Almonds avert heartburn better than drugs

Q. I read about using almonds for heartburn, and I’ve found it works great, better than any over-the-counter medicine I’ve ever tried. (I am leery of the prescription meds due to food allergies and medication sensitivities.)

I have also tried almond milk and almond butter, and both worked just as well. I’ve started keeping a jar of almond butter in my bathroom for middle-of-the-night heartburn.

A. We have heard from many readers that as few as two almonds can prevent or stop heartburn. (Some take a small handful.) A few readers also have experimented with almond milk and found it beneficial. You are the only one to report keeping almond butter handy for nighttime reflux. Use a small spoon, so you don’t choke.

Q. I have suffered from bursitis in my right hip for about four years. I had six cortisone shots in my hip during this time. The first shots helped a lot, but the later ones did virtually nothing.

I started taking turmeric daily, and the bursitis is gone! I saw benefit within a few months. Regular turmeric intake keeps my hip well.

A. Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that is being actively studied for its effects on joint pain. Scientists are figuring out how it fights inflammation at the molecular level (F1000Research, Aug. 20, 2013).

People taking warfarin (Coumadin) should avoid turmeric, because it may interact to increase the risk of bleeding. Others are allergic to turmeric and develop a rash. They may welcome different remedies.

Q. L-lysine works for cold sores, and I believe it can ease shingles, too. I was plagued with cold sores and then developed a shingles rash. I’ve had success in both cases with large doses of L-lysine.

Everyone I have told to try this has gotten benefit. But when I have given this information to doctors, they basically said I was nuts, and there was no medical literature to confirm my findings. Well, some day they may catch up.

A. Do not hold your breath. Viruses in the herpes/chickenpox family cause both cold sores and shingles, but there have been few studies on the use of L-lysine for these infections. One study from Russia demonstrated positive results with a topical preparation (Antibiotics and Chemotherapy, November 2003). Since few American doctors or scientists are following the Russian literature, it is unlikely to stimulate further investigation.

In the meantime, we have received reports from other readers who also have gotten relief from the pain of shingles by taking L-lysine. One said: “Some time ago I had shingles on the side of my face. A druggist friend of ours recommended L-lysine and it worked.” Another reported: “After 24 hours taking L-lysine following each meal, I was able to reduce my narcotic pain reliever for shingles. I now have very little nerve pain, and the lesions are starting to dry up. L-lysine has been a godsend.”

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or email them via their Web site: Their newest book is “Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.”

2014 King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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