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Acupuncture as an Acid Reflux Natural Remedy Fact or Fiction?

Posted in Acid reflux on November 4th, 2008

With the risk of side effects and the desire to avoid chemicals and drugs, an acid reflux natural remedy is an attractive solution for many heartburn sufferers. 

For this reason and the increased interest in Chinese Medicine many people wonder if there’s evidence behind the acupuncture therapies that are offered by many practitioners. 

Firstly, let me say that it’s hard to tell whether acupuncture will work for you, as there are so many different causes of the condition and everyone reacts differently.

However, within the past few years, there has been significant interest in this topic by the medical community. For example a Taiwanese gastroenterologist recently undertook two acupuncture experiments that were designed to study the effectiveness of traditional eastern medicine as an acid reflux natural remedy. 

The study was published in the August 2005 issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology by Dr. Duowu Zhou, Wei Hao Chen, Katsuhiko Iwakiri, Rachael Rigda, Marcus Tippett and Richard H. Holloway of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia.

In the two experiments it was reported that the transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESR’s), which directly effects acid reflux, were inhibited by electrical acupoint stimulation.  This is a high-tech version of the traditional acupuncture procedure.  The two experiments used stimulation that was barely felt on the Neiguan acupoint found on the wrist. 

This stimulation reduced transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations by a surprising 40% from 6 an hour to just to three and a half an hour.  It was also significantly higher than the placebo group, which received “sham” stimulation on the hip, which lowered TLESR’s by only 0.02 times per hour.

Of course, whether or not acupuncture would work for you is dependent upon your own unique condition.  You may want to try the therapy more than once to test whether or not it will be successful in your own case.  You may also want to try traditional forms of acupuncture as an acid reflux natural remedy. It has also been shown to be successful and is typically less expensive than the electrical acupoint stimulation.  Moreover, it is more likely to be covered by your health insurance policy.

Acupuncture has been an acid reflux natural remedy for over two thousand years in Chinese medicine.  The traditional form has been used up until and including current times to battle the symptoms of GERD, including pain, burning, nausea, and vomiting.  Modern research has suggested – as in the case of the experiments at the Royal Adelaide Hospital – that acupuncture functions by altering the way that nerve cells signal one another, and can influence the way the central nervous system releases certain chemicals in the body.  It is the recent study, though, that is the first to give evidence that it can, indeed, benefit the function of the lower esophageal sphincter.

Though the study used electro-acupoint instead of the stimulation of needles as the acid reflux natural remedy, the researchers don’t see any reason that they should not offer similar results overall as they both apply stimulation to a specific acupuncture point.

As an alternative to acupuncture, with needles or electric stimulation, you could try acupressure. This involves applying pressure on acupuncture points with your fingers and thumbs. You could try this at home by applying pressure to the Neiguan or P6 point on your wrist. This is located on the inside of the wrist between the 2 large tendons. To find the spot for this acid reflux natural remedy hold your hand out and bend it toward you, the Neiguan or P6 point is in the middle of the wrist about two finger-widths from where the hand and wrist meet.

Grab your free copy of Kathryn Whittaker’s brand new Acid Reflux & GERD Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find effective acid reflux home remedies and for information on tackling acid reflux symptoms please visit Stop Acid Reflux Now

Acid Reflux Medication Can Increase Your Risk of Osteoporosis

Posted in Health & Fitness on October 3rd, 2008

Choosing the right acid reflux medication for your needs isn’t always easy.  After all, there are many causes and symptoms to consider.  Furthermore, you need to find the right one that works for you.  And that process just got more challenging as researchers have found that some heartburn drugs put users at a greater risk of osteoporosis. 

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones begin to lose their density (bone mineral density or BMD), placing the sufferer at increased risk of a fracture or break. It’s a condition that typically occurs as we age when the body is less able to regenerate healthy new bone.

Although it may not look it, bone is actually living tissue that is constantly renewing itself. It’s made up of a hard outer shell that contains collagen, minerals and blood vessels, as well as a softer core of bone marrow.

Bones are kept healthy and renewed by a supply of proteins and minerals absorbed from the blood, including calcium.

Specifically, it is proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) among the commonly prescribed acid reflux medications that put people at a higher risk of osteoporosis, according to a 2008 Canadian study.  Proton pump inhibitors are drugs that stop the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach in order to reduce damage caused by acid reflux or GERD.

The study examined 63,000 people aged fifty or older and looked into their medical records, prescription records, and other relevant elements.  Among the group, 15,300 had fractures from osteoporosis, including those of the hip, spine, and wrist.

 The participants in the study who had histories of fractures from osteoporosis were almost two times more likely to have used proton pump inhibitors for a minimum of seven years in comparison with other study participants. And sixty two percent of those participants in the study with hip fractures had used proton pump inhibitors for a minimum of five years.  However, there was no evidence that the short-term use of proton pump inhibitors would increase the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures.

It should be noted that it is not the proton pump inhibitors that actually cause the fractures.

The study showed only that there is a link between the acid reflux medication and fractures due to osteoporosis.    The researchers believe that as the PPI’s block the stomach’s hydrochloric acid, the body’s ability to absorb calcium may be impaired, leading to – or worsening – osteoporosis.  However, more study is required to either prove or disprove this hypothesis.

Though the precise link between the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors and osteoporosis-related fractures has yet to be determined, there is enough evidence that should encourage you to discuss the risk of osteoporosis and related fractures with your doctor before starting to use proton pump inhibitors – especially over a longer period of time.  Commonly prescribed PPI acid reflux medication includes:  Prisolex, Aciphex, Nexium, Protonix, and Prevacid.

If you’re currently prescribed a PPI to control acid reflux it important to continue with your medication unless otherwise advised by a medical professional. If you have concerns over the long term use of PPI’s then raise your concerns at your next doctors visit.

When you speak with your doctor, you will need to work together to decide whether the benefits of taking PPIs outweigh the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures.  You may decide to take proton pump inhibitors as a temporary acid reflux medication while other potential life changes or drugs are decided upon. 

Those who are most at risk of being effected by this issue are people who are taking or who are about to begin taking PPIs and either have osteoporosis or are at risk of the disease. 

Less powerful acid reflux medication may be a better solution for these people.  For example, histamine blockers (also known as H2 anatgonists) are able to effectively treat GERD and its related symptoms.  Though they are often less effective than proton pump inhibitors, they are not linked to osteoporosis fractures when used over the long term.

Alternatively you may wish to do away with acid reflux medication altogether (don’t forget to speak to your doctor first). This approach is successful for many thousands of people who rely on nothing more than small changes in their diet and some simple home remedies to keep symptoms at bay.

Grab your free copy of Kathryn Whittaker’s brand new Acid Reflux & GERD Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find out about the dangers of acid reflux medication and why you don’t need to rely on them for acid reflux relief. Instead discover a home remedy for acid reflux

Acid Reflux Weight Loss – Part 2: How a Diet for GERD Can Equal Sweet Relief

Posted in Health & Fitness on September 5th, 2008

Creating a diet for GERD and weight loss at the same time can take a bit of time to develop, but is well worth the effort when you discover the difference it can have to your acid reflux and other GERD symptoms.  Typically, the hardest part is making the initial decision and then setting your initial goal.  From then on, it’s a step-by-step process that depends only on you and your will power for success.

A diet for GERD will normally mean your lifestyle will be changing in terms of your eating and activity habits. Breaking old habits can be challenging its important to remember that it’s not impossible, and that you are ready to take control over your acid reflux symptoms.

To ensure your success, ask yourself a few questions. These should not only be posed when you first get started, but also whenever you feel your motivation slipping, so may want to write them down and keep them handy:

- How important is it to you to get your GERD symptoms (as well as your weight) under control?  What difference will the lost weight have in the way you look and feel?  How will your health improve with some lost pounds?  Write a list of your answers and refer back to it whenever you need incentive to keep up the good work.

- Have you ever lost weight or tried to lose weight?  If you are like most people, this isn’t the first time you’ve made the effort to shed a few pounds.  However, even if you were unsuccessful in the past, or if you put the weight back on again, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it this time.  The trick is to make lifestyle changes, not just try to lose weight for a specific time, allowing yourself to return to old habits afterward.  Take gradual steps and build the right eating and exercise routine for your life in a way that you can handle over time.

- Seek out friends and family who will support you or even take on their own weight loss initiative to keep you company.  Activities like weight loss or a change in lifestyle are much easier to achieve when you have someone helping you out along the way.   You’ll benefit from each other’s support and motivation.

- Make sure that you understand all of the ways in which your life will benefit from the weight loss. Remind yourself of each of the acid reflux symptoms that will be decreased by your diet for GERD.  List the health risk that will decrease when you lose weight.  Don’t forget all of the other health benefits you’ll enjoy when you lose weight.  Furthermore, you’ll look and feel better and you’ll have a higher energy level.

- Make the commitment to take care of yourself.  Love yourself and care for yourself.  Be willing to spend time and effort on your behalf. 

- Be certain that you’re starting a diet for GERD at the right time in your life.  If you’ve just gone through an extremely stressful event (such as a wedding, a move, a new job, a divorce, etc), though weight loss would be good for you there is a risk that your motivation may be compromised.  Avoid trying to start your new weight loss effort when you’re undergoing unusual amounts of stress.

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions and given yourself some honest answers, you’ll be able to move on to the next step for your diet for GERD.  With your motivation high its time to cover some diet basics. The key to losing weight successfully is a simple equation:

Less Calories + More Exercise = Weight Loss

There is any number of diets you could choose to follow; however the key is to take into account your GERD symptoms when choosing one. So now that you have your motivations and your goals, you can take the time to find out what your acid reflux weight loss program will look like and how you’ll be fitting it into your life.

Grab your free copy of Kathryn Whittaker’s brand new Acid Reflux & GERD Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find out about why a diet for GERD works. And for information on acid reflux foods that are suitable to eat please visit Stop Acid Reflux Now

Does Your Child Have a History of Autism and Seizures?

Posted in Health & Fitness on August 8th, 2008

If your child has a history of autism, then you will want to watch for one of the more serious symptoms: seizures.  The first thing that you will have to learn if your autistic child experiences  seizures is how to recognize an emergency.  The following conditions make a seizure an emergency:

- If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, or if there are several seizures in a row without a full recovery occurring between them.

- Breathing difficulty that persists.  Though it is common for an autistic child to look as though he or she has briefly stopped breathing during the seizure, breathing should quickly resume.

- If there are any injuries sustained during the seizure.

- Confusion or unconsciousness that persists.

- If it is your child’s first seizure.

- If your child has a history of seizures, but there is a significant change in the typical pattern, type, symptoms, or length of the seizure.

The occurrence of autism and seizures together is relatively common.  The Journal of Child Neurology published a study called “Prospective preliminary analysis of the development of autism and epilepsy in children with infantile spasms” (Askalan R, et al) which showed that by puberty, 25 percent of autistic children will develop seizures. It is not known why the incidence of seizures increases so dramatically with adolescence.  The study also showed a connection between babies who experience West Syndrome, which causes infantile spasms, and children who will later receive an autism diagnosis.

Autistic children who are at the highest risk for seizures are those who also have specific neurological conditions, for example, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, and untreated phenylketonuria.

Many parents of autistic children who display unusual behaviors often struggle to recognize the difference between these behaviors and seizures, or whether their children are indeed having seizures at all.  After all, some autistic behaviors can include sudden repetitive movements or swaying, as well as a decreased awareness of his or her surroundings.  This can be exactly what a seizure looks like, depending on the person.

To tell the difference between these unusual behaviors and seizures, use the following information:

- Seizures occur suddenly without being provoked by a specific occurrence.  On the other hand, unusual behaviors are usually brought about by frustration, fear, anger, or as a consequence of a certain event.

- Seizures will usually follow a type of pattern within one person, though the length and intensity may differ from time to time. However, autism behaviors will often vary in their movements and mannerisms.

- Seizures are often accompanied with a sensation of cold or fear and are frequently followed by weakness, headache, or exhaustion.  After a seizure, it is unlikely that an autistic child will simply resume an activity right away.

- Similar to staring ‘off into space’ of an autistic child, absence attacks are a form of small seizure that cause a loss of consciousness for 10 seconds or less, and may involve some mild facial movements or eye blinking.  Lip smacking or shuddering may also occur in more complex partial seizures.  These people would not respond to any environmental stimuli.  However, an autistic child displaying staring mannerisms will.

If your child has a history of autism and you believe that he or she may be having seizures, it is important to speak to your doctor or pediatrician right away to discuss the severity of the seizures as well as possible treatments and preventative measures.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family learn how to cope with a history of autism seizures and for information on different types of autism please visit The Essential Guide To Autism

Is B6 and Magnesium Therapy Right for Your Autistic Child?

Posted in Health & Fitness on July 11th, 2008

Recently, there has been a movement among some parents of autistic children toward a therapy that involves the use of Vitamin B6 and Magnesium.  However, before jumping on the bandwagon, it is a good idea to know what is involved in the treatment and understand the pros and cons of treating a child with substantial doses of vitamins and minerals. 

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is considered to be an essential vitamin.  The term essential means that it is one required by the human body in order to properly function, but that cannot be produced on its own by the body.  Therefore, Vitamin B6 must be obtained through food, supplements, or other means.  This specific vitamin is required in order for the body to perform over sixty different biological processes.  When the body receives Vitamin B6, it converts it into pyroxidal-5-phosphate (PLP), which is an enzyme that is used in order to obtain the energy from within starches, and to break proteins down into more useable forms.  PLP is also necessary for brain chemical production.

Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral.  Again it is vital for the health of the body but is not something the body can produce on its own.  It is crucial for the health of every one of the body’s cells, as well as for brain and muscle cell function.  Though it is rare for a magnesium deficiency to occur, a 2006 study published in the Biol Trace Elem Res Journal, called “Magnesium Profile in Autism”, by M. Strambi (et al.) suggested that children with autism may actually suffer from too little magnesium in their bodies.

Because of the essential element of these two vitamins/minerals, some parents feel that supplementing a child’s magnesium and vitamin B6 intake is a viable alternative autism therapy.  If you are considering choosing a vitamin B6 and magnesium therapy for your own child, please consult your child’s doctor or pediatrician to find out if it is a therapy that may work well with your child’s unique needs, and to find the appropriate dose for your child’s age, weight, and requirements.

It should be noted that this therapy is considered to be somewhat controversial.  There have been two very small yet well controlled studies – one by L. Tolbert (et al.) published in the Journal of Autism Dev. Disorders in 1993, “Brief Report: Lack of response in an autistic population to a low dose clinical trial of pyridoxine plus magnesium”, and the study by R. L. Findling (et al.) from the same journal but in 1997, “High-dose pyridoxine and magnesium administration in children with autistic disorder: an absence of salutary effects in a double blind, placebo-controlled study” – which showed absolutely no impact on autism with low and high doses of vitamin B6 and magnesium. 

However, there was one more substantial, yet less effectively controlled study -  J. Martineau (et al.) in 1985’s Biological Psychiatry journal, “Vitamin B6, magnesium, and combined B6-Mg: therapeutic effects in childhood autism” – which showed that when used in combination, vitamin B6 and magnesium have a significant behavioral impact, though neither of those substances alone appears to make a difference.

Before beginning this kind of therapy, you should know that high doses of vitamin B6 pose the risk of nerve problems.  However, there have been no reported significant side effects regarding autistic children taking vitamin B6 and magnesium supplements.  At over 600 mg per day, magnesium can be toxic, but when taken in moderate amounts (200 mg per day) no significant side effects have been reported.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find out about B6 and Magnesium for autism and for information on other autism supplements please visit The Essential Guide To Autism

Teaching Children with Autism Better Verbal Communication Skills

Posted in Health & Fitness on June 13th, 2008

Children with autism commonly face problems with verbal communication.  This is usually due to the frequent speech and language problems associated with the disorder.  Though the actual reason that these problems are faced by autistic children is unknown, many experts believe that they are the result of several conditions occurring before, during, or after the child’s birth that have had an impact on the development of the brain.  The inability to properly communicate verbally can make interpretation and interaction with the child’s world much more difficult.

The communication problems experienced vary from child to child, depending on the individual’s social and intellectual development.  While some may not be able to speak at all, others may maintain extensive vocabularies and can express themselves regarding complex topics.  However, most children with autism experience some form of communication difficulty usually with the appropriate use of the language, for example difficulty with intonation, rhythm, and word and sentence meaning.

Autistic children who are able to speak may say things without true information, expression, or content.  They are only words with no meaning to the situation. Others will use echolalia, where they simply repeat what they have heard, even if they have been asked a question.  And yet other autistic children will use delayed echolalia, using the question previously posed in order to ask for what they want.  For example, a child who had earlier been asked “are you hungry?” may say “are you hungry” at a later time to express his or her hunger.

Many autistic children will have a stock of phrases that they use in specific conditions.  For example, a child may introduce him or herself at the beginning of every conversation.  Some autistic children learn scripts from television shows, commercials, books, or other recorded dialogues.

Autistic children able to speak can frequently speak extensively about a topic without the ability to actually converse with others. They may also make up a voice to use other than their own such as a robot voice, a deep voice, a squeaky voice or another similar type of alteration.

It is possible to help an autistic child to better his or her verbal communication skills with improvements made through the use of appropriate treatments.

The first step is to consult a speech and language pathologist in order to have your child’s communication skills evaluated.  Specific treatments suitable for your child may be recommended during this evaluation.

No single method of communication treatment has been universally found to improve all autistic children, but starting early increases the chances of significant improvements.  Try to target your child’s specific communication strengths and weaknesses.  Different forms of goal orientated therapy for useful communications are the most successful techniques, though not guaranteed to work for all children.  Periodic in-depth evaluations from a specialist are recommended for perfecting and altering the therapy to best work for your child’s unique needs. 

Many parents find that consulting physical and occupational therapists can also be very helpful for helping to reduce unwanted behaviors during communication, which are common hindrances to the development of skills.

Find out what your child best responds to: a structured behavior modification program, an in-home therapy program, or another type of therapy that utilizes reality-based situations as a foundation for the therapy. 

It may surprise you to discover that music therapy and sensory integration therapies may have a large impact on your child’s ability to use verbal communication.  This is because stimulation of the senses often helps to improve the child’s ability to respond to sensory information, and therefore helps him or her recognize what he or she is hearing through verbal communication and seeing through non-verbal communication.  The goal is to help improve the effectiveness of sensory understanding.

Medications may also improve an autistic child’s attention span, which in turn can help to improve verbal communication in your child.  However, with long-term medication use there is the possibility of undesirable side effects.

To be certain that your child is at his or her fullest potential, mineral and vitamin supplements, as well as a tailored diet, psychotherapy, and overcoming sleep challenges may greatly assist in focus and attention, which should help improve verbal communication.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find out about the different autism therapies and for information on autism verbal skills please visit The Essential Guide To Autism

Reducing Acid Reflux and Choking Spells

Posted in Health & Fitness on May 9th, 2008

Choking can be a very startling and upsetting experience for many acid reflux sufferers, both infants and adults alike.  The symptom of choking usually occurs at night when a person is sleeping, and choking is what tends to wake the person up who then usually violently coughs to clear their throat and catch their breath.

Why does acid reflux and choking occur?  When acid reflux occurs during sleep, the body’s natural defenses against reflux are deactivated.  For instance, you no longer have the ability to swallow saliva, which neutralizes acid, and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes, so it no longer blocks stomach acid from flowing into the esophagus.  The deactivation of natural defenses can not only lead to heartburn, but can also allow stomach acid to creep up the esophagus and pool in the throat, enabling it to flow up into the mouth and nose.  When this happens, the acid can be aspirated (sucked in when breathing), causing it to dribble into the lungs and windpipe, resulting in choking, and possible damage to the lungs.

There are a few factors that can cause acid reflux and choking at nighttime in adults.  The following is a breakdown of what these major factors are, followed by what can be done to treat the problem:

- Sleeping supine – If you are sleeping in a supine position (laying flat on your back), stomach acid can freely flow into the esophagus and remain there for an extended period of time.  This can cause heartburn, and can also lead to the acid rising further up the esophagus into the throat.  

Prevention Tip – Sleep with your head and shoulders elevated, about 3-6 inches above the mattress.  Use pillows to prop yourself up.  The idea is to place your body on a slight incline so that acid cannot reach your upper esophagus.  Sleeping on your left side may also prove beneficial as studies have found sleeping on your right side can make the problem worse. 

-  Sleeping in constricting clothing – Tight clothing that gathers at your waist places pressure on your stomach, and can force acid up and into your esophagus.

Prevention Tip - Wear loose fitting clothing/pajamas to bed and avoid pants, shorts, or underwear with tight elastic waistbands.  While sleeping you don’t want to cause any unnecessary aggravation that increases the risk of reflux or makes it worse.

- Eating before bed – Many people make the mistake of eating or drinking directly before bed.  Lying down too soon after eating slows down the digestion process, and sleeping on a full stomach dramatically increases the risk of heartburn, as well as acid reflux and choking.

Prevention Tip – Eliminate foods that trigger acid reflux symptoms (I.E. fatty and spicy foods, alcohol, etc.) from your regular diet, and avoid eating or drinking 2-3 hours before going to bed.  If you are thirsty, only drink water slowly in small amounts.

How can I prevent acid reflux and choking in my child?  Unfortunately, infants are also prone to acid reflux and the symptom of choking.  The main reason for this is because the LES is not fully developed in many infants younger than 18 months.  Signs of acid reflux in your infant include:

- Frequent spitting up combined with poor sleeping
- Extreme fussiness
- Frequent back or neck arching or stretching
- Refusal of food
- Slow weight gain
- Chronic sinus or ear infections

If your child has any of these symptoms you need to have him/her properly diagnosed by their pediatrician.  Acid reflux is very complicated to diagnose in children, and only your child’s pediatrician can make this diagnosis and determine what treatment is best for your child.  Never diagnose your child on your own.

Nevertheless should your infant have acid reflux and choking, the following are ways you can help prevent your little one from suffering:
- Modify the diet.  This may mean giving your child:
- Smaller and frequent meals
- Thickened formula with rice cereal
- No foods that trigger acid reflux such as citrus foods, tomato products, carbonated beverages, spicy foods, chocolate, etc.

- Hold the child in an upright position during feeding
- Keep the child in an upright position for a minimum of an half an hour after eating
- Lay the child so they are on an incline so their head and shoulders are slightly elevated.  This can be done using a wedge pillow.
- Your doctor may also prescribe medications.

Finally, anyone who is suffering from nighttime acid reflux and choking, or other symptoms, should speak to their doctor and obtain the necessary treatment to prevent symptoms from occurring, so that damage of the esophagus and/or lungs can be avoided.

Grab your free copy of Kathryn Whittaker’s brand new Acid Reflux & GERD Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find out about acid reflux and choking and for information on acid reflux relief please visit Stop Acid Reflux Now

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Which Cherries Are the Best Remedies for Gout?

Posted in Health & Fitness on April 18th, 2008

When it comes to remedies for gout, the first thing that comes to mind may not be cherries, but they are in fact one of the most popular “home remedies” for helping to treat and prevent gout.  In fact, cherries have been considered an effective gout treatment for more than fifty years.  It was in the early 1950’s that doctors in Texas began recognizing that regular consumption of cherries, lead to gout symptoms being reduced and increased time between attacks was observed.

It is not yet known whether cherries work for everyone, or whether only certain people can benefit from what cherries can do for the symptoms and attacks.  Though many people claim wonderful results, not everyone has had experiences that are equally as promising.

The benefit of the cherry remedies for gout comes from the fact that they contain anthocyanidins, which are a sub-class of flavonoids.  These flavonoids work to reduce the levels of uric acid in the body and decrease pain levels.  Anthocyanidins are also utilized as an ingredient in many NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

Cherries reduce uric acid levels (vital to treating gout) due to the property of anthocyanidins, which decreases the production of the enzyme, xanthine oxidase, that is crucial to the formation of uric acid.  Therefore, the body is not able to produce as much uric acid and so there is less to be accumulated and expelled. 

Cherries get their red or black color from their anthocyanidin content.  Many other fruits and vegetables also contain this colorful ingredient, however, cherries are high in  a specific anthocyanidin called cyanidin.  Every 100 grams of cherries contains about 75 milligrams of cyanidin, as well as other anthocyanidins called peonidin and pelargonidin.

A study by Michigan State University showed that anthocyanidins within cherries do indeed inhibit inflammation and pain and help with the expulsion of uric acid, without any side effects.  Therefore, they could be a very valuable natural gout treatment.

A smaller study performed by the United States Agricultural Research Service looked specifically at Bing (sweet) cherries.  This study showed that five hours after eating 45 of these cherries for breakfast, the following results occurred:

- Uric acid levels in the blood had slightly decreased
- Urate levels (uric acid) in the urine increased significantly
- There was a non-significant impact on inflammation, but it was still considered to be promising.

Overall, what can be counted on when cherries are regularly consumed as a remedy for gout is that uric acid levels in the body will be reduced, therefore increasing the chances of easing the symptoms and occurrence of gout.  Since this result is dependent on anthocyanidins, the cherries to look for are those that have the highest anthocyanidin levels. 

It is, easy to tell which cherries to choose to treat gout, since the darker the color of cherries (darker red or darker black), the higher they will be in the necessary flavonoids.

There are hundreds of different kinds of cherries, and all of them are considered to be beneficial to treating gout.  However, the sweet cherries have higher levels of anthocyanidins than sour/tart ones, the darker colored red and black ones have higher levels than the lighter ones, and the fresher they are, the more effective they are.

In the case of frozen cherries, there are fewer anthocyanidins, so more will need to be consumed for the same level of efficacy.  About one half pound (225 grams) of frozen cherries – that’s about 20 cherries – will be required.  Cherry juice will also work, as long as only pure black or red cherry juice is selected. Dried cherries also work well as remedies for gout.

Grab your free copy of Lisa McDowell’s brand new Gout Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find out about the best remedies for gout and for information on natural cures for gout please visit Cure Gout Now

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Can Papaya Remedy Heartburn?

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 27th, 2008

Once you understand the causes of heartburn you can then begin to remedy heartburn.  You will discover that there are many natural food remedies you can try.  Your choice of natural food medicine, whether it is a fruit or herb, depends on your preference, your health, and how well the substance works for treating your symptoms.

While there are many food remedies for heartburn, one fruit in particular that has been seen to be effective is papaya.   Papaya fruit comes from the tropical tree Carica papaya.  It has been used orally and topically for many years to treat a variety of health ailments such as fungal infections, skin sores, cholesterol, and toothaches.  However, despite its anti-inflammatory action, papaya is most widely recognized for the benefits it provides the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Papaya encourages digestion, eases indigestion and constipation, can remove parasites from the intestines, and remedy heartburn. 

How exactly does papaya alleviate heartburn?  The answer is Papain.  Papain is a digestive enzyme that exists within papaya.  Papain aids digestion and soothes the stomach.  It dissolves protein and reduces fats and carbohydrates, promoting a healthy acidic enzyme environment.    Papain is also called vegetable pepsin on occasion, because papain is very similar to pepsin which is created by the stomach to digest food.

How can you take papaya for heartburn?  Here are some ways you can use papaya to achieve heartburn relief:

- Eat ripe, raw fresh papaya fruit with your meal
- Eat ripe, raw fresh papaya for dessert
- Add papaya to your salad
- Drink papaya juice
- Make papaya part of a marinade
- Eat ripe, raw fresh papaya fruit with honey to treat an attack of heartburn.  You can also eat this sweet snack before meals and between meals as heartburn prevention.
- Eat dried papaya after meals (Note: dried papaya should only be eaten in moderation because the concentrated sugar in dried papaya can cancel out the heartburn relief the enzyme papain provides)
- Take papaya tablets or papaya seed extract to remedy heartburn symptoms.   You can also take these products before you eat your meals to prevent heartburn from occurring.

Where can I obtain papaya?  You can obtain papaya fruit in your local fruit market.  You can find papaya tablets and papaya seed extract in health stores.

What are the side effects of papaya?  Eating raw, unripe papaya fruit can negatively affect the mouth, esophagus, stomach or intestines by causing inflammation, irritation, pain or sores to occur in these areas.  Therefore, papaya should only be ingested when it is ripe.

How can you tell if a papaya is ripe?  A ripe papaya fruit has a creamy golden yellow appearance on the outside. The flesh of the fruit is a deep orange-yellow and has many black shiny seeds bunched together in its centre.  Ripe papaya fruit tastes juicy and sweet. 

You should also be aware that papaya may not be the best heartburn remedy if you suffer from an ulcer, as existing sores can become more inflamed.

Who should avoid taking papaya?  Papain may decrease the blood’s ability to clot and might interact with anti-blood clotting medications such as anticoagulants, and antiplatelets.  Aspirin can also slow blood clotting, as can the following herbs: danshen, ginger (in excessive amounts), devil’s claw, red clover, saw palmetto, horse chestnut, garlic, and eleuthero.  Thus, papaya should not be taken orally with any of the above medications or herbs.

Individuals who are allergic to latex should not use papaya as the fruit contains this substance.

If you are pregnant please consult your health professional before using papaya as a natural heartburn remedy.

Finally, make sure you consult your health care provider before choosing to remedy heartburn with papaya.

 Grab your free copy of Kathryn Whittaker’s brand new Acid Reflux & GERD Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find out about your heartburn remedy options and for information on other ways to gain acid reflux relief please visit Stop Acid Reflux Now.

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Newly Diagnosed with Gout Disease?

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 14th, 2008

Taking care of your feet is important if you have gout disease, but if you’ve never experienced gout before, and are suffering from it for the first time, you may have many questions regarding what gout is, and how to prevent it.  The following is basic information about gout that will help you better understand the disease and how you can stop it from recurring.

What is gout?  Gout is considered a form of arthritis or an acquired disease. Gout is characterized by a build up of uric acid levels in the blood, which eventually turn into uric acid crystals that are typically deposited into joints (I.E. big toe, ankles, knees, writs, fingers, elbows, etc.), causing the affected joints to become inflamed. 

Gout, especially the first occurrence, almost always attacks the big toe and causes the following symptoms:

- Sudden acute pain and throbbing in the joint
- Redness and swelling in the joint
- Difficulty moving the joint within its normal capacity
- Skin over the joint may feel tight as if it is being stretched

The attack usually happens in the middle of the night, and can last for many days (usually 3 -5 days) or weeks.  

Who is prone to gout disease?  Approximately 1 million Americans suffer from gout.  Though it occurs rarely in children and young adults, anyone can have a gout attack.  However, men aged 40 and older primarily sufferer from gout because they have higher levels of uric acid in their blood.  Uric acid is formed when purines are broken down in the body.  Purines exist in every cell of the body, and also exist in food we consume.  Too many purines increase the level of uric acid in the blood, which often makes it difficult for the body to eliminate all excess uric acid through urine.  Too much uric acid that triggers gout can be the result of:

- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Eating foods high in purines (I.E. seafood, organ meats, yeast, etc.)
- Crash diets
- Joint injury
- Obesity
- Hereditary factors (there is a 20% greater risk for those whose parents had gout)
- Menopause (women’s uric acid levels increase when their bodies change)
- Surgery
- Chemotherapy
- Certain medications (I.E. aspirin, cyclosporin A, nicotinic acid, etc.)

Can gout be treated?  Yes it can and should be treated.  Gout disease that is left untreated can lead to continuous flare-ups within an affected joint which can eventually cause the joint to be permanently damaged and deformed.  If you experience a gout flare-up see your doctor so he/she can monitor your progress and provide you with beneficial treatment options.

How can I prevent gout?  Once gout heals, it can reoccur, and the risk of recurring gout attacks increase with each case.  The best way to prevent gout disease flare ups is through the following methods:

Modify your diet – You need to find out what foods and beverages are rich in purines and limit or avoid them altogether.   If you are having difficulty creating a diet plan that works for you, it’s a good idea to visit a dietitian.

Lose weight – If you are overweight (above your healthy target weight for your age and height), you need to adopt a lifestyle change (diet and exercise program) so you can lose the excess weight in a healthy manner.  Speak to your doctor about your plans about losing weight before taking on any diet or exercise program as crash dieting can make gout worse.

Take care of your joints – Stretching exercises for your joints is extremely important because this helps to strengthen and improve circulation, which, in turn, helps to protect the joints from injury.  Taking care of joints in regards to your feet also means wearing proper supportive and comfortable shoes.

Medication – There are certain medications that your doctor may prescribe to help prevent recurrent gout attacks.

Be sure to bring up any of your questions or concerns regarding gout disease to your doctor.

Grab your free copy of Lisa McDowell’s brand new Gout Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find out about gout disease and for information on natural gout cures please visit Cure Gout Now