Tag Archives: rheumatoid arthritis

A Spicy Solution

Do you like spicy foods? I don’t. But science says cayenne pepper is good for something other than making me cry. There is nearly 20 years of clinical research which fairly conclusively shows cayenne pepper aids the body in fighting inflammation. And seeing all that evidence changed my mind. Maybe it will change yours too.

How Does It Work?

So the simple answer is cayenne pepper also contains a wide range antioxidants that work at a cellular level and actually disarm free radicals that can lead to cellular inflammation.

The more technical answer is that cayenne contains a substance known as capsaicin that gives the spice its “heat” and creates a burning sensation on any tissue it touches. Capsaicin triggers a biochemical reaction that is both analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory. I should note here that rubbing raw peppers on your skin is not the preferred method of use though.

Capsaicin is classified as a neurotoxin. This sounds scary, but it is the dose that makes the poison. Which is why botulinum toxin – also known as botox – is both lethal, and really useful for keeping me looking young . Capsaicin works by reducing the concentration of substance P, a compound produced by the body which delivers pain signals to the brain. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of this substance before – I hadn’t either – and to be honest it sounds fake.

What is it good for?

I know cayenne pepper is most commonly as it is used in my dad’s tacos. But other than for cooking, there is evidence capsaicin helps with the following conditions:

Back Pain: A 2006 review of studies published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concluded that there was “moderate evidence” that cayenne-based topical therapies were more effective than placebo in relieving low back pain.

Neuropathic Pain: Capcaisin has long been explored as a means of treating neuropathic pain given the lack of effective pharmaceutical remedies. A 2009 study published in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring concluded that a high-dose capsaicin patch used for 60 minutes on 173 people with HIV drug-induced peripheral neuropathy resulted in a twofold decrease in pain compared to those using a placebo.

Heart Health: A 2015 review of studies published in BMJ Open Heart suggested that the biochemical reaction triggered by capsaicin may have practical applications in treating an array of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. The evidence mainly involved research into the use of dietary cayenne in rats, pigs, and other mammals.

Joint Pain: A recent study published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia concluded that topical capsaicin cream provided modest relief of chronic muscle and joint pain. The study specifically looked at capsaicin cream applied three to five times daily for 2 to 6 weeks. This and other studies have highlighted topical and oral capsaicin’s benefit in providing pain relief for various types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis.

Other Potential Benefits: There are limited studies indicating that a diet rich in cayenne may be beneficial  for other conditions. But there isn’t enough evidence yet to confirm that it can prevent or treat atherosclerosis, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver, hypertension, and stroke.

What it doesn’t help with

Weight Loss: The evidence supporting the use of cayenne tablets in boosting metabolism and losing weight is generally weak. A lot of nutritional supplement companies say cayenne has thermogenic properties that can speed up your metabolism. And a cayenne tablet can certainly induce sweat, but there is no evidence that this leads to weight loss.

Side Effects

As with anything you take cayenne has side effects. You should consider whether the benefits of taking this (or any other supplement) outweigh the risks.

Most common side effects for topical capsaicin creams are fairly mild, and include irritation, burning, and itching. Some stronger versions of topical patches and creams may cause localized swelling, rash, pain, and even blisters. When taken as a tablet, cayenne rarely causes nausea, sweating, flushing, diarrhea, and runny nose.

Conclusion

Want to see if cayenne works for you? Try Freedom today to see what high quality, powerful cayenne can do when blended with other anti-inflammatory herbs. 

Citations (other than what I linked to)

Khanna RD, Karki K, Pande D, Negi R, Khanna RS (2014) Inflammation, Free Radical Damage, Oxidative Stress and Cancer. Microinflammation 1:109. doi: 10.4172/2381-8727.1000109

 

Cinnamon as an arthritis supplement

Cinnamon…The One Herb To Rule Them All

Cinnamon (known to nerds as Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cinnamon cassia), is one of the most important spices used daily by people all over the world, and not just because of its taste. It contains a lot of manganese, iron, dietary fiber, and calcium, making it one of the healthiest spices out there.

The Boring Nerd Stuff

Cinnamon contains derivatives, such as cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, cinnamate, and numerous other components such as polyphenols. The pronunciation and spelling of these components may be hard to understand, but their results aren’t. Early studies have demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, and/or anticancer effects from one or more of these components.
Additionally, recent clinical trials have looked at cinnamon in the forms of bark, essential oils, bark powder, and phenolic compounds, and how each of these can improve human health. These trials explored the beneficial effects of cinnamon in Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, and arteriosclerosis. New research continues to be proposed and conducted, but evidence is mounting that cinnamon is an herb on par with turmeric in reducing inflammation.

All You Need To Know

An example of one such study published early last year found that as little as 500mg of cinnamon, taken twice a day, reduced the serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and diastolic blood pressure in women with rheumatoid arthritis. The women taking the cinnamon also reported fewer swollen or tender joints, allowing them to move more freely.
Do you want to move freely too? Try Freedom, a patent-pending blend of the top eight arthritis and inflammation fighting herbs. Freedom is a pharmaceutical grade supplement, backed by clinical research, and with a 90 day money back guarantee. Try it today!

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).

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Tea Time?

If you know anything about me you know I can be a tad hyperbolic when talking because I love telling stories. And, lets be honest…a story about how I went to the grocery store gets quite a bit better with a little drama. But when it comes to supplements, and food in general I tend to be really conservative in how I talk about them. You will rarely hear me say more than ‘it seems to work’ or ‘this was clinically studied’. But in the case of green tea – I get pretty excited.

I first started my enduring relationship with green tea during my first year in Afghanistan (2009-2010). While there I would drink about 3.5-4 liters (or about a gallon) of green tea a day. Why so much? Well at the time it didn’t seem like a lot because I was living with an Afghan Army unit, and just about everything we did either began or ended with drinking tea.

After a year of that I had lost 20 pounds, was running a sub-six minute mile, and had one of the worst haircuts of my life…no seriously….it was really awful, and faintly yellowed teeth. I initially ascribed most of this to my workout regime (the teeth thing I knew had to be so much tea), but that couldn’t really explain everything, so I figured I would do some research into green tea, since that was the main difference between my routine here, and my routine there.

What i found

I found that green tea was a sort of super drink, basically the perfect blend of stimulant, anti-‘bad stuff’, and something that tasted good (cause everyone knows green tea tastes way better than other healthy stuff like kale). It turned out that green tea helps protect the body from inflammation, cancer, mental decline, just to name a few. And in the years since 2010, even more studies have come out showing green tea’s ability to strengthen the heart, suppress appetites, and even improve joint mobility in people suffering from arthritis and other degenerative diseases.

Dosing

The dosing for different conditions green tea can help with varies, but a handful of the ones that have been clinically verified are below courtesy of Drugs.com. I’m not going to lie – a handful of these more technical terms mean nothing to me, but the bottom line I am getting from it all is that you really don’t even need very much green tea to start seeing positive results.

Anogenital warts: Topical application of sinecatechins (polyphenon E 10% or 15%) was used for up to 16 weeks in a clinical study.

Cardiovascular risks: Green tea catechins or extract (160 to 2,488 mg/day) have been used in trials, often in divided dosages (treatment duration, 2 weeks to 3 months).

Cognitive impairment: Two 430 mg capsules (each capsule containing green tea extract 360 mg and L-theanine 60 mg) administered twice daily, 30 minutes after meals, for 16 weeks (total daily green tea extract dose, 1,440 mg; total daily L-theanine dose, 240 mg).

Depression: 2 to 4 or more cups/day of green tea has been used to lower the prevalence of depressive symptoms.

Diabetes: An EGCG dosage range of 84 to 386 mg/day may be adequate to support glucose homeostasis, based on available literature.

Obesity: ECGC 400 mg twice daily for 8 weeks was used in one clinical trial; green tea extract tablets (containing 125 mg of catechins) and a daily green tea catechin beverage (containing 625 mg of catechins) have also been used in studies of overweight and obese adults.

Where to go now

I don’t know about you – but when I found out all this, I decided that I needed to make green tea a part of every day, and now have the equivalent of about six cups of green tea a day between my supplements, and actual cups of tea. If you are looking for a supplement that is an easy way to get your green tea extract, along with a bunch of other clinically verified anti-inflammatory compounds, check out my Indiegogo page. If you are looking for something else awesome to read, check out my future of space blog, where you can learn about the everyday sort of things people are going to be dealing with over the next 100 years in space.

Either way – enjoy today, and make sure you bring your full self to life!

Sourcing – Still Not Making This Shit Up

Tea flavonoids and cardiovascular disease: a review. Tijburg LB, Mattern T, Folts JD, Weisgerber UM, Katan MBCrit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1997 Dec; 37(8):771-85.

Therapeutic potential of inhibition of the NF-kappaB pathway in the treatment of inflammation and cancer. Yamamoto Y, Gaynor RBJ Clin Invest. 2001 Jan; 107(2):135-42.

NF-kappa B and Rel proteins: evolutionarily conserved mediators of immune responses. Ghosh S, May MJ, Kopp EBAnnu Rev Immunol. 1998; 16():225-60.

The importance of using scientific principles in the development of medicinal agents from plants. Talalay P, Talalay PAcad Med. 2001 Mar; 76(3):238-47.

Its Time for Indian Takeout

If you are at all like me (which lets be honest you probably are because you are 1. reading | 2. a human | 3. breathing | 4. amazingly good looking | 5. really good at being awesome), then you enjoy Indian food. I know I know, I said I was going to be posting about ways to help fight inflammation, and I will – stick with me.

Turmeric

So back to Indian food – one of the key ingredients in about 93% of all Indian food (and American mustard) is Turmeric. It is a yellow spice that comes from the Curcuma longa, root (whatever that means), and has been used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes at least as long as people have bothered to keep track. Turmeric has also been used as a herbal remedy for almost as long.

I like to imagine the first use of turmeric for medicine went something like this:

THE ‘OFficial’ first use of turmeric for medicine

Damnit Akshat!!! How many times have I told you that running through the garden ruins food! You know I have been working hard to make sure there is enough of the Curcuma for your sister’s wedding later this year, and now you went and sprained your ankle. Here – just chew on one of these roots for a while and get out of my way. Of course it will help – mother always knows best (well it will at least help me get you out of my garden)

The next day

Akshat – I thought you said your ankle was sprained – how are you able to walk so well? And how is there not more swelling? And where did the root go that I gave you to chew on – I need that for dinner tonight.

From there this mother took what ‘cured’ her son of swelling and began selling it in the market as a cure for stupid and or injured man children. And the age of humans using turmeric to fight inflammation began

But How Does It Work

So turmeric has an active ingredient curcumin (no not the spice cumin that you are using right now in your taco recipe – although similarly tasty), and this ingredient has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Clinical studies have found curcumin, when taken multiple times a day, in doses ranging from 400mg to 600mg per dose, offers protection against certain cancers, reduces the symptoms of osteoarthritis (there is limited research suggesting it also helps rheumatoid arthritis, but more is needed), fights the inflammation causing IBS (inflammatory bowl syndrome) and help stabilize blood sugar. There is also anecdotal evidence that curcumin protects neurons from the protein buildup which causes Alzheimer’s (research into this is ongoing in mice, but initial results are positive).

Great – but does it do more harm than good?

So the short answer is no – Turmeric is extremely safe for the majority of people. If you have a family (or personal) history of liver disease then you should probable avoid turmeric just to be safe though. Also, there is insufficient research into the safety of turmeric with pregnant women, so might as well err on the side of avoiding it so long as you are toting around that spare human.

I have been taking turmeric for about six years now, and have noticed a little heartburn if I take more than the recommended dose, but that could be a vestige of years of taking pain medications weakening my stomach lining.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about another awesome extract that I am a huge fan of — Green Tea — until then – you all stay classy, and don’t forget to bring your full selves to life.

Sources – no i didn’t just make all this up 🙂

American Cancer Society – cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/HerbsVitaminsandMinerals/turmeric

Consumerlab. consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=21874

Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimum Health, by Andrew Weil.

Natural Database – naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=NONMP&s=ND&pt=100&id=662&fs=ND&searchid=37594816

If you are looking for a supplement that uses turmeric in the scientifically verified dose, with enough in a single bottle to let you take it at the clinical dose for a full month, check out my supplement Freedom over at Indiegogo.

Next time I’ll talk about green tea – or as I like to call it – the only good tea

The Epidemic…

If you’ve ever twisted your knee, cut your finger, or been stung by an insect, you have firsthand experience with inflammation. The familiar sensations of pain, redness, swelling, and heat that result from an injury or infection are hallmarks of the inflammatory process. Inflammation represents an essential survival mechanism that helps the body fight off hostile microbes and repair damaged tissue. Yet there is another side of inflammation that can be harmful rather than helpful to human health. There’s evidence that inflammation, promoted in part by such factors as obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle, contributes to a variety of diseases.

Types of Inflammation

There are two forms of inflammation: acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation comes on rapidly, usually within minutes, but is generally short-lived. Many of the mechanisms that spring into action to destroy invading microbes switch gears to cart away dead cells and repair damaged ones. This cycle returns the affected area to a state of balance, and inflammation dissipates within a few hours or days.

Chronic inflammation often begins with the same cellular response, but morphs into a lingering state that persists for months or years when the immune system response fails to eliminate the problem. Alternatively, the inflammation may stay active even after the initial threat has been eliminated. In other cases, low-level inflammation becomes activated even when there is no apparent injury or disease. Unchecked, the immune system prompts white blood cells to attack nearby healthy tissues and organs, setting up a chronic inflammatory process that plays a central role in some of the most challenging diseases of our time, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer’s.

Next Steps

This is truly an epidemic, and one that we know how to treat – but often choose to ignore.

I’ll be exploring ways the naturally treat inflammation in the coming posts, but suffice to say, it isn’t as hard as one might think. Like most solutions, it is actually fairly easy to take small steps that will yield, over time, life-changing effects.

If you want a scientifically verified way to help reduce inflammation, check out my Indiegogo campaign as I try to bring a new supplement to market.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fully-human-supplements

Size May Not Matter – But Time Does

Wake Up.

Pour caffeine into my face.

Wait 20 minutes.

Begin day.

Does this sound like the start of your day? Cause it is basically how every day starts for me. When I was younger there were more steps in the beginning of my day, whether it was eating breakfast (now that doesn’t happen until about 4 hours after I wake up), working out (that is now every other day), or, taking my supplements (now I take my supplements at noon and about 5pm). I want to talk about why I started taking my supplements towards the middle and end of my day here.

Part of the reason I switched was because taking so many pills all at once on an empty stomach really upset me, and made it hard to focus for about an hour after taking them. But the more significant reason is that I learned the time of day matters when taking anything that your body digests, whether supplement, medication or really even food. Once you stop and think about it, which I never did, it makes a lot of sense. The body takes a few hours to process whatever you consume, and then that takes a further amount of time (varies by compound), to build up to its full effectiveness.

For instance, a Kansas State study found that acid reflux medicine nearly twice as many people saw a dramatic reduction in their symptoms when they took their daily medication around dinnertime. This is because acid tends to build up as you eat, and peak shortly before bed, so taking medicine in the morning has significantly less impact than taking it when acid is near its high point.

Freedom is an anti-inflammation supplement, and research has shown that individuals benefit most from anti-inflammation drugs and supplements when taken at specific times. Those times vary depending on the source of inflammation.

Individuals suffering from osteoarthritis (like me), or other forms of inflammation that are the result of ‘use’ (exercise/other activities) have their symptoms peak in the evening. A Texas Tech University study found that the optimum time for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory interventions (supplements, ibuprofen…etc) is between about noon and 4pm. This allows the compound time to digest and reach its highest blood levels around the time you would be experiencing peak inflammation.

Sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammation from autoimmune diseases see their worst inflammation in the morning, and according to the same Texas Tech study, benefit most from taking their anti-inflammation drugs/supplements as close to bedtime as practical, in order to prevent overnight inflammation growth.