SpectraCell Blog

Why Do We Get PMS?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 @ 11:20 AM

The Fatigue SolutionExcerpt from Eva Cwynar, M.D.'s new book, "The Fatigue Solution"

We've come a long way since the time when doctors used to debate the reality of PMS, but the short answer is that there are many reasons why PMS occurs. There are several different theories:

  • Decline in progesterone levels. PMS symptoms occur during the luteal phase of a woman's cycle, which is when progesterone begins to rise (right after ovulation) and then starts to plummet about 7 days later. When you are about to get your period, your progesterone levels rapidly drop. That's what causes problems. Hormone levels normally fluctuate. If progesterone levels were measured on a scale of 1 to 10, for example, they could drop from a level of 10 to a 9.9 to a 9.8 to a 9.7 and your body would be able to adjust to the changing levels with almost no difficulty. When you're about to get your period, however, levels drop dramatically from a 10 to a 5 and perhaps even to a 1. It's that rapid change that stimulates your symptoms. And some women drop faster and lower than others, which is why their symptoms may be worse than other women's.
  • Decrease in neurotransmitters serotonin and GABA activity. Serotonin is responsible for our positive emotional well-being, while GABA helps keep us calm. Reduced levels of estrogen during the luteal phase may ben linked to a drop in serotonin. Lower serotonin levels are associated with irritability, anger, and carbohydrate cravings, all of which are symptoms of PMS. It also appears that GABA receptors are less sensitive than normal, which would explain the increased sense of anxiety.
  • Changes in levels of norepinephrine and epinephrine. These neurotransmitters are involved in the body's stress response. Estrogen may affect the levels of these neurotransmitters, which can influence blood pressure and heart rate as well as mood.

Other possible causes include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Mercury toxicity
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Candida overgrowth (a fungus)
  • Food allergies/sensitivities
  • Vitamin B6, Calcium or Magnesium deficiencies
  • Inadequate protein intake - liver enzymes that convert female hormones depend on protein
  • Poor liver function - the liver metabolizes one form of estrogen into other forms of estrogen
  • Poor adrenal gland function

No one knows for sure what causes PMS. Some people attribute particular symptoms to increased levels of estrogen and/or progesterone; other people say the same symptom is due to decreased levels of these hormones. Studies routinely produce conflicting results. I believe that the key to eliminating or greatly reducing PMS symptoms lies in the balance between these two hormones during the menstrual cycle.

Learn more about this topic below:

Also, to learn more about Dr. Eva Cwynar, visit her website: www.dreva.com

 

Topics: Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Fatigue, Calcium, PMS, Hormones, Dr. Eva Cwynar

NEW! SpectraCell's Asthma Quick Reference Chart

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 @ 10:12 AM

Asthma WheelDuring last week's webinar, "Nutritional Considerations of Allergies & Asthma", we created and offered a copy of our new "Asthma Quick Reference Nutrient Chart".  This visual tool is an excellent resource to emphasize to your patients the many inter-related roles that nutrition plays in disease prevention and management.

View and/or download our flyer on Asthma HERE.

You can also view the rest of our library of quick reference nutrient charts HERE. Each chart is available as an individual handout and includes references posted on the reverse side. Our clients can order supplies by calling us at 800-227-5227 or visiting our Physician Access Center.


Topics: Coenzyme Q10, zinc, folate, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Selenium, Vitamin B6

Recorded Webinar: Nutritional Considerations of Allergies and Asthma

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 @ 10:55 AM

Allergies & AsthmaPresented by: Ron Grabowski, R.D., D.C.

Topics of Discussion:
  • How does the gastrointestinal tract affect allergies?
  • What nutrients act as antihistamines?
  • How do certain medications for asthma affect an individual's nutritional status?
  • Why is magnesium so important to the COPD patient?
Click HERE to listen to our recorded webinar as well as download the corresponding presentation slides.

Topics: Magnesium, Nutrition, Dr. Ron Grabowski, Gastrointestinal Tract, Allergies, Antihistamines, Asthma

Nutritional Considerations of Pain

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Jul 23, 2012 @ 09:20 AM

PainBelow is a list of various nutrients that affect a person affected with body pain.

  • Cysteine - reduces pain caused by systemic inflammation due to its potent antioxidant properties.
  • Inositol - in animal studies, treatment with inositol induces antinociception (pain reduction).
  • Oleic Acid - this fatty acid is a precursor of oleamide, an analgesic that affects neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine and GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), all of which play a role in pain signaling.
  • Carnitine - deficiency of this amino acid may manifest as muscle weakness, pain (myalgia) or neuropathy. Supplementation reduces several types of chronic pain.
  • Magnesium - lowers pain by blocking NMDA receptors in spinal cord; effective in reducing post-operative pain.
  • Minerals:
    • Manganese - a cofactor for the potent antioxidant superoxide dismutase, which fights free radicals, a known source of pain.
    • Copper - supplementation can relieve arthritic pain.
    • Selenium - treatment with this mineral improves muscle pain in deficient patients.
    • Zinc & Calcium - research suggests both play a role in the transmission of pain signals through nerves.
  • Choline - activates specific receptors in brain and spine that lower acute pain.
  • Vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12 - these produce a dose dependent decrease in various kinds of pain (heat, pressure, chemical); increases sensitivity to pain meds; their effect is likely mediated through serotonergic neurotransmitters.
  • Vitamin D - deficiency often presents clinically as muscle or bone pain.
  • Lipoic Acid - very effective treatment for neuropathic pain.
  • Antioxidants - clinical trials show antioxidant therapy is an effective treatment for chronic pain
    • Vitamin E - reduces neuropathic pain
    • Vitamin C - can lower morphine consumption after surgery
    • Coenzyme Q10 - relieves statin-induced myopathy.

Download our 1-page flyer which illustrates the information above, HERE!

Topics: Coenzyme Q10, Oleic Acid, Cysteine, zinc, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Copper, Antioxidants, Pain, Vitamin B12, Calcium, Lipoic Acid, inositol, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Manganese

Nutritional Considerations of Insomnia

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 @ 05:10 PM

InsomniaBelow is a list of various nutrients that affect a person with Insomnia.
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) - increases REM sleep; improves both quality and quantity of sleep by converting trytophan to serotonin.
  • Folate & Vitamin B6 - both are cofactors for several neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine, many of which regulate sleep patterns.
  • Vitamin B12 - normalizes circadian rythms (sleep-wake cycles); therapeutic benefits of B12 supplementation, both oral and intravenous, seen in studies.
  • Magnesium - improving magnesium status is associated with better quality sleep; mimics the action of melatonin; also alleviates insomnia due to restless leg syndrome.
  • Zinc & Copper - both interact with NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors in the brain that regulate sleep; a higher Zn/Cu ratio is linked to longer sleep duration.
  • Oleic Acid - this fatty acid is a precursor of oleamide, which regulates our drive for sleep and tends to accumulate in the spinal fluid of sleep-deprived animals. Oleic acid also facilitates the absorption of vitamin A.
  • Vitamin A - studies suggest vitamin A deficiency alters brain waves in non-REM sleep causing sleep to be less restorative.
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin) - in clinical trials, supplementation of healthy individuals that had marginal B1 deficiency improved their sleep.

Download our 1-page flyer which illustrates the information above, HERE!

 

Topics: Oleic Acid, zinc, folate, Magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Copper, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3

Nutritional Considerations of Fibromyalgia

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Jul 13, 2012 @ 10:37 AM

Fibromyalgia PatientBelow is a list of various nutrients that affect a person with Fibromyalgia.
  • Carnitine - deficiency causes muscle pain due to inefficient cellular energy metabolism (mitochondrial myopathy) which presentas as fibromyalgia.
  • Choline & Inositol - altered levels of both nutrients seen in fibromyalgia; choline & inositol are involved in pain perception.
  • Serine - blood levels of this amino acid are much lower in fibromyalgia patients.
  • Vitamin D - low levels impair neuromuscular function and cause muscle pain. Deficiency is common in fibromyalgia patients.
  • Vitamin B1 - Thiamin (B1) deficiency mimics fibromyalgia symptoms including serotonin depletion (decreased paing threshold), a decrease in repair enzymes (muscle soreness) and poor energy production (muscle fatigue).
  • Antioxidants - low antioxidant status increases pain in fibromyalgia, which is often considered an oxidative stress disorder.
  • Zinc - blood levels of zinc are associated with a number of tender points in fibromyalgic patients.
  • Magnesium - involved in pain perception pathways and muscle contraction; treatment with magnesium can improve tenderness and pain.
  • Selenium - deficiency is linked to fibromyalgia; in one trial, symptoms improved in 95% of patients supplemented with selenium for at least 4 weeks.

Download our 1-page flyer which illustrates the information above, HERE!

Topics: serine, zinc, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Choline, Selenium, Antioxidants, Fibromyalgia, inositol, Vitamin B1