Hop to It

How Perluxan, a special extract of hops, beats over-the-counter pain relievers-without the side effects
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Common over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (in Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (in Aleve) are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because they relieve pain by reducing inflammation. But they come with potential side effects, including stomach upset, heartburn, ulcers, and skin rashes, especially if used long-term for chronic conditions such as arthritis. Perluxan, a special extract of hops found in a variety of supplements, is an effective but safer natural alternative.

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The Reason for Drug Side Effects
NSAIDs work by inhibiting cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes that produce inflammatory substances. These enzymes fall into two categories: COX 1 and COX 2. The COX 2 enzymes are the ones that produce pain and the COX 1 enzymes actually protect the stomach and enable blood to clot to prevent dangerous bleeding. Over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory drugs suppress both types of enzymes, and suppression of protective COX 1 exposes the stomach to damage and increases risk of bleeding.

Why Perluxan Is Safer
Lab, animal, and human studies have found that Perluxan is a more selective anti-inflammatory than conventional NSAIDs. It effectively treats pain by inhibiting the pain-stimulating COX 2 enzymes, but only slightly inhibits the protective COX 1 enzymes. Consequently, pain is relieved with significantly less risk of stomach damage and bleeding. Perluxan is also a strong antioxidant, which may help with pain relief, as there is evidence that free radicals-damaged molecules that are neutralized by antioxidants-are an additional mechanism underlying pain.

Hops Is Put to the Test
Studies have pitted Perluxan head-to-head against ibuprofen and found that it is just as effective. For example, in a study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people took either Perluxan or ibuprofen, and samples of their blood were tested during the following nine hours. Both substances inhibited harmful COX 2 inflammation to the same degree. But compared to ibuprofen, Perluxan inhibited the action of beneficial COX 1 enzymes to only a slight degree. Researchers concluded that, "Hops extracts may represent a safe alternative to ibuprofen for non-prescription anti-inflammation."

Another study tested Perluxan for osteoarthritis knee pain among 36 people. One-third took a placebo and the others took either 1 or 2 grams of Perluxan per day. Pain relief occurred within two hours for those taking 2 grams, and on day two for those taking 1 gram. Within 14 days, both dosages delivered considerable pain relief.

Although research has focused on Perluxan for joint pain, people taking the supplement have also reported relief from other types of pain, including sprains, strains, muscle soreness, and headaches. Some reports also indicate that it helps reduce fever, much like ibuprofen.

How to Buy and Use Hops
Uses: Joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, sprains, strains, or any other instance when you would take an over-the-counter pain-relieving drug.

Look for: Natural anti-inflammatory or pain relief formulas that contain Perluxan, the hops extract tested in studies. On labels, it may be listed as Perluxan, "hops with 30% alpha acids," or wording such as: "Hops (Humulus lupulus L.) (cones extract) (supplying 30% alpha and iso-alpha acids)."

Dosage: Studies show that 1,000 mg of Perluxan has a pain-relieving affect similar to 400 mg of ibuprofen (typically two over-the-counter ibuprofen pills). The highest dosage tested, and found safe, was 1,000 mg twice daily of Perluxan. For chronic pain, a common dosage is 500 or 1,000 mg of Perluxan twice daily for a couple weeks, and then 500 mg once daily for maintenance.

Complementary ingredients: Perluxan is often found in formulas that contain other herbs or nutrients that work synergistically. These may include anti-inflammatory enzymes such as bromelain, or other anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric or ginger. Although all of these substances calm inflammation, they do so in different ways, and they can enhance each other's benefits.

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Planetary HerbalsInflama-Care contains Perluxan, as well as extracts of turmeric, boswellia, and ginger to help reduce inflammation.

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Rainbow Light Herbal PrescriptivesTheraMend COX-2 Flex has standardized extracts of both boswellia and hops (Perluxan).

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Reserveage Advanced SolutionsFast-Acting HOPS SCIENCE have 500 mg of Perluxan hops extract per vegetarian capsule.

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