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Kent MacLeod

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Hot Flashes: Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by on in Quality of Life

What are your top non-prescription and prescription items for hot flashes?

Soy Standardized products such as Nutrigenistein

The use of soy to reduce the frequency and/or severity of hot flashes is well-established (1-7).  Research in this field has been plagued by the use of non standardized extracts. Therefore it is critical to use a soy formula with a standardized extract of phytoestrogens to give consistent results. 

Black cohosh

Most of the original research on black cohosh was conducted in Germany, where it has been used for more than 40 years (8).  Black cohosh is also commonly prescribed in other parts of Europe (9).  The North American Menopause Society has finally recognized the European research and recommends black cohosh for mild vasomotor symptoms, such as hot flashes (10).

More recent research is confirming its therapeutic value -  showing that black cohosh is more efficient than placebo and as effective as a variety of medications in relieving hot flashes (11-16).

Due to its regular use in Europe, black cohosh has been demonstrated to have an excellent safety profile with a low risk of side effects (17-18).  As with soy, taking a standardized preparation of black cohosh is critical to its effectiveness.

Magnesium glycinate

Magnesium levels drop as estrogen levels diminish during menopause but a search of the scientific literature fails to find any studies using magnesium as a therapy for menopause.  However, it has been suggested by several authors that magnesium may be beneficial to alleviate hot flashes, and help maintain bone and cardiovascular health (19-21).  We have anecdotal evidence in our clinic of its usefulness to improve hot flashes.  Furthermore, inadequate magnesium intake in postmenopausal women has been shown to impair glucose tolerance, induce heart rhythm changes, and adversely affect the metabolism of other nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, and potassium (22-23).  Magnesium is critical for a balanced body chemisty.

Vitamin E and Essential Oils

Vitamin E - As early as the 1940's, vitamin E was being used to effectively decrease hot flashes (24-26).  More recent research suggests a statistically significant but moderate lowering of the number of hot flashes with vitamin E supplementation (27-28). 

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids - One small study has shown a reduction in hot flashes with polyunsaturated fatty acids (29).

Evening Primrose Oil - In a randomized double-blind placebo controlled study, evening primrose oil was found to significantly reduce night sweats (30).  Daytime hot flashes were also decreased, but this result was not statistically significant.

Balanced Body Chemistry

The initiation of a hot flash is a complex interaction of the body's thermoregulatory system, neurotransmitters, and hormones.  A variety of nutrients can affect these metabolic interactions, as evidenced by their efficacy in treating hot flashes.

Using the Body Chemistry Balancing (BCB) test, we analyze over 100 different metabolic components including amino acids, vitamin E, micronutrients, hormone levels, neurotransmitter levels, and adrenal and thyroid function.  We investigate the metabolic issues behind each woman's hot flashes in order to provide a comprehensive, nutritionally-balanced therapy without the use of HRT. 

Natural Human Progesterone available by prescription

Progesterone has been shown to help with hot flashes, without the side effects associated with estrogen.  Women using a  transdermal progesterone cream experienced a significant decrease in the number of hot flashes compared to women using a placebo cream (31).



1.    Albertazzi P, et al.  (1998) The effect of dietary soy supplementation on hot flushes. Obstet Gynecol 91:6-11.

2.    Crisafulli A, et al.  (2004) Effects of genistein on hot flushes in early postmenopausal women: a randomized, double-blind EPT- and placebo controlled study. Menopause  11:400-404.

3.    Faure ED, et al.  (2002)   Effects of a standardized soy extract on hot flushes: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Menopause. 9:329-334.

4.    Han KK, et al.  (2002)  Benefits of soy isoflavone therapeutic regimen on menopausal symptoms. Obstet Gynecol. 99:  389-394

5.    Scambia G, et al.  (2000) Clinical effects of a standardized soy extract in postmenopausal women: a pilot study. Menopause. 7: 105-111.

6.    Upmalis DH, et al.  (2000)  Vasomotor symptom relief by soy isoflavone extract tablets in postmenopausal women: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study [erratum appears in Menopause. 2000;7:422]. Menopause 7: 236-242.

7.    Washburn S., et al.  (1999) Effect of soy protein supplementation on serum lipoproteins, blood pressure, and menopausal symptoms in perimenopausal women. Menopause 6:7-13

Black cohosh

8.    Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.

9.    McKenna DJ, et al.  (2001)  Black cohosh: efficacy, safety, and use in clinical and preclinical applications. Altern Ther Health Med  7:93-100.

10.    North American Menopause Society.  (2004)  Treatment of menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms: position statement of The North American Menopause Society.  Menopause. 11(1):11-33.

11.    Bai W, et al.  (2007)  Efficacy and tolerability of a medicinal product containing an isopropanolic black cohosh extract in Chinese women with menopausal symptoms: a randomized, double blind, parallel-controlled study versus tibolone.  Maturitas. 58(1):31-41.

12.    Liske E, et al. (2002)  Physiological investigation of a unique extract of black cohosh (Cimicifugae racemosae rhizoma): a 6-month clinical study demonstrates no systemic estrogenic effect. J Womens Health Gend Based Med 11:163-174.

13.    Oktem M, et al.  (2007)  Black cohosh and fluoxetine in the treatment of postmenopausal symptoms: a prospective, randomized trial.  Adv Ther. 24(2):448-61.

14.    Osmers R, et al (2005)   Efficacy and safety of isopropanolic black cohosh extract for climacteric symptoms. Obstet Gynecol. 105:1074–83.

15.    Raus K, et al (2006)  First-time proof of endometrial safety of the special black cohosh extract (Actaea or Cimicifuga racemosa extract) CR BNO 1055.  Menopause. 13(4):678-91.

16.    Wuttke W, et al (2003)   The Cimicifuga preparation BNO 1055 vs. conjugated estrogens in a double-blind placebo-controlled study: effects on menopause symptoms and bone markers. Maturitas 44 (Suppl 1):S67-77.

17.    Liske E, Wustenberg P. (1998) Efficacy and safety for phytomedicines for gynecologic disorders with particular reference to Cimicifuga racemosa and Hypericum perforatum. In: Limpaphayom K, ed. 1st Asian-European Congress on the Menopause. Bangkok, January 28-31, 1998. Bologna, Italy: Monduzzi Editore p. A; 1998;187-191.

18.    Liske E. (1998) Therapeutic efficacy and safety of Cimicifuga racemosa for gynecologic disorders.  Adv Ther 15:45-53.


19.    University of Maryland Medical Center  www.umm.edu  http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/magnesium-000313.htm
20.    Kass-Annese B.  (2000)  Alternative therapies for menopause.  Clin Obstet Gynecol. 43(1):162-83.

21.    Seelig, M. et al.  (2004)  Benefits and Risks of Sex Hormone Replacement in Postmenopausal Women J Am Coll Nutr 23:  482S-496S.

22.    Nielsen FH, et al.  (2007)  Moderate magnesium deprivation results in calcium retention and altered potassium and phosphorus excretion by postmenopausal women.  Magnes Res. 20(1):19-31.

23.    Nielsen FH, et al.  (2007)  Dietary magnesium deficiency induces heart rhythm changes, impairs glucose tolerance, and decreases serum cholesterol in post menopausal women.  J Am Coll Nutr. 26(2):121-32.

Vitamin E and Essential Oils

24.    Christy CJ. (1945) Vitamin E in menopause. Am J Obstet Gynecol  50:84-87.

25.    McLaren HC. (1949)  Vitamin E in the menopause. Br Med J  ii:1378-1381.

26.    Finkler RS. (1949)  The effect of vitamin E in the menopause. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 9:89-94.

27.    Barton DL, et al. (1998)  Prospective evaluation of vitamin E for hot flashes in breast cancer survivors. J Clin Oncol 16:495-500.

28.    Ziaei, S. et al.  (2007)  The effect of vitamin E on hot flashes in menopausal women.  Gynecol Obstet Invest. 64(4):204-7.

29.    Campagnoli C, et al.  (2005)  Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) might reduce hot flushes: an indication from two controlled trials on soy isoflavones alone and with a PUFA supplement.  Maturitas.  51(2):127-34.

30.    Chenoy R, et al.  (1994)  Effect of oral gamolenic acid from evening primrose oil on menopausal flushing.  BMJ  308(6927):501-3.


31.    Leonetti HB, et al.  (1999) Transdermal progesterone cream for vasomotor symptoms and postmenopausal bone loss. Obstet Gynecol   94:225-8.

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Our recommendations are the same as those of the The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  We all agree that the guiding principle of hormone replacement therapy is to use the lowest possible dose for the shortest period of time to ease symptoms.


How do you ensure the lowest possible dose?

Assessment In our Body Chemistry Balancing test, we investigate hormone levels, as well as a multitude of biochemical and nutritional factors that influence the way hormones work in a woman's body.  This assessment allows us to see which hormones may be helpful, or to see if hormones are needed at all.  Often there are underlying biochemical issues that can affect menopausal symptoms, such as low iron, adrenalthyroid function, digestive problems, low magnesium and , or neurochemical imbalances. Once these issues are identified, the body chemistry imbalance can be corrected, and hormone therapy may not be required.

Route of Administration Due to what is known as the "first pass effect", our liver selectively detoxifies anything we foolishly put in our mouth that may have toxic properties.  When hormones are given orally, higher doses are needed in order to counteract this first pass effect (1).  When hormones are given through the skin, it bypasses this step, and doses ten times less than what is given orally can be used.  Achieving the lowest dose is therefore easiest by giving hormones through the skin.

Selection of Hormone Human identical hormones, or bio-identical hormones as they are more commonly called, have been shown to be effective for a variety of menopausal symptoms.  With synthetic hormones, which look and act differently than human hormones, years of work go into establishing toxicity profiles because something foreign is being put in the body. Since the biochemistry of human hormones and how they function in the body is well-known, toxicity profiles don't have to be re-established.  The key to achieving the lowest and safest dose with human identical hormones is to stay within physiological ranges.   When it comes to choosing which hormone to use, progesterone in particular, has demonstrated effectiveness for relieving several menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety and mood issues (2-5).

What is the safest product for vaginal dryness?

There is no question that estrogens, used locally, are effective for perimenopausal and menopausal women to relieve vaginal dryness, and help with bladder control and other urinary tract issues.  However, concern should be raised when a product such as Premarin is used topically or vaginally in equivalent doses to that used orally.  This results in unnecessarily high doses of estrogen in the body and does not follow the guiding principle of using the lowest dose possible for the shortest period of time to relieve symptoms. 

Topical and vaginal estrogens have much higher bioavailability (up to 10x higher) than oral doses (6).  Human estradiol has been shown to be effective for vaginal dryness and bladder issues.  However, controlled studies have shown estriol to have very high rates of success when used to treat vaginal dryness, urinary tract infections, vaginal irritation, and bladder problems and improve overall vaginal health (7-14).  As an added advantage, estriol is a weaker estrogen than estradiol and contributes less systemic estrogen activity.  Estriol, when given vaginally, has been reported to be safe for the endometrium (15-17) and is not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer (18-19).

The base that the hormone is placed in is important.  Our product Nutriplens was designed to replicate natural vaginal secretions.  Primrose oil, which has been shown to help with skin dryness (20-22), is used as the oily phase in Nutriplens. A good base of primrose oil to help with dryness allows the use of less total estriol dosage and therefore follows the guiding principle of providing hormones at low doses to alleviate symptoms.

What are the benefits of compounding?

If we continue to follow the guiding principle of "lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time to ease symptoms", then compounding or individualizing the dose is the safest and simplest way to achieve these goals.  As discussed in the example on vaginal dryness, we can manipulate the base formula and the amount of hormone to the lowest dose so that a woman gets symptom relief.  We've learned the "one size fits all" approach of the past has created a lot of problems.  Compounding provides a very safe approach, if a woman does indeed need hormones.


1.  Sitruk-Ware, R. (2007)  New hormonal therapies and regimens in the postmenopause: routes of administration and timing of initiation.  Climacteric 10: 358-370.

2.  Leonetti HB. et al. (1999) Transdermal progesterone cream for vasomotor symptoms and postmenopausal bone loss. Obstet Gynecol  94(2):225-228.

3.  Montplaisir J., et al. (2001) Sleep in menopause: Differential effects of two forms of hormone replacement therapy.  Menopause 8:6-10.

4.  Cummings J., Brizedine, L. (2002)  Comparison of physical and emotional side effects of progesterone or medroxy progesterone in early postmenopausal women.  Menopause 9:253-263.

5.  Fitzpatrick L., et al. (2000) Comparison of regimens containing oral micronized progesterone or medroxyprogesterone acetate on quality of life in postmenopausal women: a cross-sectional survey.  J Womens Health Gend Based Med 9:381-387.

6.  Head, K.A. (1998)  Estriol: Safety and Efficacy.  Alt Med Rev 3(2): 101-113.

7.  Barentsen R, et al.  (1997) Continuous low dose estradiol released from a vaginal ring versus estriol vaginal cream for urogenital atrophy. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 71:73-80.

8.  Bottiglione F, et al. (1995) Transvaginal estriol administration in postmenopausal  women: A double-blind comparative study of two different doses. Maturitas 22:227-232.

9.  Casper F, Petri E. (1999) Local treatment of urogenital atrophy with an estradiol-releasing vaginal ring: A comparative and a placebo-controlled multicenter study. Vaginal Ring Study Group. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct 10:171-6.

10.  Dessole S., et al. (2004)  Efficacy of low-dose intravaginal estriol on urogenital aging in postmenopausal women.  Menopause. 11(1):49-56.

11.  Dugal R, et al. (2000) Comparison of usefulness of estradiol vaginal tablets and estriol vagitories for treatment of vaginal atrophy. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand  79:293-7.

12.  Henriksson L, et al. (1994) A comparative multicenter study of the effects of continuous low-dose estradiol released from a new vaginal ring versus estriol vaginal pessaries in postmenopausal women with symptoms and signs of urogenital atrophy. Am J Obstet Gynecol 171: 624-32.

13.  Lose G, Englev E. (2000)  Oestradiol-releasing vaginal ring versus oestriol vaginal pessaries in the treatment of bothersome lower urinary tract symptoms. BJOG 107:1029.

14.  Raz R, Stamm WE. (1993) A controlled trial of intravaginal estriol in postmenopausal women with recurrent urinary tract infections. N Engl J Med 329:753.

15.  Iosif, CS. (1992)  Effects of protracted administration of estriol on the lower genito urinary tract in postmenopausal women.   Arch Gynecol Obstet. 251(3): 115-20.

16.  Weiderpass, E. et al. (1999) Low-potency oestrogen and risk of endometrial cancer: a case-control study.  Lancet. 353(9167):1824-8.

17.  Vooijs GP, Geurts TB. (1995) Review of the endometrial safety during intravaginal treatment with estriol.  Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 62(1):101-6.

18.  Rosenberg LU. et al. (2006) Menopausal hormone therapy and other breast cancer risk factors in relation to the risk of different histological subtypes of breast cancer: A case-control study. Breast Cancer Res 8:R11.

19.  Lyytinen H, et al. (2006)   Breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women using estrogen-only therapy.  Obstet Gynecol 108:1354.

20.  Yoshimoto-Furuie, K., et al. (1999) Effects of oral supplementation with evening primrose oil for six weeks on plasma essential fatty acids and uremic skin symptoms in hemodialysis patients.  Nephron 81(2):151-9.

21.  Morse, P.F. et al. (1989)  Meta-analysis of placebo-controlled studies of the efficacy of Epogam in the treatment of atopic eczema. Relationship between plasma essential fatty acid changes and clinical response.  Br J Dermatol. 121(1):75-90.

22.  Schalin-Karrila, M., et al. (1987)  Evening primrose oil in the treatment of atopic eczema: effect on clinical status, plasma phospholipid fatty acids and circulating blood prostaglandins.  Br J Dermatol. 117(1):11-9.

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Is Dietary Protein "Bad to the Bone"?

Posted by on in Protein

It is well known that calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health, but the role of protein has been controversial.

When protein is metabolized in the body, acid is generated. This acid has to be neutralized and calcium is a natural ‘buffer’. Since an increase in dietary protein results in greater calcium loss in the urine, it was thought that excess dietary protein pulls calcium out of the bones, and subsequently weakens them.

Is Protein Bad for Bone?

A scientific meta-analysis (where researchers do an exhaustive search of the medical and scientific literature and base conclusions on what the highest quality studies collectively demonstrate) found that protein did not have a negative effect on bone mineral density (BMD). In fact, there was a slight positive effect of dietary protein on BMD. There was no effect, either positive or negative, on fracture incidence (1).

So based on this extensive review, and commentary from other researchers (2-3), it can be concluded that protein is not bad for bone health. So will eating more protein increase your bone strength? Maybe, however large long-term studies are still needed to confirm this.

The Importance of Protein

Protein is an excellent source of energy and has multiple roles in the body:  muscles, hair, skin, enzymes, antibodies, hormones, neurotransmitters and for storage and transport of other molecules. Unfortunately, many seniors, especially if they are living on their own, and subsiding on ‘tea and toast’, do not get enough protein in their diet.

A poor quality diet can lead to weakness, fatigue, sleeping problems, nutritional deficiencies, and a host of other problems. This is a disaster for the well-being of seniors, those most susceptible to osteoporosis, and may worsen the chances of a fall.

Improving Dietary Intake of Protein

In our low-fat world, many foods are being shunned because of their fat content. Eggs, nuts, cheese, milk and other dairy products are easy sources of protein for older adults and seniors. Additional dietary sources of protein include meat and legumes (but these often take more preparation and/or cooking time).

One of the easiest ways to add more protein to our diet is to have it at breakfast. It has been shown that having a caffeinated coffee and either a muffin, bagel, or donut at breakfast dramatically increases insulin levels in the body. Having this type of breakfast repeatedly over time, may increase your chance of developing diabetes.

All of us, no matter what our age, can benefit from having some protein in the morning. I personally start my day with a protein shake, made from high quality whey protein.


  • Protein has a slight positive effect on bone mineral density, not a negative effect as previously thought.
  • Protein is an important component of everyone’s diet, and should NOT be avoided by those with osteoporosis.
  • Incorporating modest amounts of protein in the diet of older adults and seniors will enhance overall health.
  • Having a protein shake or a protein-rich food in the morning is a healthier choice than a "coffee-and-a-carb" breakfast.



1. Darling, AL et al. (2009) Dietary protein and bone health:  a systematic review and meta-analysis.  Am J Clin Nutr 90:  1674-92.

2. Kerstetter, JE (2009) Dietary protein and bone:  a new approach to an old question.  Am J Clin Nutr 90:  1451-2.

3. Bonjour, JP (2005) Dietary protein:  an essential nutrient for bone health.  J Am Coll Nutr 24:  526S-36S.

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While my blogs normally feature information about drugs or nutritional interventions, I’d like to take a moment to switch topics.

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting an exceptional young man from west Ottawa named Michael Tayler.

Michael is 20 years old and a Nepean High School graduate, now attending Carleton University. Michael competes in the Olympic sport of Canoe/Kayak Slalom, a dynamic sport where athletes race down whitewater rapids through a series of slalom gates.

Michael began kayaking at the age of eight and since then, has gone on to win 5 Junior National Titles, and achieve a Bronze Medal from the 2010 Oceania Open. In 2011, Michael won the National B Championships and then in April of this year, on the National A team, won a highly contested battle for Canada’s only Olympic kayak spot.

NutriChem is pleased to support Michael on his journey to the Olympics and we’d like to wish Michael, and all of the Canadian athletes, the best of luck as they pursue their Olympic dreams.

Please visit www.michaeltayler.ca to learn more about Michael.



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The Top 10 Causes of Low Energy

Posted by on in Quality of Life

Low Iron: Iron is essential for energy production in your body and is critical for the transport of oxygen in your blood and muscles. Low iron levels will lead to fatigue, weakness, headaches, and poor resistance to infection.

Dwindling Sex Hormones: For women, an imbalance or deficiency of estrogen, progesterone or testosterone can affect energy levels. For men, low testosterone levels can produce symptoms of fatigue.

Food Sensitivities: Energy levels will definitely suffer if you have undiagnosed food sensitivities or allergies. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, creating further problems with energy production in the body.

Missing Essential Fats: If you don’t eat three servings of fatty fish each week or take a fish oil supplement, then chances are you are not getting enough of the essential omega-3 fats, DHA and EPA, in your diet. Symptoms of essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency are wide-ranging, but include fatigue, lackluster energy, and lack of endurance.

Low Coenzyme Q10: This energy-producing powerhouse is present in every plant and animal cell. If you have heart disease or are on cholesterol medication (i.e. statins), you may be lacking this vital nutrient.

Chronic Bowel Issues: When you suffer from constipation, diarrhea or irritable bowel on a regular basis, your energy levels can be drained. Ensuring a healthy bowel, with probiotics and dietary fibre, can make a world of difference to your energy levels.

Thyroid Dysfunction: When you are hypothyroid, you are not producing an adequate amount of thyroid hormones, and will lack energy.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Seniors and vegetarians are at particular risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. As well, many prescription drugs interfere with vitamin B12 absorption.

Stressed Adrenals: In today’s stressed out world, the adrenals work overtime in our bodies, releasing excess hormones as our stress levels increase. This can lead to adrenal fatigue and result in weight gain, exhaustion, and insomnia.

Insufficient Magnesium: Magnesium has a critical role in energy production:  magnesium is needed for over 300 reactions in the body, and the tissues that are the most metabolically active (the brain, heart, liver and kidney) contain very high concentrations of magnesium.

If you’d like to learn more about the nutritional and hormonal issues on this list, please read “Have you been suffering from low energy?” on our website.

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You're gaining weight around the middle, your blood pressure is higher than normal, your blood sugar is creeping upwards...just signs of aging? No – these are signs of a serious metabolic disorder that can have significant life consequences.

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors linked to overweight and obesity. These risk factors include:

1. Fat "around the middle", also known as abdominal obesity. This type of fat is a greater risk than fat found elsewhere on the body

2. Higher than normal blood pressure

3. Higher than normal blood sugar - an early warning sign for diabetes

4. Elevated triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood)

5. Low HDL, the so-called "good" cholesterol

If you have at least 3 of these 5 risk factors, you have metabolic syndrome, and have a significant increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.


So what can you do? The best things you can do are lose weight, eat better, and get active. Pretty simple advice, although many people find it very difficult to put this into practice.


The U.S. National Institutes of Health have suggested that in the future, metabolic syndrome may surpass smoking as the top risk factor for heart disease. We all know how bad smoking is for you - so why are we not doing more to combat the obesity epidemic?

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Why Is Magnesium Important?

  • Helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function
  • Keeps heart rhythm steady
  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • Keeps bones strong
  • Helps regulate blood sugar levels
  • Promotes normal blood pressure
  • Important for energy metabolism and protein synthesis
  • Needed for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body
  • Has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels

    Should You Be Worried About Your Magnesium Intake?

    The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that significant numbers of adults do not consume the recommended amounts of magnesium (2).  Among adults, 68% consume less than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium, and 19% consume less than 50% of the RDA (3).  Adults who take supplements are more likely to meet the RDA for magnesium than those who do not (4). Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, loss of appetite, irritability, anxiety, weakness, muscle contractions and cramps, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, numbness and tingling (1).


    If you have chronic malabsorptive problems (i.e. Crohn’s; celiac disease), are a senior citizen, have diabetes, consume excess alcohol or take certain medications (i.e. specific diuretics, antibiotics or medications to treat cancer) you are at particular risk for magnesium deficiency.


    Why Is Magnesium Glycinate Better Than Other Forms Of Magnesium?

    Magnesium glycinate is easier on the bowel.  Other forms of magnesium tend to be more disruptive to the bowel.  Magnesium oxide tends to firm stools (leading to constipation), whereas the citrate, sulphate and chloride forms tend to loosen the stools (diarrhea).  Magnesium glycinate is gentler, with less chance of bowel disruptions.
    Magnesium glycinate is highly absorbable.  It is absorbed better than other forms of magnesium, up to 5 times more than magnesium oxide (5).


    What Conditions Benefit from Magnesium Supplementation?
    Magnesium Supplements and Cholesterol

    Magnesium supplements have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels (6-9).


    It is well established that diabetics often suffer from magnesium deficiency.  More recent studies have shown that magnesium supplementation of diabetics will not only correct for the loss of magnesium that occurs in the urine, but may also help with reducing plasma fasting glucose levels and increase HDL cholesterol (10).  It has been suggested that diabetics have a magnesium-binding defect, which may cause the insulin resistance and reduced insulin secretion associated with this disease.  It is thought that this defect can be addressed with magnesium supplementation (11).


    Adults with higher dietary intakes of magnesium have a lower risk of developing high blood pressure (12-13).  Diets rich in magnesium are routinely prescribed to people with hypertension (14).

    Magnesium Supplements and Menopause

    Magnesium levels drop as estrogen levels diminish during menopause.  It has been suggested by several authors that magnesium may be beneficial to alleviate hot flashes, and help maintain bone and cardiovascular health (15-17).  We have anecdotal evidence in our clinic of its usefulness to improve hot flashes.  Furthermore, inadequate magnesium intake in postmenopausal women has been shown to impair glucose tolerance, induce heart rhythm changes, and adversely affect the metabolism of other nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, and potassium (18-19).

    Metabolic Syndrome

    Researchers have determined that the low intakes of dietary magnesium are associated with metabolic syndrome (20-21).

    Insomnia and Restless Legs

    Magnesium has been shown to reduce surgery-related insomnia, and improve sleep in individuals suffering from restless leg syndrome (22-23).  Magnesium has a key role in helping to regulate the "biological clock" (24).

    Who Should Not Take Magnesium?

    Certain individuals should not take magnesium without first talking to a pharmacist or health care practitioner:

    People with kidney or severe heart disease

    Individuals taking magnesium-containing antacids or laxatives

    Tetracycline users

    1.  National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements (2005) Magnesium.  http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp
    2.  Ford E.S. and Mokdad A.H. (2003) Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of U.S. adults. J Nutr. 133: 2879-82.
    3.  King D.E. et al. (2005) Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels.  J Am Coll Nutr.  24(3): 166-71.
    4.  Sebastian R.S. et al.  2007) Older adults who use vitamin/mineral supplements differ from nonusers in nutrient intake adequacy and dietary attitudes.  J Am Diet Assoc. 107(8): 1322-32.
    5.  Schuette S.A. et al. (1994) Bioavailability of magnesium diglycinate vs magnesium oxide in patients with ileal resection.  J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 18(5): 430-5.
    6.  Davis W.H. et al. (1984) Monotherapy with magnesium increases abnormally low high density lipoprotein cholesterol: a clinical assay. Curr Therap Res 36: 341-344.
    7.  Rasmussen H.S. et al. (1989) Influence of magnesium substitution therapy on blood lipid composition in patients with ischemic heart disease. A double-blind, placebo controlled study. Arch Int Med 149: 1050-1053.
    8.  Corica F. et al. (1994) Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on plasma lipid concentrations in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Magnes Res 7: 43-46.
    9.  Itoh K., Kawasaka T., Nakamura M. (1997) The effects of high oral magnesium supplementation on blood pressure, serum lipids and related variables in apparently healthy Japanese subjects. Br J Nutr 78: 737-750.
    10. Song Y., et al. (2006) Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on glycaemic control in Type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind controlled trials.  Diabet Med. 23(10): 1050-6.
    11.  Wells I.C. (2008) Evidence that the etiology of the syndrome containing type 2 diabetes mellitus results from abnormal magnesium metabolism.  Can J Physiol Pharmacol.  86(1-2): 16-24.
    12.  Song, Y. et al.  (2006) Dietary magnesium intake and risk of incident hypertension among middle-aged and older US women in a 10-year follow-up study.  Am J Cardiol. 98(12): 1616-21.
    13.  Ascherio A. et al. (1992) A prospective study of nutritional factors and hypertension among US men. Circulation 86: 1475-84.
    14.  http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/
    15.  University of Maryland Medical Center  http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/magnesium-000313.htm
    16.  Kass-Annese B.  (2000)  Alternative therapies for menopause.  Clin Obstet Gynecol. 43(1):162-83.
    17.  Seelig, M. et al.  (2004)  Benefits and Risks of Sex Hormone Replacement in Postmenopausal Women J Am Coll Nutr 23:  482S-496S.
    18.  Nielsen FH, et al.  (2007)  Moderate magnesium deprivation results in calcium retention and altered potassium and phosphorus excretion by postmenopausal women.  Magnes Res. 20(1):19-31.
    19.  Nielsen FH, et al.  (2007)  Dietary magnesium deficiency induces heart rhythm changes, impairs glucose tolerance, and decreases serum cholesterol in post menopausal women.  J Am Coll Nutr. 26(2):121-32.
    20.  Ford, ES. Et al.  (2007) Intake of dietary magnesium and the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among U.S. adults.  Obesity 15(5):1139-46.
    21.  He K, et al.  (2006)   Magnesium intake and incidence of metabolic syndrome among young adults.  Circulation.  113(13):1675-82.
    22.  Tramer MR, et al.  (1996)  Role of magnesium sulfate in postoperative analgesia.  Anesthesiology. 84(2):340-7.
    23.  Hornyak M, et al.  (1998)  Magnesium therapy for periodic leg movements-related insomnia and restless legs syndrome: an open pilot study.  Sleep.  21(5):501-5.
    24.  Durlach J, et al.  (2002)  Chronopathological forms of magnesium depletion with hypofunction or with hyperfunction of the biological clock.  Magnes Res. 15(3-4):263-8.

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    The Dark Side of Proton Pump Inhibitors

    Posted by on in Drug effects

    Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a group of drugs that reduce the production of stomach acid. They are commonly prescribed for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), ulcers, and are used in combination with antibiotics for eliminating Helicobacter pylori (a bacteria that contributes to ulcers).


    There are significant long-term risks to taking PPIs by prescription, but you should not stop taking them on your own unless you consult with a health care professional.

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    What do you think is the biggest risk factor for breast cancer in this 65-year old woman?

    She has gained about 25 pounds since she was 18 years old.

    She drinks 2 glasses of wine a day.

    She is on hormone replacement therapy.

    If you said hormone replacement therapy, you’d be wrong. In fact, the hormones, alcohol consumption and weight gain all increase her risk by about the same amount. But the media have positioned hormones as the worst thing women can do for their health (the biggest risk in this scenario is her age, but more on that later).

    While we’re NOT promoting “hormones for all”, we think it’s important for women to know that questions are arising about the way hormones have been portrayed in the media and that women are suffering because of it.

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    With the start of a new year, comes change. I’m pleased to announce that for the beginning of 2012, we have made a big change! We’ve updated and expanded the NutriChem website.

    We had received many compliments on the old website, since its creation over 5 years ago. However, we had also been given some constructive feedback from our customers about how we could make the site better.

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