Category Archives: Science

Curcumin vs Autoimmune Diseases

Over recent decades, researchers conducted 32 clinical trials on the effect of curcumin supplements on various autoimmune diseases including osteo/rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes and ulcerative colitis. Those trials formed part of the basis for us here at Fully Human including curcumin in Freedom, so let’s see what the current state of the science is.

All studies were randomized, placebo controlled trials, the gold standard for medical evidence. The trial lengths ranged from 4-40 weeks. And they looked at a variety of clinical measures including pain, stiffness, range of motion, and disease specific markers (inflammatory markers for RA as an example).

Overall, 26 trials resulted in significant improvements with most of the remainder not being long enough to report results. None reported significant side effects, and none reported curcumin supplementation as being anything but supportive as an autoimmune therapy.

Osteoarthritis Results

The osteoarthritis-related trials ranged from 6 to 40 weeks with doses ranging from 100–2000 mg/day tested. In 13 of the studies, dietary curcumin intake resulted in improvement of at least 2 clinical measures (pain, stiffness, range of motion…etc) and seven studies showed improvement of at least three clinical measures. The average effective daily dose was 829mg/day divided between at least two doses.

Type 2 Diabetes Results

The Type 2 diabetes trials ranged from 4 to 36 weeks with doses of curcumin ranging from 200 to 1500 mg/day. All eight studies showed curcumin supplementation possessed anti-diabetic effects with the average effective daily dosage being 570.79 mg/day divided between at least two doses.

Ulcerative Colitis Results

The duration of the three studies looking at ulcerative colitis ranged from 4 weeks to 24 weeks with doses ranging from 140 mg to 3000 mg/day. Two of the three studies showed taking between 2,000-3,000mg/day were effective in putting mild-moderate ulcerative colitis into remission.

Other Results

There have been only three studies of curcumin’s effect on other rheumatic diseases, including two studies on rheumatoid arthritis and one on lupus nephritis. Of the two RA studies, one 8-week study showed an improvement in patients taking 1,000mg/day divided between at least two doses. The other study was only two weeks long, and didn’t end with any reportable outcome. The lupus study found that a dose as low as 66mg/day over 12 weeks resulted in significant improvements in systolic blood pressure and a levels of lupus markers in the blood (proteinuria and hematuria).

Promising results aside, due to the limited number of studies conducted on RA and LN, the effect of curcumin on RA and lupus should be considered possibly useful, but with clinically inconclusive evidence.

Freedom Is The Answer

Do you suffer from one of these conditions? Try our patent-pending blend of turmeric curcumin (even more potently extracted than the ones referenced in these studies).

References
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Can Boswellia Manage Knee Arthritis?

In 2018 a group of researchers from New Jersey conducted a four month clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a Boswellia serrata extract (BSE). This study was longer than any other previous clinical trial on patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. It’s key finding is that an increasing the potency of the Boswellia extract increases its biologically active components. These then act together against inflammation and arthritis. The end result, published in early 2019, was an improvement in physical and functional ability while also reducing the pain and stiffness.

The study randomized 48 patients, aged 35-75, with OA of the knee into active and placebo groups. All participants, were selected because they had a history of OA, and pain in their knees that was difficult to bear on most days.

Background on Boswellia

Boswellic acids, especially one called AKBA, are powerful anti-inflammatories. They block an enzyme called 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) that breaks down polyunsaturated fatty acids in foods into leukotrienes, inflammatory molecules that attack joints and other tissues. Boswellia may also help reduce cartilage damage in arthritis. It also shows promise as a cancer treatment.

Various research studies show derivatives of boswellic acids (BAs) are not all created equal, but all help reduce inflammation to one degree or another. Earlier clinical studies found boswellic acid‐containing products in combination with Curcumin C3 Complex® and ginger extract were better at reducing arthritis pain than individual supplements alone.

Results

The bottom line is that Boswellia serrata, given three times a day, significantly reduced pain and stiffness and improved the joints of those taking it. Best of all, this study found there there were no adverse effects.

How much did it reduce them?

Pain: Patients reported a 45-50% reduction in their pain levels, as judged on a 1-10 scale. While the placebo group reported only a 5-10% reduction.

Stiffness: The stiffness metric was measured by how far the participants could walk without pain in 6 minutes. For the patients taking Boswellia, they increased their distance by over a third, while the other group reported no change.

But the most significant change is seen in the image below. The patients taking Boswellia actually saw a reduction in bone spurs, and an increase in joint space.

Freedom Is The Answer

Do you suffer from OA in your knees? Do you have a hard time walking without pain? Try our patent-pending blend of Boswellia (even more potently extracted than the one studied here). It isn’t cheap, but then again, removing bone spurs isn’t cheap either.

Cost of Freedom

Yea, I just did that. It is corny, sorry. But the single most frequent question I have had over the past week has been “why does your supplement cost so much?” Not an unreasonable question for a product that is nearly $100 for a month’s supply. So without further ado, here is why Freedom isn’t free.

Typical supplement pricing is dependent on three factors: ingredients, quantity, and packaging. This list is largely in order of how much of an impact they have on price. Freedom’s price is mainly a result of the first one. I declined to pay $7-8/bottle for the packaging I wanted, and realistically if I had cheap ingredients, the cost per pill would be less.

Freedom is a combination nine different ingredients, which even without going into any more detail, would suggest it has to be more expensive than any single one of those ingredients.

In this case the combination isn’t actually what is driving up the price, I could have made Freedom cheaper. This spring I spent a lot of time talking with manufacturers, and received quotes that varied dramatically. Two in particular were almost eight times more than the others. Those two quotes were so far outside the other ones that I called those manufacturers and asked them why they were so much. Both of them had the same answer “we are quoting you the strongest potency, highest absorption rate ingredients.”

That floored me. I thought, generally speaking, cinnamon is cinnamon and pepper is pepper. The more I researched, the more I realized, the knock off version of ingredients is the easy way out. It is the route that all too many companies take in their quest to get a piece of the multi-billion dollar supplement market.

I founded Fully Human to be the better way of doing supplements. Fully Human isn’t going to beat Costco on price or quantity. It is the best brand you can buy. It will replace dozens of pills with two that give you the right amount at the right time, and deliver the right results.

That’s why after realizing the option was cheap ingredients or there really wasn’t a choice for me. If I was going to invent a new supplement formulation based on clinical research; I needed to use the ingredients that were as close to clinical quality as possible.

There are plenty of people who will keep telling me that Freedom is too expensive for them,and that is fine. I will not compromise quality to turn a profit. I will guarantee you that Freedom will be the best anti-inflammation supplement you have ever taken. If it doesn’t work – email me – I’ll refund you 200% of what you paid.

What do you have to lose?

The Little Things

Shipping Boxes. You never really think about them until you get a bad one. Then it is the only thing you can think of. For the past six months all I have been focused on is the development and manufacture of Freedom, and I never really thought about what happens when someone actually buys a bottle.

Ok that isn’t entirely true. I had nightmares that no one would buy it. And I had fantasies about it becoming the next fad for the likes of Tom Brady and Oprah. But the little thing about what I do with this super cool bottle of an invention I researched and labored on…what about that?

I mean I spent a lot of time working with graphic designers on the bottle. Figuring out the colors, shape, lid color, the metallic background. All these little things that normally I wouldn’t really pay attention to. All of that made me think I had everything figured out.

Turns out I didn’t.

I shipped the first bottles of Freedom yesterday night. In USPS Priority Envelopes. I thought it was a nice touch for me to pay extra to have the bottles shipped faster. But as I looked at the packaged bottles I realized…they looked shitty. Not like I had done a sloppy tape job, but like the way a present wrapped by a five year old looks.

Those of you who had enough faith to be the first to order are the ones who are getting the worst packaging. Yea, sorry about that. I really thought I had it together, but I had forgotten something I learned in during my time with special operations: The difference between good and great is measured in how well you do the basics. It isn’t about being amazing at one thing. It is doing the simple, little things well, over and over again.

I now have boxes perfectly sized for my bottles ordered and on their way. And I was thinking about getting rid of this pile of USPS Priority envelopes I brought home. But maybe I’ll keep them around, just to remind me that doing the little things well every time is what success is made of.

I’ll get back to work here, but while I’m busy re-learning life lessons, hopefully you remember to bring your full selves to life every day. If you are looking for a solution to your inflammation, check out Freedom, the first supplement to combine the eight most effective anti-inflammation compounds to give you a chance to fight inflammation naturally.

St John’s Wort…A Holy Antidepressant?

St John’s Wort, (or for the sake of my fingers SJW) is a herb which has seen medicinal use for at least centuries. Early uses revolved around pain and wound healing, and it has not been until recently that SJW has achieved almost a cult following for its antidepressant qualities. But what is SJW good for, what are its risks, and how should it be used? We will explore that here.

What is SJW?

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), a plant that grows in the wild, has been used for centuries for mental health conditions. Many studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of St. John’s wort. Some studies have suggested benefit, but other studies have not.

Does it Work?

St John’s wort is a proven anti-depressant. When I say that people often think that means it will work for everyone, every time. However this is not how anti-depressant medications work. Because our ability to measure the chemical imbalances in our brains is essentially negligible, psychiatrists basically guess at what medication would be a good one to start with. A similar process is done with dosing, and often it takes months to find a dose that is effective for an individual. And that may be the best case when you don’t have to switch medication after a couple months of taking it.

While that may seem to many to be a condemnation of our current mental health system, it isn’t meant to be that at all. Instead we should all understand the limitations of the medical system we have, and be prepared for what we will get.

The Science

When researchers at the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit global policy think tank, looked at 35 studies using the herb for mild-to-moderate depression they found that, for their participants, SJW was just as effective as taking an antidepressant. Their review, published in the journal Systematic Reviews in 2016, also revealed that in studies pitting SJW against a placebo, SJW came out ahead. Even better, side effects were significantly lower for people on SJW than a medication. They had fewer stomach/intestinal or neurological problems, and lower rates of sexual concerns.

The scientific evidence is not entirely positive, as should be expected (for more info check out my post about how to read science). There were a handful of studies which were inconclusive, and another handful which showed SJW was less effective than a placebo.

While the researchers didn’t conclude why SJW wasn’t effective in those individuals, I suspect it had something to do with way SJW interacted with their brain chemistry. So if you take SJW, and it doesn’t work for you, don’t despair, that is an important data point, and one that you should share with your psychiatrist to help find you the medication that will work best.

How do you Use SJW?

St. John’s wort is most often taken in liquid or capsule form. The dried herb may also be used as a tea.

The most common dose used in studies has been 300 mg, three times a day as a standardized extract. Preparations in the U.S. have varied amounts of active ingredient in them. So be careful to note how much you’re getting in your tablets.

What are the side Effects

The most common side effects of SJW are :

  • Allergic reactions
  • Fatigue and restlessness with long-term use
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased sensitivity to the sun — especially if you are fair-skinned and taking large doses
  • Upset stomach

SJW is not recommended for pregnant women, children, the elderly. Research from the National Institute of Health has shown that St. John’s wort may reduce the effectiveness of several drugs, including birth control pills, drugs used to prevent organ transplant rejections, and some heart disease medications.

Combining St. John’s wort with certain antidepressants can lead to a potentially life-threatening increase of serotonin, a brain chemical targeted by antidepressants. Symptoms occur within minutes , and may include agitation, diarrhea, fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, hallucinations, increased body temperature, and more. If you experience these symptoms shortly after taking SJW, immediate call 911.

Conclusion

The bottom line for St John’s wort is that it works…but not for everyone

It is largely safe…but has some risks

But at the end of the day…don’t try to treat depression on your own. Depression can become severe if you don’t get effective, professional help. For some people, depression can increase the risk of suicide. Talk to your health care provider if you or someone you know may be depressed.

If you want to learn more about depression, check out my post here. Or if you just wandered in here, check out what Fully Human is all about or check out some of our anti-inflammation posts. Subscribe below to keep updated on how to bring your full self to life.

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How to read….nutritional research edition

About twice a week my news-feed has some story about a new research study that completely invalidates the old line. “Saturated fat isn’t so bad…go ahead and have that bacon”, “Sunscreen the cause of cancer?”….etc. The seeming variation in what is touted as ‘scientific research’ is enough to make anyone question whether science is all it is cracked up to be. Don’t worry – science isn’t the problem – 75-90% of the time it is the way the study is being represented…I’ll explain

Tim’s super handy guide to Nutritional science readinG

Step 1: Take a deep breath

There is about a million different people all writing about nutritional science, and all of them are going to see it a tad differently. So take a deep breath and remember you are looking at the research in order to inform your decisions. You aren’t looking to science to validate yourself

Step 2: Steel yourself for sensational headlines

Those million people are going to need something to set themselves apart from their peers, and there are two ways to do that. The first is clickbait. I’m a straight white man, so if you hear anyone who fits that description tell you they don’t click links that have photos of women, then they are lying. I’m told women do similar things, but I can’t verify that.

Anyway the second way is a sensational headline. What better way to get people young and old to click your link than to say this is the ‘first’, ‘best’, ‘worst’, ‘most significant change’…etc? We are socially conditioned to respond to words like that, so no shame in clicking on the link to find out more, but just remember….the only reason the headline is there is to get your attention.

Step 3: Remember how nutritional research is conducted (The Cool Version)

The bottom line is that nutritional research is extremely poorly funded. This means researchers have to make the hard decision of compromising on the length or the size of the study. Compromising on length is almost always significantly harder to correct later, because you want your test subjects in a controlled setting the whole time you are studying them. So coming back later and trying to restart the study doesn’t work.

Compromising on the size of the study is much easier to correct through future studies. The hallmark of any study involving humans is a selection of a representative sample of the population. This is done through random sampling. If you are a researcher who has the money to do a study of 15 people, but need at least 120 to be a true representative sample, then you just find your 120 random test subjects, and just study them 15 at a time.

This creates a situation where one of the eight notional studies would contradict the results of one or two of the others. But once the full analysis, also called ‘meta-analysis’, is done of all the studies grouped together, the researchers (and you) are able to see the full conclusions.

Step 3a: How Nutritional Research Is Conducted (The more technical Version)

The gold standard for evaluating cause and effect (for example, if saturated fat causes heart disease) is the randomized control trial (RCT), where participants are divided by chance into separate groups that undergo different regimens. But it’s not always possible to do RCTs because they’re expensive and it’s hard for people to follow strict diet regimes long-term.

Instead, researchers often rely on correlational studies, which don’t show cause and effect, but tell us if two things are related in some way. One big problem in this research is controlling for variables outside of what’s being studied. With saturated fat for example, researchers try to control for other factors like income or exercise, but can never account for all variables.

Correlational studies leave more room for interpretation than RCTs — and when human nature comes into play, it can seem like advice is flip-flopping. Personal bias, funding sources or the pressure to succeed can unintentionally creep into a researcher’s work and influence the results.

Step 4: Apply what you read

The next time you see a headline about a new study that seems to contradict nutritional norms, remember that these are the studies that grab media attention. The vast majority of nutritional research never makes it beyond medical journals. Scrutinize the story carefully. Consider whether it’s an RCT or a correlation study, and whether it’s a single trial or a meta-analysis.

Finally, disregard “experts” who claim they are 100 percent certain of the science on an issue. You shouldn’t mind if an expert is uncertain. As long as they can say, we don’t have the perfectly definitive study, but the available evidence points towards… We all need to remember, science is a process, not an outcome.

Next time

My next post will get back to talking about anti-inflammation supplements (some old posts are here). In the meantime, if you are looking for a supplement whose ingredients are all backed by RCTs, check out my Indiegogo page. Or if you are looking for what you or your kids’ lives will be like when humanity makes its jump into space check out my other blog.