Posts Tagged aspartame

NATURAL NEWS YOU CAN USE: Try a Better Approach to Inflammation

Imageby Dr. Randy Hansbrough, April 14, 2014

Recent articles by Drs. Komaroff and Roach report the usual pharmaceutical view of things concerning management of inflammation and pain, without fully disclosing the hazards of long-term damage to the gut, liver and kidneys, when relying on over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol or, in more severe cases, powerful drugs such as methotrexate, a potent immune system suppressant. Data implicates these drugs in a long list of side effects that aren’t good, so for those who have relied on them for relief, your future looks brighter if you can find a way to reduce the need for them.

Drug damage from routine use

Everything ultimately goes through your liver, and without it you will die, so preserving it and allowing it to thrive is wise. Common side effects from methotrexate use, which interferes with the action of the important B vitamin Folic Acid, includes ulcers, lowered white blood cells and increased risk of infection, inflammation and scarring of the lungs, and kidney failure, among others. Regular use of acetaminophen, Tylenol, often results in liver damage, and elevates your risk for cancer, skin reactions, asthma and more.

C Reactive Protein

CRP levels that are elevated is an indication that you have chronic inflammation, which means you have some form of autoimmunity (AI), where your immune system is now attacking your own cells. This can result in an array of other AI diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, Crohn’s, ankylosing spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and various neurodegenerative diseases, to name a few. Usually, a person with AI will develop a disease according to his/her genetic vulnerabilities. Thus, there are numerous autoimmune diseases, and numerous drugs have been developed to treat them, all with undesirable side effects.

ImageThe bowel is key

Since some 80 percent of your immune system originates from the bowel, with its normally efficient filter system (nutrients in and waste out), health of your GI tract is absolutely essential. That is why it is counterproductive to rely on harsh chemicals — drugs, to control the origin of inflammation, your bowel. In addition, you’ll need your liver if you plan on a long and healthy life, so nurture it and your bowel now, before other problems arise. Incidentally, your kidneys aren’t too happy with the overload placed on them. They have enough on their hands, filtering out uric acid and other waste, and helping maintain blood pressure and electrolyte levels.

A safe and logical option

Tying this all together, improving the health of your gut, calming down your immune system, decreasing the attack on your vulnerable genes, and reducing inflammation as a result, give you much better odds of swinging the situation in your favor. This cannot take place while you are taking drugs, because they actually interfere in the healing process, thus the risks listed above. That is why functional medicine has developed over the last two decades or more, in response to a great and growing need, a need for some common sense in health care. When comprehensive stool, autoimmune blood, gene testing and other unconventional labs are employed, and customized nutrient compounds are used to repair damaged systems in the body, you really can regain your best health potential.

Dr. Randy Hansbrough, DC, DACAN, author of Heal Without Drugs, is a chiropractic physician and board certified functional neurologist under the auspices of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. For questions, he can be reached at 772-287-7707 in Stuart. Visit his website at, and tune in on wstu am radio 1450 on Mondays at 10 a.m.

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ARTICLE: Do you have silent inflammation?

ImageDo you have silent inflammation? by Dr. Tim Holcomb, The Victoria Advocate, March 18, 2014

Your degree of wellness and the rate at which you are aging depend upon the level of inflammation that is ongoing in your body.

It can be silently wearing you down, resulting in chronic, degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, arthritis, thyroid problems, fatigue, fibromyalgia and accelerated aging. That’s why I recommend the actual level be measured.

There is no way to tell just by looking at you. Here are the tests that I use to do just that. The most important test is the ratio of arachidonic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid.

This ratio should be in a certain range and can alert you to silent inflammation years to decades before you develop health problems. If this ratio is high, you are at risk of a heart attack, getting cancer, developing Alzheimer’s and more.

Another important test that is seldom measured is fasting insulin. If it is high, you are five times more likely to develop heart disease. In contrast, if you have high cholesterol, you are only twice as likely to develop a heart attack.

If your ratio of fasting triglycerides to your HDL (good) cholesterol is high, you have silent inflammation, so these need to be checked. Still another test is c-reactive protein, a common blood test that is useful but not as good as the ones already mentioned.

Measuring the percent of body fat with calipers at skin folds and waist measurements are additional tools I use as an indirect measure of inflammation and insulin resistance.

For men, ideal body fat measurements are from 12-15 percent body fat. A man’s waist should be less than 40 inches. Women should be anywhere from 20-25 percent body fat, and the waist should be less than 35 inches.

If you are serious about getting healthy again, I recommend you get these tests done as soon as possible. This way, you will know the amount of inflammation you are up against and be able to do something to help yourself in slowing down your aging process and preventing and reversing the symptoms of chronic diseases.

Tim Holcomb is a Victoria nutritionist, pharmacist, naturopath and chiropractor.

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Restless Legs Syndrome May Signify Bigger Health Problems

Image“Restless Legs Syndrome May Signify Bigger Health Problems”
from Medical Xpress / Neurology, March 5, 2014

A nationally-recognized sleep expert has published an editorial describing Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) as a possible biomarker for underlying disease. The editorial appears in the March 5, 2014 issue of Neurology the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology and was authored by Boston Medical Center neurologist Sanford H. Auerbach, MD.

RLS is a disorder of the nervous system. Patients with RLS have uncomfortable sensations in their legs which lead to an overwhelming urge to move them – most often at night or whenever the patient is resting.

The editorial was in response to an analysis of 12,556 men who were followed over time by the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, published in the same issue of Neurology, which showed multiple disease associations with RLS.

“Patients with RLS had a higher mortality rate than similar men, and showed an especially strong tendency toward cardiovascular disease and hypertension,” said Auerbach, associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine. In earlier analyses of the same data, men with RLS were more likely to be diagnosed with lung disease, endocrine disease, diseases of nutrition and metabolism and immune system problems.

Auerbach suggests that restless leg syndrome is a meaningful biomarker for serious disease, and that RLS screening may become more common as a tool for primary care providers to identify patients at risk.

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Article by Brad Chase of Natural News on RLS and Inflammation

by Brad Chase, Natural News, March 4, 2014

Do you suffer from restless legs syndrome? Researchers have puzzled over the cause of this curious condition for decades with little explanation for why some people simply can’t keep still at night.

According to past studies, possible causes for RLS include:

• Inability to process dopamine properly
• Genetics
• Other chronic diseases
• Medications
• Pregnancy
• Iron deficiencies

New studies, however, have looked a little more closely at the possible causes for RLS. Since RLS is often associated with other chronic conditions, like chronic fatigue, diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine decided to examine the link between these other conditions and RLS in 2011. What they found out about the possible cause of restless legs syndrome was rather surprising.

The researchers theorized that because some of these other diseases and conditions are related to immune disorders caused by inflammation, that inflammation could also be a trigger for restless leg syndrome. When the researchers dug deeper, they found 38 diseases and conditions highly-related to RLS. Ninety-five percent of these were related to excessive inflammation in the body. Due to this high level of connection, the researchers summarized that inflammation may play a larger role in RLS than was thought previously. The researchers stated that inflammation could play a role in RLS in three ways:

• Inflammation could trigger iron deficiencies that lead to RLS
• Immune responses to imbalanced bacteria levels in the intestines could trigger inflammation that lead to RLS
• Altered genetic host defense mechanisms may lead to excessive inflammation which could trigger RLS

Curing inflammation and RLS
Based on this theory, individuals with RLS can eliminate RLS episodes by controlling inflammation. This can be done in three separate ways.

1. Eliminate inflammation. Eliminating sources of inflammation from food and medications (when possible). Inflammatory foods include:

• Omega-6 fats
• Processed foods
• Refined carbohydrates
• Sugar
• Trans fats

2. Take anti-inflammatory supplements. This step will help calm any existing inflammation as well as reduce the inflammatory effect of newly consumed foods. The best supplements for reducing inflammation and stopping RLS include:

• Calcium and magnesium
• Curcumin
• Valerian
• Iron
• Omega-3s
• B vitamins (12, 9, and 6)
• Ginger
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin E

Image3. Eat anti-inflammatory foods. The last step is to eat anti-inflammatory foods and ensure you have a wide variety of sources of inflammation-fighters in your diet. These foods will help control inflammation and eliminate RLS symptoms, if the theory from the University of Washington researchers is correct. The following foods are well-known inflammation-fighters:

• Cherries
• Peppers
• Walnuts
• Fatty fish
• Berries
• Beets
• Tomatoes
• Leafy greens

Control RLS with anti-inflammatory agents
Although more research about the role of inflammation in RLS is necessary, there is evidence to support that this may be a large contributing factor to RLS symptoms. If the University of Washington researchers are correct, this could open up a whole new way to treat RLS without dangerous sedatives or other medications. You can control your RLS without the use of harsh medications.

If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, give the anti-inflammatory cure a try.

ImageAbout the author:
Brad Chase is the President of His website provides articles and natural remedies to help people solve their health concerns.

This article was originally published on the Natural News website

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A Quote About the Relationship Between Restless Legs Syndrome and Inflammation from Dr. Leonard Weinstock

ImageI am honored and grateful that Dr. Leonard Weinstock, the lead author of a study titled “Restless Legs Syndrome – Theoretical roles of inflammatory and immune mechanisms.” was kind enough to send me this quote to place on my website. He is aware of some of the backlash I’ve had to endure these last few years, and was willing to support me in this way – without hesitation. I cannot thank him enough.

“I have thoroughly analyzed every known scientific study that has been done on Restless Legs Syndrome. Taking all of this data into consideration, there is no doubt in my mind that inflammation plays a major role in the occurrence of RLS. I see this time and time again with many patient types.”

-  Dr. Leonard Weinstock, Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology

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IT’S A FACT: People suffering from Depression have a higher prevalence of RLS. People suffering from Depression also have a higher prevalence of INFLAMMATION.

ImageBelow are studies confirming that people suffering from Depression have a higher prevalence of RLS.

“Epidemiological studies report a 2- to 4-fold risk of a depressive disorder in patients with restless legs syndrome (RLS) compared with healthy controls. The high prevalence rates of depression in RLS indicate an association between the two disorders.”

“Depressive disorders in restless legs syndrome: epidemiology, pathophysiology and management.” Hornyak M. CNS Drugs. 2010 Feb;24(2):89-98. doi: 10.2165/11317500-000000000-00000.

“Lifetime prevalence of any psychiatric disorders was 36.8% among participants with restless legs syndrome and was substantially higher than in participants without restless legs syndrome (14.6%). Among the psychiatric diagnoses, DSM-IV major depressive disorder was the most common diagnosis with a lifetime and 12-month prevalence of 19.0% (n=8) and 9.5% (n=4) among participants with restless legs syndrome.”

“Restless Legs Syndrome is Associated with DSM-IV Major Depressive Disorder and Panic Disorder in the Community.” Hochang B. Lee, M.D.; Wayne A. Hening, M.D, Ph.D.; Richard P. Allen, Ph.D.; Amanda E. Kalaydjian, Ph.D.; Christopher J. Earley, M.B.B.Ch., Ph.D.; William W. Eaton, Ph.D.; Constantine G. Lyketsos, M.D., M.H.S. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2008;20:101-105.

ImageBelow are studies confirming that people suffering from Depression have a higher prevalence of INFLAMMATION.

“Inflammations that are hidden inside your body as a result of disease or an unhealthy lifestyle do not only damage your physical body. It appears that they can also affect your mental state by triggering a depression. Higher-than-normal blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammatory disease, increase the risk of depression two- to threefold, according to a comprehensive new Danish study.

“The risk of inflammation increases with an unhealthy lifestyle, obesity and chronic diseases. Our message to the public is that one should avoid getting into situations that increase inflammatory protein levels in the body” says lead researcher Dr Borge Nordestgaard, of Copenhagen University Hospital.”

ScienceNordic “Inflammation can cause depression: Inflammation in the body gives a two- to threefold risk of depression.” by Sybille Hildebrandt, January 6, 2013.

“Many studies show that people with depression have higher measures of various inflammatory markers in the blood than people who are not depressed (Howren MB et al., Psychosom Med 2009;71(2):171–186).”

Psych Central “Inflammation and Depression” by Charles Raison, MD. (10 Sep 2013).

“Mounting evidence indicates that inflammation may play a significant role in the development of depression. Patients with depression exhibit increased inflammatory markers, and administration of cytokines and other inflammatory stimuli can induce depressive symptoms.”

“Inflammation in depression: is adiposity a cause?: Shelton RC, Miller AH. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2011;13(1):41-53.


People suffering from Depression have a higher prevalence of RLS. People suffering from Depression also have a higher prevalence of INFLAMMATION.

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IT’S A FACT: RLS has a higher prevalence in the Elderly Population. Inflammation also has a higher prevalence in the Elderly Population.

ImageBelow are studies confirming that RLS has a higher prevalence in the Elderly Population.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by disturbing leg sensations associated to sleep complaints and excessive daytime somnolence. In the elderly, it affects 10 to 35%. After testing, we conclude that RLS is a prevalent condition in elderly, may lead to sleep complaints and is often underdiagnosed.”

“Restless legs syndrome in institutionalized elderly.” Dantas FG, Medeiros JL, Farias KS, Ribeiro CD. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2008 Jun;66(2B):328-30.

“Our findings suggest that restless legs syndrome is relatively common in the elderly and causes significant discomfort and sleep disturbance.”

“Restless legs syndrome in the elderly.” O’Keeffe ST, Noel J, Lavan JN. Postgrad Med J. 1993 Sep;69(815):701-3.

Below are studies confirming that INFLAMMATION has a higher prevalence in the Elderly Population.10135182_s

“Chronic low-grade inflammation is a fundamental characteristic of aging.”

“Chronic low-grade inflammation in elderly persons is associated with altered tryptophan and tyrosine metabolism: role in neuropsychiatric symptoms.” Capuron L, Schroecksnadel S, Feart C, Aubert A, Higueret D, Barberger-Gateau P, Laye S, Fuchs D. Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Jul 15;70(2):175-82. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.12.006. Epub 2011 Jan 31.

“Chronic systemic inflammation is an underlying cause of many seemingly unrelated, age-related diseases. As humans grow older, systemic inflammation can inflict devastating degenerative effects throughout the body (Ward 1995; McCarty 1999; Brod 2000). This fact is often overlooked by the medical establishment, yet persuasive scientific evidence exists that correcting a chronic inflammatory disorder will enable many of the infirmities of aging to be prevented or reversed. Aging results in an increase of inflammatory cytokines (destructive cell-signaling chemicals) that contribute to the progression of many degenerative diseases (Van der Meide et al. 1996; Licinio et al. 1999).”

“Aging and Inflammation”

to-summarizeIT’S A FACT

RLS has a higher prevalence in the Elderly Population. Inflammation also has a higher prevalence in the Elderly Population.

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IT’S A FACT: People who are ANEMIC have a higher prevalence of RLS. People who are ANEMIC also have a higher prevalence of INFLAMMATION.

A pathological deficiency in the oxygen-carrying component of the blood, measured in unit volume concentrations of hemoglobin, red blood cell volume, or red blood cell number.
[From Greek an-, without; + haima, blood.]

Below are two studies that show that people who are ANEMIC have a higher prevalence of RLS.

“In this study all new patients referred for anemia to a community-based hematology practice over a 1-year period (March 2011-2012) were included if they had IDA and no RLS treatment. The prevalence of clinically significant RLS (RLS sufferers) was 23.9%, nine times higher than the general population.”

Image“The prevalence and impact of restless legs syndrome on patients with iron deficiency anemia.” Allen RP, Auerbach S, Bahrain H, Auerbach M, Earley CJ. Am J Hematol. 2013 Apr;88(4):261-4. doi: 10.1002/ajh.23397. Epub 2013 Mar 12.

“Iron deficiency, even at a level too mild to cause anemia, has been linked to restless legs syndrome (RLS) in some people. Some studies have reported RLS in 25 – 30% of people with low iron levels.”

“Restless Leg Syndrome In-Depth Report” The New York Times Online: Health

ImageBelow are two studies that show that people who are ANEMIC have a higher prevalence of INFLAMMATION.

“Inflammation arising from various etiologies, including infection, autoimmune disorders, chronic diseases, and aging, can promote anemia.”

“Anemia of Inflammation.” Cindy N. Roy. ASH Education Book December 4, 2010 vol. 2010 no. 1 276-280. doi: 10.1182/asheducation-2010.1.276

“The anemia found in patients with chronic infectious, inflammatory, and neoplastic disorders, known as the anemia of chronic disease (ACD), is one of the most common syndromes in medicine, A characteristic finding of the disorders associated with ACD is increased production of the cytokines that mediate the immune or inflammatory response.”

“Advances in the anemia of chronic disease.” Means R.T. Hematology/Oncology Division, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and the Medical University of South Carolina. International journal of hematology. 1999, vol. 70, no1, pp. 7-12 (61 ref.)

to-summarizeIT’S A FACT

People who are ANEMIC have a higher prevalence of RLS. People who are ANEMIC also have a higher prevalence of INFLAMMATION.

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IT’S A FACT: RLS occurs most often in the third trimester of pregnancy. Inflammation occurs most often in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Etymology: L, trimestris, three months
One of the three periods of approximately 3 months into which pregnancy is divided. The first trimester includes the time from the first day of the last menstrual period to the end of 12 weeks. The second trimester, closer to 4 months in length than 3, extends from the twelfth to the twenty-eighth week of gestation. The third trimester begins at the twenty-eighth week and extends to the time of delivery.
(from the Free Online Medical Dictionary)

Below are 3 studies confirming that RLS occurs most often in the third trimester of pregnancy.restless-legs-syndrome-pregnant

“Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is common in the third trimester of pregnancy. In this case-control study, 22.5% of 211 women had RLS. The RLS cases had a history of growing pains (GP) more frequently than controls (P = 0.042). A family history of GP (P = 0.025) and RLS (P = 0.018) was more frequent among cases than controls. RLS in pregnancy is predicted by family history of RLS and GP, and by childhood history of GP.”

“A common sleep disorder in pregnancy: Restless legs syndrome and its predictors.” Balendran J, Champion D, Jaaniste T, Welsh A. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2011 Jun;51(3):262-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1479-828X.2011.01294.x. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

“1,022 pregnant women living in a French town were included in our study. 24% of women were affected by RLS during their pregnancy. The disease was strongly related to the third trimester of pregnancy and had a significant impact on sleep leading to severe nocturnal and diurnal consequences with a high consumption of sleep medication.”

“Restless legs syndrome and pregnancy: a questionnaire study in the Poitiers District, France.” Neau JP, Porcheron A, Mathis S, Julian A, Meurice JC, Paquereau J, Godeneche G, Ciron J, Bouche G. Eur Neurol. 2010;64(5):268-74. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

“RLS prevalence increased from 0 during preconception to 23% (n = 7) during the third trimester of pregnancy.”

“Restless legs syndrome and sleep disturbance during pregnancy: the role of folate and iron.” Lee KA, Zaffke ME, Baratte-Beebe K. J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2001 May;10(4):335-41.

100480667Below are 3 studies confirming that inflammation occurs most often in the third trimester of pregnancy.

“A significant increase of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and IL-8) is produced in the third trimester. These cytokines act as chemoattractants of polymorphonuclear leukocytes stimulating the expression of prostaglandins in response to delivery preparation.”

“Vaginal cytokines in normal pregnancy.” G. Gilbert, G. Donders, A. Vereecken, E. Bosmans, and B. Spitz, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 189, no. 5, pp. 1433–1438, 2003.

“Pregnancy is a complex process which leads to a number of systemic changes. During normal pregnancy all these changes are very well regulated. Preeclampsia is a very common disorder of pregnancy and is characterized by hypertension and proteinuria that begins at more than 20 weeks of gestation. Poor placentation with inadequate cytotrophoblast invasion results in widespread maternal endothelial dysfunction. There is increasing evidence that preeclampsia is accompanied by exaggerated maternal systemic inflammatory response to this poor placentation.”

“C Reactive Protein levels are elevated in the Third Trimester in Preeclamptic pregnant Women.” Zaima Ali, Saima Zak, Ambreen Tauseef, Ayesha Akmal. Dept. of Physiology, Lahore Medical and Dental College, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jinnah Hospital, Lahore.

“Prokineticin-1 (PK1) is a recently described protein with a wide range of functions, including tissue-specific angiogenesis, modulation of inflammatory responses, and regulation of hemopoiesis. The aim of this study was to investigate the localization and expression of PK1 and PK receptor-1 (PKR1), their signaling pathways, and the effect of PK1 on expression of the inflammatory mediators cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 and IL-8 in third-trimester placenta.

Our study demonstrates that PK1 and PKR1 are highly expressed in third-trimester placenta with PK1 up-regulating expression of IL-8 and COX-2 potentially via activation of PKR1 and cross-talk with EGFR. The latter finding is supported by double-immunofluorescent immunohistochemistry studies that show that PKR1 colocalizes with IL-8 and COX-2 in placenta. Together, these data suggest that PK1 may be a novel paracrine mediator of the inflammatory response in third-trimester placenta.”

“Prokineticin-1: A Novel Mediator of the Inflammatory Response in Third-Trimester Human Placenta. Fiona C. Denison, Sharon Battersby, Anne E. King, Michael Szuber, and Henry N. Jabbour. Endocrinology. 2008 July; 149(7): 3470–3477. doi:  10.1210/en.2007-1695

to-summarizeIT’S A FACT!

RLS occurs most often in the third trimester of pregnancy. Inflammation occurs most often in the third trimester of pregnancy.

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IT’S A FACT: Yoga Lessens RLS. Yoga Lessens Inflammation.

ImageBelow are the results from a study done earlier this year showing that Yoga lessens RLS symptoms.

“Efficacy of an eight-week yoga intervention on symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS): a pilot study.” by Innes KE, Selfe TK, Agarwal P, Williams K, Flack KL. Department of Epidemiology, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV.


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common and highly burdensome sleep disorder. While relaxation therapies, including yoga, are often recommended for RLS management, rigorous supporting research is sparse. The goal of this preliminary study was to assess the effects of yoga on RLS symptoms and related outcomes in women with RLS.


Participants were 13 nonsmoking women with moderate to severe RLS, who did not have diabetes, sleep apnea, or other serious concomitant chronic conditions, and who were not pregnant. The intervention was a gentle, 8-week Iyengar yoga program. Core outcomes assessed pre- and post-treatment were RLS symptoms and symptom severity (International RLS Scale [IRLS] and RLS ordinal scale), sleep quality (Medical Outcomes Study Sleep Scale), mood (Profile of Mood States), and perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale). Participants also completed yoga logs and a brief exit questionnaire regarding their experience with the study.


Ten (10) women, aged 32-66 years, completed the study. Participants attended an average 13.4±0.5 (of 16 possible) classes, and completed a mean of 4.1±0.3 (of 5 possible) homework sessions/week. At follow-up, participants demonstrated striking reductions in RLS symptoms and symptom severity, with symptoms decreasing to minimal/mild in all but 1 woman and no participant scoring in the severe range by week 8. Effect sizes (Cohen’s d) were large: 1.6 for IRLS total, and 2.2 for RLS ordinal scale. IRLS scores declined significantly with increasing minutes of homework practice per session (r=0.70, p=0.025) and total homework minutes (r=0.64, p<0.05), suggesting a possible dose-response relation. Participants also showed significant improvements in sleep, perceived stress, and mood (all p’s≤0.02), with effect sizes ranging from 1.0 to 1.6.


These preliminary findings suggest that yoga may be effective in attenuating RLS symptoms and symptom severity, reducing perceived stress, and improving sleep and mood in women with RLS.

ImageBelow are excerpts from 3 scientific studies showing that Yoga lessens inflammation.

“Regularly practicing yoga exercises may lower a number of compounds in the blood and reduce the level of inflammation that normally rises because of both normal aging and stress, a new study has shown.”

“Yoga Reduces Cytokine Levels Known to Promote Inflammation, Study Shows.” Ohio State University, Retrieved April 18, 2011.

“The ability to minimize inflammatory responses to stressful encounters influences the burden that stressors place on an individual. If yoga dampens or limits stress-related changes, then regular practice could have substantial health benefits.”

“Stress, Inflammation, and Yoga Practice.” Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, Lisa Christian, PhD, Heather Preston, BA, Carrie R. Houts, MS, William B. Malarkey, MD, Charles F. Emery, PhD and Ronald Glaser, PhD. American Psychosomatic Society, Psychosom Med 2011, doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181cb9377

Image“Yoga improved exercise tolerance and positively affected levels of inflammatory markers in patients with HF, and there was also a trend toward improvements in QoL.”

“Effects of Yoga on Inflammation and Exercise Capacity in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure.” PR Pullen, SH Nagamia, PK Mehta, WR Thompson, D. Benardot, R. Hammoud, JM Parrott, S. Sola and BV Khan,. Department of Kinesiology and Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. J Card Fail. 2011 Jun;14(5):407-13. Epub (2011 May 27).

to-summarizeIT’S A FACT!

Yoga lessens RLS. Yoga lessens inflammation.

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IT’S A FACT: Aerobic Exercise Lessens RLS. Aerobic Exercise Lessens Inflammation.


A recent study shows that Aerobic Exercise helps to lessen the effects of Restless Legs Syndrome.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Progressive aerobic exercise training improves restless legs syndrome (RLS) in hemodialysis patients, researchers from Greece report.

As many as 30% of hemodialysis patients have RLS, but there are limited data regarding non-pharmacological treatment options to reduce symptom severity.

Previous research from the Greek team showed that exercise training could reduce RLS symptom severity by 42%, but it remains unclear whether the improvement in symptoms was due to systemic training effects or simply due to relief conferred by leg movement during the exercise session.

In this study, Dr. Giorgos K. Sakkas from the University of Thessaly in Trikala and colleagues compared the outcomes of progressive exercise training against a no-resistance exercise regimen in a randomized trial of 24 uremic RLS patients.

Exercise training consisted of 46 minutes of cycling on a recumbent cycle ergometer three times a week for six months. Exercise intensity was readjusted every four weeks in the progressive exercise group, whereas resistance was not applied in the control group.

Apart from an improvement in dialysis efficiency with progressive exercise training, none of the basic characteristics of the patients changed after the intervention period.

After six months, the International RLS severity score had dropped by a significant 58% in the group doing progressive exercise. By contrast, the control group saw only an insignificant change of 17%, the researchers reported in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation online August 8.

The progressive-exercise group also showed significant improvements in sleep quality and depression score, which were absent in the control group.

All three measures (RLS severity, depression score, and daily sleepiness status) were significantly better in the progressive exercise group than in the control group.

Image“Notably,” the researchers write, “this is the first study to show that some specific exercise-induced adaptations or responses must be responsible for the improvements seen in the RLS severity score and not just leg movement, which we know confers acute relief (as this is the first study to employ an exercise training control group, i.e., exercise with no resistance, and to thus also account for any placebo effect previously unaccounted for in past exercise versus non-exercise studies).”

“Further research is needed in order to clarify the exact mechanism by which systematic exercise training could affect the dopaminergic system of the brain in the hemodialysis patients with RLS,” the investigators conclude.

Limited studies of patients with uremic RLS suggest that it results from pathophysiological changes similar to those in idiopathic RLS. Uremic RLS, however, appears to deteriorate faster and advance to a more severe state and to respond less well to dopaminergic agonists. Exercise has also been shown to improve symptoms of idiopathic RLS.

Below are excerpts from 3 articles and studies demonstrating that aerobic exercise ALSO LESSENS INFLAMMATION.78055744_XS

from Dr. Harris H. McIlwain MD,  

“Studies are beginning to unravel the intimate relationship between exercise and inflammation. Researchers have observed that aerobic or conditioning exercise significantly reduces pro-inflammatory markers in the body. In one study, moderate exercisers were found to be 15 percent less likely than sedentary individuals to have elevated C-reactive protein levels. In addition, those volunteers who exercised vigorously were 47 percent less likely to have a high C-reactive protein level than their sedentary peers.

In another revealing study, obese men with metabolic syndrome, were placed on a high-fiber, low-fat diet with daily aerobic exercise in a 3-week residential program. After three weeks on the regimen, the study participants experienced significant reductions in body mass index, fasting glucose and insulin, and inflammatory markers. In fact, a startling 9 of the 15 men were no longer positive for metabolic syndrome! Researchers concluded that intensive lifestyle modification of a low-fat, high fiber diet combined with conditioning exercise led to a better balance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses.”

from “The Relationship Between Exercise and Inflammation (and What It Means for Your Workouts)” by Mark Sisson

“Study after study (epidemiological and clinical alike) shows that extended exercise programs generally reduce markers of inflammation (like C-reactive protein) over the long-term.”

from “Infection, inflammation and exercise in cystic fibrosis.” by Pauline Barbera van de Weert-van Leeuwen, Hubertus Gerardus Maria Arets, Cornelis Korstiaan van der Ent and Jeffrey Matthijn Beekman. Respiratory Research 2013, 14:32 doi:10.1186/1465-9921-14-32 (6 March 2013).

“There is increasing evidence that exercise can modulate immune function in healthy persons and patients suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases, in an exercise-intensity-dependent fashion, of which patients with CF may also benefit.”

to-summarizeIT’S A FACT!

Aerobic exercise lessens RLS. Aerobic exercise lessens inflammation.

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The Truth About Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

This RLS Blog contains a LOT of information about Restless Legs Syndrome, covering a wide spectrum of different areas and aspects.

Because of that, a casual passerby at 4am that’s just trying to find a solution for their wonky legs may be overwhelmed or frustrated as they have to dig through information on epigenetics, glutamate, histamine etc. in order to find out what this “CURE” is all about.

For that reason I have created this post which I will LOCK into the first position on the blog so that this overview of “An Absolute Cure for RLS” will always be visible to newcomers.


Throughout our early history the majority of the world’s population considered the earth to be flat. That was a normal way to think.

If you were to shout out that the world was ROUND back then, you would have probably been pelted with rotten vegetables.

You would have been called a NUT … a person DESPERATE for attention.

And then things changed.

In the late 15th century, Christopher Columbus proved to the Western World, that without a doubt, the world was in fact ROUND.

A new awareness was created.

But there were MANY before him that had the same knowledge. Christopher Columbus was simply part of a lineage of belief.

Despite the fact that most of the 300 million inhabitants of the planet in the 1400′s believed the world to be flat, and but a small handful of astronomer-types believed it to be round, the truth was never altered. Not for a second. It was ALWAYS waiting there to be discovered.

A belief never has nor ever will alter the truth. The number of people supporting the belief does not matter.

ImageSo, What’s My Point?

Please understand, I’m not saying that I’m ANYTHING like Christopher Columbus. He had more courage in his baby toe than I have in my entire body.

But, despite my foibles, I have also stumbled upon a truth. And despite what anyone says, regardless of their intelligence, their degrees, their stature or whatever following they may have, there is NOTHING on earth that is going to change this simple truth that I have stumbled upon.

The simple truth is this basic formula.


Regardless of what your reaction may be to me, my views, or natural remedies in general … this truth that I am presenting to you is NEVER going to change.



There is NO case of RLS that is beyond repair.

But please note … it is a PROCESS of RECOVERY. There is no magic pill.

You are exchanging your inflammatory diet and lifestyle (removing whatever it is in your life that is causing the inflammation in your body) for an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle.

As you can imagine, many sacrifices will need to be made. Some will be drastic. For starters you need to cut down on inflammatory items such as sugar, alcohol, refined flours, caffeine and dairy.

It may seem impossible, but if you move in this healthy direction, I can assure you that the sacrifices you make will pay off.

ImageI had horrible RLS for 23 years. I am now living a life I could have only dreamed of a few years ago. Words cannot express how grateful and relieved I am to have normal healthy legs and regular sleeping habits.

Something I learned from my own experience is that the MORE effort you put into your recovery, the FASTER you will heal.

If the only change you’re willing to make is to buy some magnesium or cut down on your sugar intake, then your recovery will be SLOW.

If you follow the advice given on this website, and go at your recovery with EVERYTHING you have … you will be rewarded for your efforts!


If a fire breaks out in your kitchen, the first thing you need to do in order to save your house is to put out the fire!

It’s pretty basic logic. You can worry about the smoke damage, your melted toaster, the ruined curtains and whether or not your insurance covers the damage … after the fact.

But until you put that fire out, nothing else matters.

You must take the same approach when taking on your RLS. You must first PUT OUT the fire that is causing your restless legs.

Nothing else matters. You can switch medications all you want … but until you shift your WILL, and make a CONSCIOUS decision to stop eating and drinking the inflamatory substances that are ADDING TO YOUR INFLAMMATION … NOTHING is going to change!


Look at each supplement below as a different firefighter with a firehose. The best way you can attack the inflammation is from ALL angles with as many firefighters as you can round up. This will speed up the healing process immeasurably.

Again, it’s crucial … absolutely essential that you begin to watch your diet. You need to at least pull back a bit from your regular intake of the most common RLS triggers (caffeine, gluten, aspartame, sugar, dairy, salt, MSG, red meat and alcohol).

Taking the supplements while you continue to consume a diet FULL of RLS triggers, is like spraying TWO hoses on the fire – one hose pouring WATER on the fire and the other hose pouring GASOLINE on the fire.

Little progress will be made, if any.


Supplements are often expensive. With that in mind I have created a “BASIC GROUP” of supplements that should be affordable for most people.

For those with a wider budget, I have a list of additional supplements that you can pick and choose from.

Keep in mind that the supplements listed below are addressing THREE main areas.

1. It is certain that you have chronic inflammation. This will be lessened.

2. It is very likely that you have higher than normal histamine levels, which contributes to a racing mind and sleepless nights. This will be lowered.

3. It is very likely that you have higher than normal glutamate levels, which also contributes to a racing mind and sleepless nights. This will be lowered.

Calcium + Magnesium “CalMag” (anti-inflammatory, natural antihistamine, lowers glutamate level)

Magnesium (Mg) is a co-factor in several hundred enzymatic reactions in the human body. Magnesium reduces histamine release. Magnesium plays a direct role in lowering common inflammatory markers.  

Carrot Juice (anti-inflammatory)

Carrots are perhaps best known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient that was actually named for them: beta-carotene. However, these delicious root vegetables are the source not only of beta-carotene, but also of a wide variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients.

ImageCurcumin (anti-inflammatory, natural antihistamine)

A component of the popular Indian curry spice turmeric, Curcumin is considered a potent non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory. Curcumin has been shown to be as effective as cortisone and phenylbutazone in decreasing inflammation. It also works in several ways to decrease inflammation by reducing prostaglandin activity.

Grape Seed Extract (anti-inflammatory, natural antihistamine, lowers glutamate level)

Grape Seed Extract is one of the most potent antioxidants known; over 50 times more potent than Vitamin E or C. It acts as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. The main active component is its high content of proanthocyanidin (OPC or PCO). Proanthocyanidin is found in red, white, and purple grapes, blueberries, cherries and plums.

Iron (anti-inflammatory)

Iron is an essential mineral whose main function is to help carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and other organs. Iron deficiency is more common than many think. It is estimated that only 65-70% of all Americans meet their daily recommended intake.

ImageL-Theanine (lowers glutamate level)

L-Theanine is thought to be the key to tea’s subtle but calming effects despite the caffeine content in tea. L-Theanine is thought to counter the stimulating effects of caffeine by increasing the production of alpha brain waves. Alpha waves are associated with a state of deep relaxation while being mentally alert.

Omega 3 (anti-inflammatory, natural antihistamine)

Extensive research indicates that omega-3 fats reduce inflammation, helping to prevent inflammatory diseases like heart disease and arthritis. The omega-3 fatty acids can also be natural antihistamines that are useful to combat allergies as they reduce the inflammatory reaction associated with allergies.

Valerian Tea (anti-inflammatory, natural antihistamine, lowers glutamate level)

Valerian works exceedingly well for anxiety, insomnia and stress. Many people don’t know about one of the oldest herbs in existence valerian. Valerian has many healing qualities … in fact the latin root word valere means to be healthy. Valerian is one of the best herbs for stress … helping with insomnia, restlessness, nervousness, and inducing relaxation. Valerian is a good anti-inflammatory agent helping with swelling, pain, and redness… plus it also calms nerves … and promotes peace of mind.

Vitamin C(anti-inflammatory, natural antihistamine)vitamincinskincare

In addition to being a powerful anti-oxidant and immune booster, some studies have shown that high doses of vitamin c can help reduce sensitivity to allergens and reduce inflammation, mucus production and wheezing.

Water (anti-inflammatory, natural antihistamine)

Drinking plenty of water is one of the most effective natural remedies for inflammation. Water reduces inflammation and promotes cartilage health. To reduce internal inflammation, drink water to carry away waste products. Your body releases histamine in order to stop water loss. If you give your body adequate amounts of water, less histamine will be released.

For a list of references and citations please visit:


I urge you to read through the information on my main website

It’s all free information. Nothing is hidden from you.

This method has worked for me and many others. And it will work for ANYONE that is willing to change their lifestyle – to allow the inflammation in their body to cool down.

How you find the source of your inflammation, that’s your own personal journey. The RLcure website will guide you along, and show you where to look.

When you find out what is causing the inflammation in your body, that is the day you can start waving good-bye to your RLS forever!

I highly recommend that you take a moment to view the TESTIMONIALS from people that this “Absolute Cure” has helped.

These testimonials will hopefully help you to understand that recovery is possible, EVEN FOR YOU … no matter how HORRIBLE your RLS has become!

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RLS is NOT Hereditary: Welcome to the AMAZING World of Epigenetics! (PART ONE: Introduction)

ImageSeveral years ago someone in my book club suggested that we read “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce Lipton.

It turned out to be a life-changing event. The book had such an huge impact on me that I excitedly wrote a letter to Mr. Lipton congratulating him on his discoveries and his courage to bring his ideas forth to the scientific community – a community that doesn’t accept change lightly. I’ve never done that for any other author.

He had introduced me to a new field of science called “Epigenetics,” a deeper level of science that blew the lid off all that we had previously learned about genetics, including our firm beliefs of how our genes control our behaviour and traits.

When I first read the book, epigenetics seemed like an off-Broadway type of science that had a few enthusiastic followers, but probably wasn’t going to go anywhere. These radical views were far too outrageous for mainstream science to ever embrace.

BUt, here we are, many years later, and Epigenetics IS the new science. Its popularity is SOARING around the globe! The new possibilities that it offers to fight diseases, including Restless Legs Syndrome, are unlimited.

As you can see from the above graphics, epigenetics is front page news for dozens of magazines and journals. There are also a growing number of books on epigenetics being published.

To hold on to the old ideas about genetics is like holding on to the idea that the earth is flat. The old genetics we held so tightly to is officially dead. It’s time to move on.

ImageEpigenetics is to genetics … as a jet aircraft is to a rowboat.

“Our health is not controlled by genetics. Conventional medicine is operating from an archaic view that we’re controlled by genes. This misunderstands the nature of how biology works.

Medicine does miracles, but it’s limited to trauma. The AMA protocol is to regard our physical body like a machine, in the same way that an auto mechanic regards a car. When the parts break, you replace them—a transplant, synthetic joints, and so on—and those are medical miracles.

ImageThe problem is that while they have an understanding that the mechanism isn’t working, they’re blaming the vehicle for what went wrong. They believe that the vehicle, in this case our bodies, is controlled by genes.

But guess what? They don’t take into consideration that there’s actually a driver in that car. The new science, epigenetics, reveals that the vehicles—or the genes—aren’t responsible for the breakdown. It’s the driver.

Dr. Dean Ornish, physician and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. has taken conventional cardiovascular patients, provided them with important lifestyle insights (better diet, stress-reduction techniques, and so on), and without drugs, the cardiovascular disease was resolved. Ornish relayed that if he’d gotten the same results with a drug, every doctor would be prescribing it.” - Bruce Lipton, PhD


There is a common prognosis that medical professionals tend to use. It’s a SINGLE WORD that brings in countless BILLIONS of dollars to pharmaceutical companies each year.

That word is “HEREDITARY.”

Loosely translated it means “There’s nothing that can be done about your condition. This is the hand you were dealt. You’ll need to take medication for the rest of your life in order to deal with the symptoms.”

But that’s yesterday’s news.

Image“Roll over, Mendel. Watson and Crick. They are so your old man’s version of DNA. And that big multibillion-dollar hullabaloo called the Human Genome Project? To some scientists, it’s beginning to look like an expensive genetic floor pad for a much more intricate – and dynamic – tapestry of life that lies on top of it.” - Newsweek Magazine, June 2009

People with chronic ailments can no longer use genetics as an excuse to NOT take action to lessen their condition. The old belief that an “inherited condition” is unchangeable is no longer supported by science.

This certainly applies to those with Restless Legs Syndrome. The excuse to not take action because it’s your mother or father’s fault that you have the “RLS gene” – and there’s nothing you can do about it, is not an option anymore.

In fact, researchers in the field of epigenetics insist that you DO take action. That’s how the switches on your genes are changed for the better.

Image“The picture ingrained in the public mind is that genes determine everything from our physical characteristics to our behavior. Even many scientists still speak from the assumption that our genes form an immutable blueprint that our cells must forever follow. However, the new science of epigenetics tells us that “genes are merely blueprints, and it is the environment that determines genetic expression.”Bruce Lipton & Dawson Church

Epigenetics has blown the roof off the limitations of the human genome and through it shines a brilliant light of hope that THOUSANDS of scientists are recognizing and acting on.

Researchers around the world are scrambling with a childlike enthusiasm in order to tap into the giant universe of possibilities that epigenetics has brought forth.

ImageAs a Restless Legs sufferer, the information you’ll read in these posts about epigenetics should help lessen the hopelessness of your condition.

1. You will no longer be chained to the belief that RLS is genetic and that you’re STUCK with it.

2. You may realize that RLS is NOT incurable when you learn how a simple diet can be used to switch helpful genes “ON” and harmful genes “OFF”.

For definitions of some of the terms used in the upcoming posts, please visit

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RLS is NOT Hereditary: Welcome to the AMAZING World of Epigenetics! (PART TWO: What is Epigenetics?)

Image“The exploding science of epigenetics will transform our understanding of health and disease.” - Peter A. Jones, PhD, DSc. Professor of Urology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

As you will read below, the science of epigenetics IS exploding onto the scene.  
And with that explosion comes a powerful new awareness that is freeing our minds and spirits as it continues to debunk the old myth that we are “stuck” with the genes that were passed on to us, including the genes that cause RLS.

And we’re only at the beginning. Hope has arrived!

from Randy Jirtle, Geneticist, Dept. of Radiation Oncology at Duke University

“Think of the genome as being like the hardware of a computer. The epigenome would be like the software that tells the computer when to work, how to work, and how much.”

from The Week “Epigenetics: How our experiences affect our offspring.” January 20, 2013    

“New research suggests that people’s experiences, not just their genes, can affect the biological legacy of their offspring

Isn’t our genetic legacy hardwired?

From Mendel and Darwin in the 19th century to Watson and Crick in the 20th, scientists have shown that chromosomes passed from parent to child form a genetic blueprint for development. But in a quiet scientific revolution, researchers have in recent years come to realize that genes aren’t a fixed, predetermined program simply passed from one generation to the next. Instead, genes can be turned on and off by experiences and environment. What we eat, how much stress we undergo, and what toxins we’re exposed to can all alter the genetic legacy we pass on to our children and even grandchildren. In this new science of “epigenetics,” researchers are exploring how nature and nurture combine to cause behavior, traits, and illnesses that genes alone can’t explain, ranging from sexual orientation to autism to cancer. “We were all brought up to think the genome was it,” said Rockefeller University molecular biologist C. David Allis. “It’s really been a watershed in understanding that there is something beyond the genome.”

What is epigenetics?

The word literally means “on top of genetics,” and it’s the study of how individual genes can be activated or deactivated by life experiences. Each one of our cells, from skin cells to neurons, contains an identical DNA blueprint, yet they perform vastly different functions. That’s because epigenetic “tags” block developing fetal cells from following any genetic instructions that don’t pertain to their intended roles. That biochemical process, scientists have discovered, occurs not just during gestation and early development but throughout adulthood, switching genes on or off and altering our mental and physical health.

How does that affect who we are?

We’re only beginning to find out. A woman’s diet during pregnancy seems to have a major impact on her baby’s epigenetic tags. Prenatal diets that are low in folic acid, vitamin B-12, and other nutrients containing “methyl groups” — a set of molecules that can tag genes and cause epigenetic changes — have been linked to an increased risk of asthma and brain and spinal cord defects in children. Stress, too, can alter fetal epigenetic tags. Pregnant women who were traumatized at the World Trade Center on 9/11 were far more likely than other women to give birth to infants who reacted with unusual levels of fear and stress when faced with loud noises, unfamiliar people, or new foods.

Are these insights yielding medical therapies?

Over the past five years, evidence that epigenetics plays a major role in cancer has become “absolutely rock solid,” says Robert A. Weinberg, a biologist at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass. Andrew Feinberg, director of Johns Hopkins University’s Epigenetics Center, thinks it’s a factor in autism and diabetes as well. Drugs are in the works aimed at undoing cancerous epigenetic changes. Even eating foods rich in gene-altering methyl groups — such as soybeans, red grapes, and green tea — might protect against disease by silencing detrimental genes. In one famous experiment, researchers fed a methyl-rich diet to pregnant female mice that carried a gene that made them fat, yellow, and prone to cancer and diabetes. Though their offspring carried the same gene, they were born slim, brown, and disease-free. But researchers are still trying to work out how to use this powerful tool to address specific health problems. “Did this change in diet increase cancer risk?” asks McGill University pharmacologist Moshe Szyf. “Did it increase depression? Did it increase dementia or Alzheimer’s? We don’t know yet, and it will take some time to sort it out.”

Imagefrom Newsweek Magazine “Beyond the Book of Life.” Jun 26, 2009

“There’s a revolution sweeping biology today — begrudged by a few, but accepted by more and more biologists — that is changing scientific thinking about the way genes work, the way diseases arise and the way some of the most dreadful among them, including cancer, might be diagnosed and treated. This revolution is called epigenetics, and it is not only beginning to explain some of the biological mysteries that deepened with the Human Genome Project. Because of a series of accidental events, it is already prolonging the lives of human patients with deadly diseases.

Over the past several years, and largely without much public notice, physicians have reported success using epigenetic therapies against cancers of the blood and have even made progress against intractable solid-tumor malignancies like lung cancer. The story is still preliminary and unfolding (dozens of clinical trials using epigenetic drugs are currently underway), but Dr. Margaret Foti, chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research, recently noted that epigenetics is already resulting in “significant improvements” in cancer diagnosis and therapy. “It’s really coming into its own now,” she said. Leaping on the bandwagon, the National Institutes of Health made epigenetics the focus of one of its cutting-edge “Roadmap” initiatives announced last fall.

“I think we were all brought up to think the genome was it,” says C. David Allis, a scientist at Rockefeller University whose research in the 1990s helped catalyze the current interest in epigenetics. “But even when the genome was a done deal, some people thought, ‘Is that the whole story?’ It’s really been a watershed in understanding that there is something beyond the genome.”

The emergence of epigenetics represents a fundamental rethinking of how molecular biology works. Scientists have learned that while DNA remains the basic text of life, the script is often controlled by stage directions embedded in a layer of biochemicals that, roughly speaking, sit on top of the DNA. These modifications, called epimutations, can turn genes on and off, often at inappropriate times. In other words, epigenetics has introduced the startling idea that it’s not just the book of life (in the form of DNA) that’s important, but how the book is packaged.“

from “Epigenetics, Methylation, and Gene Expression.” by Kevin Cann, April 10th, 2013

“Many of us think that we are doomed to a life of obesity or disease because of our genes. The truth is, we may be more genetically predisposed to certain metabolic conditions or disease states, but that does not mean there are not things we can do to alter this gene expression.  The idea that our genes react to environmental and internal stimuli is referred to as epigenetics. Our genetic code is wrapped up into our DNA and paired into 23 sets of chromosomes.

The DNA then wraps itself around alkaline proteins called histones. These histones then give the DNA structure. These newly formed structures are referred to as nucleosomes. On the outside of these histones are chemical messengers that listen for cues from the environment and from our internal systems. This whole structure is known as the epigenome. When the chemical messengers receive a stimuli, they will react by tightening themselves around certain genes to make them inactive so that they cannot be read by other cells. On the other hand they will relax themselves around other genes so that they are easily accessible. Our DNA we are stuck with, but our gene expression can be altered.

Our bodies turn off genes through a process called methylation. To keep it simple this is adding a methyl group to the DNA. As of late researchers have been looking at methylation as a primary role player in the onset of certain diseases. It is believed that methylation plays an important role in the stability of trinucleotides. In a trinucleotide repeat disorder such as Huntington’s Disease, this is important to understand. There are germinal and somatic cells within our system, and methylation is in charge of maintaining their stability.”
from The University of Utah Genetic Science Learning Center “What is Epigenetics”

“The development and maintenance of an organism is orchestrated by a set of chemical reactions that switch parts of the genome off and on at strategic times and locations. Epigenetics is the study of these reactions and the factors that influence them.”
Imagefrom Science Watch “Epigenetics: 20 Years and Rising.” by Jeremy Cherfas   

“Over a 20-year period, there has been an eight-fold increase of papers on epigenetics from just over 1,000 papers in 1992 to more than 8,500 in 2011.
Following on this steady rise, epigenetics as a research field will undoubtedly get a further boost from the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, awarded to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka. Gurdon showed that an adult frog nucleus contains all the genetic information needed to develop into a mature frog. Yamanaka discovered that just four genes could reprogram an adult skin cell into a pluripotent stem cell, capable of differentiating into all the specialized cell lines of an adult mouse. Both were effectively reversing a lifetime of epigenetic modifications to the cell.”

from NOVA scienceNOW “Epigenetics.” July, 2007

“Once nurture seemed clearly distinct from nature. Now it appears that our diets and lifestyles can change the expression of our genes. How? By influencing a network of chemical switches within our cells collectively known as the epigenome. This new understanding may lead us to potent new medical therapies. Epigenetic cancer therapy, for one, already seems to be yielding promising results.

Our lifestyles might affect the health of our children and even grandchildren.”

from The New York Times “Why Fathers Really Matter.” by Judith Shulevitz, September 8, 2012

“Epigenetics means that our physical and mental tendencies were not set in stone during the Pleistocene age, as evolutionary psychology sometimes seems to claim. Rather, they’re shaped by the life we lead and the world we live in right now. Epigenetics proves that we are the products of history, public as well as private, in parts of us that are so intimately ours that few people ever imagined that history could reach them.”

from The University of Utah Genetic Science Learning Center “The Epigenome Learns from its Experiences.”

“Epigenetic tags act as a kind of cellular memory. A cell’s epigenetic profile — a collection of tags that tell genes whether to be on or off — is the sum of the signals it has received during its lifetime.

As a fertilized egg develops into a baby, dozens of signals received over days, weeks, and months cause incremental changes in gene expression patterns. Epigenetic tags record the cell’s experiences on the DNA, helping to stabilize gene expression. Each signal shuts down some genes and activates others as it nudges a cell toward its final fate. Different experiences cause the epigenetic profiles of each cell type to grow increasingly different over time. In the end, hundreds of cell types form, each with a distinct identity and a specialized function.“

Imagefrom The New York Times “Study Finds How Genes That Cause Illness Work.” by Gina Kolata, January 20, 2013

“In a pathbreaking paper, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden report a way to evaluate one gene-regulation system: chemical tags that tell genes to be active or not. Their test case was of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling autoimmune disease that affects 1.5 million Americans.

Researchers know a gene will remain stable, but the chemical tags that turn the genes on and off are not so reliable. Their presence can be affected by the environment or medications or even the activity of other, distant genes. They can be a consequence of a disease or set off a disease.

The researchers reported measurement techniques that enabled them to sort things out. They found hundreds of chemical tags but only four that seemed truly related to the disease. Those four were in a cluster of genes that controls the immune response and that was known to affect the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, said Dr. Andrew Feinberg of Johns Hopkins, a lead author of the study. In particular, the tags were in a gene called C6orf10 whose function is unknown.

The chemical tags may help determine if a person with a gene that increases risk of developing a disease actually gets the disease. There were people in the control group who had gene variations associated with arthritis risk, but they did not have those four chemical tags and did not have the disease.”

from The Washington Post “Emerging science aims to manipulate human DNA.” by Rachel Saslow, December 15, 2009

“Two mice. One weighs 20 grams and has brown fur. The other is a hefty 60 grams with yellow fur and is prone to diabetes and cancer. They’re identical twins, with identical DNA.

So what accounts for the differences?

It turns out that their varying traits are controlled by a mediator between nature and nurture known as epigenetics. A group of molecules that sit atop our DNA, the epigenome tells genes when to turn on and off.

A growing body of research has some scientists rethinking humans’ genetic destinies. Is our hereditary fate — bipolar disorder or cancer at age 70, for example — sealed upon the formation of our double helices, or are there things we can do to change it? Are we recipients of our DNA, or caretakers of it?

Last year, the National Institutes of Health announced that it would invest $190 million to accelerate epigenetic research. The list of illnesses to be studied in the resulting grants reveals the scope of the emerging field: cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, asthma, kidney disease, glaucoma, muscular dystrophy and more.”

“Prostaglandin E2 promotes intestinal tumor growth via DNA methylation.” by Dianren Xia, Dingzhi Wang, Sun-Hee Kim, Hiroshi Katoh & Raymond N DuBois. Nature Medicine 18, 224–226 (2012). doi:10.1038/nm.2608

“The difference between genetics and epigenetics can be compared to the difference between writing and reading a book. Once a book is written the text (genes or DNA sequence) will be the same in all copies distributed to the audience. However, each individual reader of a book may interpret the story slightly differently, with varying emotions and projections.

In a similar manner, epigenetics would allow different interpretations of a fixed template and result in different read-outs dependent on the variable conditions under which the template is interrogated.”
from “Why Your DNA Isn’t Your Destiny.” January 23, 2010

“For decades, we have stumbled around massive Darwinian roadblocks. DNA, we thought, was an ironclad code that we and our children and their children had to live by. Now we can imagine a world in which we can tinker with DNA, bend it to our will.

It will take geneticists and ethicists many years to work out all the implications, but be assured: the age of epigenetics has arrived.

ImageYour Genetics Are Malleable — Like Clay

Epigenetic “malleability” helps to explain why identical twins become distinct as they age.

Why does one identical twin develop cancer and the other remain healthy when they have identical DNA? Why does one twin become obese and another remain lean?

As you age, your genome does not change but your epigenome changes dramatically, especially during critical periods of life, such as adolescence. It is influenced by physical and emotional stresses — how you respond to everything that happens in your environment, from climate change to childhood abuse.

You do not manifest disease merely by a defective gene, but by your epigenome. In other words, whether or not you develop disease is determined by how your genome is being directed to express itself. There are also “master genes” that can switch on and off clusters of other genes.

Scientists have discovered it is easier to make epigenetic changes than to fix damaged genes. Your epigenome is easier to mess up — but it’s also easier to fix.

That’s good news — you aren’t doomed by bad genes!

Epigenetic therapy, which is essentially the curing of disease by epigenetic manipulation, involves changing the instructions to your cells — reactivating desirable genes and deactivating undesirable ones. This emerging field, now in its infancy, may represent the future of medicine.”

from The New York Times “Genes as Mirrors of Life Experiences.” by Benedict Carey, November 8, 2010

“By studying genes at the “epi” level, scientists are hoping to discover patterns that have been elusive at the level of the genes — and ideally to find targets for calibrated treatments that would not simply shut off errant genes but would gradually turn their activity up or down, like adjusting the balance on a stereo.”

from LiveScience “Why Your DNA May Not Be Your Destiny.” by Denise Chow, June 04, 2013  

“Ten years ago, when researchers completed the first map of all the genes of human beings, the immense undertaking promised to revolutionize the field of molecular medicine. It did, but something was still missing.

“By sequencing the 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA, scientists were able to glean new information about genes and how they are expressed. Yet there were hints that something else might be controlling which genes are turned on and off” said Jean-Pierre Issa, director of the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and professor of molecular biology at Temple University in Philadelphia.

“When the human genome was sequenced, some scientists were saying, ‘That’s the end. We’re going to understand every disease. We’re going to understand every behavior.’” Issa said. “And it turns out, we didn’t, because the sequence of the DNA isn’t enough to explain behavior. It isn’t enough to explain diseases.”

In the 1950s, an English developmental biologist named Conrad Waddington suggested that something was working on top of the DNA sequence to modulate gene expression.

Scientists who advanced Waddington’s hypothesis began investigating whether experiences or a person’s environment could trigger genetic changes. This work came to be known as epigenetics, and it suggested that human development was not completely hardwired in DNA.

“When you think of nurture and nature, what epigenetics represents is the interface between those two influences,” said Frances Champagne, a behavioral scientist at Columbia University in New York.”
from The Scientist “Decoding DNA: New Twists and Turns.”

“From my perspective,” says Victoria Richon, Vice President, Discovery and Preclinical Research, Sanofi. “I think the reason why we’re really seeing the explosion of information about this field is that we now understand the enzymes and really the machinery that’s catalyzing the … different modifications, which previously we didn’t.”

Imagefrom Jean Pierre Issa M.D. Anderson Cancer Center  

“The idea of epigenetic therapy is to stay away from killing the cell. Rather, what we are trying to do is diplomacy, trying to change the instructions of the cells, reminding the cell, “Hey, you’re a human cell. You shouldn’t be behaving this way.” And we try to do that by reactivating genes.”

from “Phenocopies in families with essential tremor and restless legs syndrome challenge Mendelian laws. Epigenetics might provide answers.” by Zimprich A.  Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2012 Jul;18(6):711-6. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2012.03.019.  

“Inheritance of epigenetic mutations along with paramutational events have the potential to explain the non-mendelian features in the genetics of restless legs syndrome.”

from Scientific American “How Acquired Diseases Become Hereditary Illnesses.” by JR Minkel, August 9, 2010

“One of the primary goals of genetics over the past decade has been to understand human health and disease in terms of differences in DNA from person to person. But even a relatively straightforward trait such as height has resisted attempts to reduce it to a particular combination of genes. In light of this shortcoming, some investigators see room for an increased focus on an alternative explanation for heritable traits: epigenetics, the molecular processes that control a gene’s potential to act. Evidence now suggests that epigenetics can lead to inherited forms of obesity and cancer.

The best-studied form of epigenetic regulation is methylation, the addition of clusters of atoms made of carbon and hydrogen (methyl groups) to DNA. Depending on where they are placed, methyl groups direct the cell to ignore any genes present in a stretch of DNA. During embryonic development, undifferentiated stem cells accumulate methyl groups and other epigenetic marks that funnel them into one of the three germ layers, each of which gives rise to a different set of adult tissues. In 2008 the National Institutes of Health launched the $190-million Roadmap Epigenomics Project with the goal of cataloguing the epigenetic marks in the major human cell types and tissues.”

from Potential Magazine “Research Frontiers: The Study of Epigenetics.” by Martie Callaghan, Spring 2009

Are your genes turned on?

“We know that epigenetic phenomena can be transmitted from generation to generation,” says Dr. Walter Kaufmann of the Kennedy Krieger Institute. “We must now identify specific diets or other lifestyle dynamics that can influence and potentially reverse these epigenetic labels that you inherited from your ancestors.”

The implications and applications of epigenetics reach even farther.

“We use a lot of medications in young children and many times there is no alternative but to do that,” Dr. Kaufmann says. “We may be able to think about interventions that are more environment based.”

Imagefrom The Sydney Morning Herald “You are what your mother ate.” by Sarah Berry, March 15, 2012

“Unlike genes, which can take hundreds of years to change, epigenetic changes can occur relatively quickly.”

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RLS is NOT Hereditary: Welcome to the AMAZING World of Epigenetics! (PART THREE: Inflammation and Epigenetics)

ImageAs a society we are faced with an epidemic of chronic inflammation.

Epigenetics’ role in lessening this condition is of the highest interest to restless legs sufferers.

Scientists have reached a level where the “cause” of diseases can actually be determined and altered.

Unfortunately, at this time, RLS is not a high priority for researchers when it comes to tapping into the vast healing powers of epigenetics.

Obviously, cancer is at the top of the list. It is followed by other heavy-hitters such as Alzeimer’s, depression, obesity etc.

But that’s still good news for you. Cancer and RLS have something in common – they are both deeply connected to inflammation.
Therefore, whatever switches are discovered that lessen the inflammation involved with cancer, could also be of help to RLS sufferers.

As you’ll read below in the interview with Doctors Belkina and Denis that “changes to one master regulator can affect many different, apparently unrelated, diseases.”

In other words, people with inflammatory diseases other than cancer, such as RLS, could still benefit from any major discoveries made in epigenetic cancer research.

Image“Inflammation and epigenetics: an interview with Dr Belkina and Dr Denis, Boston University School of Medicine.” Interview conducted by April Cashin-Garbutt, BA Hons (Cantab). Published on March 28, 2013.

“What diseases are associated with inflammation?

Inflammation can be thought of as taking two major forms: acute or chronic.

Acute inflammation, which can be painful, usually arises quickly and resolves quickly. It accompanies bacterial infections, traumatic injury and is useful to fight infections and promote healing. But unresolved, severe, acute inflammation can be fatal, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome or influenza, where the lungs develop edema; or sepsis, where ‘cytokine storms’ cause organ damage and shock.

Chronic inflammation is a low-grade form that fails to resolve and can persist over years. Cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes are good examples; this inflammation is often not acutely painful in a way that might warn the sufferer. Its subtle nature renders it dangerous, and associated with sudden death due to cardiac arrest or stroke. Chronic inflammation can be a serious problem in older, obese humans and has been linked to obesity-associated cancer.

What are macrophages and how do they cause inflammation?

Macrophages differentiate from blood monocytes, they are recruited to different organs in response to signals called chemokines; or they permanently reside in tissues, and so are called ‘resident macrophages’. These cells produce small proteins called cytokines that promote inflammation in the tissue or help with wound healing, tissue remodelling or other kinds of housekeeping.

In acute and chronic inflammatory diseases, the net output of inflammatory cytokines results in organ dysfunction, pain, deteriorating health and even cellular death.

How can genetically identical cells express their genes differently without DNA sequence changes?

The controlling regions of genes, called ‘promoters’ or ‘enhancers’ are packaged into chromatin, which can be permanently marked by epigenetic ‘writer’ enzymes, such as histone acetylases, and read in daughter cells by ‘reader’ proteins, such as bromodomain proteins. These marks can dramatically affect gene expression in otherwise genetically identical cells.

DNA itself can be marked by epigenetic writer enzymes, such as DNA methylases, and read by yet other proteins to change gene expression. Yet in none of these cases has the DNA been mutated or the genetic sequences altered; so that daughter cells can have very different gene expression, yet be genetically identical.

What epigenetic mechanisms did your research into inflammation identify?

We found that the BET family of double bromodomain-containing ‘reader’ proteins is essential for transcriptional regulation of a broad array of genes that produce inflammatory cytokines.

We found that one BET protein in particular, Brd2, is a ‘master regulator’ of many different inflammatory cytokine genes. Thus, if one inhibits this master regulator of inflammation, it’s like throwing a bucket of cold water on the inflammatory fire.

What epigenetic mechanisms did your research into inflammation identify?

We found that the BET family of double bromodomain-containing ‘reader’ proteins is essential for transcriptional regulation of a broad array of genes that produce inflammatory cytokines.

We found that one BET protein in particular, Brd2, is a ‘master regulator’ of many different inflammatory cytokine genes. Thus, if one inhibits this master regulator of inflammation, it’s like throwing a bucket of cold water on the inflammatory fire.

How did your research into the epigenetic mechanisms that connect diseases associated with inflammation originate?

We had been studying Brd2 for many years, and knew that high level expression of Brd2 and other BET family proteins causes cancer. We expected that when we deleted Brd2 in mice that they would not be viable, but got a huge shock when not only did they live, but they became obese.

We experienced an even bigger shock when we found that they did not develop glucose intolerance or insulin resistance, despite their incredible obesity, which was the human equivalent of 600 pounds.

We discovered that their reduced inflammatory profile, brought about by low Brd2 levels, rather than zero Brd2 levels, paradoxically kept them alive, made them fat, and protected their metabolism from inflammatory complications.

There are humans like this, e.g., ‘metabolically healthy obese’ patients who actually perplex their physicians because, although they may be severely obese, they actually preserve many metabolic features of lean and healthy people, including lower risks for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, in part because they have a reduced inflammatory profile.

We felt we had no choice but to pursue this amazing, accidental discovery.

Does your research suggest that the different diseases associated with inflammation are linked?

The ‘master regulators’ form a very limited set of proteins that share control of many diverse genes. Thus, changes to one master regulator can affect many different, apparently unrelated, diseases.

By analogy, if you want to cut power quickly to numerous household appliances, you could just trip the master circuit breaker, rather than running around the house and turning off each appliance individually.

Do you think that the current division of medical specialities will need to change in the future to reflect this?

Yes. It will be necessary for cardiologists and endocrinologists to attend immunology meetings, for oncologists to attend endocrinology meetings, and for everyone to ‘think outside of the box’.

Our research shows that many diseases such as atherosclerosis, insulin-resistant obesity, obesity-associated cancer, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic inflammatory diseases are deeply related through common mechanisms of shared networks that control chromatin.

What impact do you think your research will have on controlling the inflammatory response associated with diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and so forth?

New BET protein inhibitors are in the pipeline in a number of research groups and pharmaceutical companies. Some of these agents, if shown to be safe and on target, might become excellent new drugs to treat problems in insulin production, insulin resistance or chronic inflammation, which often accompany obesity and exacerbate risks for obesity-associated cancers.

However, these safety issues are complex and will not be straightforward to overcome.

How important do you think the study of epigenetics will be in the future of medicine?

Epigenetics is a critical new area of research. The Dutch ‘Hunger Winter’ of 1944 – 1945 taught us about the importance and long-lasting impact of maternal starvation, which apparently transmitted cardiometabolic risk epigenetically from the deprived, pregnant mothers to their unborn children.

New research with rodent models is showing us that inflammation in the uterine environment can epigenetically reprogram the young into unhealthy metabolic patterns after birth. Therefore, proper support for maternal health and metabolism will be shown to matter all the more, and we may be able to define specific steps to protect the fetus.

Best of all, we may be able to develop epigenetic drugs that will ultimately be useful to correct these epigenetically transmitted diseases. Until then, there is no cure for the adult children of the Dutch ‘Hunger Winter’ mothers, or patients like them.”

Imagefrom Nature “Unravelling the cancer code.” by Vicki Brower, March 2011  

“A prime candidate at the interface of environment and genetics is chronic inflammation, which is known to precede the development of numerous types of precancerous lesions — and indeed certain cancers themselves, including oesophageal, liver and colon cancers. Inflammation has been linked with increased DNA methylation in otherwise healthy looking tissue. Jean-Pierre Issa, an epigeneticist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and a researcher on the Cancer Genome Project calls chronic inflammation “a truly epigenetic phenomenon.”

“Induction of epigenetic alterations by chronic inflammation and its significance on carcinogenesis.” by Niwa T, Ushijima T. Carcinogenesis Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Adv Genet. 2010;71:41-56. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-380864-6.00002-X.

“Chronic inflammation is deeply involved in development of human cancers, such as gastric and liver cancers. Induction of cell proliferation, production of reactive oxygen species, and direct stimulation of epithelial cells by inflammation-inducing factors have been considered as mechanisms involved. Inflammation-related cancers are known for their multiple occurrences, and aberrant DNA methylation is known to be present even in noncancerous tissues. Importantly, for some cancers, the degree of accumulation has been demonstrated to be correlated with risk of developing cancers. This indicates that inflammation induces aberrant epigenetic alterations in a tissue early in the process of carcinogenesis, and accumulation of such alterations forms “an epigenetic field for cancerization.” This also suggests that inhibition of induction of epigenetic alterations and removal of the accumulated alterations are novel approaches to cancer prevention. Disturbances in cytokine and chemokine signals and induction of cell proliferations are important mechanisms of how inflammation induces aberrant DNA methylation.“

“Role of epigenetics in inflammation-associated diseases.” by Shanmugam MK, Sethi G. Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. Subcell Biochem. 2012;61:627-57. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-4525-4_27.

“There is considerable evidence suggesting that epigenetic mechanisms may mediate development of chronic inflammation by modulating the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α, interleukins, tumor suppressor genes, oncogenes and autocrine and paracrine activation of the transcription factor NF-κB. These molecules are constitutively produced by a variety of cells under chronic inflammatory conditions, which in turn leads to the development of major diseases such as autoimmune disorders, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Distinct or global changes in the epigenetic landscape are hallmarks of chronic inflammation driven diseases.“

Imagefrom “Inflammatory signalling as mediator of epigenetic modulation in tissue-specific chronic inflammation.” Liselotte Backdahl, Andrew Bushell & Stephan Beck. Medical Genomics Group. 09/2008; 41(1):176-84. DOI:10.1016/j.biocel.2008.08.023

“Recent successes of therapeutic intervention in chronic inflammatory diseases using epigenetic modifiers such as histone deacetylase inhibitors and inhibitors of DNA methylation suggest that epigenetic reprogramming plays a role in the aetiology of these diseases. The epigenetic signature of a given immune cell is reflected in the history of modifications from different signals the cell has been subjected to during differentiation. Like other cells, differentiating immune cells are dependent on a complex combination of inter- and intracell signalling as well as transcription machineries to modulate their epigenomes in order to mediate differentiation.”

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