Laura G Owens ~ Writer

Humanity. Health. Happiness.

Fibromyalgia and vitamin D (actually a hormone) deficiency. Are they linked?

fibromyalgia, vitamin d, vitamin d for chronic pain
In 2008 the online site Pain Treatment Topics released a review of research on the potential benefits of vitamin D for patients with pain conditions, notably musculoskeletal and back issues. Although results varied, researchers agree insufficient vitamin D is an underlying factor in fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.

Chronic pain and vitamin D deficiency linked long ago

Multiple studies link vitamin Ddeficiency to chronic aches and pains, muscle fatigue or weakness, and other disorders including immunity and some cancers (Holick 2003b; ODS 2008; Plotnikoff and Quigley 2003; Reginster 2005; Tavera-Mendoza and White 2007; Vieth 1999).A study presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists 2007 Annual Meeting reported that about one in four patients with chronic pain also have inadequate blood levels of vitamin D. Patients with insufficient vitamin D also needed higher doses of morphine for longer periods of time.

Click here for low prices on vitamin D products

According to study author W. Michael Hooten, MD, medical director and anesthesiologist at the Mayo Comprehensive Pain Rehabilitation Center in Rochester, Minn., researchers have long known that inadequate levels of vitamin D can cause pain and muscle weakness.“The implications are that in chronic pain patients, vitamin D inadequacy is not the principal cause of pain and muscle weakness,” said Hooten for a press release, “However, it could be a contributing but unrecognized factor.”

Click here for low prices on vitamin D products

The jury is still out on the exact connection between vitamin D and chronic pain but scientists believe it may begin with lower levels of circulating calcium (hypocalcemia) due to inadequate vitamin D. A cascade of biochemical reactions then occurs that hinders bone metabolism and health. Low levels of calcium elevates parathyroid hormones which impairs proper bone mineralization causing a spongy matrix to form under periosteal membranes covering the skeleton.

This gelatin-like matrix can absorb fluid, expand, and cause outward pressure on periosteal tissues, which generates pain since these tissues are highly innervated with sensory pain fibers (Holick 2003b; Shinchuk and Holick 2007; Yew and DeMieri 2002).

Fibromyalgia and Vitamin D Deficiency

The association between low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and non-specific musculoskeletal pain, including fibromyalgia syndrome remains controversial.

In one study, Israeli researchers found no association between women with fibromyalgia and low levels of vitamin D(Tandeter et al. 2009). Yet researches in an earlier study in the Middle East found a significantly greater prevalence of low D concentration in women with fibromyalgia compared to women without fibromyalgia (43% vs 19%).

Click here for low prices on vitamin D products

Yet researchers in the Middle East found that 90% of patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia and/or non-specific musculoskeletal pain treated with vitamin D improved.(Badsha et al. 2009).

One reason for the conflicting evidence is researchers have yet to adequately measure patients’ response to different formulations, doses, and durations of vitamin D. In addition, scientists believe vitamin D receptors have different genetic make up and activity so individuals may respond differently to vitamin D therapy. (Kawaguchi et al. 2002; Videman et al. 2001).

Vitamin D Dosing

Dr. Cannell, Executive Director of The Vitamin D Council recommends supplementing with Cholecalciferol vitamin D3). D3 is the naturally occurring form of vitamin D and is made in large quantities in skin when sunlight strikes it. Dr. Cannell explains that Calcidiol is the only blood test that should be drawn. Doctors can order calcidiol levels although labs will know calcidiol as 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Take enough vitamin D3 to get 25(OH)D levels above substrate starvation levels, 50 ng/mL or 125 nmol/L. Current recommendations for adults and children are inadequate to maintain optimal health and certainly to treat chronic pain conditions and illness.

Dr. Cannell suggests people supplement with vitamin D before getting their blood tested, then adjust their dose so their 25(OH)D level is between 50–80 ng/ml during both the summer and the winter. These are conservative dosages explains Dr. Cannell. People who avoid the sun, and nearly all dark-skinned people need to increase their dose if their blood levels are still low, even after two months of the above dosage, particularly during the winter months.

Exact levels are difficult to determine because requirements vary by age, body weight, percent of body fat, latitude, skin coloration, season of the year, use of sun block, individual variation in sun exposure, and how sick someone is.

Click here for low prices on vitamin D products

“If you use suntan parlors once a week,” says Dr. Cannell, “or if you live in Florida and sunbathe once a week, year-round, do nothing.” However, if you receive very little UVB exposure the Council recommends the following dosing levels of D3 (maintenance level):

  • healthy children under the age of two – 1,000 IU per day*
  • healthy children over the age of two – 2,000 IU per day*
  • adults and adolescents – 5,000 IU per day.

*The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 400 mg per day for children.

While the exact relationship between vitamin D and chronic pain syndromes like fibromyalgia isn’t fully understood, most researchers agree that vitamin D deficiency contributes to muscuskeletal pain. Patients and practitioners should consider including vitamin D supplementation in their therapy for patients suffering with chronic pain syndromes.

Click here for low prices on vitamin D products

Another note: Magnesium, malic acid also assist in pain relief for FMS……I use several products but Magnesium Calm is one of my favorites because it works very well, tastes good  Click here for magnesium

Dr. Dean who wrote the Magnesium Miracle (Very easy to understand read on why magnesum is critical to our health yet deficient in our soil and therefore our food and often, body)  turned me on to the importance of this essential mineral. I take it every night or more often if I need to. It’s a co-factor for an impressive list of functions in our body. 

Sources:

“Vitamin D Inadequacy May Exacerbate Pain,” American Academy of Anesthesiologists, Press Release, October 15, 2007.

Tandeter H, Grynbaum M, Zuili I, Shany S, Shvartzman P., “Serum 25-OH vitamin D levels in patients with fibromyalgia.” Israeli Medical Association Journal, 2009.

Badsha H, Daher M, Ooi Kong K. Myalgias or non-specific muscle pain in Arab or Indo-Pakistani patients may indicate vitamin D deficiency. Clinical Rheumatology. 2009.

Leavitt, Steward, B. MA, PhD., “Vitamin D: A Neglected ‘Analgesic’ for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: An Evidence Based Review and Clinical Practice Guideline,” June 2008, http://Pain-Topics.org/VitaminD.

“Vitamin D for Pain: Update of Research Evidence,” Pain Treatment Topics, Accessed: January 10, 2010.

Arvold DS, et al., Correlation of symptoms with vitamin D deficiency and symptom response to cholecalciferol treatment: a randomized controlled trial,” Endocrine Practice, 2009 May-Jun.

Armstrong DJ, Meenagh GK, Bickle I, Lee AS, Curran ES, Finch MB., “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia,” Clinical Rheumatology. 2006 Jul 19.

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Sleep cycle in teenagers disrupted by timing of exposure to light. Circadian rhythms affected.

Is your teenager staring at some form of a screen late into the evening? If so, she might be disrupting her sleep patterns. While most teens stay up late, a study found that the amount and timing of morning light can alter a child’s natural nighttime sleep cycle.

Lack of exposure to morning light combined with getting A.M. rays at the wrong time of day can lead to nighttime sleep issues in teens, a group already running low on zzz’s. Adequate exposure to blue light waves (morning light) may however, reset natural sleep cycles.

Teen Circadian Rhythm Disrupted By Light Issues

Teenagers today have become near cave dwellers, spending less time in the sunlight than ever before. And for many, this means having a hard time falling asleep at night.

Insufficient morning light and exposure too soon, researchers found, confuses the body’s internal alarm clock. In response, the brain can’t stimulate its 24-hour biological system, a natural rhythm designed to modulate the sleep/wake cycle. And in teens, a group already inclined to stay up too late, when their internal body clock gets out of sync, even when they are ready to call it a night, sleep may not come so easily.

“These morning-light-deprived teenagers are going to bed later, getting less sleep and possibly under-performing on standardized tests. We are starting to call this the teenage night owl syndrome,” says Mariana Figueiro, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Program Director at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center (LRC) and lead researcher on the new study.

In the study researchers found that 8th grade students who wore special glasses to prevent short-wavelength (blue) morning light from reaching their eyes experienced a 30-minute delay in sleep onset by the end of the five-day study.

“If you remove blue light in the morning, it delays the onset of melatonin, the hormone that indicates to the body when it’s nighttime,” explains Dr. Figueiro. “Our study shows melatonin onset was delayed by about six minutes each day the teens were restricted from blue light. Sleep onset typically occurs about two hours after melatonin onset,” says Figueiro.

The colors of the light spectrum affect the body’s rhythm in various ways, particularly regarding sleep patterns. Daylight is mainly comprised of short, visible wavelengths of light that provides a blue visual sensation, such as the blue sky. How bright the light is, how far away, the duration of exposure, and when someone is exposed to specific light waves, impacts sleep patterns.

People are more likely to sleep deeply in the late hours of night when their body temperature drops, and to awaken when their body temperature begins to rise, usually between 6 AM and 8 AM. As people age, their brain’s “pacemaker” loses cells, changing circadian rhythms, especially sleep patterns. As a result, the elderly nap more frequently, have disrupted sleep and awaken earlier.

Sleep, Melatonin and Biological Cycles

Melatonin, a hormone produced in the brain by the pineal gland, is created from the amino acid tryptophan. The creation and release of melatonin is stimulated by darkness and suppressed by light. Melatonin, researchers believe, is involved in circadian rhythm and the regulation of a wide variety of body functions including sleep.

Circadian rhythms are biological cycles in the body that repeat approximately every 24 hours, and include the sleep/wake cycle, body temperature, hormone levels, heart rate, blood pressure and pain threshold.

The brain’s internal pacemaker determines when nerve cells should fire to set the body’s rhythms. While adults generally produce melatonin around 10pm, teenagers, according to a study cited in an online British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) article, were found to begin producing melatonin around 1am. Whether this is in response to puberty or caused by teens’ nighttime behavior is hard to say.

The delay in melatonin production could be the result of teenagers playing computer games and watching television till the wee hours. Both screen activities stimulate the brain, exposing it to bright light that holds off the release of melatonin. The hormonal flux of puberty, however, may be the culprit, postponing the body’s nightly release of melatonin. Either way, sleep releases a critical hormone involved in growth spurts. Teens need more sleep than both children and adults, yet often they get less.

Regulating Sleep Patterns in Teens

Researchers involved in the light study developed a way to reset the internal “master clock” in teens and the elderly. The process involves blocking blue light at certain times by wearing orange glasses, followed by exposure to blue light and darkness at nighttime.

The key to resetting the body clock is mimicking a distinct repetitive pattern of light and dark. Figueiro explains that when a teenager gets up and waits outside for their bus in the morning light before their body is ready for the blue light cycle, their internal body clock becomes confused. Their alarm clock might say 7am, but their body clock senses it’s earlier. In the study, the teens wore the special blue light blocking glasses when they woke up.

Later in the morning after their minimum core body temperature was reached, the subjects were able to naturally reset their internal clocks by being out in the morning light (e.g. at the bus stop).

Teen Light Study and Implications for School Design

Over the years, Dr. Figueiro has repeatedly heard from parents concerned their teens were sleep deprived. As a result of the findings from the study, she suggests addressing two key questions: How to promote exposure to morning light with teens and how to design schools differently.

Giving students a quick mid-morning break to go outside and putting blue LEDs around computer screens in classrooms are two ways, Dr. Figueiro offers, to address the issue in schools. Exposing teens with delayed nighttime sleep issues to adequate amounts of morning light at the appropriate time during the day may reset their internal body clock and naturally modulate their sleep cycle.

References:

Chang AM, Reid KJ, Gourineni R, Zee PC, ”Sleep timing and circadian phase in delayed sleep phase syndrome,” J Biol Rhythms. 2009 Aug;24(4):313-21.

MedlinePlus [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); Melatonin; [updated 2009 Aug 25], Accessed May 6, 2010. “Late Nights and Laziness,” British Broadcasting Corporation Online, Accessed May 6, 2010.

Copyright Laura Owens. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

 

A Natural Journey Out of Cancer and Into Healing

Guest blogger: Heather Von St. James
Patient & Family Advocate
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance
Mesothelioma.com
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/mesotheliomacancer

Your body, your health, your decision.

You feel powerless. The doctor has just finished explaining different treatments for your cancer and you do not know what to do. You know nothing about cancer and you know nothing about cancer treatments. You consider just taking whatever suggestion the doctor gives you but something is holding you back.

This is your decision.

This is your life, your health, and your body. Before you commit to undergoing a chemical treatment process, consider natural healing. Take the opportunity to research your cancer, whether you have been diagnosed with something common, like skin cancer, or something rare, like mesothelioma. If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, your research may show that you that your life won’t change much. However, being diagnosed with something more serious, you may discover that the mesothelioma prognosis is very poor, particularly given the 5-year survival rate for mesothelioma is less than 10%.

Statistics can be frightening. Do not get discouraged. Remember, this is your decision. You do have a choice. You are in control of your own well-being. You may have not controlled the diagnosis of cancer, but you can control your response. Very simply, cancer means that there is something affecting your body that is not supposed to be there. Occasionally, our body can fight off these bad cancer agents. However, in order for this to happen, or more likely to happen, you must be in good health.

Before you put yourself through the physical and psychological pain of chemical treatments, you may want to consider what natural healing can offer you. Natural healing does not have to be complicated; it is simply a return to the basics how we are meant to live. Healing News shares a story of a woman who healed the worst form of skin cancer by switching to a pure raw vegan diet. This may sound extreme, but remember, so are chemical treatments. If you want a change, you must declare this change.

Perhaps take this time to evaluate your physical and mental health. Do whatever you can to live in a positive manner. Explore the possibility of natural healing before you give up your own control.

This is your decision. Give yourself the chance you deserve.

For more information:  Please go to Mesothelioma.net

11 Ways to Naturally Improve Depression or Anxiety

Photo credit: Digitalart

While the pharmaceutical companies continue to promote expensive mood medications that come with a long list of side effects to manage anxiety and depression, in many cases, natural therapies alone or in combination with low dose medication can alleviate symptoms, and without side effects.

Re-think Serotonin theory on depression

Many prescription anti-depressants are designed to address low levels of serotonin and nor epinephrine. Yet in a 2005 review, researchers Jeffery Lacasse and Jonathon Leo wrote that they couldn’t find any article to directly support the long-held claim that a serotonin deficiency causes mental disorders.(Click here for serotonin-related products)

Moreover, not all mood disorders are due to a biochemical imbalance, and medications often miss the mark or don’t address the underlying causes. Drugs can have unpleasant side effects such as weight gain, loss of libido, or diminished affect (emotion); and can even exacerbate symptoms. Alternatively there are a number of natural alternatives to boost mood.

Increase dopamine

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in arousal and motor function is a precursor to adrenaline and a related molecule, not adrenaline. Dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine and is central to the creation of reward systems such as food, sex, positive social interactions, even humor. While doctors can prescribe medications to treat dopamine-dependent depression, there are natural ways to elevate dopamine. (Click here for dopamine-related products)

Michael Lardon, a doctor and researcher on the neuroelectric assessment of athletic peak performance explains in an online article for the Modesto Bee that everyone who exercises can reap the benefits from the “dopamine buzz.”

“Dopamine is released within just 20 minutes of moderate exercise, says Lardon, “and triggers within your brain positive feelings about yourself even after your first session of exercise, before your body has had a chance to firmly establish an association between the exercise and the great feelings.”

Increase GABA

Another neurotransmitter involved with mood regulation is GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA controls the brain’s rhythmic theta waves that allow individuals to feel physically and mentally balanced. (Click here for GABA-related products)

Dr. Ray Sahelian, author of Mind Boosters [St. Martin’s Press, 2000] explains GABA’s key brain balancing role, “GABA is the most important and widespread inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Excitation in the brain must be balanced with inhibition. Too much excitation can lead to restlessness, irritability, insomnia, and even seizures. GABA is able to induce relaxation, analgesia, and sleep.”

GABA is involved in the production of endorphins, brain chemicals that create feelings of well-being known as the “runner’s high.” An imbalance can be involved in bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorder but it’s also inherent to several critical day to day brain functions.

A GABA-rich diet and certain supplements can elevate GABA, and so can yoga, research finds. “The practice of yoga should be explored as a treatment for disorders with low GABA levels such as depression and anxiety disorders. Future studies should compare yoga to other forms of exercise to help determine whether yoga or exercise alone can alter GABA levels,” write scientists in a 2007 study. (Click here for GABA-related products)

Fish Oil to Improve Mood

Fish oil is most often associated with cardiovascular health, but the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can also improve mood in some people. (Click here for Nature’s Way fish oil product, their Mega Gold is one of my and my husband’s favorites)

According to Dr. Mercola, a leading natural health expert, “Numerous studies worldwide have linked lack of omega-3 consumption – specifically DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) – with depression. One study found that depression symptoms were higher among infrequent fish consumers than among those who ate fish on a regular basis.”

Researchers found that low plasma concentrations of DHA were good predictors of low concentrations of brain serotonin. Low serotonin can be associated with depression and suicide in some individuals.

Socialize With Cheerful People

Depressed people often avoid social interaction, but forcing face-to-face connections with upbeat people can boost mood, research indicates. (Click here for books about boosting mood)

Forbes.com reported on a 20-year study that found social networks can have a deep impact on an individual’s happiness. Scientists tracked over 4,700 people and found that social interactions with both cheerful friends and strangers considerably influenced the subject’s chances of happiness.

Pet a Pet to Boost Mood

Petting Rover can be plus for mental and physical health. “The benefit is especially pronounced when people are strongly attached to their pets,” says researcher Judith Siegel, PhD for a WebMD article.

Blair Justice, PhD, a psychology professor and author of Who Gets Sick: How Beliefs, Moods, and Thoughts Affect Your Health [Peak Press, 2000] tells WebMD that like any enjoyable activity, playing with a pet increases serotonin and dopamine. “People take drugs like heroin and cocaine to raise serotonin (click for 5 Htp products) and dopamine, but the healthy way to do it is to pet your dog, or hug your spouse, watch sunsets, or get around something beautiful in nature, “says Justice.(Click here for serotonin-related products)

While the pharmaceutical industry continues to promote a long list of medications for anxiety and depression, several natural alternatives are available that are safe, often very effective, and without risky side effects.

People suffering with acute or chronic mood changes who are interested in natural treatments should seek a holistic practitioner. Holistic physicians often measure neurotransmitter and hormone levels and then develop a comprehensive treatment plan that may include a combination of diet changes, exercise, hormone replacement and supplements. Treatment may be combined with conventional approaches to mood management or as an alternative.

Take SAM-e

Sam-e, a naturally occurring compound found in all living things is distributed throughout the human body and can help to maintain mood. Levels fall as people age and certain groups of people, including those with low mood, tend to have lower levels of SAM-e (Click here for Sam-e products) in their bodies.

Lower Homocysteine

Homocysteine is a harmful amino acid that naturally occurs in all humans and is involved in cellular metabolism and the manufacture of proteins. The body uses vitamin B12 and folic acid to convert homocysteine into SAM-e and without sufficient B-vitamins, blood homocysteine levels rise.

Researchers believe that high homocysteine levels contribute to cerebral vascular disease and neurotransmitter deficiency, both which can lead to depression. A study conducted in 2005 found that total homocysteine levels were higher in elderly patients with late-onset major depression (Chen CS et al 2005).

Plasma homocysteine levels are strongly influenced by diet, genetic factors, and a deficiency in folic acid, B6 and B12 vitamins. Aging, smoking, large amounts of coffee and some medications can also elevate homocysteine. The following supplements may lower homocysteine levels and improve depression:

  • folic acid
  • vitamin B12 (cobalamin) (sublingual (under the tongue), transdermal (skin) or injection form only)Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • trimethylglycine and zinc
  • selenium
  • N-acetylcysteine
  • cysteine
  • creatine and choline-producing nutrients (inhibits the release of homocysteine)

Boost Vitamin D

Dr. John Cannell, Executive Director of the Vitamin D Council, explains that while further research needs to be conducted, vitamin D may play a role in depression. Vitamin D is a secosteroid hormone involved with over 2000 genes in the body and is created when the sun’s rays strike bare skin. With an increase in sunscreen use and indoor activity, researchers believe there is a D deficiency epidemic across the globe. (Click here for vitamin D products)

Heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and low bone mineral density are all associated with depression, writes Cannell on the Council’s website. Viitamin D deficiency, it turns out, causes some aspect in all these illnesses. Summer sunlight increases brain serotonin levels twice as much as winter sunlight, a finding compatible with both bright light in the visible spectrum and vitamin D affecting mood.

While Cannell promotes the critical importance of optimizing vitamin D levels for disease prevention, he isn’t suggesting vitamin D is the one-stop shopping cure for depression. “We were unable to find any studies in the literature in which patients with depression were treated with enough natural sunlight, artificial sunlight or plain old cholecalciferol to raise their levels to 35 ng/mL or higher. We all know how we feel after a week at the beach, but is that bright light, vitamin D, or something else? (Click here for vitamin D products)

Increase Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that regulates more than 325 enzymes, including many critical functions that produce, transport, store and utilize energy. It also orchestrates the electrical current that sparks through the miles of nerves in the body.

A magnesium deficiency can produce symptoms of anxiety, depression, muscle weakness, fatigue, eye twitches, insomnia, anorexia, apathy, apprehension, poor memory, confusion, anger, nervousness, and rapid pulse. Serotonin, the “feel-good” brain chemical, relies on magnesium for its production and function.

“People do not get anxiety, panic attacks, or depression because they have a deficiency of Valium or Prozac,” says Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, [Ballantine Books, 2007]. “Our bodies do not require these substances for essential metabolic processes. However, we can develop a myriad of psychological symptoms because of a deficiency of magnesium, a nutrient our bodies do require,” says Dean. (Click here for Natural Calm Magnesium Products, one of the best magnesium products, IMO).

Laugh

Since the 1980s, Dr. Lee S. Berk, a preventive care specialist and psychoneuroimmunology researcher, and Dr. Stanley Tan have followed in Norman Cousins’ ground breaking work. In the 1970s, Cousins suggested humor and the resulting laughter benefits a person’s health.

Berk and Tan’s research has shown that laughter helps optimize many of the functions of various body systems such as optimizing the hormones in the endocrine system and decreasing the levels of cortisol and epinephrine which lead to stress reduction. Repetitious mirthful laughter causes the body to respond in a way similar to moderate physical exercise.

While the pharmaceutical industry continues to promote a long list of medications as the solution to treat anxiety and depression, several natural alternatives are available that are safe and without risky side effects. (Click here for L-theanine, the patented Suntheanine form works best)

People suffering with acute or chronic mood changes interested in natural treatments should seek a holistic practitioner. Holistic physicians often measure neurotransmitter and hormone levels and develop a comprehensive treatment plan that may include a combination of diet changes, exercise, hormone replacement and supplements. Natural treatments may be used in conjunction with conventional approaches to mood management or as an alternative.

Footnotes:
“Body’s response to repetitive laughter is similar to the effect of repetitive exercise, study finds.” ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 11, 2010.

Folstein M, Liu T, Peter I, Buell J, Arsenault L, Scott T, Qiu WW, “The homocysteine hypothesis of depression,” The American Journal of Psychiatry, June 2007. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (2010, April 26).

Lacasse JR, Leo J, “Serotonin and depression: a disconnect between the advertisements and the scientific literature,” Florida State University College of Social Work, Tallahassee, Fl., 2005 Dec;2(12):e392.

Lerche Davis, Jeanie, “5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health,” WebMD. November 16, 2009.

Mercola, Joseph, Ph.D., “More Omega-3 Studies Find Links to Depression,”November 24 2004.

Mercola, Joseph, Ph.D., “Elevated Homocysteine Levels May Affect Your Ability to Think,” Mercola.com, September 10, 2003.

Rebecca, Ruiz, How To Beat The Winter Blues. Forbes.com. December 15, 2008.

Streeter, CC, Jensen JE, Perlmutter RM, Cabral HJ, Tian H, Terhune DB, Ciraulo DA, Renshaw, PF, “Yoga Asana sessions increase brain GABA levels: a pilot study.” Journal of Complementary Medicine, 2007 May 13.\

Copyright Laura Owens. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

Author’s Note:

Depression and anxiety treatment has exploded into a highly profitable industry for drug companies. A growing number of people are popping prescriptions, desperately seeking solutions that will work long term and won’t carry risky side effects.

But pharmaceutical companies continue to spend millions on advertising to convince consumers that the solution to conquering mood disorders comes from a doctor’s prescription pad. Yet there are numerous natural alternatives available that cost little money, are safe and effective and will treat a spectrum of acute and chronic mood issues.

Ideally people battling mood disorders should find a physician who will first test their neurotransmitters and hormone levels (interrelated) and then work from the patient’s baseline numbers to create a brain balancing program with natural and/or traditional solutions. In addition, people should track their symptoms over several months, noting any changes and what factors preceeded their symptoms (food, stress, hormonal change, poor sleep, etc).

Not all depression and anxiety stems from the same imbalance, knowing what the deficiencies are is a better treatment plan then throwing medication at a patient and hoping it sticks, with endless trials and error. Although even with natural healing, trial and error is part of the package to wellness. – Laura



Vitamin D Guidelines Spawn Debate, Advocates Insist RDA Still Too Low

vitamin d, fibromyalgia, depression, chronic pain
   The Sunshine Vitamin (Photo credit, Maggie Smith)

The surge in popularity of vitamin D has largely been prompted by the growing number of doctors recommending patients get their D level checked, and then prescribing supplementation if their level is under 30 ng/mL. In response, the Food and Nutritional Board (FNB) was commissioned to review the current body of vitamin D research. Results were available last week.

The once under-promoted “sunshine vitamin” has been thrust into the spotlight in the last few years, prompting the need for further studies to establish more precise dosing guidelines.

Critics of the revised RDA for vitamin D say the numbers don’t come close to the required amount people need to assist in the prevention of a long list of health conditions associated with a D deficiency.

Cannell feels the FNB is publicizing misinformation and that the panel’s messaging will make people unnecessarily fearful of overdosing, something he says is extremely rare, particularly with cholecalciferol, referred to as D3. D3 is the naturally occurring form of vitamin D that is made in large quantities when sunlight strikes bare skin; it can also be taken as a supplement.

Source:

Vitamin D Council

 

Mesothelioma Treatments – Combining Conventional and Alternative Therapies

lung cancer, asbestos, mesothelioma, asbestos cancer

Mesothelioma & asbestos cancer may respond well with alternative or combined therapies

Photo credit:  Michelle Meiklejohn

This late onset cancer primarily caused by exposure to a highly toxic material may respond to a combination of alternative and emerging conventional treatments.

Mesothelioma and asbestos cancers are a rare form of cancer in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. Mesthelioma most often occurs in the lungs or heart.

Because it is not often diagnosed until 20 to 50 years after a person’s initial exposure to the cancer-causing substance, asbestos cancers usually have a life expectancy of only 24 months or less. Several treatment modalities however, using a multi-pronged approach may increase life expectancy.

Asbestos and Mesothelioma Cancer – The Hopeful Story of Paul Kraus

Paul Kraus diagnosed in 1997 with peritoneal mesothelioma, opted out of conventional radiation and chemotherapy and instead used only mind-body alternative approaches. Kraus’s book, Surviving Mesotheliom and Other Cancers: A Patient’s Guide is designed to help mesothelioma patients fight the disease using alternative treatment approaches.

Kraus in an interview for a 2005 article for Cancer Monthly said, “Andrew Weil wrote that any illness can be conquered through radical lifestyle change because our bodies are made with powerful self-healing capacities. It was damn hard to make such radical changes, but I was determined to see them through. I realized that to do otherwise meant that my chances of surviving were greatly diminished.”

Alternative and Complementary Treatments

A number of new treatments, still undergoing testing, are emerging in the treatment of mesothelioma and asbestos cancers such as: Angiogenesis and Anti-angiogenesis drugs, Immunotherapy, Photodynamic therapy and Gene Therapy.

While controversial, some patients opt to undergo multiple treatment modalities using an integrative approach which may include:

Ukrain

Ukrain is a semi-synthetic compound derived from a common weed, greater celandine ( Chelidonium majus L .) combined with the chemotherapy drug Triethylene-thiophosphoric acid triamide (Thiotepa). A series of seven studies focused on patients with colorectal, bladder, pancreatic, and breast cancer. While the studies demonstrated efficacy and/or improvement in patient’s quality of life, the authors noted trials they reviewed had “serious methodological limitations” and that “independent rigorous studies are urgently needed.”

Iscador

Iscador is the trade name of the most commonly available brand of an extract of Viscum album, a European species of mistletoe. Although there have been few claims that Iscador reduces tumor size, proponents believe that it stimulates the immune system, promotes the reversion of cancerous cells to more differentiated forms, improves general well-being and may improve survival, especially in patients with cancer of the cervix, ovary, breast, stomach, colon and lung.

Vitamin C

A major proponent of Vitamin C’s efficacy in cancer was Dr. Linus Pauling. He and Ewan Cameron, MB, ChB, chief surgeon at Vale of Leven Hospital in Scotland administered vitamin C to cancer patients and reportedly had excellent results. However, other institutions that have performed similar studies reported no efficacy. Nonetheless, ascorbic acid has been reported as “the single-nutrient supplement most commonly used by cancer patients…”

Ozone Therapy

There isn’t a great deal of published literature on the safety and efficacy of ozone therapy in the treatment of cancer. Yet one study published in 1980 found that “the growth of human cancer cells from lung, breast, and uterine tumors was selectively inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by ozone at 0.3 to 0.8 part per million of ozone in ambient air during 8 days of culture.”

Astragalus

Astragalus is a native plant to northern China and the elevated regions of the Chinese provinces Yunnan and Sichuan. Nearly all the scientific studies on Astragalus have been conducted in China. A 2002 study concluded that “Astragalus injection supplemented with chemotherapy could inhibit the development of tumor, decrease the toxic-adverse effect of chemotherapy, elevate the immune function of organism and improve the quality of life in patients.”

Cat’s Claw

Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is a tropical vine that grows in South America. This vine gets its name from the small thorns at the base of the leaves, which look like a cat’s claw. It has been used in South American folk medicine for the treatment of cancer, arthritis, gastritis and epidemic diseases.

Various conventional studies have been performed yielding inconsistent results. One cancer study that found positive results was published in 2001. This study was performed on a human breast cancer cell line. The authors concluded that Cats Claw was anti-mutagenic and anti-proliferative.

Cancer Treatment with Hydrogen Peroxide Controversial

While controversial, untested, and not recommended for internal ingestion by the FDA, some natural health advocates strongly suggest food-grade hydrogen peroxide in diluted amounts can be an effective treatment for various cancers.

Dr. David G. Williams, a researcher, clinician and health writer, writes that hydrogen peroxide, when used in the correct form and amount, offers numerous disease fighting properties. “Most strains of harmful bacteria (and cancer cells) are anaerobic and cannot survive in the presence of oxygen or H2 02.” He explains. “We can agree that hydrogen peroxide produced within individual body cells is essential for life. And no one doubts its effectiveness when it comes to treating infections topically. The controversy deals with ingesting the substance orally or introducing it into the body intravenously.” (“The Many Benefits of Hydrogen Peroxide,” Dr. David G. Williams, July 17, 2003.)

Despite the dire prognosis, mesothelioma and asbestos cancer research is now closer to creating a number of treatments that may increase life expectancy in patients, or in some cases, even provide a cure.

 

Hope and Support: A Natural Journey Out of Cancer and Into Healing

 

Footnotes:

Kaegi E. Unconventional therapies for cancer: 3. Iscador . Task Force on Alternative Therapies of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative. CMAJ. 1998 May 5;158(9):1157-9.

Augustin, et al., Safety and efficacy of the long-term adjuvant treatment of primary intermediate- to high-risk malignant melanoma (UICC/AJCC stage II and III) with a standardized fermented European mistletoe (Viscum album L.) extract. Results from a multicenter, comparative, epidemiological cohort study in Germany and Switzerland . Arzneimittelforschung. 2005;55(1):38-49.

Bock, et al. Retrolective, comparative, epidemiological cohort study with parallel groups design for evaluation of efficacy and safety of drugs with “well-established use”. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2004 Aug;11 Suppl 1:23-9.

See the Weleda AG website available at: http://usa.weleda.com/iscador/

Cancer and Vitamin C: A Discussion of the Nature, Causes, Prevention, and Treatment of Cancer With Special Reference to the Value of Vitamin C by Ewan Cameron, Linus Pauling, April, 1993.

Creagan et al., Failure of high-dose vitamin C (ascorbic acid) therapy to benefit patients with advanced cancer. A controlled trial. N Engl J Med. 1979 Sep 27;301(13):687-90.

Block and Mead, Vitamin C in alternative cancer treatment: historical background . Integr Cancer Ther. 2003 Jun;2(2):147-54.

Linus Pauling, PhD: The Last Interview by Peter Barry Chowka available at: http://members.aol.com/realmedia/pauling.html

Sweet, et al., Ozone selectively inhibits growth of human cancer cells . Science. 1980 Aug 22;209(4459):931-3.

Witschi, Effects of oxygen and ozone on mouse lung tumorigenesis. Exp Lung Res. 1991 Mar-Apr;17(2):473-83.

Duan and Wang, Clinical study on effect of Astragalus in efficacy enhancing and toxicity reducing of chemotherapy in patients of malignant tumor . Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2002 Jul;22(7):515-7.

Zou and Liu., Effect of astragalus injection combined with chemotherapy on quality of life in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2003 Oct;23(10):733-5.

Riva, et al., The antiproliferative effects of Uncaria tomentosa extracts and fractions on the growth of breast cancer cell line . Anticancer Res. 2001 Jul-Aug;21(4A):2457-61.

Copyright Laura Owens. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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