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Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It has long been recognized that calcium is essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones and teeth. Further medical studies indicate that calcium may also be essential for nerve impulse transmission, clotting the blood, proper thyroid function and regulating the heartbeat. There are several key players that contribute to proper calcium absorption. Vitamin D has a leading role.

Vitamin D allows calcium to leave the intestine and enter the bloodstream. When our bodies have an adequate amount of vitamin D, the number of proteins that transfer calcium from the intestine into the blood is increased. Even if we are getting enough calcium, a vitamin D deficiency can lead to weak or brittle bones. This is called osteoporosis for adults and rickets for children.

On the other hand, too much vitamin D can also lead to serious health problems. Excess vitamin D increases calcium absorption from the intestinal tract, which raises levels of calcium in the blood. When there is too much calcium in the blood, it is deposited into the soft tissues of the body such as the lungs and the heart. These calcium deposits inhibit the functionality of the organs.

Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. The vitamin is also available in foods such as some dairy products, saltwater fish, liver and egg yolks. However, supplements are often needed to maintain a proper balance of vitamin D and calcium as well as magnesium. DrugNatural provides you with several options for calcium and vitamin D supplements. Feel free to contact us at 408-626-7640.

Calcium and Magnesium Supplements

Proper calcium absorption is crucial in maintaining strong bones and teeth, but also for preventing health problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Magnesium plays an important role in the body’s ability to properly absorb calcium. However, a careful balance of both calcium and magnesium in the body must be maintained.

When we do not have enough magnesium in our bodies, calcium can collect in the soft tissues instead of being absorbed into the bones and blood. Two internal factors of the way our body properly absorbs calcium are parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcitonin. PTH takes calcium from the bones and deposits it in the soft tissues. Calcitonin works to increase the level of calcium in the bones and prevents it from being absorbed by the soft tissues. Magnesium works at stimulating calcitonin and suppressing PTH in order to maintain the balance.

The reason the balance is so crucial is that when our bodies receive too much calcium, magnesium cannot be easily absorbed. A magnesium deficiency can then lead to a calcium deficiency since magnesium is needed for the body to properly use calcium. Adding more calcium to our diets alone can’t fix this problem. We must add magnesium as well.

Aside from the many food sources that are rich in magnesium, supplements that contain a healthy balance of calcium and magnesium can be very helpful. DrugNatural offers many calcium/magnesium supplements . Feel free to contact us at 408-626-7640 and we would be happy to answer any questions about our supplements.

Tags: calcium/magnesium supplements, arthritis, osteoporosis

Calcium Absorption

Most of us only consume half of the calcium that our body needs. In addition, most of us are unaware that there are numerous factors that either inhibit or contribute to our body’s calcium absorption. First, we must understand how the body absorbs calcium.

The parathyroid glands are located in the front of the neck, below the larynx or voice box. They produce a hormone called PTH, which plays an essential role in calcium absorption. The PTH hormone moves calcium into the bloodstream from the bones and signals the kidneys to create calcitriol. Calcitriol (vitamin D3) is formed from vitamin D and it signals the small intestine to absorb calcium.

Even though the body absorbs calcium on its own naturally, there are factors that either contribute to this ability or antagonize it. Facilitators of proper calcium absorption include vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, hydrochloric acid, estrogen, small amounts of fat and exercise. Some calcium supplements include extra vitamin D, K or magnesium to aid in our absorption. The contents of our diet can sometimes inhibit proper absorption.

The phosphoric acid in soft drinks interferes with calcium absorption because the more phosphorous we add to our body, the more calcium we need. High fiber diets often contain phytic acid. This acid binds to minerals (calcium included) and forms insoluble salts that are wasted from the body. Other antagonists of calcium absorption include coffee, sugar, salt, alcohol, excessive amounts of fat and oxalic acid. Since the majority of us can’t avoid coffee, soft drinks, sugar and so on, calcium supplementation may be necessary. DrugNatural features several options for calcium supplements. Feel free to contact us with any questions at 408-626-7640.

Tags: calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K

Borage Seed Oil

Borage seed oil comes from the borage plant (Borago officinalis), which has been recognized for its healing properties for centuries. Modern science believes that the plant’s seed oil presents more medicinal qualities than the plant itself because it stores the therapeutic omega-6 fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Actually, borage seed oil is acknowledged as nature’s richest source of GLA.

When the body processes GLA, it is converted into hormone-like substances that can calm inflammation. For this reason, borage seed oil may be highly beneficial for those who suffer from inflammatory conditions. Some of these include rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual problems, eczema, psoriasis, vascular disorders and obesity.

The GLA properties in borage seed oil interfere with the prostaglandins, which are inflammatory substances released during menstruation. By counteracting these substances, the GLA helps to relieve pain and cramping and reduce the inflammation of the breasts during the menstrual cycle. In addition, borage seed oil calms endometriosis, which is a painful disorder that causes the same tissue from the inside lining of the uterus to grow on the outside.

Those who suffer from skin conditions such as acne and rosacea can also benefit from borage seed oil supplements. The essential fatty acids in the oil reduce inflammation, help to contract the blood vessels and help deter the clogging of pores. Borage seed oil also provides a natural expectorant for easing cough and sore throat. Another advantage is that it helps to transmit nerve impulses, which may make it beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients. Studies have also indicated that borage seed oil helps to reduce high blood pressure and stress and provides nourishment to the scalp, hair and nails. If you have questions about the borage seed oil supplements available here at DrugNatural, you can contact us at 408-626-7640.

 

Tags: Alzheimer’s, endometriosis, omega-6 fatty acid, GLA, rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual problems, eczema, psoriasis, vascular disorders

Biotin Supplements

Biotin is present in our skin, hair, nerves and bone marrow. Biotin is a Vitamin B that is needed for the formation of fatty acids and glucose, which are essential for the production of energy in our body. Biotin gets its name from the Greek word “bios,” which means “life.”

Biotin is found naturally in foods that include cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, legumes, bananas, brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast, liver, salmon, egg yolks and sardines.

Biotin also aids in the body’s production of enzymes and with the proper use of other nutrients and vitamins. A healthy nervous system depends on sufficient levels of vitamin B. Biotin is beneficial for the maintenance of healthy skin, the hair and nails. Biotin deficiency may lead to skin rash, hair loss, high cholesterol, heart problems, muscle pain, depression and loss of appetite. Using prescription antibiotics for a long period of time may interfere with biotin production in the digestive system. People with a history of seizures shouldn’t use biotin unless under the supervision of a doctor.

Biotin supplements are beneficial for those who are deficient in Vitamin B as a result of illness or the use of prescription drugs. Biotin supplements may provide more therapeutic benefits at a higher dosage than the amount of Biotin available from foods.

Biotin works very well as a helper vitamin along side other vitamins, herbal extracts and minerals. Therefore, supplements that include a great variety of other nutrients may be more beneficial than a supplement that only contains biotin.

DrugNatural™ offers a variety of biotin supplements that contain the water soluble B vitamin.

You can contact us here at DrugNatural™ at 408-625-7640  and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have about our supplements.

Tags: Biotin, Vitamin B

Vitamin D Megadoses Safe in Frail Elderly

Elderly patients in assisted living are known to be at risk of having low vitamin D levels because of their comorbidities, reduced exposure to sunlight, and limited intake from food sources. Some studies have shown that giving vitamin D can reduce the risk of fractures and falls in this population, so one group that operates several residential care facilities in Canada (Fraser Health) implemented weekly doses of 20,000 IU for residents over age 65 starting in 2011.

The move was based on a decision from a workgroup of the American Geriatrics Society.

Timothy Green, PhD, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and colleagues sampled 236 patients from these facilities a year after supplementation began.

The study was limited, though, because it was cross-sectional — the researchers didn’t look at baseline levels of vitamin D or calcium. Nor did they assess whether higher vitamin D levels translated to better outcomes, such as reduced fracture and fall rates.

Still, they concluded that giving high-dose vitamin D to nursing home patients is “feasible and safe and eliminates vitamin D insufficiency.”

Tags: vitamin D, high-dose vitamin D

Acetaminophen Fails in Back Pain Trial

In the study funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and GlaxoSmithKline Australia, the researchers found that the use of acetaminophen for acute low-back pain was no more effective than placebo, with similar times to recovery regardless of whether the drug was taken regularly or as needed, a large randomized trial found.

Among patients who took acetaminophen on a regular schedule, median time to recovery was 17 days (95% CI 14-19) compared with 16 days (95% CI 14-20) for patients receiving placebo, for a hazard ratio of 0.99 (95% CI 0.87-1.14), according to Christopher M. Williams, PhD, of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues.

And patients who took the drug as needed also had a median time to recovery of 17 days (95% CI 15-20), for an HR versus placebo of 1.05 (95% CI 0.92-1.19), the investigators reported online in The Lancet.

“Guidelines for acute low-back pain universally recommend paracetamol [acetaminophen in the U.S.] as the first-line analgesic,” Williams and colleagues observed, but noted that there is little evidence to support this recommendation.

The researchers enrolled 1,643 patients from 235 centers in Australia in a trial known as Paracetamol for Low-Back Pain (PACE), randomizing them to a regular-treatment group, who were instructed to take the drug three times per day for a daily dosage of 3,990 mg; an as-needed group, who could use a maximum of 4,000 mg per day; or to placebo.

The medication could be taken for up to 4 weeks or until recovery, and naproxen was permitted as rescue medication.

Recovery was defined as beginning on the first day when pain scores were 0 or 1 and persisting for at least a week.

Participants’ mean age was 45, and slightly more than half were men.

Mean pain intensity score at baseline was 6.3 on a scale of 1 to 10, and duration since pain onset was 10 days.

Disability was measured on a scale of 0 to 24, with higher scores reflecting more disability, and function on a scale of 0 to 10, with higher scores representing better functioning.

At baseline, the average disability score was 12.7, and function score was 3.6.

During the first week of treatment, mean pain intensities were 3.7 for the regular-treatment group, 3.8 in the as-needed group, and 3.6 in the placebo group. Scores in the second week were 2.6 for both active treatment groups and 2.5 for the placebo group, and by the fourth week, scores were 1.7, 1.8, and 1.7, respectively.

Mean disability scores for the regular-treatment, as-needed, and placebo groups during week one were 7.7, 8, and 8.3, falling to 3.2, 3.5, and 3.3 by week four. By 3 months, disability scores were 2.4, 2.6, and 2.4, respectively.

Function scores during week one were 6.2, 6.1, and 6.2, increasing to 8.7 for all groups by 3 months.

By 3 months, sustained recovery was reported by 85% of patients receiving the regular treatment, by 83% of those using the medication on an as-needed basis, and by 84% of those given placebo.

Similar results also were seen for other secondary endpoints such as sleep quality and physical and mental scores on the Short Form 12 quality of life instrument.

Across the three groups, 19% experienced one or more adverse events, with no between-group differences. The use of rescue medication was minimal and again had no between-group differences.

Adherence to treatment also was similar in the three groups. Patients in the regular treatment group took a median of four tablets per day (out of the recommended six), for median dosages of 3,500 mg per day during the first week and 2,800 mg per day during the second week.

In the as-needed group, median dosages in the first and second week were 1,000 and 500 mg per day.

The researchers noted that patients’ recovery was more rapid in PACE than in other reported cohorts, which they suggested may be explained by provision of “good-quality advice and reassurance, a feature that is often absent from usual care.”

“While we cannot disregard the possibility of a placebo effect in PACE leading to improved recovery, the provision of advice and reassurance of the favorable prognosis might be the more important factor in management of acute low-back pain than drug therapy,” Williams and colleagues wrote.

“Our results convey the need to reconsider the universal endorsement of paracetamol in clinical practice guidelines as first-line care for low-back pain,” they observed.

“This study adds to what we’ve known for a while: everything works for low-back pain — ice, heat, exercises, ibuprofen, Tylenol — but nothing works that well,” said Matthew Pirotte, MD, of the department of emergency medicine at Loyola University Chicago-Stritch School of Medicine, who wasn’t involved in the trial.

In a comment accompanying the study, Bart W. Koes, PhD, and Wendy T. Enthoven, PhD, of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, posed the question as to whether guidelines should now be changed to reflect the lack of benefit seen with acetaminophen in this trial.

“Although the findings from this high-quality trial are clear, the content of guidelines should not be changed on the basis of a single trial; more robust and consistent evidence, including verification of the results in other populations, is needed,” Koes and Enthoven stated.

Limitations of the trial included the imperfect adherence to treatment and the possibility that some patients may have taken drugs other than the specified rescue medication.

 

Tags: aetaminophen, back pain, the Lancet

Hotter Weather Linked to Kidney Stones

As temperatures increased above 50°F (10°C) in several large U.S. cities, risk of kidney stones also increased significantly researchers said.

A study of 60,433 privately insured patients funded by NIH across five cities — Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia — found that the maximum risk for kidney stone presentation occurred within 3 days of a high daily temperature and was likely mediated by an effect on patients’ hydration.

The risk was statistically significant in all cities except Los Angeles, according to the paper, published online in Environmental Health Perspectives.

The five cities represent climates in which 30% of the world’s population lives, according to study author Gregory Tasian, MD, MSc, at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues.

Researchers collected private health insurance claims data from 2005-2011 as well as weather data for the selected cities. Tasian and colleagues examined presentation for kidney stones within a 20-day window of temperature exposure.

Cases tended to occur within a few days after episodes of extreme temperature, with a first peak at about 2 to 3 days and a second at 4 to 6 days. surprising that the lag time was detected within a week,” Tasian said.

Tasian and colleagues hypothesized that dehydration is the causal mechanism between the effect of heat and stone presentation. When patients who are already at risk get dehydrated, calcium and uric acid become more supersaturated, and calcium stones begin to form, they said.

“It’s all linked to fluid. Saying heat leads to fluid loss would be the direct link,” said Allan Jhagroo, MD, a professor of nephrology at the University of Wisconsin who was not associated with the study.

The researchers also hypothesized that the hotter weather may have led to stone formation in patients exposed to hotter weather who would have normally developed stones at a future time.

Colder weather was associated with a relative risk in Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia, perhaps because patients stay indoors where it can be hotter. It’s also conceivable that hydration may suffer during extremes of cold (when indoor humidity, which was not measured in the study, is usually low) as well as hot weather.

Outdoor humidity was measured, but was not found to be a predictor for kidney stones.

The researchers also suggested that the number of hot days in a year is probably a better indicator of kidney stone risk than mean annual temperature. Atlanta, for example, had almost twice the rate of kidney stones compared with Los Angeles but had a similar mean temperature. It had, though, on average 53 days a year in which the daily mean temperature was higher than 80°F. Los Angeles had only 10.
Dallas had 324 days hotter than 86°F during the period, 20 times more than such days in Atlanta, the next closest city. But it had the same risk increase. Tasian and colleagues suggested that the population of Dallas may have adapted to the local climate, spending more time indoors and drinking more fluids. They also noted that their data were sparse for extreme weather, and their statistical methods may have flattened the associations somewhat.

The authors acknowledged several limitations to the study. They had no data on individuals’ actual exposure to outdoor temperatures, which would vary. All the patients had commercial insurance and may spend more time indoors, with air conditioning, than those with public or no insurance. It is also possible that temperature differentially affects subgroups such as older versus younger patients.

Additionally, the research was concerned only with presentation at the hospital and not stone formation.

 

Yogurt Could Lower Your Blood Pressure: New Study

We all have heard that eating probiotics – “good” bacteria – keeps us healthy by aiding digestion, intestinal function and protecting against harmful bacteria. But the new research published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension suggests that eating probiotics could help lower blood pressure as well.

Probiotics, the naturally present live microorganisms in our gut, are also present in live-cultured yogurt, some fermented vegetables and aged cheeses.

Based on the past research that probiotics are good for our health, many supplement manufacturers have developed products containing different and multiple strains of probiotics.

In a new research at Griffith Health Institute and School of Medicine at Griffith University in Australia, Jing Sun, PhD, and her team analyzed nine high-quality studies that assessed the probiotic consumption of 543 adults who had either normal or high blood pressure. Based on his analysis, Sun suggests that consuming probiotics from food sources and dietary supplements may improve blood pressure. Sun and his team found that:

  1. Probiotic consumption lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number, which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats — when the heart muscle contracts) by an average 3.56 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number, which is also the lower of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats — when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood) by an average 2.38 mm Hg, compared to adults who did not consume probiotics.
  2. The positive effects from probiotics on diastolic blood pressure were greatest in people whose blood pressure was equal to or greater than 130/85, which is considered elevated.
  3. Consuming probiotics for less than eight weeks didn’t lower systolic or diastolic blood pressure.
  4. Probiotic consumption with a daily bacteria volume of 109-10 12 colony-forming units (CFU) may improve blood pressure. Consumption with less than 109 CFU didn’t lower blood pressure. CFU is the amount of bacteria or the dose of probiotics in a product.
  5. Probiotics with multiple bacteria lowered blood pressure more than those with a single bacterium.

 

This chart reflects blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association.

Blood Pressure
Category
Systolic
mm Hg (upper #)
Diastolic
mm Hg (lower #)
Normal less than 120 and less than 80
Prehypertension 120139 or 8089
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
140159 or 9099
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higher or 100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180 or Higher than 110

Commenting on the team’s findings, Sun says:

“The small collection of studies we looked at suggest regular consumption of probiotics can be part of a healthy lifestyle to help reduce high blood pressure, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure levels.”

At DrugNatural we carry a number of probiotic singles and probiotic combination products. Feel free to call us at 408-626-7640.

Tags: Probiotics, blood pressure, systolic, diastolic, good bacteria, yogurt, Griffith Health Institute and School of Medicine, Griffith University, Jing Sun,

Benefits of L Glutamine

Glutamine is an Amino acid and although it is considered nonessential amino acid because it is produced by the muscles in our body. Over 60% of skeletal muscles of our body are Glutamine. It is viewed as one of the most important amino acids for building muscle and gaining strength as well as during the metabolic stress situations such as trauma (including pre and post-surgical trauma), cancer, sepsis, and burns. Glutamine promotes the health of intestinal lining, virtually eliminating the need to worry about the “leaky gut syndrome”, allergies, the “leaking out” of pathogens and arthritis. It also supports immune and muscle functions and protects body and brain and is popularly known as brain food. In the brain, glutamine produces glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, popularly known as GABA. It is an important source of energy for the nervous system as well. The white blood cells in the body also use glutamine to support a healthy immune system.

Glutamine can be found in foods such as fish, poultry and beans (legumes).

Glutamine plays a vital part in the control of blood sugar. It helps prevent hypoglycemia, since it is easily converted to glucose when blood sugar is low. Recently it has been discovered that glutamine is important for the cardiovascular system as well.

During intense training, Glutamine levels are significantly depleted breaking down your muscles decreasing your strength and stamina. Studies have shown that L Glutamine acts as an “anti-catabolic” agent and in that role it can minimize breakdown of muscles and improve protein metabolism of the muscles you have already built rather than promote the growth of new tissues and thus glutamine is viewed as a “muscle food,” helping to replenish glycogen in the muscles. Glutamine helps increase muscle mass.This is the reason why Glutamine is one of the favorite supplements of body builders and others who exercise a lot. Serious fitness fans tend to take glutamine within 30 minutes both before and after workout. Glutamine users often report more energy, less fatigue and better mood.

Taking 5 grams of Glutamine before going to sleep also helps minimize muscle breakdown while you are asleep and promote your body’s natural secretion of growth hormone thereby working as a powerful anabolic agent. Glutamine works as a daily wellness and muscle building agent particularly for those who do some level of regular workout.

When consuming Glutamine, it is important to ensure that it is L Glutamine and not D Glutamine as L Glutamine offers closer resemblance to amino acid produced in the body. However, taking excessive amounts of L Glutamine may lead to upset stomach and should be avoided.

DrugNatural™ offers the L-Glutamine & Choline supplement, as well as other products containing L glutamine, such as Neuro-Essentials, Sharper Focus and BrainStorm, for example. Feel free to contact us at 408-626-7640 and we would be happy to answer any of your questions.

Tags: L-Glutamine, muscle food, trauma, cancer, sepsis, burns, leaky gut syndrome, allergies, arthritis, immune system, muscle functions, brain food, glutamate, gamma-aminobutyric acid, GABA, blood sugar, hypoglycemia, cardiovascular system