Friday, December 21, 2012

The Ultimate Great Deed For This New Age

It can be said that the ultimate “great deed” is living your life compassionately in harmony with the reality of wholeness and in continuing relationship with The One, as The One. In so doing, you inform the world of the essential unity within multiplicity. As Campbell states, “The great deed of the supreme hero is to come to the knowledge of the unity in multiplicity and then to make it known” to the world.

“The two –-the hero and his ultimate god, the seeker and the found –-are thus understood as the outside and inside of a single, self-mirrored mystery, which is identical with the mystery of the manifest world.” (Joseph Campbel)

A question of identity sparked the creation of the physical universe. That inquiry continues to drive the eternal cycle of life. Answering it impels the “hero’s journey” that affirms life’s greatest mystery. Each of us is concurrently a singular answer connected to all the other possible answers to this most fundamental question. Every moment we live, every choice we make formulates the reply. We are life’s story being told every day. We are life’s affirmation of itself and the face of its own consciousness. Be bold and courageous in your living. Ask the question of identity–-“Who am I?”--at every moment and in every new situation. Then, behold the answer as you gaze into the face of your own reflection:

“I AM myself the creation!

I AM Life!”

(From, "The Face of Consciousness" by P. Donovan & H. Joiner Bey, 2006)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Every Healing Requires a Death of Some Kind

Every healing requires a death of some kind... something must die so that something can be born a new. This is the fundamental truth of all transformative processes. Therefor, the "real" question behind all transformative change and hence all healing isn't "What is it that you want?" It is: "What are you willing to sacrifice or let go of for your new level of order to manifest... for your new way of living to manifest?"


We all want many things but are not willing to sacrifice that which keeps us in old familiar patterns of ego security whether those patterns work (promote soul growth) or not. The belly of the shadow beast of healing and transformation is and always has been an act of sacrifice and letting go, never of desire and visualization alone. There is always a price to be paid.


What are you willing to sacrifice for that which you desire?



P. Donovan
On Health & Healing
 
Health cannot exist without disease and healing is impossible without traversing the chaotic struggle of illness. Thus, healing involves a risk, a sacrifice or loss of something, a death of some kind. It demands great courage and willpower on your part because you must be willing to risk life in order to win life. As Paul Tillich informs us, “Life must risk itself in order to win itself, but in the risking it may lose itself. A life which does not risk disease--even in the highest forms of the life of the spirit--is a poor life.” This willingness to risk yourself for greater life is the key that opens the door to the wellspring of creativity inside of you and the ever increasing richness and renewal inherent in the creative process. It is what transforms you... what heals you.

The transition from life through death to new life is the Hero’s journey. It is the journey of life’s continuous creation. As the characters in life’s story, we are all assured of this journey if we are willing to periodically risk ourselves and surrender the illusory security of our comfort zones to engage the possibility of egoic death by living more passionately, openly, authentically and creatively as The One. By consciously engaging the possibility of egoic death, we are assured life. By consciously engaging the possibility of illness, we are assured healing.

We have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.” (Joseph Campbell, PhD)

(From, "The Face of Consciousness: A Guide to Self-Identity and Healing" by P. Donovan & H. Joiner Bey, 2006)

Friday, December 7, 2012

What do carrots, grapefruit and kale have in common?


What do carrots, grapefruit and kale have in common? Carotenoids.The Many Health Benefits of Carotenoids

What Are Carotenoids?
Carotenoids are a group of phytochemicals (plant-chemicals) that are responsible for many of the oranges, reds, and yellows that color our plant foods in nature. Carotenoids support the immune system, boost eye and skin health, and help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The two general categories of carotenoids are carotenes and xanthophylls. Carotenes are present in the yellow, orange, and red vegetables we eat while xanthophylls are generally found in green vegetables.
Good food sources of Carotenoids
  • Beta-carotene: An essential carotene the human body converts to vitamin A. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash are excellent sources of beta-carotene.
  • Lycopene: Red tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon, and papaya all contain another type of carotene called lycopene, which is extremely important in preventing prostate and breast cancers.
  • Lutein: Particularly important for healthy eyes and the prevention of retinal degeneration (macular degeneration), lutein is a xanthophyll present in dark green kale, broccoli, yellow egg yolk, and bell peppers.
Are Carotenoids Safe?
Carotenoids and Vitamin A are necessary for proper immune function, eye and skin health, and the prevention of various cancers. While Vitamin A can be toxic when taken at higher levels than the body needs, carotenoids are a safe way of getting the Vitamin A your body needs. This is because your body controls the conversion of beta-carotene into Vitamin A and does not allow itself to generate toxic levels of Vitamin A. Carotenoids are the safest way to achieve healthy levels of Vitamin A in the body.
Natural vs. Synthetic Carotenes
Using only the natural forms, as opposed to the synthetic forms, of beta-carotene and other carotenes is strongly recommended. The synthetic forms may be damaging to the body as they are used to quench various oxidizing chemicals in the tissues, especially chemicals from cigarette smoke and the environment. The synthetic forms, when oxidized, may cause lung cancer in smokers.
Are Carotenoids Important for Health?
Carotenoids play a very important role in maintaining good health and preventing diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, as they are some of the strongest naturally occurring antioxidants known. There is clear scientific evidence in support of their beneficial role as antioxidant phytochemicals in the prevention of several chronic diseases.
Free radicals cause oxidative damage (almost like rusting) of cellular DNA, proteins and lipids, resulting in the initiation or development of numerous diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, and/or various neurodegenerative diseases. Because of their strong antioxidant activity, carotenoids play a crucial role in preventing these diseases.
Chemoprotective Effects of Carotenoids
Carotenoids protect against colon and rectal cancers by modulating the proliferative activity of cancer-causing proteins in the gut tissues.
Carotenoids have also been shown to have preventive or chemoprotective effects against skin cancers and cancers arising from the epithelial tissues such as skin and the tissues lining much of your gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, urinary tract and various organs.
Research also demonstrates that carotenoids protect your heart and play an important role in extending life expectancy.
Other Benefits of Carotenoids
Carotenoids have a multitude of health benefits. Here are some of the ways the doctors atUniversity Health Clinic prescribe carotenoids:
  • as an antiviral and supportive treatment in viral bronchitis
  • with patients at risk for sun-damaged skin and skin cancer due to excessive sun exposure
  • with patients who have systemic lupus. This is especially important for protecting them from the solar reactions and dermatitis common in lupus patients
  • to help prevent prostate and breast cancer (by using high-doses of lycopene)
  • to treat patients who have macular degeneration (with high doses of lycopene)
Safe and Healthy Supplemental Forms of Carotenoids
Beta Plex: Scientific Botanicals Beta-PLEX is a full-spectrum carotenoid complex. Carotenoids are not toxic (your body controls the conversion of carotenes to Vitamin A). With Scientific Botanicals Beta-PLEX herbal formulation, you can achieve the important health benefits and disease prevention effects of mixed natural carotenes safely and easily.
Ocu-Clear: Thorne Ocu-Clear enhances antioxidant activity in the eye and is of specific benefit to the retina (particularly in retinal or macular degeneration). The protective nutrients in Thorne Ocu-Clear include the full spectrum of carotenes (from mixed carotenes), selenium, zinc, vitamin C, lipoic acide, glutathione, and vitamin E, all of which are vital components for clear vision and retinal health.
We'd like to hear from you. Please send us an email and let us know if there is something in this article that works for you. We value your input and would like to exchange ideas with you.

How Hawthorn Strengthens your Heart


Hawthorn Extract for your heart...from the Dispensary OnlineHawthorn: Fruit for The Heart

The Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) is a fruit-bearing shrub or small tree with a long history as a medicinal substance. Hawthorn Berry has been used for centuries as a heart and cardiovascular tonic herb. It has also been used for the treatment of digestive ailments, shortness of breath, kidney stones, and cardiovascular disorders.
Cardiovascular Benefits of Hawthorn
Today, Hawthorn is used primarily for its cardiovascular benefits. Research has shown that Hawthorn's positive cardiovascular effects are due to its ability to strengthen the integrity of blood vessel walls and increase coronary blood flow in the heart muscle and cardiac output while also improving the heart’s utilization of oxygen.
Clinical studies have found that standardized extracts of Hawthorn flower, leaf, and fruit show promise as adjunctive agents for the treatment of left ventricular heart dysfunction commonly associated with congestive heart failure.
How Hawthorn Works in your Heart
Hawthorn improves left ventricular performance (the heart muscle’s ability to pump blood to the body), as measured by ejection fraction (the percentage of blood pumped out of your heart with each beat). Other trials consistently demonstrate the ability of Hawthorn solid extracts to improve exercise tolerance and symptoms of mild to moderate heart failure.
Reviews of placebo-controlled trials have reported both subjective and objective improvement in patients with mild forms of heart failure (New York Heart Association classes I through III). Other studies of Hawthorn in patients with heart failure have revealed improvement in clinical symptoms with better output of blood from the heart into circulation and patients' subjective sense of well-being.
The Benefit of Flavonoids
The active components of this slow-acting cardiotonic agent are thought to be its flavonoids and oligomeric procyanidins (vitexin). These are the substances that make the fruit so red and the flowers pink. These flavonoid molecules are some of the strongest known antioxidants and have been shown to have specific affinity for the heart and cardiovascular tissues.
Hawthorn (Crataegus) Extracts and Supplements
Hawthorn Extract: Vital Nutrients Hawthorn Extract is concentrated and standardized for its active flavonoid constituents. It is used to support the health of the cardiovascular system, including the protection and preservation of heart tissue. Hawthorne also is a tonifier of blood vessels and arterial walls. This is a standardized extract of leaf and flower in capsule form delivering 1.8 - 2% vitexin per capsule. Studies show this to be a clinically effective concentration at one to two capsules twice daily.
Cratoxy: Scientific Botanicals CRATOXY is a solid extract of Hawthorn Berry which has been used for centuries for heart and cardiovascular support. Concentrated into a molasses-like syrup, Cratoxy allows you to ingest therapeutic levels of Hawthorn Berry without taking pills… and it tastes great too! We commonly suggest ½ tsp., two to three times daily.
CardioBlend: The key elements in Vitanica CardioBlend, including Hawthorn Berry, help to support healthy blood cholesterol levels, healthy cholesterol ratios, balanced nutritional supplementation, and strengthened heart muscle tissue. Suggested use is two capsules twice daily.
Q10 Plus: Thorne Q10 Plus is a combination of coenzyme Q10, hawthorne (Crataegus oxycantha), potassium, taurine, and magnesium, providing the heart muscle with the nutrients needed for optimal functioning. Suggested use is three capsules one to two times daily.
We'd like to hear from you. Please send us an email and let us know if there is something in this article that works for you. We value your input and would like to exchange ideas with you.

Are Vitamins and Supplements Healthy for You?


Potentially Flawed Study regarding benefits of Vitamins and Supplements

A flawed October 2011 study questions whether vitamins and supplements are healthy for you.This October, the Archives of Internal Medicine published a study called "Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women. Following its publication, media headlines in USA Today read, "Are Vitamins Supplements Healthy or Deady?" New York Times Health Blogger, Tara Parker Pope, sent out the message, "More Evidence Against Vitamin Use", and the Wall Street Journal intimated, "Supplements Offer Risks, Little Benefit."
One of our featured companies, Thorne Research, reviewed the study and we find this information helpful enough to share it with our patients and customers.

In their own words (Thorne Research):

We have thoroughly reviewed this study and share the following analysis in order to help you better understand the study’s design and its findings, and to help allay any concerns you may have.
The Study’s Design
This study is an analysis of data gleaned from 38,772 postmenopausal Caucasian women enrolled in the then-ongoing Iowa Women’s Health Study. The data for the study is based on the responses obtained through a self-administered questionnaire initially distributed in 1986, with two follow-up questionnaires distributed over the next 18 years, in 1997 and 2004. The questionnaires inquired about lifestyle practices, food intake, dietary supplement use, weight, smoking status, hormone replacement therapy, and the presence of diabetes or heart disease.
Although study participants were asked about their intake of dietary supplements, the study did not report how much of any specific nutrient was consumed. Nor was information elicited from the women regarding the chemical form of the supplement (e.g., picolinate versus sulfate) or the quality of the supplements that were taken. Furthermore, although the women were asked whether they took a “multivitamin,” the study does not define this term; i.e., the mineral, vitamin, and botanical content of the study’s universal “multivitamin” cannot be determined.
Finally, no attempt was made to verify the accuracy of the answers provided in the questionnaires, nor were any of the participating women asked why they were taking supplements, and no attempt was made to determine the impact of taking—or not taking—supplements on any specific individual.
One possible flaw to consider. It is well known that when an individual is diagnosed with a serious disease, such as cardiovascular disease or cancer, beginning or increasing the use of dietary supplements occurs commonly. If the new or increased supplement use were reported on a questionnaire, and then subsequent mortality resulted because of the underlying disease, the situation could very possibly exist such that the individual’s death, while properly attributed to the disease, would also be “associated” with the use of a dietary supplement. Such an erroneous scenario is a highly likely flaw in the study’s design.
The Study’s Findings
The results of the study’s analysis claim to show a slightly higher risk of all-cause mortality associated with the use of multivitamins, iron, and copper. In weighing the study’s findings, however, it must be emphasized that the Iowa Women’s Health Study is a retrospective study of already collected data. It is not a prospective, controlled intervention study, i.e., it is not a “clinical trial,” in which participants would be given a specific dietary supplement or a placebo and then followed closely over time to observe not only the specific outcomes but also the factors possibly contributing to those outcomes.
As can only be surmised retrospectively, individual circumstances change over time, and a significant number of the women participants likely either changed or began new dietary supplement regimens over the course of the 18 years they were studied. And since there was no direct contact with the participants outside of the mailed questionnaires, general information surrounding individual deaths had to be obtained from public records; it was not ascertained by direct medical investigation.
With regard to iron and copper, it has been known for decades that both metals can be potentially toxic, as exemplified by the multi-system disease states that can result from hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease, respectively. For this reason, many postmenopausal women, like men, probably should not take an iron supplement in the absence of anemia or a documented deficiency. At the very least, iron and copper supplements should be taken concurrently with antioxidants and/or antioxidant-rich foods to prevent a potential increase in oxidative stress. Each of these circumstances points to the merits of dietary supplements being recommended and overseen by medical professionals.
With regard to multivitamins, there is simply insufficient data that can be gleaned from the study to make any serious conclusion about the impact of multivitamins on mortality. This is due to the fact that there are literally thousands of different combinations of vitamins, minerals, and botanicals that can be considered a “multivitamin,” as well as a whole host of considerations such as quality, potency, dosage, protocol, and indications for use, among others.
Practitioner and Patient Concerns
We believe there are serious flaws in the methodology, analysis, and findings on which this study is based. Retrospective surveys such as this—in which people are asked to recall years of dietary habits or supplement use—are notoriously inaccurate. The only conclusion that can realistically be drawn is that a slight statistical association was found based on a limited data set of questionable reliability—and a simple association does not reflect causation. The study’s authors do not disagree, stating the following in their commentary to the study: “It is not advisable to make a causal statement of excess risk based on these observational data…” We heartily agree with this advice.
When made by a quality manufacturer, when recommended by a knowledgeable health-care practitioner, and when taken for the appropriate indication, dietary supplements promote, enhance, support, and help maintain overall good health and well-being. The “results” of the recent study do not diminish this conclusion.

In their own words (Thorne Research):

I would like to thank Drs. Alan Miller and Robert Rountree's for bringing some important questions to light regarding the study, "Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women.
First, the information was taken from three questionares filled out by women over an 18 year period. It doesn't make sense that someone would be able to remember what they had to eat and what vitamins they were taking daily over the course of several years.
Second, the types and qualities of the vitamins and supplements taken by the women in the study are not specified. This study puts poorly formulated, cheap brands of vitamins and supplements on par with well formulated, quality supplements.
In my professional opinion, it appears that the media was led to this headline by the pharmaceutical industry, who is in the business of treating illness (not preventing it!).
We'd like to hear from you. Please send us an email and let us know if there is something in this article that works for you. We value your input and want to exchange ideas with you.

IBD Treatment - Repair the Gut (part 5 of 5)


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term used to describe a group of inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Each of these disorders involves some degree of inflammation (redness, swelling, erosion and sometimes bleeding) of the gastrointestinal mucosa or lining that commonly leads to ulceration of the mucosa to varying degrees. The inflammation is usually a result of an immune reaction of the body against its own intestinal tissue. Therefore, the diseases included in IBD are considered to be autoimmune disorders.

IBD Treatment - Repair the Gut

This is Part 5 of a 5-part article including:
The following nutritional and botanical products have been demonstrated to be safe, effective anti-inflammatory compounds beneficial in the treatment and management of IBD (according to the existing peer-reviewed scientific literature). As stated above, any use of additional medications or changes in treatment should only be made with your physician’s guidance and knowledge.

Butyrate and Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs)

SCFAs are produced in the colon by the digestive action of “good bacteria” on dietary fiber. Butyrate is a SCFA that acts as the fuel or food for the mucosal cells of the colon (colonocytes) and promotes their regeneration and repair. SCFAs, particularly butyrate, can modulate inflammation and promote regeneration of the colonocytes damaged by ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s colitis. (22)
Butyrate stimulates sodium and water absorption in the colon and promotes intestinal mucosal restitution and repair. It also prevents the development of colon cancer by promoting healthy cell differentiation and destruction of cancer-transformed colonocytes. (23) SCFAs can be given orally or used in an enema, particularly when there is proctitis and/or distal colitis. As researchers found, SCFA enemas are “a new and promising treatment for ulcerative colitis.” (24) I commonly prescribe butyrate enemas through a compounding pharmacy and suggest daily use for 2 to 4 weeks in acute flare-ups.

L-Glutamine

L-glutamine is a single amino acid that is an important metabolic fuel for the mucosal cells of the small intestine (enterocytes) and has been shown to preserve the intestinal barrier functions and reduce leakiness of the gut. L-glutamine also stimulates repair and regeneration of the small intestinal mucosa important in Crohn’s disease and celiac disease.

Zinc

Zinc is commonly deficient in children with Crohn’s disease. This is a contributing factor to poor growth and development in children with Crohn’s. Zinc has also been shown to improve intestinal barrier function (leaky gut) in Crohn’s disease. (25)

Gastrocrom (oral chromolyn)

Gastrocrom is the oral form of chromolyn, a safe and effective antihistamine flavonol used safely for years in the treatment of asthma. It is a synthetic cousin of the natural, medicinal flavonoid called quercitin. Research has shown Gastrocrom strengthens the epithelial/mucosal barrier reducing “leaky gut.” (25) It also reduces local mucosal allergic inflammation and is used to treat eosinophilic gastroenteritis, a form of allergic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Probiotics (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and others)

Simply put, probiotics are “friendly bacteria” to the gastrointestinal tract. People have more bacteria in their colon then they have cells in their body. These bacteria produce beneficial immunomodulatory effects in the gastrointestinal tract and induce immune homeostasis (balance). Due to this “normalizing action,” researchers have suggested probiotics can be “a suitable treatment for mild to moderate IBD.” (26)
The evidence for the use of probiotics in the treatment of IBD is strongest in the case of ulcerative colitis and pouchitis (inflammation of the remaining pouch after removal of the colon). (27) By far, the research has shown a human-sourced, multi-agent mixture of various friendly bacteria “may be better suited in ulcerative colitis and pouchitis.” (28)

Probiotics (Saccharomyces boulardi)

S. boulardii is a spore-forming yeast that commonly does not set up home in the colon. However, S. boulardii and its secreted-protein(s) inhibit gut inflammation and reduce IBD pathology. This is especially true in Crohn’s disease and pseudomembranous colitis, a form of antibiotic-induced infectious colitis caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile. S. boulardii inhibits the production of the proinflammatory chemicals called cytokines by interfering with the global mediator of inflammation, nuclear factor kappa B. (29) S. boulardii further protects against intestinal inflammation by modulating host inflammatory signaling pathways to exert its beneficial effects. (30)
The list of S. boulardii’s beneficial actions in IBD is impressive. It suppresses bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and inhibits adherence of invasive bacteria to the intestinal mucosal cells. It releases an enzyme (protease) that cleaves C. difficile toxin A and its intestinal receptor then stimulates antibody production against toxin A so that it cannot damage the colon resulting in a bloody colitis. S. boulardii also interferes with the development of IBD by trapping specific lymphocytes (T cells) in intestinal-related lymph nodes thereby, stopping their ability to induce an immune reaction against self-proteins. (31) Finally, in clinical studies, S. boulardii was found to reduce gut permeability and relapse of symptoms (6% vs. 36%) in Crohn’s disease patients. (32, 33)

This is Part 5 of a 5-part article including:
References
1. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Volume 7, Issue 9, September 2007, 607-613
2. Gastroenterology.Volume 115, Issue 6, December 1998, 1405-1413
3. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2005 Feb;11(2):178-84
4. World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Nov 28;15(44):5517-24
5. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2008 Jun;14(6):738-43
6. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Jan 21;14(3):331-7
7. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2008 Jun;14(6):775-9
8. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2001 Feb;13(2):93-5
9. Curr Pharm Des. 2009;15(18):2087-94
10. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2001 Apr;16(2):88-95
11. Curr Med Chem. 2006;13(28):3359-69
12. J Immunol. 2006 Mar 1;176(5):3127-40
13. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2001 Apr;16(2):88-95
14. Eur J Med Res. 1997 Jan;2(1):37-43
15. Nutrition. 2001 Jul-Aug;17(7-8):669-73
16. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 May;17(5):1136-43
17. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Apr 18;(2):Crohn's disease006320
18. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Mar;26(3):289-97
19. Clin Rheumatol. 1996 Jan;15 Suppl 1:62-66
20. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Mar;26(3):289-97
21. Z Rheumatol. 2000;59 Suppl 2:II/108-18
22. World J Gastroenterol. 2007 May 28;13(20):2826-32
23. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2006 Mar;40(3):235-43
24. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999;472:149-58
25. Dig Dis. 2009;27(4):450-4
26. Int J Med Microbiol. 2010 Jan;300(1):25-33
27. Dig Dis. 2009;27(3):412-7
28. Rev Recent Clin Trials. 2008 Sep;3(3):167-84
29. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Oct 15;30(8):826-33
30. J Biol Chem. 2006 Aug 25;281(34):24449-54
31. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009;30(8):826-33
32. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2008;43(7):842-8
33. Dig Dis Sci. 2000 Jul;45(7):1462-4

IBD Treatment - Quiet the Inflammation (part 4 of 5)


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term used to describe a group of inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Each of these disorders involves some degree of inflammation (redness, swelling, erosion and sometimes bleeding) of the gastrointestinal mucosa or lining that commonly leads to ulceration of the mucosa to varying degrees. The inflammation is usually a result of an immune reaction of the body against its own intestinal tissue. Therefore, the diseases included in IBD are considered to be autoimmune disorders.

IBD Treatment - Quiet the Inflammation (reduce production of inflammatory mediators)

This is Part 4 of a 5-part article including:
The following nutritional and botanical products have been demonstrated to be safe, effective anti-inflammatory compounds beneficial in the treatment and management of IBD (according to the existing peer-reviewed scientific literature). Their use can help to limit reliance on heavier doses of medications known to have more side effects.
That said, each case of IBD is different in its presentation and degree of severity. I am in no way suggesting the following nutritional and botanical therapies can successfully treat and manage IBD by themselves. I commonly use them in combination with conventional medications and conservative medical management. However, a number of my patients have successfully weaned off the more potent medications such as Azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, prednisone and others after being symptom-free for 6-12 months or longer on the integrated treatment regime described below.
Please remember, any use of additional medications or changes in treatment should only be made with your physician’s guidance and knowledge.

Curcuma longa (Curcumin)

Curcumin is a flavonoid extract from the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa). It is one of the most studied natural compounds in the world due to its marked anti-inflammatory and anticancer activity. It safely and actively inhibits production and release of numerous pro-inflammatory chemicals that are involved in the inflammatory process of IBD.
Curcumin causes:
  • Inhibition of cyclooxygenases/COX-2 (This is how sulfasalazine and mesalamine work.)
  • Inhibition of lipoxygenase (LOX)
  • Inhibition of TNF-alpha (This is how Remicade works.)
  • Inhibition of IFN-Gamma
  • Inhibition of the transcriptional nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappa B) - a key factor in the upregulation of inflammatory cytokines
Clinical research demonstrates Curcumin can significantly reduce clinical relapse in patients with quiescent IBD. Quoting researchers from the Center for Gastroenterology and Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research at Hamamatsu South Hospital, Hamamatsu, Japan, “The inhibitory effects of curcumin on major inflammatory mechanisms like COX-2, LOX, TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma, NF-kappaB and its unrivalled safety profile suggest that it has bright prospects in the treatment of IBD.” (9)  

Gum Resin Extract from Boswellia serrata

The gum resin extract from Boswellia serrataa (Frankincense) has also been shown to be of value in the treatment of IBD and chronic inflammation overall. According to researchers, “Oral therapy with the Boswellia extract or AKBA significantly reduces macroscopic and microcirculatory inflammatory features of inflammation in IBD.”10 The anti-inflammatory actions of Boswellia extract appear to be primarily due to its ability to inhibit 5-lipoxygenase, a potent activator of inflammation. This is the same anti-inflammatory activity that makes the aminosalicylate (aspirin-related) drugs such as sulfasalazine, olsalazine, mesalamine and azulfidine commonly used to treat IBD so beneficial. Boswellia has been further shown to inhibit other activators of inflammation such as NF-kappa B. (11, 12)
In clinical studies, medicinally effective oral doses of Boswellia reduced mucosal injury by inhibiting activity and adherence of activated leukocytes to intestinal mucosal cells in patients with IBD. (13) In one clinical study of Boswellia and IBD, Boswellia serrata gum resin preparation (350 mg TID for 6 weeks) was given to ulcerative colitis patients. Stool properties, biopsies, and various blood parameters were studied. Patients receiving sulfasalazine (1 g thrice daily) served as controls. “All parameters tested improved after treatment with Boswellia serrata gum resin, the results being similar compared to controls: 82% out of treated patients went into remission; in case of sulfasalazine remission rate was 75%.” (14)

Fish Oils (EPA/DHA)

Fish oils have been studied for nearly 30 years for their health giving benefits, their anti-inflammatory capability in particular. They have been shown to effect the production of the chemical mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins by reducing those that promote inflammation while increasing those that reduce inflammation. Quoting researchers from the scientific journal, Nutrition,
“Fish oils have been used successfully in the management of several inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The potential for the use of fish oils in the management of these diseases is tremendous…" (15)
Experimental/epidemiological studies show fish/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have anti-carcinogenic effects in the colon as well. (16) This is particularly important for people with IBD as they are at much higher risk than the normal population for developing colon cancer.
In studies with IBD, fish oils have been found to be safe and effective nutritional therapies for maintaining remission. After reviewing the published medical studies using fish oils in the treatment of IBD, the researchers concluded, “Omega 3 fatty acids are safe and may be effective for maintenance of remission in Crohn’s disease when used in enteric coated capsules." (17)

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL)

Licorice root has had a long history of medicinal use. In clinical studies, it has been shown to reduce inflammation in gastric mucosa and promote healing of ulcers while reducing recurrence. Human studies have found it to be as effective as leading anti-ulcer medications in relieving pain associated with stomach ulcers and preventing the ulcers from recurring. It also promotes the healing of canker sores commonly associated with Crohn’s disease while reducing the associated pain.

Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)

The Specific Carbohydrate diet is my first choice in the treatment of IBD and should include organic, whole foods and free-range, grass-fed animal protein. It reduces exposure to high dietary intakes of sucrose, refined carbohydrates, and microparticles (anti-caking agents, food additives) which may combine with various gut bacteria such as Klebsiellala thereby enhancing their ability to cause cross-reactive immune responses leading to inflammation locally in the gut and systemically.
People with Crohn’s disease and reactive arthritis such as ankylosing spondylitis, have been found to have elevated levels of antibody against the whole bacteria or preparations from Klebsiella along with antibodies to the connective tissues of their joints and cartilage (collagen) due to molecular similarities between their genetic markers for certain proteins and Klebsiella. (18) Therefore, reducing the immune reactivity and cross-reactivity to these bacteria may reduce the body-wide inflammation IBD can cause.
A “low starch diet” like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet has been shown to reduce the levels of specific bacterial cross-reactive antibodies in both healthy controls and patients with IBD and reactive arthritis. Further, it has also been shown to decrease the inflammation and symptoms in those patients.19 Researchers suggest, “Early treatment of Crohn’s disease patients with anti-Klebsiella measures is proposed, which may involve the use of antibiotics and low starch diet together with other traditionally used immunomodulatory, immuno-suppressive, or biologic agents.” (20)

Corticosteroids (Prednisone or Budesonide)

Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are prescriptive, suppressive, anti-inflammatory medications used to treat acute exacerbations of IBD. Every clinician I know prefers not to use these drugs for long-term management of IBD if at all possible, due to their eventual side effects such as diabetes, osteoporosis, stomach ulcers and others when used over prolonged periods. However, with that said, prednisone can save lives when given at the right time, with the right patient, in the right tapering doses. Prednisone tapers for acute exacerbation of IBD commonly begin with doses in the range of 40 to 60 mg daily, slowly tapering down over 6 to 12 weeks. Budesonide is an intra-luminal (stays within the intestine) steroid that is commonly effective in treating IBD, particularly microscopic colitis. Its benefit over prednisone is it isn’t absorbed into systemic circulation and, therefore, has less systemic side effects.

DHEA (co-treat prednisone therapy with DHEA)

DHEA is an anabolic steroid produced naturally in our adrenal gland. It has been termed the “youth hormone” because it helps to keep us younger with less risk of developing the common degenerative diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Studies have shown serum levels of DHEA are significantly lower in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases and chronic prednisone treatment. Therefore, I commonly recommend patients receiving prednisone therapy also take DHEA as it can reduce the side effects caused by prednisone. (21)

Aminosalicylates

Aminosalicylates are aspirin-like anti-inflammatory drugs often used as the first-line treatment in early disease states of IBD. Sulfasalazine and mesalamine are more commonly used in the treatment and management of ulcerative colitis for inducing and maintaining controlled remission. Mesalamine (Canasa, Rowasa) is commonly used as a retention enema or suppository to treat proctitis (inflammation of the rectal pouch) and distal colitis. Blood tests to check liver and kidney function and blood counts to check white blood cells should be done every 3-6 months in patients being treated with these medications. Also, folic acid must be supplemented when using sulfasalazine as it inhibits the absorption of folic acid.
Generic Names of Aminosalicylates
  • balsalazide disodium
  • mesalamine
  • olsalazine sodium
  • sulfasalazine

Immunosuppressive Drugs

Immunosuppressive drugs such as 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP), azathioprine and Remicade are commonly used as second-level therapy in patients who are not well managed on just aminosalicylates and diet/nutritional intervention alone. These immunosuppressive drugs can help maintain a remission and reduce the dose of and reliance on corticosteroids. 6-MP and azathioprine have a longer history of use and are safer than Remicade (Infliximab). Remicade is still somewhat the “new kid on the block” and is used when “all else fails” or when progressive pathology is serious enough to warrant its use. Remicade has MANY side effects including cancer. But, it saves lives and reduces risks of serious complications when the time is right for its use.

This is Part 4 of a 5-part article including:
References
1. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Volume 7, Issue 9, September 2007, 607-613
2. Gastroenterology.Volume 115, Issue 6, December 1998, 1405-1413
3. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2005 Feb;11(2):178-84
4. World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Nov 28;15(44):5517-24
5. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2008 Jun;14(6):738-43
6. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Jan 21;14(3):331-7
7. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2008 Jun;14(6):775-9
8. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2001 Feb;13(2):93-5
9. Curr Pharm Des. 2009;15(18):2087-94
10. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2001 Apr;16(2):88-95
11. Curr Med Chem. 2006;13(28):3359-69
12. J Immunol. 2006 Mar 1;176(5):3127-40
13. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2001 Apr;16(2):88-95
14. Eur J Med Res. 1997 Jan;2(1):37-43
15. Nutrition. 2001 Jul-Aug;17(7-8):669-73
16. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 May;17(5):1136-43
17. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Apr 18;(2):Crohn's disease006320
18. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Mar;26(3):289-97
19. Clin Rheumatol. 1996 Jan;15 Suppl 1:62-66
20. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Mar;26(3):289-97
21. Z Rheumatol. 2000;59 Suppl 2:II/108-18
22. World J Gastroenterol. 2007 May 28;13(20):2826-32
23. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2006 Mar;40(3):235-43
24. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999;472:149-58
25. Dig Dis. 2009;27(4):450-4
26. Int J Med Microbiol. 2010 Jan;300(1):25-33
27. Dig Dis. 2009;27(3):412-7
28. Rev Recent Clin Trials. 2008 Sep;3(3):167-84
29. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Oct 15;30(8):826-33
30. J Biol Chem. 2006 Aug 25;281(34):24449-54
31. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009;30(8):826-33
32. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2008;43(7):842-8
33. Dig Dis Sci. 2000 Jul;45(7):1462-4

IBD Treatment - Removing the Obstacles (part 3 of 5)


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term used to describe a group of inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Each of these disorders involves some degree of inflammation (redness, swelling, erosion and sometimes bleeding) of the gastrointestinal mucosa or lining that commonly leads to ulceration of the mucosa to varying degrees. The inflammation is usually a result of an immune reaction of the body against its own intestinal tissue. Therefore, the diseases included in IBD are considered to be autoimmune disorders.

IBD Treatment - Removing the Obstacles to Cure

This is Part 3 of a 5-part article including:
Eliminating Disruptive Foods
Identifying and removing food intolerances and dietary promoters of inflammation is one of the first steps to take in the treatment of IBD. This means removing gluten if celiac is suspected and removing allergic foods. The intestinal reactions from these food products can worsen already present symptoms of IBD and further fuel the already existing inflammation making it harder to resolve.
Lactose intolerance is another aggravating factor that doesn’t necessarily promote the inflammatory process but does complicate symptoms by contributing to more gassiness, diarrhea and intestinal discomfort.
Removing pro-inflammatory fats (hydrogenated fats, omega-6 fats and saturated fats) as well as processed and “fast” foods from the diet, especially white flour, anti-caking agents and food preservatives can be helpful as these are known to be causatively associated with IBD.
Following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet has helped many people with IBD, especially those with Crohn’s disease. (www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info) This diet removes many of the aforementioned foods, especially processed flours and refined carbohydrates.
Removing Infectious Agents
There are a number of infectious agents that can promote gastrointestinal inflammation. They should be identified and successfully treated. Some of these agents include Helicobacter pylori(causes stomach inflammation and ulcers), Clostridium difficile (causes infectious/pseudomembranous colitis), intestinal parasites like Giardia, and other microorganisms such as Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP), adherent invasive E. coli, Pseudomonas, Citrobacter, Proteus, and Klebsiella, all of which are known to be disruptive to the intestinal tract and cross-reactive.
Addressing Leaky Gut 
Identifying and removing known promoters of “leaky gut” is especially important in those people with IBD who are experiencing associated inflammatory disorders in other parts of their body. Promoters of leaky gut include alcohol, needless or recurrent antibiotics, bisphosphates used to treat osteoporosis, and other medications that disrupt gastrointestinal integrity such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen. Dietary promoters of inflammation as mentioned earlier can also promote leakiness of the gut.
 Nutritional Deficiencies
Nutritional deficiencieses should be identified and resolved as they can inhibit gastrointestinal repair and healing. These important nutrients include vitamin D, zinc and other trace minerals, B12 and folic acid, iron, and omega-3 fats. Protein/Calorie malnutrition is most common with Crohn’s disease and can lead to marked weight loss.
Electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and chloride can be easily lost with the diarrhea associated with IBD especially in ulcerative colitis. Some of the medications used to treat IBD, such as sulfasalazine, can cause folic acid deficiency by inhibiting its absorption.
Eliminating Stress 
Many people with IBD experience major flare-ups in their disease when confronted with stress. Therefore, identifying and managing major stress factors are also very important.

This is Part 3 of a 5-part article including:
References
1. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Volume 7, Issue 9, September 2007, 607-613
2. Gastroenterology.Volume 115, Issue 6, December 1998, 1405-1413
3. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2005 Feb;11(2):178-84
4. World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Nov 28;15(44):5517-24
5. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2008 Jun;14(6):738-43
6. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Jan 21;14(3):331-7
7. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2008 Jun;14(6):775-9
8. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2001 Feb;13(2):93-5
9. Curr Pharm Des. 2009;15(18):2087-94
10. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2001 Apr;16(2):88-95
11. Curr Med Chem. 2006;13(28):3359-69
12. J Immunol. 2006 Mar 1;176(5):3127-40
13. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2001 Apr;16(2):88-95
14. Eur J Med Res. 1997 Jan;2(1):37-43
15. Nutrition. 2001 Jul-Aug;17(7-8):669-73
16. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 May;17(5):1136-43
17. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Apr 18;(2):Crohn's disease006320
18. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Mar;26(3):289-97
19. Clin Rheumatol. 1996 Jan;15 Suppl 1:62-66
20. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Mar;26(3):289-97
21. Z Rheumatol. 2000;59 Suppl 2:II/108-18
22. World J Gastroenterol. 2007 May 28;13(20):2826-32
23. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2006 Mar;40(3):235-43
24. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999;472:149-58
25. Dig Dis. 2009;27(4):450-4
26. Int J Med Microbiol. 2010 Jan;300(1):25-33
27. Dig Dis. 2009;27(3):412-7
28. Rev Recent Clin Trials. 2008 Sep;3(3):167-84
29. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Oct 15;30(8):826-33
30. J Biol Chem. 2006 Aug 25;281(34):24449-54
31. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009;30(8):826-33
32. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2008;43(7):842-8
33. Dig Dis Sci. 2000 Jul;45(7):1462-4

About Dr. Patrick Donovan

Dr. Donovan is a Naturopathic Physician, author, educator, and a professor of clinical medicine at Bastyr University's Natural Health Clinic. In 2010 he was voted by his professional peers as one of Seattle’s Top Doctors in the Seattle Metropolitan Magazine. Dr. Donovan writes and lectures on the transformational process of healing and believes a person’s healing journey is ultimately a quest for his/her identity, purpose and meaning. He has more than 35 years of patient care experience as a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Naturopathic Physician (ND), representing a wide range of clinical settings from hospital-based surgical and intensive care as a registered nurse to outpatient primary care as a physician.

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