IN THIS ISSUE:
Stop Hot Flashes and Night Sweats Naturally
Arthritis Drug Dangers
Halt Osteoporosis and Build Strong Bones
Abnormal Pap Test?
Marinated Broccoli, Bean Sprout and Cherry Tomato Salad
Stop Hot Flashes and Night Sweats Naturally Back to Top
In July 2002 the Women's Health Initiative study, a clinical trial designed to determine if Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), a combination of synthetic estrogen and progestins, was beneficial to healthy women, was halted 5 years and two months into the study due to serious safety concerns. This study which was supposed to last eight years involved 16,608 healthy, postmenopausal women. The women received 0.625mg of equine (horse) estrogen (Premarin) along with 2.5 mg of synthetic progestins for 5.2 years. The combination is sold as Prempro. Premarin contains estradiol plus at least two or more horse estrogens, such as equilin and equilenin. The study concluded that the combination of estrogen and progestins posed a significant health risk to women and that any benefits from HRT were not worth the side effects. The study found a 41 percent increase in the risk of stroke, a 29 percent increase in the risk of heart attack, a doubled risk of blood cots, a 22 percent increase in cardiovascular disease and a 26 percent increase in the risk of invasive breast cancer. Just say neigh to horse estrogen! Over 12 million prescriptions for HRT were written in Canada last year. Now many of these women are asking their doctor how to get off HRT.
Weaning off HRT slowly over an 8 week period will ensure your symptoms don't return and aid an easy transition. Walk briskly thirty minutes per day. It has been shown to cut hot flashes by 50%. Cut back on dairy and red meat and eat plenty of dark vegetables. Take a multivitamin like MULTISMART which contains vitamin E also shown to reduce hot flashes and night sweats and include the following herb combination found in MENOSMART PLUS to ensure a symptom-free transition:
Black cohosh (1mg of triterpene glycosides measured as 27-deoxyacteine) is the most researched herb for the treatment of the symptoms of menopause and replacement for standard hormone replacement therapy (estrogen and progestins). Effective in the treatment of the following perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms: hot flashes, profuse perspiration, headaches, heart palpitations, depression, PMS, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), sleep disturbances, vaginal atrophy (thinning of the vagina causing painful intercourse), vaginal dryness, nervousness, irritability and loss of concentration.
Chasteberry, commonly called Vitex, is effective at balancing hormones and has been traditionally used for the treatment of menstrual abnormalities, PMS, and menopausal complaints. It is especially important for women who are estrogen dominant with conditions including endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, fibrocystic breasts and to improve the progesterone to estrogen ratio.
Dong Quai is an effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause, especially to reduce hot flashes, as well as painful menstruation, lack of menstruation (spotting but no full blood flow), and will relieve too frequent menstruation (more than one menstrual cycle per month). In menstruating women it is also recommended for treating infertility.
Gamma-oryzanol isolated from rice bran oil is used for the treatment of hot flashes and to enhance pituitary function and promote endorphin release by the hypothalamus thereby improving mood. Not only is it a very effective substance for alleviating menopausal symptoms but it also lowers triglycerides and total cholesterol thereby protecting our heart.
Hesperidin, a potent flavonoid improves vascular system and our capillaries thereby improving cardiovascular health, reducing night sweats and hot flashes and those annoying night time leg cramps. It has also been show to reduce bruising.
Sage has recently been approved in the European Union as a treatment for excessive perspiration associated with menopause at a dosage of 300 mg.
Look for No More HRT: Menopause Treat the Cause by Dr. Karen Jensen, ND and Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe, BSc for the complete information on how to get off HRT.
Arthritis Drug Dangers Back to Top
Doctors prescribe many types of painkillers NSAIDS, acetaminophen and more all with inherent dangers. Fortunately, Mother Nature provides us with several excellent natural painkillers.
Arthritis is the number one cause of long-term disability in North America. Over 55 million people are affected by arthritis and two hundred thousand of those are children. The most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Most physicians believe arthritis is incurable, and treat only the symptoms. The end result of arthritis is destruction of the cartilage that covers the surface of bones. Inflammation occurs, causing pain and swelling. Doctors prescribe many types of painkillers NSAIDS, acetaminophen and more all with inherent dangers.
Serious Side Effects from NSAIDS
Many brands of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are prescribed to control the pain associated with arthritis. Individuals taking these medications may not be aware of the side effects. Over 20 percent will get an ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding or, more seriously, kidney and liver damage. Over 120,000 people per year are hospitalized from the side effects of NSAIDS in North America.
Joint damage is another side effect from long-term use of NSAIDS. Yes, you read that correctly! NSAIDS cause joint destruction. Doesnt it seem strange that you are taking these painkillers for the pain associated with the joint destruction caused by your arthritis and the NSAIDS prescribed by your doctor actually cause joint destruction? It is very clear in the published research. One study found that after examining the xrays of 294 hips that the hip joints of patients taking NSAIDS had greater joint destruction than those of patients not taking NSAIDS.
New Cox-2 Inhibitor Not so Safe
Celebrex, a new type of NSAID that is touted as much safer than the NSAIDS mentioned above, may not in fact be so safe. Research performed at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center has found that Celebrex may increase your risk of heart attack and/or stroke. Celebrex is a sulfa drug, like some antibiotics and oral diabetes drugs, and those with sulfa allergies must avoid it. Sulfa allergies affect five percent of the population. Many arthritis sufferers taking Celebrex have found that the gastrointestinal problems they had with NSAIDS still occur when taking Celebrex. Dr. Simon Huang, a Vancouver rheumatologist who led local clinical trials on Celebrex, states, Although Celebrex has been found to reduce ulcers in the upper GI tract, the effects on the lower GI tract are unknown. In July Health Canada issued a warning about Celebrex. Ten deaths and over 70 cases of severe gastrointestinal bleeding have occurred in Canadians taking Celebrex over the last three years. Has it encouraged Health Canada to withdraw this dangerous drug - the answer no!
Acetaminophen, used to relieve pain has its dangerous side effects. Unintentional overdoses are very common. If you are in severe pain you may be tempted to take too many acetaminophen tablets. Follow the dosing recommendations carefully. Liver toxicity can occur even when taking as little as two extra doses per day combined with alcoholic beverages.
Nutrients to the Rescue
Mother Nature provides us with several excellent natural painkillers, including curcumin (also called Tumeric), MSM, glucosamine sulfate, boswellia, white willow bark to name a few. Read Healthy Immunity, Scientifically Proven Natural Treatments for Conditions from A-Z for more information on natural anti-inflammatory nutrients and arthritis.
Halt Osteoporosis and Build Strong Bones Back to Top
Osteoporosis, a crippling disease that leads to bone destruction, affects one in four Canadian women. Our bones not only provide the hard coat-hanger that supports and protects the other body organs and tissues but the components of bone are also the body's gatekeeper of calcium and magnesium. It is sad that osteoporosis rates are so high when this condition can be prevented with daily supplements of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and other bone building nutrients along with weight-bearing exercise. Bone specific nutrients are also pivotal to hundreds of other functions in the body including hormone regulation, to keep nerve impulses flowing, muscles contracting, and blood clotting. Even minor deficiencies of calcium and magnesium will cause anorexia, depression, problems sleeping, heart palpitations and muscle twitches and cramps - like those leg cramps we experience in the middle of the night and that twitching eyelid.
We should think of bone as a calcium bank. When the body needs calcium it withdraws what it needs from bones. Hopefully you are making regular deposits of calcium through diet or calcium supplements. If you aren't depositing enough calcium your bones will become bankrupt and osteoporosis can develop. So how can we maintain strong bones?
Eat a diet full of dark green organic vegetables and nuts and seeds all rich in calcium and magnesium. Take your calcium citrate/chelate supplement with orange juice to ensure better absorption. Too many people are drinking their calcium supplement with milk which actually inhibits absorption of calcium. Make sure you are getting at least 1000 IU of Vitamin D and 300mg of magnesium citrate every day along with silicon, zinc, manganese, selenium, vitamin C and B vitamins. I formulated MULTISMART a multi-nutrient formula with all the essential nutrients for myself and my daughters. No more vitamin bottles cluttering up the counter and all your nutrients conveniently organized in powder packets. <
Don't wait until you are diagnosed with osteoporosis to start a bone-building program. From the time we are teenagers we should be taking calcium/magnesium and vitamin D and we should walk every day to ensure we have the strongest bone structure possible. It is never too late to begin your bone strength program - start taking your bone vitamins and minerals today.
Abnormal Pap Test? Back to Top
The American College of Pathology states that four out of five women who die of cervical cancer had not had a Pap smear in the previous five years. According to Health Canada the highest incidence of cervical cancer and the highest death rates occur in women over the age of 65, a group that often stops having annual Pap tests. Pap smears save lives by discovering abnormal cells called cervical dysplasia early enough to prevent loss of life from cervical cancer. All adult women from the age of 18 should have an annual Pap test to ensure her cervix is healthy - but what can be done when the test comes back abnormal?
We know the main risk factors that promote abnormal cervical cells include: greater number of sexual partners, increasing age, infection with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) the virus that also causes warts, smoking, oral contraceptive use and nutritional deficiencies of folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C.
We definitely do not want to ignore abnormal Pap tests. Too many women are advised they have an abnormal test result, told to come back in 6 months for another test and not given any suggestions how to get their cervical cells to return to normal. Yes, some abnormal cells return to normal with no treatment but what if simply taking a nutritional supplement containing vitamin A and C and folic acid could ensure a normal Pap? Every woman I know would take MULTISMART multivitamin with minerals to help those cells revert to healthy cells.
We know that HPV is implicated in a large majority of cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer cases. New research has shown that a nutrient called Indole-3-carbinol can reverse abnormal cervical lesions before they have a chance to develop into cancer. In one study 30 women with CINII and CINIII cervical lesions took 200mg or 400mg of 13C daily. 50% in the treatment group had complete regression of their lesions. None of the placebo group had complete regression of their lesions. Indole-3-carbinol is available in a nutritional supplement called ESTROSMART in the dosages used in the study to reverse abnormal cells. ESTROSMART also contains other nutrients including D-glucarate, rosemary containing carnosic acid, DIM, sulforaphane, tumeric and green tea all researched to help prevent female cancers and keep our estrogens from converting to cancer-causing estrogens. So you get the benefit of returning abnormal Pap tests to normal while helping to prevent female cancers.
Cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer can be prevented. Have your annual Pap smear and make sure your Mom has hers as well. Too many women over 60 are not having annual tests. Pap tests save lives! Take your multivitamin with minerals everyday and include Indole-3-carbinol (found in ESTROSMART). Let's ensure we have normal Pap smears.
Endometriosis Epidemic Back to Top
The Endometriosis Association states it is extremely rare that a woman in this day and age should ever need a hysterectomy for endometriosis, no matter how severe. Yet, three out of four gynecologists I saw said, 'You have already had your children, so if we find that you have extensive endometriosis, the best option is to perform a hysterectomy.' This was in response to yet undiagnosed severe pelvic pain. The thought of a hysterectomy in my mid thirties sent me searching for the cause for the intense pain I was experiencing. All my symptoms seemed to point to endometriosis. Finally, the fourth doctor I visited discussed diagnosis and treatment options with me without mentioning hysterectomy as a "cure." That was years ago and now I am still free of endometriosis.
Pelvic examinations by a highly skilled gynecologist may disclose nodules or lesions on the ovaries but ultrasound tests rarely confirm endometriosis. The only way to know for certain is through a procedure called laparoscopy. This surgery, performed under general anesthetic, involves inserting a light-containing telescope through a small incision in your navel and another one or two small incisions along the bikini line for the instruments.
Remember, a laparoscopy is only as good as the surgeon who performs the exam. To remove all the endometriosis tissue requires a physician who is committed to biopsying and getting rid of all suspicious abnormalities. Endometrial tissue can look like tiny blueberries or black spots, white, yellow or red-like cysts varying from tiny bluish or dark brown blisters to large chocolate cysts up to 20 centimeters in diameter. Only biopsy can confirm which tissue is truly endometriosis.
It is not uncommon for endometrial cells to grow on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the pelvic ligaments, the outer surface of the uterus, bladder, the large intestine and the covering of the abdominal cavity. Women are often misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, bladder infections, appendix attack, 'just' PMS or painful cramps. But you know your body better than anyone. If you feel bad, something is wrong!
Seven Early Warning Symptoms of Endometriosis
Until recently, the most widely accepted theory to explain the cause of endometriosis was that of retrograde menstruation. Supposedly, tiny fragments of normal endometrial tissue (from the lining of the uterus) travel up the fallopian tubes and take residence in the abdominal or pelvic cavity. Here this tissue acts as it would in the uterus in accordance with the monthly menstrual cycle. The blood often cannot escape, however, and causes the formation of deposits.
Our Immune System is the Key
New research points to a glitch in the immune system. Dr David Redwine, world renowned expert and director of the Endometriosis Institute of Bend, Oregon, believes that some women are born with abnormally located endometrial cells and that something goes astray with the immune system, causing the cells to become active. This theory seems more plausible as endometrial lesions are often found far from the pelvic cavity in other areas of the body.
Environmental Pollutants Linked to Endometriosis
Convincing evidence has linked organochlorine exposure to the development of endometriosis. Carolyn De Marco, in her book Take Charge of Your Body, states that dioxins are a group of 75 chemicals used to make PVC plastics (our drinking water runs through pipes made from PVC in our homes), solvents, pesticides, refrigerants and in the pulp and paper industry. These same chemicals also persist in the fats of meat and dairy products a major source of dioxins. These environmental pollutants mimic the action of estrogen in the body and increase our carcinogenic estrogens. Women should refuse to use bleached paper products. This includes toilet paper, sanitary napkins and especially tampons. (Natracare sanitary products, sold in the health food store, are unbleached and do not contain these estrogen mimickers). Do not use plastic containers to store food and do not microwave your foods in plastic either. Emphasize whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet. Cut down on fats from milk and meat products. Buy organic foods whenever possible. Use a nutritional supplement that includes indole-3-carbinol, sulphoraphane, calcium D-glucarate, DIM, curcumin and green tea (discussed below). These nutrients have been extensively studied for their ability to protect us from cancer-causing estrogens while detoxifying environmental pollutants in the body.
The Hormone Connection
Because of the hormone connection, medical therapy for endometriosis has concentrated on altering a woman¹s hormonal chemistry with drugs. These drugs include Danazol and gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRH) such as Nafarelin and birth control pills. Sometimes these drugs are successful in controlling the symptoms of endometriosis but not without side effects. Oily skin, acne, decreased breast size, growth of facial hair, weight gain and depression are symptoms. Some cause menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, decreased bone density, vaginal dryness and decreased libido. None of the drugs cures the disease. After the drug is stopped, the endometriosis symptoms return. Many women are also prescribed estrogen containing birth control pills yet endometriosis is an estrogen-dominant condition and we should be using treatments that control estrogen and balance hormones. A holistic approach to treatment wherein the body heals itself is more effective and safer.
The mainstay of any endometriosis treatment is a diet that decreases the amount of circulating estrogens in the bloodstream to the point where the endometriosis symptoms subside but not so far as to cause pseudo-menopause. A vegetarian diet containing no more than 20 to 25 grams of fat a day and eliminating all dairy products works well. The fat you do eat should come from organically grown nuts and seeds and their oils. Look in the refrigerator at your health food store. Many women get relief by simply removing dairy products. I was one of those people. I had to eliminate all dairy products to obtain maximum relief.
Supplementing the diet with vitamins and minerals is essential. A high potency B-complex supplement will help ease symptoms of PMS and balance hormonal states, elevate mood and control fluid retention. Cold-pressed oils containing gamma-linoleic acid or GLA are important both as a possible pain inhibitor and immune strengthener. GLA may offset the symptoms of prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins are involved with uterine contractions producing menstrual cramps. Look for a multi-nutrient supplement formulated especially for women that contains at least 2,600mg of organic flax and evening primrose oil along with magnesium, iodine, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, chromium and copper, along with all the B-vitamins. Calcium is a muscle relaxant and calms nerves, look for formulas with at least 1,000mg along with at least 1000 IU of vitamin D.
Of all the vitamins, vitamin C is the most important. Vitamin C is known to help the body fight off the effects of environmental toxins, especially dioxins. Beta-carotene will strengthen your immune system which is especially important when dealing with endometriosis. Take 15,000 units per day.
Herbs Help Too
Herbalist Rosemary Slick developed a special endometriosis tea formula to strengthen the liver, which plays an essential role in hormonal regulation. She recommends that women with endometriosis drink three to four cups per day of this tea for four to six months. The most effective herbal treatment for endometriosis act to reduce estrogen levels and regulate hormonal activity. They work by affecting the liver, which is largely responsible for converting the active ovarian estrogen (estradiol) into a safer form (estriol). I also used the tincture Vitex (commonly known as Chaste Tree berry) as directed on the bottle to eliminate my endometriosis along with Indole-3-carbinol, sulphoraphane, DIM, calcium D-glucarate, curcumin, rosemary and green tea. These nutrients found in ESTROSMART are essential to balancing your hormones and detoxifying excess cancer-causing and endometriosis promoting estrogens:
Be Good to Yourself
Reducing stress in your life, especially the self-inflicted type, is essential. Working women are the most vulnerable to endometriosis. If you have a laparoscopy to remove endometriosis but do nothing to change your lifestyle, the endometriosis will be back. Rest, relaxation and knowing when to say 'no' are important to your health.
Castor oil packs are excellent at controlling pain. Take six pieces of flannel soaked in castor oil (damp but not dripping) about the size of the area you want to treat. Cover these flannel pieces with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to the lower abdomen for 30 to 45 minutes several times a day. This will not only relieve pain but also improves immune function in the pelvic area. Endometriosis is an insidious disorder but it can be cured forever if you examine your stress level, the types of environmental toxins you are exposed to and improve your nutrition. I cured my endometriosis and you can too.
Take Charge of Your Body by Carolyn DeMarco
No More HRT: Menopause Treat the Cause by Dr. Karen Jensen, ND and Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe
Healthy Immunity, Scientifically Proven Natural Treatments for Conditions from A-Z by Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe