Ongoing Research Studies re: Endometriosis

research

Figured I’d put together a list of facilities and companies that are presently conducting research studies about Endometriosis.  I’ll update this often (some of these studies may overlap)…  If interested in participating or want more information, click on the name of the study below:

Updated 06/14/17:

Aljazeera Hospital: Egypt.  The aim of this randomized controlled trial is to compare operative data and early postoperative outcomes of laparoscopic excision of endometrioma using barbed sutures with those of laparoscopic excision of endometrioma using conventional sutures.

Assistance Publique – Hospitaux de Paris: France. The investigators performed a prospective multicenter comparative study to assess the maternal and fetal risks related to endometriosis during pregnancy, regarding disease phenotype, This study will evaluate with sufficient power the risk of prematurity and obstetrical complications associated with endometriosis according to disease phenotype.  This study aims to provide new informations to pregnant women with endometriosis, guide the monitoring of pregnancy, optimize management strategies based on the nature of complications and ultimately to improve the health of women and their unborn children.

Bakirkoy Dr. Sadi Konuk Research and Training Hospital: Turkey.  The study population will comprise of 90 women age varying between 15-55 years, those are candidate for laparoscopic surgery due to definition of >4 cm endometrioma or any other benign ovarian cysts such as mature teratoma or simple serous cysts on ultrasound examination, chronic pelvic pain, infertility. The blood samples will be drawn for analysis of serum biomarkers.

Cairo University: Egypt.  Two hundred women aged from 20 to 35 years undergoing conservative laparoscopic treatment of ovarian endometriomas (either by drainage or cyst wall excision) were included. Participants were randomized into 4 groups; group A (drainage only) in which 50 patients underwent laparoscopic fenestration and electrocautery of the endometrioma cyst wall, group B (cystectomy only) in which 50 patients underwent laparoscopic excision of the endometrioma cyst wall, group C (drainage & Surgicel) in which 50 patients underwent laparoscopic fenestration of the endometrioma cyst wall followed by insertion of 4 pieces of Surgicel inside the cyst cavity, group D (cystectomy & Surgicel) in which 50 patients underwent laparoscopic excision of the endometrioma cyst wall followed by insertion of 4 pieces of Surgicel inside the remaining ovarian tissues.All patients were followed up every 3 months for 2 years following the laparoscopic surgery. The primary outcome was the recurrence of endometriomas in the ipsilateral ovary (recurrence was defined as the presence of ovarian cysts with the characteristic sonographic features of endometriomas (≥1 cm). The ovarian reserve was reassessed (AMH & day 2 AFC) as a secondary outcome 6 months following the laparoscopy.

End to Endo: Via U.S. Mail.  The purpose of this research study is to investigate the genes responsible for predisposing women to endometriosis. By identifying these genetic variants, our team of health professionals and scientists plan to develop noninvasive diagnostics and earlier and more effective therapies for this often-debilitating condition.  We will send you a saliva sample kit.  After completion, you will send these items back to our laboratory in the postage-paid envelope we’ve provided.

Guang’anmen Hospital of China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences: China. This is a multicenter, double-blind, randomized and placebo-controled trial. the purpose of this trial is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the Xu-Fu-Zhu-Yu Capsule in Treatment of Qi Stagnation and Blood Stasis syndrome(QS&BSS).QS&BSS is a group of symptoms and signs of human, such as pain in a fixed position, lumps in body, irritability or depression, dim complexion, unsmooth or string-like pulse, purplish tongue or petechia in the tongue. it’s a maladjustment of our body that almost everyone would fall into this condition several times in the long period of our life. it has some potential connections with several kinds of disease, such as cardiovascular,endometriosis, fracture. Xu-Fu-Zhu-Yu capsule is a patent drug which has been approved by the China Food and Drug Administration. It derives from an ancient Chinese traditional medicine formula, which has been used to treat QS&BSS for almost 200 years. Experimental studies have shown that Xu-Fu-Zhu-Yu capsule can treat many kinds of disease, such as coronary heart disease, insomnia, headache. And, all these patients have QS&BSS. So, our research group plan this randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the Xu-Fu-Zhu-Yu Capsule in Treatment of QS&BSS. a total of 120 paticipants will be randomly allocated into either the test group or control group in a 1:1 ratio at 3 sites. All paticipants, with different kinds of disease, will be given the standard medical care according to the guidelines. Participants will undergo a 7-week treatment. the primary outcome is the efficacy of QS&BSS and the improvement of single symptom. the secondary outcome is the change in the total score of the patient reported outcomes of QS&BSS(PRO index). Safety outcomes include physical examination (temperature, respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, height and weight), complete blood cell count, urinalysis, stool examination, fecal occult blood test, liver function (alanine aminotransferase(ALT),aspartate transaminase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), serum total bilirubin (STB), and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (γ-GT)), renal function (serum creatinine (SCr), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), serum cystatin C, and urine N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase) and electrocardiogram (ECG) at the first,and seventh weeks.

Highland Clinical Research: Utah.  We are conducting a clinical research study to investigate the effects and effectiveness of a new oral medication indicated for the treatment of endometriosis.

Holbaek Sygehus: Denmark.  The aim of this study is to explore the microRNA profile in serum of women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and investigate the correlation between the microRNA profile and markers of metabolic syndrome.

Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge: Spain.  The purpose of this multicenter study is to evaluate the ovarian reserve after alcohol sclerotherapy of endometriomas versus conventional surgery.

Institut Universitari Dexeus: Spain.  To study the recurrences After Surgery for Deep Endometriosis Depending on the Involvement of the Surgical Margins in the Specimen.

IVI Sevilla: Spain.  The purpose of this project is to study the presence of expression differences – at RNA and protein level – of different members of the tachykinin family and kisspeptin and their receptors, between fertile women and infertile patients with different etiologies.

Kissei Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.: Japan.  The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and dose-response relationship of KLH-2109 compared to placebo in Japanese patients with endometriosis.

Maastricht University Medical Center: Netherlands.  Endometriosis is a common disease for which the current gold standard for diagnosis is a diagnostic laparoscopy with histologic confirmation. However, during the diagnostic laparoscopy endometriotic lesions are hard to identify due to the many appearances of endometriosis. Our hypothesis is that the use of intra-operative near infrared fluorescence imaging will provide real time image enhancement for the detection of endometriotic lesions by using the different vasculature in the endometriotic lesions. This hypothesis will be tested in a prospective study with 15 patients scheduled for an elective diagnostic laparoscopy for suspected endometriosis.

Nordic Pharma SAS: France.  Thus is a longitudinal, prospective, multicentric observational study performed in mainland France, among a sample of gynaecology surgeons practising at endometriosis “expert” centres.  The aim of this study is to describe, under real treatment conditions in patients suffering from endometriosis, the impact of the use of anti-adhesion treatment during celioscopy surgery on the development of clinical signs in the patients and their fertility at one year.

ObsEva SA: Various locations around globe.  The primary objective of this study is to assess the efficacy and safety of a range of oral doses of OBE2109 versus placebo, in reducing endometriosis associated pain.

Physicians’ Research Options: Utah, Colorado.  Do you suffer from the agonizing symptoms of endometriosis? A double-blind, placebo controlled study of an investigational GnRh antagonist (non-hormone) medication. A up to 18 month study (up to six months of study participation with a one-year extension study). Participant time and travel compensation up to $2,290.00.

Research OutSmarts Endometriosis (ROSE): New York, but via U.S. Mail.  Researchers involved in ROSE are using several approaches to study endometriosis. These include efforts to better understand the genetic basis of the disease and relate this what is occurring at the cellular level in the disease, with particular emphasis on the role of stem cells and the immune system. Women both living with and living without endometriosis can participate in the ROSE study to help us find answers for those who are suffering.

Royal Surrey County Hospital: United Kingdom. To determine the quality of life following the radical excision of recto-vaginal endometriosis.

SCARM Institute: Iran.  Infertility and miscarriage ordinary events in reproductive failure in humans, as are affected one couple in every six couples of reproductive age and abortion is including in approximately 15-20% of all pregnancies. Over the decades since the beginning of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancy rate still remains below 30% and Recurrent Implantation Failure in one of the most important limiting factor is the assisted reproductive techniques. According to studies conducted in recent years one of the most important mechanisms of implantation failure is maternal immune system because the fetus as an allograft toxic (Semi allograft) to the mother. Studies have demonstrated that ratio of Th1 to Th2 cells increase in maternal peripheral blood cells can be directly associated with implantation failure. It also increases the number of natural killer (NK) cells and Th17 cells and their cytokines in peripheral blood of mother and is also associated with an increased risk of infertility. Several studies have also shown that the fertile persons in compare to infertile have increased amount of Treg cells and inhibitory cytokines associated with it. The studies have shown that if patients are properly selected RIF and placed under appropriate immunotherapy approaches it will be seen a significant increase in fertility. Among the factors affecting the performance of the immune system, small non-coding MicroRNA (miRNA) noted that the RNA of 19-22 nucleotides in length. MicroRNAs act by inhibiting expression of target genes can be linked to pregnancy and implantation process. Hence micro RNAs can be used as biomarkers for the detection, predicting pregnancy and even infertility treatment. Studies have shown that micro-RNAs in the endometrium are in dynamic changes during the menstrual cycle, reproductive system and implantation and diseases such as endometriosis, frequent miscarriage. MicroRNA-1229, miR-133b and miR-223 was proposed to select and review their changes before and after treatment with Rapamycin. Rapamycin is a macrolide fungus was identified about 40 years ago. Biochemical studies on primates led to the identification of molecules mammilian target of rapamycin (mToR) is the target molecule for Rapamycin. MToR molecules play a fundamental role in the regulation of cell metabolism, cell proliferation and mammalian cell response to environmental conditions and play a role in the process of cell growth and cell proliferation. While mTOR Complex 2 (mTORC2) play role in the survival and migration of cells. Rapamycin inhibits T lymphocyte proliferation through inhibit mToRc1 function. In this study, after we selected patients with RIF, according to immunologic disorders are treated with Rapamycin, a drug suppress the immune system is then put the result of treatment with immunological parameters as well as we have evaluated possible effects in success of the implantation and response to treatment.

State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People’s Republic of China: China.  his proposed trial is a multicenter,randomized and controlled clinical trial. The aim of this trial is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for treating pain of Endometriosis.The trial period will consist of three menstrual cycles of treatment, and three menstrual cycles in the follow-up period.We put forward the following hypothesis: the effect of acupuncture group is better than the control group on relieving pain.

The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University: China.  Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue (GnRH-a) is a synthetic decapeptide compound which can down-regulate pituitary function causing a temporary low estrogen state. Since endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent disease, the use of long-acting GnRH-a can control the growth of endometriosis by inhibiting ovary function.Some scholars have found that, for adenomyosis patients who received a super long protocol (pretreatment of long-acting GnRH-a for 1-2 months) in IVF treatment, the pregnancy outcome is comparable to that of the controls with normal uterus. Thus, the aim of this study is to compare the clinical pregnancy rate in patients treated with GnRH-a for 1, or 2 months.

The Women’s Health Study: Massachusetts.  We are trying to understand the factors that affect the health of girls and women. You would be helping us by giving us one piece of this huge jigsaw puzzle.  Volunteers are asked for participation once per year. Up to $35 gift cards from Target or a major online gift card retailer is provided each time you participate.

University Hospital, Montpellier: France. A prospective cohort study would give access to clinical data of patients followed in our center, so as to identify clinical factors predicting pregnancy and to help treatment decision for women with endometriosis suffering from infertility.

University Hospital of Liege: Belgium.  The purpose of the study is to compare the analgesic effect of 2 mA anodal direct current stimulation on the right primary motor cortex (M1) (tDCS) with a similar stimulation on the spine (D10) (tsDCS) in healthy volunteers (HV) followed by a pilot study in patients suffering of endometriosis-related chronic pelvic pain (CPP)

University Hospital, Rouen: France.  The purpose of this study is to determine whether, in women with deep endometriosis involving the rectum and not intending to get pregnant, continuous hormonal treatment would be followed by better digestive functional outcomes than curative rectal surgery.

University of Aarhus: Denmark.  To investigate parameters related to fertility in women with endometriosis in relation to food items.

University of Aarhus: Denmark.  This project will investigate worsening of symptoms in endometriosis patients undergoing artificial reproductive techniques (ART). The study compares patients with peritoneal/ovarian and deep infiltrating endometriosis to relevant reference groups. Symptoms are monitored with a questionnaire with the categories quality of life, pain and bowel habits. The EHP-30® questionnaire is included in the questionnaire.

University of Aarhus: Denmark.  This study evaluates the effects of psychological treatment on pain, quality of life and work ability among women with endometriosis related chronic pelvic pain in a three-armed, randomised study. One group will receive mindfulness-based psychological treatment, the second group will receive a non-specific general psychological treatment (a psychological placebo) and the third group will be a waiting list control (treatment as usual).

University of Cagliari: Italy.  The aim of the present study is to validate the italian version of EPH 30, a self reported questionnaire, already used internationally, in order to determine the quality of life in women with endometriosis, assess their psychological health and the effectiveness of therapies.

University of Messina: Italy.  Accumulating evidence suggests that the peritoneal microenvironment of women affected by endometriosis undergoes a number of local inflammatory-reparative phenomena, with the involvement of resident macrophages, and the attraction and recruitment of peripheral mononuclear cells (monocytes and lymphocytes) from the blood into the peritoneal cavity: during endometriosis a breakdown occurs in endometrial and peritoneal homeostasis caused by cytokine-addressed cell proliferation and dysregulation of apoptosis.  The surrounding microenvironment may address the macrophage plasticity towards a transient and reversible polarization. These polarized phenotypes reflects the proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory status and may change over the time. They could be functionally classified in two main populations: “classically activated” macrophages (M1) and “alternatively activated” macrophages (M2).  Considering that published data so far are still not robust enough to drawn firm conclusion, the aim of this research project will be to evaluate M1 and M2 macrophages in endometriotic tissue from women affected by endometriosis at different stages.

University of North Carolina School of Medicine: North Carolina. The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of progesterone (a naturally occurring hormone) on the endometrium during the time when embryo attachment typically occurs.  This will be compared to women with endometriosis to improve clinical diagnostics and treatments for those suffering from the condition.

University of Zurich: Switzerland.  The current study investigates the quality of life and several risk factors for the development of endometriosis as well as satisfaction with medical support in a minimum of 600 women with different stages of endometriosis and the same number of control women matched for age (± 3 years) and nationality. To evaluate specific features of endometriosis-associated pain a second group of 100 women with chronic abdominal/pelvic pain not related to endometriosis is investigated. Recruitment takes place in different university clinics, and districts hospitals in Switzerland, Germany. And Austria. Control women i.e. women without any evidence for endometriosis presenting for annual routine gynaecological controls are collected at the same places.  A composition of different internationally validated questionnaires as well as specific questions on dealing with endometriosis is used to collect information on the quality of life and potential risk factors for endometriosis. Questions on sexuality and partnership are also distributed to women’s partners.

Resources:

Centerwatch

Clinical Trials

Truth, Theory, or Tall Tale?

1in10

1 in 10 women suffer from Endometriosis

Theory

Just how many women suffer from Endometriosis?  And how do we know those stats?  Depending on what source you’re looking at, the number is between 2% – 15% of women suffer from Endometriosis.  Some say 1 in 10 women, other sources say 5-10%, and others say 10-15% of women.  The National Institute of Health once said, “Because some women might have Endometriosis, but do not have symptoms, it is difficult to know exactly how many women have the condition.” For now, 1 in 10 seems to be the best number anyone can estimate.

For more information on the comparative stats of Endometriosis, please click here.

Feel Good Fridays

Parasail_lahaina

We made it through another week! Yay!

Today’s Feel Good Friday quote is by American poet, William Stafford:

“I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.”

I absolutely loved the visuals that came when I read this one.  So many times we allow the brokenness of our dreams, expectations, desires, and life to bury us.  We need to embrace the suck, stand back up, and go.  Use it to soften the landing, propel you forward, to go places, to better ourselves, and to help others.

Not strong enough to build your own parachute?  Find a friend who is going through the same thing.  Join a support group.  Know that you are not alone in your sorrow or suffering.  Together you can weave a beautiful tapestry and a strong parachute.

May you have a wonderful weekend.

Yours, Lisa

Chew, chew, chew

Chattering-Teeth

I had  read that chewing your food thoroughly helps with the digestive process, makes you feel fuller, and triggers healthy enzymes and hormones.  Chewing at least 40 times before swallowing ensured *something*…but I forgot what.  I had also recently undergone a 7-day colon cleanse, and without going into the gory details saw a lot of things that surprised me.

So I think I’m going to try to make an effort to chew my food more thoroughly. Maybe not 40 times per mouthful, but definitely more than the half-chew-swallow routine I’ve become accustomed to.  But before I blindly decide to chomp more, I’d like to look into why it may be beneficial. And, of course, that means I’d like to share my findings with you.

What does any of this have to do with Endometriosis? Meh, probably nothing.  BUT…if it can help my body become an optimal working machine, well-greased, and healthy: you bet I’ll try chewing better!

How the digestive tract works

Understanding how your food travels through your body may help understand why proper mastication (*snicker*) is important.  It all starts in our mouth : chewing and swallowing. Once swallowed, it travels down our esophagus and into our stomach.  The stomach secretes acids and enzymes to digest and break down the food.  Once that process has taken place, the food drops down to our small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed through the continued breaking-down of the food.  Those nutrients are sent to various systems in our body for purification and distribution, which also help our next meal digest (pancreas, liver, and gall bladder enzymes will be sent to our stomach for the next meal).  The food, however, continues on through our large intestine and colon, where it eventually exits our system through pooping (I couldn’t bring myself to say bowel movement…because sometimes I’m just a giggly 12-year-old girl).

It’s a crazy process, which all begins with our chewing!  Let’s start this off right!

Benefits of chew, chew, chewing

While we chew, we create saliva.  Saliva is a little powerhouse of good bacteria and chemicals that not only lubes our food for its journey through our body, but also protects our mouth and teeth from harmful bacteria and damage.  It also plays a role in our sense of taste.  Saliva may also help ease heartburn by combating over-zealous stomach acid.

By not swallowing large or incompletely-chewed chunks of food, you decrease the chances of lodging food in your throat, or scraping/tearing your esophagus on the way down.  Ever swallow something, and have to immediately run for a glass of water because it feels stuck? If we chew our food better, it may not happen as much.  Chewing slower and swallowing less-big chunks may also reduce our chances of swallowing air, which may make us feel less bloated or gassy.

Our stomach is alerted by the brain to the type of food that is in our mouth and about to enter the stomach.  So the stomach, based on those chemical senses, releases certain digestive enzymes to better help digest the food that will be in our stomach.  Well-chewed food is also much easier for the stomach enzymes to digest properly.  Larger chunks may take time, or not be properly digested before passing on through the rest of our system.  Studies also have shown that food that has been thoroughly chewed costs the body less energy to digest.  Improperly digested food may lead to gas and bacteria (which may lead to constipation or diarrhea) in our intestines.  Bloat and fart much? Chew better! See how that feels.

Properly digested food (aka smaller particles…chewing more thoroughly) allows for the absorption of more nutrients while the food is being zipped around our intestines.  A study presented at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo showed that people who chewed almonds more absorbed the nutrients faster; however, people who chewed their almonds less passed the almonds more quickly, absorbing less goodness into their bodies.  Some foods are naturally difficult to digest (nuts, seeds, and the infamous corn); chewing these foods more thoroughly may help our bodies break down and digest them a bit easier.

It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to tell your stomach you’re full.  You may find that you’re eating less food than before because you’re allowing your body to properly gauge how full it is before stuffing your stomach.  A 2008 study suggests that eating slowly leads to a more full feeling at the end of the meal as compared to a fast-eaten meal feeling less satiated.  A study presented by Iowa State University in 2012 showed that chewing food more carefully actually increased hormones that reduce hunger:

“When people chewed the pizza 40 times before swallowing, there was a reduction in hunger, preoccupation with food and a desire to eat. There was an increase in CCK, which is a hormone related to fullness and satiety. And there was a reduction in ghrelin, another hormone that stimulates the brain to increase appetite.” ~James Hollis

A 2014 study by the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Kyushu University found that chewing more thoroughly aids your body’s digestion, which may even alter it’s metabolism, leading to a greater chance of weight loss (with healthy diet and exercise, I’m sure).

How much to chew?

Well, it depends on who you ask.  Some say to chew a minimum of 40 times her mouthful before swallowing.  In the 1800’s, Horace Fletcher encouraged people to chew their food 100 times before swallowing.  Others say to chew until the texture is uniform and you can no longer distinguish what you were chewing. The best advice I can find online about how to properly chew your food is to make sure it’s a pulpy or as liquidy as possible before swallowing.  Mash it up real good with your teeth & saliva.  Each person will be different, as will each mouthful.  Another great piece of advice was to put your eating utensils down between bites.  That way you’re less tempted to scoop up the next mouthful before you’ve finished chewing and swallowing the present bite.

I’ll be making a conscious effort to chew my food better! Will you?

Resources:

3 Fat Chicks

Durable Health

European Food Information Council

Flatulence Cures

Health Guidance

Health Zen 

Institute of Food Technologists

International Foundation of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Inc.

Iowa State University

Livestrong

Mayo Clinic

Medical News Today

Mercola

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Organic Authority

Science World Report

Symptom Find

U.S. National Library of Medicine – 2008 (abstract) : Eating slowly led to decreases in energy intake within meals in healthy women

U.S. National Library of Medicine – 2014 (abstract) : The number of chews and meal duration affect diet-induced thermogenesis and splanchinic circulation

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

Truth, Theory, or Tall Tale?

stick

Getting pregnant and having a child will cure your Endometriosis growth and pain.

TallTale

Many women are told that if they wish to end their pain and suffering, to get pregnant and have a baby.  This is sort of a Catch 22 : a lot of women with Endometriosis experience infertility problems, yet are told getting pregnant will alleviate their pain and symptoms.

While many women experience relief during their pregnancies, the pain and symptoms of Endometriosis may return after the delivery.  This may be due, in part, to the fact that the women are no longer menstruating.  Their cramps have subsided.  Their hormones have altered.  But it’s temporary.  Many women report a full return of their pain and symptoms once their child is born.  Some women, however, claim to be pain-free after childbirth.

Resources:

American Pregnancy Association

Baby Center

Baby Centre

Endometriosis.org

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

Feel Good Friday

Photo Copyright: Lisa Drayton

Good morning! We made it through another week!

Today’s quote is from a very special young woman, Anne Frank:

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”

Many of us may focus on the sadness, the past, the mistakes, and the regrets.  Let them go.  Try to move forward.  Embrace the present, the future, focus on the beauty around you. Can’t find any?  Then make some…

We truly cannot move forward until we have been able to find a way to release these shackles.

Have a wonderful weekend.  And may you find beauty within, and around, you.

Yours, Lisa

Sugar : Natural vs. Processed

cane

One of my reader’s posed a question after reading yesterday’s blog (found here):  what’s the difference between natural and processed sugar?  My response? “Let me dig!”  So here we are again, with a blog spurned by curiosities!! And after reading all about how sugar is processed, it’s reignited my desire to see if I could take a tour of the Spreckels Sugar plant out in Brawley, CA…

What IS Sugar?

Sugar is a byproduct of photosynthesis and is found in all plants.  It is commonly referred to in three categories: sucrose, fructose, and glucose.

You ever notice on the food label that “Sugar” falls under “Carbohydrates?”  So, sugars are a form of carbs.  Carbs break down into glucose (aka blood sugar) and provide fuel to the body, gives us energy.  It’s what we need.  However, unused energy gets stored in the form of fat.

Refined / Processed Sugar:

Sugar cane and sugar beets are the main source for sucrose.  Sugar cane sugar is processed by shredding the cane, then crushing those remnants between rollers and extracting the juice, which is filtered, evaporated, filtered again, boiled, and stuck into a centrifuge for further evaporation.  What’s left are crystals.  Those are then washed, filtered again, processed, packed, and ready to go.  These clarification and filtration processes may involve chemicals (milk of lime, carbon dioxide, calcium carbonate, carbon filters, etc.) to strip the sugar of impurities, colors, and aid in crystallization. Also, because of these processes, refined sugar lacks any nutritional value and are metabolized by the body a lot faster than natural sugars, which may spike blood sugar levels.  A word to my vegan friends: some companies may use “bone char” for their charcoal filters, which contains incinerated cattle bones.  PETA offers a list of companies that refrain from using bone char in their processing.  If interested, follow this link for a list.

Sugar beets are processed into sugar in a similar fashion of washing, extracting the juice, filtration, boiling, evaporation, and crystallization.

Raw Sugar:

Even raw sugar goes through about half of the processing treatments referenced above.  It may not go through some of the last filtration and crystallization processes, but even raw sugar requires some processing before it hits the shelves and your table.

Natural Sugar:

Fruits, vegetables, and honey contain natural sugar, known as fructose, and dairy contains natural sugar, known as lactose.  Fruits, veges, and dairy also offer nutritional and digestive benefits, which allow your body to break down the sugars slower and easier than processed sugars, which may stabilize your blood sugar levels.  Some natural sugars are a byproduct of a process: such as honey from bees, maple syrup from trees, agave nectar from cacti, or stevia from the plant.

High Fructose Corn Syrup:

We’ve all heard of or read this ingredient on the back of a food label. But what is it?  It’s a sugar made from processed cornstarch.  It is much higher on the glycemic index due to it’s grainy upbringing, which may spike blood sugar levels faster.  The F.D.A. tells the public that there really aren’t any major safety differences between sucrose, fructose, or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), but does advise the public to limit their sugar consumption.

Your Health

Regardless of what sugar you consume, please do it all in moderation.  Heightened blood sugar levels and inflammation allegedly caused by sugar (whether processed or natural) may lead to obesity, chronic illnesses, Diabetes, heart attacks, cancer, or many other conditions.  I’m not saying stop eating sugar…but I am encouraging all of us (including myself) to make smarter decisions.  Maintain a well-balanced diet.  Exercise when you can.  Enjoy your food, drink, and lifestyle.  But do it well.

We only have one body.  Live well.  For yourself, and for those who love you.

Resources:

Built Lean

Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Down to Earth

Elovate

FamilyDoctor.org

Fructose Information Center

Health on a Budget

HealthyGuidance.org

Imperial Sugar

LiveStrong

Michigan State University

Organic Sugar

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

SFGate

Spreckels Sugar

Sucrose.com

Sugar Association

The Healthy Home Economist

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Vegan Products

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

Sugar!!! ALL THE SUGAR!

Evaporated Cane Juice Crystals

Today we’ll be talking more about the “Endo Diet,” particularly why we’ve been told to cut out as much processed sugars as possible.  I’ve read that sugar may cause or aggravate inflammation, but it’s time to dig deeper and find the scientific backing to these claims.

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation, when needed, fights bacteria and infections, repairs damaged tissue, and helps our bodies heal faster from injury or illness.    Cells and proteins whiz to the injury or infection site and begin to surround, protect, and heal.  However, like the old saying goes: all things in moderation.  Too much or excess inflammation can actually damage our bodies.  Chronic inflammation may overwhelm or body rendering it unable to maintain a healthy balance and may lead to clogged arteries, stroke, heart disease, asthma, lupus, or a multitude of chronic illnesses.

Sugar in particular has been found to create an immune system response (inflammation) as the body tries to break down the proteins found in sugar.  Sugar also increases insulin levels, which (when there’s too much) may cause certain Omega fatty acids to increase prostaglandin levels, which may increase inflammation.  Not to mention heightened blood sugar levels may increase chances of becoming Diabetic.  And many people also believe that sugar intake, and increased chronic inflammation, may increase the risk of cancer.

Many people believe by making an active effort to reduce their sugar intake, they are taking steps to help reduce their body’s chronic immune response, thus helping reduce their inflammation and pain.

Science!

At the 1999 55th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, it was presented that certain pro-inflammatory proteins and cytokines (cytokines are increased by sugar consumption) may influence and increase the inflammation of Endometriosis implants.

A study published in 2006 focused on diet and the metabolic syndrome.  What’s “metabolic syndrome?”  Well, it’s a combo of different conditions all leading to an increased risk of heart disease: high blood sugar level, excess body fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels.  Although not dealing with Endometriosis, I found the study equally fascinating.  This study found that a diet high in refined starches, sugar, saturated and trans-fatty acids and low in fruits, veggies, whole grains, and Omega-3 fats may cause issues with the immune system, likely due to an increase of inflammatory agents and a reduction of anti-inflammatory goodness.

“The whole diet approach seems particularly promising to reduce the inflammation associated with the metabolic syndrome. The choice of healthy sources of carbohydrate, fat, and protein, associated with regular physical activity and avoidance of smoking, is critical to fighting the war against chronic disease. Western dietary patterns warm up inflammation, while prudent dietary patterns cool it down.”

A study published in 2008 discussed several lifestyle changes which may help prevent or regulate the pain of Endometriosis, as well as fibroids and breast cancer.  Maintaining healthy blood-sugar levels by following a low-glycemic-index diet is referenced as potentially preventing or fighting inflammation.

A study published in 2011 found that “sugar-sweetened beverages” promoted inflammation in healthy young men.  Twenty-nine men consumed low to moderate sugar-sweetened beverages.  I’d love to see the same study conducted on much higher-level beverages, such as Monster or Rockstar!

A study published in 2015 conducted on mice suggests there may be estrogen and inflammation suppression techniques that may help prevent or treat Endometriosis.  Ongoing research is needed.  “Inflammation suppression” simply drives my determination to try and reduce/limit my body’s excess inflammation…unfortunately, I do not have access to the entire article, only the abstract, but still : “inflammation suppression.”

Sweetener Alternatives

Still want to eat sweet but lessen your processed sugar intake?  Try these alternatives:  artichoke syrup, blackstrap molasses, coconut palm sugar, lucuma powder, raw honey, or stevia.  These are all “less evil” than sugar, but again: all things in moderation.  Some people suggest pure maple syrup or agave nectar; others dissuade against them as a sugar alternative.  And, please, avoid those artificial sweeteners like Sweet’N Low, Splenda, Equal, etc.  They may contain chemicals that pose an increased risk of developing cancer.

What Will I Do?

Sugar is found in nearly EVERYTHING you put in your mouth.  Fruit, vegetables, meat, processed foods, sugar cane, maple syrup, honey, agave, etc.  The list just goes on and on.  Sugars are also labeled many different ways…for more information on how to find added sugars on your food labels, click here.

And since I still want to eat and drink, I choose to eat and drink differently for my Endometriosis.  I find it interesting that the foods I’ve already either reduced or fully-eliminated from my diet also coincide with the whole sugar-thing: soda, coffee (with copious amounts of added sugar), bread, red meat (some red meats have been linked with high sugar levels), baked goodies (cakes, cookies, brownies), desserts (creme brulee, ice cream), and alcohol.  I drink herbal tea in the morning and a homemade tea at night, using organic honey to sweeten both.  I enjoy my fruits and vegetables, my fish, my poultry.  And I drink a lot of water (I really don’t drink anything else anymore, except my glass of wine at night with dinner).  I like to think I’m reducing my chances of increasing my inflammation and pain.

But the question is: what will you do?

Resources:

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine

Carolyn Chambers Clark

Endometriosis Symptoms

Endo-resolved

Ezinearticles

Harvard Health Publications

Hungry for Change

Integrative Medicine : A Clinician’s Journal – 2008 (full text) – An Integrative Approach to Fibroids, Endometriosis, and Breast Cancer Prevention

Julie Daniluk

Lawrence Wilson, M.D.

Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic Health Letter

National Cancer Institute

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

News Medical

Nutritionist Resource

Science Direct – 1999 (abstract) : 55th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Science Direct – 2006 (full text) :  The Effects of Diet on Inflammation: Emphasis on the Metabolic Syndrome

Science Translational Medicine– 2015 (abstract) : Dual suppression of estrogenic and inflammatory activities for targeting of endometriosis

U.S. National Library of Medicine – 2006 (abstract) : The Effects of Diet on Inflammation: Emphasis on the Metabolic Syndrome

University of Maryland Medical Center

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa