Oh dear, it seems more fish oil is needed here. I had to be reminded by a subscriber that last year I promised to discuss in a future newsletter the role of alpha-lipoic acid in reversing diabetic neuropathy. I have to admit that it had completely slipped my mind. So let me start with this before I forget again!
Alpha-lipoic acid may reverse diabetic neuropathy
Nerve damage is one of diabetes' most devastating complications and affects more than 50 percent of all diabetics. Its clinical manifestations include painful neuropathic symptoms and insensitivity, which increases the risk for burns, injuries and foot ulceration. Its typical course is relentlessly downhill and previously there were no effective medicines to treat it. But now there is hope.
During the past 10 years a number of experimental and clinical trials, using high doses of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), have recorded a significant improvement in symptoms of diabetic neuropathy in just 5 weeks. For example, in one of these trials researchers from Russia and Israel reported on a 5 week randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial using alpha lipoic acid in 181 patients suffering with high blood sugar and damaged nerve endings. They measured various symptoms including stabbing and burning pain, tingling and numbness in the feet in these patients who suffered with malfunction of the peripheral nerves. The groups that received alpha lipoic acid 600 mg to 1,800 mg daily had an overall reduction in symptoms by about 50% compared to the placebo group. (Diabetes Care. 2006 29: 2365-2370).
Fortunately, according to a meta-analysis that summarised data from 1160 patients involved in five different trials worldwide, a 1800mg dose - which is extremely high and also costly- is not necessary. It concludes that alpha-lipoic acid provided significant improvement in manifestations of distal symmetrical peripheral neuropathy (DSPN), the most common type of diabetic neuropathy, at just an oral dose of 600mg daily over 5 weeks and that this dosage provides the best benefit-to-risk ratio too. Not that there appears to be any danger in taking high-dose alpha-lipoic acid. In over 30 years of extensive use and testing in European clinical trials in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, there have been no reported side effects and as such ALA is an approved treatment for diabetic neuropathy in Germany.
So how does ALA improve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy? Well it is now a recognized fact that diabetes mellitus (type 1 and 2) is associated with increased formation of free radicals and decreased antioxidant potential, leading to oxidative damage of cell components. In fact substantial evidence suggests that most diabetics are subject to high oxidative stress and free radical production even when they control their blood sugar. So what is needed to neutralizes free radicals? Antioxidants of course! Enter alpha-lipoic acid, already back in the 1980s recognized as one of our most powerful antioxidants. Its potent antioxidant effect may be one way it helps heal a diabetic person's damaged nerves, however the healing effect could also be related to ALA's involvement in the conversion of glucose, fatty acids and other energy sources into ATP - the body's main energy-storage and transport molecule.
ALA is the only fat- and water-soluble antioxidant. It is produced by animals and humans, and can be found in liver, kidneys, beef, spinach and broccoli. It is difficult, however, to obtain therapeutic amounts of this vitamin-like substance through diet alone. Instead, many experts recommend using supplements to get the full benefits of alpha lipoic acid. Always look for R-ALA as it is the natural, "fully active" form of lipoic acid, which is metabolized more efficiently and with much greater potency that the synthetic S and LS forms.
Apart from improving nerve damage and reducing pain associated with it, ALA has long been used for it glucose-lowering effects. Oral administration of alpha-lipoic acid may improve insulin sensitivity by 25% after 4 weeks of treatment in patients with type-2 diabetes. For this reason a doctor will want to closely monitor a diabetic patient choosing to use ALA. It should also be noted that 600 mg/day doses are mainly used for diabetic neuropathy. Lower doses of just 100-150mg daily can be effective in diabetes blood sugar control, especially when included with other products such as gymnema, vanadium, bitter melon, fenugreek, cinnamon and chromium (which itself helps prevent and possibly reverse diabetic neuropathy).
Conclusion: Antioxidant effects of compounds such as ALA may be particularly useful in slowing the development of diabetic complications such as diabetic neuropathy and given the growing evidence for increased oxidative stress and inflammatory pathways activated in diabetes, it seems we need to consider a paradigm shift to target these processes when treating diabetic complications.
Help for Herpes
Herpes on the face or lips can be a frustrating condition to deal with in many individuals. Sufferers will know that all herpes viruses share a characteristic ability to remain latent within the body over long periods and flare up when you least need them to. Fortunately there are ways to control outbreaks and perhaps the best known one is the use of L-lysine. This is an amino acid, and when used in doses of 3000mg three times per day for an acute infection, will help get rid of the lesions quickly.
The University of Maryland Medical Centre recommends that adults suffering from a herpes infection should take 3,000 to 9,000 mg per day in divided doses. To prevent recurrences, 1,000 mg three times per day can be continued after the outbreak of symptoms has cleared. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids and Zinc help the skin to repair, regenerate and heal more efficiently. Bioflavonoids improve the absorption of Vitamin C. These supplements can help reduce outbreaks.
An ointment that will also speed up healing is RMA Healing Ointment, a Natural Vibrance product, which contains Gigartina Red Marine Algae extract. The polysaccharides in these algae have a unique ability to suppress oral and genital herpes viruses as well as closely related chicken pox, shingles and cytomegaloviruses.
Just add water
Ever felt some days that your brain just isn’t working and you experience difficulty completing the simplest task? There could be a simple reason for this. You may be dehydrated. Step up your water intake and you may well find your brain function is quickly revived. It is common knowledge that just relatively mild dehydration can adversely affect mood and concentration and be the cause of fatigue, brain fog and headaches. How much should you drink? Enough to ensure your urine stays a pale yellow colour throughout the day. Usually in the region of about 30ml per kg of body weight.
But jokes aside: Remember the more times you pass through the golden gates of MacDonalds the closer you get to the pearly gates of heaven!
Government really needs to put a tax on junk food and soft drinks to combat the obesity epidemic.
Squaring up to Roundup
Here is more reason to grow our own food organically in our back yards. A recent study published in the Journal of Toxicology in Vitro has found that, even at very low levels, Monsanto's herbicide formula Roundup destroys testosterone and ultimately leads to male infertility. The findings add to the more than 25 other diseases known to be linked to Roundup, which include DNA damage, birth defects, liver dysfunction, and cancer.
The findings revealed that even at one ppm, which is an extremely low dose, Roundup was responsible for causing severe endocrine disruption that reduced testosterone levels by 35 percent. And worst is you do not need to be the person holding the pesticide spray gun. Because it's a systemic pesticide and sprayed in high doses, produce and fruit and nut trees often take up the poison into the parts of the food we eat. Roundup has also been shown to have seeped into rivers and ground water supplies. Contrary to what Monsanto likes to claim, there is no safe exposure level to Roundup.
Monsanto and others are producing some of the deadliest pesticides on the planet. These pesticides are slowly killing people (everyday) and damaging our environment for generations to come. Pesticides, like 2,4-D, the most commonly used pesticide world-wide, can be stored in your colon where they will slowly start to poison you to death. Believe it or not, apples are sprayed with around 30 different toxic pesticides. They have to be resistant to rain so don’t think you can just wash them off with water.
The Environmental working group has come out with their ‘dirty dozen’ foods which are most highly contaminated with pesticides and those with the lowest amount of pesticides. In the first list of ‘baddies’ are the following foods: Peaches, Apples, Sweet Bell peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Pears, Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce, and Potatoes. The ‘goodies’ include the following: Onions, Avocado, Sweet Corn (Frozen), Mango, Asparagus, Peas (frozen), Kiwi Fruits, Bananas, Cabbage, Broccoli, Papaya.
According to the report one can lower pesticide exposure by 90% by just avoiding the top 12 ‘baddies’ and eating the least contaminated ones. Washing and peeling does reduce some of the pesticides ingested, but peeling also removes many nutrients. Seems, if you want to be healthy you simply have to look for truly organic produce, or grow it yourself, or do regular detoxes. Your life literally depends on a clean, healthy intestinal tract.
A weapon of mass destruction
Despite a global outcry over genetically modified (GM) crops, South Africa continues to be the dumping ground for this horrid distortion of nature. Read this to know what is happening in our own beloved country.
New guidelines for statin use
The FDA does from time to time revise warnings issued with prescription medications. New guidelines have come out for the risks of statin use, in which the FDA draws our attention to the evidence which links statin use with impaired blood sugar control, and the guidelines warn doctors and patients alike about this. Raised blood sugar levels may ultimately lead someone down a path to type 2 diabetes. However, even in the absence of type 2 diabetes, raised blood sugar levels can damage the body and are associated with an enhanced risk of chronic disease and death. The FDA guidelines also highlight the fact that statins can, in some, induce mental problems such as memory loss and confusion, telling us that: “There have been rare post-marketing reports of cognitive impairment (e.g., memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, confusion) associated with statin use. These reported symptoms are generally not serious and reversible upon statin discontinuation.” Nice to be forewarned but personally I wouldn’t like to take the risk. If you have loved ones using statins please make them aware of these most recent warnings. Never underestimate the importance of being informed.
Some interesting Nutrient Drug Interactions
Statin drugs deplete CoQ10, beta-carotene, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, folic acid, zinc, phosphorous, vitamins A, B12, E, K, & D.
Diuretics deplete B1 and minerals like magnesium, potassium & calcium.
(You may have seen this before but if not then I just have to share it with you as it made such an impact on me - Lynne)
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it. 2. I wish I didn't work so hard. This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle. 3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result. We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win. Tell people how you feel about them, whether you love them, disagree with them or want to help them. 4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying. It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships. 5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
A word of thanks to my Vice-Breaker partners!
Last month I asked you to help me in my mission to help smokers to quit by sending them to the www.quitsmokingnaturally.co.za website. Well many of you did just that and all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you! I was amazed at how many smokers contacted me who said they had been directed to my Vice-Breaker website by someone who had passed my newsletter onto them. The power of networking was truly evident. To all my helper elves out there, you know who you are, and I wish you the same joy I experience when you hear that you have helped a friend kick their addiction to nicotine and put them on a path to health instead of illness.
As per usual I have attached my latest product list. Note the new monster-sized See Yourself Well Omega-3 capsules. 300 capsules will suit families in which a few members are taking these daily or for those taking high doses. Do the sums to see how this works out more economical per capsule.
Until we chat again, choose health, choose life.
Nutritional Therapist (BSc (Hons) HDE, Dip Clin Nutr) The Orchards Nutrition Centre - Somerset East Tel: 042 243 0339 Cell: 084 531 0786 Email: email@example.com