Sunday, July 29, 2018



Enhanced External Counterpulsation Therapy for Heart Disease and More

Dr. S. Ramasamy1 is a cardiologist and noninvasive cardiology consultant specializing in heart failure management, whose innovative work centers around the use of enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP). In this interview, he discusses the use of EECP as an adjunct to or primary therapy for heart disease, and how it may benefit a number of other conditions as well, including diabetes.
I had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife at last year's annual Academy of Comprehensive and Integrative Medicine (ACIM) conference in Orlando. EECP is a really valuable yet oft-ignored resource in the treatment and prevention of heart disease. Ramasamy began working on an EECP research project when he came to the U.S. as a medical resident in 1998.
"When you have coronary artery disease or cardiac disease, you have multiple options to solve that," he says. "You have medical management. After the medical management phase, then you go for an angiogram. Through the angiogram, they are able to find out how many blocks you have in your coronary arteries.
Based on the blocks, you're either going to be a candidate for bypass surgery or peripheral angioplasty, or they may use a stent, which can be a bare metal stent, or a drug-eluting stent or a biodegradable stent. But what people don't know is there's another option called EECP, enhanced external counterpulsation.
What does EECP actually do? EECP, is a noninvasive way of treating the same cardiac disease without the intervention. At the same time, this treatment is able to significantly increase blood flow across the blocked artery, so the heart muscle can get more blood supply without you actually going for these invasive procedures, like bypass surgery and angioplasty."

Why EECP Is a Superior Treatment Choice for Heart Disease

A principal benefit of this treatment is that rather than surgically grafting one or more vessels, EECP allows your body to create new vessels without surgical intervention. It triggers the creation of thousands of tiny vessels that provide as much, if not greater, volume of blood to your heart. As noted by Ramasamy, while the main blood vessel that gets the graft or stent only contributes 30 to 40 percent of the blood supply going to your heart, the remaining majority is actually supplied by microvessels, which number in the millions.
When you do EECP, you not only increase the blood supply in the area that is blocked, but you're also increasing blood flow to the entire cardiac muscle. In other words, it's not specific to the ischemic area. Rather, it globally increases the blood supply across your heart muscle. "That's the great thing about EECP," Ramasamy says, "It's noninvasive. It can significantly increase the blood flow by using microvessel circulation, profoundly much better than the main vessel is able to supply."

How EECP Is Performed

EECP is a treatment name trademarked by VasoMedical, so what we're really talking about here is the concept of external counterpulsation or ECP. That said, during ECP treatment, the patient is asked to lie down on a treatment table that has a valve system. They wrap your lower limbs, including your calves, lower thighs and upper thigh region with inflatable cuffs, similar to that of a blood pressure cuff, which is hooked up to an electrocardiograph (EKG) machine.
The machine, through the EKG, senses your heart rhythm beat by beat. It then precisely times the inflation of large bladders around your pelvis and legs (similar to blood pressure cuffs) with the diastolic phase of your cardiac cycle. The cuffs inflate to a pressure around 260 to 300-millimeter mercury pressure. The compression starts at the bottom of your calves, moving sequentially upward, forcing blood from your lower limbs toward your heart.
The compression affects both the venous compartment and the arterial compartment. When the arterial compartment is compressed, the blood goes in the reverse direction.
Ramasamy explains, "It is timed in such a way that the main valve, the aortic valve, is closed, so the blood can directly route into the coronary arteries, which arise from the root of the aorta." As a consequence, it increases the blood supply to your coronary artery two- to threefold, which is similar to what you achieve with anaerobic or high-intensity interval training.
"Basically, your heart thinks you're performing something like a 6-kilometer fast running. That much blood is increasing in your coronary circulation. At the same time, it also compresses the venous system and increases the blood sent to your heart. In fact, it increases the cardiac output. These two functions are very important.
Increasing blood flow to the coronary artery is helpful for patients who have ischemia or blockage in the coronary artery. It is helpful to patients with heart failure, because it can increase the cardiac output. This procedure is done every day for one hour, done ideally five days or six days a week. It goes up to six to seven weeks continuously. In some patients, it can be also performed twice a day, [in which case] the treatment can be cut short and completed in almost three weeks' time."

EECP Is a Medicare-Approved Treatment That Can Benefit Many

In the U.S., EECP is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare, if you have a diagnosis of angina or coronary heart disease resulting in angina. If you don't have insurance, it's still a far more effective and safer approach than surgical intervention. Thirty-five treatments will typically cost you about $5,000, and the results often last for about five years.
In India, EECP is offered to a much wider array of patients, including those with heart failure, coronary artery disease or a history of heart attack, and Ramasamy believes it has great potential not only for angina but also as a primary treatment for heart failure.
I first became aware of EECP in the mid-'90s. I was very skeptical at the time because I felt one could just exercise and get the same benefit. I was wrong about that, however, as it's absolutely impossible to reproduce the "exercise" that EECP creates. Physics and biomechanics simply don't allow it.

The Difference Between Exercise and EECP

Exercise alone cannot cause the pressure to increase during the diastolic (resting) phase of the cardiac cycle, causing the blood to flow upward. Your body simply does not work that way. That's the magic of EECP, because during the diastole phase, when you have an increase in blood return to your heart, it pushes the blood upward, causing this massive increase in collateral blood vessels in the heart.
Exercise will promote microvessel formation too — but you must be healthy to do it, since it requires high levels of exertion. Ramasamy explains the difference between EECP and exercise further:
"No. 1, most cardiac patients are so sick they cannot even walk for three or four minutes without resting. Probably, they have an effort angina or an exertional angina. Even a minor increase in exercise [causes] angina pain. This group of patients, obviously, you cannot push them to do exercise. Even if you push them to do an exercise, they may not be able to achieve more than three to four minutes of walking. Basically, for patients who cannot exercise, EECP is a good option.
I will also add another thing. If you compare EECP to exercise, that's a good comparison. But let's say that somebody who is not athletic, or they have body strain, you put them on a sudden increase in exertion, you ask them to run maybe a kilometer or a mile, they're not trained to do so. So, their heart rate increases and their blood pressure shoots up. Basically, the heart is trying to pump so hard because of the increased pressure and heart rate.
Probably the effort of exercise won't reach them, because they're going to struggle by increasing their exercise. But when you do EECP, the opposite happens. It keeps your blood pressure down. In fact, during EECP, because it relaxes your vessels, your systolic pressure goes down. Your heart rate is kept constant.
By keeping your blood pressure down and heart rate constant, you only increase the blood flow to the coronary [artery]. You're getting maximum benefit — more than exercise can do — without actually doing exercise. It's kind of a passive exercise that we can do for anybody. This is an advantage of EECP — in both the cardiac patient and also noncardiac patient who are not doing regular exercise."

How Quickly Can You Get Results and How Long Do Benefits Last?

Here's yet another way to explain it: During normal systolic blood pressure, the 120 systole — the top number of your blood pressure — all your organs get maximum blood supply. During the diastole phase (the bottom number of your blood pressure) the pressure drops — in the case of "ideal" blood pressure, it's down to 80.
During EECP, the opposite occurs. In the systolic phase, due to increased cardiac output, all the organs get increased blood supply, and during the diastolic phase, because of the cuff compression, blood supply is increased, allowing all your organs to get again maximum blood supply both during the systolic and diastolic phases.
"Basically, during EECP, you're getting a dual blood supply rather than the single blood supply fully depending on the systolic phase," Ramasamy says. Typically, in cardiac patients, by the 15th to 20th session, collateral circulation starts increasing, and most patients start to feel much better at this point.
Also, during EECP the sheer stress due to increased flow across the entire vascular system causes your body to respond through endothelial cells that line your blood vessels. It secretes growth hormones, and nitric oxide is also increased, which benefits your health.
"We have seen in a lot of trials that the nitric oxide levels shoot up three to four times the normal value. Because of that, in cardiac patients, vasodilatation can happen and symptoms drastically [reduce]. At the same time, the collateral circulation also starts taking place after 15 sessions. Another 20 sessions are given for the maintenance for the cells.
When you do the treatment for a long period of time, up to 35 sessions, all the new collateral vessels formed will become a permanent conduit. Even after you stop the treatment the benefit has been shown to last for up to five years."
Now, I want to make it really clear here that ECP is not a magic bullet. But it's a very useful tool, and a far safer and less expensive and superior treatment than angioplasty or bypass. Ideally, it would be used in addition to lifestyle changes such as implementing a cyclical ketogenic diet, so that, eventually, you can get into a regular fitness program. In such a case, EECP can be a very powerful synergistic tool to change your life around.
EECP can also be helpful for erectile dysfunction, as it increases blood flow in the lower part of your body. "We never even recommended it, but there are people coming [to our clinic] from the Middle East, just for erectile dysfunction," Ramasamy says. It will also help flush out your lymphatic system, reducing peripheral edema.

How EECP Can Benefit Prediabetics and Type 2 Diabetics

While treating cardiovascular disease is probably is the most important benefit, EECP also has a number of other health benefits. It's really useful to view this modality as a form of passive exercise. Like exercise, it has many of the same benefits. For example, it decreases insulin resistance and is useful for the treatment of diabetes. According to Ramasamy, increased attention is now being given to EECP as preventive care.
"For example, we have seen patients with the glucose intolerance … These are the group of patients who are not considered normal or diabetic; they are in between. The blood sugar level is not close to normal, which it is supposed to be.
When we put them on EECP, it actually reverses the blood glucose level to normal. That's a fantastic finding, because what happens is it drastically reduces both the fasting as well as the postprandial blood sugar level, and now these patients are considered normal (nondiabetic). We still don't know the exact mechanism of how it is able to reduce insulin resistance and how it is able to reverse the diabetic to normal.
But one of the reasons is because EECP is a form of aggressive exercise. It has the effect of increasing blood flow to the pancreas. It also increases glucose utilization in skeletal muscle. Because when you put on the cuff and it inflates and deflates for 35 days, somehow, the receptors in the muscles are stimulated. They are able to absorb this blood sugar level from the circulation and blood sugar level comes under control.
When treating cardiac patients who are also diabetics with EECP, we've seen them go hypoglycemic (a significant decrease in blood sugar level). When we evaluated these patients, we realized EECP caused a significant drop in blood sugar level, and we were able to reduce their antidiabetic drug and insulin dosage.
It also reduces the bad (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) cholesterol and significantly increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels … [S]tatins can reduce your LDL level, but it won't increase your HDL level. If you want to look into increasing the HDL in addition to the exercise, you'd want to be taking some fish oil. But I think EECP is a first treatment modality, which not only decreases your LDL, but significantly increase your HDL levels also,"Ramasamy says.

EECP for Heart Failure and Hypertension

Diastolic dysfunction is one of the most important and interesting issues. Most people think heart failure is when the systolic function declines, such as when your ejection fraction number goes down from 60 to 50 percent.
This is called reduction in left ventricular function. Heart failure occurs at 40 percent. It's known as systolic dysfunction. The second type of dysfunction, which is equally common and comprises half of all heart failure is diastolic dysfunction. We still don't have any proper medical management for the treatment of diastolic dysfunction.
"EECP has shown very good promise in initial studies. We have good experience in treating these patients with diastolic dysfunction. How does EECP help these patients? When we inflate and deflate the cuffs, the deflation causes dilation of your blood vessels.
So, your heart can now easily pump the blood in to the dilated vessels, causing the diastolic pressure to come down. It's a very important parameter to assess the diastolic dysfunction. The overall stiffness of the ventricle is reduced.
Heart failure is becoming a big epidemiological disaster in the U.S. We have medical management and device-based management for heart failure. This has shown to improve quality of life and decrease the mortality, but what they couldn't achieve is a decrease in repeat rehospitalization."
This is an area where EECP can be very useful. Once you are admitted for heart failure, your chances of repeat hospitalization within 30 to 60 days is between 30 and 50 percent. "It's a huge percentage. We have shown that if you put them on EECP immediately after they come back from being hospitalized, the rehospitalization rate drops to 15 percent," Ramasany says, adding:
"EECP is a very good treatment for heart failure because it improves the circulation to the myocardium. Because it increases the blood supply to the myocardium, the muscle contracts much better than before. It improves your LV function, which is the ejection fraction. It improves your quality of life. It is also able to reduce rehospitalization rates, and improve survival."
One of the side effects of heart failure is that it causes the left ventricle to enlarge, a condition called left ventricular hypertrophy. Initially, when EECP was introduced in the U.S., heart failure was a contraindication for EECP, and the reason for that is because when you push blood back into the heart, if the heart is too weak to pump the blood outside the ventricle, if there was a back pressure, the blood will go to the pulmonary artery.
When the pulmonary artery wedge pressure increases, it causes pulmonary edema, which was very common among heart failure patients undergoing EECP. However, we can now successfully treat heart failure patients by altering the timing of the inflation and deflation of the cuffs.
"Thereby we can increase the cardiac output without putting the patient at the risk of pulmonary edema. Also, one of the important factors, which can predict the outcome in patients with heart failure, is left ventricular end diastolic volume.
If the ventricle is dilated then your end diastolic volume will be greater, causing increased mortality and repeat hospitalization. We have shown in our study that 35 sessions of EECP treatment actually reduces the end diastolic volume, so left ventricular enlargement improves with increase ventricular contraction power." 
High blood pressure is another condition that can be improved with EECP. Most of the patients undergoing EECP for coronary artery disease will also have hypertension. They are on medication to control their hypertension, and sometimes they have high blood pressure in spite of medication. EECP has been shown to decrease systolic blood pressure by about 15- and 10-millimeter mercury pressure respectively after a one-hour session, which is quite significant.
The reason for this decrease is because you inflate and deflate the cuff around the lower limbs, which constitutes to 60 percent of your peripheral vascular resistance, which is the cause for increases in blood pressure.
After about 35 days of treatment, the increased nitric oxide secretion from the endothelial cells will begin to dilate your blood vessels. Once the blood vessel is dilated there is a drop in the peripheral vascular resistance, thereby lowering your systolic blood pressure. So, EECP treatment has a positive effect on your cholesterol level, blood sugar level and systolic pressure level. These effects show EECP has a great potential as a preventive tool. 

EECP Effect on Your Lymphatic System

EECP can also flush out the lymphatic in the lower extremity. Many of the patients undergoing EECP have edema, either venous or lymphatic, but after EECP the pedal edema does go away. "Probably, EECP not only causes reverse flow in arterial system and improves venous flow, it may also have some effect on the lymphatic system, but it's not been studied yet," Ramasamy says. A common experience during EECP is the urge to empty your bladder. In response to why that happens, Ramasamy says:
"I would comment if the patient wants to empty the bladder often during the treatment, then their lower limb vasculature is very good. When we give the compression in the lower limbs, there is an increase in coronary perfusion pressure around 40 percent, then a 20 percent increase in cerebral perfusion pressure, but in renal there's a 130 to 140 percent increase in blood flow.
Such an amount of blood flow can increase your glomerular filtration rate and increase urine output in the bladder. Also, since there is an increase in blood flow in the pelvic area, it's very effective in patients with erectile dysfunction."

EECP Shows Promise for Alzheimer's

Last but not least, EECP also shows promise in the prevention of dementia, as it increases vascular flow to your brain. During EECP, there's a 20 percent increase in the cerebral perfusion pressure. This increases the blood flow to your cerebral cortex also.
"I think this should be a treatment for senile dementia or Alzheimer's disease," Ramasamy says. However, randomized studies are still needed to confirm the benefits. Again, just like in the treatment of heart disease or coronary artery disease, EECP is not a magic bullet. But certainly, in conjunction with other effective strategies, such as those detailed in Dr. Dale Bredesen's book, "The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline."

More Information

Again, the primary condition that EECP is recommended for is heart disease, and angina more specifically. If your doctor has been recommending that you get a bypass, or angioplasty or a stent, then EECP is something you should seriously consider before you opt for surgery. Even if you have to pay for it out of pocket, it's going to be far better than subjecting yourself to surgery, which does nothing to treat the cause of the disease.
At least ECP addresses the physiological mechanisms, giving you not just one, but thousands of bypasses all over your entire heart, while simultaneously improving your blood pressure, cholesterol ratios, insulin sensitivity and lowering your risk for dementia. It even increases cardiac stem cells naturally, which decreases your risk of myocardial infarction and death. Stem cells also increase in peripheral circulation, so EECP appears to have a global effect on stem cell production.
"I would explain EECP as a vascular reversal treatment. Anything that is related to vascular or blood flow, I think EECP can be worth it," Ramasamy says. "It's like aggressive exercise on your vascular system. Any vascular disease usually responds to EECP." That also includes peripheral vascular disease or peripheral arterial disease, which can be very painful, and has few effective treatment options.
"Peripheral vascular disease patients have severe classification pain. The calf muscle will be severely painful when the patient starts walking due to lack of blood supply to the skeletal muscle.
The EECP effect is not specific to any vessels but it's a vascular reversal treatment. In patients with peripheral vascular disease and claudication pain, when we apply EECP there is a decrease in peripheral vascular resistance and promotion of collaterals in lower limb. So the patient is able to improve their exercise time," Ramasamy says.

On Chronic Stable Angina Management

The management of chronic stable angina is complex. Angioplasty and stents have failed to show benefit in multiple randomized control trials. Studies show it cannot improve quality of life, cannot increase longevity or prevent a heart attack. EECP, on the other hand, has been shown quite useful. Ramasamy explains:
"EECP has three important functions. It can be initially used as a primary treatment. If you have diabetes, hypertension or hypercholesterolemia, you can use it as a preventive tool and improve your endothelial function to secrete more nitric oxide and restore your endothelial function to normal.
If you don't use it as a preventive tool and you have a coronary heart disease and chronic stable angina, EECP may also play a major role because, again, it can improve your collateral circulation and angiogenesis. It can improve your blood supply to the ischemic area, without manipulating your coronary artery by bypass and angioplasty.
Third, if you did a bypass and angioplasty and it fails due to graft occlusion or stent restenosis, which are very common, then EECP is the only option. Finally, the end stage: If you did all these things, and your heart is still not able to recover from the shock due to myocardial infarction and you go into heart failure, EECP again plays a major role. I think EECP should be used more than what is currently being used in the U.S. and India.
When you have a heart attack … your heart muscle is going to die. There is no metabolic activity that happens in the myocardia. The surrounding myocardium is also suffering from ischemia, which is always associated with death. There are dead cells when there is ischemia. Procedures, whether bypass surgery, an angioplasty or an EECP, are able to recover this ischemic cell back to normal.
But once the damage is done, which happens in heart failure, I don't think the EECP or any other interventional procedure is able to recover or reverse the dead cells. For infarction, they usually go for fibrosis and It cannot be recovered. But the ischemic cells surrounding the infarction can recover."
For more information about Ramasamy and how EECP can help you, see There, you'll also find a long list of scientific studies relating to the use of EECP. Physicians who want to learn more about EECP and how you can offer it to your patients, check out

Sunday, July 22, 2018



by Michael T. Murray, N.D.


PGX (PolyGlycopleX) is a unique complex of highly purified, water-soluble dietary fiber developed using advanced EnviroSimplex8 technology. This technology combines these natural compounds in a very specific ratio making PGX an effective weight loss aid and dietary supplement. PGX was invented by researchers at InovoBiologic Inc., Calgary after many years of extensive research. PGX is available in a variety of forms including capsules, soft gelatin capsules, granules, meal replacement powders, and pre-meal drink mixes.


PGX products are available under a variety of brand names, in stores throughout North America that sell natural health products. Visit and select "Where to Buy" under the "About PGX" main menu, enter an address, and click the "Find Nearest" button to see the nearest locations.


PGX technology has produced PGX Daily Ultra Matrix Softgels - an advanced delivery system for optimum results. "Ultra Matrix" refers to PGX granules suspended in a matrix of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) — healthy fats from purified coconut oil. PGX Daily disperses and becomes viscous slowly in the stomach and digestive tract. Most other fibers do not become as viscous as PGX", become viscous too quickly, or do not become viscous at all. PGX maintains its viscosity throughout the entire digestive tract (including the colon) which means that the glycemic index and subsequent blood sugar regulation is greater. Also, thanks to the thermogenic properties of the MCTs in the capsule, PGX Daily can result in an extra 25-50 calories burned daily.


To enjoy the full benefits of PGX, try to take some before each and every meal. Be sure to drink at least 250 ml (8 oz) of water per 2.5 gram serving of PGX. Start with 1-2 softgels of PGX Daily before each meal and increase by 1 softgel per meal every 2-3 days. If you are prone to digestive upset, increase the dose at a slower rate to give your body time to adjust. Some people find 2-3 softgels or 2.5 grams of PGX granules to be effective. Others require the maximum dose of 6 softgels of PGX Daily or 5 grams of PGX granules in order to reduce portion size. Continue to increase the dosage until you experience a significant reduction in hunger and between-meal food cravings. Do not exceed 6 softgels or 5 grams up to three times per day.


PGX is a highly concentrated and highly effective form of fiber. It can take time for your body to adjust. To avoid minor side effects, such as increased gas, bloating, loose stools or constipation, it is best to start with small amounts of PGX and then gradually increase your intake as your body adjusts. If you take PGX consistently, and increase the dose gradually, it is likely that you will be able to consume a highly effective dose, without these effects, within a few days to a week. To decrease any possible side effects, it is important to drink a large glass of water with each dose of PGX.


Participants in a study who exercised and followed a 1,200 calorie/day diet lost on average 1—2 lbs per week. This is considered healthy weight loss. For some people weight loss is not immediate, while many people lose more weight depending upon their consistent use of PGX and other lifestyle factors. PGX makes following a calorie-restricted diet easy because it controls appetite due to its water solubility (absorbs many times its weight in water) and its ability to reduce and diminish cravings for starchy and sugary foods.

It is important to differentiate between weight loss and fat loss. As fat weighs less than muscle tissue, many people actually experience weight gain when they begin a reducing regime. Also, for some people, the additional water they drink with PGX can temporarily add weight, since a liter of water weighs 1 kg or 2.2 lbs. While fast weight loss may seem ideal, it is important to remember that we gain weight gradually over a period of time. Losing weight the same way is "healthy weight loss" and will help reduce the risk of regaining the lost weight.


It is recommended that you start with a lower dose of PGX8 for the first 3-7 days to see how your body adjusts to the increase in fiber intake. An increased amount of PGX, to its active dosage (10-15 grams per day or 2.5-5 grams per meal) will produce noticeable reductions in appetite and cravings. Many people who have just started taking PGX feel energized and notice their clothes fit better even though they have not changed anything else except taking PGX everyday.


PGX can slow the rate of absorption of food and therefore it can theoretically do the same with medication. It is recommended that any oral medication be taken 1 hour before PGX and/or 2-3 hours after consuming PGX products. People with diabetes must monitor their blood glucose carefully as they may need to adjust medications accordingly. As PGX helps control blood glucose, it may lessen the need for insulin or other medications over time. If you are on any medication consult a health care practitioner prior to using dietary supplements or changing your nutritional regimen.


There is no problem taking PGX along with supplements including essential fatty acids (EFAs) and multivitamins/multiminerals. A 21-day double-blind, placebo-controlled human tolerance study where 10 g of PGX were given per day showed no statistical difference between levels of minerals and fat- and water-soluble vitamins in the test and control groups.


PGX softgels and PGX granules are wheat and gluten free. PGX meal replacement and pre-meal drink mix products cannot be considered gluten or wheat free.


PGX can only cause constipation if your water intake is not adequate for the amount of PGX you are consuming. PGX expands to hold many times its weight in water. You need to drink at least 250 ml (8 oz) of water per 2.5 grams (2-3 softgels). It is also important to eat smaller amounts of food regularly and take PGX according to label directions. Be sure to take in adequate fresh water - not drinks such as coffee or alcohol that can cause you to lose water. During the day you may want to drink non-caffeinated herbal teas, vegetable juice, or diluted fruit juice (watch the sugar content of juices). Also, be sure to take PGX consistently. Do not skip days and, if you are prone to constipation, take PGX at the same time every day.


Reduce the amount of PGX you are taking and once you feel comfortable (no gas or bloating) gradually increase the amount over a few days (3— 7 days). These side effects are temporary with most people and completely subside after a week or more of use. You may also want to take probiotic supplements (friendly intestinal bacteria) to enhance the health of your gastrointestinal tract.


For some people, yes. One explanation is that when blood sugar has been out of control or imbalanced for a long time, and the body has not been using insulin properly, the brain can still send out powerful messages to eat. When you take PGX every day these strong messages become weaker. The inappropriate messages to eat are no longer needed when blood sugar becomes balanced and the brain is satisfied it will get the glucose required to function.


PGX isn't a diet, but it can make any weight loss plan or diet work better. Research has shown that people who gain weight and have difficulty losing weight, often spend much of their day on a "blood sugar roller coaster" with blood sugar alternately surging and plummeting, leaving them tired or irritable and leading to frequent and unhealthy food cravings. PGX helps re-train your body and eliminate the blood sugar roller coaster so you don't crave "bad foods" and so you can better control your appetite. With PGX you can achieve lasting results.


Often blood sugar levels can make our bodies crave sugar and starchy foods. Blood sugar levels rise and fall naturally, but rapid changes are harmful and create many of the cravings we experience. When blood sugar levels drop, our brain tells us to eat and often we look for foods with lots of sugars, fats, and starches in order to raise sugar levels. By balancing blood sugar levels, the brain is no longer demanding fast energy and you will be less likely to crave food.


No. PGX is a natural, non-addictive dietary supplement containing no caffeine or other stimulants.


Your doctor can do tests to determine whether or not your blood sugar levels are within normal range. The indicators you can see and feel yourself include:
Cravings - especially sweets and carbohydrates. Feeling tired and irritable for no apparent reason.
Gaining weight in spite of an unchanged diet or lifestyle.
Feeling hungry again shortly after eating.


Glycemic Index (GI) is a way of indicating how fast a particular food is turned into energy by the body. High GI foods are digested quickly and raise blood sugar fast. Low GI foods are converted to glucose more slowly. PGX slows down the rate at which all food is digested, lowering after-meal blood sugar and virtually lowering the glycemic index of any food. Clinical studies show that high after-meal blood sugar levels are a major factor for heart disease risk.


After initial weight loss goals have been achieved, a lower "maintenance" dose of PGX can effectively help control weight, appetite, blood sugar, and cholesterol for life. PGX is non-habit forming but many people find that its effects - increased self esteem, a healthy weight, and more energy - are quite "addictive".


PGX is the result of many years of intensive clinical and laboratory research with universities from around the world and specialized research organizations in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Functional Medicine. After years of research involving thousands of participants it is clear that adding PGX to meals can: balance blood sugar, reduce the glycemic index of foods, restore insulin sensitivity (a key factor in weight control), curb food cravings, and lower cholesterol levels.


Yes. Half the adult dose is recommended for children 9 years of age and older, or 1-3 softgels before each meal until the child notices a reduction in hunger and between-meal food cravings. However, children have unique developmental nutritional requirements. PGX suppresses appetite and you should consult a qualified health care practitioner before giving PGX to your child.


Anyone who cannot compensate for a large water intake, such as someone with renal disease or congestive heart failure.


Anyone taking a large number of medications that must be taken with food and/or without food, unless advised by a health care practitioner.
Anyone who has difficulty swallowing, including people with gastrointestinal disorders and those with esophageal stenosis, or pre-existing bowel abnormalities, may be at risk for esophageal or intestinal blockages or obstruction and should consult a health care practitioner prior to use.
Pregnant or lactating women should discuss PGX use with a health care practitioner prior to use.
Anyone under 18 years of age should discuss PGX use with a health care practitioner prior to use.

If you have any concerns, consult a health care practitioner.
For more information on PGX visit



Saturday, July 21, 2018



by  Machael T. Murray, N.D.

Develop a stress-free life does not mean retreating to a cave or a deserted island. While many people do find that simplifying their lives significantly reduces stress, the reality for most is that due to a number of factors (e.g., responsibilities, financial commitments, values, interests, etc.) running away from the stress of modern life is just not possible (or appealing). What can help reduce stress in addition to the methods discussed in previous chapters is learning to manage your life. By "managing your life" I mean actually developing a daily plan and long-term strategy to achieve your goals.

Planning out your day is something that you should do every day, either in the evening of the previous day, or first thing in the morning. Doing so can help you keep your life on course. It reduces stress to know what tomorrow is going to be like. Of course an unexpected event can derail even the best laid plan, but in general it is what we do day in and day out that determines the direction and quality of our lives.


One of the biggest stressors for most people is time. They simply do not feel they have enough of it. Here are seven tips on time management that really seem to work. And by the way, time management does not mean squeezing more and more tasks into less and less time. It means learning to plan out your time more effectively, and allowing time for other activities in life that you enjoy.

ORGANIZE YOUR DAY. There are always interruptions and unplanned demands on your time, but create a definite plan for the day and be sure to include all of the important health habits like menu planning, time for exercise and relaxation exercises, and socializing.

SET PRIORITIES. Realize that you can only accomplish so much in a day. Decide what is important, and limit your efforts to those goals.

DELEGATE AUTHORITY. Delegate as much authority and work as you can. You can't do everything yourself. Learn to train and depend on others.

TACKLE THE TOUGH JOB FIRST EACH DAY. Handle the most important tasks first, while your energy levels are high. Leave the busywork or running around for later in the day.

MINIMIZE MEETING TIME. Schedule meetings to bump up against lunch hour or quitting time; that way they can't last forever.

AVOID PUTTING THINGS OFF. Work done under the pressure of an unreasonable deadline often has to be redone. That creates more stress than if it had been done right the first time. Plan ahead.

DON'T BE A PERFECTIONIST. Do your best in a reasonable amount of time, then move on to other important tasks. If you find time, you can always come back later and polish the task some more.


Another major cause of stress for many people is their interpersonal relationships at home, with family and friends, and on the job. Humans are social beings. We need to relate to each other to nourish our mind and soul. However, the reality is that relationships as well as lack of relationships can be a significant source of stress.

The quality of any relationship ultimately comes down to the quality of the communication. Learning to communicate effectively goes a very long way in reducing the stress and occasional (or frequent) conflicts of interpersonal relationships. Here are seven tips to effective communication, regardless of the type of interpersonal relationship:

THE FIRST KEY TO SUCCESSFUL COMMUNICATION IS TO LEARN TO BE A GOOD LISTENER. Allow the person you are communicating with to really share their feelings and thoughts uninterrupted. Empathize with them; put yourself in their shoes. If you first seek to understand, you will find yourself being better understood.

BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER. This means that you must actually be engaged and interested in what the other person is communicating. Listen to what they are saying instead of thinking about your response. Ask questions to gain more information or clarify what they are telling you. Good questions encourage better communication.

BE A REFLECTIVE LISTENER. Restate or reflect back to the other person your interpretation of what they are telling you. This simple technique shows the other person that you are both listening and understanding what they are saying. Restating what you think is being said may cause some short-term conflict in some situations, but it is certainly worth the risk.

WAIT TO SPEAK. Don't interrupt; wait until the person or people you want to communicate with are done speaking. If they are not ready to listen, no matter how well you communicate, your message will not be heard.

DON'T TRY TO TALK OVER THE OTHER PERSON. If you find yourself being interrupted, relax; don't try to out-talk the other person. If you are courteous and allow them to speak, eventually (unless they are extremely rude) they will respond likewise. If they don't, point out to them that they are interrupting the communication process by not reciprocating. You can only do this if you have been a good listener. Double standards in relationships seldom work.

HELP THE OTHER PERSON BECOME AN ACTIVE LISTENER. This can be done by asking them if they understood what you were communicating. Ask them to tell you what they understood you to say. If they don't seem to understand what it is you are saying, keep at it until they do.

DON'T BE AFRAID OF LONG SILENCES. Human communication involves much more than spoken words. A great deal can be communicated during silences. Unfortunately in many situations silence can make us feel uncomfortable. Relax. Some people need silence to collect their thoughts and feel safe in communicating. The important thing to remember during silences is that you must remain an active listener.


The importance of attitude, sleep, diet, supplementation, time management, and relationships has hopefully been stressed sufficiently. Woven together, these things construct our lifestyle and daily habits. There is one other very important item that has only been mentioned in passing. Do you know what it is? Of course you do - its physical exercise. Exercise is a vital component of a comprehensive stress management program and overall good health. The immediate effect of exercise is stress on the body, however, with a regular exercise program the body adapts. The body's response to this regular stress is that it becomes stronger, functions more efficiently, and has greater endurance.

The physical benefits from regular exercise are largely the result of improved cardiovascular and respiratory function. Simply stated, exercise enhances the transport of oxygen and nutrients into cells. At the same time, exercise enhances the transport of carbon dioxide and waste products from the tissues of the body to the blood stream and ultimately out of the body.

Regular exercise is particularly important in reducing the risk of heart disease. It does this by lowering cholesterol levels, improving blood and oxygen supply to the heart, increasing the functional capacity of the heart, reducing blood pressure, reducing obesity, and exerting a favorable effect on blood clotting.

Regular exercise increases stamina and energy levels. People who exercise regularly are much less likely to suffer from fatigue and depression.


Tensions, depression, feelings of inadequacy, and worries diminish greatly with regular exercise. Regular exercise also exerts a powerfully positive effect on mood. Exercise alone has been demonstrated to have a tremendous impact on mood and the ability to handle stressful life situations.

Participation in exercise, sports, and physical activities is strongly associated with decreased symptoms of anxiety (restlessness, tension, etc.), depression (feeling that life is not worthwhile, low spirits, etc.), and malaise (a run-down feeling, insomnia, etc.). Simply stated, people who participate in regular exercise have higher self-esteem and are happier.

Regular exercise has been shown to increase the amount of powerful mood-elevating substances in the brain known as endorphins. These compounds exert similar effects to morphine, although much milder. In fact, their name (endo = endogenous, - rphins = morphines) was given to them because of their morphine-like mood-enhancing effects. There is a clear association between exercise and endorphin elevation, and when endorphins go up, mood follows.

If the benefits of exercise could be put into a pill, you would have the most powerful health-promoting medication available. Take a look at this long list of health benefits produced by regular exercise:

Table 6.1 - Health Benefits of Regular Exercise

Increases muscle strength
Produces stronger bones, ligaments, and tendons
Increases flexibility of muscles and range of joint motion
Enhances posture, poise, and physique
Produces stronger bones, ligaments, and tendons
Improves balance

Lowers resting heart rate
Improves oxygen delivery throughout the body
Strengthens heart function
Increases blood supply to muscles
Lowers blood pressure
Enlarges the arteries to the heart

Improves the way the body handles dietary fat
Prevents osteoporosis
Reduces heart disease risk
Improves immune function
Helps lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides
Aids digestion and elimination
Raises HDL, the "good" cholesterol
Increases endurance and energy levels
Helps improve calcium deposition in bones
Promotes lean body mass, burns fat

Provides a natural release for pent-up feelings
Improves the ability to handle stress
Helps reduce tension and anxiety
Stimulates improved mental function
Improves mental outlook and self-esteem
Encourages relaxation, and improves sleep
Helps relieve moderate depression
Increases self-esteem

Increased life expectancy


Exercise is clearly one of the most powerful medicines available. Unfortunately, there's no pill. But the time you spend exercising is a valuable investment towards good health. To help you develop a successful exercise program, here are seven steps to follow.

The first step is realizing just how important it is to get regular exercise. We cannot stress enough just how vital regular exercise is to your health. But, as much as we stress this fact it means absolutely nothing unless it really sinks in and you accept it. You must make regular exercise a top priority in your life.

If you are not currently on a regular exercise program, get medical clearance if you have health problems or if you are over 40 years of age. The main concern is the functioning of your heart. Exercise can be quite harmful (and even fatal) if your heart is not able to meet the increased demands placed on it.

It is especially important to see a physician if you have any of the following symptoms:

Heart disease
High blood pressure
Extreme breathlessness with physical exertion
Pain or pressure in the chest, arm, teeth, jaw or neck when you exercise
Dizziness or fainting
Abnormal heart action (palpitations or irregular heart beat)

If you are fit enough to begin, the next thing to do is to select an activity that you feel you would enjoy. Using the list below, choose from one to five of the activities — or fill in a choice or two of your own — that you think you might enjoy. Make a commitment to do one activity a day for at least 20 minutes, and preferably an hour. Make your goal the enjoyment of the activity. The important thing is to move your body enough to raise your pulse a bit above its resting rate.

The best exercises for your heart are the kind that elevate your heart rate the most. Aerobic activities such as walking briskly, jogging, bicycling, cross-country skiing, swimming, aerobic dance, and racquet sports are good examples. Brisk walking (five miles an hour) for approximately 30 minutes may be the very best form of exercise for weight loss. Walking can be done anywhere. It doesn't require any expensive equipment, just comfortable clothing and well-fitting shoes, and the risk of injury is extremely low. If you decide to walk on a regular basis, I strongly urge you to purchase a pair of high-quality walking or jogging shoes.

Exercise intensity is determined by measuring your heart rate (the number of times your heart beats per minute). This determination can be quickly done by placing the index and middle finger of one hand on the side of the neck just below the angle of the jaw or on the opposite wrist. Beginning with zero, count the number of heartbeats for six seconds. Simply add a zero to this number and that is your pulse. For example, if you counted 14 beats, your heart rate would be 140. Would this be a good number? It depends upon your "training zone."

A quick and easy way to determine your maximum training heart rate is simply to subtract your age from 185. For example, if you are 40 years old your maximum heart rate would be 145. To determine your minimum training heart rate, simply subtract 20 from this number. In the case of a 40 year old this would be 125. So, the training zone would be a heartbeat between 125 and 145 beats per minute. For maximum health benefits you must stay in this range and never exceed it.

You don't get in good physical condition by exercising once; it must be performed on a regular basis. A minimum of 15-20 minutes of exercising at your training heart rate at least three times a week is necessary to gain any significant cardiovascular benefits from exercise.

The key to getting the maximum benefit from exercise is to make it enjoyable. Choose an activity that you enjoy and have fun with. If you can find enjoyment in exercise, you are much more likely to exercise regularly. One way to make it fun is to get a workout partner. For example, if you choose walking as your activity here is a great way to make it fun:

Find one or two people in your neighborhood that you would enjoy walking with. If you are meeting one or two people, you will certainly be more regular than if you depend solely on your own intentions. Commit to walking three to five mornings or afternoons each week, and gradually increase the exercise duration from an initial 10 minutes to at least 30 minutes.

No matter how committed a person is to regular exercise, at some point in time they are going to be faced with a loss of enthusiasm for working out. Here is a suggestion: take a break. Not a long break, just skip one or two workouts. It gives your enthusiasm and motivation a chance to recoup so that you can come back with an even stronger commitment. Here are some other things to help you to stay motivated:

SET EXERCISE GOALS. Being goal oriented helps keep us motivated. Success breeds success, so make a lot of small goals that can easily be achieved. Write down your daily exercise goal and check it off when you have it completed.

VARY YOUR ROUTINE. Variety is very important to help you stay interested in exercise. Doing the same thing every day becomes monotonous and drains motivation. Continually find new ways to enjoy working out.

KEEP A RECORD OF YOUR ACTIVITIES AND PROGRESS. Sometimes it is hard to see the progress you are making, but if you write in a journal you'll have a permanent record of your progress. Keeping track of your progress will motivate you to continue improving.


When patients came to see me for help with stress, anxiety, or insomnia it amazed me how often they would say, "I don't have time to exercise." There is no question that many of these patients had extremely busy lives, but I just don't think that is a good enough excuse. You can always make time for exercise, whether it's getting up earlier, working out during lunch breaks, or sacrificing time spent on other activities. It's just too critical to avoid. The shorter your workout time, the greater the intensity of the workout must be.