What is your Gout trying to tell you?

The five most common forms of arthritis are:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gout
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, gout is one of the most painful forms of rheumatoid arthritis. Gout affects approximately 3.9% of the US population and has been steadily rising as more and more American’s struggle with obesity and hypertension. Statistically, more men are afflicted with this condition than women because men have higher uric acid levels in their blood than women.

There are four types of gout:

  1. Asymptomatic (without symptoms) Hyperuricemia – Elevated levels of uric acid only. No other symptoms.
  2. Gouty Arthritis or Acute Gout – Often triggered by aggravating diet, stress, alcohol or another illness. Attacks usually happen at night and subside within 3-10 days with or without treatment.
  3. Interval or Intercritical Gout – The symptom-free time between acute gout episodes. These intervals tend to get shorter and shorter over time.
  4. Chronic Tophaceous Gout – Usually develops over a long period of time (like 10 years) with possible permanent damage to the joints or kidneys.

Purines are natural chemical compounds found virtually every type of food. Here is a short video on purines in relationship to gout. Usually the body eliminates uric acid via the kidneys by dissolving it into urine. When excessive uric acid builds up and the kidneys can’t keep up, urate crystals can form. These sharp urate crystals can develop in the kidneys, joints or tissue surrounding joints, causing severe pain and inflammation.

A 12-year study on foods related to gout recommended primarily avoiding high-purine foods like hearts, herring, mussels, yeast, smelt, sardines, and sweetbreads. Moderately-high purine foods are game birds, mutton, veal, bacon, liver, salmon, trout, haddock and scallops.

Risk factors for gout include genetics, obesity, excessive weight gain (especially during youth) moderate or binge drinking, high blood pressure, abnormal kidney function, heart disease, joint injury, chemotherapy, diuretics, some medications (including low-dose aspirin, steroids and immunosuppressive drugs).

Use of steroids and pain-killers may temporary alleviate symptoms of gout, but a diagnosis of gout is a good indication that systemic problems have been brewing for a long time and some lifestyle and comprehensive nutritional changes need to take place.

Improving kidney function and reducing C-reactive proteins (an indication of systemic inflammation) are two key aspects to preventing gout. If you’re a bit fuzzy on what kidneys do, here is a quick three minute video on the critical role kidneys play in filtering the blood and supplying vital nutrients to the body.

Reducing or eliminating high-purine foods would clearly be a smart way to reduce the burden on the kidneys.  Supporting the body’s overall digestive health would also help kidney function and reduce uric acid imbalances. Drinking lots of fresh water and eating a high-alkaline diet full of fresh raw foods and fiber meets those objectives.

Studies have shown that many supplements can benefits gout-sufferers by improving kidney function, reducing systemic inflammation caused by free-radical damage and aiding in digestion. Click on the name of each supplement type below to see how it can address gout related problems:

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Which is better: Isotonic or tablet OPC-3?

Millions of people enjoy the benefits of drinking a proprietary isotonic antioxidant called Isotonix OPC-3®. A tablet form of OPC-3® is not commercially available. However, for the purpose of testing, European researchers created a tablet version of OPC-3® to compare its assimilation (consumed with the equivalent amount of water) to the isotonic version. Phytotherapy Research e-published the compelling study results.

Both formulations of OPC-3® delivered antioxidant benefits by markedly reducing oxygen free radicals in blood plasma. However, the drinkable isotonic version of Isotonix OPC-3® measured 6 times higher than the tablet version within 10 minutes of consumption. After 20 minutes the isotonic formulation was approximately 4 times more bioavailable than the tablet. In fact, throughout the 4 hour investigation the isotonic formulation displayed a consistently superior level of performance.

As the chart indicates there was a much higher nutrient absorption and delivery in the drinkable isotonic formulation known as Isotonix OPC-3®.

Another clinical study found Isotonix OPC-3® dramatically reduced major cardiovascular risk factors in 61 individuals with metabolic syndrome over two months. Improvement occurred in blood pressure, total cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose. Supplementation with Isotonix OPC-3® resulted in a 52.1% drop in C-reactive proteins. C-reactive proteins are inflammation markers which predict cardiovascular risk. Comparatively, testing has shown that statin drugs produce 13-14% reductions in C-reactive proteins and often carry troubling side effects.

Tinnitus symptoms can improve with Pycnogenol antioxidant therapy

Tinnitus is the medical term for an aggravating condition where sound is heard that’s produced from within the ear canal rather than from outside of it. Over 44 million Americans suffer with this disorder.

This internal sound is often described as ringing, buzzing, humming, swishing or whistling. The sound may be continuous or intermittent.

While tinnitus is not completely understood, it is frequently correlated to some type of injury to the ear. Common culprits are loud or prolonged noise exposure or ear infections. Meniere’s disease is a more serious condition which has tinnitus symptoms accompanied with extreme vertigo.

Antihistamines or antibiotics often relieve tinnitus or Meniere’s symptoms. However, millions of people have not experienced relief from those treatments.

Several studies using antioxidants have shown promise for tinnitus symptoms:

  • A 2007 study found idiopathic tinnitus significantly improved after 18 weeks of using a mix of oral antioxidants (including Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene).
  • A pilot study observed that tinnitus suffers with low levels of CoQ10 had reduced symptoms after supplementing with CoQ10 for 16 weeks.
  • In 2003 a study of 25 volunteers with Meniere’s found 91% had fewer vertigo episodes & 44% experienced improved hearing after 2 months of antioxidant use.
  • A 2010 study of 92 people with mild to moderate tinnitus noted significant improvement after 4 weeks of consuming 150 mg. of Pycnogenol® daily. Pycnogenol was observed to enhance blood flow to the cochlear. Higher amounts of Pycnogenol produced greater results.

Inadequate amounts of antioxidants can prevent or impede healing. Use of oral antioxidants can improve cellular function and enhance overall health. Antioxidants and nutrients are much easier to absorb if they are in an isotonic state because they don’t require lengthy digestion. Isotonic supplements provide up to 95% of their value in minutes versus the average 10-20% nutritive value which makes it to the bloodstream by the time tablets or capsules are digested.

Isotonix® has the only form of isotonic capable trademarked Pycnogenol® on the market. As an antioxidant Pycnogenol® is 50 times more potent than Vitamin E and 20 times more potent than Vitamin C. Isotonix OPC-3® is a synergistic blend of Pycnogenol®, Grape Seed, Bilberry, and Citrus Bioflavonoids.

All of the Isotonix® products are powders that, when mixed with the appropriate amount of water, become delicious drinkable isotonic solutions.

Some excellent products for improving auditory health and reducing the stress of tinnitus would include:

It’s here! A drinkable isotonic for Joints!

Approximately 46 million people in the United States (or 1 in every 4 to 5) suffer with some type of painful joint disease or condition. These conditions include arthritis, gout, lupus, fibromyalgia, bursitis, and stenosis.

Management of joint pain and stiffness can be costly and frustrating. Pain killers offer some relief, but do not stimulate healing. Pain medicines can also create gastrointestinal distress and potentially dangerous side effects when used long term. Clinical studies have observed joint benefits in several natural compounds that may actually improve joint mobility and comfort.

However, not all joint supplements are created equal.

Chondroitin and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) are commonly used for joint issues, but are not consistently recommended. Chondroitin has some known negative side effects and men concerned with prostate cancer should carefully investigate before using. MSM is considered safe, however therapeutic doses are high (between 2-10 grams daily) making it impractical for many to use on a regular basis.

Three well established and clinically studied natural compounds for improving and maintaining joint function are Pycnogenol®, Hyaluronic Acid and Glucosamine.

Pycnogenol®:

A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study observed that Pycnogenol® used daily for 3 months:

  • Reduced osteoarthritis symptoms by 56%
  • Reduced joint pain by 55%
  • Lowered need for pain medication by 58%
  • Gastrointestinal complications declined by 63%
  • Decreased edema in 79% of participants

Hyaluronic Acid:

Hyaluronic Acid is important in tissue lubrication, is a powerful antioxidant and improves cellular performance. Studies note Hyaluronic Acid for its ability to inhibit antithrombin which is involved in joint tissue destruction in rheumatoid arthritis. Anti-aging benefits of Hyaluronic Acid can also improve skin and hair as well.

Glucosamine:

Clinical studies found glucosamine worked better than ibuprofen for pain management. Glucosamine also has been observed to improve joint function and delay the progression of osteoarthritis. These effects were seen in as little as 2 weeks. Two independent studies found 1500 mgs. of daily oral Glucosamine prevented joint space narrowing in mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis.

Prime Joint Formula by Isotonix® is a drinkable joint health supplement that contains Pycnogenol®, Hyaluronic Acid and Glucosamine in an isotonic form.

Isotonix® products are drinkable isotonic solutions which absorb in a matter of minutes when taken as directed. These products are incredibly effective because they deliver up to 95% bioavailable nutrition. This type of delivery is much more effective than pills which can only provide 20-40% of their nutrients to the blood stream of healthy consumers. Isotonix® is also the only provider of Pycnogenol® as a drinkable isotonic.

Yikes! No Bull! This popular energy drink may increase risk of Sudden Heart Attack

The National Heart Foundation of Australia sponsored a study on the effects of Red Bull energy drink, on cardiovascular performance. The surprising results were recently published in the American Journal of Medicine.

Fifty healthy male and female volunteers (between 20-24 years old) participated in the study. One hour after consuming a sugar-free Red Bull energy drink, several negative physiological changes were observed in the participants:

Sticky clotting blood, vascular malfunction and unnatural elevation of  blood pressure are not conditions anyone should try to frequently induce in their body. Watch this 2 minute video from About.com on what happens during a heart attack.

Reducing free radicals has been found to improve endothelial function. Obviously, drinking Red Bull in this study impaired endothelial function. More research will be be done to determine exactly why these changes were observed in those young, healthy volunteers.  However, it seems reasonable to speculate that Red Bull increased free radical production which causes cellular oxidization. Cellular oxidation contributes to a vast array of inflammation, disease, and accelerated aging. Just consuming caffeinated drinks (like coffee) does not produce these type of troubling results.

If you are looking for a caffeine-free energy drink loaded with antioxidants that supports heart health and tastes amazing, try Awake™ Energy Drinks.  If you’d like some caffeine combined with vitamins and antioxidants that also supports cardiovascular health , check out Isotonix® Acai Advanced Energy & Antioxidant, MochaTonix®, or for easy portability at a very affordable price intenseFX Quick Release Energy Tablets.

Drinkable solutions that are truly isotonic have the correct ratios of solids to liquids that enable them to be absorbed very rapidly and easily. Isotonix® products deliver up to 95% of their nutrients into the blood stream in minutes when taken as directed.

Try this simple test at home to see if your Antioxidant works

Antioxidants are all the rage because they are critical for good health. Antioxidants strengthen cellular function, fight disease and slow aging by inhibiting oxidizing free radical damage. Demand has manufacturers adding antioxidants to sport drinks, pet food, cosmetics, coffee, you-name-it.

Ads splash around enticements like “live longer”, “feel better”, “fight illness”. Antioxidants really can help achieve all these benefits if they actually work by resisting free radical oxidation.

Antioxidants come in the form of certain vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients. Our bodies also produce natural antioxidants in the form of glutathione and CoQ10 to support cellular health. Inadequate antioxidant levels are found in virtually every type of disease and are primary contributors to aging.

Sorting through hundreds of antioxidant compounds for what will address your needs can be overwhelming and confusing. If you purchase an antioxidant and start using it, how long will it be before you notice a difference? A few weeks or a few months? Do you need more time or a larger dosage? Is your antioxidant even working? Is it adequately blocking cellular oxidation and cleaning up free radicals?

Oxidation occurs when oxygen molecules react to a substance that they encounter. The amount of oxygen present and the type of material encountered affect the result. Often oxidation is visible to the naked eye. Browning fruit and rusting metal are prime examples of oxidation.

Lemon juice is very high in the antioxidant vitamin C. That’s why sliced fruit dipped in lemon juice neutralizes oxygen molecules in the air and slows down the browning of the fruit. Wax on a car acts like an antioxidant by creating a barrier from the oxidizing air, which maintains the luster of the finish.

Our bodies are assaulted by much more than oxygen air molecules. Bacteria, viruses, free radicals, injuries, disease and aging all damage our cells continuously. Inadequate antioxidant levels leave us vulnerable, or worse, in a state of disease. Antioxidants are the internal cavalry fighting for our health.

Use this simple test to verify a base level of activity in your antioxidant.

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The scent of a dog…

A few weeks ago I stepped into the world of pet ownership for the very first time. Our son has a friend who got a puppy that he couldn’t keep and we ended up adopting him. The puppy is a chocolate lab mix and we named him Jackson.

Being the researcher-type, Jackson has provided a ton of new search criteria for me. Canine behavior, obedience training, dog food, best dog toys, etc. It’s amazing how big the pet paraphernalia world is!

I have several clients with pets who swear by the PetHealth™ product brand, so I ordered some for Jackson. Jackson is only 12 weeks old so he has no joint pain or age related problems which many dogs take the PetHealth™ OPC antioxidant for. However, Jackson was having some eye secretions which were kind-of yucky so I started giving him a quarter teaspoon of PetHealth™ OPC in each of his meals. His eyes cleared up in a couple days.

Another aspect of doggy ownership that surprised me was shampoo scents. What is up with all the fruit scented shampoos? Green apple, papaya, mango, strawberry-vanilla? It just seemed weird for a dog to smell like fruit. So I tried a few different “herbal” scents. One of them left Jackson still smelling “doggy”. Another cut the dog smell but left Jackson smelling very medicinal – too much like tea tree oil.

After contacting a couple of my clients I got the PetHealth™ Hypoallergenic Shampoo and used it on Jackson after he came in smelling nasty from digging in the dirt. Wow! What an improvement! The scent is hard to describe, kind-of a clean woodsy-lavender. Very nice, not overpowering and definitely not fruity to too floral and his coat was soft and shiny. I even put some PetHealth Paw Balm on him just to complete his salon experience.

Now if only I could find a no-peeing-in-the-house tonic….

Studies show natural Resveratrol & Curcumin inhibit Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a systemic chronic autoimmune disease that usually attacks the joints but can also turn against other systems of the body like the eyes, lungs, heart and nerves. RA is distinguished by developing in a symmetrical pattern (both hands, wrists, hips, etc.). Rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1% of the population, is most often seen in women, but tends to be more virulent in men. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) affects roughly 50,000 infants, children and teenagers in the US. Rheumatoid arthritis in children is sometimes referred to as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).

In autoimmune disorders the immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy cells in the body. RA is an autoimmune disease where unique cells called synovial fibroblasts or RASFs develop, invade and destroy tissue.

While antioxidant interventions have been shown to benefit RA in general, newer studies exploring the reduction and/or elimination of synovial fibroblasts in rheumatoid arthritis have yielded interesting outcomes.

The American College of Rheumatoidology published a 2007 study which set out to observe the behavior of natural resveratrol on human synovial fibroblasts. The study observed that natural resveratrol disrupted and triggered cellular death in synovial fibroblasts and concluded that resveratrol may be a “novel therapeutic agent for rheumatoid arthritis”.

Curcumin is another natural compound with potential for helping RA as well. While the anti-inflammatory aspects of curcumin have been well documented and studied in animals, to date only a few human trials have been completed. However, the results of a study of eighteen RA patients using 1200 mg of curcumin daily for two weeks found significantly less morning stiffness, joint swelling and improved walking time compared to another RA group using NSAID therapy (300 mg of phenzlbutazone daily).

A 2009 study focused on using resveratrol and curcumin together and proposed that these two natural substances be used in unison to reduce inflammation in osteoarthritis.

An important aspect of natural resveratrol and curcumin is that these compounds tend to have low bioavailability. Therefore, the quality of a resveratrol or curcumin supplement is paramount if it to be utilized effectively. Absorption is key.

Isotonix® Resveratrol has a synergistic blend of three patented forms of resveratrol (BioVin® Advanced, VitaBlue®, and Resveravine®). Isotonix® Resveratrol is also delivered in a drinkable isotonic form which provides up to 95% absorption into the bloodstream in approximately 5 minutes. Read more on what makes Isotonix® Resveratrol special.

Curcumin Extreme™ contains a patented form of curcumin called BCM-95®. BCM-95® is dramatically more available to the body than standard forms of curcumin. Read more on what makes Curcumin Extreme™ unique.

Aloe vera juice enhances chemotherapy while reducing side effects

In 2009 the International Institute of Anticancer Research published a fascinating study which documented how aloe vera juice used orally boosted the effectiveness and reduced the symptoms associated with a wide variety of chemotherapy drugs used on metastatic solid tumors.

Mestastic cancer is cancer that has spread from its original location via the bloodstream or lymphatic system.

The study was conducted on 240 people with a different types and stages of mestastic cancer, including lung, colorectal, pancreatic, and gastric. The participants were using an assortment of chemotherapy drugs and were separated into two groups. One group was given 10 ml (about a third of an ounce) twice daily of aloe vera juice in conjunction with their chemotherapy treatment.

The group using aloe vera juice use during chemotherapy was observed to have notably less of the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Paresthesa (the sensation of “pins & needles” or tingling)
  • Disease and tumor growth

Here is a summary quote from this randomized study:

“Results: The percentage of both objective tumor regressions and disease control was significantly higher in patients concomitantly treated with Aloe than with chemotherapy alone, as well as the percent of 3-year survival patients. Conclusion: This study seems to suggest that Aloe may be successfully associated with chemotherapy to increase its efficacy in terms of both tumor regression rate and survival time.”

This chart of various chemotherapy drugs also identifies the benefit of using aloe vera, as well as other some other supplements, in conjunction with commonly-used cancer treatments. It also recommends not using certain supplements with specific chemotherapy drugs.

Ultimate Aloe® Juice

Liquid aloe vera is much more bio-available than aloe vera in a capsule form, but frankly many aloe vera juices taste awful. Ultimate Aloe® Juice is absolutely delicious and has no added sugars.  My favorite flavor is the Cranberry-Apple, although the Strawberry-Kiwi and Pomegranate are also very popular.

Ultimate Aloe® Juice is a made from the whole aloe vera leaf and is certified for its content and purity by the International Aloe Science Council. However, independent lab analysis of Ultimate Aloe shows that it is virtually free of undesirable components like aloin (which can cause intestinal distress).

Ultimate Aloe® Juice contains three times more polymers than aloe vera gel and has 50% more active components than is required for maximum benefit when taken orally. Some studies have found that aloe vera polymers improved oxygen use in the blood and enhance healing.

Curcumin looks like a Winner against Diabetes and Breast Cancer

Curcumin is the active ingredient in the tumeric herb and has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Today studies continue to confirm the benefits of this amazing compound.

Researchers in the United States and Korea recently published a study which found  curcumin lowered blood glucose levels, cholesterol and triglycerides in diabetic mice after being supplemented with curcumin for just six weeks. No changes were observed in the the healthy non-diabetic mice. The researchers concluded: “These results suggest that curcumin seemed to be a potential glucose-lowering agent and antioxidant in type 2 diabetic db/db mice”.

A 2009 study released by the Department of Internal Medicine and Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Michigan observed that curcumin enhanced with piperine decreased the number of cancerous cells in breast tissue. Once again no changes or toxicity were observed in normal healthy cells.

“This shows that these compounds are not toxic to normal breast tissue,” researcher, Kakarala says. “Women at high risk of breast cancer right now can choose to take the drugs tamoxifen or raloxifene for prevention, but most women won’t take these drugs because there is too much toxicity. The concept that dietary compounds can help is attractive, and curcumin and piperine appear to have very low toxicity.”

Some products add piperine to boost the absorption of curcumin because curcumin typically has low bioavailability. Bioavailability is the extent to which a substance can be absorbed. How much you consume of a supplement is less important than how much you absorb.

Curcumin Extreme™ is a unique product formula containing a patented form of enhanced bioavailable and 100% natural curcumin called BCM-95® . BCM-95® is six times more readily absorbed than standard curcumin.

Curcumin Extreme™ promotes liver detoxification, healthy glutathione levels and normal cell regeneration. In addition, Curcumin Extreme™ contains broccoli seed extract known as another antioxidant that supports immune system function and selenium, which is an essential mineral that reduces oxidative stress and supports healthy thyroid function.

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