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Showing posts with the label #Nutrition

Is There A Link To Migraine Headache In YOUR Mouth?

A recent study by the American Gut Project has uncovered that a new link to migraine headache may lie in the amount of nitrates, nitrite, and nitric oxide in the mouth/GI tract of an individual.  In their publication, entitled "Migraines Are Correlated with Higher Levels of Nitrate-,Nitrite, and Nitric-Oxide-Reducing Oral Microbes in the American Gut Project Cohort", study authors report that the amounts of these substances may be linked to the microbes in the mouth and gut.  Higher levels of nitrates seem to be present in migraine sufferers than non-sufferers. It has been known for a long time that nitrates are common headache triggers. For example, headaches can be a side effect of nitroglycerin, a pharmaceutical commonly used to treat angina.

For this project researchers collected over 2,000 oral and fecal samples from people with and without migraine issues. They discovered lower levels of nitrates, nitrite, and nitric oxide reductase genes in the samples from persons w…

Psoriatic Arthritis: Complementary Therapies

While the mainstay of therapy for psoriatic arthritis is the medical management of inflammation, there are a number of things that complement the efforts of their health care team.  First and foremost, diet and nutrition play a big role in this regard.

Their are several facets to consider in this effort:

--Anti-inflammatory foods help to reduce the inflammation caused by psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.
   See my earlier post: The Painful Truth About Psoriasis: Dietary Considerations
--A heart-healthy diet, including elimination of alcohol, processed foods, and fatty foods and instead opting for lean meats, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy oils.
--Inclusion of omega-3 oils in the diet through supplements, nuts, fish oil, eggs and other foods
--Up to 25 percent of those who have psoriasis have gluten sensitivity, so a gluten-free diet is worth considering.

--Weight loss is important, especially since obesity is a risk factor for psoriasis and the other risks a psoriasi…

The Painful Truth About Psoriasis--Dietary Considerations

Just as with many other chronic health conditions, diet plays a role in disease management.  Here is a quick overview of dietary considerations for people with psoriasis:

First off, if you are a psoriasis patient you may notice that some foods tend to trigger flare-ups more than other foods.  To this point, it's good to be observant and do what your body tells you to do. As long as you follow a healthy diet, this is good!
It has been suggested that people with celiac disease may be at higher risk for psoriasis than other persons. A gluten free-diet is the mainstay of treatment for celiac disease,and it may help keep psoriasis flares at bay as well. But the relationship between gluten intolerance, yeast exposure and psoriasis is not well understood at this point in time. You can try eliminating gluten or yeast if you suspect it to be a problem and see what happens.
Fatty red meats are known to increase heart health risks...and people with psoriasis have an increased risk of heart …

Fighting Inflammation: Include These Foods!

A few weeks ago, Prevention Magazine posted an article about anti-inflammatory foods. While they can be easily included in the diet as smoothie ingredients,  I am taking the liberty to tell you that you don't have to be a smoothie lover to take advantage of their healthful properties.  You can read the article in entirety here. For those who want a quick synopsis, I will share some ideas in the following paragraphs...

1) Matcha powder is a powdered form of green tea.  It pairs well with peaches, mint, cocoa, coconut and vanilla.  It is said to be a powerful cancer fighting anti-oxidant and has an anti-inflammatory effect on immune cells (associated with inflammation).

2) Ginger has been used to quell stomach upset for years and years.  But it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can work as a natural ibuprofen!  This spicy root is a good additions to dishes with leafy greens, coconut, lemon, apple, pineapple, or chocolate.

3) Baby Kale is rich in vitamin K and magnesium, tw…

Inflammation: Friend OR Foe?

Inflammation is a natural body process.  It is a natural body response to disease--in response to infection, allergens, and other bodily invaders.  This can be a good thing because it can save us from things foreign to our bodies. But in can be a bad thing when it's a  chronic response to chronic illness.

Celiac disease is a good example of this.  Those diagnosed with this condition experience an inflammatory response to gluten, a component of wheat and some other cereal grains.  The problem is, the antibodies produced also attack the lining of the small intestine.  The resulting inflammatory damage causes reduced ability to absorb nutrients from food, causing diarrhea, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, neurological damage, etc. Rheumatoid arthritis is another condition in which antibodies to one's own tissue are produced, causing damage to body joints and internal organs as well.

Historically, anti-inflammatory medications have been tried to help halt the disease process. Some…

"B Sure" to Avoid B12 Deficiency!

Vitamin B12--also known as cyanocobalamin is an important nutritional element.  The human body uses this vitamin to make red blood cells, DNA, and other important products.  Cyanocobalamin is also necessary for integrity of the human nervous system. In this regard, one of the symptoms of B12 deficiency is tingling or numbness in the hands and/or feet. Other signs of deficiency include anemia, problems with balance, inflammation of the tongue, jaundice, problems with thought processes, weakness and fatigue. 

A deficiency of this vitamin can be caused to a number of different things.  Some of the more common reasons people are deficient include the following:
Proton pump inhibitors--while wildly popular for their ability to quell heartburn and GERD and treat ulcers, chronic use of these medications interferes with the absorption of this crucial vitamin from the GI tract.Metformin, one of the most popular drugs used to treat type II diabetes can deplete B12 levels over time.Advanced age-…

Food Fight! New Evidence Based Scales Rank Foods Abilities In The War On Depression

It's long been established that many folks with chronic pain suffer from depression.  This is largely due to the limitations on activity, the constant discomfort, the isolation, and loss of independence suffered by this population.

It's not unusual for a chronic pain patient to be prescribed an antidepressant. But there are other ways to battle the blues.  Introduced at this year's American Psychiatric Association,  a "brain food scale" rates nutrients and foods in their ability to help people to battle depression and perhaps dementia as well. According to Dr. Drew Ramsey, who presented on the topic, data suggests that foods have a very critical role to play in brain health.

Plant based foods rate vary highly in this ability, according to the newly described Brain Essential Nutrients Scale (BEN).  Leafy green vegetables are high on the list, but also included are game meats, organ meats, nuts, clams and other bivalves, and fish such as salmon. According to the s…

Fibromyalgia Week: Day 5

For this last day of Fibromyalgia Week, I have two things for you, my readers.
First, I have a quiz...just to see how much you know, or have learned, about fibromyalgia this week.  Click the link below if you want to try it out!

How much do you know about Fibromyalgia? » online quizzes

Secondly, and very importantly...I have found something that some of readers may find quite useful.  There are lots of "apps" for smartphones out there, and some for fibromyalgia. Today I am sharing a link for "FibroMapp", which is available for Android and Kindle.  Sadly, there is not an Apple platform for this app but we can only hope that some day....  There are other apps like this available, but this one seems to have lots of good reviews.  Here is a link if you would like to check it out.

repost from 2014

Fibromyalgia Week: Day 4

On this day 4 of fibromyalgia week, I am going to focus my writing on treatments for this
mysterious condition.  As discussed in earlier posts, this condition tends to be chronic --and while it is debilitating, it is not life threatening.  There is no inflammatory process involved either.

Pharmacotherapy for fibromyalgia 

Drug treatment for fibromyalgia is still sort of in the trial and error phase.  There has been good response to some of the SSRI and tricyclic antidepressants to date.  Other drugs that have some use in fibromyalgia are NSAIDs (ibuprofen for example), COX 2 inhibitors (a specific category of NSAID such as celecoxib) and antiepileptics (eg Gabapentin). There have been some trials of naltrexone and also Immune Globulin . To date, these last two studies look promising but at this point they are not conventional therapy.  At one time, guaifenesin was thought to be promising but there is no clinical or scientific data to support its use as a treatment for fibromyalgia. In…

Chronic Pain? Think Holistically!

Holistic medicine is defined as medical practice that seeks to treat an individual as a whole--body, mind, emotions, and spirit--as opposed to treatment that is focused on a specific malady.  The holistic approach to medicine emerged in the 1970s. Traditional western medicine scoffed at what we now know as complementary or alternative practices; since that time these practices have become more widely accepted and integrated into modern medical practice.

The principles of holistic medicine embrace a team approach to patient care. Holistic practitioners believe that every individual possesses an innate ability to heal themselves. They see the patient as a person rather than a disease state. In an attempt to treat the patient, holistic practitioners are members of a team that strives to correct the underlying cause of the patients condition as opposed to simply alleviating symptoms.
There are many types of treatments that come under the auspices of holistic medicine. These include traditio…

Rules for Success: You ARE What You EAT!

Did you know...that for individuals with chronic pain, forty percent of the problem can be traced to their diet?

Well, it's true. And sadly, the foods that are the most problematic are the very foods we love oh so much.  Eating these foods, especially when we know they are triggers, can mess us up for weeks on end.  Doctors and other health care providers are not always in the loop about this.  They do need to become more knowledgeable so they can help patients to help themselves.  In the end, those same patients will feel better more of the time and rely on medications much less.  That's a winning combination!

So, which foods should be avoided?  Start with bread, flour, sugars, artificial sweeteners, fruit juices, potatoes, and hydrogenated fats.  Those seem to affect most everyone.  Read the ingredients on all the foods you eat.  You'd be surprised how many wheats, fats, etc. you are consuming without even thinking about it.  This kind of diet is not about losing weigh…

Go Bananas!

One of the most useful power foods on planet Earth is the lowly banana.  Have you ever stopped to think about all the benefits bananas can provide your body?  Here are some benefits recent LifeHack article suggested about including three bananas a day in a person's diet:

1) Mood enhancement      A medium sized banana contains about 27 mg of magnesium...having insufficient amounts of this mineral in the human system can lead to anxiety, depression, and irritability.  Eating 3 bananas per day can provide some of the human body's daily requirement of this very important mineral.
2) Appetite suppression     Dr. Alan Hirsch of Chicago's Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation reports that the bananas can suppress appetite and hunger pangs. His studies indicate that the smell of a banana can dupe the human body into thinking that a meal has been eaten and hunger is eliminated. That's pretty sneaky!
3) Bananas improve athletic performance     Many athletes like bananas an…

The Role of Glutamate in Fibromyalgia and Other Chronic Pain Conditions

The human nervous system uses several different neurotransmitters to send messages throughout the body. The names of some of these compounds are very familiar: serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, dopamine, and acetylcholine may come to mind.  One of the lesser known neurotransmitters is the compound glutamate.

Fortunately or unfortunately, it appears that this lesser known compound may play a role in pain transmission for those who suffer from fibromyalgia, and perhaps other chronic pain conditions.  It is an excitatory neurotransmitter, meaning that it has a stimulant effect on the nervous system. Researchers report that higher than normal levels of glutamate can be correlated with self reports of increased pain.  For those with fibromyalgia, higher levels of glutamate in the brain (on a chronic basis) may contribute to the prolonged chronic pain experience associated with this condition.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer that is used in the food industry to enhance flav…

The Spice Shop: Common Herbs and Spices with Pain Relieving Properties

You might or might not realize this...but many herbs and spices have medicinal properties. Some of them are useful for pain management purposes. Who knew you might have just what the doctor ordered right in your kitchen cabinet? These are good to know when you don't feel good and need something in a pinch, or if you have a "less is more" idea about medications and want to be more holistic about your health...

Here are some examples:


 While you might know ginger as a remedy for an upset stomach, it can also be used for joint pain!
 If you suffer from arthritis or gout, try rubbing ginger powder (mixed into a little sesame seed oil) on  an achy joint.


One of the most common pantry ingredients, onion can be used to treat bruises, contusions, etc.
  To prepare, grind the onion into a paste and then warm it through. Apply directly to affected area       to relieve pain and inflammation.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is great for pain relief on the skin, especially for minor b…

The Effect of Sugar Intake on Chronic Pain

**This is a repost from November 2014**
Halloween is over, and if you're like most people, it's difficult to resist indulging the the sweets brought home by household trick-or treaters, or left over candy..  Most of us are fully aware that chronic intake of foods with high glycemic loads can lead to health problems, such as weight gain and type II diabetes...but did you know that elevated blood glucose levels can worsen chronic pain?

Here's a short explanation of the problem:  When you ingest candy, or any other food that has a high glycemic index, there is an immediate spike in blood glucose levels.  As mentioned, these blood sugar spikes are bad news for those with diabetes; when blood sugar levels are frequently allowed to spike, complications of the disease, such as diabetic neuropathy, become more problematic.  For those with chronic pain--diabetic or not--elevated blood sugar levels cause a chain of reactions that damage body tissues and promote inflammation.  This i…

Natural Pain Killer

Are you into the juicing craze?  If so, this post is for you.  Click on this link to arrive at "Juicing for Health" section.  You will see a recipe for juice specific to pain relief, along with a brief essay that explains how the ingredients can help with pain relief.  Maybe it won't help...but unless severely allergic to an ingredient, it's safe enough to give it a try.

Managing Arthtritis: Milk it!

Here's a natural remedy for those of you who suffer from osteoarthritis...

 A fairly large scale study out of Brigham and Women's hospital concludes that drinking milk may actually slow the progression of arthritis. According to the study, 2,148 persons with osteoarthritis were studied; the researchers looked at health, diet and behavioral details of those in the study group. Additionally, each person in the study group had x-ray studies done every year over a four-year period.

The researchers found that subjects who drank milk had the slowest disease progression. Interestingly, this phenomenon occurred in men who drank seven or more glasses of milk per week, while in women it seemed to happen to those who drank milk in general.  Those who consumed other dairy products in place of milk--cheese, ice cream, yogurt--did not reap the same benefits as the milk drinkers.

As a word of caution-the researchers noted that their findings were strictly observational. They were not able t…

6 inflammation-causing foods no one talks about | Well+Good

One of the many things that can cause or worsen chronic pain is inflammation.  In the past I have shared some information about this. There is much information in my past posts about anti-inflammatory diets that help to keep a lid on the inflammatory process in the body.

Conversely, there are a number of foods that promote inflammation, and can be responsible for causing an increase in pain levels amongst other things: Alzheimer's disease, heart disease and acne to name a few.  By controlling intake of these foods and eating more of the foods that help tame inflammation, you can do much to improve your health and well being.  Below is a link to some interesting information about this topic.  As you may have guessed, excessive sugar intake is a big culprit, but you might be surprised by some of the other items on the list.

6 inflammation-causing foods no one talks about | Well+Good

Sources:, wikimedia

From the Cleveland Clinic: How to Manage Pain Without Medications

I always like sharing information from the Cleveland Clinic with my readers--they are highly regarded in the world of medicine, and have much to offer persons will all sorts of illnesses and disabilities.  Today I would like to share what they have to say about managing pain without medications.  You can read the article in its entirety here.

For those of you who simply prefer an overview of this piece, here is an overview:

Many people suffer from pain due to illness or injury.  All too often the first treatment of choice is medication.  Unfortunately, medications can have troubling side effects, and some of them are potentially addicting.  Therefore, it is wise to look at some alternative forms of treatment and incorporate them into a treatment plan.One of these alternatives is Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy, which involves re-alignment bones/joints in an effort to ease pain. This is the hallmark of Osteopathic medicine. Chiropractic medicine and acupuncture are similar to OMT.Exer…

The "Whole Body" approach: A growing trend in chronic pain management

If you've ever seen a television ad for Cancer Treatment Centers of America, you might recall that the patients featured usually talk about the treatment approach there--that is, being treated a a whole person.
In all the months I've been posting this blog, I am hoping that you can see that the same approach is becoming a model in the world of pain management.  By treating the patient as a whole--it is possible to target chronic pain from many avenues at the same time.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine had many wise things to say in this regard. Here are some examples:
"Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease."
"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health."
"It's far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has."
When one is faced with a chronic pain condition, it is import…