Supplementing Safely

2141048a-3d24-4dae-92e0-024a5ac959c7Nutritional supplements have once again found themselves on the receiving end of negative publicity following the release of a recent study showing that around 23,000 emergency room visits every year are related to the use (or misuse) of nutritional supplements, especially energy and weight-loss supplements.1 The problem with stories like this is that they can paint a negative picture for all supplements, including those that are high quality and play an important role in healthy living.

This specific news story reminded me of a personal experience from several years ago that highlights a major contributing factor to the issue.  A friend of mine was considering using a popular Detox/Cleanse supplement.  Knowing that I was a pharmacist who specializes in nutritional supplements and herbal products, she decided it would be good to ask my thoughts before using them.  I was happy she felt the need to ask my opinion because so many people will blindly take a supplement without even reading the label or asking a licensed professional for their opinion.  I gladly reviewed the product label and gave her the following feedback: Continue reading

Helping Prevent Pressure Ulcers

Pressure UlcerAccording to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), a pressure ulcer is “localized injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue usually over a bony prominence, as a result of pressure, or pressure in combination with shear and/or friction”.

Pressure ulcers (also known as bed sores or pressure sores) are a serious issue affecting the quality of life for many individuals with various health complications in different settings including living at home.

Pressure ulcers are a complex healthcare problem with multiple causes.  They are not a new phenomenon since their occurrence was recorded beginning in 2050 BC.  In addition, the early physician, Hippocrates, documented pressure ulcers in 400 BC.  Today, pressure ulcers are a substantial clinical, economic, regulatory and legal problem for healthcare providers and patients.  In fact, it has been estimated that treating pressure ulcers cost the U.S. at least 11 billion dollars per year.

For high-risk populations including critically ill patients, a cumulative incidence of at least 15% has been reported for category 2 or higher pressure ulcers.  There are also many factors that increase the risk for pressure ulcers including advanced age, malnutrition, immobility, loss of consciousness or cognitive abilities, inability to feel pain, decreased blood flow due to diabetes or peripheral arterial disease, as well as dry skin and skin maceration that makes skin more vulnerable to damage.

Increasing Hydration and Protecting Macerated Skin

Senior woman in wheel chairViniferamine® Renewal Moisturizer and Viniferamine® SkinMineralZ contain important skin nutrients including antioxidants, amino acids and vitamins to strengthen vulnerable skin. Renewal Moisturizer increases skin hydration to help keep moisture in skin, as well as ensure proper nourishment of the epidermis.  Each ingredient in Renewal Moisturizer has been perfectly pH balanced.  SkinMineralZ helps nourish macerated, inflamed skin while providing absorption of toxins.  The micronized zinc oxide in SkinMineralZ is ideal for treating delicate skin that cannot tolerate abrasiveness.

Pressure is the amount of force applied perpendicular to a surface area.  In addition, forces known as shear forces may be applied parallel to a skin surface.  Shear forces are commonly applied when patients slide down a surface and they typically affects the sacrum and heel areas of skin.  When pressure is applied to skin, especially over bony prominences, it distorts the skin and underlying soft tissues.  If constant pressure is maintained, soft tissue will change and mold itself to accommodate the external shape, referred to as tissue creep.  Blood vessels within the distorted tissue become compressed, bent or stretched out of their normal shape such that blood cannot flow which results in the tissues supplied by these vessels becoming ischemic.

Changing Positions and Strengthening the Skin Barrier

Normally, reflexive movements relieve tissue distortions, or the central nervous system is stimulated producing pain that causes movement to relieve pressure and distortion before serious damage occurs.  In fact, healthy individuals (that have normal sensation) change positions in their sleep every 11.6 minutes on average.

Young man asleepWhen the circulation is restored, local capillaries dilate and blood flow increases resulting in reactive hyperemia.  This appears as a bright pink blanchable (capable of whitening) patch on the skin.  When the erythema (redness) is unblanchable, that indicates tissue damage characteristic of category 1 pressure ulcers has occurred.

Therefore, there are 3 main causes of pressure ulcers: immobility, failure of reactive hyperemia and loss of sensation.  Pain is an early warning sign for pressure damage and the use of strong pain medicines may delay triggers for movement.  Distortion of soft tissues is particularly dangerous for paraplegic patients.  If ischemia persists, pressure ulcers can occur within 2 hours.  Patients who experience sudden drops in blood pressure due to events such as cardiac arrest may also be at risk for pressure ulcers.  Prolonged pressure can result in skin atrophy and thinning of the protective skin barrier.

Viniferamine® skincare products include ingredients that strengthen skin and improve the skin barrier. Quantitating transepidermal water loss (TEWL) is a way to assess the quality of the skin barrier and how well it functions.  Oleuropein has been shown to reduce TEWL indicating its ability to increase skin barrier function.  Evidence also demonstrates that melatonin has a stimulatory role in building and maintaining the epidermal barrier.

Besides implementing optimal skin care provided by Viniferamine® skin and wound care products, there are other steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers.  It’s important to reposition patients that are immobilized.  Pressure redistribution support surfaces are also useful.  Patients that cannot move need to be advised to report pain to someone who can help them reposition.  It’s important to be aware of the fact that a source of pain in another location may distract an individual from the pain associated with pressure, reducing the likelihood that the individual will respond to the pain trigger.

It’s good to know that Viniferamine® skincare products include ingredients to decrease inflammation, nourish and strengthen skin, and protect and hydrate skin.  SkinMineralZ helps protect macerated skin to decrease the risk of pressure ulcers and Renewal Moisturizer helps eliminate dry skin, which also decreases the risk of pressure ulcers.

1. Dermatol Nurs 2007; 19: 343-349.
2. Am J Critic Care 2008; 17: 328-337.
3. Nursing Times 2002; 98: 41.
4. JAMA 2006: 296: 974-984.
5. Int J Nursing Studies 2015; 52: 1655-1658.
6. Nursing Times 2012: 108: 16-20.
7. Int J Cosmet Sci 2008; 30: 113-120.
8. FASEB J 2013; 27: 2742-2755.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA. The decision to use these products should be discussed with a trusted healthcare provider. The authors and the publisher of this work have made every effort to use sources believed to be reliable to provide information that is accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The authors and the publisher shall not be liable for any special, consequential, or exemplary damages resulting, in whole or in part, from the readers’ use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this article. The publisher has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third party Internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

About the author: Nancy Ray, PhD is the Science Officer at McCord Research. Dr. Ray received her PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics and was a postdoctoral fellow at NIH, Harvard University and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the University of Iowa. She also earned bachelor of science degrees in Chemistry and Microbiology.

Copyright 2015 McCord Holdings – All Rights Reserved.

Surviving Stress

Lioness chases after African Buffalo When an animal is in a dangerous situation, it has two choices:  Stay and fight, or try to escape.  When the body goes into this “fight or flight” response it causes the release of specialized stress hormones that help the body quickly react to the situation.  You might be familiar with the effects of some of these “stress hormones” including adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol.

Stress hormones are essential for survival, especially in urgent situations that trigger a fight or flight response. Fight or flight situations usually resolve quickly in nature, meaning the body only experiences short periods of elevated stress hormones.  But what happens when the fight or flight situation persists for a prolonged period of time?  Are there negative effects from having elevated levels of stress hormones for a long period of time? Continue reading

Helping Prevent Fragile Skin Bruising

Fragile skin bruising arm image

As the number of individuals living longer rises, the prevalence of certain skin issues experienced by older individuals, such as fragile skin bruising, is increasing.

Fragile skin bruising or senile purpura (sometimes called solar purpura) is a common skin disorder that occurs with at least 10% of individuals over the age of 50, and 29% of elderly individuals.

Although the bruising is typically not painful it can be fairly irritating. Moreover, fragile skin bruising is highly visible and is likely to have a significant psychological impact. Fragile skin bruising appears as red or purple spots or patches in the skin that fade to brown. It is characterized by hemorrhages in the skin due to vascular fragility, trauma, or deficient coagulation. The bruises are commonly associated with skin tears and can result from very minor trauma including bumping into fairly soft objects.

Continue reading

Reducing Moisture-Associated Skin Damage

Intertrigo-400x300 Moisture-associated skin damage (MASD) involves skin inflammation, irritation and erosion that results from prolonged exposure to moisture from various sources including urine, stool, wound exudate, perspiration, mucus or saliva.

The four main types of MASD are:

  1. Incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD)
  2. Intertrigo (in skin folds)
  3. Periwound (around a wound) MASD
  4. Peristomal (around a stoma) MASD

Continue reading

Boost Your Immune System

Sick Woman Blowing Nose

Stuffy, runny noses, coughing, headaches, chills, lack of sleep, sneezing, stomach problems . . . we have all been there before, and most of us would like to never be there again. Every year as cold and flu season approaches there is a flood of advertisements urging you and your family to get your annual flu vaccination sooner than later. But there’s a little voice in the back of your head reminding you that you got your flu shot last year, but you still got sick! Wouldn’t you be better off saving yourself the money, pain, and inconvenience and just taking your chances?

Continue reading

Protecting Peristomal Skin

Ostomy+ body illustrationMore than 1 million Americans have a stoma, and it has been estimated by the United Ostomy Association of America that 130,000 ostomy surgeries are performed every year in the United States.  Unfortunately, up to 80% of people with a stoma experience peristomal skin problems. Prevention, early identification and proper care for peristomal skin complications are critical for individuals with a stoma.

Stomas can be either temporary or permanent.  A stoma is formed during a surgical procedure (ostomy) to divert the flow of urine or feces outside the body for collection in a stoma appliance or ostomy pouch system that consists of a baseplate, washer with flanges and a pouch for collecting effluent.  There are 3 main types of stoma: the colostomy, the ileostomy and the urostomy.  The reasons for ostomies include cancer involving the colon rectum or bladder, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease, congenital malformations and diverticular disease.

Several studies suggest that stoma complications within the first 2 to 3 weeks following surgery are common.  85% of individuals with a stoma experience stoma leakage.  A pouch system that fits well immediately following surgery may not fit well several weeks later.  Selection of ostomy equipment that is appropriate for the type of stoma, volume and consistency of the effluent as well as self-care skill level of the individual with a stoma is critical.  Proper use of the stoma appliance including proper pouch application, timely emptying and pouch changing all contribute to helping prevent skin problems. Continue reading

The Brain on Broccoli

For some, hearing the word “broccoli” conjures up horrific childhood memories of a brownish colored overcooked pile of mush in an untouched corner of a school lunch tray that could only be salvaged with gallons of melted cheese and butter. Some of us might also remember sitting at the family dinner table long after everybody else had finished – confined at the table because that dreaded broccoli was keeping you out of the “clean-plate-club.” Hopefully most of us have been able to move past those memories and have since embraced broccoli with the appreciation it deserves as a crunchy, bright green vegetable that tastes great and is extremely good for your health.

Continue reading

Red Wine, Resveratrol, and Brain Health

Red wineYou may have heard that a daily glass of red wine may offer you some health benefits.  While this may be the case, we understand that many people do not wish to consume alcohol and we certainly do not promote daily or excessive consumption of alcohol.  However, we do understand that red wine and grapes (Vitis vinifera) contain some very important compounds and antioxidants that have been shown to have promising effects against a number of diseases and health conditions.

There have been countless studies published on the benefits seen from compounds found in grapes and red wine, with some of the most promising research being conducted on the antioxidant trans-resveratrol.  This is one of the reasons that many of the Pinnaclife Supplements contain trans-resveratrol in the form of grapevine and red wine extract.  The grapevine is actually one of the most potent sources of trans-resveratrol, providing an excellent source for supplements since it is not used for food or winemaking. Continue reading

Taking Care of Heat Rash

Woman after workoutIt’s easy to forget how important it is to sweat in order to cool your body off when it’s really hot outside.  During intense physical exercise, you may not even notice when you’re not sweating properly.  This could lead to problems that could rapidly become serious including severe heat rash or worse, heat illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Heat rash or miliaria (not to be confused with malaria) occurs when sweat ducts become clogged.  Heat rash results from heat accumulation in the skin due to high temperatures and humidity, intense exercise, fevers, certain medications or certain medical conditions.  Heat rash typically occurs in sites of excessive sweating, or where clothing prevents sweat evaporation or creates friction on the skin.

There are three types of heat rash:

  1. Miliaria crystalline
  1. Miliaria rubra (also called “prickly heat”)
  1. Miliaria profunda (also called “wildfire”)

Continue reading