Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory condition that usually affects the final part of the small intestine and the beginning section of the large intestine. It often causes bloody stools and mal-absorption problems. The most common symptoms include chronic diarrhea with abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, and a sense of fullness in the abdomen. The cause of Crohn’s is not fully understood. The management of this condition requires a trained clinical nutritionist or medical practitioner, as individual food sensitivities may play a role in aggravating the condition.
Digestive Enzymes and Prebiotics
Digestive enzymes and probiotics should contain a full complement of digestive enzymes as well as prebiotics, which together support the function of the small and large intestine. Digestive enzymes help to fully break down food after each meal, preventing the build up of irritants in the gut. Prebiotics promote the growth of friendly gut bacteria, which are important for the normal function of the large bowel as well as digestion, elimination and normal gut-immune function.
High Potency Multiple Vitamin and Mineral
A high potency multiple vitamin and mineral should contain dosages of nutrients required to repair the cells of the intestinal tract.
Essential Fatty Acids
An essential fatty acid should contain the perfect combination of essential fatty acids to enable the body to synthesize Prostaglandin Series 1 and Series 3, which reduce inflammation and slow down the rate of cell division. Both of these properties are important to the long-term management of inflammatory bowel diseases.
Glucosamine and Anti-Inflammatory Agents
A glucosamine and anti-inflammatory agent should contain glucosamine sulfate, which has been shown in experimental studies to support the gut blood vessels, helping to reduce events associated with inflammatory bowel diseases. This supplement also contains natural anti-inflammatory agents that can help suppress the overall inflammatory process.
These conditions involve chronic inflammatory diseases in which the immune system attacks the joints and sometimes other parts of the body. The cause of the problems remains unknown. In autoimmune diseases the immune system attacks the body’s own tissue as though it were a foreign invader. People with rheumatic conditions may have other symptoms, including weakness, fatigue, weight loss, and, occasionally, fever.
High Potency Multiple Vitamin and Mineral
A high potency multiple vitamin and mineral should contain important doses of antioxidants shown to reduce inflammation, along with B-vitamins and magnesium – all of which work with essential fatty acids to reduce inflammation and pain.
Essential Fatty Acids
An Essential fatty acid should contain the exact complement of essential fatty acids that are converted by the body into anti-inflammatory hormones. The production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandin hormones (series 1 and 3) are vital to long term successful management of various types of arthritis.
Herbal Detoxifiers and Immune Support
Herbal detoxifiers and immune support should contain two highly effective herbal agents that exert important bioregulation of the immune system. In autoimmune diseases certain aspects of the immune system are over-active, which results in an unrelenting attack on the body’s healthy cells, often accompanied by inflammation and pain. Natural agents can tone down the over-active aspects of the immune system, exerting important bioregulation of immune function for individuals suffering from autoimmune disease. This supplement also contains two natural agents that improve detoxification, another important aspect of long-term management of autoimmune disease.
Nutrients Enhancing Glutathione
A nutrients enhancing glutathione should contain key ingredients that bolster tissue levels of glutathione, which is a key cellular antioxidant and detoxification agent. These nutrients also support immune function, eliminate toxic metals from the body, and help to suppress the inflammatory process. Ingredients in this supplement also help to protect the kidneys against damage from the autoimmune process – a vital consideration in many autoimmune conditions.
Digestive Enzymes and Prebiotics
Digestive enzymes and prebiotics should contain a full complement of digestive enzymes as well as prebiotics. The digestive enzymes improve digestion and reduce the complication of leaky gut problems. Many autoimmune inflammatory conditions are aggravated partially digestive food matter entering the circulation and triggering an immune-inflammatory reaction. The prebiotics support the growth of friendly bacteria, which have been shown to suppress inflammation in a variety of autoimmune conditions, by exerting important bioregulation effects on the body’s immune system.
Natural Anti-Inflammatory Herbs
A natural anti-inflammatory herb should contain the four most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs shown in clinical trials to combat the inflammation of various autoimmune diseases, by decreasing the production of inflammatory prostaglandin hormones. The curcumin content also blocks the release of key inflammatory cytokines produced by immune cells, which a classic part of the autoimmune process.
The incidence of osteoporosis in North America is estimated to affect one in four women and one in four men over the age of 50, with complications from osteoporotic fractures accounting for more deaths each year than the combined mortality from breast and ovarian cancer in the Canadian female population (Canadian Osteoporosis Society). Many individuals are seeking natural answers to the prevention and management of osteoporosis (and osteopenia) and many research investigations have been undertaken in recent years.
In addition to exercise, the best results have been occurred from the use of supplements providing various forms of calcium (e.g. carbonate, citrate, citrate-malate) and vitamin D, as well as supplementation with a semi-synthetic compound called ipriflavone. In Canada, ipriflavone has recently been awarded drug status and can no longer be put into a dietary supplement. However, most recently studies have shown that the Icariin flavonoind found in the Horny Goat Weed plant can increase bone density at the hip and lumbar spine in postmenopausal women. This is a remarkable discovery due to the fact that no significant side effects have been reported with its use.
Icariin Flavonoid Strengthens Bones
In addition to experimental studies a 2007 clinical trail (Zhang G) showed that Icariin increased bone density in postmenopausal women. Researchers recruited 85 healthy late postmenopausal women, and randomly assigned them to receive either a daily dose of Horny Goat Week (yielding 60 mg of Icarriin flavonoid) or placebo. All the women received a daily calcium supplement (300 mg).
After two years bone mineral density at the hip (femoral neck) and lower spine (lumbar) increased by 1.6 and 1.3 per cent, respectively, in the Icariin supplemented group, and decreased by 1.8 and 2.4 per cent, respectively, in the placebo group.
Your New Bone Support Strategy
Recent data suggest that an optimal osteoporosis prevention and management plan requires the following daily lifestyle strategies:
As such I recommend that a adults of all ages take a High Potency Multiple Vitamin per day that contains 500mg of elemental calcium, 400IU Vitamin D and 200mg Magnesium, along with an additional Bone Support Supplement that provides an additional 600mg of calcium, 800IU Vitamin D, 300mg of Magnesium and 60 mg of Icariin Flavonoid.
Individuals who are pregnant, breast feeding, have sarcoidosis, hyperparathyroidism, kidney or liver conditions or a transplanted organ require more personalized instruction from their attending physician regarding the dosages shown above.
Most people don’t realize that the consequences of osteoporosis fractures cause more deaths each year in Canada than the combined mortality rate for breast and ovarian cancers. The real tragedy is that osteoporosis is a preventable disease, which requires optimal intake of calcium and vitamin D. During the past 10-15 years studies have shown that calcium supplementation can reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women and that the combination of calcium and vitamin D supplementation could significantly reduce fracture occurrence in elderly women. However, there has been much debate as to how much calcium and vitamin D to ingest to derive maximum protection against osteoporosis and related fractures.
A recent study by MF Hitz, JB Jenson and P Eskildsen has shed significant light on this issue. Their double-blind, placebo controlled study (published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition -July 2007) involved 122 subjects, over 50 years of age (84% were postmenopausal women), who had sustained a low energy fracture of the hip or upper extremity. These subjects were randomly assigned to ingest 1550 mg of elemental calcium plus 1400 IU of vitamin D or a placebo (containing 200 IU of vitamin D). After 12 months the group receiving the calcium and vitamin D supplements showed reduced bone turnover, and had significantly increased their bone mineral density (primarily in the low back), with the most physically active individuals showing the best overall results. In contrast, subjects in the placebo group showed a further loss of bone density, including those who were physically active.
Based on these results as well as previous studies, I strongly recommend that adults ingest 1500 mg of calcium and 1200-1400 IU of vitamin D per day from food and supplements. These levels of intake not only guard against osteoporosis, but are also associated with a decreased risk of breast, prostate and colon cancer, as well a multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D primarily reduces risk of multiple sclerosis as well as these cancers, with the exception of colon cancer, whereby both vitamin D and calcium have shown protective effects.
As most adults consume only 500 mg per day of calcium from food, on average, and ingest very little vitamin D overall, most individuals would benefit from 1,000 mg of calcium and 1200-1400 IU of vitamin D supplementation on a daily basis. Some exceptions include individuals with hyperparathyroidism, sarcoidosis, and organ transplant patients.
With media information telling us that antioxidant vitamins do not necessarily make us healthier it is important to get the facts straight about this important health issue. As someone who closely follows the research in this field I would like to point out some of the key studies in recent years that support the daily use of antioxidant supplements to your wellness game plan. For starters, vitamin E supplementation was shown to reduce prostate cancer incidence by 41% (Heinonen OP, 1998) compared to those taking the placebo. Selenium supplementation was shown to reduce prostate cancer incidence by 63 % (Clark LC, 1998) and colon cancer by 58% (Clark LC 1996) compared to the placebo group. The combination of vitamin E, selenium and beta-carotene was shown to significantly reduce total cancer mortality, and especially esophageal and stomach cancer in the Linxian Study (Blot WJ, et al. 1993).
Studies have shown that supplementation with beta-carotene can reverse certain precancerous conditions, such as leukoplakia (a precancerous mouth condition) and cervical dysplasia (precancerous changes on the cervix of the uterus) (Garewal HS, 1995; deVet HC, 1991). Vitamin C supplementation was shown to reverse a precancerous stomach condition known as atrophic gastritis (Rembiasz K, 2007). The study by K Lockwood and fellow researcher in Molecular Aspects of Medicine (1994 and 1996) showed that breast cancer survivors had better outcomes by taking high dosages of certain antioxidants supplements as a follow-up to surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, compared to women who don’t use this strategy. As well, the Alzheimer’s Co-operative study showed that Alzheimer’s patients administered 2000 IU of vitamin E each day, showed a slowing of their disease (Grundman M, 2000). The same was shown for Parkinson’s disease patients with respect to supplementation with coenzyme Q10 and/or vitamin E (Schultz C. 2007). Studies by KN Prasad and others have shown that the immune system is much stronger and more efficient when antioxidant supplements are taken daily. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) showed that an antioxidant supplement cocktail slowed the progression of macular degeneration – the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 55.
Experimental studies and some human research suggest that antioxidant supplements help protect the skin from damaging ultra-violet light that can lead to skin aging and skin cancer (Firkle T, 2000), and may also make the cholesterol in bloodstream less likely to clog up our arteries (Steinberg D, 1989)
Antioxidant supplements of vitamin C and vitamin E have also shown ability to block the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines within our intestinal tract and to decrease the concentrations cancer-causing agents in our colon and rectum (Block G, 1991).
What is bewildering to me is why the media has neglected to present the above cited information, but has rather focused on single, biased research paper (JAMA, 2007 Bjelakovi G), which suggested that antioxidant supplements are of no value, especially when their research findings were heavily criticized by health authorities from John Hopkins School Of Medicine and National Cancer Institute (JAMA July 25, 2007).
In the past year alone studies have shown antioxidant supplementation improves outcomes in diabetics, strengthened immune function in elderly patients, decreased risk of heart disease, reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease, improved outcomes in Alzheimer’s disease patients, and improved outcomes in advanced prostate cancer. All of these studies have shown significant benefits and have not shown that antioxidants increased cancer risk to any degree.
In my view, the body of evidence continues to suggest that you should get additional antioxidant support each day from and a high potency multiple vitamin and mineral containing the following dosages:
Vitamin C – 1,000 mg
Vitamin E Succinate – 400 IU
Selenium – 100-200 mcg
Vitamin A – 2500 IU
Beta-carotene – 10,000-20,000 IU
Lutein – 6 mg
Lycopene – 6 mg
Bioflavonoids – 50 mg
Higher doses may be required for nutritional management of certain health conditions.
In recent years scientific studies have shown that antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements provide skin cells with important protection against ultra-violet light damage. Antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lycopene selenium, zinc, and manganese have been shown to concentrate within skin cells after oral consumption, and participate in chemical reactions that help curtail the free radial damage associated with accelerated skin aging (photo-aging), wrinkling, aging spots and skin cancer. As such, skin care professionals should be aware of the mechanism of action though which ultra-violet light generates free radicals within skin cells, as well as the research that suggests that all adults should optimize their antioxidant nutritional status as an additional means to slow skin aging, wrinkling and help block steps that are linked to skin cancer development.
The Formation Of Free Radicals Within Skin Cells
Let’s first address how ultra-violet light generates free radicals within the skin. Developing skin epidermal cells below the surface contain molecular oxygen (O2), which can be transformed into a free radical with absorption of photon energy from ultra-violet light. Essentially, photon energy from the sun or tanning beds injects molecular oxygen within skin cells with an extra electron, which converts oxygen into an aggressive free radical known as the superoxide anion. In some instances oxygen may absorb two electrons and become converted into hydrogen peroxide (HOOH), which can travel to the nucleus of the cell, and then be further converted into two hydroxy radicals (HO- plus –OH) upon donation of an electron from a transition metal (iron, copper). Together, the superoxide anion and hydroxy radicals cause extensive free radical damage to various parts of the cell, including the cell membrane, enzymes, lipids, proteins and the DNA of the cell. This damage is linked to accelerated aging of the skin and skin cancer development. Wrinkling is linked to free radical damage that occurs in the dermis as collagen fibers become cross-linked (twisted) along with increased elastin and fibrin synthesis and displacement and structural changes to the glycosaminoglycans (dermatan sulfate and hyaluronic acid).
Like other cells in the body, epidermal cells contain antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase), which quench and neutralize free radicals within skin cells. However, these enzymes cannot prevent ultra-violet induced skin damage by themselves and require additional support from the nutritional antioxidants mentioned above. Studies reveal that supplementation with antioxidant nutrients, at levels beyond which can be obtained from food alone, provide epidermal cells and the dermal layers with significant protection from free radicals generated from exposure to ultra-violet light. As such, in blinded, placebo-controlled studies, antioxidant supplementation has been shown to reduce skin inflammation, sunburn reaction, DNA-damage, protein oxidation and alterations to the dermal layers, upon exposure to ultra-violet light, compared to the control group who were given the placebo supplement.
Additionally, nutritional antioxidants are known to be incorporated into the skin surface lipids, and provide added antioxidant protection to the skin by preventing the build up of peroxides. Peroxides are another type of free radical that can be formed in the skin when fats in skin surface lipids are exposure to ultra-violet light.
Thus, scientific evidence strongly suggests that, in addition to reducing exposure to ultra-violet light, wearing protective clothing, and using protective suntan lotions, individuals should also be advised to ingest a high potency antioxidant-enriched supplement each day to help optimize protection against premature skin aging, skin cell mutations, and skin wrinkling.
Antioxidant Daily Dosages:
The body of evidence suggests that the following antioxidant dosages be ingested daily as an integral part of lifelong skin care management:
Vitamin C – 1,000 mg (500 mg, twice daily)
Vitamin E – 400 IU (natural source as vitamin E succinate)
Beta –carotene – 10,000 IU
Selenium – 100- 200 mcg
Zinc – 15 mg
Manganese – 5 mg
Lycopene Extract – 6 mg
It is possible to find these dosages within a single high potency multi-vitamin and mineral supplement for the sake of convenience. As well, other nutrients contained within a multi-vitamin also provide synergistic benefits to skin health. For example, the B-vitamin niacin has been shown to help reduce sun-damage to the skin by enabling skin cells to generate more ATP energy, which in turn provides additional energy to repair damage to their DNA, after exposure to UV-light. Many B-vitamins and other nutrients are also required for normal skin cell development and for the conversion of essential fatty acids into prostaglandin series-1 and series 3, which make skin cells softer and smoother, and slow skin aging.
Dr. James Meschino D.C., M.S., N.D.
Dr. Meschino holds a masters degree in science with specialties in nutrition and biology. He is the author of the Wrinkle-Free Zone: Your Guide To Perfect Skin In 30 Days, and the co-author of two other wellness books. He teaches continuing education programs to heath care practitioners, including a course in Nutrition and Skin Care Management, which he teaches at major skin care conferences and various schools of esthetics across North America. He is the product formulator for Adeeva Nutritional Supplements, the Director of the Renaisante Institute of Integrative Medicine, and an associate professor in the division of graduate studies and research at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, Canada.
For many people an anti-aging program includes looking better on the outside, in conjunction with slowing the aging process on the inside of the body and decreasing risk for degenerative diseases. In regards to anti-aging for the skin, a number of ingestible nutrients are known to improve skin appearance, texture and reduce skin damage from ultraviolet light that leads to skin wrinkling and other forms of skin damage. As well, two very important topical nutrients have been proven to reverse crow’s feet, fine lines and shallow wrinkles on the face and stimulate collagen synthesis below the skin, which is also an important aspect of slowing and reversing skin aging. To promote healthy aging of the skin, consider:
Topical Skin Anti-aging HA
A topical skin anti-aging HA should contain a unique form of microencapsulated hyaluronic acid (HA) that replenishes the skin’s HA. As we age HA concentrations in the skin decline, which results in wrinkles, dehydration and skin thinning.
High Potency Multiple Vitamin and Mineral
A high potency multiple vitamin and mineral should contain nutrients that support the normal development and appearance of skin cells.
Essential Fatty Acids
An essential fatty acid should contain the perfect combination of essential fatty acids to enable the body to synthesize Prostaglandin Series 1 and Series 3, which make the skin cells soft, smooth and moist.
Obesity is an excess of body fat. Obesity can have a profound negative effect on health and can lead to a host of other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and premature death. There are sensible solutions to weight loss that involve dietary modification, exercise and fat burning support through supplementation.
A fat metabolizing supplement should contain three proven metabolic conditioning agents that help the body burn fat. This product is stimulant-free and very safe. The chromium improves glucose regulation, reducing the conversion of carbohydrates to fat. Hydroxy-citric acid blocks enzymes that convert carbohydrates into fat. The decaffeinated green tea catechins have been shown to increase fat-burning by the body’s brown fat. Clinical studies indicate that catechin supplementation, on its own, can result in a 20 pound per year weight loss, even if no dietary or exercise modifications are implemented.
An adrenal support nutrient should contain natural adaptogens, which suppress the over secretion of cortisol from the adrenal glands when a person is under stress. Individuals who are under stress often show high cortisol levels or an abnormal cortisol secretion pattern, which can impair the release of thyroid hormone and/or block the effects of thyroid hormone at the cellular level. This can contribute to an inability to lose weight. Adrenal Support Formula helps to suppress the over secretion of cortisol, and thus, enables the thyroid gland and thyroid hormone to function in a more normalized manner.
A high potency multiple vitamin and mineral should contain important levels of nutrients to keep the body healthy and suppress inflammation, which is strongly associated with obesity.
An essential fatty acid should contain important levels of essential fatty acids to keep the body healthy and suppress inflammation, which is strongly associated with obesity.
A thyroid support nutrient should contain nutrients required to synthesize thyroid hormone within the thyroid gland, as well as factors that stimulate increased release of thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. Other ingredients in this product help to convert T4 into the more active T3 thyroid hormone. This product should be used when a person has trouble losing weight and their TSH blood levels are between 2 – 5, which is suggestive of thyroid dysfunction. A TSH level above 5 requires thyroid hormone replacement, in addition to the use of Thyro Support Formula – which can enhance the efficacy of thyroid hormone replacement therapy.