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Gout News and Research Archive

Two blood pressure drugs may cause sharp crystals to fuse in the joints - gout attack risk


Arthritis ddescribes a broad range of inflammatory diseases, some of which are more painful than others. In gout, a surplus of uric acid in the body coalesces into sharp crystals that build up and spur inflammation in the joints. Pain and swelling are common symptoms, but as attacks intensify the condition can become increasingly debilitating.

The Cleveland Clinic explains: "Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when extra uric acid in the body forms crystals in the joints. The crystals cause pain and swelling."

Some common risk factors for the conditions include being overweight, having diabetes or having high blood pressure.

Despite their favourable effects on blood pressure, certain drugs may also cause a build of sharp crystals in the joints.

According to the Mayo Clinic, this is why some diuretics "increase a person's risk of developing gout".

The health body adds: "This may happen because diuretics increase urination, which reduces the amount of fluid in your body".

Hyperuricemia - a major contributor factor to gout attacks - is a common finding in people treated with the medication.

The body makes uric acid when breaking down purines - a compound found in different foods.

Though the exact mechanisms for hyperuricemia have yet to be elucidated in treatment with diuretics, some hypotheses have been made.

In 2006, a researcher writing in the Annal of Rheumatic Diseases theorised that diuretics may induce hyperuricemia by increasing the reabsorption of the waste product uric acid.

Once there is a surplus of uric acid in the body, the crystals build up in the joints, fluids and tissues within the body.

It should be noted, however, that not all individuals with high levels of uric acid will experience gout symptoms or require treatment.

"Many people with hyperuricemia never develop gout, and even when they do, they often have had high levels of uric acid in their blood for years without any symptoms," explains Harvard Health.

The two diuretics carrying the greatest risk of gout are thiazide and loop diuretics due to the changes in serum urate, according to researchers writing in the journal of Arthritis and Rheumatology.

The scientists noted: "While hypertension is the main indication for diuretic use, it is also an independent risk factor for gout."

This makes it difficult for studies to differentiate whether diuretic use is the cause of gout, or whether underlying hypertension is the cause.

For this research, studies of hypertensive patients that can control for changes in blood pressure due to treatment may be more suitable to quantify the link between diuretics and gout risk.

What are the symptoms of gout?

When symptoms of gout come on, they do so in a sudden manner and typically affect a single joint initially.

"Within hours, that joint becomes red, swollen, hot and painful," explains Harvard health.

The joint at the base of the big toe is a common site for gout attacks, but the knees, and ankles are also often affected.

Patients with higher levels of uric acid in their blood may be coached to make lifestyle changes, but there are few treatments that can control uric acid levels in the blood.

Binge-eating and lack of exercise during lockdown has triggered huge increase in gout, data suggests


  • Hospital admissions for gout have surged due to binge-eating during lockdowns 
  • Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes sudden and severe joint pain
  • The joint pain is usually in your big toe but can also be found in other joints
  • It was once known as the 'disease of kings' - but hospital admissions for gout have surged due to binge-eating and exercising less during the lockdowns, figures suggest.

    The number of cases has risen by 20 per cent in three years, with 234,000 patients admitted to hospital with gout in 2021/22, NHS Digital statistics show.

    Experts said many spent more time sitting down during the Covid lockdowns and might have eaten more snacks and junk food while working from home.

    Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes sudden and severe joint pain.

    Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, told The Sunday Telegraph: 'Forget Falstaff, Henry VIII and the rich Victorians who made gout infamous. 

    'Today's Elizabethans are eating and drinking them all under the table.'

    Gout is one of mankind's oldest known diseases and dates back to the Egyptians.

    Symptoms include sudden and severe joint pain, usually in your big toe but can also be found in other joints in your feet, hands, wrists, elbow or knees.

    Some people may also suffer hot, swollen, red skin over the affected joint.

    It is caused from having too much uric acid in the body, which can lead to deposits of sodium urate crystals forming in and around the joints, causing pain and discomfort.

    It can lead to excruciating pain but is usually treatable with medication such as ibuprofen, or steroids if the pain and swelling do not improve.

    But Mr Fry warned sufferers were not getting enough help from the NHS.

    'Gout sufferers are miles from getting the treatment they need and their appalling care is little better than that delivered in the days of the Dark Ages,' he said.

    The NHS recommends getting to a healthy weight, exercising regularly, quitting smoking an eating a healthy diet to prevent gout coming back.

    How 'the disease of kings' has returned: Why cases of gout are rising in Britain - are YOU at risk?

    By: Matthew Lodge for Mailonline

  • The condition is known as 'disease of kings' as it used to mainly afflict nobility

  • Monarchs such as Henry VIII, George IV and Queen Anne all suffered from it

  • The likes of Neville Chamberlain and Benjamin Franklin also had bouts of gout

  • It's associated with heavy meat and alcohol consumption, and a lack of exercise

  • There has been an increase in cases in recent years - 1.5m Brits suffer from it


    PUBLISHED: 13:43 EST, 26 December 2022 | UPDATED: 11:22 EST, 31 December 2022

    As the 'disease of kings', gout has long plagued the upper echelons of British society.

    The condition, which is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes sudden and severe joint pain, is one of mankind's oldest known diseases, with cases traced back to Egyptian Pharaohs.

    In Britain it afflicted the likes of Kings Henry VIII and George IV, as well as Queen Anne - memorably portrayed by Olivia Colman in 2018 film 'The Favourite'. Known as the 'disease of kings' - mainly because of its association with excessive consumption of meat and alcohol, something only nobility used to be able to afford - it has since become more common.

    In recent years hospital admissions for the disease have surged - 234,000 people went into hospital with it in 2021/22 - with studies suggesting binge-eating and exercising less have played a part.

    According to Arthritis UK 1.5million people in Britain suffer from the debilitating condition. Experts said many spent more time sitting down during the Covid lockdowns and might have eaten more snacks and junk food while working from home.

    Gout can cause excruciating pain, usually in the toes, but also in joints in the feet, hands, wrists, elbow or knees.  >It arises from having too much uric acid in the body, which can lead to deposits of sodium urate crystals forming in and around the joints, causing pain and discomfort.

    Aside from William Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff, the extremely fat protagonist from Henry IV, few conjure up images of the disease like Henry VIII. 

    While he was athletic and spry in his younger years, the Tudor monarch grew notoriously fat as he aged, fueled by an extreme appetite for meat and alcohol, as well as ulcers on his legs that left him unable to walk. 

    He eventually developed gout and became so large - at its peak his waist measured 52 inches - that he had to be lifted on to his horse and carried around in a chair. By the time of his death at the age of 55 in 1547, he weighed nearly 400lbs.

    The excesses associated with Henry VIII were also present in King George IV, who similar to Henry became afflicted with gout while he was sat on the throne.

    Even before he became king, George was obese, weighing 245lbs, and during his time as monarch his waist measured 50 inches.

    His gout developed to such an extent that in the years leading up to his death at the age of 67, he was unable to sign documents with his right hand due to the pain it caused.

    Meanwhile, Queen Anne was so afflicted with the condition that she became lame in later life, having to be carried around court on a chair or use a wheelchair.

    In 1706 Scottish politician Sir John Clerk said he was 'much affected' seeing her under a bout of the disease, during which 'her face, which was red and spotted, was rendered something frightful by her negligent dress, and the foot affected was tied up with a poultice and some nasty bandages'. 

    Experts now know that animal proteins found in red meat and oily fish contain purine, which when digested produces uric acid as a waste product.

    This, combined with drinking large amounts of alcohol, which slows the metabolism of uric acid, can lead to gout.

    But experts say there is also a genetic factor, with one trustee of the UK Gout Society saying it is 'inherently a genetic disease'.

    Earlier this year, Dr Alastair Dickson said it is 'misunderstood by many health professionals and the public', adding that, for this reason, fewer than half of Britons with gout receive the appropriate treatment.

    Former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had the disease, something he did his best to keep out of sight of the public, with letters saying he 'would like to keep the gout out of the press'.

    However, his efforts were in vain, with a report in the New York Times in 1939 stating a more severe attack of the disease left him bedridden during the opening stages of the Second World War.

    It reported on November 10: 'For the past two days pain in his foot has prevented his taking his morning walk with his wife in St James's Park. The pain became much worse last night and he was forced to call off engagements.'

    It added that 'before 1938 he was laid up with gout once or twice every year for years, but he took treatment from a specialist in the late Summer of last year, and it was believed he had been cured'.

    Chamberlain is thought to have had 'poor man's gout', a hereditary form of the condition that is not caused by overindulging in food and drink.

    In the United States, founding father Benjamin Franklin took the opposite approach and publicly detailed his battles with the disease.

    He penned an essay titled 'Dialogue Between Franklin and the Gout', in which he has a fictional discussion with the condition that plagued him.

    In it the Gout says Franklin 'ate and drank too freely, and too much indulged those legs of yours in their indolence.

    In the revealing essay Franklin admits his sedentary lifestyle and enjoyment of alcohol has caused the illness. 

    It ends with the statesman vowing to 'never more play at chess, but to take exercise daily, and live temperately'. 

    However, the gout has the last word, biting back: 'I know you too well. You promise fair; but, after a few months of good health, you will return to your old habits; your fine promises will be forgotten like the forms of the last year's clouds.'

    These days gout is usually treatable with medication such as ibuprofen, or steroids if the pain and swelling do not improve.  

    The NHS recommends getting to a healthy weight, exercising regularly, quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet to prevent gout coming back.

    Gout is on the rise - so why do so few patients get treatment they need?

    The Irish News 11, November, 2022

    Cases of gout are on the rise, but the condition is misunderstood, and few patients get the treatment they need, writes Julie Cook

    AS an active young man in his 20s, Harry Tyndall was both shocked and scared to wake up one morning with an intense shooting pain in his right foot.

    "It was the worst pain ever - I thought I'd broken it. I couldn't even walk, yet I had done nothing to injure it," recalls Harry, who was then just 27.

    A trip to A&E followed, where Harry was diagnosed with gout, a form of arthritis that causes sudden, severe joint pain and is often associated with elderly men paying the price for over-indulging in rich food and port.

    "I thought gout was all about too much good living and older people - not men in their 20s," admits Harry, who lives in London.

    New figures suggest the so-called 'disease of kings' is on the rise, with hospital admissions for gout surging. It is thought this increase is largely a result of lack of exercise and poor diet during successive lockdowns.

    The number of cases has risen by 20% in three years, with 234,000 patients admitted to hospital with gout in 2021-22, according to figures released last month by the NHS.

    About 1.5 million people in the UK are affected by this agonising condition, according to the charity Arthritis UK.

    Yet experts say that while lifestyle can trigger flare-ups, genetics play a more significant role in who develops gout in the first place. Harry's father also had gout, for instance.

    And it is feared that outdated perceptions of gout as both self-inflicted and transient are preventing thousands of people from receiving medication to prevent attacks.

    "There's a lack of awareness that it is inherently a genetic disease," says Dr Alastair Dickson, a GP and trustee of the UK Gout Society, who believes it is still seen as a Victorian condition, caused by excess drink and food.

    As such, it is "misunderstood by many health professionals and the public", he says, adding that, for this reason, fewer than half of people with gout receive the appropriate treatment.

    The significance of this was underlined by research published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that those with gout were more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke in the four months following a flare-up than people without gout.

    Scientists from Nottingham and Keele Universities, who monitored 62,000 UK gout patients, said this is because the inflammation caused by the condition doesn't only affect the joints but other parts of the body, including the arteries around the heart.

    Gout - the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in the UK - is caused by a build-up in the blood and tissues of uric acid, released as a result of the breakdown of compounds called purines.

    These occur naturally in the body but are also found in certain foods, including tuna, beer, bacon and liver.

    Gout occurs when the kidneys cannot eliminate this uric acid properly. Uric acid crystals then form inside joints and under the skin, leading to intense pain. Uric acid crystals in the kidneys can also lead to kidney stones and a severe reduction in kidney function.

    Dr Dickson says millions of people have excess uric acid in the blood but don't have gout because they don't have the genetic susceptibility.

    But those who are genetically susceptible can go on to develop full-blown gout if an environmental trigger - such as a virus - causes the immune system to identify the crystals as foreign bodies, launching an inflammatory response.

    Once primed, the immune system continues to attack the body, which is why urate-lowering treatment is required long term.

    Attacks are usually treated with the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine, or painkillers including ibuprofen.

    The preventative medications allopurinol and febuxostat (which reduce uric acid levels) are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) for 'multiple or troubling' flare-ups. Nice also recommends that these drugs, which cost as little as 28p per tablet, are discussed with all gout patients, as most will suffer future attacks without them.

    Yet a report in the journal Lancet Regional Health - Europe in May found that only a minority of patients are given preventative medication within 12 months of diagnosis.

    One of the report's authors, Dr Mark Russell, NIHR research fellow at King's College London, said: "Without preventative treatment, flare-ups tend to become more frequent over time and can develop into a chronic arthritis that never fully settles.

    "Long-term treatment with urate-lowering medications such as allopurinol prevents attacks and joint damage in people with gout and improves quality of life."

    Dr Dickson fears that many healthcare professionals don't appreciate that, far from being a one-off episode which can be addressed by switching to a low-purine diet, gout is for many patients a long-term chronic condition which requires careful management.

    Luckily for Harry Tyndall, his doctor promptly prescribed allopurinol after his A&E visit in 2016.

    It's thought that, although Harry's family history predisposed him to gout and despite being active, his poor diet at the time (he was eating a lot of red meat and weighed 16?stone) triggered a full-blown attack.

    The allopurinol helped his symptoms abate, but came too late to prevent him developing kidney stones.

    He collapsed several days later with searing stomach pains and was given medicine to dissolve the stones.

    Now 34, he has adjusted his diet: he no longer eats red meat and has lost a stone in weight.

    "As long as I keep taking my allopurinol and being careful with my diet, there's no reason to fear another flare-up," says Harry. "But it makes me angry that people perceive gout as an 'old person's' condition, or something greedy people get.

    "Gout can affect anyone and we need to be more aware of it."

    :: ukgoutsociety.org

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    Gout Comes With Increased Heart Risk

    Incident gout and risk of first-time acute coronary syndrome: a prospective, population-based, cohort study in Sweden

    Panagiota Drivelegka MD, PhD,Lennart T.H. Jacobsson MD,Ulf Lindstrom MD,Karin Bengtsson MD, PhD,Mats Dehlin MD

    First published: 12 September 2022 https://doi.org/10.1002/acr.25018



    To investigate the risk of first-time acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in a large cohort of primary and secondary care patients with incident gout, compared to the general population.


    Using register data for the period 2007 ̶ 2017, we conducted a prospective, population-based cohort with 20,146 patients with incident gout (mean age, 65.6 years; 67.4% males) and 83,517 matched population controls, without prior history of coronary heart disease. We calculated incidence rates (IR) and hazard ratios (HR) adjusted for baseline comorbidities and dispensed prescriptions. In a sensitivity analysis, we included gout cases and controls with no previously diagnosed comorbidity (6,075 cases and 44,091 controls).


    The IR of first-time ACS was significantly increased in the gout cohort, compared to controls (9.1 vs 6.3/1,000 person-years). Unadjusted cox regression showed that gout patients had higher risk of first-time ACS compared to controls (HR, 1.44; 95%CI, 1.33-1.56), with higher HR in women (HR, 1.64; 95%CI, 1.41 ̶ 1.90) than in men (HR, 1.36; 95%CI, 1.24 ̶ 1.50). In multivariable analysis the risk diminished but remained significant (HR, 1.15; 95%CI, 1.06-1.25). The risk was similar in the sensitivity analysis (HR, 1.20; 95%CI, 1.01-1.44), and still higher in women (HR, 1.34; 95%CI, 0.86-2.08), than in men (HR, 1.18; 95%CI, 0.97-1.44).


    Patients with incident gout have a 44% increased risk of first-time ACS, higher in women than in men. This risk is largely explained by the underlying comorbidities, but there is still a modestly increased risk that may be due to gout-related factors.

    Cardiovascular Disease and Gout | Heart Disease Risk Factors | Gout Risk Factors (goutcure.com)

    Stress accelerates immune aging, study finds

    Traumatic life events, discrimination prematurely weaken body's mix of immune cells

    Date: June 13, 2022 Source: University of Southern California

    Summary: Stress -- in the form of traumatic events, job strain, everyday stressors and discrimination -- accelerates aging of the immune system, potentially increasing a person's risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and illness from infections such as COVID-19, according to a new study. The research could help explain disparities in age-related health, including the unequal toll of the pandemic, and identify possible points for intervention.

    Stress -- in the form of traumatic events, job strain, everyday stressors and discrimination -- accelerates aging of the immune system, potentially increasing a person's risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and illness from infections such as COVID-19, according to a new USC study.

    The research, published June 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could help explain disparities in age-related health, including the unequal toll of the pandemic, and identify possible points for intervention.

    "As the world's population of older adults increases, understanding disparities in age-related health is essential. Age-related changes in the immune system play a critical role in declining health," said lead study author Eric Klopack, a postdoctoral scholar in the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. "This study helps clarify mechanisms involved in accelerated immune aging."

    As people age, the immune system naturally begins a dramatic downgrade, a condition called immunosenescence. With advanced age, a person's immune profile weakens, and includes too many worn-out white blood cells circulating and too few fresh, "naive" white blood cells ready to take on new invaders.

    Immune aging is associated not only with cancer, but with cardiovascular disease, increased risk of pneumonia, reduced efficacy of vaccines and organ system aging.

    But what accounts for drastic health differences in same-age adults? USC researchers decided to see if they could tease out a connection between lifetime exposure to stress -- a known contributor to poor health -- and declining vigor in the immune system.

    They queried and cross-referenced enormous data sets from University of Michigan's Health and Retirement Study, a national longitudinal study of the economic, health, marital, family status, and public and private support systems of older Americans.

    To calculate exposure to various forms of social stress, the researchers analyzed responses from a national sample of 5,744 adults over the age of 50. They answered a questionnaire designed to assess respondents' experiences with social stress, including stressful life events, chronic stress, everyday discrimination and lifetime discrimination.

    Blood samples from the participants were then analyzed through flow cytometry, a lab technique that counts and classifies blood cells as they pass one-by-one in a narrow stream in front of a laser.

    As expected, people with higher stress scores had older-seeming immune profiles, with lower percentages of fresh disease fighters and higher percentages of worn-out white blood cells. The association between stressful life events and fewer ready to respond, or naive, T cells remained strong even after controlling for education, smoking, drinking, BMI and race or ethnicity.

    Some sources of stress may be impossible to control, but the researchers say there may be a workaround.

    T-cells -- a critical component of immunity -- mature in a gland called the thymus, which sits just in front of and above the heart. As people age, the tissue in their thymus shrinks and is replaced by fatty tissue, resulting in reduced production of immune cells. Past research suggests that this process is accelerated by lifestyle factors like poor diet and low exercise, which are both associated with social stress.

    "In this study, after statistically controlling for poor diet and low exercise, the connection between stress and accelerated immune aging wasn't as strong," said Klopack. "What this means is people who experience more stress tend to have poorer diet and exercise habits, partly explaining why they have more accelerated immune aging."

    Improving diet and exercise behaviors in older adults may help offset the immune aging associated with stress.

    Additionally, cytomegalovirus (CMV) may be a target for intervention. CMV is a common, usually asymptomatic virus in humans and is known to have a strong effect accelerating immune aging. Like shingles or cold sores, CMV is dormant most of the time but can flare up, especially when a person is experiencing high stress.

    In this study, statistically controlling for CMV positivity also reduced the connection between stress and accelerated immune aging. Therefore, widespread CMV vaccination could be a relatively simple and potentially powerful intervention that could reduce the immune aging effects of stress, the researchers said.

    In addition to Klopack, other authors include Eileen Crimmins, a University Professor and the AARP Chair in Gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School; and Steve Cole and Teresa Seeman of UCLA.

    The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging (P30AG017265, U01AG009740).

    Story Source:

    Materials provided by University of Southern California. Original written by Leigh Hopper. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

    Journal Reference:

    Eric T. Klopack, Eileen M. Crimmins, Steve W. Cole, Teresa E. Seeman, Judith E. Carroll. Social stressors associated with age-related T lymphocyte percentages in older US adults: Evidence from the US Health and Retirement Study. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022; 119 (25) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2202780119

    University of Southern California. "Stress accelerates immune aging, study finds: Traumatic life events, discrimination prematurely weaken body's mix of immune cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2022. .

    Native Hawaiians have higher risk for gout, UH study finds (Maui News)

    An analysis of nearly two decades of data of 92,000 people revealed Native Hawaiians had more than twice the risk of Whites participants of developing gout as older adults.

    The new study by University of Mānoa researchers -- and one of the largest multiethnic gout studies to date-- was published in The Journal of Rheumatology.

    Gout, a common and painful form of arthritis, is becoming more prevalent in the United States. But the differences in risk between populations remains largely understudied, especially for Native Hawaiians. This study helped shed some light on these differences. It also revealed black participants had the second highest risk, followed by Japanese participants.

    "Gout is known to affect Pacific Island peoples more than other ethnic groups, but this is one of very few studies that look at Native Hawaiians," said Mika Thompson, lead author and PhD candidate in the Office of Public Health Studies. Thompson worked with Office of Public Health Studies colleagues and researchers at the UH Cancer Center and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

    The study used data collected from the UH Cancer Center's Multiethnic Cohort Study that included men and women from Hawai'i and Los Angeles who identified as White, Japanese American, Native Hawaiian, Black and Latino.

    Among the 92,000 participants researchers analyzed, those who smoked and consumed alcohol developed a higher risk for gout later in life. Those who consumed more than three alcoholic drinks per day had a 38% increased risk of gout compared to those who did not drink at all.

    An analysis of nearly two decades of data of 92,000 people revealed Native Hawaiians had more than twice the risk of Whites participants of developing gout as older adults.

    The new study by University of Mānoa researchers -- and one of the largest multiethnic gout studies to date -- was published in The Journal of Rheumatology.

    Gout, a common and painful form of arthritis, is becoming more prevalent in the United States. But the differences in risk between populations remains largely understudied, especially for Native Hawaiians. This study helped shed some light on these differences. It also revealed black participants had the second highest risk, followed by Japanese participants.

    "Gout is known to affect Pacific Island peoples more than other ethnic groups, but this is one of very few studies that look at Native Hawaiians," said Mika Thompson, lead author and PhD candidate in the Office of Public Health Studies. Thompson worked with Office of Public Health Studies colleagues and researchers at the UH Cancer Center and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

    The study used data collected from the UH Cancer Center's Multiethnic Cohort Study that included men and women from Hawai‘i and Los Angeles who identified as White, Japanese American, Native Hawaiian, Black and Latino.

    Among the 92,000 participants researchers analyzed, those who smoked and consumed alcohol developed a higher risk for gout later in life. Those who consumed more than three alcoholic drinks per day had a 38% increased risk of gout compared to those who did not drink at all.

    "Knowing that the effects of certain lifestyle factors differ by ethnicity can really help bring us closer to precision in prevention, identifying gout, and clinical treatment for older adults," Thompson said. "Gout is a debilitating disease and it's often unrecognized for a long period of time, so being able to see these disparities in populations that already are underserved and understudied really helps bring light to the issue."

    Is it OK to walk with gout?

    Medical News Today: It is safe for people to walk with gout. In fact, doing joint friendly activities such as walking can help improve gout-related pain.

    Gout is a form of arthritis that usually affects the big toe joint, but it can also affect the lesser toes, ankles, and knees. It normally affects one joint at a time.

    People with gout may find it difficult to carry out physical activity, or they may be worried that physical activity will make their gout worse.

    This article will examine whether or not it is safe to walk with gout. It will also cover how to manage, treat, and prevent this condition.

    READ MORE Can people walk with gout? Walking with gout is safe, even in cases of severe arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source note that doing joint friendly physical activity is important in improving gout-related pain.

    Joint friendly activity is any activity that does not put too much stress on the joints and minimizes the risk of injury. Such activities may include:

  • walking
  • cycling
  • swimming

  • Experts recommend that adults take part in at least moderate intensity physical activity for 150 minutes per week. However, the CDC recommend that people with gout start slow, pay attention to how their body tolerates exercise, and slowly add more time.

    People should take care to adjust their physical activities according to the gout symptoms they are experiencing. This may involve reducing the amount of time spent exercising if symptoms get worse.

    Risks Some of the risks associated with walking or doing moderate physical activity include causing injury to the joint or worsening gout symptoms.

    The Arthritis Foundation recommend:

  • wearing form-fitting clothing to ensure that the clothing material does not get caught on anything, such as equipment
  • wearing supportive, comfortable shoes
  • using a stationary bike if cycling, as this can reduce the risk of injury
  • starting slow and not overdoing any physical activity

  • Tips for management and avoiding walking

    A gout flare is the sudden onset of gout symptoms. Flares can last for days or weeks.

    When a flare occurs, people can reduce their gout symptoms by doing the following:

  • icing the affected joint to reduce the pain and swelling
  • elevating the affected joint to reduce the swelling
  • resting the affected joint

  • This means that if a person is experiencing a painful gout flare, they should avoid walking to reduce swelling and pain. The Arthritis Foundation also recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, and using a walking aid, such as a cane, to relieve pressure on the joint.

    Hyperuricemia as a potential plausible risk factor for periodontitis


    Author: Zi-yun Chen,Lu-wen Ye,Li Zhao,Zhao-jia Liang,Ting Yu,Jie Gao

    Publication: Medical Hypotheses

    Publisher: Elsevier

    Date: April 2020

    Elevated blood uric acid (UA) levels have been positively associated with the severity of periodontitis. It thus brings out a hypothesis that hyperuricemia, a pathological elevation of blood UA, might be a risk factor for periodontitis. Namely, periodontitis individuals with Hu might acquire more severe periodontal destruction compared to those without Hu. To support the hypothesis, four aspects of evidences are proposed.

    First, hyperuricemia and periodontitis share many metabolic and inflammatory comorbidities such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases which are commonly related to elevated UA levels and gout.

    Second, observational and interventional studies have found altered UA levels in blood and saliva in periodontitis patients or after periodontal treatment, suggesting an epidemiological connection between hyperuricemia and periodontitis.

    Third, plausible immuno-metabolic mechanisms by which hyperuricemia might promote the progression of periodontitis are suggested, such as impaired immune response, oxidative stress, pathological bone remodeling and dysbiosis.

    The last, our empirical data exhibited elevated UA levels in gingival tissue in periodontitis mice compared to controls. If the hypothesis is true, given the high prevalence of the two conditions, hyperuricemia would be a significant risk factor increasing the global burden of periodontal diseases.

    Evidences on a directional correlation between hyperuricemia and periodontitis are sparse. Longitudinal and experimental studies would be necessary to determine the magnitude of periodontal risk, if any, exacerbated by hyperuricemia and the underlying mechanisms.

    In-hospital cardiac procedures up for those with gout, rheumatoid arthritis

    (HealthDay) - Rates of in-hospital cardiac procedures continued to increase in people with gout and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from 1998 to 2014, although they decreased for the general population, according to a study published online Feb. 25 in Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease.

    Jasvinder A. Singh, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., and John Cleveland, M.D., both from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, used data from the U.S. National Inpatient Sample (1998 to 2014) to examine the frequency of seven common cardiac and orthopedic procedures in hospitalized people with gout and RA compared to the general population.

    The researchers found that both in-hospital cardiac and orthopedic procedures increased for gout and RA patients with time, while cardiac procedures declined for the general U.S. population. Cardiac procedures were significantly higher in patients with gout versus RA in 1998 (59 percent higher) and 2014 (92 percent higher). By 2014, orthopedic procedures became more common than cardiac procedures in gout and RA patients. The cardiac-orthopedic procedure volume difference was significant in 1998 and 2014 for RA patients.

    For gout patients, there were no significant differences noted between cardiac and orthopedic procedures in 1998, but the difference was significant in 2014. In 1998, the rate of orthopedic procedures among gout patients was significantly lower than that seen for RA patients (33 percent lower), but by 2014, the rate was significantly higher than that seen for RA patients (5 percent higher).

    "The widening gap in cardiac procedures between gout and RA and crossing over for orthopedic procedures over time indicates that optimal treatment and treat-to-target implemented in RA treatment may need to be implemented in gout to improve disease outcomes and associated morbidity and resource burden," the authors write.

    Gout 'more than doubles' risk of kidney failure

    Largest ever study on subject uses data from more than 620,000 patients in UK health system
    Date: August 28, 2019
    Source:University of Limerick
    Summary: Patients with gout are at increased risk of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure, according to new research.

    Patients with gout are at increased risk of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure, according to new University of Limerick (UL), Ireland led research.

    In one of the largest and most detailed studies ever conducted, patients recruited in general practice with a diagnosis of gout were more than twice as likely to develop kidney failure than those without, according to the study led by researchers at University of Limerick's (UL) Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS).

    The largest and most detailed study ever published on this subject used data from more than 620,000 patients in the UK health system.

    It found that gout patients were also more likely to suffer a short-term deterioration in kidney function, as well as a sustained deterioration of function to less than 10% of normal, compared to patients without gout.

    The researchers based their findings on results of a large UK-wide study that analysed data from the Clinical Research Practice Data Datalink (CPRD), a research database that collects clinical information on patients attending primary care centres from across the UK.

    In their analysis, researchers analysed the risk of advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) in 68,897 gout patients followed for an average of 3.7 years and compared them to 554,964 patients without gout.

    "The results were quite astonishing," said Professor Austin Stack, Foundation Chair of Medicine at UL GEMS who is lead author of the study and Principal Investigator for the UL Kidney Health Consortium at the Health Research Institute and Consultant Nephrologist at UL Hospitals.

    "While we always believed that high levels of uric acid might be bad for kidneys and that patients with gout may have a higher risk of kidney failure, we were quite surprised by the magnitude of the risk imposed by gout in these patients. We were particularly interested in the risk of advanced kidney disease, as these patients in general have a higher risk of kidney failure and death.

    "In our analysis, we defined advanced kidney disease based on four specific criteria; need for dialysis or kidney transplant; failing kidney function to less than 10% of normal; doubling of serum creatinine from baseline; and death associated with CKD.

    "Overall, we discovered that patients who suffered from gout had a 29% higher risk of advanced CKD compared to those without gout. Indeed when we analysed each of the components of advanced kidney disease, we found that in general gout patients were at higher risk of a deterioration in kidney function compared to those without.

    "Astonishingly, when we looked at the risk of kidney failure and those who needed dialysis or a kidney transplant, we found that gouts patients had more than a 200% higher risk of kidney failure than those without gout," Professor Stack added of the study, which has just been published by medical journal BMJ Open.

    The study sheds new light on the importance and potential impact of gout on kidney function. Although previous studies have shown that gout patients have a higher burden of kidney disease, none has convincingly shown that gout can contribute to the development of kidney failure.

    "Our study had several important strengths that overcame the limitations of previous studies. It is one of the largest studies ever conducted with over 620,000 patients included," said Professor Stack.

    "Second, the study was representative of patients that are typically seen in general practice within the UK health system. Third, the analysis accounted for known confounders -- factors that may have contributed to the development or kidney disease like hypertension and diabetes -- and our findings were further confirmed in several additional analysis. Taken together, the findings from this study suggest that gout is an independent risk factor for progression of CKD and kidney failure."

    Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis which causes severe pain and suffering due to a build-up of uric acid in joints. It affects almost 2.5 % of the adult population and causes significant pain and disability due to its effects on joints, tendons and bone. Treatments that lower uric acid levels in the blood stream are effective in preventing both the acute flares of gout and the long-term damage it causes in joints, however current evidence shows that gout remains poorly managed in the population.

    CKD is a common chronic condition that affects around 15% of adults in the Irish health system and has a major impact on a person health.

    "Each year over 450 patients develop kidney failure in Ireland and require some form of dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant," explained Professor Stack.

    "This continues to be the case despite our best efforts at controlling blood pressure m diabetes and other well established risk factors. In fact in over a decade, the numbers of patients who develop kidney failure in Ireland has increased from 2,848 in 2005 to 4,440 in 2017 (a growth of 56%).

    "The result of this new research suggests that gout may also play an important role in the progression of kidney disease. The identification of gout as a potential risk factor opens up new opportunities for the prevention of kidney disease and its consequences," added Professor Stack.

    Story Source:

    University of Limerick. "Gout 'more than doubles' risk of kidney failure: Largest ever study on subject uses data from more than 620,000 patients in UK health system." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2019. .

    Journal Reference:

    Austin G Stack, Michelle Elizabeth Johnson, Betina Blak, Alyssa Klein, Lewis Carpenter, Robert Morlock, Andrew R Maguire, Victoria L Parsons. Gout and the risk of advanced chronic kidney disease in the UK health system: a national cohort study. BMJ Open, 2019; 9 (8): e031550 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-031550

    Wearable sweat sensor detects gout-causing compounds

    Date: November 25, 2019
    Source: California Institute of Technology
    Summary: Scientists have developed an easier way to mass-produce highly sensitive sweat sensors that can detect a variety of low-concentration compounds related to health conditions.

    There are numerous things to dislike about going to the doctor: Paying a copay, sitting in the waiting room, out-of-date magazines, sick people coughing without covering their mouths. For many, though, the worst thing about a doctor's visit is getting stuck with a needle. Blood tests are a tried-and-true way of evaluating what is going on with your body, but the discomfort is unavoidable. Or maybe not, say Caltech scientists.

    In a new paper published in Nature Biotechnology, researchers led by Wei Gao, assistant professor of medical engineering, describe a mass-producible wearable sensor that can monitor levels of metabolites and nutrients in a person's blood by analyzing their sweat. Previously developed sweat sensors mostly target compounds that appear in high concentrations, such as electrolytes, glucose, and lactate. Gao's sweat sensor is more sensitive than current devices and can detect sweat compounds of much lower concentrations, in addition to being easier to manufacture, the researchers say.

    The development of such sensors would allow doctors to continuously monitor the condition of patients with illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or kidney disease, all of which result in abnormal levels of nutrients or metabolites in the bloodstream. Patients would benefit from having their physician better informed of their condition, while also avoiding invasive and painful encounters with hypodermic needles.

    "Such wearable sweat sensors have the potential to rapidly, continuously, and noninvasively capture changes in health at molecular levels," Gao says. "They could enable personalized monitoring, early diagnosis, and timely intervention."

    Gao's work is focused on developing devices based on microfluidics, a name for technologies that manipulate tiny amounts of liquids, usually through channels less than a quarter of a millimeter in width. Microfluidics are ideal for an application of this sort because they minimize the influence of sweat evaporation and skin contamination on the sensing accuracy. As freshly supplied sweat flows through the microchannels, the device can make more accurate measurements of sweat and can capture temporal changes in concentrations.

    Until now, Gao and his colleagues say, microfluidic-based wearable sensors were mostly fabricated with a lithography-evaporation process, which requires complicated and expensive fabrication processes. His team instead opted to make their biosensors out of graphene, a sheet-like form of carbon. Both the graphene-based sensors and the tiny microfluidics channels are created by engraving the plastic sheets with a carbon dioxide laser, a device that is now so common that it is available to home hobbyists.

    The research team opted to have their sensor measure respiratory rate, heart rate, and levels of uric acid and tyrosine. Tyrosine was chosen because it can be an indicator of metabolic disorders, liver disease, eating disorders, and neuropsychiatric conditions. Uric acid was chosen because, at elevated levels, it is associated with gout, a painful joint condition that is on the rise globally. Gout occurs when high levels of uric acid in the body begin crystallizing in the joints, particularly those of the feet, causing irritation and inflammation.

    To see how well the sensors performed, the researchers ran a series of tests with healthy individuals and patients. To check sweat tyrosine levels, which are influenced by a person's physical fitness, they used two groups of people: trained athletes and individuals of average fitness. As expected, the sensors showed lower levels of tyrosine in the sweat of the athletes. To check uric acid levels, they took a group of healthy individuals and monitored their sweat while they were fasting as well as after they ate a meal rich in purines, compounds in food that are metabolized into uric acid. The sensor showed uric acid levels rising after the meal. Gao's team also performed a similar test with gout patients. Their uric acid levels, the sensor showed, were much higher than those of healthy people.

    To check the accuracy of the sensors, the researchers also drew blood samples from the gout patients and healthy subjects. The sensors' measurements of uric acid levels strongly correlated with levels of the compound in the blood.

    Gao says the high sensitivity of the sensors, along with the ease with which they can be manufactured, means they could eventually be used by patients at home to monitor conditions like gout, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Having accurate real-time information about their health could even allow a patient to adjust their own medication levels and diet as required.

    "Considering that abnormal circulating nutrients and metabolites are related to a number of health conditions, the information collected from such wearable sensors will be invaluable for both research and medical treatment," Gao says.

    Story Source:

    Materials provided by California Institute of Technology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

    Journal Reference:

    Yiran Yang, Yu Song, Xiangjie Bo, Jihong Min, On Shun Pak, Lailai Zhu, Minqiang Wang, Jiaobing Tu, Adam Kogan, Haixia Zhang, Tzung K. Hsiai, Zhaoping Li, Wei Gao. A laser-engraved wearable sensor for sensitive detection of uric acid and tyrosine in sweat. Nature Biotechnology, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41587-019-0321-x

    Rights to article: California Institute of Technology. "Wearable sweat sensor detects gout-causing compounds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2019. .

    Proteins that protect against joint inflammation identified

    Date: January 21, 2020
    Source: Karolinska Institutet
    Summary: Endogenous proteins that play a vital part in allergies and parasitic infection can prevent the immune system from wrongly attacking the body and causing inflamed joints, a new study reports. The researchers hope that the results will give rise to new drugs for rheumatoid arthritis.

    Endogenous proteins that play a vital part in allergies and parasitic infection can prevent the immune system from wrongly attacking the body and causing inflamed joints, a study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the scientific journal PNAS reports. The researchers hope that the results will give rise to new drugs for rheumatoid arthritis.

    In protecting us against infections, our immune systems are vital to our survival. Unfortunately, immune cells can sometimes wrongly attack the body, resulting in what are called autoimmune diseases. These diseases are often serious and affect some five per cent of the population. One example is rheumatoid arthritis, in which the patient's immune system attacks the joints, causing inflammation and pain. If scientists are to develop better treatments for such patients, they need to understand in detail how immune cells are regulated.

    Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now discovered that certain proteins called IL-4 and IL-13 can play an important part in preventing autoimmune attacks. The proteins, which are secreted by immune cells in the presence of allergens or parasitic infections, influence the behaviour of a specific type of immune cell called a neutrophil. Neutrophils are commonly the most abundant immune cells found in the actively inflamed joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. They are particularly virulent against tissue since they can secrete various fairly non-specific tissue irritants.

    Previous research has shown that IL-4 and IL-13 can affect arthritis in experimental models, but exactly how they do so has remained a mystery. The results of this latest study show that these proteins prevent neutrophils from migrating into the inflamed joint. The presence of IL-4 or IL-13 also stimulates an increase in neutrophil surface receptors which have an inhibiting effect on joint inflammation.

    "We will continue to study these mechanisms and hope that our work can contribute to the development of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis," says principal investigator Fredrik Wermeling, assistant professor at the Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet (Solna).

    For their study, the researchers used the CRISPR method to modify selected immune-cell genes in order to understand how they affect cell behaviour. The use of the bacterial CRISPR system as a research method is one of the most significant scientific advances of the past decade.

    "The results we obtained using CRISPR were key to quickly understanding how the system under study is regulated," says Dr Wermeling. "I have high hopes that the experimental use of CRISPR will be hugely important to our understanding of how immune-cell behaviour is regulated, and that this can guide us in the development of new efficacious drugs."

    Story Source:

    Materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

    Karolinska Institutet. "Proteins that protect against joint inflammation identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2020

    University of Texas study links meat to kidney cancer

    NBC News MAGGIE FOX Nov 9th 2015

    Another study has shown people who eat more meat have a high risk of cancer. This time, it's kidney cancer, researchers reported Monday.

    And it's not just people who eat red meat, as many other studies have shown. People who eat more so-called white meat, such as chicken, have the higher risk, too.

    Dr. Xifeng Wu and colleagues at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston studied 659 patients just diagnosed with kidney cancer and compared them to 699 similar people without cancer.

    They wanted to break down not just the link, but to tease out the factors that might explain it. They looked at what kinds of meat people ate, how they cooked it, as well as people's genetic makeup to see if certain genes made them more susceptible.

    People who said they ate the most grilled meat -- red meat and chicken alike -- had a higher risk of kidney cancer, they reported in the journal Cancer. And those with two genetic mutations that already put people at higher risk of kidney cancer were most affected by the grilled meat risk.

    People with kidney cancer also ate fewer fruits and vegetables than people who didn't have it.

    "Although previous studies have linked meat intake with an increased risk of (kidney cancer), to the best of our knowledge the underlying mechanism for this association remains unclear," they wrote.

    Cancer experts have long known that grilling or barbecuing meat can make it carcinogenic. Burning or charring meat creates cancer-causing substances.

    In this case, the two culprits Wu's team looked for were 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenyl-imidazo(4,5-b) pyridine (PhIP for short ) and amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f) quinoxaline (MeIQx for short).

    "Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women," the American Cancer Society said. The group projects that more than 61,000 Americans will be diagnosed with kidney cancer this year and 14,000 will die of it.

    "For reasons that are not totally clear, the rate of new kidney cancers has been rising since the 1990s, although this seems to have leveled off in the past few years," the American Cancer Society added in a statement on its website.

    "Part of this rise was probably due to the use of newer imaging tests such as CT scans, which picked up some cancers that might never have been found otherwise."

    Wu's team also wonders whether an increase in eating meat might explain some of it.

    "The American/Western dietary pattern consists largely of red and processed meats, and the results of the current study suggest that the association between this dietary pattern and cancer may be in part explained by exposure to meat cooking mutagens," they wrote.

    Last month, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a controversial report that stated definitively that processed meats such as sausages and bacon cause cancer and that red meat probably does.

    This study fits in with the studies that undergird the IARC's pronouncement.

    Outside experts said it will be important to find out just what the risk is and what people can do about it.

    "Once we have identified more genes we will likely be able to identify a subset of the population that is at particularly high risk to develop kidney cancer if they eat meat and processed meat," said Dr. Ulrike Peters of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

    "However, overall recommendations to limit intake of red and processed meat will remain for the entire population."

    Gout and the Antihypertensives

    Linda Brookes, MSc, Hyon K. Choi, MD, DrPH (summary below/full interview https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/761761_3):

    Patients with hypertension, the incidence of gout has been calculated as 3 times higher than in non hypertension patients. Much of this added risk is attributed to the use of diuretics, which are associated with increased serum uric acid levels. Current hypertension guidelines recommend caution in the use of diuretics in elderly hypertensive patients or cite this adverse effect of diuretics as a possible contraindication in patients who may already be at risk for gout.

    Other, non-diuretic classes of antihypertensive drugs have also been shown to affect serum uric acid levels, which prompted Dr. Choi's group to examine the relationship between these drugs and gout in people with hypertension. To accomplish the analysis, these investigators used a database of computerized medical records generated by UK general practitioners between 2000 and 2007. The data came from 24,768 incident cases of gout among adults aged 20-79 years, 51.9% with a prior diagnosis of hypertension, and a random sample of 50,000 matched controls. Dr. Choi reported that after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), visits to the general practitioner, alcohol intake, and pertinent drugs and comorbidities, the relative risk of incident gout among patients with hypertension was reduced with use of calcium channel blockers. By contrast, the risk of gout was increased with use of diuretics, beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and non-losartan angiotensin II receptor blockers. Use of these drugs in the patients without hypertension produced similar results. In the patients with hypertension, there was a significant trend in relative risk reduction for gout with duration of CCB use and with losartan use. [back to the top]

    FDA approves another dangerous gout drug

    by Michele Cagan at healthiertalk.com

    The FDA just approved IV drug Krystexxa for gout treatment. But they couldn't have possibly looked at the trial results. Or they just hate people with gout.

    The results were ridiculous...

    Fewer than half the people in the trial actually ended up with a positive response to the medicine--so it doesn't really seem to work. On top of that, Krystexxa produced some pretty nasty adverse reactions.

    41% of the patients suffered severe infusion reactions, despite taking antihistamines and steroids before their Krystexxa treatment.

    77% suffered from gout flare-ups, compared to 51% taking placebo--and that's despite being pretreated for at least a week with NSAIDs, colchicine, or both.

    Not to mention an unusually large percentage of anaphylactic reactions (again, despite premedicating with antihistamines and steroids!), and other very unpleasant side effects like chest pain, nausea, vomiting, and bruises.

    If you're suffering with gout, don't put yourself through even more suffering with Krystexxa. Especially when there are effective natural solutions that won't make your gout worse than ever. [back to the top]

    The People's Pharmacy- Prednisone Side Effects: Deal With The Devil?

    Prednisone (and similar corticosteroids) can be a life saving drug. It saved my sanity when I developed sudden hearing loss in one ear. That was a really scary experience for someone who depends on hearing to be able to do live radio. The ear, nose and throat specialist diagnosed my deafness as "idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss." In other words, he didn't have a clue what caused it. He did prescribe high doses of prednisone and within a few days my hearing returned.

    Similar corticosteroids like prednisone include:

  • Cortisone
  • Dexamethasone
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Prednisolone

    There are many conditions for which such drugs can be extremely valuable, even life saving. Here are just a few:

  • Very serious allergic reactions (bad poison ivy for example)
  • Anaphylactic shock (life-threatening allergic reaction)
  • Brain tumors
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease)
  • Severe asthma (usually to help control acute flare-ups)
  • Severe nausea of chemotherapy
  • High altitude sickness (when there is brain swelling)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Addison's disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Giant cell arteritis

    As useful as corticosteroids can be for a wide range of conditions, the drugs can also cause an extraordinary number of serious side effects. Some people have likened this to a deal with the devil. Even short-term use can cause problems.

    The week or two that I took prednisone for my hearing loss I couldn't sleep, became incredibly irritable and hard to live with, and felt as if I had turned into someone I didn't know or like. A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry analyzed data from hundreds of thousands of European patients over an 18 year period. They discovered that people taking corticosteroids were more likely to experience neuropsychiatric symptoms including depression, suicidal thoughts (and actions), delirium, disorientation, confusion, panic and manic episodes. The authors conclude that: "Glucocorticoids [another term for corticosteroids] increase the risk of suicidal behavior and neuropsychiatric disorders. Educating patients and their families about these adverse events and increasing primary care physicians' awareness about their occurrence should facilitate early monitoring."

    I can relate. I certainly felt disoriented and out of control on the relatively high dose I was taking. The trouble is that patients and their families are not always warned about such side effects. Here are some scary stories that have been reported to this website:

    "Years ago I was given prednisone in the emergency room for a severe anaphylactic reaction that affected my ability to breathe and caused massive hives. Although the treatment may have been necessary, I too had a severe psychotic reaction and when I finally went to my own doctor and had blood tests, my blood chemistry was all over the map. I had to continue the tapered dose till I was done but I wish someone had warned me of possible side effects so at least I wouldn't think I was totally crazy. "I questioned my ability to drive, slept constantly, and was quite volatile. I had to take a day off from work. Knowledge is power! People should be warned about possible side effects so they have the information should side effects occur." AC

    "I was on 20mg twice a day of prednisone for a sinus infection. Had I known anything about this horrible drug I would have never taken the meds and let my sinus infection clear up on its own. That would have been better than these side effects.

    "I was not told to taper the dose, so I took as prescribed 20mg twice daily for 7 days. The day after stopping my whole body hurt to the touch, as if I was black and blue all over. I was swollen, red and had a lump on my neck, not to mention being very disoriented. I went back to the doctor and he insisted this had nothing to do with the drug. "I checked myself into the ER where they put an IV drip with benadryl and the like. I was discharged that day. No change. Next day, didn't hurt to the touch anymore. New side effect - rash from head to toe and severe indigestion. Following day, rash subsiding, indigestion getting better. Still feeling a bit loopy, but I am told by next week I should be back to myself again.

    "I am warning everyone i know not to ever take a steroid unless your life is in danger. It is a very scary feeling - all for a sinus infection." AMS

    "I'm having Prednisone side effects. My doctor prescribed this drug last Thursday. She prescribed 20mg twice daily for five days. I was sleepless for three days in row. On day 4 after a short nap I awake feeling so nervous. I am crying, my hands are shaking, and my heart is beating so hard. These are awful feelings.

    "My doctor told me I will feel that way for about nine days. She didn't show any care about me. She also said I can go back to work (and drive a long way) the next day. But the way I was and am feeling I'm not daring to drive even one block.

    "I do not understand why she prescribed that medicine, without any warning, for a small allergy I had. I mean the medicine was worse than my illness." ELY

    "My wife had sleepness nights when on prednisone and the doctor said that she might do some odd things that she normally wouldn't do. He was right. One night she got up and tore down the wall paper in our bathroom :-) We still get a laugh over this one." Bob K.

    "I am experiencing high blood pressure, agoraphobia, panic attacks, light headedness, confusion, weakness, intolerance to heat, IBS, shaking, etc. These side effects all started the day I stopped the drug. It has been 7 days with not much improvement. I was hospitalized for 3 days. I pray I do not EVER have to take prednisone again... EVER. "I am hoping I get past this. My quality of life stinks. I took 30mg 1 day 20mg 2 days and 1 mg 2 days. Absolutely HATE this." SKF

    These are just some of the messages that have been posted to our website. Feel free to add your story or comment below. We find it astonishing that some prescribers do not warn patients about the possibility of psychological side effects brought on by prednisone and friends. Even a short-course of high-dose steroid can precipitate symptoms. And not warning about gradual tapering borders on bad medicine. To protect yourself and your loved ones from such medical mistakes we suggest our latest book, Top Screw-ups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.

    We want to emphasize that corticosteroids can be very valuable. Some people must take them for the rest of their lives because of a very serious or life-threatening condition. And NO ONE should ever stop taking a drug like prednisone suddenly. It must be phased off gradually under medical supervision.

    Here are some other side effects associated with corticosteroids.

  • Fluid retention, edema
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability, nervousness, mood swings, mania, depression, psychosis
  • Disorientation, confusion
  • Hypertension
  • Loss of potassium
  • Headache
  • Dizziness, vertigo
  • Muscle weakness
  • Blood sugar elevation (diabetes)
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Swollen face
  • Hair growth (including on the face)
  • Itching, rash, hives
  • Increased susceptibility to infection
  • Weakened bones (osteopenia, osteoporosis)
  • Tendon rupture
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Ulcers

    The higher the dose and the longer someone takes a drug like prednisone the more likely there will be side effects. Make sure your physician is monitoring things like potassium, blood sugar, bone density and psychological well being. And never stop a corticosteroid suddenly!

    Joe Graedon, for The Soapbox blog on The People's Pharmacy [back to the top]

    BBC news Sunday, 9 May, 2004 - Gout treatments 'remain unproven'

    There is little scientific evidence to support the use of some current treatments for gout, researchers say. The condition is usually treated with an anti-inflammatory drug, or with alternatives such as steroids.

    But the journal Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin says much of the evidence for their effectiveness is anecdotal. Other experts have disputed that claim.

    Gout affects around 600,000 people in the UK and is becoming increasingly common in men.

    Gout generally involves very severe attacks of joint pain followed by long periods of remission.

    The condition is caused by the formation of urate crystals within joints and other tissues.

    Acute attacks are usually treated with an anti-inflammatory drug - in many cases indometacin.

    However, the DTB says there are no published studies showing whether this is the most effective treatment.

    In fact, it says there is evidence to suggest that indometacin is no better, or more easily tolerated than other anti-inflammatory drugs.

    Some people - for instance those with stomach ulcers - cannot take anti-inflammatory drugs.

    In these cases doctors rely on alternative treatments such as colchicines and steroids.

    However, the DTB says their use is based more on anecdotal experience than on published research.


    The journal also raises questions about preventative drugs commonly prescribed to many patients to try to stop further attacks - drugs, which in many cases, may be taken for years.

    Again, the journal says there is little published evidence on the effectiveness of such treatment.

    It says patients, rather than GPs, should make the decision on whether and when to start to take such medicines long term.

    Joe Collier, editor of Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, said: "It is astonishing that we know so little about how best to treat the common (and very painful) condition gout.

    "The drugs used are old, so there is no drive to do the necessary research. This is an unacceptable position and needs remedying."

    The journal says there is some evidence to suggest that adopting a healthy lifestyle can cut the frequency of acute gout attacks.

    Shedding excess weight and avoiding high alcohol consumption are all thought to help.

    Claims disputed

    But Dr Michael Snaith, a consultant rheumatologist in Derbyshire and expert on gout, told BBC News Online that the criticism of current treatments had been over-egged.

    He said it was true to say that different anti-inflammatory drugs were equally effective at treating gout - but he said that as a group they were a highly effective way to combat the condition.

    "Most developments in gout occurred in the middle third of the last century before electronic databases were set up - these researchers may not have gone back far enough," he said.

    "For instance, there is undoubtedly hard evidence of the effectiveness of Allopurinol, a drug developed to treat cancer in the 1950s, preventing gout attacks by reducing uric acid levels." [back to the top]

    (NaturalNews) Drug side effects left woman blind and scarred

    A federal jury has ordered Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. to pay $21 million to a woman who was blinded and scarred in an adverse reaction to an anti-inflammatory drug.

    In January 2005, Karen Bartlett of Pliastow, NH, began taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) known generically as sulindac in order to relieve chronic shoulder pain. Sulindac is also marketed by Merck as Clinoril, and is in the same drug family as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.

    Two weeks after beginning the drug, Bartlett began to suffer irritation around her eyes and noticed red spots developing on her face. Two days later, suffering from a still-worsening rash and feeling as if she had pebbles in her throat and under her eyelids, she was admitted to the hospital.

    Doctors diagnosed her with a potentially fatal skin disease known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (SJS/TEN), characterized by inflammation of the eyes and mucus membranes. SJS/TEN can produce rashes so severe that the body's entire outer layer of skin is burned off.

    Bartlett spent 112 days in five different hospitals as the disease continued to burn away her skin and the tissue from her throat, stomach and lungs. Although she did survive, she was left permanently disabled and legally blind.

    "It literally burned her alive," her lawyer Keith Jensen said. "It burned 65 percent of the skin off her body ... It burned her inside and out."

    SJS/TEN is a known potential side effect of all NSAID drugs, but sulindac carries the highest risk of it.

    "Before you start taking common ... drugs, you may need to inform yourself about this often-fatal reaction," writes Andreas Moritz in Timeless Secrets of Health & Rejuvenation.

    "The list of drugs that may be problematic includes antiepileptic and anticonvulsant drugs, sulfonamides, ampicillin, allopurinol and [NSAIDs], as well as some vaccinations (such as anthrax)." [back to the top]

    Colchicine side effects, nutrient depletions, herbal interactions and health notes:

    Data provided by Applied Health

  • Vitamin B12 levels may be depleted with long term use of the drug.1

  • Colchicine may lower potassium, sodium and vitamin A levels.2

  • Colchicine has been linked to impaired absorption of Beta-Carotene. Individuals taking colchicine would most likely benefit from taking a high-potency multivitamin/mineral supplement to compensate for these interactions.3

  • Colchicine interferes with vitamin B12 metabolism by reducing intrinsic-factor-B12 receptors. Despite uncertainty about the exact relationship, caution is indicated in elderly individuals taking colchicine and experiencing nervous system symptoms Any evidence of neuropathies following the use of colchicine warrants checking serum levels of B12 for deficiencies. B12 supplementation would be judicious prophylactically and administration is indicated when any deficiency is detected. A generous and wholly safe dosage of 10-25 mcg per day of vitamin B12 would compensate for the adverse effects of taking colchicine. Periods testing of serum levels would be appropriate for monitoring vitamin B12 status.4

  • Colchicine has been linked to impaired absorption of Magnesium. Individuals taking colchicine would most likely benefit from taking a high-potency multivitamin/mineral supplement to compensate for these interactions.5

  • Dietary Fat. A variety of studies indicate that colchicine interferes with the intracellular phase of fat absorption.6

  • Colchicine has been linked to impaired absorption of lactose. In studies of patients with familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) Fradkin et al found that colchicine induces significant lactose malabsorption in FMF patients and concluded that this interaction was at least partially responsible for the gastrointestinal side effects of the drug.7

  • Tannin containing plants: Atropa belladonna, Lobelia inflata can interfere with colchicine8

  • Herbs high in salicylates (aspirin-like compounds) can precipitate herbal alkaloids and impair absorption of colchicine.Herbs high in salicylates should not be taken with colchicine.9

  • Herbs containing Tannins such as Camellia sinensis (Green Tea and Black Tea), Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Uva ursi), Juglans nigra (Black Walnut), Rubus idaeus (Red raspberry), Quercus spp. (Oak), and Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) Herbs high which yield tannins when extracted by hot water can precipitate alkaloids which can impair absorption of colchicine. Tannins will not precipitate low concentrations of alkaloidal salts in the presence of many gums present in plants such as Acacia, Agar, Aloe, Flax, Guar, Irish moss, Locust bean, Marshmallow root, Okra fruit, pectin powder, Psyllium seed husks and Slippery Elm bar.Herbs high in tannins should not be taken with colchicine. 10 [back to the top]

    Dangers of low-dose colchicine in patients with renal failure

    [No authors listed]


    (1) Life-threatening colchicine intoxication can occur in patients with renal failure, even with low-dose regimens.

    (2) Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting are the first manifestations of overdose. Colchicine must be withdrawn immediately to avoid severe complications (especially haematological and neuromuscular).

    (3) Colchicine must not be prescribed without first assessing creatinine clearance (using the Cockroft formula, for example), especially in elderly patients. [back to the top]

    (New Zealand Herald) Medsafe's inability to act on gout drug seen as dangerous loophole

    New Zealand's medicines regulator has a "serious safety concern" over a gout drug that has won state funding, but is powerless to initiate a safety review.

    This has been described as a dangerous loophole in the Medicines Act.

    Gout is a form of arthritis that can cause excruciating pain in joints, particularly the big toe.

    In April, Pharmac approved funding for benzbromarone - even though it has not gone through the separate medicines registration process with the regulator, Medsafe.

    The drug was withdrawn in Europe in 2003 because of serious liver toxicity, including one death.

    The Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring has notified Medsafe of a gout patient taking the drug who was also on the blood-thinner warfarin. The gout drug can enhance the blood-thinning effect of warfarin and the patient suffered bleeding.

    "Medsafe considers this to be a serious safety concern ... ," a Medsafe official said by email to Lance Gravatt, whose company imports a rival gout drug. "Benzbromarone is not an approved medicine in New Zealand and therefore the regulator's legislative powers do not apply," the official said.

    "In practice, this means Medsafe is unable to refer this medicine to the MARC [Medicines Adverse Reactions Committee] to conduct a benefit/risk review or take any regulatory activity."

    Instead, Medsafe will publish an "alert" next week in its Prescriber Update newsletter to remind doctors the gout drug is known to interact with warfarin. It will also point out that although there is no New Zealand datasheet on the drug on the Medsafe website - normally a key source of drug-safety information for doctors - it is listed on the online NZ Formulary.

    Unregistered medicines can still be legally used, but doctors who prescribe them carry more complex responsibilities than usual to explain the risks and benefits, and obtain full informed consent from the patient.

    Dr. Gravatt said Medsafe's inability to initiate a safety review was a loophole that created risks for patients. "We are alarmed at this situation, notwithstanding our conflict of interest in being the supplier of an unfunded [although registered] gout treatment.

    "With no datasheet or consumer medicine information, are we really to believe that GPs will search the National Formulary every time?"

    Australian gout expert Professor Richard Day said it was good the Pharmac application form for doctors who wanted to prescribe benzbromarone highlighted the risk of liver toxicity. But warfarin should be highlighted too, as should the need for extra monitoring if patients were taking the blood-thinner.

    Pharmac's medical director, Dr Peter Moodie, said that before listing the drug in April, the agency had approved funding case by case for many patients with "very severe gout - to the extent that the alternative is amputation in some cases".

    Pharmac funded 48 unregistered medicines.

    When asked if Pharmac carried greater drug-safety responsibilities when it funded an unregistered medicine, Dr Moodie said regardless of a drug's registration status, doctors were obliged to tell patients of risks and benefits, other-drug interactions, and obtain informed consent.

    What is gout?

  • A form of arthritis

  • Can be highly painful and lead to joint damage and disability

  • Prevalence estimate: 2.7 per cent of the population

  • More common in men, Maori and Pacific people

  • Causes include genetic inheritance, excess weight and alcohol intake, certain foods and drinks

    - NZ Herald (by Martin Johnston) [back to the top]

    More bad news about bread

    Bette Dowdell @healthiertalk.com

    Mercy, Maude, this bread mess is something else!

    In my article, Two Problems With Bread, I talked about celiac disease and bromide problems. Now I'm back with more bad news, additional bread ingredients you don't want anything to do with.

    Most bread lists Malted Barley Flour as an ingredient, typically the second one which means it's the second most prevalent ingredient. Translated? There's a bunch of it in there, and it's bad stuff.

    How's that, you ask? Well, malted barley flour comes loaded with the amino acid glutamate, an excitotoxin. That is, it can rev up the hypothalamus part of the brain to toxic levels, leaving it a wounded warrior.

    Now, this is a very bad thing seeing as how the hypothalamus controls your nervous system AND your endocrine system. When it gets wounded, so do you. Count on it.

    You may not connect that to your autoimmune disease, but you should. Same with a punked out thyroid. Or any other endocrine gland. Not to mention neuropathies, the pins and needles pain that seems to have no explanation.

    And, as if brain damage isn't enough, malted barley flour contains a ton of tannins, a major cause of migraines.

    Most commercial breads and bags of flour contain malted barley flour. Ya gotta read labels! And if there's no label to read, as in a restaurant? Assume it's there.

    They say malted barley flour improves the taste. Stomping all over your health isn't mentioned.

    Malted barley is also in some beers, with the same effects.

    Then there's azodicarbonamide (ADA). It's a pesticide from China that's added to flour to speed up the bleaching process.

    This is a biggy and getting bigger. While typically the last ingredient listed on labels, even a little packs a wallop.

    PesticideInfo.org links it to cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, nerve damage and overall toxicity. Yikes!

    Well, is there enough of it in bread to do any real damage? Oh, indeedy!

    It causes coughs, headaches that can last for days, shortness of breath, wheezing, swollen nasal cavities, burning throat and breathing problems. People report being diagnosed with asthma because of ADA. Quit the ADA, and they're healed! Same with sinus infections.

    The United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia and most of Europe ban ADA. The FDA and World Health Organization say it's just hunky-dory. No problem here. Move along.

    Subway, Dunkin' Donuts and Burger King all add ADA to their bread. MickyD's apparently doesn't.

    And don't buy any bread that's fortified with iron. They make it sound as healthful as all get out, but it's illegal in most of Europe because it triples the incidence of liver cancer. Besides, too much iron rusts us out. It also leads to heart problems.

    Finally, high fructose corn syrup. I'm worn out from all my jumping up and down about HFCS, so I'll just recap: HFCS raises triglyceride levels, leads to obesity and diabetes, raises uric acid levels (can you say gout?), damages the kidneys, wears out the liver and creates general mayhem. Poison.

    Some people hope Ezekiel bread, said to be from a Bible recipe, is the answer. Sorry. Ezekial bread contains soy. Soy is a poison. Again, I'll summarize: Soy disrupts the endocrine system, causes kidney stones, strips us of the minerals we need, damages the hypothalamus, depresses the thyroid and eventually leads to breast and prostate cancers. And the thing is, it didn't exist in Bible lands during all the centuries in which the Bible was written.

    I love bread. I love the taste, the texture in my mouth, everything about it. I just wish they didn't mess with it so much. [back to the top]

    How to get sick and die early

    Bette Dowdell @healthiertalk.com

    From time to time, subtlety gets in the way of a clear message. To forestall that unhappy possibility, permit me to write bluntly.

    Your health needs this message.

    If you eat or drink anything with high fructose corn syrup in it, you're stupid.

    If you're dealing with diabetes - and eat or drink anything with high fructose corn syrup in it -you're an idiot.

    If you're trying to lose weight - and eat or drink anything with high fructose corn syrup in it - you don’t have a lick of sense.

    Smart up and avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Now, this takes vigilance. Lots of vigilance. That stuff is everywhere.

    It's in ketchup. Worcestershire sauce. Cereals. Bread. Processed foods. And on, and on. Reading labels can be an eye-opening experience.

    Why should you bother? Let me count the ways.

    One can of soda pop contains enough HFCS to overwhelm your liver. Doing in your liver makes you a goner all by itself, but that can of soda starts a domino effect amongst your body parts.

    HFCS raises your triglycerides, the fatty acids in your blood.

    Not wanting to be left out, your blood pressure makes a leap.

    And your uric acid, confused by the never-seen-in-nature HFCS, starts an upward trek. Can you say gout?

    And now they're learning that high uric acid levels do a number on your kidneys. Whilst you pour HFCS down your gullet, you should at least have the good manners to wish your kidneys good luck.

    But, wait! There's more! HFCS sends your leptin into orbit. We know leptin as a big player in appetite and weight loss, but that pales in comparison to what it does to your brain and your pancreas.

    HFCS is murder on your pancreas. Charged with the task of maintaining blood sugar levels, the pancreas throws in the towel. See the sentence about diabetes above.

    Well, I could go on, but if you don't have the picture by now, why bother? Just eat, drink and be merry-and get sick and die early.

    Here's how it is: Your body doesn't know how to handle HFCS. It's like lobbing a bomb into your system.

    The manufacturers of HFCS know this, but it’s the money, honey. How much money? More than enough to hire "researchers" and writers to sing the praises of HFCS so people think it's not so bad after all. To believe it's 'natural'. That all's well with the world.

    But no matter how loudly they toot the bugle and bang the drum, HFCS manufacturers still couldn't sell the stuff if food manufacturers didn't happily jump on board.

    But here's the secret: Food manufacturers would quit the game, stop the HFCS nonsense on a dime, if you refused to buy the stuff.

    Bottom line: You get to choose whether or not to be an idiot. Is this a great country or what? [back to the top]

    High fructose beverages tied to gout

    Jonathan Benson @naturalnews.com

    (NaturalNews) New research derived from the larger Nurses' Health Study has found a new connection between drinking fructose-rich beverages like soda and developing joint arthritis. According to Dr. Hyon Choi and colleagues from Boston University, drinking high fructose beverages increases uric acid levels in the blood, which eventually deposits into the joints where it causes gout.

    Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the report claims that people who drink one fructose-rich beverage a day are 74 percent more likely than those who drink less than one per month to develop gout. And those who drink two or more fructose-rich beverages a day are 97 percent more prone to the disease than minimal drinkers.

    Strangely enough, even orange juice appears linked to gout. Once-a-day orange juice consumption raised risk levels by 41 percent, while drinking two servings a day resulted in a 142 percent risk increase. However, other kinds of juices did not appear to exhibit the same effects.

    "Physicians should be aware of the potential effect of these beverages on the risk of gout," explained Choi and colleagues in their report.

    The team also noted that women with a body mass index (BMI) above 30, as well as those who drink alcohol, are at an even higher risk. And even though only one percent of women who participated in the study ended up developing gout, excess fructose consumption is never a good idea because the sugar component in its processed form can aggravate proper insulin function, induce type-2 diabetes, and lead to obesity. [back to the top]

    Health Basics: Processed 'vegetable' oils fuel inflammation and cancer

    S. D. Wells @naturalnews.com

    (NaturalNews) What if you bought a brand new car or truck and you immediately filled it with used oil and ethanol-laden gasoline? How soon would you experience major engine malfunctions, and how soon compared to a new car that you gave only the cleanest oil and gas possible? Many people perceive vegetable oils as healthy, but excessive consumption of vegetable oils leads to actual structural changes within our fat stores and within our cell membranes. How are so many people fooled into ingesting large amounts of processed and pesticide-contaminated oils that kill them slowly? Is it because of the word vegetable or is it because of the term all natural that the "sheeple" (misled and uneducated people) pour in the hydrogenated rapeseed oil and the hexane vapor-laden polyunsaturated "dirty fuel"?

    Vegetables are good for you, right? Shouldn't vegetable oil be good for your organs and your blood? What if it's cold-pressed!? What's if it's "extra virgin"? What if you don't cook it at high heat? What if you do? These are the pressing questions that have Americans confused and running on saturated toxic fat and empty calories.

    Fatty acids have taken on a new dimension over the past 75 - 85 years, like never before in the evolution of man and woman. Vegetable oils are being run through processes that lessen the acid, add toxic vapors, kill the nutrients, add in genetically modified (GM) proteins and enzymes, and confuse human cells, often choking them and breaking down their defenses. Some oils actually shut down the mechanism of life in cells, and mitochondria are suffocated to death. This leads to direct physiological changes and contributes to multiple diseases.

    Soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil and the list goes on and on and on. They all sound like you might even be eating healthy, but it's time to wake up and smell the GMOs. Olive oil, if it's real and cold-pressed, can be good for you, but as soon as you cook it at high heat, you're in trouble. Grape seed oil is said to tolerate high heat, but you're about to find out why that doesn't even matter. Dead food is dead food, and it doesn't matter how long you cook it or how hot the fryer gets. At that point, all you're doing is adding to toxicity, not making it "healthy." Most oils contain very large amounts of biologically active fats called omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are quite harmful in excess.

    Industrial food oil processing is very scary - take a look

    In just 80 years, consumption of soybean oil increased a thousand-fold in the United States. When Monsanto figured this out, in came pesticide food for the masses. Using industrial chemicals and highly toxic solvents, most vegetable oils are processed until useless and sold as food. The omega-6 overload messes up the fatty acid composition of the body. Currently, most Americans' ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 is around 16 to 1. This ratio basically cripples your immune system, and Big Food and Big Pharma both know it. This is the number one reason why eating out at restaurants is bad news. The excess of these fatty acids sits in cell membranes and increases harmful oxidative reactions. Typical body fat stores of linoleic acid have increased three-fold in just a few decades.

    GMOs and processed oils fuel inflammation

    Eicosanoids (also spelled icosanoids) are modified fatty acids in your cell membranes that play a crucial role in cellular messaging, immunity and inflammation. Aspirin and ibuprofen inhibit the eicosanoid pathways and artificially reduce inflammation, but all you're doing is covering up symptoms of a greater plight. Trans fats are like the devil of food, and chronic, systematic inflammation is possibly the number one culprit of all the preventable diseases that plague America, including arthritis, cancer and heart disease. If humans could just figure out how to balance their omega-6s and -3s, they could reduce and eliminate inflammation.

    How much do you know about grape seed oil production?

    Hexane is a hydrocarbon and a significant constituent of gasoline. Hexanes are colorless liquids at room temperature with a gasoline-like odor. They are cheap, non-polar solvents often used in the formulation of glues for shoes, leather products, textile manufacturing, roofing and for cleansing and degreasing. Unfortunately, they are also used to extract cooking oils from seeds, and we ARE talking about grape seeds here. Hexane is chiefly obtained by refining crude oil and is used in laboratories for chemical reactions. Did you know that the mutation of human cells, also known as cancer, is a "chemical reaction"?

    How much do you know about fake olive oil hybrids?

    More than HALF of all olive oil sold in the U.S. right now is not pure olive oil, or even "extra virgin" or "Italian." Many U.S. oils sold as such are hybrid mixes of toxic rapeseed oil (reduced erucic acid canola), GM soybean oil and other low-grade oils. Your body, if consuming these regularly, is breaking down like a car running on dirty oil and sugar-laden gasoline. Welcome to the scandalous world of fake olive oil! Real olive oil smells like fresh olives, because it's a fruit and hasn't been processed in labs and factories with chemicals.

    What is rapeseed oil?

    Over 90% of canola oil is partially hydrogenated and genetically modified, in case you didn't already know. That means that you are eating pesticide! (https://draxe.com) Rapeseed oil was banned for consumption in the USA by the FDA back in 1956. Then a Canadian scientist lessened the toxicity, renamed it something catchy, and here we are! Canadian oil low acid is the long name for the cell choker. "Anti-conspiracy theorists" hate finding this one out. They really love their canola.

    Canola oil can have detrimental effects on your health, and most "food bars" at restaurants and supermarkets are loaded with it in just about every potato salad, egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad and every baked item, including desserts and salad dressings.

    Coconut oil is the King of Healthy Oil!

    Your refuge in all of this is coconut oil. I suggest you buy only organic. This is the answer to the low-grade oil catastrophe that has struck America and will continue to do chronic, collateral damage for years. Escape the madness of low-grade oil being substituted for food. It's time you put only "premium fuel" in your "machine"!

    Sources for this article include:



    https://www.naturalnews.com [back to the top]

    Top food products containing high-fructose corn syrup tainted with mercury

    Ethan A. Huff @naturalnews.com

    (NaturalNews) Nearly half of all commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) used in processed foods like soda pop, ketchup and candy is tainted with toxic mercury, according to a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Environmental Health. Among 20 samples of commercial HFCS tested for the heavy metal, nine tested positive, says the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), the consumer group that spearheaded the study.

    Researchers from IATP tested HFCS as part of a larger investigation into the safety of this common sweetener, which is often used in place of table sugar. Since it is used in everything from salad dressing and barbecue sauce to commercially prepared breads and cereals, HFCS is a major component of millions of people's diets, having been quietly introduced into the U.S. food supply during the 1980s.

    According to The Washington Post (WP), the average American consumes roughly 12 tablespoons of HFCS daily, while teenagers and other "high consumers" are believed to consume up to 80 percent more, or roughly 22 tablespoons, of the substance every single day. Based on the findings of the study, this means that mercury is being ingested at levels never before seen, presenting serious health risks that could cause permanent health damage.

    "Mercury is toxic in all its forms," stated Dr. David Wallinga from IATP, co-author of the study. "Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply."

    More than 30 percent of processed foods containing HFCS also contain toxic mercury

    IATP also conducted a joint study on individual consumer products containing HFCS, revealing that about one-third of them contain mercury. The most common products containing mercury were dairy products, dressings and condiments such as ketchup that contain HFCS as their first or second ingredients.

    A list of the 55 consumer products tested as part of the second study shows that the worst offender is Quaker Oatmeal to Go, which contained 350 parts per trillion (ppt) of mercury. Second on the list is Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauce, manufactured by Heinz, at 300 ppt of mercury. Trailing these are Hershey's Chocolate Syrup at 257 ppt of mercury, Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce at 200 ppt of mercury and Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars at 180 ppt of mercury.

    The complete list of HFCS-containing products that tested positive for mercury can be downloaded as a PDF here: Iowa.SierraClub.org.

    Some HFCS producers using outdated 'mercury-cell' technology that poisons end product

    The reason why some HFCS contains mercury and other HFCS doesn't has to do with how the sugary product is manufactured. IATP told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that four HFCS plants in Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia still used a technology known as "mercury-cell" that can contaminate the end product.

    According to IATP, the process involves adding mercury-grade caustic soda, as well as other ingredients, to a proprietary mix that ultimately separates corn starch from corn kernels. This mercury-tainted caustic soda is manufactured in industrial chlorine plants that use an outdated and highly toxic chlor-alkali process that can leave mercury residue in the final product.

    "The bad news is that nobody knows whether or not their soda or snack food contains HFCS made from ingredients like caustic soda contaminated with mercury," added Dr. Wallinga. "The good news is that mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good push to only use those ingredients." [back to the top]

    Are tanning beds and the sun our enemy?

    Dr. Holick weighs in:

    Many doctors say ultraviolet light from the sun or a tanning machine is dangerous because of the risks associated with skin cancer. But some health experts, such as Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University, disagree. "I believe that Americans have gone overboard with their fear of the sun. I think that sensible exposure to sunlight is really important for your overall health and well-being," says Holick.

    The reason for the concern is vitamin D, essential for bone strength and other health needs, which our skin makes through exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. We need 1,000 units of vitamin D a day, but a glass of milk supplies only 100 units and a multivitamin only 400. So most people need the sun in order to avoid deficiency. Sunscreens can reduce vitamin D production Now, new research has found that wearing sunscreen continuously can reduce the amount of vitamin D a person is able to make.

    "We looked at individuals that always wore a sunscreen before they went outside. ... And we found that, indeed at the end of the summer, they were deficient in vitamin D," says Holick. "And so we have shown over and over again that adults, even if they're on a multivitamin, and drinking milk, if they always wear sun protection, or avoid any direct sun exposure, they're at high risk of developing vitamin D deficiency."

    Link Already Known, But Gaps in Knowledge

    Previous studies have shown a link between vitamin D levels and cancer risk and survival. Some studies have suggested that vitamin D levels are linked to colon cancer risk and an overall improvement in survival for a number of cancer types, including colorectal.

    An "umbrella review" Dr. Theodoratou was involved in found that using vitamin D for colorectal cancer prevention, and possibly treatment, is "biologically plausible" , according to David J. Kerr, CBE, MD, DSc, professor of cancer medicine at the Oxford Cancer Centre in the United Kingdom. "Vitamin D has important effects on cell growth, cell morphology, and cell cytokinetics - a whole range of biological factors that would be relevant and germane to the control of cancer," he explained in a recent Kerr on Oncology.

    In their umbrella review, Dr. Theodoratou and colleagues note that "despite biological plausibility and a positive trend toward improvements in outcomes, in terms of prevention and in terms of reducing elements of disease recurrence, there were insufficient prospective randomized trials," Dr. Kerr pointed out.

    "There is a key gap in the knowledge - the defining evidence, the 'home run' if you like - that we would require to be utterly convinced of the role that vitamin D plays in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer," he said. [back to the top]

    The role and benefits of friendly bacteria and how to use them effectively

    (NaturalNews) Inside the body lives a vast number of bacteria without which we could not remain in good health. There are over 100 trillion in each person with over 400 different species, most of them living in the digestive tract. Certain types of these bacteria help to maintain good health and others have value in regaining it back once it is lost. Learn the role and benefits of each, and when to use them.

    The role of different strains of friendly bacteria

    Lactobacillus acidophilus is the predominant friendly bacteria in the upper intestinal tract. It helps reduce the levels of harmful bacteria and yeasts in the small intestine and also produces lactase, an enzyme important in the digestion of milk. Acidophilus is involved in the production of B vitamins during the digestive process.

    Bifidobacterium bifidum and B. longum are the primary friendly bacteria in the large intestine. Bifidobacteria protect the large intestine from invading bacteria and yeasts, and also manufacture B vitamins and help the body detoxify bile. B. infantis is the prevalent friendly bacteria in the intestines of infants.

    Streptococcus thermophiles and L. bulgaricus are most commonly found in yogurt and exist only transiently in the digestive tract. They produce lactic acid, which encourages the growth of other friendly bacteria, and they also synthesize bacteriocins (natural antibiotics like substances) that kill harmful bacteria.

    Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, and Streptococci are the bacteria mostly commonly found in probiotic supplements. Other beneficial species that may be included are L. casei, L. plantarum, L. sporegenes, L. brevis, and saccharomyces boulardii. Without bacteria like acidophilus, one would not be able to properly digest food and absorb vitamins and other nutrients.

    The benefits of probiotics and illnesses they can help treat

    Probiotics can benefit our health in a number of different ways, including:

  • The manufacture of certain B vitamins, including niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid, and biotin.
  • Enhanced immune system activity.
  • Manufacture of milk-digesting enzyme lactase, which helps digest calcium rich dairy products.
  • Production of antibacterial substances that kill or deactivate hostile disease causing bacteria. Friendly bacteria do this by changing the local levels of acidity, by depriving pathogenic bacteria of their nutrients, or by actually producing their own antibiotic substances.
  • Anti-carcinogenic effect, since probiotics are active against certain tumours.
  • Improved efficiency of the digestive tract.
  • Reduction of high cholesterol levels.
  • Protection against radiation damage and deactivation of many toxic pollutants.
  • Recycling of estrogen, which reduces the likelihood of menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis.
  • Reduce anxiety and stress.

    Friendly bacteria have also been shown to be useful in treatment of acne, psoriasis, eczema, migraines, gout, rheumatic and arthritic conditions, cystitis, candidiasis, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and some forms of cancer.

    Using probiotics in specific situations

    Probiotics should always be considered a part of a healthy lifestyle due to its disease preventative properties, but could also be used in more acute and specific health challenging situations, such as:

  • Chronic bowel problems or infections
  • Food poisoning (bifidobacteria and acidophilus kill most food poisoning bacteria)
  • After antibiotics are taken
  • Premenopausal and menopausal women to reduce chances of osteoporosis.
  • High cholesterol problems
  • Radiation treatments
  • Vaginal or bladder infections (thrush or cystitis)

    Quality sources of probiotics

    Instead of immediately reaching for the probiotic capsules, also consider live food-based sources as the basis to a probiotic rich diet. Some of the most prolific sources include sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and apple cider vinegar.

    ** When you do reach for the probiotic capsules to combine with your better diet choices, be sure you have the right one! [back to the top]

    Omega-3 supplements improve joint health, lessen severity of osteoarthritis and provide a host of other health benefits

    (NaturalNews) Omega-3 fatty acids may improve joint health and reduce the risk and severity of arthritis, according to a study conducted by researchers from Duke University and published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases on July 11.

    The findings suggest that, contrary to prior belief, the types of fats that make up a person's diet may have more influence on their arthritis risk than their weight does.

    "Our results suggest that dietary factors play a more significant role than mechanical factors in the link between obesity and osteoarthritis," senior author Farshid Guilak, PhD, said.

    What you eat, not what you weigh

    Prior studies have established that obesity is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis, a disorder characterized by degradation of the joints and more commonly known simply as "arthritis." Until now, scientists have assumed that a higher body weight causes increased wear-and-tear on the joints, but this hypothesis never explained why arthritis is so common in non-weight-bearing parts of the body such as the hands.

    In a previous study, the Duke University researchers found that abnormally low levels of the appetite-regulating hormone leptin in obese mice were an accurate predictor of arthritis. This suggested that metabolic, rather than physical, symptoms of obesity might actually be behind arthritis.

    "This made us think that maybe it's not how much weight you gain, but what you eat," Guilak said.

    To further explore the connection between diet and arthritis, the researchers induced osteoarthritis in mice by deliberately injuring their knees. Trauma or injury is responsible for approximately 10 to 15 percent of all osteoarthritis cases. The arthritic mice were then fed either a diet high in saturated fat, a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids or a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids with a small amount of added omega-3s.

    "A healthy diet would include roughly equal ratios of these fats, but we're way off the scale in the Western diet," Guilak said.

    Health researchers now believe that the typical Western diet contains too much saturated and omega-6 fat, and not enough of omega-3 fat.

    Omega-3s slow disease progression, speed wound healing

    The researchers found no connection between body weight and arthritis. They did find that, while mice on both the saturated fat and omega-6 diets experienced a worsening of their arthritis symptoms over time, mice in the omega-6 plus omega-3 group did not.

    "While omega 3 fatty acids aren't reversing the injury, they appear to slow the progression of arthritis in this group of mice," Guilak said. "In fact, omega 3 fatty acids eliminated the detrimental effects of obesity in obese mice."

    The researchers also noticed that mice in the omega-3 group healed faster from an injury that the researchers had inflicted on their ears (a way to differentiate between the mice) than the mice in the other two groups.

    "We found that independent of body weight, dietary fatty acids regulate ear wound healing and severity of osteoarthritis following joint injury in obese mice," lead author Chia-Lung Wu said.

    The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Arthritis Foundation, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and a Taiwan GSSA graduate fellowship. It is only the latest in a glut of recent research illuminating the many health benefits of a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids.

    A strong body of clinical research now shows that omega-3s are potent anti-inflammatories that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and arthritis. They are also important for brain health and particularly important for the brain development of babies and children. They may also play a role in regulating mood and cognitive function.

    Research has also linked omega-3s to a reduced risk of cancer and improved bone, bowel and menstrual health. [back to the top]

    Krill Oil Supplementation Lowers Your Triglycerides

    By Dr. Mercola

    Most Americans are seriously deficient in animal-based omega-3 fats. If you're among them, this means you are missing out on many health advantages that these fats offer.

    Maintaining a high dietary omega-3 intake throughout your life is essential for optimal health, and the research continues to pour in that krill oil, in particular, is the preferable source.

    Lower Your Triglycerides: Krill Oil for Your Heart

    Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood. Elevated levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, and high triglycerides are also one of the signs of metabolic syndrome.

    Eating a healthful diet is one of the best ways to keep your triglyceride levels in the optimal range, and this includes omega-3 fats. Recent research published in Nutrition Research1 revealed that krill oil supplementation lowers triglyceride levels in adults with borderline high or high triglycerides - by more than 10 percent.

    The researchers concluded: "krill oil is effective in reducing a cardiovascular risk factor." This isn't the first time krill oil has been shown to reduce triglycerides, and past research also showed that it is more effective than fish oil at doing so.

    One study revealed that while the metabolic effects of the two oils are "essentially similar," krill oil is as effective as fish oil despite the fact that it contains less EPA and DHA (the primary active fatty acids in animal-based omega-3 fats).2

    In that case, the EPA and DHA dose in the krill oil was nearly 63 percent less than that in the fish oil - but the beneficial effects were virtually the same. This finding corresponds with unpublished data suggesting that krill oil is absorbed up to 10-15 times as well as fish oil, which would explain this discrepancy.

    Krill Oil Works Better Than Fish Oil, and on Par with Statins, to Improve Lipid Profiles

    Separate research published in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition3 compared the efficiency of krill oil and fish oil in reducing triglyceride levels. Over a six-week period, rats divided into three groups had their diets supplemented with one of the following:

  • 2.5 percent krill oil
  • 2.5 percent fish oil
  • No supplement

    In less than three weeks, both oils had markedly reduced the enzyme activity that causes the liver to metabolize fat, but the krill oil had a far more pronounced effect, reducing liver triglycerides significantly more. The higher potency of krill oil allows it to decrease triglyceride levels in a shorter period of time compared to fish oil.

    Overall, after six weeks of supplementation, cholesterol levels in the krill oil group declined by 33 percent, compared to 21 percent in the fish oil group.

    Further, liver triglycerides were reduced by TWICE as much in the krill oil group compared to the fish oil group, by 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively. This is particularly important, as fasting triglyceride levels are a powerful indication of your body's ability to have healthy lipid profiles.

    To put this into further context, after being on a statin drug combined with daily exercise for several months, participants in one 1997 study4 saw an average reduction in their cholesterol levels of 20 percent. This is why krill oil is actually being used as a drug in some European countries.

    Krill Oil Is Less Damaged or Oxidized Than Fish Oil

    In laboratory tests, krill oil remained undamaged after being exposed to a steady flow of oxygen for 190 hours. Compare that to fish oil, which went rancid after just one hour. That makes krill oil nearly 200 times more resistant to oxidative damage compared to fish oil!

    When purchasing krill oil, you'll want to read the label and check the amount of astaxanthin it contains. The more the better, but anything above 0.2 mg per gram of krill oil will protect it from rancidity. To learn more about the benefits of krill versus fish oil, please see my interview with Dr. Rudi Moerck, a drug industry insider and an expert on omega-3 fats, above. The infographic below also presents the facts of which omega-3 supplement is best.

    I was one of the first to promote krill as an exceptional source of animal-based omega-3 dietary fats. Many have criticized me for recommending this over fish oil, for the lack of studies to back it up, but the bulk of the new emerging studies are confirming that krill is the better option.

    It merely took time for the science to document what was obvious clinically, that krill had the identical fats as fish oil but was a far higher quality source due to astaxanthin protecting the perishable fats, and the phospholipids that massively increase the absorption of the fats. [back to the top]

    3 common ways nutrients are being destroyed in your food

    (NaturalNews) One of the greatest concerns with the food supply today is the toxicity and lack of nutrients. This begins with the seed, then the soil it is planted in, followed by the treatment it receives during its growth phase. But if that wasn't enough, a further degradation of food takes place between the harvest and the plate. These are the three most prominent ways.


    The most commonly eaten and most processed food category is arguably the grains. They often undergo a process that leaves them with a fraction of the nutritional value than when they were initially harvested in order to produce many types of flour products.

    To begin this process, the highly nutritious, sprout-able bran and the husk that has the fiber are removed leaving only the light yellow endosperm, which is virtually all starch with very little nutritional value and a high glycemic index rating.

    Following that, in order to bypass the aging process and add shelf life, as well as keep the clean white color, the endosperm is crushed and treated with chlorides to make it instantly white. A byproduct of that process is alloxan, which is used to induce diabetes in lab animals for medical testing.

    What is left is a food that has a mere remnant of its original nutrient value.


    Another way the nutrients in food are destroyed is through heating. Various phytonutrients, enzymes, probiotics, and vitamins do no survive the heating process, which depletes the food of these life-promoting nutrients.

    One heating process that takes place prior to food making it to the store is pasteurization. This is commonly done with dairy products in order to remove any rogue bacteria that may be present during the harvesting process. Unfortunately, once it is pasteurized, it has removed all delicate and beneficial nutrients like enzymes and good bacteria, which are crucial for proper digestion and health.

    Another very common practice is cooking foods in ovens and on stovetops at high temperatures for extended periods of time, which results in the destruction of various nutrients.

    Finally, microwaving is the worst way to cook food because they excite the water molecules inside whatever you are cooking, causing heat to be formed from the inside out. This results in a cell-by-cell nuking of the food causing near-total molecular decomposition of the vitamins and phytonutrients that promote disease. This leaves microwaved food almost completely dead, leaving nothing but empty calories, fiber, and minerals. Virtually every vitamin and phytonutrient content has been destroyed.


    This process exposes food to radioactive materials, such as cesium-137 and cobalt-60, to kill insects, bacteria, molds, and fungi, prevent sprouting, and extend shelf life.

    Unfortunately, foods that have been irradiated lose much of their nutritional value. Irradiation can destroy between 5 and 80 percent of vitamins and nutrients found in a variety of foods including essential vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and K. As an example, irradiated eggs lose 80 percent of vitamin A and orange juice loses 48 percent of beta-carotene.

    Although the heating and irradiation process are often done by governmental organizations to reduce the number of food borne illnesses, it has indirectly created a policy that increases the number of people killed by infections and chronic disease due to destruction of probiotics, enzymes, and other nutrients that help the body resist and destroy infection in the body.

    The bottom line is that the more whole, raw, and fresh the food consumed, the healthier the immune and detoxification systems that destroy such harmful pathogens. [back to the top]

    New Evidence for Protective Effects of Vitamin-D on Your Heart

    By Paolo Boffetta, MD, MPH, Special to Everyday Health

    Although vitamin D is obtained from diet and dietary supplements, the main source of vitamin D is production in our skin under the influence of solar radiation.

    As sun exposure varies with the latitude of regions and during the year, so vitamin D concentrations of populations vary accordingly. Furthermore, women are generally more prone to low vitamin D concentrations than men. Vitamin D deficiency is especially common among the elderly who often have less sun exposure because of reduced outdoor activity and reduced capacity of the skin to produce vitamin D.

    Research on Vitamin D's Protective Role

    We conducted an international study of eight populations from Europe and the United States to investigate the association of level of vitamin D in blood and deaths from all-causes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer mortality, published in the British Medical Journal in June 2014. We paid attention to differences between countries, sexes, age groups and seasons of blood sampling. The study was conducted with the CHANCES Project, a research initiative funded by the European Commission and coordinated by scientists at the Hellenic Health Foundation in Athens, Greece, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and primary authors were from the German Cancer Research Center, in Heidelberg.

    A total of 26,018 people had their vitamin D level measured in blood samples collected at enrolment in the study, when they were ages 50 to 79, and were followed for an average of 4 to 16 years, depending on the population. During this period 6,695 of them died, including 2,624 from cardiovascular disease and 2,227 from cancer. We compared the risk of dying between the group with highest vitamin D level and those with lower levels by dividing each study population in five groups of equal size based on their baseline vitamin D level.

    Increased Deaths in People With Low Vitamin D Levels

    Compared with the group with the highest vitamin D, people in the group with lowest vitamin D had a 57 percent increased mortality for all causes. They also had a 41 percent increased mortality from heart disease for those who were free from heart disease at the study's start. In addition, individuals with history of cardiovascular disease had a 65 percent increased risk. People with a history of cancer had a 70 percent increased risk. However, for cancer mortality, we saw no benefit in those who were free from cancer at the start.

    For all these associations, the three groups with intermediate vitamin D level were at intermediate risk, with a dose-response relation. These associations did not vary by sex, age group, or season of blood collection.

    For the US population in the study, the comparison was between people with level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (the main metabolite of vitamin D, and the active compound measured in blood) just above 85 nmol/L on the high end, and people with a level below about 42 nmol/L on the lowest. In that population, the difference in mortality was 42 percent for all causes and 26 percent for cardiovascular diseases.

    Since ours an observational study, it cannot directly address the issue of causality. In other words, it is possible that blood vitamin D is a marker of some other characteristics causally linked to disease and mortality, like general good or poor health status. Controlled vitamin D trials, in which individuals are randomly allocated to vitamin D supplement or placebo, are needed to disentangle the effect of vitamin D from that of other factors. However, such studies can only address the effect of dietary supplementation, not of normal dietary intake and sun-related endogenous production. Prior trials showed a protective effect of vitamin D on mortality, albeit of smaller magnitude than observational studies, including ours.

    Why Vitamin D Is Good for the Heart

    If indeed the protective effect of vitamin D on mortality is real, our study provides important evidence that the effect is present for cardiovascular disease - but not for cancer. The protective effect is present at all ages and in both sexes. Unfortunately, our study did not include a sufficient number of people of different racial and ethnic groups to provide information on this important issue.

    An important question is the identification of who should increase their vitamin D status using supplements. There is no consensus on ideal cut-off values for vitamin D deficiency. Our observation that the use of cut-off levels which were specific for country, age, sex, or season produced comparable results, raises the question whether such factors should be considered for defining vitamin D deficiency.

    Future population-based studies with standardized vitamin D measurements are needed to fully resolve this issue; in the meantime, caution should be used in extrapolating results across regions with different latitudes.

    Despite these uncertainties, I recommend moderate sun exposure, in particular in the elderly. The amount of sun exposure depends on the type of skin (15-30 minutes are sufficient for a fair skinned person, while one or two hours are needed for dark skinned person) and on the latitude the person lives (more time is needed in Northern regions, in particular in winter). If sun exposure is not sufficient, people can consider taking supplements, after talking with their doctor.

    Paolo Boffetta, MD, MPH is a chronic disease epidemiologist who is Director of the Institute for Translational Epidemiology and Associate Director for Population Sciences of the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine, which is part of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. He is also Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has edited 12 books and published more than 1,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles. [back to the top]

    Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Schizophrenia

    Deborah Brauser -- July 29, 2014 -- Dr. Ahmad Esmaillzadeh

    A review of 19 studies, which included more than 2800 participants, showed that those with vitamin D deficiency were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia compared with their counterparts who were not vitamin D deficient.

    In addition, 65% of the patients who had schizophrenia also had lower levels of vitamin D.

    Coinvestigator Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Community Nutrition in the School of Nutrition and Food Science at the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran, told Medscape Medical News that although lower levels of serum vitamin D were expected in these patients because of earlier ecologic and epidemiologic studies, "we were surprised by the significant 2.16 times increased risk of schizophrenia in vitamin D deficient individuals. We did not expect such a significant increase," he added.

    Dr. Esmailzadeh noted that the findings support the importance of vitamin D in brain function and psychological health.

    "As vitamin D deficiency is a global issue, more attention should be drawn to assessment of serum vitamin D levels in order to screen and support individuals that are at higher risk of having deficiencies. Moreover, our findings might help psychiatrists in the healing process of patients with schizophrenia," he said.

    "However, controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm the effects of vitamin D supplementation," he added.

    The study was published online July 22 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

    Global Issue

    Dr. Esmailladeh noted that vitamin D deficiency is "relatively prevalent" globally and is associated with several disorders. For instance, previous studies have reported a link between these lower levels and depression.

    "We were interested in the role of vitamin D in psychiatric health and, due to conflicting data on the association between serum levels of vitamin D and schizophrenia and no comprehensive meta-analysis in this regard, we aimed to conduct this study," he added.

    The investigators examined data from 19 studies, published between 1988 and 2013, that assessed serum vitamin D levels in adult patients with schizophrenia. They then conducted 3 separate meta-analyses.

    The number of patients in each study ranged from 17 to 848, for a total of 2804. In addition, 11 of the studies were conducted in European countries, and 8 were conducted in non-European countries.

    The first meta-analysis included 13 of the studies and examined mean levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The second included 8 studies and examined vitamin D deficiency prevalence; and the third included 8 studies and focused on odds ratios.

    Some of the studies were included in overlapping meta-analyses.

    Suspicions Confirmed

    "For the most part, this confirms what we've long been expecting, based on all of the other epidemiologic data out there," Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD, from the Department of Medicine; the Section of Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Diabetes; and the Vitamin D, Skin, and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center in Massachusetts, told Medscape Medical News.

    Dr. Michael Holick

    The investigators "took into account sunlight exposure and a whole variety of variables and concluded that schizophrenic patients are more likely to be vitamin D deficient. And that is consistent with the concept that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk for schizophrenia," said Dr. Holick, who was not involved with this research.

    He noted that approximately 30% of children and adults around the world are vitamin D deficient - and 60% are deficient or insufficient.

    "So we recommend vitamin D supplementation across the board. The Endocrine Society recommends for children 1 year and older, 600 to 1000 units a day; for adults, 800 to 2000 units a day; and for people who are overweight or obese, they need 2 to 3 times more to both treat and satisfy their deficiency," he said.

    Dr. Holick noted that both the Institute of Medicine and the Endocrine Society do not have specific recommendations for this type of supplementation in pregnant women. However, he recommends 2000 units per day along with other dietary sources of vitamin D, such as milk, and normal prenatal vitamins.

    "We know from a study recently done in South Carolina that pregnant women taking 4000 units of vitamin D a day had robust, healthy levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and no untoward toxicity. So 4000 units were easily tolerated and may be preferred by pregnant women," he said.

    He added that although it may not be possible to prevent schizophrenia, there is hope to decrease the risk for the disorder.

    "The [current] investigators conclude, which is consistent with a lot of literature, that there is a 2-fold higher risk of having schizophrenia based on being vitamin D deficient. And I think that is the major message," he said.

    "Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common in this population. Therefore, physicians caring for these patients should be aggressive in treating the deficiency, and then they may actually improve how [patients] respond to their medication, making them feel better as their mood improves, all for the benefit of their mental health." [back to the top]

    Gout in the elderly. Clinical presentation and treatment (Pubmed.gov)


    Gout in the elderly differs from classical gout found in middle-aged men in several respects: it has a more equal gender distribution, frequent polyarticular presentation with involvement of the joints of the upper extremities, fewer acute gouty episodes, a more indolent chronic clinical course, and an increased incidence of tophi. Long term diuretic use in patients with hypertension or congestive cardiac failure, renal insufficiency, prophylactic low dose aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), and alcohol (ethanol) abuse (particularly by men) are factors associated with the development of hyperuricaemia and gout in the elderly. Extreme caution is necessary when prescribing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the treatment of acute gouty arthritis in the elderly. NSAIDs with short plasma half-life (such as diclofenac and ketoprofen) are preferred, but these drugs are not recommended in patients with peptic ulcer disease, renal failure, uncontrolled hypertension or cardiac failure. Colchicine is poorly tolerated in the elderly and is best avoided. Intra-articular and systemic corticosteroids are increasingly being used for treating acute gouty flares in aged patients with medical disorders contraindicating NSAID therapy. Urate-lowering drugs are indicated for the treatment of hyperuricaemia and chronic gouty arthritis. Uricosuric drugs are poorly tolerated and the frequent presence of renal impairment in the elderly renders these drugs ineffective. Allopurinol is the urate-lowering drug of choice, but its use in the aged is associated with an increased incidence of both cutaneous and severe hypersensitivity reactions. To minimise this risk, allopurinol dose must be kept low. A starting dose of allopurinal 50 to 100mg on alternate days, to a maximum daily dose of about 100 to 300mg, based upon the patient's creatinine clearance and serum urate level, is recommended. Asymptomatic hyperuricaemia is not an indication for long term urate-lowering therapy; the risks of drug toxicity often outweigh any benefit. [back to the top]

    Risk of heart attack and stroke doubles for patients with gout (MNT)

    New research published in Rheumatology journal has found that having gout doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke. The research tracked the health of more than 205,000 gout patients using data spanning five decades to determine links between gout and heart attack and stroke.

    The findings showed that gout patients are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke as those without gout. It is thought that the higher levels of uric acid which cause gout are also a strong risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

    Conducted by scientists at the University of Oxford, the research used data from NHS England and the Office for National Statistics. Two sets of data for gout patients between 1963 and 2011 were used to track patients' health and to determine the link between gout and heart attack and stroke in England.

    These new findings highlight the need to address co-morbidities and include preventative measures within gout treatment to reduce heart attacks and stroke in gout patients.

    Professor Rob Moots, editor of Rheumatology, said:

    "This important study tells us that gout is a condition that is more than just a cause of severe pain, it is rather disease that must be taken seriously and treated effectively to prevent unnecessary heart attacks and strokes."

    Dr Chris Deighton, president of the British Society for Rheumatology, said:

    "This research reminds us that gout needs to be considered in a much broader context than just inflammatory arthritis. The vast majority of care for gout takes place in primary care. GPs need to know that gout is not only a highly curable form of arthritis, but these patients also need vigilance for their increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. High quality holistic care of people with gout may not only improve their quality of life, but also the quantity of years lived."

    Olena Seminog, lead researcher, said:

    "By analysing a huge dataset spanning a long period of time for all of England our group found that gout patients have double the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. This evidence could help to guide ways of improving cardiovascular health for people with gout, while also suggesting that more research is needed to reveal the effects of uric acid on our health." [back to the top]

    Are There Other Options Besides Medications for Gout and Osteoarthritis? (Julie Chen, M.D.- Integrative Medical Doctor)

    Most of my patients in my integrative medicine clinic in San Jose, California know that one of my personal passions is the treatment of rheumatological diseases. It definitely helps that these diseases respond very well to diet and lifestyle changes (3,4), but more importantly, the honor of being able to witness significant improvement in quality of life for these patients after they make these changes is very rewarding to say the least.

    Due the strong impact of diet and nutritional intake and many various diseases (3,4), I would like to spend the next couple of months discussing various dietary changes that have been seen to be helpful with various types of rheumatological conditions.

    This month, I would like to kick off this series with a focus on gout and osteoarthritis.

    Gout is a defect in intermediate breakdown that leads to uric acid build up (3,4). Foods rich in purines help with uric acid production and thus should be avoided in patients with gout (3,4). These foods include but are not limited to beer, organ meats, yeast, shellfish, sardines, herring, and bacon (3). Alcohol helps to increase purine production and lowers our kidney's ability to clear out uric acid (3,4) therefore high purine foods and alcohol consumption for those with gout is not recommended.

    Being overweight is associated with increased uric acid levels and gout flares (3). It seems that early studies suggest a diet that is low in carbohydrates and is restricted in calories with a large amount of monounsaturated fats and higher in total daily protein than previously recommended may be beneficial to patients with gout (3,4). When you look at all of this information together, a diet low in carbohydrate or sugar load and an emphasis on weight loss is indicative of gout status improvement (3).

    Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative arthritis or, as my patients like to say, an arthritis from wear and tear of aging. This state can be accelerated by obesity and so weight management is important especially for osteoarthritis of the knee and hips (3,4). Therefore, it makes sense that weight loss is important in helping symptoms of osteoarthritis (3,4).

    Although many people may think that with joint pains, they should not exercise or work out, that is not true. Physical activity is beneficial for osteoarthritis simply because it helps to maintain mobility and helps with our weight management which directly helps to stem the negative impact of OA (3,4). If joint degeneration is severe and you are not able to easily exercise, some other options that are gentler on joints are swimming and qi gong (3,4).

    In terms of supplements, are there any that are beneficial to OA?

    Some studies suggest that antioxidants are helpful for OA and that having adequate vitamin D levels are known to help limit progression of OA (4). There are also some early observational evidence that certain vitamin deficiencies like vitamin D and K can negatively impact osteoarthritis joint status (3,4).

    Many people ask me about glucosamine sulfate as therapy for OA. The answer to that is that there is some evidence that it can help with mild to moderate OA so as to help limit disease progression but it is not great at giving immediate pain relief (5).

    So in regards to pain relief, if you don't want to use the typical prescription or over the counter pain medications, what should you use?

    Omega-3 fatty acids are a great choice for inflammatory joint symptoms. So I would recommend this for not just OA but also for gout (2). Our current modern diet has a higher preponderance of omega-6 to omega-3 ratio but our ancestors had diets that were more balanced between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (2). The reason why we want a diet higher in omega-3 is that they lead to generation of anti-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines (2). Despite my noting of the fact that we need more omega-3, that doesn't mean we don't need omega-6, it's just that there should be a closer balance of the two rather than a large predominance of omega-6 over omega-3 (2). Other options for joint pain relief include the potential usage of capsaicin, ginger, and SAMe (1,6,7).

    Although I am a big proponent of herbal and vitamin therapy, I want to caution readers to always check with your physician before using any supplements. You should not think that just because it's not a prescription medication, everything over the counter is safe for everyone. So, my recommendation is to play it safe and always check with your physician before using any supplements and to let them know what you are taking so they can keep their list of your therapeutic regimen updated.

    So, in summary for the information we addressed this month for osteoarthritis and gout, the main takeaway points are that a diet that is more vegetable-based and healthy lean protein-based with lower carbohydrates can help with diseases like gout. But most importantly, a diet such as this were we are trying to prevent insulin resistance can help with inflammation as well as weight management. Obesity and being overweight are linked to higher disease state complications and progression of both gout and osteoarthritis. So getting yourself into target weight is important for joint health. (3.4)

    Finally, if you would prefer not to use over the counter or prescription medications, some supplement options were discussed but I would like to again make sure I am clear that I am a big proponent of you checking with your doctors first before starting any supplements. Just because something is a supplement, doesn't mean it is always safe... but similarly, just because it's a supplement, doesn't mean it won't work or it's just placebo effect because some studies suggest that various options we discussed can be therapeutic and helpful in gout and osteoarthritis. (1-7)


    1. Altman RD, et al. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2001;44:2531-2538.
    2. Calder PC. N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and cytokine production in health and disease. Ann Nutr Metab 1997;41:203.
    3. Cleland LG, et al. Diet and arthritis. Bailleres Clin Rheumatol 1995;9:771.
    4. Katz, DL. Nutrition in Clinical Practice 2nd Edition. 2008.Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. Philadelphia, PA.
    5. Pavelka K et al. Glucosamine sulfate use and delay of pregression of knee osteoarthritis: a 3-year randomized placebo-controlled dougle blind study. Arch Intern Med. 2002;162:2113-2123.
    6. Soeken KL, et al. Safety and efficacy of SAMe for osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis. J Fam Practice 2002;51:425-426.
    7. Zhang WY, et al. The effectiveness of topically applied capsaicin. A meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1994;46:517-522. [back to the top]

    High Temperature, Low Humidity Associated With Gout Attacks? (By Anne Harding)

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Recurrent gout attacks are twice as likely to strike on hot days when humidity is low, according to new findings.

    The risk of gout attacks was also increased under hot, humid conditions compared to moderate temperature and relative humidity, but to a lesser degree, Dr. Tuhina Neogi of Boston University School of Medicine and her colleagues found.

    "Our findings imply that high temperatures and low humidity in combination are risk factors for triggering gout attacks," Dr. Neogi told Reuters Health. "We think that probably reflects the fact that there is more evaporative loss when the temperature is high and there is low humidity."

    Based on the findings, she added, physicians should advise their patients with gout to stay well-hydrated with appropriate fluids - ideally, water - during hot weather.

    The study is the first to look at weather factors and the risk of recurrent gout attacks, the researchers note. They conducted an Internet-based case-crossover study of 632 patients who had experienced at least one gout attack in the 12 months before enrollment. Patients were followed from 2003 to 2010.

    The researchers used data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to track weather conditions in each patient's zip code during the 48 hours leading up to gout attacks and during control periods.

    Higher temperatures during the previous 48 hours were positively associated with gout attack risk. Individuals were at 43% greater risk of an attack when temperatures were between 70 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit and at 40% greater risk with temperatures at 80 degrees and above, compared to when temperatures were between 50 and 59 degrees (p for linear trend = 0.01).

    There was a reverse J-shaped relationship between humidity and gout attack risk. When relative humidity was less than 40% over the past 48 hours, the likelihood of an attack was 55% higher than with relative humidity of 60% to 74%. At the other end of the spectrum, the risk was 14% higher for relative humidity of 75% to 84% and 11% higher for relative humidity of 85% or above.

    The greatest risk occurred when temperatures were 70 degrees or higher for the previous 48 hours and relative humidity was below 60%, with an odds ratio for attacks of 2.04 compared to when temperatures were in the 50s and 60s and humidity was 60% to 74%.

    The findings were published online July 3 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

    When it's humid out, Dr. Neogi noted, people feel the sweat on their skin and recognize that they need to increase their fluid intake; when it's less humid, she added, they may not be as aware that they are at risk of fluid depletion.

    She and her colleagues conclude, "The biological mechanisms underlying these associations require further exploration and may include volume depletion or behavioral changes in response to the weather that may influence gout attack risk. Patients with gout may be advised that under conditions of hot and/or dry weather, appropriate measures, such as increased water intake, should be considered to minimize the risk of recurrent gout attacks." [back to the top]

    Nine Reasons Why You Should Eat Sweet Potatoes (NaturalNews)

    (NaturalNews) Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrition. They are a great source of minerals such as manganese, folate, copper, and iron. The darker-colored variety is a great source of carotenes (precursor of vitamin A), vitamins C, B2, B6, E and biotin. Sweet potatoes are also a fantastic source of dietary fiber. Here are nine reasons you should be eating more sweet potatoes:

    1. Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants, which work in the body to prevent inflammatory problems like asthma, arthritis, gout, and many more.

    2. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of carbohydrates for those with blood sugar problems. These fibrous root vegetables can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent conditions like insulin resistance.

    3. Sweet potatoes are healthy for the digestive tract. Being rich in digestive fiber, especially when the skin is also consumed, it helps to relieve constipation and may prevent colon cancer.

    4. Sweet potatoes are good for those who are pregnant or trying to conceive because they are high in folate, which is essential for the healthy development of fetal cell and tissue.

    5. Packed with important vitamins and other nutrients, eating sweet potatoes can boost immunity by supporting the needs of the body.

    6. Sweet potatoes are good for preventing heart disease. High in potassium, sweet potatoes can help prevent the onset of heart attack and stroke. Potassium also helps to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, which is important for stabilizing blood pressure and regulating heart function.

    7. Sweet potatoes are good for alleviating muscle cramps. Potassium deficiencies are a leading cause of muscle cramps, as well injuries. By making sweet potatoes a regular part of your diet (along with proper exercise), you can expect an energy boost and fewer muscle cramps and injuries.

    8. Sweet potatoes are good for treating stress-related symptoms. The body tends to use a lot of potassium and other important minerals when it is under stress. Sweet potatoes provide important minerals that will help maintain balance throughout the body during times of stress.

    9. Sweet potatoes ranked number one in nutrition out of all vegetables by the Center for Science in the Public Interest because they are such a rich source of dietary fiber, natural sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein, carotenoids, vitamin C, iron and calcium. [back to the top]

    Quinoa's Many Health Benefits (NaturalNews)

    (NaturalNews) Quinoa is a grain crop native to the Andean Mountains of South America. Although the leaves of the plant can be consumed as a leaf vegetable, quinoa is primarily grown for its seeds. These seeds, which are cooked in a similar way to rice, come in three colors (red, white and black) and are much-loved for their significant health benefits. In fact, 2013 was crowned "The International Year of Quinoa" by the United Nations due to quinoa's high nutritional value and potential to contribute to global food security. (1)

    A complete protein source

    One of quinoa's biggest draws, particularly for vegetarians and vegans, is its considerable protein content. According to Self's "NutritionData," one cup of cooked quinoa contains 16 percent of our recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein. (2) Moreover, this protein contains all eight essential amino acids, making quinoa a rare example of a plant-based complete protein source (most plant foods are deficient in some amino acids, such as lysine). Protein, of course, aids the growth and repair of cells, supplies energy to our bodies and much more.

    Packed with fiber

    One cup of cooked quinoa also contains a whopping 21 percent of our RDA of fiber, which is twice as much fiber as most other grains. (2) Most of quinoa's fiber is the insoluble kind that contains the well-known laxative effect, but it also contains smaller amounts of insoluble fiber that forms a gel in the stomach, thereby slowing digestion, encouraging a feeling of fullness, and reducing LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. This well-rounded fiber profile gives quinoa a low glycemic load of 53, making it a suitable food for diabetics and pre-diabetics.

    High in antioxidants

    A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in August 2009 showed that of the 10 Andean grains analyzed by the researchers (five cereals, three pseudocereals and two legumes), quinoa contained the most antioxidants out of all of them. (3) Another 2009 study published in Food Chemistry showed that allowing quinoa seeds to sprout could increase their antioxidant content further. (4) Antioxidant-rich foods are well-known for their anti-aging properties and ability to prevent degenerative diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration and Alzheimer's disease.

    Rich in quercetin and kaempferol

    Quinoa is an excellent source of the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which are shown to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-cancer effects. A study published in Neuropharmacology in 2010 even found that flavonoids contained anti-depressant properties, suggesting that flavonoid-rich foods like quinoa could provide treatment for depression, anxiety and other low moods. (5)


    According to a survey published by The NPD Group in 2013, approximately one-third of the United States population are trying to minimize or avoid gluten due to health concerns. (6) Fortunately for this growing minority, quinoa is naturally gluten-free and is a safe food for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Moreover, unlike many processed "gluten-free" foods, quinoa is a whole food that is free from additives and other undesirable ingredients.

    Bursting with nutrients

    Quinoa is an excellent source of essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, copper, selenium and most B vitamins. One cup of quinoa also supplies us with an impressive 30 percent of our RDA of magnesium, in which up to an estimated 80 percent of the American population are deficient. (2)

    Organic quinoa is easily found online or in health food stores. It only takes between 15 and 20 minutes to cook, has a pleasant, nutty flavor, and is easy to incorporate into both cooked and cold meals. [back to the top]

    Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Glucose Intolerance (Beth Skwarecki)

    September 17, 2014

    The artificial sweeteners aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin cause blood glucose abnormalities in mice and some humans, a team reports in an article published online September 17 in Nature. The changes in glucose tolerance seem to be driven by the microbiome and can be reproduced in germ-free mice by giving them gut microbes from a person who has consumed the sweeteners.

    "We found that artificial sweeteners may drive...an exaggerated elevation in blood glucose levels, the very same condition that we often aim to prevent by consuming them," Eran Elinav, MD, PhD, from the Department of Immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, said at a press briefing.

    The investigators began with experiments in mice, giving each animal 1 of 3 artificial sweeteners in its water: aspartame, sucralose, or saccharin. Because commercial preparations of these sweeteners also contain some glucose, researchers used glucose, fructose, or plain water for the control mice to ensure it was the artificial sweetener and not any added sugar that was responsible for the effect. "To our surprise, we found they all induced a blood sugar disturbance even compared to mice who drank sugary water," Dr. Elinav said. This effect occurred on both a normal diet of rat chow (P < .001) and a high-fat diet in which 60% of calories came from fat (P < .03).

    Because these artificial sweeteners are not digested or absorbed by the human body, the investigators hypothesized that gut microbes were responsible for the results. They administered antibiotics to the mice: 1 group received ciprofloxacin and metronidazole, a broad-spectrum approach focusing on gram-negative bacteria, and another group received vancomycin, aimed against gram-positive bacteria. Both treatments, when given for 4 weeks, eliminated the differences in glucose tolerance between sweetener-fed mice and controls.

    The symptoms could also be triggered by a microbial transplant. Microbes from mice who had been drinking saccharin were transplanted via feces into germ-free mice and caused the recipients to show impaired glucose tolerance, whereas microbes from mice who had been drinking glucose did not (P < .03). Further, to show that the microbes were responsible, and not some other component of the feces, the researchers cultured bacteria from mice who were not eating sweeteners and added saccharin to the growth media. These bacteria were then transplanted into germ-free mice, resulting in impaired glucose tolerance compared with mice that received a control culture (P < .002).

    Bacterial Profiles

    The researchers performed both 16S sequencing, to identify the bacteria that were over- or underrepresented in mice with impaired glucose tolerance, and metagenomic sequencing, to identify what those bacteria are doing. In the microbial ecosystems from mice that ate artificial sweeteners, the pathways that were overrepresented included several that had previously been linked to diabetes and glucose intolerance. Glycan degradation, for example, occurs when microbes digest certain chains of sugars and create short-chain fatty acids that the body can use for energy, providing extra calories. The investigators confirmed that the sweetener-fed mice had increased amounts of this end product, the short chain fatty acids, in their guts.

    In Humans

    Artificial sweeteners caused changes in glucose tolerance in humans, as well, but only for some participants the investigators consider to be "responders." A group of 7 healthy volunteers who do not normally consume artificial sweeteners were given saccharin for 6 days at a dose that met the US Food and Drug Administration's maximum acceptable daily intake of saccharin for humans. No participants saw improvements in glucose tolerance, but 4 showed impairment.

    Even before the experiment began, the microbial ecosystems from the 4 responders were different from those of the 3 nonresponders, suggesting their microbiome was somehow more susceptible. These results, said Dr. Elinav, "point to the personalized nature of our food responses and the need to understand this personalized effect in order to fight the metabolic syndrome, which as we all know, is one of the most common and serious epidemics in all history."

    Bacteria from responders, sampled at the end of the trial, were able to induce glucose intolerance when introduced into germ-free mice (P < .02), whereas baseline samples from the responders (taken before they had consumed the artificial sweeteners) did not have this effect, nor did bacteria from the nonresponders.

    Trend Seen With Long-Term Consumption

    A further experiment involving 381 nondiabetic participants showed that long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners was associated with measures of central obesity and glucose intolerance, even when corrected for body mass index.

    The authors caution that the results from the human experiments are not yet enough to make recommendations about whether or not people should consume sweeteners. They also point out that the mechanism for the sweeteners' effect is unknown: it may be causing less desirable bacteria to thrive, or it may be poisoning certain normal bacteria, allowing detrimental species to take their place.

    In an accompanying editorial, Taylor Feehley, BA, and Cathryn Nagler, PhD, both from the Department of Pathology at the University of Chicago, note that "Whether the bacterial populations or metabolic pathways altered by the consumption of [artificial sweeteners] are similar to those described in people with or developing diabetes remains to be seen." [back to the top]

    Study: Eating High-Fat Dairy Lowers Type 2 Diabetes Risk (todayhealthchannel.com)

    High-fat diets have been enjoying excellent press lately. Earlier this month a study was published showing that low-carb diets outperform low-fat diets for both weight loss and heart health. This week, a new study suggests that people eating high-fat dairy products are at significantly lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes than those eating less dairy.

    The study was presented at this year's annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Vienna, Austria. It included data for nearly 27,000 people (60% women), aged 45-74 years, culled from the Swedish Malmo Diet and Cancer Study. Study participants were tracked for 14 years after original data collection, during which time 2,680 cases of Type 2 diabetes were diagnosed.

    The results showed that study participants eating eight portions of high-fat dairy a day (including cream and whole milk) had a 23% lower incidence of developing diabetes than those eating one portion a day. The same effect was not found for those eating low-fat dairy products.

    Researchers controlled for a range of factors to weed out other possible contributing causes, including total energy intake, BMI, leisure time physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and education.

    The study also tracked diabetes rates associated with eating meat and meat products like sausage, and found an increased risk of developing the disease for those eating the most meat, regardless of fat content. But, people eating lower-fat meats were at greater risk than those eating high-fat meats (9% greater risk for high-fat meats versus 24% for low-fat meats).

    The results suggest that when it comes to diabetes risk, not all fats are created equal. Dairy fats may actually provide protection against the disease.

    Quoting lead study author Dr. Ulrika Ericson, from the Lund University Diabetes Center in Malmo, Sweden: "Our observations may contribute to clarifying previous findings regarding dietary fats and their food sources in relation to Type 2 diabetes. The decreased risk at high intakes of high- fat dairy products, but not of low-fat dairy products, indicate that dairy fat, at least partly, explains observed protective associations between dairy intake and Type 2 diabetes."

    If you're wondering, "eight portions" of high-fat dairy in this study is the equivalent of about six ounces of whole milk or a little over one ounce of whole cream per day. That's about two and a half tablespoons of cream in a cup of coffee.

    Don't run out to raid the dairy aisle just yet. While this study included data from a large population sample, there are significant differences between the average American's diet and the average European's. Dairy appears to be a distinguishing factor in diabetes risk within the context of a typical Swedish diet, but we don't know if the results would hold true with a similarly sized U.S. population sample. Future research will have to plumb that possibility.

    At the very least, these results add to a growing list of findings suggesting that fat may not deserve the dietary arch villain label it has carried for decades. [back to the top]

    7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat(Dr. Mercola)

    Tim Ferriss of The Four-Hour Work Week has posted an exclusive excerpt from Drs. Michael and Mary Eades' newest book, The 6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle.

    The two doctors note that no matter how the story spins from the denizens of the anti-fat camp, one piece of their advice remains staunchly constant: "You should sharply limit your intake of saturated fats." But will saturated fats really increase your risk of heart disease and raise your cholesterol? In a word, no. In fact, humans need them, and here are just a few reasons why:

    1) Improved cardiovascular risk factors

    Saturated fat plays a key role in cardiovascular health. The addition of saturated fat to the diet reduces the levels of a substance called lipoprotein(a) that correlates strongly with risk for heart disease. Research has shown that when women diet, those eating the greatest percentage of the total fat in their diets as saturated fat, lose the most weight.

    2) Stronger bones

    Saturated fat is required for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bone. According to one of the foremost research experts in dietary fats and human health, Dr. Mary Enig, Ph.D., there's a case to be made for having as much as 50 percent of the fats in your diet as saturated fats for this reason.

    3) Improved liver health

    Saturated fat has been shown to protect the liver from alcohol and medications, including acetaminophen and other drugs commonly used for pain and arthritis.

    4) Healthy lungs

    For proper function, the airspaces of the lungs have to be coated with a thin layer of lung surfactant. The fat content of lung surfactant is 100 percent saturated fatty acids. Replacement of these critical fats by other types of fat makes faulty surfactant and potentially causes breathing difficulties.

    5) Healthy brain

    Your brain is mainly made of fat and cholesterol. The lion's share of the fatty acids in the brain are actually saturated. A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally.

    6) Proper nerve signaling

    Certain saturated fats, particularly those found in butter, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil, function directly as signaling messengers that influence metabolism, including such critical jobs as the appropriate release of insulin.7) Strong immune system

    Saturated fats found in butter and coconut oil (myristic acid and lauric acid) play key roles in immune health. Loss of sufficient saturated fatty acids in white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

    Source: Four Hour Work Week September 6, 2009

    Dr. Mercola's Comments:

    A misguided fallacy that persists to this day is the belief that saturated fat will increase your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. This is simply another myth that has been harming your health for the last 30 or 40 years.

    The truth is, saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a concentrated source of energy in your diet, and they provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances.

    When you eat saturated fats as part of your meal, they slow down absorption so that you can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.

    Saturated fats are also:

    The preferred fuel for your heart, and also used as a source of fuel during energy expenditure Useful antiviral agents (caprylic acid) Effective as an anticaries, antiplaque and anti-fungal agent (lauric acid) Useful to actually lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids) Modulators of genetic regulation and prevent cancer (butyric acid) If the fact that saturated fats are actually good for you sounds conflicting, at least in terms of what is repeated by public health agencies, I urge you to read Mary Enig and Sally Fallon's classic article The Truth About Saturated Fats. It is one of the best and most thorough introductions to this topic, and you can read through it in just a few minutes.

    Have You Heard of the Lipid Hypothesis?

    If not by name, you've certainly heard of the concept behind the "lipid hypothesis," and that is that dietary fat causes heart disease.

    This flawed theory was largely spread by Ancel Keys, a diet researcher for whom military K-rations are named, and it was because of the lipid hypothesis that Americans were soon encouraged to substitute vegetable-based fats for animal fats, and to avoid red meat completely.

    However, when Keys published his analysis that claimed to prove the link between dietary fats and coronary heart disease, he selectively analyzed information from only six countries to prove his correlation, rather than comparing all the data available at the time - from 22 countries.

    As a result of this "cherry-picked" data, government health organizations began bombarding the public with advice that has contributed to the diabetes and obesity epidemics going on today: eat a low-fat diet.

    Of course, as Americans cut out nutritious animal fats from their diets, they were left hungry. So they began eating more processed grains, more vegetable oils, and more high-fructose corn syrup, all of which are nutritional disasters.

    What About the Studies That DO Show a Link Between Fat and Heart Disease?

    Keys believed that dietary fat was causing heart disease in Americans back in the 1950s, and he soon got others to jump on the bandwagon.

    Even the American Heart Association, which concluded in 1957 that "the evidence that dietary fat correlates with heart disease does not stand up to critical examination," changed its position in 1960. Why? Because Keys was on the committee issuing a new report that a low-fat diet was advised for people at risk of heart disease. Sadly, the theory continued to be accepted as nutritional wisdom, even though clinical trials found no connection.

    There are, however, some studies that have found a link between fat and heart disease, and they are often used by saturated fat opponents to "prove" their case.

    The problem lies in the fact that most of these studies make no effort to differentiate between saturated fat and trans fat. I believe this is the missing link.

    If researchers were to more carefully evaluate the risks of heart disease by measuring the levels of trans and saturated fat, I believe they would find a completely different story.

    Trans fat is known to increase your LDL levels, or "bad" cholesterol, while lowering your levels of HDL, known as "good" cholesterol, which is the complete opposite of what you need in order to maintain good heart health. It can also cause major clogging of arteries, type-2 diabetes and other serious health problems.

    On the other hand, your body needs some amount of saturated fat to stay healthy. It is virtually impossible to achieve a nutritionally adequate diet that has no saturated fat. What you don't need, however, are trans fats.

    Further, there are some people who do well with a low-saturated-fat diet - the one-third who are carb nutritional types. Even then, however, some animal fats are necessary and healthy, and two-thirds of people actually require moderate- to high-saturated-fat diets to thrive.

    Healthy Sources of Saturated Fats to Add to Your Diet

    Saturated fat is not the root of all evil - and it is NOT to blame for the modern disease epidemics facing Americans. Saturated fat is actually an incredibly healthy, nourishing and all natural fat that humans have been thriving on for generations. Again, as Fallon and Enig point out:

  • Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50 percent of your cell membranes. They are what gives your cells necessary stiffness and integrity.

  • They play a vital role in the health of your bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into your skeletal structure, at least 50 percent of your dietary fats should be saturated.

  • They lower Lp(a), a substance in your blood that indicates proneness to heart disease.

  • They protect your liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol and other drugs.

  • They enhance your immune system.

  • They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fats are better retained in your tissues when your diet is rich in saturated fats.

  • Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for your heart, which is why the fat around your heart muscle is highly saturated. Your heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress. Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties.

  • They protect you against harmful microorganisms in your digestive tract.

    So please do not shun saturated fats from your diet. If you'd like to get the most tailored information about which fats, and how much of them, to include in your optimal diet, first find out your nutritional type. Then, make sure your meals include some of these delicious and healthy sources of saturated fat:

  • Grass-fed organic beef and beef fat
  • Naturally raised lamb
  • Organic raw dairy products (butter, cheese, milk, cream)
  • Coconut oil [back to the top]

    4 Reasons Love Coconut Oil(Natural News)

    (NaturalNews) Few foods, with the possible exception of eggs, have had their reputations so completely demolished in the 20th century as coconut oil. Even as late as the 1990s, this edible oil, which is extracted from the kernels or flesh of matured coconuts, continued to be demonized in the media as a great contributor to heart disease due to its significant saturated fat content.

    Fortunately, modern society is beginning to understand that the saturated fat present in coconut oil is, contrary to popular belief, actually highly beneficial. This understanding was, in part, due to a growing body of evidence suggesting that populations who consumed large quantities of coconut oil, such as the Tokelauan and Kitavan people of the South Pacific, were among the healthiest people on Earth. This evidence prompted a growing number of scientists to investigate the benefits of coconut oil.

    Coconut oil is an unbeatable source of saturated fat

    According to Self's "NutritionData," one tablespoon of coconut oil contains 14 grams of total fat, of which 12 grams are saturated. Whereas the saturated fat found in most other foods, such as meat and cheese, is mostly comprised of long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), the saturated fat found in coconut oil is mostly comprised of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Unlike LCTs, which need to be broken down in the intestines before our bodies can use them as fuel, MCTs are metabolized extremely quickly and rarely stored in the body as fat cells. These MCTs are the source of all of the benefits listed below.

    Coconut oil can reduce abdominal obesity

    Due to its concentrations of MCTs, long-term consumption of coconut oil has actually been linked to weight loss, not weight gain. A Brazilian study published in Lipids in 2009, found that women who consumed 30 milliliters of coconut oil daily for a 12 week period experienced a reduction in BMI and waist circumference. A group of women who consumed equal amounts of soybean oil, which contains LCTs, during the same period did not experience the same benefits.

    Coconut oil kills bacteria, viruses and fungi

    Almost 50% of the MCTs found in coconut oil is lauric acid, a 12-carbon saturated fatty acid that our bodies convert into monolaurin. Monolaurin is one of the natural world's greatest antivirals, antibacterials and antifungals. In fact, Dr. Joseph Mercola claimed that monolaurin can destroy lipid-coated viruses, such as measles, herpes, influenza, most pathogenic bacteria and even HIV. These claims are now being studied by science. One study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2007, found that coconut oil is extremely effective at killing Candida albicans, a common yeast infection in humans. Another study published in the Journal of Bacteriology in 2000 discovered that coconut oil can help kill Staphylococcus aureus, which is a common cause of skin conditions and respiratory diseases.

    Coconut oil can maintain mental health

    It is a well-known fact that inadequate amounts of our brain's main fuel supply, glucose, is the leading cause of cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia. According to researcher Dr. Mary Newport, coconut oil can help prevent these diseases due to the high concentrations of ketone bodies in its MCTs, which function as an alternative fuel source. "Humans do not normally have ketone bodies circulating and available to the brain unless they have been starving for a couple of days or longer, or are consuming a ketogenic (very low carbohydrate) diet, such as Atkins," says Newport. "In Alzheimer's disease, the neurons in certain areas of the brain are unable to take in glucose due to insulin resistance and slowly die off... If these cells had access to ketone bodies, they could potentially stay alive and continue to function." [back to the top]

    Gout isn't always easy to prove: Study finds CT scans help catch cases traditional test misses (MNT)

    Gout is on the rise among U.S. men and women, and this piercingly painful and most common form of inflammatory arthritis is turning out to be more complicated than had been thought. The standard way to check for gout is by drawing fluid or tissue from an affected joint and looking for uric acid crystals, a test known as a needle aspirate. That usually works, but not always: In a new Mayo Clinic study, X-rays known as dual-energy CT scans found gout in one-third of patients whose aspirates tested negative for the disease. The CT scans allowed rheumatologists to diagnose gout and treat those patients with the proper medication.

    The results are published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, the European League Against Rheumatism journal.

    The study tested the usefulness of CT scans in finding uric acid crystals around joints across a spectrum of gout. The researchers found CT scans worked particularly well in detecting gout in patients who had experienced several gout-like flares but whose previous needle aspirates came back negative. After CT scans found what appeared to be uric acid crystals, ultrasound-guided aspirates were taken in those areas and tested for urate crystals.

    "These were in part patients that had been falsely diagnosed with diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or labeled with a different type of inflammatory arthritis, resulting in a completely different and often not effective treatment approach," says first author Tim Bongartz, M.D., a Mayo Clinic rheumatologist. "And there were patients who remained undiagnosed for several years with, for example, chronic elbow symptoms or Achilles tendon systems, where the CT scan then helped us to pick up uric acid deposits."

    The study isn't meant to suggest that CT scans should be the first test used to look for gout, Dr. Bongartz says. Needle aspirates work well in most cases, and the research showed CT scans weren't as effective a diagnostic tool among patients having their first gout flare-up, he says. In some of those acute gout cases, needle aspirates found uric acid crystals, but CT scans didn't.

    Gout is often thought of as a man's disease and associated with sudden sharp, burning pain in the big toe. It's true that until middle age, more men than women get gout, but after menopause, women catch up in the statistics. And gout can hit more than the big toe: Other joints including parts of the feet, ankles, knees, fingers, wrists and elbows can be affected.

    "The first flare of gout most commonly occurs in the big toe, but gout can affect pretty much every joint in the body, and the more gout flares you have the more likelihood that other joint areas will be affected," Dr. Bongartz says.

    Five percent of adult African-Americans and 4 percent of whites in the U.S. have gout. The nation's obesity epidemic is thought to be a factor behind the increase in gout cases.

    An accurate and early gout diagnosis is crucial because gout patients are treated with different medication than people with other forms of inflammatory arthritis, and proper medication and dietary changes can help prevent further gout attacks and the spread of the disease to other joints.

    "What we are learning from the dual-energy CT scans has really changed our perception of where gout can occur and how it can manifest," Dr. Bongartz says. "The ability to visualize those deposits clearly broadens our perspective on gout." [back to the top]

    An Upside to Gout: It May Offer Alzheimer's Protection (By Nicholas Bakalar nytimes blog)

    Gout, a form of arthritis, is extremely painful and associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular problems. But there is a bright side: It may be linked to a reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease.

    Researchers compared 59,204 British men and women with gout to 238,805 without the ailment, with an average age of 65. Patients were matched for sex, B.M.I., smoking, alcohol consumption and other characteristics. The study, in The Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, followed the patients for five years.

    They found 309 cases of Alzheimer's among those with gout and 1,942 among those without. Those with gout, whether they were being treated for the condition or not, had a 24 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.

    The reason for the connection is unclear. But gout is caused by excessive levels of uric acid in the blood, and previous studies have suggested that uric acid protects against oxidative stress. This may play a role in limiting neuron degeneration.

    "This is a dilemma, because uric acid is thought to be bad, associated with heart disease and stroke," said the senior author, Dr. Hyon K. Choi, a professor of medicine at Harvard. "This is the first piece of data suggesting that uric acid isn't all bad. Maybe there is some benefit. It has to be confirmed in randomized trials, but that's the interesting twist in this story."

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