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for LIFE

immunity boosters


Vegan supplements


Herbal weight management Fighting fatigue

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October 2016 vol.12 no. 10


20 departments 6 From the Editor’s Desk 8 Health Pulse

Probiotics boost weight loss • Aloe vera may improve diabetes markers • Attitude affects cognition and health • Fish oil may lower blood pressure • More

17 In Focus

Vegan-friendly supplements.

19 The Goods

herbs for 12 immunity feature

Keep out pathogens. A source for news, information, and ideas for your healthy lifestyle.

20 Herbal Healing

Top three herbs for weight loss.

25 Everyday Remedies Tips to relieve fatigue.

27 Sports Nutrition

Ease minor back pain post-gym.

30 Postscript

James M. Greenblatt, MD, suggests an integrative approach to treating depression.

Cover: Echinacea purpurea

www.remedies-and-recipes.com www.facebook.com/RemediesRecipes @RemediesRecipes October 2016

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from the editor ’s desk

remedies for LIFE

Warning Signs First it’s that tickle, maybe one watery eye or a drippy nose. Then, some time later, you realize: You have a cold. Why does it take us so long to catch on? There’s no way to keep the bugs completely at bay, but there’s a whole arsenal of natural products that have shown promise in helping to prevent colds and other virus-borne maladies, or at least shortening their duration. We narrow it down to a few of the biggies in our immunity feature starting on page 12. Many remedies readers are vegan, and many who want to use supplements have struggled to be sure they’re not ingesting animal products along with them. From avoiding gelatins to getting vitamin D and omega 3s from plant sources, there’s help starting on page 17. Is your MVP supplement one that will help you lose weight? A number of herbs have been shown to help burn fat, boost energy, and even curb cravings. See our guide on page 20. If you’ve started a new workout and tend to overdo it, we have some advice on how to soothe that temperamental back pain on page 27. And if mood is a concern during the darker months or any time of year, you might be interested in a combination of therapies to lift your spirits and improve your mental health. Depression expert and psychiatrist James M. Greenblatt, MD, has written a book on integrative depression treatment that includes nutrition at its core. Turn to Postscript on page 30 to read an excerpt. To your health,


Chief Content Officer and Strategist Lynn Tryba Managing Editor Donna Moxley Contributing Editors Lisa Fabian, Rich Wallace Editorial Assistant Kelli Ann Wilson Director, Creative and Interactive Justin Rent Art Director Michelle Knapp Custom Graphics Manager Donna Sweeney Business Development Director Amy Pierce Customer Service customerservice@tasteforlife.com Client Services Director—Retail Judy Gagne 800-677-8847 x128 Client Services Director—Advertising and Digital Ashley Dunk 800-677-8847 x190 Western Brand Promotions Director Shannon Dunn-Delgado 415-382-1665 Group Brand Promotions Director Bob Mucci 978-255-2062 Executive Director of Retail Sales and Marketing Anna Johnston (Anna.Johnston@TasteforLife.com) Retail Account Manager Kim Willard Founder and Chief Executive Officer T. James Connell EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS, professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and director, Antioxidants Research Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University; Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director, American Botanical Council, editor/publisher of HerbalGram, senior editor, The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs; C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD, research geochemist, author, Natural Asthma Relief and Prevent, Treat, and Reverse Diabetes; Steven Foster, photographer, herbalist, and senior author of three Peterson Field Guides, author of 101 Medicinal Herbs, A Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine and more, associate editor of HerbalGram, the journal of the American Botanical Council; John Neustadt, ND, founder of Montana Integrated Medicine, coauthor, A Revolution in Health Through Nutritional Biochemistry; Lisa Petty, RHN, RNCP, holistic nutrition consultant, author of Living Beauty and host of the health talk radio show Lisa Live; Dana Ullman, MPH, author of The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy and other titles on homeopathy; Marc Ullman, partner at Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, chairman, Legal Advisory Counsel, Natural Products Foundation; Amber Lynn Vitse, CN, is certified in Integrative Nutrition, a fusion bodyworker, and an Ayurvedic practitioner, and writes on health issues. remedies is published monthly by Taste for Life, 222 West Street, Suite 49, Keene, NH 03431, 603-283-0034 (fax 603-283-0141); ©2016 Connell Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. This magazine is not intended to provide medical advice on personal health conditions, nor to replace recommendations made by health professionals. The opinions expressed by contributors and sources quoted in articles are not necessarily those of the editor or the publisher. Advertisers and advertising agencies assume liability for all content of advertising and for any claims arising therefrom. Information appearing in remedies may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express permission of the publisher.

Creative and Sales Offices: 222 West Street, Suite 49, Keene, NH 03431 603-283-0034 Printed in the US on partially recycled paper.

The inks used to print the body of this publication contain a minimum of 20%, by weight, renewable resources.

Products advertised or mentioned in this magazine may not be available in all locations. 6

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healthpulse lighter weights effective

The old adage that lifting heavier weights is the most effective way to build muscle did not hold up in a new study. Researchers from McMaster University found that lifting lighter weights many times was equivalent to lifting heavy weights for fewer repetitions. “Fatigue is the great equalizer here,” said senior author Stuart Phillips, PhD. “Lift to the point of exhaustion and it doesn’t matter whether the weights are heavy or light.” Experienced weightlifters participated in the 12-week study. One group lifted lighter weights (up to 50 percent of their maximum strength) for sets ranging from 20 to 25 repetitions. The others lifted heavier weights (up to 90 percent of their maximum) for 8 to 12 reps. Tests showed that gains in muscle mass and muscle fiber size were virtually identical in both groups. “We’ve shown that you can take a break from lifting heavier weights and not compromise any gains,” Dr. Phillips said. “Lighter Weights Just as Effective as Heavier Weights to Gain Muscle, Build Strength,” McMaster University, 7/12/16

probiotics promote weight loss

Taking probiotic supplements can lead to small but significant weight loss, according to a review of 25 trials. Researchers determined that probiotics reduced body mass index (BMI) and body weight. Ingesting more than one type of probiotic and taking probiotics for eight weeks or more resulted in increased weight loss. Even small weight reductions can have substantial benefits by reducing weight-related conditions such as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. “Consuming Probiotics Promotes Weight Loss and Reduces BMI,” Taylor and Francis Group, 7/11/16


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attitude affects aging

Older adults with positive attitudes toward aging displayed better cognition and physical health in a study from Ireland. “The way we think about, talk about, and write about aging may have direct effects on health,” said lead researcher Deirdre Robertson, PhD. “Everyone will grow older, and if negative attitudes toward aging are carried throughout life they can have a detrimental, measurable effect on mental, physical, and cognitive health.” The researchers found that older adults with negative attitudes toward aging had slower walking speeds and reduced cognitive abilities two years after the start of the study, compared to those with more positive attitudes. “Researchers Confirm Attitude to Aging Can Have a Direct Effect on Health,” Trinity College Dublin, 1/29/16

aloe vera controls diabetes markers

Oral intake of aloe vera appears to improve the health of people with diabetes and prediabetes. An analysis of nine studies found significant positive changes in fasting blood glucose levels (FBG) and hemoglobin A1c. Participants with the highest FBG saw the largest improvements. “Reduction of Fasting Blood Glucose and Hemoglobin A1c Using Oral Aloe Vera: A Metaanalysis” by W.R. Dick et al., Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 6/17/16

living longer and better

One concern about a longer lifespan is that it might mean an extended period of poor health. But a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society indicates that the added years can be healthy ones. Researchers found that the onset of illness often came decades later in life for centenarians compared to their younger counterparts. “We found that those who live exceptionally long lives have the additional benefit of shorter periods of illness—sometimes just weeks or months—before death,” said lead author Nir Barzilai, MD. The researchers looked at the ages at which people developed five major age-related health conditions: cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and diabetes. They saw a consistent pattern of delayed onset of these illnesses in centenarians compared to younger people. “Compression of Morbidity Is Observed Across Diverse Cohorts with Exceptional Longevity” by K. Ismail et al., Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 7/5/16 ● “Living Longer Associated with Living Healthier, Study of Centenarians Finds,” Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 7/5/16


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fish oil lowers BP

A small daily dose of fish oil had a significant effect on blood pressure (BP) in a recent study. Participants with isolated systolic hypertension saw improvements of about 5 points in readings of systolic pressure (the top, or higher number) at the end of the trial. Researchers were interested in how two different dosages would affect BP. So participants received fish oil containing either 0.7 grams (g) of EPA plus DHA per day, or 1.8 g. Each of the men and women took both doses for eight weeks apiece. Both resulted in very similar improvements. “These findings indicate that in adults with isolated systolic hypertension, daily doses of EPA+DHA as low as 0.7 show clinically meaningful BP reductions,” the researchers wrote. They stated that these improvements could be linked to lower cardiovascular disease risk. “Consumption of Fish Oil Providing Amounts of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid That Can be Obtained from the Diet Reduces Blood Pressure . . .” by A.M. Minihane et al., J Nutr, 1/27/16

heart help from mozart?

Listening to classical music appears to have a positive impact on the cardiovascular system. Participants in a new study saw notably lower blood pressure and heart rates after listening to Mozart or Johann Strauss Jr. for 25 minutes. Listening to the pop band ABBA did not produce the same effects. “The Healing Powers of Music: Mozart and Strauss for Treating Hypertension,” Deutsches Aerzteblatt International, 6/21/16

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By Maria NoĂŤl Groves, RH (AHG)

herbs for


Forget hospitality! This year, cultivate the ability to be a bad host . . . to pathogens, that is. We are always surrounded by germs, but you can take simple steps to discourage them from setting up camp in your body and get them packing more quickly if they do show up like unwelcome house guests. 12

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Probiotics boost immune function

Lay out the “not welcome” mat

Before you pop an herb into your mouth, consider two of the most important ways to boost your resistance naturally: Get a good night’s sleep and wash your hands regularly. Researchers have found that sleeping less than seven hours triples your risk of catching a cold versus eight hours of shut-eye. People with poor sleep efficiency are more than five times more likely to get sick. Meanwhile, hand washing helps prevent 20 percent of everyday infections like colds and 30 percent of diarrhea-related illness (nearly 60 percent for those with compromised immune systems).

Mushrooms and astragalus

Medicinal mushrooms like shiitake, reishi, maitake, and chaga, as well as astragalus root contain complex starches called polysaccharides that create a healthy challenge to your immune system. Think of it as sending your immune army back to boot camp. Your immune

response becomes stronger and more effective at dealing with pathogens, signaling improves, and trigger-happy immune cells (think: allergies and autoimmune disease) simmer down and focus on what really matters. These remedies even make your body less hospitable to cancer. You can take these remedies daily in supplement form all season to bolster your immune system, or you can work them into your diet. Cook and eat tender mushrooms like shiitake and maitake. Simmer chaga and astragalus for tea. All of them go nicely in simmering soup broth; feel free to toss them in while making bone broth.

Send unexpected guests packing

If you know you’re particularly susceptible to an infection—say you’re around some really sick people or you’re traveling—you can turn to another group of herbs. Some put your immune system into overdrive while others directly fight or inhibit pathogens. The earlier you catch it, the more likely you are to resolve an infection quickly.

As a powerful team member of your immune system, probiotics produce organic compounds that increase intestinal acidity; this inhibits the reproduction of many disease-causing bacteria. Probiotic bacteria also produce substances called bacteriocins that act as natural antibiotics to kill undesirable microorganisms. Probiotic bacteria enhance overall immune function by boosting disease-fighting cells such as phagocytes, lymphocytes, and natural killer cells. The end result—when your probiotic microbiome is flourishing—is a system that is better able to fight off infection and disease. As just one example of how this immune boost plays out in the real world, consider the latest research on the common cold. Regular use of probiotics by schoolchildren makes colds less frequent, and when they do hit, the kids get over them more quickly and miss fewer school days. A yearlong study showed a 30 percent reduction in missed school days from simply taking probiotic supplements. Research documents similar benefits in adults. “Antibacterial Activities of Bacteriocins: Application in Foods and Pharmaceuticals” by S-C Yang et al., Front Microbiol, 5/26/14 ● “Probiotics for Preventing Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Infections” by Q. Hao et al., Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2/3/15

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Elderberry Both traditional use and scientific evidence support this berry’s ability to prevent viral infections. Viruses hijack your cells and reprogram them to make more viruses, which allows the infection to spread more virulently. Elderberry works at least in part by binding to cell-receptor sites to block viruses, and other research suggests a similar benefit against bacteria. In a recent study of Australians on long, overseas flights, taking elderberry extract significantly reduced the duration and severity of colds compared to those taking a placebo, cutting both by more than half.

Echinacea This herb has a long history of use for infection, particularly bacterial infections and sepsis. It has many actions including mobilizing white blood cells to fight infection. In spite of being the subject of hundreds of clinical studies, the results on echinacea have been mixed, likely due to the range of species and extracts available, part of the plant used, dosage, and methodology. One review of a number of studies concluded that people were 55 percent more likely to experience a cold taking a placebo versus echinacea. Herbalists use relatively high doses of the fresh plant tincture—ideally the root—taken every waking hour or two from the first tickle of an infection until it passes. Echinacea extract numbs the tongue, doesn’t taste great, may cause a flareup of autoimmune disease, and occasionally causes allergies in people who react to other daisy family plants. Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), is a registered clinical herbalist and freelance health journalist nestled in the pine forests of New Hampshire. She is the author of the book Body into Balance. Learn about herbs, distance consults, online classes, and more at www.WintergreenBotanicals.com.

“Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults” by X. Dai et al., J Am Coll Nutr, 4/11/15 ● “Echinacea for Preventing and Treating the Common Cold” by M. Karsch-Völk et al., Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2/14 ● “Echinacea in the Prevention of Induced Rhinovirus Colds: A Meta-analysis” by R. Schoop et al., Clin Ther, 2/06 ● “Inhibitory Activity of a Standardized Elderberry Liquid Extract Against Clinically-Relevant Human Respiratory Bacterial Pathogens and Influenza A and B Viruses” by C. Krawitz et al., BMC Complement Altern Med, 2011 ● “Show Me the Science—Why Wash Your Hands?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov, 11/18/15 ● “Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold” by S. Cohen et al., Arch Intern Med, 1/12/09


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in focus

vegan supplements stick to the plan

One of the most daunting tasks for vegans isn’t dining out or facing criticism from friends and family. Instead, finding supplements that fit their lifestyle, one that eliminates the use of any animal product, has always been the challenge. Pill coatings and capsules, for

There’s never been an easier time for vegans to find supplements designed just for them.

instance, might contain gelatin, a substance made by boiling down animal parts, while some supplements themselves are sourced from animals, which may not be obvious. In recent years, though, it’s become easier to find supplements that fit a vegan lifestyle. Part of that new growth

has come from supplements designed to be vegan-friendly. Gone are the days of in-depth online searches to find veganfriendly supplements, thanks in part to more consumers shifting to animal-free diets. Just take a stroll down the supplement aisles and you’re

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likely to find one or more offerings of vegan-friendly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), omega-3 fatty acids that are typically sourced from fish. The vegan version is typically made from algae. You also can find plantbased alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which can be converted to DHA and EPA in the body. Many beauty supplements contain collagen, which usually comes from fish or land-based animals. Collagen in the body builds a support structure for skin and joints, but adding more to your system isn’t as easy as eating shark-fin soup—which a vegan wouldn’t do anyway! Look instead for a vegan product that combines ingredients such as plant-based amino acids, vitamin C, and polyphenols that help boost the


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body’s own collagen production. While some supplements are marked vegan, others aren’t, which means you need to get savvy about spotting them. When shopping for vitamin D, look for vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which is sourced from exposing yeast or mushrooms to the sun. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) usually comes from sheep’s wool or fish, but some companies offer vegan D3 sourced from lichen. Check ingredient labels to be sure gelatin doesn’t appear in them. “It is easy to find vitamin D2 and vitamin B12 supplements that do not contain gelatin,” says Karen Smith, RD, senior dietitian with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC. But do vegans really need supplements? If you’re doing a whole-

foods, plant-based diet right, the answer might surprise you. “This diet can provide your body with every nutrient it needs,” Smith says. If there are holes in that diet, however, supplements can help fill the gaps. And there is a greater likelihood of vitamin B12 and D deficiencies among vegans. Check with your healthcare practitioner, and if you do need to supplement, rest assured knowing that you won’t have to sacrifice your commitment to a vegan lifestyle to maintain or improve your health. —Karen Asp “Calcium and Vitamin D” by Jack Norris, RD, www.VeganHealth.org, 10/13 ● Personal communication: Karen Smith ● “Vitamin D2 is as Effective as Vitamin D3 in Maintaining Circulating Concentrations of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D” by M.F. Holick et al., J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 3/08

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herbal healing

3 natural slimmers managing weight with herbal helpers

Dropping pounds and keeping them off for the long haul requires global changes in terms of food choices, exercise, and lifestyle. However, most of us could use a boost along the way and that’s where these three herbal weight-loss supplements could provide a nudge over the dieter’s plateau. 20

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continued from page 20

1 Green coee bean extract

Green coffee beans are simply raw, unroasted coffee beans. Green coffee beans contain much higher levels of antioxidants than roasted beans, particularly when it comes to one called chlorogenic acid. The chlorogenic acid in green coffee bean extract slows the release of sugar into the blood after eating, which promotes fat burning in the body. There have been several small studies with green coffee bean extract. For example, researchers from the United Kingdom grouped together data from 142 people enrolled in prior studies and ran the data as a meta-analysis using this bigger group. After supplementing with green coffee bean extract at an average dosage of 180 to 200 milligrams (mg) per day for one to three months, each person was found to have lost an average of 5.4 pounds, even though there were no other diet or exercise changes. In other research, 33 volunteers drank 3 to 4 cups each day of a coffee brewed with green coffee beans (along with some roasted beans) for a month. On average, each person lost 1.4 pounds that month, without dieting or adding in exercise.

2 Saron extract

Saffron extract, which comes from the exotic yellow spice, offers a unique benefit to dieters: It squashes the urge to snack. Research showed that those taking 176 mg of saffron extract daily lost weight over a two-month period, primarily by snacking less than the placebo group.

consider this FitTrim from Genesis Today features CardiaSlim, a naturally derived, patented ingredient shown in three clinical studies to support both weight management and cardiovascular health.

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3 Garcinia extract

That dosage of HCA is fairly typical in the scientific research—and shown to be safe—although some studies have used less. Long-term studies simply haven’t been conducted with HCA yet, although there are several lasting 12 weeks that show this herb extract to be well tolerated. —Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH

Garcinia has been in traditional use for centuries in southern China and northern India as a natural appetite suppressant and digestive aid. Several types of garcinia are believed to work because they contain hydroxycitric acid (HCA). The most common garcinia extract in supplements is Garcinia cambogia, but another, Garcinia atroviridis, has also been studied for its weight-loss potential. HCA has been credited with slowing down the enzyme process that converts food into fat and suppressing appetite by sending signals to the brain that you’ve eaten enough. Supplements can, therefore, enhance the weight-loss process, at least in the short term. A placebo-controlled clinical trial found that taking HCA resulted in greater weight loss in obese women taking 3,450 mg of HCA for two months.

Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH, has been a health journalist for more than two decades; her latest book is Life After Baby: Rediscovering and Reclaiming Your Healthy Pizzazz (Basic Health Publications, 2012).

“Antioxidant-rich Coffee Reduces DNA Damage, Elevates Glutathione Status and Contributes to Weight Control: Results from an Intervention Study” by T. Bakuradze et al., Mol Nutr Food Res, 5/11 ● “A Comprehensive Scientific Overview of Garcinia cambogia” by R.B. Sernwal et al., Fitoterapia, 4/15 ● “Reduction of Adipose Tissue and Body Weight: Effect of Water Soluble Calcium Hydroxycitrate in Garcinia atroviridis on the Short Term Treatment of Obese Women in Thailand” by C. Roongpisuthipong et al., Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2007 ● “‘Special’ Coffee May Protect Against DNA Damage: Study” by Stephen Daniells, www. NutraIngredients-USA.com, 4/4/11 ● “A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials Examining the Effectiveness of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) on Psychological and Behavioral Outcomes” by H.A. Hausenblas et al., J Integr Med, 7/15 ● “The Use of Garcinia Extract (Hydroxycitric Acid) as a Weight Loss Supplement: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomised Clinical Trials” by I. Onakpoya et al., J Obes, 2011 ● “The Use of Green Coffee Extract as a Weight Loss Supplement: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials” by I. Onakpoya et al., Gastroeneterol Res Pract, 2011

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e ve r y d a y r e m e d i e s


What is it? Temporary tiredness, sluggishness, or weariness.

Lifestyle: Get adequate sleep (7-9 hours for adults); exercise regularly; stay hydrated.

Supplements: Vitamins B-12 and D, L-carnitine, magnesium, and omega 3s.

Herbal Therapy: Ashwagandha, codonopsis, eleuthero, ginseng, rhodiola, and schisandra.

Food: Eat a balanced diet of vegetables, fruit, and lean protein; include whole grains and fiber; avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and saturated fats. Body Into Balance by Maria Noël Groves ($24.95, Storey, 2016) ● “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” University of Maryland Medical Center, www.umm.edu, 12/19/15 ● “Foods to Fight Fatigue” by Dulce Zamora, 1/9/13; “Why Am I So Tired?” by Rachel Reiff Ellis, 10/27/15, www.WebMD.com

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sports nutrition

back pain Overdid it at the gym?

Good workout yesterday! Felt strong and flexible, so I threw in a few extra reps on the bench and topped it off with a vigorous abs session. Today? Well . . . you know that area in the small of the back? Just above the base of the spine? Sore, stiff, inflamed! Got any ideas? Overdoing it in the gym can be counterproductive. If discomfort from the extra lifting causes you to miss your next workout or two, then you haven’t advanced your cause. Still, we all know how common these little setbacks can be. Fortunately, relief for minor back pain comes in many forms. An herbal treatment or a topical gel can help get you back in the gym without missing a beat, for example.

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Cream of the crop A comfrey-root extract ointment provided “remarkably potent” relief from acute back pain in a recent trial. Participants used the ointment three times a day for four days and reported a better-than-95-percent improvement. Comfrey creams and ointments are available in nonprescription preparations. Extracts of capsaicin—the active substance that gives chili peppers their heat— are also beneficial. Capsaicin is found in creams and gels, and a patch containing an 8-percent solution appears to be particularly helpful for lower back pain. Herbal creams and gels containing devil’s claw, white willow bark, calendula, or lavender essential oil can be effective too. Homeopathic arnica is great for aches and pains in muscles and joints, including the lower back. It’s also available in gel form.

Prevention Many supplements can give you a leg up on back pain before it starts. Glucosamine sulfate supports joint health (yes, there are joints in the lower back), as does S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). And don’t overlook the value of a multivitamin/mineral. Low blood levels of vitamin C have been linked to chronic back pain, while the B vitamins show strong promise in relieving discomfort. Vitamin A helps repair tissue, while D and K help maintain healthy bones. Omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in preventing back pain by relieving inflammation.

Exercise care Acute lower back pain brought on by exercise or other physical exertion usually heals quickly. Seek treatment from a healthcare professional if the pain persists for more than a few days or becomes worse. —Cameron Hendrix “Efficacy and Safety of Comfrey Root Extract Ointment in the Treatment of Acute Upper or Lower Back Pain . . .” by B.M. Giannetti et al., Br J Sports Med, 7/10 ● “Food for Thought: Diet and Nutrition for a Healthy Back” by Kelly Andrews, DC, www.Spine-Health.com ● “Herbal Medicine for Low Back Pain . . .” by J.J. Gagnier et al., Spine, 1/16 ● “Low Back Pain Fact Sheet,” www.ninds.gov/disorders/backpain ● “Serum Vitamin C and Spinal Pain . . .” by C.E. Dionne et al., Pain, 7/18/16 ● “Vitamin B for Back Pain” by Anne Becker, www.PsychologyToday.com, 6/9/16


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did you know? Two 90-minute sessions of yoga a week for 24 weeks reduced back pain by more than half in a recent study. Participants also had less disability and depression compared to others with back pain who underwent standard care. Increased muscle strength and flexibility, relaxation, and stress reduction are among the benefits of yoga. “The Physical Benefits of Yoga,” Harvard Medical School HEALTHbeat, 7/21/16

October 2016

9/2/16 11:11 AM


A Complex Approach to Depression

James M. Greenblatt, MD, is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine who has treated patients with complex behavioral and mood disorders since 1990. He is the chief medical officer at Walden Behavioral Care in Waltham, MA, and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine.

Depression cannot be seen, heard, or felt during a physical exam. Yet depression is a life-threatening, life-robbing, and disabling disorder. According to the World Health Organization, it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. The notion that we have such vague, unfounded ideas about how to effectively treat this disorder should be unacceptable to medical professionals. Depression presents complex challenges to those who suffer from it and to those who treat it. Unlike diseases due to a single cause, such as a poison or infection, depression springs from many sources. The devastating effects of depression are seen by all, yet the understanding of what causes depression and, more important, how to treat depression, remains elusive to my medical colleagues and to practicing psychiatrists around the world. Many of my colleagues in psychiatry have embraced a pure drug model. They provide no therapy, practicing medicine by seeing patients for 10 to 15 minutes at a time to do “med checks,” in which they adjust doses or change medications. Because many patients do not respond well to the first medication prescribed, the med check concept actually encourages the addition of a second or even third medication. It’s not unusual for patients to be given three to five medications to treat a single diagnosis. As side effects worsen, patients often become increasingly frustrated with the medication approach, decide that all medications are evil, and refuse them altogether. I am not against medication. The problem is not the medications themselves: It’s in the way they are researched, advertised, and used. Antidepressants can help restore health when used as part of an approach that combines personalized medicine and nutritional biochemistry. This approach requires that we find just the right medicine in the right dosage for each patient. It requires a better understanding of the research and conflicts of interest between medicine and the drug industry. As you will see, personalized medicine for the treatment of depression has finally become a reality. The medical treatment of depression is currently not good enough. We can do better, much better, if we consider decades’ worth of largely ignored research that shows that depression is not “all in your head.” The mind and body are one. What happens in the body affects the mind and vice versa. It’s time for an approach to depression that combines traditional medical science with nutritional and metabolic therapies. – Excerpted from Breakthrough Depression Solution by James M. Greenblatt, MD, with Winnie To, BS ($16.95, Sunrise, 2016)


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October 2016

9/6/16 10:49 AM






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