Sunday, 21 February 2016

Methylation Low Potassium Crisis - Is It Low Potassium Or Low Magnesium ?

In the past i had trialled a number of methylation protocols which are often recommended as an alternative treatment for difficult to treat conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia etc.

Like many other individuals with CFS who try the methylation protocols, i would always encounter the dreaded "low potassium methylation" crisis or hell as i like to call it.

Symptoms would usually involve severe heart palpitations, muscle cramping, muscle weakness, being inable to stand for more than a few seconds, intense anxiety, personality changes and just an all round feeling like i was going to die.

Now this has happened to me a number of times when trying the methyl-cobalamin form of Vitamin B12 or even just standard cyanocobalamin.  I would get a brief glimpse of energy and it would be followed by the horrible "low potassium" crisis, that could often last months or became my permanent state of health for a long period.

The consensus from many of the methylation experts is that these symptoms are caused by low potassium and the theory seems to be that the cells are demanding more uptake of potassium as the methylation process kicks in and new cells are created.

However i would like to offer a slightly different hypothesis as to what i believe is happening.

Whilst many of the above symptoms can be attributed to low potassium levels and hypokalemia, i believe they are actually induced by having low magnesium levels.

My theory is that when the methylation process kicks in, it demands significantly more energy(ATP) than the body is capable of providing.  Energy metabolism tends to already be impaired in individuals with CFS as mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark characteristic of true chronic fatigue syndrome.

What is interesting anecdotally is that the individuals who tend to be most affected by the low potassium/magnesium symptoms are those with chronic fatigue syndrome. 

Individuals with CFS/ME tend to already have low intracellular magnesium stores and when we start to upregulate other processes in the body such as methylation, there simply isn't enough magnesium as a co-factor to produce adequate ATP(energy).

Hypokalemia(low potassium) has been commonly associated with magnesium deficiency.

"Magnesium deficiency is frequently associated with hypokalemia. Concomitant magnesium deficiency aggravates hypokalemia and renders it refractory to treatment by potassium. Herein is reviewed literature suggesting that magnesium deficiency exacerbates potassium wasting by increasing distal potassium secretion.

A decrease in intracellular magnesium, caused by magnesium deficiency, releases the magnesium-mediated inhibition of ROMK channels and increases potassium secretion. Magnesium deficiency alone, however, does not necessarily cause hypokalemia. An increase in distal sodium delivery or elevated aldosterone levels may be required for exacerbating potassium wasting in magnesium deficiency." [1]

After reading others experiences with the "low potassium hell" on forums such as Phoenix Rising, when i first developed these symptoms on the methylation protocol, obviously my first thought was to supplement with some extra potassium, which did mildly reduce the symptoms, but not completely and as others have probably observed, you can keep supplying extra potassium and it do very little to stabilize these symptoms.

I have read of other individuals experiences of having to consume around 1-3g+ of extra potassium intake from supplements daily to try minimize these symptoms and even then they complain that their body is just eating the extra potassium up and it doing very little to help.  What is interesting is that the study above gives a reason why this happens and how it relates to low magnesium levels:

"Concomitant magnesium deficiency aggravates hypokalemia and renders it refractory to treatment by potassium."

This is a good explanation of why these individuals can consume very high intake of potassium from supplements and it still not stabalize the hypokalemia symptoms.  Like i say i believe high potassium supplementation to be the wrong way to treat this issue and it is the low magnesium which actually needs addressed here.

Infact i believe that monitoring magnesium should probably be a fundamental basic part of any methylation protocol, especially for those with CFS/ME, as they tend to already have depleted intracellular stores of magnesium and seem to be especially prone to this "low potassium/magnesium" crisis.

Anecdotally i found that keeping ontop of my magnesium with extra supplementation was enough to not require any potassium supplementation.  Simply topping up my magnesium levels when i felt symptoms such as cramping or palpitations was enough to keep my potassium levels stable.

Another compounding problem with the high potassium supplement recommmendation is that many or "most" individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME tend to also suffer from hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation aka adrenal fatigue, hypocortisolism and adrenal insufficiency.

As such high potassium intake is actually contraindicated for individuals with severe adrenal fatigue as they tend to already have disturbed sodium/potassium ratio due to sub-optimal adrenal gland function.  Personally whilst the extra potassium mildly reduced some of the symptoms, it actually "shut off" my adrenals and caused further problems in that area making me more "adrenal fatigued" and debilitated due to the even lower levels of cortisol.

Monitoring magnesium levels as described above, i believe to be the real key factor in minimizing these very serious and distressing symptoms. 

Friday, 11 September 2015

6 Tests That May Be Helpful If You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME

A condition that was once dubbed "Yuppie Flu" and written off by many doctors as merely a psycho-somatic issue, scientific researchers have now found many consistent physiological abnormalities in individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Some of these bio-chemical factors include mitochondrial dysfunction, hpa-axis dysfunction/hypocortisolism, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, microbial infections(viral, fungal, parasitical, bacterial), toxic metal overload, methylation disorders, increased intestinal permeability(leaky gut syndrome), gut flora imbalances, micro-nutrient deficiencies and even thyroid disorders.

Most typical general practitioners don't run more than the basic blood tests, however i feel the tests described below can be helpful to give a bigger picture to the possible root causes of an individuals chronic fatigue syndrome.

Western medicines approach to "treating" chronic fatigue syndrome/ME is typically anti-depressant medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy and paced exercise.  I don't believe the research is there to indicate that these are effective treatments for individuals with CFS at the current time, especially those with many of the proven physical causes such as described below.

No amount of anti-depressant medication is likely to compensate for mitochondrial dysfunction caused by co-enzyme q10 deficiency for example.  Infact i believe there is some research which shows that certain types of anti-depressants(tri-cyclics) actually inhibit co-enzyme q10 synthesis.

As someone who has battled these type of chronic health problems myself, i feel the tests below are well worth researching and discussing with your medical professional.

There is now significant scientific research there which confirms the importance of these micro-nutrient deficiencies such as co-enzyme q10 and how low levels are a risk factor for developing heart disease in those with CFS.

1. Co-Enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance, which is involved in cellular energy production and heart health.   Co-Enzyme Q10 also has potent antioxidant properties and reduces oxidative stress.

Scientific research has shown that individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have lower blood plasma levels of Co-enzyme Q10 than compared to healthy controls.

Co-enzyme Q10 deficiency can be indicative of mitochondrial dysfunction and as the studies have shown low levels of Co-Q10 are related to the fatigue, autonomic and neuro-cognitive symptoms that CFS patients suffer from.

The study also found that Co-Enzyme Q10 deficiency is a risk factor for early mortality due to cardiovascular disorder in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome and conditions such as major depression.

I believe due to the mounting level of research on the importance of co-enzyme Q10 and its relation to the development of cardiovascular disorder, that physicians should identify at risk groups such as individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome, major depression, those on statin(cholesterol) lowering drugs, heart disorders and regularly test these individuals blood plasma co-enzyme q10 levels.

Personally i was completely deficient in Co-Enzyme Q10 from a blood plasma test and taking Ubiquinol did clinically improve my condition and CFS/autonomic symptoms.  Not only that, but restoring co-enzyme q10 levels also improved my ability to be able to exercise again and thus improved my exercise tolerance and reduced the shortness of breath on exertion.

If your healthcare professional is not aware of the importance of Co-Enzyme Q10 and its relation to CFS, then you can share this study linked here - Coenzyme Q10 deficiency in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is related to fatigue, autonomic and neurocognitive symptoms and is another risk factor explaining the early mortality in ME/CFS due to cardiovascular disorder.

2. Red Cell Magnesium

Most general practitioners tend to just run blood serum magnesium tests, which are not thought to be an accurate indicator of true intracellular/functional levels of minerals and is simply what is circulating in the blood at the time.

Many CFS patients have found that whilst their blood serum magnesium tests were normal, red blood cell tests indicated low levels and deficiency.

Many experts believe that red blood cell mineral testing to be much more accurate indicator of one's true levels of minerals such as magnesium, zinc and copper.

Studies have found that individuals with CFS to have lower levels of the mineral magnesium and the good news is that research has found that treatment with magnesium helps to improve CFS symptoms.

Magnesium deficiency can wreck havoc with health causing a wide variety of different symptoms from heart palpitations, anxiety, fatigue to muscle tension.  Magnesium deficiency may help to explain some of the cardiovascular symptoms that those with CFS complain of such as shortness of breath, palpitations, tachycardia and mitral valve issues.

I feel a red blood cell magnesium test is helpful to check if levels are low or deficient in this very essential nutrient.

When i had CFS, i found that i was magnesium "dependant" and used up my stores of magnesium very quickly most likely due to the intense stress of living with CFS.  Without additional magnesium supplementation id often find that my cardiovascular symptoms, anxiety and even fatigue would worsen, symptoms could be significantly reduced by rubbing a small amount of transdermal magnesium oil(ancient minerals magnesium) in the arms.

3. Adrenal Gland Function Tests (Saliva Adrenal Stress Test, DHEA etc)

Scientific research has found that a condition known as Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction to be extremely common in individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME.

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction is known as "adrenal fatigue" in the alternative health field.  I prefer HPA-axis dysfunction or dysregulation as it is the term used to describe this condition in scientific literature.

HPA axis dysfunction is also a term that most doctors and psychiatrists should be able to relate too, as it is well documented finding in many health problems ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome to post traumatic stress disorders. 

One study review concluded that Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction has been found in a high proportion of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients and includes enhanced corticosteroid-induced negative feedback, basal hypocortisolism, attenuated diurnal variation, and a reduced responsivity to challenge.

The saliva adrenal stress test from Genova Diagnostics is a decent test for detecting imbalances in the circadian rhythm and gives a look at levels of stress hormones cortisol and DHEA over the day.

Hypocortisolism is extremely common in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome and was a major problem of my own for years.  My adrenals were constantly dysregulated with low cortisol levels over the day, but i believe this is merely an end result, rather than a primary problem with the adrenal glands.  Autonomic nervous system dysfunction and sympathetic "fight or flight" nervous system dominance preceeds adrenal burnout.  The adrenals simply cannot cope with the constant demand for more stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.  The sympathetic "fight or flight" system was meant to be used infrequently in times of stress, unfortunately due to an imbalance in autonomic function, those with CFS are often constantly stuck in fight or flight mode.

Many individuals with CFS will benefit from mind-body calming therapies such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, low intensity tai chi, nervine herbs etc, all of which activate the parasympathetic(rest and digest) system, which is where we regenerate and heal.  Disrupted sleep is another common factor in CFS.

Other tests that can be helpful for assessing adrenal gland function include DHEA-Sulphate, which measures blood levels of the adrenal steroid hormone DHEA.

Urine 24 hour and blood cortisol tests can also be helpful, although i feel the saliva adrenal stress test is a good starting point and isn't too expensive.  The saliva adrenal stress test can also be done from home, which is a huge plus for those who are house bound and disabled.

For more information on the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal(HPA) axis role in those with CFS, check this great review study here - A Review of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Function in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

4. Vitamin D

Another common micro-nutrient deficiency which has been found in CFS patients is Vitamin D.   In-fact Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with many serious diseases including auto-immune diseases, heart and bone diseases.

Recent research has once again found that a wide percentage of the British population still suffer from sub-optimal Vitamin D levels and deficiency.  Simply put we are not getting enough quality sunlight to maintain healthy Vitamin D status and it may be leaving us vulnerable to developing many serious diseases and health problems.

Many individuals with CFS are often house bound and thus don't spend much time out-doors to get adequate sunlight to stimulate vitamin D production.

Vitamin D is one of the tests which your NHS doctor should be able to do for you for free, however if not then its not too expensive to have done private.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, as such in high amounts it can build up and become toxic in the body.  As such i always recommend that an individual has their blood levels tested before jumping into high dose Vitamin D supplementation as is sometimes recommended on other websites for treating CFS, auto-immune disease, MS etc and always have a professional monitoring you.

5. Red Cell Zinc & Copper

Research has found the individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome to have low levels of the mineral zinc.  A red blood cell zinc and copper test i believe can be another useful test for an individual with CFS.

One study found that the more deficient one was in zinc, the more severe their chronic fatigue syndrome was.

The study showed that zinc deficiency causes increased oxidative stress, immune dysfunction and inflammation, all of which are common pathologies in many individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME and could well be the root bio-chemical causes of this condition.

More and more research is starting to be focused in the area of copper/zinc balance and its role in conditions such as autism spectrum disorders.  Chronic fatigue syndrome shares many of the symptoms of Autism spectrum disorders.  Toxic metal overload is one shared aspect, as is GABA-ergic dysfunction.  Glutathione depletion is another common shared etiology between those with CFS and individuals with Autism.  All of of which are heavily dependant on having healthy levels of zinc in the body and a good balance of zinc/copper.

I believe in the years to come we will see more and more research on copper/zinc imbalances and its role in many conditions such as CFS, autism spectrum disorders, violent behavior, mental health conditions, anxiety/panic disorders and much more.

Nutritional balancing expert Dr Lawrence Wilson has alot of articles and information on copper/zinc imbalances and their role in common health conditions such as adrenal burnout syndrome/CFS.  His information is well worth a read for anyone with CFS.

To read more on lower serum zinc and chronic fatigue syndrome, check the study at - Lower serum zinc in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): relationships to immune dysfunctions and relevance for the oxidative stress status in CFS.

6. Spectracell Micronutrient Test

Spectracell is a test which examines the white blood cell portion for various micro-nutrients(vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids etc).

Deficiencies in various micro-nutrients has been proven in scientific research to be related to many of the symptoms that those with CFS complain of.

The spectrallcell looks at the usual B-complex vitamins, which is very handy for those with genetic defects such as pyrrole disorder who may have functional Vitamin B6 and Zinc deficiency issues. I'll discuss the importance of Vitamin B12 and CFS below.

Spectracell also measures antioxidants/mitochondrial energy nutrients such as co-enzyme q10, alpha lipoic acid and l-carnitine, all of which have been found to be common deficiencies in those with CFS and can cause low energy/chronic fatigue.

The test can be very illuminating and give a wider picture of what is going on and many have noticed clinical improvement by rectifying these micro-nutrient deficiencies.

Although spectracell is a fairly new type of testing and is expensive, i believe what it has the potential to unearth in regards to ones health, can be very helpful.

For example, it can detect functional deficiences in various micro-nutrients such as Vitamin B12, when serum B12 tests have come back normal and missed this very serious issue.  Functional Vitamin B12 deficiency can wreck havoc with ones health and lead to the development of a variety of serious health problems, including irreparable nervous system damage and cardiovascular disease through elevated homocysteine levels.

Many individuals with CFS complain of Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms such as shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, MS-like neurological symptoms and disability, despite having normal blood serum levels of Vitamin B12.  Experts such as Dr Myhill have seen clinical improvement in many individuals chronic fatigue syndrome with B12 and Magnesium injections.

Scientific research has found that individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have elevated homocysteine levels in their cerebrospinal fluid and this was indicative of Vitamin B12 deficiency, despite serum blood B12 tests coming back normal for many.

Spectracell tests so many things at once that it will likely eliminate your need to use red cell mineral testing, as spectracell also looks at functional mineral deficiencies(calcium, selenium, zinc, magnesium and copper).

Always consult a professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Holland & Barretts Pick & Mix Review

After a visit to one of the newer branches of Holland and Barrett's which has opened recently in the town center, i noticed they had added a "Pick & Mix" section in the store which offers an assortment of dried fruits, nuts, seeds and other snack foods that you can make a snack bag up of.

Personally i think the addition of an old style pick and mix sort of in the mould of what Woolworth's was for sweets, but for healthy foods is a genius way to get people adding more natural wholefoods to their diet. 

There are many different healthy snack foods you can pick from including dried fruit, nuts, seeds, yogurt-coated wholefoods, gluten-free crisp snacks and more.

For my bag i picked some of my favorite natural wholefoods that make great nutritious snacks when im travelling.

Some of my choices included goji berries, goldenberries also known as inca berry(rich source of Pectin), figs, pumpkin seeds, golden raisins, pecans, almonds, red peanuts and sunflower seeds.

The stand-out for me was the dried figs, which are one of my favorite foods from Holland and Barrett and you can purchase them on their website.

The price came to £4.10 for 0.256g bag, which i thought was a little on the steep side.  A fairer price would have been £3.49 or something around that price range for the amount of eating involved.

(My Holland & Barrett "Pick & Mix" Bag)

Holland and Barrett are the leading health food store in the United Kingdom, selling a range of natural products including vitamins, minerals, supplements, wholefoods, herbal teas and more.

Visit Holland and Barrett from the banner below:

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Iranian Villagers, Vegan Health & Vitamin B12

For a while now i have been wanting to de-bunk a vegan diet myth that seems to have resurfaced on the website Vegan and many raw vegan forums lately about a group of Iranian villagers who consumed a diet "low in animal protein" but displayed normal Vitamin B12 levels and none had megaloblastic anemia.

The theory is based on a very and i mean very out-dated study from the 1960's by Halstead et al where he reported on the Vitamin B12 levels of a group of villagers in Iran.  He concluded from his report that Vitamin B12 deficiency caused by a deficient diet must be very rare.

Firstly before we even get to the nitty gritty of this study, we know from a wealth of current research that his conclusion is now false and that Vitamin B12 deficiency is extremely common in vegans and is caused directly from the lack of dietary B12 intake and not other compounding factors.

One fact we know for sure from the sheer mountain of scientific research on Vitamin B12 and vegan diets is that vegans are commonly deficient in Vitamin B12 and many suffer from hyperhomocysteinemia as a result.  Elevated homocysteine levels is also a risk factor for the development cardiovascular disease.

Anyways lets get back to the study, two groups of villagers were studied.  The first group it says "subsisted on a diet deficient in animal protein".  However in the next sentance the study contradicts itself because it explains that they ate a diet of whole wheat bread almost exclusively with a small amount of a milk product called mast, similar to yogurt once or twice a week, and a little meat or chicken not more than once a month.

To start with the above does not in anyway correlate to a diet "deficient in animal protein", they seem to have completely ignored the fact that whilst these Iranians might have been on a low animal protein diet, they still consumed dairy foods once-twice weekly and meat once a month, both of which are reliable and rich sources of Vitamin B12.

Whilst the intake of animal foods is low by western standards, in theory it is still potentially enough to sustain normal Vitamin B12 levels in otherwise healthy individuals.

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient which is stored in the liver, this is part of the reason why when many go strict vegan they don't develop B12 deficiency/anemia for a few months to even a year in some individuals.

This article on the Vegan website seems to have brought alot of confusion to many readers, infact many vegans use it as justification for following strict vegan diets, which contain NO animal foods.  Id like to point out again that the Iranian villagers in the study were still consuming a small amount of animal foods weekly, for anyone who hasn't read the full study.

To be fair to the study, it does point out the possibility that the reason why these Iranian villagers B12 levels were normal could be because they were still consuming animal foods regularly DUH....., seems fairly common sense to me, especially considering the depth of current scientific research we have on vegan diets, vitamin B12 deficiency and the resulting hyperhomocysteinemia that the majority of these B12 deficient vegans end up suffering from.

However the study also offers two other potential explanations why the Vitamin B12 levels in these individuals were normal.  One is that gut bacteria in these individuals was different to others due to their high carbohydrate diet and that they were possibly synthesizing their own B12.

The gut bacteria does produce some Vitamin B12, however there is no research to suggest that its enough to ward off deficiency or enough to waive dietary intake of Vitamin B12.  There are plenty of vegans who consume prebiotic fiber rich diets, fermented foods(rich source of beneficial bacteria) and other B12 analog foods such as seaweeds/algaes regularly, yet we consistently see that the majority of these individuals still end up B12 deficient as a result of following strict vegan diets.

The third possibility according to the study is that because the Iranian villagers live with their farm animals, that they might have been unknowingly consuming the feces of these animals, which is thought to contain large amounts of cobalamins including cyanocobalamin(Vitamin B12) according the study.

To me the above two theories are pushing the boundaries of logic in my opinion, the most likely logical explanation for their normal Vitamin B12 levels was the fact that these individuals were consuming Vitamin B12 rich animal foods such as dairy products up to twice weekly, whilst boosting their intake further with meat/chicken once a month.

To use this very out-dated study as justification of following a strict vegan diet containing NO animal foods would be a potentially dangerous decision in my opinion and one that would likely yield low Vitamin B12 levels as we see from the latest research on Vitamin B12 status and vegan diets.


1.  Serum Vitamin B12 Concentration in Dietary Deficiency

Friday, 24 July 2015

Depression & Low Co-Enzyme Q10 Levels

A study from 2009 has found that individuals with depression have lower plasma levels of a vitamin-like substance called Co-Enzyme Q10.

The study also found that the lower plasma levels of Co-Enzyme Q10 were associated with treatment resistance and chronic fatigue.

The low Co-Enzyme Q10 levels were also found to be a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease in depressed patients.

Another study on CFS(Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and Co-Enzyme Q10 levels unearthed similar findings, which can explain the early mortality from heart disease in these type of individuals.

Which makes low Co-Enzyme Q10 a very important pathophysiology in those who suffer from depression and chronic fatigue, if they want to prevent heart disorders.

There is now evidence from recent scientific research that major depression is accompanied by an induction of inflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative stress pathways and a lowered antioxidant status.

Co-Enzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance that is involved in energy(ATP) production, which also has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to lower oxidative stress.

As someone who suffered from CFS(Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and major depression myself, i had my Co-Enzyme Q10 levels tested privately and not surprisingly they came back severely deficient(as pictured below).

Clinical improvement especially relating to energy levels and mitochondrial dysfunction can be seen, once Co-Enzyme Q10 levels are restored.  I noticed a big improvement in mood also from Ubiquinol.

The study concluded:

The results show that lower CoQ10 plays a role in the pathophysiology of depression and in particular in TRD and CFS accompanying depression. It is suggested that depressed patients may benefit from CoQ10 supplementation. 
The findings that lower CoQ10 is a risk factor to coronary artery disease and chronic heart failure (CHF) and mortality due to CHF suggest that low CoQ10 is another factor explaining the risk to cardiovascular disorder in depression. Since statins significantly lower plasma CoQ10, depressed patients and in particular those with TRD and CFS represent populations at risk to statin treatment.

Ubiquinol is the reduced form of Co-Enzyme Q10, which studies show to be about 8 times better absorbed than regular Co-Enzyme Q10 supplements.

Purchase Ubiquinol Capsules from Natu Health Store below.


1.  Lower plasma Coenzyme Q10 in depression: a marker for treatment resistance and chronic fatigue in depression and a risk factor to cardiovascular disorder in that illness.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Stinging Nettle Root For Treating Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

There is now a growing body of scientific evidence that Stinging Nettle(Urtica Dioica) root can reduce the symptoms of BPH(Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia).

A fairly recent randomized double blind study from 2013, once again confimed the benefit of nettle root for reducing symptoms in patients with BPH.

Quote from the study:

Herbal medicines such as nettle have been used in many studies to treat prostate disease, and desirable results have been achieved in this regard. In three clinical trials on BPH patients, nettle had a better impact in reducing patients’ clinical symptoms than placebo.

It's worth pointing out that its the root specifically that you want for treating Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and not the leaf part of the plant.

However nettle leaf is also extremely medicinal, very nutritive and a great general tonic herb with a number of benefits such as its anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine properties, supports the adrenal glands, thyroid, liver, kidneys, connective tissue and more.

The study concluded:

As a whole, nettle is recommended to be used more in treatment of BPH patients, given its beneficial effects in reducing BPH patients’ symptoms and its safety in terms of its side effects and its being better accepted on the side of patients.

Life Extension make an excellent Nettle Root and Saw Palmetto Formula w/ Beta-Sitosterol. Research has also shown that Saw Palemetto and phyto-sterols to support prostate health.

Purchase Life Extension - Super Saw Palmetto Nettle Root Formula w/ Beta-Sitosterol from Amazon below.


1.  The Efficacy of Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica) in Patients with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: A Randomized Double-Blind Study in 100 Patients

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Before You Take Niacin Supplements - READ THIS RE: Skin Flushing

I thought i would do a post on the "niacin skin flush" which is a benign side effect that can happen when consuming certain types of Vitamin B3(niacin) supplements.

The form of niacin known as nicotinic acid is known to cause a harmless flushing of the skin, which can take individuals by surprise if they don't know that it can occur as a side effect or how intense it can be if unexpected for the first time.

Individuals may feel a warm intense prickly hot itching sensation as their skin goes red from the dilation.  It tends to only last for about 10-30 minutes and will reduce from there in intensity.

I though the skin flushing issue was worthy of a blog topic, because like i say it can take some individuals by surprise, enough so that some individuals have been known to rush to the hospital thinking that they are encountering a severe allergic reaction.

The skin flushing often only happens the first few times when taking niacin and can be a sign that you are taking too much of this vitamin.

After the flush one can often feel cold and shakey, i believe this is because the niacin causes mild hypoglycemia in some individuals who are prone to low blood sugar and the surge of adrenaline causes the cold/shakey feeling.  This again is a sign that you have probably taken too much niacin.

The most prominent health benefit attributed to Niacin, it the ability to lower levels of bad cholesterol(LDL and VLDL), while increasing good cholesterol(HDL) levels.  More so than any other drug and without serious side effect such as statin medications which can deplete co-enzyme q10 levels, cause heart failure amongst other side effects.

There are two other forms of niacin, nicotinamide (or niacinamide) and inositol hexanicotinate, which serve as sources of vitamin B3.

These two forms don't cause the skin flushing side effect, however they also don't possess the same health benefits that the nicotinic acid form of Vitamin B3(niacin) does, when it comes to improving cholesterol profile.