Healthy Blood Pressure Begins With These Three Compounds

It may be difficult to understand what it means to get heart healthy.  Heart healthy living can consist of eating plenty of fruits and veggies, limiting red meat, exercising most days of the week, and quitting smoking.  However, even after making some lifestyle changes, losing weight, or reducing stress, your blood pressure may still need some help in getting into a normal, healthy range.  Here are three natural compounds that may help you to lower blood pressure and increase heart health today.

  1. Niacin, otherwise known as B3, helps the body produce certain sex and stress hormones and works to improve circulation.  In addition, niacin can reduce risk of heart disease by suppressing inflammation.  Niacin can reduce risk of heart disease by lowering LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and blood triglyceride levels.  In turn, reduce hypertensiojn, blood pressure, heartrisk of heart attacks and death by taking niacin with cholesterol-lowering medicine. Beets, beef liver, tuna, salmon, sunflower seeds, and peanuts all contain niacin.  When taken as a supplement, however, keep intake levels below the upper limit of 50 milligrams. Otherwise, dangerous side effects such as liver damage and stomach ulcers may occur.  However, niacin is a water-soluble vitamin excreted in the urine daily. Therefore, a person is unlikely to overdose on niacin.
  2. Hawthorn is a berry plant that has been used for thousands of years to treat heart disease.  The leaves and flowers can improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and improve heart failure treatment outcomes.   Furthermore, the antioxidant flavonoids present in the parts of the Hawthorn plant aid in dilating blood vessels and protecting blood vessels from damage.
  3. Garlic is an edible bulb plant used as an aromatic flavoring to many dishes.  In addition, Native Americans, Egyptians, and Greeks, to name a few, used garlic for health purposes for many years. For example, the 2016 AGE at Heart trial found that aged garlic extract is effective in reducing peripheral and central blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled hypertension.

After reading this list, you may wonder how to get all of these compounds in your daily regimen. Vitasciences has fit all of these heart-healthy compounds in one high quality supplement, Presura.

Visit the American Heart Association website to see if you may be at risk for high blood pressure. Furthermore, if you are at risk for hypertension, ask your healthcare provider to see Presura,  along with a heart healthy lifestyle, could help you.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2016 Sept.) “Garlic” https://nccih.nih.gov/health/garlic/ataglance.htm

PubMed Health (2012) “Garlic for Hypertension” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0048277/

Ried, K, et al. (2016 Jan 27) “The effect of aged garlic extract on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors in uncontrolled hypertensives: the AGE at Heart trial.” Integrated Blood Pressure Control, 9: 9-21.

University of Maryland Medical Center (2015 Aug 6) “Vitamin B3 ( Niacin)” http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b3-niacin

University of Maryland Medical Center (2015 Jan 2) “Hawthorn” http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/hawthorn

 

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Ten Steps To Heart Health

February is American Heart Month.  In celebration of this annual event, look below for a list of ten things you can start doing right now to support your heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with every one in three deaths from the condition.  Prevention is key, so start taking charge of your heart health today.

  1. Exercise More. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise such as brisk walking each day for at least 5 days a week.
  2. Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods. Getting at least 25 grams of fiber a day from fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains has been found to lower risk of high cholesterol.
  3. Don’t Smoke or Use Tobacco. Chemicals found in tobacco have been shown to narrow and damage the blood vessels.  In addition, tobacco can also lead to hardening of the arteries.
  4. Limit Processed Food Intake.  Many packaged foods are high in sugar, fat, and salt, all of which do not support a heart healthy diet.  Stick to fresh or frozen produce, minimally processed food products such as yogurt, cheese, and other fresh dairy products, lean meats, and plant-based proteins such as nuts and seeds.
  5. Limit Alcohol Intake.  In moderation, red wine may be heart-protective, but anything in excess can be harmful to your health. Therefore, limit alcohol to no more than one standard drink a day for women and two standard drinks a day for men.  One standard drink is equal to 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, and 1.5 ounces of liquor.
  6. Maintain a Healthy Weight. Carrying excess weight around your abdominal area can increase risk of heart disease. Therefore, keep your waistline below 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women to reduce your heart disease risk.
  7. Get Plenty of Sleep. Sleep is important for many aspects of health. Most importantly though, it is during slumber that your body regulates fluid and blood pressure in the body. Therefore, sleep is important for maintaining heart health.
  8. Manage Stress. Whether it be traffic, work, relationships, or financial issues, life can be stressful sometimes. However, it is important to learn to manage your stress to reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Therefore, use relaxation breathing, meditation, yoga, or prayer to help keep you calm during daily stress.  However, in some cases, you may need support from a healthcare professional or support group to help you manage life’s stresses.
  9. Visit Your Healthcare Provider Often. The key to optimal health is prevention. Therefore, if you want to reduce your risk of chronic disease, be sure to visit your healthcare provider on a regular basis to get your numbers checked.  Blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides are just some of the numbers that will help you keep track of your heart health status.
  10. Try Presura from VitaSciences. One to three capsules a day of Presura can support healthy blood pressure and heart health. This is because this heart-healthy supplement contains vitamin B6, B12, C, and the heart-healthy herb Hawthorn berry extract.

Visit the American Heart Association and VitaSciences for more ways you can take control of your heart health.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

American Heart Association (accessed 2017 Feb 1). “7 Small Steps to Big Changes.” http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/My-Life-Check—Lifes-Simple-7_UCM_471453_Article.jsp#.WJLJYoWcHIV

American Heart Association (2017 Jan 25) “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2017 At-A-Glance.” https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/ahamah-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_491265.pdf

Diane, A. et al. (2016 Sept 14). “Hypolipidemic and Cardioprotective Benefits of a Novel Fireberry Hawthorn Fruit Extract in the JCR: LA-cp Rodent Model of Dyslipidemia and Cardiac Dysfunction.” Food and Function, 7(9): 3943-52.

Harvard University (accessed 2017 Feb 1) “Three of the B Vitamins: Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12.” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-b/#b-vitamins-heart-disease

Mayo Clinic (2016 June 17) “Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-prevention/art-20046502

Mayo Clinic (2015 June 12) “Top Foods to Improve Your Numbers.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol/art-20045192

Moser, M.A. and O.K. Chun (Aug 2016) “Vitamin C and Heart Health: A Review Based on Findings from Epidemiologic Studies.” International Journal of Microbiological Sciences,   17(8): 1328.

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Top Three Ways Probiotics Can Improve Gut Health

Probiotics, or gut-loving bacteria, started to blossom back in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s as part of a healthy lifestyle.  It was during this time that Scientist Elie Metchnikoff proposed that consumption of yogurt with Lactobacillus helped decrease the amount of toxin-producing bacteria in the gut and increased life years in hosts.  The advent of probiotics has improved gut health for many.

About Probiotics

You may have heard about fermented foods, probiotics, and how good they are for you. However, do you really know what they are, and why they are so healthy?  The conversion of carbohydrates in the foods to alcohol or organic acids produces fermented foods. This is done by using microorganisms such as yeast or bacteria under the absence of free oxygen.  As a result, the fermentation process can lead to increased concentration of vitamins and  nutrients in the final product. In addition, other benefits of fermented foods include enhanced flavor and increased digestibility. Finally, it is important to note that fermented foods are only probiotics if the bacteria culture survives long enough to provide benefits to the GI tract.  

Probiotic Foods

These are some fermented foods that are considered probiotics.

  • Yogurt, which is milk fermented with bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus. 
  • Kimchi, or spicy pickled cabbage, which is a popular dish in Korean culture.
  • Sauerkraut, which is a pickled cabbage commonly eaten in German culture.
  • Cheeses like Gouda, Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan. Not all cheeses have probiotic qualities, but in these particular cheeses the bacteria survives long enough to benefit the GI tract.  Furthermore, during digestion  beneficial bacteria is protected by the fat in cheese.

Probiotic Drinks

There are also some fermented drinks that provide probiotic benefits.

  • Cow’s milk fermented with bacteria creates the sour yogurt-like drink called kefir.
  • Live cultures added to milk creates buttermilk. However, cooked buttermilk can deactivate these gut-beneficial cultures.
  • Sweet tea fermented with yeast and bacteria creates Kombucha.

Probiotic Supplements

With so many different probiotics on the market containing so many different bacterial cultures in so many different amounts, it can be difficult to know which will provide the most benefit.  However, Vitasciences makes it easy for you when it comes to choosing the proper probiotic.  BioVia30 contains a diversity of bacterial strains containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium that helps to increase the good bacteria in your gut. Therefore, choose Vitasciences when shopping for your supplement needs.

-by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Battcock, M. and S. Azam-Ali (1998) “Fermented Frutis and Vegetables: A Global Perspective.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/docrep/x0560e/x0560e00.htm#con

Cruz, A., et al. (2009 Aug) “Probiotic cheese: Health benefits, technological and stability aspects” Trends in Food Science & Technology, 20(8):344-354.

Ganesan, B. et al. (2014) “Probiotic Bacteria Survive in Cheddar Cheese and modify  populations of other Lactic Acid Bacteria.” Journal of Applied Microbiology, 116(6): 1642-56.

 

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Can Ashwagandha Support Hypothyroidism Treatment?

Hypothyroidism occurs when the body is not producing enough thyroid hormone.  As a result of this, an individual with hypothyroidism can experience fatigue, feeling cold often, weight gain, constipation, depression, and in some cases numbness and tingling of the hands and feet.  These symptoms can not only cause discomfort physically, but can also cause stress in the patient mentally due to the neurological effects it can have on the body.

Hypothyroidism and Inflammation

According to the American Thyroid Association, thyroiditis, or an inflammation of the thyroid, can lead to thyroid disorders.  While rapid thyroid cell damage leads to hyperthyroidism, the opposite is true for hypothyroidism.  A slow, chronic damage and destruction of thyroid cells can lead to a fall in thyroid levels in the blood.

Natural Thyroid Support

Ashwagandha is a popular herb know  for its anti-inflammatory properties.  Also known as Indian ginseng, ashwangandha has been found to relax the central nervous system. A 2014 study in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine suggests that ashwagandha may also help to increase thyroxine levels. Therefore, the herb may be helpful in supporting
treatment of hypothyroidism.

Thyradol is a supplement developed by Vitasciences that contains ashwagandha along with other thyroid supportive compounds such as B12 and selenium.   Therefore, instead of taking a handful of supplements, thyradol can make taking care of your thyroid simple.

Visit the American Thyroid Association at thyroid.org to show your support for thyroid awareness and research.

-by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

 

Sources:

American Thyroid Association (accessed 2017 Jan 21) “Thyroiditis” http://www.thyroid.org/thyroiditis/

Gannon, J.M., et al. (2014 Oct-Dec). “Subtle Changes in Thyroid Indices During a Placebo-Controlled Study of an Extract of Withania somnifera in Persons With Bipolar Disorder.” Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 5(4): 241-245.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (2015 Dec 29) “Ashwangandha.” https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/ashwagandha

University of Maryland Medical Center (2016 April 27) “Hypothyroidism.” http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/hypothyroidism

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Hypothyroidism May be Linked to Vitamin B12 Deficiency

hypothyroidismThyroid conditions can be very frustrating and uncomfortable for those affected.  Hypothyroidism in particular can cause disruptions in daily living through symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty losing weight, and depression. Additional symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • feeling colder
  • constipation
  • forgetfulness
  • drier skin

Current Treatments

Since hypothyroidism involves an underactive thyroid, traditional treatments have focused on replacing the hormone that your body cannot make.  Therefore, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and T4 levels should be checked often to make sure hormone levels are brought into and maintained into normal levels.

The gold standard for treating hypothyroidism is levothyroxine.  This is because levothyroxine is easy to use, its low risk of side effects, good intestinal absorption, long serum half-life, and low cost.  This medicine works to help normalize thyroid and TSH levels in the body.

If a patient’s levothyroxine dose is higher than expected, the healthcare provider should check for other conditions. These conditions include Heliobacter pylori, gastritis, or celiac disease.  Treatment of any such conditions could help lessen the symptoms of low thyroid levels in some individuals.

B12 deficiency may cause symptoms of hypothyroidism

Another condition that may affect thyroid levels in the body is B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products as well as in fortified products such as cereals and breads.  Therefore, those most at risk include those that do not eat these foods such as vegans and vegetarians. In addition, those who are older adults, pregnant and lactating women, and those with malabsorption issues may be low in B12.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency that may parallel those symptoms of impaired thyroid include fatigue and weakness.  In addition, B12 deficiency can cause anemia, constipation, loss of appetite. And if uncontrolled or severe, lack of B12 may cause neurological symptoms such as confusion or numbness and tingling in hands and feet.

  • anemia
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • difficulty balancing
  • confusion

Since B12 has been found to be lacking in many people with the condition, it is suggested that those diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism should be tested for B12 deficiency.

Thyradol is a supplement blend containing vitamin B12 as well as alternative medicine compounds like ashwagandha thought to improve thyroid health.  Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment.  This is because it is important to make sure this supplement does not interfere with your current medical treatment.

If you want to find out more about the condition and how you can support research efforts, visit the American Thyroid Association website at thyroid.org for more details.

by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

 

 

American Thyroid Association (accessed 2017 Jan) “Hypothyroidism (Underactive)” http://www.thyroid.org/hypothyroidism/

Collins, AB and R Pawlak (2016) “Prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency among patients with thyroid dysfunction.”  Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 25(2): 221-6.

Jabbar, A., et al. (2008 May) “Vitamin B12 deficiency common in primary hypothyroidism.” The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 58(5): 258-61.

Medline (2015 Jan 15) “Levothyroxine” https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682461.html

National Institutes of Health (2016 Feb 11) “Vitaman B12: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet.” https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/

 

 

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Glaucoma risk lowered by eating more greens

According to the National Eye Health Education Program, glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness.  And since there are usually no symptoms in the early stages, early detection is needed to help prevent vision loss.  Therefore, you should be aware that those at most risk for glaucoma are individuals:

  • over the age of 60 years
  • with a family history of the condition
  • who are African American and over the age of 40 years

Prevention

Whether you are at risk or not, it is important to take steps to protect eye health. The Glaucoma Research Foundation suggests the following guidelines for preventing vision loss:

  • Studies have shown that jogging or walking three times a week can lower the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma.  Inverted positions such as headstands can cause intraocular pressure. Therefore, inverted positions should be avoided.
  • Prevent vision loss by getting regular eye exams that will help detect early signs of the condition. Therefore, be sure to get your eyes checked once a year or more often if your eyes become dry, itchy, or if vision concerns arise.
  • Prevent secondary glaucoma by wearing protective eyewear. This is because  trauma to the eye such as in sports or home improvement accidents can lead to this condition.
  • Eating antioxidant-rich foods can be beneficial to eye health and in turn decrease risk of vision loss. Therefore, consume plenty of leafy-green veggies such as broccoli and spinach as well as foods rich in vitamin A such as carrots, peppers, and tomatoes.

Eye Health Research

The Age-Related Macular Degeneration Study (AREDS) is a group of two clinical trials sponsored by the National Eye Institute.  In this study, over 3600 subjects between the ages of 55 and 80 years old with varying levels of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) were observed.  As a result, the study found that lutein, along with zeaxanthin, had beneficial effects on protecting ocular tissues against cell damage.  In addition, high levels of antioxidants and zinc decreased risk of those with intermediate  AMD from developing the advanced disease.

Furthermore,  a 2016 study in Experimental Eye Research looked at the role of endogenous retinoic acid, or vitamin A produced in the body, in corneal health.  As a result, this study revealed the importance of the compound’s role in the signaling in adult corneal homeostasis and regeneration. In addition to these two studies, a 2015 study in the Journal of Opthamology found that lutein and zeaxanthin have protective qualities against damage to ocular tissues and cells.

There is hope  

If you feel like you may be at risk for eye health issues such as glaucoma, and  feel like you may not be getting enough antioxidants through the food you eat, there is an innovative solution. Ocutain supports eye health through its combination of vitamin A, zinc, lutein, and  other eye-healthy elements.   It is never too early or late to start taking control of your eye health.

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, so be sure to support research efforts by visiting the Glaucoma Research Foundation at www.glaucoma.org.

-Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Glaucoma Research Foundation (2012 April 25) “Nutrition and Glaucoma”

Glaucoma Research Foundation (2016 May 3) “What Can I Do to Prevent Glaucoma?”

Kumar, S. et al. (2016 Nov 10) “Endogenous retinoic acid signaling is required for maintenance and regeneration of cornea. Experimental Eye Research, pii: S0014-4835 (16) 30449-3.

National Eye Health Education Program (accessed Jan 2017) “Glaucoma Awareness Month” https://nei.nih.gov/nehep/gam

National Institutes of Health (revised Nov. 2011) “The AREDS Formulation and Age-Related Macular Regeneration.” nei.nih.gov/amd/summary

Xue, C. et al. (2015) “Management of Ocular Diseases Using Lutein and Zeaxanthin: What Have We Learned from Experimental Animal Studies?” Journal of Opthamology, 2015:52307.

 

 

 

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Your depression could be a vitamin deficiency

You may feel depressed if you have a bad day or an upsetting situation. However, depression is more than just an isolated feeling. For those with depression, daily living can be difficult or nearly impossible.  Depression causes disruption in daily living such as with working, sleeping, eating, and the way you think and feel for at least two weeks. These symptoms include:

  • persistent sad, anxious, or feelings of emptiness
  • decreased energy, loss of appetite or weight changes
  • loss of interest in things you once enjoyed doing
  • irritability
  • thoughts of death or suicide
  • difficulty concentrating or sleeping
  • aches, pains, or digestive problems with no clear physical cause

What causes depression?

Family history of the condition, major life changes, and stress or trauma can all lead to depression. Also, certain medicines and illnesses may also lead to depressive symptoms.  Furthermore, vitamin deficiencies can also contribute to some cases of depression.

Depression has been linked with certain vitamin deficiencies according to a 2013 review in Current Psychiatry.  Depression, irritability, and agitation has been found to develop as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency.  Geriatric patients with low B6 levels had increased risk and severity of depression. Furthermore, marginal levels of vitamin B2 were found more frequently in depressed patients than non-depressed patients.

What does the research say?

First of all, a 2016 study in the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience looked at the effects of vitamin intake on mild cognitive impairment. The study reported decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment in the Chinese elderly due to intake of carotenoids, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Another 2016 study in the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS care looked at vitamin intake effects on mental health outcomes.  HIV patients had decreased risk of anxiety and depression due to daily dietary intake of zinc, selenium, and vitamin C.   Finally, a 2015 study in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences looked at anxiety and vitamin C intake.  Students had decreased anxiety levels due to increased intake of vitamin C.

Sereneo can provide all of the vitamins and compounds you need to boost your mood.  As a result of vitamin C and B vitamins, Sereneo works to support anxiety relief and calm your mind.

Finally, a special thank you to the Hope for Depression Research Foundation.  They work hard every day to raise mental health awareness and to fund related research. Because of this, be sure to visit their site at hopefordepression.org on how you can support their cause.


-by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

de Oliveira, IJ, et al. (2015 Jan) “Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 18(1):11-8.

Jamali, F., et al (2016 Nov-Dec) “Correlation Between Daily Dietary Micronutrients Intake and Mental Health Outcomes in Iranians Living With HIV infection, ” Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS care, 27(6): 817-825.

Lu, Y, et al (2016 Nov 29) “Dietary Intake of Nutrients and Lifestyle Affect the Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment in the Chinese Elderly Population: A Cross-Sectional Study,” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 10:229. eCollection 2016.

National Institute of Mental Health (accessed 2017 Jan) “Depression” https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

Ramsey, MD, Drew. (2013 January) “Vitamin Deficiencies and Mental Health: How are they linked?” Current Psychiatry, 12(1):37-44.

 

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Surgery may not be the answer to your sciatica

It is likely that you may have felt back pain at one time or another.  However, if your back pain is mostly in your lower back, and radiates down your leg, you may have sciatica.

Facts about Sciatica

  • Sciatica involves pain along the sciatic nerve that starts in your lower back and radiate down each hip and thigh into the legs.
  • Sciatica usually only affects one side of the body, and occurs when there is some type of pressure on the nerves.
  • Bone spurs, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spine can all cause sciatic pain.
  • Symptoms may include a sharp, burning pain in the lower back into the thigh and hip area. Some people may feel tingling or numbness in the leg area as well.  Coughing, sneezing, and sitting for a long period of time can make sciatica symptoms worse.

Who is at Risk for Sciatica?

Those at most risk for sciatica are those who are:

  • Older with greater chance of age-related spine conditions
  • Obese
  • Inactive
  • Working at a job where they may lift heavy loads often that put pressure on the spine.

Furthermore, those with diabetes may be at greater risk of getting sciatica due to the increased risk for nerve damage with this disease.

Why Surgery is Not Always the Answer for Sciatic Pain

Acute pain from Sciatica may be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and narcotics.  Furthermore, the inflammation around the affected nerve is sometimes treated with corticosteroid injections.  However, this type of treatment may only last for several months. Due to the need for long-term use in treating sciatic pain, and because of long-term side effects, healthcare providers may be hesitant to prescribe steroid treatment. In addition, physical therapy can strengthen the muscles surrounding the nerves in the back to help reduce pressure on the area and prevent further injury.

Although not suggested for all cases, surgery may be required to relieve severe sciatic pain.  Severe cases of sciatica may require surgery because they may start to affect bladder and bowel function, or cause leg weakness.

Non-surgical sciatica treatment options

Although surgery may be the first thing you think of in treating back pain like sciatica,  many studies support effective natural treatments for sciatica.  Surgery may be thought of first because it is effective in relieving acute pain. In fact, surgery has been found to relieve acute pain more effectively in the short-term than conservative treatments. However, a 2016 study in the British Medical Journal Open found little to no difference in surgery’s effectiveness in relieving neuropathic pain long –term.

  • A 2016 study in Trials has found that acetyl-L-carnitine was neuroprotective in the central nervous system and that it increased peripheral nerve regeneration. This is because the compound was able to regrow or repair damaged nerves in the region of the body around the feet and legs.
  • A 2015 study in Minerva Ginecologica reported that lipoic acid was found to be effective in treating patients with pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • A 2013 review in Neural Plast found that the methylcobalamin form of B12 can help improve nerve conduction and nerve regeneration of damaged nerves in patients with neuropathic pain.
  • A 2016 study in Acta bio medica has found that patients with neuropathic pain who used alpha-lipoic acid had improved quality of life and a reduction in pain markers.
  • A 2016 study in the Journal of Drug Assessment found that those who took diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, with B1, B6, and B12 had greater mobility restoration and greater improvements in pain and function than those who took the drug alone.

Therefore, check out Sciaticare to show your nerves some love and help support your  sciatica. and support healthy nerves.   Sciatacare is effective in managing sciatic pain because of its combination of “nerve-healthy” vitamins and compounds including:

  • Vitamin B1, or thiamine
  • Vitamin B6, the methylcobalamin form of B12
  • Magnesium
  • Aacetyl-L-carnitine
  • Alpha-lipoic acid

In conclusion, be sure to check out the wonderful work of the U.S. Pain Foundation that is working everyday to help improve the lives of those suffering with chronic pain conditions.

By Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Costantino, D. et al. (2015 Oct) “Use of alpha-lipoic acid and omega-3 in postpartum pain treatment,” Minerva Ginecologica, 67(5): 465-73.

Curran, MW, et al. (2016 Apr 14) “Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) to enhance nerve regeneration in carpal tunnel syndrome: study protocol for a randomized, placebo-controlled trial,” Trials, 17:200. doi: 10.1186/s13063-016-1324-2.

Geller, M. et al (2016 Mar 31) “Comparison of the action of diclofenac alone versus diclofenac and B vitamins on mobility in patients with low back pain,” Journal of Drug Assessment: 5(1): 1-3. eCollection 2016.

Gugliotta, M, et al. (2016 Dec 21) “Surgical versus conservative treatment for lumbar disc herniation: a prospective cohort study. British Medical Journal Open, 6(12): e012938. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012938.

Maglione, E. et al (2015 Dec 14) “Increasing bioavailability of R-alpha-lipoic acid to boost antioxidant activity in the treatment of neuropathic pain,” Acta bio-medica: Atenei Parmensis, 86(3):226-33.

“Sciatica” (2016) Mayo Clinic: Disease and Conditions.http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/basics/treatment/con-20026478

Zhang, M. et al. (2013) “Methylcobalamin: A Potential Vitamin of Pain Killer” Neural Plast, doi:  10.1155/2013/424651 PMCID: PMC3888748

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Three Natural Ingredients that could Relieve your Neuropathy Pain Today

by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Numbness, tingling, and sharp burning pain in your feet or hands could be signs of a serious condition. Nerves control your senses, muscle movement, as well as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and bladder function. Neuropathy is a condition that affects one or more nerves in the body.    If left untreated, this condition could lead to a lack of coordination and falling, muscle weakness, or paralysis if the motor nerves are affected.

What Causes Neuropathy?

Untreated cases of diabetes may lead to neuropathy, but there are many other possible causes of the condition such as:

  • Alcoholism, in which a person can develop thiamine deficiency
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infections such as hepatitis C or HIV
  • Trauma or pressure on the nerves such as by injury or tumors
  • Conditions such as hypothyroidism, kidney disease, or liver disease
  • Vitamins deficiencies such as thiamin, B6, B12, or vitamin E

Neuropathy Treatment

The goal of neuropathy treatment is to manage and relieve symptoms.  Many approved treatments are out there, but not all are as effective in providing relief.  Pain relievers such as NSAIDS, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can treat mild pain for a short time.  Narcotics, anti-seizure medications such as gabapentin, or topical treatments such as lidocaine may be used to treat more moderate to severe cases.

Prescribed medicines may be prescribed alongside treatments such as physical therapy, acupuncture, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).  Surgery is used as a last resort for those cases in which there is pressure on the nerves such as with tumors.

Recent research

Several research studies have shown natural supplements to be effective in reducing symptoms of neuropathy.

  • A 2016 study in the journal Diabetic Medicine showed significant improvements in diabetic peripheral neuropathy symptoms through use of alpha-lipoic acid treatment.
  • In the Journal of Diabetes Research, a 2016 study revealed that a combination of gabapentin, B1, and B12 was just as effective as the drug pregabalin in reducing severity of neuropathy symptoms. The addition of vitamins also helped reduce the presence of side effects such as vertigo or dizziness.
  • A recent study in the Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology journal showed potential for vitamin E treatment to be used to prevent chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.
  • A 2016 study in Minerva Endocrinologica showed an increased antioxidant capacity when using alpha-lipoic acid as a treatment for diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

These findings reveal that more natural treatments, alone or with other treatments, may provide relief to neuropathy pain with a lower risk of side effects than with other prescription medications.

For a strong and effective treatment, with the gentle touch and benefits of natural ingredients, try Nervex Neuropathy Pain Relief Cream. The active ingredients of this topical cream include:

  • Vitamins B12, B6, thiamine, and riboflavin, which improve nerve function
  • Capsaicin, a hot pepper extract that relieves pain
  • Alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant that reduces damage to nerves by removing free radicals from your organs and tissues

Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before starting any new medication or treatment.

A big thank you to the wonderful work of the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy for raising awareness of the condition and funding efforts to find a cure.  Visit their website at https://www.foundationforpn.org/ to follow their efforts.

Sources:

Alvarado, A.M. & S.A. Navarro (2016) “Clinical Trial Assessing the Efficacy of Gabapentin Plus B Complex (B1/B12) versus Pregabalin for Treating Painful Diabetic Neuropathy.”

Brami, C. et al. (2016 Feb). “Natural products and complementary therapies for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: A systematic review.” Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology, 98:325-34.

Cakici, N. et al. (2016 Nov) “Systematic review of treatments for peripheral neuropathy” Diabetic Medicine, 33(11):1466-1476.

Han, Y., et al. (2016 Nov 30) “Differential efficacy of methylcobalamin and alpha-lipoic acid treatment on negative and positive symptoms of (type 2) diabetic peripheral neuropathy.” Minerva Endocrinologica

 

 

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100 Best Sites for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Patients- the Master List

Great for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue advice, inspiration, or just connecting with fellow  FMS/CFS (fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome) sufferers. Lots of great blogs here from people with migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, as well.

fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, chronic pain, migraines, spoonies, arthritis, lupus

Below is a conglomeration of personal blogs, government sites, forums and medical pages- some are funny and insightful, some provide lots of great tips on coping with the pain in your life, and some are inspirational…all are gems that we know you will appreciate.

Pick a few titles that look interesting, and stop by again to see all the other great sites we’ve posted here.

Remember, knowledge is power!

Help for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue

The (best!) blogs out there!

Editor’s Note: This blog listing has been updated in order to provide you with the freshest, most relevant material available!

Please feel free to share this list and save it for future reference. Do you have a favorite chronic living blog that’s not listed here? Please comment below. Sharing is caring! <3

  1. A New Kind of Normal A New Kind of Normal is about to living boldly with chronic illness. Living boldly means standing
  2. A Picnic with Ants My life disABLED with Chrnoic Ilnnesses, it just IS. Taking one moment at a time. My journey with chronic illness, focusing mainly on Meniere’s Disease and Chronic Migraine.
  3. And then you’re at Jax  Always looking for the fun in the rheum. A unique perspective on having both Rheumatoid Arthritis and Type 1 Diabetes. Trying to find positivity and humor each day while dealing with painful, exhausting autoimmune diseases.
  4. Back Pain Blog UK  A PERSONAL JOURNEY OF A CHRONIC BACK PAIN SUFFERER. MY SITE IS FULL OF THE LATEST TREATMENTS, PRODUCT REVIEWS, THERAPIES, DRUGS, TIPS AND WEBSITES ON BACK PAIN, FIBROMYALGIA AND ARTHRITIC CONDITIONS.
  5. Being Fibro Mom Helping fibro sufferers become fibro thrivers.
  6. Being Matt Living the life you’re given. Journey of living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other unknown illnesses”
  7. BitterSweet Diagnosis Pancreatically challenged- Young Leader in Diabetes-  PhD student- Accredited Practising Dietitian. A blog on living life with diabetes, while completing my PhD in diabetes education and working as a dietitian.”
  8. Blooming Beauty Just a spoonie blogging about my life and experiences
  9. Body in Mind Research into the role of the brain and mind in chronic pain.
  10. Brainless Blogger The blog covers the experience of living and coping with chronic migraines and fibromyalgia. I generalize many posts to simply talk about chronic pain and chronic illness as well. The blog posts research in those two areas as well.
  11. But You Don’t Look Sick We believe that our medical circumstances have put us in a unique and understanding position, so that we can help each other through similar difficult times. We hope the information and community on our site can aid people in leading better lives through knowledge, networking, friendship and most of all support.
  12. Capture Life’s Little Moments I blog about the day to day struggles of mental illness as well as chronic pain associated with having Fibromyalgia, chronic back pain and chronic neuropathic pain among other issues.
  13. Center for Disease Control & Prevention CDC Fibromyalgia page
  14. Charleigh Aleyna Raising Awareness for Functional Neurological Disorder
  15. Chronic Babe I created Chronic Babe to help you have an amazing life in spite of illness. I’ll help you gain new confidence, boost your career, nurture lifelong friendships, have great sex, save more money, and in general, be more fabulous.
  16. Chronic Illness Support More than anything, I hope this personal web site will connect us on a deeper level and find out more about how your illness may be more than a thorn — even an asset!
  17. Chronic Leigh’s Fibro Diary Based on a painfully true story. Fibromyalgia and chronic pain, SpoonSplained by someone who gets it.
  18. Chronic Mom A day in the life of a mom living with Fibromyalgia and Lyme disease
  19. Chronic Pain and Ramblings A day in the life of someone with debilitating pain.
  20. Chronic Pain Journal A journal, resource, and support for family, friends and patients of those who suffer from chronic pain
  21. Chronic Sex A safe place to discuss and ruminate on self-love, self-care, relationships, sex, and sexuality with chronic illness.
  22. Chronically 20 Something The adventures of a chronically ill twenty something year old woman. #spoonie. A little bit cynical but always hopeful blog about being chronically ill and twenty something.
  23. Chronically Ridiculous Invisible illness education, tips, and life experiences about living with chronically ridiculous illnesses.
  24. Chronically You… no matter how you feel COPD, Fibro, Chronic Pain, Heart Disease
  25. Claire’s Comfy Corner Life with Fibromyalgia.
  26. Confessions of a Fibro Mama The blog of a mama living, loving and being well with Fibromyalgia.
  27. Counting my Spoons Inspiring those living with chronic illness to live happily.
  28. Cranky Fibro Girl Harnessing the healing power of snark.
  29. Crazy Spoonie Life Living with fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, IBS and depression.
  30. Cripple, baby! Mostly write about my illnesses and diagnosis but like to be able to laugh at myself too and have fun with it. Life is depressing enough so I enjoy mixing it up a little and write about good things too: My pets, vegan recipes, my charity, crafting, etc.
  31. Dangerously Normal Spoonie While battling Chronic Illness as well as Invisible Illness, I want to help others and make them aware that they are NOT alone!
  32. Diagnosed Not Defeated This is an informative blog about Type 2 diabetes. It features inspirational posts, travel tips, meal options, and so much more.
  33. Discovering Charlotte I’m a lifestyle blog while also living with fibromyalgia, depression and IBS.
  34. EDS Info Research and articles related to living with Chronic Pain from EDS & Fibromyalgia.
  35. Elaine4Queen Living with chronic migraine and fibromyalgia, and my dog, Poppet.
  36. Fed Up With Fatigue Living better with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS/
  37. Fibro and Fabulous Fibro and Fabulous™ is a blog about my life, my Fibromyalgia, and my feeling fabulous despite my condition. Come feel fabulous with me!
  38. Fibro and M.E. Living with chronic conditions.
  39. Fibro Daze Attempting to make sense of the senseless: a Fibromyalgia diagnosis.
  40. Fibro Flutters Support Group Weblog for people with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, EDS/Hypermobility, Mental health, Chronic fatigue/Me & Invisible Illness in NE UK.
  41. Fibro Jedi Blogs and discussions surrounding Fibromyalgia, but also how I use gaming as a coping mechanism through the pain.
  42. Fibro Men Raising Awareness of the condition of Fibromyalgia among men.
  43. Fibro of Oz Blog  Following the yellow brick road in search for the answers of living with chronic illness.
  44. Fibro Warriors – Living Life The challenges of living with the up and down rollercoaster of living with a Chronic Pain Disease.
  45. FibroCathy’s Blog  Chronic pain is a challenge to your spirit, but a challenge that can always be faced and your situation improved.
  46. Fibromyalgia Action UK Fibromyalgia Action UK (FMAUK) is a registered charity raising awareness & making evidence-based information about Fibromyalgia easily accessible.
  47. Fibromyalgia Group Diaries Fibromyalgia Support Group- Member’s Diaries
  48. Fibromyalgia Support Free, Unbiased Sources of Information for Fibromyalgia sufferers and their caregivers.
  49. Fight like a Girl Club To provide a loving, comfortable environment where women battling cancer and other life-limiting diseases, survivors, and loved ones can come together to share stories, experiences, advice, encouragement, and hope with one another. Men are warmly welcomed, as well.
  50. Fighting Fatigue FightingFatigue.org is a top resource site for information on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Interstitial Cystitis, and other chronic illnesses.
  51. FM CFID Trigger Points MAY OUR SPIRIT FILL US WITH UNDERSTANDING OF VICTORY AND DEFEAT, THE GIFT OF COLLABORATION, THE WISDOM TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PATH, AND OPPORTUNITIES TO INSPIRE HOPE.
  52. Healing Well Get on the road to healing well – join HealingWell.com, a thriving support community. You’ll find information, resources, and support, plus full access to the forums and chat rooms. And it’s all FREE!
  53. Health Skills For health professionals working in chronic pain self-management.
  54. Holding Your Spoons A blog about loving and supporting my husband in his fight against fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome/
  55. Hope for Heather Cowden Syndrome and Lhermitte-duclos disease are words not sentences.
  56. Hope Whispers A mother and wife and animal lover. Who just so happens to be on the liver transplant list. Sharing the good, the bad and the crazy.
  57. How To Cope With Pain Blog Chronic pain is a challenge to your spirit, but a challenge that can always be faced and your situation improved.
  58. Infertility Mom Bridging 2 very different worlds of 10+ years of infertility (including 3 miscarriages and 7 failed adoption attempts) followed by motherhood of 3 living miracles, InfertilityMom Jenni Saake shares about her daily life writing, juggling stroke recovery and chronic health challenges.
  59. Kirsty Ralph Lifestyle blog from blogger with diabetes and migraines.
  60. Knocked Over By A Feather IT WAS A BIG FEATHER…Living life with fibromyalgia, depression and anxiety.
  61. Laurie Erdman Freedom is only possible when love motivates your choices.
  62. Life and Fibromyalgia I teach music and sewing to the most amazing kids in the world. I also love reading blogs about other people’s life. I hope you enjoy reading mine. I also have fibromyalgia and arthritis.
  63. Lila Lost in the Fibro Fog I’M ALL A LONE, IN MY OWN LITTLE WORLD, BUT IT’S OK…. THEY KNOW ME HERE……..
  64. Living With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I am a 26 year old male who has suffered from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis for over 8 years. This blog will focus on what I am trying to do to overcome this illness.
  65. Living with Fibro Online Support Group  We are patients living with fibromyalgia, here for your support.
  66. Living, Being, Doing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome This is a blog aimed at providing information and support to those with the above conditions. I write about issues that affect all chronically ill people such as money, relationships and self-esteem.
  67. Make It, Bake It, Fake It Baking, creativity, and faith amidst a life with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
  68. Mama Sick My blog focuses on parents with chronic illnesses and the challenges they face raising children.
  69. Mayo Clinic Diseases and Conditions- Fibromyalgia
  70. mini2z – Journey With Me Journey with me on my journey with Hashimotos, LADA Type 1.5, Lupus and Fibromyalgia and learning to find my new normal with invisible illness.
  71. Mrs. Jeeby’s Survival Kit Sharing My Chronic Health Story – Helping You Share Yours. Chronic Illness/ Spoonie Blog sharing experience with have a chronic condition (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.)
  72. My ADHD Life I am a blogger with ADHD. As Paul Simon sings, “I have a short little span of attention.” My interests change all the time – currently, mine are crocheting, sewing, organizing living spaces, and putting planners together.
  73. My Foggy Brain Invisible illness… visible me; living with fibromyalgia, depression and ADD.
  74. My Migraine Life The life of a chronic migraine sufferer. A mom, wife, friend and more trying to find health and balance in the most positive way possible.
  75. National Fibromyalgia Association Welcome to the NFA’s new and updated web site to keep you AWARE of all the most important information on fibromyalgia and related topics, and much, much more!
  76. National Library of Medicine MedLine Plus page for fibromyalgia. Trusted health information for you.
  77. Once Upon a Fibro Time Living life with Fibromyalgia and Joint hyper-mobility syndrome.
  78. Only in This Head My journey’s through chronic illness, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, POTS and Fibromyalgia. From personal musings to stuff I’ve tried to help with my illnesses, this blog is a very realistic portrait of one whom is way too young for that.
  79. Rockin RA To bring awareness, support and knowledge to those suffering from chronic pain and inflammation such rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.
  80. Seeking Equilibrium HOW I DEAL WITH LIFE FROM THE WORLD OF FIBROMYALGIA AND CHRONIC PAIN.
  81. Simply Sugar & Gluten Free My food cravings, migraines, and depression vanished and was able to maintain a 60+ pound weight loss.  Join me as I create healthier food that’s SS&GF and delicious.
  82. Skillfully Well and Painfully Aware This blog is about living the chronic lifestyle, and trying to live it chronically well. I have various types of chronic pain (fibromyalgia, vulvodynia, and endometriosis).
  83. Survivor Living life with chronic pain, mental illness, and the ghosts of an abusive past.
  84. The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Assoc, Inc Funding research on fibromyalgia. Improving the lives of millions.
  85. The CFIDS Association of America Make ME/CFS understood, diagnosable, and treatable.
  86. The Fibro Fog Those who suffer from any chronic illness, but main focus is on Fibromyalgia.
  87. The Fibromyalgia Experiment Fighting Fibro and Being Awesome…Taking Control of My Chronic Illness.
  88. The FMS Community Caring – Sharing – Understanding.
  89. The Hippy Geek  One woman’s experience of balancing nature and nerd.
  90. The Invisible F A blog about living with fibromyalgia and depression
  91. The Laundry Pile You never know what you will find in a pile of laundry…I blog about motherhood, Bible study, book reviews, and I share how I live life each day with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue.
  92. The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo Living with rheumatoid arthritis has been a learning experience for me. I have followed several different paths that have taken me down a 100% alternative route as well as a conventional route.
  93. The Mud and the Lotus “There is the mud, and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus.” -Thich Nhat Hanh.
  94. The Sick and the Dating Navigating online dating while dealing with chronic illness.
  95. The Unbroken Smile Chronic pain lifestyle blog offering tips, stories, and support written by warriors who have went through it.
  96. WebMD Fibromyalgia Health Center.
  97. Women and Fibromyalgia Living with an invisible Dis-ease.
  98. Word Droppings Words about things. Here and there. Knitting. Cats. Writing. Current Events. Random. Allergies. Food. People. Chronic Illness. Marriage. Comics. Society.
  99. WriteMeWell Adventures of a clinical trial subject, life with celiac disease, fibromyalgia, and now after hysterectomy (and oophorectomy).
  100. Zebra Life Blog  When you hear hoof-beats, think horse not zebra…..not always!! Dealing with life with chronic illness-CVID & Fibromyalgia.

 

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