Author Archives: Michelle

Why Artificial Sweeteners Are Bad For You!

We all crave something sweet occasionally, but most of us try to avoid eating sugary foods for the obvious health benefits. An increase in sugar consumption has been linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and weight gain. But are artificial sweeteners a good alternative?

After all, they are low in calories and are often touted as being a safer option for diabetics. I, like a lot of concerned consumers purchased it myself, in an attempt to eat healthier. Since then, I’ve learned that they are far from healthy especially for those with diabetes and fibromyalgia. Read on to find out why artificial sweeteners are bad for you.

What is Aspartame?

Aspartame is likely the most popular chemical sweetener. You may recognize aspartame marketed under the trade names Equal and NutraSweet. It is an artificial low-calorie, non-saccharide sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sucrose. Aspartame is available in most grocery stores and restaurants. Despite its widespread use, the artificial sweetener aspartame is currently one of the most controversial food additives on the market.

Is it safe?

Aspartame’s ingredient list include aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methyl alcohol which is poisonous to the body. When methyl alcohol breaks down at high temperatures it turns into formaldehyde and DKP (diketopiprazine). then formic acid. These highly toxic chemicals adversely affect the nervous system. This is the reason an aspartame containing beverage should never exceed a temperature of 86 degrees.

Unfortunately, we simply don’t know enough about the long-term effects of aspartame to say for sure exactly how much harm it can potentially cause. In a review conducted on nonnutritive sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevioside, no evidence was found that these low-calorie sweeteners, were effective for weight management and in fact may contribute to it.

Several studies from 2016 and 2017 reviews, found a link in participants between increased body weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference and a regular intake of nonnutritive sweeteners. It also suggested that individuals who consumed sweeteners such as aspartame, on a regular basis, were at a greater risk for developing metabolic disorders, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

In another study, healthy adults consumed a study-prepared high-aspartame diet for 8 days and a low-aspartame diet for 8 days, with a 2-week washout between the diets. When consuming the high-aspartame diet, participants had more irritable mood, exhibited more depression, and performed worse on spatial orientation tests. The higher aspartame intake level tested in the study, were still well below the maximum acceptable daily intake level.

Reported side-effects of aspartame consumption.

Since aspartame was approved in 1983 for human consumption, the FDA has received many complaints of adverse reactions, more than any other food additive. Some of these reports include:

headache

seizure

migraines

irritable moods

anxiety

depression

insomnia

dizziness

seizures

cancer

lupus

slurred speech

problems with memory

loss of sensation

shooting pains down the legs

loss of equilibrium

vertigo

anxiety attacks

chronic fatigue

vision loss

eye floaters

renal detachment

heart palpitations

seizures

miscarriage

infertility

There have also been numerous news reports that suggest a link between aspartame and the following:

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Alzheimer’s disease

multiple sclerosis

fibromyalgia

congenital disabilities

increase incidence of brain tumors

Although many believe there is insufficient scientific evidence to confirm the claims of aspartame’s involvement in any of the above, there is also a lack of evidence to suggest it can’t be responsible either. Many studies do conclude however that aspartame consumption should be approached with caution due to the possible effects on neurobehavioral health.

How can it affect fibromyalgia?

According to Dr. Ginevra Liptan MD, author of The Fibro Manual, Artificial sweeteners and MSG (which are classified as excitotoxins) should be avoided at all costs! She writes that in addition to aspartame, almost all artificial sweeteners, including sucralose Splenda and saccharin Sweet’N Low, can increase fibromyalgia pain. If you are looking for a calorie free, non-sugar substitute, she suggests a natural sweetener such as stevia, which is marketed as Truvia. Read the book review here.

Unusual musculoskeletal adverse effect of aspartame were reported in two patients. One of the patients was a 50-year-old woman that had been suffering from widespread pain and fatigue for over 10 years. This led to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. While on vacation in a foreign country, she had forgotten to take her aspartame with her, and did not suffer from any pain.

All her symptoms, however, reappeared a few days after she had returned home when she reintroduced aspartame back into her daily diet. Aspartame was then excluded from her diet, and the result was a complete regression of the fibromyalgia symptoms. This begs the question… could aspartame worsen or even cause fibromyalgia pain?

Why is it legal?

Because of obvious conflicts of interest, the legality of aspartame has been a source of much controversy over the last few decades, and rightly so. Donald Rumsfeld bounced back and forth from positions in the government and pharmaceutical industry. Rumsfeld was the chairman and CEO of G.D. Searle when he was hired to facilitate the FDA approval for aspartame. Because of his success with aspartame, he was awarded a generous $12 million bonus.

The FDA, however, had opposed the approval of aspartame for sixteen years before that because studies showed it caused brain tumors and lesions in animals. It was also approved for use in soft drinks in 1983 even though the National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) protested it strongly, claiming aspartame to be “inherently, markedly and uniquely unstable.” This statement makes sense when you consider how toxic the substance becomes once it’s broken down by the body.

My own scary experience with aspartame.

My story takes place bout 15 years ago, this was before I was married, had children, became a certified health coach or worked as a health care provider. At the time, I worked in a cubicle with no windows for 10 hours a day in a job that I despised and the only thing that seemed to keep me going was copious amounts of coffee every day.

Soon the large amounts of sugar I used to add to my coffees began to show on the scale and I began to wonder whether aspartame would be a better solution. That’s when my boyfriend at the time and I decided to go on a real ‘health kick’ and substitute sugar for aspartame. We also started downing aspartame sweetened soft drinks like crazy, because why not? we assumed it was healthy.

Before long, I started experiencing strange and unexplainable heart palpitations. For someone in their early 20’s who has had no known health issues, this was odd, to say the least. I passed it off as just work-related stress, but the symptoms only got worse. It wasn’t until a couple of months later that my boyfriend confided in me that he had been experiencing random panic attacks at work for no apparent reason.

Then one of my boyfriend’s colleagues asked him one day if he was consuming aspartame, because she had had a similar experience with it. Finally, we decided to do a little research and looked up possible side effects for aspartame and low and behold! All our symptoms were on that list! I was shocked, we both were. Needless to say, we ditched the aspartame after that.

Sure, I could have passed it off as a coincidence, but I truly don’t believe that it was. About a week or so after we quit aspartame, our symptoms completely vanished. I haven’t had aspartame since, and my symptoms have not returned. I realize that some may be more susceptible than others and I was consuming quite a bit of the stuff, yet my consumption was still considerably lower then the daily limit of 50 mg/kg set by the FDA.

There are better alternatives.

Stevia Leaf

Fortunately, there are better alternatives out there, so you don’t have to give up the sweets entirely. Stevia is a great option, is all natural and comes from the stevia leaf. Other great options include monk fruit extract and erythritol. These sweeteners will not raise blood sugar like aspartame and other artificial sweeteners can which makes them safe for diabetics as well.

Although I will be covering these natural sweeteners more in depth in another article, I will include a short list of the brands that I purchase and use on a regular basis, should you want to check them out for yourself. You can even bake with these sweeteners which have the added benefit of not leaving an awful chemical after taste.

Halefresh Erythritol

Truvia

Swerve Sweetener

Monk Fruit Extract

Xlear Xylitol Sweetener 

What are your thoughts?

Thank you for taking the time to read this article on why artificial sweeteners are bad for you. I hope it has helped you in some way. Please let us know your thoughts on artificial sweeteners, including aspartame. Do you believe they are bad? Or, are you of the opinion that they are harmless? Either way, we would like to know your thoughts on this topic. Thanks again!

Does Turmeric Help Inflammation? Can It Help With Fibromyalgia?

I’m sure you’ve heard about the many amazing health benefits of eating turmeric including the fact that it can help with inflammation. But what is it? Does it have other benefits and uses? Is it really that safe and how much should we consume?

I wanted to find out more and I hope you’re here because you do too. I know most of you want to ask “does turmeric help inflammation? And yes, I will answer that, but First, lets start with a seemingly obvious, yet very important question:

What is turmeric?

Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its unique yellow color. The medicinal compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids, curcumin being the main active ingredient. Turmeric has been used extensively as a spice in traditional South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking and in Ayurveda (Indian system of Medicine) for centuries.

Does it help with inflammation and fibromyalgia?

Yes! Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is known to be a very strong antioxidant as well. Many doctors and scientists are now of the opinion that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a large role in almost every Western disease. This includes heart disease, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, cancer.

But wait, fibromyalgia is not considered a disease! Although fibromyalgia is categorized as a chronic disorder and not a disease, it is best understood and treated as a central inflammatory syndrome. And although more research needs to be done on turmeric for fibromyalgia, it may help a great deal since curcumin works like a pain reliever for the body.

Should I take a supplement, and how much?

The curcumin content in turmeric is only around 3-4% by weight, which is why many people chose a supplement instead which contain much higher amounts. Most experts say that If you want to experience the full anti-inflammatory effects you need to get 500 to 1,000 milligrams of curcuminoids per day. The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined 1.4 mg per pound (0–3 mg/kg) of body weight is an acceptable daily intake for most.

Although still healthy and definitely flavorful, you will not be receiving 500 to 1,000 mgs of curcumin daily, simply by adding a little turmeric into your recipes. And while a supplement may seem like a great solution, the bioavailability of curcumin is poor, meaning it is not effectively absorbed by the bloodstream.

To increase curcumins effectiveness, piperine, which comes from natural black pepper is often added to many of the more superior curcumin containing supplements, such as Fibrolief Formula and will raise the body’s absorption of curcumin by 2,000%. Another great way to boost curcumin’s effectiveness is to consume it with a fatty meal since curcumin is fat soluble.

What else can it do?

An antioxidant

Along with its natural ability to fight chronic inflammation, curcumin is also a potent antioxidant that has been proven to protect the body from free radicals and help the body increase its antioxidant enzymes. Premature aging along with many diseases can be related to this type of oxidative damage.

Heart healthy

Curcumin has also been shown to be heart healthy. In fact studies that have been conducted in rats showed that curcumin had the ability to prevent heart failure. The study suggests curcumin may prevent the development of atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up inside your artery’s and is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease and the most common form of dementia. Not only is there evidence that curcumin can treat AD but possibly prevent it all together. Curcumin is often used in Ayurveda for its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory qualities.

According to an article on NCBI, one of the important pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease is the chronic inflammation of nerve cells. Several studies have demonstrated the associated inflammatory changes such as microgliosis, astrocytosis and the presence of pro-inflammatory substances that accompany the deposition of amyloid-β peptide. Is it any wonder why AD is far less prevalent in places such as India where it is consumed often?

Cancer Prevention

Studies have shown that curcumin may contribute to the death of cancerous cells and metastasis (the spread of cancer) In a Healthline article, I recently read about a 30-day study in which 44 men with lesions in the colon that sometimes turn cancerous were given 4 grams of curcumin per day. The curcumin reduced the number of lesions by 40%

Many other benefits

In addition to all the above, curcumin can also improve overall brain function, increase memory, lower risk of brain diseases, aid in the treatment of arthritis, osteoarthritis, age related diseases, help prevention and treat depression, hay fever, high cholesterol, inflammatory bowel disease, liver problems, heart burn and can help with stress.

Are there people who should not use it?

If you are pregnant or nursing, it is okay to season your food with turmeric, however it is not advisable to take a curcumin supplement in concentrated doses. Keep in mind, all herbal supplements should be used with caution. Notify your health care provider of any supplements you’re taking, including turmeric and curcumin.

Give it a try

I love cooking with turmeric and eating authentic Indian cuisine which is a great way to get more of this wonderful spice into your diet. If you are in the market for a supplement, just be sure to chose one that is made in an FDA approved facility, preferably organic, and uses high quality curcumin.

Also, look for a brand that contains piperine, otherwise you will not get the full benefit of the supplement, if any at all. Fibrolief Formula, a high-quality supplement, is specifically designed for those with fibromyalgia. It contains piperine and meets all the other criteria mentioned above. Click here to see the full review.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you found this article informative, helpful and are considering giving turmeric and curcumin a try! Please feel free to leave us a question or comment in the section below, we’d love to hear from you.

My Pain Away Fibro Cream – Read This Review First!

When I first heard about Topricin My Pain Away Fibro Cream, I must admit, I was skeptical. It sounded almost too good to be true. A cream that is all natural and can relieve pain that well without the need for a prescription and at that price point! Still, many fibromyalgia sufferers swear by it, so I felt I had to do a review on this product to see for myself what all the hype is about, and whether it is warranted.

The Claim

Topricin Fibro Cream is a patented rub designed to relieve pain at the cellular level while helping the body heal the damage that is causing pain. The cream is doctor and pharmacist recommended, can be applied 4 times a day or as needed and works without any negative side effects.

It reduces the duration and intensity of fibromyalgia flair ups and provides soothing relief of muscle and nerve pain at tender points. They also point out that it helps to reduce the need for pain pills, improves sleep and overall quality of life. The product is not only safe and effective but contains a combination of natural biomedicines.

My Experience

Overall, I must say I was a bit shocked. I had actually made up my mind that It was not going to work but was pleasantly surprised to learn that it not only worked for my chronic upper back and neck pain and carpal tunnel, but the results lasted almost the entire day.

I thought, if it works this well for me, I must give it to someone with severe fibromyalgia pain, to get their opinion. After all, what works for my pain, may not necessarily work for someone else. Sandy, someone I’ve know for many years was willing to try it out for a week for the sake of this article and now she is ordering three more.

What is in this stuff?

Here is the list of ingredients the company provides from their website. Then I will give you a bit of a break-down of some of the things on this list. You may be surprised, when you find out what’s actually in this cream…I know I was!

      Active Ingredient                                          Purpose

Aesculus Hippocastanum 6X         Pain in the lower back, hip and spine

Arnica Montana 3X                         Impact, falling and contusion to muscles and joints

Belladonna 6X                                 Muscle spasms, night leg cramps

Crotalus Horridus 12X                   Impact injuries and deep muscle bruising

Echinacea 3X                                    Sharp stitching pain in joints and muscles

Graphites 3X                                    Skin conditions

Heloderma 12X                               Burning pain in the hands and feet

Lachesis Mutus 12X                        Sciatic pain and carpal tunnel

Naja Tripudians 12X                        Nerve injury pain

Rhus Toxicodendron 8X                 Muscle cramping, joint and post-surgical pain

Ruta Graveolens 3X                         Injuries to the knee, shin and elbow

Inactive Ingredients:

Captex 300 (from coconut fatty acids), Carbopol® Ultrez 10 (from sucrose), Cetyl Alcohol (from coconut oil), Spectrastat G2 (derived from coconut), Glycerine (vegetable-based), Hydrokote (palm kernel oil with lecithin), lsopropyl Myristate emollient (from palm seeds), Lipomulse (from coconut fatty acids), Purified Water, Sodium hydroxide, Steareth-21 (from stearic acid cocoa butter)

Aesculus Hippocastanum

Horse-Chestnut

Aesculus Hippocastanum, most commonly referred to a horse-chestnut, is a species of flowering plant. The seed extract has been used for its venotonic effect, vascular protection, anti-inflammatory properties and helps destroy free radicals. It is primarily used for chronic venous insufficiency.

Arnica Montana

Arnica Montana are part of the aster, daisy, composite, or sunflower family and is one of the best- known homeopathic remedies. It has been used with great success for bruising, when damage occurs to blood vessels underneath the skin, causing them to rupture and leak blood.

It’s no wonder this ingredient is included in My Pain Away Fibro Cream for impact, falling and contusion to muscles and joints. It contains manganese and selenium as well,  which are both powerful antioxidants. Manganese is an essential mineral needed for healthy bones, wound healing, and the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and cholesterol.

Belladonna

Belladonna

Belladonna (Atropa Belladonna) is a poisonous plant and is sometimes known as deadly nightshade. It can be found in parts of Asia and Europe. Yes, you read that correctly! Ingesting the leaves or berries of this plant can be deadly, but not to worry, when used correctly in appropriate doses, belladonna is safe to use as part of regular medicinal practices.

In fact, belladonna is used in many over the counter, homeopathic cough syrups and decongestants, even one’s designed for children. Take my pain away Fibro cream is also safe for children over 2 years of age. Having said that I would still advise that for safety reasons, any formulations containing this ingredient be stored in a place where they remain out of children’s reach.

Crotalus Horridus ,Heloderma and Naja tripudians

Crotalus Horridus, (timber Rattlesnake), Heloderma (beaded lizard) and Naja Tripudians (the Indian cobra). On the Topricin website, it states:

“at present, Topricin topical formulations include four specific venoms in dilute form, with specific mechanisms postulated to include ion- and acid-sensing channel effects and other cellular signaling mechanisms, resulting in inflammatory and microcirculatory changes. These channel effects and cellular signaling mechanisms may improve vascular function and anti- inflammatory response and have been identified for the development of pain management treatments.”

Rattlesnake

That’s right, venom! But as strange as it sounds, after a little research I found that the use of venom to treat pain and inflammation is not an entirely new concept. Apparently scientists have been studying venom from snakes and spiders that might lead to pain relievers that are more effective and safer than prescription opioids.

Toxicodendron Radicans

Toxicodendron Radicans commonly known as poison ivy, is a poisonous Asian and Eastern North American flowering plant. Again, a rather strange, and yes, poisonous ingredient! Still, according to many reliable sources, including WebMD, the leaves can and are used to make medicine.

Although it can cause a serious, long-lasting rash, if touched, the leaves are used in homeopathic preparations to treat pain, rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual period problems, swelling, and itchy skin disorders. Some studies even attribute this plant to a decrease in inflammation.

Poison Ivy

What I like about Topricin Fibro Cream

First, I was impressed that it worked! I also love the fact that it is chemical free, is safe for the elderly, pregnant and nursing women (wish I knew about this when I was pregnant), has no side effects and no scent at all! Yah, I don’t have to go around smelling like a peppermint candy anymore. I believe that it can help reduce the amount of pain pills one takes and therefore may also contribute to a reduction in opioid abuse or dependency.

I was also glad to learn that 3% of Topricin My Pain Away Fibro Cream profits are donated to Fibro Research Foundations. The company has been around since 1994 and has other products on the market as well that are worth looking into, including: After burn cream, sports cream and foot pain relief cream. Click this link for the best price I have found so far.

Worth a try

At a price point of under $12.00 a tube, it is affordable and absolutely worth a try. As always, it’s a good idea and just good common sense to talk to our doc before giving anything new a try. My friend and I are definitely believers now. Hope you have enjoyed this honest review article and I would like to hear from you If you have any questions or comments. If you have tried this product, I would love to know about your experience. Thanks!

Coconut Oil For Fibromyalgia – What It Can Do For Your Health

Coconut has long been thought of by many to be a super food, and for good reason. It has so many health benefits, many uses and is the ideal oil for cooking. In this article I would like to share with you how many people are using coconut oil for fibromyalgia as well as a whole host of other things! So, stay tuned and don’t forget to stock up on some the next time you are out grocery shopping.

What Is Coconut Oil?

First, what is a coconut? Some people think coconuts are an actual nut, which is quite understandable given their name. Some believe it is a type of fruit. Well, this is where it gets a little tricky… although the FDA recognizes them as a tree nut, they are categorized as a fruit. So perhaps everyone is right after all. It is also interesting to note that while some may experience an allergic reaction to coconuts, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can still eat coconuts safely.

There are three main classes of fatty acids: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated. Every oil or fat contain all three in varying amounts; however, it is given one of these names depending on which of these it consists of the most. Coconut oil contains 92% saturated fat, 6% monounsaturated and only about 2% polyunsaturated, therefore it is categorized as a saturated fat.

Yes! Coconut oil is a saturated fat and consists mainly of triglycerides. In fact, it is more saturated than most other saturated fats such as butter (66% saturated) beef fat (52% saturated) palm oil (51% saturated) or lard (41% saturated). Whenever coconut oil is above 75 degrees F, it is a liquid. Below this temperature, it becomes a solid fat. Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel or ‘meat’ of the coconut. There are many extraction methods, including pressure, motion, as well as cold and hot extraction.

The Extraction Process.

Coconut oil that has been extracted using a ram press or by mechanical centrifuge results in a very pure oil, usually without the need for refining. Expeller pressed, however, uses extreme pressure, sometimes heat, but does not usually involve the use of a solvent to separate the meat from the oil and therefore requiring refining afterwards to remove the chemical. Chemical extraction is not the best form of extraction and will ultimately alter the integrity and nutritional profile of the oil.

Sometimes during manufacturing the coconut paste will be heated in order to extract more oil. This alters not only the nutritional value of the oil but can also affect the flavor and color. For this reason, many prefer cold pressed oil. You may have heard the term “Extra Virgin”, this term signifies that no chemicals or extreme heat were used during the extraction process. It also guarantees a superior taste.

Okay, But Is It Healthy?

One great advantage with a saturated fat is that they are not susceptible to oxidation and free radical formation like unsaturated fats are. This makes it an ideal oil for cooking because it is extremely resistant to oxidation when exposed to high temperatures. This also makes it more shelf stable and lasts much longer when compared to vegetable oils, for example, which are more likely to become rancid a lot faster. And because saturated fat does not easily oxidize, it will not clog the arteries like poly and monounsaturated fats.

Coconut oil and its cousins, the palm and palm kernel oils are the best source of medium- and short-chain fatty acids. According to Bruce Fife, C.N., ND, these fatty acids give them their incredible health benefits. In his book The Coconut Miracle, he states that most food, if not used as an energy source, are stored as fat tissue on our bodies. Coconut oil, being composed primarily of medium-and short-chain fatty acids, has a totally different effect on our bodies.

Put simply, they produce energy, not fat! Just because this oil is considered a saturated fat, does not mean it will make you fat. In fact, it can actually help you lose unwanted fat and is very beneficial for you’re overall health. MTC-oil which is derived from coconut oil has been shown to increase fat loss, energy levels, stimulate the metabolism and aid in concentration. Those who follow a raw food, vegan, vegetarian or ketogenic lifestyle are usually no stranger to coconut oil as well as MCT oil, and use it on a regular basis.

Coconut Oil For Fibromyalgia.

Many people who suffer with the symptoms of fibromyalgia often have digestive issues as well. Luckily, coconut oil is extremely mild on the stomach and easy for the body to digest. Coconut oil can alleviate constipation as well as help those who live with Crohn’s disease and stomach ulcers. Several studies have also shown that consuming coconut oil provides strong anti-inflammatory effects and may reduce markers of oxidative stress.

Need a pick me up? Coconut oil can relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome and increase your energy levels throughout the day, with no mid-afternoon crash. Coconut oil is also beneficial for the brain and can greatly reduce the feeling of “fibro fog” that some experience with fibromyalgia. Coconut oil consumption has also been liked with a reduction in belly fat (visceral fat) and less food cravings, especially for sugar. It’s also great for strengthening the immune system.

What Else Can It Do?

Coconut oil can help with the absorption of other nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and amino acids. Coconut oil may aid those who suffer from osteoporosis, gallbladder disease, viral infection, diabetes, can help prevent tooth decay and is heart healthy. When applied topically, it can keep your skin youthful looking and makes a terrific moisturizer, protects against germs and fungi, acts as a natural sunscreen and can also reduce symptoms associated with psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis.

How To Add More Coconut Oil Into Your Diet!

One of the best ways to get more coconut oil, and therefore more MCFA’s into your diet as well, is to replace the cooking oils you currently use with coconut oil. Be sure to avoid products that are likely to contain trans-fat such as shortening, margarine, and processed vegetable oils. I still use olive oil for salads, and natural butter for baking, but I try to do most of my cooking and especially frying with coconut oil.

I also add MCT and/or coconut oil to my daily coffee and look for products that contain MCT oil, coconut oil or palm kernel oil. It’s also great to drink coconut milk and simply eat more coconuts! The bonus of consuming coconuts is that they also taste great, even more so combined with dark or sugar free (naturally sweetened) chocolate. Coconut oil has a slightly sweet, coconut aroma and a neutral flavor, so whatever you are cooking in, it will not take on the flavor of coconuts.

Bottom Line.

There are many ways to use coconut oil and it is especially helpful for those with fibromyalgia. Anyone, however, can benefit from more coconut oil in their diet! for more information on coconut oil visit www.coconutresearchcenter.org. I hope you have found this article informative and helpful. Please let me know if this is a topic you are interested in and whether you would like to see more articles like this one in the future. As always, your questions and comments are more than welcome. Have an awesome day!

Pain Relief Device – Could Solio Be The Answer?

Whether you’re not expecting it, or you live with some form of it daily, pain is one of the worst things to have to deal with. Fibromyalgia pain in particular, can be especially difficult to live with and while medication sometimes helps, it is not always the best solution for everyone. I wanted to find something, a pain relief device that could help reduce pain without the potential side effects that typically accompany various drugs.

Finally, I came across a little machine called Solio Alfa Plus. I was intrigued by the device and wanted to know more about how the technology behind it worked as well as some helpful feedback from those who have used it. Would it help reduce pain or was it simply too good to be true? I would like to share my findings with you in this review article so that you are better informed about the product.

What is it, and how does it work?

Solio can be purchased online, without a prescription.

The Solio Alfa Plus is a safe, FDA approved handheld device that one can use in the comfort of their own home, on any part of the body for the treatment of chronic pain, muscle aches and stiffness. Their website also mentions a potential muscle relaxing effect and benefit of improved range of motion. Solio is doctor recommended, available without a prescription and can be purchased online. Solio also comes with a safe, unscented, conductive gel called Slider Gel that must be applied to the skin for the proper delivery of the treatment; it also enables the device to move smoothly over the treatment area.

The technology

Solio uses three different energy sources that treat pain by increasing circulation, reducing inflammation and promoting tissue repair. The three types of energy sources are as follows:

Bi-polar radiofrequency (RF) energy

Solio uses Bi-polar radiofrequency to reach muscles and joints in order to increase blood circulation and draw oxygen to the affected area.

LLLT energy

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) also known as Low Level Light Therapy is a low intensity light with a wavelength in the red to near infrared spectrum. The effect is photochemical which means the reactions involve absorption of light, unlike thermal reactions which involves the absorption of heat and can occur even in the dark.

This type of energy can be used to treat muscle spasms and, according to NCBI, these wavelengths have the ability to penetrate skin and soft and hard tissue. They are proven in clinical trials to have a positive effect on pain, inflammation and tissue repair. Results with LLLT therapy include a reduction in inflammation, pain relief and accelerated tissue regeneration.

RI Heat Energy

Infra red (RI) Heat energy is a form of light that we cannot see because it occurs at wavelengths just below red light. However, we can detect it with our skin. Solio Alfa Plus uses Infra red and red spectrum light, light with dual wavelengths for treating skin pain and stiffness.

Does it relieve pain?

Solio can help with pain due to sports related injuries.

Personally, I’ve heard some great things from those I know, that have used it, including those with fibromyalgia. These include reports of less nerve pain, less muscle pain, less joint stiffness, better circulation and up to 40% improvement in range of motion after six weeks of continued use.

The Solio Alfa Plus not only helps treat fibromyalgia pain, but can treat various other medical conditions, such as arthritis, problems related to poor circulation, menstrual pain, trauma and sports injuries.

Is it easy to use?

Almost all the people I’ve spoken with agreed that the device was simple to use, easy to operate, lightweight and comfortable to hold. The machine is also fast acting, you can feel a slight heat generated by this pain relief device and in no time, you know that it’s doing it’s job.

How long will it take to work?

I’ve spoken with a hand-full of people who have been using the device for different reasons and for various amounts of time, most have stated that they’ve noticed some immediate positive effect as well as significant overall improvement within the first week or two of continual use.

On the pruduct website, they state that while you likely will feel some relief after your first use, it may take a few sessions to fully recognize the relief and healing benefits. They recommend a 15 to 20 min session, once a day. It is also safe to use anywhere on the body and can be use in conjunction with other therapies.

How much does it cost?

This device sells for $499 on the company’s website. I found the price to be about mid-range for this type of device. I looked at economical and more expensive models by various other companies and this one seems to be the best in terms of quality for dollars spent. We spend so much money on products that don’t improve our health or come with devastating side effects, it’s great to find something that works!

I believe you would get so much more out of this device then many other products for chronic pain available on the market today. Another thing I liked about the Solio Alfa Plus is that it comes with a 60-day money back guarantee and a two-year warranty, It’s nice to see a company that really stands behind their product.

Want to save an extra $100 or so more this product? I found the best price, as of the time of this writing, (and free shipping most of the time) through amazon. Hint: The Solio Alfa Plus can also make a great gift for someone special; after all, I can’t think of a greater gift then relief from chronic pain, can you?

More to come!

Solio has developed a full range of high-end technologies that are small, user-friendly, affordable and specifically designed for home use. If you have tried the Solio Alfa plus or another one of their products, we would love to hear what your thoughts are in the comments section below. Click here for more ideas on how to reduce pain naturally.

Help us help others out there by letting us know if this or something similar has helped you, how it has helped you, if it has helped a friend or loved one with the pain they struggle with, or even if you are just wanting to give this a try risk-free in the future. No one should have to live with chronic pain, no matter what the cause.

Thank you or visiting!

Medical Marijuana for Pain – Can it Help You?

We’ve heard it called many things such as hashish, bud, grass, blunt, weed and ganja, and although it is often referred to as marijuana, the preferred medical term is cannabis. Whatever you decide to call it, however, the question still remains… can it help you? While only you know your own body and what will or will not work for you, I will mention some of the pros and cons of using medical marijuana for pain, what it can do for other common fibromyalgia concerns and other popular therapeutic uses for this plant, then… you be the judge.

What do the doc’s think?

While medical marijuana has been used for many years, it is only more recently that doctors are recognizing its possible benefits for their fibromyalgia patients. Dr. Ginevra Liptan, MD states in her book The Fibro Manual, “at least once a day a patient asks me if marijuana might help with their symptoms. The short answer is yes, but we don’t have many studies to back that up.” That’s too bad, especially when many patents who have used it report that it’s often better at lowering pain levels than most opioids.

The unfortunate truth is there have not been many studies dedicated to understanding the potential medicinal and therapeutic properties of this plant. On the bright side, however, it appears as though this is beginning to change and will eventually lead to more knowledge and hopefully less of the negative stigma that still surrounds it’s use, especially for medicinal purposes.

Dr. Ginevra also mentions in her book that many of her patients have reported that cannabis reduces their pain and improves their sleep; in fact, several have been able to come off high doses of opiates completely and use only marijuana for pain management. That’s amazing, considering the astonishing amount of opioid related deaths each year.  Click here to see the full review post for her book.

In a study published in the June 2017 journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, almost three thousand patients were surveyed. These patients all used opioids and cannabis for pain management. An astounding ninety-seven percent reported that cannabis allowed them to decrease their opioid use. Eighty-one percent even felt that cannabis alone was more effective than the combination of cannabis and opioids.

 

Unfortunately, not all Doctors are quick to sign over a prescription. Currently, in the United States the use and possession of cannabis, for any reason, is still illegal under federal law. State laws, however, vary from state to state and in many ways greatly conflict with the federal laws. 33 states, as well as the district of Columbia have approved cannabis for medical use, but because of this legal grey area, many physicians are still hesitant to recommend it for their patients. For more information on these laws, click here.

On October 17th, 2018, cannabis was legalized for recreational use in Canada; cannabis edibles, however, will not be sold in stores until late 2019. Cannabis may be purchased by adults 18 or 19 years of age (depending on the province) at any physical location or government-run website. Medical cannabis can also be obtained from a doctor. Every province has its own laws and policies governing the use of marijuana. For more information on these laws in Canada, click here. Now let’s talk a bit about the cannabis plant…

It all starts with cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis flowers that give it medicinal properties. They affect the endocannabinoid system, a type of ‘central network’ of communication that takes place in the brain and aids in regulating many bodily functions, such as mood, appetite, pain and memory. There are possibly hundreds of cannabinoid compounds, including Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabichromene (CBC), THCV, and Cannabinol (CBN).

All of the above-mentioned cannabinoids have many health benefits and there are many more of these cannabinoid compounds that have not even been identified yet. Of all the cannabinoids, however, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are two that are abundantly found in marajuana strains and undoubtably the ones that are most talked about.

So, what is THC?

THC, a phytocannabinoid, is a psychoactive compound and is the one mostly responsible for giving people that ‘high’ when they use marijuana. THC can bind to molecules in the brain’s endocannabinoid system as well as other receptors in the body. This can temporarily alter a person’s balance, slow reflexes, affect one’s ability to form short term memories and may even cause hallucinations.

THC can also increase the levels of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, thus producing feelings of relaxation, happiness and euphoria. On the other hand, some individual’s ‘high’ may leave them feeling paranoid or anxious instead. Everyone is different and therefore will not experience the exact same effects as the other.

THC can make you hungry! Because of THCs influence on ‘the hunger hormone’, ghrelin, it can also impact hunger and, for many people, bring on the ‘munchies.’ For those who are watching their weight or want to lose weight, this may not be a great thing. However, for recovering cancer patients who have lost their appetite due to chemo, HIV or AIDS patients or those who suffer from an eating disorer called anorexia nervosa, it may be a very beneficial thing.

Studies have also show that cannabis may help shrink cancer cells. In the March 2000 issue of the journal Nature Medicine, Dr. Manuel Guzman, professor of biochemistry at the university of Madrid, reported that cannabis not only shrank cancerous tumors in mice, they did so without damaging surrounding tissue. THC has also been shown to be helpful in the treatment of nausea especially for those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. for more information on this study and other impactful studies on marijuana, visit this page.

What are the benefits of THC on fibromyalgia?

Remember when I said that THC has the ability to bind to certain receptors in the body? Well, when they bind to CB2 receptors (located on the cells of the immune system) it has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the body. And yes, because of its dopamine producing effects, it can also reduce pain as well as ease the symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety! For more ideas on how to reduce pain naturally, click here.

The sedating effects of THC may also help fibromyalgia patients who struggle with insomnia. For those who have tried it all, including popping pills every night, cannabis may be an alternative worth looking into. THC produces relaxing effects and can also help individuals achieve deeper, more restful sleep and enable them to stay asleep for longer periods.

What about CBD?

Unlike THC, CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects, meaning it will not get you ‘high’ but still has many therapeutic benefits. Like THC, CBD has also been shown to be a great pain reliever and has the ability to reduce inflammation. This is one of the reasons why CBD is becoming such a popular choice for people with fibromyalgia, and popular in general. Another reason could simply be the fact that CBD is much more available than THC.

While THC is still illegal in some US states, CBD alone, is usually not. In fact, since 2018 most states have legalized the substance and as a result, there are many products on the market, available in stores and online that contain the ever-popular cannabinoid. The products range from gummy bears and chocolate to capsules and vape pens.

Buyer beware! Hemp oil does not always contain CBD, or the amounts can be very minute. Even products claiming to contain CBD may in fact have very little to none. Be sure to do your research so that you know you are getting your money’s worth. Keep in mind that, unlike THC, CBD may have an energizing effect on the body, which may not make it an ideal supplement before bedtime.

While CBD has a very positive effect on many of the unpleasant symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, it offers other benefits as well. CBD is often used to prevent seizures and has shown much success in the treatment of epilepsy. There are also some studies that support its success for the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

In addition to relieving pain, shrinking cancerous tumors etc., cannabis is also helpful in the treatment of Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, stress, arthritis, glaucoma, migraines, ADHD, PMS, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and believe it or not, it’s also been successfully used as a treament for those who suffer from substance abuse!

Wait, there are different types?

That’s right, there are three main varieties of the cannabis plant, Sativa, Ruderalis and Indica. Each species also contains different amounts of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids. Ruderalis contains almost no THC, for example, but is high in CBD. Most marijuana strains that are commercially available will be divided into two main groups, indica and sativa, while hybrid cannabis plants are a combination of these two strains.

It may be difficult to judge just how a particular hybrid strain will affect you. For cannabis users who want to achieve that ‘high’, look for a more balanced 1:1 CBD to THC ratio. It’s suggested that taking these cannabinoid levels into consideration as well as the variety of the plant are important factors in finding the right strain for you.

For those who are want the medicinal effects but are not interested in feeling the psychoactive effects, or for beginners, choose a strain with a higher CBD and lower THC ratio. The less THC the marijuana strain contains the less of a ‘high’ you will experience from it. For many, the process of choosing the ideal one may seem a little daunting at first and could take some trial and error.

Sativa

The sativa species is tall with long branches and long narrow leaves with very pronounced separation which are larger than those of cannabis indica or cannabis ruderalis. Sativa may not produce the same type of sedating affect as indica and is thought by many to be more of a social or daytime type of cannabis. Possible uses for sativa include:

Depression

Anxiety

Chronic pain

Increased mental focus

Increased energy

Indica

Indica is a short and stocky plant with wide leaves and not much separation between them. The color of the leaves are usually a uniform, dark shade of olive green. This species has a short flowering cycle, which makes it more ideal for growing in colder climates than the other varieties. Indica is also well known for producing a relaxing, sedating type of effect on the mind and body. Common uses include:

Muscle tension

Loss of appetite

Stress

Nausea

vomiting

Pain

Insomnia

What is the difference between recreational and medical marijuana?

If you purchase cannabis for personal use, it’s considered recreational even if you are using it for relaxation, stress or pain management. It is medical if it is authorized by a health care professional for the purpose of treating an illness or managing symptoms. Usually medical marijuana has low THC levels and higher levels of CBD than recreational marijuana and therefore will have less psychoactive effects.

The first FDA approved medication containing CBD is called Epidiolex which is used to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy. Naturally occurring CBD and THC can also be found in the drug Sativex (available outside the US) which is used to relieve pain. The drug Cesamet contains a synthetic form of THC and is used to treat nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite caused by chemo.

You don’t have to smoke it!

As I mentioned before there are many products available in certain US states and Canada that permit the use of CBD in products. Depending on the laws in your country or region, medicinal cannabis as well as recreational cannabis containing THC can also be smoked, used in a vape pen, sprayed under the tongue, applied topically, brewed in tea, or made into homemade edibles.

The most popular methods these days for reducing pain seem to be vaporizing and edibles. Many individuals prefer to use vaporizers so they are not exposed to the harmful carcinogens associated with smoking marijuana. Still, it is important to start with a small amount and wait about twenty five minutes before assessing pain levels. With edibles, it can take up to two hours to feel their full effects, so patience is key! On the other hand the effects from edibles typically last much longer than the effects from inhalation, which is why it is a popular choice for insomnia as well as for pain.

Topicals are another option for those that would like to experience the pain relieving benefits of marijuana without the psychoactive effects. They are applied to the skin and can usually be purchase in the form of a lotion, oil, spray or balm. At the end of the day, however, it’s all about what method you are most comfortable with.

Will it work for me?

 

Individuals often tell me how much it has decreased their pain, stress and anxiety, so I believe it can help. But as I mentioned before, everyone is different. While there are many potential benefits to medical or even the occasional use of recreational marijuana, experiences while on the substance will vary greatly from person to person. This is a personal decision that you must make and a topic worth discussing with your doctor or other qualified health care professional if you think that it may help you. I hope I have at least given you some insight into what medical marijuana is and its possibilities.

Just be sure that if you do decide to give it a try, use small amounts and take it slow at first, especially with edibles. Do your research when it comes to cannabis laws in your country’s state or province and familiarize yourself with them. Be sure to obtain cannabis from a doctor, a licensed private seller or government-run facility. Never sell your pot or share it with others and always use responsibly. If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you in the comment section bellow. Thanks for stopping by!

 

Fibrolief Support Formula – Find Out If This Supplement Works!

Many who live with fibromyalgia report improvements in their symptoms with the use of proper supplementation. The problem is, there are so many on the market, how do we know which ones are worth the time and investment? After all, supplements are a 30 billion-dollar industry, they are everywhere and are not closely regulated by the FDA.

In recent months however, I have heard a lot about one supplement in particular called Fibrolief Support Formula. I wanted to believe there could be a great supplement for fibromyalgia that I could recommend to my family and friends, so I did a little research and asked those that have tried it some questions. This is what I’ve learned about the product.

What is a supplement anyway?

Fist of all, it’s important to know what a supplement is. A supplement is simply a product designed to supplement the diet. Most adults in the US take or have taken at least one supplement. While the FDA oversees both medications and dietary supplements, a supplement is not a drug, and therefor is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.

You should also talk to your healthcare provider before taking a new supplement, as they can interfere with different types of medications. Also be sure to check before hand to be certain you do not have any allergies to any of the ingredients listed on the bottle.

What is Fibrolief?

The most popular types of supplements are vitamins and minerals, but there is also sports nutrition, weight loss and specialty supplements available in pills, powders, drinks and bars. Fibrolief is a specialty supplement that comes in pill form. A specialty supplement is a formula that has been developed to support a specific function in the body or aid in a specific condition.

Fibrolief has been manufactured with a variety of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, botanicals and nutrients, shown to have a positive effect on fibromyalgia or other related symptoms. The manufacture’s claim that the supplement may help reduce the common symptoms of fibromyalgia including headaches, back and muscle pain, mental fog, energy dips and sleeping disorders.

What’s in this product?

Photo of actual Fibrolief Support Formula bottle ingredients label.

The first thing I wanted to know before writing my review article, of course, was what the ingredients were, in order to determine whether or not they would be helpful to those who have fibromyalgia. Here is a list of the ingredients you will find in Fibrolief.

Curcumin                                                       BCM-95 R-ALA

Boswellia                                                        Magnesium

White Willow Bark                                        Vitamin B1

Celery Seed Extract                                      Vitamin B12

Malic Acid                                                       Vitamin D3

Acetyl – L – Carnitine                                    Vitamin C

Co Q 10                                                           Zinc

Rhodiola Monnieri                                        Vitamin B9

SAM -e                                                            Black Pepper Bioperine

Of course, there are many ingredients, but I would like to go through just some of the ones that I believe may be particularly beneficial for fibromyalgia symptoms, but also those that may cause some side effects in certain individuals that everyone should be aware of.

Turmeric & Curcumin

Curry is a popular spice mixture used abundantly in traditional Indian cooking and turmeric is what gives it that distinctive yellow color. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric and is a powerful anti-inflammatory and contains strong antioxidant properties.

Because of the wonderful medicinal properties of curcumin, it is fairly common to see it in various fibromyalgia supplements. The problem is, the bioavailability of Curcumin is poor, meaning it is not easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Fortunately, the makers of fibrolief were aware of this and have added black pepper to the mix, which is excellent! Black pepper contains piperine, a natural substance that has been shown to increase the absorption of curcumin by 2000% It also has the ability to enhance the absorption of other supplements as well, such as Co-Q-10, and vitamins A, C and B-6.

Boswellia

Boswellia is derived from a tree native to Africa and Arabia called Boswellia Serrata and is also well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is often included in supplements that contain curcumin and has been shown to help with osteoarthritic pain, as well as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.

Although Boswellia is generally regarded as safe and there may be many benefits to ingesting it, there are still some things you should know. Some individuals may experience side-affects such as nausea, bloating, acid reflux, diarrhea, heartburn and increased menstrual pain. Some individuals may be allergic to the substance.

Individuals should first check with their doctor before taking Boswellia as it can interfere with certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and any type of blood thinners such as Warfarin. It should also be avoided if pregnant or nursing and not taken at least 2 weeks before undergoing any type of surgery.

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 is a compound that our body’s produce naturally. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps generate energy in our cells. The unfortunate thing is that our production of CoQ10 drastically decreases as we age. This is definitely something a good fibromyalgia supplement should have.

CoQ10 had been mainly used for heart conditions such as heart failure and high blood pressure. It has many other benefits, however, and may help with the following conditions: Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, brain disorders, cancer prevention as well as the prevention of migraine headaches.

Acetyl – L- Carnitine

Acetyl- L Carnitine is an amino acid that is produced by the body for mitochondrial function and energy production. It is important for heart health, brain function and muscle movement. L-Carnitine has been used to aid in a variety of mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, age related memory loss, bipolar disorder and downs syndrome.

How can this help with fibromyalgia you may ask? L- Carnitine has also been shown to ease depression as well as alleviate nerve pain and fatigue caused by fibromyalgia. Be aware however that their may be some mild side-affects associated with this supplement including nausea and upset stomach.

According to WebMD a normal dose of Acetyl- L- Carnitine for those who suffer from diabetes related nerve pain is 1500 – 3000 mg daily for up to one year and 1 – 4 grams have been used daily for up to 60 days for the treatment of depression. Fibrolief is well within the appropriate dosage range at 200 mg of L-Carnitine per serving, which is 4 capsules.

What others had to say about Fibrolief Support Formula.

 

I have heard so much positive feedback on this supplement from those that I’ve spoken with including reports of less fatigue, less muscle pain and increased energy and mental clarity. The amount of time it takes for people to notice the benefits, however, seems to very greatly from person to person.

Some individuals have reported feeling remarkably better in just weeks after their first dose, whereas for others it has take several months. I have not heard anyone complain of any negative side-affects. The manufactures of Firolief suggests that individuals take it for a minimum of 4 months to know whether on not it will work for them. To read some of their great customer reviews on Amazon click here.

What I also like about Fibrolief is they stand behind their product and offer one of the bests money-back guarantees I’ve seen. If  for any reason, you’re not satisfied with Fibrolief, you can request a full refund for or up to one year after your most recent purchase. The company also operates out of an FDA approved lab and claims strict quality control of their product.

While the product is a bit on the pricey side, (ingredients like this usually are) they do offer discounts if you purchase more than one bottle at a time. Each bottle has approximately an 18-month shelf life, so you won’t have to worry about the supplement expiring before you’ve finished all your bottles. I found the best price offered through amazon.com.

Will Fibrolief work for you?

It may work for you, however, everyone is different and there are never any guarantees with any supplement. I do like that the company is willing to answer any questions by phone or e-mail 24 7. I’m also rather impressed with the quality ingredients they have included in their product and I appreciate the fact that there is a money back guarantee offered.

Still, I report facts and my opinion of a product only, (what I like or dislike about it) at the end of the day, however, it is really up to you and your doctor to decide if this fibromyalgia supplement is right for you.

Please let us know your own thoughts on Fibrolief Support Formula in the comments section at the bottom of this post. Tell us if it has helped you or someone you know who has fibromyalgia; as always we want to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by.

Coffee For Chronic Fatigue – Is Caffeine Safe For Fibromyalgia?

Whether it’s a fancy Mocha Cappuccino with extra foam from Starbucks, a regular dark roast from Tim Horton’s or just a cup of instant from your own kitchen, we love our coffee! And why not? It tastes great, is fairly inexpensive and easily attainable.

Thanks to the caffeine content, it can also help get us get going in the morning and give us that extra mid-afternoon pick-me up. But is it a good idea to consume coffee for chronic fatigue. Is it safe for those who have fibromyalgia. And just how popular is this beverage anyway.

CBC released an article in September 2016 confirming that North America consumes a great deal. In fact, the United States ranked in the #9 spot and Canada came in at an astonishing #3, for the most coffee consumption out of 80 countries across the globe.

In case, you were wondering Netherlands takes the lead at #1 and Finland came in at #2. According to the Coffee Association of Canada, coffee is the most popular beverage among adult Canadians over age 16, even more than tap water! People in this country will drink an average of 3.0 cups of coffee per day. But is coffee, or more specifically caffeine good for us?

Health benefits and risks

Caffeine is classified as psychoactive or psychotropic drug, this is a chemical substance that can alter and change the brains function. The difference between this and most other psychoactive drugs is that this one is perfectly legal. And the most popular source of caffeine? Yup, you guessed it, the coffee bean!

Good news! Coffee has not been shown to cause or contribute to inflammation. In fact the antioxidants in coffee may have a positive affect on the immune system and chronic inflammation. Some studies show that coffee may actually protect against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease and type 2 diabetes. Because of the antioxidant content, it may even help prevent certain types of cancers, including liver cancer.

Too much caffeine, on the other hand, can also contribute to high blood sugar, jittery nerves, sleeplessness, high blood pressure and dehydration. The stimulant also has an effect on bone density in women which could lead to osteoporosis.

Many people also experience withdrawal symptoms after a short break from caffeine, which can include irritability, headache, fatigue and lack of energy. Unborn babies may also be at risk because caffeine crosses into the placenta. For this reason, pregnant women are urged not to consume more than one 12oz cup of coffee or 200 mg of caffeine per day.

Caffeine will increase athletic performance and endurance levels. These benefits however are mostly present in those that don’t consume caffeine on a regular basis. Once an individual develops a tolerance to a certain amount of caffeine, they will no longer experience the same increase in energy and concentration. For this reason, they will require higher and higher doses just to obtain the same effects as before.

To answer the previous health related questions, you can drink coffee for chronic fatigue, but if you are a regular coffee drinker, you won’t really notice the effects of the caffeine anyway. And while coffee may have some health benefits, too much caffeine is not healthy for anyone nor is it the ideal beverage for those with fibromyalgia.

What about weight loss?

You may have noticed that many over the counter weight loss supplements include caffeine among their list of ingredients. Caffeine suppresses the appetite, acts as a natural diuretic, (increasing water loss) can also potentially increase resting metabolic rate, and therefor contribute to some weight loss.

However, any weight loss attributed to the caffeine alone would be very minimal. It certainly would not be worth the risks involved, and can lead to over consumption. Many people also add cream and sugar to their coffee which of course adds more fat and sugar to their overall diet.

Show me the money!

Heath is most important, but many people don’t consider the amount of money they spend on coffee, so I thought it would be worth a quick mention in this article. The average price a person pays for a cup of coffee in Ottawa Ontario is $3.89. In some cities it’s more, in others it’s less, but this is about the mid-range. On the surface that one cup of coffee seems pretty cheap.

However, even if you purchase 3 cups (the average in Canada) per day, your spending approximately $350 a month or $4,200 a year on just coffee! With figures like this, it’s not hard to see why coffee is a 6.2 billion-dollar industry in Canada. This type of money could have been invested, or at least go towards a very nice vacation someplace warm. Thankfully though, 8 out of 10 cups of coffee are consumed at home which can save us a significant amount of money in the long run.

Make mine a decaf please

Personally, I don’t think I could never give up my coffee. I can remember times I’ve waited seemingly forever in a coffee shop drive through line up on my way to college or work on cold winter mornings before the sun was even up.

I’m sure that for some of us it’s even worth being a bit late to work for! I decided however switch to decaf a few years ago. It may seem silly to drink coffee without caffeine, when that’s the reason most people drink it in the first place. The truth is, I feel a lot better not having to depend on that caffeine boost all the time.

I also just love the flavor of the coffee, I sometimes even forget that I’m drinking decaf, because they taste pretty much the same. Besides, It wouldn’t take much for me to experience that extra caffeine jolt, from a real coffee in the future, if or when I should ever need it because I’m not drinking it on a regular basis. Remember that caffeine only really helps fight fatigue if you’re consuming it often and it is addictive.

If you would like to quit or decrease the amount of caffeine you consume, the best advice I can give you would be to do it gradually. Everybody’s body will react differently, but I’ve found that most people have an easier time with the dreaded withdrawal symptoms if they cut down slowly.

Keep in mind that you may be consuming other substances that contain caffeine without realizing it, such as chocolate or energy drinks. If you do decide to go decaf, chose a brand that is decaffeinated naturally, using the Swiss water process (SWP) which is a non-solvent method for decaffeinating un-roasted coffee beans. Why not give these organic, fair trade brands a try:

-Van Houtte organic decaf k-cups

-Mountain Gems organic decaf coffee

-Kicking Horse organic decaf coffee

Note: it is unlikely that any coffee is going to be 100% caffeine free and may still contain trace amounts of caffeine.

Other healthier options

If you have a hard time digesting milk or cream and you want a creamy coffee, you may want to try canned coconut milk as an alternative. Coconut milk is sugar free, but is still high in fat, so use sparingly.

If you currently use sugar in your coffee, you can try a small amount of pure vanilla extract instead of an artificial chemical sweetener. Cinnamon, which naturally promotes healthy glucose levels is wonderful in coffee, for a bit of sweetness. Stevia leaf extract may also be a healthier calorie free sugar substitute, look for it under the brand name ‘Truvia’.

Interesting fact:

Former Canadian NHL hockey player Tim Horton opened the first Tim Hortin’s shop in Hamilton Ontario in 1964. It is now the largest quick service restaurant chain, with over 3,692 locations all across Canada. It has literally become part of our Canadian heritage, like hockey and beer. These however are perhaps topics for future blog posts. In the meantime, I am going to take a much-needed coffee break, talk soon.

Please leave us some comments below. Let us know what you think of this article or give us some ideas for future articles on other fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue related topics. Thanks for your interest!

Fight Chronic Fatigue Naturally – Improve Your Night And Your Day

There are many ways to fight chronic fatigue naturally. The best way is simply to get more sleep. I know, not always that simple right. Many people experience chronic fatigue and unfortunately those who have fibromyalgia are usually all too familiar with this symptom. Still, for many people out there, it is difficult to find natural remedies and treatment options.

I personally suffer from insomnia, so I’ve done a fair bit of research on this topic over the years. Sleeping pills have been proven effective for many people, however, there are always side effects and the possibility of dependence. I am not suggesting you discount their use entirely, I would only like to mention some natural alternatives. Here you will find tips on how to get a better sleep at night and fight fatigue during the day.

 

The importance of sleep

Just like eating healthy and getting enough exercise, we also need the proper amount of sleep every night. Not getting enough can lead to weight gain, loss of concentration (fibro fog), increased inflammation, depression and increase your chances of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The two basic types of sleep are Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. There are three different stages of non-REM sleep.

Your body will first go through three stages of non-REM sleep, the last one being ‘deep sleep.’ During this deep sleep phase, everything slows down, your heart rate, your breathing, even your brain waves. It is difficult to wake someone when they are in deep sleep. During deep sleep, our body’s release human growth hormones and begin the healing process. Your body repairs muscle tissue, organs and the immune system.

Remember that vivid dream you had the other night. This likely took place during REM sleep when most dreaming occurs. This is also when brain waves become more active, breathing and heartbeat increase and although eyelids remain closed, there is much rapid eye movement taking place. REM sleep usually occurs about 90 minutes after we fall asleep. REM sleep is important for memory storage, helping us learn throughout the day as well as overall cognitive functioning. ‘Restorative sleep’ consists of both REM and deep sleep. So, how much sleep do we require? Most individuals require at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

 

Too much pain

One of the many benefits of getting enough sleep is that your body and mind go through a repairing and healing process. This is something that those with fibromyalgia need more than anyone. However, it’s not always easy to obtain. Fibromyalgia patients often experience chronic pain which can negatively affect sleep. Without that restorative sleep, the symptoms of fatigue coupled with muscle, joint and tissue pain only get worse. Memory, stress levels and the ability to concentrate are also affected.

According to the National Sleep Foundation 65% of those with no pain reported good to very good sleep quality, while 45% with acute pain and only 37% with chronic pain reported the same. And those who suffer from chronic pain are more likely to have sleep problems that significantly affect their lives. Some suggest good sleep hygiene practices for a better night sleep. If pain worsens, however, or is greatly affecting your ability to fall asleep every night, you may need to speak with your doctor about other forms of pain management. For information on natural ways of reducing pain, visit by blog on Natural Fibromyalgia Pain Relief.

 

What is Sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is a set of habits you do every night that should eventually help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and ensure a better over all quality of sleep. Keep in mind, however that you may not see results immediately, the key is to do them every night. The good news is, good sleep hygiene can be very easy to practice and can make a real positive change, not only sleep and how you feel the next morning.

  • Be sure you are sleeping in a dark room, or use a sleep mask
  • Try ear plugs to block out any noise
  • Try to create a consistent sleep and wake up schedule
  • Exercise during the day may help you sleep but exercise too close to bed time may do the opposite.
  • Stay away from stimulants at night such as caffeine
  • Getting enough water during the day is important, but not too close to bed time. Too many trips to the bathroom can interfere with your sleep.
  • Try not to eat too much right before bed or consume things that will give you heart burn, bloat or indigestion.
  • Develop a bed time routine that works for you and stick to it night after night.

What about a melatonin supplement?

I hear many people talk about how they use melatonin for insomnia. This supplement is frequently marketed as a safe and natural sleep aid. But does it work? Actually the answer is no. Yes, our body’s naturally produce it, but that does not mean it is safe to take as a supplement. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain and putting more of this hormone into your body can have dangerous effects. Experimenting with hormone therapy is not something I would take lightly.

Melatonin controls your circadian rhythms, which is your internal 24-hour clock. This is why your body will produce more melatonin later in the evening and at night in response to the increasing darkness. Still, it is not a sleep hormone and there is little to no evidence that it actually helps induce sleep or allows you to stay asleep longer.

Furthermore, your body already produces this hormone naturally. Increasing this amount may interfere with your body’s own ability to produce it in the future, causing more harm than good. If you still really want to give this a try, as least talk to a trusted health care professional first and take the minimum required dosage. Personally, I believe that there are a lot of other options out there that are far more effective and safer to use.

 

Tips for insomnia

Many people, including those who have fibromyalgia, also suffer from insomnia. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. For some people, the sleep hygiene habits mentioned above help, but there are also other things that may be worth a try.

A white noise machine. White noise machines are great for blocking out background noise and usually sound like static on a radio. The sounds on these machines vary though and usually come with alternative noises such as sounds of waves crashing against the shore, a camp fire or the sound of rain falling in a forest. The sound you choose simply depends on your preference. Music on the other hand does not drown out sounds as well, thus does not seem to produce the same effect.

The Dodow sleep Light. This sleep devise emits a blue light onto the ceiling. The idea is to breath in and out as the circle expands and shrinks, thus slowing your breathing. By slowing your breathing and giving you something to focus on other than the million other thoughts that may be going through your head at night, it’s easier to fall asleep. There are two settings to choose from; eight minutes and twenty minutes. Afterwards, the device will automatically shut itself off.

Herbal tea. Most of us know that chamomile tea has a tranquilizing effect and is very beneficial as a natural sleep aid. While this is true, chamomile can also do much more than that, such as lower anxiety, stress and reduce inflammation. It is very beneficial for everyone, but particularly for those with fibromyalgia. Other great herbal bedtime teas worth a try include: Valerian root, lavender and passionflower.

Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy may also help to reduce anxiety, stress and help induce sleep. You can try experimenting with different essential oils. A great way to use them is in a warm bath so you also get the benefit of the warm water to help relax and sooth sore muscles. Be sure to dilute the oils first in a carrier oil, especially when applying directly to skin. I use lavender often, it helps me fall asleep and it smells wonderful. Peppermint is great for awakening the senses first thing in the morning. For more great uses for essential oils visit my blog Fibromyalgia and Aromatherapy

 

Naturally boost energy and fight fatigue throughout the day

Energy snacks. Sometimes we may need a little pick me up in the form of a nourishing snack. The trick is to consume healthy fats, a moderate amount of protein, fiber and very little sugar. Try some apple slices with cheese or peanut butter or a few almonds or sunflower seeds. Try to avoid soft drinks or snack bars that contain too much sugar, you will only experience a crash later and avoid caffeine after 2:00 pm as it may interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night.

Cold water. Your body subsists seven to nine hours every night without water and is releasing toxins while you sleep. The first thing you should do when you wake up is drink a big glass of water. While many suggest warm water because it’s better absorbed by the body, there is nothing like drinking super-chilled water to feel refreshed and awake. For extra detoxing benefits try adding a quarter of lemon to your glass or water bottle. When you hit that mid-day slump, simply splashing cold water on your face, may be enough help you feel more rejuvenated.

Ginseng. This product is natural and a great way to perk up mid-day, boost mental clarity and brain function. Some other great benefits to consuming ginseng include the following: stress reduction, weight loss, diabetes management, increase in sex drive, improves hair and skin, eases stomach upset and it has even been shown to help prevent cancer. What’s not to like! So, enjoy a cup of ginseng tea or talk to your doctor about adding a ginseng supplement to your diet.

Music. Listening to upbeat music throughout the day can not only help boost energy levels but can also improve your mood. Play your favorite music in the car on the way to work and if you can, during your breaks. Sometimes listening to soft classical music is a great to reduce stress and unwind after a busy day. Just play some tunes and enjoy!

Sunshine. This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but sometimes we just don’t get enough sunlight. If you are not getting enough sunshine, you may not be getting enough vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a vital role in our health including aiding in the body’s absorption of calcium. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can also have a huge impact on our energy levels and mood.

The best part is, you don’t even require a lot of exposure to get the benefits, only 5 mins of sun exposure will do the trick. Try a light walk outside in the sun for the added exercise benefit, which is also a great energy booster. Avoid walking for too long outdoors if the weather is too hot or humid, however, as this can make you feel more tired. Because we obtain very little Vitamin D from our food, you may also want to consider asking your doc about a daily vitamin D supplement.

Power nap. Yep, if you are able to, there is nothing wrong with grabbing a quick power nap to boost your energy and fight fatigue. The trick is not to let yourself fall into deep sleep in order to avoid feel groggy when you wake up; after all the whole point is to feel refreshed and energized. Try to keep the nap to no more than 20 mins. Sleeping for too long during the day may also disrupt you sleep later that night.

 

Have a good night

The best way the fight chronic fatigue naturally is to find something that can help you get a better sleep, whether it’s something that addresses pain or insomnia. It may take some research and a discussion with a health care professional to find the right medication, supplement or treatment. For some it may be as simple as practicing good sleep hygiene every night and setting a routine, while others may require more.

Even so, we are all going to have days that require more effort to get up and going or something that gives us that little extra boost of energy mid-day. I hope this blog has given you some helpful suggestions on ways you can improve your sleep and fight chronic fatigue naturally throughout the day. Do you have any ideas? Has something worked for you in the past? Please feel free to leave comments in the section below, they are always welcome! And thanks for visiting!

Fibromyalgia Exercise Programs – My Top 3 Picks

Bellow, you will find my top three favorite fibromyalgia exercise programs. I have personally reviewed all of these e-book programs and will give you information, insight and of course my honest opinion and rating for each. The first two programs contain a nutritional element as well as other great information and the last one is a pilates program designed for those with back and joint pain. Each one is great, it basically just boils down to which one will best suit your needs.

#1 Get Your Health Back – Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Freedom

Type of program: Full diet and exercise program designed for those with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue.

Cost of program: $37.95

Format: e-book

Author: NA

Money back guarantee: yes

My rating: 9.5 out 10

The author prefers to remain nameless, as there are so many fake names out there on the internet anyway. I wasn’t too put off by this, but curious. I would have preferred a name to go with the program, but that’s just me. What I like is the fact that he points out right off the bat that his program is not super easy and that it will take some effort. In other words, it’s not a ‘get well quick’ system.

If however, the individual is willing to put forth the time and effort required, the results can be amazing. The claim is that you can fight fatigue, depression, anxiety, lose weight and basically get your health back. The program follows no specific time frame as everyone is different and recovers differently. Ultimately this will hold true no matter which exercise program you choose, still most people do notice a difference within the first 6 to 8 weeks or so.

A different approach

While I appreciate this honest approach to exercise and nutrition, I wanted to find out whether this program was all it appeared to be or simply too good to be true. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised! The information contained here is quite good, written by someone who actually suffers from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue himself. The nutritional information is based on a gluten free paleo diet ( which I would recommend) and the exercises and stretches are easy enough for beginners to do.

I like the fact that Get Your Health Back covers more than exercise, although there is of course a comprehensive fitness component in it too. It is divided into 7 sections. In part 1, he discusses fatigue and pain management. In part 2, he talks about mental health, part 3 covers the importance of diet, part 4 is about fitness and exercise, which includes work out videos. Part 5 pertains to other symptoms, including headaches and IBS. Part 6 includes 369 recipes and part 7, a nutrition plan.

Saving you money

It can be difficult for some to find the right type of exercise or fibro friendly diet to follow and let’s face it, the cost of a personal trainer, health coach and nutritionist add up fast. This program is a bit more expensive than the rest on this review, but I do feel that you are getting a lot more in terms of information. It would also cost a lot more in the long run for those trips to the gym. This is great for those who are looking for a complete health system and don’t want to leave anything to chance.

You also receive bonus literature at no extra charge, which are: reducing blood sugar naturally, ways to stop sugar cravings (so important) immune system recovery, junk food destroyer and coconut miracle. There are over 700 pages available for easy download and it also comes with a 60 day risk free money back guarantee. All in all, I’d say it’s great value for the money. Click here if you would like to try it for 60 days risk free.

# 2 Fibromyalgia-Fitness – 12 Weeks to a Healthier You.

Type of program: Fitness workout program with nutritional component designed for those who have fibromyalgia.

Cost of program: $5.99 – $7.99

Format: e-book

Author: Eric Suarez

Money back guarantee: Yes

My rating: 9 out of 10

I recently came across this program specifically designed for those who would like to engage in more physical activity and have fibromyalgia, it’s called Fibromyalgia-Fitness by Eric Suarez. Eric Suarez is a certified personal trainer who has experience in training clients with fibromyalgia and helping them improve their symptoms through exercise and changes in diet.

After being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at a young age, (which has no cure, like fibromyalgia and can be very painful) he took a more natural, healthier approach to life. His program seems to be centered more on fitness, but still includes wonderful dietary suggestions (that I would also recommend as a health coach) , while the exercises are meant to be low impact and easy on the joints.

Program details

Eric Suez claims that his program can help you fight fatigue, chronic pain and improve your well-being through fitness and getting the body moving again safely. As a certified trainer myself, I can see how this can truly benefit people, especially those with fibromyalgia. The muscles and fascia need to be worked and stretched, otherwise they will not work as efficiently. The old saying is true “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”

As I mentioned, the program centers around fitness for FMS, but it also offers some diet information and is designed for people who need some motivation to work out (we all do at times) by offering daily guidance. There is a 12 week or the latest version which is a 7 week program. I know that a lot can be accomplished in just a few weeks, but that does make it sound a little gimmicky to me. If it’s working for you don’t put a time limit on it! Still it costs less than a fast food meal and could help you get healthier.

Convenient and affordable

I also like the fact that the product is downloadable so one could start taking advantage of the information right away. It is also at a very good price point, so it is very affordable for the average consumer. If you are interested in a very reasonably priced, quality fitness routine and diet plan that you can do safely, in the comfort of your own home, risk free, then Click here  to give fibromyalgia- fitness a try!

# 3 Pilates – Relief For Back And Joint Pain

Type of program: Pilates workout and breathing techniques designed for those with joint and back pain.

Cost of program: $20.00

Format: e-book

Author: Jennifer Adolfs M.S.S

Money back guarantee: Yes

My rating: 9 out of 10

Although this particular program is not advertised for fibromyalgia specifically, I felt that Pilates – Relief For Back and Joint Pain still deserved a spot on this list. This may be the answer for those that are unsure if they can partake in a regular fitness program because of sever fibromyalgia or arthritic pain or because of a previous back, spine or neck injury. Pilates is less vigorous or strenuous, but don’t let that fool you. It can still provide a great workout and stretching for the muscles, joins and fascia that and can help strengthen the core as well as ease all over joint pain.

What is Pilates

Pilates follows specific exercises designed to strengthen and stabilize the core. It has also been shown to increase muscle tone and flexibility. I’m impressed with the program as it has a complete Pilates workout (plus a bonus) and offers beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The advanced level can still be performed by anyone, but this does give people a chance to ‘build up’, especially if they are new to exercise.

The instructor Jennifer Adolfs is an advanced mat and equipment certified Pilates instructor with over 16 years experience in the field. She also holds a certification through the American Council on Exercise (the same company I received my certification) as a Clinical Exercise Specialist. I also like the transparency here, if you are not satisfied with your purchase for whatever reason, there is a money back guarantee.

What you will learn

Through trial and error she has developed an extensive repertoire of exercises she finds most beneficial for bone and joint conditions. She will be sharing all this with you! Learn how to breathe properly, the 6 steps of Pilates and how to strengthen, tone and help your posture at any age! There are men and woman in their 90s doing Pilates. Although this program does not include nutrition info, (I have not deducted any points for that) it is certainly worth a look. If you are interested in this Pilates program, simply click Here, to try it out in your own home, risk free.

Let us know your thoughts

Exercise is so important for everyone, but particularly for those who suffer with fibromyalgia and other conditions with symptoms of chronic pain and fatigue. If you have had a chance to try one of these fibromyalgia exercise programs out, let us know what you thought of any of the products mentioned, in the comments section below. We are also interested to know your thoughts on this review and if you found it helpful.

Thanks for visiting, and good luck on your exercise journey!