Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bisphenol A and Blood Pressure

An article by Jessica Tran in the March 2015 issue of the Natural Medicine Journal discusses a trial looking at bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and blood pressure. The trial involved 60 volunteers who either drank 2 servings of soy milk from glass bottles or from BPA lined cans. The volunteers consumed the drinks on 3 separate occasions and fasted for 8 hours prior to drinking the soy milk and had no other food or drink for 2 hours after. Their urinary BPA concentration and blood pressure were measured each time 2 hours after the volunteers drank the soy milk.  The volunteers who drank from the BPA lined cans were found to have a 1600% increase in urinary BPA concentration and a 4.5 mmHg increase in blood pressure compared to the volunteers who drank from the glass bottles.  Even though this isn't a huge increase in blood pressure, it can still be significant for many of us.  This trial provides another valuable reason to aim to limit our exposure to BPA (and an additional strategy to manage our blood pressure).  Ways to do this include: storing food and drinks in glass or stainless steel containers, limiting our consumption of food from BPA lined cans, limiting our exposure to cash register receipts (which contain BPA).  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chondroitin/Glucosamine and Osteoarthritis

In the April 2015 issue of the Natural Medicine Journal, author Sarah Bedell Cook discusses the impact that chondroitin and glucosamine can have on osteoarthritis symptoms in comparison to commonly prescribed medications (specifically cyclooxygenase 2, or COX-2, selective inhibitors) like Celebrex. The article focuses on the MOVES trial which involved 606 participants (who were primarily white women, mean age 63 years old). All the participants had osteoarthritis of the knee and experienced moderate to severe pain.   The participants either took 400 mg of chondroitin sulfate and 500 mg of glucosamine hydrochloride 3 times per day or 200 mg of Celebrex 1 time per day for 6 months. The participants were evaluated at 1, 2, 4, and 6 months for change in pain score as measured by the WOMAC index (as well as stiffness, joint swelling, and acetaminophen use). Celebrex was more effective at reducing pain score at the 1, 2, and 4 month follow-up, but at the 6 month follow-up, the chondroitin/glucosamine combination was found to be as effective as Celebrex in reducing pain score. There have been other studies that have not shown pain improvement with chondroitin/glucosamine, but this study does provide encouraging information that taking chondroitin/glucosamine at a therapeutic dosage (approximately 3000 mg per day) for an extended period of time (6 months) does have the potential to reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis. Some additional interesting points that Bedell Cook brings up in the article include that chondroitin has been shown to be more effective than glucosamine at reducing pain in previous studies and that glucosamine sulfate, rather than hydrochloride (which is what is used in the MOVES trial), has shown to be the more effective pain reducing form. This extra info can help to fine tune our choices around which of these supplements/which forms of these supplements are the best to integrate for osteoarthritis support. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Additional Testing to Consider

It is important to have a yearly physical and blood work done - it serves as a marker of how our system is doing each year and provides an insight into what is happening, internally, for our body.  It is also helpful to request a personal copy of any blood work results, or diagnostic imaging results, so we can be informed about our own health.

There are a number of non health care covered tests we can also consider to gain further insight into what is happening for our selves, health wise.  Some additional tests include:  

- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) breath test to determine if we are positive for hydrogen and/or methane based SIBO

- Urine element analysis which provides insight into essential and toxic element (heavy metals) levels

- Urine environmental pollutants analysis which provides insight into phthalate, paraben, volatile organic compound (VOCs) levels

- Reproductive hormone salivary testing which provides insight into estradiol (estrogen), progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol levels 

- 4 point cortisol salivary testing which provides insight into adrenal function throughout the day

- Genomic testing which provides insight into whether we carry variants of genes that make certain foods more difficult for us to manage and increase our risk of developing nutrition related chronic diseases/concerns 

- IgG food sensitivity testing which provides insight into whether there are foods that place extra stress on our immune system and overall health in general

- Organic Acid testing which provides insight into yeast/fungal and bacterial overgrowth, as well nutrient deficiencies, mitochondrial function, and brain neurotransmitter balance

- Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis which provides insight into how the digestive tract is functioning, yeast and parasite overgrowth, and beneficial bacteria balance