Gout and Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones (renal calculi) are formed as a result of a buildup of dissolved minerals on the inner lining of the kidneys. Once they make their way into the urinary tract severe pain in the groin, stomach, or flank area can ensue. A decrease in urination coupled with a large amount of stone-forming substances can cause these types of stones to appear. These stones can be formed by the mixture of calcium with oxalate or phosphate; and/or the combination of uric acid and amino acid cysteine.

Much like Gout, Kidney stones are being diagnosed more and more in recent years. The same type of stones can develop in the bladder as well, but are much more uncommon and have remained relatively low and unchanged by comparison. Over the span of almost 30 years, the Mayo Clinic observed a significant rise in the incidences of kidney stones; particularly in adult women. With more accurate CT scans our ability to monitor and diagnose stones are partly behind a good portion of this rise in cases, but also goes hand in hand with the rise in Obesity and Diabetes Type 2. Diets high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt have been to blame for stones and this type of diet certainly fits the profile for all of these conditions.

Continue reading “Gout and Kidney Stones”

The Gallbladder: Facts and Myths

What is a Cholecystectomy

Cholecystectomies are one of the most over performed surgeries in the United States, and far too often, completely uncalled-for. Even in the presence of gallstones, one should always consider alternatives before rushing under the knife. The gallbladder is an essential organ responsible for collecting and storing bile in order to process and digest fats. To say that it can just be removed without consequence, is rather reckless. Aside from a number of potential dangers and complications stemming from its removal, weight problems and diabetes type two risks rise significantly.

Gallbladder attacks are often a sign of much larger problems, problems that do not simply disappear only once a small piece of that puzzle is removed. Our typical desire for instant gratification, coupled with the misconstrued notion that the gall bladder is an unnecessary organ, has led to an alarming number of these senseless surgeries.

Continue reading “The Gallbladder: Facts and Myths”

Understanding Uric Acid

Uric Acid

Purines perform multiple important functions within our cells, including regulating energy metabolism and signaling the energy conversion from one to another.  Purines are essentially the building blocks for all living things as a necessity for the growth, proliferation and survival of all cells.  The two purine bases, adenine and guanine, create bonds that form the DNA ladder. Humans breakdown purines and convert them into uric acid.

Uric acid happens to be a potent DNA protector.  All other mammals possess an enzyme known as uricase.  Uricase converts uric acid into allantoin, which can easily travel through the bloodstream and readily eliminated through the urine.  Humans do not possess this enzyme, therefore, we cannot oxidize uric acid into the more soluble compound of allantoin.  Our liver and kidneys are left to do the all-important jobs of purine breakdown and uric acid disposal, conducted respectively.

Continue reading “Understanding Uric Acid”

What is CRP and what does it have to do with your health?

What is CRP?

CRP stands for C-reactive protein.  This protein is produced by the liver in response to elements released from certain white blood cells known as macrophages; as well as elements released from fat cells (adipocytes.)  CRP levels rise in the presence of inflammation and take on a role to bind with chemical compounds that are released on the surface of a dying or dead cell.  This process is part of an immune system response to enhance the ability of antibodies and bacteria/pathogen eating cells (phagocytic cells) to eliminate damaged cells from the body.  Certain chronic inflammatory conditions cause the release of IL-6 (interleukin-6) that trigger the release of CRP.  IL-6 is a type of immune protein in the family of cytokines that can act as both an anti-inflammatory and a pro-inflammatory.

As discussed in previous blog posts, inflammation is a normal body process necessary for our body’s response to fight infection and injury.  It is a natural part of our immune system’s ability to send white blood cells and other chemical compounds to a trouble area of the body in an effort to help it heal.  However, in the presence of chronic conditions such as Arthritis, Colitis, Bursitis, Tendonitis, Gout, Heart Disease, Asthma, Diabetes, and more – the constant “fire” of inflammation can be disastrous, even deadly.
Continue reading “What is CRP and what does it have to do with your health?”

Cold and Flu Season is Upon Us…………

Are you prepared for the winter germs? 

Have you done enough to avoid illness and pain associated with this dreaded season? 

Can the cold and flu season raise your threat of a Gout attack

                                              Can illness increase your arthritic joint pain and inflammation in general?

 

Contrary to popular belief, you can avoid serious bouts of illness and still avoid the flu shot.  Optimizing your health through diet, water, sleep, and supplementation won’t only enhance your health overall, it will enhance your body’s ability to ward or fight off any of those nasty germs surrounding you.  Even if you succumb to the germs, you can drastically reduce the severity of the hit with a strengthened immune system. Continue reading “Cold and Flu Season is Upon Us…………”

Fructose and Uric Acid Metabolism

Sugar intake has risen dramatically over the last century which seems to correlate closely with the rise in obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.  Simple sugars include both glucose and fructose.  While glucose is generally utilized by the body for energy production, fructose is known to produce high amounts of harmful substances.  Added sugars to our food sources mostly stem from fructose, and fructose metabolism can cause some pretty significant damage.  Fructose can actually deplete our energy sources, cause death to our cells, stimulate fat making enzymes, and produce excess uric acid.

Studies on rats have shown fructose intake to instigate all markers of metabolic syndrome – increased waistline, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, lipid abnormalities, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.    These studies have also shown high fructose intake to stimulate free radicals, weaken the arteries, create a fatty liver, and cause kidney damage.  Continue reading “Fructose and Uric Acid Metabolism”

Electrolyte imbalances, Inflammation, and Disease

As we know, inflammation is the major underlying factor behind chronic, degenerative diseases.  The body’s cells work very hard to maintain pH balance in the body.  Our typical American diet and lifestyle is largely acidic and makes this process extremely difficult. 

When overly acidic imbalances are present in the body, the cellular health is compromised.  Decreased cellular oxygen levels and metabolic declines cause cells to ‘die off’ at a rapid rate.  As acidic residues increase, the body attempts to buffer these acids with alkaline minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium) in order to excrete them from the body.  In the presence of such acidic diets and lifestyles, this buffering system can easily reach maximum capability, quickly leading to acidic waste storage in the tissues.

Cells require very specific ion balance.  Electrolytes must be maintained within specific limits to balance the pH of the body’s environment.  Even the slightest acid increases can quickly lead to inflammation of the organs and tissues. Continue reading “Electrolyte imbalances, Inflammation, and Disease”

Gout and Cancer Connection?

Gout and Cancer Connection?

Is there a connection between Gout and Cancer?  Gout is a common inflammatory disease with incidences largely increasing with each passing year and affecting younger and younger age groups  more than ever before.  Acute arthritis and hyperuricemia stems from purine metabolism dysfunction, causing urate crystals to deposit into the tissue leading to kidney stones, soft tissue growths, urate nephropathy and/or arthritis.  Epidemiological studies have been conducted to estimate the potential association between Gout and Cancer risks.  These studies have displayed a preeminent role of Gout in carcinogenesis.

Cellular death and higher turnover rates can bring about hyperuricemia and the formation of tumors (tumorigenesis.)  Even though strong evidence exists to show the connection between high serum uric acid levels and an independent increased risk of cancer, the subject remains disputable. Continue reading “Gout and Cancer Connection?”

How to travel and avoid Gout

Traveling can be hectic as is, and downright scary if you suffer from Gout.  Why does Gout tend to attack at THE worst imaginable times and can you avoid this fate?

The anticipation and fear of the next Gout attack can be extremely stressful.  Travel can be very stressful, too.  Unfortunately, stress can actually CAUSE an attack.  Stress can dramatically alter the pH of the body increasing its acid load, pulling minerals from the body, and triggering inflammation.  While finally arriving at your destination can be relaxing and fun, the stress leading up to that point could cause problems.

·         Try to pack well ahead of time and don’t overthink it.  Most people don’t use half of the things they bring.  Make a list over a long period of time and stick to it.

·         If you are flying, have your documents for security set aside separately and plan to arrive with plenty of time to spare.

·         Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and eat well (at least leading up to the vacay.)

·         Stress and travel can deplete the healthy bacteria in the body.  Taking a high quality probiotic before, during, and after travel can help a great deal.

·         Breathe deeply and try to relax. Continue reading “How to travel and avoid Gout”

Is Canola Oil really good for you?

 

 

Canola oil has been marketed as a healthy choice for cooking, widely used in many homes and most restaurants.  However, the truth of the matter is that Canola oil is just about anything but healthy!  Yet, the FDA has not only deemed it safe for consumption, but actually supports it being labeled “healthy.”

Canola oil was originally developed in Canada, Canadian “ola”, which means oil.  Canola oil comes from a seed called rapeseed and was mostly used for industrial purposes.  Rapeseed oil was the source of the chemical warfare known as mustard gas.  The US banned rapeseed back in 1956 when soldiers and civilians began experiencing blistered lungs and skin.  The canola plant does not occur naturally in the wild, but instead has been bred by BIG agriculture.  In other words, it is a genetically modified plant, or GMO.  Since Canola oil is cheap to manufacture and mass produce, it was modified to remove the lethal eruric acid.  It took the food industry over a decade of genetic engineering to obtain the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) nod from the FDA.  Initially the rapeseed name was changed to LEAR (low eruric acid rapeseed), and then to Canola Oil. Continue reading “Is Canola Oil really good for you?”