Omega-3s during Pregnancy and Lactation

Maintaining optimal levels of omega-3’s is important for all of us, but one population that deserves special attention is women who are pregnant and nursing. The omega-3 fatty acids are critical for optimal brain health and function at all ages of life, but these essential fatty acids play a vital role during fetal development and infancy. Pregnant women have a higher requirement of omega-3s, in particular DHA, because of the rapid cell growth and development of new tissues and organ systems. Optimal development of the brain and central nervous system, the eyes, and the immune system – have all been associated with adequate intake of DHA. In fact, DHA is a major structural fat in the human brain and eyes, representing about 97% of all omega-3 fats in the brain and 93% of all omega-3 fats in the retina. During the last trimester, the fetus accumulates 50-70 mg DHA each day, nearly the same amount that most American’s consume from diet alone. Both the mother’s DHA intake and circulating DHA concentrations are important in determining fetal blood concentrations of DHA. Without supplementation, maternal levels of omega-3s will decrease during pregnancy and will be further decreased when breast-feeding, as the essential fatty acids are also components of breast milk. These nutrients continue to be vitally important for development of the brain during infancy and this is the reason DHA is now added to infant formulas. Babies continue to accrue DHA into the central nervous system until about 18 months of age.

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Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem – Seize the Day! This powerful dictum always brings me back to Robin Williams’ moving portrayal of the beloved and inspiring professor in the film Dead Poet’s Society. It is a call to action, a renewal of the spirit and a return to optimism and determination, like the feeling of hopeful yearning we experience when we pledge those New Year’s resolutions. As the clock ticks away the final minutes of the old year, the excitement can be intoxicating. But so often we fail. After the rush of the New Year’s celebration fades and reality sets in, those ambitions can once again seem insurmountable. The truth is we very often unknowingly set ourselves up for failure.

Maybe this year we can keep a few rules in mind: Be realistic, keep it simple, and understand that self-motivation is essential when it comes to making real changes in your life. You have to be the one who is convinced you need to make a change. You have to really want it; your desire to make the change has to be greater than the desire to keep things the same. If you’ve ever spoken to someone who successfully stopped smoking or made any significant and lasting lifestyle change and asked them how they did it, the answer is always the same: “I wanted it and I just did it!”

Be realistic. Create short-term goals and make changes in small steps that are part of longer-term goals. If you need to lose twenty-five pounds, focus on losing five pounds. And instead of trying to lose five pounds in a week, focus on losing one pound a week. Acknowledge and reward your efforts and progress each step of the way, and never abandon your goals because of momentary failure or neediness. Remind yourself where you were last week or last month. If you are doing anything more than before, you have made progress. If you remain on the path you have chosen and your goals remain in view, your chance of attaining them becomes ever more likely.

Don’t get caught up in the false hope of quick fixes when it comes to making lifestyle changes. It is unfair and foolish to think that decades of unhealthful habits can be eradicated in a week or two.

Finally, don’t fall into the trap that fixing one thing you think has gone wrong is going to change your life. Getting to your ideal weight or driving a fancier car does not equal happiness. It’s not about trading places with someone else who seems to be better off than you are, or looking like the model on the cover of Vogue or GQ, and it’s not about turning back the hands of time. It’s about striving to be the best version of you at this moment and investing in your future. Health and happiness comes as a result of taking better care of you, inside and out, and requires addressing a multitude of factors every day of our lives. Don’t wait for all the stars to be in some perfect alignment; start now in the midst of everything. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

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Are You Getting Enough Omega-3s? Take a blood test and see…

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids in the human diet that are primarily found in oily fish like salmon, sardines, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, etc. They are also available in fish oil soft gels. The principle omega-3 fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).  Over the last 25 years, compelling evidence has accumulated from epidemiological studies and large clinical trials demonstrating their beneficial impact on joint, brain, eye, and heart function.  With regard to the cardioprotective effects of omega-3 oils, the strongest evidence to date relates to reducing risk for sudden cardiac death, the primary cause of coronary heart disease (CHD) death in the US today.

The American Heart Association reports that CHD is the number one killer of American men and women, accounting for more than one of every five deaths in the United States, usually as sudden death from cardiac arrest.  Recognizing the cardioprotective effects of omega-3s, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that patients with documented CHD should consume about 1,000 mg of omega-3s (specifically, combined DHA+EPA) per day; those without documented CHD should eat a variety of fish, preferably oily, at least twice a week, to provide about 500 mg of EPA+DHA per day.  It is very difficult, however, to reliably estimate omega-3 consumption based upon fatty fish intake because DHA and EPA vary greatly with species, season, maturity, fish’s diet, post-catch processing, and cooking methods.  A high-quality, highly purified fish oil supplement can deliver a more precise amount of omega-3s.  Even then, individual differences in absorption, metabolism, and distribution can lead to variable responses to a given intake.

So how do you know if you are getting enough omega-3s?

Now there is a blood test —the HS-Omega-3 Index™— that can measure your levels of the cardioprotective omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. Researchers have discovered that one of the best risk indicators for sudden cardiac death is the level of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) found in red blood cell membranes. The HS-Omega-3 Index test measures levels of DHA + EPA in the phospholipids of red blood cell membranes and is expressed as a percent of total fatty acids in the membrane.  The result is a simple modifiable marker for the risk of death from coronary heart disease.

The target HS-Omega-3 Index is 8% and above, a level that current research indicates is associated with the lowest risk for death from CHD. On the other hand, an Index of 4% or less (which is common in the US) indicates the highest risk.  Low levels are easily corrected through dietary changes or supplements and can quickly improve test results. Of course, this is just one of a number of risk factors that plays a role in CHD.  Risks associated with other factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, family history of CHD, smoking, or other cardiac conditions are completely independent of and not influenced by omega-3 fatty acids. Any and all modifiable risk factors – including the HS-Omega-3 Index—should be addressed as part of any global risk reduction strategy.

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It is estimated that over 200 million Americans, more than 2/3 of the US population, do not get enough magnesium. This is important because magnesium is a mineral that plays a critical role in the human body. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function; studies point to magnesium’s efficacy for treating muscle and nerve pain as well as its ability to reduce cramping. Magnesium also keeps the heart rhythm steady and supports a healthy immune system. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Recent study has focused on the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Bone health is supported by many factors, most notably calcium and vitamin D. However, some evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency may be an additional risk factor for postmenopausal osteoporosis. This may be due to the fact that magnesium deficiency alters calcium metabolism and the hormones that regulate calcium. Several human studies have suggested that magnesium supplementation may improve bone mineral density.

Even with an optimal diet, magnesium and other nutrient deficiencies can occur for several reasons. If the soil in which foods are grown has been depleted of nutrients, including magnesium, so are the foods that are grown in it. Add to that the fact that processed foods and refined grains are generally low in magnesium (another good reason to avoid white bread and opt for whole grain, since magnesium is concentrated in the germ and the bran of grains and refining flour removes them). If we could get adequate magnesium in our diet, absorption would still pose a problem for many of us. Our ability to absorb magnesium is affected by conditions such as diabetes and liver disease. Using nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and excess sugar depletes magnesium; so do drugs such as antacids, diuretics, birth control pills, albuterol, insulin, corticosteroids and some antibiotics.

What to do? The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 400 mg/day. Consider taking a quality multivitamin that provides 100% of the Recommended Daily Value for magnesium and the other essential vitamins and minerals as a good foundation for a healthful diet. Most dietary magnesium comes from vegetables, such as dark green, leafy vegetables. Other foods that are good sources of magnesium include, fruits (bananas, dried apricots, and avocados); nuts (almonds and cashews); peas, beans (legumes), and seeds; soy products (soy flour and tofu); and, whole grains (brown rice and bran cereal).

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Inflammation: From Discovery to Defense

Inflammation is the body’s appropriate and healthy immune response to an injury or infection.  Pull a muscle, catch a cold, or get a bee sting and your body responds with pain and swelling and a healing process begins.  But if the immune system goes awry and fails to shut off, inflammation may become chronic and cause permanent damage to the body.  Chronic inflammation refers to a maladaptive process that is believed to contribute to a variety of medical conditions including heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. This kind of inflammation may not be so readily apparent, but can be detected by high levels of certain established biomarkers like C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the blood. Reducing levels of these biomarkers has been a target for a number of nutrition studies. Omega-3s, L-carnitine, lycopene, astaxanthin, folic acid, CoQ10, resveratrol, and vitamins C and D are a few nutrients that are gaining attention as natural anti-inflammatories.  Perhaps the best studied are the omega-3 fatty acids; researchers have found that increased blood levels of the omega-3s DHA and EPA were associated with reduced levels of the inflammatory biomarker CRP.

Researchers have pointed to western diets and lifestyles as major culprits in the rise of chronic inflammation. Although these may appear hackneyed, the following healthful lifestyle choices are your best defense against inflammation:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.  Excess weight can definitely induce a pro-inflammatory state.  Doctors are concerned about your waistline because studies show that visceral fat, located deep in the abdominal area, causes more inflammation than general obesity.  Lose the weight and you will gain the benefits of reducing or even eliminating inappropriate inflammation.
  • Eat a diet low in saturated fats and rich in complex carbohydrates, including fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Avoid trans fats and sugar that promote inflammation and incorporate the healthful fats, the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, which can boast powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Take an omega-3 supplement containing 1000 mg DHA+EPA. Increasing omega-3s DHA + EPA while maintaining low saturated and trans fats also helps all lipid parameters – lowers LDL and total cholesterol, raises HDL and decreases TG.
  • Exercise more.  While helping to maintain a healthy weight, exercise can decrease inflammation and CRP levels, as well as lower LDL, increase HDL, lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease, and on and on and on…
  • Don’t smoke or linger in smoke-filled areas.  Air pollution and, of course, smoking have been linked to an increased incidence of heart disease, asthma, and other inflammation-related conditions.
  • Reduce stress. At the very least make an effort to manage stress in all ways possible: set limits on the demands you face and give yourself regular time out, exercise, make proper sleep and nutrition a priority, seek out laughter and love.

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Understanding Homocysteine

What is Homocysteine?
Simply stated, it’s an amino acid. Our bodies are built on proteins, and the building blocks of all proteins are amino acids. Methionine, an essential amino acid derived from dietary protein, is the source of all homocysteine found in our bodies. In the liver, methionine is continuously converted to homocysteine, and back again to methionine. This reversible cycling of these two amino acids is dependent upon vitamins B12 and folic acid. Deficiencies of either of these vitamins can lead to an unhealthful accumulation of homocysteine. A second irreversible process converts homocysteine to cysteine, which can then be excreted in the urine. This process is dependent upon the help of yet another vitamin, B6. Once again, a deficit in B6 can lead to a build up of too much homocysteine.

Why Decrease Homocysteine Levels?
Research demonstrates that elevated homocysteine is associated with an increased risk of developing several devastating illnesses including heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and osteoporotic bone fractures. The reason high homocysteine levels predispose to the development of these ailments is being carefully evaluated by our top scientists and doctors; it is felt that several mechanisms are at work. Homocysteine can directly damage our arteries’ inner linings, leading to the build up of plaque and blood clots. It can also oxidize LDL cholesterol, making this type of fat more likely to cause coronary and carotid artery disease. High homocysteine levels also block our body’s natural ability to break down clots. Thus, when clots do form in the arteries feeding our brains and hearts, high homocysteine levels make it harder for our bodies to dissolve them before they totally block the flow of oxygen to these vital organs, causing strokes and heart attacks. It has even been shown that when homocysteine levels are high DNA damage can occur in brain cells, causing their premature death.

What You Can Do
First of all, life style changes can help. Quitting smoking, decreasing caffeine consumption, exercising more, and eating less can all help lower homocysteine levels. Supplementation with vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid can also help reduce homocysteine levels to a normal range.  At times, additional supplementation with N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) is indicated to help bring down homocysteine levels as well.  Currently, studies are being conducted to evaluate the long-term benefits of diminishing homocysteine levels to normal. It is hoped that normalization of these levels in patients with high blood homocysteine will help reduce the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, and even osteoporotic fractures.

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Scientific evidence indicates that healthful homocysteine levels are important for maintaining heart health, strong bones, and cognitive function.*  Homocysteine levels are raised by:  tobacco abuse, high cholesterol, coffee consumption, alcohol, high calorie diets, sedentary lifestyles, renal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, and theophylline.  Moreover, low levels of B vitamins (folic acid, B6, and B12) also contribute to elevated homocysteine.

HomocysteineFormula is a nutritional supplement that combines potent amounts of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid and is designed for people who have high homocysteine levels.  Because of significant variations in response among people taking this formula, it is best to monitor blood levels of homocysteine.

  • Folic Acid – Utilized for energy production and the formation of red blood cells.  It strengthens immunity by aiding in the proper formation and function of white blood cells.  It also helps maintain arterial heath and limit the accumulation of homocysteine.
  • Vitamin B6 – Plays a role in immunity and helps maintain arterial health.  It also limits the accumulation of homocysteine.
  • Vitamin B12 – Needed to prevent anemia.  It aids folic acid in regulating the formation of red blood cells.  This vitamin is required for the synthesis of protein, and the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.  It also helps maintain healthy arteries and limit the accumulation of homocysteine.
  • Pure USP Pharmaceutical Grade quality
  • Independently assayed by FDA registered laboratories for safety and purity.

Some people may benefit from additional supplementation with N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) in order to achieve an optimal homocysteine level.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Age-related Macular Degeneration

Leading Cause of Blindness
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in persons over age 55 – it is an incurable eye disease that causes progressive visual loss as a result of degeneration of the macula. The macula is the portion of the retina responsible for our fine central vision; it receives visual information that is sent to the brain. A damaged macula leaves us unable to distinguish detail and causes localized areas of central vision loss. Although peripheral vision remains intact, things that we take for granted like reading, recognizing faces, and driving are just a few of the tasks that become difficult.

No Known Cure
Even more disheartening is the fact that there is no known cure for AMD and no clear understanding of its cause. Some of the most exciting research related to macular degeneration has been in the area of nutrition and has suggested that certain antioxidants including lutein and zeaxanthin may significantly reduce the risk of AMD.  The carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin are the main components of the macula’s luteal pigment that protects the retina by absorbing damaging ultraviolet light and neutralizing free radicals that can harm the eye. Studies have provided evidence that supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin is associated with significant improvement in the density of the protective macular pigment.  The studies also demonstrated clinical benefits; those who took a 10 mg supplement of lutein every day over a year’s time began to see about one line better on eye charts.

What You Can Do
Manage known modifiable risk factors for AMD. Exercise and eat a healthful diet to prevent obesity, diabetes, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure. Avoid sugary snack foods. Choose a diet low in saturated fats and high in fruits and vegetables. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, plus broccoli, peas, squash, and egg yolk, corn, orange peppers, oranges and honeydew. Taking a supplement that contains appropriate amounts of antioxidants and lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin can help preserve vision.  The omega-3s also support eye health; in particular DHA, which accumulates in the eye, protecting nerve cells from damage. Shield your eyes from harmful ultraviolet light by wearing quality sunglasses.  Finally… that ubiquitous warning: STOP smoking.  Studies show that smokers have lower levels of lutein and are at much greater risk of developing AMD.  Even passive smoking doubles the risk of AMD.

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Read the Label: A Cautionary Tale

Read the label. Good advice if you know what to look for. Most of us have learned to examine a nutrition label and pay attention to calories, saturated fat content, sugars, sodium, and the latest hot topic for good reason, trans fats. But, that’s old news. When it comes to nutritional supplements you owe it to yourself to learn more.

It used to be that if you ate a healthful diet, you might say that you didn’t need nutritional supplements, but we now know that’s not accurate. Research shows that 80 to 90 percent of the population does not achieve the recommended daily value (RDV) for each vitamin and mineral each day, nor do they even come close. In fact, marginal nutritional deficiencies are present in as much as 50 % of the non-multivitamin-mineral using population. And, keep in mind that RDV levels for each nutrient are only intended to guard against severe nutrient deficiency diseases like scurvy (vitamin C) or beriberi (vitamin B1), but are not intended to serve as levels of vitamin and mineral intake that are optimal in regard to supporting biological functions, preventing degenerative diseases and maximizing our well-being and longevity. Consider the new bottom line: commit to a high quality multivitamin-mineral supplement that provides 100% of the RDV which is intended to be a good base. Then build on that strong foundation with good dietary choices incorporating a variety of foods aimed to achieve even higher levels of vitamins and minerals that are optimal for supporting biological functions, preventing degenerative diseases and maximizing our well-being and longevity.

The following examples looking at several of the most frequently used supplements will give you some idea of what you need to look for in a product. VitalRemedyMD provides top quality pharmaceutical grade supplements that are independently assayed for content, quality and purity. All formulations are designed by Dr. Seth Baum; based on sound scientific evidence and clinical experience, incorporating ongoing research findings when they deserve merit. VitalRemedyMD provides you the peace of mind of knowing that you are receiving products that reflect state of the art in science with unsurpassed quality and safety.

The daily multivitamin-mineral

A daily multivitamin-mineral supplement is essential in addition to a healthful varied diet, avoiding processed foods and fast foods that are either lacking in nutritional value or are flat out working against you to promote better health. It is not necessary to customize a daily multi; it should simply provide the vitamins and minerals truly proven essential to human health in a balanced formulation that provides 100% of the daily recommended value (RDV).

Some of the more common problematic nutritional deficiencies include vitamin B12, magnesium (Mg), calcium and vitamin D. Symptoms of low levels of vitamin B12 may present as subtle cognitive and neurological changes; more serious shortages can result in dementia or anemia because B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. Dietary sources are animal derived: meat, fish, poultry, and to a lesser degree, eggs and milk products. Vegetarians can eat tempeh made of fermented soybeans (the bacteria produce B12). The RDV set by the FDA is 6 mcg.

Magnesium is required for 350 enzymes in the body to function, and for healthy maintenance of bones, arteries, heart, nerves, and teeth. A staggering 80% of the population is deficient in this mineral! Dietary sources include dark green vegetables, nuts seeds, and whole grains. The RDV is 400 mg.

Central to the prevention of osteoporosis is adequate daily intake of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, copper and zinc which work together to strengthen bones. Calcium is essential for bones as well as teeth, blood and muscle contraction. Dietary sources include tofu, sardines, salmon, broccoli, kale, grains, nuts, and seeds. The RDV is 1,000 mg; taken in divided doses of 500mg or less. Vitamin D is essential for absorption of calcium in the body; the RDV is 600 mg. Requirements for calcium and vitamin D are higher in adolescents and the elderly.

A note on vitamin A: it can come from retinol (often called vitamin A palmitate or acetate) or from beta-carotene, or a combination of both. The label should specify. Optimally, vitamin A would be supplied as beta-carotene since the body can convert it to vitamin A on an as needed basis and high levels of retinol have been linked with weaker bones.

Look for things like USP Pharmaceutical Grade Quality products, chelated minerals which enhance absorption and bioavailability, natural color coating which avoids lead and other toxins, and independent assays to ensure safety, purity and content. Vitamin E should be should be natural (specified as d-alpha/mixed Tocopherols) NOT synthetic (dl-alpha Tocopherols). The natural form of vitamin E is better absorbed and retained by the body, but because it is more expensive it may be substituted by synthetic alternatives. Lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes, is often added to a daily multi because of its association with cardiovascular and prostate health. Studies have shown these benefits with doses of 6 mg daily.

Finally, don’t take “one-a-day” multivitamin-mineral formulas seriously; you simply can’t pack in decent amounts of all the necessary nutrients in one tablet or capsule. A good product cannot be packaged in less that 2-4 tablets per day, taken in divided doses with two meals. Many of these details will of course increase the cost of the product, but as an educated consumer you will know just why it may be worth it.

The Essential Fatty Acids: Omega-3s

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) have become best known for their anti-inflammatory effects associated with decreased risk of inflammation based degenerative diseases (like arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, migraine headaches, heart disease and cancer. EFAs belong to a class of healthful lipids known as polyunsaturated fatty acids and are unfortunately consumed far less than unhealthy fats in the typical American diet. Polyunsaturated EFAs include omega-3s, omega-6s, omega-7s, and omega-9s. These occur naturally in vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, seeds, and various animal sources. Popular sources of omega-3s include fish oil, flaxseed, and hemp, while omega-6 supplements are frequently sourced from evening primrose oil, black currant, and borage. Meanwhile omega-7s are present in palm kernel oil and coconut oil, and omega-9s occur naturally in avocado oil and olive oil.

The omega-3s are comprised by alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) abundant in nuts, flaxseed, and vegetable oils is converted in the body into two other omega-3s derived from marine sources (fish oils): docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3s and omega-6s must be consumed in a certain ratio for optimal health. An excess of omega-6s promotes the pathogenesis of cardiovascular, cancerous, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Because the average American diet provides a greater amount of the omega-6s we need to supplement our intake of the omega-3s. Because of the heart protective benefits of omega-3s DHA and EPA the American Heart Association currently recommends that people with coronary heart disease consider 1,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA daily.

When you compare VitalRemedyMD’s VitalOils with others ask the following:

  • Does it contain 1,000 mg combined EPA and DHA; not just 1,000 mg “fish oils”?
  • Do I need to take more than 1 soft gel to achieve that goal?
  • How does the cost compare based on the amount of EPA and DHA?
  • What is the source of oils? (small ocean fish are optimal)
  • Do they talk about enhanced purification using supercritical fluid technology?
  • Are soft gels enteric coated to enhance absorption and eliminate indigestion?
  • Is the product independently assayed for content accuracy and purity?

The JOINT Formulas

Did you know that each knee can bear up to four times your body weight? As strong as it is, injuries occur commonly, both from overuse and from under use. Be proactive and prevent injury by maintaining appropriate body weight and exercising 3-4 times a week. Begin with at least 10 minutes of cardiovascular activity like a stationary bike with the seat positioned so that your leg is almost fully extended on the down pedal, or the elliptical machine which allows for a challenging aerobic workout at a variety of levels while minimizing direct impact to the knee joint. Appropriate stretching should follow along with a few exercises that target the quadriceps and hamstrings and surrounding muscles that stabilize the knee. Seek out a personal trainer for advice on a regimen that suits your needs and capability.

Formulations that include glucosamine and chondroitin flood the market. If you pay careful attention to a few key points when choosing a product, you will find out how beneficial they can be. Studies have shown benefit, including both reduced symptoms and decreased joint space narrowing on x-ray exam with the sulfate forms of these supplements (not HCL). In our experience our formulation has been most effective for arthritis involving knees and hands, usually within 1-3 months; it must be taken at the correct dosage as directed.
Look for:

  • Sulfate form of glucosamine (NOT HCL); daily dose of 1500 mg
  • Chondroitin sulfate 1200mg daily
  • Addition of omega-3s DHA and EPA for their anti-inflammatory effect
  • Additional vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintenance of healthy cartilage and joints, including: B6, E, C, B5, zinc, and copper
  • Enteric coating for increased absorption

The EYE Formulas

Are you looking for a nutritional supplement created to support eye health? Go to any supermarket or health food store, or do an on-line search and you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed by choices. Some popular companies even have six or seven of their own products for you to consider. Which one should you chose? As Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the western world, most ocular formulations focus on this disorder. We at VitalRemedyMD have spent two years analyzing the medical literature in order to produce the safest and most scientifically validated formulation for preserving eye health: RetinGuard®.

Many small studies that have evaluated nutrition and supplementation for maintaining eye health, but one that has caught the eyes of many people is AREDS (Age Related Eye Disease Study). This trial was published in 2001, and found that individuals with advanced macular degeneration had a 25% reduction in the progression of disease when taking a high dose antioxidant and mineral formulation. As there were a number of worrisome “issues” with the consumption of such high dose supplementation, AREDS II, an ongoing re-examination of this matter, has altered the doses of key ingredients in an attempt to establish optimal effective dosage ranges. Thus, in formulating RetinGuard™ both AREDS and AREDS II had to be duly thought-out. Another major trial to be considered was LAST (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). In this study, lutein (10 mg daily) was found to significantly halt the progression of AMD in study participants.

  • Beta-carotene is not necessary since beta-carotene is found only minimally in the retina and because of the association with lung cancer in smokers at higher doses.
  • Lutein 10 mg and zeaxanthin/ mesozeaxanthin (4 mg/6 mg) in a 1:1 ratio as they are found naturally in the retina; these carotenoids function to protect our eyes from damaging sunlight.
  • NAC a precursor for glutathione, which itself is poorly absorbed, protects against free radicals.
  • Vitamin C 500 mg
  • Natural vitamin E 100 IU
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) 3.4 mg for maintaining eye health
  • Zinc/Copper 25 mg/ 2 mg in proper ratio; important for maintaining eye health, but at lower doses than AREDS I because of untoward side-effects at higher doses
  • Pure USP Pharmaceutical Grade Quality Independently assayed by FDA registered laboratories for safety and purity

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Omega-3 Fish Oils DHA and EPA: Are They a Panacea?

The Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and fish oils have long captured the attention of scientists whose investigation is steadily uncovering the many medicinal benefits of nature’s maritime gold.   It all began about 25 years ago, after epidemiological studies revealed that Greenland Inuits had substantially reduced rates of heart attacks compared with Western control subjects, despite a diet that was as high in fat.  As you know, it was the high intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish that held the key. Fats are divided into three categories:  the good (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), the bad (saturated), and the just plain awful (trans fats).  In the good group are the omega-3s: DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).  All three are good for you, but evidence for a health protective role is strongest for the DHA and EPA found in fish and fish oils.  ALA, which is derived from plants, is less and only indirectly beneficial if you are trying to boost your omega-3s; the body uses most of it for energy and metabolizes only a small amount (< 10%) of ALA into DHA and EPA.

Much of the early research in the area of omega-3s focused on heart disease.  Dozens of observational studies have shown that eating fish lowers your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.  Subsequent randomized controlled trials have now clearly demonstrated the cardioprotective effects of omega-3s, DHA and EPA, found in fish and fish oil. The ways that omega-3 fatty acids reduce cardiovascular disease risk are still being studied, however, research has shown that they:

  • Decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), which can lead to sudden cardiac death.
  • Decrease triglyceride levels.
  • Decrease progression of atherosclerotic plaque and stabilize existing plaque so it is less likely to rupture and cause sudden heart attacks.
  • Lower incidence of blood clotting, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
  • Reduce inflammatory responses.
  • Lower blood pressure.

DHA and EPA have since been studied in myriad trials and if there is any panacea out there, it appears that they may just be it.  Scientific evidence indicates that the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA + EPA, may have potential benefits in the prevention and/or treatment of the following health conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive diseases
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar disorder and Depression
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema and Psoriasis
  • High blood pressure
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Lupus
  • Joint disease including Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Migraine headaches
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Obesity

Awareness of why and how to boost your omega-3s is more important than ever.  It turns out that the modern western diet has taken us far from the diet of our remote ancestors.  Instead of eating diets rich in omega-3s we are loaded with omega-6s.  Physiological consequences of this shift in dietary representation of these fats include an increase in inflammation and inflammation-related conditions like heart disease and those listed above.  The absence of adequate quantities of DHA and EPA in our diets is so devastating that even the relatively conservative American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended supplemental intake of these nutrients for people with heart disease or multiple cardiovascular risk factors.  The AHA’s recommended intake of combined DHA + EPA for such individuals is approximately 1,000 mg daily.  Physicians often utilize higher daily doses in the range of 2,000-4,000 mg daily as part of a treatment plan to manage patients with elevated triglycerides or other inflammation-based medical conditions.

It is vital to be an educated consumer:  make sure to read the label and look for purified fish oil supplements that provide your target dose of combined DHA + EPA (not ALA or omega-6s, or omega-9s).  The hoax is that many products boast they have “1,000mg Fish Oils” knowing that’s the all important number, BUT if you examine the finer print under the supplement facts you will find they fail to provide what you’re looking for:  1,000 mg of combined DHA+EPA.

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