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Breaking The Cycle of Chronic Pain and Inflammation

"Getting Tired of Living With Pain?"

Order your natural pain relievers online. Get your patient account by signing up under our Provider Identification Number #630595 to have access to high quality pharmaceutical grade nutraceuticals. THese products are far superior to any other products you can buy over the counter at discount stores or vitamin shoppes. For the same price or minimally higher you can now have the highest grade quality products through us.

You would be happy to know that there are natural strategies for having more pain free movement every day.

If you’ve ever experienced a painful injury in your life, you’re familiar with the unpleasant sensations and loss of pain-free mobility. Pain is not a disease. It’s the symptom of an underlying imbalance.

Pain has been defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. This means that pain is a warning mechanism.

Pain is one of the most frequent reasons for doctor visits in this country, causing half of all Americans to seek medical care each year. Chronic pain is the third most common healthcare problem affecting productivity, mobility and quality of your life. More than a third of the estimated 75 to 85 million persons in the United States who report chronic pain are partially or totally disabled. (1)

Arthritis is a very common cause of chronic pain and limited activity and it’s characterized by localized pain and swelling. Around 46.9 million adults in the United Stated have been diagnosed with arthritis. (2)

Arthritis is on the rise and it’s estimated that by 2030, 67 million adult Americans will have arthritis. (3)

The most common chronic pain condition seen is back and neck pains. According to the National Pain Foundation about 85 percent of Americans will experience back pain by age 50 and more than 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 experience frequent back pain. (4)

People differ in their ability to tolerate pain which varies depending on their mood, personality, and circumstances at the time. Despite the subjective nature of pain, most pain is associated with tissue damage and has a basis in the physiology of your body.

Pain can be classified as acute or chronic. Acute pain starts suddenly and lasts a short time. Chronic pain may last for weeks to years but typically lasts for at least one month longer than expected based on the illness or injury. It also recurs on and off for months or years or is associated with a chronic disease or injury that does not heal.

Chronic pain often results in depression with a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, sleep problems, decreased energy, decreased appetite, weight loss and decreased sex drive. Chronic pain can make the nervous system more sensitive to pain by repeatedly stimulating the nerve fibers and cells that detect, send, and receive pain signals. Repeated stimulation can cause changes in the structure of the nerve fibers or make them more active resulting in increased pain transmission to the spinal cord and brain. (5)

Your Body’s Response To Chronic Pain

Your body has pain receptors almost everywhere, especially in the skin, the joint surfaces, the lining around your bones and the walls of your arteries. Pain coming from various sources can stimulate these receptors, then transfers through specialized nerves to the spinal cord and up to the brain. The brain processes the pain signal and sends an impulse down the spinal cord which commands the body to respond.

Pain receptors (called nociceptors) are nerve fibers with endings that can be excited by three types of stimuli: mechanical, thermal, and chemical.

  1. Mechanical receptors respond to pressure or stretching.
  2. Thermal receptors respond to extreme heat or cold.
  3. Chemical receptors react to various stimuli from both internal and external sources including chemical mediators from trauma or inflammation.
For example, specific prostaglandins are pro-inflammatory mediators that are locally released with painful stimuli and inflammation and cause increased sensitivity of the pain receptors. Other chemical substances produced by the body that excite pain receptors include bradykinin, serotonin, and histamine. Thus, controlling inflammatory mediators can directly impact pain perception.

Pain signals can also be selectively inhibited in the spinal cord. This analgesic (pain-relieving) response is controlled by neurochemicals called endorphins, which are opioid peptides such as enkephalins that are produced by the body. These substances block reception of stimuli by binding to receptors. Enhancing this natural pain-reducing pathway also can modulate the perception of pain.

Natural Solutions To Alleviate Your Pain

Pain is one of the most common health problems doctors treat, yet clinical practice and research shows us that pain is something that can be overcome. One of the most effective natural approaches involves the amino acid DL-phenylalanine, the botanicals turmeric and boswellia serrata, and the proteolytic enzyme nattokinase. Unlike other substances such as glucosamine sulfate which acts to correct tissue damage after it has occurred, these synergistic substances work specifically to inhibit pain.

DL-Phenylalanine

L-phenylalanine is an essential amino acid metabolized into tyrosine which is the precursor used for the synthesis of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine. DL-Phenylalanine is a 50-50 mixture of L-phenylalanine and its mirror image molecule D- phenylalanine.

DL- Phenylalanine is among a number of compounds that have been shown to inhibit the break down of enkephalins, which are the body’s natural opioid pain reducers. DL-phenylalanine has been used successfully for the management of chronic pain in humans. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties. It is proposed that the enkephalinase inhibitors may be effective in a number of human "endorphin deficiency diseases" such as depression and arthritis. DL-phenylalanine may alleviate other conditions associated with decreased endorphin levels like opiate withdrawal symptoms as well. (7)

Animal models indicate that DL-phenylalanine supplementation can increase the pain threshold. It is hypothesized that this analgesia is induced by phenylalanine blocking enkephalin degradation by the enzyme carboxypeptidase A. Preliminary studies of chronic pain patients have shown a response rate to DL-phenylalanine from 32 percent to 75 percent. (8) Analysis suggests that it may be mediated in part by up-regulation of the endogenous analgesia system (EAS). Since enkephalins are key neurotransmitters in the EAS, it is reasonable to suggest that promoting enkephalin activity by DL-phenylalanine should potentiate EAS-mediated analgesia.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Turmeric is used for numerous inflammatory conditions because it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. The primary constituent is curcumin believed responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties. Preliminary studies show that turmeric helps support several conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory eye diseases, chronic pancreatitis, psoriasis, hyperlipidemia and cancers. (9)

Curcumin has been shown to inhibit important enzymes that mediate inflammatory processes in the body. These enzymes are cyclooxygenase (COX), lipoxygenase (LOX), and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). (10)

Improper up-regulation of COX-2 and iNOS has been associated with the pathology of inflammatory disorders as well as certain types of cancer. A number of studies have been conducted that support curcumin-mediated regulation of the COX and LOX pathways at both the cellular and molecular level. (11)

In one study, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric were evaluated using animal models of rheumatoid arthritis. The results showed that turmeric profoundly inhibited joint inflammation and joint destruction in a dose-dependent manner.

Turmeric prevented local activation of NFkB, which is involved in regulation of expression of the pro-inflammatory enzymes COX-2 and iNOS. Additionally, inflammatory cell influx, joint levels of pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2, and local osteoclast (cells that resorb bone) formation were inhibited by turmeric extract treatment. (12)

Boswellia serrata

Boswellia serrata also known as Indian frankincense, is widely used as a traditional herb in Ayurvedic medicine for treating inflammatory disease and has reported anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity. The resin, or gum, from the plant contains boswellic acids, which produce much of this plant’s anti-inflammatory activity.

It is believed that the mechanism of action for the anti-inflammatory activity of the boswellic acids is the ability to inhibit the synthesis of pro-inflammatory leukotrienes and the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). Several clinical trials have attributed beneficial effects of this herb in treating chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic colitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, asthma, and tumor-associated brain edema. (13)

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study in 30 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, Boswellia serrata extract or placebo was given for 8 weeks. All of the patients receiving Boswellia supplementation reported a decrease in knee pain and the frequency of swelling, and an increase in knee flexion and walking distance. (14)

Nattokinase

Nattokinase is a proteolytic (protein-dissolving) enzyme derived from a Japanese food known as natto, a preparation of soybeans that has undergone fermentation with a bacterium known as Bacillus subtilis natto. (15)

Proteolytic enzymes have analgesic effects in addition to their well-recognized anti-inflammatory and anti-edemic properties, indicating they may have a role to play in pain management. Enzyme-derived analgesia is based on inhibition of the inflammatory cascade as well as exerting a direct influence on nociceptors. (16) Enzymes increase speed of healing and pain relief, and decrease inflammation.

Another mechanism by which nattokinase may help control pain is through its actions as a fibrinolytic enzyme, which means it breaks down fibrin deposits by inactivating plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1). (17) Studies show that it has fibrinolytic activity 4-times more potent than plasmin, the body’s natural fibrinolytic enzyme. (18) The fibrinolytic system is closely linked to control of inflammation, and plays a role in disease states associated with inflammation.

In animal studies, nattokinase can reduce markedly the thickening of blood vessel walls that normally occurs following an injury to the blood vessel lining (endothelium). In addition, nattokinase leads to dissolution of clots that build inside vessel walls as responses to injuries. (19) Enzyme therapy is used to digest the fibrin and reverse the inflammation, which is the likely mechanism by which nattokinase may help to reduce pain.

Conclusion

Controlling pain is a challenge for many individuals. It is a major symptom in numerous medical conditions, and can significantly interfere with a person’s quality of life and general functioning. Natural substances that inhibit inflammation and work directly on the sensitivity of the nervous system may improve the body’s natural pain-reducing mechanisms.

Therefore, consuming a synergistic blend of DL-phenylalanine, turmeric, boswellia serrata, and nattokinase, (all found in EnFlex™) which work directly on pain and inflammation, may help individuals regain mobility.

"Getting Tired of Living With Pain?" Order your natural pain relievers online. Get your patient account by signing up under our Provider Identification Number #630595 to have access to high quality pharmaceutical grade nutraceuticals. THese products are far superior to any other products you can buy over the counter at discount stores or vitamin shoppes. For the same price or minimally higher you can now have the highest grade quality products through us.

References

1. National Pain Education Council. Available at: http://www.npecweb.org/aboutnpec.asp?id=22&selMenu=2,8. Accessed on: 05-12-08.

2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Fastats. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/arthrits.htm. Accessed on 2-13-08.

3. Arthritis Foundation. News from the Arthritis Foundation. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/media/newsroom/media-kits/Arthritis_Prevalence.pdf. Accessed on 2-13-08.

4. National Pain Foundation. Common Causes of Back and Neck Pain and Your Treatment Options. Available at: http://www.nationalpainfoundation.org/MyTreatment/articles/BackAndNeck_Part_1.asp. Accessed on: 05-12-08.

5. Merck and Co., Inc. Introduction: Pain: Merck Manual Home Addition. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec06/ch078/ch078a.html. Accessed on: 05-12-08.

6. Ehrenpreis S. Pharmacology of enkephalinase inhibitors: animal and human studies. Acupunct Electrother Res. 1985;10(3):203-208.

7. Ehrenpreis S. D-phenylalanine and other enkephalinase inhibitors as pharmacological agents: implications for some important therapeutic application. Acupunct Electrother Res. 1982;7(2-3):157-172.

8. Walsh NE, Ramamurthy S, Schoenfeld L, et al. Analgesic effectiveness of D-phenylalanine in chronic pain patients. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1986 Jul;67(7):436-439.

9. Hsu CH, Cheng AL. Clinical studies with curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:471-480.

10. Menon VP, Sudheer AR. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:105-125.

11. Rao CV. Regulation of COX and LOX by curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:213-26.

12. Funk JL, Frye JB, Oyarzo JN, et al. Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Nov;54(11):3452-3464.

13. Ammon HP. Boswellic acids (components of frankincense) as the active principle in treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases [in German]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2002;152(15–16):373–378.

14. Kimmatkar N, Thawani V, Hingorani L, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee--a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2003 Jan;10(1):3-7.

15. Sumi H, Hamada H, Tsushima H, et al. A novel fibrinolytic enzyme (nattokinase) in the vegetable cheese natto; a typical and popular soybean food in the Japanese diet. Experientia. 1987;43:1110–1111. 56–67.

16. Klein G, Kullich W. Reducing pain by oral enzyme therapy in rheumatic diseases. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1999;149(21–22):577–580.

17. Urano T, Ihara H, Umemura K, et al. The profibrinolytic enzyme subtilisin NAT purified from Bacillus subtilis Cleaves and inactivates plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1. J Biol Chem. 2001 Jul 6;276(27):24690-24696.

18. Fujita M, Hong K, Ito Y, et al. Thrombolytic effect of nattokinase on a chemically induced thrombosis model in rat. Biol Pharm Bull. 1995 Oct;18(10):1387-1391.

19. Suzuki Y, Kondo K, Ichise H, et al. Dietary supplementation with fermented soybeans suppresses intimal thickening. Nutrition. 2003 Mar;19(3):261-264.

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