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June 2016 Health Newsletter


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» ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
» June is Scoliosis Awareness Month
» Superbugs and the Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle
» The Cost of Smoking (Even if You Don't Smoke)

ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Alpha-Lipoic Acid

What is alpha-lipoic acid? Why do we need it?

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant manufactured in the body. It is sometimes referred to as the ?universal? antioxidant because, unlike most antioxidants, it is soluble in both fat and water. In addition to being manufactured by the body, it can be found in some foods and supplements (see below).

ALA has several benefits, particularly for people with diabetes. It enhances glucose uptake in people with type-2 diabetes, inhibits the process of glybosylation (in which sugar molecules attach themselves to proteins), and can reduce nerve damage and pain caused by diabetes. Preliminary evidence suggests that ALA can improve visual function in people with glaucoma. Test-tube studies show that ALA can stop the HIV virus from replicating, but whether ALA supplements can help people infected with HIV remains unclear at this point.

How much alpha-lipoic acid should I take?

As of this writing, there is no clear evidence that any particular dose of ALA provides a benefit for any particular condition. In the abovementioned glaucoma study, researchers provided subjects with 150 mg of ALA per day. Other studies typically use between 750 and 800 mg per day. Some practitioners recommend 20-50 mg of alpha-lipoic acid daily to provide general antioxidant protection.

What are some good sources of alpha-lipoic acid? What forms are available?

Small amounts of alpha-lipoic acid are produced naturally by the body. Some red meats ? particularly liver ? are believed to be good sources of ALA; supplements are also available.

What can happen if I don't get enough alpha-lipoic acid? What can happen if I take too much? Are there any side-effects I should be aware of?

Because alpha-lipoic acid is produced naturally in the body, deficiencies are not known to occur in humans. However, for people who take large doses of ALA supplements, some side-effects may occur, including skin rash, and diabetics run the risk of suffering hypoglycemia. Long-term use of alpha-lipoic acid in animals has been shown to interfere with the actions of the vitamin biotin, but research on humans has yet to be conducted.

As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before you begin taking alpha-lipoic acid or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


References

  • Busse E, Zimmer G, Schorpohl B, et al. Influence of alpha-lipoic acid on intracellular glutathione in vitro and in vivo.Arzneimittelforschung1992;42:829-31.
  • Filina AA, Davydova NG, Endrikhovskii SN, et al. Lipoic acid as a means of metabolic therapy of open-angle glaucoma.Vestn Oftalmol1995;111:6-8.
  • Lykkesfeldt J, Hagen TM, Vinarsky V, et al. Age-associated decline in ascorbic acid concentration, recycling, and biosynthesis in rat hepatocytes - reversal with (R)-alpha-lipoic acid supplementation.FASEB J1998;12:1183-9.
  • Nichols TW Jr. Alpha-lipoic acid: biological effects and clinical implications.Altern Med Rev1997;2:177-83.
  • Packer L, Witt EH, Tritschler HJ. Alpha-lipoic acid as a biological antioxidant.Free Radic Biol Med1995;19:227-50.

Author: Nichols
Source: TYH
Copyright: TYH 1997


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June is Scoliosis Awareness Month

With the arrival of summer, June also heralds the start of Scoliosis Awareness Month. The Scoliosis Research Society declared this month a key time to focus on detection and early treatment for this condition, which affects nearly 3% of Americans. Typically detected between the ages of 10 and 15, scoliosis is characterized by an abnormal lateral (sideways) curvature of the spine. Curvature can range from mild to severe, and may cause pain, low self-esteem, and in severe cases, issues with movement or breathing. In children, bones are still growing and developing, which presents an opportunity to prevent further progression of scoliosis with a back brace. For teens and adults, however, the adult bone structure has set, and braces are not common interventions.

Early detection of scoliosis is the very best way to minimize progression of spinal curvature or the need for surgery later on. Methods of detection can include in-school screenings, regular pediatric physical exams, and evaluations by a DC (Doctor of Chiropractic). In fact, DCs can play an important role in both detection and treatment for scoliosis. In a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, adults with moderate-severe scoliosis enrolled in an exercise-based chiropractic treatment program saw significant improvements after six months. Not only did more than 75 percent of participants experience reduced Cobb angles (decreased curvature), but pain and disability scores also improved and maintained this improvement even after a two-year follow-up.

Chiropractic treatment shows promise for non-surgical and non-invasive treatments for scoliosis. June is a key time to raise awareness about the importance of scoliosis detection and treatment, and advances in non-surgical alternatives such as chiropractic treatment are offering individuals with this condition more options than ever to manage scoliosis safely and effectively, and improve their quality of life.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF)
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2016


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Superbugs and the Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle

For years, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or "superbugs," have raised growing concerns both inside the medical industry and out. These discussions have lead to increased awareness about unnecessary antibiotics use as a significant contributor to this resistance. Despite this, the widespread use of antibiotics in both humans and agriculture, and inadequate research on new antibiotics, has resulted in more antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Last month, the American Society for Microbiology reported a bacterial infection within the United States that was resistant to even the strongest antibiotics. "The recent discovery of a plasmid-borne colistin resistance gene, mcr-1, heralds the emergence of truly pan-drug resistant bacteria," wrote the researchers. Such bacteria have also been found in Europe and elsewhere, highlighting the importance of a global-scale focus on research and minimization of antibiotics use. But individuals are also called upon to lead healthy, active lifestyles to do their part. Healthy individuals with strong immune systems are more likely to fight off infections without antibiotics and less likely to spread infections to others. Maintaining individual health can help bolster health at the population level, protecting large groups of people from the effects of resistant strains of bacteria.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy Online; May 26, 2016.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2016


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The Cost of Smoking (Even if You Don't Smoke)

In 1964, news that lung cancer was linked to smoking hit the masses. Since then, smoking rates have halved, but it is nevertheless still taking a serious toll. According to research from the University of California San Francisco, states are still spending millions (or even billions) of healthcare dollars on smoking. The researchers compiled their data into an interactive map, which displays how much money states spent or saved on smoking in 2009. California, for example, saved over $15 billion that year alone. Kentucky, on the other hand, has smoking rates higher than the national average and spent approximately $1.7 billion.

While these numbers are yet another important public health reminder about the costs of smoking, the researchers' underlying message can be extrapolated to other areas of healthcare as well. Leading healthy, active lifestyles can cut healthcare costs enormously from many different angles. For example, obesity-related health care in 2005 cost the United States $190 billion. Pursuing good health is not just beneficial for the individual; it drives down overall healthcare costs for an entire population and helps set the stage for a happier, healthier society.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: PLOS Medicine, online May 10, 2016.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2016


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