June 20, 2014
Adverse Effects of Anabolic Steroid Abuse vs. Benefits of Physician- Supervised Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Due to an increase in media coverage of sports and athletes regarding non-medical use of anabolic steroids, the difference between hormone replacement therapy and anabolic steroids has become confusing to the general public. Young athletes illegally take synthetic male anabolic steroids without a physician’s supervision because they wish to increase their physical stamina for enhanced athletic performance. This is done through tissue building effects and an increase in male physical characteristics, desired by both male and female athletes alike. Synthetic anabolic steroids mimic the effects of the male sex hormone, testosterone, which can increase muscle mass and strength in short periods of time.
Steroids are no stranger to the fitness/bodybuilding world and competitive athletics, but today more and more “regular guys” are taking steroids in an effort to combat the effects of aging and reduce its impact. While legal steroids do have a place and serve useful, medically-valid purposes, they are frequently abused. Part of this stems from their widespread availability in gyms, health clubs, online from Internet pharmacies, friends and more.
Besides being illegal without a prescription, steroids – when taken without proper medical supervision – are known to cause a variety of health problems. The short-term adverse physical effects of anabolic steroid abuse are fairly well known, but the effects of their long-term use are not well-studied. Abuse or overuse of synthetic anabolic steroids may cause the male body to become “feminized,” causing irreversible physical and psychological damage – depending on the dosage, type of synthetic steroid being taken, and usage duration. Some examples are high blood pressure, serious changes in cholesterol levels, heart problems in the left ventricle, and liver damage if oral steroids are taken. In this sense, the difference between hormone replacement therapy and anabolic steroids has a lot to do with non-medical versus medical use, and the illegal use of a synthetic form of testosterone versus legal use of pure testosterone.
The real problems arise when steroid users become steroid abusers. They buy their steroids at the gym or from a friend, self-administering them and regulating their intake themselves, rather than under the guidance of a trained medical professional. This is a recipe for disaster. When someone buys steroids off the black market the potential for dangerous repercussions is astronomical.
First of all, when buying steroids off the black market, you never really know what you are going to get. The majority of steroids sold on the streets in the U.S. come from other countries where quality standards can be very lax at best. It’s also very common to take steroids prepared for animals rather than for humans because they are usually cheaper-but also potentially very dangerous. There is also a prevalence of fake or counterfeit steroids on the U.S. black market. These can not only be dangerous, but they can be deadly as well. The only benefit of using an anabolic steroid is when it is prescribed medically for medical conditions, the same as hormone replacement therapy. In certain medical cases, it is the only answer for quality life. The main difference between hormone replacement therapy and anabolic steroids comes down to how each is used, specifically if it is used under proper medical supervision.
There’s no getting around the fact that our bodies age. For men, as we get closer to the middle age mark, natural testosterone production in the body begins to slow down by about one to two percent each year – though this can vary widely. Around age 50 or so, about one-half of men will experience what’s known as “andropause,” which is the result of declining levels of androgen in the body. The symptoms of andropause will vary from one man to another but may include a decrease in energy (lethargy), diminished libido or less interest in sex, erectile dysfunction (ED), muscle weakness, difficulty sleeping, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings or depression and more. Because of the symptoms’ similarity to what women experience in menopause, andropause is sometimes referred to as the “male menopause,” although in men the reproductive system does not shut down entirely as it does in women – it just slows down. To fight the symptoms of andropause many men turn to either steroids or hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is practiced under a physician’s care and is medically used for abnormal testosterone levels in menopausal individuals, chronic wasting diseases, and to treat a multitude of symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy also does not use a synthetic steroid, but a pure form of testosterone. It is used under physician care for many medical benefits. The goal of hormone replacement therapy is to keep abnormal hormone levels normal and to treat certain medical conditions, not to build muscles and strength. Hormone replacement therapy has been used for reductions of heart disease, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, strokes, type-2 diabetes, and early death. In fact, the use of testosterone in hormone replacement therapy has improved the lives of a many aging men. Previously they were diagnosed with no sex drive, with erectile dysfunction, extreme fatigue, irritability, a serious loss of energy, and felt their life was going nowhere.
In contrast to self-regulated/self-administered steroid abuse, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a medically supervised regimen that seeks to duplicate the body’s natural testosterone production cycles. Administered properly, HRT can bring about the benefits of restoring testosterone to its previous level, without the significant side effects or safety hazards associated with self-regulated/self-administered steroid regimens or abuse. HRT starts with a blood test and medical examination to determine testosterone levels and uncover any potential health risks. This is an important-and necessary–step in order to be certain that testosterone deficiency is indeed the root of the andropause symptoms and not diabetes, hypertension or the result of taking certain medications.
Through HRT testosterone is administered orally, by injection or through trans-dermal systems (through the skin). A fourth method-a tablet that adheres to the surface of the gum-was recently approved by the FDA. HRT has proven beneficial to men suffering from symptoms of andropause resulting from a testosterone deficiency in a number of ways including:
Increasing sex drive
Increasing muscle mass
Increasing bone density
These are just some of the benefits that are associated with a properly-administered, medically-supervised HRT regimen. Once treatment begins, HRT recipients are monitored for possible side effects or adverse reactions to the treatment. Generally though, this is not the case. The overwhelming majority of HRT recipients are very satisfied with the results, generally reporting few, if any, negative side effects or consequences. While many of us like to think that we’re smart guys and know what we’re doing with our own bodies, the risks associated with self-administered/self-regulated steroid regimens far outweigh any potential benefits. And in addition, the potential for abuse is great. If you think you may be suffering from andropause/testosterone deficiency, do yourself a favor and consult a qualified medical professional and investigate hormone replacement therapy as a treatment, not your friends at the gym.
September 22, 2011
Lipo-C is compounded at APS specialty pharmacy to help patients facilitate an increased loss in fat.
Lipo-C contains a specific formula of:
Lipotropics– Lipotropic nutrients are a class of natural ingredients that play important role in the body’s usage of fat. These compounds enhance the liver and gallbladders role by decreasing fat deposits and speeding up metabolism of fat and its removal. APS Pharmacy specializes in injectable lipotropics such as MIC combos. This lipotropic formula forms the foundational ingredients in Lipo-A, Lipo-B, and our Lipo-C injections.
Lipocarn– L-Carnitine is an amino acid which is required for the transport and breakdown of body fat for the generation of metabolic energy. Studies show that oral L-Carnitine supplementation can decrease fat mass, increase muscle mass, and reduce fatigue (University of Maryland Medical Centre, 2002). Like most nutritional supplements, a high dose is needed when taken orally to produce any efficacy since so little is absorbed during digestion. When administered via injection, nutrients like L-Carnitine are absorbed almost 100%. By following the pharmacies 10-1 ratio of absorption in oral versus injected L-Carntine, our Lipo-C provides the equivalent of 2000mg of Carnitine per injection.
Methylcobalamin– Methylcobalamin is a cobalamin used in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Methylcobalamin has been advocated to protect the cognitive function of patients suffering from depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, stroke, and ALS. Supplementing with mehtylcobalamin while following a low calorie diet can increase alertness and energy, as well as supply the body with what it needs for healthy cellular growth and function. Vegetarians especially benefit from methylcobalamin since this compound tends to be prevalent in meat proteins. Also known as vitamin B12, Methylcobalamin is the most bio-available form which means it is readily absorbed and used by the body once injected. Many over the counter B12 supplements consist of Cyanocobalamin, also a cobalamin, which must first convert to methylcobalamin within the liver for the body to have any use for it.
- 10mL multi-dosed vial
- 30mL multi-dosed vial
When is Lipo-C best administered:
Lipo-C is best taken daily, upon waking up on an empty stomach. Lipo-C can also be administered prior to exercise during the day. If daily injections are not possible, Lipo-C can be taken twice per week in higher volume.
Side effects associated with Lipo-C pertain to the injection itself. Due to the Ph level of Lipo-C, patients may experience mild to moderate “burning” and irritation at the injection site. This can be minimized by injecting Lipo-C slowly, up to 30 seconds, and also by using a ½” insulin needle for a deeper injection. Although very rare, patients may experience a rash at the site of injection. Let the medical staff know of any side effects you experience.
1ml “insulin” syringes
From Dr Rand McClain in Beverly Hills CA: “For Lipo-C, studies have shown that a combination of choline, L-carnitine and caffeine have improved body composition (reduced fat and increased muscle glycogen) in those that do not exercise and increased VO2 max (along with improving body composition even more so) in those that exercise. Choline (in various forms, bitartrate, chloride, and phosphatidyl) has long been used to reverse and prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver (“fatty liver”) and to lower ALT (liver enzyme) in athletes. L-methionine prevents the formation of VLDL and keep
The APS Pharmacy team worked to develop MIC-Lipo capsules based on our observation of current weight-loss protocols which include weekly MIC-Lipo injections. Although a weekly MIC-Lipo injection has been shown to significantly assist patients in fat loss who are eating a low calorie diet, physicians following such protocols are just scratching the surface of the potential of this nutraceutical compound. When MIC-Lipo is injected, it remains active within the body for roughly a day. Some of the components, such as B12, may remain active longer due to storage in the liver, but I have yet to find any conclusive evidence. In other words, when following a weekly MIC-Lipo injection protocol the patient really only benefits from the MIC-Lipo for 1-2 days.
We developed MIC-Lipo capsules to supplement throughout the week in between injections in order to help patients take full advantage of the benefits of MIC-Lipo in addition to Chromium, which must be taken before meals for optimal efficacy. Here is an effective protocol;
August 26, 2011
An estrogen test measures the level of the most important estrogen hormones (estradiol, estriol, and estrone) in a blood or urine sample.
- Estradiol is the most commonly measured type of estrogen for nonpregnant women. The amount of estradiol in a woman’s blood varies throughout her menstrual cycle. After menopause, estradiol production drops to a very low but constant level.
- Estriol levels usually are only measured during pregnancy. Estriol is produced in large amounts by the placenta, the tissue that links the fetus to the mother. It can be detected as early as the 9th week of pregnancy, and its levels increase until delivery. Estriol can also be measured in urine.
- Estrone may be measured in women who have gone through menopause to determine their estrogen levels. It also may be measured in men or women who might have cancer of the ovaries, testicles, or adrenal glands.
Both men and women produce estrogen hormones. Estrogens are responsible for female sexual development and function, such as breast development and the menstrual cycle. In women, estrogens are produced mainly in the ovaries and in the placenta during pregnancy. Small amounts are also produced by the adrenal glands. In men, small amounts of estrogens are produced by the adrenal glands and testicles. Small amounts of estrone are made throughout the body in most tissues, especially fat and muscle. This is the major source of estrogen in women who have gone through menopause.
For pregnant women, the level of estriol in the blood is used in a maternal serum triple or quadruple screening test. Generally done between 15 and 20 weeks, these tests check the levels of three or four substances in a pregnant woman’s blood. The triple screen checks alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and a type of estrogen (unconjugated estriol, or uE3). The quad screen checks these substances and the level of the hormone inhibin A. The levels of these substances-along with a woman’s age and other factors-help the doctor estimate the chance that the baby may have certain problems or birth defects.
August 15, 2011
Red yeast rice (RYR), a product made from cultivating rice with the mold Monascus purpureus, has been used in China for centuries to treat circulatory and digestive disorders – and apparently without a bit of controversy. RYR has been in use in the U.S. for a much shorter period of time (as a non-prescription cholesterol-lowering supplement), and has generated lots of controversy.
The Controversy and Confusion Over RYR
The controversy began in 1999, shortly after clinical trials first showed that RYR could indeed significantly lower cholesterol levels. At that time it came to the attention of the FDA that RYR’s effectiveness is related to the fact that it contains a naturally-occurring form of the statin drug lovastatin (marketed as Mevacor). So the FDA ruled that RYR was a regulable drug, and thus ordered it removed it from the shelves.
This FDA decision was initially overruled by the District Court of Utah in 1999, but in 2000 the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the FDA that RYR could be regulated. So RYR could still be sold legally in the U.S., but only if steps were taken in its manufacturing process to remove the lovastatin (presumably eliminating its effectiveness).
Then, in 2007, the FDA found that at least some RYR in the U.S. still contained lovastatin, and (after issuing a formal FDA Consumer Safety Alert) took further steps to purge the “tainted” products from the shelves.
Currently, as far as the FDA is concerned, the RYR that you can buy in the U.S. contains no lovastatin. But otherwise, RYR is still considered a dietary supplement, so its formulation and content is still not regulated — and it is very difficult if not impossible to find out what it does contain. (This is the case with any unregulated dietary supplement.)
But Does It Work?
In the face of all this confusion, two clinical trials have appeared in the last few years that show that at least some RYR legally available in the U.S. is still effective in reducing cholesterol levels.
In 2009, a study from Pennsylvania showed that in 60 patients who had to stop taking statin drugs because of muscle pain, taking RYR and initiating lifestyle changes for 24 weeks significantly reduced total and LDL cholesterol levels, compared to taking a placebo and making the same lifestyle changes.
And in 2010, investigators from the University of Pennsylvania reported that in patients who had to stop taking statins due to muscle pain, RYR was just as effective as 20 mg per day of the statin drug pravastatin (Pravachol) in reducing cholesterol levels. (Both RYR and pravachol produced only a very low incidence of recurrent muscle pain.)
In the 2009 study, the investigators performed a formal chemical analysis on the RYR product they used in their study (from Sylvan Bioproducts in Kittanning, Pennsylvania). They found that the RYR contained monacolin K (the naturally-occurring form of lovastatin), as well as eight other monacolins (statins or statin-like substances).
The result of this chemical analysis suggests two things. First, that RYR available in the U.S. apparently still contains at least some lovastatin, and second, even if all the lovastatin were completely removed (which appears to be much harder to do than the FDA thinks) other, similar chemicals in RYR may be effective in reducing cholesterol.
August 8, 2011
Pantothenic acid is a vitamin, also known as vitamin B5. It is widely found in both plants and animals including meat, vegetables, cereal grains, legumes, eggs, and milk.
Vitamin B5 is commercially available as D-pantothenic acid, as well as dexpanthenol and calcium pantothenate, which are chemicals made in the lab from D-pantothenic acid.
Pantothenic acid is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex formulations. Vitamin B complex generally includes vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin/niacinamide), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), and folic acid. However, some products do not contain all of these ingredients and some may include others, such as biotin, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), choline bitartrate, and inositol.
Pantothenic acid has a long list of uses, although there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether it is effective for most of these uses. People take pantothenic acid for treating dietary deficiencies, acne, alcoholism, allergies, baldness, asthma, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, burning feet syndrome, yeast infections, heart failure, carpal tunnel syndrome, respiratory disorders, celiac disease, colitis, conjunctivitis, convulsions, and cystitis. It is also taken by mouth for dandruff, depression, diabetic nerve pain, enhancing immune function, improving athletic performance, tongue infections, gray hair, headache, hyperactivity, low blood sugar, trouble sleeping (insomnia), irritability, low blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, muscular cramps in the legs associated with pregnancy or alcoholism, neuralgia, and obesity.
Pantothenic acid is also used orally for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, nerve pain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), enlarged prostate, protection against mental and physical stress and anxiety, reducing adverse effects of thyroid therapy in congenital hypothyroidism, reducing signs of aging, reducing susceptibility to colds and other infections, retarded growth, shingles, skin disorders, stimulating adrenal glands, chronic fatigue syndrome, salicylate toxicity, streptomycin neurotoxicity, dizziness, and wound healing.
People apply dexpanthenol, which is made from pantothenic acid, to the skin for itching, promoting healing of mild eczemas and other skin conditions, insect stings, bites, poison ivy, diaper rash, and acne. It is also applied topically for preventing and treating skin reactions to radiation therapy.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for PANTOTHENIC ACID (VITAMIN B5) are as follows:
- Treating or preventing pantothenic acid deficiency.
Possibly ineffective for…
- Treating or preventing skin reactions from radiation therapy.
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is conflicting evidence regarding the usefulness of pantothenic acid in combination with large doses of other vitamins for the treatment of ADHD.
- Arthritis. Developing research suggests pantothenic acid (given as calcium pantothenate) does not significantly reduce the symptoms of arthritis in people with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or other forms of arthritis.
- Improving athletic performance. Some research suggests that pantothenic acid in combination with pantethine and thiamine does not improve muscular strength or endurance in well-trained athletes.
- Skin problems.
- Hair loss.
- Heart problems.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Lung disorders.
- Eye infections (conjunctivitis).
- Kidney disorders.
- Diabetic problems.
- Enhancing immune function.
- Low blood pressure.
- Inability to sleep (insomnia).
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Muscular dystrophy.
- Muscle cramps.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of pantothenic acid for these uses.
How does it work?
Pantothenic acid is important for our bodies to properly use carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids and for healthy skin.
Are there safety concerns?
Pantothenic acid is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in appropriate amounts. The recommended amount for adults is 5 mg per day. Even larger amounts seem to be safe for some people, but taking larger amounts increases the chance of having side effects such as diarrhea.
Pantothenic acid seems to be safe for children when used appropriately.
Special precautions & warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Pantothenic acid is LIKELY SAFE when taken in recommended amounts of 6 mg per day during pregnancy and 7 mg per day during breast-feeding. But it is not known if taking more than this amount is safe.
Hemophila: Don’t take pantothenic acid if you have hemophila. It might extend the time it takes for bleeding to stop.
Are there interactions with medications?
It is not known if this product interacts with any medicines.
Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
Royal jelly contains significant amounts of pantothenic acid. The effects of taking royal jelly and pantothenic acid supplements together aren’t known.
Are there interactions with foods?
There are no known interactions with foods.
What dose is used?
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- As a dietary supplement: 5-10 mg of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
Recommended daily intakes for pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) are as follows: Infants 0-6 months, 1.7 mg; infants 7-12 months, 1.8 mg; children 1-3 years, 2 mg; children 4-8 years, 3 mg; children 9-13 years, 4 mg; men and women
14 years and older, 5 mg; pregnant women, 6 mg; and breastfeeding women, 7 mg.
Acide Pantothénique, Ácido Pantoténico, B Complex Vitamin, Calcii Pantothenas, Calcium D-Pantothenate, Calcium Pantothenate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, D-pantothenic Acid, D-Panthenol, D-Pantothenyl Alcohol, Dexpanthenol, Dexpanthenolum, Panthenol, Pantothenate, Pantothenic Acid, Pantothenol, Pantothenylol, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B-5, Vitamina B5, Vitamine B5.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body can’ t make them — you have to get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. They have also become popular because they may reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
It is important to have a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.
The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, has a healthier balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Many studies have shown that people who follow this diet are less likely to develop heart disease. The Mediterranean diet does not include much meat (which is high in omega-6 fatty acids) and emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption.
Clinical evidence is strongest for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease, but omega-3 fatty acids may also be used for:
People who follow a Mediterranean-style diet tend to have higher HDL or “good” cholesterol levels, which help promote heart health. Inuit Eskimos, who get high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from eating fatty fish, also tend to have increased HDL cholesterol and decreased triglycerides (fats in the blood). Several studies have shown that fish oil supplements reduce triglyceride levels. Finally, walnuts (which are rich in alpha linolenic acid or LNA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid) have been reported to lower total cholesterol and triglycerides in people with high cholesterol levels.
High blood pressure
Several clinical studies suggest that diets or fish oil supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. An analysis of 17 clinical studies using fish oil supplements found that taking 3 or more grams of fish oil daily may reduce blood pressure in people with untreated hypertension.
One of the best ways to help prevent heart disease is to eat a diet low in saturated fat and to eat foods that are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3 fatty acids). Clinical evidence suggests that EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Fish oil has been shown to lower levels of triglycerides (fats in the blood), and to lower risk of death, heart attack, stroke, and abnormal heart rhythms in people who have already had a heart attack. Fish oil also appears to help prevent and treat atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by slowing the development of plaque and blood clots, which can clog arteries.
Large population studies suggest that getting omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, primarily from fish, helps protect against stroke caused by plaque buildup and blood clots in the arteries that lead to the brain. Eating at least 2 servings of fish per week can reduce the risk of stroke by as much as 50%. However, high doses of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding. People who eat more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day (equivalent to 3 servings of fish per day) may have higher risk for hemorrhagic stroke, a potentially fatal type of stroke in which an artery in the brain leaks or ruptures.
People with diabetes often have high triglyceride and low HDL levels. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can help lower triglycerides and apoproteins (markers of diabetes), and raise HDL, so eating foods or taking fish oil supplements may help people with diabetes. Another type of omega-3 fatty acid, ALA (from flaxseed, for example) may not have the same benefit as fish oil. Some people with diabetes can’ t efficiently convert LNA to a form of omega-3 fatty acids that the body can use. Also, some people with type 2 diabetes may have slight increases in fasting blood sugar when taking fish oil, so talk to your doctor to see if fish oil is right for you.
Most clinical studies examining omega-3 fatty acid supplements for arthritis have focused on rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. A number of small studies have found that fish oil helps reduce symptoms of RA, including joint pain and morning stiffness. One study suggests that people with RA who take fish oil may be able to lower their dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, unlike prescription medications, fish oil does not appear to slow progression of RA, only to treat the symptoms. Joint damage still occurs.
Laboratory studies suggest that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids (and low in the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids) may help people with osteoarthritis, although more study is needed. New Zealand green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), another potential source of omega-3 fatty acids, has been reported to reduce joint stiffness and pain, increase grip strength, and improve walking pace in a small group of people with osteoarthritis. For some people, symptoms got worse before they improved.
An analysis of 17 randomized, controlled clinical trials looked at the pain relieving effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements in people with RA or joint pain caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) and painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea). The results suggest that omega-3 fatty acids, along with conventional therapies such as NSAIDs, may help relieve joint pain associated with these conditions.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Several small studies suggest that EPA and fish oil may help reduce symptoms of lupus, an autoimmune condition characterized by fatigue and joint pain. However, two small studies found fish oil had no effect on lupus nephritis (kidney disease caused by lupus, a frequent complication of the disease).
Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may help increase levels of calcium in the body and improve bone strength, although not all results were positive. Some studies also suggest that people who don’ t get enough of some essential fatty acids (particularly EPA and gamma-linolenic acid [GLA], an omega-6 fatty acid) are more likely to have bone loss than those with normal levels of these fatty acids. In a study of women over 65 with osteoporosis, those who took EPA and GLA supplements had less bone loss over 3 years than those who took placebo. Many of these women also experienced an increase in bone density.
Studies have found mixed results as to whether taking omega-3 fatty acids can help depression symptoms. Several studies have found that people who took omega-3 fatty acids in addition to prescription antidepressants had a greater improvement in symptoms than those who took antidepressants alone. However, other studies have found no benefit.
Studies are also mixed on whether omega-3 fatty acids alone have any effect on depression. Depression is a serious illness and you should not try to treat it on your own. See a doctor for help.
In a clinical study of 30 people with bipolar disorder, those who took fish oil in addition to standard prescription treatments for bipolar disorder for 4 months experienced fewer mood swings and relapse than those who received placebo. But another 4-month long clinical study treating people with bipolar depression and rapid cycling bipolar disorder did not find that EPA helped reduce symptoms.
Preliminary clinical evidence suggests that people with schizophrenia may have an improvement in symptoms when given omega-3 fatty acids. However, a recent well-designed study concluded that EPA supplements are no better than placebo in improving symptoms of this condition.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have low levels of certain essential fatty acids (including EPA and DHA). In a clinical study of nearly 100 boys, those with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids had more learning and behavioral problems (such as temper tantrums and sleep disturbances) than boys with normal omega-3 fatty acid levels.
However, studies examining whether omega-3 fatty acids help improve symptoms of ADHD have found mixed results. A few studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids helped improve behavioral symptoms, but most were not well designed. One study that looked at DHA in addition to stimulant therapy (standard therapy for ADHD) found no effect. More research is needed, but eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids is a reasonable approach for someone with ADHD.
In one clinical study, 13 people with sun sensitivity known as photo dermatitis showed less sensitivity to UV rays after taking fish oil supplements. However, topical sunscreens are much better at protecting the skin from damaging effects of the sun than omega-3 fatty acids. In another study of 40 people with psoriasis, those who took EPA with their prescription medications did better than those treated with the medications alone. However, a larger study of people with psoriasis found no benefit from fish oil.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Results are mixed as to whether omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce symptoms of Crohn’ s disease and ulcerative colitis, the two types of IBD. Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may help when added to medication, such as sulfasalazine (a standard medication for IBD). Others find no effect. More studies are needed. Fish oil supplements can cause side effects that are similar to symptoms of IBD (such as flatulence, belching, bloating, and diarrhea).
Studies examining omega-3 fatty acids for asthma are mixed. In one small, well-designed clinical study of 29 children with asthma, those who took fish oil supplements rich in EPA and DHA for 10 months reduced their symptoms compared to children who took placebo. However, most studies have shown no effect.
A questionnaire given to more than 3,000 people over the age of 49 found that those who ate more fish were less likely to have macular degeneration (a serious age-related eye condition that can progress to blindness) than those who ate less fish. Similarly, a clinical study comparing 350 people with macular degeneration to 500 without the eye disease found that those with a healthy dietary balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and more fish in their diets were less likely to have macular degeneration.
In one study of 42 women, they had less menstrual pain when they took fish oil supplements than when they took placebo.
Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids seems to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. For example, Eskimos, who tend to have a high-fat diet but eat significant amounts of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, have a low rate of colorectal cancer. Animal studies and laboratory studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids prevent worsening of colon cancer. Preliminary studies suggest that taking fish oil daily may help slow the progression of colon cancer in people with early stages of the disease. If you have colorectal cancer, ask your doctor before taking any supplements.
Although not all experts agree, women who eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids over many years may be less likely to develop breast cancer. More research is needed to understand the effect that omega-3 fatty acids may have on the prevention of breast cancer.
Population based studies of groups of men suggest that a low-fat diet including omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil help prevent the development of prostate cancer.
Fish, plant, and nut oils are the primary dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, tuna, and herring. ALA is found in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, soybeans, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, purslane, perilla seed oil, walnuts, and walnut oil. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include sea life such as krill and algae.
Both EPA and DHA can be taken in the form of fish oil capsules. Flaxseed, flaxseed oil, fish and krill oils should be kept refrigerated. Whole flaxseeds must be ground within 24 hours of use, so the ingredients stay active. Flaxseeds are also available in ground form in a special mylar package so that the components in the flaxseeds stay active.
Be sure to buy omega-3 fatty acid supplements made by established companies who certify that their products are free of heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium.
How to Take It:
Dosing for fish oil supplements should be based on the amount of EPA and DHA, not on the total amount of fish oil. Supplements vary in the amounts and ratios of EPA and DHA. A common amount of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil capsules is 0.18 grams (180 mg) of EPA and 0.12 grams (120 mg) of DHA. Five grams of fish oil contains approximately 0.17 – 0.56 grams (170 -560 mg) of EPA and 0.072 – 0.31 grams (72 – 310 mg) of DHA. Different types of fish contain variable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, and different types of nuts or oil contain variable amounts of LNA. Fish oils contain approximately 9 calories per gram of oil.
Children (18 years and younger)
There is no established dose for children. Omega-3 fatty acids are used in some infant formulas. Fish oil capsules should not be used in children except under the direction of a health care provider. Children should avoid eating fish that may be high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. (See Precautions section.)
Do not take more than 3 grams daily of omega-3 fatty acids from capsules without the supervision of a health care provider, due to an increased risk of bleeding.
- For healthy adults with no history of heart disease: The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least 2 times per week.
- For adults with coronary heart disease: The American Heart Association recommends an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 1 gram daily of EPA and DHA. It may take 2 – 3 weeks for benefits of fish oil supplements to be seen.
- For adults with high cholesterol levels: The American Heart Association recommends an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (as fish oils), 2 – 4 grams daily of EPA and DHA. It may take 2 – 3 weeks for benefits of fish oil supplements to be seen.
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.
Omega-3 fatty acids should be used cautiously by people who bruise easily, have a bleeding disorder, or take blood-thinning medications including warfarin (Coumadin) or clopidogrel (Plavix). High doses of omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding.
Fish oil can cause gas, bloating, belching, and diarrhea. Time-release preparations may reduce these side effects, however.
People with either diabetes or schizophrenia may lack the ability to convert alpha-linolenic acid (LNA) to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the forms more readily used in the body. People with these conditions should be sure to get enough EPA and DHA from their diets. Also, people with type 2 diabetes may experience increases in fasting blood sugar levels while taking fish oil supplements. If you have type 2 diabetes, use fish oil supplements only under the supervision of a health care provider.
Although studies suggest that eating fish (which includes the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA) may reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a recent study including 2 large groups of men and women found that diets rich in LNA may increase the risk of this disease. Until more information becomes available, people with macular degeneration should get omega-3 fatty acids from sources of EPA and DHA, rather than LNA.
Fish and fish oil may protect against prostate cancer, but LNA may be associated with increased risk of prostate cancer in men. More research in this area is needed.
Some fish may contain potentially harmful contaminants, such as heavy metals (including mercury), dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). For sport-caught fish, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that pregnant or nursing women eat no more than a single 6-ounce meal per week, and young children less than 2 ounces per week. For farm-raised, imported, or marine fish, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that pregnant or nursing women and young children avoid eating types with higher levels of mercury (such as mackerel, shark, swordfish, or tilefish), and eat up to 12 ounces per week of other fish types.
Buy fish oil from a reputable source that tests to make sure there is no mercury or pesticide residues in its products.
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use omega-3 fatty acid supplements, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), without first talking to your health care provider.
Blood-thinning medications — Omega-3 fatty acids may increase the effects of blood thinning medications, including aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and clopedigrel (Plavix). Taking aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in some circumstances (such as in heart disease), but they should only be taken together under the supervision of a health care provider.
Diabetes medications — Taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements may increase fasting blood sugar levels. Use with caution if taking medications to lower blood sugar, such as glipizide (Glucotrol and Glucotrol XL), glyburide (Micronase or Diabeta), glucophage (Metformin), or insulin. Your doctor may need to increase your medication dose. These drugs include:
- Glipizide (Glucotrol and Glucotrol XL)
- Glyburide (Micronase or Diabeta)
- Metformin (Glucophage)
Cyclosporine — Cyclosporine is a medication given to people with organ transplants. Taking omega-3 fatty acids during cyclosporine (Sandimmune) therapy may reduce toxic side effects, such as high blood pressure and kidney damage, associated with this medication.
Etretinate and topical steroids — Adding omega-3 fatty acids (specifically EPA) to the drug therapy etretinate (Tegison) and topical corticosteroids may improve symptoms of psoriasis.
Cholesterol-lowering medications — Following dietary guidelines, including increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet and reducing the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, may help a group of cholesterol lowering medications known as statins to work more effectively. These medications include:
- Atorvastatin (Liptor)
- Lovastatin (Mevacor)
- Simvastatin (Zocor)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — In an animal study, treatment with omega-3 fatty acids reduced the risk of ulcers from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) and naproxen (Aleve or Naprosyn). More research is needed to see whether omega-3 fatty acids would have the same effects in people.
August 5, 2011
What causes testosterone deficiency?
Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testicles and is responsible for the proper development of male sexual characteristics, and is important for maintaining muscle bulk, adequate levels of red blood cells, bone density, sense of well-being, and sexual and reproductive function.
Inadequate testosterone production is not a common cause of erectile dysfunction (ED). When ED does occur with decreased testosterone production, testosterone replacement therapy may improve the ED.
As a man ages, the amount of testosterone in his body gradually declines. This natural decline starts after age 30 and continues throughout life. The significance of this decline is controversial and poorly understood.
Symptoms of testosterone deficiency:
- decreased sex drive
- decreased sense of well-being
- depressed mood
- difficulties with concentration and memory
- erectile dysfunction
What are the changes that occur in the body with testosterone deficiency?
Changes that occur with testosterone deficiency include:
- a decrease in muscle mass, with an increase in body fat
- variable effects on cholesterol metabolism
- a decrease in hemoglobin and possibly mild anemia
- fragile bones (osteoporosis)
- a decrease in body hair
How do I find out if I have a testosterone deficiency?
The only accurate way to detect the condition is to have your doctor measure the amount of testosterone in your blood. It sometimes may take several measurements of testosterone to be sure if a patient has a deficiency, since levels of testosterone tend to fluctuate throughout the day. The highest levels of testosterone are generally in the morning. This is why doctors prefer, if possible, to obtain early morning levels of testosterone.
What options are available for testosterone replacement?
The options available for testosterone replacement are:
- intramuscular injections, generally every two or three weeks
- testosterone patches worn either on the body or on the scrotum (the sac that contains the testicles). These patches are used daily. The body patch application is rotated between the buttocks, arms, back or abdomen.
- testosterone gels that are applied daily to the shoulders, upper arms, or abdomen.
For a free consultation on what would work best for you, contact us at:
email@example.com or call us at 866-641-CORE (2673)
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Men can benefit from hormone replacement therapy as part of a comprehensive and natural anti-aging program.
As men age, the male hormones decline, referred to as “andropause”. Symptoms of andropause include decrease in muscle mass and muscle strength, increased body fat and lowered libido, accompanied by decrease in mental sharpness and decrease of overall energy levels.
Replacing men’s testosterone as it declines can protect men from a variety of age-related conditions, including:
- Preventing the decline of sexual ability or re-invigorating sexuality if it has already begun to diminish.
- Preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and high blood pressure.
- Minimizing loss of muscle mass and strength common to aging.
- Keeping the prostate gland healthy.
- Prevention of osteoporosisa common problem for men in their 70s.
- Normalizing blood sugar, cholesterol, and HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Vitamin D benefits are experienced to the fullest extent by people who maintain optimum vitamin D body stores and blood levels.
They can expect better health across the board – longer life (reduction in death from all causes), fewer diseases, stronger bones and muscles, fewer infections, less depression, pain and inflammation. In short, more enjoyment of life.
New vitamin D benefits are still being discovered, almost everywhere researchers look. Here are some of the more important ones discovered so far:
Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphorus
The first intimation of vitamin D’s vital role was in 1782, when it was discovered that cod liver oil cures rickets (a disease of growing children whose bones bend due to lack of strength). Of course, they didn’t know then that it was vitamin D in the oil that did the job.
Vitamin D itself was isolated in the 1920’s, but for several decades, all that was known about its usefulness was that it prevented rickets.
In fact, vitamin D plays a major role in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and in their proper utilization. This helps keep our bones and teeth strong, and stops calcium depositing where it shouldn’t (for example in our blood vessels, heart and kidneys).
Vitamin D is essential to a healthy immune system
Vitamin D helps the immune system to fight infections. With a near-optimum blood level of vitamin D, you can expect fewer colds, ‘flu, and other unwelcome opportunists (including Swineflu).
Not only does Vitamin D enhance your immunity, but it inhibits the development of destructive auto-immune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D is a major inhibitor of cancer, and part of this effect may be attributed to the increased vigilance of the immune system.
Vitamin D promotes cellular differentiation
Vitamin D encourages cell differentiation (differentiated cells are needed to perform specialized functions effectively) and also slows down the rate at which cells multiply, or proliferate.
Both of these effects contribute to vitamin D’s cancer-fighting ability. Cancer cells are characterized by a lack of differentiation and by rapid proliferation.
Vitamin D is a potent anti-inflammatory
Chronic inflammation is coming into prominent focus as a cause of many disease processes, including major killers such as heart disease and cancer.
Vitamin D is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, which may also contribute to its effectiveness in reducing some types of muscular pain.
Vitamin D helps regulate blood sugar levels
Optimum levels of vitamin D protect against diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. Diabetes is usually associated with very low levels of vitamin D.
The pancreas also needs sufficient vitamin D in order to make and secrete insulin.
Getting enough vitamin D helps blood sugar control. It may also help prevent serious diabetic complications.
Vitamin D helps lower blood pressure
Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D helps reduce the risk of hypertension. And optimum levels actually tend to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive people.
Vitamin D protects against low-level nuclear radiation
Dr Daniel Hayes PhD describes many ways in which vitamin D may protect the body from the effects of low-level radiation, such as may occur after a nuclear accident. His paper was published in the International Journal of Low Radiation (Sept 2008)
It makes sense that a nutrient that requires you to expose yourself to strong sunlight would help protect against electromagnetic radiation, doesn’t it?.
With the disaster at Fukushima looming large in everyone’s mind, this is a very useful vitamin D benefit.
Vitamin D benefits, or helps prevent, diseases
Scientists are continually reporting that low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with one disease after another. (High vitamin D levels may be protective.)
These diseases have all been linked to low vitamin D levels:
Bones weak (easy to fracture)
Cancer (all types)
Colds and ‘flu
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Dental cavities and misaligned teeth
Diabetes (types 1 and 2)
Low back pain
Mental illness and mood disorders
Muscle weakness and pain
Osteomalacia (softening of bones)
Peripheral artery disease
Pelvic floor disorders
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
June 2, 2011
There are a significant number of men and postmenopausal women who can benefit from Testosterone Replacement Therapy. Although it is only replaced in men, women can benefit from a renewed partner.
The andropausal symptoms can be helped and even reversed by the right supplementation of testosterone into the body. The idea of testosterone therapy is to restore testosterone to youthful levels to achieve optimal health and well-being. Testosterone is a vital hormone that plays an enormous role in the sex drive of both men and women. It is known to restore healthy sexual excitement and desire, which in turn improves attitude, relationships and well-being.
The key to anti-aging is linked to simply replacing hormone levels to what they once were in our youthful days.
Male menopause is referred to as Andropause, and is very common in the average aging male. Most people are under the impression that there is no menopause for men, just women. Symptoms for the male are kept quiet and are said to just be a part of old age. Male menopause does exist and only rarely do men get “”hot flashes,”” but there is an increase in morning and nightly fatigue and the male’s erections are less often, less firm, and ejaculation takes place less often. Many men who have used Testosterone Replacement Therapy reach a maximum improvement of sexual function within 30 days. Body fat was decreased in many studies, lean muscle strength increased, and better cardiac health overall was reported.