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Archive for August, 2017

Cod Liver Oil

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What is it?

Cod liver oil can be obtained from eating fresh cod liver or by taking supplements.

Cod liver oil is used for high cholesterol, high triglycerides, kidney disease in people with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoarthritis, depression, an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), glaucoma, and middle ear infections (otitis media).

Some people put cod liver oil on their skin to speed wound healing.

When taken in appropriate doses by mouth, cod liver oil seems to help lower high triglycerides (a type of blood fat), lower high blood pressure, and treat some symptoms of kidney disease related to diabetes. It doesn’t seem to lower high cholesterol or reduce arthritis pain. Other uses are still under investigation.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for COD LIVER OIL are as follows:

Likely effective for…

  • Lowering blood fats called triglycerides. Taking cod liver oil by mouth can reduce triglyceride levels by 20% to 50% in people with high triglyceride levels.

Possibly effective for…

  • High blood pressure. Taking cod liver oil by mouth seems to lower blood pressure (both numbers) a small, but important, amount in people with mild high blood pressure.
  • Kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes. Taking cod liver oil seems to reduce protein in the urine, a marker for kidney disease severity.

Possibly ineffective for…

  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Cholesterol disease that runs in families (familial hypercholesterolemia).

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Depression. There is some evidence that people who take cod liver oil have fewer symptoms of depression than other people.
  • Irregular heartbeat in people with heart disease. There is some early evidence that cod liver oil might help to prevent certain types of irregular heartbeat.
  • Ear infections in young children. Preliminary research suggests that taking cod liver oil along with a children’s multivitamin-mineral product containing selenium might prevent or decrease the number of ear infections in young children.
  • Heart disease.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
  • Wound healing.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate cod liver oil for these uses.

How does it work?

Cod liver oil contains certain “fatty acids” that prevent the blood from clotting easily. These fatty acids also reduce pain and swelling.

Are there safety concerns?

Cod liver oil is LIKELY SAFE for most people. It can cause side effects including belching, bad breath, heartburn, and nosebleeds. Taking cod liver oil with meals can often decrease these side effects.

High doses are POSSIBLY UNSAFE. They might keep blood from clotting and can increase the chance of bleeding. Vitamin A and vitamin D levels might also become too high with high doses of cod liver oil. High doses might also cause nausea and loose stools.

The safety of cod liver oil when used on the skin is unknown.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of cod liver oil during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

High blood pressure: Cod liver oil can lower blood pressure and might cause blood pressure to go too low if used along with medications for high blood pressure. Be careful when using cod liver oil if you are taking high blood pressure drugs.

Are there interactions with medications?

Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Cod liver oil seems to decrease blood pressure. Taking cod liver oil along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Cod liver oil might slow blood clotting. Taking cod liver oil along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), dipyridamole (Persantine), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting
Cod liver oil might slow blood clotting. Using cod liver oil with herbs and supplements that also slow blood clotting might increase the chance of bruising and bleeding in some people. These herbs include angelica, borage seed oil, clove, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, red clover, turmeric, willow, and others.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For lowering triglycerides: 20 mL of cod liver oil per day.
  • For high cholesterol: 30 mL of cod liver oil per day.
  • For lowering blood pressure: 20 mL of cod liver oil per day.
 

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

  1. Raeder MB, Steen VM, Vollset SE, Bjelland I. Associations between cod liver oil use and symptoms of depression: The Hordaland Health Study. J Affect Disord 2007;101:245-9. View abstract.
  2. Farmer A, Montori V, Dinneen S, Clar C. Fish oil in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2001;3:CD003205. View abstract.
  3. Linday LA, Dolitsky JN, Shindledecker RD, Pippenger CE. Lemon-flavored cod liver oil and multivitamin-mineral supplement for the secondary prevention of otitis media in young children: pilot research. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 2002:111:642-52.. View abstract.
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Coconut Water

Coconut water

What is it?

Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside immature coconuts. As the coconut matures, the water is replaced by coconut meat.

Coconut water is sometimes referred to as green coconut water because the immature coconuts are green in color.

Coconut water is different than coconut milk. Coconut milk is produced from an emulsion of the grated meat of a mature coconut.

Coconut water is commonly used as a beverage and as a solution for treating dehydration related to diarrhea or exercise. It is also tried for high blood pressure.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for COCONUT WATER are as follows:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Diarrhea-related dehydration. Some research shows that consuming coconut water can help prevent dehydration in children with mild diarrhea. But there is no reliable evidence that it is any more effective than other beverages for this use.
  • Exercise-related dehydration. Some athletes use coconut water to replace fluids after exercise. Coconut water seems to help rehydrate after exercise, but it does not appear to be more effective than sports drinks or plain water.
  • High blood pressure. Some research suggests that drinking coconut water might lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of coconut water for these uses.

How does it work?

Coconut water is rich in carbohydrates and electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Because of this electrolyte composition, there is a lot of interest in using coconut water to treat and prevent dehydration. But some experts suggest that the electrolyte composition in coconut water is not adequate to be used as a rehydration solution.

Are there safety concerns?

Coconut water is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when consumed as a drink. There are no known serious side effects.

Coconut water is POSSIBLY SAFE for children.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of coconut water during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

High blood pressure: Coconut water might lower blood pressure. It can increase the effects of medications used to lower blood pressure. Discuss your use of coconut water with your healthcare provider if you have blood pressure problems.

Surgery: Coconut water might interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery. Stop using coconut water at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there interactions with medications?

Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Coconut water might decrease blood pressure. Taking coconut water along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure
Coconut water might lower blood pressure. Using it along with other herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure might lower blood pressure too much. Some of these products include danshen, epimedium, ginger, Panax ginseng, turmeric, valerian, and others.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

  1. Alleyne T, Roache S, Thomas C, Shirley A. The control of hypertension by use of coconut water and mauby: two tropical food drinks. West Indian Med J 2005;54:3-8. View abstract.
  2. Ismail I, Singh R, Sirisinghe RG. Rehydration with sodium-enriched coconut water after exercise-induced dehydration. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 2007;38:769-85. View abstract.
  3. Saat M, Singh R, Sirisinghe RG, Nawawi M. Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water. J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci. 2002;21:93-104. View abstract.

 

 

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