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We aim to bring you interesting and helpful information about osteopathy and complementary medicine within Bristol and beyond.......

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Can Watermelon Improve Exercise?

True to its name, watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is made up of greater than 90% water. Watermelon is low in calories (a 2-cup serving contains about 90 calories) and is regarded as a healthy food. Watermelon contains a high concentration of lycopene, a carotenoid that may have beneficial effects on cancer and cardiovascular disease risk.Watermelon is also high in vitamins A and C.

In addition, watermelon is a rare food source of citrulline, an amino acid that was first isolated in 1930 from watermelon. Citrulline is an antioxidant and is thought to allow watermelon to survive drought-related oxidative stress.

Citrulline is a precursor for arginine, which is involved in the formation of nitric oxide and creatine, and is a key constituent of the urea cycle, which detoxifies ammonia. The key interest of watermelon as an aid to exercise is based around this detoxifying effect which would improve muscle fatigue and recovery.

A group of researchers found that citrulline supplementation decreased time to exhaustion on a treadmill test. Interest in citrulline supplementation to enhance physical performance was sufficient to induce the Air Force to conduct a randomized, double-blind, cross-over study of citrulline malate (6 g/day). The researchers found no differences between citrulline and placebo in measures of respiration, lactate production, or time to exhaustion during incremental cycle ergometry.

Watermelon juice was tested in 7 athletes using cycle ergometry. Researchers compared the effect of watermelon juice (containing 1.17 g of citrulline), enriched watermelon juice (4.83 g of citrulline plus 1.17 g from watermelon), and placebo. Watermelon juice and watermelon juice enriched with citrulline similarly reduced perceived muscle soreness better than placebo, but no significant differences among any of the 3 treatments were observed in terms of lactate levels.

As the current research done has provided mixed results, more research is required to clarify the effect of watermelon or citrulline on exercise in general and muscle soreness in particular. Until such research is available, watermelon can be recommended as a healthy, low-calorie food for everyone except those with rare inborn disorders involving citrulline or arginine metabolism. If you are interested in trying watermelon to lessen muscle soreness after exercise, try exercising with and without eating watermelon and comparing the results.

Source: Medscape

Monday 21 October 2013

Reiki and Cancer - New Research

A survey involving adults receiving reiki through volunteer services at a cancer infusion centre indicates the therapy has ‘a broad range of symptomatic benefits, including improvements in common cancer-related symptoms.’

A total of 145 surveys were completed over a six-month periods, with 47 participants seen in the cancer infusion centre and 98 in other areas of the hospital. Adults taking part were asked to rate on a five-point scale perceived changes in pain, mood, sleep and appetite after receiving reiki.

The results showed 94 per cent of patients who accessed reiki at the cancer centre and 93 per cent who accessed reiki in other areas of the hospital, rated it as a positive experience, with symptomatic improvements similar for people accessing treatment in either context. Most notable were perceived improvements in relaxation, anxiety/worry and mood.
Responses were unaffected by previous exposure to reiki, massage or other touch therapies.

Source: Federation of Holistic Therapists

Monday 14 October 2013

Introducing Max Hopes, the newest member of our Osteopathy Team!

Max has completed a Master's in Osteopathy degree at the prestigious British School of Osteopathy. He also has an abundance of further training in areas such as acupuncture, management of sports injuries and treatment of headache disorders.

His focus is always to reach the root cause of a problem; in order to relieve symptoms, promote better function and prevent recurrence of the injury.

He works with all manner of musculoskeletal ailments including back and neck pain, joint and muscle injuries, headaches and sports injuries.

Max's prior experience includes working at clinics in Wiltshire and London, and at Brentford Football Club.

Max will be working at the clinic on Tuesdays Fridays and Saturdays.

Monday 7 October 2013

Statins linked with Depression

A recent review of medical research dating back to the 1970’s has found clear links between the use of statin drugs to lower cholesterol and the development of depression.
Previous research has shown that chronic depletion of cholesterol interferes with the release of serotonin in the brain.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter carrying nerve impulses between brain cells, enabling them to communicate and keeping our moods stable and balanced.  Cholesterol is a building block for cell membranes, keeping the membrane fluid, flexible and able to release chemicals such as serotonin.  When cholesterol is depleted, the membranes cannot function properly and serotonin is not released.
Statins are one of the biggest selling drugs in history, with over 5 million people taking them in the UK alone.  Side effects are common and include nausea, upset stomach, headaches, muscle pains, memory problems and depression.  The drugs work by inhibiting cholesterol production in the liver but this has the knock on effect of disrupting cell membrane function, hormone pathways and neurotransmitter production.

A safer, natural approach for managing elevated cholesterol levels is to look at the eliminatory pathways, in particular, the bowel.  If excess cholesterol is not passed from the body via the stools it can be re-absorbed and re-circulated round to the liver. Plant sterols are plant compounds that bind to excess waste cholesterol in the bowel and make sure it leaves the body.  To complement their actions, lecithin can be used to support liver function and naturally regulate fat metabolism.

 Another terrible side effect of statins is their blocking of not only cholesterol production in the liver, but also Co-Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) manufacture.  CoQ10 is a vital nutrient used to make cellular energy and is particularly important for cardiovascular health.  The great irony of statin use is that CoQ10 itself can regulate cholesterol levels and also provide antioxidant protection to the cholesterol circulating in our bloodstream!
As the many damaging side effects of statin drugs become more and more apparent it makes sense to consider the natural holistic approaches to maintaining heart health and cholesterol balance.  This can be safely achieved with the combination of lecithin, plant sterols and CoQ10.

Further reading
You H. et al (2013) The relationship between statins and depression: a review of the literature Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 14(11):1467-76
Shrivastava S et al (2010) Chronic cholesterol depletion using statin impairs the function and dynamics of human serotonin receptors Biochemistry 49(26):5426-35
CoQ10 Reduces Cholesterol

Source: Medscape

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Autumn Warmer

By Bronwyn Ward

The leaves are falling and everywhere there are shades of orange and red. This time of year is a good time to be eating foods with this colour too. Eat plenty of pumpkin, squash, sweet potato and carrots. They are all in season, and so good for fortifying against the autumn chill.

Brony’s Autumn Spiced Soup – makes a big pot, freezes well!
1 small squash or pumpkin, cubed
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
2 carrots, cubed
1-2 red onions, sliced
3-4 cloves crushed fresh garlic
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 ½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
1 cup red lentils
5 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup cream
Good pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh coriander to serve

In your largest most lovely saucepan, gently fry the onion in a little butter or olive oil. Add the garlic, chilli, ginger and spices. Add a little water if needed to stop them sticking. 
Add the Squash, carrot and sweet potatoes and sauté until tender. Add lentils and stock or water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30-40 mins until the lentils and vegetables are tender. Blitz with a food processor or wand till thick.
Add seasoning, sugar, cream, fresh tomatoes and peas. Simmer gently for a few minutes to warm through and serve with a sprinkle of fresh coriander.