Saturday, December 8, 2007

Clinical Studies-Schminical studies…I Just Want the Truth!

Part I-Background

I recently got my results from some labs that I had done back in October. The doc tested me for everything! I am happy to say that all results were good except for a slightly elevated sed rate. (May have had something to do with joint pain that has since subsided)

***Not only were the labs good but they were better than they have been for over a decade. Again…they were never bad (except when ill with kidney stuff because of constricted ureter), but these were just better. I will come back to this as I seem to have my own little clinical study going on…accidentally that is…although now I am really curious.

My labs are always good although last year he said my cholesterol was going up even though in normal range. I have NIDDM. My A1c ranges are always around 6.1-6.6 – somewhere in there anyway. I did finger sticks for an ever so brief period of time but then when all the ureteral stricture stuff started happening…one day I just decided that I wasn’t testing my blood sugar anymore. And so I haven’t since the winter of 2006. My test results would indicate that the diabetes is diet controlled but I don’t pay attention to that either. I guess I live in denial about the disease and don’t really even think about it.

I respect my doctors but I admit that basically out of site is out of mind for me and I am not good with follow-up appointments. Given my history of noncompliance it also amuses me that my urodoc has practically had me jumping through hoops thus earning me frequent flier status when it comes to coming in for appointments. I guess you can get a girl to do anything if you stent her enough! ;)

So… back to my labs. What was different? Well, the doc said my HDL (good cholesterol) was perfect. I have been having lipids checked for maybe the last 10 years, if that. They always say the HDL is a little low and exercise will elevate it, but it has always been a little low. Also, my A1c was 5.8 and if I wasn’t already diagnosed as diabetic…wouldn’t 5.8 be in the normal range? But since diagnosed as a diabetic, he referred to it as being controlled.

Part II – What’s Different? Two Things!

1.Herbal Aloe Force. Another link about Herbal Aloe Force. I began drinking this back in February 2007. As some of you know my right ureter was totally constricted due to scarring from a large kidney stone. Even after multiple stentings/procedures it appeared that I was going to have to have surgery for ureteral reconstruction, specifically a psoas hitch. I did not want this surgery but honestly it did look like that was where I was heading. Actually…it was 1 year ago today –December 7th that I had the last ureteral stent placed in me. Hmmm…is this my one year stentoversary? ;) Instead of going right to surgery…I just wanted to see if maybe this time, this stent…finally worked.

While waiting for my next renal scan, I wanted to do everything I could to facilitate healing of my ureter. I remembered that I used to drink aloe juice and then got to thinking…Geeee…aloe juice has healing properties and having it flow through my kideys/urinary system might be a good idea. (I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner) I casually mentioned this to someone in passing. They told me they drink this Herbal Aloe force juice because they researched a lot of products and felt this product was the best one out there. This person is knowledgeable and I trust them and their opinions implicitly.

So, they gave me one of their bottles at cost. Then I ordered it on line but it cost more with S&H but I ordered some anyway. I drank as much as I could and wish I could drink more but it is so expensive! So…I called the company listed on the bottle, told them what was going on with me and they wanted me to drink 4oz 5 times a day but it just wasn’t financially feasible. But I did drink between 6-8 oz a day.

One side effect early on was proof that it was cleansing my system and that passed just as they said it would. Then the person who originally told me about the product graciously split their order with me so I got it cheaper again. I was most grateful but it was still too expensive and so I called the company back again. They said if I was a business or a physician I could get it cheaper. Then the woman remembered a guy out in California who healed himself of Hep C who sells this stuff at warehouse prices. So I called them and I was able to get it for approximately 17.00 + change per bottle (I ordered 3 at a time) and if I could buy bulk (12 bottles) I could get it for about 15.00 + a bottle. I never got anyone to go in on it with me though. *However, if you are a doctor, you can get it for around 13.00 per bottle by the case. These prices include S&H. That is a huge difference from 27.00 or even 22.00! It’s from a place out in California but the name escapes me at the moment but I have the number in my cell.

I drank as much as I could whenever I could on an empty stomach. It is the worst tasting stuff I have ever drunk and I tried to drink it every which way with all kinds of mixtures. In the end…I just suck it up and drink right from the cap like tossing a shot back. The cap is the equivalent of 1 ounce and at least it is going straight down and not swishing around in my mouth.

My May renal scan revealed that it appeared that I was healing. I continued drinking the aloe juice through the summer but haven’t ordered since then and so am not drinking it now. (I will order it again when I can but oil bill, Christmas and medical take priority for now.) This product does so many wonderful things for the body. I also purchased the Herbal Aloe Force gel and was applying it to my urethral area in hopes that it would travel up inside and promote healing from that direction because I had had so many procedures/stents. I was fine but figured it couldn’t hurt. The company would tell pts with colon CA to apply it to the rectal area. (I know this sounds ridiculous to some people but at the very least it would just soothe the area.) However, my urologist wanted me to stop applying it to my urethral area so I stopped.

*Did this aloe juice have any affect on my blood sugar levels or on my lipid profile? It is one thing that was significantly different from anything I had been doing previously.

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2. Cinnammon!
I incorporated lots of cinnamon into my diet. I LOVE cinnamon and so this was easy to do. I had heard that there were studies that said cinnamon was good for people with type II diabetes because it helped too lower blood sugar. I read it in some woman’s magazine. So since summertime, I began sprinkling it on my oatmeal. I also dumped some in the bottom of my coffee filter, added coffee, shook it all around so it blended and then after the coffee brewed I sprinkled more into my cup of coffee. I was doing this almost everyday since maybe mid summer.

*Did incorporating a significant amount of cinnamon into my diet affect my A1c and lipid profiles?

Then after I got these good results, I decided to add more cinnamon and so now I sprinkle additional cinnamon on raw apples, baked or micro waved apples and on bananas. I also love to have plain yogurt with fruit/raisins and/or seeds with cinnamon mixed in. So, I am getting a lot of cinnamon…which makes me a happy girl.

But then…a few weeks ago, my husband saw me sprinkle cinnamon on top of my coffee and said, “You put cinnamon in your coffee?” “Yes I do…it’s good for you.” “Well I just saw on the news this morning that they said cinnamon isn’t good for you if you’re diabetic.” “What did they say?” “I don’t remember exactly.” “Who said it?” I don’t know…one of those news show doctors.” What channel?” “I don’t know.” “Are you sure that is what they said?” “Yes.”

So, with cinnamon coffee in hand I went over to the computer and tried to find research on recent news reports on the negative effects of cinnamon on diabetics. No matter what I did…I couldn’t find a frickin thing. So upon questioning him more…he finally said that maybe it was Dr Isadore Rosenfeld on Fox news. I then turned the flood light off and stopped grilling him. Did he really remember or was he just giving me what I wanted to hear? ;) So I looked up everything current on the good doctor. I never found a thing related to a recent negative cinnamon report. If someone saw it or can find it then please let me know.

However, I ended up reading about cinnamon and the various CONFLICTING studies about cinnamon which now brings me to the real reason for this post.

Part III - Clinical-Schminical Studies! I’m Confused!

First of all…as I was reading through the information on cinnamon’s effect on regulating blood sugar and cholesterol (among other effects) I instantly thought of Throckmorton’s post called “CNS QNS” where he discusses the problems with various studies and outcomes.

I read about the initial study in 2003 where taking one gram (1/2 tsp) cinnamon daily could regulate blood sugar levels and lipids, lowering them 18-29% and more with the lipids. But then there was a study done in 2006 where postmenopausal women were given 1.5 grams of cinnamon daily for 6 weeks and didn’t show any improvement and as a matter of fact for some reason the placebo group fared better. So this study contradicted the 1st study but the controls may have been different. Then there was another 2006 study done where people were given more cinnamon over a 4 month period and they did improve. So what is the truth?

* “Neither of these studies is the final word on use of this spice for BG control. If you'd like to try adding cinnamon to your diet, keep in mind that long-term safety of ingestion of powdered cinnamon bark has not been determined. Researchers at the USDA Agricultural Research Service note that:

"Table cinnamon made from cinnamon bark contains [potentially toxic] fat-soluble compounds. Those compounds may accumulate in the body if ingested consistently as more than a spice over long periods of time."
- Rosalie Marion Bliss, April 2004, Beneficial Compounds in Cinnamon Spice Up Insulin Sensitivity

Hmmm…then perhaps I am using too much cinnamon? Ok…I’ll cut back to what I was doing before my October labs were done. I just find the reported studies to be so frustrating! Soy is another example. First they say it is good for you...then they say it isn’t. Coffee is bad for you…coffee is good for you. This seems to happen a lot. Why can’t the researchers just be honest or why can’t the studies be more controlled? At least point out that the study was done with this particular population under these circumstances but then don’t broadcast it as something to be embraced by the masses. I really think that if we are told something that we should then research it ourselves if possible. Ok, no one told me to dump cinnamon on everything. If I had researched it 1st then I at least would have been aware of the amounts that they were recommending. But instead like most of us I was a lemming following the crowd or the hype in this case.

*Still…my lab results were definitely better. My A1c was never that low and my HDL was never “perfect”. As I already stated…the Herbal Aloe force and the cinnamon are the only two things I did differently.

*Was it one over the other? Was it the combination? I have hardly taken the Aloe juice since my renal scan in October and won’t be until I order it again during the winter. I wish I could do a real study to test this. I think it would be interesting, especially since my results this last time were markedly different (in my opinion) from all the other years.

The following is an excerpt from this link: Aloe vera stabilizes blood sugar in diabetics
Diabetic patients who take aloe vera for 3 months experience a significant drop in fasting blood sugar levels. They also exhibit lower cholesterol levels and slight improvements in total cholesterol. Numerous clinical studies have been published that demonstrate aloe vera's antidiabetic properties.” *This doesn't represent the specific Herbal Aloe Force product but does discuss the benefits of aloe and promotes other aloe products. I will stick with the Herbal Aloe Force unless I find out that there is something better. Wish it could be cheaper too. :)

*Something happened with me. Cinnamon? Herbal Aloe Force? The two combined together? Or…just coincidence?

Then there is one more thing I have to say regarding studies. There is a study that says Cinnulin PF is the only water soluble cinnamon extract and is safer then the whole cinnamon and fat soluble extracts which may be toxic. Are the Cinnulin PF studies skewed because they want to sell a product? How does a person determine these things?

Btw- there seems to be a lot of health benefits to cinnamon – boosts cognitive thinking and brain function, anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting activity, anti microbial activity, colon and heart health, as well as regulating blood sugar and lipids. And it just tastes so good! (Of course…I suppose we could question the sources for those statements too.)

*I also read that one type of cinnamon is better than another. Something about cinnamon from Pakistan is better than Chinese cinnamon -which is what is mostly sold in the stores. I asked my husband if he could pick some cinnamon up for me. I said I have cinnamon from Vietnam but that Pakistani cinnamon is supposed to be better and could he please try to find that. Well he came home with organic cinnamon from Norway. Organic is good. But Norway? No one ever said anything about Norway. Nothing against Norway but nothing was said in any of the articles about Norwegian cinnamon.

Hey...I just thought of something. Could...A sprinkle a day...keep the doctor away? :)


Chrysalis Angel said...

Seaspray - I would caution you any time you see this type of statement "Who healed himself of Hep C." I don't know a thing about the juice, but perhaps the wrong thing is getting credit for a good result this time around. I can't say. Just a thought.

Please do watch that diabetes. It isn't something to ignore, and you know this. Out of sight and mind, doesn't mean out of body...
Uncontrolled, it can cause damage to those kidneys as well as all other areas of the body. Time to make sure that is watched.

I'm so glad you are healing better and feeling better. You went through a really rough time with everything last year. Stick with just your doctors advice and be well. ;)

SeaSpray said...

Hi Angel- I hear you and thank you for sharing your concern. I agree with you too.

I probably put too much in this post and have 3 different things going on in it.

I started to put a response here but then am thinking someone else may be thinking just as you are and be concerned so I am answering in a brief post in response to the long clinical schminical post. I should have explained myself better and put too much in it.

Chrysalis Angel said...

I hope I didn't offend you in any way Seaspray. I wanted to protect you. Hep. C for example, really needs medical intervention from trained medical professionals. You are such a dear, I want you to be around, hence my reference about the diabetes too. I'll read your new posting and I do hope you know the vain in which my comment to you was made. I'm the least of all to advise. I do it from my heart and limited memory.

SeaSpray said...

Angel...the day YOU offend me I am pretty sure there will be snowmen in hell! ;)

I don't know Mr Wright's story but something good must've happened if he has a book out about it and radio shows etc.

Believe me if I had or anyone I knew had hep C I would be all for traditional medical treatment but I wouldn't discount holistic healing either. I would want to read his book and then run it by my physician.

May we never have to think about hep C. I refused the hep B vaccine at work because I saw a nurse have a bad rxn from it but now I wish I went ahead and got it because no one else got a bad rxn. I've never had a flu shot either.

passionstamper said...

Funny you are bringing up the subject of Cinnamon...I received a medical thing in the mail about medical myths. It states that what we get in the grocery store isn't true cinnamon, but is a related, but quite different species called cassia. It's grown in Indonesia, -it's harder, woodier, harsher tasting-but cheaper. There is also a concern that cassia contains a toxic component called coumarin which reacts with the blood-thinning drug Coumadin. True cinnamon has a botanical name-Cinnamoneum verum. It's grown in Ceylon. (wherever that is!)The main ingredient tht gives cinnamon its remarkable insulin-mimicking properties is called MHCP-it's safe and contains no toxic traces. It has boosted glucose metabolism in fat cells as much as 20 times. You may want to research this further.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Passionstamper - yes I did read about this although not about Ceylon.

So then if my store bought cinnamon isn't doing it then it must be the aloe juice. I still think the cinnamon has something to do with it though.

Last year the doc said the cholesterol was starting to go up (still normal range though) and now these results went in the opposite direction.

I find it most interesting.

Thanks for your input. :)

larry1 said...

Hi Seaspray,,
I am a pharmacist who has happened upon a research company which is investigating the merits of cinnamon in type 2 diabetes. I am not recommending that you invest in the company as I have lost some money in their stock so far. However, it the research is productive, I may recoup my investment. If you would like to contact them, here is the address;
PhytoMedical Technologies, Inc., 100 Overlook Drive. 2nd floor,
Princeton, NJ 08540 Phone: Ms.Sharon Gershony, Shareholders communications,800-611-3388
My name is larry1--phone is 510-521-5301 should you wish to contact me. Good luck with your medical conditions.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Larry-I am having cinnamon on oatmeal as I type! :) Thanks for sharing this info. I put cinnamon in the bottom of my coffee basket every morning unless having hazelnut. I shake it so it mixes through. I also generously sprinkle it on my oatmeal or plain yogurt and always add extra if baking. "What honey? To many cookies? Oh noooo...they have cinnamon in them." ;)

I have wondered if I could be overdoing the cinnamon, like can it be toxic if too much?

Thanks for your well wishes. that my ureter is healed...I don't think of myself as having medical conditions...I guess because they are all mild. Now if I would just lose weight...I could reverse them! Knees bother me though...again weight loss would help that too.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

SeaSpray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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