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CoQ10: Vital for Heart Health

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 2:18:17 PM America/New_York

Are you on a statin? Statins - such as Lipitor, Zocor, Mevacor, and Crestor - taken to lower cholesterol may also lower your Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels. Since CoQ10 shares a common synthetic pathway with cholesterol, drugs that inhibit cholesterol synthesis, like the statins, can reduce CoQ10 levels, which may cause side effects like muscle pain and weakness.

CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant produced by the human body, necessary for the basic functioning of all cells. CoQ10 functions as an electron carrier in the mitochondrial respiratory chain and is found throughout the body with the highest concentration in the cells of organs that require large amounts of energy such as the heart and skeletal muscles.Read More
Posted By Laura D. Baum, MD

Your Cheapest Insurance Policy - A High Quality Multivitamin

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 3:41:31 PM America/New_York


A friend and fellow doctor recently contacted me. Troublesome palpitations bought him a visit to the ER over the holiday weekend, complete with blood tests, an IV, and the angst associated with any hospitalization. When I spoke with him we discussed Magnesium (Mg) and the role it can play in benign (and even malignant) heart rhythm disturbances. We asked his doctor to check not only serum levels of Mg, but RBC (red blood cell) levels as well. This was done to ensure that intracellular levels of Mg were okay, as normal serum levels can often create a false sense of security. Turns out his levels were low; he received IV Magnesium, and his atrial and ventricular ectopy promptly dissipated. And so, he was sent home to enjoy his holiday sans palpitations.Read More
Posted By Laura D. Baum, MD

How To Do A Quality Check On Omega-3 Supplements

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 11:22:19 AM America/New_York

Fish oil is one of the best-selling and most researched supplements on the market, and for good reason; it provides benefits for many systems of the body. What is it about fish oil that makes it so valuable and why do people need it? The powerful health benefits provided by fish oil come from its rich omega-3 content, more specifically from two omega-3 fatty acids, called DHA and EPA. These omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that must be derived from your diet, and the American Heart Association recommends a daily consumption of 1000 mg of combined DHA and EPA to support cardiovascular health. Many companies advertise their product as having the recommended “1000 mg of fish oil” - so that makes them all the same, right? No. Unfortunately, this is a common marketing ploy that is terribly misleading and may allow an inferior product to be marketed as an effective supplement without it containing the appropriate amount of “omega-3s” to provide health benefits. So how do you sort through the products to find an optimal supplement? The solution – read the label. We will teach you how to read the label and what to look for when choosing an omega-3 fish oil supplement.Read More
Posted By Laura D. Baum, MD

Infographic

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 3:46:38 PM America/New_York

Learn about the benefits of fish oil with this visual infographic from VitalRemedyMD. Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 DHA and EPA fatty acids. Learn what an omega-3 fish oil supplement can do for you!

Read More
Posted By Mark Wilson

Stress May Be Harmful To Your Health

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 11:34:43 AM America/New_York

Stress is a risk factor for many disease states.

Pick up any magazine and you will likely find an article on why and how to reduce stress. Less commonly considered is stress that occurs on a molecular level. While oxygen is essential for life, unstable oxygen molecules, called free radicals, initiate detrimental change in the body. Each person’s cells and tissues are constantly subjected to attack by these highly reactive free radicals, causing what is termed oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause cell damage and is believed to contribute to aging and the development of chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.

Antioxidant Support

Antioxidants protect us by fighting free radicals, neutralizing and converting them into less harmful products. Antioxidants can be enzymes, essential nutrients (carotenoids, vitamins C and E, cysteine and selenium), and a variety of endogenous ordinary compounds (glutathione, lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10). It is important to note that individual antioxidants function not in isolation, but as part of systems with significant interdependence and additive or synergistic effects.

A Dynamic Balance

Antioxidant status is the balance between the antioxidant system and prooxidants in living organisms. This balance is dynamic and is affected by many factors including diet, environment, alcohol, injury, disease, medications, stress, and exercise. A serious imbalance favoring oxidation is defined as oxidative stress. It may result from excessive production of free radicals and/or weakening of the antioxidant system because of inadequate intake or endogenous production of antioxidants.

Antioxidant Supplementation

Many people work at improving their health, yet some individuals still have deficiencies. One size does not fit all when it comes to maintaining optimal health. Because each of us is metabolically and biochemically unique, the micronutrient requirements for one person may be quite different from the requirements for another. Beyond intake, the optimal function of a nutrient requires absorption from the intestine, transport into the bloodstream, uptake into cells, which requires appropriately-functioning membrane transport systems, and either one or, in many cases, multiple metabolic enzymes with appropriate co-factors. (I know… it’s more than you needed to know.) This is important though because the result is that one might have a nutrient functional deficiency; the blood levels of a nutrient may be “normal” but the functionality of that nutrient may not be sufficient to maintain optimal health. Many doctors utilize a blood test from Spectracell Laboratories called SPECTROX™ to measure the net ability of the antioxidant and repair mechanisms of an individual’s own cells, giving a total assessment of antioxidant function. This Functional Intracellular Analysis (FIA) takes all the many factors mentioned above into consideration to identify your unique nutrient and antioxidant status. With this information, specific deficiencies or excesses that might be negatively influencing your health may be corrected.
Posted By Laura D. Baum, MD

More Than Half of All Americans Use Nutritional Supplements Daily

Thursday, August 13, 2015 10:29:58 AM America/New_York

Research suggests that supplement users are healthy people who tend to eat a better diet than most and who consider nutritional support one of several ways to protect their health. The primary reasons cited for taking a daily multiple vitamin include:

• Enhance energy and well-being
• Help defend against degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and dementia
• Help manage existing health conditions such as arthritis and diabetes
• Slow the aging process

In fact, although we cannot make specific claims about nutritional supplements, a growing body of evidence shows a correlation between supplemental multivitamins and other nutrients and improved health, including the following:

• Reduced incidence of heart disease and stroke
• Protection against certain kinds of cancer
• Decreased incidence of certain birth defects
• Improved immune functioning
• Fewer sick days caused by infections among the elderly
• Delayed onset or progression of vision-robbing macular degeneration
• Reduced incidence of hip fractures from osteoporosis

The Lewin Group study found that given the myriad potential protective benefits, daily use of a multivitamin is a relatively inexpensive yet potentially powerful way to improve one’s health. They also noted that within a health insurance context, the five-year estimate of potential net savings resulting from daily multivitamin intake for adults over 65 is approximately 1.6 billion dollars.

Research shows that 80 to 90 percent of the population does not achieve the recommended daily value (RDV) for each vitamin and mineral each day, nor do they even come close.

As if it weren’t hard enough get the nutrients through our diet, 12 of the top 20 medications prescribed in the United States are drugs that can cause nutrient depletions. Then factor in the stress of our multi-tasking through the ever-quickening pace of each day. In fact, marginal nutritional deficiencies are present in about 50% of the non- multiple vitamin and mineral using population. And, keep in mind that the RDV levels for each nutrient are intended to guard against only severe nutrient deficiency diseases like Scurvy (vitamin C), but are not intended to serve as levels of vitamin and mineral intake that are optimal in regard to supporting biological functions, preventing degenerative diseases, and maximizing our well-being and longevity.


Why Take VitalRemedyMD’s Daily2Tab?

The question today is not whether to take a daily multivitamin, but rather “which daily multiple is best?” The truth is not all vitamins are created equal. Most are not independently assayed, and many have unnecessarily (and potentially hazardous) high quantities of some ingredients.


VitalRemedyMD offers a superb and scientifically based multivitamin and mineral formulation called the Daily2Tab. It is not necessary to customize a daily multivitamin; it should simply provide the full range of vitamins and minerals truly proven essential to human health in a balanced formulation. We have intentionally limited the quantities of each element in our daily multivitamin to at most 100% of the RDV to provide a sound foundation to a healthful varied diet.


The Daily2Tab - two vegetarian tablets taken daily with food – provides:
• A complete, balanced formula of all the essential vitamins/ minerals.
• Calcium (500 mg), vitamin D, vitamin K1/K2, and magnesium to support bone health. Additional calcium supplementation is advised only on an individual basis when indicated by your physician.
Magnesium – a vital nutrient that is required for more than 350 enzymes in the body to function, and for healthy maintenance of bones, arteries, heart, nerves, and teeth. A staggering 80% of the population is deficient in this mineral!
• VitalRemedyMD uses only natural vitamin E (d-alpha/mixed Tocopherols) NOT synthetic (dl-alpha Tocopherols).
• Minerals are chelated for optimal absorption.
Lycopene, the carotenoid found in tomatoes, is included at 6 mg daily because of its powerful antioxidant properties and ability to promote heart and prostate health. *


All VitalRemedyMD formulations start with USP Pharmaceutical Grade Quality ingredients, chelated minerals that enhance absorption and bioavailability, natural color coating which avoids lead and other toxins. Finished products undergo assay to ensure safety, purity and content.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Posted By Laura D. Baum, MD

Arthritis and Joint Health

Thursday, July 9, 2015 5:02:01 PM America/New_York

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis that affects our joints. This chronic disease causes the cushioning (cartilage) between the bone joints to wear away leading to pain and stiffness. Previously we accepted stiff, painful joints as an inevitable consequence of aging. And, because osteoarthritis was considered unavoidable, medical intervention focused primarily on relieving pain with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroid injections. We now understand that the risk and burden of osteoarthritis can be reduced by dietary and other lifestyle changes including all those things that seem to be generally good for one’s health: exercise, weight management, mind-body techniques to reduce mental and muscular tension, and even a few nutritional supplements.

Obesity, a major risk factor for heart disease, also causes osteoarthritis. In fact, though it may appear obvious that weight bearing joints would be damaged by the burden of excess pounds, remarkably not just these joints are more prone to developing arthritis in overweight people. All joints are affected, implying a systemic effect of obesity as well. Fortunately this effect is reversible, and even small amounts of weight loss convey large benefits.

Regular exercise, a great weight loss tool, also independently helps stop development or progression of osteoarthritis. This occurs as a consequence of various physiological changes that follow exercising any joint: joint fluid production is increased, joint strength is enhanced, pain is lessened and overall joint function is improved. Exercise improves the damaged joint by stabilizing and strengthening it. Start with whatever you can do easily and get help if you need it.

When it comes to symptom relief there is more good news. NSAIDs, which can cause stomach irritation, kidney damage, and paradoxically, may also inhibit cartilage repair and accelerate cartilage destruction, need not be the mainstay of your treatment. Studies dating back many years have been touting the benefits of glucosamine sulfate - a natural product found in the human body. Glucosamine sulfate exists in the body to build and maintain cartilage, tendons, and other connective tissues while inhibiting the growth of cartilage-destroying enzymes. Osteoarthritis is the result, in part, of a short supply of glucosamine in our joints, resulting in pain and swelling in the joints, and loss of flexibility in the limbs. The best news is that the benefits of this natural remedy go well beyond symptom relief. Studies have shown that oral supplements of glucosamine sulfate are readily absorbed and can lead to stimulation of healthy new cartilage and other protective molecules.

Glucosamine Sulfate 1500 mg should be taken every day, and may take up to three months to show its full benefits. Chondroitin sulfate also exists naturally in our cartilage and works with glucosamine to promote overall joint health (enteric coating enhances absorption). These are best taken with several other components that have been shown to be important in cartilage synthesis and repair: vitamins E, C, A, B5, and B6, Zinc, and Copper. The omega-3s, DHA and EPA, are yet another helpful adjunct; supplementing omega-3 fats has been shown to diminish inflammation.
Posted By Laura Denson Baum, MD

The Importance of Omega-3's During Pregnancy

Monday, June 15, 2015 3:12:16 PM America/New_York



Much of the early research in the area of omega-3s focused on heart disease. Dozens of observational studies have shown that eating fish lowers the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Omega-3s protect against heart disease by reducing clot formation, inhibiting the growth of arterial plaque, decreasing triglycerides, decreasing arrhythmias, and reducing inflammation. In addition to their cardiovascular advantages, DHA and EPA have myriad other benefits. They may help prevent and treat of a wide variety of health conditions including dementia/Alzheimer’s, cancer, macular degeneration, asthma, colitis, depression, ADHD, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and obesity.

The omega-3 fatty acids are essential and can only be obtained from the diet. Maintaining optimal levels of omega-3’s is important for all of us, but one population that deserves special attention is women who are pregnant and nursing. The omega-3 fatty acids are critical for optimal brain health and function at all ages of life but these essential fatty acids play a vital role during fetal development and infancy. Pregnant women have a higher requirement of omega-3s, in particular DHA, because of the rapid cell growth and development of new tissues and organ systems. Optimal development of the brain and central nervous system, the eyes, and the immune system - have all been associated with adequate intake of DHA. In fact, DHA is a major structural fat in the human brain and eyes, representing about 97% of all omega-3 fats in the brain and 93% of all omega-3 fats in the retina. During the last trimester, the fetus accumulates 50-70 mg DHA each day, nearly the same amount that most American’s consume from diet alone. Both the mother’s DHA intake and circulating DHA concentrations are important in determining fetal blood concentrations of DHA. Without supplementation, maternal levels of omega-3s will decrease during pregnancy and will be further decreased when breast-feeding, as the essential fatty acids are also components of breast milk. These nutrients continue to be vitally important for development of the brain during infancy and this is the reason DHA is now added to infant formulas. Babies continue to accrue DHA into the central nervous system until about 18 months of age.
Posted By Laura Denson Baum, MD

Homocysteine and Folic Acid Supplementation

Monday, April 27, 2015 3:42:17 PM America/New_York

On March 15, 2015 JAMA published on line the results of a superbly designed and potentially practice changing trial. The China Stroke Primary Prevention Trial (CSPPT), tested whether or not the addition of folic acid to anti-hypertension medication could reduce the occurrence of a first stroke. As three quarters of all strokes are “first strokes” and as strokes are a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, the question posed by this trial had far reaching implications. The trial met its endpoint so quickly and incontrovertibly that for ethical reasons it was prematurely terminated. Folic acid can reduce the risk of stroke. Those of us who have open-mindedly interpreted prior studies expected this finding; many others found the results to be shocking.

Important homocysteine related trials like HOPE 2 and others had already demonstrated either statistically significant reductions in stroke with folic acid supplementation or at least signals toward such an outcome. Yet many of the most “vocal” researchers, physicians, and reporters proclaimed that since heart attacks were not reduced with folic acid, “the homocysteine hypothesis was dead.” This perspective always bothered me. We had observational and even interventional trial data supporting the use of folic acid in certain settings. And stroke, the disorder we could impact with a simple vitamin, is horrific. Strokes are terrifying, disabling, and deadly. They are also extraordinarily common. So why would these doctors, scientists, and media members snub data supporting a simple and safe vitamin treatment to potentially reduce such events? It would be helpful to know the reason, as the same phenomenon is currently occurring in relation to omega-3 fish oils.

Plenty of data support fish oil supplementation yet a few trials do not. And as with homocysteine, it seems that the media and many scientists/doctors have chosen to focus their attention on the limited neutral - and oftentimes overtly flawed - data rather than supportive experimental, biologic, physiologic, clinical trial, and common sense evidence. Interestingly, one of the vital lessons gleaned from CSPPT is that those individuals with either specific genetic mutations or very low levels of folic acid received the greatest benefit (reduction of stroke) from taking folic acid. In parallel fashion, one of the key trial limitations of fish oil studies has been the persistent failure to measure blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. It certainly stands to reason that those with lower levels of these critical fats will also gain the greatest advantage from their supplementation. So why not simply measure them? Well, in clinical practice, some of us do. And some of us even advise correcting abnormally low levels with simple and safe fish and fish oil pill consumption.

I am at once elated and disturbed by the CSPPT findings. They prove the efficacy of a simple therapy; yet, they broadcast the hubris of many in my field. Time and again we have had to make an about face in our opinions and recommendations. I see nothing inherently wrong in changing our position as more data emerge. What I struggle with is the egg on our face, the about face that occurs far too late, long after adequate data have told us what to do. Perhaps we will learn though. Maybe as more trials like CSPPT emerge, as more scientists and doctors with the conviction and devotion to finding a greater truth push tirelessly along their paths we will finally learn to be more open minded and accepting of ideas and findings even when they go against our grain.

Posted By Laura Denson Baum, MD

Natural Ways To Reduce Inflammation

Friday, April 10, 2015 3:55:08 PM America/New_York

Inflammation is the body’s appropriate and healthy immune response to an injury or infection. Pull a muscle, catch a cold, or get a bee sting, and your body responds with pain and swelling and a healing process begins. But if the immune system goes awry and fails to shut off, inflammation may become chronic and cause permanent damage to the body.

Inflammation

Chronic inflammation refers to a maladaptive process that is believed to contribute to a variety of medical conditions including heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. This kind of inflammation may not be so readily apparent, but can be detected by high levels of certain established biomarkers like C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the blood. Reducing levels of these biomarkers has been a target for a number of nutrition studies. Omega-3s, L-carnitine, lycopene, astaxanthin, folic acid, CoQ10, resveratrol, and vitamins C and D are a few nutrients that are gaining attention as natural anti-inflammatories. Perhaps the best studied are the omega-3 fatty acids; researchers have found that increased blood levels of the omega-3s DHA and EPA were associated with reduced levels of the inflammatory biomarker CRP.

Researchers have pointed to western diets and lifestyles as major culprits in the rise of chronic inflammation. Although these may appear hackneyed, the following healthful lifestyle choices are your best defense against inflammation:

6 Natural Ways To Reduce Inflammation 

Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can induce a pro-inflammatory state. Doctors are concerned about your waistline because studies show that visceral fat, located deep in the abdominal area, causes more inflammation than general obesity.

Eat a diet low in saturated fats and rich in complex carbohydrates, including fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid trans fats and sugar that promote inflammation and incorporate the healthful fats, the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, which can boast powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Fish Oil

Take an omega-3 fish oil supplement containing 1000 mg DHA+EPA. Increasing your omega-3s while maintaining low saturated and trans fats also helps all lipid parameters – lowers LDL and total cholesterol, raises HDL and decreases TG.

Exercise more. While helping to maintain a healthy weight, exercise can decrease inflammation and CRP levels, as well as lower LDL, increase HDL, lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease, and on and on…

Don’t smoke or linger in smoke-filled areas. Air pollution and, of course, smoking have been linked to an increased incidence of heart disease, asthma, and other inflammation-related conditions.

Reduce stress. At the very least make an effort to manage stress in all ways possible: set limits on the demands you face and give yourself regular time out, exercise, make proper sleep and nutrition a priority, seek out laughter and love.

Posted By Laura Denson Baum, MD
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