Tag Archives: Omega-3 essential fatty acids

Understanding Osteoarthritis

UnderstandingOsteoarthritisJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as many as 27 million Americans, approximately one third of adults over age 65, may suffer from osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a degenerative joint condition marked by inflammation, pain, swelling, loss of motion, and frequent morning joint stiffness. OA occurs largely in the knees, hips, spine, and the small joints of the fingers. This common form of arthritis is often referred to as “wear and tear” or degenerative arthritis, as the cartilage that cushions the joint erodes, often resulting in painful bone-on-bone friction. While OA can develop as a direct result of an earlier, traumatic joint injury, as well as age-related gradual wear and tear, investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine concluded that osteoarthritis may also be driven by low-grade inflammatory processes.

When OA develops in the hand, a gradual thinning of the cartilage, which normally cushions the finger joints, occurs and eventually leads to bone on bone contact and bone loss. All joint tissues become highly active, as the body attempts to repair any damage. The body reacts to this bone loss, by forming firm, knobby, often times painful bone spurs on the finger joints. Known as Heberden’s nodes when they form on the sides of the joints closest to the fingertips, or Bouchard’s nodes when they form on mid-finger joints, these spurs are a common clinical sign of OA. The loss of cartilage and the erosion of bone, as well as the growth of bony spurs, can force bones out of position, and many times results in deformity and limited range of motion. However, once nodes are fully formed, pain and tenderness often improves.

Factors that increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis include:

  • Age – OA is more common in older adults, often appearing in both males and females once they reach their late 40’s.
  • Gender – When adults reach their mid-fifties, OA tends to be more common and more severe in women. Joints that are particularly affected include the knees and hands.
  • Obesity – Carrying too much weight increases the chances of developing OA in the knee joints, which tends to worsen over time.
  • Joint injury – A major joint injury, joint surgery and long term repetitive or physically demanding stress on a joint can increase the risk of developing OA later in life.
  • Genetics – OA tends to run in families with genetic joint abnormalities who tend to have an earlier onset and more severe symptoms. Studies suggest that women whose mothers developed Heberden’s nodes are genetically predisposed to developing nodes themselves when they have a family history of hand osteoarthritis.

As a chronic illness, there is currently no cure or treatment that can stop the progression of OA, but symptoms can be managed. Physical activity is most beneficial in reducing pain and helping to maintain a healthy weight. Strengthening activities can help improve muscle strength around OA-affected joints, which helps to ease pain. Range of motion exercises can help to relieve stiffness and improve flexibility. Physical and occupational therapy or gentle stretching may also help with flexibility and pain management. Over the counter or prescription pain medications can help to relieve inflammation and ease pain. Dietary changes can help to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with OA. Avoid refined cooking oils, processed white foods and added sugars that increase inflammation. Strive for a well-rounded healthy diet that includes anti-inflammatory omega-3 rich foods and spices, as well as antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, which may help to reduce inflammation-related tissue damage. Be sure to hydrate sufficiently to keep joints lubricated and support overall bodily functions.

Well-designed clinical trials have shown science backed supplements to be effective in the management of OA:

Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic acid is present in all connective tissues and is especially concentrated in moving joints. As a major component of cartilage and synovial fluid that surround joints, hyaluronic acid is responsible for retaining moisture that lubricates and protects the cartilage. As we age hyaluronic acid levels fall. In addition to supporting healthy skin, one of the most well-researched benefits of hyaluronic acid is an ability to relieve aching joints.

Spices Turmeric and ginger contain natural anti-inflammatory and pain relieving compounds. Applied topically, capsaicin provides pain relief and helps to temporarily reduce bodily chemicals that contribute to inflammation.

MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) – This organic sulfur compound, found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and grains, is an important building block for healthy bones and joints.  Evidence shows that MSM may have a moderate effect in improving joint pain and swelling and may improve general functional wellbeing in those with OA.

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids – EPA and DHA essential fatty acids found in cold water fish block powerful inflammatory cytokines and provide anti-inflammatory compounds that protect against inflammatory conditions, including arthritis, heart disease and high blood pressure.  According to the Arthritis Foundation, extensively studied omega-3’s significantly decrease joint tenderness and stiffness.

SAM-e – A naturally occurring compound found in most bodily tissues and fluids, SAM-e provides support for multiple processes. Studies suggest that SAM-e acts as an analgesic and contains anti-inflammatory properties that may help to relieve the pain associated with OA.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality products to help relieve inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis:

Hyaluronic Acid by Pure Encapsulations

Hyaluronic Acid by Pure Encapsulations – One capsule provides 70 mg of hyaluronic acid in support of healthy lubrication, shock absorption and overall joint function. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

Advanced Bio-Curcumin® with Ginger & Turmerones by Life Extension

Advanced Bio-Curcumin® with Ginger & Turmerones by Life Extension15% Off  This advanced formula contains highly absorbable curcumin extract along with compounds that complement curcumin health benefits.

 

MSM Sulfur™ by Jarrow Formulas

MSM Sulfur™ by Jarrow Formulas® – Found in high concentrations in connective tissues, the product supplies 1000 mg of MSM per capsule in support of strengthening joint and skin structure. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.

 

SAMe 200 mg by Source Naturals

SAMe 200 mg by Source Naturals –  40% Off  This stable, bioavailable form of SAM-e is formulated to support joint comfort, function and mobility. Gluten, soy and dairy free, vegetarian formulation.

 

Eskimo PurEFA 1000mg by Integrative Therapeutics

Eskimo® PurEFA 1000 mg by Integrative Therapeutics – This product supplies EPA and DHA omega-3 essential fatty acids in support of healthy heart, brain, joint and skin health. Gluten and dairy free formulation.

 

References:
Osteoarthritis results from inflammatory process, not just wear and tear, study suggests. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2011/11/osteoarthritis-results-from-inflammatory-process-not-just-wear-and-tear-study-suggests.html
What is osteoarthritis? http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/osteoarthritis/what-is-osteoarthritis.aspx
What is osteoarthritis? http://arthritis.com/osteoarthritis_symptoms
What Are Heberden’s Nodes? Symptoms and Significance. https://www.verywell.com/what-are-heberdens-nodes-2552023
9 Supplements for Arthritis. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/9-supplements-arthritis.php
Fish Oil. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/fish-oil.php
Osteoarthritis & Joint Pain Relief. http://www.msmguide.com/jointpain/osteoarthritis-treatment/

Nutrients for Healthy Hair

HealthyHairJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Healthy looking hair is a good visual indicator of overall health. Hair is growing tissue, the health of which is positively influenced by proper nutrition and physical wellbeing and negatively influenced by stress, inadequate sleep, hormonal imbalances, smoking and dietary deficiencies. Similar to other bodily cells, hair requires care and nutritional support to remain strong, yet soft, manageable and vibrant. A balanced, nutritious diet including adequate protein, omega-3 essential fatty acids and B-complex vitamins is vital to fortify both the hair and the scalp. As well, inadequate nutrition will affect not only overall health but will strip your hair of its natural beauty.

We are born with approximately 5 million hair follicles, 100,000 of which are located on the scalp. While hair is simple in structure, its growth process is not. Each hair travels through four stages over a period of years as part of the growth cycle. The hair that we can see and touch is composed of cells packed with keratin, a protein rich in sulphurous amino acids. These cells rapidly die as the amino acids form chains and the hair is gradually pushed upwards through the hair shaft.

A steady supply of nutrients is needed to maintain normal, healthy hair growth during the lengthy growth phase. As the root receives nourishment and hormones from blood vessels, the living cells divide, grow and build the hair shaft, which eventually emerges through the skin. Along the way, oil glands moisturize the hair. From the beginning of growth to the falling out stage, each hair will pass through the anagen or growing phase, the catagen or regression phase, the telogen or resting phase and finally the exogen or shedding phase.

The growth phase lasts an average of 3 – 5 years and may sometimes last as long as 7 years. Because each hair may be at a different stage of the growth cycle, it’s normal to lose 50 – 100 hairs a day, as the individual hairs progress to their shedding phase. Once an old hair detaches from the follicle, a new one will begin to grow to take its place. How can you know if your hair is truly healthy? It’s shiny and smooth and has lots of elasticity. It detangles easily and sheds the normal amount.

Nutrients that enhance the health of your hair and scalp and help your hair reach its full potential include:

Protein – Necessary for cell growth and repair, protein boosts hair strength and helps to keep hair healthy. A diet that is too low in protein can result in dry, brittle or weak hair. Extremely low protein intake may result in hair loss.

B-complex vitamins -Biotin, niacin and cobalamin help to restore shine and thickness and protect against hair loss and brittle hair. B vitamins promote new hair growth and healthier texture, and protect against dryness, flaky scalp and breakage.

Iron – Too little iron is a major cause of anemia-related hair loss in women of child bearing age. When serum iron levels fall, the nutrient and oxygen supply to the hair follicle is disrupted, which can affect the hair growth cycle and result in shedding. Premenopausal women should ensure their diet includes iron rich foods, such as spinach, beans or seafood. A simple blood test can indicate iron deficiency. Consult your healthcare provider before supplementing with iron.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C aids the absorption of food-based iron, and supports the production of collagen, which strengthens the capillaries that supply nutrients to the hair shafts. Vitamin C can improve hair growth, prevent hair loss and promote thicker, healthier hair.

Vitamin D – In addition to addressing vitamin D deficiency, a vitamin D supplement is important for hair follicle cycling and may help to activate hair growth.

Vitamin A – The body uses vitamin A to make sebum, an oily substance created by our hairs’ sebaceous glands. Sebum acts as a natural conditioner, supporting the health of the scalp and preventing dryness and itchiness.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids – EPA and DHA not only support heart and brain health, they also regulate oil production and help to keep the skin, scalp and hair hydrated. Omega-3’s help to boost hair shine and prevent dry hair and flaky scalp.

Zinc and selenium – Zinc and selenium support hair growth and help to prevent hair loss and dry, flaky scalp.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements to support and enhance the health of your hair:

Hair, Skin & NailsHair, Skin & Nails by Now Foods – This clinically advanced formula provides the nutrients that nurture the health of hair, skin and nails, including a patented and bioavailable form of solubilized keratin that helps to maintain full, lustrous hair. Gluten and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

Hair/Skin/Nails UltraHair/Skin/Nails Ultra by Pure Encapsulations – This formula provides key building blocks and proper nutrients that support skin elasticity and hydration, healthy hair, and nail strength. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

BioSil® Skin, Hair, NailsBioSil® Skin, Hair, Nails by Natural Factors – This formula helps to thicken and strengthen hair, increase skin elasticity and strengthen nails. BioSil® aids in generating collagen by supporting the body’s own collagen producing cells. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.

 

Hair, Skin and Nails Plus Formula (82924-)Hair, Skin and Nail Plus Formula by Douglas Laboratories – This formula supplies beneficial amounts of the specific vitamins, minerals and botanicals that support the health of hair, skin and nails. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.

 

References:
6 Nutrients for Healthy Hair. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20734150_4,00.html
How hair grows. https://www.aad.org/how-hair-grows
What to eat for healthy hair. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-eat-healthy-hair
Vitamins & Minerals For Hair That’s Healthier, Stronger and Shinier. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/18/vitamins-minerals-for-hair-health_n_3451747.html
6 Supplements for Glowy Skin and Gorgeous Hair. http://www.everydayhealth.com/pictures/supplements-skin-hair/#05

Healthy Aging – Not Just for Seniors

Healthy_AgingJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Have you noticed that as you age the years seem to fly by faster than they did when you were younger? You may become increasingly aware of how your lifestyle positively or negatively impacts your health and you may take steps, or at least think about taking steps, to slow the natural aging process. The truth is, we are all aging every day and the time to think about maintaining your health is actually while you still have it. Some may think that disease or disability are inevitable once they reach their senior years, but anyone, at any age, can actively make changes to modify and improve their lifestyle choices that affect their long term health.  

Getting older does not automatically portend poor health. Many older adults enjoy vigorous, energetic lifestyles. Taking preventative measures now can lead to an active, injury and disease free lifespan and help you to remain youthful, vital and strong. Along with not smoking, limiting alcoholic consumption and maintaining a healthy weight, being smart about your choices today puts you far ahead of the curve and can significantly impact your physical and cognitive health in later years.

  • To maintain your quality of life, tame stress by adopting stress management techniques. No matter how busy you are, finding time in your day, or several times each day, to relax for a few minutes and concentrate on your breathing can help keep stress under control. Adopt stress relieving habits now that you can continue throughout your lifetime.
  • Keep inflammation at bay with regular exercise and a nutritious diet. Considered the root cause of many chronic illnesses, slow simmering, energy stealing inflammation can wreak havoc on your long term health and wellness. Exercise supports a healthy weight and a healthy immune response, reduces inflammation and releases toxins through perspiration. Avoid processed foods and oils that promote inflammation and eat lots of inflammation reducing fresh produce for optimal function.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation negatively affects hormone balance, insulin sensitivity and blood pressure, increasing your risks of heart problems, stroke and diabetes. Make adequate sleep a priority. Get a healthy amount of sleep by establishing a sleep/wake routine and sticking to it as many nights a week as possible.
  • To help maintain youthful looking skin and aid optimal function of all bodily systems and organs, stay well hydrated. If your body is dry and dehydrated, your skin may appear dull, dry and older than your actual age. You don’t need to drink copious amounts of water, but do be sure to satisfy your thirst by regularly sipping water throughout the day.
  • Cut way, way back on sugar in all forms. Sugar is now seen as the biggest culprit, negatively affecting both cognitive and overall health. Recent research shows that a high sugar diet negatively impacts memory and that high blood sugar may be a cause of plaque accumulation in the brain, which has harmful effects on cognitive function.

If you’ve read this far, then you already know what might happen if you don’t maintain your health.  Here is a reminder:

Osteoporosis – This medical disorder, in which bones become increasingly porous, weakened and brittle, results in an increased risk of fractures and decreased bone mass and should not be considered a part of normal aging. Ideally, osteoporosis prevention should begin in childhood and continue throughout your lifespan. Childhood and young adulthood are our peak bone building years. By our early 30’s, we’ve reached our peak bone mass, after which bone resorption begins to exceed new bone formation, a process known as bone remodeling. Those who build the highest amount of bone mass during their youth greatly reduce their risk of osteoporosis in later life. To build and maintain bone mass, eat a well balanced diet including calcium-rich fruits and vegetables, be sure to get adequate amounts of vitamin D and engage in weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises regularly.  

Type 2 Diabetes – When the body doesn’t make sufficient amounts of insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it makes, a condition known as diabetes results. Although genetics is a factor, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable and can be a result of unhealthy behavioral and lifestyle factors. Keep your risk of developing diabetes low by attaining and maintaining a healthy weight, exercising to improve the body’s ability to use insulin and glucose, and eating a low sugar, high fiber, low glycemic index nutritious diet. Staying lean and active from childhood to your senior years is the best advice for diabetes prevention.

Cardiovascular disease – We hear a lot about the negative influence of chronic stress on your health and wellness, but do you know why it is deleterious? Your body is designed to handle temporary periods of physical or emotional stress. Chronic stress, however, can dramatically increase your risk of heart disease, damage your cardiac muscle and a create a very unhealthy buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries, even when the diet is relatively healthy. While genes are a determinant of cardiovascular health, what we know as genetic expression can be positively influenced by diet and lifestyle choices.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – Today’s typical diet is extremely high in sugar and refined carbs, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and a dangerous build up of extra fat in liver cells. NAFLD can cause the liver to swell and can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure. There’s no medical treatment, but eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and, most importantly, maintaining a healthy weight can help to prevent the disease.  

Cognitive impairment – Most young people don’t worry about Alzheimer’s or dementia, but people in their 40s and 50s are being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. While there is no cure, Alzheimer’s may be preventable. Scientists have discovered there are many similarities between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. So much so that Alzheimer’s prevention may parallel diabetes prevention. Modifiable lifestyle changes, such as a low sugar, high fiber, Mediterranean style diet, can help to avoid impaired glucose metabolism and insulin resistance. If you have a choice, make it at the supermarket checkout. Both physical activity and cognitive exercises are also believed to delay or possibly prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Always remember to supplement to help to slow the aging process and maintain a feeling of youthfulness and vitality.

  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids support immune, joint, vision and cardiovascular health, enhance cognitive functions, and aid nutrient absorption and metabolic function. According to a study by Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University, because of its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to reduce oxidative stress, omega-3 supplementation may represent a “rare single nutritional intervention that has the potential to lower the risk for a host of diseases associated with aging, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.”
  • Oxidative damage may be the most widely accepted biochemical mechanism involved in aging and the deterioration of physiological functions. Glutathione, alpha lipoic acid (ALA) and CoQ10 are powerful antioxidants that provide not only free radical damage protection, but also help support immune function, energy production and detoxification, all of which minimize the risks of chronic illness and aid in combating cellular aging.

Products that support healthy aging include:

ProDHA 1000 mg StrawberryProDHA™ 1000mg Strawberry by Nordic Naturals – This high potency formula provides omega-3 DHA, an essential nutrient for brain health. Research has shown that ProDHA™ supports healthy mood, cognitive function and the structural integrity of the central nervous system. Third party tested for guaranteed purity and freshness. Natural strawberry flavor. Gluten free.

 

Alpha Lipoic Acid 400 mgAlpha Lipoic Acid 400 mg by Pure Encapsulations – As a multifunctional and versatile nutrient, Alpha Lipoic Acid’s potent antioxidant activity provides free radical protection and support for nerve health, cardiovascular function and glucose metabolism. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.

 

NAC 600 mgNAC 600 mg by Integrative Therapeutics – NAC aids in the prevention and elimination of free radicals and inhibits the production of reactive oxygen species, a source of cell damaging oxidative stress. NAC aids in the production of glutathione, a vital cellular antioxidant produced by the body. Gluten, soy and diary free.

 

Q-Evail™ 200 (Replaces Q-Avail VS 200)Q-Evail™ 200 by Designs for Health – This product offers highly bioavailable ubiquinone CoQ10 in easy to swallow soft gel form. CoQ10 provides anti-aging and free radical protection and supports cellular energy production and immune, cardiovascular and nervous system health.

 

References:
Age More Slowly – All Over. Secrets of Living Longer: Time Inc. Books 2015.
Facts about Bone Health in Children and Adolescents. http://nof.org/articles/bone-health-children-adolescents
Prevention and Healthy Living. http://nof.org/learn/prevention
Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/preventing-diabetes-full-story/
Preventing Heart Disease – At Any Age. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Preventing-Heart-Disease—At-Any-Age_UCM_442925_Article.jsp
NAFLD. http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/nafld/
Perricone, Nicholas V., M.D. The Miracle of Cellular Rejuvenation. Ballentine Books, New York, 2006.
Omega-3 Supplements May Slow A Biological Effect of Aging. http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/omega3aging.htm