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Energy Drinks

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Energy Drinks
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

Bottom Line:

  • Although there’s very limited data that caffeine-containing energy drinks may temporarily improve alertness and physical endurance, evidence that they enhance strength or power is lacking. More important, they can be dangerous because large amounts of caffeine may cause serious heart rhythm, blood flow, and blood pressure problems.
  • There’s not enough evidence to determine the effects of additives other than caffeine in energy drinks.
  • The amounts of caffeine in energy drinks vary widely, and the actual caffeine content may not be identified easily.
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NCCAM Clinical Digest: Yoga for Health

November 5, 2014 Comments off

NCCAM Clinical Digest: Yoga for Health
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

This issue of the digest summarizes current scientific evidence about yoga for health conditions, including chronic low-back pain, asthma, and arthritis.

The scientific evidence to date suggests that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses may help reduce pain and improve function in people with chronic low-back pain. Studies also suggest that practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might confer other health benefits such as reducing heart rate and blood pressure, and may also help alleviate anxiety and depression. Other research suggests yoga’s deep breathing is not helpful for asthma, and studies looking at yoga and arthritis have had mixed results.

Acupuncture: What You Need To Know

August 18, 2014 Comments off

Acupuncture: What You Need To Know
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

What’s the Bottom Line?

How much do we know about acupuncture?
There have been extensive studies conducted on acupuncture, especially for back and neck pain, osteoarthritis/knee pain, and headache. However, researchers are only beginning to understand whether acupuncture can be helpful for various health conditions.

What do we know about the effectiveness of acupuncture?
Research suggests that acupuncture can help manage certain pain conditions, but evidence about its value for other health issues is uncertain.

What do we know about the safety of acupuncture?
Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by an experienced, well-trained practitioner using sterile needles. Improperly performed acupuncture can cause serious side effects.

Using Dietary Supplements Wisely

July 18, 2014 Comments off

Using Dietary Supplements Wisely
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Like many Americans, you may take dietary supplements in an effort to stay healthy. With so many dietary supplements available and so many claims made about their health benefits, how can you decide whether a supplement is safe or useful? This fact sheet provides a general overview of dietary supplements, discusses safety considerations, and suggests sources for additional information.

Mind and Body Practices for Fibromyalgia

July 8, 2014 Comments off

Mind and Body Practices for Fibromyalgia
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, fatigue, and a number of other symptoms that can interfere with a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects 5 million American adults. Most people with fibromyalgia—between 80 and 90 percent—are women. However, men and children also can have the disorder, which is often associated with other syndromes. The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, but there are probably a number of factors involved. Recently, researchers have focused on abnormalities in processing of pain by the central nervous system.

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Current diagnostic criteria are available from the American College of Rheumatology. Treatment often involves an individualized approach that may include both pharmacologic therapies (prescription drugs, analgesics, and NSAIDs) and nonpharmacologic interventions such as exercise, muscle strength training, cognitive behavioral therapy, movement/body awareness practices, massage, acupuncture, and balneotherapy.

Melatonin: What You Need To Know

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Melatonin: What You Need To Know
Source: National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine

What’s the Bottom Line?

How much do we know about melatonin supplements?
Researchers have conducted many studies on whether melatonin supplements may help people with various sleep disorders; however, important questions remain about its usefulness, how much to take and when to take it, and long-term safety.

What do we know about the usefulness of melatonin supplements?
Melatonin supplements may help some people with certain sleep disorders, including jet lag, sleep problems related to shift work, and delayed sleep phase disorder (one in which people go to bed but can’t fall asleep until hours later), and insomnia.

What do we know about the safety of melatonin supplements?
Melatonin supplements appear to be safe when used short-term; less is known about long-term safety.

NCCAM Clinical Digest: Dietary Supplements for Osteoarthritis

June 2, 2014 Comments off

NCCAM Clinical Digest: Dietary Supplements for Osteoarthritis
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Osteoarthritis, which affects an estimated 27 million Americans, is a leading cause of disability in older adults. Because the general population is aging and obesity, a major risk factor, is increasing in prevalence, the occurrence of osteoarthritis is on the rise. Clinical practice guidelines issued by the American College of Rheumatology recommend aerobic exercise and/or strength training, weight loss (if overweight), and a number of pharmacological and non-pharmacological modalities for treating OA of the knee, hip, or hand.

Many people with OA report trying various dietary supplements in an effort to relieve pain and improve function. However, there is no convincing evidence that any dietary supplement helps with OA symptoms or the underlying course of the disease. This issue of the digest summarizes current scientific evidence about several dietary supplements most often used by people with OA, including glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) and Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), and herbal remedies.

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