Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) occurs to some women in the week before they begin menstruating each month and continues until menstruation begins. It may even last one or two days after the period begins. Emotional symptoms include tension, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, and depression. Physical symptoms include weight gain from water retention, backache, sensitivity of breasts, swelling of feet or ankles, acne, headache, and joint or muscle pain. Many women experience some of these symptoms during menstruation, but for women with PMS, the severity of these symptoms is disabling and interferes with their regular lives.

The cause of PMS is unknown and debated, although many people believe hormones to be at the root of the problem. Treatment – such as anti-inflammatories, diuretics, anti-anxiety medication, antidepressants, and medications that fluctuate hormones – tend to deal with different causes and different symptoms. Every woman is unique, and may find success with a different method. However, before beginning one of the aforementioned treatments, some people find that a simple change to a more healthy, well-balanced diet with less sugar, salt, and candy in the week before menstruation can help immensely. Other women find that their symptoms are sufficiently improved after implementing a healthier diet with the addition of the nutrients.

There are also some women who experience symptoms that are even more severe and last for as long as two weeks. These women have pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Sufferers of PMDD should see their healthcare provider.

Supplements to treat premenstrual syndrome

• B-complex vitamins
• Calcium
• Carnitine
• Chasteberry
• Chromium
• Copper
• Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
• Inositol
• Magnesium
• Manganese
• Vitamin A and mixed carotenoids
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Zinc

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), also known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is an endocrine disorder in which multiple cysts may develop in the ovaries. Affecting 5 to 7 percent of women, PCOS can have very serious health consequences, including type 2 diabetes, uterine cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and infertility.

A women with PCOS may have any number of the following symptoms and signs: irregular menstruation and / or menstruation cycles; lack of ovulation; elevated levels of male hormones, specifically testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS); obesity, usually particularly concentrated at the torso; pain during sexual intercourse; larger than normal ovaries; excess hair on face or body; acne; sleep apnea; and insulin resistance.

There are a variety of medication options for women with PCOS. Doctors also recommend regular exercise and a change in diet, to one that is either low in carbohydrates or low according to the glycemic index. The addition of the following nutrients will add to the likelihood of success of most treatments.

• Alpha-lipoic acid
• B-complex vitamins
• Carnitine
• Chromium – Combining with the protein picolinate allows your body to absorb chromium more efficiently. However, some chromium picolinate supplements contain more chromium than necessary. Ask your doctor for a recommendation
• Copper
• EPA/DHA (fish oil)
• Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
• Inositol
• Magnesium
• Taurine
• Vanadium
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin E
• Zinc

Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism

Hyperthyroidism

The thyroid gland is the body’s internal thermostat. It regulates temperature by secreting hormones that control how quickly the body burns calories and uses energy. Hypothyroidism occurs when there is an excess of thyroid hormones. As a result, body processes, including metabolism, occur quicker than they should. Dramatic weight loss, fast heart rate, nervousness, fatigue, weakness, depression, and a host of other symptoms can result.

There are many different forms of treatment for hyperthyroidism, including hormone-suppressing medication, antithyroid medications, radioactive iodine, and surgery. Based on the cause of the problem and the patient’s age and oveall health, the healthcare provider will determine which treatment route is most appropriate. The following nutrient list can help ease the problem but always see your physician for ongoing care if you have hyperthyroidism.

Supplements to treat hyperthyroidism – Carnitine

Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland is the body’s internal thermostat. It regulates temperature by secreting hormones that control how quickly the body burns calories and uses energy. Hypothyroidism develops due to an underactive thyroid gland that does not produce enough hormones. Common symptoms include fatigue, intolerance to cold, slowed heart rate, unexplained weight gain, muscle weakness, hair loss (including the eyebrows), dry skin, and heavy menstrual periods. Severity of symptoms depends on the degree of the hormone deficiency. In a large number of cases, this disorder comes on so gradually, the person is unaware that he or she has a problem. If you suspect you may have this condition, check your thyroid function by following the directions below.

Hypothyroidism affects about 5 million people in the United States, and five to eight times more women than men. Many cases are the result of an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in which the body develops antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. Other common causes of this disorder include surgical removal of the thyroid and radioactive iodine therapy. Less common causes or contributors include infections of the thyroid, too much or too little dietary iodine, and excess of calcium and copper, and deficiencies of iron, selenium, zinc, and vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, and C. Medications, including beta blockers, lithium, certain oral contraceptives, and chemotherapy drugs, are also possible contributors.

Certain foods – especially seafood, sea vegetables, and other rich sources of iodine – are recommended for those with an underactive thyroid gland. And be aware that, when eaten raw, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, turnips, cauliflower, mustard greens, and spinach can contribute to a low-functioning thyroid. These foods should be eaten in moderation and only when cooked. Other foods that should be eaten only in moderate amounts include almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, millet, tapioca, and soy products.

Self-Test for an Underactive Thyroid

The following self-test can give you a good indication of whether or not you have an underactive thyroid.

Keep a thermometer next to your bed. As soon as you awake in the morning, before getting out of bed, tuck the basal body thermometer under your armpit and keep it there for fifteen minutes while lying very still. (Any motion can affect the reading). Write down the temperature, which is called a basal body temperature. Do this for three days in a row. (Because hormonal shifts affect body temperature, women should not take this test during the middle of a menstrual cycle, when ovulation usually occurs). Determine your average temperate by adding up the three readings and dividing by three. If it is below 97.2F, there is a good chance you may have a low-functioning thyroid. Contact your doctor to discuss your findings.

Supplements to treat hypothyroidism

• Ashwagandha root
• B-complex vitamins
• Canitine
• Chromium
• Coenzyme Q10
• Copper
• EPA/DHA (fish oil)
• Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
• Iodine
• Magnesium
• Milk thistle
• Myrrh
• Sage
• Selenium
• Tyrosine
• Vitamin A and mixed carotenoids
• Vitamin B3 (niacin)
• Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
• Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin E
• Zinc

CoQuinone is important because it contains CoQ10, which is a powerful antioxidant and is vital for cardiovascular health, sound muscle function, and healthy nerve function at the cellular level. As we age, the ability to naturally absorb and synthesize CoQ10 diminishes and the amount of CoQ10 retained in tissues decreases.

Homocysteine, Fibrinogen, Lipoprotein (A) and C-Reactive Protein

Homocysteine

Homocysteine is an amino acid that promotes free radical production. It also elevates trglycerides and cholesterol levels. Studies have indicated that high homocysteine levels are directly related to strokes, peripheral vascular disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Reasons that Homocysteine levels may be elevated

• Coronary artery disease
• Dementia
• Diabetes
• Drugs
• Elevated testosterone levels in women
• Hereditary predisposition
• Hypothyroidism
• Menopause
• Osteoarthritis
• Renal failure
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Smoking
• Toxins

Eliminating alcohol, birth control pills, caffeine, diuretics, niacin, and tobacco can help decrease homocysteine.

Fibrinogen

Fibrinogen is a clot-promoting substance in your blood. Elevated levels of fibrinogen can cause a heart attack.

Ways to lower fibrinogen levels

• Bromelain
• EPA/DHA (fish oil)
• Estrogen hormone replacement
• Garlic
• Ginger
• Ginkgo
• Stop smoking
• Vitamin E

Lipoprotein (A)

Lipoprotein (a) is a small cholesterol particle that can cause inflammation and clog blood vessels when present in the body in elevated levels. High lipoprotein (a) levels can also greatly increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease. Along with diabetes and menopause, taking statin medications and eating soy has been shown to increase this particle’s presence in the body.

C-Reactive Protein

c-reactive protein is a protein found in the blood. Its levels become elevated when the body detects an infection or need for inflammation. C-reactive protein levels can also rise due to a previous infection, obesity, depression, or diabetes mellitus. In addition, raised levels may be indicative of future problems including cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis.

Besides the supplements, exercise and the Metagenics product UltraInflamX can help lower elevated c-reactive proteins levels. One baby aspirin a day may also be effective, but check with your doctor regarding usage before starting this regimen.

Causes of increased C-reactive protein levels

• Depression
• Diabetes mellitus
• Inflammation
• Obesity
• Previous infection

Supplements to lower C-Reactive Protein levels

• Coenzyme Q10
• Curcumin
• EPA/DHA (fish oil)
• Grapeseed extract
• Green tea
• Quercetin
• Rosemary

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infectious disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus. It is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States.

In the first six months of infection with the virus – the period referred to as acute hepatitis C – 60 to 70 percent of the people infected have no symptoms at all, while others experience decreased appetite, fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, itching, or flu-like symptoms. When infection with the virus continues for more than six months – a condition called chronic hepatitis C – again, there may be no symptoms at all. Some patients, though, experience weight loss, flu-like symptoms, low-grade fever, muscle pain, joint pain, itching, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and more. If left untreated, this disorder can progress and cause inflammation of the liver, liver scarring, and cirrhosis. It should be noted, though, that the majority of those infected with hepatitis C experience either no symptoms or such milk symptoms that they do not seek treatment.

Hepatitis C is spread through contact with infected blood, and may be contracted through IV drug use; transfusions with unscreened blood; occupational exposure to blood; recreational exposure to drugs, as in sports; and even shared personal items such as razors. The condition has also been known to spread through sex with an infectious person, and from mother to infant during childbirth.

While prompt medical treatment of hepatitis C is important to avoid progression of the disease, a number of supplements can also be useful in the treatment of this disorder. At the same time, avoid high doses of vitamin A and beta carotene, and niacin supplementation greater than 100 milligrams.

Supplements to treat Hepatitis C

• Alpha-lipoic acid – USANA combined alpha-lipoic acid with coenzyme Q10 to create CoQuinone 30, a fantastic supplement of these energy-supporting nutrients. USANA Vitamins supplements CoQuinone 30 contains a full 30 mg of CoQ10 and 12.5 mg of alpha lipoic acid per soft gel capsule.
• Astragalus
• B-complex vitamins
• Carnitine
• Coenzyme Q10
• Lysine – Taking for more than six months can cause an imbalance of arginine. Do not take if you have diabetes or are allergic to eggs, milk, or wheat.
• N-acetylcysteien (NAC)
• Olive leaf extract
• Phosphatidyl-choline (Lecithin)
• Probiotics
• Selenium
• Silymarin – Found in milk thistle
• Taurine
• Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
• Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E

USANA Vitamins supplements Hepasil DTX is the comprehensive liver support formula that promotes and balances the body’s detoxification processes. Milk-thistle extract which provides dual action, stimulating liver enzymes and protecting against oxidative stress. USANA Hepasil DTX provides additional antioxidants from green-tea extract, olives, and turmeric provide further antioxidant protection.

Food Allergies, Gall Bladder Disorders and Gout

Food Allergies

Scientists estimate that 60 percent of the US population suffers from food allergies. There are many different foods to which people are allergic, with the eight most common being eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shell fish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat. Some reactions occur within three hours of eating the offending food, while others may not occur for several days. There are also a large variety of reactions that can occur. They can range from mild to life threatening.

A doctor can help you determine the foods to which you are allergic. Although you may find that you crave these foods, you must eliminate the allergy-creating items from your diet. Then, begin supplementation with the nutrients.

Gall Bladder Disorders

The gall bladder is a small pear-shaped sac, located under the liver, that acts as a reservoir by storing bile made by the liver. This bile is then released by the gall bladder as needed, and used in the digestion of fats.

Although the gall bladder is not essential to life, it can be the site of much dysfunction and distress. Gallstones can form within the gall bladder, potentially obstructing the ducts, and causing pain and other symptoms as they pass. Inflammation of the gall bladder, called cholecystitis, can also occur. This condition – which can cause fever, nausea, and vomiting – must be treated immediately, as it can be life-threatening.

If gallstones or cholecystitis is suspected, a doctor should be contacted immediately. Once the problem has been professionally treated, the following supplements will allow you to maintain gallbladder health.

Supplements to treat gall bladder disorders

The following nutrients can both treat your gall bladder disorder and maintain your gall bladder’s health. You should take 500 milligrams of taurine twice a day. Then, consume the following herbs. These herbs can be used to make excellent bitters – alcohol in which herbs have been dissolved – which are very efficient for maintaining the health of your gall bladder.

• Chelidonium (greater celandine)
• Cynara (artichoke leaf)
• Humulus (hops)
• Menthe (peppermint)
• Rosmarinus (rosemary)
• Taraxacum (dandelion root)

Gout

Uric acid, a byproduct of your metabolism, is usually oxidized by the enzyme uricase. But some people do not produce enough of this digestive enzyme, so the uric acid begins to first collect, and then crystallize, in their blood and tissues. When crystallizes, it becomes sharp and pokes into joints, causing severe pain and inflammation. Gout, also called metabolic arthritis, is one of the most painful forms of arthritis, but it is also one of the most treatable. Although it can occur to any joint in the body, it happens most often in the big toe.

USANA Vitamins supplements Digestive Enzyme keeps your digestion on the right track and provides an additional supply of enzymes to help your body digest a variety of foods. The enzymes supplied by USANA’s Digestive Enzyme supplement assist the body in the digestion of certain foods, including those containing lactose.

The first state of gout is symptomless. During this time, the uric acid level in your body rises. The second stage occurs when the uric acid begins to crystallize and causes pain in your joints. The attack may or may not be severe, and usually recedes afterwards for at least a few months and possibly even several years. However, in the third stage of gout, attacks occur with much greater frequency and severity. The gout can even begin to affect your vital organs.

To test for gout, a doctor will extract fluid from your inflamed joint. If you test positive, avoid niacin (vitamin B3), which competes with uric acid for excretion and will make attacks worse. Avoid alcohol, anchovies, baker’s and brewer’s yeast, game meat, herring, high doses (1,000 micrograms a day or more) of molybdenum, high fructose corn syrup, mackerel, offal (organ meats), red meat, sardines, shellfish, and vitamin A.

You must see a doctor if you have gout. It is treatable – although not curable – but can be dangerous if not treated before the problem becomes serious. The following supplements will help until you can see a doctor. During gout attacks, eat only nuts, raw fruits and vegetables (particularly cherries and strawberries), and seeds.

Supplements to treat gout

• Alpha-lipoic acid – USANA Vitamins supplements Mega Antioxidant contains Alpha lipoic acid which is the vitamins-like antioxidant that is both fat- and water-soluble. Alpha lipoic acid can increase or maintain levels of other antioxidant compounds in addition to its own, such as glutathione and vitamin C. USANA Mega Antioxidant also offers nutritional support for retaining sound cardiovascular function, healthy vision, a sound immune system, and efficient energy metabolism
• Baikal skullcap – May cause low blood sugar levels
• Bilberry
• Carnitine
• Chamomile
• Chromium
• Coenzyme Q10
• EPA/DHA (fish oil)
• Grape seed extract
• Milk thistle
• Quercetin
• Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• yarrow