't a real disorder.

Not so. Doctors and mental-health professionals agree that ADHD is a biological disorder that can significantly impair functioning. An imbalance in brain chemicals affects brain areas that regulate behavior and emotion. This is what produces ADHD symptoms.

MyAchingKnees comment: In my opinion, ADD or ADHD is by and large a nutritional disease. However, I am sure that there are some causes of ADD or ADHD that cannot be effectively managed through lifestyle change and a solid nutritional plan. In one particular case a friend of mine put her 11 years old son on a high quality nutritional supplement and an Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplement. I also had her change from white bread and orange juice from concentrate in the mornings before school to a multi-grain bread and fresh or organic juice and within 3 weeks she told me her son's teacher and her noticed a big change in the boy's behavior and attention span. And this is a boy who when I was visiting the family one day, he came crashing out of the ceiling into the living room! He had been up in the attic jumping on the insulation and sheet rock ceiling!

Myth #6: Bad parenting causes ADHD.

Absolutely not! ADHD symptoms are caused by brain-chemical imbalances (see #4 and #5) that make it hard to pay attention and control impulses. Good parenting skills help children deal with their symptoms.

MyAchingKnees comment: Of course bad parenting does not cause ADD or ADHD. But what kind of parent pumps ritalin or whatever into their kids without first trying less risker protocols? Boy, writing that is going to get me some hate mail!!

Myth #7: Kids with ADHD are always hyper.

Not always. ADHD comes in three "flavors": predominantly inattentive; predominantly hyperactive-impulsive; and combined, which is a mix of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. Although kids with hyperactive-impulsive or combined ADHD may be fidgety and restless, kids with inattentive ADHD are not hyper.

Myth #8: Too much TV time causes ADHD.

Not really. But spending excessive amounts of time watching TV or playing video games could trigger the condition in susceptible individuals. And in kids and teens who already have ADHD, spending hours staring at electronic screens may make symptoms worse.

Myth #9: If you can focus on certain things, you don't have ADHD.

It's not that simple. Although it's true that people with ADHD have trouble focusing on things that don't interest them, there's a flip side to the disorder. Some people with ADHD get overly absorbed in activities they enjoy. This symptom is called hyperfocus. It can help you be more productive in activities that you like, but you can become so focused that you ignore responsibilities you don't like.

Myth #10: ADHD is overdiagnosed.

Nope. If anything, ADHD is under diagnosed and under treated. Many children with ADHD grow up to be adults with ADHD. The pressures and responsibilities of adulthood often exacerbate ADHD symptoms, leading adults to seek evaluation and help for the first time. Also, parents who have children with ADHD may seek treatment only after recognizing similar symptoms in themselves. For people with severe small intestine inflammation, doctors sometimes prescribe steroids.

MyAchingKnees comment: Over diagnosed? No, I agree probably not. But over medicated? For sure.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another View - The 5 Most Important Supplements

From an article on Yahoo! News, comes a reasonable accurate recommendation about the 5 most important supplements, with our comments following each recommendation.

1. A high-quality multi-vitamin

Topping the list is an excellent quality multi-vitamin. This is essential because a multi “fills in the blanks” of your diet (no matter how good it is), so you’re not running dangerously low on the essential nutrients your body needs for optimal functioning.

Be sure to avoid the TV-advertised one-a-days you find in your local drugstore. These are nearly worthless because their ingredients are based on the “bare minimum” official Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), now upgraded to the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI). The RDA evolved from the old Minimum Daily Requirement (MDR) set by the government. This means the nutrients in most of the popular multis contain the minimum doses necessary to prevent nutritional -deficiency diseases, such as scurvy (vitamin C), beriberi (vitamin B1), and others. This certainly is not how to guarantee optimal health.

These mainstream multis are notoriously feeble. For example, Consumer Reports recently concluded that Centrum is the worst vitamin for seniors in its class. Consumer Reports also found that The Vitamin Shoppe’s One Daily failed to dissolve in a simulated stomach environment, while containing less vitamin A than its label claims.

You can avoid this pitfall by sticking to high-quality, bioavailable multivitamins that are reasonably priced and lab-tested.

MyAchingKnees comment: There is nothing to regulate what of the shelf food grade supplement manufacturers list on their label. The U.S. Olympic Committee doesn't trust them why should you? Pushing aside the quality issue, yes everyone should take a multi-mineral, mega antioxidant supplement - if you think you are geting his from you foods, then you are fooling yourself.

2. A quality omega-3 supplement

Fish oil is today’s bestselling supplement — and with good reason. The EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in omega-3 fish oil have profoundly positive effects on human health. DHA slows your liver’s production of undesirable triglycerides, making it extremely protective against heart disease and diabetes.

In addition, fish oil is incredibly effective at reducing inflammation. It accomplishes this by triggering the release of prostaglandins (natural substances that regulate immunity, inflammation, blood clotting, brain function, plus a host of other essential functions).

There’s not enough room here to list all the healing effects of omega-3. The highlights include: Healing blood vessel walls … keeping the blood thin (thus minimizing clotting) flowing smoothly … lowering blood pressure … stabilizing blood sugar … and brightening your mood.

The American Heart Association recommends a daily dose of 500-1,000 mg of DHA and EPA from fish oil to reduce heart disease — but I think this is a paltry dose. I prefer to take 6,000 to 9,000 iu daily in three equal doses — and find this really helps my arthritis.

MyAchingKnees comment: I also think that a Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplement, combined with Glucosamine are what has eliminated by decades old knee pain and greatly reduced my back pain. It has been known to help brain function, hence the appropriate use in ADD/ADHD kids.

3. Co-enzyme Q-10

CoQ-10 (also known as ubiquinol) is a nutrient produced by the “energy factories” in your cells called mitochondria. Taking a CoQ-10 supplement boosts the way your cells produce and use energy. It also helps your body burn fat … improves cholesterol ratios … boosts your physical energy levels … and improves thyroid and pancreas functions.

By the way, statins — the widely — (or is it “wildly”?) prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs — actually deplete your body’s natural CoQ-10. Statins block production of cholesterol in the liver, where CoQ-10 is also manufactured. Without sufficient CoQ-10, statins can cause liver damage … irregular heartbeat … muscle weakness … leg cramps … heart attack and stroke (the two potentially fatal conditions that statins are supposed to prevent).

Other medications also can limit your body’s production of CoQ-10, including: Diabetes drugs....antidepressants.....female hormone replacement therapy … and blood pressure meds. If you take any of these, you definitely need to supplement with CoQ-10.

MyAchingKnees comment: I do not take CoQ-10, although in the limited people I have known that have taken a pharmaceutical grade version of it that is three times as potent dose wise as the common dose, have experience great benefit. Through not changing my real food diet, and only through the daily consumption of pharmaceutical grade supplements, my cholesterol went from 210 to 150. I would not hesitate to add CoQ-10 to my supplements if I had any reason to believe I needed this potent optimizer in my body. And I very well may need some at some point, as our bodies manufacture CoQ-10 but that diminishes with age.

4. Magnesium citrate

You’ve been hearing about calcium and bone health forever — but did you know that magnesium and calcium are like conjoined twins? Calcium can’t even be absorbed unless magnesium is present. Without it, calcium is much less effective in maintaining your bones and regulating your nerve and muscle tone.

In fact, new research shows that Americans need far more magnesium than the current RDI — and that you should really be consuming twice as much magnesium as calcium for optimal health.

Magnesium may be the most important mineral you can take because it’s a key player in 300 essential bodily functions, and is used by all of your organs. It activates enzymes … powers your energy … and helps your body absorb vitamin D, potassium, and zinc.

The majority of Americans are magnesium-deficient due to the low-quality, processed foods in the typical American diet. Produce grown in mineral-depleted soil won’t provide much magnesium, either.

If you have blood sugar issues, you should know that magnesium helps regulate blood sugar and insulin activity. In addition, magnesium’s ability to relax muscles and nerves makes it one of your best allies in the battle against anxiety.....hypertension.....restless leg syndrome......sleep disorders......and
abnormal heart rhythm.

MyAchingKnees comment: I would have named this essential supplement Calcium. You cannot take a high quality calcium supplement without Magnesium in the same tablet. It is believed most women are calcium (and magnesium) deficient as well as an appropriate supplement for teenage girls to ensure they are getting enough. I have had my daughter on it since age 11. Additionally, an absence of Calcium may very well be a factor in joint pain.

5. Sunshine vitamin D

This is rapidly becoming the miracle vitamin of our time. Every week, it seems, there’s a new finding about D’s marvelous benefits. Most Americans are badly deficient in vitamin D because doctors consider the sun our enemy — and your skin converts solar rays into this essential vitamin.

Numerous studies show that this amazing vitamin is protective against all cancers (even skin cancer and melanoma!)......strengthens bones.....prevents and even heals diabetes … protects against heart disease … lowers blood pressure … reverses depression … and elevates mood.

Whenever you can, spend 10-20 minutes sunbathing — without sunscreen. (Your body transforms sunshine into all the vitamin D it needs.) If your access to sunlight is limited by season or geographic location, take 2,000-5,000 IU of a good quality vitamin D supplement daily. (The elderly and African-Americans need higher doses.) Official recommendations call for a scant 600 IU, which is far too low. Just make sure you purchase vitamin D3 (not D2) because the D3 form is 87% more potent than
vitamin D2.

MyAchingKnees comment: Ha Ha, you will not get enough Vitamin D from the Sun. A minimum of 2,000 IU per day will ensure your body and therefore your immune system get the Vitamin D it requires. You may need more. I have several friends taking 4,000 to 8,000 IU a day and swear by that dose.

As always, let the consumer be aware. Do your own research and do not limit it to vitamin ads making claims there is no way to check. Unless of course they use "in-house" labs.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Reducing Your Blood Pressure

While I was looking on the Real Age site, I found this article on "Reducing Your Blood Pressure with Drinks....

The article states:

Whether you choose soymilk or cow's milk, having a glass now and then may be doing great things for your blood pressure.

So say investigators of a recent clinical trial. Their study found that milk and soy proteins may each have the ability to reduce systolic blood pressure.

Putting the Clamps on Pressure

In the study, researchers randomly assigned people with pre-hypertension and stage-1 high blood pressure to receive either 40 grams per day of protein from soymilk, 40 grams per day of protein from cow's milk, or a carbohydrate-rich drink. After 8 weeks, both the soymilk and cow's milk groups experienced improved blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure dipped 2.0 mm Hg in the soymilk group and 2.3 mm Hg in the cow's milk group, while the carb-supplemented group saw no change.

Less Is More

A 2 or 2.3 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure might not sound like much. But health experts believe that even this modest reduction could lead to 6 percent fewer stroke-related deaths, a 4 percent lower rate of heart disease deaths, and a 3 percent reduction in overall deaths among Americans. So even a little bump down translates into major life saving.

Take the Yogurt Challenge

Want to get more blood-pressure-friendly food into your life? Try eating 2 to 3 servings of nonfat or low-fat yogurt each day. Choose sugar-free varieties to keep calorie count down.

I don't know about the milk, though. I have been drinking cow milk for over 45 years now. My blood pressure did not improve until I started taking daily high doses pharmaceutical grade nutritional products six years ago. My blood pressure was always around the 138/98....even when I was in my late 20's and early 30's. It was high enough to get me referred to the Health Clinic for monitoring. In the last six years, having been on these products, my blood pressure is now in the 118/84 range.

So I don't think Cow Milk has a lot of do with reduced blood pressure. I think that the nutrients provided by good quality cow milk (or soy milk) are a partial solution for what your body needs for optimal health and a robust immune system, the body obviously needs a wide range of nutrients in high doses. And you can't get the quality nor amount strictly from foods.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vitamin D as Brain Food? received a question from P.B. concerning Vitamin D: "What do you think about Viatmin D? I just read something on the internet about Vitamin D being necessary for brain health. The article said that Cod Liver Oil was a good source for Vitamin D."

P.B.....the article you probably read was from Real Age, click here to read the entire article, titled "Clear Brain Plaques with This Nutrient"

It did state that cod liver oil is rich in Vitamin D and if your mother gave it to you, she was ahead of her time.

Whenever I saw my mother reaching for the Cod Liver Oil bottle,....I ran out the back door!

The article when on to state that a new animal study from Japan suggests that vitamin D may help clear the brain of amyloid beta, a toxic protein-like compound that accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. And that this animal study validates the results of a previous study done in human Alzheimer's patients. In the human study, vitamin D together with curcumin -- a chemical found in turmeric spice -- appeared to stimulate the immune system in a way that helped clear the brain of toxic amyloid beta. But this new animal research suggests that vitamin D alone may be able to do that job nicely. Even more amazing, the lab animals that received vitamin D were able to remove a significant amount of amyloid beta buildup in their brains, literally overnight. It seems the vitamin may somehow regulate production of transporter proteins that ferry amyloid beta across the blood-brain barrier and out of the brain. Pretty exciting stuff.

The RealAge article was correct in that many adults lack vitamin D. But not just in the winter months. You cannot synthesize enough Vitamin D from sunshine to provide the body with the necessary Vitamin D nutrient levels for optimal health.

The article also stated that in order to get Vitamin D, a person should try eating canned salmon that supplies a "whopping" 530 international units (IU) of vitamin D for each 3-ounce serving.....or open the canned tuna for 360 IU of vitamin D from a 3-ounce serving.

The article went on to recommend drinking orange juice that's been fortified with vitamin D and you'll add an additional 100 IU of the Vitamin D to your day with each cup you drink. I won't drink orange juice unless it is NOT from concentrate. Be careful of high glycemic fruit juices.

Vitamin D is absolutely a necessary nutrient and one to take in much higher doses than the FDA recommends in their RDA. They recently upgraded their recommendation from 400 IU to 800 IU. Many well known nutritional scientist recommend much higher doses in the minimum 2,000 IU daily range. That would be almost four cans or 12 ounces of Salmon a day. You would probably grow gills and maybe a dorsal fin or two with that.

I prefer to get my Vitamin D from pharmaceutical grade supplements. I take a minimum of 1,800 IU's a day and sometimes 3,800 IU's a day. This is to support my immune system, combat oxidative stress which impacts across the body. Vitamin D is a known nutrient to help prevent Osteporosis and other related joint pain as well.

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