Search Term: " Kale "
Scientists explore how nutrition may feed mental health
December 01, 2016 10:59 AM
Most people know that fruits, vegetables, and fresh ingredients are much healthier than overly processed foods. They also know that exercise helps keep their bodies in balance. However, a lot of people don’t know just how important these things really are to our bodies. With a large surge in the number of people who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses, it has never been more important to balance our diets and exercise. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats keep our bodies fueled and our cognitive functions sharp. So, put away the fatty junk food and go for a walk.
"Decades of research have shown the importance of proper nutrition in preventing and treating the ill effects of inflammation and stress, physiological processes that are intimately linked with mental health."
A Simple Thing As Taking A Breath Causes Us To Age
We are often told that stress level accelerates the process of aging. But, is there any kind of scientific evidence to prove this perception? Some of the results of scientific studies have already suggested that, oxidative stress has a negative impact on both physical and emotional health.
Breathing oxygen leads to the formation of ROS or reactive oxygen species within the body, which is essential for the cellular signaling process. Aerobic metabolism results in the generation of small amounts of ROS and free radicals. This is necessary for the normal functioning of the human body. But, there is a specific reason for which the ROS carry negative connotations. Whenever our body’s antioxidant defense mechanism malfunctions, the balance between oxidant and antioxidant gets spoiled. The circulative level of ROS moves out of control and causes a disturbance in the redox signaling and control and further damages the macromolecules, cells and tissues. The DNA damage response is a hierarchical procedure.
It has been widely recognized that, oxidative stress is one of the primary factors, which makes the aging process faster.
Best Anti-Aging Diet
What you eat has a great impact on how you are feeling and how you are aging. If you eat right, it will contribute to a great extent to keep your skin young and healthy. Antioxidants help stop unstable molecules from damaging healthy cells. You will get antioxidants in colorful fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, blueberries, leafy greens, dark red tomatoes, etc. So, your goal is to consume at least half plates of fruits and vegetables in each of your meals.
Vitamin C, zinc and beta carotene are three main antioxidants, which protects the eyes from macular degeneration and poor vision. Dark green leafy vegetables such as Kale, mustard greens, spinach and collard are great sources of these nutrients. Foods like oranges, corns and pepper also help to keep your eye healthy. Vitamin C is also beneficial for the skin. Some studies have also suggested that, daily consumption of yellow and green vegetables helps lessen the wrinkles of the skin.
Resveratrol is another powerful antioxidant, which is highly present in grapes and red wine. It not only lowers the aging process, but, also lowers the chances of cancer and heart disease. Studies have also revealed that, nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats. They are also great sources of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals like antioxidants. Thus, it helps to keep the skin healthy and young.
Beans and lentils are great sources of fiber and plant-based protein. They are very beneficial for protecting you from early aging. So, you can easily consume them instead of red meat, which have saturated fat and are not great for your heart.
Dairy products like low-fat milk, yogurt, etc. are also great options for slowing down your aging process. If you do not eat dairy, you can replace them with soya milk, almond milk or cereals.
Try out these antioxidant rich foods and stay young for many years to come. Antioxidant Supplements are also available in the market.
Anemia Causes, Prevention And Supplements.
August 07, 2014 05:22 PM
What is an anemia?
Causes of anemia
Causes include loss blood, unreasonable destruction of red platelets or inadequate creation of red platelets.
Insufficient creation of red platelets is the most widely recognized class of pallor, and poor sustenance is the most well-known reason. The most successive sorts of supplement inadequate sickness are those identified with an insufficiency of iron, folic corrosive (vitamin B9), copper or vitamin B12.
Iron insufficiency pallor is frequently seen in babies more youthful than two years of age, adolescent young ladies, pregnant ladies and the elderly. This kind of weakness incorporate elements connected with poor dietary admission of iron, an expanded requirement for iron, diminished iron assimilation, blood misfortune or a consolidation of these circumstances.
Folic corrosive is the most as often as possible discovered vitamin lack on earth. The gatherings of individuals well on the way to have folic corrosive insufficiency are dipsomaniacs, individuals with mal-ingestion conditions or perpetual loose bowels and pregnant ladies. A folic corrosive insufficiency can likewise cause despondency, the runs and a swollen, red tongue.
Copper inadequacy is exceptional, be that as it may, it can happen in individuals who take a zinc supplement without expanding their copper admission in light of the fact that zinc can meddle with copper ingestion.
How to prevent anemia?
To avoid you have to consume overall adjusted dinners including iron rich nourishment. In the event that you have weakness, keep away from refreshments and sustenance holding juice, it meddles with the body's capacity to ingest iron. Maintain a strategic distance from tannins, they additionally hinder iron ingestion and nourishment high in oxalic acids; which incorporate almonds, asparagus, beans, beets, cashews, chocolate, Kale and rhubarb.
While most instances of pallor are created by straightforward nourishment lacks, it can additionally be an indication of a more genuine restorative issue. The best way to get a clear judgment of sickness is to get a blood test. In the event that you think you have iron deficiency, don't start a supplement program until you have a finding from your doctor.
Iron - helps avert iron insufficiency weakness. Take 30 milligrams fumarate, gluconate or succinate press twice a day between dinners. In the event that this reasons stomach trouble, switch to 30 milligrams with suppers three times each day.
Folic corrosive (vitamin B9) - aides anticipate iron deficiency brought about by folic corrosive inadequacy. Take 800 to 1,200 micrograms three times every day.
Vitamin B12 - aides anticipate vitamin B12 inadequacy pallor. Take 2,000 micrograms sublingual (set under the tongue) three times every day for 30 days, then 1,000 micrograms methylcobalamin (the dynamic type of B12) once a day, in addition to folic corrosive.
Vitamin C - helps the body assimilate iron. Studies have demonstrated that you can almost twofold your ingestion of iron from plant sources by devouring vitamin C with the iron. Take 1,000 milligrams 3 times each day with dinners.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic corrosive) - assists with the creation of red platelets. Take 100 milligrams every day.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) - assists with the creation of red platelets. Take 50 milligrams 3 times each day.
Vitamin A -- Where It Comes from and What It Does.
March 22, 2014 08:50 AM
Vitamin A helps battle off contamination. It likewise serves to keep your skin smooth and supple. You can get a great deal of vitamin A from your sustenance - with liver meats being the best source. A few vegetables - carrots, broccoli leaves (the leaves, not the stems), sweet potatoes and Kale, run a far off second, alongside spread.
Dietary vitamin A hails from two sorts of sustenance:
* Animal sustenance sources give "dynamic" manifestations of vitamin A - the form can use the vitamin promptly. They are called 'retinoid'. Retinoid are frequently utilized within skin creams and dermatological pharmaceuticals, as vitamin A is well known for its skin revival properties.
* Plants give carotenoids (to illustration beta-carotene). Carotenoids are changed over by the constitution into vitamin A. Beta-carotene is the most widely recognized of the carotenoids. A brilliantly colored intensifies; this is the thing that gives carrots and sweet potatoes their orange shade.
"Collaboration" is the point at which two or more substances join to make an impact more terrific than either could perform on its own. All supplements in the constitution have a synergistic impact, and vitamin A is no special case. Assuming that you as of recently have an iron inadequacy that brings about frailty - insufficient oxygen-transporting red platelets that abandons you ceaselessly tired a vitamin A insufficiency too will exacerbate it. Iron and vitamin A supplements taken together for frailty are more viable than either of these taken separately. When you don't have enough zinc in your eating methodology, the figure has a harder time proficiently utilizing vitamin A.
The main sign of a vitamin A inadequacy is debilitated vision especially 'night blindness the powerlessness to see well in faint light. Vitamin An is utilized to structure the shades required in the retina for vision, and without enough A, your eyes can't do their employment. Keep in mind when your mother used to let you know to consume carrots so you could see well? There's truth in that old home cure.
Is BetaCarotene A Better Form Of Vitamin A?
January 02, 2014 09:32 PM
There are basically two kinds of vitamin A . Experts say that Retinol is a body fat soluble vitamin discovered mostly in liver, egg yolks, as well as the fats element of dairy products . Retinol vitamin A is furthermore referred to as pre-formed which is utilized instantly by the system rather than the provitamin vitamin A, also referred to as beta-carotene, that is transformed inside the body into Vitamin A . Experts also described this form as the water-soluble pro vitamin, beta-carotene, originating from plants. Beta carotene, in almost any serving, is not related to birth defects. Fruits for example carrots, tomatoes, Kale and also spinach are pretty decent options for this vitamin.
Vitamin A palmitate is produced in synthetic kind for usage in cosmetics to deal with skin conditions as well as acne as well as wrinkles. Other employs for vitamin A palmitate incorporate treatment of eye issues for example Bitot’s spot, dry vision as well as retinitis pigmentosa.
Nutritional vitamin A signed up to palmitic acid. Vitamin A palmitate is the type accustomed to improve foods as well as pores and skin moisturizers.Vitamin A in their organic kind of retinol is a common ingredient in topical ointments promoted as wrinkle reducers or even acne medications. In higher doses taken by mouth, it brings about dry, itchy or even peeling skin on the lip area and palms. Yellow-orange smears might sound on the soles of the legs, palms of the hands or perhaps on the skin around the nose and lips. Hair loss is also a side effect of taking poisonous levels of total vitamin A. So, it won't be recommended to use ones over the others.
It has also some additional disadvantages:
So,it can be said that whether it is Vitamin A or Beta carotene, both are effective for human being.
Is BetaCarotene A Better Form Of Vitamin A?
January 02, 2014 09:32 PM
There are basically two kinds of vitamin A . Experts say that Retinol is a body fat soluble vitamin discovered mostly in liver, egg yolks, as well as the fats element of dairy products . Retinol vitamin A is furthermore referred to as pre-formed which is utilized instantly by the system rather than the provitamin vitamin A, also referred to as beta-carotene, that is transformed inside the body into Vitamin A . Experts also described this form as the water-soluble pro vitamin, beta-carotene, originating from plants. Beta carotene, in almost any serving, is not related to birth defects. Fruits for example carrots, tomatoes, Kale and also spinach are pretty decent options for this vitamin.
Vitamin A palmitate is produced in synthetic kind for usage in cosmetics to deal with skin conditions as well as acne as well as wrinkles. Other employs for vitamin A palmitate incorporate treatment of eye issues for example Bitot’s spot, dry vision as well as retinitis pigmentosa.
Nutritional vitamin A signed up to palmitic acid. Vitamin A palmitate is the type accustomed to improve foods as well as pores and skin moisturizers.Vitamin A in their organic kind of retinol is a common ingredient in topical ointments promoted as wrinkle reducers or even acne medications. In higher doses taken by mouth, it brings about dry, itchy or even peeling skin on the lip area and palms. Yellow-orange smears might sound on the soles of the legs, palms of the hands or perhaps on the skin around the nose and lips. Hair loss is also a side effect of taking poisonous levels of total vitamin A. So, it won't be recommended to use ones over the others.
It has also some additional disadvantages:
So,it can be said that whether it is Vitamin A or Beta carotene, both are effective for human being.
All that you may need to know about antioxidants
November 05, 2013 10:00 PM
All that you may need to know about antioxidants
Oxidants are elements whose main role is to protect your cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals, on their part, are molecules that may be produced by the body when it breaks down food. These molecules may also be produced when your body is exposed to environmental factors like tobacco smoking and radiation. It is worth noting that free radicals have the ability of wrecking damage to cells and causing such diseases as cancers and heart complications. Over the years, studies have consistently revealed that diets high in antioxidants are essential in preventing diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular diseases.
Main Source of Antioxidant
The main source of antioxidants is fruits and vegetables. Amazingly, all foods rich in antioxidants are high in fiber, low fat, and are also excellent sources of important vitamins and minerals. It is also important to add that fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants have bright colors, including purple, yellow, red and orange.
Type of Antioxidant
The five main types of antioxidants are beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, Zinc, and selenium. Others are lucopene and lutein. Beta-carotene (and other carotenoids), can be derived from a long list of fruits and vegetables. Some of these are asparagus, apricot, broccoli, water melon, sweet potato, Kale, mango, turnip and peaches.
Vitamin C, as a major and critical antioxidant, can be obtained from kiwi, broccoli, honeydew, Kale, orange, papaya, nectarines, strawberries, and snow peas among others.
Vitamin E, another major vitamin antioxidant, can be derived from spinach, red peppers, sunflower seeds, papaya, pumpkin and carrots among others.
Zinc and selenium are other antioxidants that are essential in maintaining overall body health and boosting the immune system. Common sources of zinc include red meat, poultry, oysters, dairy products, and whole grain foods. Selenium, on the other hand, can be obtained from foods such as tuna, nuts, whole grains, and beef.
Fact About Antioxidant
The most important fact to realize is that popular sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. Where possible, these foods should be eaten raw or steamed. Boiling will do more harm than good.
October 22, 2013 11:51 PM
Lutein is referred to as an antioxidant carotenoid which is simply a pigmented nutrient that is. How does Lutein helps the eyes. Lutein is responsible for the yellow colours found in fruits and vegetables. It is present in high quantities in leafy green vegetables such as Kale, spinach, corn, orange juice, grapes, broccoli and yellow carrots and is dark in colour. Lutein is obtained by animals either directly or indirectly from plants and employed by them as an antioxidant and also for absorption of blue light. Each and every individual was born with a certain amount of lutein in your eye but it is not produced in the body.
Where is lutein found in the body
The region of the retina responsible for central vision is called the macula. This area is sensitive to blue light and upon exposure to too much light can cause damage to the eyes. Lutein helps to protect this damage by filtering blue light before it can cause damage to the macula.
Also it is evident that lutein in food protects against cataracts as well as macular degeneration that are the common eye disorders. Lutein together with another carotenoid called zeaxanthin form the yellow pigment found in the retina and absorbs blue light that is a harmful component of the sunlight. Lutein is also may help protect carotid arteries found on the neck from clogging which is an indication of atherosclerosis that is a disease that leads to heart attacks.
If you do not eat properly, the amount of lutein in the eyes may deplete as you age. Your body doesn’t make lutein therefore it is recommended that you replace this through eating fruits and vegetables that are good sources of lutein. You can also get zeaxanthin in oranges, orange bell peppers, honeydew melon and also corn. Lutein and zeaxanthin works together and can also be found in egg yolks. Therefore to maintain that good vision always eat lots of fruits and vegetables and they will boost your vision.
http://www.bausch.com/en/reference/lutein for eyes/
What Exactly Does Diindolylmethane (DIM) Do For The Body?
May 20, 2013 01:52 PM
Diindolylmethane otherwise known as DIM is a natural compound that is essentially synthesised when the body breaks down indole-3-carbinol a compound that is primarily present in cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower and broccoli. The curative properties of the said vegetables have been documented, dating to many centuries ago. Today we have the advantage of scientific and technological advancement, as such medicine has been able to research and identify some specific benefits of diindolylmethane.
Today DIM is sold as a supplement or rather in supplement form and is known to offer an array of health benefits. Although not all benefits have been confirmed most of them have been researched, confirmed and documented. It is thus agreeable by most experts that DIM has enormous health benefits for both women and men. Some of these benefits include
DIM supplements are known to enhance the effectiveness as well as the efficiency of the metabolic processing of this hormone. This enhancement has closely been linked to elevated levels of antioxidant protection of both the brain and the heart. The process is as well responsible for other documented benefits, including increase libido in women and men as well as dwindle the moodiness in ladies.
The enhanced levels of estrogen metabolism are known to stimulate other hormones including the testosterone. As such this aids the body to return the optimal levels and a state of hormonal balance. In essences the body becomes more responsive particularly to exercise and increases fat-burning metabolism, this not only help build the lean muscle much faster but also promote an overall healthier body.
DIM is in different aspects to play the role of preventive medicine. It is believed that it plays a key role in preventing certain types of cancers, including colon cancer, uterine cancer and breast cancer just to mention but a few. It has also been associated in helping prevent enlargement of prostates. Treatment Diindolylmethane especially the supplements have been used and are used to treat various ailments, such ailments include premenstrual syndrome, breast pain and endometriosis.
DIM has been known to mitigate risks associated with hormone replacement therapy. Its desired effect on metabolism of estrogen makes it a common choice for mitigating the effects of environment estrogen exposure.
Diindolylmethane side effects
Very little is known of the safety or there lack of, of this compound supplements more specifically in the long term. Due to its ability to an effect on estrogen metabolism, it is postulated that taking DIM supplements could trigger hormone sensitive conditions such as endometriosis, hormone dependent cancers and uterine fibroids. As such it is advice that one seeks medical advice before using these supplements.
What are the sources of DIM?
As earlier mentioned this chemical compound is produced by digestion of indole -3-carbinol by the body. This compound is present in these vegetables; brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, Kales and watercress. Where do you find these supplements? These supplements are available in most online vitamin stores as well as many food stores that specialize in dietary supplement.
Plants That Fight Against Cancer
May 16, 2013 12:49 PM
As medical research continues to understand cancer and formulate ways to treat it, there has been a lot discovered about cancer fighting plants. There are chemicals in certain plants that have been shown to help prevent cancer, but there have also been plants that can fight cancer once it begins to develop. There are many plants that are considered to be herbs and are not a part of a typical person's everyday diet. However, many fruits and vegetables have been shown to be effective and are found at most super markets.
Good examples of these types of vegetables are those from the cruciferae family. Among vegetables in this family are broccoli, cabbage, Kale, collard greens and cauliflower. The specific chemical that is helpful in fighting cancer is Indole-3-carbinol. Although this compound can be found in other plants, it exists in greater concentrations in this family of vegetables.
Indole-3-carbinol works to inhibit and reduce the size of tumors.
Although research is still ongoing, there has been significant work done on animals such as mice and rats that have demonstrated the effectiveness of Indole-3-carbinol. At the time of this writing, the data for its effect on humans is still inclusive, but the research is producing optimism in the medical community. It is in the area of prostate and breast cancer that have shown the best results, but there seems to have an effect on other forms of cancer as well.
Another example of a natural chemical to help fight cancer is ellagic acid.
This anti-oxidant is found in fruits and vegetables, but it is more prevalent in fruits. Various berries such as blackberries, raspberries and cranberries have the highest concentrations. Pomegranates have been found to have a very high concentration of ellagic acid as well. This chemical is just now beginning to be understood in how it fights cancer.
Although research is in an early stage, it appears that ellagic acid acts to prevent the proliferation of carcinogens that cause cancer by stopping them from binding with human DNA. Even with research still being done and the results, in some cases, still unclear, nutrition has been shown to help prevent and fight cancer. If you begin to add certain vegetables and fruits to your diet, it will be beneficial to your overall health, and this will reduce your chances of getting many forms of cancer.
Other than an allergy to a certain plant, there are no side effects when eating several servings of fruit and vegetables every day of your life. No one has every suffered an ill effect from adding broccoli to their diet. The best way to take advantage of cancer fighting plants is to consume a variety of them throughout the day.
Unless there is a particular type of fruit or vegetable that you love, it is best to mix up the types you eat so that you do not get tired of the food. You should also eat fruits and vegetables as fresh as possible. Although cooked vegetables still have nutritional value, they lose much of their nutritional content when heated. A well balanced diet with very little red meat can go a long way against the fight with cancer.
If you can not consume enough raw vegetables on a daily basis, give these vegetable food concentrates in supplement form a try:
What Are Indoles?
January 03, 2013 03:59 PM
Indoles? What are these?
These are natural substances found in cruciferous vegetables when crushed or during cooking. Also referred to as indole-3-carbinol. Cruciferous vegetables include Kales, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. These plants contain a high level of glucosinolate glucobrassicin when broken down which is the main source of this substance. Indole is becoming increasingly popular since it is a powerful antioxidant and has been proved to help in relieving a number of ailments.
Benefits Of Indoles:
Some of the benefits of indole-3-carbinol is that is supports the liver's detoxification process which in extension assist the colon work effectively. Liver detoxification help in filtering out the unwanted impurities from our bodies and also when used as a colon supplement, help colon work properly to eliminate waste material from our bodies. Studies have shown that this supplement (I3C) is successive in treating a prostate cancer tumor and also preventing them in the first place.
Estrogen enhanced cancerous cells in the breast, cervix and endometrial can also be prevented if used as a dietary supplement. It works by altering estrogen metabolism and cellular activities. Especially for women, indoles are beneficial since it aids in the treatment of endometriosis which is a condition where the endometrial tissue form outside the uterus. This condition causes problems such as irregular periods, lower fertility and pelvic pain.
As a powerful antioxidant, indoles help in preventing cellular damage due to free radicals and maintains the hormonal balance of the body in both men and women. Studies have also proved that it helps reduce incidences of muscle soreness due to overexertion and menopausal symptoms, breast tenderness and cramping. Indoles have been known to cause no side effects to most people when used the same amounts as found in the diet hence is safe. It however causes skin rashes and an increase in liver enzymes in some people when not used appropriately.
What Are A List Of Detox Foods?
January 03, 2013 12:12 PM
A quick search online will undoubtedly result in you managing to come across a list of detox foods that various experts claim will help you to just cleanse your body of various toxins in an entirely natural way. There are clearly a number of health benefits associated with doing this, but prior to starting you do need to have a firm understanding as to which foods or herbs are the best and indeed some of these will now be discussed below.
First on the list is fruit in general and you should look at eating several pieces every single day in order to really get the benefit from them. The reason why they are so good is due to the amount of liquid that is contained within them and this helps the body to flush out those toxins and when you combine this with the number of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants and nutrients, then you get a powerful food that can do you a lot of good.
Another food group that deserves to be on a list are your greens and the reason why the likes of spinach, Kale, and chard are so good is thanks to the amount of chlorophyll that is contained within them. Chlorophyll is great as it boosts your digestive system, but more than that it has been shown to help your liver to detox itself and this is key since the liver plays a central role in your system due to it filtering waste and toxins and processing them correctly. You will also find that chlorophyll helps your body to clear out various environmental toxins that we breathe in on a daily basis and this alone can really improve your body.
One type of food that deserves to be mentioned on its own is garlic and you should certainly look at eating more of it on a regular basis due to the positive effects it has on your body. It is so important because it entices your liver into producing more of the correct enzymes that will lead to your body being able to detoxify itself and in particular to help remove those toxins from the digestive system, so do add it to your recipes as much as you can and you will certainly benefit from doing so.
Other types of foods that you may wish to consider include some raw vegetables and you may wish to juice them and have them that way rather than simply eating them. The main ones to look at include:
As with other things listed above they work by helping your liver to deal with the various toxins in your system. These vegetables are also good because of their naturally high levels of things such as glutathione and sulphur, so consider just eating them as nature intended to really benefit from doing so.
Finally, you should also consider using more herbs if you wish to detox and there are several that should play a key role due to their various properties. Two that you will have heard of are ginger and turmeric and they will tackle your immune system and your digestion process and by balancing them out it helps your body when it comes to getting rid of the toxins.
Others that should be included are gymnena due to it being good for your blood sugar levels, neem due to it helping to purify your blood, guduchi as it will cleanse your liver, and mangistha as this will boost your lymphatic system and since this is linked to your immune system you are going to need to have both working perfectly if you want your body to cleanse itself.
What has been attempted here is to point you in the direction of certain types of foods that can help you to detox rather than simply listing one after the other. You are advised to try to include as many as possible when going through the detox process and by doing so you will feel the benefit that comes from removing those toxins from your system and enjoy the increase in health and energy that comes with it.
What Is Glutathione Good For?
April 14, 2012 08:03 AM
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione (GSH)is a tripeptide derived from non-proteinaceous amino acids. Contains apeptide bond between the group unusual amino of the cysteine group and the carboxylside chain of glutamate. Glutathione, an antioxidant, helps protect cells from reactive species of oxygen such as free radicals and peroxides. Glutathione is nucleophilic at sulfuracceptors and conjugated electrophilic attack poisonous. Groups thiolare maintained in a reduced state to a concentration of about ~ 5 mM in animal cells. Indeed, glutathione reduces any link disulfideformed with in proteins cytoplasmic cysteines by acting as a donor of electrons.In the process, glutathione is converted to its oxidized form glutathione disulfide (GSSG). Glutathione is found almost exclusively in its reduced form, since the enzyme that turns its oxidized form, glutathione reductase,is constitutively active and inducible to oxidative stress.In fact, the ratio of reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione in cells is often used scientifically as a measure of cellular toxicity. H2O2+ GSSG + 2 ------- 2GSH H2O.
Advantages of the Glutathione
Before discussing the benefits of L-Glutathione, let's first talk a little about the nutrient. Glutathione is an antioxidant enzyme dominant which is soluble in water.It is absorbed mainly in the liver.It helps fight against free radical damage.The free radical damage is harmful relatives. Glutathione is involved in a variety of other functions in the body.
The function of Glutathione - Benefits of Glutathione
Glutathione works in DNA synthesis and repair, protein and prostaglandin synthesis, and amino acid transport.It helps in the metabolism of carcinogens and toxins.Immune system is improved through the use of Glutathione, and contributes to the prevention of cellular oxidative damage, and activation of enzymes. Glutathione also helps and maintains the functions of other antioxidants.
There is the possibility of a deficiency of glutathione. It usually occurs during aging.For example, it is seen in macular degeneration related to age, diabetes, and lung and gastrointestinal diseases. It may be the cause of pre-eclampsia, Parkinson's, AIDS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Where to get Glutathione
Some sources of glutathione include fruits such as tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, oranges, peaches and cantaloupe.It is found in vegetables such as avocados, potatoes, spinach, okra, acorn squash, and asparagus.It is found in most meats as well. Other sources of vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Kale, parsley, and not only provide GSH - glutathione peroxidase, but it also stimulates the body to make more BA.Since cooking destroys much of glutathione, you will get more to eat raw or steamed vegetables for the best benefits of Glutathione.
Reduced glutathione is in a supplementation that we personally use a company called source naturals a Natural Product meeting the above requirements.The nutrient content in their signature product - Total Balance.
Benefits Of Zeaxanthin
February 07, 2012 08:14 AM
With aging, our eyes and the associated muscles weaken. They can degenerate and lose our ability to see properly. Eyes enable us with vision to see the world, and losing the eyesight will halt affect our daily activities and movements. People are frequently worried about losing their sight, and try to find supplements that can prevent the loss of vision. However, this debility can be prevented.
Supplements should be ideally be all natural, healthy, and with no side effects. Zeaxanthin is an important nutrient for eye health. This is found in found in green leafy vegetables, and also in other foods like eggs. Zeaxanthin fulfills most of the requirements that most people look in a supplement.
WHAT IS ZEAXANTHIN
Zeaxanthin and lutein are carotenoids that filter out the harmful high-energy wavelengths of light, and also act as antioxidants in the eye. This helps to maintain and protect healthy eye cells. Out of the six hundred carotenoids found in nature, only these two, Zeaxanthin and Lutein are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye. Unfortunately, our body does not synthesize the zeaxanthin and lutein it requires.
This is the reason why green vegetables, eggs and other sources of these carotenoids are essential to proper nutrition. Daily intake of zeaxanthin and lutein through diet, beverages, fortified foods or nutritional supplements and is very important for the protection and continuation of good eye health.
Studies have indicated that zeaxanthin and lutein can help to lessen the chance of chronic eye illnesses, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Zeaxanthin, is also a bioflavonoid, that besides its benefits to ocular health, has been linked to providing many health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory property. Because of zeaxanthin being a carotenoid category bioflavonoid, its main action is over the blood vessels; it works by supporting the blood vessels around the retina area with their proper function.
Zeaxanthin is both an anti-inflammatory phytochemical and an antioxidant; hence this has been used as a preventative measure for macular degeneration and cataracts. Its antioxidant properties keep eyes from being damaged from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sunlight. Overall, zeaxanthin keeps the eye healthier, and looking younger.
ZEAXANTHIN AGAINST CATARACT: Our natural eye collects and focuses light on the retina, and to properly provide this function continuously, the lens must remain clear throughout life. A major cause of cataracts is oxidation of the lens, which clouds it. Antioxidant nutrients, like zeaxanthin and lutein neutralize the free radicals or the unstable molecules associated with this oxidative stress associated with retinal damage. Thus, these phytochemicals play a role in cataract prevention. Higher dietary intakes of vitamin E, zeaxanthin and lutein can considerably reduce the risk of cataract formation.
ZEAXANTHIN AGAINST AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD): Zeaxanthin and lutein reduces the risk of AMD. In fact, studies like AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) are being conducted with supplements containing ten mg lutein along with two mg zeaxanthin each day, how it affects or lowers the chance of developing this degeneration.
FOOD SOURCES OF ZEAXANTHIN
Zeaxanthin is naturally found in some green leafy vegetables like Kale and spinach. Other sources of zeaxanthin include egg yolk, yellow squash and bell-peppers. This makes zeaxanthin available as a completely natural nutrient, with no side effects.
If I am A Vegetarian, Do I Need Extra Iodine For Proper Thyroid Function?
October 26, 2011 07:26 AM
Thyroid, Your Health, And MetabolismWe are given absolute freedom unto what kind of diet we would like to engage ourselves in hence, at present we could see a lot of people engaging into different kinds of diets. The vegetarian diet is one of the many kinds of diets that are becoming really common today. The vegetarian lifestyle is a diet composed mainly of fresh and organic foods however, if you plan to employ the said diet, thorough planning is highly required. Despite the fact that there are already a lot of vegetarian foods that are sold commercially, vegetarians should be mindful and vigilant so that they could avoid vegetarian foods that are heavily processed that gives you the wrong impression that these foods offers you a balanced nutrition while in fact they are deficient with some vital vitamins and nutrients.
Perhaps, we are all aware of the importance of iodine as a nutrient for the body. Iodine plays a vital role in various biological functions such as growth, metabolism, and development. When a person is deficient with iodine, it can cause various ailments such as goiters, thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules, menstrual problems, and headaches. Among the groups that are very susceptible of developing iodine deficiency are pregnant women and children. Pregnant women who are unable to meet the recommended daily allowance of iodine will relevantly affect the intelligence of their baby.
Most vegetarians get iodine from the cheese, milk products, and fish they consume. If you would want to have the sense of assurance that you are getting enough iodine that you need every day, you have to eat foods that contain liberal amounts of iodine such as agar, turnips, Kale, spinach, kelp, summer squash, asparagus, and mustard greens. Walnuts, brown rice, and wheat are also beneficial in providing you some protection against iodine deficiency. We could also not avoid the fact that some vegetarians are still unable to meet the recommended daily allowance of iodine because of some circumstances. To avoid such deficiency, intake of iodine supplements regularly and as prescribed is also very helpful.
At present, there are already many supplements that you can conveniently purchase to help you address iodine deficiency. However, when you are planning to take any supplement, it is wiser if you seek your physician’s advice first so that you will be properly and adequately guided on the right amount of the said mineral your body needs. Intake of supplements should be individualized because each and every one of us has different requirements of iodine because of the salient factors involved. So if you do not want to experience any health problems brought about by lack of knowledge.
All of us should be careful when it comes to taking good care of our health because any wrong move you could commit would have great implications to your over-all health state.
How Does Lutein Help Fight Against Macular Degeneration?
August 19, 2011 01:11 PM
Macular degeneration is a medical condition that affects older adults in most cases which results in a loss of sight or vision just in the center of the visual field due to damage of the retina. This is a very serious condition of the eye and it progresses over the years and in case left untreated may lead to further loss of sight. It has been found to be a major cause of older adults being visually impaired and usually age range is 50 years or older. Macular degeneration makes it hard or impossible to read or recognize faces, even though enough peripheral vision remains to make daily life activities remain doable.
Lutein from the Latin meaning of yellow, luteus, is a xanthophyll and is a naturally-occurring carotenoid. It is abundant in leafy vegetables which are green in color like spinach and Kale. Lutein can also be found in egg yolks and is also present in plants as a fatty-acid tester and most of all, it can be found in the retina and concentrated in the macula, which is a small area of the retina mainly responsible for central vision. This helps the eyes to be protected from oxidative stress and blue light photons with high energy.
Several studies have found that an increase in macula pigmentation helps decreases the risk for eye diseases and one of them is Age-related Macular Degeneration(AMD). Some concluded that visual activity is improved with lutein supplementation alone or lutein together with other nutrients. Other studies also show that AMD seemed to be directly related to having low carotenoids in the body. It does follow in this case that increased green leafy vegetable consumption does help prevent the risk of AMD. Sufficient lutein intake indicates risk reduction for macular degeneration and this can be obtained from a proper diet, but considering that the daily focus of attention is for the lutein.
It commonly follows that this daily attention to the diet to get all the required lutein for our body is where supplementation suggestion comes in since many are not able to do so especially for people around the age group of 70 and up where the attention needed is just too taxing. And since failure to have sufficient lutein is not acceptable for these people with a high risk of AMD or those already with AMD but hopes to slow it down or even stop the progression of the decease, supplementation is a viable and reliable way to assure sufficient lutein intake. This would eventually lead to increases in blood serum levels that would be equal to a diet sufficient of high lutein foods.
However it’s worthy to note that risk reduction does not equate to a cure because once macular degeneration has started there is no way to reverse it. But reduction of risk may be an implication of prevention for some people. Further research needs to be done. However in terms of prevention before the decease starts, results have been promising.
Potassium: Cardiovascular Health, Muscle Function, Cellular Activity, And Blood pH
May 11, 2011 12:58 PM
Potassium is a dietary mineral required in relatively large quantities in comparison with other minerals found in the human diet. It is the most abundant positively charged ion, or cation, in the cytosol, the liquid cytoplasmic matrix found inside all cells of the human body. It has a special relationship with sodium, the major cation outside animal cells. Together they facilitate cellular reformations and intercellular activities, greatly influencing the development of muscles, the brain, and the heart.
Electrolytes are solutions of bases or acids that help maintain a healthy pH inside the body. Potassium is an electrolyte absolutely necessary for the upkeep of cells. They enable organic compounds to move charges, which is central to neuronal activities, muscle contraction, and endocrine functions. The presence of potassium is also required to activate the catalytic functions of several enzymes. Some of these enzymes are indispensable in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
Powers Cellular Activities
A cellular phenomenon described as membrane potential affects several types of cells throughout the human body, such as neurons, muscle cells, and endocrine cells. Potassium is involved in this phenomenon, powering countless molecular devices found in the cell membrane much like a battery. It also participates in transmitting signals between cellular organelles, creating an electric current that flows between different parts of the cell.
Intercellular communication that induces the release of neurotransmitters, hormones, and other related organic compounds throughout the body rely on healthy levels of potassium. For example, it allows the beta cells of the pancreas to respond to levels of carbohydrates that get in and out of the systemic circulation, releasing insulin when needed. It fuels a chain of cellular events that lead to many bodily functions.
Promotes Muscle Function
It is not a coincidence that unhealthy levels of potassium lead to bouts of muscle cramps. While involuntary contractions of the skeletal muscles are often associated to older populations, they may afflict people of all ages at any time of the day. More often than not, the underlying cause is malnutrition, especially deficiency in dietary minerals like potassium.
Contractions produced by skeletal muscles are a classic example of physiological functions that necessitate the presence of potassium. When electrical impulses of cell membranes rise and fall at a very fast rate, it results in a cellular event called action potential, igniting a chain of events that lead to muscle contraction. This is the reason why potassium is important in the maintenance of healthy muscles.
Maintains Cardiovascular Health
Potassium is particularly good for the heart. The cardiac muscle is engaged in continuous coordinated contractions that propel blood out of the atria and ventricles to the rest of the cardiovascular system. A condition called hypoKalemia, in which the level of potassium in the blood is low, has been linked to abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure. Not surprisingly, potassium supplements are used as a therapeutic remedy in the treatment of these diseases.
Potassium has a pH of 14. Taking potassium daily can help you regulate your pH so you can maintain a pH of 7 throughout the day. By maintaining a pH of 7, you can improve your health and reduce the instance of illness.
Phytoestrogen, fish oil, and other Supplements may help With estrogen related diseases
July 27, 2010 12:19 PM
Many women fear breast cancer, as it seems out of control. In actuality, a woman’s diet is something within her control and it can be the most powerful force in significantly deterring breast cancer. One out of every eight American women experience breast cancer. Foods, natural herbs, and exercise can significantly reduce your risk, with just one change cutting your risk in half. The more estrogen a woman is exposed to over her lifetime, the higher her risk of breast cancer. There are both good and bad estrogens. Daily, we are bombarded with bad estrogens through cosmetics, plastics, metals, and toxins in the air. Good estrogens come from foods, especially plants.
Choosing organic foods and starting young women on organic dairy in particular is a great way to make preventative dietary changes. A diet full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds supports the detoxification pathways and protects cells. This alone is a giant step on the path of disease prevention. Following are ten foods that can inspire you to make small, tasty changes to your diet and help you to feel in control of your breast cancer prevention.
Flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and plant lignans and are the most powerful food you can eat to fight breast cancer. Try adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds to a blueberry-yogurt smoothie, or sprinkling on cereal, oatmeal, or wholesome muffins.
Turmeric, which is extremely popular in Indian cuisine, is an anti-inflammatory that’s 300 times more potent than vitamins E and C. This food can help to cut your risk of breast cancer in half. It also stimulates liver enzymes, which helps to clear the body of bad estrogen toxins. Adding ¼ teaspoon of turmeric to a curried chicken stir-fry or plain basmati rice is a great way to get more in your diet.
Women who eat diets high in fiber have a 54% lower risk of breast cancer. Insoluble fiber binds to estrogen in the colon, eliminating it from the body. Fiber also slows the absorption of carbohydrates and bad fats. Try starting your day with oatmeal that is topped with fresh blueberries and slivered almonds. A low-fat bran muffin and apple is also a great way to get more fiber in your diet.
Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Kale, and Brussels sprouts put up a good fight against breast cancer. Their indole-3-carbinols block estrogen receptors, which slows bad estrogen from causing breast cells to grow and divide faster, which increases the risk of breast cancer. Cruciferous veggies also contain a compound called DIM, which helps detoxify estrogen in the body. Women who eat the most cruciferous vegetables have a 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who eat few if any. Try steaming veggies, sprinkling them with sea salt, and drizzling with olive oil.
Fish, which is known for its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, is also a great way to prevent breast cancer. However, vegetarians who prefer vegetable sources can stick with flaxseeds and occasionally eating wild salmon is recommended. To get more, bake a 4-ounce salmon fillet and serve it over a bed of quinoa and steamed broccoli drizzled with olive oil. If you’re not into the fishy taste, try purified fish oil supplements.
Other foods that can help to prevent breast cancer include green tea, soy, olive oil, mushrooms, and seaweeds. Green tea inhibits the growth of cancers and also help decrease the body’s estrogen production. An adequate amount of soy in your diet can reduce chances of breast cancer by 30 to 50 percent, as it contains genistein, a plant estrogen that has been proven to stop tumor growth, prevent metastasis, and shut off blood flow to growing tumors. Olive oil has the ability to suppress a gene in our DNA that is involved in tumor growth, while mushrooms boost the immune system. Seaweeds is rich in iodine, which is toxic to breast cancer cells.
Eating a healthy diet low in red meat and high in fruits and vegetables along with vitamin supplements can go a long way in the fight against cancer. Look to your local or internet vitamin store for additional information on vitamin supplements.
Green Foods Can Boost Improve Wellness
April 19, 2010 10:29 AM
Green foods are phyto-foods that typically contain a high amount of chlorophyll, which is the substance that gives plants their green color. Also, chlorophyll allows the plant to use sunlight to access nutrients from the soil. These plants contain some of the most important nutrients, which includes vitamins, minerals, bioflavonoids, antioxidants, protein, amino acids, enzymes, and fiber. The high content of nutrients found in green foods makes theme extremely valuable for keeping the body in optimum health. Some green foods include algae, cereal grasses, and legumes.
Green foods are not always green in color. There are a variety of colors that can be found in the green foods category. Some greens include spirulina, chlorella, blue-green algae, wheatgrass, barley, alfalfa, broccoli, spinach, parsley, cabbage, rice grass, Kale, and celery. Additionally, there are red, yellow, and orange green foods. These include the tomatoe, cranberry, cayenne, red and yellow peppers, orange juice, grapefruit, pineapple, brown rice, papaya, and squash. There is also a blue group of green foods, which includes grape skin extract, black cherry, beet juice, and elderberry. The white group of green foods includes apple pectin, garlic, and onion.
There are four green foods that are especially beneficial to the body. The first of these is baby broccoli. The federal diet recommendation for adults includes at least three cups of dark leafy greens in a week. This includes broccoli, Kale, mesclun, and spinach. Broccoli sprouts are great because they contain more vitamins than the adult version. There is no need to take your greens as juice, unless you prefer them that way, as the full vegetable provides the body with much more fiber. Secondly, it is believed that the Chinese may have lower cancer rates because of their consumption of green tea.
Green tea should be consumed when it is freshly brewed, as bottled or instant tea has little key catechins to work as antioxidants. One may need to take green-tea pills or expect to spend a good deal of time brewing and drinking to get the full benefits. Research shows, concentrated green tea pill that are equal to eight to sixteen cups a day is required in order to boost the production of enzyme enough to make carcinogens less toxic. The third is limes, which are plentiful in vitamin C and act as a potent antioxidant. Scientists have shown that vitamin C, and potentially other antioxidants, can indeed inhibit the growth of some tumors. Lastly, it has been found that garlic may be responsible for blocking the formation of potent carcinogens in the liver. Additionally, it acts as a natural antifungal and possesses antibiotic like properties.
Green foods have gradually risen in popularity, as many individuals are becoming more and more concerned about their health. When they think they are not getting enough essential nutrients in their diets, they often turn to green foods. Everyone could benefit from the addition of green foods to their diet. This is especially true for those individuals who are in poor health. Additionally, athletes are in need of extra nutrients. This is because they often put their bodies under stress because of the intense training they go through.
Green food supplementation could help the body grow muscle and bone tissue. Pregnant women, along with those developing fetuses, could definitely use the extra nutrients, especially during development stages. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by green foods, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 14, 2009 11:49 AM
Mustard is also referred to as mustard greens, Indian mustard, and leaf mustard. This herb is a species of the mustard plant. One of its sub-varieties includes Southern Giant Curled Mustard, which is very similar in appearance to headless cabbage such as Kale. However, it has a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor. It is also known as green mustard cabbage.
The leaves, seeds, and stems of the mustard plant are edible. The plant can be found in some forms of African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Soul food cuisine. The leaves are used in African cooking, and the leaves, seeds, and stems are used in Indian cuisine. The plant has a particularly thick stem, it is used to make the Indian pickle and the Chinese pickle. The mustard made from the seeds of this plant is called brown mustard. The leaves are also used in many Indian dishes.
This species of mustard plant is more pungent than closely-related greens like Kale, cabbage, and collard greens. It is often mixed with these milder greens in a dish of mixed greens, which may even include wild greens like dandelion. Mustard greens are high in both vitamin A and K. Mustard greens are often used in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. Asian mustard greens are typically stir-fried or pickled.
The ancient Greeks used mustard for its medicinal value. Additionally, it was used for its flavoring. The Romans also used this herb. They added crushed seeds to wine for a spicy flavor. John Parkinson and Nicholas Culpeper, English herbalists, both recommended mustard for ailments like epileptic seizures and toothaches. The herb was used by Native Americans and early colonists for rheumatism and muscle pain.
Mustard is a strong stimulating herb. It is responsible for promoting the appetite and stimulating the gastric mucous membranes to aid in digestion. An infusion of the mustard seed stimulates urine and helps to promote menstruation. Additionally, it is a valuable emetic for narcotic poisoning, as it empties the stomach without depression of the system. Mustard is often used externally as a plaster or poultice for sore, stiff muscles. A plaster of mustard can also be used to treat congestion, warm the skin, and clear the lungs.
The seeds of the mustard plant are used to provide alterative, analgesic, blood purifier, caminative, digestive, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, irritant, rubefacient, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in mustard are calcium, cobalt, iodine, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, and C. Primarily, mustard is extremely beneficial in dealing with indigestion, liver disorders, and lung disorders.
Additionally, the herb is very helpful in treating appetite loss, arthritis, blood impurities, breath odor, bronchitis, emphysema, sore feet, fevers, gas, hiccups, kidney problems, pleurisy, pneumonia, snakebites, sprains, and sore throat. Before supplementing with this, or any other nutrient, it is important to consult your health care provider. In doing so, you will ensure yourself optimum health benefits. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by mustard, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
Colostrum, Vitamin C, Echinacea, Goldenseal, Pau D'arco, Garlic, Astragalus
June 19, 2009 11:05 AM
There are many supplements and herbs that compliment the supplementation of colostrum. Among these are Echinacea, vitamin C, garlic, goldenseal, pau d’arco, astragalus, and beta carotene (vitamin A).
Echinacea is one of the most well-known and respected herbal supplements when it comes to the maintenance and strengthening of the immune system. Various Echinacea species have yielded an impressive variety of chemical constituents which possess pharmacological properties. This suggests that there is some form of synergistic action that occurs between the compounds in order to achieve therapeutic benefits. The main therapeutic properties are found in polysaccharides, flavonoids, caffeic acid derivatives, essential oils, polyacetylenes, and alkylamides. These constituents are responsible for a large number of immuno-stimulatory, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties.
Echinacea has several effects on the immune system, including the alternate complement pathway, which enhances the movement of white blood cells into the areas of infection. Echinacea also affects many of the immune system’s cells that are responsible for slowing viral and bacterial infection. The aerial portion of Echinacea is known to be effective in warding off viruses such as influenza, herpes, and vesicular stomatitis, by blocking virus receptors on the cell surface. Echinacea is also able to indirectly kill viruses by encouraging the production and release of interferon, which is a substance that is capable of blocking viral RNA.
Vitamin C is one of the most well-known nutrients for promoting basic immune functions, with its benefits being known for many years. It is effective in reducing the severity and duration of colds and flu. Also, it has the ability to act as an immuno-stimulant by enhancing white blood cell production, increasing interferon levels and antibody responses, promoting the secretion of thymic hormones, and improving connective tissue. Vitamin C can be found abundantly in various fruits in vegetables, which means that it can often be consumed in acceptable amounts without supplementation through broccoli, sweet peppers, collards, cabbage, spinach, Kale, parsley, melons, potatoes, tangerines, and Brussels sprouts, just to name a few.
Garlic is one of the most commonly used medicinal herbs, as it is found throughout the world and has been employed for various therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. Commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine and ayurvedic medicine, it has recently received much attention in the US media as well as other Western countries. Recent research has found that garlic possesses some powerful capabilities when it comes to the immune system and the body’s ability to fight infection. Garlic produces antiviral and antibacterial capabilities that stimulate and improve performance by the body’s immune systems. Additionally, garlic kills viruses and protects the body from invading virus cells by enhancing the body’s immune functions.
Goldenseal is native to North America, where it helps with a wider variety of ailments, including infection. Goldenseal is effective in combating invasion of colds and flu by stimulating the immune system and the activity of macrophages, which are one of the body’s defense mechanisms against viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, and other invaders.
Pau d’arco is also known for its powerful antiviral, antibiotic, and immune system enhancing capabilities. It has been shown to actively inhibit the activity of several viruses such as: both herpes viruses, the influenza viruses, polioviruses, and vesicular stomatitis virus.
Astragalus, which is extremely popular in Chinese herbal medicine, is an immune system enhancer. It has the ability to reduce the severity and length of the common cold through its application. Vitamin A, which has long been known to be effective in fighting infectious diseases, has antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Vitamin A deficiencies can manifest themselves through increased infection by cold and flu viruses.
Along with the above, it is also important to eat healthful foods (fruits and vegetables), drink plenty of fluids, exercise, avoid smoking, avoid consuming alcohol, get plenty of rest, and reduce stress in order to increase the benefits that colostrum supplementation provides. Natural supplements can help boost the immune system and help one live a healthier longer life.
Cold And Flue Remedies
March 16, 2009 03:42 PM
Echinacea, zinc, vitamin C, and garlic are all the most well-known and respected supplements concerning the maintenance and strengthening of the immune system. Echinacea contains polysaccharides, flavonoids, caffeic acid derivatives, essential oils, polyacetylenes, and alkylamides, which contribute to the herb’s therapeutic benefits. These constituents are responsible for a variety of immuno-stimulatory, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties.
Echinacea possesses the ability to enhance the movement of white blood cells into infected areas of the body. Echinacea also affects many of the immune system’s cells that are responsible for slowing viral and bacterial infection. Additionally, this herb enhances the performance of macrophages in the immune system, which are responsible for engulfing foreign material like bacteria, viruses, and dead cellular matter. Echinacea also has the ability to kill viruses that indirectly encourage the production and release of interferon, which is a substance that potentially blocks the transcription of viral RNA.
Zinc has been recognized for an extended amount of time as a protection against colds. It is well known that zinc deficiencies are linked to immune system-related disorders as well as the increased susceptibility to infectious diseases. Zinc throat lozenges have become very popular in treating colds over the last few years. One recent study found that zinc is not only beneficial to the immune system, but also necessary for its optimal function.
Vitamin C is one of the most well-known nutrients for battling the effects of colds and flu. Its benefits have been known for years, with a large body of research indicating its effectiveness in reducing the severity and duration of colds an flu. Additionally, vitamin C acts as an immunostimulant by enhancing white blood cell production, increasing interferon levels and antibody responses, promotes secretion of thymic hormones, and improves connective tissue.
There is conflicting information on how much vitamin C one should take, but most experts agree that the FDA’s recommended dietary intake is not sufficient. Many doctors suggest taking large doses, as much as 10,000 mg when suffering from a cold or flu. One of the great things about vitamin C is that it can be found abundantly in many fruits and vegetables. The best food sources include broccoli, sweet peppers, collards, cabbage, spinach, Kale, parsley, melons, potatoes, tangerines, and Brussels sprouts.
Garlic, which is extremely well known as a culinary additive, is actually one of the most commonly used medicinal herbs as it is found throughout the world and employed for various therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. It is common in Chinese herbal medicine and has recently received a great deal of attention in the U.S. and other Western countries. Recent research has found that garlic possesses powerful capabilities relating the immune system and the body’s ability to fight infection. Garlic possesses antiviral and antibacterial capabilities and has been shown repeatedly to simulate and improve performance by the body’s immune systems. Studies on garlic have shown that it has the ability to actually kill flu and cold viruses. Garlic also can protect the body from invading virus cells by enhancing the body’s immune functions.
Additional herbs and natural supplements that are useful in fighting cold and flu viruses include goldenseal, pau d’arco, astragalus, licorice, peppermint, and beta carotene. No matter what you choose to do by way of a doctor or natural alternative, supplements such as these discussed have zero side effects if taken as recommended on the bottles label. Natural vitamins and herbs can be found at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
DIM For Estrogen Balance
July 10, 2008 03:26 PM
Diindolylmethane from broccoli can help with estrogen balance: There is plenty of evidence to suggest that, but before discussing the whys and wherefores, let's first have a look at the substance, where it comes from and why it should have any effect on estrogen or its balance.
Diindolylmethane is an indole contained in brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, Kale, brussel sprouts and cauliflower. It is a dimer of indole-3-carbinol, which is itself formed by the autolytic degradation of glucosinolate glucobrassicin which is found in brassicas. Both this and the dimeric diindolylmethane are currently being tested for their antioxidant, anticancer and antiatherogenic properties, although this type of research has been mainly made on animals. When the cell walls of brassicas are ruptured, the enzyme myrosinase is released, that breaks down the glucobrassicin.
Because diindolylmethane is oil soluble it is more bioavailable to the body in the presence of vitamin E and other lipophilic substances, and these are normally included in oral supplements. However, back to estrogen and its effects upon human estrogen balance. Estrogen is the name for a group of steroids that function substantially as the female sex hormone. They have many effects on the body, including regulation of the menstrual cycle, breast development and promote the formation of secondary female characteristics such as reduced height and muscle mass.
Estrogen is also present in the male, where it regulates several factors pertaining to the reproductive system. It does not, however, take part in the process that determines sexual desire. If all of these properties are considered it would seem logical to believe that estrogen levels could be used to control weight increase, although claims that it can be use to enhance sexual performance seem ill founded: based more on hope than on science!
What science appears to have found, however, is that estrogen dominance, due to an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, can give rise to increased weight, and even obesity, in women. It can also lead to uterine, ovarian and breast cancers, and cervical dysplasia which, while not cancer, can give rise to cervical cancer if not treated. Estrogen imbalance, therefore, is not good news and something to be avoided if it possibly can. So what can be done to avoid it?
The answer is to find a hormonal balance, and this is where diindolylmethane (DIM) comes in. The substance has been found to have a positive effect on the balance between estrogen and progesterone, although eating broccoli will not be sufficient to do the job properly. Insufficient DIM is released by breaking the cell walls of broccoli through chewing to have much effect on the balance, about a kilo of broccoli a day being needed to have any noticeable effect. It is the diindolylmethane supplements that are able to have the desired effect in restoring the hormone balance and eliminating the undesirable effects of estrogen imbalance.
But why should estrogen imbalance occur? What are the factors that cause this dangerous condition, and if it is so common how did our ancestors manage without today's science? The answer to the second question lies in that to the first, but before we discuss that don't go thinking that your ancestors managed through thick and thin. Perhaps yours did, but your life expectancy is significantly greater than that of your parents when they were born. In fact, you don't have to go too far up your family tree to when you would be doing well if you hit forty! So the argument about your ancestors doesn't wash.
In fact, an estrogen imbalance can be caused by several factors: a slow estrogen metabolism that leads to an excess of estrogen because it is not broken down quickly enough is common, but far more common is the effect of pollutants such as pesticides, car exhaust fumes, emulsifiers, household cleaners and even some soaps. They contain chemicals known as xenoestrogens that our body believes to be real estrogens. They can stick to estrogen receptors on healthy cells, and can also prevent true estrogen from binding to the cell it should bind to. This results in an increase in free estrogen that cannot bind to the estrogen receptors that it should. Your ancestors did not have these problems with such 'estrogen mimics' and so managed just fine.
There is also the fact that estrogen can be broken down in the liver by means of two different routes: one leads to a form of estrogen that metabolizes to provide many benefits, such as strong bones and a reduction in heart disease, while the other has the opposite effect of causing cancers, depression, osteoporosis and problems with your immune system. That is by no means the full list: you don't want to see that, believe me!
You might think that if estrogen is dominant over progesterone, then taking progesterone would resolve the problem. It would seem to be a good cure. In fact, it is not a good idea since progesterone can be metabolized into yet more estrogen, making the problem even worse. The real answer is to take a supplement containing the substance that solves the problem by changing the estrogen metabolism pathways in the liver: diindolylmethane. More of the so-called "good" estrogen metabolites are formed, and less of the bad. The actual estrogen levels are not changed, but the way in which the excess estrogen causes harm is changed. That way, it doesn't matter what the imbalance is, the estrogen cannot do ham to your body.
DIM possesses many potential positive benefits when used as a supplement. It can reduce your chances of getting breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, and also acts as a strong antioxidant, and helps to strengthen your immune system. It might help you to lose weight, but more studies are needed before this can be claimed conclusively. However, there is evidence at the moment that it has a weight reducing effect.
Its effect on sexual health is largely unfounded, but the effect of a placebo in this area can be astounding: that indicates how much psychology has to do with sexual performance. Nevertheless, the known and projected benefits of diindolylmethane are so significant that taking a supplement would seem a reasonable thing to do, and although your mom was right about you eating your broccoli, brassicas alone are not a rich enough source for a significant effect.
June 11, 2008 04:51 PM
Multiple vitamins should be designed with one purpose in mind. They should provide you the ability to properly balance your regular diet with the additional vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants needed to make your diet nutritionally complete.
It is rare that people follow the recommended daily allowances in their regular diets. For this reason, multi-vitamins were developed to provide the missing nutrients to your daily diet. Vitamins designed with this purpose will automatically provide you with the essential additional nutrition you need to boost your health and wellness.
The Correct Multi-vitamin Make-Up:
A good multivitamin supplement will contain all of the following ingredients. It is designed to balance an average diet and boost health and wellness.
* Major vitamins * Minerals * Amino acids * Carotenoids * Tocopherols * Tocotrienols * Antioxidants
Antioxidants are an important part of any diet because they attack and neutralize free radicals. These fragments of chemicals are caused by:
* Normal metabolism * Pollution * Ultraviolet radiation * Rancid oil * Other toxins
Scientists believe that free radicals are one of the elements responsible for aging and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, arthritis and cancer. It is because of the nutrient deficiencies in our regular diets that we have become more susceptible to degenerative diseases.
Mixed Tocopherols and Tocotrienols:
Vitamin E is a series of related compounds. The four main forms are alpha, beta, delta and gamma. Most multi-vitamin supplements only contain large amounts of alpha tocopherol. A healthy diet needs a mixture of them all.
When too much alpha tocopherol is induced, gamma tocopherol is depleted. This causes deficiencies because gamma tocopherol is crucial to good health as well. For this reason, it is important that your tocopherol intake is balanced. A mixed intake of all tocopherols is more effective in preventing cardiovascular disease.
Tocotrienols are potent antioxidants that complement the alpha tocopherol. The combined nutrients are much more effective at preventing oxidation. This is why you must have a balanced combination of tocopherols and tocotrienols to maintain a healthy diet and a healthy body. To accomplish this you must have a balance of all of the compounds that make up vitamin E.
These are the red, orange and yellow plant pigments that are found in all of our fruits and vegetables. All of these contain different amounts of carotenoids, but the colors are often hidden by the plant's chlorophyll content. Examples of foods containing large amounts of carotenoids include:
* Kale * Collard greens * Swiss chard * Broccoli
Tomatoes contain Lycopene, which is a red carotenoid found in tomatoes. It is a potent antioxidant that reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Unfortunately, carotenoids are better absorbed through the ingestion of supplements than from foods. Multi-vitamins usually only contain beta carotene. It is important to find one that contains beta carotene, alpha carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
The Bottom Line:
A complete multiple vitamin supplement is necessary as a part of a daily health and wellness regimen. The best multi-vitamin contains a healthy balance of everything listed above in the correct dosages. It is important to do your homework and be sure the multi-vitamin you choose will do its job correctly.
Learn as much as you can about your own body's individual nutritional needs. By giving your body proper nutrition, you help it to fight off illness and diseases much more efficiently. A complete multi-vitamin will:
* Strengthen your immune system * Decrease your risk of cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis * Increase your level of energy * Elevate your moods * Help you to enjoy a healthier, more productive life
Choose a multi-vitamin that has been developed based on the latest science and technology. You will be taking a well-rounded supplement that was designed to properly complement a typical daily diet.
Which Form Of Calcium Is Best For You?
January 15, 2008 05:10 PM
There is no warning signal that lets you know if you have a calcium deficiency. Actually, a calcium deficiency is usually undetectable until damage that is irreversible has already occurred. A calcium deficiency is extremely hard to detect because the calcium level in the blood may seem to be normal, even if extreme cases of deficiency are actually occurring. This is because the body has a calcium bank, which can be found in teeth and bones. Calcium is needed in order to control muscular contractions such as the heart, blood-clotting, transmission of nerve impulses, and other requirements which take priority.
You may not know for sure whether you have calcium deficiency until you experience loose teeth, receding gums, or a bone fracture. At this point you will realize how brittle and chalky your bones have become. There is no known cure for osteoporosis, and it seems to be affecting people at younger ages more and more. The progression towards this illness takes years, but it is going on unnoticed in a great percentage of our population right as we speak.
There are many reasons why calcium deficiency is so widespread. First, calcium is not easily absorbed, as no more than 10-20% of what is found in foods is actually consumed and metabolized. This is because a meal that is high in fats can form insoluble calcium soaps which cause calcium to pass through the system without being absorbed. Also, the calcium in certain vegetables can actually be inhibited from releasing by oxalates that are found naturally in foods such as rhubarb, Kale, spinach, broccoli, grains, and cereals.
Furthermore, vitamins A and D must be present in the body in order for absorption to occur. Additionally, calcium requires an acid environment for absorption, which is a huge problem for older people who have less production of digestive acids. More so, amino acids are needed for the formation of calcium-amino acid complexes and magnesium and phosphorus must be present in a precise ratio’s. Without all of these factors, you can lose a lot of the benefit, no matter how much calcium you are taking in.
A great variety of calcium supplements can be found in your health food store. These supplements can range from a simple calcium carbonate to bone meal, dicalcium phosphate, dolomite, calcium lactate, calcium gluconate, and many others. Although they all contain calcium, they vary in the amount of actual calcium content from 40% in calcium carbonate to 9% in calcium gluconate. Calcium carbonate has the highest percentage calcium per gram, but it acts as an antacid which makes this supplement somewhat useless since calcium can only be absorbed in an acid environment.
Acid breaks down the bonds between the calcium element and its bonding partner like carbonate or amino acid chelate. Calcium Carbonate has a carbon bond the strongest bond of its kind; this makes it extremely unwise for those people who are older or suffer from a digestive acid deficiency. Calcium carbonate that is derived from oyster shells is no different from any other form. However, oyster shells carry an additional risk of being contaminated with naturally occurring heavy metals found in the oyster bed environment. Calcium phosphate is probably the best source of calcium, since the principle calcium in the body is actually calcium hydrogen phosphate which is easy to digest.
Whether you choose calcium carbonate or calcium citrate, ask your local health food store which calcium is best for you depending on your age and whether you have a digestion disorder or not. With poor diets and lack of exercise, calcium supplementation is a must for most people. Have you had your calcium today?
Lutein: A Plant Pigment That Provides Protection From The Sun
October 23, 2007 10:00 AM
Lutein is a plant pigment, and protects protection from the sun needed to prevent damage to the skin and eyes from its strong ultra violet (UVB) radiation. Lutein is a carotenoid and strong antioxidant that is found in red, yellow, orange and dark green fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, curly and sea Kale, spinach, carrots peppers and squashes. It is also available from egg yolks, corn and some fruits such as pomegranates. It is the colored pigments, especially the reds, yellows and oranges, in which lutein is most found.
Lutein can also prevent cataracts and provide benefits for age related macular degeneration. However, before discussing the benefits, it is necessary to discuss exactly what these conditions are and what causes them. Let’s have a heads up on cataracts first.
A cataract takes the form of a clouding of the lens of the eye that leads to blurred vision and eventual virtual blindness when the cloudiness is extreme. It is not blindness due to problems with the nerves of the eye, but due to the lens become cloudy, and scattering light entering the eye. It is not a film over the eye as many people believe, but a cloudiness of the lens, and cataracts can normally be treated by removing the whole lens and replacing it with a lens implant – or a synthetic lens.
It is not fully understood how lutein can help cataracts, but studies have shown that those take a large quantity of lutein in there diet have up to 50% less chance of getting cataracts that those that do not. It has also been demonstrated that men who ate broccoli and spinach regularly had a 25% less chance of getting cataracts. The same is true of those that include a lutein supplement of around 6 mg daily, although up to 20 mg is considered an effective dose.
However, it not only through its properties in protecting against cataracts that lutein can help to preserve the health of your eyes. It is also through its effect on macular degeneration. The macula is small part in the center of the retina that allows you to see central vision in high detail, especially close up when you use the center of your eye. Age-related macular degeneration, known as MD, affects your macula so that you can see fine round the edges, but your central vision is blurred. It is therefore difficult to drive, read or carry out tasks that need good central focus. You will find it next to impossible to thread a needle for example. It can come on very slowly, in fact so slowly that you never notice it because the change from day to day, or even week to week, is so small.
It is not coincidence that lutein is concentrated in the macula, and that a lutein supplement can help to prevent macular degeneration. Lutein is believed to filter out some of the blue wavelengths of light, and it is the blue wavelengths that are though to cause free radical damage and oxidative stress to various organs of the body exposed to light, but specifically the eyes. That is why it is believed that lutein helps to prevent macular degeneration, and studies have indicated a good supplement to consist of up to 30 mg each day.
It can also protect the skin from damage by UV radiation, and also prevents free radical damage to skin cells causing premature aging of the skin. The latter occurs through its antioxidant properties, while the former is because if its light filtering properties. It can not only filter out the blue light that can cause macular degeneration but also ultra-violet radiation that affects the skin and can cause skin cancer. There is a fine line between the blue and ultra violet wavelengths from sunlight, and both can contribute to certain medical conditions. However, the absorptive properties of lutein are such that it can absorb the more harmful of these.
The antioxidant properties of lutein are important in their own right, and can help to reduce cholesterol deposition in arties and help to maintain a healthy arterial wall thickness. The same is true of any carotenoids that reduce heart problems, some cancers, especially of the cervix, stomach and lungs, and others that can be caused by free radical action and narrowed arteries such as strokes and brain hemorrhages.
Although it is not one of those supplements considered essential, lutein is biologically essential in that it cannot be produced by the body. It has to be taken through the diet. There is no specific recommended daily allowance (RDA) because life can go on without it, but it does play a role in your everyday health.
However, the average person has a lutein intake less than that needed to take advantage of its UV protection or antioxidant effect. As previously stated, the effective dose is considered to be 30 mg daily, and the average American intake is about 2 mg. That’s an awful lot of egg yolks or tomatoes you are going to have to eat! If you do intend to take your lutein from the natural source, then it much more easily assimilated into your body if not overcooked. Lightly steaming is the best way to prepare your vegetables for maximum nutritional effect.
You can also take lutein as a supplement in the form of tablets, creams and drinks, and can also be found in other supplements that contain carotenoids such as lycopene and beta-carotene. Although not consider essential to life, do not underestimate the health benefits to be gained from a diet high in lutein, especially if you value the health of your eyes.
All strong antioxidants provide you with health benefits due to their ability to destroy the free radicals that in turn destroy the DNA in your body cells, and disrupt the cells themselves. Combine that with their action as filters to the damaging rays of the sun and you have in lutein a plant product that is far reaching in the health benefits that it can provide you with. If you are looking for a lutein supplement, stop into your local or internet health food store for lutein is an over the counter supplement.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
WasabiCleanse - Potent Liver Detoxification!
August 03, 2006 04:48 PM
Source naturals is excited to introduce WasabiCleanse, a powerful cleansing botanical that aids the liver in breaking down toxins. Wasabi familiar to most people as a fiery-sweet condiment that accompanies Japanese food has actually been used by herbalists in Japan since the 10th century.
Today, natural health researchers are rediscovering and confirming wasabi’s stunning health benefits, especially its potent phytochemicals that cleanse and detoxify the body.
Wasabi is a member of the cruciferae plant family, which also includes broccoli, horseradish, Kale, and cauliflower. Wasabi contains precursors to phytochemicals called isothiocyanates, which induce the liver’s phase II enzymes. These compounds support the body’s ability to clean its self of impurities, particularly toxins stored in the liver’s fatty tissues. In today’s polluted environment, it is critical to your health and longevity that you cleanse these toxins from your body.
EczeMate from Source Naturals
August 01, 2006 11:59 AM
Dr. Andrei Nedostupenko, a Russian heart surgeon, found that his hands were irritated by the constant washing he had to do prior to surgeries.
Then he remembered hearing about a distant relative’s recipe—a skin ointment unknown outside a small town in Russia. He tried it and the results amazed him. As a doctor, he wasn’t content to just enjoy his newlyreplenished skin; he began extensive investigations to discover the ointment’s secrets. After years of clinical trials, and great success, he is now bringing this formula to North America.
Source Naturals is pleased to bring you ECZEMATE, an amazing, replenishing formula from Russia. Made with natural ingredients free of pollutants, petrochemicals, or hazardous substances, it soothes,lubricates, and rejuvenates the skin.
Russia might not be the first place that comes to mind when imagining the source of a secret remedy for smooth, silky, supple skin, but in many ways it makes sense. With centuries of hard physical labor, intensely cold, bitter winters, and until recently, little access to the famous skin treatment centers of Europe or to modern cosmetics, who better than the Russians to appreciate a soothing cream that replenishes skin cells?
The ingredients of ECZEMATE are natural ingredients that could be found in many farms and forests worldwide: beeswax, animal fats, fatty acids, rose hips, vitamin C, and carotenoids. The harvesting of many of these ingredients follows centuries- old folk traditions, the local knowledge of when certain plants reach their highest peak of potency. The secret to the ointment is the combination of the ingredients in a particular order at particular times, temperatures, and conditions.
ECZEMATE is a revitalizing and soothing ointment. One of the ingredients, rose hip oil, is a rich source of vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids, and other bio-active compounds, as well as essential fatty acids, including the Omega 3 group. It is thought that because the components of rose hip oil are so similar to those of skin cell membranes, that is why this oil has such powerful regenerative effects on skin cells. Composed of oleic (15-20%), linoleic (44-50%) and linolenic (30-35%) fatty acids, this amazing oil has been used effectively in worldwide skin tests.
Part of a Complete Skin Care Plan
For healthy skin in general, researchers recommend using zinc to support the immune system. Drink plenty of water, increase your intake of dark, leafy greens like Kale and chard—both non-dairy sources of calcium—and make sure you are getting sufficient vitamin C. Avoid refined sugar, and replace animal products with fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, halibut and mackerel, to provide essential fatty acids.
Source Naturals is pleased to bring you ECZEMATE, an easy-to-use topical ointment that has had tremendous success in supporting smooth, healthy, silky skin. Unlike many skin formulas, it is made with natural products; it contains no corticosteroids, hydrocortisone, nor paraffin.
Use it as part of your own wellness program, taking charge of your own health and well-being in the wellness revolution.
References: www.wholehealthmd.com/refshelf/substances, visited 7/11/05 www.childhood-eczema.com, visited 7/20/05 Chopra, RN et al.1986.Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants www.acne-advice.com/products/skincare /rosa_mosqueta/index.shtml, visited 6/21/05 Moreno, JC. 1990. Med Cutan Ibero Lat Am 18(1):63-66.
Angeles, AM, et al. 1990. J Invest Dermatol 94:504A.
Wasabi Rhizome Cleanse - Supports Phase II Liver Detoxification - Wasabi Health Benefits
August 01, 2006 10:41 AM
Most people know of it as a pale-green lump on the side of their plates in Japanese restaurants—a hot, spicy accompaniment to sushi or sashimi. The fiery yet sweet taste perfectly compliments the saltiness of soy sauce and the cool delicacy of raw fish. But wasabi is much more than a burst of culinary flavor, it has been used by traditional herbalists of Japan since the 10th century and is now being rediscovered by modern health practitioners for its stunning health benefits.
Wasabi has powerful detoxification properties, in particular, it supports the immune system and cleanses the liver. Wasabi contains precursors to phytochemicals called isothiocyanates that help remove toxic substances that are stored in the liver’s fatty tissues.
The rare wasabi plant is a natural, potent support to a healthy, cleansed liver that in turn affects the detoxification and cleansing of the entire body. Source Naturals is pleased to bring you this convenient, effective addition to your wellness program.
Wasabia Japonica - Rooted In Health
The wasabi plant (Wasabia japonica) grows naturally in the mountains of Japan in the gravel and sandbars of coldwater streams and rivers. Rare and difficult to grow, it takes three years for a wasabi root or rhizome to reach maturity. Because of its popularity, wasabi is now cultivated hydroponically and in cold, wet environments outside of Japan, such as in New Zealand and Oregon. Traditionally, the rhizome was freshly grated at the table with a sharkskin grater, popular with dishes such as seafood or udon noodles. Now wasabi is usually dried into powder form and made into the pale green paste familiar to most westerners. Often, however, restaurants do not serve real wasabi; since it is so rare and expensive, a dyed horseradish paste is served in most American restaurants.
What makes wasabi so special? It comes from a good family; the brassica vegetables in the cruciferae family include such health giants as broccoli, horseradish, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and Kale. All of these are well-known detoxifying plants, and wasabi appears to be the most amazing of them all, with detox capacities far beyond the others in the family because it is loaded with isothiocyanate precursors. This chemical not only gives wasabi its famous “fire,” it is likewise a fireball of detoxification properties.
Phase II Detox
The liver detoxifies the by-products of digestion and other harmful substances through a complex series of chemical reactions often referred to as Phase I and Phase II Detoxification. Phase I enzymes begin the process by taking the toxic molecule and changing it into a bioactive form. This process breaks down toxins. A second set of enzymes, Phase II, then neutralizes the toxin and makes it water soluble for elimination. Wasabi, with its long-chain isothiocyanate precursors, induces the Phase II enzymes. Simply stated, it is the sparkplug that starts Phase II enzymes on their work. This process, all done in the liver, supports the body’s ability to clean itself of impurities.
Part of a Complete Wellness Program
In the modern world, with so many pollutants, it is critical to your health and longevity that you cleanse these toxic compounds from your body. Wasabi, along with a whole food, high-fiber diet and reduction of alcohol consumption, supports the liver— the largest of the vital organs and the key to the digestion and elimination systems and most particularly, the body’s ability to cleanse itself. Source Naturals is pleased to bring you this exceptional product as part of your wellness program.
Depree, JA (1999) Flavour and pharmaceutical properties of the volatile sulphur compounds of Wasabia japonica. Food Research International: 31(5):329-337.
Morimitsu Y, et al. (2002) A sulforaphane analogue that potently activates the Nrf2-dependent detoxification pathway. J Biol Chem: 277:3456-3463.
Munday, R (2002) Selective induction of phase II enzymes in the urinary bladder of rats by allyl isothiocyanate, a compound derived from Brassica vegetables.
Nutrition and Cancer: 44(1):52-59.
Watanabe, M (2003) Identification of 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate as an apoptosis-inducing component in wasabi. Phytochemistry: 62(5):733-739.
Rose, P (2000) 7-methylsulfinylheptyl and 8- methylsulfinyloctyl isothiocyanates from watercress are potent inducers of phase II enzymes. Carcinogenesis: 21(11):1983-1988.
Lutein to fight age-related macular degeneration!
February 27, 2006 05:53 PM
Lutein: The Antiordinary Antioxidant
Lutein belongs to a class of compounds known as carotenoids. Carotenoids in general are yellow, orange, or red pigments responsible for many of the colors of the foods we consume each day. To date, over 600 carotenoids have been identified in nature, but are only produced by plants, algae and bacteria leaving humans and animals to consume carotenoids in the diet. Forty to fifty carotenoids are consumed in the typical US diet, but only 14 have been detected in the blood, indicating a selective use of specific carotenoids by the body. Lutein is one of these carotenoids found in the blood and has been increasingly associated with eye health over the last decade.
Lutein’s role in eye health
In the human eye, lutein is concentrated in the center of the retina in an area known as the macula. Lutein is deposited in the macula through the lutein we consume in out diet or through supplements. This area is responsible for human central vision and is colored intensely yellow due to high concentrations of lutein. Lutein is thought to be beneficial for eye health by reducing damage in the eye in two ways: 1) by absorbing blue light (blue light is thought to increase free radical formation in the eye) and 2) by acting as an antioxidant, reducing damage in the eye caused by free radicals. Leading carotenoid researchers believe these functions may lead to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Age-related macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the USA in those over 65. twenty-five and thirty million people are afflicted worldwide and currently there are no effective treatments for the disease. The disease has two forms known as dry and wet AMD.
Ninety percent of AMD cases diagnosed are the dry form. In dry AMD, also referred to as early AMD, debris deposits under the center of the retina (known as the macula) interfering with its normal function. Parts of the macula atrophy, causing the central vision to slowly become dimmer or more blurry. Wet age-related macular degeneration, also known as late AMD, often develops in areas where dry AMD exists. Abnormal blood vessels grow and leak blood and fluid under the macula, causing scarring, which leads to rapid loss of central vision.
Dr. Joanna Seddon published one of the first studies demonstrating a link between lutein intake and AMD risk in 1994 (1). This epidemiological study compared the risk of developing AMD to nutrient intake and showed a significant reduction in risk for developing AMD as lutein intake reached 6mg per day (57% reduction in risk). Since the Seddon study, researchers have shown that increasing dietary lutein intake raises blood levels of lutein as well as levels of lutein in the eye (2). Bone et al. demonstrated that eyes with higher levels of lutein were less likely to be afflicted with AMD (3).
The latest clinical trial that investigated lutein’s role in AMD is known as the lutein antioxidant supplementation trial (L.A.S.T) (4). This study evaluated the effects of lutein supplementation for one year in 90 veterans diagnosed with dry AMD. Supplementation with lutein in these subjects significantly increased the concentration of lutein in the macula. Improvements in visual function were also detected with lutein supplementation. Glare recovery, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity were all improved. This study continues to build on clinical evidence that the dry form of AMD may be responsive to changes in nutrition.
A cataract is a natural clouding of the lens, the area of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. For most people, cataracts are a natural result of aging. Currently in the US, cataracts are the second leading cause of blindness in the elderly behind AMD.
Lutein is the major carotenoid that has been identified in the human lens asn is thought to provide similar benefits to the leans that are seen in the retina. Two large epidemiological studies consisting of >70,000 women (age 45-71) and >30,000 men (age 45-75) compared the risk of cataract extraction to nutrient intake (5,6). Similar to AMD, a significant reduction in risk of cataract extraction was associated with lutein intakes of 6mg per day (20% reduction in risk). Besides cataract extraction, higher levels of lutein consumption have been associated with a decreased risk of cataract development and improvements in visual acuity and glare sensitivity in people with age-related cataracts.
The richest source of free lutein in the typical US diet are dark green leafy vegetables, with the highest concentration found in Kale followed by spinach.
The average daily lutein intake is low, average between 1-2 mg/day. Currently there is no recommendations of the dietary guidelines for Americans 2005 (9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day) you would consume between 4 and 8 mg of lutein a day (7). Epidemiological evidence, animal models, and clinical data have indicated levels of 6-10 mg a day may be necessary to realize the health benefits associated with lutein consumption. By continuing to increase our intake of lutein, we begin to ensure the optimal health of our eyes.
Seddon et al. (1994) dietary carotenoids, vitamin a, c, and e, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye disease case-control study group. JAMA. 272: 1413-20.
Bone et al. (2000) Lutein and zeaxanthin in the eyes, serum and diet of human subjects. Exp. Eye Res. 71: 239-45.
Bone et al. (2001) Macular pigment in donor eyes with and without AMD: a case-control study. Invest. Ophthalmal. Vis Sci. 42: 235-40.
Richer et al. (2004) Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-relaged macular degeneration: the veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 75: 216-30.
Brown et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid intake and risk of cataract extraction in the US men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 517-24.
Chasen-Taber et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid and vitamin A intakes and risk of cataract extraction in US women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 509-16
HHS/USDA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. http://www.healthierus.Gov/dietaryguidelines/CDC. National health and nutrition examination survey data 2001-2002. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhanes/nhanes01-02.html
Brandon lewis, Ph.D. is the applied research and Technical services manager at kemin health, L.C. in des moines, iowa. His responsibilities include the initiation and management of laboratory projects pertaining to the inclusion and analysis of kemin ingredients in vitamins and dietary supplements, as well as developing new applications and prototypes that include kemin ingredients. Prior to joining kemin, Brandon was enrolled at the university of Florida where he received his Ph.D. in Nutritional Science from the department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
December 19, 2005 09:24 AM
Indole-3-Carbinol - Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) is a naturally occurring phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and Kale. NOW® I3C provides powerful antioxidant protection capable of safeguarding cells from harmful oxidation. In addition, I3C can help to maintain healthy hormonal balance in both men and women which in turn helps support the health of the breast, prostate, and other reproductive organs. I3C is also rich in flax lignans, and thus capable of supporting the liver’s detoxification processes.*
Chloride: The Forgotten Essential Mineral
November 20, 2005 07:54 AM
Chloride: The Forgotten Essential Mineral
Chloride is an “essential” mineral for humans. It is abundant in ionic trace mineral preparations. It is a major mineral nutrient that occurs primarily in body fluids. Chloride is a prominent negatively charged ion of the blood, where it represents 70% of the body’s total negative ion content. On average, an adult human body contains approximately 115 grams of chloride, making up about 0.15% of total body weight.1 The suggested amount of chloride intake ranges from 750 to 900 milligrams per day, based on the fact that total obligatory loss of chloride in the average person is close to 530 milligrams per day. As the principle negatively charged ion in the body, chloride serves as one of the main electrolytes of the body. Chloride, in addition to potassium and sodium, assist in the conduction of electrical impulses when dissolved in bodily water. Potassium and sodium become positive ions as they lose an electron when dissolved and chloride becomes a negative ion as it gains an electron when dissolved. A positive ion is always accompanied by a negative ion, hence the close relationship between sodium, potassium and chloride. The electrolytes are distributed throughout all body fluids including the blood, lymph, and the fluid inside and outside cells.2 The negative charge of chloride balances against the positive charges of sodium and potassium ions in order to maintain serum osmolarity.
Pivotal Roles of Chloride in the Body
In addition to its functions as an electrolyte, chloride combines with hydrogen in the stomach to make hydrochloric acid, a powerful digestive enzyme that is responsible for the break down of proteins, absorption of other metallic minerals, and activation of intrinsic factor, which in turn absorbs vitamin B12. Chloride is specially transported into the gastric lumen, in exchange for another negatively charged electrolyte (bicarbonate), in order to maintain electrical neutrality across the stomach membrane. After utilization in hydrochloric acid, some chloride is reabsorbed by the intestine, back into the blood stream where it is required for maintenance of extracellular fluid volume. Chloride is both actively and passively absorbed by the body, depending on the current metabolic demands. A constant exchange of chloride and bicarbonate, between red blood cells and the plasma helps to govern the pH balance and transport of carbon dioxide, a waste product of respiration, from the body. With sodium and potassium, chloride works in the nervous system to aid in the transport of electrical impulses throughout the body, as movement of negatively charged chloride into the cell propagates the nervous electrical potential.
Deficiency of Chloride
Deficiency of chloride is rare. However, when it does occur, it results in a life threatening condition known as alkalosis, in which the blood becomes overly alkaline. A tedious balance between alkalinity and acidity is in constant flux, and must be vigilantly maintained throughout the entire body. Alkalosis may occur as a result of excessive loss of sodium, such as heavy sweating during endurance exercise, and in cases of prolonged vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms include muscle weakness, loss of appetite, irritability, dehydration, and profound lethargy. Hypochloremia may result from water overload, wasting conditions, and extensive bodily burns with sequestration of extracellular fluids. In a situation in which infants were inadvertently fed chloride-deficient formula, many experienced failure to thrive, anorexia, and weakness in their first year of life.3
Excessive intakes of dietary chloride only occur with the ingestion of large amounts of salt and potassium chloride. The toxic effects of such diets, such as fluid retention and high blood pressure, are attributed to the high sodium and potassium levels.4 Chloride toxicity has not been observed in humans except in the special case of impaired sodium chloride metabolism, e.g. in congestive heart failure.5 Healthy individuals can tolerate the intake of large quantities of chloride provided that there is a concomitant intake of fresh water. Other situations in which increased blood levels of chloride are seen include diseases of improper waste elimination that occur in kidney diseases. Excess chloride is normally excreted in the urine, sweat, and bowels. In fact, excess urinary excretion of chloride occurs in high salt diets. Excessive intakes of chloride can occur in a person with compromised health in addition to an unhealthy diet. However, those that follow a healthy diet and lead an active lifestyle may need to consider supplementing their diet with this important mineral.
Chloride vs. Chlorine
The mineral supplement chloride is very different from the gas chlorine. While elemental chlorine is a dangerous gas that does not exist in the free elemental state in nature because of its reactivity, although it is widely distributed in combination with other elements. Chloride is related to chlorine however, as one of the most common chlorine compounds is common salt, NaCl. Chloride is a by-product of the reaction between chlorine and an electrolyte, such as potassium, magnesium, or sodium, which are essential for human metabolism. Chloride salts are essential for sustaining human metabolism and have none of the effects of isolated chlorine gas.
Sources of Chloride
Chloride occurs naturally in foods at levels normally less than 0.36 milligrams per gram of food. The average intake of chloride during a salt-free diet is approximately 100 milligrams per day. Unfortunately, chloride is found commonly combined with undesirable dietary sources. The most common of these negative sources is table salt. Table salt is made from a combination of sodium and chloride ions. Other unhealthful sources include yeast extracts, processed lunchmeats, and cheeses. Healthier sources of chloride include kelp (seaweed), ionic trace minerals, olives, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery, although not in large enough amounts to supply the needs of an active adult.6 In its original form, however, chloride is leached from various rocks into soil and water by years of weathering processes. The chloride ion is highly mobile and is transported to closed basins, such as the Great Salt Lake, or oceans.7
Chloride is a highly important, vital mineral required for both human and animal life. Without chloride, the human body would be unable to maintain fluids in blood vessels, conduct nerve transmissions, move muscles, or maintain proper kidney function. As a major electrolyte mineral of the body, chloride performs many roles, and is rapidly excreted from the body. Active adults that eat a healthy diet devoid of salt and illnesses in which vomiting and/or diarrhea are profuse warrant the supplementation of additional chloride. Replacement of chloride is essential on a daily basis to maintain regular metabolic function. Chloride is safely utilized by the body, without negative health effects. Of the negative health effects that have been associated with diets high in chloride, these are mainly attributable to the accompanying sodium and potassium, two other electrolyte minerals to which chloride is often attached
1 Wesson LG. Physiology of the human kidney. New York, NY, Grune and Stratton, 1969: 591
2 Weast RC, ed. CRC handbook of chemistry and physics, 67th ed. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 1986.
3 Kaleita TA. Neurologic/behavioral syndrome associated with ingestion of chloride-deficient infant formula. Pediatrics 1986 Oct;78(4):714-5
4 Beard TC. A salt-hypertension hypothesis. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 1990;16 Suppl 7:S35-8
5 Seelig M. Cardiovascular consequences of magnesium deficiency and loss: pathogenesis, prevalence and manifestations--magnesium and chloride loss in refractory potassium repletion. Am J Cardiol 1989 Apr 18;63(14):4G-21G
6 Altschul AM, Grommet JK. Food choices for lowering sodium intake. Hypertension 1982 Sep-Oct;4(5 Pt 2):III116-20
7 Gelb SB, Anderson MP. Sources of chloride and sulfate in ground water beneath an urbanized area in Southeastern Wisconsin (Report WIS01 NTIS). Chemical abstracts, 1981, 96(2):11366g.
Is Fish Oil good for my heart?
October 25, 2005 02:59 PM
I know that fish oil is good for my heart, but I was told I should also consume fish to protect my bones. Is there any truth to that?
Many people are familiar with the literature that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Animal studies, and now recent human studies, suggest a role in bone health as well, particularly in relation to omega-6 fatty acids. A long-term study in California tracked the ratio of dietary omega-6 fats to omega-3s in relation to bone-mineral density in middle- and older-age individuals. They tested BMD by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry—the gold standard for assessing bone loss—and found that the higher the ratio of linoleic acid (omega-6) to alpha-linolenic acid(omega-3), the lower the BMD. These results were independent of age, body mass index and various lifestyle factors.
The ratios creating problems were in the range of 7 to 1 and 8 to 1 of omega-6s to omega-3s. Foods high in omega-6 (or with a high omega-6 and omega-3 ratio) are corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils. One of the best sources of omega-3 is fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon. The best vegetarian source is flax oil. In addition, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, canola oil (I recommend cold-pressed and unrefined), and some dark, leafy green vegetables such as Kale, spinach, purslane, mustard greens and collards do have some omega-3s.
Also, available is a dry fish oil Vectomega by Europharma, if you do not want to take an oil softgel then give vectomega a try.
Curcumin - Turmeric Extract
August 19, 2005 12:47 PM
Turmeric- History and Traditional Usage
Native to Southeast Asia, Curcuma longa is a tall
In addition to its
Turmeric is named in
Protects cells and tissues by fighting free radicals.*
Supports joint function*
The numerous beneficial
Animal studies- In vivo protective effects
Through its free radical scavenging
Curcumin exhibits free-radical scavenging ability when
Bioperine-Nature’s Absorption Enhancer
Traditional Ayurvedic herbal
Curcumin is poorly absorbed in the intestinal
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Zeaxanthin with Lutein - The clearly-seen benefits of advanced eye protection
August 03, 2005 06:27 PM
Zeaxanthin with Lutein
The clearly-seen benefits of advanced eye protection
In the U.S. and other developed nations, the worst enemy of eyesight is not disease, it is the natural aging process. But even if the advance of years is unstoppable, new research shows that eyesight can be protected as we age. Two little-known carotenoids have been found to protect eyesight and combat the effects of aging upon the retina. Zeaxanthin and lutein, naturally found in many fruits and vegetables, form a natural filter on the retina, protecting the delicate photoreceptor cells from the damaging effects of blue-wave light and the UV radiation of sunlight. The two nutrients have also been found to be a natural antioxidant, further protecting the retina from the oxidation that arises from normal body functions as well as exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollutants, radiation, and environmental toxins.
Source Naturals unites the benefits of both of these nutrients in ZEAXANTHIN WITH LUTEIN, offering one of the most advanced approaches to eye protection available.
Key to Healthy Vision
A Harvard-led study found that eating lutein-rich foods five days per week meant subjects were eight times more likely to have healthy macular pigment density than those who consumed the same foods just once a month. Another study at the University of Florida found that diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin could substantially (82%) protect the macula. A number of companies offer either lutein or zeaxanthin, Source Naturals combines the benefits of both, just as both are used in the eye.
Part of Your Wellness Program
Bone, RA, et al. (2003). Journal of Nutrition. 133:992-998. Gail, C, et al. (2003).Investigative Opthalmology & Vis. Sci. 44:2461-246. Krinsky N, et al (2003). Annual Review of Nutrition. 23:171-201.
Source Naturals Strategies for Wellness sm
The above information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
HERBAL FIRST AID KIT
July 11, 2005 09:44 PM
HERBAL FIRST AID KIT
It is important to know the area where you will be going to determine plants that will be available in case they are needed and access to emergency help if necessary. The herbal first aid kit is meant to be used for minor conditions that may occur while traveling. Any serious condition should be seen by a health care professional. Gathering herbs along the trail can be fun as well as useful. Simple plant remedies can be brought along in the first aid kit. Major injuries require immediate medical attention by a professional. Minor problems can often be taken care of with simple herbal remedies. Supplies can be obtained from the local health food store or by collecting plants locally.
Along with the herbs, a few supplies should be part of the kit available at the local drugstore or market.
ALOE VERA: Aloe is great for minor skin abrasions, burns and as a natural laxative. It is excellent to soothe and repair damage from a sunburn. Aloe can be applied to stings and bites to soothe and heal.
TEA TREE OIL: Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and contains many antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It helps to speed the healing process and is excellent to apply externally on wounds to promote healing and prevent infection. It is also a natural bug repellent and can soothe and promote healing after bites and stings.
ECHINACEA: One of the most often used herbs, echinacea is useful for pre venting infection by stimulating the immune function. It can be found in herbal salve preparations and applied directly to the wound. A salve can also be applied to skin irritations from contact with poison ivy or oak. LAVENDER: Lavender is a natural bug repellent and can be applied topically to bites and stings.
GINGER: Ginger root is excellent for an upset stomach. It is effective when used to combat motion and altitude sickness. Studies have found ginger to be just as effective when treating motion sickness due to riding in the car, boating or flying in and airplane, as over the counter remedies which often have side effects such as drowsiness. Ginger can be made into a tea or taken in capsule form. ARNICA: Arnica can be applied externally to areas of bruising and swelling, but not to broken skin. It can help to reduce inflammation.
PLANTAIN: A poultice of plantain can help reduce inflammation when applied to the affected area. It can also help with bites, stings, scratches and cuts. GARLIC: Along with being a natural antibiotic to help prevent infection, garlic also helps to keep mosquitoes away. They don’t seem to like the scent of garlic. Capsules or pills should be taken internally.
CAYENNE (CAPSICUM): This is effective for both internal and external bleeding. Externally, apply pressure and raise affected area. Sprinkle cayenne powder over the wound. MINT: Mint leaves, often found growing in the wild, can be made into a tea to help with digestion and calm the nerves. Some members of the mint family include peppermint, spearmint, catnip and horsemint.
FEVERFEW: This daisy like plant found growing in the wild, can help with migraine headaches and inflammation.
Chew the leaves, make into a tea or take in capsule form. Some have developed mouth irritations from chewing the leaves.
Tea Tree Oil Fights Staph Infection
There is much concern regarding the overuse of antibiotics leading to drug resistant strains of bacteria. Some forms of bacteria are difficult to control as they change form. Tea tree oil holds promise as an effective treatment for inactivating Staphylococcus aureus.
A study reported in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, (1995; 35: 421-45), and lead by Dr. C. F. Carson, researched tea tree oil at the University of Western Australia. The results were significant. Tea tree oil successfully inactivated the staph bacteria which was resistant to methicillin, a salt of penicillin. It is a versatile substance with a broad spectrum of capabilities. It is generally used topically.
Blueberries for Health
Blueberries are packed full of nutritional value. A study published in the Food and Nutrition Re s e a rch Br i e f s , January, 1997, found that two-thirds of a cup of blueberries had more antioxidants than the recommended daily amounts of vitamins E and C. Blueberries were followed by Concord grape juice, strawberries, Kale and spinach in their antioxidant content.
Antioxidants are an important part of optimal health. They protect the body from free radical damage which can lead to a variety of conditions such as aging, cancer, heart disease and other diseases. Adding blueberries could aid in p rotecting the body and strengthening the immune response.
Worldwide Concern About Antibiotic Overuse
A recent report called for doctors throughout the world to be careful in administering antibiotics needlessly. Overuse of antibiotics has lead to germ mutations resistant and untreatable with current antibiotics. Pediatricians in the United States have received a brochure from the American Academy of Pediatrics urging them to take precautions before prescribing. Antibiotics are not always the answer as they do not work on viral infections which cause the common cold, sore throats and some ear infections. Staphylococcus aureus is one example of an antibiotic resistant strain. Over 90 percent of this staph strain are resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics. And other bacteria are also developing a resistance to antibiotic therapy. Save antibiotics for conditions that require their use.
Aloe Vera, Woodland Health Series
Aloe vera is one of the most widely used plants for medicinal purposes. It has been used for over 4,000 year for its therapeutic benefits. Aloe Vera, a pamphlet written by Deanne Tenney, offers valuable information and up to date research on the aloe vera plant.
The benefits of the aloe plant are truly amazing. It has been used to treat burns, radiation burns, skin disorders, wounds, scratches, sunburn, dermatitis, constipation, digestion, ulcer, kidney stones, bacterial and viral infections, and to relieve pain. It is widely used for skin disorders, but its benefits go far beyond the skin.
As a natural home remedy, there are few plants more valuable than the aloe. It is a simple and easy way to treat minor injuries. The plant contains antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, anesthetic and tissue healing properties. The Aloe Vera pamphlet offers historical as well as modern uses for this ancient plant. Aloe Vera is available through Woodland Publishing.
Tea Tree Oil, Woodland Health Series
Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, a shrub-like tree found in Australia. It contains significant medicinal value and beneficial properties. Another pamphlet in the Woodland Publishing Health Series, Tea Tree Oil offers historical uses as well as current scientific information.
The essential oil of the tea tree leaves is one of the most powerful essential oils. It is used extensively in Australia, and popularity is growing throughout the world. It contains antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties helping to prevent and heal infection.
Tea tree oil has been used successfully for many conditions such as athlete’s foot, acne, burns, warts, vaginal yeast infections, ringworm, skin rashes, herpes, cold sores, canker sores, insect bites and in preventing infection to name a few. Tea tree oil is a natural alternative that can be used effectively for extended periods of time without.
Fight Hay Fever - Help Your Sinus...
July 11, 2005 09:15 PM
The National Institute of Health’s branch of Allergy and Infectious Diseases re p o rt that 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from allergies in one form or another. Many experience food allergies that a re treated somewhat diff e rently from hay fever allergies. Hay fever comes from airborne allergens, generally from pollen or pollutants.
The symptoms of allergy occur when an immune system is overactive. The immune system often recognizes something as foreign and treats it as foreign by attacking it, when in fact it really isn’t a substance the body should be concern e d with. This over-activity of the immune system leads to the release of substances including histamine that cause the symptoms of hay fever.
The most common symptoms include a runny nose and itching eyes and scratchy throat. Sometimes, an allergy will precede a sinus infection by causing swelling in the nasal membranes preventing fluids f rom exiting the sinus passages. An infection then ensues. However, most people who feel pressure over their sinuses, never develop an infection and so can be adequately treated with the supplements mentioned here. Many people experience a tickle or a shallow cough that comes from the throat rather than the lungs. They may also experience a change in emotions, becoming quite irritable or moody.
These airborne allergies can often be g rouped by season. Those people sensitive to tree pollens usually have more severe allergies in the springtime. Those sensitive to grasses are often worse in mid-summer. Those allergic to weeds have their symptoms peak in the fall. There are some unfortunate people who have allergies all summer long who may be allergic to a few plants in each group. Those who have symptoms of allerg i e s all winter long probably are allergic to molds and mildew or household animals and dust mites. On occasion, it takes a real detective to determine from where the allergies come.
There are several methods used to diagnose a cause of an allergy. In a scratch test, drops of an allergen are put on small scratches on the arm or the back. Are action is considered positive if swelling or redness occur around the scratch. A blood sample can also be used to meas ure antibody response to certain allergens. It is often helpful to determine the allergen which cause the hayfever to reduce the symptoms. There are also practitioners who use kinesiology or electronic devices to determine the cause of allergies.
The most common treatment of allergies is with antihistamines. Their side effects include drowsiness and drying of the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. Many of the newer prescription antihistamines don’t cause drying but often have serious drug interactions and the consumer must be very careful in combining the prescription antihistamines with antifungal drugs, and blood thinning as well as asthma medication. There are some natural products that can be taken to decrease allergy symptoms. They are often equally effective without the side effects of antihistamines.
One of the more popular is quercetin. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in red apples, red onions, brussels sprouts, Kale, peas, bell peppers, pears and asparagus. It is also found in bee pollen and propolis, two plant materials found in the beehive. It is possible to consume a fair amount of quercetin through your diet. If you have allergies, however, diet is often not enough and you may need a supplement to get enough quercetin to ontrol your symptoms. It appears quercetin decreases allergic symptoms by stopping the release of histamine. If you start taking quercetin and other nutritional supplements I will mention below before an allergy attack, they are likely to be more effective. However, don’t let that discourage you from taking them even after the symptoms have started. A common dose is 300mg to 600mg per day.
Bromelain is a nutrient often extracted f rom pineapple. Found in many digestive formulas, it is an enzyme that helps absorption. If it is found in a combination formula, chances are, it is there to help with the absorption of the other nutrients such as quercetin. Bromelain also has an anti-inflammatory effect. When someone develops allergy symptoms, part of the reason is due to the inflammatory response to substances such as histamine that are released as the allergy takes hold. This causes inflammation in the tissues which then manifests with redness and swelling.
Vitamin C is useful in many conditions including hay fever. Higher doses are often required in the treatment of allergies: 2,000mg is beneficial and you can take up to 4,000mg or more during acute symptoms. It also stabilizes capillaries, reducing the swelling in the throat, nasal passages and around the eyes. If you are taking a multi-vitamin or a combination product that contains Vitamin C, I still recommend additional supplementation.
Stinging nettle is probably a plant many a re familiar with, especially if it has come into contact with your skin, but it also has an historical use in the treatment of allergy. In fact, in double blind studies it was shown to decrease the symptoms of allergy, specifically runny nose.
The active component of the ephedra herb is ephedrine, an alkaloid. It is used in OTC asthma medication. As a natural herb, ephedra in small doses can be v e ry useful in decreasing the symptoms of colds, asthma, cough and in this case, hay fever. It is in many Chinese and American formulas that I use and I feel v e ry comfortable using 100mg to 200mg of ephedra that contain small doses of 2.5mg to 8mg of ephedra alkaloids per day. I feel comfortable using dosages of up to 15mg of ephedra alkaloids .
Feverfew is another herb with a variety of uses. You will find it in headache formulas, in fever reducing formulas, and many hay fever formulas. Like bromelain, it has an anti-inflammatory effect and reduces the swelling that occurs during a hay fever attack.
Homeopathic formulas can also be useful to reduce hay fever. There is no re ason why the herbs I’ve mentioned cannot be combined with homeopathic formulas. You may want to take them at separate times of the day.
So, if you suffer from hay fever, don’t give up. You can use these nutrients singly or in combination. You can take a formula that contains all of them and then add to that additional vitamin C for instance, or additional nettle. It may require trial and error to find the right amounts in combination that will work for you.
FEARING FATS: There's Plenty of Cause Overview
June 25, 2005 07:34 PM
FEARING FATS: There's Plenty of Cause Overview
A wealth of scientific evidence now exists which should have turned each and everyone of us into a fat “phobic.”1a-e In other words, virtually every health expert agrees that a high fat diet is directly linked to cardiovascular disease, various types of cancer and premature death. It’s no secret that excess dietary fat poses a tremendous health risk. The United States National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and many other scientific institutes have confirmed the frightening hazards of fat. Health proponents generally concur that excess fat can significantly shorten one’s lifespan. More than 10,000 medical papers are published every year dealing with obesity and cardiovascular disease, two of the most insidious killers of Americans. Western eating habits, which promote fatty, salty, sugary foods, have created massive widespread disease and tremendous suffering. Studies have shown that fat is the macronutrient associated with overeating -
TABLE 1. Total fat grams in single servings.4
and obesity.2 In spite of this finding we are eating more fat and becoming fatter. The average absolute fat intake has increased from 81 to 83 grams per day over the last ten years.3 Our obsession with fatty foods has exacted an enormous toll in the form of rampant obesity, clogged arteries, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, etc. Many of us remain oblivious to the fat gram count of foods we routinely pop into our mouths, unaware that one fast food entree may contain more fat grams than one should consume in one given day. Take a good look at the following list of foods which have been assessed for fat content. Fast food has become a 20th-century sensation which continues to boom and expand throughout our society. Many of us literally exist on fast food, which is frequently also “fat” food. It’s no wonder so many of us “battle the bulge”, and have skyrocketing cholesterol counts. Our love affair with greasy, fried, rich, creamy foods has burdened our bodies with the dilemma of excess fat “baggage,” resulting in phenomenal amounts of money being spent on weight loss programs. Worse still, thousands of Americans are dying before their time or living extremely compromised lives only because they ingest too much fat. Why is this? The bottom line is that fats taste good!5 Many of us were raised on seemingly innocuous foods that are loaded with fat. Some of these include:
macaroni and cheese battered fish sticks hot dogs cheese-filled casseroles pepperoni pizza burritos pancakes, waffles doughnuts pies and pastries ice cream candy bars ramen soup
Fat is also a major ingredient in most of the snack food we constantly nibble on, including chips, crackers, cookies, and nuts. Check ingredient labels to find the fat gram content of most snack foods. You’ll be surprised to find out just how fatty these foods are. Even a healthy sounding food like a “bran muffin” can contain 36 grams of fat! No wonder they stay so “moist”. In addition to the above foods, fat can add wonderful flavor to breads, vegetables and the like, and is usually used liberally in the form of butter, sour cream, whipping cream, melted cheese, cream cheese spreads, dips, cream sauces, and gravies. Fruits can also be high in fats. Did you know that one avocado has 30 grams of fat? One half cup of peanuts contains 35 grams of fat and only one glazed doughnut has 13 grams of fat. The majority of research points to fat as a much more dangerous culprit than anyone might have imagined. Saturated fats such as lard, palm, coconut oil, and beef tallow are particularly menacing. Research scientists have found over and over again that fats can contribute to the growth of tumors in animal studies.6 The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences reported that even a relatively small amount of extra body fat increases the risk of certain diseases for women and may compromise their longevity.7 Even being mildly overweight may be much more risky than anyone previously assumed.8
The Relat ionship between Breast Cancer, Fat s, Fiber And Indoles
Dr. Leonard Cohen, of the Dana Institute of the American Health Foundation at Naylor, believes that pre-cancerous lesions found in breast tissue will develop into cancer only if they are stimulated by certain agents such as fat.9 Women increase their risk of developing breast cancer when they consume a diet high in fat and animal protein and low in fiber, vegetables and fruits. When women put on weight, they have a tendency to create more estrogen since adipose tissue produces estrogen. Certain forms of estrogen, the so-called “bad estrogens” can act as carcinogens and are anything but desirable.10 High or unbalanced estrogen levels stimulate concerous tissue in the breast. Obesity is also associated with increased breast cancer mortality.11 The three most important ways to inhibit “bad” estrogen from inducing breast cancer are:
The A Team
June 14, 2005 06:04 PM
The A Team
by Gregory Meade Energy Times, October 11, 2004
Want the A Team playing to improve your health? When you accumulate enough antioxidants to help you attack the molecular marauders out to mar your well-being, you improve your chances of avoiding illness.
Nowadays you hear plenty of talk about the benefits of antioxidant nutrients. Antioxidants are the ammunition the body uses to fight off internal damage. They offer the body the means to fight against disease but, at the same time, your body must be in the position to use them optimally. That means getting enough sleep, consistently exercising and avoiding overly processed foods. Those lifestyle habits allow your body to garner its resources and effectively implement antioxidants in its quest for well-being.
Your body has a love-hate relationship with oxidation: Can't live without it, often has trouble living with it. For instance, the production of energy in your cells requires oxidation. But the byproducts of that process, problematic molecules called free radicals, have to be chemically changed or eliminated to avoid the damage that results when they interact with other parts of the cell. Left unchecked, these molecular troublemakers can wreak havoc, oxidizing and punching holes in cell membranes and damaging other structures they contact. Antioxidant nutrients are used to defend against oxidation, quell these harmful destroyers and limit the potential harm they can cause.
For a quick glimpse of one of your basic antioxidant defenses, look in the mirror. The color in your eyes represents antioxidant protection against oxidative injury from the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Sunlight's energy sets loose free radicals every time it enters the lenses in your eyes. Pigments absorb this radiation and, in most cases, render it harmless.
As part of your vision's defenses, two of the antioxidant pigments in your food, lutein and zeaxanthin, are deposited by your body in certain areas of your eyes-in a section called the macula as well as the lens (BJ Opthalmol 1998; 82:907-10).
Lutein and zeaxanthin are classified as carotenoids, chemical relatives of beta carotene, the antioxidant pigment that makes carrots orange, and lycopene, the anticancer red coloring found in tomatoes. These fat-soluble nutrients are also present in algae. In both your eyes and plants, these nutrients absorb the destructive ultraviolet rays that give birth to free radicals.
Studies show that consuming large amounts of these pigments lowers your risk of a common form of blindness called age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and drops your chances of age-related cataracts. (More than 30 million people worldwide suffer from ARMD, and cataracts is the leading cause of blindness across the globe.)
When the sun's rays enter the eye, lutein and zeaxanthin absorb and filter out dangerous radiation before it can injure the macula. The macula is the central part of the retina that allows us to see very fine detail. Otherwise, over time, as the macula deteriorates, our vision worsens. In addition, some researchers believe these nutrients help lower your chances of cancer.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in spinach, Brussels sprouts, corn, collard greens, green beans, egg yolks, broccoli, cabbage, Kale, lettuce, kiwi and honeydew melons. The petals of yellow flowers like marigolds and nettles are also rich in these antioxidant nutrients.
You can also increase your chances of better sight as you age by consuming sulphoraphane, an antioxidant found in broccoli. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found that sulphoraphane takes part in the body's efforts to shield eye cells from free radicals generated by ultraviolet light (Proc Natl Acad Sci 2004; 101(28):10446-51).
The researchers who performed this study believe that unlike the antioxidant nutrients vitamin C and natural vitamin E, sulphoraphane acts as an "indirect" antioxidant. That means that while those two vitamins are used by the body to directly defuse the harmful oxidative force of free radicals (and then must be replaced or regenerated in the cells), sulphoraphane acts indirectly, boosting the body's immunity defenses. Because of that indirect action, researchers point out, sulphoraphane lasts longer in the body and may produce a more profound, long-term antioxidant effect.
In other laboratory tests, researchers have discovered that sulphoraphane can kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium recognized 20 years ago as the cause of debilitating stomach ulcers and often-fatal stomach cancers (Proc Natl Acad of Sci 5/28/02). This research shows that sulphoraphane is even effective against antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter. Adding to its benefits, sulphoraphane can help kill bacteria both inside and outside stomach cells; when this bacteria hides inside of cells it is particularly difficult to fight.
" We've known for some time that sulforaphane had modest antibiotic activity," says Jed Fahey, a plant physiologist at Hopkins. "However, its potency against Helicobacter, even those strains resistant to conventional antibiotics, was a pleasant surprise."
Looking for Mr. Good Diet
For the biggest bang for your antioxidant buck, combine antioxidants with good lifestyle habits. A laboratory study of the heart-healthy effects of taking supplements of the antioxidant vitamins C and natural E along with L-arginine (an amino acid) found that exercise magnifies benefits (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 5/24/04, online). The scientists who performed this study recommend exercise along with antioxidants to boost your nutritional advantage.
The box score shows that when playing with the A Team you've got the best chance of hitting an antioxidant home run.
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, Kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, Kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.
Cancer at the Millenium - the war on cancer entering its third decade...
June 13, 2005 10:23 AM
Cancer at the Millenium by Harriet Brown Energy Times, May 1, 1999
With the war on cancer entering its third decade, the necessity grows clearer for medical science to engage the enemy on several fronts. Until recently, high-tech medical weapons like vaccines and gene therapy, inspired by a flood of insights into the molecular basis of cancer, garnered most of the hope, hype, headlines and research money. The science was sexy and the prospect of a "cure" dramatic. But, today, advocates of prevention receive equal, if not greater, attention.
Improving our diets and prudently supplementing with vitamins and minerals, can deliver a major preventive impact. Contentious experts concede that at least a third (and probably more) of all cancers can be blamed on a combination of eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
The Dietary Difference
Though cancer can progress rapidly once it leaps past its inception, it develops over many years and in several stages. Beneficial compounds in food and supplements may intervene along a line that runs from initial exposure to carcinogens to the final step into outright malignancy. Nutrients may: - counteract environmental poisons and the toxic byproducts of liver metabolism
The Big Picture The dietary guidelines advocated by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (which generally coincide with those of most health organizations) may sound familiar: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get lots of fiber. Limit fat, especially animal fat. Go easy on meat and avoid the cured variety (they contain nitrites). If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Watch your total calories, and your weight. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Carotenoids, as their name suggests, are orange and red pigments in fruits and vegetables, most notably carrots and tomatoes, although they're also in everything from sweet potatoes to spinach and brussels sprouts (in the latter their distinctive color is masked by green chlorophyll).
Lycopene, a carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes, displays double the free radical-fighting activity of beta carotene, the most widely studied carotenoid. Of 72 studies looking at consumption of tomatoes or tomato-based products reviewed in the February 1999 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, almost half showed a significant reduction in one or more of a variety of cancers.
Research shows that lycopene may be best at lowering a man's risk of prostate cancer. A 1995 Harvard Medical School study (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 1767-76) queried nearly 48,000 male health-care professionals about their consumption of fruits and vegetables. The only foods that reduced their risk of prostate cancer were, apparently, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pizza (tomato paste). For those who ate ten servings a week, risk dropped 45 percent; with four to seven servings, 20 percent. In animal studies lycopene decreased the number and size of mammary tumors (Eleventh International Symposium on Carotenoids, 1996).
Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes helps by releasing the lycopene from the plant cell walls. Also, the oil in tomato sauce enhances absorption in the stomach. Lycopene is also available in supplements.
Wine drinkers rejoiced when resveratrol, a constituent of the skin of red grapes, was found to protect their hearts (by blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol and discouraging blood clotting). Now they have another reason to toast this potent antioxidant. When researcher John Pezzuto at the University of Illinois at Chicago screened about 1,000 plants for anticancer activity, he came up with one whose active ingredient turned out to be resveratrol. In lab tests it squelched both free radicals and inflammation, two well-known cancer inducers (Science, 6/10/97). In a study with mice, resveratrol reduced the number of skin tumors by up to 98 percent compared to control animals. Because the effective doses were high (Pezzuto estimates a person would have to quaff about five gallons of wine a day to get the equivalent) and because more than a drink or two a day may raise the risk of breast cancer, researchers don't recommend nondrinkers take up wine. But supplements of synthesized resveratrol (as well as grape juice) may help.
Saturated fat is an authentic dietary villain. Aside from clogging arteries, it's a suspected contributor to several cancers, though the evidence is greater for some cancers (prostate) than for others (breast cancer)
Of the two other main categories of fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, mono seems benign, if not positively protective. For example, in a study of the influence of diet on breast cancer, Greek researchers discovered that women who consumed higher amounts of olive oil (which is mostly mono) were less likely to be afflicted with breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995: 87; 110-116).
When it comes to polyunsaturated fats, however, things get complicated. The fat that predominates in corn, sunflower and other vegetable oils, called omega-6, has long been associated with cancer risk in animal experiments. Likewise the type found in margarines, trans fats, which are partially saturated vegetable oils. On the other hand, the omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA, which are found primarily in deep- and cold-water fish like cod, mackerel, and halibut, protect against both heart disease and cancer. In an epidemiological study covering 24 European countries, British researchers established that mortality rates for colon and breast cancers declined as fish and fish oil consumption rose (British Journal of Cancer 1996: 74; 159-64). And Finnish scientists discovered that the breast tissue of women who had breast cancer contained significantly less DHA and EPA than the breasts of healthy women (Nutrition and Cancer 1995: 24; 151-160).
Experts believe the omega-3s' anticancer effect derives from its ability to tamp down the prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation. Chronic inflammation unleashes a steady stream of free radicals, which can damage DNA and thereby trigger cancer. Omega-3s also help the liver detoxify potentially harmful substances.
Fortunately for the fish-phobic, nonmarine sources of omega-3 fats include flaxseed and hemp oils.
Minerals to Lower Cancer Risk
n Calcium: possibly protective against colon cancer. In a recent trial (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/14/99) researchers gave people with a history of precancerous colon polyps either two 600 mg calcium tablets a day or a placebo for nine months and found fewer polyps. n Selenium: powerful antioxidant and supporter of immunity. Researchers find that cancer rates in various regions is lowered when soil and vegetables contain more selenium
In a selenium-depleted area in China afflicted with one of the highest incidences of stomach and esophageal cancer mortality in the world, scientists asked different groups to take various combinations of nutrients. After five years they found a significant reduction in the cancer rate among those who had gotten supplements of selenium, vitamin E and beta carotene (Biological Trace Element Research 1985; 7: 21-29). In the U.S. researchers studying the potential effectiveness of selenium supplementation for preventing nonmelanoma skin cancers came up with a surprise. The 200 mcg a day the subjects received for an average of 4.5 years had no impact on skin cancer but did significantly cut the rates of lung, colorectal and prostate cancers (Journal of the American Medical Association, 12/25/96).
More recently Harvard researchers determined that men with prostate cancer had much lower levels of selenium in their toenails (a measure of consumption) than healthy men (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 8/119/98).
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and Kale, have long been singled out for their association with protection against cancer. In a 1996 survey of 94 population studies and clinical trials focusing on consumption of cruciferous vegetables, 67 percent showed a reduced risk, the strongest link being with lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers (Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers 1996; 5: 733-748).
Scientists at Johns Hopkins showed that sulforaphane, from these plants, stimulates enzymes that help detoxify carcinogens generated in the liver. When they injected rats with a cancer-causing chemical, only 26 percent of the rodents pretreated with sulforaphane developed mammary cancer, compared to 68 percent of controls. Even animals who did come down with cancer had tumors that appeared later and smaller.
Other researchers have focused on a cruciferous-vegetable compound called indole-3-carbinol, which has proved especially effective against breast cancer cells. Recently, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley found that indole-3-carbinol, rather than acting as an anti-estrogen, (as had been thought), actually stops breast cancer cells by turning off a protein critical to their replication (Jrnal of Bio Chem, 2/13/98). Consequently, when treating certain forms of cancer, some doctors have paired indole-3-carbinol with the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen - which counteracts estrogen - and found that the combination has proven more potent than either separately.
Several decades ago British physician Denis Burkitt proposed that the low incidence of colon cancer among native peoples in South Africa was attributable to the fact that their diet was rich in fiber. The fiber, it was hypothesized, bulked up the stool, speeding its passage through the bowel and reducing the time carcinogens contact its lining; it also helped neutralize cancer-promoting bile acids.
This concept has been backed up by numerous studies. Recently, Harvard researchers sprinkled cold water on this idea, finding that an examination of the eating habits of more than 80,000 female nurses, could find no protective effect against colon cancer or precancerous polyps from consuming fiber (NEJM, January 21, 1999). Most experts' take on this apparent refutation: Maybe the "high fiber" intake in this case wasn't high enough, and this is just one study among many.
Fighting Breast Cancer
Fiber has also been linked to reduced rates of breast cancer. At first it was thought that if fat was a breast-cancer culprit, fiber might just be a marker for a low-fat diet. But a look at Finland undermined that idea: Finnish women eat both a lot of fat and a lot of fiber, and their breast cancer rate ranks much below that in the U.S., (where we eat gobs of fat and little roughage).
Fiber helps take estrogen out of circulation as it passes through the liver, while the isoflavones in many high-fiber plants and vegetables are themselves weak estrogens, which compete for slots on breast tissue's estrogen receptors. The special fiber in flaxseed oil called lignans act against estrogen in two ways: by binding its receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme that converts other hormones into estrogen.
Fiber comes in two basic forms, insoluble (e.g., wheat bran, celery, the skins of fruits and vegetables) and soluble (e.g., oat bran, citrus fruits, beans). Until a few years ago, scientists believed that cancer protection came mainly from insoluble fiber, but that thinking has turned around.
A soluble fiber called citrus pectin has been shown to halt the tendency of prostate, lung, breast and skin cancers to metastasize, or spread (e.g., Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 3448-353). Typically cancer turns deadly only when it gets into the bloodstream and invades new territory. Modified citrus pectin appears to stop this aggression by preventing cancer cells from attaching to healthy tissue.
While the name inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) sounds like a mouthful, many of us consume mouthfuls of this natural substance every day - in foods like corn, rice, whole-grain cereals, oats and wheat.
But now scientists have isolated IP-6 and found that this powerful antioxidant can slow the destructive cellular processes that lead to tumors. In a study published in Anti-Cancer Research (Nov/Dec 1998), scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated that IP-6 could shrink liver tumors in laboratory animals.
The researchers believe that IP-6 can help prevent cancer and also be useful in lowering the risk of health problems like kidney stones and heart disease. Research like this continues to expand our knowledge of how to lower the risk of cancer. In the next millennium, with more and more information making its way into the media and onto websites, our power and the responsibility to reduce our risk of cancer will continue to grow and offer new possibilities.
Go Green - green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free...
June 12, 2005 05:27 PM
Go Green by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, December 4, 2003
If you feel like your busy life is holding your health hostage, green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free. "Green foods are worth a king's ransom as far as your health is concerned," says Betty Kamen, PhD, author of Betty Kamen's 1,001 Health Secrets (Nutrition Encounter). "Green foods capture solar energy, using it to produce chlorophyll, which gives it its distinctive green color. Since we obtain our food by eating these plants or by eating the animals that eat these plants, this process is the source of human life."
"Green foods are renewal foods," says Ryan Bradley, ND, of the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Kenmore, Washington. "They help to counteract the nutrient depletion caused by stress and by caffeine intake. They're nutrient dense, grounding, balancing, and soothing in their energetic nature."
Ideally, your meals should supply you with greens, but "...99.9% of the population doesn't get three to five [daily] servings of leafy green vegetables like Kale, collard greens and spinach," says Jordan Rubin, NMD, PhD, CNC, author of Patient Heal Thyself (Freedom Press). Green foods can bridge that gap.
"Green foods have become popular because it's a convenient way to get your servings," says Dr. Rubin. "You get the equivalent of two large salads with one serving of powdered green food. It's nutrient dense and low calorie so it's a great addition to any diet. It satisfies the brain so you don't feel hungry."
"Everyone can benefit from green food supplementation," adds Dr. Kamen. "It's a concentrated supplier of everything that's good about vegetables."
Chlorophyll for Health
The key ingredient of green foods is chlorophyll, the green blood of plants. The benefits for humans from chlorophyll can be profound. A study of individuals at high risk of developing liver cancer because of their exposure to environmental toxins showed a 55% reduction in noxious compounds when these people supplemented their diets with a semi-synthetic chlorophyll derivative with properties similar to those of chlorophyll (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001 Dec 4; 98(25):14601-6).
"This research supports the long-standing notion that chlorophyll, and green foods, can play a role in detoxification in the liver, and thus 'cleansing' the blood," says Dr. Bradley. "It's a good addition to any detox protocol. Test tube evidence also suggests that chlorophyll inhibits mutations in human cells."
Chlorophyll is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It can help fight anemia, improve digestion and elimination, and act as a mild diuretic. It also helps friendly bacteria in the gut reproduce and thereby possibly boost immunity.
Green, Green Grasses
Fast-growing plants, such as wheat and barley cereal grasses, contain the most chlorophyll and the deepest green color.
"Wheat grass was one of the country's first multi-vitamins," says Dr. Rubin, who is also the author of Restoring Your Digestive Health (Twin Streams Health). "Certified organic cereal grasses pull a vast number of nutrients from the soil."
"The solar-powered factory in the leaves of the young grass plants is almost beyond comprehension," says Dr. Kamen. "Sprouted grains have exceptional nutritive value and high amounts of certain vitamins and minerals."
The blue-green microalgae spirulina is a chlorophyll powerhouse.
"Spirulina is high in protein, up to 65%, and the blue pigment of this blue-green algae, phycocyanin, has antioxidant, antiviral and antifungal properties," says Dr. Rubin.
Like other greens, spirulina can help you cut calories. "When you nourish the body and the brain with nutrient-dense and low-caloric food, it satisfies that impulse to keep eating." Spirulina is also high in B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, all commonly depleted nutrients. B vitamins are critical players in overall metabolism, and are vital to nerve and adrenal function.
Spirulina contains the minerals potassium and magnesium, plus iron. "It's been scientifically validated that [spirulina's iron is] comparable to the absorption from an egg," says Dr. Bradley. "It may benefit patients that are anemic. It's also a great choice for vegans who are looking for plant sources of iron."
In addition, the spirulina compounds called phycocyanins may control inflammation and lower the risk of cancer.
"Spirulina stimulates the part of the immune system [natural killer cells] responsible for our ability to fight off viruses and survey our tissues internally and detect and kill cancerous tissue," says Dr. Bradley.
Like spirulina, chlorella stimulates your natural killer cells to fight bacteria and viruses, and to strengthen your defenses.
"Chlorella is the richest food on the planet in chlorophyll," says Dr. Kamen. "It's also high in protein and rich in beta-carotene and minerals.
"One of the truly amazing facts about chlorella is its ability to oxygenate the blood," Dr. Kamen continues. "If your blood doesn't have enough oxygen, you can become listless and lethargic. Chlorella actually increases your hemoglobin, the oxygen transporter in your blood, so there is more oxygen present. It provides the necessary fuel for making healthy cells, and the result is renewed energy and vitality."
Both spirulina and chorella also contain omega-6 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory benefits and can improve the behavior of your blood vessels. In addition, they provide vitamin B12.
Green Foods from the Sea
Seaweed and other sea vegetables like kelp offer a green foods bonanza. Seaweed is low in calories but, like spirulina, offers a wealth of nutrients.
"Most seaweed provides a rich supply of many essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, iodine and zinc," says Bradley Willcox, MD, co-author of The Okinawa Program (Potter). "Iodine is essential to the function of the thyroid gland, which needs it to make hormones that regulate your body's metabolism. Lignans, the cancer-fighting phytoestrogens have been found in high quantities in seaweed, mostly kelp, which could conceivably provide some protection against certain types of cancers."
Lower rates of breast cancer were reported in Japanese patients eating a diet high in kelp (Nutr Cancer 1983; 4:217-22). Kelp has also been shown to reduce DNA damage induced by several known carcinogens (Mutat Res 1993; 303:63-70).
Sea greens contain omega-3 fatty acids, fats that boost heart health. "Sea vegetables may prove to be a more sustainable source of omega-3 fatty acids than the dwindling fish populations," says Dr. Bradley.
To incorporate sea greens into your diet, start by putting them on your lettuce and tomatoes.
"Sea vegetables can make a great addition to salads," says Dr. Bradley. "They're high in nutrition and add flavor because of the sodium. They also add texture, giving salads more crunch."
Other ways to green up your diet:
* "Kelp comes packaged in three-foot-long dried strips and is prepared by cutting the long strips into smaller two- to three-inch strips and boiling them for about ten minutes. You remove the kelp, and then you can use the broth in soups, salads and other dishes. Kelp simmered with vegetables or tofu and served in miso soup is an Okinawan favorite," says Dr. Willcox.
* Wakame (one of Dr. Willcox's favorites), a type of kelp, has a taste and appearance that may remind Westerners of spinach lasagna.
* Nori seaweed can be used to wrap sushi and rice balls and also to season salads, soups and noodles.
"Seaweed tastes great and if used wisely, should not tip you into sodium overload," says Dr. Willcox.
Go for the Green
More and more people are realizing and enjoying the benefits of green foods. Dr. Bradley recommends keeping your green foods consumption simple. Add powdered greens, dried tablets and liquids to juice, mix them into smoothies or a protein shake, and sprinkle the powder on salads. Mixed in water, greens can be used as a morning tonic and help replace some of the nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins depleted by coffee and other caffeinated beverages, which act as diuretics.
"Incorporate a green drink into your diet once or twice a day," says Dr. Bradley. "It's the least expensive (health) insurance policy you can have."
Bone Power - Natures Plus
June 11, 2005 04:41 PM
Bone Power by no author Energy Times, May 1, 1997
Patricia Q. stopped smoking 20 years ago. At 61, she is active, tries to exercise regularly, eats properly and takes a multivitamin. Most would consider Patricia's lifestyle a sufficient safeguard against the diseases of aging. But one debilitating possibility still concerns her: Osteoporosis-bone thinning. She worries that her bones may have begun weakening almost a decade ago. Although her good health habits can slow the demineralization of her bones, osteoporosis may still take its toll. And as her neck and back begin to obviously round, a possible sign of bone weakness, Patricia frets about her future.
The weakening of bones brought on by age makes them more prone to fracture. One of every two women older than age 50 suffers an osteoporosis-related fracture during her lifetime. Osteoporosis literally means "porous bones," bones that deteriorate and particularly increase the risk of damage to the hip, spine and wrist. In extreme cases, everyday activities assume danger: fractures can result from simply lifting a bag of groceries or from what would otherwise be a minor fall. Some women, fearful of fractures, eliminate many seemingly innocuous activities from their daily lives. Their fear is well founded. Complications from these fractures are a major killer of women.
As women grow older, the risk grows, too. Ten million individuals already have the disease, and 18 million have low bone mass, placing them at risk for osteoporosis.
But research shows that osteoporosis may be preventable and controllable. Regardless of age, eating right, getting enough calcium and performing weight-bearing exercises, can lower your risk for this disease.
Understanding Your Bones
Bones are not static structures but living tissue constantly reformed in a process called remodeling. Every day old bone is removed and replaced with new bone tissue. When more bone is broken down than is replaced (demineralization), bones weaken. When the structure loses sufficient density, you face eminent danger of a fracture.
Generally speaking, bones continue to increase their density and calcium content until you reach your 30s, at which point you probably have attained your peak bone mass. Afterward you may either maintain this mass or begin to lose calcium yearly, but you rarely can increase bone density. The loss of bone density can increase at menopause, when your body ceases producing estrogen, a hormone required to improve bone strength. In addition, some medications, used for a long period, compromise bone density.
Stop Calcium Loss
Eating a diet rich in nutrients that help your bones stay strong should be the first step in stopping or slowing the process of osteoporosis. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, phosphorus, soy-based foods and fluoride compose the major nutrients that strengthen bone.
At this moment, 98 percent of your body's calcium resides in your bones, the rest circulates in the blood, taking part in metabolic functions. Because the body cannot manufacture calcium, you must eat calcium in your daily diet to replace the amounts that are constantly lost. When the diet lacks sufficient calcium to replace the amount that is excreted, the body begins to break down bone for the calcium necessary for life-preserving metabolic processes.
Calcium in the diet can generally slow calcium loss from bones, but it usually doesn't seem to replace calcium already gone. The National Institutes of Health recommend 1000-1200 milligrams of dietary calcium per day for premenopausal women and 1200-1500 milligrams for menopausal and postmenopausal women
Good sources of calcium include milk and milk products, yogurt, ricotta, cheese, oysters, salmon, collard greens, spinach, ice cream, cottage cheese, Kale, broccoli and oranges.
If you cannot tolerate dairy products, calcium supplements are an easy way to consume calcium. Take supplements with a meal to aid absorption of calcium from the stomach.
In Total Health for Women, Dr. Kendra Kale, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, urges women to read supplement labels. Scrutinize the fine print to see how many grams are considered "elemental"or "bioavailable"-the form of calcium your body will absorb. If you're taking a 750 milligram supplement, chances are only 300 milligrams are elemental. You should also check that the pill will dissolve within 30 minutes and meets the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) standards. If tablets do not break down within 30 minutes, they may pass through you unabsorbed and you won't digest the calcium from them that you need.
Absorbing calcium from your digestive tract also requires the presence of vitamin D. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure daily usually satisfies vitamin D requirements since most people's bodies can use sunlight to manufacture this substance. So walking to work, or going outside for lunch should supply sufficient ultraviolet light to facilitate calcium absorption.
As we age, however, our body's ability to produce vitamin D gradually diminishes. Our diets can make up the difference: Good dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, liver and fish or nutritional supplements. Many foods, like milk, are supplemented with vitamin D.
Magnesium is another mineral that helps to build bones. Found in leafy, green vegetables, nuts, soybeans, seeds and whole grains, your daily requirement of magnesium should be about half of your calcium intake.
Absorbing calcium for bone health also requires phosphorus, but be careful not to get too much of a good thing: excess phosphorus can actually increase your body's need for calcium. This can present a problem for people who drink bottle after bottle of cola soft drinks or who eat an abundance of processed foods which are often high in phosphorus.
New Soy Research
New research suggests that soy foods, like tofu or soy milk may be vital for preserving bones. A study of more than 60 postmenopausal women who consumed either diets rich in soy's isoflavones or milk protein found that eating soy restored calcium to some of the women's bones. Even though the researchers didn't think such a replacement due to soy was even possible!
The researchers at the University of Illinois believe that isoflavones behave in the body in some of the same ways that estrogen does. The study measured bone density at the lumbar spine, a part of the body at the small of the back that is liable to fractures due to osteoporosis.
Fluoride: Not Just For Teeth
Although most people associate the mineral fluoride with strong teeth, fluoride is just as important for bone strength. Surveys report that osteoporosis is reportedly less common in communities that drink fluoridated water. Fluoride combines with calcium in the bones to slow mineral loss after mid-life. Good sources of this mineral include fish, tea and most animal foods.
Cut Back on Alcohol and Coffee
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, consuming lots of caffeine is thought to increase the calcium excreted in your urine. In addition, high levels of protein and sodium in your diet are also believed to increase calcium excretion. And although more studies of protein and sodium are needed to precisely determine how these substances influence calcium loss you should limit the caffeine, protein and salt you take in.
On top of those findings, researchers say that the diuretic action of alcohol and caffeine speed skeletal calcium loss. They believe alcohol may interfere with intestinal absorption of calcium.
Along with a bone-friendly diet, your exercise program should also be designed to preserve bone. Weight-bearing exercise-exercise that places stress on the bones-strengthens bone density and wards off osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises include weight lifting, walking, jogging and jumping rope.
Exercise possesses many benefits for preserving bone, according to Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., author of Strong Women Stay Young. Among them: exercise can help you retain the balance necessary to resist falls and strengthen the muscles that keep you erect. Studies performed on women of all ages found that by doing strength training exercises two times a week for a year, without use of estrogen or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), women, on average, added three pounds of muscle and lost three pounds of fat. They were also 75 percent stronger with improved balance and bone density.
Although strength training can be performed by anyone at any age, Nelson recommends that if you have an unstable medical condition or if you have recently undergone surgery, wait until you recover and speak with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you have not exercised in a long time, consult a health practitioner knowledgeable in sports medicine before beginning an exercise program.
Drug therapies are now available to combat osteoporosis. One of the most popular is HRT, which supplies estrogen to women undergoing menopause. However, medical experts are still arguing over HRT 's possible role in increasing your risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer.
According to Jan Rattner-Heilman, co-author of Estrogen, the Facts Can Change Your Life, the conflicting studies that balance the benefits and risk of HRT are bound to confuse the average consumer. Estrogen is recommended to prevent bone loss and forestall heart disease and possibly Alzheimer's disease. Most women take estrogen to ease the discomforts of menopause such as hot flashes, and many experts do not believe that it unduly increases the risk of breast cancer for those at low risk.
Heilman warns, however, that estrogen probably should not be taken by women especially at risk for breast cancer risk or those who are already suffer the disease.
Patricia Q. is reluctant to try HRT. "I'm at risk for breast cancer-my mother had it-so I won't take estrogen. I'd rather do what I can without medications. My preference is to watch my diet and exercise as much as I can. That gives me my best chance to avoid osteoporosis."
Doctor Nelson agrees with this perspective She believes that exercise possesses enough benefits to make it the treatment of choice. "The difference between estrogen and strength training is that strength training has a huge spillover effect; you aren't just decreasing one type of disease. You become stronger with more muscles and less fat, and you become more fit. This decreases your chances for many types of diseases, not just osteoporosis. It can decrease risks for heart disease, diabetes, sleep disturbances, hypertension and more."
If you believe you are at risk for osteoporosis, ask your doctor about the benefits of bone mineral density screening. DEXA scan (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) measures the bone density in a 15-minute test. But the test is expensive: the cost of this test ranges from $75-200 or more and may not be covered by your health insurance. But financial help may be on the way. A Bone Mass Standardization Act has been introduced in Congress to ensure that the cost of bone mass measurement is covered under Medicare and that standards for coverage are clear and consistent for anyone with medical insurance.
Fighting Osteoporosis at Different Ages
Childbearing years (30-40): These years are particularly important for preserving bone through exercise and good nutrition. Eat plenty of low-fat dairy products, vegetables and soy. Perform weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging and weight lifting to attain the greatest amount of bone and muscle possible. Being active reduces risk of injury and makes you stronger. If you smoke, now's the time to stop.
Menopausal years (late 40s-50s): During this time, muscle, bone and estrogen decreases. Minimize loss through diet, walking and weight lifting. Your exercise intensity may have to be decreased but you should not stop being physically active.
Post Menopause (over 60): Focus on reducing your risk of falling. Minimize balance problems and increase muscle strength through exercise.
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness.
June 10, 2005 10:06 PM
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness. by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, December 6, 1999
Most folks wouldn't seek the distressing distinction of suffering chronic fatigue syndrome. Aside from a dizzying array of discomforts associated with the malady, the lack of a definitive cause, and few remedies offered by the medical establishment, scornful skeptics lob accusations of laziness or boredom or just plain moodiness. "Snap out of it!" they say, with little sympathy or understanding. "Just get moving!"
But if you're one of more than 3 million Americans affected by chronic fatigue, you know your problem is not all in your head. Your symptoms are real and they extend far beyond mere tiredness. In addition to a debilitating sense of fatigue that can make everyday existence feel like an overwhelming struggle, you may suffer from impaired concentration and memory, recurrent sore throats, nagging headaches, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and fitful sleep. The persistence of any one of these effects alone could be debilitating, but the overall diminished capabilities of the chronic fatigue sufferer can become the most discouraging aspect of the disease.
But before you give up hope on kicking this energy-sucking ailment, look to natural ways to boost your immune system and regain your stamina for a more healthy and productive life. New research points to powerful, energy enhancing supplements which, combined with a nutritious diet and stress reducing techniques, can help you reclaim your body from a swamp of sluggishness.
Part of the public's misconceptions about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may stem from vague definitions of exactly what it is and its causes.
In the '80s, CFS was often mentioned in the same breath as the Epstein-Barr virus, which garnered much notoriety as the "yuppie flu": a state of chronic exhaustion that often plagued young, overworked professionals, as the media trumpeted. CFS was initially thought to be the result of the Epstein-Barr virus, and the two were often considered to be the same thing. Since the Epstein-Barr virus causes mononucleosis, the term "chronic mono" was also thrown around to refer to long-lasting states of fatigue.
Today, CFS is defined as a separate disorder from the Epstein-Barr syndrome. Researchers have found that CFS is not caused exclusively by the Epstein-Barr virus or any other single infectious disease agent. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, CFS may have multiple causes, in which viruses or other infectious agents might have a contributory role. Some of these additional possible culprits include herpes simplex viruses, candida albicans (yeast organisms), or parasites.
According to the CDC, a person can be definitively diagnosed with CFS when she or he experiences severe chronic fatigue for six months or longer that is not caused by other medical conditions, and must have four or more of the following problems recurrently for six consecutive months: tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, multi-joint pain without swelling or redness, substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat, headaches, unrefreshing sleep and postexertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.
Even if you are not diagnosed with CFS, you could still probably use some help in fending off fatigue. You may suffer from another poorly understood condition like fibromyalgia, which causes similar symptoms of exhaustion and pain with additional stomach discomfort. You may cope with another ailment like hypoglycemia or low thyroid function that zaps your energy. Or you could be like almost every stressed-out American adult trying to do it all at the expense of your well-being. Though researchers still search for a definitive cause for CFS, one thing is certain: Constant stress and poor nutritional habits weaken the immune system's ability to ward off a host of debilitating viruses and organisms. So before you run yourself down and succumb to a chronic condition, learn how you can build up your defenses now.
Some of the most exciting new research in CFS treatments focuses on NADH or Coenzyme 1, an energy-enhancing nutritional supplement. This naturally-occurring substance is present in all living cells including food, although cooking destroys most of it. Coenzymes help enzymes convert food and water into energy and NADH helps provide cellular fuel for energy production. It also plays a key role in cell regulation and DNA repair, acts as a potent antioxidant, and can reportedly improve mental focus and concentration by stimulating cellular production of the neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin.
A recent study conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, and reported in the February 1999 issue of The Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, showed that chronic fatigue sufferers improved their condition significantly by taking Enada, the stabilized, absorbable, oral form of NADH. The researchers found that 31% of those who took the supplement achieved significant improvement in relief of their symptoms, and a follow up study showed that 72% achieved positive results over a longer period of time.
Coenzyme-A and Coenzyme Q-10 (Co-Q10) are related coenzymes also necessary for energy production.
According to Erika Schwartz, M.D., and Carol Colman, authors of Natural Energy: From Tired to Terrific in 10 Days (G.P. Putnam's Sons) CoQ10 in combination with the nutrient carnitine enhances cellular energy production, thereby boosting energy levels. Coenzyme-A is required to initiate the chemical reactions that involve the utilization of CoQ10 and NADH for the production of energy at the cellular level.
Another important energy-enhancing nutrient is D-ribose, a simple sugar that is crucial to many processes in your body. D-ribose stimulates the body's production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, an energy-rich chemical compound that provides the fuel for all body functions. D-ribose is essential to the manufacture of ATP and maintaining high levels of energy in the heart and skeletal muscles.
In addition to these new nutrients, a host of more familiar vitamins and minerals can help banish fatigue. According to Susan M. Lark, M.D., author of the Chronic Fatigue Self Help Book (Celestial Arts) nutritional supplements help stimulate your immune system, glands and digestive tract, promote proper circulation of blood and oxygen, and provide a calming effect. Some of Lark's recommended nutrients for building and regaining strength include:
Vitamin A: Helps protect the body against invasion by viruses that could trigger CFS, as well as bacteria, fungi and allergies. Supports the production and maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes, the body's first line of defense against invaders. Also supports the immune system by boosting T-cell activity and contributing to the health of the thymus, the immune-regulating gland.
Vitamin B Complex: Depression and fatigue can result from the body's depletion of B vitamins, which can occur from stress or drinking too many caffeinated beverages. Studies have provided preliminary evidence that CFS patients have reduced functional B vitamin status (J R Soc Med 92 , Apr. 1999: 183-5). The 11 factors of B complex are crucial to glucose metabolism, stabilization of brain chemistry and inactivation of estrogen, which regulate the body's levels of energy and vitality. n Vitamin C: Helps prevent fatigue linked to infections by stimulating the production of interferon, a chemical that can limit the spread of viruses. Helps fight bacterial and fungal infections by maintaining healthy antibody production and white blood cells. Also necessary for production of adrenal gland hormones which help prevent exhaustion in those under stress.
Bioflavonoids: Help guard against fatigue caused by allergic reactions; their anti-inflammatory properties prevent the production of histamine and leukotrienes that promote inflammation. Bioflavonoids like quercetin are powerfully antiviral.
Vitamin E: Has a significant immune stimulation effect and, at high levels, can enhance immune antibody response.
Zinc: Immune stimulant; improves muscle strength and endurance. Constituent of many enzymes involved in metabolism and digestion. n Magnesium and Malic Acid: Important for the production of ATP, the body's energy source. Magnesium is also important for women who may develop a deficiency from chronic yeast infections.
Potassium: Enhances energy and vitality; deficiency leads to fatigue and muscle weakness.
Calcium: Combats stress, nervous tension and anxiety.
Iodine: Necessary to prevent fatigue caused by low thyroid function, as it is crucial for the production of the thyroid hormone thyroxin.
In addition to nutrients to bolster your immunity, herbal remedies can also help suppress viral and candida infections. Garlic is a powerful, natural antibiotic, while echinacea and goldenseal have strong anti-infective abilities. Other botanicals help combat tiredness and depression: stimulating herbs such as ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root and Siberian ginseng can improve vitality and energy. For anxiety, moodiness and insomnia try passionflower or valerian root, which both have a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Eating For Energy
Supplements can only do their best if you eat a nutritious diet. Start by cutting out large quantities of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy products, red meat and fat.
But what are the best foods when trying to restore energy or recover from illness? "High nutrient content foods with a good balance of proteins and carbohydrates," answers Jennifer Brett, ND, interim clinic director and chair of botanical medicine at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine.
"You want foods with high nutritional value-that's where vegetables end up looking better than fruit."
Brett enthusiastically pushes that "universal food," as she calls it: chicken soup.
"In China," she says, laughing, "they do make chicken soup, and they do think of it as healing, because they add astragalus and shiitake mushrooms. Vegetable soups with chicken or fish have high nutritional value and are easy to digest."
The same principle applies to juices, Brett says. Juices are a good way to tastefully get more phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables into your diet. Toss in protein powder, and you can make a complete meal in your blender.
"You get more energy from juicing," she explains, "more accessible nutrients and carbohydrates that are not bound up in fiber." Brett's additional recommendation: oatmeal.
"It's got protein and carbohydrates combined with a lot of minerals, which you may not get from a sugary cereal," she says. "Sure, they spray some vitamins on them, but if you don't drink the milk in the bottom of the bowl, you'll miss out on them. You might as well take a multivitamin."
Look to fiber for superior energy enhancement. Natural Energy author Schwartz calls it downright "miraculous": "In terms of conserving precious energy, fiber-rich foods are your cells' best friends," she writes. "It takes smaller quantities of them to give you a full, satisfied feeling. They release all their benefits slowly, which allows the cells to extract nutrients with much less effort. Then these fiber-rich foods graciously leave the body with ease and efficiency." Among these "slow burn" foods that Schwartz says raise blood sugar slowly and steadily and maintain energy evenly:
Alfalfa sprouts-high in fiber and low in cholesterol.
Apples-one medium unpeeled provides 10% of the recommended daily fiber dose; unlike sweeter fruits, which are rich in healthful fiber, they help regulate blood sugar.
Broccoli-along with such greens as cauliflower, cabbage, Kale, collard greens and broccoli rabe, it's packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals n Brown rice, wild rice, other whole grains-fiber treasure troves, including barley, quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
Corn-excellent fiber source.
Lentils and other legumes-high in fiber, delicious beans are rich in culinary possibilities.
Oat bran and wheat bran-mix into yogurt or add to cereal for the best available access to fiber.
Popcorn-an excellent snack.
Citrus for More Energy
If constant colds and infections are draining your energy, healthy helpings of citrus fruit may be the pickup you need. According to Robert Heinerman, in Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices (Parker), citrus fruit have been used for more than a thousand years as natural remedies for a wide variety of ailments:
Kumquat juice is supposed to help clear up bronchitis. Lemon juice with a pinch of table salt eases a sore throat. Lime juice in warm water soothes aches and cramps from the flu. Tangerine juice can break up mucous congestion in the lungs. Along with citrus' vitamin C, these fruits also supply carotenoids, antioxidants that provide disease-preventing benefits. Citrus also often contain calcium, potassium, folate (a B vitamin that fights against heart disease), iron and fiber.
Fruits are loaded with phytochemicals, naturally occurring chemicals that give fruit their vibrant colors. Yellow, red and orange fruits are also high in flavonoids, like quercetin, a substance which fights cancer. Quercetin also aids in prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration, according to author Stephanie Beling, MD, in her book Power Foods (Harper Collins).
Even the US Department of Agriculture agrees on this flavonoid's benefits, noting in its phytochemical database that quercetin is an "antitumor promoter, antiasthmatic, anticarcinogenic, antiplaque, cancer-preventive, capillariprotective." (Quercetin is also available as a supplement.)
Don't Avoid Avocados
For a vitamin rich food, few items beat the avocado which holds vitamins E and C as well as some B vitamins (B6, niacin, riboflavin). A significant source of beta carotene, though not nearly as much as carrots or sweet potatoes, avocados also contain high amounts of the minerals potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc.
Just 15 grams of avocado delivers about 81 international units of vitamin A as beta carotene. Beta carotene, a carotenoid in fruits and vegetables, is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin, aside from providing antioxidant protection from damaging free radicals, is necessary for good eyesight, healthy skin and healing.
In addition, the avocado, like all of these healthy foods, tastes great. Which means that you can pep up and not have to sacrifice taste for zest.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
Remember that the path to wellness begins in your mind. Stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation and massage and aromatherapy can have a great rejuvenating effect on your body. If you can learn to handle stress effectively instead of letting it control you-and strengthen your system with the right nutrients and diet-you'll find that fatigue can be a sporadic visitor rather than a chronic companion.
Immunity - The Big Picture
June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999
Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.
Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.
The Protective Force
"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).
Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.
The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.
But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.
Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.
If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.
Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.
The White Blood Cell Album
In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.
In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.
(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).
Keep the System Sound
"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.
"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?
"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and isoflavones from soy products for women."
Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.
The Soy Solution
In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.
Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.
That Championship C
Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.
These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.
And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.
From A to Zinc
In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.
In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.
In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.
In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.
in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.
in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.
in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.
The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.
Phytochemicals a la Carte
n Isoflavones from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, Kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.
n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.
n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.
Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.
Lutein 6mg, 20mg, help stop macular degeneration ...
June 02, 2005 01:39 PM
One of the more surprising discoveries of modern nutritional science is that the very pigments which give brilliant color to our fruits and vegetables are powerful nutrients which can protect us from the rigors of time and environment. Lutein is one of the most recent discoveries in this field. In our diets, it’s found most abundantly in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collards and Kale. Like beta-carotene, lutein is a powerful antioxidant which studies show can contribute to the protection of cells. But the most promising application of lutein may be its beneficial influence on the eyes, particularly in regard to macular degeneration. Source Naturals LUTEIN is a concentrated source of this important natural nutrient.
Like the beta-carotene that makes carrots orange and the lycopene that makes tomatoes red, lutein is a carotenoid. It is the pigment that makes corn yellow, and gives marigolds their brilliant golden color. One of the most interesting aspects of the way carotenoids interact with the human body – beyond their broad spectrum antioxidant activity – is their tendency to be “organ specific.” Different carotenoids have an affinity for different organs in the body. In the case of lutein, it is found concentrated in the structure of our eyes.
Vision and Macular Health
The process of vision involves light being focused through the lens and onto the retina, the paper-thin tissue lining the back of the eyeball. The central portion of the retina, called the macula, receives the most light. Its millions of cells produce the sharp vision needed to read and see objects clearly. With age, tiny blood vessels grow over this area, causing a gradual distortion and loss of vision. This degeneration of the macular region of the retina is the leading cause of irreversible visual impairment in the USA today. It affects almost 20% of people past the age of 65. Research has shown that these people have lower than normal amounts of macular pigment, which suggests the protective role played by these pigments. In fact, the latest research suggests that low levels of macular pigment is a cause, rather than a result, of macular deterioration.
Lutein – The Eyes Have It
Lutein and another carotenoid called zeaxanthin are the most dominant pigments in the macular region of the retina. (Source Naturals LUTEIN contains 5-7% zeaxanthin.) Their antioxidant properties help maintain the integrity of the blood vessels that supply the macular region of the retina: providing protection from photo-oxidation, the result of light striking the fatty acids in the retina. It seems that lutein is particularly active against the blue part of the spectrum, which can be the most damaging to our eyes. One study using lutein supplements resulted in a 15% increase in macular pigment levels after 72 days. In another study, people who consumed the equivalent of 6 mg of lutein per day were 40% less likely to experience macular problems. Another study using sets of identical twins demonstrated that macular lutein concentrations were related to dietary lutein. After consumption, lutein is found in significant quantities in blood serum, suggesting high bioavailability.
Our Connection with Plants
In this era of biochemistry, we’re rediscovering our vital connection with plant life. Although research into phytonutrients is relatively new, many plant compounds are being found in significant concentrations in the human body. Their presence in our blood serum, organs, and mothers’ milk suggests they play an important role in our body chemistry, and perhaps explains why we’ve appreciated them as foods throughout history. Like many carotenoids, lutein has evolved as an integral part of human biochemistry, with many benefits to our well-being. Since mammals cannot synthesize it, lutein must be obtained from the diet. Source Naturals LUTEIN is extracted from specially grown marigold flowers high in Lutein, and purified by an exclusive patented process. So the next time you bathe your eyes in a golden bouquet of marigolds, remember their beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
May 13, 2005 08:38 AM
Sulforaphane Stimulates the Body's Cancer-Fighting EnzymesSecret Weapon Against Cancer Found in Broccoli Sprouts
by Richard Conant, L.Ac, C.N.
The health benefits of vegetables were known historically, long before researchers began seeing a connection between vegetable consumption and cancer prevention. Over the last twenty years, evidence concerning this connection has steadily accumulated. The latest and most promising findings reveal that specific vegetable constituents—"phytochemicals" to use current scientific parlance— enhance the body's defenses against cancer.
This article will focus on one phytochemical in particular, a sulfur-containing compound called "sulforaphane." Found in Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, sulforaphane may prove to be one of our most powerful cancer prevention allies. Recent studies have shown that sulforaphane stimulates, or "induces," "Phase two enzymes." These enzymes are an integral part of the body's elaborate detoxification system that renders carcinogens inactive. This detoxification system turns carcinogens and other toxic substances into harmless molecules that are excreted from the body.
We need not fear carcinogens—the body is equipped to deal with them.
These findings, coupled with an appreciation of the body's ability to defend itself against carcinogens, have the potential to dramatically change the way we look at cancer and substances in the environment that "cause" cancer. We need to minimize unnecessary exposure to carcinogens, and the staggering quantity of hazardous chemicals in the environment remains an urgent health concern, for cancer and many other health problems. But, knowing the body is equipped with the means to defend itself against toxins, we do not need to fear carcinogens as perhaps we have in the past.
The natural world is full of carcinogens.
What's more, even if you eat 100 percent organic food and live in a environment free of toxic man-made chemicals, you are still being exposed to carcinogens every day of your life. Food is the primary route of this exposure. Plants, for their own defense, produce over 99% of all the pesticides in agricultural products.1 Almost all foods—in their natural state—contain tiny amounts of naturally-occurring, potentially carcinogenic chemicals.
The point is not to trivialize the concern over environmental toxins. The point is that the natural world is full of toxins that are not man-made. These substances have been around since before we appeared, which is why we have evolved with a highly efficient system for neutralizing them before they can damage our cells and initiate the complex process that produces cancer.
Broccoli sprouts are a concentrated source of cancer-fighting sulforaphane.
We cannot avoid carcinogens. What we can do is support our internal detoxification system. Sulforaphane is a powerful tool in this effort. We can start by following the often-repeated advice to eat a variety of vegetables every day, and include broccoli in our menu.
There is an even richer source of sulforaphane than broccoli itself. In September 1997, a group of scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine made a breakthrough discovery— broccoli sprouts contain ten to one hundred times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli.2 Vegetable sprouts are generally regarded as exceptionally healthy foods. Broccoli sprouts now look like a shining star, especially when it comes to cancer prevention.
For those lacking the time or inclination to keep a fresh supply of broccoli sprouts on hand, broccoli spouts have been processed into an extract that is even more concentrated in sulforaphane. More on this later.
What have researchers learned about broccoli consumption and cancer rates?
More than 200 epidemiological studies—studies which track groups of people over time to uncover realtionships between variables such as diet and the incidence of disease—have invesitgated the connections between vegetable consumption and various forms of cancer.1 It should be understood that findings from epidemiological research are generally not regarded as conclusive; these studies are not controlled, and often use data gleaned from questionnaires, which are an imprecise method of gathering information. (In the case of diet questionnaires, for example, the study subjects may or may not record their food intakes with 100 percent accuracy.)
Epidemiological studies look for trends. To be credible, these trends need to show up consistently, in different population groups. Findings from the vegetable intake/cancer studies easily meet these criteria; the number of studies is large and the trend is consistent—vegetable consumption is strongly associated with a lower risk of developing cancer.
What about broccoli in particular? A paper published in the September 1996 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention analyzes epidemiological data gathered from 94 studies concerning the cancer preventive effect of brassica vegetables.3 (The Brassica genus, part of the Cruciferae family, includes broccoli, cabbage, Kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.) The data suggest that broccoli consumption reduces the risk of some of the most feared forms of cancer, including stomach and lung cancer.
Now, to put these data into a balanced perspective, the researchers point out that in most of the studies reviewed, brassica vegetable consumption was reported as part of the total vegetable intake. "In hardly any epidemiological studies was the effect of brassica vegetables separated from the effect of total vegetables or other vegetables by adjusting for consumption of these variables. Therefore, it is difficult to sort out whether the observed observation was attributable to brassica vegetables, to vegetables as a whole, or to other vegetables," they noted.
This uncertainty is a good example of why epidemiological studies alone do not give us open and shut conclusions. But the paper also adds that the apparent anti-cancer effect of brassica vegetables agrees with "the results of experimental studies in which brassica vegetables reduced mammary tumor incidence, hepatic tumor size, numbers of tumors per liver, tumor frequency, and the number of pulmonary metastases when given to rodents before or after a carcinogen insult."3
When you put together a plausible trend from epidemiological research with results of experimental studies that agree with the trend, and then add additional research that reveals the underlying mechanism for these observations, a clear picture begins to take shape. And, indeed, we now have a fairly good idea as to just how brassica vegetables, especially broccoli, help prevent cancer.
How sulforaphane helps prevent cancer from developing.
To see how sulforaphane works, let's look at a brief overview of the body's detoxification system.
The detoxification of carcinogens and other toxic substances takes place in the liver, and involves two distinct enzyme-driven processes or "phases". Phase one enzymes neutralize toxins by various routes. Some of these convert toxins into substances that are immediately eliminated. However, other Phase one steps convert toxins into intermediate products which are carcinogenic themselves, and require further treatment before they can be excreted. Phase two enzymes do this vital job. Phase two enzymes deactivate these carcinogenic metabolites of Phase one, and the final breakdown product is then eliminated once and for all. (For an excellent review of this subject, see Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, by Drs. Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno.4)
Phase two is critical. If Phase one is in good working order, but Phase two is not, the potential threat from carcinogens increases. It is vitally important to keep Phase two operating well. This is where sulforaphane plays its cancer preventive role. Sulforaphane is a powerful inducer of Phase two enzymes.5,6
Broccoli sprouts-the ideal source of sulforaphane
Sulforaphane is one among a group of phytochemicals called "isothiocyanates." (These occur in brassica vegetables largely as "glucosinolates," which are precursors for isothiocyanates2,12 When the plant is crushed, glucosinolates are converted to isothiocyanates.) Sulforaphane induces Phase two enzymes exclusively, leaving Phase one enzymes alone. This means it helps reduce the load of carcinogenic Phase one intermediates without adding to the load by stimulating Phase one.8,9
As reported by the Johns Hopkins University research group, broccoli sprouts are an "exceptionally" rich source of sulforaphane (in the form of "glucoraphanin, sulforaphane's glucosinolate precursor). And broccoli sprouts have another advantage over mature broccoli. They contain almost no indole glucosinolates, phytochemicals present in mature broccoli that "can enhance tumorogenesis."2
Broccoli sprouts as an extract, now available as a dietary supplement, takes the concentration of sulforaphane to the next level. This recently developed nutraceutical product contains a potent 20 to 1 extract of three-day old fresh broccoli sprouts.
One 125 mg capsule supplies the same amount of sulforaphane as 125 grams, or about 5 ounces, of mature broccoli. Taking just one capsule a day is like eating two pounds of broccoli per week, which equals the intake of cruciferous vegetables believed necessary to obtain their health benefits.
1. Steinmetz, K.A. Potter, J.D. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention: A review. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996;96:1027-1039.
2. Fahey, J.W., Zhang, Y., Talalay, P. Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1997; 94:10367-10372.
3. Verhoeven, D.T.H., et. al. Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 1996;5:733-48.
4. Murray, M. Pizzorno, J. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing;1998:110-120.
5. Zhang, Y. Talalay, P, Cho, C., Posner, G.H. A major inducer of anticarcinogenic protective enzymes from broccoli: Isolation and elucidation of structure. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2399-2403.
6. Gerhäuser, C. et. al. Cancer chemopreventive potential of sulforamate, a novel analogue of sulforaphane that induces phase 2 drug-metabolizing enzymes. Cancer Research 1997;57:272-78.
7. McDanell, R., McLean, A.E.M., Hanley, A.B., Heaney, R.K., Fenwick, G.R. Chemical and biological properties of indole glucosinolates (glucobrassicins): A review. Fd. Chem. Toxic. 1988;26(1):59-70.
8. Talalay, P. Mechanisms of induction of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogenesis. in Advances in Enzyme Regulation, Vol. 28, Weber, G., Ed., 1989: Pergamon Press.
9. Prochaska, H.J. Santamaria, A.B., Talalay, P. Rapid detection of enzymes that protect against carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2394-98.
VitaNet ® Staff