Archive for February, 2007

Suffering with Arch Foot Pain?

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 27th, 2007

If bunions aren’t getting you down, maybe the arch of your foot is causing you pain.  Arch pain or arch strain occurs when the tissues in the middle of the foot become inflamed and results in a burning sensation.

The arch of the foot is shaped by a firm band of tissue that joins the toes to the heel bone.  This band of tissue plays a vital role in the proper mechanics of the foot and assists in the transfer of weight from the heel to the toes.  Thus, when this tissue becomes inflamed, even the slightest movement can cause pain.

There are many different factors that can lead to arch pain.  Often arch pain can result from a direct cause such as a foot injury or a structural imbalance of the foot, such as flat feet or a low or high arch.  However, the most frequent cause of arch pain is a common condition known as plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that results from excessive stretching of the plantar fascia.  This is a wide band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom surface of the foot. The inflammation of the plantar fascia usually causes pain to occur in the heel and arch areas. If Plantar fasciitis isn’t effectively treated promptly, further strain can be placed on the arch and a heel spur (a bony growth) may develop on the bottom of the heel.

The most common symptoms of arch pain are tenderness and pain in the arch region of the foot.  Pain is usually severe when pressure is applied to the foot after a prolonged period of rest, such as after waking up from sleep.

The most common treatments used to help alleviate arch pain include:
• Supportive shoes - Avoid wearing high-heels as these shoes place a particular amount of stress on the arch region.  Instead, wear footwear that properly fits your foot and provides it with proper support including shock absorbing soles, and a moderate, supportive heel.   Furthermore, you should wear shoes to support your feet as much as you can.  Also, limit the amount of time you walk barefoot, and don’t walk barefoot on hard surfaces.

• Insoles – Special insoles you can insert in your shoes known as orthotics help to alleviate pain by providing your foot with the support it needs to move normally.

• Stretches - Stretching your calf muscle and Achilles tendon causes you to flex your foot, which in turn allows you to stretch the arch.  Stretching encourages circulation.

• Massage – Ice massages before bed can help ease sore feet and reduce inflammation.  Another effective massage is to rub the bottom of your foot by moving it back and forth over a rolling pin.  This helps ease pain caused by plantar fascia.

• Night splint – A night splint can help stretch the plantar fascia while you sleep and prevent stiffness.

• Anti-inflamatory medication – To help ease the pain you can take nonsteroidal anti-inflamatory medication such as ibuprofen.  Acetaminophen is also often recommended.
If the above treatments fail to help your arch pain, or pain increases, it’s time for you to visit your doctor - or even better - a podiatrist.  Remember, if you want to help heal your feet, you need to be good to them.
By Dave Wilson. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover how to treat your footpain with natural cures for footpain. Discover what to do if you have foot arch pain.  

Milk Protein and Blood Pressure Is there a connection?

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 27th, 2007

Nitrates play an important role in the overall health of your immune system and body.  It has the potential to lower blood pressure, but isn’t the only alternative remedy being studied.  Dairy peptides are another non-medical hypertension treatment that may prove to be an effective remedy for lowering blood pressure.

Dairy what?  Dairy peptides are tiny peptides (molecule comprised of two or more amino acids), that are produced when milk protein known as casein is broken down into smaller portions.  Two particular peptides that can be manufactured through the use of a naturally attained enzyme preparation are IPP (isoleucine-proline-proline tripeptides) and VPP (valine-proline-proline tripeptides).

IPP and VPP can break milk protein down into hydrolysed casein powder.  Furthermore, instead of using an enzyme preparation to break down casein, it can also be produced through fermentation in which case lactic acid bacteria are used.

How does milk protein benefit hypertension?  It is believed by researchers that dairy peptides work by preventing the action of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE).  The prevention of ACE causes a reduction in angiotension II formation, and reduces the constriction of blood vessels, all of which results in lower blood pressure. 

Over the past decade, more than 20 human clinical trials have been conducted to discover the blood pressure-lowering effect of dairy peptides.  Dairy drinks that contained IPP and VPP were used in the trials.  Many of the studies found an average reduction of up to 7 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure and up to 4 mm Hg for diastolic blood pressure among participants treated with the dairy peptides.

The British Journal of Nutrition reported on one of the more recent studies that tested a dairy peptide’s (hydrolised casein) effectiveness of lowering blood pressure.  Hydrolised casein contains the two dairy peptides IPP and VPP.  This study was conducted on more than 130 participants who suffered from high-normal blood pressure or mild hypertension.  The duration of the study was six weeks.

The study consisted of participants taking a daily dose (two tablets) of IPP and VPP.  Some of the participants were provided with 1.8mg, some were provided with 2.5mg, and some were provided with 3.6mg.  The rest were given placebos.  It was discovered that those who were taking 1.8mg had a considerable reduction in systolic blood pressure, six weeks (5.8 mm Hg) into the study.  For those taking 2.5 mg or 3.6mg, a considerable reduction in systolic blood pressure was noted during the third week (2.5mg = 3.4 mm Hg and 3.6mg = 4.1 mm Hg) and sixth week (2.5mg = 6.2 mm Hg and 3.6mg = 9.3 mm Hg) of the study. 

In the end, it was found that participants who suffered from mild hypertension responded better to the dairy peptide treatment than those who had high-normal blood pressure.

Like most of the studies being conducted on alternative remedies for treating hypertension, dairy peptides need to be tested further before any real conclusions can be made.  However, if you find these studies interesting, you may want to bring them to your doctor’s attention to find out how you can get involved or try the treatment yourself.

Finally, keep in mind that if you have milk allergies, or are pregnant, you may not be a candidate for dairy peptides treatment. 

 By Paul Johnson. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover other hypertension medication. On the site you’ll also find more about natural high blood pressure cure and what to do to lower blood pressure naturally.

10 Foods to Avoid with Endometriosis

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 23rd, 2007

There are certain foods to avoid with endometriosis. In fact, many women who suffer from endometriosis can improve their condition and their symptoms naturally by simply controlling their diet. Knowing what not to eat can make a significant difference in the way an endometriosis sufferer feels.

Creating an endometriosis friendly diet is about eliminating foods that increase prostaglandins. Prostaglandins stimulate estrogen, which is the main hormone that wreaks havoc in an endometriosis sufferer. Estrogen is responsible for symptoms including painful menstrual cramps, as well as meorrhagia (heavy menses), diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

However, when you learn what foods to avoid with endometriosis, you will discover that not all prostaglandin are bad. For instance, prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) actually helps to relieve symptoms, while prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and prostaglandin F2a (PGF2a) contribute to the symptoms mentioned above.

The following are 10 foods to avoid with endometriosis –

1. Sugar – Sugar, in all its forms (refined, artificial, natural), can produce a more acidic environment which can encourage the inflammatory pain of endometriosis. Therefore, it’s a good idea to limit the consumption of chocolate, sweeteners, drinks and sweets with high levels of sugar, and honey.

2. Wheat – Wheat contains phytic acid which can aggravate endometriosis symptoms. Furthermore, wheat contains gluten, and studies have found that many endometriosis sufferers appear to have gluten sensitivity which can cause and increase painful symptoms. Products containing wheat and gluten should be avoided or limited.

3. Soy products – Like wheat, soy contains phytic acid; however the levels of phytic acid in soy are considerably higher than wheat. Phytic acid is known to irritate the digestive system and reduces mineral absorption, especially calcium. Soy is found in many food products including granola, pasta, imitation meat, soy milk, soy based cheese, etc.

4. Caffeine – Caffeine, especially when consumed in high amounts, has been found to increase estrogen levels, which can trigger endometriosis attacks and cause the condition to develop. Caffeine foods to avoid with endometriosis include coffee, tea and soda. Consuming more than two cups of coffee a day may cause estrogen levels to rise.

5. Alcohol – Alcohol eats up vitamin B stored in the liver. Liver function plays an essential role in clearing out excess estrogen which helps to control endometriosis. Eliminating alcohol on the body puts excessive stress on the liver, hindering it from expelling other items from the body.

6. Dairy products – Dairy products stimulate the production of PGE2 and PGF2a, which can worsen symptoms. The primary dairy foods that you should avoid with endometriosis include milk and cheeses. To help keep calcium levels up you can find other sources of calcium in sesame seeds, almonds, salmon, sardines, seaweed, figs, and calcium fortified foods (I.E. tofu, orange juice, etc.) Note: Remember to be careful when substituting dairy products such as pasteurized milk with soy milk, as soy can also aggravate symptoms.

7. Red Meat – Meat promotes PGF2a production. Furthermore, red meat may contain growth hormones that include estrogen. If meat is your main source of protein, you can obtain the protein you need through other protein-rich foods such as beans, tofu, tempeh, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds, and peanuts.

8. Saturated fats and oils – Foods that are high in fatty acids stimulate the production of PGE2 and PGF2a. Fatty acids are found in saturated fats, oils (IE coconut oil, palm oil, etc.), butter, margarine, lard, organ meats, and plenty of fried foods.

9. Refined carbohydrates – refined carbohydrates (I.E. white bread, pasta, flour, pastry, cakes, etc.) have had most of their natural nutrients removed. Refined carbohydrates deplete the body’s nutritional stores as they are needed in order for the body to absorb the nutrients in the refined carbs. This can lead to endometriosis symptoms. Instead of refined carbs, stick to unrefined carbohydrates such as wholegrain breads, pasta, rice, etc.

10. Additives and preservatives – processed, frozen and pre-packaged are foods to avoid with endometriosis as they are full of additives, preservatives chemicals, and many other ingredients that promote ill-health and PGE2 and PGF2.

By Shelley Ross. To find out more about endometriosis diagnosis and for information on endometriosis characteristics please visit Treat Endometriosis, where you can also sign up for a free newsletter focusing on treating endometriosis.

Bile Reflux or Acid Reflux?

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 22nd, 2007

Although carbonated beverages cause acid reflux, this isn’t the only problem that some acid reflux sufferers are faced with. Bile reflux is another uncomfortable backflow of fluid that often accompanies acid reflux. However, instead of thrusting stomach acid back into the esophagus as is the case with acid reflux, bile reflux throws bile (a digested fluid that is made by the liver) up from the small intestine into the stomach and esophagus, causing inflammation to both.

Due to the fact that bile reflux and acid reflux can occur together, this means that the esophagus is doubly assaulted, which causes more inflammation to its lining, and puts a person at a higher risk for developing complications.

What are the symptoms of bile reflux?
The signs and symptoms associated with bile reflux are similar to acid reflux, making it difficult to distinguish one from the other, especially when both conditions tend to occur simultaneously. That being said, unlike acid reflux, bile reflux causes inflammation within the stomach, which creates a biting, or burning pain in the upper part of the abdomen.

Other symptoms that are characterized by the condition can include:

- Frequent heartburn
- Nausea
- Vomiting bile
- An occasional cough or croakiness in the throat

Along with symptoms, bile reflux teamed with acid reflux can eventually create complications including:
- Gastritis – This is a complication that is caused by bile reflux alone. Gastritis is characterized by irritation and inflammation within the stomach. Although this isn’t typically a serious condition, in some cases it can cause stomach ulcers, bleeding, and chronic gastritis increases the risk of stomach cancer.
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) - Frequent attacks of heartburn may be a sign of GERD. This is when a person suffers from chronic acid reflux which can be a potentially serious issue as it may lead to a condition known as esophagitis - the inflammation of esophageal tissue.
- Barrett’s esophagus – This is a condition that occurs after long term exposure to stomach acid and/or bile and results in a change of color and tissue composition in the lower esophagus. The new cells are resistant to stomach acid but they have an increased risk of becoming cancerous.
- Esophageal stricture – Scar tissue can form in the lower esophagus, which results from frequent exposure to stomach acid and/or bile. The scar tissue can cause a stricture (a narrowing in the tube) which can lead to trouble swallowing and increase the risk of choking.
- Esophageal cancer – When the esophagus has been exposed to prolonged repetitive stomach acid and/or bile, cancer has the potential to form practically anywhere along the length of the esophagus. This is a serious and difficult form of cancer to treat.

How do you treat bile reflux and acid reflux together?
Proton Pump inhibitors - The best way to treat these conditions, especially for those who suffer from GERD and Barrett’s esophagus, is proton pump inhibitors. These are medications that are designed to block acid production. These meds can sometimes also help reduce the effects of bile reflux.

Ursodexycholic acid – This is the most common medication for treating bile reflux. Ursodexycholic acid helps to encourage bile flow.

Other medications - If bile reflux is the result of the stomach taking too long to empty, other drugs may be prescribed to improve the flow of food through the stomach

The real trouble with bile reflux is that it is hard to control. Unlike acid reflux which can be managed through diet and lifestyle changes, bile reflux can really only be controlled through specific medications or by surgery in severe cases. Unfortunately, sometimes even after treatment, bile reflux continues to plague sufferers. Thus, bile reflux may need to be treated separately from acid reflux.

By Kathryn Whittaker. Sign up for a free newsletter that has proven methods for tackling Acid Reflux, Heartburn and GERD head-on at Stop Acid Reflux Now. On the site you’ll also find more about the different kinds of acid reflux help and what to do if you have severe heartburn.