Psoriasis Patients at Greater Risk of Diabetes

Greetings minions!  I hope you have all been sticking to a wonderful healthy lifestyle.  I can report that the kettlebells and jujitsu is going really well.  I just love doing the jujitsu and can’t recommend it highly enough for anyone wanting to get in shape and stay healthy.  It really doesn’t seem like exercise.  In a typical session my coach will teach me a couple of new moves, we practice it many times, and then at the end we have a free “rolling” session where I just try and get him to tap out.  He has a timer and usually we will do a 2 minute round, and even with just 2 minutes I’m gasping for breath at the end since it is so strenuous, yet I don’t notice as I’m enjoying it so much.

I’ve blogged before about how psoriasis ups the risks for cardiac / blood pressure problems which scientists term “metabolic syndrome”.  Well just recently a study at Copenhagen showed that having psoriasis also ups one’s risk of developing diabetes.  Damn.  The more severe the psoriasis then the higher the risk of developing diabetes too.

So again, if you have psoriasis make sure you take excellent care of your body and health.  Eat healthy and exercise.  You will feel full of energy and vitality – I guarantee it!

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Simple Step to Shed Fat – Stop the Sugar

Earlier this month I blogged about Evil Sugar.  If you haven’t had a chance to visit the links in that article yet I encourage you to have a look now.  In particular the Yale article spells out clearly that sugar consumption leads directly to obesity and diabetes “Research Links Sugar Consumption, Fat Production, and Diabetes“.  The lead researcher noted:

The main issue of concern is the increase in total sugar consumption, not just that of high fructose corn syrup,”

I’m shocked at how many of my friends still believe that if they wish to lose fat then the best method is a “low fat diet”.  THIS IS WRONG.  Please don’t take my word for it, but read the scientific facts.  In fact, in today’s world a “low fat diet” will end up doing more harm than good!  Why is that?

If you want to lose fat then one of the best things you can do is cut out as much sugar as possible.

Most companies (especially publicly listed) have one overriding objective – to make money.  They really don’t care about your health – but will never ever admit that as they know it would be extremely bad for business.  In fact they will go out of their way (i.e. marketing) to try and show that they are trying to improve the general health of people in society, all the while peddling their sugar-laden fat bombs.  It is like a casino subsidizing an addiction clinic.

I apologize if this tirade seems a bit over the top, however after reading the research I got quite angry as I was one of those people who have been duped for so many years that “fat is bad”.

Coming back to why a “low fat diet” can actually do more harm than good, it is because the food companies have swamped their “low fat” food with sugar in order to make it yummy for people!  A great example – if you look at most small pottles of “low / no fat” yoghurt they have a huge amount of sugar.  I used to enjoy having a “no fat” yoghurt and think that it was helping me lose fat.  This yoghurt has 15 grams of sugar.  How much is that?  I hope you read this great article and found out that 4 grams = about 1 teaspoon of sugar.  So my “no fat” yoghurt had about 4 teaspoons of sugar!  In a pottle smaller than a regular teacup!  Look at the nutritional label of things you eat and note how many grams of sugar there are.  You’ll be shocked.  They add sugar to so many things!  I was shocked to find that I couldn’t find any plain milk that didn’t have sugar added.  The lowest I found was a New Zealand brand that had about 1 teaspoon of sugar per 100 mls.  This has somewhat motivated me to make my own almond milk (although I’m having trouble finding some muslin locally).  So many things have sugar added.

As per the Yale article, all that sugar was just making it harder for me to lose fat!  In that article the assistant professor talks about “The Loop”.  That is:

“if fructose [sugar] is available, more fat will accumulate, but if fructose consumption is reduced or stopped, fat accumulation also halts”

Argh.  How hard is it then to lose fat if one is feeding daily with more sugar?

But wait, it gets worse.  The thing that blew my mind is a recent study titled “Sugary drinks can change muscles in a month“.  They found that if a person starting taking regular sugary drinks, in only 4 weeks:

“it seems that our muscles are able to sense the sugars and make our metabolism more inefficient, not only in the present but in the future as well”

What does that mean?  It means sugar leads to a whole lot of bad things going on in the body, and of most concern to bodybuilders is:

“This will lead a reduced ability to burn fat and to fat gain”

So if you are looking for one thing to do to make a positive change to your life and lose fat, then the low-hanging fruit is cut out as much sugar as possible.

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Horizant for RLS

I mentioned in my last post that I had discussed with my doctor whether Horizant is available in Thailand as I’m interested in trying it for my RLS.

Horizant is the drug Gabapentin Enacarbil (GE), which is related to an anti-seizure drug called Gabapentin (G).  I had a look online to try and find the difference, and it appears as per this review that GE has a better bioavailability than G.  What that means is that the body is able to pull more G into the bloodstream through GE rather than G.  Gabapentin has been around for many years and is available in Thailand, so my doctor asked me if I wanted to try it.  According to the study that was done on GE with RLS the dose used was 1,200 mg per day given at 5pm.  Since GE has a better bioavailability than G does that mean I need to take more G in order to get to the same level of GE?  I don’t know and I asked my doctor if she had any opinion on it.  I’m still waiting for a return email on it.

The article I reference earlier has some great info on GE and more importantly for me I found some terrific information in the extensive comments section where people actually using GE and other drugs to treat RLS talked about their experience.  Very informative.  In particular I related to this comment.

I was also surprised to find another article referenced in the comments regarding a small study suggesting that coming to orgasm before sleeping had the same effect as taking medication to treat RLS!  Wow.  RLS is so bad I’m happy to try anything that is more ‘natural’ than taking drugs.

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Remicade Done

Had my remicade infusion today and all went smoothly.  Actually in this run up to my remicade I noticed that I haven’t had the sleeping problems or depth of diarrhea that I’ve experienced in the past.  I have had some diarrhea, but much less than usual.

My psoriasis also didn’t get as bad this time before my remicade.  The only change that I’m aware of making since my last remicade is cutting out as much sugar as I can.  Maybe this is the reason?  The only way to know is to continue and see if when my next remicade dose rolls around whether I’m still doing well.

I also discussed with my doctor the new medication out in the US for treating RLS.  This is Horizant (gabapentin enacarbil) and she is going to check to see if it is available in Thailand.  If not then I have a friend going back to the US in the next few weeks and I’ll see if he can pick some up for me.  It would be great if I could get away from having to take tramadol each night.

 

 

Posted in Psoriasis, Psoriasis Treatment, Psoriatic Arthritis, Remicade, Remicade Administration, Restless Leg Syndrome, Sleeping with arthritis | Tagged | Leave a comment

Evil Sugar

Yeah, I haven’t blogged for a while – sorry about that.  There have been a few interesting articles come up over the last few weeks but I’ve been too busy to have time to blog about it.  The kids are on holiday so when I get home I end up spending time checking their maths (trying to teach them division & multiplication) and then after kettlebells I just want to relax.

Anyway, today is a holiday in Thailand so I have some time to write!

I’ve been following a very interest blog for the last month or so by an excellent doctor from Canada regarding the obesity epidemic.  His name is Yoni Freedhoff and you can find his blog here.

Yoni is great at showing the terrible marketing tricks and unrelenting barrage of advertising of unhealthy food (containing lots of sugar) on kids.  It is scary to see how much big business really influences government so that dangerous sugar filled food continues to be made easily available to kids and healthy food is right off the menu.

For myself I’ve really been focusing on avoiding sugar as much as possible over the last few weeks and I’ve really noticed a difference.  I have more energy, I’m thinking more clearly, my health is good and I’ve lost some fat!  My ice-cream maker has been absolutely brilliant at helping me to stay on track.  I have some wonderful Dymatize ‘Rich Chocolate” whey protein powder to which I add a cup of low fat (and low sugar) milk and 2 sachets of stevia and throw that in the ice-cream maker.  After 50 minutes I have a huge bowl of rich creamy chocolate ice-cream which only has 3 teaspoons of sugar (from the low fat milk), 222 calories, 32 grams of protein and just 5 grams of fat. Yummy yummy.  If some of you are looking at the ingredients and thinking “hey, that is just a protein shake” then you are correct!  It tastes so much nicer as ice-cream though.

Now for those of you who are not convinced of the evils of sugar, the following contains great research about the effect of sugar on rocketing obesity and diabetes rates:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/sugar-shockers-foods-surprisingly-high-in-sugar

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.yalescientific.org/2011/04/research-links-sugar-consumption-fat-production-and-diabetes/

Note that the scientists are clear that the problem has been this huge scam by the food companies several decades ago that fat caused obesity and cardiac problems – which led to the “low fat” movement.  In order to make “low-fat” stuff taste great, they added truckloads of sugar!  You’ll see from the articles above that fat isn’t the problem at all, and no research has shown any credible link that fat is the problem.  Lots of evidence linking sugar to obesity and diabetes though!

Posted in BMI, bodybuilding, Live Forever, Low Carb Diet, Psoriatic Arthritis, Weight Loss | Tagged | Leave a comment

Amazing Abs!

Apologies for the lack of posts.  There hasn’t been any amazing news coming up of late hence the dearth of new material.

Psoriasis is same as usual, i.e. some scalp spots and some redness appearing on my left knuckle (as it always does a few weeks out from my remicade).  My arthritis is good – with only lower back aches – especially in the morning – which again is typical of PsA.  I’m averaging about 3 tramadols per day to keep the pain tolerable as well as helping with the restless legs at night.

The kettlebell training is going very well, accompanied by the weekly judo/jujitsu lesson.  I managed to train on 6 days last week, and am planning on doing 5 days this week.  Funnily enough, I’m sleeping really well now.  I’m dropping off to sleep pretty quickly at around 10pm / 10.30pm, then waking at around 2am when I take a tramadol (as my experience has shown me I will wake at 5am due to pain), and then wake up feeling refreshed about 20 minutes before my alarm is due to go off.  I’m not sure exactly why I am now sleeping so well, and put it down to a combination of the kettlebells, healthy eating, as well as wool mattress cover I bought recently.  A couple of nights I have actually slept all the way through to the morning – something I haven’t done since my teenage years.  Of course then I woke with a really really sore back, but I was really refreshed.  I have stopped taking the celebrex at night as it wasn’t helping.  The rationale was that taking the celebrex before I went to sleep would keep me pain free through to the morning – but it didn’t work that way.  I still end up waking around 5am (if I didn’t dose with tramadol at 2am) with enough pain to stop me from sleeping.  No need to take an extra drug that doesn’t do anything.

I have been reading more and more reports about the evils of sugar and so have made a conscious effort every time I eat something to make a choice of choosing the item with the least amount of sugar.  I do love eating ice-cream though, and was flabbergasted when I stumbled upon a website with a recipe for not only no-sugar, but dare I say it “healthy”, ice-cream!  I kid you not.  The recipe was put up by a female bodybuilder who also enjoys ice-cream, and I found a whole bunch of great healthy recipes on her website.  Check it out here – click the “dessert” link.  I had never made ice-cream before but her descriptions of basically turning a healthy protein drink into ice-cream motivated me to make a special trip through the traffic jams of Bangkok last Sunday in search of an ice-cream maker.

And I found one!  In Siam Paragon they had a couple of models by Cuisinart, and a couple by Princess.  It appears that the more professional ones contain a refrigeration unit which will cool the mixture into ice-cream, while the cheaper models require you to freeze the apparatus first.  The Cuisinart models (which I learned are made in the US) were much more expensive than the Princess models (made in Holland).  In fact, the cheaper ‘freeze first’ model by Cuisinart was the same price as the all-in refrigeration unit by Princess!  So I made the plunge and bought the Princess model.  I’ve used it several times already and only have good things to say about it.  It is so easy to use, and also incredibly easy to clean afterwards too.  It is as simple as putting the ingredients together for my normal protein shake, putting it into the ice-cream maker and pressing a button!  Last night I threw in some Kalua coffee liqueur too for a treat, and it was delicious.

So, what about the incredible abs I hear you ask?  For those of you who want instant abs I found this to solve your problems.  Enjoy!

Posted in bodybuilding, Psoriasis, Psoriasis Treatment, Psoriatic Arthritis, Remicade, Restless Leg Syndrome, Six Pack Abs, Sleeping with arthritis, Tramadol, Weight Loss | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Kettlebells for Health

I blogged back in May about how I had bought some kettlebells and had started working out with them as well as training Judo (jujitsu) once per week.

Both are proving lots of fun.  I started my kettlebell workouts doing the Extreme Kettlebell Cardio workout as I heard about it via a Joe Rogan podcast.  I began using my 24 kg kettlebell (53 pounds) and it was waaaaay to heavy (as I mentioned in my previous blog).  The only other suitable kettlebell I had was a 15 pounder which I had bought for my wife to use, so I used that instead.  The Extreme Cardio workout is split into different sections, and believe it or not I still could not complete one section without resting, using just the 15 pounder!  I had my kids do the exercises with me and they couldn’t finish one complete section using just body weight.

So I bought another easier workout (rated 5-6 out of 10), again on the suggestion of Joe Rogan, and found it is a really good workout.  I highly recommend it.  It is the “Health & Well-Being Kettlebell Workout w/ Pre-Sports Mobility Warm-Up” by Steve Maxwell.  It has 10 minutes of warm-up which really gets the blood moving and then 20 minutes of continuous exercise.  I manage to do the whole routine using a 35 pound kettlebell (which I recently purchased).  I find that 30 minutes (the time it takes to do this workout) is perfect for getting me a good intense workout without getting bored.  Since it is just 30 minutes I can also workout every day if I want.  Breaking it up with Judo training is making exercising really fun.  Last night I bought and downloaded another video by Steve (Me, My Kettlebell and I) which is high intensity interval training.  The workout is 20 minutes long so I did the warm-up routine first from the Health & Well Being video before launching into “Me, My…” and again, had a really good 30 minute workout.  It really is great being able to workout at home, and great to see my kids and wife getting into it too.

I was delighted to read an article on Yahoo today that confirmed that I’m doing the right things in regard to exercising.  The article is on 7 rules you should break regarding working out, and refers to recent studies that include recommendations such as:

  1. Weight training (includes Kettlebells) is a better fat burner than cardio
  2. Don’t stretch for 10 minutes before working out, instead do a dynamic warm-up

I’ve known about these facts for a while, and it is good seeing them finally getting printed as mainstream news.

Unless that kettlebell is made of plastic, I don’t think she really uses it to work out with!

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Got Psoriasis? Watch Out For Crohns…++

The link between psoriasis and Crohns just got a little stronger.  I’ve blogged recently about how a study linked psoriasis with a greater incidence of inflamed bowel disease (IBD), and in that same blog linked to even earlier times that I postured about the relationship.

This week I read that another study has just been completed examining the medical records of over 25,000 patients, which concluded:

According to researchers, patients with just psoriasis or psoriasis with psoriatic arthritis had 1.6-fold increased risk for at least one additional autoimmune disease and a 1.9-fold increased risk for at least two autoimmune disorders.

Specifically, they identified 14 specific autoimmune diseases which psoriasis suffers are more prone to get.  Naturally, included on this list is Crohns, however they stated there were 3 “biggies” out of the 14:

The three diseases that were most associated with psoriasis were rheumatoid arthritis, alopecia areata (spot baldness), celiac disease and systemic sclerosis. Systemic sclerosis affects connective tissue and could cause scarring, skin thickening, joint pain and sores on fingers or toes. Rheumatoid arthritis had the strongest association among the 14 diseases.

Hmmmm.  This part got me a little confused.  They state that “3 diseases” are most associated with psoriasis, and then continue to list 4 diseases!  I hope that they just counted wrong and that the rest of the study is accurate!  Wikipedia states that the symptoms of celiac disease include chronic diarrhoea, failure to thrive (in children), and fatigue.  I’ve certainly suffered often from diarrhoea and had put that down to Crohns, however perhaps it is celiac disease?  It would be interesting to see what the difference is between the two.

My bowel has been pretty good for the last week and my fingers are crossed it will continue.

Finally for a bit of light humor, as you know I am living in Thailand and corruption is quite ingrained in the culture here.  A lot of Westerners struggle to understand how corruption could thrive and will often say something like “why don’t you just go to the police if someone tries to bribe their way out of a situation”.  The problem here is the assumption that the police are trustworthy.  In corrupt countries the majority of police are not – which is why the corruption continues.  This week there was a hilarious example of this, and you can read it here.  A policeman got arrested for robbing someone.  The amazing thing is that the victim actually found a policeman who agreed to arrest another policeman.  I’m sure there was some corruption involved though to get the arrest made!

As a friend once said to me, who do you go to if you get robbed by the police!

 

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Biologics Reduce Pain But Not Inflammation in PsA

Dr. Nathan Wei had another interesting short video this week where he announced that at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatologists a study was presented showing that psoriatic arthritis patients on biologics report a decrease in pain, however MRI studies show that inflammation and disease activity continues in joints.

Since I am a psoriatic arthritis patient on a biologic (remicade) this is a little concerning to me on two levels.  Firstly if disease activity continues in the joints even though I am pain free then does this predispose me to a higher risk of needing joint replacement in the future?  I will continue to wolf down my fish oil, devil’s claw and cat’s claw bark pills daily (which supposedly help with joint maintenance).  Interestingly I recently read an article on LEF that tart cherry reduces inflammation and ordered some tart cherry pills – so hopefully that will help too.

Dr. Wei did not mention if there was an increase in inflammation or disease markers in blood tests and I couldn’t find a copy of the report on the web.  I would be interested to know if the MRIs showed disease activity with blood tests such as ESR and CRP negative.  I have blogged before about the usual blood tests for arthritis and all my recent blood work has been negative for inflammation.  However if the study shows that an MRI could be positive for disease in the midst of a negative blood test, then I’ll probably ask my doc if I can get an MRI of my hips to compare with CT scans I had back in 2004.

The second concern I have is that if there is inflammation occurring even though I do not have any joint pain, does that increase my risk of heart disease?  Although there is no evidence that inflammation causes heart attacks there is evidence that inflammation is common in patients with heart disease and strokes.  I’ve blogged before that people with psoriasis have an increased risk of metabolic syndrome (which includes heart disease), so I’m wondering if that increased risk is due to this prevalence of disease even though there is no pain, or is the prevalence of disease in the absence of pain something additional which I should be worried about?

Either way it is healthy to have a diet which lowers the amount of inflammation in your body.

Posted in Psoriasis, Psoriasis Treatment, Psoriatic Arthritis, Remicade, TNF Blocker | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Maximum 6 Months to See Your Abs

Drew has finally finished his one year experiment and put his results up for all to see.

If you are asking who Drew is, you can see my first blog post about him here.  Drew is an American guy who was in wonderful shape and decided to let himself go for 6 months and then see if he could get back into his original fit shape in another 6 months.  He documented his journey as well as lots of other useful information on his website fit2fat2fit.com.

I think his website is great as for the 6 months he spends getting into shape he writes in detail exactly what he eats each day as well as what exercise he does.  Therefore it is simple for anyone who is obese or overweight to simply download the menus and exercise schedules and follow them in order to also get into shape.  Many people are doing this right now.  Drew starts off very slow at the beginning as he is grossly overweight and doesn’t have much energy, and slowly ramps up the intensity over the 6 months.

I really looked forward to logging in at the end of each week to see Drew’s progress video where he showed himself weighing in and measuring his hips and stomach.  Unfortunately about 6 weeks out from the end of his scheduled 6 months which was to be May 5th, he suddenly blogged that he was “going dark”.  What this meant was that he stopped doing the weekly progress updates as he had some deal with a TV station and was going to do a big “reveal” on the appointed day.  Except that it wasn’t to be on the appointed day.  The TV “big reveal” was scheduled for early June!  Drew told all his followers not to worry, and that he was still recording progress videos each week and would post them all up once the reveal was over, and he has indeed done this.  You can find his videos on his website.  However I think that Drew lost a lot of credibility by selling out to the TV station.  He claims he didn’t get any money for the TV appearance, which has me shaking my head wondering just why he ruined the wonderful thing he had created.  He had a wonderful pure concept and garnished a huge amount of respect from people like me, yet he threw that away in order to meet the request of some TV station – which wasn’t even paying him??  He could have continued with his original plan and published the videos each week, and still done a “big reveal” in early June which would have hit all the people who weren’t following his website.  I’m still scratching my head.

So you can see his videos up, however to be frank he may have done it in 7 months rather than 6 months, as he didn’t reveal anything until one month after his planned ending date.  I blogged in November that it seemed that 6 months seemed to be a pretty aggressive target to lose his remaining fat. In the worst case scenario 7 months is still a pretty short time frame to go from grossly obese to six-pack ready.  So well done Drew.

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