Supplement for PCOS: Berberine

Supplement for PCOS: Berberine

Treating PCOS is challenging. There are options available but as with all medications, they can be hit-or-miss for everyone.

Since insulin resistance is common in many PCOS sufferers, treating that part of it will sometimes lead to a reduction in other symptoms we tend to have. There are several things (prescription medications, diet and supplements) that are said to help with this problem.

Metformin is one of the medications that is used to treat insulin resistance. It is well-known around the PCOS forums for helping symptoms as well as causing bad side effects. Many have had to stop taking it due to these effects.

There are some herbal supplements that have shown to possibly have the same kind of effect on insulin resistance. One of these supplements is called Berberine. I have seen quite a few posts about this alternative to Metformin.

In this blog post I will be talking about what Berberine is, the alleged benefits, what the research says about it and my experience taking it.

Background on Berberine

Berberine is a chemical found in several different plants. The use of Berberine dates back to 650 BC and is still used a lot in Chinese medicine.

The alleged benefits are as follows:

1. Lowers blood sugar levels

2. Helps with weight loss

3. Helps with GI functioning

4. Fights inflammation

5. Improves the immune system

There are quite a few brands that sell Berberine in capsule and powder form. The recommended serving size per day is 1200 mg for most of them. It is to be taken right before or after meals.

The research done on it

There were some interesting research articles on Berberine. They all pretty much concluded the same, mostly positive things about its use as a supplement. It is important to remember that further studies are still needed though.

Three of the articles caught my attention the most and I read them all the way through. I decided to summarize the conclusions of each one below:

Article #1- Back in the 80s, Berberine was studied and showed anti-diabetic actions. It seemed to be very much like Metformin despite working differently. This meant that there was a decrease in fasted glucose and body fat. There were also some anti-tumor effects.

Article #2- The study that was done in this article showed the positive effects that Berberine has on lipids, renal functioning and cardiac contractions. There was a section of the article that also talked about inflammation and how Berberine is active against the metabolic pathway that causes it.

Article #3- This article, like the others, showed the supplementation of Berberine’s anti-diabetic action. The study also concluded that the lipid metabolism action of it was better than Metformin’s. When it came to waist measurements, the participants had a decrease in numbers even despite no weight changes.

For all three of these articles, side effects of Berberine were noted. They included diarrhea, constipation, bad gas, stomach pain, nausea and headaches. These are like what people experience on Metformin but were said to be less severe in some cases.

Researchers are not sure about the long-term use of Berberine. This is due to the DNA damage that it could possibly produce. It also is said to kill some good bacteria that is in our guts.

My experience with Berberine supplementation

Back in 2016, I came across posts on a PCOS forum about using Berberine instead of Metformin. The possibility of weight loss (I wasn’t that happy with my body at that time) and just to treat my PCOS symptoms in general were what caused me to buy a bottle of it.

I don’t remember what brand the Berberine capsules were from, but I assume it got relatively good reviews (I wouldn’t buy it if it didn’t). It came quick and I was really excited to start taking it.

I began taking just one (500 mg) a day for a week. Then, I went to two (1000 mg) a day for four weeks. I didn’t have any side effects, nor did I notice any positive effects either.

After those weeks of two capsules a day went by, I upped the dosage to three (1500 mg) capsules a day. Around four days of taking that much, I ended up going to the ER due to a gall stone. It was the worst pain I have ever felt.

I was thinking that the gall stone was caused by the high dosage of Berberine, so I decided to stop taking it completely. I found out after reading my medical notes a few days after my ER stay that I lost eight pounds during my time taking the Berberine. Since I never weighed myself and clearly didn’t pay attention to how I looked, I was surprised.

People were telling me that I looked as though I had lost weight and I guess I had. I am thinking it was from the Berberine. Since I never changed up my diet during that time, I don’t have any other explanation for it.

Will I take Berberine again?

I honestly do think about taking it again. This time it would be for the alleged immune system benefit. I believe that if I do indeed have insulin resistance, it will be treated just fine by me watching my carb intake.

As far as weight loss goes, I do not need any help in that area. I also don’t have issues with gaining a lot of fat on my abdomen area.

Since I can’t take any supplement (besides vitamin b6, ginger, probiotics and colostrum) without feeling extremely nauseous these days, I will probably not be buying Berberine again.

That is it for this post. Have you taken Berberine or Metformin before? If so, what were your experiences?

Thanks for reading!

Sources-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6111450/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839379/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2410097/

#pcos #pcosawareness #insulinresistance #lowcarb #health #womenshealth #supplements #research #science

Supplement Talk Saturday: Huperzine A

Supplement Talk Saturday: Huperzine A

I have taken a few different supplements before that were for fat loss and energy/workout performance. They had multiple different things in them that could have been really bad for me. I should have done research on them beforehand.

One of the ingredients in two of them was Huperzine A. This post is about what the substance is, the alleged benefits, what the research says about it and my experiences with the supplements that contained it.

Huperzine A and its alleged benefits

This is a substance extracted from the Chinese club moss plant which is native to southeast Asia and India. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a long time.

It is in the nootropic class of substances (“smart drugs”) and is usually used with other ones for an enhanced affect. The mechanism of action is through inhibiting an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme metabolizes acetylcholine and breaks it down.

A depletion of acetylcholine causes problems in our brains.

The alleged benefits of Huperzine A are as follows:

1. Improves memory

2. Improves cognitive functioning

3. Helps with Myasthenia Gravis

4. Workout enhancer

The possible side effects are as follows:

1. GI problems

2. Headaches

3. Slurred speech

It can be bought in capsule and powder form. The dosage recommendations seem to range from 100 mcg to 300 mcg daily.

What the research says

There have been several research studies done on this substance. A lot of them showed some promise in the use of it in memory and cognitive functioning.

The unfortunate thing is that Mayo Clinic and the Alzheimer’s Association say that Huperzine A is not effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Mayo claims that there are problems with the way the studies were conducted as well as there being significant GI side effects seen in the participants.

There was a large-scale study done to determine if Huperzine A could be of use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association says that the effects of the substance were no different than the placebo.

I found a study indicating that Huperzine A could help reduce seizures. While this may sound good, one must remember it is only one trial that was done on mice. Supplementing with Huperzine A should not be done just for seizure control though as it could be detrimental.

Is Huperzine A worth it?

This is a hard question to answer. It clearly can’t be used to treat Alzheimer’s-the results from the studies are not strong enough.

There seems to be plenty of anecdotal evidence surrounding the use of it. Looking at Amazon reviews shows that a lot of people have had success with supplementing it for memory enhancement. Of course, it could all be placebo though.

I think that if one is really in the market for huperzine A, they should do some reading up on it. Also, it is good to take heed of the side effects which don’t look very fun.

My experience with it

As I said before, I took a couple of fat loss/workout supplements that contained huperzine A. There were other things in there as well. They were put in there so that people could have focus while they were dieting and working out.

For me, these supplements were not good and I am ashamed that I even tried them without doing more research. They made me alternate between angry, sad and slightly paranoid. It is also important for me to say that I am on Lamictal for evening seizures. Maybe the supplement interacted badly with it?

Since there were other ingredients in the supplements, I can’t sit here and say that it was just the Huperzine A that was bad for me. All I know is that I won’t be trying them or anything like them again.

I could use some memory and cognitive enhancements though! It seems like Lamictal has diminished my cognitive functioning a bit.

Have you taken huperzine A before? What was your experience with it?

Thanks for reading!

#nootropics #memory #cognitivefunctioning #mood #focus #supplements #amazon

Supplement Talk: Dandelion

Supplement Talk: Dandelion

I said in my last supplement talk post that I was going to be doing them on the weekends. Well that didn’t happen. So now I will be doing one today!

No that it really matters though because no one reads my blog…

As I have stated before, I love to do research on things these days. I have taken a lot of different herbs/supplements before and I should have done research on them back then. All I did was look at a “blurb” of what they could do for me and immediately bought them.

Doing this could have been very dangerous. I do consume colostrum, ginger, b6 and green tea daily so I guess I am still being dangerous.

A few years ago I consumed dandelion root on a semi regular basis. I took it because it was said to get bloating down and help with acne. In this post I wanted to take a closer look at it in regards to the alleged benefits, scientific evidence and my experience with it.

What it is and alleged benefits

Dandelions are considered to be weeds by many. They have the ability to spread across lawns which make a lot of homeowners unhappy. This makes them go out and buy things that will kill them all off.

A lot of people don’t know that dandelions are actually edible. A quick look around the internet will turn up many delicious looking recipes that use them (see here for one example: https://www.abeautifulplate.com/sauteed-dandelion-greens-with-eggs/ ). It is important to buy them organically from a farmer’s market to avoid the consumption of harmful pesticides.

Dandelions have also been used in hopes of healing various health ailments. Some of the alleged benefits of them are as follows:

1. Gets rid of bloating

2. Helps with gas

3. Helps with appetite (increases it)

4. Helps with constipation

5. Helps control blood sugar

6. Supports the liver

7. Lowers cholesterol

Taking too much of dandelion might cause stomach discomfort. Also, It should probably be avoided altogether if you are allergic to other plants in the daisy family.You can find dandelion on Amazon sold in tea, capsules, powders and liquid extract forms.

What the research shows

My looking on the internet for dandelion research turned up a few studies. There are probably more studies out there but I am guessing they show similar things to the ones I found.

All of the studies I looked at showed dandelion to be high in potassium. Because of this I am going to go ahead and say that it is most likely true. That means you need to be careful when you consume it because it easy to get too much potassium.

In one study I found, there showed increased fluid loss with an extract of the leaf. This study and possibly other studies (presumably) that show this kind of result seems to be a big reason as to why people want to supplement with it.

There was a study showing its potential as an anti-diabetic treatment. It is important to realize that just because there may be some potential doesn’t mean that one should rely on it to treat their diabetes. There is not even close to enough evidence for this.

One study showed some limited evidence of dandelion helping with digestion. This might be part of the reason why it is marketed as helping with bloating, gas, appetite and constipation.

Overall, there is limited evidence that dandelion actually helps with health related issues. As with many supplements and herbs there needs to be more research done which may or may not ever happen.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that it helps with certain things though. If you are thinking of supplementing with dandelion, do some research and proceed at your own risk.

My experience with dandelion

I used to consume dandelion root tea from the Traditional Medicinals brand. Three cups a day was the maximum, recommended amount and that is what I stuck to. As I said before, I was taking it for bloating and acne.

I didn’t mind the taste of the tea after I put in Splenda. Without it I definitely would not be able to stand drinking it. The taste is pretty bitter and kind of like coffee to me.

One of the things I noticed from it was that I felt less bloated after meals. It did make me urinate a little more than normal, so for me the de-bloating benefit was true.

Something else I noticed was that drinking it after meals made me slightly hungry again. One of the alleged benefits I listed was that it might help with increasing the appetite. I guess I can say that that was true for me.

In regards to my acne, I actually do recall having clearer skin during that time. That could have been just a coincidence though. Either way I was happy with it.

In conclusion

I found limited research-based evidence and a lot of anecdotal evidence that supplementing with dandelion has benefits. My personal experience with it was positive although I do not feel the need to take it anymore.

Have you tried dandelion as a supplement or in recipes before? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

#pcosawarenes #health #research #supplements #dandelion #plants

Supplement Talk Saturday/Sunday: DMAE

Supplement Talk Saturday/Sunday: DMAE

These things together make a great eye cream!

Since I have tried a lot of supplements and I also love researching, I have decided to do posts on supplements every week. I will be presenting what each one is, the alleged benefits, the research done on it and my experience with it.

I really hope that these posts will be of interest to someone. They certainly are to me! As always, remember that I am not a health professional/expert. I am just doing some reading on things and showing my findings.

For this first post I will be focusing on DMAE which I used a few years ago.

DMAE: What it is, benefits and side effects

DMAE has a chemical name of, 2-dimethylaminoethanol. It is said to help the brain by increasing acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter). Because this chemical is supposed to help our brains, it is considered a nootropic.

One can find it in ready-made pills, powder, supplement stacks, beauty products and it also occurs in fatty fish. The supplementation dosage appears to range from 250-1700 mg per day.

The alleged benefits of DMAE include:

1. May have anti-aging benefits when applied to the skin.

2. May treat ADHD

3. May improve physical energy

4. May improve memory

5. May treat Alzheimer’s

6. May improve focus

The side effects include:

1. Fatigue

2. Headaches

3. Anger

4. Depression

5. Worsening of bipolar symptoms

DMAE: Scientific evidence

As a lot of supplements go, the scientific evidence is not always strong. There have obviously been some positive benefits shown with it which is why it is being marketed as helping in the aforementioned areas.

When people read about it possibly treating Alzheimer’s disease, they probably get really excited. The unfortunate thing is that there seems to be even less evidence that it would help for this condition than there is for the other alleged benefits.

The anti-aging benefit that is talked about seems pretty promising from the few articles I have read. They have shown that applying it to the skin can firm up the wrinkles, lines and folds you might have. It probably will not give you a face lift like result as some people in the beauty industry say that it does though.

I was not able to find many research articles regarding DMAE and it helping with cognition. Clearly there must have been some research studies done. If we are just go by the anecdotal evidence, it seems like it is really good for people’s focus and mental speed for tasks.

There is also one study that I found stating that DMAE might be beneficial for improving mood. It was part of a supplement containing other things though so it is hard to say if it alone actually helps. The fact that one of the side effects can be depression is something to note if one decides to take it for this purpose.

My experience with DMAE

A few years ago I supplemented with DMAE. Anecdotally, I did experience quite a bit of mental and physical energy. This was at a pretty low dose though (350 mg a day).

When I decided to double the dosage, I then started having negative effects. This included me feeling angry and having horrible headaches. These kinds of headaches were the ones that don’t respond very well to Tylenol.

The way I took DMAE was through capsules that I made. I bought the powder from Bulk Supplements ( https://www.bulksupplements.com/products/dmae-bitartrate-powder?_pos=1&_sid=8b177b7c5&_ss=r) along with geletin capsules and micro spoons ( https://www.amazon.com/Aozita-Pack-Lab-Spatula-Nickel-Stainless/dp/B075VLJQDZ/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=powder+spoons&qid=1578245839&sr=8-6). I made one capsule and took it every morning. When I was taking two doses, I would take one in the morning and one in the evening.

After a while, I decided to quit taking it. I just got sick of making the capsules everyday and did not think it was necessary to supplement with it anymore.

Will I ever take it again?

I do not have plans of supplementing with it by mouth again. When it comes to the anti-aging benefits, I will be trying it in a cream form. I found a recipe on LeafTV that I will be following ( https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-to-make-dmae-cream/).

To make the cream, I will be using the Bulk Supplement’s DMAE powder, Vanicream Lite Lotion, and rosehip oil. I plan on starting this after I get daycare business income coming in. I will most likely also start using a glycolic acid serum each evening and then putting the DMAE cream on after I let it sink in.

I am not going to keep my hopes up that the DIY cream will work for me. My guess is that I will need to get fillers if I want my folds to reduce in severity. I thought that my face would recover and snap back after my fat loss but it is looking like it won’t.

Have any of you taken DMAE in some form? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12844472

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17300230

https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=21390

https://examine.com/supplements/dmae/

#skincare #beauty #adhd #cognition #pcos #health #supplements #antiaging

Immune System Boosting

Immune System Boosting

It really bothers me that I can’t take vitamin D and zinc anymore. This is due to the fact that they make me feel sick to my stomach. Out of all of the supplements, these ones are usually recommended and considered to help the immune system (see here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5949172/ ).

Back when I used to be able to take supplements, I was really healthy and very rarely got sick. Ever since I got pregnant and gave birth, my immune system has not been good at all. I really want to be able to take vitamin D and Zinc so that I don’t get sick as much.

There are other ways to boost your immune system

I have been looking up ways that I can get my immune system in tip-top shape without the use of vitamin supplements. Here is a list of things that are said to help a person not get sick very much:

  1. Regular exercise- Check!
  2. Hand washing- Check!
  3. Get good quality sleep- Nope!
  4. Keep a healthy weight/BMI- Check!
  5. Eat a diet that is full of immune system boosting food- Sort of?
  6. Don’t smoke- Check! Yuck!
  7. Reduce stress in your life- Check!

As you can see I need to work on getting better sleep and work on my diet some more. The time to get started on this is now!

What I am going to do

In regards to sleeping, I will be trying to make 10:00 PM my bed time and set my alarm for 7:00 AM. Right now I am going to bed at on average 1:00 AM and getting up at 5:00 AM. That is bad!

I found a wonderful list of foods that are supposed to help me reach my goal of boosting my immune system (see here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322412.php ). From that list I will be consuming the following things:

  1. Berries-Lots of antioxidants. I will eat them with Stevia and a couple squirts of whip cream.
  2. Broccoli- High in vitamin C. I have always liked this vegetable. I can definitely eat it everyday.
  3. Ginger- I already take ginger capsules everyday. I will continue to do so but I do not think it really helps to prevent anything.
  4. Garlic- We stopped purchasing garlic due to my husband being allergic to it. I will start using it again but just on my food.
  5. Green tea- I used to drink a ton of this stuff. Knowing that it is good for the immune system is making me want to start drinking it again. I think I will go for this one: https://www.republicoftea.com/organic-immunity-supergreen-tea-bags/p/v20369/dpn/40913/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&adpos=1o1&scid=scplp40913&sc_intid=40913&gclid=CjwKCAjw98rpBRAuEiwALmo-ylnJcj71Z1JVnX8GZ8tXEVKDMjrTgZqqAhEF6_oWGWR6uH64CgWoKBoCOiwQAvD_BwE
  6. Citrus fruits- I am going to be putting lemon slices in my water as well as eating oranges.
  7. Elderberry- This was not on that list but I will start taking some everyday.
  8. Rosemary, thyme and oregano- These were not on the list but I will be using them in my food a lot because they are said to help as well.

The sleep and diet changes will also be combined with my use of colostrum supplements which may help immunity too.

I am also going to get my flu shot this year! I have not gotten it for the past two years and have gotten the flu both years in January. Ugh!

That Time I Had A Gallstone

That Time I Had A Gallstone

It is incredibly disappointing that I have not found out how to treat my health issues yet. Last night I was really upset about this and I decided to ask myself, “when was the worst I ever felt?” I scrolled through the memories in my brain and then I found it. It was that time I had a gallstone!

What is a gallstone?

These are little hard stones that form in the gallbladder which is located on the right side of our bodies.  This can cause excruciatingly uncomfortable symptoms if the gallbladder becomes inflamed(Christian Nordqvist, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153981.php)

The symptoms that people can have include extreme pain under ribs on the right side, back pain and nausea. Treatment is necessary if experiencing these symptoms. Risk factors for getting gallstones include being overweight/obese,  having diabetes, being a female, consuming a lot of cholesterol and being over 60 years old (Macon, Nall, Yu, https://www.healthline.com/health/gallstones#pictures).

How I think I got a gallstone

Around the time of me having the gallstone I had been trying to treat my PCOS with a variety of supplements that I had read about on forums. I was just knocking them back everyday because I was desperate to control my symptoms. I am not entirely sure what I was taking but I know it was too much.

In terms of diet, I also was not doing well. Way too much junk. I do not know how I expected to have any control over PCOS when I was eating the way I was.

So basically, these two things combined are what I believe to be the cause  of me getting one of these nasty buggers!

How it felt

This was the absolute worst pain I have ever felt in my life.  It was even worse than my labor contractions. The intense pain struck me like a thunder clap! I was on the floor screaming and crying at work.

My husband took me to the ER and I was there for a few hours. They gave me something called a “GI cocktail.” This is a disgusting, chalky “drink” that has a mix of things that are supposed to treat stomach issues. It was so hard to choke it down.

A while after I drank the cocktail, I began to feel a tiny bit better. I was sent on my way almost immediately after that admission to the doctor. When at home, I was out of commission for the next couple of days due to the pain I was still experiencing.

Moral of the story

Try to watch what you put in your mouth because it can lead to some bad consequences. I am not perfect with my diet but I do make an effort to watch what I eat more than I did before.

Also, I would encourage people to really research and be careful about supplements. Do not be like me and take a ton of stuff in hopes that it will lead to positive results. I would not wish my horrible experience on anyone else.

 

Have any of you ever had a gallstone before?

Daily Supplements

Daily Supplements

Ever since I got pregnant and gave birth, it seems as though my immune system is not as good and it is also harder to digest things. It could be partially due to getting older too. I have researched things that could help me with these problems and I started taking them a couple a months ago.  Here is a list of things I now take on a daily basis:

  1. Ginger capsules- I take these for digestion and gut health two times a day. I honestly feel like it is working. https://examine.com/supplements/ginger/
  2. Tummy Tune Up- This is a probiotic and I use it for gut health.
  3. Colostrum- This is for my immune system.
  4. Emergen-C drink mix- This is for my immune system.
  5. 50 mg of vitamin B6- This is for nausea and PMS.
  6. Grape juice: I drink one cup of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice for gut and heart health.

Here is a list of what I have my son take everyday:

  1. One Tummy Tune Up
  2. 1 cup of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice
  3. Colostrum
  4. Elderberry gummies
  5. Multivitamin

I also came across articles about how healthy sauerkraut is so I decided to start making my own. I currently have three jars fermenting in a closet and it stinks really bad. Hopefully it turns out okay so that I can stop feeling like I have to buy probiotics (they are not cheap).https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-sauerkraut

Stinky!