Monday, November 19, 2018

What Are Psychotropic Drugs? Its Types, History & Statistics

It’s estimated that some 25,000 people sprain their ankle every single day, according to the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society. (1) What are some of the reasons that someone might suffer from an ankle sprain? Ankle injuries can affect people of all ages. They are commonly caused by things like repetitive overuse and poor posture when exercising.  Other causes are muscular compensations, imbalance in oppositional muscles, and impact to a ligament or joint near the foot. For the elderly, who can experience weakness and instability in the ankles, accidents such as falling are another frequent cause.

Common signs of a rolled ankle are pain, swelling, throbbing and even a black/blue appearance surrounding the injury. Sprained ankles can definitely be painful — and also inconvenient, as they usually force you to stay off your feet. The good news is that there are natural sprained ankle treatments to speed the healing of ankle sprains or other related injuries.

Upon rolling or twisting your ankle, it’s important to immediately rest the affected foot. Ideally, elevate the area as much as possible for at least the next 48-72 hours. Natural sprained ankle treatments included below are: icing the ankle, dulling pain with essential oils, and preventing the injury from happening again.
 What is a Sprained Ankle?

A “sprain” is usually a sign that certain parts of the body are overused and stressed. A sprained ankle can also be called a rolled ankle or twisted ankle. Pain often means that a tear has developed in one or more ligaments that support and stabilize the ankle.

Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that hold bones together. They keep joints in place like the ankle, wrist, knee, parts of the lower back, neck, elbow and shoulder. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states, “An ankle sprain occurs when the strong ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear.” (2) The ankle ligaments are pulled beyond their normal range of motion.

The lateral ligament is located on the outside of the ankle. It’s the part of the ankle most often injured due to rolling, overusing, twisting or straining. Up to 85 percent of all ankle sprains result from dysfunction of these ligaments. The ankle ligaments are made of small tissue fibers. These fibers can develop injuries ranging from small pulls or twists, to complete tears. (3)

If the ankle ligaments are completely torn, the ankle may become unstable even after the initial injury passes. This sets the scene for weakness, instability and other injuries in the future. Over time, muscular compensations caused by instability can result in damage to the bones and cartilage of the ankle joint. This is especially risky for those who engage in high-impact exercises such as running or playing contact sports. (4)
Common Causes & Risk Factors for Sprained Ankles

The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy states that sprained ankles and fractures are some of the most common injuries to affect the legs. It’s estimated that about one ankle sprain occurs for every 10,000 people each day in Western countries. (5) Studies have found that 16-21 percent of all sports-related injuries are sprained ankles. They tend to occur during activities that can cause impact, fracturing of the ankles, over-twisting or overuse of muscles in the lower body.

Situations in which ankle sprains occur most often include: (6)

    When exercising, such as running or even walking. The risk is highest when moving quickly and on any uneven, hard surface. Unsupportive shoes that don’t feet your feet well create a risk factor for sprained ankles; they set the stage for rolling, instability and twisting.
    Tripping, getting knocked down (such as during contact sports like football, basketball, wrestling or soccer), or falling down. The elderly can sprain an ankle if they lack balance and wind up falling. Athletes commonly roll or overuse an ankle during training or a game. Sometimes an opponent can push a player down in a way that causes twisting, or step on their foot forcefully.
    Using improper form or having poor posture. Excess supination when running or walking, can contribute to ankle sprains.
    Having existing muscular compensations due to poor posture in the legs, sacrum and spine.
    Old injuries, including ankles sprains, stress fractures in the legs or tendon tears. These can leave scar tissue behind that causes instability.
    Overuse, including exercising too much without enough rest or standing for long periods.
    Limited range of motion and stiffness due to aging or conditions like arthritis.  Weakness in the ankles or lower body can also occur from too little activity (a sedentary lifestyle).
    Loose ligaments or loss of cartilage in the joints of the feet or ankles (such as those of the subtalar joint).
    In some cases, leg discrepancy (legs are different lengths) due to genetics, which cause instability.

Sprained ankle symptoms & causes
Symptoms of a Sprained Ankle

Some signs that you’ve likely rolled your ankle include:

    Pain when putting weight on the ankle or when moving.
    Signs of a swollen ankle, including puffiness, redness, heat and throbbing near the affected ligaments/joints.
    Bruising near the bone or other types of discoloration of the skin. Severe ankle sprains are often accompanied by bleeding that in turn causes bruising, This causes a black and blue appearance.
    Some report hearing a snapping or popping sound when the injury takes place. This usually happens in the case of a severe sprain in which the ligament completely tears.
    Loss of functionality and reduced range of motion in the lower body. Sometimes pain and dysfunctional musculoskeletal problems can extend up to the ankles, calves, outer thighs or knees. This makes it hard to go about normal activities.
    If you repeatedly roll the ankle, you might notice pain on the bottom of the feet (in the ball of the foot). Or you may develop clawed toes/hammertoes due to your form/stance.

Conventional Sprained Ankle Treatments

Doctors sometimes perform an X-ray on an injured ankle to ensure no bones are broken. Oftentimes it’s possible to diagnose a sprained ankle based on symptoms and appearance. Your doctor will look for signs of ankle swelling. She will talk to you about your symptoms and how the injury happened. She may also move around or press the ankle to determine how limited your range of motion has become. Once diagnosed, your orthopedist or doctor’s recommended treatments for the sprained ankle can include:

    Taking an over-the-counter pain killer. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help initially control pain and swelling.
    Resting and icing the foot. Use compression dressings, bandages or ace-wraps to keep your ankle still.  Elevate your ankle by placing it above the level of your chest, ideally for about the first 48 hours.
    Improving your form when exercising (more on this below) and wearing more supportive shoes with inserts.
    Changing your sneakers/shoes when exercising is usually the first step, which might include wearing orthotic inserts for support. Orthotic inserts used in sneakers or shoes consist of arch support and sometimes a lifted heel. They control the rolling-forward motion of the foot. They can take pressure off the small toes and help stabilize the ankle.
    Depending on how severe your supination problem is, your doctor might also recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy can “reteach” your muscles and joints how to distribute your weight in a healthier way, from your feet upward.

 7 Natural Sprained Ankle Treatments
1. Rest & Icing

Rest is vitally important for the healing process of any injury. It’s also one of the basic sprained ankle treatments. After you initially heal, you should start moving the ankle again to reduce stiffness. In the first 1-2 days after the injury, try to ice the ankle to keep swelling down. Use an ice pack or even a frozen bag of veggies. Press it against a cloth and the ankle for about 15-30 minutes at a time. Ideally, do this several times per day. Keep strong heat away from the affected foot and be careful not to apply ice directly to your skin.

Plan to rest the area for at least about 72 hours/3 days post-injury. Experts recommend a “three-phase” treatment program for optimal healing. It can take just 2 weeks to complete for minor sprains. It may take or up to 6 to 12 weeks for more severe injuries. Specific rest time will depend on your symptoms and ability to heal. Once you’re back on your feet, two of the best exercises are swimming in a pool and performing band exercises. You can also try cycling or using an elliptical when you’re ready; it’s probably best to ask your doctor before doing so.
2. Fix Your Form

Those who have poor posture and form when walking or exercising are at the highest risk for ankle sprains. This is especially true in the case of over-supinating the foot. Supination describes the rolling outward motion of the foot, therefore over-supinators don’t roll their root inward enough when moving forward. Excess supination is also called “underpronation” — since supination is the opposite of pronation of the foot (rolling inward). (7)

Both oversupination and overpronation also put too much stress on the bottom or outside edges of the foot. This often leads to leg pains or common running injuries. Those with high arches (the opposite of “flat feet” or collapsed arches) and tight Achilles tendons tend to be under-pronators/supinators. (8) In addition to spraining your ankle, this common type of poor form can cause other injuries. These include: “hammertoes” (clawed toes), Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and iliotibial band syndrome, affecting the knees. It also causes poorer performance due to general instability and weakness.

Another problem is due to abnormal dorsiflexion of the foot. While supination describes the outward rolling motion of the foot, dorsiflexion describes the bending backward of the foot. Dorsiflexion decreases the angle between the foot and the ankle; in other words, it means the toes are lifting up and away from the ground, toward the ankle/body. (9) Proper dorsiflexion safely brings the knees over the ankles, such as when bending over, squatting or jumping forward. However, too much dorsiflexion is also problematic and leads to instability. Too much motion due to weakness in the muscles and joints of the feet can contribute to ankle rolling.

Here are tips to help you stretch and strengthen the lower legs after your initial injury heals. They are  sprained ankle treatments that will help correct your form and prevent future sprains:

    If walking or running fast, come to a soft landing. Land closer to the middle of your foot, instead of the back of the heel. Try to land with a mostly flat foot, attempting to avoid too much curving of the toes inward or outward.
    Slightly increase your cadence and potentially shorten your stride to keep proper form in the feet and legs.
    Run with upright posture through your back and stay relaxed.
    Gently stretch/mobilize the muscles in the legs prior to exercise and afterward. This helps break up adhesions and allows you to sustain proper form. You can use a foam roller on the floor. Position your body on top so the roller is under your calves, then move back and forth gently. Also, try massaging the fascia (soft tissue) in the bottoms of the feet with a tennis ball under the foot.
    Increase strength in your legs by doing exercises. Examples are crab walks (holding an upside down “V” with your body), calf lifts, squats, forward bends, and lunges.
    Stretch your lower legs as you lay on your back. Then lift the legs in the air and flex the ankles back and forth.  Or, perform heel raises by placing your toes up against a wall, tilting the toes back towards the body. Use a resistance band (also known as exercise band) wrapped around the ankle to gently pump and improve ankle flexibility. (10)

3. Correct Your Posture & Stance

Weak ankles prone to rolling can also put you at risk for other types of strains tied to poor posture. The muscles in the legs and feet get trained to push the foot away from the ground by using mostly the outer toes/pinky toes. These are weak areas of the feet, not capable of withstanding much pressure or weight. This can contribute to the formation of scar tissue in the lower legs. Once the legs are weakened, postural problems can extend up to the hips, pelvis and lower back.

Using sprained ankle treatments to correct your posture and stance is key. I recommend working with a physical therapist or postural trainer. They can assess how you can better control compensations and reduce risk for injury. You may want to find an Egoscue Posture Therapist and/or see a Spinal Correction Chiropractic doctor (ideally from a clinic such as the Clear Institute) if you suffer from back problems. Weakness and back compensations can work their way down to the feet because the body is fully connected. This is why a full-body approach to correcting posture is best.
4. Lower Inflammation & Support Joint Health With a Collagen-Rich Diet

Diet might seem unrelated to leg injuries, but your body needs nutrients to keep your muscles, joints and ligaments strong. There are several foods that make great natural sprained ankle treatments. Here are the top anti-inflammatory foods that can reduce swelling in a sprained ankle and support healing of damaged tissues:

    Sources of collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It’s needed to keep all types of connective tissue strong. Bone broth contains collagen and can help speed recovery. It can also complete healing of sprains, strains and ligament injuries. In addition to providing collagen, bone broth contains amino acids and many minerals.
    Clean lean protein. The body cannot rebuild stressed tissue without enough protein. Eat at least 3-5 ounces per meal from a high quality, organic lean protein. A couple of options are wild-caught fish or grass-fed beef.
    Green leafy vegetables. Kale, broccoli, spinach and other greens are high in antioxidants, vitamin K and many minerals, which are essential for healing.
    Foods with vitamin C. Vitamins like C help rebuild collagen, an essential component of skin and tissues. Increase your intake of vitamin C rich foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables. Good choices include citrus fruit, bell peppers, strawberries and broccoli. Foods rich in electrolytes like magnesium and potassium can help speed healing and reduce muscle pains. Examples include coconut water and bananas.
    Foods high in zinc. Zinc facilitates chemical reactions that rebuild tissues and support the immune system.  To increase your intake of zinc, add things like beef, pumpkin seeds and spinach to your diet.
    Antioxidant-rich foods. As you get older, if you’ve been very active, or if you’re under stress, free radicals will form. They can cause damage throughout the body. Free radicals are linked to many different signs of aging, stress and weakness. To prevent this damage include more foods with antioxidants, which counteract free radicals. These include berries, greens, sea vegetables, cocoa, green teas, fresh herbs and other superfoods.

I also recommend avoiding foods that can worsen or contribute to inflammation, signs of aging and slowed healing including:

    Alcohol. Alcohol promotes bone loss and inflammation.
    Too much sodium/salt. Too much salt prevents healing and removes critical nutrients from your body.
    Sugar and refined grains. Avoid these foods since they decrease immune function and provide very few nutrients for wound healing.
    Hydrogenated oils and fried foods. These foods increase inflammation and slow healing.
    Too much caffeine. Compounds in caffeinated beverages bind to calcium. This prevents absorption and limits healing.
    7 natural sprained ankle treatments

5. Try Supplements That Help Repair Tissue

In order to heal damaged tissues, you need nutrients that help reduce inflammation, support tissue repair and increase growth factors. To help you naturally heal faster, I recommend considering taking these supplements as one of the 7 natural sprained ankle treatments:

    Bromelain (500 mg 3x daily). Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple, helps with healing and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
    Collagen (take as directed depending on specific product dosage). Tendons and ligaments are made of collagen, so this can help with healing.
    Omega-3 fats (4g daily). EPA and DHA found in fish oil are necessary for wound healing and reduce inflammation caused by an acute injury.
    Green superfood powder (follow package instructions). Look for a powder that contains nutrient-rich sea vegetables and essential minerals that support rebuilding of ligaments and tissues.
    MSM (1000 mg 3x daily). MSM has an anti-inflammatory effect and is a source of sulfur, necessary for tendon health.

6. Speed Healing With Prolotherapy & Soft Tissue Therapy

Even if you’re in a lot of pain, remember that almost all ankle sprains can be treated without surgery. Even severe sprains usually heal well with proper care and prevention of future injuries. Consider the natural sprained ankle treatments below.

Relieving tight muscles and trigger points can make a big difference in reducing joint stress and rebuilding stability. You may want to visit a clinic or specialist who does Active Release Technique (ART), Graston Technique® ( GT), Dry needling or Neurokinetic Therapy. These methods help “turn on” muscles that have been “turned off” due to injury. They help eliminate muscular pain in order to prevent future sprains.

I also recommend considering an orthopedist who performs prolotherapy treatments, or PRP. Some studies have found that prolotherapy treatments help reduce ankle and foot pain-associated arthritis, tendon ruptures, plantar fasciitis, misalignments, fractures and ligament injuries. (11) Prolotherapy is an injection procedure. It helps heal tiny tears or injuries to connective tissue throughout the musculoskeletal system (ligaments, tendons, muscle fibers, fascia and joint capsules). Connective tissue often is injured when it is torn away from a nearby bone. Prolotherapy is used most often on injuries or conditions that cause chronic pain, and don’t respond well to other natural therapies or medications (nonsurgical treatments).
7. Essential Oils for Reducing Swelling & Pain

Try essential oils. There are several essential oils that are excellent natural sprained ankle treatments.To reduce inflammation and increase circulation to the painful ankle you can apply cypress essential oil.  To reduce bruising and decrease inflammation also try applying frankincense oil and peppermint oil. Mix 2 drops of each oil together with 1/2 tsp of coconut oil. Apply to the sprained area 3-5x daily. Then put a warm compress over the area for 2 minutes. You may also use this homemade muscle rub on the area after the first 24 hours when pain is likely to be at its worst.
Precautions When Treating an Ankle Sprain

Head to your doctor right away if your ankle is very swollen and painful to walk on. If you have trouble putting weight on your ankle and walking, you likely have a sprain or tear. Don’t ignore the problem. Medical attention is necessary in many cases. It’s also important not to put weight on the affected foot. This prevents symptoms from worsening and becoming more complicated.

It’s important to treat sprains. Neglecting to correct the stressed ligament will wind up weakening your ankle, sometimes long-term. This will make it more likely that you’ll suffer from future injuries and possibly even other muscular compensations. Repeated ankle sprains can even sometimes lead to chronic ankle pain, arthritis, problems with balance and stability, or falls.

One of the most controversial subjects in today’s natural health world is that of psychotropic drugs. Also referred to as psychoactive drugs, these medications make up a long list of both legal and illegal substances that affect the way the brain functions, either in an effort to treat a mental illness of some kind or for illicit recreational purposes.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately one in five adults in the U.S. experiences some form of mental illness in a given year. (1) The overwhelmingly common treatment method for these illnesses has become drug therapy first, all other methods second (or not at all).

Why is it controversial? From the research I have done, I think it is due to a combination of a) the complex nature of the development and sale of psychotropic drugs, b) the many dangers of psychotropic drugs and the overall question of whether or not the benefits of these medications outweigh the risks and c) the questionable and possibly unethical financial underpinnings of the pharmaceutical industry with clinicians who treat these illnesses.

“The Maudsley Debate”

In a popular dialogue published in 2015 known as the Maudsley debate, Dr. Peter Gøtzsche (a Danish physician, medical researcher and head of the Nordic Cochrane Center) and Dr. Allan H. Young (professor of mood disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences in King’s College London, UK) reviewed the evidence on psychoactive drugs and their benefits versus risks. (2)

Gøtzsche, an outspoken opponent to the use of most psychoactive drugs, says in this debate that, “Psychiatric drugs are responsible for the deaths of more than half a million people aged 65 and older each year in the Western world, as I show below. Their benefits would need to be colossal to justify this, but they are minimal.”

He goes on to explain how the study designs of many trials used to evaluate and legalize many of these drugs don’t truly capture the effects of many of these medications and claims that reports on serious side effects are extremely under-reported (such as suicides while on certain antidepressants). His final conclusion?

    Given their lack of benefit, I estimate we could stop almost all psychotropic drugs without causing harm — by dropping all antidepressants, ADHD drugs, and dementia drugs (as the small effects are probably the result of unblinding bias) and using only a fraction of the antipsychotics and benzodiazepines we currently use. This would lead to healthier and more long lived populations. Because psychotropic drugs are immensely harmful when used long term, they should almost exclusively be used in acute situations and always with a firm plan for tapering off, which can be difficult for many patients. We need new guidelines to reflect this. We also need widespread withdrawal clinics because many patients have become dependent on psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, and need help so that they can stop taking them slowly and safely.

Keep in mind, Dr. Gøtzsche is the head of a Cochrane center of research, an organization recognized for their lasting commitment to solid, “gold-standard” science and truth in research.

Of course, not everyone feels this way. The other physician featured in this scientific debate claims that psychoactive drugs are no less complex and just as full of risks versus benefits than any drug used for any other medical condition. He believes these medications are safe because of the type of research they require to be approved by regulatory bodies, and that insisting they are dangerous is incorrect.

I’ll outline both legal and illegal forms of psychotropic drugs throughout this piece, but the major dangers and natural alternatives will focus mostly on legal, prescription psychotropic medications, as they have been studied more extensively.
What Are Psychotropic Drugs?

Put simply, psychotropic drugs include “any drug capable of affecting the mind, emotions and behavior.” (3) This includes common prescription medications like lithium for bipolar disorder, SSRI’s for depression and neuroleptics for psychotic conditions like schizophrenia. The list also contains street drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and LSD that create hallucinatory effects.
Why are these medications so controversial?

The controversy here is many-sided, but one of the major reasons many people have begun to question the excessive prescribing of psychoactive medications has to do with financial ties between pharmaceutical companies and people in the psychiatric field, such as researchers, practicing psychiatrists, DSM panel members and even primary physicians who prescribe treatments without specialist intervention.

For example, graduate students at the University of Massachusetts and Tufts University published a review of financial ties of DSM panel members to the financial industry in 2006, before the release of the DSM-IV. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is essentially the “bible” of psychiatry and is used to define, diagnose and determine treatment for all mental, behavioral and personality disorders.

In this review, 56 percent of the panel members, who are trusted to create diagnoses and treatment protocols based strictly on solid science, had financial associations with the pharmaceutical industry. Every single panel member determining the criteria for ‘Mood Disorders’ and ‘Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders’ was financially tied to the pharmaceutical industry — that’s especially significant, as those two areas are ones where “drugs are the first line of treatment.” (4)

These conflicts of interest also spill over into questions of the ethics of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising for psychotropic drugs. Studies estimate that up to 70 percent of people on antidepressants have been exposed to DTC advertising for these medications. (5) Since this exposure information has been associated with increased frequency of prescription, higher costs and lower quality of prescribing, DTC advertising has been one hot topic of discussion in the ethics of psychotropic drugs. (6)

Dr. Giovanni A. Fava, a clinical psychiatrist at the University of Bologna and clinical professor of psychiatry at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, puts his concerns into this alarming statement: (7)

    The problem of conflicts of interest in psychiatry does not appear to be different from other fields of clinical medicine. It can be addressed only by a complex effort on different levels, which cannot be postponed any longer. In fact, either clinical researchers become salespeople (and the main aim of many scientific meetings today is apparently to sell the participant to the sponsor) or they must set out boldly to protect the community from unnecessary risks.

Psychotropic drugs facts
Types of Psychotropic Drugs

This list is not exhaustive, but contains most of the psychotropic drugs found in the United States. They are broken down into legal and illicit drugs, then further by the individual class class of medication. I have not listed medications often prescribed “off-label,” meaning not approved by the FDA for the specific condition listed but still frequently prescribed for that condition. Brand names are listed in parentheses.

Note: caffeine, tobacco and alcohol are considered psychoactive drugs. They are not listed below because they are not prescribed for any condition but are also legal substances.
Legal Psychotropic Drugs (8)

History of Psychotropic Drugs

In Psychopharmacology: Practice and Contexts, the author explains that modern psychotropic drug treatment began with two discoveries: “chlorpromazine as a treatment for psychosis, and the tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and non-selective monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) in the early 1950s.” Then, diazepam (brand name Valium®) was introduced to help treat anxiety and insomnia, replacing the nervous system depressants (barbiturates) such as morphine that had been used in the past. This was notable because of the many side effects of barbiturates, such as elevated suicide risk.

From 1990–1999, the Library of Congress and the National Institute of Mental Health played out a resolution that would define this time as what is now known as “the decade of the brain.” Specifically, these organizations sought to increase awareness of the benefits of brain research. At that point, prescribing psychotropic drugs became a booming business, raking in many billions of dollars each year and paying out billions to influence clinicians to prescribe, prescribe, prescribe! (16)

These days, it’s estimated that the “global depression drug market” (including only the largest class of many psychotropic drugs) will reach $16.8 billion USD in 2020, up from $14.51 billion in 2014. (17)

Fascinatingly, though, there is a thread through this history that many have never even been made aware of: the fight to rid the world of psychoactive medications.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a non-profit mental health “watchdog” organization that has been battling mental health industry abuses since 1969. In their 2008 exposé, CCHR gies a timeline dating back to 1978 on the events that led them to believe that SSRIs and other psychoactive drugs were much less effective and far more dangerous than consumers were being told, and the outline of their legal battles along the way. (18) They highlight more of the history of psychotropic drugs than most documents present.

For example, they explain that fluoxetine (brand name Prozac®), the first FDA-approved SSRI, was given permission to be sold on the basis of three studies. In one study, no improvement versus placebo was noted; in the second, fluoxetine was inferior to imipramine (an older TCA) but better than placebo; and in the third study, fluoxetine performed better than placebo in reducing signs of depression (in 11 patients over just five weeks of study).

Various side effects and severe adverse reactions were not reported to the FDA in the initial New Drug Application for fluoxetine. The medication was still approved on December 29, 1987. Over a decade later, lawsuits would reveal that the manufacturer had prior knowledge of not only many safety concerns but also a highly elevated risk of suicidal thoughts in patients taking the medication.

In 1990, Dr. Martin Teicher of Harvard Medical School published a study about suicide and fluoxetine treatment, explaining that taking this medication was associated with “intense, violent suicidal thoughts” in a large number of patients. (19) No action was taken by regulatory bodies at that time.

An FDA safety reviewer, Andrew Mosholder, MD, was interviewed in 1994 at a hearing with the Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA (PDAC) about a trial for fluoxetine and its effects on bulimia, an eating disorder. He presented the study results: seven patients in the study died, four of them definitely by suicide. None of the bodies were autopsied. In addition, the manufacturer of the drug stated in their package information that nine percent of clinical trial patients developed anorexia. Even so, fluoxetine was approved as a treatment for bulimia after this hearing. (18)

Joseph Glenmullen, MD, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, released a book called Prozac Backlash in 2001, detailing SSRI dangers including neurological disorders like facial and whole body tics were becoming of increasing concern for patients on these medications. In his book, he likens SSRI’s to a “chemical lobotomy” that destroys brain nerve endings.

The FDA finally made a move to protect children from the well-documented suicidal behaviors associated with SSRIs particularly common in children and adolescents, issuing an advisory warning on July 5, 2005 that “suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be expected in about 1 of 50 treated pediatric patients.” (18)

Just two weeks later, the same manufacturer now tasked with adding additional warnings to fluoxetine labels (Eli Lilly) agreed to pay $690 million, settling over 8,000 claims about olanzapine (brand name Zyprexa®). These claims alleged the drug was causing life-threatening diabetes. As of January 2009, they had settled over 30,000 claims, paying out $1.2 billion. (20) Also in January 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice fined Eli Lilly $515 million in a criminal fine (the largest ever criminal fine of this kind) and up to $800 million civil settlement for promoting the same medication for “off-label uses” (meaning those not approved by the FDA). (21)

In November 2005, the FDA listed “homicidal ideation” as one adverse event possible when taking venlafaxine (brand name Effexor®). The Washington Post released a story in 2006 detailing this adverse event warning and shared that infamous criminal Andrea Yates was taking the medication when she drowned her five children in 2001. The manufacturer claimed that they had found no causal link between the drug and such behaviors or desires. (22)

Alaska’s Supreme Court was tasked with ruling on the dangers of psychotropic drugs in 2006, determining in June of that year that: (23)

    Courts have observed that ‘the likelihood that psychotropic drugs will cause at least some temporary side effects appears to be undisputed and many have noted that the drugs may — most infamously — cause Parkinsonian syndrome [disease of the nerves causing tremor, muscle weakness and retardation, shuffling walk and salivation] and tardive dyskinesia [slow and involuntary mouth, lip and tongue movements].

CCHR also shares that in April 2007: (18)

    Over 350 lawsuits were filed in April against AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals after the FDA ordered a change in the labeling of its antipsychotic drug, Seroquel® (quetiapine), to warn users about an increased risk of diabetes. Further, Seroquel was linked to pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas), hyperglycemia, and Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, a potentially fatal syndrome with symptoms that include irregular heartbeat, fever, and stiff muscles. It could also increase the risk of death in seniors who had dementia-related mental problems, a condition that Seroquel has not been approved to treat.

So, Do Psychotropic Drugs Work?

What about their effectiveness? That’s a pretty gray area, too. For example, a scientific review on antidepressants discovered that authors were much less likely to publish studies with negative results and that studies with results interpreted as negative by the FDA are commonly spun as positive when written and published in journals. In fact, the researchers completing this review said antidepressants may have some positive effects, but that they were concerned the theory of how useful they truly are is biased, due to the lack of available data. (24)

That means all results must, unfortunately, be viewed with a grain of salt — a grain which, logically, may tend to be particularly doubtful of positive study results for the impact of antidepressants.

A 2010 Cochrane review found that SSRIs, the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, are no more effective than placebo when treating mild-to-moderate depression. They also concluded that TCAs are more effective than SSRIs, but that the side effects were generally worse. Fascinatingly, even with these extremely underwhelming results, the author points out that the studies mostly had short trial periods (four to six weeks), with four of the 14 trials following up after 12–24 weeks). In addition, pharmaceutical studies sponsored the vast majority of these studies.

These medications, according to the Cochrane piece published in American Family Physician, may only be really useful for cases of severe depression. Another 2010 meta-analysis came to the same conclusion, stating that placebo seems to be just as effective in all but severe depression cases. (25, 26)

Based on another review of depression research trials, a 2002 study found that the “true drug effect” of antidepressants was somewhere between 10–20 percent, meaning that 80–90 percent of patients in these trials either responded to a placebo effect or did not respond at all. (27)

Moving away from depression, SSRIs do seem to be effective, at least in the short term, when it comes to manic depression (also known as bipolar depression or bipolar disorder). (28)

Reviewing drugs used for ADHD, researchers at the Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center found startling results about their effectiveness (or lack thereof) in a 2005 paper. For instance, they state, “Good quality evidence on the use of drugs to affect outcomes relating to global academic performance, consequences of risky behaviors, social achievements, etc. is lacking.”

The review goes on to discuss the poor quality of studies available on ADHD-treating psychoactive drugs, explaining that they don’t use large pools of subjects, long enough study durations, functional outcomes or long-term effects.

Breaking up the review into age brackets, the researchers found that between 3-12 years of age, results were inconclusive at best and negative, at worst, with virtually no information. For adolescents, more solid information existed that some stimulants could potentially alleviate some symptoms of ADHD, but it was associated with more side effects. None of the studies in children or teens included long-term evidence of efficacy.

For adults, the limited research pointed to an effectiveness somewhere between 39–70 percent when compared to placebo, although they found unconvincing evidence regarding quality of life and other improvements expected with treatment. One follow-up study in adults reported a single suicide from an eight-person pool of subjects. (29)

When observing illegal drugs, there is no scientifically prescribed “benefit” to the user for a condition or disease. However, perceptions of active drug users have found interesting results — nearly 6,000 people were surveyed in one 2013 article, and there was no correlation whatsoever between either the U.S. or the U.K. schedules of harmful drugs, meaning that the drugs deemed most dangerous by the countries’ regulatory bodies are rated pretty low on “harms” by consumers, such as ecstasy, cannabis and hallucinogens. Users also found benzodiazepines as one class perceived to have high benefits and also high harms. (30)
Psychotropic Drug Statistics

How common are these psychoactive drugs, and what are the psychoactive drug statistics that should matter to you? Here are some numbers I think may interest you.

    Antidepressants were prescribed without a psychiatric diagnosis from 59.5 percent in 1996 up to 72.7 percent in 2007. (31) Generally, this occurs when a primary care physician (general practitioner) prescribes psychoactive drugs based on a person’s explanation of their condition, without referring the patient to a qualified psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.
    It is estimated that one in 25 adults in the U.S. (four percent) have an experience with mental illness in any given year that “substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.” (1)
    “Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.” (1)
    US adults with serious mental illness die an average of 25 years earlier than their healthy counterparts, due in large part to co-occurring, treatable medical conditions. (1)
    “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–14 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.” (1)
    “Each day, an estimated 18–22 veterans die by suicide.” (1)
    In 2016, nine of the top psychiatric drugs totaled over $13.73 billion USD in sales. (32)
    As of 2010, 6.6 percent of adolescents between 13–17 were taking some kind of psychotropic medication, which is believed to be a conservative estimate. (33)
    As of early 2017, 12 percent of adults in the U.S. were taking antidepressants, 8.3 percents were taking anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics, and 1.6 percent reported taking antipsychotics. (34)
    Caucasians are much more (21 percent) likely to be on psychotropic drugs, compared to Hispanics (8.7 percent), blacks (9.7 percent) and Asians (4.8 percent). (34)
    Women are more likely than men to take psychoactive drugs, namely, one in five women versus one in 10 men. (34)

Psychotropic Drugs Precautions

It’s important to always conduct any change in medication and/or supplements under the supervision of a doctor. Withdrawal from psychotropic drugs can be very challenging and even dangerous if done cold turkey without the guidance of a healthcare professional — do not attempt to change medication schedules on your own, particularly if it would involve discontinuing the use of any prescribed medication.

Supplements count when you’re discussing drug interactions. When talking to your doctor about any medications you may be taking, include supplements on that list so that they can be fully aware of any possible interactions. This is important especially for St. John’s Wort and any adaptogen supplements that impact hormone levels.

If you are pregnant and currently taking psychoactive drugs, do not be alarmed and do not stop taking your medication unless instructed by a qualified physician or integrative practitioner. Pregnant women already on an antidepressant and who quit mid-pregnancy have a nearly three-fold relapse rate compared to those who continue their medication. (35) The risk of negative pregnancy outcomes, at least for SSRIs, is about the same for people who quit the medication mid-pregnancy versus those who take it throughout. (36)

Psychotropic drugs present a huge list of drug interactions that your doctor should already understand. However, the NIMH points out in their mental health medications index that patients should be aware that combining SSRIs or SNRIs with triptan medications used for migraines (such as sumatriptan, zolmitriptan and rizatriptan) can result in serotonin syndrome, which is a life-threatening illness involving agitation, hallucinations, high temperature and unusual blood pressure changes. It is most commonly associated with MAOIs but can also happen with newer antidepressants. (35)

There are also reports of adolescent males taking TCAs for ADHD who began to show “cognitive changes, delirium and tachycardia after smoking marijuana.” Even if marijuana is legal in your area, it should not be taken alongside other psychoactive drugs. (37)

Some SSRIs have been linked to bone fractures in older people. (38)
Final Thoughts About Psychotropic Drugs

Psychotropic drugs became a major part of the pharmaceutical industry about halfway through the 20th century. Since then, they have become the first line treatment for many psychological disorders, despite widespread concerns about their effectiveness and ethical implications, as the financial ties between industries are questionable at best.

This class of drugs also includes a number of illicit drugs, often used recreationally. Interestingly, at least a couple of these may have therapeutic benefits for certain mental conditions, according to recent research.

Many prominent physicians and researchers agree that psychotropic drugs are not the “golden cow” of psychiatry that many thought they would be; instead, they are associated with some of the most extreme side effects of pharmaceuticals and may even be causally related to the development and genetic disposition of mental illness in future generations.

Do they work? Psychoactive drugs do exert some positive effects against the disorders they aim to treat, but usually at the expense of a number of other serious risks. Some research suggests the actual effect of antidepressants may only be in about 10–20 percent of patients.

The major classes of legal psychotropic drugs include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, ADHD medications (mostly stimulants), antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, anti-obsessive agents, anti-panic agents and hypnotics. Illicit psychoactive drugs include empathogens, stimulants, depressants and hallucinogens.

Do not ever change your medication schedule without medical supervision. Psychoactive drugs have many complex interactions with both medicines and supplements, so always give your doctor complete information when it comes to anything you may take in those forms.
When you order a burger at many of the most popular chains in the country, chances are you’re getting more than beef and a bun. According to a newly released report from a coalition of America’s leading food and environmental organizations including Center for Food Safety, antibiotics are a major issue when it comes to mainstream beef.

The analysis, titled Chain Reaction IV: Burger Edition, is a must-see report that rates burger chains around the country on the quality of their beef; specifically when it comes to the use of antibiotics.

You may already be familiar with some of the insane things antibiotics can do to your body.  And one of the biggest concerns of overexposure to antibiotics is something called antibiotic resistance, which occurs when an antibiotic can no longer effectively control or kill bacterial growth in the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least two million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually, and at least 23,000 people die as a result. (1)

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today. The WHO also points out that serious infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis and salmonella are now becoming challenging to treat. In general, mortality rates due to antibiotic resistance are continuing to rise around the world. (2) These are some scary facts to say the least.

When it comes to antibiotic use in beef, let”s take a closer look at how the top 25 burger chains in the United States are rating these days. Spoiler alert: the majority are not just rating poorly; they’re completely failing.
Main Scorecard Findings

The grades from the Center for Food Safety show how each fast food chain scored in terms of its beef quality, specifically when it comes to antibiotic use: (3)

BurgerFi: A

    One of only two chains on the list that sources beef that has been raised without the routine use of antibiotics.
    BurgerFi says that they use “100 percent all-natural Angus beef patties that are hormone- and antibiotic-free.”

Shake Shack: A

    Like BurgerFi, Shake Shack publicly declares it uses beef that was raised without routine antibiotic use.
    Shake Shack notes that its proprietary blend of freshly ground beef is “100 percent Angus beef, made from premium whole muscle cuts — no hormones or antibiotics, EVER.”

Wendy’s: D-

    Wendy’s currently sources 15 percent of its beef from producers that have stopped using one medically important antibiotic called tylosin by 20 percent.

So out of 25 chains, two scored an “A,” one scored a “D-” and the rest of the burger chains received a completely failing grade. Why the “F” for these 22 beef sellers? According to the Center for Food Safety, these chains have no meaningful public policies on the use of antibiotics in their beef. In other words, none of them are claiming to source beef from cows raised without regular antibiotic use.
Side Effects of Antibiotics in Beef

A previous Chain Reaction II report focused on the use of antibiotic use in fast food. So why the focus on just beef for this report? According to the Center for Food Safety, “Although there is some progress in the chicken industry in response to such consumer demand, many fast food restaurants have failed to make meaningful commitments to address antibiotic overuse in their beef supply chains.” The Center also points out how in 2016, 43 percent of the “medically important antibiotics” sold to the meat industry were going to the beef sector, while six percent went to chicken. (4)

Warnings over antibiotics overuse in animals raised for meat, eggs and milk is nothing new. (We’ve also been hearing about the dangers of overusing antibiotics in hospitals and at home for some time, too.) But it’s especially important to focus on how industrial farming abuses antibiotics. Many cows receive frequent antibiotics not only to prevent infections in sub-par living conditions, but to enable faster growth with less food. That’s right. Antibiotics are considered “obesogens,” a substance that promotes weight gain. In the industrial farming system, it’s a cheap way to fatten up cattle faster, increasing profit margins.

Regardless of the reasons behind the use of antibiotics, we’re running into a serious problem — animals overexposed to antibiotics end up with infections that drugs can’t fight. And those hard-to-kill superbugs can end up on your plate. Another threat? Certain antibiotics can trigger deadly reactions in people.

A recent Consumer Reports investigation found chloramphenicol in meat samples. According to the report: “This antibiotic, at any exposure level, can trigger life-threatening aplastic anemia, or the inability to produce enough new blood cells, in 1 in 10,000 people.” (5)

About 80 percent of antibiotics used in the United States are fed to animals raised for food. And the majority is given to animals in chronic, low-doses to speed growth and prevent disease. This long-term exposure gives bacteria time to adapt to survive, rendering the antibiotics useless. Giving prolonged, low-dose antibiotics to farm animals is the perfect breeding ground for creating dangerous, drug-resistant germs. (6)

In fact, just this year, University of Exeter researchers discovered that using antibiotics longer than needed creates a tipping point where germs become resistant to their effects. This new research suggests that reducing the length of the antibiotic course helps lower the risk of resistance. And when it comes to factory farms, this is definitely not what is going on. On these types of industrial farms, animals are generally given drugs even when they’re not ill. (7)

Epidemiologists have clearly linked the excessive use of antibiotics in farm animals to infections detected in humans. For example, scientists detected an infection called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in beef, turkey, chicken and pork. MRSA is a bacteria that contributes to infections of the skin, connective tissue, and sometimes bones, heart and blood vessels. Since MRSA is resistant to many antibiotic medications, it can sometimes continue to spread throughout the body as bacteria make their way through the bloodstream and into pockets where they can quickly reproduce leading to pneumonia, sepsis and blood stream infections. Exposure to another type of bacteria, E. coli, in animals is associated to sepsis as well as urinary tract infections in humans. (8, 9)

The use of antibiotics in beef is also having an extremely negative impact on the environment. When farm animals are given antibiotics, this leads to contamination of manure, soil and water. When this contaminated manure and soil is used for growing plant-based food, the antibiotic chain continues. For example, crops like corn, potatoes and lettuce have have all tested positive for the antibiotic sulfamethazine in plant tissue. (10)
Meat Quality and Quantity

According to a 2018 analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), more than 47,000 federal government lab tests of bacteria in supermarket meat found a rise in the already high number of ground beef contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. (11) So the concern is clearly not just about antibiotics in beef used for fast food hamburgers, but about the quality of the beef we’re consuming in general.

One of the best ways to avoid antibiotics in beef is to look for brands that are certified USDA organic. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this means that the beef comes from animals “raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not administered antibiotics or hormones.” (12) Choosing grass-fed beef is another criteria that increases the quality of your meat including its beneficial nutrients, but grass-fed cattle has also been shown to be better for the environment with a smaller carbon footprint. (13)

Even if you’re following a high protein style of eating, like the ketogenic diet, don’t forget there are other healthy vegetarian sources of protein like nuts, beans and lentils. In terms of the environment, these plant proteins are much less taxing. As the EWG points out, “If everyone in the U.S. skipped meat and cheese just one day a week and replaced them with a vegetable-based protein, it would be like not driving 91 billion miles, or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.” (14)
Final Thoughts

    The use of antibiotics in beef (and other meats) is a major contributor to a serious health concern we are all facing around the globe today: antibiotic resistance.
    Meat producers and sellers of meat products (like the classic hamburger) need to start taking measures to supply us with beef that is ideally free of hazardous antibiotics.
    We also have to start demanding better ourselves and making a statement by choosing better quality meat at restaurants and in the grocery store.
    Giving excessive quantities of antibiotics to cows is not only harmful to their health, but it’s also contributing to major and even deadly infections in humans including MRSA, sepsis and pneumonia.
    The use of antibiotics in beef is terrible for the environment. Avoiding burgers and other beef products sold by companies that show zero concern for the quality of their meat is a major way to fight back against the scary use of antibiotics in beef.

Both supination and pronation are terms used to describe the rolling motion of the heels and feet during the body’s gait cycle, which takes place as we run or walk. Supination describes the rolling outward motion of the foot, therefore oversupinators don’t roll their root inward enough. Excess supination is also called “underpronation” — since supination is the opposite of pronation of the foot (rolling inward). (1) Both oversupination and overpronation put too much stress on the underneath or outside edges of the foot, often leading to leg pains.

For most adults, too little supination is usually more of a problem than too much, but oversupinating the foot can also lead to complications. Who tends to struggle with supination problems most often? Runners with high arches (the opposite of “flat feet” or collapsed arches) and tight Achilles tendons tend to be underpronators/supinators. (2)

Some of the aches and pains associated with supination abnormalities include: rolling or spraining the ankle, developing “hammertoes” (clawed toes), Achilles tendinitis, running injuries like plantar fasciitis, shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome affecting the knees, along with general instability and weakness.

The reason underpronation (or someone with excess supination) causes such an array of problems is that the muscles in the legs and feet become trained to push the foot away from the ground with mostly the outer toes/pinky toes. Considering these are generally weak areas of the feet, they tend to bear more weight and pressure than they can handle, sometimes causing scar tissue to form. Other overuse-injuries can occur, too. You can see why it’s not just the feet that are impacted by supination or related postural problems — but rather these can contribute to muscular compensations that wind up affecting the entire body.
What Is Supination?

Supination (underpronation) is the insufficient inward rolling of the foot after landing on the ground.  Compared to those with “normal,” healthy posture of the lower body, those with oversupination roll the foot outward too much (less than 15 percent of an inward roll when landing). This causes the ankle and only a small portion of the outer toes to absorb shock when the foot hits the ground, often triggering pain in the ankle, foot and lower leg. (3)

As the body moves, in order to accept weight onto one leg and propel forward, a shift in weight must occur at the feet, knees and hips. A natural amount of supination occurs during the push-off phase when propelling forward. Supination helps the heel lift away from the ground which brings the forefoot and toes down to land in a way that moves the body. However too much supination contributes to common running injuries due to instability in the ankles. Weak ankles set the scene for postural problems, as well, like too much pressure applied to susceptible areas of the lower legs and higher risk for spraining. (4)

Preserving proper alignment through the midline of the body, all the way from the head to the toes — by keeping the feet symmetrical and rolling them properly — is crucial for learning normal weight transference which protects the whole body, including the spine.
Causes & Symptoms of Supination Problems

Some of the reasons that people develop abnormalities related to pronation, supination, dorsiflexion and other motions of the feet or legs include:

    Genetics (genetics affect the length of the legs, width of the feet, stability of the ankles and curvature of the foot’s arches, for example)
    Walking on flat, hard surfaces (rather than natural terrain)
    Wearing worn-out shoes, or those that are unsupportive
    Muscular compensations due to poor posture in the legs, sacrum and spine
    Old injuries, including ankles sprains, stress fractures in the legs or tendon tears, which can leave scar tissue behind that causes instability
    Poor form when running or exercising
    Overuse, including exercising too much or standing for long periods
    Limited range of motion and stiffness due to aging
    Loose ligaments or loss of cartilage in the joints of the feet or ankles (such as those of the subtalar joint)
    In some cases, leg discrepancy (legs are different lengths)
    Weakness in the ankles or lower body from too little activity (a sedentary lifestyle)

Here are some common signs that you’re likely an over-supinator (underpronator): (5)

    Frequent ankle sprains
    Pain underneath the feet (in the ball of the foot) or pain often in the ankles
    Clawed toes/hammertoes
    Throbbing or weakness gets worse when running, walking, exercising or standing for a long time
    Dysfunctional musculoskeletal problems in the ankles, calves, outer thighs or knees
    Swelling in the ankle, foot or heel. Sometimes the toes are affected as well and develop calluses or bunions
    Loss of functionality and reduced range of motion in the lower body

Supination vs. Dorsiflexion

    Supination and dorsiflexion are terms related to motion and stability of the feet and ankles (they can sometimes also be applied to other body parts that bend back, like the hands).
    Deviations (abnormal amounts) of ankle supination or dorsiflexion are usually used to describe form and postural problems that cause common running injuries when the foot strikes the ground. These can include injuries like: plantar fasciitis or shin splints, runner’s knee, heel spurs, and Achilles tendon pains, among others.
    While supination describes the outward rolling motion of the foot, dorsiflexion describes the bending backward of the foot. Dorsiflexion decreases the angle between the foot and the ankle; in other words it means the toes are lifting up and away from the ground, toward the ankle/body. (6)
    Proper dorsiflexion is also needed to bring the knees over the ankles, such as when bending over, squatting or jumping forward.
    Abnormal dorsiflexion, or backward flexion of the foot, is a common problem related to not only running injuries but those caused during other sports/exercises. Proper mobility of the ankle is crucial for allowing the body to propel forward, especially when jumping, sprinting or running quickly.
    Without enough ankle dorsiflexion, it’s also hard to sustain proper form when performing resistance training using the knees, such as squatting or lifting weights. The torso can’t remain vertical due to stiffness in the ankles (too little dorsiflexion), therefore you can’t keep a neutral spine. The knees can also cave in, which adds stress to the back.
    On the other hand, too much dorsiflexion is also problematic. Stability is equally important in the ankles, because too much motion due to weakness in the muscles and joints of the feet can contribute to ankle rolling or spraining, along with symptoms of runner’s knee.

Conventional Treatments for Supination Problems (Underpronation)

If your orthopedic, physical therapist, trainer or another doctor sees signs of abnormal supination or dorsiflexion in your feet, they will likely recommend improving your form and wearing more supportive shoes with inserts. Changing your sneakers/shoes when exercising is usually the first step, which makes orthotics even more effective.

Orthotic inserts used in sneakers or shoes consist of arch support and sometimes a lifted heel to control the rolling-forward motion of the foot. They can take pressure off the small toes, and help stabilize the ankle. This is beneficial for protecting the knees and back during movements such as running or lifting weights. Consider using orthotics if your doctor thinks they might be helpful for improving comfort during standing for long periods, for low back pain relief or for reducing heel pain. In the case that pain becomes very bad, you may also want to take an anti-inflammatory medication temporarily (such as over-the-counter ibuprofen) to decrease swelling and tissue/joint inflammation in the feet or ankles. (Of course, adding in anti-inflammatory foods and natural painkillers are options, too.)

Depending on how severe your supination problem is, your doctor might also recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy can “reteach” your muscles and joints how to distribute your weight in a healthier way, starting from your feet upward, allowing you to sustain proper form all the way through your sacrum, pelvis and spine.
5 Natural Ways to Create Proper Supination
1. Fix Your Form

Here are some tips for helping you to correct your stance, which is the groundwork for learning proper running/walking form. Proper form and posture through the spine are especially important when adding extra pressure or weight to the feet, such as when you’re lifting weights or sprinting very fast.

    When running or walking fast, aim to lower the feet with a soft landing. Some try to image “running on eggshells” or attempting to run on water. Remain light on your feet instead of pounding the feet too hard onto the ground.
    Focus on landing closer to your midfoot, rather than at the back of the heel. Try to land with a mostly flat foot, attempting to avoid too much curving of the toes inward or outward, or landing too much to the side of the foot).
    Slightly increase your cadence and potentially shorten your stride to keep proper form in the feet and legs.
    Run with upright posture through your back and stay relaxed.

2. Stretch to Loosen Tight Muscles (Including the Ankles)

Supinators should do extra stretching for the calves, hamstrings, quads, and iliotibial band (basically the whole leg). Gently stretching/mobilizing muscles in the legs helps break up adhesions and allows you to sustain proper form more easily. (7) Stretching the ankles can also improve dorsiflexion, or ankle mobility/stability. Studies have found that people with reccurent ankle sprains can benefit significantly from performing weight-bearing exercises and stretches of the ankles/low body. (8)

Many soft tissue therapists and physical therapists recommend starting any activity by massaging sore feet, loosening the ankles and stretching tight calves. And since weak, stiff ankles are often one of the major contributing factors that cause supination problems, you can also add some of these leg stretches to your regular workouts:

    Use a foam roller on the floor, positioning your body on top so the roller is under your calves, then moving back and forth gently. You can practice the same on the back or sides of the calves too. Roll the area and hold tender spots for 30 to 60 seconds, repeating up to five times every day. This should be done right before stretching.
    Try massaging the fascia (soft tissue) in the underpart of the feet with a tennis ball under the foot, as you roll around while applying mild pressure.
    Get into pushup position, then walk your feet forward slightly to come onto the balls of your feet (holding an upside down “V” with your body). Lift the heels away from the ground as you balance on the balls of your feet, then lower them back down again. Repeat about 10 times, more than once a day if you’d like.
    As you lay on your back, lift the legs in the air and flex the ankles back and forth. Or make small circles (turning toes towards your body and away). Repeat for several minutes.
    Place your toes up against a wall, tilting the toes back towards the body. This releases the ankles and opens up the calves.
    Use a resistance band (also known as exercise band) wrapped around the ankle to gently pump and improve ankle flexibility. (9)
    Do basic heel raises by raising and lowering your heels and toes to the ground, then back up. Do 10 to 15 at a time. Try using a step if you’d like.
    Sitting up on one shin, bend the opposite knee and slowly bring the knee past the ankle, rocking the knee back and forth to improve dorsiflexion.
    Stand with straight legs and bend forward from the waist to touch the floor or shins. This helps stretch the hamstrings. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. You can also keep your legs wide apart with toes facing outward slightly to loosen the inner leg and hamstrings.

3. Strengthen the Leg Muscles for More Support

Strength-building leg exercises to help reduce muscular weakness in the ankles and calves include:

    Squats — All types of squats require proper mobility and stability in the ankles (dorsiflexion) but also increase strength in just about every part of the legs. Try basic squats, or squatting while lifting weight overhead. Keep the tailbone tucked and core tight to protect the back.
    Lunges — Side lunges, lunge dips or lunge twists.
    Crab crawls — Bend your knees and bring your hands behind you, squatting down in front of your arms. Use your hands on the ground to help you stretch the ankles back and forth to increase range of motion. You can stay in this position while stretching the heels and toes.
    Calf raises — Perform gentle calf raises by lifting your heel off the floor, then reversing and lifting/pointing the toes toward the ceiling. Make sure you feel a stretch in your calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds, three times per leg.
    Doing any type of burst-training, HIIT workouts or sprints (good for the whole lower body)

4. Wear the Right Shoes (Not Worn-Out Sneakers!)

Podiatrists usually recommend more flexible, lightweight sneakers for underpronators, especially those who spend lots of time on their feet (including runners or those who do lots of brisk walking). Lightweight shoes can withstand more motion of the ankle while still supporting the feet, especially those with flexible inner edges. For people with wobbly, weak ankles, higher-top sneakers that stabilize the ankles might be a better choice.

Signs of underpronation/supination will show up in your sneakers or shoes, usually causing the outer edge of the shoe to become flimsy more quickly. Replace your sneakers regularly, especially if you exercise or run often. To see if you’re due for a new pair, place your shoes down on a flat surface and look for the outer edge to tilt outward. In addition to wearing the right shoes, consider using some of these inserts:

You may also want to consider easing into barefoot running — a phenomena growing in popularity amongst those with recoccurent running injuries. Running barefoot may seem even riskier than wearing the wrong sneakers, but it actually helps the feet learn proper form more easily, builds strength throughout the ankles and feet, and helps increase natural range of motion (supination and dorsiflexion).
5.  Begin Exercise Gradually & Rest to Prevent Injuries

If you’re new to more vigorous types of exercising — such as running, hiking or walking uphill — or spending more time on your feet, try to keep these tips in mind:

    Aways warm up with a dynamic stretch (described above). Loosening the ankles and calves is most important.
    Set a goal to practice consistently, but give yourself rest in between to avoid adding too much stress to connective tissue. If your feet, ankle or leg muscles become too fatigued or swollen, you’ll be more likely to develop scar tissue and fall into improper form.
    Incorporate burst training and cross-train using different exercises to strengthen all over, instead of only certain leg muscles.
    Choose the right sneakers and shoes. (I can’t stress this enough.)
    Watch out for uneven or hard surfaces that may be making your form and foot pain worse.
    Listen to your body. Take time off if pain worsens and spreads up the legs.
    After workouts, icing, massaging your calves and feet, plus foam rolling are simple ways to recover and help prevent swelling and tightness.

Precautions When Treating Supination

If foot/ankle pain gets worse and lasts for more than several days, or you find that the exercises above don’t help prevent ankle rolling, talk to a doctor about correcting your stance with orthotics. Always be careful when beginning any new exercise program, watch out for signs of inflammation and overuse and consider seeing a therapist who specializes in soft tissue therapies if supination/dorsiflexion is an ongoing problem.
Final Thoughts on Supination

    Supination and pronation are terms used to describe the rolling motion of the heels and feet as we run or walk forward. Supination describes the rolling outward motion of the foot, while pronation describes the rolling inward. Excess supination is also called “underpronation,” a less common problem compared to overpronation.
    Signs and symptoms of oversupinating include ankle, leg or heel pain; frequent rolling/spraining of the ankles, calf weakness and tightness, reduced range of motion when exercising or lifting weights and loss of functionality.
    Natural ways to improve supination include exercising and stretching the ankles, calves and lower body; wearing proper shoes/sneakers; using proper shoe inserts (orthotics); and correcting your form when running.
Who doesn’t want a great booty? The answer is pretty much no one, but as you test out different butt workouts in your quest for the perfect butt, you may find yourself wondering, “Am I wasting my time? Are great butts born or made?” The good news is even if you weren’t blessed with the genetic code for a perfect backside, you can tap in to my targeted butt workouts to build the best butt of your life, no matter what your age.

But first, let’s explore a little booty background. The “glutes” are formed by the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles, and are superimposed by a layer of fat. This large muscle group impacts everything from bending over and standing back up to maintaining posture. The buttocks are pretty important, since they allow us to sit upright without needing to rest our weight on our feet as four-legged animals do.

The glutes play a vital role in stabilizing the pelvis, and weak glutes (sometimes associated with too much sitting) can result in decreased stabilization and control, setting you up for pain and injuries. In fact, many doctors and physical therapists focus on strengthening the glutes to improve lower body movement and even to reverse lower back pain. (1, 2)

Now that we have some understanding of purpose, let’s get back to the question, “Are great butts born or made?” The truth is it’s a little bit of both.

Though there are surgical ways to improve the aesthetics of the butt, I never recommend surgery for this purpose. While many people — mostly females between the ages of 20 and 50 years old — wish to remodel their buttocks, the great news is you transform your backside without surgery. (3) The key? Adopt proven butt workouts that consist of gluteal-specific and leg workouts. Combine that with a healthy, whole food-based diet, and you’ll be on your way to a great butt that will last.
The 5 Best Butt Exercises

Try to do these butt workouts in my program three to four times per week. Perform each exercise for 45–60 seconds, with a 15-second break between each exercise. For beginners, perform two rounds; for advanced exercisers, perform three to four rounds. Take a 60-second break between each round.

1. Romanian Deadlift

The deadlift is a great exercise for the butt, but like all other exercises, it must be done with proper form to prevent injury. First, choose a weight, either hand weights or a barbell, that’s slightly challenging but not too heavy so you’re able to properly perform the exercise. Start with the barbells or hand weights in your hands just outside your thighs. Feet are hip distance apart. Knees are slightly bent. Hips are slightly tucked.

Starting at the top, lower the upper body while keeping the chest proud and sticking the butt back. Keep the back flat (do not hunch the back). Lower to about mid-shin or just below the knees, then slowly raise back to the standing upright position. Repeat 10–20 times. As you get stronger, you can increase the weight, but be careful to not overdo it.

2. Sumo Squats

We all love the squat. Well, Chelsea and I do, and you will, too, when you see its butt-lifting benefits just in time for summer. To perform the sumo squat, stand with feet a little further than hip distance apart and toes pointed out at about 10 and 2 o’clock. You can do this with a hand weight, kettlebell or with no weight. In either case, hold your weight, or just your hands, in front of you at about chin level. Make sure to keep good form by maintaining your upper body in an upright position.

Bend at the knees, pushing your butt back while squatting as if sitting in a chair, while holding your your hands or weight in front of you but close to the body. If you are able, squat to where your thighs are at a 90-degree angle to the floor, like a sumo wrestler. If not, just go about halfway. Over time, you will get stronger and be able to perform a deep squat.

If you choose to hold weight while performing this exercise, select a weight that provides a little challenge but doesn’t cause you to have poor form.

Advanced: Lift one knee as you stand up and out of the squatting position, alternating sides.

3. Hip Raises (Optional with Weight)

I love this exercise because it has little to no impact yet packs a powerful glute-building result. It focuses on both the quads and hamstrings, helping to lift the butt!

With your feet hip distance apart, lie on the floor or a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. As you inhale, slowly lift yourself up into a bridge pushing the hips up toward the ceiling as you drive through the heels of your feet. Tighten the abs, glutes and hamstrings during the movement. Lift your hips all the way up into a bridge as high as you can and hold for a five to 10 seconds. As you exhale, lower back down slowly. Start with 10–12 repetitions, and work up to as many as 30.

Advanced: Place a weight or barbell across your lower abdomen.

4. Squat Jumps

This move incorporates the traditional squat but with a jump to better engage the glutes, quads and calves. You’ll definitely feel the burn.

Start with your feet just hip distance apart with your toes slightly turned out to about 10 and 2 o’clock. Go into a low squat while taking your hands to the floor between the feet. Then jump up while reaching up toward the ceiling. When you land, take it back down to a low squat position with the hands on the floor. Repeat for 10–20 reps. For beginners, you can leave out the jump.

5. Donkey Kicks

This exercise has long stood the test of time and activates those deep glute muscles. Get on all fours with your toes curled under, feet flexed and back flat. Pull the abs in to help maintain posture and alignment. Place your knees directly under your hips, and place your hands directly under your shoulders. Keep the legs about hip-distance apart. Maintain a 90-degree bend in the right leg during the entire exercise.

Slowly begin taking the right heel up toward the ceiling, keeping the foot flexed. Lift the leg as high as you can go while maintaining your posture. Avoid arching your back, and keep the other leg in proper vertical alignment. Once lifted, hold for three seconds, then return the right knee to the mat and repeat for 12–30 reps on each side.

Advanced: Place a weight at the back of the knee and squeeze, holding on to the weight using your leg while lifting.

4 Butt Workouts to Sneak Into Your Day

1. Take the Stairs

While the elevator is convenient and sometimes gets you there faster, have you considered using the stairs wherever you go? Whenever I travel and stay at a hotel, I always take the stairs. By using your legs and your glutes with each step, you engage those muscles and most certainly raise your heart rate. Of course, going up the stairs provides the most benefits, but going down can also help by working different muscles. 

2. Go for a Walk

Walking is one of the best things you can do and something most people can manage to do every day. Your glutes will definitely reap the benefits of regular walking, as well as other muscles in the legs and core. I like to wear my GPS watch or other fitness tracker so I can track my distance and pace. It’s important to have good posture, and you can engage your abs and glutes while walking. With practice, you can walk a mile in 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Take Up Cycling or Do a Spin Class

Cycling not only cranks up your heart rate, but it tones and builds the glute muscles, especially if you take it uphill. If you cycle outdoors, find areas where you can cycle uphill in the heaviest gear you can handle, and do hill repeats — meaning go up the hill, come back down and repeat. You can do them seated or standing, though standing is more difficult. Either way, if on a stationary bike at the gym or at home, you need to increase the tension on the gear to mimic a steep hill.

4. Sprint It Out

Sprints are great to engage those glute muscles. Try incorporating an easy 10- to 15-minute warm-up jog followed by sprints — either on a track or flat road — into your routine. The sprints can be anywhere from 25 meters to 400 meters (a quarter mile), depending on your level of fitness. Just make sure you are warmed-up first.
5 Benefits of a Toned Butt and Strong Glutes

1. Reduce the Risk of Injury

Studies show that weight-bearing exercises — including bodyweight exercises — improve the muscle function of the glutes and can reduce injury in athletes. One study shows the effects of strong glute muscles in swimmers verses non-swimmers, indicating that the swimmers with the stronger gluteal muscles enjoyed a lower risk of injury. (4, 5)

2. Improved Athletic Performance

Because the glutes are responsible for helping our bodies move faster, slow down, change direction and create explosive jumping moves, strong glute muscles are critical in most sports. But you can’t just rely on squats to built strong glutes. Instead, you need to stimulate your backside muscles in different ways.

Sprinting is one of the most effective exercises for simulating the glutes and activates 234 percent more of the gluteus maximus muscle than a vertical jump. Athletes with strong glutes are faster, more efficient and explosive in their movements compared to athletes with weaker glutes. (6)

3. Better Support for the Back

Research shows that stronger gluteal muscles can help prevent back injury and back pain. Strengthening your glutes can greatly decrease the risk of back pain, too. Some of the exercises mentioned, such as the deadlift and squat, ultimately take some of the pressure off your lower back. (7)

4. Less Knee, Hamstring and Groin Injuries

Developing strong glutes not only helps prevent back injury and pain, but it can also lower your risk for injury in the knees, hamstring and groin areas. By strengthening your weak glutes, you help improve hip alignment, which could improve knee pain, too. In fact, many butt workouts are also effective knee strengthening exercises. Runners notoriously suffer from patellar knee pain due to hips overcompensating for weak glutes. Furthermore, weak glutes may also contribute to pulled muscles in your hamstring or groin.

5. Nicer Visual Appearance with the Reduction in Cellulite

I have shared a lot of information about cellulite reduction, including the benefits of dry-brushing. Usually fluid retention, lack of circulation, weak collagen structure and increased body fat result in the annoying cellulite that most often shows up in spots like the legs, butt, stomach and back of the arms.

Naturally, butt exercises, leg exercises and a smart whole foods-based diet help decrease body fat, which can reduce the appearance of cellulite on the skin. Burst training exercises, similar to interval training, HIIT workouts and Tabata workouts, are great routines that you can add to your butt-lifting program and also work as natural remedies for cellulite.
Butt Workout Precautions

If you’re a beginner, never use added weight without the supervision of a fitness professional. If you have a heart condition or are taking medication, please consult with your physician before engaging in any new exercise program.
Final Thoughts on Butt Workouts

Having a great butt is partially genetic, but science-backed exercises can help whip your butt into shape regardless of your genes. In addition, there are many reasons to strengthen your butt that span far beyond beauty. Weak gluteal muscles can actually lead to chronic low back pain and even knee pain and injury. Butt workouts help strengthen your entire kinetic chain, diminish the appearance of cellulite and reduce your risk of injury, so remember to keep the following in mind:

    The five best butt workouts are Romanian deadlifts, sumo squats, hip raises, squat jumps and donkey kicks.
    Four other butt workouts you can sneak into your day include taking the stairs, taking a walk, taking up cycling or trying a spin class and sprinting.
    The benefits of a toned butt and strong glutes include reducing the risk of injury, better athletic performance, improved support for the back, enhanced appearance and reduced cellulite.
Alkaline water has gained rapid popularity in recent years among everyone from health enthusiasts to professional athletes, whether they’re following an alkaline diet or just trying to get more out of their hydration. In fact, NBA superstars like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are some of the most well-known alkaline water aficionados, with reports claiming that certain pro players get more than half a dozen alkaline water bottle cases shipped to their home every single month. (1a)

It’s true that your body’s pH plays a big role in overall health, and the standard American diet is typically filled with refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, excess sodium, high-fructose corn syrup, chemical additives, pesticides, synthetic hormones and ultra-processed foods that can all contribute to low-grade acidosis, or an overproduction of acid in the blood, fostering an environment where disease can thrive.

Some claim that alkaline water — or high pH water — is the best water to drink when it comes to health, citing a long list of potential alkaline water benefits from enhanced weight loss to resistance against cancer. But does this popular beverage live up to the hype, or is it just another fad used to target health-conscious consumers? Let’s break down the debate and find the truth.
What Is Alkaline Water?

Alkaline water is a type of water with a higher pH than regular water and negative negative oxidation reduction potential (ORP), and the best type is naturally alkaline spring water. (1b) This is a measure of acidity — a low pH level indicates a more acidic substance while a higher pH is more alkaline. Too many hydrogen ions means less oxygen is available to the cells, resulting in higher acidity when pH drops. Fewer hydrogen ions mean more oxygen is available, leading to a more alkaline, or basic, state. There is no known disease that can survive in an alkaline state.

Because it has a higher pH level, alkaline ionized water is supposedly more beneficial than your basic tap water. It typically clocks in with a pH level around 8 or 9 while the pH of water is usually closer to 7.0 or less. It’s also said that alkaline water offers more key minerals the body needs to function properly, such as calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium.

On average, your pH levels should be approximately a 7.365 for the blood on a scale between 0–14, leaving the blood at a 60/40 alkaline-to-acid ratio.

Alkaline compounds buffer acids in the blood with four main alkaline minerals — calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium — which work together to keep the body healthy and running properly.

    Calcium strengthens our bones and supports a healthy circulatory system.
    Magnesium helps convert our food into energy and works to maintain muscle, nerves, heart and kidney function.
    Sodium controls blood pressure, balances fluids in the body and influences muscle movement.
    Potassium helps maintain muscle relaxation and contraction, which is extremely important around the heart, and also aids in digestion and fluid elimination.

The body works hard to naturally keep the blood tipping toward an alkaline state and will take from stored reserves whenever necessary to keep it balanced.
The Alkaline Water Debate

Unfortunately, research is limited on the potential alkaline water benefits. Not only that, but many sources blindly throw out unsubstantiated claims in an effort to sell products like expensive alkaline water filter systems rather than providing evidence-based health information to consumers.

That being said, those in favor of alkaline water over acidic water claim that it provides a range of health benefits. Namely, that it boosts the metabolism, slows bone loss, reverses aging and improves the absorption of nutrients by neutralizing acid in the blood that causes disease. They believe low-grade acidosis may not always be detected with testing, leaving your body to suffer the silent consequences.

The opposing side, on the other hand, agrees there might be benefits, but it is unclear whether the alkaline water benefits come from the high pH level of the water itself or the minerals it contains. Their warning to all? Be leery of health claims that may sound too good to be true, and keep in mind that all alkaline waters and alkaline water ionizer systems are not made equal. You want to get the best alkaline water and water ionizers you can.

It’s complex to alkalize the body and all of its organs, and there are difficulties around pH balance. If the root cause is unknown, opponents remind us, drinking alkaline water might not be the answer to your low pH levels. Plus, the human body wasn’t created to live in a constant alkaline state.

Remember that 60/40 ratio that was mentioned earlier? Consuming high alkaline water on a continual basis can disrupt your body’s delicate pH balance, becoming detrimental to your health.
Alkaline Water vs. Structured Water vs. Regular Water vs. Mineral Water

These days, there are plenty of options in the bottled water section of your local supermarket. Once limited to regular drinking water, there are now a wide assortment of water varieties available, ranging from alkaline water to structured water and mineral water.

Regular bottled water typically contains purified water, which is made of tap water that has been filtered through a process called reverse osmosis, which removes impurities and microorganisms. Trace amounts of minerals are found in this form of water, including calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Purified water generally has an acidic or neutral pH of 7.0 or below. (2)

Mineral water, on the other hand, comes from a mineral spring and typically contains a variety of minerals like salts and sulfur compounds. It’s available in both still and sparkling varieties, classified based on whether or not it contains added carbon dioxide gases. Like alkaline water, it can help supply important minerals to the diet that may be beneficial for health. (3)

Meanwhile, structured water is a type of water that hasn’t been filtered or processed, making it virtually identical to the water that’s found in nature. It’s believed to hold a higher amount of energy and is said to be “optimally charged,” helping our cells to function more efficiently. Much like alkaline water, it’s said to have an optimal pH and is claimed to benefit everything from energy levels to digestion and mood. Just like alkaline water, however, research is still limited on how much of an effect structured water may have on health.

Alkaline water - Dr. Axe

5 Alkaline Water Benefits

    Improves Circulation
    Reduces Acid Reflux Symptoms
    Increases Hydration
    Regulates Blood Sugar
    May Promote Bone Health

1. Improves Circulation

Some research suggests that alkaline water may improve circulation, allowing blood to flow more easily through your body to deliver oxygen and important nutrients to your tissues. It’s believed to work by reducing the viscosity, or the thickness of the blood, helping it move through the bloodstream more efficiently.

This was demonstrated in a 2016 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition that gave 100 healthy adults either regular water or alkaline water to rehydrate after a strenuous workout. Interestingly, those who drank alkaline water experienced a 6.3 percent decrease in blood thickness compared to just a 3.36 percent drop in viscosity in those who drank regular water. (4)
2. Reduces Acid Reflux Symptoms

Acid reflux, also known as GERD, is a condition in which acid moves back up through the esophagus, causing acid reflux symptoms like belching, bloating and nausea. Pepsin, the enzyme responsible for breaking down proteins, plays a key role in acid reflux and can trigger symptoms.

Alkaline water may have a beneficial effect on neutralizing pepsin to reduce symptoms. One in vitro study out of the Voice Institute of New York demonstrated that drinking alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 helped deactivate pepsin, potentially providing therapeutic benefits for those suffering from acid reflux. (5)

However, it’s important to keep in mind that blocking pepsin acts as a temporary bandage to the real underlying problem, similar to the effect of antacids. While alkaline water may help provide relief from symptoms, it may not actually treat the root of the acid reflux itself.
3. Increases Hydration

Staying well-hydrated is crucial to overall health and wellness. Getting enough water regulates your body temperature, helps transport nutrients and aids in waste removal.

Alkaline water is believed to enhance hydration even more than standard drinking water. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine showed that drinking alkaline water for two weeks not only increased alkalinity in the blood and urine, but also improved hydration status to a greater degree than those drinking regular water. (6)
4. Regulates Blood Sugar

Sustaining high levels of blood sugar can take a big toll on your health, with side effects ranging from increased thirst, headaches and fatigue to more serious, long-term consequences like impaired vision and nerve damage.

Although research is limited, some preliminary research has found that alkaline water may help balance blood sugar to maintain normal blood sugar levels and promote better health. One six-month study in China showed that drinking alkaline water significantly reduced blood sugar levels to normal range in participants. (7) An animal model conducted at Dongduk Women’s University’s Department of Obesity Management at the Graduate School of Obesity Science and published in Life Sciences also found that alkaline water had anti-diabetic effects, reporting that it reduced blood sugar and improved glucose tolerance in mice. (8)
5. May Promote Bone Health

A highly acidic diet has been shown to increase bone loss by upping the excretion of calcium through the urine. An alkaline diet, on the other hand, can prevent bone resorption to help preserve bone health. (9)

Some studies suggest that alkaline water may help keep bones strong by influencing certain hormones that affect bone metabolism. One study out of the Centre of Bone Diseases at Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland composed of 30 women, for instance, showed that drinking alkaline water decreased levels of parathyroid hormone, which causes bones to release calcium into the blood. Not only that, but it also lowered levels of a biomarker used to measure the rate of bone turnover as well. (10)
Alkaline Water Recommendations

Although some promising studies have found positive effects of alkaline water on health, many of these are small studies with significant limitations that can make it hard to definitively determine how much benefit alkaline water may really bestow.

As with all things in life, balance is key when it comes to alkaline water. While it may come with some alkaline water benefits, following a healthy, nutrient-rich diet filled with lots of whole foods and fresh fruits and veggies is still the best way to maintain a proper pH balance and keep you healthy. In the end, alkaline water cannot replace the array of essential nutrients that your body needs from food.

Also, an overabundance of alkaline water and foods over long periods of time can not only cause alkalosis, throwing your body off-balance and leading to serious health problems, but also inhibit production of pepsin, compromising the stomach’s ability to break down food and proteins.

Adding more fresh fruits and veggies like apples, lemons, limes, leafy greens and carrots into your diet is a simple way to keep your pH in check while also promoting better overall health.

If you still want to include alkaline water in moderation in your diet, that’s totally fine. But before you start searching for the best alkaline water brands or go splurge on a pricy alkaline water machine, keep in mind that you can also try making it at home. There are plenty of directions available for how to make alkaline water, which typically include adding ingredients like baking soda or lemon to your water.

As always, though, be sure to pair your alkaline water with a well-balanced diet and a healthy and active lifestyle to reap the most rewards when it comes to your health.

Going overboard on the alkaline water may throw off your body’s delicate pH balance, leading to serious health problems like alkalosis. This can cause alkaline water side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, tremors and confusion.

Drinking alkaline water regularly can also deactivate the activity of pepsin, impairing your ability to break down proteins efficiently. It may also interfere with the natural acidity of stomach acid, which is responsible for killing off bacteria and pathogens to keep your body healthy.

If you do decide to drink alkaline water, keep your intake in moderation and be sure to couple it with a healthy, well-rounded diet and regular physical activity to keep your body in tip-top condition. As always, if you have any concerns, be sure to consult with your doctor or a trusted health professional.
Today there are more than 77,000 licensed Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) in the U.S. alone, plus thousands more practicing in countries throughout the world. (1) As one of the most popular types of alternative treatment approaches (meaning those that are non-medical), millions of people each year seek chiropractic care.

Since its official beginning more than 100 years ago, chiropractic education and care has since come a very long way. While in the past certain medical doctors may not have spoken positively about the field of chiropractic, speculating that chiropractic adjustments weren’t necessarily as effective as treatments like drugs or surgery, today things are different. Many MD’s regularly refer their patients to Chiropractors for help with a range of symptoms, everything from migraines and joint pain, to constipation and visual problems.

Chiropractic care is considered an alternative treatment approach to taking pain-killing drugs or undergoing surgery. Many people don’t realize that similarly to medical doctors, Chiropractors spend years in training — thoroughly learning about subjects like anatomy, physiology, nutrition and holistic health.

When it comes to treating all-too-common complaints such as low back pain, organ dysfunction or other chronic disease symptoms, what is a Chiropractor capable of doing to help? Evidence shows that the influence of a chiropractic adjustment goes well beyond bad backs. Many unwanted symptoms suffered by children and adults today can be helped through the neurological influence of an adjustment.

Complementary to the adjustment, many Chiropractors today also offer their patients more than manual spinal adjustments: They are also well-versed in a variety of nutritional therapies, herbal supplementation, spinal physical therapy and stress management. They also work with other practitioners such as massage therapists or acupuncturists. Meanwhile, Chiropractors offer one of the best ways to prevent ailments, as opposed to only treating them.
What Is a Chiropractor?

Chiropractors are trained doctors who specialize in detecting and reducing misalignments of the spine called vertebral subluxation that interfere with central nervous system function. Subluxations can cause inflammation of the joint and nerve root as well as lack of motion which can cause joint degeneration.
Normal vs. subluxated joint - Dr. Axe
Chiropractors work in the field of complimentary or alternative medicine, treating patients by performing hands-on chiropractic adjustments in order to help with postural restoration, spinal alignment, nervous system function and maintenance of health. Chiropractic physicians are trained to use their hands as their “instrument,” carefully adjusting the joints of the body, especially the spine.

In fact, Chiropractic is one form of alternative medicine that are considered manual therapies. Rolfing, integrative manual therapy, massage therapy and myofascial release technique are also different manual therapies.

What are a Chiropractor’s specialties?

You might think of chiropractic adjustments as only being helpful for treating problems like systematic pain (such as back pain) or a stiff neck, but that’s far from true. In many ways, Chiropractors have a “stress-centered” view of health: the underlying belief of chiropractic care surrounds the fact that the body has an innate ability to heal itself once interferences or “obstacles” (sources of stress that stand in the way of well-being) are removed. (2)

Interferences that can negatively impact the nervous system and therefore diminish overall health, including the following: poor posture, poor nutrition, physical and emotional stress, muscular tension and tightness, and illness caused by a number of issues, including poor digestive health.

What is a Chiropractor hoping to do when they perform adjustments on patients?

Restoring motion and alignment of the spine is the first step in helping the rest of the body to self-regulate, self-maintain and self-restore, due to the spine’s direct neurological influence on the rest of the body. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) states that ” The benefits of chiropractic care extend to general health issues, since our body structure affects our overall function.” (3)

    To simplify a complex process, they are tapping into the recuperative abilities of the body by restoring the relationship between a properly aligned spinal column and a well-functioning nervous system.
    Chiropractors are trained to carefully analyze the spine to determine the presence of vertebral subluxation, which is when a spinal bone misaligns, causing interference to the nervous system and nerve irritation. In other words, chiropractic care is beneficial because it allows for better communication throughout the body, especially between the spine and the brain, also called the Central Nervous System (CNS).
    The CNS is the controller of someone’s overall health, considering it regulates communication and coordination throughout the body that affects every organ, tissue and cell. You can think of the brain as the main commander (or control center) of the CNS and the whole body. The nervous system sends chemical messages to and from the brain via the spinal cord, which is not the actual backbone (vertebra), but the cord that runs within the bones in the back and contains threadlike nerves that branch out elsewhere.

Top 7 Benefits of Chiropractic

Does Chiropractic work? And for what ailments?

According to Dr. Dan Sullivan — Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), speaker, author and one of the most well respected holistic health experts in the country —

    One of the biggest challenges that Chiropractors face is the public’s perception of Chiropractic. Many still believe that the benefits of chiropractic adjustments are limited to back and neck pain relief. But that is just a small portion of the benefits that chiropractic care delivers. Some of the greatest evidence today shows exactly why Chiropractors have been seeing amazing results in their offices, each week, for over 120 years, with symptoms and conditions seemingly unrelated to the spine.

It all comes back to how Chiropractic positively influences the nervous system. From improved breathing and digestion, to increased immunity, better organ function, fertility and so much more, we now know from a scientific and research standpoint how adjustments can have such far-reaching benefits.

Patients who can benefit from visiting a Chiropractor include those with symptoms or diseases such as:

    Back pain (4)
    Neck pain (5)
    Migraines or frequent headaches (6)
    Asthma (7)
    Sciatica (8)
    Back pain due to pregnancy (9)
    Acid Reflux (10)
    Colic (11)
    Heart problems including high blood pressure (12, 13)
    Bell’s Palsy (14)
    Frozen shoulder (glenohumeral or acromioclavicular (AC) joint) (15)
    Joint pains and osteoarthritis (16)
    Neurological problems such as epilepsy (17)
    Brain/Central Nervous System dysfunction
    Insomnia/trouble sleeping (18)
    Injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, ligaments and joints
    Indigestion or upset stomach
    Dental or visual problems
    Injuries due to accidents or trauma

One of the reasons why Chiropractic is tied to so many benefits is because it has been shown to help reduce inflammation, the root cause of many different diseases. (19) Another factor behind why Chiropractic can help numerous health challenges has to do with it balancing out the bodies sympathetic/parasympathetic response of the nervous system. Most people live in a sympathetic “fight or flight” response and a chiropractic adjustment in the upper cervical region and sacral region can stimulate a parasympathetic response that reduces stress and allows certain organs to function to a higher degree including the digestive and endocrine systems.

A study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine done on 40 participants found after receiving a cervical adjustment, pulse rates decreased, blood pressure balanced and there was a significantly positive parasympathetic response. (20)

This systematic review shows why so many people choose to visit a Chiropractor on a regular basis even if they don’t have symptoms because they understand the benefits of decreasing ongoing stress and maintaining a healthy spine and nervous system.

Because chiropractic adjustments can help decrease the stress load on the nervous system, chiropractic care sets the stage for recovery and healing. Contrary to that of most medical doctors or other healthcare providers, Chiropractors do not seek to cure or remove the symptom, ailment or condition. It is important to note that Chiropractors focus on removing interference from the nervous system so that patients can heal and function the way they were intended. (21)

Chiropractors take pride in educating their patients about how the human body is designed to heal, and that the body is programmed to be constantly striving towards health. Anyone with altered spinal alignment or movement can be helped by a Chiropractor. However, because the central nervous system directs all healing in the body, many symptoms and conditions have been proven to be helped through the influence of a chiropractic adjustment.

Below are some of the greatest benefits associated with chiropractic care:
1. Back pain

Spinal adjustments and certain other chiropractic techniques have been shown in many studies to help treat neuro-musculoskeletal conditions, including low back pain. Back pain — particularly in the lumbar spine region or lower back — is one of the most common reasons that adults visit Chiropractors every year. Chiropractic for treatment of back pain and the lumbar spine has been so well-supported in studies that it’s no longer even considered “alternative care.”

According to the National Institute of Health,

    Spinal manipulation is one of several options — including exercise, massage and physical therapy — that can provide mild-to-moderate relief from low-back pain. Spinal manipulation appears to work as well as conventional treatments such as applying heat, using a firm mattress and taking pain-relieving medications.

2. Neck pain

Neck pain is another common problem that can be caused by factors such as injuries, trauma, stress, poor sleep, arthritis, older age and degenerative disc disease. Chiropractors employ neck manipulation and use techniques including adjustments, mobilization, massage or rehabilitative exercises to help relieve pressure placed on the neck. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found strong evidence that patients with chronic neck pain showed significant pain-level improvements following spinal adjustments that lasted for at least 12 weeks post-treatment.
3. Migraines and Headaches

Adjustments to the spine, neck and head can be very effective for treating recurring headaches, including tension headaches and migraine headaches. Adjustments and neck manipulation can help restore posture of the head and relieve pressure and tension on nerves that contribute to headaches. A group trial found that 22 percent of people who had chiropractic treatment saw the number of attacks drop by 90 percent. In this systematic review, 49 percent said they had a significant reduction in pain intensity. (22) Compared to most medical treatments, few interventions can initiate headache relief naturally, without the risks of taking drugs long-term, like chiropractic adjustments can.
4. TMJ

There’s evidence showing that symptoms due to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, such as pain while sleeping or trouble opening up the mouth and chewing properly, can be managed with adjustments and neck manipulation that helps correct posture of the neck and jaw. One method that has been shown to be useful for TMJ is called the Activator Method, which involves making precise adjustments to the jaw with a small hand-held instrument. (23)
5. Injuries of the Musculoskeletal System

Many symptoms due to injuries affecting involving the muscles, ligaments and joints can be treated with chiropractic care. Chiropractors use a variety of precise techniques like adjustments, massage therapy, stretching, exercises and weights to help relax tense muscles and improve posture. This helps to treat symptoms including muscle pain, tightness, reduced range of motion, weakness due to muscular compensations and spasms. Certain muscles that are overactive can be “turned off” while others that are under-used can be “turned on.”
6. Digestive Problems

Digestive issues can be tied to both stress and spinal misalignments, due to how both negatively affect the nervous system’s communication with the organs, glands and tissues of the digestive system. Following chiropractic treatments, the gut-brain connection can be restored in order to improve control and function of nerves and muscles in the GI tract. Chiropractic techniques aimed at evoking relaxation, improving blood flow to the digestive organs, and improving communication between the nervous system and gut are all used to treat a range of digestive problems — such as IBS, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, etc.
7. Joint Pain

According to the Arthritis Foundation, chiropractic is considered one of the safest therapies someone can use to treat joint pain. Chiropractors can help to relieve joint pain, such as those caused by osteoarthritis, by gently manipulating soft tissue and helping to improve overall functionality and posture. DCs may use active exercises and slow stretches to increase range of motion in stiff joints, as well as to relieve pressure placed on certain nerves or to stop muscle spasms that contribute to pain.
History of Chiropractic Care

The natural healing abilities attributed to chiropractic care was first developed by a man named D.D. Palmer in 1895. According to records regarding the first chiropractic treatments, it all started when Harvey Lillard — a man who was deaf in one ear — had seen Palmer for help with his condition.

Mr. Lillard was hoping that D.D. Palmer had something up his sleeve to help his deafness. When Palmer learned that Lillard suffered a head injury that preceded his hearing condition, he evaluated his spine and noticed that a vertebra in the upper back seemed wildly out of alignment. (24) According to Palmer:

    I had a case of heart trouble which was not improving. I examined the spine and found a displaced vertebra pressing against the nerves, which innervate the heart. I adjusted the vertebra and gave immediate relief — nothing ‘accidental’ or ‘crude’ about this. Then I began to reason if two diseases, so dissimilar as deafness and heart trouble, came from impingement, a pressure on nerves, were not other disease due to a similar cause? Thus the science (knowledge) and art (adjusting) of Chiropractic were formed at that time.

Palmer coined his manual therapy technique “chiropractic,” which comes from the two Greek words cheiros and praktikos (meaning “with hands”). While D.D Palmer is considered to be the first Chiropractor, records show that similar adjustments have been utilized to help the body heal itself dating back to the time of Hippocrates. Since the time of Palmer, millions of people across the globe have benefited from this manual therapy. In 1897, Palmer helped establish the very first chiropractic school, located in the U.S. and now called the Palmer College of Chiropractic (formerly the Palmer Chiropractic School and Cure).
Chiropractor Education & Licensure

According to the International Chiropractors Association, “Chiropractic is the fastest growing and second-largest primary healthcare profession.” There are approximately 95,000 doctors of chiropractic (DCs) practicing around the world, and more than 10,000 students currently enrolled in chiropractic education in the U.S. alone.

Once their training is completed, many Chiropractors feel that they specialize in a combination of science, art and philosophy, practicing a holistic system of health that takes into account the many different aspects of their patients’ lives. Once graduated from a school of chiropractic, doctors of chiropractic can work in private practice or in clinical settings, specializing in areas including work-place safety, stress management, injury prevention, postural correction and nutritional counseling.

The formal education required to become a Chiropractor focuses on teaching practitioners to effectively locate patients’ vertebral subluxations and remove them through the use of specific adjustment techniques. Chiropractic education also emphasizes the practice’s underlying philosophy, that the body wants to and is capable of healing itself.

How many years of schooling does a Chiropractor receive?

According to the American Chiropractic Association, “Educational and licensing requirements for doctors of chiropractic (DCs) are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.” DCs must complete four years of doctoral graduate school in order to qualify for exams that must be passed before becoming licensed. Prior to beginning graduate studies in chiropractic training, four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education must be completed. Undergraduate courses must include biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work.

How to become a Chiropractor

After approximately 4,620 hours of graduate classroom education, laboratory work and clinical internship, prospective DCs qualify to take exams administered by state licensing boards. As part of their training, DCs must complete a minimum of a one-year clinical-based program dealing with patients in a treatment setting.  Exact requirements in order to practice vary by state, but usually DC licensure requires successful completion of a medical licensing or acceptance of a certificate issued by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE). Once a DC obtains a license in the state in which they wish to practice, they can began seeing patients in a variety of settings.

DCs must continue their education each year, completing ongoing training in order to stay up to date on the latest chiropractic treatment approaches and to maintain their licensure. Many also go on to complete training programs in other complementary approaches, such as Active Release Technique, Functional Medicine, Chiropractic Neurology, Pediatrics, Sports Chiropractic and Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT), a type of natural therapeutic system that has the goal of correcting learned movements and muscle functions within the body.

For help finding a qualified and licensed DC in your area, you can search by location on the International Chiropractic Association website. Additionally, you can ask your primary doctor for a recommendation or seek out referrals from friends, family members, colleagues, etc.

What are some chiropractic colleges/schools?

There are now more than 40 chiropractic schools located throughout the world, including 20 within the U.S. In the U.S, the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) and its Commission on Accreditation is the national organization that is considered to be the authority when it comes to regulating the quality of training offered by different chiropractic colleges.

The CEE was established in the 1930s and is now recognized by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education and is a member of the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (C.H.E.A.) and the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (A.S.P.A.). In the 1990s, the Association of Chiropractic Colleges was established to provide support for chiropractic schools and research, in addition to helping promote chiropractic care to patients and doctors. If you’re interested in a future career as a Chiropractor, visit the CCE’s website to review information about prerequisites, lists of accredited courses and college reviews.

In the U.S., below is a list of some of the chiropractic schools/colleges that meet qualifications for the CCE include:
What is a typical Chiropractor’s salary?

When looking at Chiropractor occupations, the median income of practicing DCs is $142,729. (25) Salaries typically range between $121,288–$196,758. Salaries range considerably depending on the Chiropractor’s level of experience, exact location and specific offerings. For example, also offering nutritional support or other treatments to patients can increase a Chiropractor’s salary.

Most practicing DCs are self-employed and about 65 percent are male. Those who own their own clinics have larger incomes than those who work as associates or employees. As a comparison, physicians (MDs) earn an average salary of $195,161, dentists an average of $158,000 and podiatrists $119,000.
Straight vs. Mixer Chiropractors

While training for all Chiropractors is rooted in the same underlying philosophy and principles, today Chiropractors vary widely in terms of how they are specifically educated and how they choose to actually practice once licensed.

    Some practicing Chiropractors have a more conservative/traditional approach, sticking closely to the foundations of chiropractic care based on vertebral subluxation techniques that have been practiced for decades. Others are more “modern,” blending different treatment approaches in order to offer their patients a wider range of alternative therapies.
    Even various chiropractic colleges and institutions differ in terms of how traditional versus modern/liberal (or “straight vs. mixed) they are, which influences the types of doctors that graduate from different colleges.

To describe how different Chiropractors fall somewhere along a spectrum and to distinguish between different types (traditional vs. more modern), the labels “straight” and “mixer” are often used to:

    Straight Chiropractors range in terms of their exact beliefs and patient offerings, but generally speaking they stick to spinal adjustments as their core offering and typically stay away from using rehabilitation, nutrition and other therapies in their clinics.
    Mixer Chiropractors are more likely to work with other healthcare providers, to practice multidisciplinary care, give dietary advice, prescribe supplements, teach spinal rehabilitative exercises and do other treatment techniques including acupuncture and massage.

Chiropractic Organizations:

Large chiropractic organizations, including the International Chiropractic Association (ICA) and the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), take different stances on certain issues in chiropractic care. There are certain conflicts between the two associations, as they have different perspectives regarding how Chiropractors should practice, and generally speaking all Chiropractors will usually take one side or the other.

As Dr. Dan Sullivan explains,

    There has always been a divide in the profession between the more traditional-practicing ‘straight’ Chiropractors and the more broad-scoped ‘mixer’ Chiropractors. Both types of Chiropractors help their patients overcome health challenges and uniquely improve function for all ages through the location and correction of vertebral subluxation. And the continued advancement of the profession Chiropractic centers around the fact that the body is self-healing and that chiropractic adjustments remove interference to allow better function and health for children and adults of all ages. Both types of Chiropractors agree on this central focus. And the best part is that the scientific evidence now explains and supports the overall practice of Chiropractic like never before.

    The ICA states that they are “committed to the rights of the chiropractic practitioner and his/her patients as it was nine decades ago. ICA welcomes all Chiropractors who believe in and want: advancing chiropractic’s distinct identity as a drugless healing art, full integration of chiropractic with other health care professions —not subordination” and other benefits.
    The ACA states that they are “The largest national association in the U.S. dedicated to advancing the chiropractic profession.” The ACA emphasizes the need for evidence-based research to support the field of chiropractic. They support lobbies for pro-chiropractic legislation and policies, aim to promote a positive public image of chiropractic, provide ongoing professional and educational opportunities for doctors of chiropractic, and offer leadership for the advancement of the profession.

In addition, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) covers Chiropractic-related news, including recent studies, events and education, among other subjects.
Chiropractors vs. Medical Doctors

Is a Chiropractor a doctor? Yes, as mentioned above, Chiropractors hold a degree as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC). (26) They are not medical doctors (MDs) because they do not write their patients prescriptions or perform surgeries. Chiropractors uniquely help their patients heal through natural means by removing interferences from the central nervous system. The education that DCs receive focuses on all basic sciences, anatomy and physiology, with special emphasis on the health and function of the spine and central nervous system.

Two of the leading alternative health care systems practiced in the U.S. and elsewhere today are osteopathy (osteopathic manipulative therapy) and chiropractic care. These two approaches are closely related and require similar training, but osteopaths do more global manipulations of the spine where Chiropractors do more specific vertebral adjustments.

    Chiropractors are holistic, non-invasive practitioners who focus on disease prevention as well as symptom management. DCs specialize in vertebral subluxation, or removing interference of the nervous system due to a misalignment and/ or abnormal motion of spinal vertebra. When vertebral subluxation is left untreated, it leads to improper communication between nerves, organs, muscles and tissues. This contributes to widespread function control problems and can lead to symptoms in any or all parts of the body.
    Chiropractic is the art of restoring the body to its natural state utilizing many different techniques, which can include manual adjustments but also stress-reduction, inflammation-reduction and dietary improvement. Rather than using medications to achieve this, DCs focus on removing irritation interference in the central nervous system (subluxations) that causes the body to break down and dysfunction.
    DCs are somewhat different from primary care physicians, or MDs, because they emphasize “a whole-person approach” to treatment and care. And rather than focusing only on relieving symptoms once a patient has already started to feel unwell, Chiropractors try to find the root cause of their patients’ problems in order to fix the underlying issue.
    DCs commonly get to know their patients well, taking their time during visits to discuss the patient’s unique symptoms, medical history, lifestyle, level of stress, diet and sleep. It’s very important for Chiropractors to really understand their patients in a holistic sense, in order to not only develop a treatment plan, but a way to help prevent symptoms from returning in the future.
    Seeing a Chiropractor is not meant to replace visits with your regular doctor. In fact, most Chiropractors have a working relationship with local Medical Doctors, co-managing the care of a patient to provide the best possible outcomes. A written referral is not needed to see a doctor of chiropractic (DC) because they are primary care physicians. Just like seeing a MD, chiropractic care is included in most health insurance plans, including major many medical plans, workers’ compensation, Medicare, some Medicaid plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans.

Different Approaches in Chiropractic Care

DCs use hundreds of different approaches in chiropractic practice, some (but not all) involving thrust techniques. The difference between most chiropractic techniques is the degree of force applied. Most adjustments are done quickly, involving high speed to help with realignment. Sometimes an instrument besides the hands is also used.

Spinal adjustments are among many chiropractic techniques, but not the only types that are offered. Below you’ll find a brief description of some of the most common chiropractic treatment techniques that evolved over the past several decades, which address abnormalities in the spine, neck, head, pelvis, joints and muscles. When you visit a chiropractor, you might be treated with any number or combination of techniques, depending on your specific anatomy and needs:

        Activator: A hand held instrument that applies an impulse and is used to help release joint and muscle tension. Done quickly with a gentle, low force, making it suitable for patients who are sensitive.
        Applied Kinesiology: Helps to assess the nervous system by utilizing changes in muscular strength as different sensory stimuli are applied to the body. This allows for the DC to determine which nerves are “speaking” most to muscles. Often used to help determine which treatments are needed.
        Atlas Orthogonal [AOT]: Aims to restore structural integrity from cervical vertebral malposition. Uses a percussion instrument to correct postural restoration without manipulation or surgery. Focuses attention on the the Atlas, the top vertebrae of the spine that supports the head. Involves very gentle touch, reducing cervical spine misalignment and its related symptomatology.
        Blair Technique: Adjusts the upper cervical area, focusing on correcting misalignments in the first bone of the spine (Atlas) where it connects to the head (Occiput).
        Chiropractic Biophysics [CBP]: Corrects improper curvatures of the spine using a combination of traditional chiropractic manipulation, rehabilitation exercises, spinal traction and stretches to remodel tissues of the spine.
        Cox Flexion Distraction: Utilizes an adjusting table that has movable parts, along with a rocking motion, in order to stretch and decompress tissue surrounding the spine (spinal decompression).
        Diversified: Involves manual thrusts focused on restoring normal biomechanical function, including those in the extremity joints.
        Gonstead: Specific method of analysis by the use of nervoscopes, full spine x-rays and precise adjusting techniques. Helps to correct torquing of the spine in order to take pressure off of certain intervertebral discs.
        Motion Palpation: A method that helps to locate joint dysfunction within the spinal column and extremities. Palpation is the most frequently used diagnostic tool in chiropractic, allowing the DC to feel for subluxations in the vertebrae. In motion palpation the patient’s joints are mobilized, bending and flexing, or moving in different planes of motion to test range of motion.
        Network Chiropractic: Also called Network Spinal Analysis (NSA), this method involves regarding the body as a whole, integrated system. Light touch is used over the spinal cord to help activate receptors and increase the ability of the nerves and the spinal cord to communicate clearly. This is associated with improvements in gut-brain connection, increased self-awareness and reduced tension.
        Pettibon: Uses specially designed head, shoulder and hip weights that patients wear for up to 20 minutes daily until the spine is corrected, along with specific exercises.  Weights help alter the head, spine and pelvis’s alignment, correcting sensory input to the nervous system and forming new muscle patterns.
        Sacral Occipital Technique [SOT]: Focuses on the relationship of between the sacrum and occiput (back of the skull) and is a form of Cranial Sacral therapy. This technique pays close attention to the the cranial bones and sacrum working to normalize cerebral spinal fluid flow and improve organ function.
        CLEAR Scoliosis Correction: A technique that combines adjustments, spinal exercises and vibration treatments to reduce scoliotic curves of the spine. 5–10 percent of the population has scoliosis and this condition can cause pain, joint degeneration and organic malfunction if it is not managed correctly.
        Thompson: Involves the use of an adjusting table with a weighing mechanism, helping to add precise amount of tension and keep the patient in an exact up position before the thrust is given.
        Torque Release: Directs attention to the source of spinal tension by testing posture starting from the feet up. Helps to determine which treatments are needed to relieve tension in the spine and spinal cord, which causes abnormal muscular patterns. Uses relatively small force corrections to achieve alterations in the spine and correct structural distortions using mechanical devices including the“Integrator” and the “Activator.”
        Toggle Recoil: A technique in which the hands are placed lightly on the area of joint restriction and then a fast, light thrust is applied. The hands are quickly removed from the contact point.
        Upper Cervical Chiropractic: Focuses on the relationship between the upper cervical spine (neck) and its influence on the central nervous system. Uses x-rays of the head and neck to determine which types of precise, non-invasive, gentle touch will help return the bones of the neck to a normal position.
        Webster: Involves sacral analysis and diversified adjustments used to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation/SI joint dysfunction. Aims to improve neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis in order to reduce tension and tightness throughout the torso. Often used throughout pregnancy in preparation for a safer, easier birth and recovery.

Safety of Chiropractic Care

Is visiting a Chiropractor safe? The short answer is yes, very safe. You might be thinking that chiropractic adjustments sound risky, considering how sensitive the spine and spinal cord are to overall health and function. But in fact, chiropractic has been shown to be one of the safest treatment approaches in healthcare today. Chiropractic adjustments are very precise and careful, which is why DCs need to receive extensive training to ensure safety.

According to The National Institute of Health, “A 2007 study of treatment outcomes for 19,722 chiropractic patients in the United Kingdom concluded that minor side effects (such as temporary soreness similar to that which can be experienced after a workout) after cervical spine manipulation were relatively common, but that the risk of a serious adverse event was ‘low to very low’ immediately or up to 7 days after treatment.” Another study found that “there was no evidence that visiting a Chiropractor put people at greater risk than visiting a primary care physician.” (27)

While chiropractic treatment is overall very safe, it’s still possible to experience some potential adverse effects. The risks are low, but may include some temporary soreness, stiffness or tenderness following adjustments. Mild side effects typically go away on their own within about 24 hours.

Also keep in mind that a major advantage of visiting of a Chiropractor for help with pain or other symptoms is that you won’t be treated with drugs, which often cause a number of side effects. You may also be able to avoid having unnecessary surgery, which isn’t always effective and can pose its own risks.

In recent years, there’s been some concern in the media over whether chiropractic care could increase the risk of more serious side effects, such as stroke, neurological problems, internal bleeding or vertebral artery dissection. A number of studies have found no evidence that there is any link between chiropractic adjustments and suffering from a stroke.

The claims are quite bold to be sure: “Lipozene can help you lose weight without ever changing your diet or exercising, and customers can’t stop raving about how great it works in their Lipozene reviews.”

As you know, I’m not a huge fan of “miracle” supplements, even a fiber supplement, that make grandiose claims and have little to no evidence to back up their praises.

Lipozene, a popular weight loss supplement, is a purported “weight loss supplement“ that’s been on the market for well over a decade, like other weight loss pills. The major selling point seems to be the fact that the only active ingredient in Lipozene is glucomannan, a plant-extracted fiber that comes from the konjac plant, aka elephant yam. Glucomannan absorbs water and has some potential health benefits.

But does Lipozene work? Let’s look at the facts, the customer Lipozene reviews, what science has to say, and whether or not you should consider Lipozene in your supplement regimen.
What Is Lipozene?

This brand-name weight loss supplement, also known as Amorphophallus Konjac, is actually made with a fiber, glucomannan, derived from the konjac root found in parts of east Asia.

People in China, Japan and other parts of southeast Asia have used konjac root products for centuries as part of traditional Chinese medicine to detoxify the body, suppress tumors, achieve blood stasis (a tenet of many diseases, according to ancient practices, that involves the proper movement of blood through the body), eliminate phlegm, treat asthma and cough, correct skin disorders and burns, treat hernia, and reduce breast pain. (1)

Since being introduced in the 1990s to western countries, glucomannan products are used for resolving constipation, regulating cholesterol, treating insulin resistance, managing type II diabetes, weight loss, diverticular disease, treating hypoglycemia and naturally solving type I diabetes. (2)

By developing Lipozene using only this one active ingredient, Obesity Research Institute LLC claims that customers can naturally lose weight (proven by clinical studies!) without changing lifestyle habits or eating different foods. This fat burner has, according to the Lipozene website, sold over 25 million bottles. Lipozene hosts many late-night infomercials to share the “incredible” results.

The company name is a bit misleading, however, as this “research institute” is not known to conduct any actual research and functions only as a sales organization for two products: Lipozene and MetaboUP Plus.

In addition to glucomannan, Lipozene tablets contain inactive ingredients composed of gelatin, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium silicate, stearic acid, titanium dioxide and FD&C Blue No. 1. (3)

The recommended dosage of Lipozene is two capsules, 30 minutes before meals, up to three times per day. This equals 4.5 grams of glucomannan, which is slightly higher than the tolerable daily dosage of the root. (4)

How does Lipozene work? Well, glucomannan is an insoluble fermentable dietary fiber, in contrast to a soluble fermentable fiber or soluble fiber, that travels through the stomach without breaking down. More than most other high-fiber products, glucomannan has an astounding ability to thicken substances. When Lipozene tablets hit the stomach, they expand stomach contents and suppress appetite, resulting in a “full” feeling after a very small meal.

As the product travels through your digestive system, it activates the bowels to move more rapidly, another method by which Lipozene can result in a loss of pounds.

Because of its health-related claims, Obesity Research Institute has been the brunt of various federal warnings and class action lawsuits.

In 2005, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined the company for false advertising to the tune of $1.5 million for claims made about FiberThin and Propolene, both of which are other glucomannan-based weight loss supplements previously sold by the Obesity Research Institute. The main violations involved are known as “Red Flag” claims, which refer to unsubstantiated assertions that a product results in major weight loss without dietary or lifestyle changes. (5)

A group of customers successfully sued the makers of Lipozene in 2011 for false advertising with no real results, resulting in a $5 million payout. (6) Another lawsuit was filed in 2016 claiming Lipozene is still violating the 2005 court order by the FTC by continuing to falsely market its products to have unproven results. (7)

Two manufacturers received warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014, one due to improper labeling that would classify Lipozene as a “drug” (since glucomannan is not an FDA-approved medicinal ingredient) and the other about insufficient testing methods. (8, 9)
What the Customer Lipozene Reviews Say

Depending where you look, customers are all over the board when it comes to Lipozene. On its own website, Lipozene boasts the hundreds of four- and five-star Lipozene reviews, alongside which are a few low ratings. Customers claim everything from three-digit weight loss numbers to the ability to eliminate medications for diabetes, as well as complaints on occasion about little to no results or poor customer service. (10)

It’s a bit of a different story on Amazon, where the Lipozene review rating is only 2.5/5. The majority (49 percent) of Lipozene reviews are one-star, with 19 percent of reviews giving it five stars and a smattering of the in-between ratings.

Some of the negative Lipozene reviews call it a “waste of money” and “very disappointing,” warning customers not to order it based on bad customer service experiences and a lack of effectiveness. More than 200 positive reviews rave about losing 10 pounds in just a week, immediate results, a total loss of over 100 pounds and a lot of general praise. (11)

Two independent review sites also claim to record customer thoughts about Lipozene.

Skinny Betty writes a scathing article about her extremely poor experience while taking Lipozene and displays reported claims from over 12,000 users over a three-month period from her own website. According to Betty, 84.2 percent of people said the product did not work, 12.4 said it worked while they took the product, 1.6 percent claimed “horrible side effects,” and the remaining 1.8 percent gave unusable data. (12)

Another source, Consumer Health Digest, shows an 81 percent positive rating for Lipozene reviews. (13)

Other retailer websites have a mixture of positive and negative feedback about Lipozene, which is not uncommon for most weight loss supplements, due to how each person’s body reacts differently to substances.
What the Science Lipozene Reviews Say

OK, so the customers aren’t exactly in agreement, but there seems to be at least a good number of Lipozene review sources with positive results. But does Lipozene work, according to science?

To be honest, these results are mixed here as well. Another complication of parsing through all the studies out there is that they are specific to glucomannan, which you can purchase in supplement form for up to half the cost of brand-name Lipozene (and not all of which contain the same inactive additives).

Overall, a review of available data on glucomannan and weight loss conducted in 2015 found that there is some evidence that supplementary glucomannan might reduce body weight in “otherwise healthy overweight or obese adults,” although these results did not extend to reducing BMI. (14)

A study in Norway tested glucomannan for weight loss and found it resulted in an approximate loss of 0.8 kilograms/week (about 1.76 pounds) versus placebo. (15) In 2008, Spanish researchers also discovered a weight loss correlation, as well as a reduction in LDL cholesterol and improved satiety (the feeling of being full). (16)

However, other results conflict with these results. Rush University conducted a study including 53 participants that found glucomannan to be well-tolerated but not to result in any significant weight loss versus placebo. (17) A review of nine studies in 2014 came to the same conclusion. (18)
Does Lipozene Work?

That’s really the million-dollar question, isn’t it? (Or, based on Lipozene’s payouts to date, the $6.5 million question.)

Ultimately, there is no sufficient evidence to suggest Lipozene works any better or worse than dietary and lifestyle adjustments alone would to stimulate weight loss.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times about Lipozene claims, Vladimir Vuksan, a nutritional sciences professor at the University of Toronto, explains that through two decades of researching glucomannan and other nutritional fibers, he has found the small doses in Lipozene have shown no evidence of “significant weight loss.” (19)

According to Vuksan, it would take between 20 and 30 grams of glucomannan each day to lose substantial amounts of weight — an amount that would cause your gut to “explode,” in his words.

Is fiber an integral part of losing weight for many people? Yes.

Does one fiber have the ability to drain fat off your body? No.

The bottom line here is that Lipozene alone likely does not have the immediate results of weight loss that the makers insist. When asking, “Does Lipozene work?” remember that there truly is not one single thing that will truly aid in safe, lasting weight loss. Rather, losing weight by eating whole, life-giving foods and exercising wisely, combined, is the only really effective way to do it.
Lipozene Reviews: Is Lipozene Safe?

Compared to many of the dangerous weight loss supplements on the market, Lipozene is relatively safe. However, there are some minor issues to consider.

Because glucomannan expands in liquid (the dosage instructions include taking Lipozene with at least eight ounces of water, 30 minutes before meals), one danger it poses is a choking hazard. Dry-swallowing Lipozene can result (and has) in choking over expanding fiber.

Overdosing on Lipozene could potentially cause intestinal blockages, although no public reports exist where this has occurred.

Anecdotal reports include complaints of migraines, nausea, extreme dizziness, heartburn and stomach discomfort when taking glucomannan supplements (not necessarily Lipozene). (20) At least one person has reported internal bleeding.

Because of the way glucomannan expands and inhibits appetite, one real concern I have for people taking these supplements is a lack of nutrition. Appetite suppression can serve some people who regularly overeat unhealthy foods, but taking Lipozene along with a healthy diet could actually result in less absorption of valuable vitamins and other nutrients, as well as under-eating.

Don’t forget, eating the right, nutrient-dense foods is much more important than eating less calories, especially if the “less calories” you’re eating still include empty foods like french fries and processed sugars.

One last reason I believe Lipozene may not be safe, particularly over a long period of time, is that one inactive ingredient Lipozene contains is FD&C Blue No. 1. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database of cosmetics ingredients rates FC&C Blue No. 1 as moderately worthy of concern because of the risks of biotoxicity, accumulation in the body and an incomplete body of evidence about carcinogenicity. (21)
Lipozene Reviews: Pros and Cons
Potential Health Benefits of Lipozene

When it comes to Lipozene, there are some benefits to note, as well as possible side effects. It’s very important to remember here that the benefits listed all refer to Lipozene’s only active ingredient, glucomannan. There are no listed studies that investigate Lipozene tablets specifically, and other methods of consuming glucomannan will afford the same results (potentially without the added side effects).

1. Constipation Relief

It’s possible that glucomannan, like that found in Lipozene, might relieve constipation. A variety of studies show it has the ability to encourage bowel movements and release stubborn waste. (22, 23, 24)

This seems true for both adults and children, though I do not recommend providing Lipozene pills to children in any case — or adults for that matter. (25)

2. Lowered Heart Disease Risk

Limited evidence has found that glucomannan products have the ability to positively alter some heart disease risk factors. One study found that glucomannan supplementation lowered LDL cholesterol and high triglycerides. (26)

Another report suggests that glucomannan might improve gut health and improve metabolic syndrome factors. (27)

This might be because of the way glucomannan can potentially increase the activity of an antioxidant in the body known as glutathione peroxidase. This antioxidant protects from oxidative damage caused by free radicals and may improve heart disease, cancer and other disease risk. (28)

3. Improved Diabetes Symptoms

A well-documented feature of glucomannan is its ability to improve diabetes symptoms and risk factors. In addition to lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, glucomannan has been found to lower fasting blood sugar levels, according to research. (29)

In general, it’s acceptable to assume glucomannan might have mild to moderate benefits for those suffering from diabetes, including high-risk patients. (30)

4. Weight Loss

Some of the above studies have also found minor weight loss benefits by using glucomannan products like Lipozene. This is most likely due to two factors.

For one, Lipozene does increase satiety, the feeling you get when you’re full of food, without actually eating as much as it would normally take. (31) Like I mentioned above, this is not always a great way to lose weight because it doesn’t involve eating better food, just a smaller amount.

The other weight loss factor is that some evidence finds glucomannan causes some fat and protein not to digest entirely but pass through the system unprocessed. This means that if you eat, say, 1,000 calories in a meal, you may not absorb all the protein and fat, only getting 700 of those calories (in this arbitrary example). (32)

Again, there are better and more lasting ways to lose weight that involve eating the kind of protein, fat and other nutrients you want to absorb.

Lipozene pros vs. cons - Dr. Axe

Side Effects of Lipozene

1. Constipation

Yes, you read that right. While glucomannan products tend to have a constipation relief effect, other individuals find the opposite. In Skinny Betty’s Lipozene review above, she also recounts her own personal story of severe constipation resulting in anal fissures after a month of Lipozene supplements.

If that sounds awful, it’s because it is. While this severe of a reaction is not experienced by the majority of people taking Lipozene, it may be a risk.

2. Diarrhea

Generally another common issue with too much fiber, diarrhea can occur when your body produces the water necessary to remove the excess fiber, resulting in painful diarrhea.

Among the online customer Lipozene reviews, diarrhea was one of the most common complaints, with some people insisting they were unable to attend work or other normal activities because it was so constant.

3. Choking

Dry-swallowing Lipozene or other glucomannan supplements can often result in choking as the liquid in the throat causes the major expansion of this fiber.

Dosage instructions always include drinking the tablets/capsules with an eight-ounce glass of water, which not only helps the fiber absorb in your stomach and curb appetite, but also ensures enough hydration for the pills to reach the stomach without expanding.

4. Abdominal Discomfort

Another recorded side effect of Lipozene is abdominal discomfort, including everything from excess flatulence to potential intestinal blockage from expanding fiber.

5. Dizziness

A few anecdotal reports show complaints of vertigo within short time periods of beginning a Lipozene regimen. While there is no evidence to determine why this might happen, it’s possible a lack of nutrition could lead to that lightheaded feeling.

6. Unhealthy Weight Loss

Above all, my biggest concern with Lipozene is the way it encourages you to curb eating altogether. Several individual customers said in their Lipozene reviews that they were excited because they had been able to go “X” number of days without food.

Starving the body is not a good way to lose weight. Yes, you may shed pounds, but it’s not the way to go about it. Weight loss by starving yourself is not sustainable, nor helpful in reducing your risk for illness and disease.
Should You Take Lipozene?

I see no reason to recommend Lipozene. It might be a way to lose weight fast, but diet pills are generally just not the way to do it if you actually want to keep weight off.

While I do believe occasionally consuming glucomannan as a powder or flour (mixed into smoothies is one great method) can be beneficial for a few reasons, I recommend staying away from capsule and tablet versions of glucomannan, including Lipozene.

If you’re interested in the ingredient but are wary of supplements, you can try shirataki noodles, made with glucomannan.
Better Alternatives to Lipozene

Want to burn fat the healthy way? There are some incredible nutrients and supplementary items you can add into your diet and lifestyle, proven to make a difference.

    Fat-Burning Foods — Let’s be honest, losing weight has a great deal to do with the food you eat, far more than some “magic” pill. Try consuming apple cider vinegar, bone broth, chia seeds, chicken, coconut oil and other great fat-burning foods.
    Conjugated Linoleic Acid — The name sounds a bit intimidating, but conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a polyunsaturated fat that the body can’t produce on its own and must receive in the diet. Great sources of CLA include full-fat dairy, beef and butter.
    Grapefruit Essential Oil — Using grapefruit essential oil can boost metabolism, reduce appetite cravings safely and gently increase energy levels.
    Herbal Teas — Teas, like matcha green tea, roobios tea and yerba mate, contain antioxidants helpful for weight loss as well as anti-aging.
    Probiotics — Quality probiotic supplements and foods promote proper bacteria in the gut and are associated with better weight loss and lowered risk of obesity. (33)
    Chromium — At the proper doses, chromium supplements can increase lean muscle, reduce food intake and promote fat loss.

Lipozene Reviews: Healthier Ways to Lose Weight and Keep it Off

Long-term weight loss is more of a marathon than a sprint — we’ve all heard phrases similar to this one, but are we taking them to heart?

Although it can be difficult to take that first step, the best way to begin is the look at the habits you have that are behind your weight gain.

Do you eat fast food? Are you loading up on refined carbohydrates and sugar on a regular basis? Do you drink diet soda, thinking the lack of calories will help you lose weight? Have you introduced whole, life-giving foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and grass-fed meats into your diet? Do you cook most of your food at home? Do you exercise?

Herein lies a major reason it’s so hard to get rid of stubborn fat — a lot of changes at once becomes overwhelming.

Instead of staring at an endless list of things you have to change, start with one. Kick the soda (or diet soda), and replace it with filtered water and some kombucha for the fizz you might miss. Give yourself small goals to reach, like only going out to eat once a week if you normally go out three times. Thoughtfully purchase groceries and cook at home, considering the things that you know to do but tend not to follow through.

By slowly changing your lifestyle, rather than crashing through diet after diet, you’ll be able to lose weight and keep it off. I’ve seen it happen many times. As you begin making these small changes, you begin to recognize how much better you feel and then want to continue changing the habits that still weigh you down.

Lipozene Reviews: Precautions

If you choose to use Lipozene, you should be aware of a few precautions.

Lipozene may interact with Starlix and other medications for diabetes because they may low already lower blood sugar. If you are taking medications for diabetes or regularly have low blood sugar, consult your physician regarding the interactions of these medications and supplements. (34)

In fact, the way that glucomannan can inhibit the stomach from fully breaking down nutrients and other substances means any oral medication may not be able to totally break down and absorb into your system. Again, you should always consult your doctor before beginning any new supplements, such as Lipozene, to confirm how it could interact with your medications and personal body chemistry.

No studies have been conducted on the safety of Lipozene for pregnant or nursing mothers. If you are pregnant, nursing or intend to become pregnant, it’s best to avoid Lipozene altogether.
Final Thoughts on Lipozene Reviews

Lipozene is a weight loss supplement sold by Obesity Research Institute LLC. Its only active ingredient is glucomannan, a fiber of the konjac root, commonly used in ancient Chinese medicine. While there are pure glucomannan supplements on the market, Lipozene markets and sells its products for 50 percent to 200 percent more of the price of these other products.

Customer Lipozene reviews are all over the place, with some people insisting it’s a miracle, while other Lipozene reviews see no weight loss whatsoever. Still others experience side effects that they lay out in their Lipozene reviews.

The science supports a potentially moderate amount of weight loss when using glucomannan supplements, as well as a few benefits for diabetes and heart disease risk factors. However, no individual studies have been done on Lipozene itself.

While Lipozene side effects aren’t as dire as many weight loss supplements on the market, they still cause reason for some concern. These side effects can include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort and intestinal blockage, choking, and improper nutrient absorption.

Does Lipozene work? Possibly, in proper doses, for some people, Lipozene might encourage marginally more weight loss than previously experienced. However, there are healthier ways to lose weight and keep it off. If you want to try glucomannan, there are alternative ways to consume it through your diet, including powder, flour and shirataki noodles.
Take a look at the ingredients label of just about any energy-boosting supplement and you may just spot guarana on the list. Derived from an Amazonian fruit, guarana has long been revered for its incredible effects on health. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments throughout history.

More recently, studies show that adding guarana to your routine could come with a pretty long list of benefits. It may help optimize memory, fight fatigue, improve heart health and do even more to keep you feeling your best. Here’s what you need to know about this ingredient and how it can impact your health.
What Is Guarana?

Guarana, also known by its scientific name Paullinia cupana, is a type of climbing plant that is native to the Amazon. This plant is prized for the seeds from its powerful fruit. It belongs to the soapberry family of plants and is closely related to longan fruit (also known as “dragon eye fruit”) as well as other fruit varieties like lychee and ackee.

The plant itself has large leaves and produces clusters of flowers. It also produces small fruits that are about the same size as a coffee bean and range in color from red to brown. The fruit contains black seeds that are covered by white arils, giving them a unique appearance that closely resembles an eye.

The seeds are very high in caffeine. They are often used as an additive in energy drinks or guarana soda brands like Guarana Antarctica. Because of the guarana seed caffeine content, the seeds may come with other health benefits besides boosting energy levels. In fact, studies show that guarana could do everything from enhance skin health to increase weight loss and more.
Potential Guarana Benefits

1. Boosts Brain Power

Studies show that guarana can have a powerful impact on focus and memory. In fact, one study out of the Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at Northumbria University in the U.K. showed that low doses were able to improve both memory performance and alertness compared to a control group. (1) Similarly, another study conducted at Northumbria University compared the effects of guarana and ginseng and reported that guarana seed extract was able to significantly enhance task performance and attention to a greater extent than ginseng. (2)
2. High in Antioxidants

Guarana fruit contains a wide range of potent antioxidants, including caffeine, tannins, saponins, theobromine and catechins. (3) Antioxidants are beneficial compounds that can help fight free radical formation and prevent oxidative damage to cells. Not only that, but some research suggests that antioxidants can even protect against chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. (4)
3. Fights Fatigue

Guarana is loaded with caffeine, with the seeds packing in a higher concentration of caffeine than even coffee beans. Caffeine acts as a stimulant and affects the activity of certain neurotransmitters in your brain to amp up energy levels. This is why beverages like coffee and energy drinks are often used as a quick fix for low energy and fatigue.

In addition to fighting physical fatigue, some research indicates that guarana can help reduce mental fatigue as well. One study published in the journal Appetite showed that taking it was able to decrease mental fatigue associated with sustained mental effort in participants. (5)
4. Promotes Regularity

Guarana has long been used as a natural remedy for both constipation and diarrhea. It helps promote regularity and soothe digestive distress. It’s high in caffeine, a compound that can help stimulate movement in the digestive tract to relieve constipation. (6) Plus, it’s also rich in tannins. Tannins are plant compounds that can prevent excess water from being excreted into the bowels to stop diarrhea fast. (7)
5. Enhances Heart Health

Research shows that the guarana seed benefits heart health in several different ways. It can help prevent blood clots to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke, according to research out of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. (8) Not only that, but it can also decrease the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the blood. This can control the buildup of plaque in the arteries to prevent atherosclerosis. (9)
6. Keeps Skin Glowing

Guarana makes a great addition to any natural skin care routine thanks to its content of both caffeine and antioxidants. Caffeine helps protect the skin against UV radiation. It also slows down photoaging of the skin and promotes circulation and blood flow. (10) One study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology showed that cosmetics containing guarana helped reduce skin sagging and minimized wrinkles underneath and around the eyes. (11)
7. May Help Reduce Cancer Growth

Although current research is mostly limited to in vitro studies and animal models, preliminary evidence suggests that guarana could help effectively reduce the growth and spread of certain types of cancer cells. For instance, one animal study showed that administering it to mice reduced liver cancer proliferation by 58 percent and increased cancer cell death by nearly fivefold. (12)

Other studies have had similar findings. Results show it may help decrease the growth of colon and breast cancer cells as well. What’s more, it may also enhance the activity of chemotherapy agents to help kill off cancer cells even more effectively. (13, 14)
8. Increases Weight Loss

Guarana is often used as a weight loss aid. In fact, there are many guarana weight loss products, pills and supplements to help ramp up fat-burning and shed extra pounds. This is partly due to its content of caffeine. Caffeine has been shown to boost metabolism by up to 11 percent over a 12-hour period in research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (15) Plus, several in vitro studies also show that guarana may slow and inhibit the production of fat cells to help decrease body fat. (16, 17)

Guarana - Dr. Axe

Guarana Side Effects and Dangers

Low doses of guarana are generally safe and come with minimal risk of adverse side effects. In fact, multiple animal models have found that it has a low toxicity, even when consumed regularly. (18, 19, 20)

However, because of its caffeine content, it’s absolutely vital to keep intake in moderation. Not only is caffeine highly addictive, but it can cause several negative effects on health. It can even contribute to a caffeine overdose when consumed in large amounts.

Some of the most common side effects associated with guarana include symptoms like:
If you notice these or any other side effects after consuming guarana, consider decreasing your dosage or discontinuing use altogether.

Women who are pregnant should limit or avoid guarana-containing products. Increased caffeine consumption may be linked to a higher risk of birth defects and preterm delivery. (21)

Additionally, guarana is often used as an additive for unhealthy beverages. These include guarana energy drinks or guarana alcohol products. Drinks that this are often pumped full of unhealthy added sugar and extra ingredients. These products essentially negate any health benefits of guarana. They can actually do more harm than good when it comes to your health.
Guarana vs. Taurine vs. Adderall vs. Caffeine Pills

Guarana, taurine, Adderall and caffeine pills are all known for their ability to increase energy levels, boost fat-burning and fine-tune focus. How do these ingredients compare? What sets them apart from one another?

Taurine is a type of amino acid that is found in the tissues throughout the body. It can also be produced in small amounts. It is available in certain foods, including meat, dairy products and seafood. It’s often added to energy drinks and supplements. It is believed to be associated with a number of health benefits, such as increased fat-burning during exercise and improved heart health. (22, 23)

Adderall, on the other hand, is a type of prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It’s known for its beneficial effects on attention and focus. When abused or taken in high doses for prolonged periods of time, it may also cause addiction and trigger withdrawal symptoms, similar to caffeine.

Finally, caffeine pills are gaining widespread popularity among consumers looking for a quick burst of energy, especially among those who simply don’t like coffee or other caffeinated beverages and prefer getting a quick dose of caffeine in supplement form instead. Caffeine pills boast all the same benefits of caffeine, such as reduced constipation and increased energy levels. However, they also come with the same set of side effects, which can include anxiety, restlessness and headaches.
Guarana vs. Coffee vs. Green Tea

There are plenty of similarities between guarana, coffee and green tea, three popular ingredients that are enjoyed for their health-promoting properties and energizing effects.

All three are rich in caffeine and antioxidants. Both of those are associated with a number of potential health benefits. Additionally, they are all commonly consumed to help increase weight loss, maximize focus and help fight off fatigue.

Coffee and green tea can be enjoyed as is, but guarana is typically found in supplement form or processed guarana drink products, such as guarana soda.

In terms of caffeine content, guarana extract is significantly higher in caffeine than coffee. Some studies indicate that the seeds contain four to six times as much caffeine than coffee beans. (24) Green tea is the lowest in caffeine among the three. It has just 35 milligrams in a single eight-ounce serving. That is nearly one-third of the amount found in coffee.
Guarana Supplement Uses, Dosage and Precautions

Guarana supplements are available in many different forms, ranging from guarana tea to guarana extract and beyond. Guarana seed powder is also often added to beverages and products advertised to help naturally boost energy levels. It’s often alongside a blend of other herbs and plants containing thermogenic properties.

Although there are no official guarana dosage guidelines available at present, most research shows that doses between 50–70 milligrams may be the most beneficial. Stick to this dosage to maximize the potential health benefits and minimize the risk of adverse side effects.

It’s generally recommended that pregnant women limit caffeine consumption to less than 200 milligrams per day. For this reason, it’s best for pregnant women to limit or avoid guarana and products that contain it.

Finally, if you experience any negative side effects, such as heart palpitations, anxiety or headaches, consider scaling back your dosage or discontinuing use.
Natural Alternatives for Burning Fat

Guarana is well-known for its ability to bump up fat-burning and aid in weight loss. However, there are plenty of other natural fat-burners out there if you’re looking for an easy alternative to help amplify results.

Here are a few of the top ingredients to help boost fat-burning even more:

    Conjugated linoleic acid: This type of fatty acid is found in foods like grass-fed butter, beef, whole milk and cheese. It has been shown to both impact metabolism and fat cell formation to help naturally increase fat-burning. (25)
    Probiotics: Taking a probiotic supplement or filling up on fermented foods can optimize the beneficial bacteria in your gut. This could offer protection against weight gain and obesity. (26)
    Green tea: Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, adding green tea to your daily diet can increase fat breakdown to help keep your waistline in check. (27)
    Spicy foods: Ingredients like cayenne pepper and other spicy foods are high in capsaicin. Capsaicin is a compound that can increase metabolism, inhibit the synthesis of fat cells and reduce appetite to aid in weight control. (28)
    Apple cider vinegar: This powerful ingredient helps support satiety and stabilize blood sugar levels to reduce hunger and increase weight loss. (29)
    Bone broth: High in an array of essential amino acids, protein made from bone broth can help promote muscle recovery and repair. Plus, it can increase metabolism to kick up fat-burning.


The word “guarana” is derived from the Guarani word guara-ná, which comes from another word that basically translates to “fruit like the eyes of the people.”

The fruit has a long history. It is deeply rooted in the mythology and culture of several indigenous South American groups. According to legend, the cultivation of this plant began after a deity killed one of the children from the village. In an effort to console the people, the deity then plucked out the left eye of the child and planted it in the forest. This is where wild guarana is believed to have first originated.

Today, it is found in a number of commercial products and supplements. It’s also well-known as a staple ingredient in Guarana Antarctica. This is a popular soft drink that originates in Brazil. It is sold around the world in areas like Europe, Canada, the United States and certain parts of Asia.

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