Lets just admit it. All the wonderful times with family and friends also are accompanied by lots and lots of foods...rich in fat and sugar. We love these delicious Christmas traditions we often will pay the price later. Many people gain weight gain, suffer digestive upset and an increase in inflammation. So my proposal this year that year we enjoy all those foods guilt free (because who are we kidding, you are going to eat them anyways) but this time take these unique supplements to protect your body from blood sugar spikes that lead to inflammation and extra weight gain.
First a couple of a couple of dietary tips because no supplement is going to offset those 2 extra slices of Christmas pie and ice cream.
Use these supplements to balance your blood sugar and protect yourself from the holiday treat binge.
Astaxanthin is considered a far more powerful antioxidant than beta-carotene or vitamin E. Unlike most other antioxidants, astaxanthin is unique in that it does not turn into a free radical itself after quenching one, and can quench numerous radicals in a row. This allows it to protect cell membrane lipids from free radical damage (think blood sugar spikes). Research has clearly shown that astaxanthin helps reduce eye fatigue related to computer usage. It may also help reduce blood sugar and blood pressure, and may help reduce gastric pain and heartburn related to digestive upset. Astaxanthin is a unique and powerful antioxidant with a range of additional benefits for the eyes, the heart and I use it to cover over a multitude of dietary sins.
Gymnema sylvestre is a woody branched vine used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine since for centuries. Gymnema enhances blood sugar metabolism and has been shown in people with blood sugar problems to reduce blood glucose, HbA1c, and medication requirements. Gymnema reduces glucose absorption from the intestines, increases peripheral insulin sensitivity and may support the body’s ability to produce its own insulin by helping to repair the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Balancing blood sugar will help with people no only management diabetes but also reduce weight gain. Gymnema sylvestre has also been found to lower blood lipids in diabetic subjects and also it inhibits the growth of Candida, an opportunistic fungus that inhabits the digestive system of most people. Since Gymnema targets blood sugar, weight and digestion (candida) it’s a holiday sugar binge rescue super star.
Lipoic acid is a versatile antioxidant known for its ability to protect the brain and nerve cells from free radicals and heavy metals that promote cognitive and neurodegenerative diseases. Lipoic acid is know as the “captain of the antioxidants” due to its ability to recycle and recharge other antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. Numerous studies have shown that lipoic acid can balance blood sugar and repair nerves damaged in diabetics. Additionally, this powerful anti-aging nutrient has been shown to mimic some of the effects of caloric restriction, the only proven method of extending health span and lifespan. It does so by protecting the mitochondria against free radical damage. Most conventional supplements contain alpha-lipoic acid but look for R(+) lipoic acid since it delivers the most effective form of this valuable antioxidant without the negative actions of S(-) lipoic acid (which are combined together in the alpha lipoic form. AOR delivers R(+) lipoic acid in a number products including high dose, sustained release and in combination with NAC or coQ10 for added benefits.
Don’t forget that a full spectrum digestive enzyme and probiotics are a must whenever we are eating a heavy meal so take these as well. Enjoy the holiday season guilt free by taking these supplements to offset the negative effects of excess food, sugar and inflammation.
I want to shout out a big thank you to www.crowdwellness.com for ranking me among the top 20 NDs in Toronto. Thanks to all my patients and supporters that have made the hard work worth it!
As a sign of my appreciationI want to give you a free e-book I wrote about how to eat to beat and prevent cancer. Read it over and then share it with your friends and family. Visit www.mycancercare.ca to download your free copy!
Dr Paul Hrkal ND
Pain is fact of life. Everyone experiences it at some point or another. Research suggests that up to 50% of the population may be suffering from some kind of chronic pain, with back pain being the most common.1 In many cases the pain signal is from a viscous cycle of structural damage, tissue breakdown and inflammation. This leads to chronic, long term pain that drastically impacts every aspect of a person’s life. Despite the high prevalence of chronic pain, effective treatments are limited in providing lasting relief. Often, frustrated people turn to natural and complementary approaches when they no longer get adequate results from medications. There are many different natural options making it very confusing in determining what approach would be most beneficial for your specific condition. The goal of this article to provide a brief overview of natural and complementary approaches to pain management so you can make an educated choice about what will work for you and what is available.
Are you deficient in the sunshine vitamin and magnesium?
There are many vitamins and minerals that a person may be deficient in but for chronic pain patients the 2 most important are vitamin D and magnesium. Deficient levels of both play such an essential role in nerve function and pain signalling. A study published in November 2012 found that certain types of pain are related to vitamin D deficiency, and replacement of vitamin D showed improvement. The researchers found that 95.4 percent of the subjects were vitamin D deficient, and 85.5 percent of the subjects had improvement in pain with vitamin D supplementation.2 This study confirms the results of a number of other studies that have found the same results.3,4,5 The studies found that vitamin D deficiency may be responsible for generalized, non-specific pain especially if it is resistant to manual and conventional treatments. Vitamin D can be a simple yet very effective therapy for chronic, non-specific pain if you are deficient. To determine if it may be contributing to your pain, have a qualified healthcare practitioner assess your serum levels and supplement appropriately (with high enough doses) to restore your optimal levels. The biggest mistake people make is that they don’t take high enough doses and fail to monitor levels to see if the vitamin D levels are really going up.
Magnesium is mineral that is involved in over 300 biochemical processes in the body. One of its most important functions is that it plays a key role in producing energy and maintaining muscle and nerve function. Specifically in chronic pain, magnesium can be helpful for offsetting the effects of too much calcium which causes muscle spasms and tightness. Magnesium acts like a plug in nerve receptors that are over-stimulated. The problem with this essential mineral is that most people do not have sufficient levels for optimal health. People with chronic pain are especially deficient. A gradual depletion of nutrients from our soils has left many foods with lower levels of magnesium. Another factor that contributes to magnesium deficiency is that is often is depleted by various common conditions (i.e. IBS, crohns disease) and medications (i.e. proton pump inhibitors, diuretics). Various forms of magnesium are available and can make a huge difference on how the mineral is absorbed. For example, magnesium oxide is not well absorbed and can have a laxative effect while magnesium glycinate is much better tolerated and absorbed. Ask your integrative health care practitioner which form and dose is best for you.
Stop feeding your inflammation
All chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic pain have a strong and persistent link with chronic inflammation. Eating a diet high in refined fats and sugars encourages inflammation while eating a balanced diet with unrefined good fats (like omega 3s), avoiding refined sugar, and high in nutrient rich, plant based foods reduces it.6 Sugar is one of the biggest drivers of inflammation with a key source being refined carbs like bread, pastries and pasta, which are rapidly converted to sugar. Sugar also promotes weight gain and is linked to diabetes. Emerging research is showing that refined foods such as a breakfast sandwich can rapidly increase inflammation right after consumption.7 To break the cycle of inflammation and pain it is paramount to limit foods that promote this damage. On the flip side, culinary spices such as ginger and turmeric are now being intensely studied to quench inflammation right that the cellular level. Speak to a nutrition expert to help you identify which foods to stop and which ones to start eating.
Cut out food sensitivities and allergies
The awareness of food allergies, food intolerances and food sensitivities has been growing rapidly over the past few years. More specifically, people are discovering that certain foods have the power to negatively impact their health. Unlike typical allergies (like to peanuts or a bee sting), food sensitivities and intolerances do not cause acute and severe reactions but rather cause a low grade, chronic effect that can be responsible for a wide range of symptoms. These effects happen slowly over a period of hours or even days. This makes it much more difficult to identify a food sensitivity, or intolerance. A key concept to understanding why food intolerance has such a powerful and wide ranging effect is the connection of our digestive tract and immune system. Food sensitivities cause chronic irritation and inflammation of our digestive tracts, which causes our immune systems to be over stimulated and become sensitized to normally harmless food particles.8 To identify what specific food intolerances you can either stop eating the most common food allergens and then reintroduce them or get a food allergy blood test, which assesses your immune response to the most commonly allergic foods (dairy, wheat, eggs, soy). For people with chronic pain, migraines, skin conditions, digestive upset, autoimmune disease and IBS assessing food sensitivities is a key step to break the viscous cycle of inflammation.
Get the Help of Naturopathic doctor
There are many resources on the internet touting natural and guaranteed pain relief but its impossible to know which ones actually are worth your time or will work for you. One way to take the guessing out your decision is to work with a board certified naturopathic doctor (ND). Naturopathic Doctors are trained in the art and science of both conventional and alternative medicines. ND’s integrate standard medical diagnostics and utilize a broad range of natural, evidence based therapies (such as herbal medicines, vitamins and nutrition) as opposed to just pharmaceutical drugs. Additionally, naturopathic medicine believes that each individual is unique and, therefore, each treatment plan should be tailored to that patient and their unique health concerns. ND's are often the "Sherlock Holmes" among healthcare practitioners since they use a very unique approach to assessing patients. Many chronic pain patients visit an ND after no other doctor or healthcare practitioner is able to help them or get to the bottom of their symptoms. It’s important to work with an healthcare practitioner that will help guide you while using natural therapies since there can be interactions with some medications you are currently using.
1) Andersson HI, Ejlertsson G, Leden I, Rosenberg C. Chronic pain in a geographically defined general population: studies of differences in age, gender, social class, and pain localization. Clin J Pain. 1993;9(3):174-82
2) Abbasi M, et al. Is vitamin D deficiency associated with non specific musculoskeletal pain? Glob J Health Sci. 2012;1:107-11.
3) Plotnikoff GA, Quigley JM. Prevalence of severe hypovitaminosis D in patients with persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain. Mayo Clin Proc. 2003 Dec;78(12):1463-70.
4) Al Faraj S, Al Mutairi K. Vitamin D deficiency and chronic low back pain in Saudi Arabia. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2003 Jan 15;28(2):177-9.
5) Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency: what a pain it is. Mayo Clin Proc. 2003 Dec;78(12):1457-9.
6) Seaman DR. The diet-induced proinflammatory state: a cause of chronic pain and other degenerative diseases? J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2002 Mar-Apr;25(3):168-79.
7) Aljada A, Mohanty P, Ghanim H, Abdo T, Tripathy D, Chaudhuri A, Dandona P Increase in intranuclear nuclear factor kappaB and decrease in inhibitor kappaB in mononuclear cells after a mixed meal: evidence for a proinflammatory effect. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;79(4):682-90.
8) Grant EC. Food allergies and migraine. Lancet. 1979 May 5;1(8123):966-9.
Once in a while we all need to stop and think is what we are doing causing more harm then good? This is never more true or important as in healthcare. Specifically oncology where patients are rapidly thrust into numerous doctors appointments, lab tests, x-rays and CT scans while trying to process the news of a cancer diagnosis. Its often so overwhelming they just don't have time to think and consider the PROs and CONs of each step. Most people are focused on destroying the cancer as quickly as possible but have failed to consider that the very way that you assess if the cancer has changed, grown or shrunk could be causing more cancer down the road? You might think thats impossible! How could the CT scans and x-rays that everyone is using to watch cancer be that harmful? Everyone is getting them all the time. In fact, 1 in 10 americans will get a CT scan in there lifetime. Just because everyone is doing it doesn't mean its safe.
CT scans actually expose you to up to 1000 times more radiation than a single X-ray. X-rays are not benign. They produce ionizing radiation (different than UV or microwave) is well know carcinogen. The amount of radiation in a single CT scan is enough to cause cancer and some cancer patients have them every 3-6 months. A number of clinical trials have shown that multiple CT scans increase the risk of leukaemia and brain cancer in children. Another trial found that in lymphoma patients 8 CT scans increased the risk of getting another type of cancer by double compare to those that received less than 8 scans. They also found that the risk increased by 3% with each scan. 8 scans are fairly easy to accumulate if you are being monitored every 3 months. To put this into perspective approximately 2 to 3 abdominal CTs give the same radiation exposure as experienced by Hiroshima survivors. Do I have your attention now?
So next time you are told to get a CT scan I suggest you think about "How will the results change my treatment approach?" Don't be afraid to ask questions and work through the treatment plan with your doctor. Try to think 2-3 steps ahead and consider how future treatments will be directed by each scan. Choosing wisely is good website that lists some of the most important questions to ask each medical specialist and the most overused testing.
Photo credit: Ben Jones; nytimes.com/2014/01/31 - we-are-giving-ourselves-cancer.
For many years the evidence has been mounting that exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cell and cordless phones increases the risk of cancer. Finally a study that pooled data from 2 case controlled studies was published in october 2014 confirming these effects.
This is what they found for brain (glioma) cancer risk:
Mobile phone use > 1 year = 30% increased risk
Cordless phone use > 1 year = 40% increased risk
Mobile phone use > 25 years = 300% increased risk
The risk for brain cancer was greatest in the most exposed part of the brain (side) called the temporal lobe. Notice cordless phones are actually worse than cell phones. They can emit even stronger signals from base to handset.
The scary thing is that children and adolescents are more vulnerable to the effects than adults because of their thinner skull bone and smaller head. The brain is still developing up to about the age of 20 and until that time it is relatively vulnerable. The youngest generation has a very high rate of cellphone use dramatically increasing cancer risk in the future. The study also suggested that the newer "3 and 4G" phone may be more dangerous since they emitted stronger signals.
Some medical authorities still doubt the results since the study used a survey as the method to collect info which has some limitations. However, this study should confirm the potential negative effects of EMF exposure from phones.
A few practical ways to reduce your exposure are:
1) Do hands-free or plug in headphones
2) Text (not while driving) - FYI another study also found that increased smart phone use has increased the amount of time people bend there necks which increases the load on the cervical spine leading to early arthritis in the neck.
3) Turn your phone off or airplane mode while going to bed - the brain is vulnerable while sleeping
Here is the link to the study
Breast cancer affects 1 in 7 women with rates rising every year. Mammograms are the current gold standard for breast cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately they are not as helpful as most women think. The Canadian and American Cancer Societies recommend that all women over 40 get yearly mammograms as a breast cancer screening. However, a number of experts and scientists have raised concerns about how accurate they really are at correctly identifying breast cancer and that the x-ray exposure and breast compression may actually do more harm than good. Another nail in the mammogram coffin came in the form of a very large and meticulous study done at the university of Toronto which found that mammograms had no affect on mortality for women between ages 40-59. The report also stated that mammograms over diagnose almost 1 in 3 lesions (30%) leading to unnecessary biopsies, stress and lost tax dollars.
While mammograms are still standard of care in almost ever country, Switzerland has stopped all screening mammograms since their medical review group found no benefits in the data.
Something to also consider is that the yearly x-ray exposure may also increase the risk of breast cancer, the very thing thing that the screening is trying to identify. One mammogram can expose you to same radiation as 100's of x-ray tests.
So what should a women do?
1) Regular clinical (seeing your doctor) and self breast exams. Remember 80% of breast lumps are NON-cancerous. If you do feel a lump see ask your doctor to check it. An ultrasound is much safer way to assess lumps without x-ray exposure and breast compression.
2) Eat a plant-based diet. Vegetarians have the lowest rates of all cancers
3) Consume a diet high in fibre and cruciferous veggies - they block the negative effects of estrogen
To read the full text study follow this link
The fall is a popular time to do a detox to clean your body and enhance your elimination however do we really to do this? Many skeptics deny the merits of enhancing detoxification beyond the normal physiologic limits. In a perfect world without any genetic weaknesses and minimal toxin exposure this approach may be adequate but the evidence is showing we are under an increasing toxic burden. We live in an environment when every second of every day the body is exposed to substances, chemicals and forces that intoxicate the normal ability to function at the cellular level. For example the Center of Disease Control published data that showed every person sampled had some level of persistent organic pollutants in their body. While each of these chemicals have been proven to be harmful the frightening prospect is that the interaction and accumulation of multiple chemicals have never been studied and most likely have an amplified toxicity.1 Figure 1 shows a number of toxic exposures that require enhanced detoxification.
Many Naturopathic doctors and integrative practitioners will tell you the vast majority of chronic disease have a component of poor detoxification and/or toxic accumulation. There are advanced tests that can be done to assess your toxic burden of various substances but there is enough evidence to show most people have some degree of toxicity. To achieve and maintain optimal health there is a very real need to reduce the exposure to toxic substances and continually support healthy elimination and detoxification.
While the body constantly is producing wastes from normal functions there is a clear need for enhanced detoxification due to the overwhelming toxic burden in the environment and food supply. A multi-system approach with a primary focus on healthy intestinal and liver function is required to achieve a full body detox.
A good way to think about detoxification is the aquarium analogy. The goal is to have clean and pure water in the aquarium for the fish to thrive but the diet and the environment constantly are dripping “dirty” or toxic water into tank. The “fish” (our cells) also contribute to the dirt with normal waste production every day. The first priority is to stop or minimize the dirty water. A good diet is like pouring fresh, clean water into the bucket but this alone won’t totally clean the water but just dilutes the dirt. The liver is like a filter and the intestines are like the drain. Both must be functioning well to clean the water. If the “drain” is clogged (i.e. constipation) or slow then the filter becomes backed up, slows and may shut down. This analogy illustrates how important all the pathways of elimination are in detoxification and achieving optimal health.
1) Kristin S. Schafer, Margaret Reeves, Skip Spitzer, Susan E. Kegley. Chemical Trespass: Pesticides in Our Bodies and Corporate Accountability. Pesticide Action Network North America, May
2) Orban JE, Stanley JS, Schwemberger JG, Remmers JC. Dioxins and dibenzofurans in adipose tissue of the general US population and selected subpopulations. Am J Public Health1994;84(3):439-45.
3) Singh S, Li SS. Epigenetic effects of environmental chemicals bisphenol a and phthalates. Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(8):10143-53.
4) Patterson et al. Levels in the U.S. population of those persistent organic pollutants (2003-2004) included in the Stockholm Convention or in other long range
New research is emerging that confirms the negative impact of environmental chemicals such as dioxins, phthalates and parabens which are found in on our foods, household products and cosmetics. However, cleaning products, pesticides and cosmetics are not the only culprits. Now more evidence is being brought to light that shows other things that we may be exposed to every day can increase the risk of cancer. The following are 3 things that you may not have thought can cause cancer until now. I recommend to avoid them if all possible.
1) Artificial turf on sports fields: Ever noticed a strong smell when stepping onto an artifical sports field, especially on hot summer days. I recently read an article that has called into question the safety of these fields. There has been a reported increase of cases on lymphoma in young athletes using these fields. The little black particles are actually made out of synthetic fibers and scrap tire which can contain benzene, carbon black and lead, among other potential toxic substances. Athletes are covered (and may even swallow) the black dots, especially soccer goaltenders. Interestingly enough the company Monsanto developed the substance in the 1960s as a way to reuse old tires. Even governmental agencies are saying "we need to do more research" but clearly we don't want to be eating or playing on rubber tires so my recommendations is to avoid these fields if possible and ask your local government to change the fields or better yet not install them in at all.
2) Syrofoam containers: This one may not be new to you but its seems that BPA and other chemicals get more media attention. Syrofoam cups and food containers contain the molecule styrene that causes DNA damage which can lead to cancer formation. A 2014 report release by the National Research Council in the U.S stated that styrene can be 'reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.' This is made worse when they contain hot items such as coffee. Avoid all theses containers if possible and use ceramic, paper, glass or metal when storing and consuming food.
3) Rice: Yup, I said it and it won't make many nutritionists or NDs happy. Unfortunately, a number of reports are showing that rice grown in North america may have high amounts of arsenic. A Consumer Report in 2012 showed independent laboratory tests that found inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, in 200 rice products purchased in grocery stores across the United States. I didn't want to believe this at first since rice is a great gluten free option but when I read that some rice is grown in flooded fields that were formerly cotton plantations I became concerned. These plantations were heavily sprayed with arsenic containing pesticides years ago and the rice can absorb this metal still left in the soil. There is arsenic in most vegetables but eating lots of rice (especially when doing a detox or gluten free diet) you may be getting higher levels which may cause damage to your cells.
Watch the video below for more info
Did you know: Another source of arsenic in your environment is pressure treated wood. That greenish chemical that makes the wood more resistant to water contains arsenic. Avoid walking or laying on it especially when brand new or if you have young children (who are more vulnerable to the effects of heavy metals.
If you are interested in more info click on the links below:
The fall is a time when the stress levels ramp up, the weather becomes cooler and viruses and bacteria challenge our immune system. Getting enough sleep, eating a nutrient rich diet and avoiding refined sugar are excellent ways to keep the immune system health but we sometimes need a little boost to keep our immune system functioning at its best. We have all heard of Echinacea and mushrooms as immune boosters but the following 3 substances are lee well know natural substances that pack a powerful immune punch.
Lactoferrin is a key immune boosting molecule that is secreted primarily in breast milk, boosting the baby’s immune system at the same time as delivering iron. In adults it is secreted in many external fluids (such as saliva or lung mucous) as a first line of defense. Studies have found lactoferrin’s multifunctional role encompasses antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant and immune-balancing activities. Neonatal hospital units have also successfully used lactoferrin to help reduce infection in hospitals. Lactoferrin’s anti-mircrobial activity is partly due to its ability to bind to iron, which is essential for the growth of pathogenic bacteria and is also a major contributor to the generation of damaging reactive oxygen species. The evidence suggests that supplementation with lactoferrin increases the activity of immune cells known as leukocytes and stimulates the production of natural killer cells. Another unique action lactoferrin has is to turn on important immune related genes in the small intestine. Lactoferrin not only stimulates the immune system but also has a balancing effect, which explains why some studies have also found it to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Andrographis: Out of the long list of immune boosting herbs find andrographis stands out for its effectiveness, tolerability and rapid action in combating infections and supporting the immune system. Andrographis is unique because it is a very “cooling” herb and has been traditionally used in ayurvedic medicine as an anti-fever, anti-bacterial and digestive tonic. Due to its cooling action (from the perspective of traditional Asian medicine), it is indicated for high fever, influenza and throat infections. Andrographis actually has an impressive amount of supporting literature supporting its use. At least 7 human trials have shown that it can decrease the symptoms of URTI’s in as little as 3 days. What is even more interesting is that andrographis has shown benefit in other infections such as hepatitis and enteric infections.
Carnosine: Believe it or not, there is new research that may support the benefit of chicken soup in fighting off viral infections and boosting our immune system. A recent study found that carnosine, a potent antioxidant found in chicken (and chicken soup), has a key role is disrupting viral replication and spread inside our cells. Carnosine is a key antioxidant with a primary role of neutralizing damaging free radicals inside our cells. By comparison, vitamin C is another potent antioxidant but its role is outside the cell. The influenza virus causes its damage and infection but taking over our own human cellular machinery to make more copies of itself. It actually will infect and hijack healthy human cells as a mechanism to spread its infection. The study found that carnosine blocks this “hijacking” process by quenching free radials produced by the virus. This suggests that a diet high in carnosine or supplementation could help prevent and possibly even stop the flu.
García-Montoya et al. Lactoferrin a multiple bioactive protein: an overview. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Mar;1820(3):226-36.
10) Actor JK, Hwang SA, Kruzel ML. Lactoferrin as a natural immune modulator. Curr Pharm Des. 2009;15(17):1956-73.
Melchior J, Palm S, Wikman G. Controlled clinical study of standard- ised Andrographis paniculata extract in common cold ± a pilot trial. Phytomedicine 1996; 3: 315 ± 8
Melchior J, Spasov AA, Ostrovskij OV, Bulanov AE, Wikman G. Double blind, placebo controlled pilot and Phase III study of activity of stand- ardised Andrographis paniculata Herba Nees extract fixed combination Kan jang) in the treatment of uncomplicated upper respiratory tact infection. Phytomedicine 2000; 7: 341 ± 50
Thamlikitkul V, Dechatiwongse T, Theerapong S, Chantrakul C, Boon- roj P, Punkrut W et al. Efficacy of Andrographis paniculata, Nees for pharyngotonsillitisinadults.JMedAssocThai1991;74:437±42
Babizhayev MA, Deyev AI. Management of the virulent influenza virus infection by oral formulation of nonhydrolized carnosine and isopeptide of carnosine attenuating proinflammatory cytokine-induced nitric oxide production. Am J Ther. 2012 Jan;19(1):e25-47
Stress is practically unavoidable in our fast paced culture. It triggers a hormonal pathway and cascade that places excess demands on the body’s nutrient and vitamin stores over and above of what is required for normal function. As the fall season starts its a good time to prepare for the higher amounts of stress that come with the cooler weather. The following article with highlight the top, “must-have” nutrients that are essential to boost your body’s ability to deal with stress. They can be used preventatively to help you cope with higher amounts of stress
The adrenal gland is responsible for producing hormones in response to stressful events. It has the highest concentration of vitamin C in the body. Here it is used as a cofactor for the production of epinephrine and steroid hormones. During times of stress the demand for the production of these hormones increases so the body naturally has a higher demand for vitamin C. It also plays a key role in the formation of neurotransmitters that regulate mood and brain function. One randomized, placebo controlled trial looked at 120 healthy adults and if vitamin C supplementation had any effect of their ability to handle stress. The results showed that those people that took 3 gram of vitamin daily had a lower blood pressure, their cortisol levels recovery quicker and felt less “stressed.”1
Vitamin B5 (also called Pantothenic acid) is considered a key factor in supporting adrenal function. It has long been known that adrenal function is compromised in the deficiency of B5.4 Pantothenic acid plays a key part in producing Coenzyme A. The adrenal glands require CoA for the synthesis of the powerful hormones through which the body adapts to stress. Stress can therefore seriously deplete the body of vitamin B5, and in-turn supplemental B5 can help correct this stress-induced deficiency. There is evidence that the administration of Pantethine (the active form of Pantothenic acid) in several experimental animal models appears to enhance adrenal gland function.2 This would translate to a more balanced secretion of the hormones such as cortisol, which is required for the body’s stress response. A human study using Pantethine showed a lower rise in urinary cortisol metabolites after simulating a stressful situation which suggests that pantethine can down-regulate excess of cortisol production.3 It is very important to note that B5 should be supplemented in the Panthethine form since it is much more efficient at producing coenzyme A than regular pantothenic acid.
Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical processes in the body. One of its most important functions is that it plays a key role is producing energy. This makes it vitality important for all cellular functions and processes, especially the ability to maintain function in times of stress. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm regular, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. The problem with this essential mineral is that most people do not have sufficient levels for optimal health. A gradual depletion of nutrients from our soils has left many vegetables with lower levels of magnesium. In addition, various common medications, such as proton pump inhibitors and blood pressure medications, further deplete magnesium levels. Unfortunately, stress is also a very powerful factor that leads to magnesium depletion.4
When a person in under stress one of the first signs they experience is tense muscles, especially in the neck and shoulders. In muscle tissue and blood vessels, magnesium causes relaxation while calcium levels increases muscle tone. Adequate levels of magnesium are required to offset stress related muscle tightness. A number of studies have shown that deficient levels of magnesium decrease resistance to stress related changes in blood pressure or heart rhythm. It seems that adequate magnesium levels are protective against increased risk of cardiovascular damage.5
In times of stress the body’s need for essential minerals is greatly increased. The excess production of hormones and neurotransmitters require extra amounts of vitamin C, pantethine, and magnesium. Combined with a balanced diet, active lifestyle, adaptogenic herbs and a high potency multi vitamin or b-complex, the aforementioned nutrients can have a potent effect in helping the body deal with stressful situations. IV infusions are also a TURBO way to get these nutrient. If you need an extra boost to kick a cold or
1) Brody S, Preut R, Schommer K, Schürmeyer TH. A randomized controlled trial of high dose ascorbic acid for reduction of blood pressure, cortisol, and subjective responses to psychological stress. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2002 Jan;159(3):319-24. Epub 2001 Nov 20.
2) Kosaka C, Okida M, Kaneyuki T, et al. Action of pantethine on the adrenal cortex of hypophysectomized rats. Horumon To Rinsho 1973;21:517-525. [Article in Japanese]
3) Onuki M, Suzawa A. Effect of pantethine on the function of the adrenal cortex. 2. Clinical experience using pantethine in cases under steroid hormone treatment. Horumon To Rinsho 1970;18:937-940.
4) Burford-Mason AP. Magensium. Scienctific Evidence for MSK, Bariatric and Sports Nutrition. CRC Press 2006
5) Seelig MS. Consequences of magnesium deficiency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications (a review). J Am Coll Nutr. 1994 Oct;13(5):429-46.
Welcome To My Blog
My goal is to post thought-provoking and informative articles so you can learn and apply the latest news from the world of natural health. Feel free to post comments and start a conversation. Stay tuned to my twitter and facebook feeds for the latest posts.