Two on RA
Any of you who have had patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) know how frustrating this disease is for both patient and doctor. One treatment that has been widely studied and found successful is the use of large amounts of fish oil (EPA and DHA). Fish oil does help rheumatoid arthritics. Unfortunately, many patients have a difficult time consuming large doses of fish oil. Last November, a double blind study with patients supplemented with 1400 mg of GLA from borage oil for six months reported a 30-45 percent reduction in joint pain and swelling. It is much easier to have patients consume GLA than fish oil, and I hope the study can be reproduced.1
In a noncontrolled study, clinicians reported that consumption of ginger in capsule form, at doses ranging from 1500 to 4000 mg per day, significantly reduced pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia.2
Asthma and Sodium
In a 10-week controlled study in which 27 male asthmatics had two five-week diets (low sodium and high sodium), when the asthmatics consumed a high sodium diet, their symptoms and the need for medication both significantly increased.3
When researchers looked at the diet of kidney stone formers, they found that many patients consumed cola beverages on a regular basis. When they studied the urine of subjects who had consumed the equivalent of one extra large convenience store cola, and compared the results to urine without cola consumption, they concluded that cola consumption at the level studied (48 ounce) promoted stone formation.4
I have had a hard time accepting homeopathic medicine because of the lack of good studies, and when a positive study is published, it seems that neutral investigators are unable to reproduce it. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on 81 children, ages six months to five years, who suffered from diarrhea, they received either a placebo or a homeopathic remedy for their diarrhea. After two days, those who received homeopathic medicine had a statistically significant reduction in diarrhea. If this research can be reproduced, I predict a sharp increase in studies on homeopathy. The remedies used in this study were arsenicum aldum, chamomilla, mercurius vivus, podophyllum, and sulfur.5
A very interesting vitamin C absorption study was released last summer. Nine people were involved in a double blind study in which they took 500 mg of the ascorbic acid form of vitamin C, 500 mg of ester-C, 500 mg of ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids, or a placebo. The authors concluded after comparing plasma levels, urinary excretion rates, and vitamin C retention that there was no difference between these supplements. The authors recommended the utilization of ascorbic acid vitamin C because it was much less expensive than vitamin C with bioflavonoids or ester-C.6
I would like to again emphasize that this is just one small study. There has been evidence that ester-C is, at least in some individuals, better absorbed. My personal feeling is that vitamin C is so inexpensive and so well tolerated in most people that if I feel a patient is not absorbing enough vitamin C, I simply increase their dose. As for vitamin C with bioflavonoids, I know of no researcher who states bioflavonoids enhance vitamin C absorption. There are studies that show when vitamin C and bioflavonoids are taken together, their individual effects are enhanced. I always recommend that my patients look for vitamin C formulas with bioflavonoids. I use the orange analogy. If you drink the juice, you get vitamin C. If you eat the entire orange, you get vitamin C and bioflavonoids -- as nature intended.
- Levanthal et al. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with gamma linolenic acid. Annals of Internal Medicine. 119:867-873. 1993.
- Srivastava et al. Ginger in rheumatism and musculoskeletal disorders. Medical Hypothesis. 39:342-348. 1992.
- Carey et al. Effects of alterations of dietary sodium on the severity of asthma and men. Thorax. 48:714-718. 1993.
- Weiss et al. Changes in urinary magnesium citrate and oxalate levels due to cola consumption. Urology. 3:331-333. 1992.
- Jacobs et al. Treatment of acute childhood diarrhea with homeopathic medicine. A randomized clinical trial in Nicaragua. Pediatrics. May 1994. 93(5): 719-725.
- Johnston et al. Comparison of the absorption and excretion of three commercially available sources of vitamin C. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 94(7:779-782). July 1994.
Clinical Pearls News, 1994. ITServices, 3301 Alta Arden, #3, Sacramento, CA 95825.
American Journal of Natural Medicine, 1994. ImpaKt Communications. P.O. Box 12496, Green Bay, WI 54307)2496.
G. Douglas Andersen, DC
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