Magnesium Glycinate

Fibromyalgia Latin for “Muscle Fiber Pain”

Fibromyalgia Latin for “Muscle Fiber Pain”

The location of the nine paired tender points that comprise the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria for fibromyalgia.

The first thing I think about when I hear the dreaded diagnosis is something one of my professors in pharmacy school used to talk about at least once a semester. A diagnosis is a definition and not disease. What he meant was the nomenclature associated with some type of bodily dysfunction is nothing more than a moniker and designation. It tells nothing about what is occurring in the body or how to address it; it simply names it.
Fibromyalgia is the Latin term for “muscle fiber pain”. That means when you go to your doctor complaining of muscle pain and you leave with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, what your medical guru is basically doing is taking your complaint, translating it to a medieval dialect, giving you a pain medication or maybe an anti-depressant (!) and then billing you. This is a textbook example of how the medical model works. It can’t do anything real, but it can officiate your symptomology by sanctifying it with a Latin moniker.

It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. As you’ll recall at the end of the flick, the scarecrow, with a head filled with nothing but straw, travels far and wide to find the magical wizard (doctor) who, it was said, could miraculously create for him a brain. As it turns out however, the wizard (doctor) is nothing but a fraud, and while he can’t deliver him any gray matter, he can give him something that, where he comes from, re-presents a brain. A diploma! In other words instead of giving his patient anything real, he gives him a piece of paper that supposedly symbolizes something real. Sounds a lot like the medical model to me!
So what to do if you are dealing with muscle fiber pain i.e. fibromyalgia? Well, as turns out you can actually do a lot. That’s because fibromyalgia represents toxicity, specifically blood toxicity. In 1990, Dr. John Couvaras, a fertility physician from Phoenix, discovered that women given an injection of the blood thinner heparin to improve circulatory problems associated with infertility reported that their fibromyalgia symptoms were dramatically reduced. He subsequently developed the “Hypercoagulation Theory of Fibromyalgia” that postulated that sticky, coagulated blood, following toxicity, results in the deposition of clotting proteins and other poisons in the muscle that eventually results in the classic pain syndrome associated with fibromyalgia. And where does that toxicity come from in the first place? Typically, the liver and the ultimately the small intestine. Here’s what happens:

The small intestine is the home of the “microbiome”, trillions of bacterial cells made up of many hundreds of strains. The numbers and types and exact proportions of these bacterial strains are tightly regulated. If there are long standing digestive health issues, especially in the processing of fats, over time these proportions get thrown off and the wrong types of bacterial strains can proliferate. Medical folks call this “dysbiosis” or “SIBO” (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). Because these bacteria are constantly secreting waste material, eventually the body will mount an immune (defensive) response and an inflammatory reaction will ensue. As this progresses eventually the blood can become contaminated. And the major blood response to this kind of contamination is clotting.
To compound the problem the healthy microbiome is involved in estrogen metabolism. When dysbiosis occurs, estrogen is not broken down correctly and toxic byproducts can build up. Usually the liver can handle these byproducts, but under conditions of long term bacterial and estrogenic toxicity, this critical detox organ can become overload and even more poisons can enter into the blood. Thus fibromyalgia should be regarded as the final result of estrogenic and digestive system toxicity following long term dysbiosis.

So if you are dealing with the pain and misery of fibromyalgia here’s what you want to do: First of all correct digestive problems. Look for problem foods i.e. foods that cause any digestive distress (heartburn bloating cramps, loose stools, constipation etc.) and eliminate them. Get on a good probiotic supplement (I like Youngevity’s BioLumin Nightly Essence) and eat lots of fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kim chee and fermented beets. You can make your own fermented veggies pretty easily, basically by mashing or cutting up veggies and adding some bacterial starter and salt. And use a good probiotic supplement on a regular basis and make sure you use a product that has multiple bacterial strains. Use digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar after all meals, especially ones that contain lots of fat. And, taking digestive enzymes on an empty stomach can have blood thinning effects that can improve fibromyalgia symptoms. Practice calorie restriction (eating less) and take a food holiday (fast) once a week or so. Use essential fatty acid supplements which can support estrogen metabolism. Consider estrogen balancing supplements like Vitamin A (20,000 iu a day), Vitamin E (400 iu a day) and pregnenolone (100mg a day). And applying a progesterone cream 5-7 days a week cream can be helpful too.
10 other interesting supplements that may help improve fibromyalgia symptoms:

Melatonin-4-6 mg at bedtime
Theanine-100-500mg daily
Magnesium Glycinate-2000mg daily
Vitamin C -1000-5000mg daily
N-Acetyl Cysteine- 500mg daily
Vitamin E-(mixed tocopherols) – 400 iu daily
Selenium-200-400mcgdaily
Cetyl Myristoleate -100-500mg daily
Malic Acid – 1000mg a day
Sam-E – 100-200mg daily

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Glycation of Sugars

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

One of the most important and under-recognized causes of accelerated aging is a chemical process called “glycation” (also known as “glycosylation”). Best thought of as a reaction between sugar and protein (and sometimes fat). Glycation can be thought of as a type of caramelization, a candy making technique that creates a characteristic confectionary quality that candy cooks have exploited for centuries. During the caramelization process, sugar is heated to high temperatures until it turns brown. And it’s not just candy that caramelizes, or glycates. The same phenomenon occurs when bread is toasted, or onions or potatoes are grilled. French toasted bread, fried onions and French fried potatoes, also are among culinary delights that are carmelized.

Glycation of sugarsIn the body, caramelization/glycation of sugars can occur in conjunction with proteins, and as with caramelization of foods this can manifest itself as browning and subsequent degradation of various structures. Smaller systems are especially likely to be damaged; most especially tiny blood vessels and capillaries. Glycation is a leading cause of blindness and kidney diseases. Both structures are packed with thousands of miles of microscopic circulatory vessels. The net effect of this kind of damage can result in pockets of oxygen deprived, nutritionally starved, and toxin drenched tissue. Not good!

Even worse, there an important relationship between glycation and oxidation, which is thought to play an important part in accelerated aging. As it turns out, glycated proteins can be a source of free radicals that are responsible for the oxidation, which can be thought of as a type of “biological rusting”. In an article published in the journal “Glycobiology”, researchers claimed that glycated proteins produce 50 times more free radicals than non-glycated proteins. According to the article, free radicals amplify the production of inflammatory peptides and the net result is not only rapid aging of organs and tissues, but also many health challenges including diabetes, neuro-degeneration, and kidney failure.

The best way to protect yourself from glycation is to keep your blood sugar concentration as low as possible. There should only be around one (1) teaspoonful of sugar floating around in the blood at any given moment. It’s not uncommon for blood sugar concentration to double after a carbohydrate-laden meal. Reducing your intake of refined carbs (flour, fruit juice, cereals, dessert, etc.) should be a priority, making sure you’re taking in lots of water, especially after drinking a soda pop or indulging a sweet or a starchy bread-filled meal. Supplements can also be beneficial. The B-complex stands out in importance, especially Vitamins B1 and B3. Use a B-100 or something like Youngevity’s Beyond Tangy Tangerine. Vitamin C is important too, 1000mg maybe. Minerals like Magnesium Glycinate, Zinc , Selenium, Chromium, and Vanadium are known to help the body process sugar. Arginine and Taurine are two amino acids that improve sugar metabolism and the B-vitamin-like substance choline can be helpful, too.

*Did you know that the sugar beet and sugar cane are excellent sources of many of the nutrients that the body needs to process carbs?*

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Most Notorious of Statin Induced Symptoms

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans taking a statin drug you should know that yet another study was released yesterday, this one published online in the venerable Journal of the American Medical Association, implicating  these best-selling  billion-dollar babies  in the development of muscle weakness and pain.

The heart and statins

By Ed Yourdon (Flickr: Jogging couple) via Wikimedia Commons

Apparently, according to the study, which analyzed data gleaned from the health records of San Antonio-based beneficiaries (i.e. victims) of the U.S military health care system, statin drug use is associated with an “increased likelihood of diagnosis of musculoskeletal conditions”. In English, that means that if you’re on statins your likely to mess up your muscles.

Now if anyone is surprised by this kind of finding which mimics the results found many other studies and corroborates the information on the drug company own insert that’s included in all statin drug packages, they’re clearly not paying attention to biochemistry, medicinal  mechanisms  or for that matter the news.  Even mainstream media outlets like Fox News http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/05/statins-linked-to-muscle-pain-sprains/ and CNN http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/statin-side-effects/MY00205.html  have weighed in on this most notorious of statin induced symptoms.  At this point, a quarter century after their release on an unsuspecting and unfortunately sometimes gullible public, no medical practioner worth his salt can plead ignorance to the muscle pain and weakness that is clearly associated with long-term statin use.

Now when most of us think of muscles we tend to think of biceps, triceps, quadriceps and other body structures connected to the skeleton, i.e. what is generally referred to as the musculoskeletal system.  What is often forgotten however, is the fact that that one of the largest, strongest and certainly the most important muscles in the body is … the heart!

How ironic that a drug that is a supposed to be used to protect against cardiovascular disease boasts as a primary side effect toxicity to the heart, the very organ the poison (medicine) is supposed be treating!  What’s even worse, last month in an article published on the website Medical New Today, researchers from the British Medical Journal reported on evidence that statin use can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.  And the most notable system affected by this serious life-threatening disease?  You guessed it, the heart. Again the supposed structure that statin drugs are supposed to be supporting.

Look, it’s not complicated:  the human body cannot function in a healthy fashion unless it can make cholesterol and a lot of it.   This important raw material for hormones and cells is arguably the most critical chemical in the body and the molecule that singularly distinguishes animal life from plant life.  Put another way, cholesterol is the quintessential molecule of animal life. If you mess around with the body’s ability to make this stuff you are playing with fire and the longer you poison cholesterol manufacturing bio-machinery the more likely you are going to be to be dealing with toxicity and side effects.

If you’re concerned about cardiovascular disease or if you’ve had a heart attack and want to prevent another one there are numerous non-toxic, non-pharmaceutical strategies that you can use to keep yourself out of the cardiologist’s office and out from under his knife.  Magnesium Glycinate,   Essential Fatty Acids, Taurine, Arginine and Sulfur (MSM) are just a few gentle, benign and multi-functional nutritional supplements that you can use to keep heart healthy and strong.  And Niacin is a great supplement that can reduce cholesterol production just as effectively as any statin drug without the side effects.   Perhaps the most important cardiovascular health strategy is to stay away from insulin spiking foods.  Excess ingestion bread, pasta cereal, cakes candies fruits and fruit juices and many other mainstays of the Standard American Diet (SAD) are a sure fire way to mess up your heart and circulatory system.  Staying off of these foods is way better heart-healthy strategy than taking a poison anti- cholesterol drug.  You won’t have to worry about side effects and you’ll lose weight too.  You’re likely to lower your blood pressure and increase your longevity to boot. And unlike the deadly drugs dispensed by your doctor you’ll actually drop your risk diabetes.

 

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Mineral of the Day: Magnesium

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

MagnesiumMagnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. This miracle mineral plays an integral role in over 300 different chemical reactions in the body.

Yet according to government statistics published in 2005, 68% of Americans do not consume even RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) levels and 19% of Americans don’t get even half of the government’s recommended daily intake of magnesium.

Cardiovascular health and blood sugar health is dependent on this important mineral.

Taking 1 or 2 grams at bedtime can be very relaxing and higher doses (10 grams or so) can function as a laxative.

Magnesium is found in chlorophyll-containing foods. Halibut and almonds are also good food sources. Some of the better supplemental forms of magnesium are magnesium glycinate, magnesium aspartate. It’s a good idea to try to take at least 1500-2000 mg of magnesium a day.


Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg and atomic number 12. Its common oxidation number is +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole. Magnesium is the fourth most common element in the Earth as a whole (behind iron, oxygen and silicon), making up 13% of the planet’s mass and a large fraction of the planet’s mantle. The relative abundance of magnesium is related to the fact that it easily builds up in supernova stars from a sequential addition of three helium nuclei to carbon (which in turn is made from three helium nuclei). Due to magnesium ion’s high solubility in water, it is the third most abundant element dissolved in seawater.

The free element (metal) is not found naturally on Earth, as it is highly reactive (though once produced, it is coated in a thin layer of oxide (see passivation), which partly masks this reactivity). The free metal burns with a characteristic brilliant white light, making it a useful ingredient in flares. The metal is now mainly obtained by electrolysis of magnesium salts obtained from brine. Commercially, the chief use for the metal is as an alloying agent to make aluminium-magnesium alloys, sometimes called magnalium or magnelium. Since magnesium is less dense than aluminium, these alloys are prized for their relative lightness and strength. [From Wikipedia]

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition

The Power of the Prostaglandin

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Perhaps the most important chemicals in the body are a group of compounds that almost no one has heard of. They’re called prostaglandins (they were first discovered in the prostate gland) and they’re the most prominent of the hormone family known as eicosanoids. It would be impossible to overstate the significance of these diverse fat soluble biochemicals. In fact it would be no hyperbole to call prostaglandins (and eicosanoids), perhaps the most critical biological substances in all of biochemistry, human or otherwise.

Prostaglandin

By Jfdwolff, via Wikimedia Commons

Prostaglandins (PGs) are hormone like substances that affect every single biological cell system. In much the same fashion as hormones, they are involved in initiating molecular activity. However, unlike the typical so-called endocrine hormones which are made in glands and travel to various parts of the body, prostaglandins remain localized to the cellular areas they are secreted from. For this reason, they are sometime referred to as “tissue hormones”.

There are about 12 prostaglandins contained in three main classes, which are distinguished by the type of fatty acid they are derived from. Series 1 prostaglandins are anti-inflammatory and relaxing and are involved in circulatory and immune health and are derived from Omega 6 fats. Series 2 prostaglandins oppose those found in Series 1. They initiate muscle contraction and the inflammatory response and promote wound healing, blood clotting and cortisol secretion. They are derived from arachidonic acid, which is found in many animal fats. And, then there are the Series 3 prostaglandins, which have effects similar to PGs found in Series 1, are formed from Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil. Most nutritionists emphasize the health benefits of increasing the synthesis of prostaglandins found in series 1 and 3 while decreasing those from series 2.

Because of their wide ranging functionalities in biology, prostaglandin imbalances can be a causative factor in almost all clinical issues. This is most especially evident in the case of inflammation which is almost always a component of the disease process. Some of the more common health maladies associated with prostaglandin metabolism include fever, arthritis, immune and allergy issues, diarrhea, heart disease, headaches, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and almost all skin problems. Keloid scarring is one of the more unpleasant cutaneous manifestations of prostaglandin imbalance. Even tumor production has a significant prostaglandin component. On the bright side, there isn’t a disease symptom that cannot be improved by addressing dysregulation of this fascinating class of fatty substances.

As the medical treatment of choice for addressing prostaglandin dysfunction, aspirin, acetaminophen and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and COX-2 inhibitors have become the most widely used drugs in the world, but there are effective nutritional options. In fact, there are two powerful strategies for improving prostaglandin chemistry, both involving the fatty system of the body. First, it’s very important to be supplementing with Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). That’s because Series 1 and 3 prostaglandins are derived directly from EFAs. There are two main classes of essential fatty acids, so called- omega 3 and omega-6. As described above, they are both required for healthy prostaglandin synthesis, and while no one really knows how much EFA you need, suffice it to say, everyone should be using a balanced supplement. Secondly, fat absorption needs to be addressed. Symptoms of fat malabsorbtion include digestive discomfort after fatty meals, bloating, gas, diarrhea and fatty stools. If any of these are present, make sure you’re taking probiotics and lecithin and digestive enzymes that have bile salts all of which can improve the uptake of EFAs.

Then there are co-factors required for effective prostaglandin dynamics. Patients confronting prostaglandin-driven inflammatory pain symptoms(and all inflammatory pain symptoms are prostaglandin-driven) may want to consider taking at least a couple of grams of Vitamin C every day as well as 400 i.u. of Vitamin E and generous amounts of the B-complex, ideally dissolved in water. The mineral magnesium may also be beneficial. Most people could benefit by taking at 1000mg of magnesium daily as the glycinate or malate salts.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Restless Legs Syndrome, Insomnia and Brain Chemistry

A story today May 7, 2013 in Neuroscience News at MedicalXpress.com reads:
Johns Hopkins researchers believe they may have discovered an explanation for the sleepless nights associated with restless legs syndrome (RLS), a symptom that persists even when the disruptive, overwhelming nocturnal urge to move the legs is treated successfully with medication.

Neurologists have long believed RLS is related to a dysfunction in the way the brain uses the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical used by brain cells to communicate and produce smooth, purposeful muscle activity and movement. Disruption of these neurochemical signals, characteristic of Parkinson’s disease, frequently results in involuntary movements. Drugs that increase dopamine levels are mainstay treatments for RLS, but studies have shown they don’t significantly improve sleep. An estimated 5 percent of the U.S. population has RLS.
[Read more: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-05-restless-legs-syndrome-insomnia-brain.html]

Thank God, new drugs for Restless Leg Syndrome, so glad drug companies care. But if you’d rather not have to deal with the inevitable side effects and toxicities of taking a drug for what is in large part a nutritional issue, make sure you’re getting generous daily divided doses of the B-complex and electrolytes. It would be a good idea to sip on the Beyond Tangy Tangerine too. And a daily dose of 1000-2000 mg of magnesium glycinate and a couple of grams of calcium aspartate wouldn’t hurt either.

Below, sleep pattern of a Restless Legs Syndrome patient (red) vs.
a healthy sleep pattern (blue). Y-Axis shows “Stage of Sleep.

Restless Legs Syndrome sleep patterns

By RLS-Schlafmuster.png: Markus Mueller derivative work via Wikimedia Commons

Posted by postmaster in Health News