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Science Inflammation

mr peabody

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Will psychedelic drugs replace inhalers to treat Asthma?


The Asthma-fighting properties of psychedelics*

Psychedelic Newswire | 21 Aug 2020

The medical community has long been interested in psychedelics for their anti-inflammatory properties, but the stigma associated with these substances, together with the prohibitive laws in force, have made the therapeutic exploitation of psychedelics a difficult undertaking. Recent interest has allowed Eleusis Ltd., a psychedelics company, to investigate the different psychedelics in order to find out which ones have potent anti-inflammatory attributes.

The researchers looked at about 21 psychedelics which target a specific serotonin receptor (5-HT2A). When this receptor is activated, anti-inflammatory effects are observed in asthmatics.

The researchers found that a group of psychedelics called 2C-H had the ability to regulate inflammation without triggering the behavioral effects linked to the intake of psychedelics like LSD.

To understand how the psychedelics work, the Eleusis research team created a rat model instead of using mice as is the norm in the research community. This change was motivated by the realization that mice have the ability to metabolize psychedelics so fast that it becomes difficult to study the anti-inflammatory effects of the substance administered. Rats were chosen because they have a slower rate of metabolizing psychedelics.

The research team found that there was no correlation between how potent a psychedelic is and its anti-inflammatory properties. For example, LSD is a potent psychedelic, but it didn’t exhibit strong anti-inflammatory abilities in the asthmatic rats despite triggering the behavioral attributes which show that someone is under the influence of the substance.

The team concluded that the cellular systems responsible for the behavioral effects of psychedelics are different from those which trigger anti-inflammatory effects.

Eleusis isn’t the only entity studying psychedelics. Johns Hopkins University for instance secured $17m last year to set up a psychedelics research center to investigate these substances’ effects on the brain, mood and learning, and memory. The team at the Johns Hopkins center are also doing research on whether psilocybin can be used to treat Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders.

Eleusis decided to begin by developing ocular drugs to target the serotonin receptor. This method of administering drugs through the eyes is a desirable one because it allows the patient to get the therapeutic effects of the psychedelic drug without having to experience the behavioral effects that accompany that drug. The company plans to develop additional drugs in the coming future to combat the inflammatory tendencies triggered by other diseases. All that will depend on how the clinical phase of this project pans out.

*From the article here:

 
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mr peabody

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8 natural supplements to help fight inflammation

by Zawn Villines | MedicalNewsToday | 15 Aug 2019

Inflammation is the body’s response to irritation, infection, and injury. Short term inflammation protects the body, while chronic inflammation can lead to long term pain and damage, such as in arthritis.

Anti-inflammatory medications help fight pain and chronic inflammation.

However, these drugs are not safe for everyone, and extended use can lead to complications and side effects.

Some natural supplements may help fight inflammation, although not all supplements work for every type of inflammation.

In this article, we describe some of the most effective anti-inflammatory supplements that people may wish to try, depending on the cause of their inflammation.




1. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in fatty fish such as cod, are among the most potent anti-inflammatory supplements.
These supplements may help fight several types of inflammation, including vascular inflammation. Vascular inflammation is a significant risk factor for heart disease and heart attack.

In one study of 250 people with pain from degenerative disc disease, 59% of the participants were able to substitute fish oil for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

The right dosage varies with the potency of the supplement. Some products come in pill form, while other manufacturers sell omega-3s as an oil. When using these products, people should always follow the instructions on the packaging.

Like many prescription anti-inflammatory medications, omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil may increase the risk of bleeding. People with bleeding disorders and those taking blood thinners should not use this supplement.

Omega-3 fatty acids are available to purchase online.



2. Curcumin

Curcumin, which is an active ingredient in turmeric, is a plant in the ginger family. Animal studies have suggested that it may help reduce inflammation to speed up wound healing and even reduce cancer risk.

A 2011 study also found that curcumin may help reduce inflammation from obesity-related metabolic conditions. Curcumin altered several inflammatory pathways, reducing insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, and hyperlipidemia.

A typical dosage of curcumin is 400–600 milligrams (mg) three times daily.

Although it is safe to take curcumin with low doses of NSAIDs, higher doses may increase the risk of bleeding. Curcumin also increases the risk of bleeding in people taking blood thinners and those with bleeding disorders.

Curcumin is available to purchase online.



3. S-adenosylmethionine

S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) is a substance that the body creates naturally. It plays an important role in the epigenetic regulation of genes.

Epigenetic factors affect gene expression and behavior, turning some genes on or off and changing the effect of others.

Doctors sometimes recommend SAM-e to manage symptoms of depression, osteoarthritis, and certain liver conditions, as inflammation may play a role in each of these.

A handful of clinical trials have suggested that SAM-e may help relieve the pain and inflammation associated with various types of arthritis — sometimes as well as NSAIDs can.

The right dosage depends on the condition a person has. For example:

  • A person may take 200–800 mg twice per day for fibromyalgia.
  • A person may take 800–1,600 mg twice per day for depression.
  • A person may take 600–1,200 mg three times per day for osteoarthritis.
SAM-e may interact with a wide range of drugs, so people must not take it without first consulting a doctor.

At high doses, SAM-e may cause vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and nausea, so people must not exceed the recommended dose.

SAM-e supplements are available to purchase online.




4. Zinc

Some research suggests that zinc is a potent anti-inflammatory that may support the immune system and reduce several markers of inflammation.

According to a 2014 paper, zinc decreased inflammation and oxidative stress among older adults. Oxidative stress triggers inflammation and may increase the risk of a host of conditions, including cancer.

Zinc also reduced the rate of infections by 66%.

People with zinc deficiency are more likely to have arthritis, suggesting a link between zinc deficiency, inflammation, and pain.

The usual daily dosage of zinc supplements is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women. Taking more than 40 mg per day can be dangerous.

Zinc may interact with calcium, diuretics, and certain antibiotics, so people must talk to a healthcare provider before trying this supplement.Zinc supplements are available to purchase online.




5. Green tea

Doctors have long suspected that green tea may fight inflammation, because people who live in regions that consume more green tea have lower rates of inflammation-related illnesses.

Research suggests that green tea may inhibit the production of certain inflammatory chemicals. It may also help slow cartilage loss, reducing the symptoms of arthritis.
Most doctors recommend drinking three or four cups of green tea per day, or taking 300–400 mg of green tea extract daily.

Green tea contains caffeine, so it is not safe for those who are sensitive to caffeine. The caffeine may cause stomach problems such as diarrhea.

Some companies make decaffeinated green tea, but researchers do not yet know if this type of green tea is effective for reducing inflammation.

Green tea extract is available to purchase online.



6. Frankincense

Boswellia serrata resin, or frankincense, can ease both inflammation and pain.

It may also help reduce cartilage loss and reverse autoimmune symptoms. It is a fast acting supplement that may help with osteoarthritis pain in just 5 days.

The usual dosage is an extract containing 30–40% boswellic acids, which a person takes in 300–500 mg doses two to three times per day.

Combining frankincense with curcumin may increase its potency, and some research has found that people tolerate this combination better than the NSAID diclofenac.

Frankincense is typically safe, with few side effects. However, some people report stomach pain and gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea.

Frankincense supplements are available to purchase online.



7. Capsaicin

Capsaicin is the ingredient that gives hot peppers their heat. Substance P, a key component of capsaicin, may reduce the body’s ability to feel and transmit pain.

Some research suggests that capsaicin may help with both nerve and muscular pain.

Several manufacturers offer capsaicin creams that people can apply directly to painful areas. Capsaicin supplements may also help. Again, people taking these should follow the directions on the packaging.

Capsaicin can irritate the skin and eyes, so it is essential to wash the hands thoroughly after use.

Capsaicin supplements are available to purchase online.




8. Cat’s claw

Cat’s claw comes from various uncaria plants, including Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis.

Research suggests that cat’s claw may reduce various forms of inflammation. It is especially effective at inhibiting TNF-alpha, an inflammatory chemical in the body.

If using cat’s claw tea, a person may drink a ratio of 1,000 mg of root bark to 8 ounces of water. It is also safe to consume as a powder in capsule form, in daily dosages of 20–60 mg.

Although cat’s claw is generally safe, two case reports suggest that it may cause kidney failure in people with lupus. It may also cause nausea, though some studies suggest that it may also help stomach pain from the NSAID indomethacin.

Cat’s claw supplements are available to purchase online.


Other options

Anti-inflammatory supplements do not work for everyone. In almost all cases, these supplements take time to reverse inflammation.
So, people who need immediate pain relief may want to try other options, either in addition to or instead of anti-inflammatory supplements. Some options include:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory drugs: Medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin can help with inflammation-related pain. They may also reduce the swelling of a recent injury.
  • Prescription anti-inflammatory drugs: A wide range of prescription medications can help with inflammation and pain.
  • Anti-inflammatory diet: Some people focus on eating foods that reduce inflammation, while others avoid those that may trigger inflammation. Fried foods, soda, refined carbohydrates, and red meat may cause inflammation, while nuts, blueberries, strawberries, olive oil, tomatoes, and leafy green vegetables may help fight it.
Summary

Natural anti-inflammatory supplements can help the body fight pain and inflammation. They may even prevent some of the long term complications of chronic inflammation, such as cancer.

Before trying a new anti-inflammatory treatment, even a natural one, it is important to consult a doctor. Natural remedies are often potent medicine that can cause side effects and interact with other drugs.

When they work, however, they may reduce the need to take prescription or OTC medications.

 
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mr peabody

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Scientists use psychedelics to discover an anti-inflammatory pharmacophore

by Barb Bauer, MS | Psychedelic Science Review | 4 Sep 2020

Integrating several tests into a SAR, scientists have identified the compound 2C-H as a structural basis of the anti-inflammatory response in rats.

The news surrounding psychedelic research these days is full of clinical trials on compounds including psilocybin, MDMA, DMT, and LSD. Scientists and psychologists are slowly teasing out the details of the pharmacology and therapeutic applications of these compounds. Psychedelic science has arguably created its own field of expertise for generating, applying, and sharing the empirical information it generates.

A recent study takes an interesting turn, examining inflammatory response using several psychedelics, rats, histopathology, and cellular functional assays. As a consequence, the findings have downstream impacts that spill into scientific disciplines other than psychedelics.

Background

The researchers conducting this study, Flanagan et al., were looking for a pharmacophore for anti-inflammatory activity in rats. They chose to use psychedelics to help them find one because of two previous observations made by researchers: 1) some psychedelics have potent anti-inflammatory properties2 and 2) the anti-inflammatory effects don’t seem to correlate with behavior changes.

The latter observation implies there are two different mechanisms at work. Therefore, by using the 5-HT2A receptor (5-HT2AR) in their study (the one responsible for psychedelic effects), the researchers hypothesized they could segregate the psychedelic compounds based on their ability to cause an anti-inflammatory effect. And, maybe they could observe if there were separate pathways for the behavioral and anti-inflammatory effects.

Study design

The study tested 21 drugs that are agonists of 5-HT2AR. They represented the three primary chemical classes of psychedelics, phenylalkylamines, ergolines, and tryptamines.

Flanagan et al. created a rat model (which they validated in the study) to screen the compounds for causing allergic asthma. The did this by sensitizing and exposing the animals over time to chicken ovalbumin via injection. The rats were then exposed to each drug dissolved in saline at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg. The aerosol mixture was administered with a nebulizer. After exposure, the rat’s lungs were removed and fixed for histological examination.

Using human HEK293 cells expressing 3-HT2AR, the researchers conducted downstream Gαq-mediated calcium flux assays. With this test, the researchers wanted to see if the anti-inflammatory effects of some psychedelics involved mobilizing intracellular calcium.

Some findings of the study

The researchers assembled a structure-activity relationship (SAR) for the compounds and test data. Analysis of the SAR revealed several significant findings, five of which are summarized below.

  1. Overall, the data indicated that activating 5-HT2AR is “necessary and sufficient for the anti-asthma effects of psychedelics” in rats.
  2. The compound 2C-H (2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine) represents the pharmacophore for anti-inflammatory activity. This means that 2C-H has the chemical characteristics essential for the anti-inflammatory response via 5-HT2A
  3. The researchers identified how modifications to the psychedelic compound’s chemical structure could either enhance or reduce its anti-inflammatory activity. Figure 1 below illustrates the findings from the SAR analysis.
  4. The data indicated that a psychedelic compound’s ability to prevent asthmatic symptoms does not involve activating calcium mobilization in cells downstream from 5-HT2A.
  5. Integrating their results with behavioral studies in the literature, the authors hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory effects of a particular psychedelic would be at a lower dose than what is needed to produce behavioral effects.

Figure 1: Image illustrating the findings from the SAR. The phenylalkylamine compounds center around the 2C-H pharmacophore. LSD is at the center of the ergolines and DMT (the least modified tryptamine) is at the center of the tryptamines. The researchers measured each compound’s efficacy by its ability to prevent airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) in the test animals.

Significance of the study results

Creating SARs and identifying pharmacophores present significant advancements that benefit many scientific disciplines. The findings of this study by Flanagan et al. have significant implications in several research areas, including immunology and psychedelics.

Among other applications, scientists can take this information and use it to design anti-inflammatory drugs that don’t have the behavioral effects of psychedelics. The SAR also expands the knowledge base regarding the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor, which is critical for psychedelic researchers.


 
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mr peabody

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This is why cannabis is so effective at easing inflammation

by Mary Schumacher | Chicago Tribune | 8 Sep 2020

While inflammation is the cause of many maladies, it’s also sometimes the remedy. It accounts for back pain, arthritis flare ups, headaches, bowel disorders and even an increase in heart disease. Alzheimer’s is yet another affliction associated with inflammation. And cannabis? It’s a known anti-inflammatory.

As studies show, not only does cannabis have a positive effect in taming inflammation and a myriad ailments associated with inflammation, the entourage effect created by the combination of cannabinoids, including THC, gives a person an even better result. When this synergy takes place, inflammation is greatly relieved, and thus so are the diseases and pains that go with it.


Buyer beware: Make sure you know what you’re using.

Quality and longevity of life are sincere goals of most humans, and accomplishing those goals takes a level of fitness that is somewhat lacking in the average American lifestyle. Many people unable to exercise or stretch for their health aren’t capable because of inflamed joints or other painful inflammations that hinder activity.

Because cannabis works as an anti-inflammatory, it could very easily be the ticket to better health and wellness all around. If the joint pain isn’t in the way and the mindset is elevated to a can-do level, the world opens up a bit and the first steps toward holistic health have been taken.

Cannabis has been studied for the relief of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and one study showed that the anti-inflammation properties are to be thanked. Although the initial purpose of the study to seek complete Crohn's remission wasn't achieved, it was found that 10 out of 11 patients treated had "clinical, steroid free benefits."

Steroids and other anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals have many side effects. For steroids, immune system efficiency can go down and muscle weakness may occur among other problematic possibilities. For NSAIDs, the most common over the counter anti-inflammatory, prolonged use can result in stomach pain and eventually to ulcers.

One thing cannabis is short on is side effects. Sure there’s dry mouth, increased hunger, an enhancement of the senses and, oh yeah, a substantial reduction in inflammation, but aren’t most of those things part of the point? It’s no wonder that so many patients use cannabis for chronic pain, inflammatory bowel disease and even Alzheimer’s.

The Fresh Toast is a daily lifestyle platform with a side of cannabis. For more information, visit www.thefreshtoast.com.

 

mr peabody

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Depression and anxiety share several symptoms and common risk factors, and are often treated with the same drugs.


Depression, not anxiety, linked with inflammation*

European College of Neuropsychopharmacology | Neuroscience News | 15 Sep 2020

Depression and anxiety have different biochemical links to inflammation and lipid metabolism. Those with depression have greater levels of inflammation and different types and amounts of lipids in their blood compared to those with anxiety. The metabolites associated with depression were linked to the severity of symptoms. Higher levels of lipids associated with depression detected in a person’s blood correlated with more severe symptoms.

Anxiety and depression are often linked and assumed to be closely related, but now research has shown for the first time that depression and anxiety have different biochemical associations with inflammation and lipid (fat) metabolism. This indicates that different, more targeted treatments may be possible to treat anxiety and depression. This work is presented at the ECNP Congress.

Depression and anxiety share several symptoms, have common risk factors, and often they are treated with the same drugs. Over 50% of patients with depression (Major Depressive Disorder) also have a history of anxiety. Nevertheless, psychiatrists classify them as different disorders, although until now it has been difficult to identify biochemical evidence for this.

Scientists from the Netherlands study used blood samples from 304 people with depression, 548 with anxiety, 531 with both depression and anxiety, 807 with remitted disorders, and 634 healthy controls. Using a nuclear magnetic resonance detector they tested for associations between 40 metabolites found in blood and symptoms of depression, and symptoms of anxiety (such as panic, pathological worry, etc.).

“We have two main findings,” said Hilde de Kluiver, of Amsterdam UMC. “Firstly, we found that the depressed group showed evidence of greater inflammation which was not seen in the anxious group. We also found that the depressed group had very different amounts and types of lipid in their blood. For example, depressed people had high levels of triglycerides, but lower levels of omega-3-fatty acids. In contrast, those people who had anxiety disorder had a lipid composition very similar to the healthy control group.

"We also found that those metabolites associated with depression were also associated with the severity of the depression: in other words, if you had more of a lipid associated with depression, your depression tended to be worse.”


In recent years, depression has been associated with disturbances in the body’s immune system and metabolism, and previous researchers have shown that depressed people tend to have different biochemical markers to those of healthy people. However, no such analysis of such a wide set of markers has been undertaken for anxiety. This work shows, for the first time, that the immune system and lipid metabolism changes in depressed people but not in anxious people.

The researchers hope that these findings will lead to better treatments. “Our group is now planning to test whether depressed people with altered inflammation might respond to treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs,” said Hilde de Kluiver.

Commenting, Dr Philippe Nuss (Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Paris) said “This is an important finding for several reasons. First it identifies easy-to-measure blood biomarkers characterising a subtype of depression whose underlying mechanism is specific and will probably need an appropriate treatment. It also emphasises the fact that mental disorders should be seen in a whole body perspective where major regulatory physiological systems such as immunity and lipid metabolism are involved. In addition, both immunity and lipids are strongly involved in brain metabolism. It is thus not surprising that Ms de Kluiver’s work shows that the severity of depression is greater in patients with more impaired biomarkers.”

*From the article here:

 
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mr peabody

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Thyroid inflammation linked to anxiety disorders

by European Society of Endocrinology | Medical Xpress | 7 Sep 2020

Patients with autoimmune inflammation of their thyroid may be at greater risk of developing anxiety, according to a study being presented at e-ECE 2020. The study found that people with anxiety may also have inflammation in their thyroid gland that can be reduced by taking the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, ibuprofen. These findings suggest that thyroid function may play an important role in the development of anxiety disorders and that thyroid inflammation should be investigated as an underlying factor in psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety.

At present, up to 35% of the young population (25-60 years) in developed countries have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can have a severe impact of people's quality of life and ability to work and socialize, and anti-anxiety medication does not always have a lasting effect. Current examinations for anxiety disorders usually focus on dysfunction of the nervous system and do not take into account the role of the endocrine system.

The thyroid gland produces thyroxine and triiodothyronine - hormones that are essential for regulating heart, muscle and digestive function, brain development and bone maintenance. Autoimmune inflammation in the thyroid occurs when our bodies wrongly produce antibodies that attack the gland and causes damage. Recent studies indicate that anxiety disorders can be associated with the dysfunction of the thyroid gland. Therefore, it is important to understand how this may contribute to anxiety, so that patients can be treated more effectively.

Dr. Juliya Onofriichuk from Kyiv City Clinical Hospital investigated thyroid function in 29 men and 27 women with diagnosed anxiety, who were experiencing panic attacks. Ultrasounds of their thyroid glands assessed thyroid function and levels of thyroid hormones were measured. The patients with anxiety showed signs of inflammation of their thyroid glands but their function was not affected, with thyroid hormone levels all within the normal range, although slightly elevated. They also tested positive for antibodies directed against the thyroid. Treatment for 14 days with ibuprofen and thyroxine reduced thyroid inflammation, normalized thyroid hormone levels and reduced their anxiety scores.

"These findings indicate that the endocrine system may play an important role in anxiety. Doctors should also consider the thyroid gland and the rest of the endocrine system, as well as the nervous system, when examining patients with anxiety," Dr. Onofriichuk explains.

This knowledge could help patients with anxiety receive more effective treatment that improves thyroid function and could have a long-term positive effect on their mental health. However, sex and adrenal gland hormones were not taken in to account in this study, and these can also have a serious effect on anxiety.

Dr. Onofriichuk now plans to conduct further research that examines the levels of thyroid, sex and adrenal hormones in patients with dysfunctional thyroid glands and anxiety disorders. This research aims to help understand more clearly the role of the endocrine system in the development of anxiety and could lead to better management of anxiety disorders.

 
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