Saturday, April 19, 2008

Combat Pain with Exercise

ScienceDaily (Apr. 17, 2008)

A recent study published in Arthritis Care and Research journal concluded that regular exercise, specifically the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, is an effective course in significantly improving and managing arthritis pain.

The in-depth study looked at the effectiveness of the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, developed in 1987 to reduce pain and stiffness by keeping joints flexible and muscles strong. Key findings of the study include participants reporting a decrease in pain and fatigue, an increase in upper and lower extremity function, and an increase in strength after participating in the basic, eight-week exercise program. Also, participants who continued the exercise program independently, beyond eight weeks, sustained improvement in reduced stiffness.
“The study showed that the exercise program is suitable for every fitness level, even inactive older individuals,” said author of the study Leigh Callahan, Ph.D., Thurston Arthritis Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Many people believe the myth that exercise exacerbates their symptoms. The truth revealed in the study is that symptoms improved with exercise.”
The basic eight-week Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program consists of low-impact routines with gentle range-of-motion movements that can be done while sitting or standing.
“Even minor lifestyle changes like taking a 10-minute walk three times a day can reduce the impact of arthritis on a person’s daily activities and help to prevent developing more painful arthritis,” explains Patience White, M.D., chief public health officer of the Arthritis Foundation. “Physical activity can actually reduce pain naturally and decrease dependence on pain medications.”

The objective of the study was to evaluate the basic eight-week Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program for improvements in symptoms, functioning, level of physical activity and psychosocial outcomes. A total of 346 individuals with self-reported arthritis from 18 sites participated in a randomized controlled trial. The eight-week exercise program consisted of exercise twice weekly for one hour. The study participants had a mean age of 70 years (ranging from 32 to 94 years old), 90 percent were female, 75 percent were white and 60 percent had more than a high school degree.
Adapted from materials provided by Arthritis Foundation.

Dr. Zach's Comments:

Physical activity is an essential ingredient to life. In fact, it should be looked at as a nutrient your body absolutely needs to be truly healthy, and just like any essential nutrient, your body will suffer if you do not get it.

Our bodies are designed for activity, but unfortunately here in America we are not. Over 40% of America leads a sedentary lifestyle, which is defined as less than one hour of activity per month (that includes walking), and over 75% of America gets less than the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day. It's no wonder why more than 2/3 of Americans are overweight, more than 1/3 of us are clinically obese, and our health care costs are skyrocketing.

The truth is, we don't take care of the bodies our creator endowed us with. So what can you do to prevent becoming one of these statistics? First, believe that you can. You can be outrageously healthy. You can prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer's. You can lose weight. You can lead a purposeful, energetic life. Once you realize these things are possible, then you will take the appropriate action steps to see it happen. Learn more about living a healthy lifestyle. Implement the things you learn into your daily routine. And don't forget, YOU'RE NOT ALONE! Seek out friends and health care providers who can help you along the way!

Avoiding Sugar May Prevent Cancer

ScienceDaily (Apr. 17, 2008) — Researchers at the Duke School of Medicine have found that tumor cells use glucose as a way to avoid programmed cell death.

They make use of a protein called Akt, which promotes glucose metabolism, which in turn regulates a family of proteins critical for cell survival, the researchers shared during an April 15 presentation at the American Association of Cancer Research Annual Meeting in San Diego.

In normal cells, growth factors regulate metabolism and cell survival. Removing these factors leads to loss of glucose uptake and metabolism and cell death. Cancer cells, however, maintain glucose metabolism and resist cell death, even when deprived of growth factors.

To study how Akt might affect these processes, Coloff and colleagues introduced a cancer-causing form of Akt called myrAkt, into cells that depend on growth factor to survive. The mutant form of Akt allowed cells to maintain glucose usage and survive even when no growth factors were present, allowing them to bypass a normal safeguard used by cells to prevent cancer development.
The death of normal cells after growth factors are removed is partly accomplished by two proteins called Mcl-1 and Puma. But the cancer-causing version of Akt prevents these two proteins from accomplishing their tasks, allowing the cell to survive when it shouldn't.
Once glucose was withdrawn from the environment, however, Akt was no longer able to maintain regulation of the key targeted proteins Mcl-1 and Puma, and the cells died.
"Akt's dependence on glucose to provide an anti-cell-death signal could be a sign of metabolic addiction to glucose in cancer cells, and could give us a new avenue for a metabolic treatment of cancer," said Dr. Rathmell.

Dr. Zach's Comments:

  • The idea that cancer feeds on sugar is not new, and many natural health care providers have condemned sugar for multiple reasons, this one included. However, now we have a specific mechanism of why sugar is so important to cancer, and if this evidence doesn't encourage you to cut glucose based sugar from your diet, there may be nothing that does.

  • If you got lost in the scientific mumbo-jumbo above, here's the short story: Your cells know when things go haywire, and they have an innate program that essentially causes cellular suicide when things go wrong (e.g. cancer). One of the the suicide programs takes away the cells ability to use the fuels we give it (energy in food). However, cancer cells have the ability to continue to use glucose even in this environment.

  • Do you get it? If there was no glucose around the cancer cell, it would not have fuel to survive and it would die too... thus no more cancer.

  • So, where do we find glucose or glucose sugars in high enough concentrations to be problematic: refined sugar, table sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, grains (especially refined wheat flour), juice, just to name a few.

  • It's impossible to completely remove glucose from your body, as every cell requires it to make energy, but if you can remove most of the glucose from your diet, your body will still make energy by converting other forms of energy like fructose and triglycerides (fat) into glucose, and this process is much easier for your body to regulate. Unregulated levels of blood glucose will lead to health problems every time.

  • Want to know other ways to promote cancer cell death: exercise, vitamin D, and even caffeine assist the body in regulating cancer.