Posts Tagged willis-ekbom disease

Another Scientific Link Between Restless Legs Syndrome and Inflammation

chronic-illness-46-638Below is an excerpt from an article titled “Inflammation and Pain Management with Magnesium” by Dr. Mark Sircus, Ac., OMD, DM (P), December 8, 2009

“According to the National Sleep Foundation approximately 70 million people in the United States are affected with sleeping disorders. Approximately 12 million Americans have Restless Legs Syndrome, a sleep and movement disorder characterized by unpleasant (tingling, crawling, creeping and/or pulling) feelings in the legs, which cause an urge to move in order to relieve the symptoms.  

‘People with poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation exhibit increased levels of interleukin-6 (IL6), the chemical that causes inflammation throughout the body’ (Redwine et al. 2000).”

The above excerpt is a short but effective overview of the way that Restless Legs Syndrome feeds off itself; ever increasing the stranglehold it has over each individual.

The original RLS-causing inflammation in your body could have been created because of a number of issues. It’s  likely that diet is involved, but there are many other possible contributors such as lifestyle, environment & toxins, alcohol consumption, stress, pregnancy, aging etc.

Once the inflammation inside you reaches a level that causes your legs to start tingling … a whole new (ugly) cycle begins!

The lack of sleep you begin to experience because of your wonky legs AS WELL AS the stress of the increasing frustration BOTH raise the existing inflammation level inside of you.

And, of course, as time goes on, it just gets worse. It’s an ugly, ugly debilitating cycle.

Your sleep gets worse, the inflammation increases. Your stress gets higher, the inflammation increases. Your anger deepens, the inflammation increases.

Yes, all the while, the RLS-causing inflammation inside of you increases, raising your inflammation and RLS to new levels.

THE SOLUTION:

Healing RLS requires a multi-pronged attack. You can’t just take a pill and wish it all away.  Taking a prescribed medication expecting it to rid your RLS is like closing the door to a room that is on fire expecting the fire to die out.

The inflammation inside of you is going to continue to increase and manifest in other ways. (I explain how RLS is actually a warning signal from your body, on my website http://www.rlcure.com).

To rid yourself of RLS you need to:

1. Put a cork in where the inflammation is flowing into your life.

This means, first off, change your diet! Get the sugar, trans & saturated fats, gluten, alcinflammatoryfoodsohol, refined carbohydrates and MSG out of your life, as best you can. Give your body a chance to heal. It doesn’t have to be forever, just give it some breathing room to heal itself.

It also means that you need to learn to calm down.

Meditation, relaxation exercises and yoga have all been clinically proven to lower inflammation levels.

I still believe that no one is beyond help when it comes to RLS and inflammation. Regardless of how hopeless you think your situation is, if you’re willing to make necessary sacrifices and put in the work, you can be healed.

For some helpful tips on natural ways to put out the fire that’s raging inside your body, please visit my website http://www.rlcure.com

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Restless Legs Symptoms Lessened with D-ribose

ATP_moleculeWhenever I run across something that has helped lessen a person’s RLS symptoms, whether it be a personal story or through a study, I know with 100% certainty that if I do a search on whatever it is they took to lessen their symptoms, that healing ingredient will have proven anti-inflammatory properties.

Such is the case with D-Ribose.

“D-Ribose is a naturally occurring five-carbon monosaccharide that is found in all living cells, and has anti-inflammatory effects in renal ischemia/reperfusion injury” (Ueki et al. 2013).

“D-ribose has anti-inflammatory activities and protects against damage mediated via inflammation.” from “D-ribose for energizing brain, autism and ADD/ADHD” by Dr. Anil Minocha, Board certified in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology and Nutrition

I ran across a RLS study that was done in 2008 that showed great promise in a father and son with Restless Legs that were both given D-ribose.

I am going to post the results of the study followed by some basic information about what D-ribose is.

I realize in the great theater of science that this study doesn’t prove anything. However, to someone still suffering from RLS that is trying to find the slightest glimmer of hope, this is yet more evidence shining its light on the DIRECT LINK between RLS and INFLAMMATION.

STUDY: “D-ribose benefits restless legs syndrome.” (Shecterle et al. 2008).400x250xheart.jpg.pagespeed.ic.8Q2L_vwUPa

We report on two affected male individuals, a father and son, ages 71 and 47, from a family in which three generations carry the diagnosis. To evaluate any potential benefit of D-ribose in this condition, each individual orally consumed 5-g doses of D-ribose daily at different trial stages. Each stage lasted 3 weeks with a 2-week washout period between stages.

The initial stage involved a single 5 gm dose of D-ribose consumed at breakfast. Throughout the second stage, D-ribose was taken at breakfast and lunch. In the third stage, D-ribose was taken at all meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Diaries by the subjects pertaining to their documentation and severity of restless legs syndrome symptoms was compiled. During the initial stage both men reported a general feeling of more energy and less fatigue, most notably after exercise, without any significant changes in their symptoms.

With the increase in the daily dose of D-ribose, in the second stage, their leg twitching and the feeling to move during the day was reduced for 1 subject, and rarely present in the other. Both still experienced the unpleasant sensations during the night.

However, during the final stage, a further increase in the daily dose of D-ribose eliminated their daily symptoms and the symptoms at night were of a lesser degree and had a later occurrence. Both men reported that D-ribose did not totally eliminate their discomfort, but the severity and onset of symptoms affecting their quality of life was substantially improved with D-ribose without any adverse reactions.

Jacob-Teitalbaum-Photo“D-Ribose–The Natural Body Energizer” from “Fatigued to Fantastic!” by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. (2007)

In looking at energy production, it helps to look at the “energy molecules” such as ATP, NADH, and FADH. These represent the energy currency in your body, and are like the paper that money is printed on. You can have all the fuel you want, but if it cannot be converted to these molecules, it is useless!

For years, I talked about the importance of B vitamins, which are a key component of these molecules. These helped to a degree, but it was clear that a key component was missing. In looking at the biochemistry of these energy molecules, they are also made of 2 other key components-adenine and ribose. Adenine is plentiful in the body and supplementing with adenine did not help CFS. We then turned our attention to Ribose. Ribose is made in your body in a slow, laborious process and cannot be found in food. We knew that CFS/FMS causes your body to dump other key energy molecules like acetyl-l-carnitine. We then found that the body did the same with Ribose, making it hard to get your furnaces working again even after the other problems were treated.

This was like one of those “Eureka!” moments where things came together. Not having Ribose would be like trying to build a fire without kindling—nothing would happen. We wondered if giving Ribose to people with CFS would jump-start their energy furnaces. The answer was a resounding yes!

Our recently published study (see the study abstract in Appendix B) showed an average 44.7% increase in energy after only 3 weeks (improvement began at 12 days) and an average overall improvement in quality of life of 30%. Two thirds of the CFS/FMS patients felt they had improved.19 Usually a 10% improvement for a single nutrient is considered excellent. A 44.7% increase left us amazed, and I am now recommending Ribose for all of my CFS/FMS patients, for athletes, and any one with pain, fatigue or heart problems. Ribose recently became available (over the counter) to physicians, and is one of the few natural products actually starting with physicians and then moving out into health food stores.

It is critical to use the proper dose for the first 3 weeks, which is 5 grams (5000 mg) three times a day. It can then be dropped to twice a day. I recommend the Corvalen form of ribose as it is the least expensive and highest quality and is packaged with a 5 gm dosing scoop in it. One 280 gm container will be enough to tell you if it will work. Corvalen M (which has ribose plus magnesium and malic acid) is also available, but if you are also taking the Energy Revitalization System vitamin powder (see chapter X), you are already getting the magnesium and malic acid, and the regular Corvalen is a better deal financially. Bioenergy, which makes Corvalen, also conducts almost all of the research on Ribose, knows the most about it, and has outstanding customer service in case you have any questions. Because of its importance, it’s worth looking at energy production and Ribose in greater detail. Having had the chance to explore the research and speak with a number of the researchers, below is what I’ve learned from them.

D-Ribose Accelerates Energy RecoveryRiboseChart2

D-Ribose (which is what I am referring to when I say ribose) is a simple, five-carbon sugar (known as a pentose by biochemists) that is found naturally in our bodies. But ribose is not like any other sugar. Sugars we are all familiar with, such as table sugar (sucrose), corn sugar (glucose), milk sugar (lactose), honey (predominantly fructose), and others are used by the body as fuel. These sugars are consumed and, with the help of the oxygen we breathe, are “burned” by the body to recycle energy. Because they are used excessively, they can also be toxic, as we’ve discussed earlier. Ribose, on the other hand, is special. When we consume ribose, the body recognizes that it is different from other sugars and preserves it for the vital work of actually making the energy molecule that powers our hearts, muscles, brains, and every other tissue in the body.

A key molecule, called adenosine triphosphate (or ATP for short), is known as the energy currency of the cell because the amount of ATP we have in our tissues determines whether we will be fatigued, or will have the energy we need to live vital, active lives. Ribose provides the key building block of ATP, and the presence of ribose in the cell stimulates the metabolic pathway our bodies use to actually make this vital compound. If the cell does not have enough ribose, it cannot make ATP. So, when cells and tissues become energy starved, the availability of ribose is critical to energy recovery.

Normal, healthy heart and muscle tissue has the capacity to make all the ribose it needs. When normal tissue is stressed by overexertion, several days of rest will usually allow it to fully recover. The muscle may be sore during recovery, as we frequently see for the three or four days after a hard day of yard work or after a weekend pick up football game, but eventually energy levels will be restored and the soreness will disappear. But when the muscle is chronically stressed by disease or conditions that affect tissue energy metabolism, the cells and tissues simply cannot make enough ribose quickly enough to recover. Hearts and muscles just don’t have the metabolic machinery they need to make ribose very efficiently. The result is chronic, persistent pain, stiffness, soreness, and overwhelming fatigue that may never go away.
The Link between Ribose, Energy, and Fatigue

Clinical and scientific research has repeatedly shown that giving ribose to energy deficient hearts and muscles stimulates energy recovery. One important study involved healthy athletes participating in high-intensity, endurance exercise over the course of one week. After exercise the energy level in the athlete’s muscle was reduced by almost 30%. Giving 10-grams of ribose per day for three days following exercise restored muscle energy levels to normal, while treatment with placebo provided virtually no effect.20 This study clearly showed that ribose stimulated the energy recovery pathways in the body, helping the muscle rebuild its energy supply quickly and completely. Even after three days of rest, muscle that was not treated with ribose remained energy starved and fatigued.

Two very interesting studies in animals showed how dramatic the effect of ribose could be on energy recovery in fatigued muscle. These studies were conducted by Dr. Ron Terjung, one of the top muscle physiologists in the U.S. In their research, Dr. Terjung and his co-investigators found that ribose administration in fatigued muscle increased the rate of energy recovery by 340% to 430%, depending on which type of muscle was tested.21 He also found that even very small amounts of ribose had the effect of helping the muscle cell preserve energy, a process known as energy salvage, and the higher the ribose dose, the more dramatic the effect on energy preservation.22 Although this groundbreaking research was done in animals it was instrumental in defining the biochemistry and physiology associated with the use of ribose in overcoming heart and muscle fatigue. But most of us with CFS and FMS are neither top athletes nor animals, so the question remains, “How will ribose affect me?”

D-Ribose-ArticleResearch in Ribose and CFS/FMS began with a case study that was published in the prestigious journal Pharmacotherapy in 2004.23 This case study told the story of a veterinary surgeon diagnosed with fibromyalgia. For months, this dedicated doctor found herself becoming more and more fatigued, with pain becoming so profound she was finally unable to stand during surgery. As a result, she was forced to all but give up the practice she loved.

Upon hearing that a clinical study on ribose in congestive heart failure was underway in the university where she worked, she asked if she could try the ribose to see if it might help her overcome the mind-numbing fatigue she experienced from her disease. After three weeks of ribose therapy she was back in the operating room, practicing normally with no muscle pain or stiffness, and without the fatigue that had kept her bedridden for many months.

Being a doctor, she was skeptical, not believing that a simple sugar could have such a dramatic effect on her condition. Within two weeks of stopping the ribose therapy, however, she was out of the operating room and back in bed. So, to again test the theory, she began ribose therapy a second time. The result was similar to her first experience, and she was back doing surgery in days. After yet a third round of stopping (with the return of symptoms) and starting (with the reduction of symptoms) the ribose therapy, she was convinced, and has been on ribose therapy since that time.

I found this report intriguing and decided to design the larger study in patients with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome which I began to discuss earlier. Along with two research collaborators, I recently published a scientific paper describing the results of this research. The study we designed was intended to determine whether or not ribose would be effective in relieving the overwhelming fatigue, pain, soreness, and stiffness suffered by patients having this debilitating condition. Our study included 41 patients with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome who were given ribose at a dose of 5-grams three times per day for an average of three weeks. We found the ribose treatment led to significant improvement in energy levels, sleep patterns, mental clarity, pain intensity, and well being. Of the patients participating in the study, 65.7 % experienced significant improvement while on ribose, with an average increase in energy of 44.7% and overall well being of 30%- remarkable results from a single nutrient! 19 The only significant side effects were that 2 people felt too energized and hyper/anxious on the ribose. This is simply dealt with by lowering the dose and/or taking it with food.

To further validate these findings, we are currently conducting a much larger placebo controlled study, and hope to have theimages results published in the coming year. Interestingly, one of our study patients had an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. Ribose is outstanding in the treatment of heart disease as well, because it restores energy production in the heart muscle. Because of this, it was not surprising that this man’s atrial fibrillation also went away on the ribose and he was able to stop his heart medications as well! Because of its importance and the research showing marked heart muscle dysfunction (because of low energy) in CFS, let’s look at Ribose and the heart in more detail.

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“Is Vitamin D Deficiency to Blame for Your Restless Legs?” by Dr. Robert Rosenberg, The Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff

vitamindEditor’s Note: Please understand that although I publish any  hopeful information I can when it comes to natural remedies for RLS, I still stand firm in the belief that INFLAMMATION is the cause of RLS. So, a Vitamin D deficiency may be the cause (or may contribute) for some people, while others it may be a Vitamin B12 deficiency, for other an Iron deficiency, for others a Magnesium deficiency … and in most cases, just bad eating habits and stress.

They have yet to identify inflammation as being the real problem, and the ways that the inflammation is created, as being secondary. I don’t mean secondary as being ” less important,” what I mean is that you first have to identify the problem, admit that it exists, before the REAL healing can start. Once you have identified the problem, that your RLS is a symptom of the chronic inflammation in your body, then you can try and figure out how it got there, and how you can get rid of it.

As the saying goes “identifying the problem is HALF of the solution.”

However, instead of articles and studies that identify the real problem, what continually appears in the press are articles like the one below that attempts to identify the “ONE THING” that will set your legs free. They look for something we can BLAME it all on.

I totally agree with what Dr. Sircus stated in my previous post “no single medicine or nutritional agent has the power to both treat and prevent chronic inflammatory conditions.”

In other words, yes, a Vitamin D deficiency is inflammatory, and should be avoided at all costs. However, taking Vitamin D is not going to “cure” you if you are still leading an inflammatory lifestyle (including stress) or are consuming inflammatory foods.

Here is the article by Dr. Rosenburg:vitamindmonth2

“Within the past few years there have been several studies linking vitamin D to various sleep disorders. This connection is not surprising since vitamin D is involved in the regulation of calcium, phosphorous, and bone growth, as well as muscle function, immune regulation, and brain function.

There have also been studies linking vitamin D deficiency to sleepiness and enlarged tonsils in children, resulting in pediatric sleep apnea. Among the newer studies released, one of the most interesting studies is a new study, published August 2014 in the journal Sleep Breath titled The Effect of Vitamin D Supplements on the Severity of Restless Legs Syndrome, which links vitamin D deficiency to restless legs syndrome (RLS).

The study followed 12 subjects, all of whom were diagnosed with both primary RLS (meaning there was no other obvious cause) and vitamin D deficiency. All 12 patients were treated with vitamin D. After their levels returned to normal, they were reassessed. The severity of their RLS also significantly improved after treatment, causing the study authors to conclude that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with RLS.

This news comes on the heels of several other studies that have shown low levels of vitamin D in people with RLS.

vitd1There are many places in which you can find vitamin D. One source is our skin, which can produce vitamin D upon exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D can also be found in certain foods including:

Milk
Cheese
Eggs
Oily fish (salmon, cod, and mackerel)

Low levels of vitamin D can be caused by dark skin pigmentation, limited sunlight exposure, pregnancy, abnormal intestinal absorption, and some medications.

As a result of these studies — and several other studies correlating vitamin D to restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, excessive sleepiness, and nighttime muscle cramps – I intend to start checking my patient’s vitamin D levels more often. I am only sorry that I was not aware of this relationship before. Just a decade ago, most of us in sleep medicine would never have imagined that the same vitamin deficiency that can cause rickets and osteoporosis could be
involved in sleep disorders. Modern medicine never fails to amaze or humble me.”

7aa229a83d4c9bbb98f4434bf37fce83Dr. Robert Rosenberg first started practicing medicine in Chicago as an associate professor at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine where he taught students, interns, and residents and attended to patients. In 1982, he moved to Arizona and opened a private practice focusing on internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and sleep medicine. He continued to teach in Arizona and California. In recent years, he’s limited his practice to sleep medicine, and he’s also started writing, blogging, and lecturing on sleep. His expertise as a sleep physician has been featured in various publications, including Newsweek and Oprah Magazine, and he also serves as a forensic sleep medical consultant for legal cases. Dr. Rosenberg sees patients at his private practices, the Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, both in northern Arizona. His first book is titled “Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day,”  

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“Inflammation and Management of RLS with Magnesium” by Dr. Mark Sircus

5efcd76e69382b4b36cbca2afc8528e8“There are many factors that trigger inflammation. They are found in both our internal and external environments and include excessive levels of the hormone insulin (insulin resistance), emotional stress, environmental toxins (heavy metals), free-radical damage, viral, bacterial, fungal other pathogenic infections, obesity, overconsumption of hydrogenated oils, periodontal disease, radiation exposure, smoking, spirochetes such as the Borrelia that causes Lyme disease, and certain pharmacological drugs.

Approximately 12 million Americans have Restless Legs Syndrome, a sleep and movement disorder characterized by unpleasant (tingling, crawling, creeping and/or pulling) feelings in the legs, which cause an urge to move in order to relieve the symptoms. Magnesium supplements may be helpful for relieving Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and for treating insomnia.

However, in the final analysis there is no single medicine or nutritional agent that has the power to both treat and prevent chronic inflammatory conditions. 012_symbol

Magnesium acts as a general cell tonic while it reduces inflammation and systemic stress. Equally it is important in overall energy (ATP) production, hormonal and enzyme production and function which all reflect powerfully on the process of inflammation.”

The above is an excerpt from an article by Dr. Mark Sircus Ac., OMD, DM. Dr. Sircus is a prolific writer and author of several medical and health-related books. Dr. Sircus’s methods are based on medical science and long years of clinical experience, not only his own but experiences of doctors from around the world.

http://drsircus.com/medicine/magnesium/inflammation-and-systemic-stress

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Nature Will Heal Your Restless Legs …. be Patient!

doctor-handing-omega-3-fish-oil-prescription-720x340Unlike drugs, nutrients do not have rapid effects. There’s NO QUICK fix!

The business of nutrition is to BUILD a better body. That has to wait on Nature to turn over body cells. A blood cell lasts 60 to 120 days. In 3 to 4 months your whole blood supply is completely replaced. In 6 months almost all the proteins in your bones die and are replaced … even the DNA OF YOUR GENES. In a year all your bones and even the enamel of your teeth is replaced.

This time curve is well illustrated by the course of deficiency diseases. If I remove the Vitamin C from your diet, within 4 weeks your blood Vitamin C will drop to zero. But, you will see no symptoms of disease at 4 weeks. You have to WAIT until enough of the HEALTHY cells have been REPLACED by unhealthy cells. It is ANOTHER 12 weeks before the symptoms of scurvy start to ravage your body.Be-rational_c

Think of it this way, If you take a neglected house plant and start feeding and watering it, the leaves may PERK UP a BIT from the improved nutrition. But you have to wait for the OLD leaves to die off and NEW leaves to grow before you get a really HEALTHY plant. It is the SAME with the human body. When you start feeding it better, you have to wait on your body to grow NEW improved cells.

To understand the difference between drugs and herbs, let’s focus on how they work. Pharmaceutical drugs are highly purified, potently concentrated chemicals which act by blocking processes of the body. This often gets rid of the symptoms but may create undesired side effects. Anti-congestants will clear your nose, but cause drowsiness. Prolonged use of non-steroids temporarily ease your arthritis pain, but may adversely affect your liver.

14519312_sWhen we drink a tea or take a tincture of an herb, we are taking in the whole plant, with thousands of compounds. Although plants contain unique ingredients which give them specific effects, it is the COMBINATION of all these compounds that accounts for a plant’s effectiveness and safety. The concept that a plant is more than the sum total of all its parts is known as synergy. Synergy means compounds work TOGETHER to boost the power of plants and offset actions of unsafe constituents.

In their wholeness, plants work by effecting favorable changes in our physiology, allowing the body to return to a balanced state. In the holistic tradition, the body knows how to heal itself and will do so given proper assistance. Herbs are our allies in this process.101

In order to get results from herbal treatments it is often necessary to be on a course for several months, especially for serious and/or long-standing problems. Herbs work slowly restoring the body back to balance. There is no magic quick fix with natural medicine because it has to work at such deep levels within the body systems.

medication-and-restless-legs
SOURCES:
Alternative Medicine for Pets – Nerve damage by Silva Mirovics All Experts en.allexperts.com
How long does it take to heal? by Dr. M. Colgan http://www.diseaseeducation.com
The Whole Herb: Natural Drugs to Help the Body Heal Itself by Mary Jo Ruggieri http://www.columbuspolarity.com

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“Chronic Inflammation is the Smoldering Burn of Disease” by Dr. Daemon Jones

time-chronic-InflammationThe cause of disease in our bodies is often silent. It creeps up on us slowly over time, like a smoldering fire that burns unnoticed till one day we wake up with an illness.

This is true for most chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease. It also true for many other diseases like autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, gastrointestinal diseases, and just about anything that is ends in “itis.”

Medical research has begun to ask questions about what the common underlying causes are of all these problems that create disease in our bodies. And research is looking into what types of tests we can use to find them and measure them.

Chronic inflammation, more accurately known as low-grade or systemic inflammation, is becoming a topic of research to answer questions about the common underlying cause of disease.

Chronic inflammation is different from the normal or acute, or short-lived, inflammation that occurs when we have a bruise or cut. In acute inflammation our bodies find the bruise or cut, send chemicals into the area, heal the problem, and then our body goes back to its normal processing.

Chronic inflammation is different because the body is not able to shut off the immune response and it continues at a low level, like a fire that is at a smoldering burn for much too long. Over time, this smoldering flame can ignite into a major problem or chronic disease.

This is when you go to the doctor and you are given the diagnoses of diabetes or high cholesterol, when you thought chronic-inflammationeverything was fine. Perhaps you were not feeling well or you have been having symptoms, but you still are surprised by your diagnosis and you don’t know how to solve this unexpected problem.

There is no standard treatment for chronic inflammation at this time. There does seem to be a benefit to modifying your eating habits toward an anti-inflammatory diet. This would include eating fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, small portions of nuts, eating fish and consuming very little red meat.

One of the markers for chronic inflammation that can be measured by a simple blood test is homocysteine.

This is often measured only in people that have a history or heart disease, but you can request it as part of your normal check up from your doctor.

A normal homocysteine level is found between 4.4 and 10.8 micromoles per liter of blood.

If yours is higher, this can be a marker of inflammation and can contribute to a host of diseases beyond heart disease. There is an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease for people with high homocysteine levels, as well.

acute-and-chronic-inflammationLiving healthy is more than just a cool thing to do. It is a way of life that has positive impact because you don’t end up getting sick over time.

Dr. Daemon Jones is a diabetes reversal, hormones, metabolism and weight loss expert. She is a doctor of Naturopathic Medicine based out of the Washington Metropolitan area.  http://www.healthydaes.com

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“YOU ARE THE SWITCH THAT CAN ACTIVATE YOUR DESTINY” by Marilynn Preston, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Capture-TIME-MAGAZINE-COVERThere are thousands of articles online about epigenetics. I found this one to be easy to understand, and will help hopefully explain this new breakthrough discovery and why it’s not only important to people suffering from RLS, but for people suffering from any condition.

Epigenetics tells us that whatever hand we believe we’ve been dealt … is changeable.

Here’s the article by Marilynn Preston of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune…

The Apple Watch was announced this month with a timeless and bold statement: “Apple Watch is going to greatly improve the way we keep track of our activity and change the way we look at fitness.”

Change the way we look at fitness? Wow, oh wow. Of course I want to write about it instantly, but I can’t because I ended last week’s column with this bit of cleverness: “Come back next week for more happy, hopeful signs that the Healthy Lifestyle Revolution is taking hold and changing our DNA.” I promised. I’m obligated. I feel I must keep my word but now I realize it’s a mistake to end a column with a promise because it keeps me from being seduced by the moment. So epigenetics it is. I’ll write about the Apple Watch next week.

Epigenetics1“Epigenetics … is perhaps the most important discovery in the science of heredity since the gene,” writes David Shenk, author of “The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent and IQ Is Wrong.”

Epigenetics is the next step, the new frontier, the science of changing the way your genes express themselves. Genes can express themselves as disease, or reversal of disease, and the big news is you have much more control over that than you think — if you ever think about your genes at all.

“Basically, epigenetics demonstrates how environment and behavior choices can influence our genetic code,” says Dr. Theri Griego Raby, one of a growing number of doctors who see how epigenetics can play a huge role in disease prevention and well-being.

Contrary to what many of us learned in school, “genes are not fixed predetermined blueprints passed from generation to generation,” Dr. Raby writes, based on the latest epigenetic research.

“Instead, our genome contains at least 4 million ‘switches’ that can be turned on and off by life experiences and epigeneticsenvironmental influences.” Life experiences! Environmental influences! That’s where you come in. Scientists now have evidence that lifestyle alone — your choice to smoke, to eat real food, to be physically active — can alter the epigenetic markers that sit above your DNA. The above ones have all the say, not just for your lifetime but affecting future generations.

I’m wildly oversimplifying, but think about this: Your healthy lifestyle today can predispose your kids and grandkids to greater wellness and a longer life, even before they are conceived! Of course, they then have to make the choices to influence their own genetic code.

It’s fascinating stuff.

So let’s delve a bit deeper.

“Epi” is a prefix that means “above.” Epigenetics looks above the double-helix 25,000-chromosome genetic code and sees another level of influence: the cellular material that sits on top of the genome and outside it.

On top and outside. Get a picture of it. Paint it a color you like.

That “on top” and “outside” cellular material is called the epigenome. Scientists aren’t prepared to say how many epigenome marks there are, but the number is well into the millions. Your genes are your genes, but these epigenetic marks tell your genes to switch on or switch off, to express themselves loudly or go mute.

If you can manage to mute your colon cancer gene, let’s say, by exercising more and eating clean, real food that doesn’t come in plastic, you’re managing your epigenome in a healthy way.

As the biologists like to say, the genome is the hardware, and the epigenome is the software.

And to a large extent, you are the epigenome software programmer in charge. It’s not all fixed and predetermined. Your choices really do matter.

DirectExposureSo what can you do to help your genes behave? Plenty.

“How we sleep, the types and levels of stress we experience, the type of foods we eat, toxin exposure, alcohol, and lack of exercise can all alter our genetic makeup during gestation, early development, and throughout adulthood,” Dr. Raby says.

“For example, consuming foods rich in gene-altering methyl groups like non-genetically modified soybeans, red grapes, or green tea may protect against disease by deactivating detrimental gene ‘switches.’ ” Enough for today. I welcome you to research more on your own, but know this: Your DNA isn’t your destiny. There is wiggle room, and the sooner you start to shake things up, the better.

Marilynn Preston is a fitness expert, personal trainer and speaker on healthy lifestyle issues. She has a website, marilynnpreston.com, and welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to MyEnergyExpress@aol.com.

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