Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Nausea can have many causes , from morning sickness or food poisoning to motion sickness, over-eating or even hangover (not that any of my patients would ever have that problem). And, when you are feeling sick, over-the-counter medications or prescriptions can be too strong or have side-effects that make you feel worse (constipation, headache, muscle spasm). So, here are a couple tips for mild relief of the unpleasant symptoms of a sick stomach.
1. Ginger tea, or Ginger Beer. Fresh ginger can be great for calming the stomach and eliminating gas pains. Fresh ginger is less “hot” to your system than the dried variety, and is preferred for this use. Just take a couple of slices of ginger root and soak in hot (not quite boiling) water for 5 to 10 minutes, and then drink as a tea. In Chinese Medicine, Ginger Root (Sheng Jiang) is said to warm the Stomach and Spleen, clear the head and prevent sea sickness. Some people use small slices of ginger externally for motion sickness (taped below the ear, or to the wrist). Ginger Ale or (nonalcoholic) Ginger Beer is the remedy I grew up with, and it can work well, if you aren’t concerned about the high levels of sugar found in most commercial brands.
2. Mint and Ginger Tea. Ginger and Mint are a nice combination; Ginger is very warm and Mint is cooling. This balance can be very soothing to the body and help ease conflicting symptoms which are common with stomach upset – feeling overheated or sweaty one moment and chilled the next. In Chinese, Mint is known as Bo He (peppermint), and is used in many formulas for mild illnesses such as colds, headaches, and upset stomach. It is an important addition when headache is a feature of the illness.
3. Orange Peel. Interestingly enough, tea made from dried Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) is quite strong for treating bloating and a feeling of stagnation in the bowels. It gently increases smooth muscle contractions in the intestines. This is a great choice when over-eating (just after a big Thanksgiving meal, for instance) is the problem. Other citrus peels have a similar effect though they may not act as strongly.
4. Cardamom Seeds. Called Sha Ren in Chinese medicine, this spice is used to stop vomiting and diarrhea and is specifically mentioned for use in morning sickness. Crush one teaspoon of the seeds and soak in hot water for 2-4 minutes and then drink as a tea. It is the volatile oils that are useful, so don’t boil the herb or steep for too long a time.
There are many other herbs used for the treatment of digestive illness, but I picked these because they are remedies found in most kitchen cupboards. If you are interested in a more formal herbal approach to this problem, the traditional patent formula for treating stomach upset is called Pill Curing. The version I use in my clinic is Quiet Digestion from Health Concerns. It is based on the Pill Curing formula and Bao He Wan (a traditional formula for indigestion). This formula can produce amazing results in 10 to 15 minutes in many situations, especially nervous stomach, chronic stomach distress, hangover, over-eating, mild stomach virus. Many of my Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients find it extremely helpful in controlling and eliminating symptoms with regular use. This is a great formula to keep in your cupboard for emergencies.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Here is an excerpt from an article by Mark Hyman, M.D., on the importance of Glutathione as an antioxidant, with some tips on how to maintain your Glutathione levels. I've found that a combination of Glutathione, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, and Lipoic Acid is the single most important supplement I take. It has a profound effect on energy level, fatigue, and stamina. Dr. Hyman's article is called: Glutathione: The Mother of All Antioxidants.
It's the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent disease -- yet you've probably never heard of it. It's the secret to prevent aging, cancer, heart disease, dementia and more, and necessary to treat everything from autism to Alzheimer's disease. There are more than 89,000 medical articles about it -- but your doctor doesn't know how address the epidemic deficiency of this critical life-giving molecule ...
What is it? I'm talking about the mother of all antioxidants, the master detoxifier and maestro of the immune system: GLUTATHIONE (pronounced "gloota-thigh-own").
Dr. Hyman points out that a large percentage of the population lacks the genes required to produce and maintain Glutathione levels. I've had the genetic testing done, and I am one of those people, which is why this supplement has such a profound effect on my life. One-third of the population has a reduced ability to recycle Glutathione in the body.
Glutathione is important for detoxification, supporting the immune system, and preventing illnesses like cancer and chronic fatigue. For an athlete, it is critical in supporting training and stamina.
Research has shown that raised glutathione levels decrease muscle damage, reduce recovery time, increase strength and endurance and shift metabolism from fat production to muscle development.
The supplement I use is called Thiodox by AllergyResearchGroup. I recommend it for many of my patients, 1-2 tablets per day.
9 Tips to Optimize your Glutathione Levels
These 9 tips will help you improve your glutathione levels, improve your health, optimize your performance and live a long, healthy life.
Eat Foods that Support Glutathione Production
1. Consume sulfur-rich foods. The main ones in the diet are garlic, onions and the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, etc.).
2. Try bioactive whey protein. This is great source of cysteine and the amino acid building blocks for glutathione synthesis. As you know, I am not a big fan of dairy. But this is an exception -- with a few warnings. The whey protein MUST be bioactive and made from non-denatured proteins ("denaturing" refers to the breakdown of the normal protein structure). Choose non-pasteurized and non-industrially produced milk that contains no pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics. Immunocal is a prescription bioactive non-denatured whey protein that is even listed in the Physician's Desk Reference.
Exercise for Your Way to More Glutathione
3. Exercise boosts your glutathione levels and thereby helps boost your immune system, improve detoxification and enhance your body's own antioxidant defenses. Start slow and build up to 30 minutes a day of vigorous aerobic exercise like walking or jogging, or play various sports. Strength training for 20 minutes 3 times a week is also helpful.
Take Glutathione Supporting Supplements
One would think it would be easy just to take glutathione as a pill, but the body digests protein -- so you wouldn't get the benefits if you did it this way. However, the production and recycling of glutathione in the body requires many different nutrients and you CAN take these. Here are the main supplements that need to be taken consistently to boost glutathione. Besides taking a multivitamin and fish oil, supporting my glutathione levels with these supplements is the most important thing I do every day for my personal health.
4. N-acetyl-cysteine. This has been used for years to help treat asthma and lung disease and to treat people with life-threatening liver failure from Tylenol overdose. In fact, I first learned about it in medical school while working in the emergency room. It is even given to prevent kidney damage from dyes used during x-ray studies.
5. Alpha lipoic acid. This is a close second to glutathione in importance in our cells and is involved in energy production, blood sugar control, brain health and detoxification. The body usually makes it, but given all the stresses we are under, we often become depleted.
6. Methylation nutrients (folate and vitamins B6 and B12). These are perhaps the most critical to keep the body producing glutathione. Methylation and the production and recycling of glutathione are the two most important biochemical functions in your body. Take folate (especially in the active form of 5 methyltetrahydrofolate), B6 (in active form of P5P) and B12 (in the active form of methylcobalamin).
7. Selenium. This important mineral helps the body recycle and produce more glutathione.
8. A family of antioxidants including vitamins C and E (in the form of mixed tocopherols), work together to recycle glutathione.
9. Milk thistle (silymarin) has long been used in liver disease and helps boost glutathione levels.