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Chemicals In Makeup That Lower Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D is a steroid derived hormone that impacts the calcium levels in the body. It also is produced in the skin upon exposure to UV light.Vitamin D can be useful addition to a sunscreen product, and it is used to treat psoriasis.
It is lowered by the following chemicals in makeup:
Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are chemicals found in most of cosmetics, plastics, and food packaging may reduce vitamin D level. BPA,phthalates, and other endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been linked to health and reproductive problems.they appear to be risky for young children and pregnant women. But this is the first research to find a link between them and vitamin D levels in a large group of adults.
Avoid These chemicals:
Vitamin D is important for brain, bone, and heart health. Low levels of vitamin D in the blood have a whole host of problems including mental decline in older adults,chronic magraines in young people, and severe outcome in people diabetes and cancer.
If you wear makeup, check it for the above chemicals or switch to Mineral Makeup that is safe and natural. It Doesn't Hurt to take extra Vitamin D-3 as well.
The Four Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a herb prevalently found in India. Its roots have restorative qualities and are utilized broadly as a part of Ayurveda to treat various conditions. Beneath is a portion of the benefits of this amazing herb:
Ashwagandha extract can improve the immune system's function. This will empower your body to battle disease causing germs and microbes.
4. Support muscle recovery
This herb can also help the body recover from a stressful workout. It may even reduce the time of recovery from a hard workout.
Probiotics for Oral Health
Bacteria usually makes people think of organisms that cause disease. The truth is that there are countless types of bacteria and while some of them do cause disease, there are millions of bacteria that are beneficial to the body. For optimum health, the body should consist of about 85% healthy bacteria.
These healthy bacteria help with;
Sourcing Healthy Bacteria
The information that the human body is dependent on good bacteria for healthy functionality only recently came out and with it came a plethora of food products designed to promote the growth of healthy bacteria such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.
Food that are good for the production of healthy bacteria in the body are called probiotics. Fermented foods such as yogurt, miso and sauerkraut are great probiotics however these food have to be unpasteurized as the pasteurization process kills all of the bacteria in food, both good and bad.
While most bacteria is present inside people's guts, there are some that occur both in the intestinal tract and the mouth. Streptococcus salivarius is a major member of the microbes that make up the healthy bacteria inside of a person's mouth.
The Colonization of S. Salivarius in the Mouth
Oral Streptococci are one of the first bacteria to colonize the mouths of newborn humans. For bacteria to colonize the mouth, it must first avoid the body's natural defenses against colonization from foreign microbes and resist the forces of saliva. To resist these forces, streptococci have developed adhesives that interact with the exposed areas of the mouth to keep them securely fastened to the area that they wish to colonize.
There are two main types of surfaces in the mouth. These are the hard and non-shedding surfaces of the teeth, and soft tissues whose surfaces have cells that are constantly being replaced such as the tongue and cheeks. S. mutans and S. Sangunins have tropisms that enable them to stick to the surfaces of the teeth while S. Salivarius has adapted tropisms that enable it to adhere onto the soft tissues.
All of these areas of the mouth are constantly coated with saliva. Saliva provides a variety of molecules that are ideal for streptococcal bacteria to interact with and adhere to. The thin films of saliva within the mouth vary in thickness and chemical composition at different points. Therefore different locations in the mouth consist of saliva that has more or less favorable receptors to the adherance properties of streptococci. For example, streptococci located on chips in teeth exhibit varied properties in their ability to bind to salivary proteins in those locations.
Streptococcus and Healthy Mouths
Streptococci's process of colonization makes it difficult for pathogenic bacteria to stick to the host. With the emergence of the knowledge that bacteria in the mouth promotes health, new strains of S. Salivarius such as K12 and K18 have been developed to help fight oral health problems that people deal with every day. These probiotics are designed as mouth washes that a person gargles for direct application. Once there, these probiotics create bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances called Salivaricin A and Salivaricin B that have the ability to fight infection.
Maladies Treated by S. Salivarius
Tonsil Stones: Tonsil stones are produced by the unchecked accumulation of bacteria that produce sulfur. The debris created by this bacteria then accumulates in the tonsils. Oral probiotics break down these unwanted globs.
Bad Breath: When the body sleeps the brain sends signals to the mouth to reduce its production of saliva. The reduction of saliva turns the mouth into an environment that is more favorable to the growth of bacteria that thrives in dry and anaerobic conditions. The proteins produced by S. Salivarius K12 inhibit the growth of this bad-breathe causing bacteria.
Ear infections: The misinformed believe that ear infections start from outside the ear. The truth is that they are caused by bacteria that originates inside the throat and then travels up to the ear canal through the Eustachian tube. Beneficial bacteria such as that found in probiotics prevent this from happening by forming a protective bio-film in the throat that prevents harmful bacteria from progressing.
When it was discovered that bacteria is essential for healthy gut activity, the doctor who made the discovery suggested that if a person is suffering from certain maladies of the stomach or gut or whose healthy gut bacteria has been eviscerated by steroids or antibiotics, said person can get a transplant of bacteria from a healthy donor.
This idea was also applied to a man who came into his doctor complaining of an ear infection. The doctor simply took a sample of ear wax from the person's healthy ear, transferred it into the infected ear and the infection passed.
Should I Be Taking DHEA?
Formally known as the 5-Dehydroepiandrosterone, DHEA is actually a steroid hormone secreted by the human brain, gonads as well as the adrenal glands, the glands that sit just on top of any person's kidneys. Besides, being secreted by the gonads and also the human brain, DHEA is also beneficial in the formation of crucial reproductive hormones, like testosterone along with estrogen.
Should I Be Taking DHEA?
DHEA was found in the mid 1930's yet really grew up in the 1950's when it had been found that maturing patients experienced decreased levels in their circulatory system. It had been thought before that DHEA supplement projects may help battle the maturing process. There's a reasonable bit of level headed discussion on the point in the matter of regardless of whether DHEA is helpful. One point is sure on the other hand, DHEA is a denied substance in for all intents and purposes of all games associations. Associations from baseball to the Olympics have established that DHEA is unworthy for the members.
Fundamentally, DHEA supplements are thought to effectively lessen weight. They typically measure in putting away fats in the body and keep those extra calories away. As a general rule, majority of "work out" supplements comprise of DHEA in their components. Apart from this, DHEA also advances the glucose to parts where it is required, thus bringing about a fitter and healthier body.
DHEA supplement is truly a sort of steroidal hormone, it's got a huge part in the body's safety. Boosting the invulnerable framework is another prize that you can get from DHEA dietary supplements as these are known not the human body's capacity to shape significantly more antibodies that may battle off disease and tumor bringing about cells
The huge expansion of optional medications cannot be compared to the extraordinary properties of DHEA. While it is genuinely made in the whole body. The maturing process is inevitable to the human body, however, DHEA slows down the aging process. This also helps in conditions in the heart, kidneys, and pancreas.
Given that DHEA is a steroidal hormone, it plays an important role in the body's susceptibility to antibodies. This improves the body's energy to fight contamination and malignancy in cells. Likewise, it has been watched how nutritional supplements containing a DHEA fixing could incredibly help people who may have high dangers of getting osteoporosis. This truly is as a consequence of straightforward reality that DHEA supplement could support the calcium levels inside of the bones.
Boswellia - The Anti-Inflammatory Herb
Boswellia is some times referred to as Indian frankincense or boswellin. It comes from a tree known as boswellia serrata that is found to grow in the dry areas of India. Boswellia is said to have 55% of Boswellic acid. For centuries, many Indian healers have always taken the advantage of the anti-inflammation property of this tree. The bark's gummy resin contains anti-inflammation content in higher percentages - its known as salai guggal.
In the modern world, preparations are done from a purified extract of the resin and normally packed in cream or pills which are then used mainly to reduce inflammation; rheumatoid or osteoarthritis arthritis. Unlike nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, which is one of the accepted treatments for joint inflammation, - boswellia according to research does not show signs of stomach irritation. It's also sometimes effective when it comes to back pains and other chronic related intestinal disorders.
Its health benefits, according to research by scientists, has been outlined that this herb has specific and very active anti-inflammation ingredients. These ingredients are commonly known as boswellic acids. In the field of animal studies, boswellic acids have been proven to reduce inflammation. They improve rapidly the blood flow to the joints. They also do block those chemical reactions that always sets the stage for inflammation that cause chronic intestinal disorders. Boswellia maybe taken internally or even applied topically to the affected joints to help relieve inflammation that is associated with joint disorders. These always increase joint mobility and lessen the morning stiffness.
In a study that was conducted involving 175 patients suffering rheumatic disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, exactly 122 participants were found to experience reduced inflammation and stiffness after using boswellia for two to four weeks. Boswellia's inflammatory component helps reduce stiffness and aching, especially when associated with the low back pains. Though a lot of researches done shows that boswellia is effective when taken orally, creams also appear to be soothing all together.
Boswellia also seems to reduce the inflammation related with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis disease, of which both are painful intestinal disorders. It's said to be able to accomplish this without actually the risk of gut irritation which is mainly associated with lots of convectional pain relievers.
In theyear 1997, a study was conducted involving ulcerative colitis victims, 82% those who took this boswellia extract like 3 times in a day, they experienced total and complete remission of this disease.
CORDYCEP: MEANING AND BENEFITS
Cordyceps is simply a fungus. Not typically kitchen friendly, but if health is your number one target, then it will make the best supplement in your system. Before we go deeper into its benefits let us first have a clear understanding of what this unpopular yet effective medicinal fungi is.
What is Cordyceps?
It is simply an ascomycete fungi genus with approximately four hundred species that are mainly parasitic. They weren't considered beneficial to health until a recent discovery of Cordyceps Sinensis popularly known as a caterpillar fungi (It attaches itself on the caterpillar). Despite limited research on its health benefits, Cordyceps seems to be the best remedy for most of the health complications related to poor diet, lack of exercise and more.
Let us take a look at some of its benefits.
1. A remedy for kidney disease - Cordyceps prevent rat's renal fibrosis. This condition (renal fibrosis) is evident in later stages of the organ. However, there is still need for more research on this fact.
2. Slows down Tumor Growth - There is some proof that Cordyceps trigger the immune system to combat cancer. Ability to improve the immune system was due to a result of research where there were some indications that Cordyceps slowed down tumor growth in many animals.
3. Increase libido - Lots of studies shows that Cordyceps raise the level of testosterone in rats. There are some claims that it also enhances sexual performance that is also yet to be proven.
Apart from slowing down tumor growth, kidney disease and increasing sexual performance that are yet to be confirmed, Cordyceps have other numerous health benefits according to researchers that are,
* Increase body oxygen uptake - Needed for maximum athletic performance.
* Reduce the aging effects - Slows down aging that has remained a bother for centuries.
* Strengthen muscles - For weight lifters and athletes looking to gain strong muscles with a little workout.
* Improves lung function - Improves breathing needed for athletic performance
* Good for the liver - Slows down liver complications that are known to lead to a liver transplant.
There are also some claims that Cordyceps may replace the steroids when it comes to improving athletic performance and muscle building. Among these claims is that Cordyceps can enhance stamina needed mostly by sportsmen and women. Other researchers claim that it can tone muscles, increase energy and even reduce fatigue after a long time of work.
In summary, the caterpillar fungi (Cordyceps) has a lot in store when it comes to solving health complications. However, these claims are yet to be confirmed. If the facts are as real as the researchers claim them to be, then Cordyceps will be at the top of the top list of best natural supplements ever discovered.
Can L-Leucine Help Glucose Metabolism And Insulin Function?
June 02, 2014 08:54 AM
What is a leucine
Leucine is one of 3 amino acids that increases muscle mass and will also help you to recover after exercise. Leucine supplies the body with energy and regulate blood sugar. Being an essential amino acids, it cannot be synthesized by the body and thus you need to get it from food or supplements. But Can L-Leucine help glucose metabolism and insulin function?
What does leucine do
L-leucine has direct bearing on the amount of insulin produced. L-leucine will stimulate the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas. One of the ways in which it influences the amount of insulin produced is by enhancing glutaminolysis by allosterically activating GDH (glutamate dehydrogenase).
Benefits of leucine
Increased insulin levels have a major implications on glucose metabolism. Increased insulin level will directly result into faster glucose absorption into the blood stream. Increased glucose metabolism prevents the body from using lean muscles to supply energy during workouts. Unlike isoleucine and valine, L-leucine are converted to glucose slowly and thus you can have sustained energy for long.
It is also very effective in muscle building. By stimulating insulin release and glucose metabolism, it enables key nutrients such as amino acids, Creatine and glucose to enter muscle cells. Since insulin will stimulate rapid muscle synthesis while inhibiting protein breakdown, L-leucine will build lean muscle mass with a short period.
L-leucine is alternative to steroids, it is safer and its effects are lasting. During workouts, it supports oxidative metabolism in muscles and decrease protein degradation.
If you are looking for the best way you can build muscle mass and strength without adverse effects, L-leucine is premier supplement. Apart from building muscle, l-leucine will also improve brain functions. You can take more workouts. L-leusine supplement has been used by many body builders and has been proved beyond doubt to be effective supplement. If you have been wondering if l-leucine help glucose metabolism and insulin function, no doubt it is can.
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Can Guggle Extract Improve Bile And Fat Metabolism?
May 05, 2014 08:13 PM
Guggul extract on weight loss
It is good to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you do not do so, falling prey to a number of health complications is inevitable. Among the causes of these complications, fats metabolism happens to play a big part. There are numerous ways to help deal with problems associated with fat metabolism; guggle extract is one of them. A plant found in Asia and North African parts is widely used in weight loss programs. Its bark contains some sap that is extracted to offer the desired product. Many people are asking questions on how this extract helps improve both bile and fat metabolism.
How effective guggul extract
The sap obtained is also referred to us gum guggle or rather guggglesterones. These plant steroids are responsible for the positive effects the herb on the body fat metabolism. How does it help reduce cholesterol? It simply prompts an increase in the functioning of the thyroid. Biologically, this helps enhance metabolism. It occurs because food digestion is improved while at the same time the conversion of carbohydrates to fats is inhibited thus reducing cholesterol levels in blood. Perhaps that is why it is used in most weight loss programs.
Other health benefits of guggle extract
Furthermore, guggle extract improves bile functioning due to its cholesterol reduction characteristics. It kills two birds with one stone. As seen earlier, it inhibits formation of cholesterol on blood. Second, it helps in the excretion cholesterol from the body system. It is able to do this effectively due to the presence of phytochemicals. They inhibit farnesoid X receptor, which happens to be the bile acid receptor responsible for cholesterol levels in the body. It even blocks oxidation of low-density lipo-proteins thus enabling the breakdown of cholesterol into manageable compounds.
Finally, there is no doubt on if guggle extracts helps improve bile and fat metabolism. There may be a few people who question its effectiveness, but numerous studies have cemented the truthfulness of the idea. This herb also has other uses thus check out for our next article to understand more about it.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Borage Seed Oil?
December 29, 2013 05:21 PM
What is Borage
The borage also known as starflower plant generates seeds enriched with essential fatty acid known as Gamma-linolenic acid. In ancient times, borage plant was mainly used to prepare salad and soups due to its relaxing effect on people. However, in modern times people are more interested in borage seeds. This is due to its health benefits offered by gamma-linolenci acid (GLA). GLA has anti-inflammatory effects useful to both men and women. Borage oil comprises about 24% of GLA which is the highest known energy for naturally occurring GLA. After consumption, much of the GLA found in borage oil turns into dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid. GLA and DGLA prevent inflammation just like omega-3-fatty acids from fish oil or flaxseed. However, GLA and DGLA are categorized as omega-6-fatty acids.
According to recent studies, Borage oil can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. This is an autoimmune ailment which results to joint lining inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and painful ailment that requires use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as, NSAIDS that can have side effects. Borage oil is used to reduce tenderness and swelling for rheumatoid arthritis patients.
If you plan to use borage oil for treating any health problem, ensure that you consult your doctor before you begin using your supplement treatment.
What Are The Benefits Of Turmeric Extract?
June 04, 2013 01:53 PM
Turmeric extract, also known as Curcuma longa has been used for over 4000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Reputable studies show that it may help control infections, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems and some cancers. Historically, it has been widely used in cooking Indian dishes and is much loved due to its curry flavor and yellow color.
Further, it's used to color butter and cheese and has been intensively applied in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat wounds and skin diseases.
According to research done at the University of Maryland Medical Center, turmeric extract contains powerful ingredients that stimulate the production of bile and thus can be used to control indigestion.
Let us take a more straight forward look at its main benefits to human health.
Benefits of Turmeric Extract
* Fighting inflammation
Turmeric contains a special substance called curcumin which aside from destroying free radicals lowers the levels of some enzymes in the body that fuel inflammation. Clinical studies have suggested that turmeric's duo benefits (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) are an essential part of recovering from joint stiffness - useful in relieving rheumatoid arthritis.
As we mentioned earlier, turmeric can boost the production of bile. One double-blind study (done by The German Commission E) concluded that turmeric may help in improving the functioning of the digestive system by reducing bloating.
* Turmeric and ulcerative colitis
Although turmeric does not seem to help control stomach ulcers, researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center confirm that can play a central role in people with ulcerative colitis by helping them stay in remission. Recent studies done on people with this disease (who consumed turmeric) showed a lower relapse rate than who took other treatment substances.
* Turmeric extract and cancer
Though most results are still early, there has been a great deal of findings that have painted turmeric in good light as far as treatment of various cancers is concerned. At the moment, scientists are keenly studying its effects on colon, skin, breast and prostate cancers. All the same, turmeric is known for its preventive effects which have something to do with its strong antioxidant properties.
* Turmeric=Good Heart Health
Some substances found in turmeric extract may help reduce incidences of atherosclerosis - a condition closely associated with the occurrence of stroke and/or heart attack. It, in a great way lowers cholesterol levels in blood vessels. Aside from that, it stops platelets from clumping together thus preventing blood clots from accumulating along blood vessels.
* Containing Viral and Bacterial Infections
Turmeric may to some extent kill viruses and bacteria. Some of its active ingredients are as well known to expel intestinal worms.
Turmeric has been for a long time been associated with good eye health. Well, researchers have recently made breakthrough findings that curcumin (turmeric's main active ingredient) may help treat chronic anterior uveitis. Its efficiency is believed to be at par with corticosteroids.
There are many other health benefits associated with turmeric extract. However, the few mentioned herein are the most important ones that you need to take note of.
Benefits of Extended Release Guggulipid
January 03, 2013 04:10 PM
Guggul is one of the holistic ancient herbal extracts derived from the Commiphora wightii plant that had been predominant in India although some parts of northern Africa and Asia still had some traces of the same. Over the years, Guggul resin gum derived from the plant has been used to promote a healthy living, and has a good number of recent scientific research findings to back it up. Some of the health benefits associated with the use of Guggulipids supplements (also known as the Guggulsterone Supplements) include lowering of Low Density Lipoproteins (Bad Cholesterol), reducing inflammation, and significantly lowering the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, tumors and cancers.
Extensive scientific research shows that Guggulipids play an important role in inhibition of its synthesis in the liver and its hydrolysis into bile salts. It also acts on the thyroid gland which in turn controls the Basal Metabolic Rate that directly relates to the rate of cholesterol catabolism in the body. Additionally, a cascade of reactions in the liver during the process of cholesterol hydrolysis down-regulates the uptake of cholesterol in the gut which ensures that the body is at a healthy blood cholesterol level.
The anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects are highly associated with the stimulation of the liver to release C-Reactive Protein. Even though the CRP protein is primarily produced by the body in response to inflammation and cell death, presence of the CRP in the blood stream prior to an acute inflammation or cell death plays an important role in toning down inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid inflammation as well as killing abnormal cells before they develop into tumors and cancerous cells.
However, Guggulsterones are rapidly regenerated in the body in the same rate that other steroid hormones are degenerated which makes the use of extended release Guggulipid supplements very essential. This makes it possible to have the body under constant supply of the component for optimal guggulsterone health benefits.
Korean Ginseng Root Extract
December 14, 2012 12:28 PM
Korean ginseng is a perennial herb that has been long renowned for its medicinal properties in curing various health disorders. Extracts of the root of this plant are made by dilution of one part of ginseng root with one part of water and alcohol.
The Korean ginseng root has been a staple ingredient in traditional Chinese medicines for more than 2000 years. This herb was considered a miracle drug by them, and the theory of its beneficial properties has been passed down through the ages. People still recognize the miraculous powers of this root, and use it as a natural antidote for various ailments. The ginseng root is generally, powdered only after six years of its growth and is made available in the form of extracts at stores all over the world. The Korean root is believed to comprise of various phytochemicals which are the main cause of all beneficial properties.
Benefits of Korean ginseng root extract
General health tonic
Ginseng is classified as an adaptogen, which acts as a complete health tonic. This extract can help the body rebound from fatigue, arising from various kinds of stress. It also aids in improving energy and physical endurance, thereby, contributing to the overall well-being of an individual.
Improves cardiovascular function
- This root extract can prevent organ and tissue prolapse, and improve blood circulation for improved cardiovascular function. It lowers the bad cholesterol levels and increases HDL cholesterol in the human body.
Improves functioning of the nervous system
The plant nutrients found in the herb extract can enhance the cognitive abilities and act as memory boosters. They can cure problems related to poor concentration, memory, insomnia and anxiety.
The ginseng extract holds great promises for people with type-2 diabetes as it can result in greater glucose and insulin resistance.
Ginseng extract has also been proved to act as a preventive remedy for several kinds of cancer.
The extracts of this herb act as a stimulant for boosting the immunity and effectively prevent all kinds of flu and cold.
Korean ginseng root extract has worked miracles on improving the general well-being of a person. The numerous benefits of ginseng extract might seem compelling but it is advisable to exercise caution, as with other herbal supplements. Consult your physician before consuming ginseng to explore probable side-effects with existing medication.
What Are The Health Benefits Of DMAE?
April 26, 2012 12:57 PM
Dimethylaminoethanol or DMAE is anorganic compound that is metabolically produced by the adrenal glands, testes and the brain in small quantities. It is converted into testosterone, estrogen and cortisone by the body. It is a known fact that the liver processes DMAE into choline, but the molecule thus produced is charged and cannot break the blood-brain barrier. Studies have shown that DMAE methylated in the brain acts as the precursor for the manufacture of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the conduction of signals in the brain as well as the nervous system.
DMAE also stimulates phosphatidylcholine, a crucial part of cell membranes. However, the DMAE naturally produced by the body is sufficient only to maintain healthy brain and functions. It will not improve their functions. Though DMAE is found in fish such as salmon, anchovies, and sardines, supplementation in the pill form is important because of the practical difficulties having these foods in the right form and quantity on a daily basis to derive the benefits. DMAE supplements for oral consumption are through stores that sell health foods and groceries.
Daily consumption of DMAE in the supplement form provides a number of benefits to the body. Some of the benefits are as follows:
It helps prevent as well as treat cardiovascular problems and boost the body's immune system because of its strong antioxidant properties.It protects cells from the harmful effects of free-radicals by helping them retain the nutrients that are essential and expelling waste.As a precursor in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, it supports the functioning of the brain in a number of ways. It increases a person's attention span, relieves behavioral problems and hyperactivity or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is also helpful in treating memory lapses and Alzheimer's disease.
It helps stop production of arachidonic acid which is responsible for wrinkling and aging of skin. Topical creams containing DMAE help tighten skin and reduce wrinkles and fine lines.It is found to be effective in burning fat because of its involvement in the production of acetylcholine. It increases the metabolism in the body because of its thermogenic effect.It can be beneficial as an anti-inflammatory as well.It can reduce the amount of sleep required for a person by up to one hour.It can safely be used as a substitute for anabolic steroids.
Research studies have shown that consumption of 200 to 500 mg of DMAE on a daily basis is helpful in improving health. However, it is important to start with a low dosage of DMAE and then gradually increase the dosage level to the optimum level. Higher dosage can cause headaches, insomnia and muscle tension. People suffering from conditions such as schizophrenia, mental depression and epilepsy should not have DMAE supplements. Pregnant and lactating women also should not have DMAE.
Summarizing, consumption of recommended amounts of DMAE is believed to be safe. Side effects due to consumption of DMAE are rare and not generally serious. However, it is important to use high-quality supplements in order to increase DMAE levels in the body and reap the benefits.
Serrapeptidase: Natural NSAID
March 27, 2012 03:26 PM
Serrapeptase, also known as Serratia peptidase is a proteolytic (protein-splitting) bioactive enzyme found in the intestines of the silk worm. This silk-worm enzyme is widely used in Europe and Japan in clinical therapy for relieving pain and inflammation. When the silk worm leaves the cocoon, it regurgitates the serrapeptase in to create a hole in the cocoon for its escape. It was soon discovered that serrapeptase enzyme has a unique property to dissolve dead material consisting protein without even harming the living tissue. This property of dissolving dead tissue can be used in treating many health conditions.
How Serrapeptase work?
Protein is the main component of most of the fibrous materials in the body. Once these fibrous materials out-live their purpose or are over-grown, they start causing serious disease conditions involving fibrosis. Fibrosis is an abnormal thickening and scarring of connective tissue caused by infection, injury, surgery or lack of oxygen. Serrapeptase works as an anti-fibrotic and helps in relieving the conditions in connective tissue scarring and thickening has occurred.
Health Benefits of Serrapeptase:
This proteolytic enzyme is considered an alternative to NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) that are used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Serrapeptase has been used to treat fibromyalgia, colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, varicose veins, ovarian cysts, ear and throat infections, enlarged prostate and postoperative inflammation. Studies have shown its effective results in prevention and removal of arterial plaque.
Serrapeptase in relieving Pain:
Pain and Inflammation Reduction:
Serrapeptase is a great anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent. It reduces the inflammation and gives relief from the pain. It works by blocking the release of pain inducing amines from the inflamed tissues. Due to its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, serrapeptase is used in treatment as an alternative to NSAIDS. This enzyme gives relief from mild to moderate pain like headache and backaches. Hence it is used all the inflammatory conditions such as colitis, sinusitis, arthritis and many more.
Serrapeptidase has an anti-fibrotic and fibrinolytic action that prevents and treats the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. Plaque is the accumulated deposits of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, fibrin and calcium. Excessive plaque formation impairs the normal blood flow and cause partial or complete blockage, which also results in arteriosclerosis. Serrapeptidase helps to prevent build-up of plaque in the body. Due to its fibrinolytic action, it also helps in dissolving of proteins and breaking down atherosclerotic plaques. The dissolved deposits are eliminated from the body.
Hence, serrapeptidase prevents coronary artery diseases and improves cardiovascular health.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and mucus dissolving properties, Serrapeptidase is very beneficial for chronic sinusitis sufferers. Serrapeptidase helps in thinning and expelling the thickened mucus secretion present in nasal cavities of sinusitis sufferer.
Serrapeptidase helps in reducing the recovery time in any injuries, wounds or surgery. It promotes healing in post-operative wounds by reducing the inflammation and pain.
Serrapeptidase is available in the form of supplements. If you are taking NSAIDS for any healthy condition, substitute it with serrapeptidase supplement
Why Choosing 7-Keto DHEA Over Standard DHEA
February 25, 2012 06:36 AM
The Importance OF DHEA Nowadays
DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) is probably one of the most abundant hormone that can be found in the human blood. Being produced in the adrenal cortex, this important steroid it's very important in reducing body fat, cholesterol and also the alleviate angina. In addition to all that, DHEA has been widely used to treat coronary artery disease, Alzheimer's, sclerosis, depression, osteoporosis and even cancer. Because of this, DHEA is known under the name of “Fountain of youth.”
DHEA levels will usually decrease with age. This decrease might lead to high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration and even obesity in many cases. These are only a few reasons that make of DHEA an imperative hormone for our body.
What Makes 7-Keto DHEA Better Than Standard DHEA?
7-Keto Dhea it's similar to its cousin hormone, however it is much better for your body. Some of its extra benefits that can't be find in the standard DHEA are:
- Enhances your immune system.
- Improves your memory.
- Increases your muscular mass and strength.
- Help you lose fat naturally.
- Increases the activity of your thyroid gland.
- Reduces the signs of aging.
Overall, 7-Keto DHEA is a safer and a more potent derivates of standard DHEA, proved to be safer and with less side effects. 7-Keto DHEA is a real breakthrough as it represents the next generation of DHEA supplements. How was this discovered?
In the previous years, the University of Wisconsin conducted an extensive research in order to discover the best DHEA derivates. Over more than 150 DHEA derivates analyzed, a single compound stood out- it was 7-Keto DHEA. This compound provided greater benefits over a long-term period than the standard DHEA. Nowadays it is considered an improved and much safer form of this important hormone, called DHEA.
In addition to providing all therapeutic benefits of DHEA, this improved hormone won't be converted into some unwanted sex steroids. It also lacks any other hormone- elevation that was commonly found in the standard DHEA supplements. This product makes you feel young again without endangering your body tissues or internal organs, compared to the traditional DHEA whose side effects were found destructive to some of your body tissues.
Why To Take This Hormone?
7-Keto Dhea was proven to be a safe product in a clinical trial, being tested on many people and animals. The only side effects this hormone might have are some mild heart palpitations and sometimes acne. Still, these side effects won't usually appear on people who take this product as prescribed and also avoid taking an overdose.
The benefits this hormone provides to our body are very real, as they were discovered at those who took this hormone for a longer period of time. Enhancing your immune system, the response to viruses is stronger. You will feel healthier and better protected.
When Should You Take It?
This hormone is to be taken only after you reached 30 years old, as you won't need it before that age. DHEA hormone begins to decrease considerably only after you reach 30, so this process will continue until you reach 70 or 80 years old. Taking the 7-Keto Dhea hormone will help you feel and be younger.
Guggul: An effective remedy to lower cholesterol levels in the body
February 22, 2012 11:34 PM
Guggul is a popular herb in Indian Ayurvedic medicine that is used to treat several ailments. Due to its miraculous healing properties, it has been used for centuries in India to treat a range of health conditions. Recently many clinical studies have been carried out to find out the potential health benefits of herb guggul. Research has shown that guggul helps in lowering total body cholesterol, especially the bad ones-LDL and triglycerides. Before we move on to find the positive effects of guggul on heart and cholesterol levels, let us find out the more about this wonder herb.
Botanically known as Commiphora mukul, guggul is a small shrub reaching up to a height of 4-6 ft. It is found in Central Asia, more common in India. It possess red colored flowers, thorns on branches and oval pulpy fruits. Guggul is prepared from the gum resin that is excreted by the bark of the plant. It contains phytosterols named guggusterones, aromatic acids, steroids, sterols, lignans, fatty acids, organic acids and diterpenes. According to Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda, guggul contains hot potency which helps in treating diseases caused by vata dosha prominence. It treats coating and obstruction of channels that helps in treating and preventing atherosclerosis and other medical conditions caused due to high levels of lipids in the body. Raw guggul exudate is not safe and it is always used after purification in milk.
How does the herb guggul help maintain good cholesterol levels?
The exact mechanism by which guggul lowers cholesterol levels is still not understood, but many theories have been proposed.
1. Guggul works by blocking the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver. Hence liver does not release excess LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood, thereby reducing the risk of many heart diseases.
2. According to studies, guggul has an impact on the functioning of throid gland and production of bile acids in the body, both of which play an important role in the metabolism of cholesterol.
3. Studies have indicated the role of guggul in preventing oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol leads to formation of plaques in blood vessels and causes Atherogenesis. The antioxidant action of guggul inhibits cholesterol oxidation and reduces the risk of Atherosclerosis.
The cholesterol lowering properties and antioxidant action make guggul a beneficial Anti-Atherogenesis agent. It can lower cholesterol levels by 14-17 percent and reduce triglycerides by 22-30 percent.
Guggul and heart benefits:
Guggul helps in promoting overall cardiovascular health. It reduces the adhesion of platelets and this reduces the rick of cardiovascular diseases. Studies have shown that Guggul when taken along with Inula racemosa helps in reducing chest pain and dyspnea associated with angina. It has potential cardi-protective benefits that keep your heart health. It helps in lowering blood sugar level and treating any inflammatory heart condition.
Health supplements are prepared from the extract of this highly beneficial plant. Consult your health provider before you start taking guggul supplements. When taken in recommended doses, guggul helps you keep your heart healthy and fit so that you can live a healthy life.
Use Turmeric Herb Instead Of Cox-2 Inhibitor for Pain Relief
February 17, 2012 07:15 AM
What Is a Cox-2 Inhibitor?
Cox-2 Inhibitor is a form of NASID. NASID stands for Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which function to bring inflammation down. It is one of popular painkillers. It is very useful since medical science has gained information about serious problem about inflammation. Yet, it has been reported that it causes fast heart rate. It is a risky heart rhythm condition which is also named with atrial fibrillation. Medical experts said that it is a serious problem because it might lead to the risk of heart failure. Besides, it might also cause stroke and even death.
As a form of NASID, Cox-2 Inhibitor will crucial to bring the inflammation down from a disease such as arthritis and an injury. In the United State, the common form of arthritis is Osteoarthritis. In short, this is the primary benefit of it. Besides that, it also functions as pain reducer. It is done by blocking proteins and enzymes made naturally by the body. However, it brings harm for our body on the other side. It seems to be side effects. Earlier research has noticed that it leads to the death.
As the solution, you can pick turmeric herb. It appears in a form of yellow colored spice. Similar to Cox-2 Inhibitor, it is very helpful for relieving the pain for arthritis. It is a perennial herb which originally grows in India. In the past, Indian people use it for cooking. Curcurmin becomes the most important part of turmeric. It is the most medicinal part contained in turmeric. We can easily find it in form of yellow color. Besides India, China has already use this herb in their daily live. For both Indian and Chinese, this herb has significant function as an anti-inflammatory. Besides, it also can be used as an antiseptic and several powerful ways.
Besides for curing arthritis, turmeric herb is able to inhibit the spread and the growth of cancer cell. It has been proved by a university of Texas study. The result concluded from its research shows that turmeric herb prevents the breast cancer to be spread out to the lungs. It works together with our body by identifying the mutated cells and then it kills them. To make it more effective, it is suggested to combine turmeric herb with cruciferous vegetables.
Other benefits of Turmeric
Another benefit taken from turmeric herb is a protection toward our heart. For several countries especially the United State, heart disease has become the number one killer. In this case, this herb will play the role to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. It is very important since the oxidized cholesterol might lead to the heart attack and stroke. It is because this oxidized cholesterol is able to damage blood vessels.
Cox-2 Inhibitor has benefits yet they are not equal with the side effects created such as heart attack and also stroke. Having had similar function, turmeric herb is highly recommended to take for pain relief. For long time, it has been used for anti-inflammatory too. In short, turmeric herb is better choice than Cox-2 Inhibitor.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis
February 08, 2012 08:15 AM
Arthritis is a kind inflammation on one or more joint. There are many kinds of arthritis. Each kind has different causes. Most common causes are injury, metabolism problem, immunity disorder, infections, hereditary factors, and much more. The symptoms are various too. But generally, it includes joint pain, swelling, redness, warmth, and stiffness. When the arthritis goes more serious, it could lead to fever, weight loss, and fatigue.
There are many ways to cure arthritis. If the illness is quite serious, you need to go to a doctor. You can undergo a physical treatment. You can orthopedic bracing. Or, you could even need a joint replacement surgery. And if it is not so serious, you can just go to drug store to buy some analgesic, corticosteroid, acetaminophen or some anti-inflammatory medications. But, you need to remember that every drug has side effects. Analgesic could lead you to nausea and stomach upset. Corticosteroid can give make you bruise easily. It can also weaken your bones.
The best recommendation to avoid side effects is to go naturally. Natural remedies have negligible side effects. Those have been used by our predecessors to cure many illnesses effectively. And for arthritis, there are also some ingredients that could be useful. Here are some examples:
Curcumin is derived from the root of tumeric plant. Tumeric is commonly used for Indian cooking and Chinese medication. Curcumin can be an effective anti-inflammatory. It can also cure stiffness and pain. For a better result, combine curcumin with bromelain. Curcumin might be not good for a pregnant woman to consume.
Boswelia acid can also be an active anti-inflamatory. Commonly, it is used to cure several inflammatory problems such as asthma and some digestive ailments. Boswelia supplements sometimes are sold in capsule form.
3. Holy Basil
Holy basil is also known as Tulsi in India. In Ayurveda, tulsi is very sacred herb. That is why it is called as Holy Basil. In India, many houses have it planted on their yard and often use it to cure headache, influenza, and some digestive disorders. Many researches have found that holy basil also contains high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. But it is not recommended for pregnant women.
Ginger has an active compound called gingerol. Gingerol is very effective to cure inflammatory. You can consume ginger in many ways. You can take it as a supplement. You can easily brew the ginger root at home and drink it when it is warm. You can also just eat it. But if you want to eat it, it would be better to eat it with other foods or you might get heartburn.
Glucosamine is the main element that forms cartilage and synovial fluids. It is formed by glycoaminoglycans and protein inside a human's body. Glucosamine sometimes are formed as glusosamine sulphate. It then is made as supplement and can be bought in a drug store. It is effective for many kinds of injuries and joint disorders.
6. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a compound can be found in synovial fluids, along with glucosamine. It is very important to keep the volume of synovial fluids and frictionless movement. When a human's body lacked of hyaluronic acid, they will experience an inflammatory conditions such as stiffness, joint pain, and arthritis.
Deer Antler Benefit for Vitality and Improved Health
February 06, 2012 04:06 PM
When men want to increase their strength and their vitality in doing daily activities, they can always consume deer antler extract, which is believed to be able to help the body system gain more power. Not many people may realize that using such extract can really improve their vitality and their strength. Some people may consider it as a hoax, but there're several proofs and evidences that show this particular extract can really improve the testosterone level in men.
Originally known as a part of traditional and ancient medical treatment, this deer antler extract can be consumed to improve the testosterone level as well as the overall performance of the body system. When men consume the extract, they're believed to be able to experience: - Development in body endurance, lean body ability, and muscle mass. - Quicker recovery period from any physical injury. - Better sexual functioning - this benefit can apply to men and women. - Higher and better energy level and vitality. - Improved and better immune system. - Aging delay, since the skin and the hair will have better cycle growth that make them look younger - Stronger nutritional support for the entire body system, especially the joints and the bones.
Deer antler extract isn't only helpful in those areas, but it also helps reducing stress level. Based on a medical observation done by Dr. Fenessy from New Zealand, this extract was quite beneficial when used in previous Russian study. The medical patients who had undergone gastrointestinal tumor surgeries were taking the extract prior to their operation. And they had shown quite amazing result; their stress level was decreasing. There was also another research that measured the mental ability of the students. They had been given the extract before taking math test. Based on the result, their mental ability was improving. Based on the study done in Russia and New Zealand, the Western medical societies are starting to do researches concerning the usage of the extract as vitamins so the consumer can really achieve the medical and optimal benefits.
So, what's the relation of deer antler extract and the testosterone? Medical experts believe that the antler can increase the production of the androsternedione. The androsternedione is a natural steroid that is actually produced by the body. This substance is produced in the gonads and adrenal glands, which then changed into testosterone inside the liver. So, when people consume the antler, automatically, they will produce more androsternedione. When more androsternedione is produced, naturally the number of testosterone will also increase. Testosterone itself is also responsible for the improvement of metabolism and body's recovery ability.
This typical extract is mostly available in powdery form, although it's possible that it's also available in liquid form. People can always boil it, mix it with warm water, mix it with other herbs, or dilute it with alcohol. They can: - Combine it with ginseng for improved energy - Mix it with 40% of alcohol for tonic supplement - Combine it with Drynaria or Dipsacus for kidney treatment - Mix it with Dang Gui for strengthening the blood It's advisable that they should make a medium sized boil and then store it. They only need to consume the deer antler combination per ounce a day until the storage container is empty.
What Makes Phytoestrogen So Good For PMS?
October 18, 2011 04:12 PM
Phytoestrogens are considered as plant estrogens. These plant substances can function like the primary sex hormone Estrogen. This chemical compound is also known as "dietary estrogen" which is an assorted cluster of non - steroidal plant compounds. As earlier, Phytoestrogens comes from plants and not produced by the body like the naturally occurring estrogen. These chemicals are not made available to the body naturally but by food or vegetable consumption. Though their source is different, estrogen and Phytoestrogen closely resembles each other chemically. They almost have the same structure making Phytoestrogen compounds act like natural estrogen inside the body.
Chemically, Phytoestrogen is not considered as a nutrient because health experts declared that any lack of this chemical in the body would not produce any sign or symptom of deficiency. Also, this chemical substance does not have any involvement in any of the body’s vital biological processes. However, despite this fact, Phytoestrogen can be employed for the effective relief treatment of Post - Menopausal Syndrome or PMS.
The signs and symptoms of Post - Menstrual Syndrome is associated with the decreased concentration of female sex hormone such as estrogen in the body. As estrogen levels in the blood decrease, body discomforts such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes and irritability may become apparent. In this situation, Phytoestrogen can be helpful in relieving such uncomfortable signs and symptoms. Phytoestrogens can effectively bind to estrogen – receptor sites inside the boy thus falsely giving the body a signal that there is an adequate amount of estrogen. Phytoestrogens can effectively mimic the action of estrogen mildly but sometimes antagonize its effect. Many studies have revealed that adequate supply of Phytoestrogen can effectively alleviate the discomforts of PMS.
Other than it ability to bind with estrogen–receptor sites, Phytoestrogen also changes the amount of natural body estrogen by interacting with certain enzymes in the body. This interaction with several enzymes may increase the effect and bioavailability of endogenous sex hormones. Studies have also shown that Phytoestrogen can improve the synthesis of Sex Hormone – Binding Globulin which is the hormone responsible for the binding and use – up of sex hormones inside the body.
The plants which are rich in Phytoestrogens include a variety group of foods. Legumes, whole grains and seeds contains abundant amount of this chemical compound. Soy, wheat berries, fenugreek, lentils ginseng, apples, yams and carrots are also considered as good source of Phytoestrogens. This beneficial chemical compound was discovered first on red clover plant which is considered to be very rich in Phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogen is also formulated in the form of capsule, tablet or powder supplements. Health experts highly recommend that women on the menopausal stage must take only less than one milligram of Phytoestrogen supplement daily.
If you want to reduce symptoms of low estrogen, give phytoestrogen a try!
What is Wild Yam Root And How Does It Help PMS And More?
July 25, 2011 02:44 PM
Wild Yam And Your Health
Wild yam root refers to a group of tubers related to the common yam. While the common yam is consumed as a vegetable, wild yam root is known for its medicinal properties. It has been linked to many studies in the past few decades. It is a source of the plant steroid diosgenin, which is converted to progesterone in the laboratory. It has also shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Dioscorea villosa is the plant species often referred to as wild yam root, inasmuch as most products and supplements that are marketed as wild yam obtain extracts from this plant. Its positive effects on health are attributed to steroid-like organic compounds called saponins. Nevertheless, these saponins and other active ingredients of the root can also be derived in other closely related wild yam species.
Rebalances Female Hormones
Wild yam root is one of the most recognized plant species in the nutraceutical industry, especially in niches concerning the alleviation of hot flashes, night sweats, and other vasomotor symptoms. It is rich in compounds that precursors to human sex hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone.
Whether modified or not, the compounds extracted from wild yam root display estrogenic activities inside the female body, and they can be administered through the mouth or skin. They work normalize fluctuating levels of hormones, as is the case during menopause.
Counteracts Pain Chemicals
The phytochemical content of wild yam room is anti-inflammatory in nature. Not surprisingly, it has been used in the treatment of inflammation-induced disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, renal colic, ulcerative colitis, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Wild yam root suppresses the releases of endogenous compounds responsible for the perception of pain in certain body parts. In addition, it also inhibits the excessive productions of immune cells that trigger hypersensitivity and immune disorders, such as bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Boosts Bone Mineral Density
Extracts of wild yam root are commercially touted to prevent bone loss characteristic of osteoporosis. Since the human bones are the primary reserves of calcium and other minerals, they undergo a continuous cycle of demineralization to meet the mineral demands of other parts of the body.
The process of demineralization that alters bone density throughout life is called bone resorption. It is influenced by other factors, such as sedentary lifestyle and mineral deficiencies. With a balanced diet, regular consumption of wild yam root has been reported to easily reverse bone loss.
Reduces Overall Lipid Levels
There is a growing body of literature devoted to the effects of wild yam root on overall lipid levels in the blood. Wild yam root supplements are believed to lower utilization of triglycerides in the liver, limiting the releases of cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and free fatty acids into the bloodstream.
In addition, regular intake of wild yam root extracts appears to interfere with the breakdown of fats into easily digestible fatty acids and their subsequent absorption in the small intestines. This results in lower fat intake and healthier levels of cholesterol.
What is stopping you from trying it?
How Does Progesterone Cream Help Ease Hot Flash Symptoms?
June 21, 2011 11:01 AM
Progesterone And Hot Flashes
Progesterone cream is an all natural remedy for hormonal imbalances in the female body. It has grown in popularity in the past few years largely owing to very strong anecdotal evidence. Its use in the management of hot flashes has produced very encouraging results, and thus has become a mainstay of alternative treatment for vasomotor symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome.
Plants contain fats and oils that can be modified in the laboratory to partially synthesize progesterone. The active ingredient of most progesterone creams in the market is diosgenin, which is a plant sapogenin that occurs naturally in wild yams. Diosgenin has long been noted for its steroidal activity inside the human body, but it has been successfully converted to progesterone only recently.
Reverses Estrogen Dominance
The concept of estrogen dominance is central to the appearance of hot flashes. A group of medical professionals believe that vasomotor symptoms are brought on by fluctuations in hormonal levels, among other factors. While both groups of female sex hormones experience changes, progesterone is thought to approach near depletion in comparison with estrogen. Hence, the latter dominates.
Progesterone creams work on the principle of reversing estrogen dominance. They are formulated to facilitate optimum absorption into the body. While their active ingredients, such as diosgenin, have been noted to produce estrogen-like activities when unmodified, progesterone creams function exactly in the same manner as endogenous secretions of progesterone.
Increases Progesterone Levels
Hot flashes are often linked to changes in body temperature. It has long been postulated that hormonal imbalances have an effect on the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature. It is believed that depleting levels of progesterone lead to a series of chemical reactions that confuse the biological thermostat, resulting in vasodilation of blood vessels close to body surfaces.
Progesterone creams effectively relieve hot flashes because the active ingredients are capable of penetrating the part of the skin that leads to the blood vessels. There is very good evidence that topical applications of progesterone are readily absorbed. Since fats and oils from plants have high absorption rates, progesterone creams are certain to increase progesterone levels in no time.
Normalizes Hormonal Changes
There has not been any contraindication associated with the regular use of progesterone creams as most of them are formulated in concentrations suitable for use at any time of the day. In fact, it can be applied to the skin even in the absence of hot flashes to prevent any vasomotor symptoms. A growing of body of literature has noted its efficacy in managing hormone-related imbalances.
More importantly, progesterone creams have shown great promise in stabilizing hormone levels in the long run, making it an ideal remedy for women suffering from premenstrual syndrome. Also, it is very likely to help women who are surgically menopausal as they experience very intense episodes of hot flashes that last until the natural age of menopause.
Grab some progesterone today and feel the relief it can bring!
Fight Inflammation, Gastric Problems, and Arthritis with Boswellia
June 14, 2011 11:49 AM
How Does Boswellia Fight Inflammation.
Boswellia fights inflammation through the action of a family of anti-inflammatory terpenes known as boswellic acids. Inflammation is a natural reaction of your immune system to tissue damage and infection, and is often associated with conditions such as arthritis, sports damage to bones and joints and bacterial infections caused by cuts and grazes. There are more serious inflammatory conditions of course, such as asthma, and boswellic acids act in the same way as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) without their unwelcome side effects.
Among the causes of inflammation are inflammatory mediators such as leukotrienes, the biosynthesis of which is blocked by boswellia. Another is the 5-lipoxygenase enzyme, also known as LOX-5, and again, the terpenoid anti-inflammatory boswellic acids block this so that the causes of inflammation in the above conditions are severely restricted. Boswellia extract is a good supplement to take for those suffering any form of arthritis, joint pain or even asthma.
Using Boswellia to treat Arthritis
Boswellia can be used to treat both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, although rheumatoid arthritis is not always easy to control. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition, in the case of osteoarthritis the inflammation being a natural response to joint damage and infection of the synovial fluid generally caused by wear and tear on the joint with aging, and also by sports injuries.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of immune disease caused by the body attacking its own joints, and while the terpenoid anti-oxidants known as boswellic acids can help to mediate the pain and other symptoms, it can do nothing to cure the condition.
If you are suffering pain through arthritis, and your joins are tender and swollen, a supplement consisting of an extract of boswellia or its terpenes can help to relieve these symptoms and to offer pain relief equivalent to that offered by synthetic NSAIDs such as aspirin and Ibuprofen.
Gastric Problems and Arthritis Pain? Perhaps Boswellia Can Help
Extracts and supplements based on the resins of the boswellia tree are commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions, and reduce the severe pain of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, ease the discomfort of colitis and also help ease the symptoms of those suffering asthma. Each of these is an inflammatory condition that would otherwise have been treated using NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
NSAIDs have a number of side effects, being particularly unsuitable for those with ulcers or any other gastric problem. The terpenoids contained in boswellia extract an effective alternative to these drugs that many try to avoid taking. Long-term use of boswellia appears a lot safer than long-term use of NSAIDs, since it doesn't promote the severe gastric problems of these synthetic drugs, such as irritation of the stomach lining or even ulcers. If you already have ulcers or other gastric problems then NSAIDs area define no-no for you, and boswellia is the ideal substitute.
Grab some boswellia today and experience relief for your self!
How Does Holy Basil Extract Help With Pain
June 06, 2011 02:43 PM
Holy Basil And Your Health.
Holy Basil, technically known as Ocimum tenuiflorum, is a perennial plant which is a member of the family Lamiaceae. This kind of plant is commonly cultivated in the tropics region but can also be seen as an escape weeds. Holy Basil plant is an upright shrub with many hairy branches that can grow up to 30 to 60 centimeters in height. It has an aromatic leaves in green color that are slightly toothed. It also bears flowers which are purple in color and also has a strong scent. Holy Basil has many medicinal uses. In fact, in South Asian regions, Holy Basil is commonly utilized as an herbal tea.
Holy Basil claimed to be an effective pain treatment. Clinical studies show that this plant contains high amounts of Eugenol which mimics the actions of COX – 2 Inhibitor drugs. COX – 2 Inhibitors is a pain killer which is classified as Non – Steroidal Anti – Inflammatory Drug or NSAID. This type of drug is directly targets the enzyme Cyclooxygenase – 2 which is responsible for inflammatory response. Inflammation is associated with swelling which further cause pain. If an area is swollen, the nerve endings are compressed therefore pain is felt.
Aside from its potent pain alleviating property, Holy Basil is also useful in reducing blood sugar levels. This is the reason why it is utilized as an effective treatment for diabetes mellitus. Holy Basil also has an antioxidant effect. As we know for a fact, antioxidants are useful in eliminating harmful toxins in the body known as free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells and even tamper DNA formation during cellular division. Other benefit of Holy Basil includes its anti – stress property. Holy Basil leaves are considered to be an adaptogen or anti – stress agent which protects an individual against various stressors. Experts recommend that an individual can consume a dozen of Holy Basil leaves two times daily to prevent stress. Holy Basil leaves are thought to purify blood thus improving blood circulation and tissue oxygenation.
Aside from Eugenol, Holy Basil also contains the compound Carvacrol which has a strong antibacterial property. Carvacrol has the capacity to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria such as E. coli and Bacillus cereus. Carvacrol is also an effective digestive aid. Research reveals that Carvacrol is can alleviate gastric upset and improve digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.
Holy Basil extracts are reported to be safe and effective in helping alleviate pain and treating other health conditions. Experts suggest that Holy Basil is not for long – term use. It must be used only for a maximum of four weeks. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers must not use this supplement to be completely safe. Holy Basil is discovered to slow blood clotting therefore it must not be used within two weeks before and after any type of surgery. Finally, though Holy Basil extracts are relatively safe, it would still be best to consult a qualified healthcare provider and discuss with him or her your health status and history.
Get some today and reap the benefits of this wonderful herb for yourself!
Does Progesterone Cream Really Help with Hot Flashes?
April 19, 2011 02:53 PM
Progesterone cream is a derivative of steroids that occur naturally in plants. It is commercially touted to help a variety of vasomotor symptoms related to menopause, including hot flashes. Proponents of progesterone believe that the undesirable effects of menopause on the female body are triggered by an imbalance of female steroid hormones, with a noticeable dominance of estrogen.
Women experience the transitory years of menopause with symptoms that are largely variable. That being said, hot flashes are one of these symptoms that all menopausal women are likely to experience at least once. It is less prevalent in some, but a significant fraction complains about a varying degree of sensation of heat often accompanied by rapid heartbeat.
Hot flashes afflict women of all ages. It is not unheard of to have women in their 20’s complain about night sweats and related symptoms of changes in hormones. Sex hormones of the female body are lowest at night, the reason why a lot of younger women experience episodic flashes at night, but not during daytime. However, outbreaks of hot flashes may happen at the most random times, and to this day the causes are not well understood.
Progesterone may be best known for its biological roles during pregnancy as it is important to the development of the fetus. It belongs to a class of steroid hormones called progestogens, which are in fact biological precursors of other sex hormones, such as androgens and estrogens. In addition, it plays a central role in thermogenic function during ovulation and even found in mucus membranes within subcutaneous regions.
Dilation of Blood Vessels
Sex hormones of the female body, especially progestogens and estrogens, undergo a steep decline after the age of 40 especially in women into their menopausal years. Hot flashes in general are considered vasomotor symptoms in that they are visible effects of the sudden opening of blood vessels close to the skin. Sometimes, the same dilation of the blood vessels produce noticeable changes in heartbeat most women refer to as palpitations.
Effects of Progesterone Cream
There are drugs that cross the layers of the human skin and permeate the microcirculation of the dermis, reaching systemic distribution in the process. Progesterone cream is believed to work on the same principle. It is lipid-soluble, and as such capable of interacting with subcutaneous tissues that largely comprise lipids. Blood vessels in regions where hot flashes occur are believed to have dilated, making it ideal for topical applications to work.
All-natural Plant-based Steroids
Progesterone cream is obtained from fats and oils of plants. Most products derive it from a specific species of wild yam while others utilize soybeans. Noted for their estrogenic activities, these plant steroids are converted into progesterone in the laboratory. The product is thought to act exactly like the hormone produced and released by the human body. Anecdotal evidence is positive that progesterone cream normalizes progesterone levels in the skin, putting an end to hot flashes.
For those who suffer from hot flashes progesterone cream could be the answer.
Policosanol, Cholesterol and how its tied together
January 27, 2011 10:44 AM
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is essential to your health! If that sounds contrary to what you have been hearing about cholesterol, then you don't have all the information. Cholesterol is essential for the synthesis of hormones in your body, including the steroidal hormones such as the sex hormones and those that regulate your blood sugar. So you cannot afford to eliminate all cholesterol. However, you can reduce it, and you can also take steps to reduce the problems that cholesterol can cause.
You have likely heard of LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol - there is no such thing as bad or good cholesterol. Without 'bad' cholesterol you would not be alive! However, cholesterol is not soluble in water, so cannot pass round your bloodstream by itself. LDL stands for Low Density Lipid, which is a fatty substance that can attach to cholesterol and act as a type of ferry, to carry it around your blood.
The problem is that LDL is easily oxidized by the free radicals formed by your metabolism and breathing in traffic and industrial emissions. This causes it to release the cholesterol that then sinks and deposits as a plaque on the inside of your arteries, eventually blocking them and causing strokes and heart attacks. The HDL cholesterol is responsible for carrying the unused cholesterol back to your liver, so does not block your arteries.
Policosanol can reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol while still maintaining sufficient for your needs. It can also increase the HDL cholesterol: if more High Density Lipids that are not oxidized are available, then more cholesterol can be carried by them, and also possibly reduce the plaque build-up. This is what policosanol does: it reduces LDL and increases HDL cholesterol.
Curcumin and Pain
December 02, 2010 12:33 PM
Make no mistake about it: curcumin has long been identified as the compound responsible for the anti-inflammatory benefits of the ginger plant turmeric. The herb turmeric has been around for ages, cultivated for its wide array of culinary and medicinal uses that transcend regional and cultural boundaries. Apart from the popular use of its powdery form in bread, cakes, ale, and beer as a flavoring, the plant contains up to 5 per cent curcumin, which is one type of polyphenols now being looked into for its antioxidant properties.
Prostaglandin and Inflammation Pain
Autocrines and paracrines are contained in almost all tissues and organs to effectively participate in bodily defenses every time the systems call for them, for example in treating wounds. Prostaglandins are either autrocrines or paracrines that take on the job of signaling the tissues and systems implicated in defensive reactions when the body detects unwanted and harmful stimuli. Cells release autocrines to have an effect on the same cells and paracrines to aid nearby cells, making these compounds function as effective chemical messengers in immediate vicinities anywhere in the body as they are short-lived.
Prostaglandin is known as the chemical messenger causing pain and igniting fever among others. Defensive mechanisms start when cells release mediators, including prostaglandin, which brings about the known signs of inflammation. Prostaglandins relax smooth muscle cells within the walls of blood vessels in the area of inflammation and promote the flow of needed fluids like blood and plasma proteins into the spot, leading to the subsequent redness and swelling. They continue to mediate the healing process by permitting the entrance of neutrophil granulocytes, the front-line soldiers against harmful stimuli, and consequently put an end to invading pathogens. The same group of chemicals also increases pain at the same time, for example the joint pains associated with inflammation called arthritis.
Curcumin and Anti-inflammation
Painkillers, classified as analgesic drugs, work in a number of ways that in the end relieve the continual sensitization of certain body parts to pain. One group called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen targets the enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of prostaglandins aim to reduce levels of prostaglandins.
Curcumin works on the same principle. Take for example, joint pains caused by arthritis. Be reminded that individuals who complain about joint pains are suffering from varied forms of medical conditions, which one way or another contribute to the pain in addition to having excessive levels of prostaglandins in the joints involved. Damage to the joint brought about by wear and tear or forced movement involving joints spurs the body to take defensive measures that include inflammatory effects, thus the pain. The intake of curcumin and its derivatives act on the cells in its production of prostaglandins, resulting in both the easing of pain and the lessening of inflammation.
Turmeric, Curcumin, And Good Health
November 11, 2010 03:48 PM
Turmeric and its historyTurmeric is not just an ancient Asian spice but also an effective traditional alternative medicine used worldwide. Turmeric is a spice that originates in India and has been long used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine. This spice comes from the herb Curcuma longa L. which is a member of the Curcuma botanical group, a part of the ginger family of herbs called Zingiberaceae. The root and rhizome (underground stem) of this plant is crushed and powdered into ground Turmeric. Ground Turmeric is used worldwide as a seasoning and the main ingredient in curry powders. Ground Turmeric is also the source of Curcumin, an extracted potent substance also used as alternative medicine nowadays.
Turmeric, because of its Curcumin content, has many health benefits to humans. Firstly, Turmeric has an anti-inflammatory property. Its active ingredient, Curcumin, has been proven to help reduce inflammation. Decade to decade, Turmeric has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat inflammations of the skin and muscles. Experiments done by researchers also revealed that this herb has been effective in decreasing post-surgical inflammation. This important health benefit of Turmeric is considered to be a result of the herb’s ability to slow down, if not to totally stop, Eicosanoid Biosynthesis, one of the processes the immune system undergoes during an inflammatory response.
Secondly, as a result of its anti-inflammatory characteristic, Turmeric also has an anti-arthritic property. It is widely used as an alternative medicine for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. In addition, this herb also has a natural painkiller effect. Studies show that it has similar actions to the commonly used medications such as COX-2 inhibitor and Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs.
Thirdly, several studies have shown that Turmeric is also helpful in lowering the level of bad cholesterol in the blood known as the Low Density Lipoprotein or LDL and in increasing the body’s good cholesterol, High Density Lipoprotein or HDL. An increased level of LDL promotes cholesterol plaque deposits to the walls of blood vessels, most commonly in the arteries of heart. These plaques narrow the arterial diameter hence resulting to high blood pressure and even circulation blockage. An arterial block may cause poor circulation and oxygenation to heart muscles leading to cardiac injury then infarction. This is oftentimes the cause of heart attacks. It has also been discovered that Turmeric can promote excretion of dietary fats. Thus, controlling the intestinal uptake of fats, especially cholesterol.
Turmeric - Powerful AntioxidantLastly, Turmeric is also widely used because of its anti-oxidant property. Studies demonstrate that Turmeric is effective in eliminating free radicals in the body. These free radicals are harmful. It may cause cell mutations which can lead to tumor formation and, worse, cancer.
This herbal plant can be prepared in the household by pounding and pressing its roots to be able to extract the juice out. It is then mixed with water and may be used topically or by nasal inhalation. The root can also be lightly cooked and eaten. Turmeric is also helpful in earaches and to clear clogged sinuses thus easing breathing. This herb can also be purchased in bulk powder or standardized forms to ensure its beneficial properties are intact.
Myth: Agave Nectar is adulterated or mixed with HFCS.
April 08, 2010 04:08 PM
There are two methods of making the Agave Nectar from the juice of the plant. One uses a non-GMO enzyme and the second is via thermal hydrolysis. Both process achieve the same goal which is to separate the naturally occurring Fructans which are complex sugar molecules into their simple sugar components fructose and glucose.
Unlike the process of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which creates fructose out of the glucose from the starch found in milled Corn, Agave Nectar simply separates Fructans or Inulin, a complex naturally occurring sugar into Fructose and Glucose.
Our producers do not use any sort of chemicals in the process and no foreign material is being added such as HFCS. Filtration and evaporation of excess moisture are the rest of the process. The evaporation is done in a vacuum evaporator.
No research has pointed that Blue Agave contains Anodin and Dinordin, the steroid derivatives with contraceptive effects that could lead to a miscarriage. This is clearly a cruel scare tactic. The truth is that there are many types of saponins and they are in a lot of foods we eat. Most beans and legumes, soya beans, onions, paprika, alfalfa - these all contain various saponins. Saponins are phytosterol compounds that occur naturally in some plants. Saponins have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, along with anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties.
From the prehispanic times, the only sweet treat available to Indians in Mexico was the cooked leaves of the agave plant. They are still in markets all over Mexico. If there would be any kind of dangerous substance, this would be the absolute extreme case of exposure to it; not a single case of any problem has ever been reported, this goes back over 700 years.
Agave Nectar in its present form has been sold for over 12 years all over the world, including western Europe, Japan and the U.S.. The product has a proven record of safety and is deemed safe by the FDA and all regulatory bodies all over the world and there has never been a report of agave nectar linked to a miscarriage.
Madhava's Agave Nectar does not contain corn syrup, corn products, or any adulteration of any sort. Guaranteed. Our Agave Nectar is 100% pure from the agave plant with no additives whatsoever.
We package our agave nectar at our facility in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. Madhava's Quality Control representatives routinely visit and inspect all our suppliers’ facilities in Mexico. The suppliers are Organically Certified and 3rd party audited or currently in the process. In addition our facility in Colorado is USDA Organic Certified and we are routinely audited.
Now foods and GMP Practices
February 04, 2010 12:36 PM
Author: Michael Lelah, Ph.D, Technical Directory, Now Foods
It should come as no surprise that 2009 was a challenging year with regard to the timeliness of order delivery, not just at NOW, but on an industry-wide scale. Many of the brands you carry have not been able to meet your demands.
In 2009 all medium-sized dietary supplement manufacturers, including NOW Foods, were officially required to meet the FDA's new dietary supplement cGMPs (current good manufacturing practices). NOW has placed very high quality standards on our products, and has been certified by NPA's stringent GMPs since 2000. Now that the FDA has started auditing manufacturers in our industry, we have found that the FDA requirements for the cGMPs are more strict than the early interpretations of experts.
This has resulted in ourselves and our industry being less prepared than anticipated, affecting the order fulfillment rates of many companies. We are actively working to respond to this.
Let's review the new FDA cGMPs. Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMPs, are manufacturing control systems designed to ensure that health products are manufactured in a consistent and safe manner. Standard operating procedures, specifications for all ingredients and products, and lab testing are cornerstones of GMPs. The FDA cGMPs are considerably rigorous, and by the FDA's own estimates, 25% of the brands you carry could be out of business as a result of not being able to meet their new cGMPs. Moreover, even for reputable brands, there is a lack of clarity on what the FDA expects, as much of this is new.
You might be wondering what all of this has to do with your orders? We at NOW Foods, along with other reputable manufacturers have increased our quality control efforts to meet the new FDA cGMPs. There are more requirements for ingredients and finished products, more documentation and more testing. The breadth of NOW's product line requires testing of thousands of ingredients. Based on the extensive nature of these efforts, coupled with disruptions in the supply chain, your orders have most likely been affected.
We are now better prepared to serve you. We are taking the safety of our products to entirely new levels and doing everything in our power to expedite the delivery of NOW products to your door.
Here are just a few examples of what we're doing:
Here's what you can expect from NOW Foods in 2010:
At NOW Foods we are continuing to work hard to meet your needs, despite the increased challenges to our supply chain. We hope and anticipate that as we move into 2010, you will reap the benefits of our quality and fulfillment efforts.
October 20, 2009 12:02 PM
For thousands of years feverfew has been used for the treatment of various ailments. History is full of references to feverfew. Dioscorides, an ancient Greek herbalist, recommended the use of feverfew almost two thousand years ago, as he valued the herb for childbirth, fevers, melancholy, and congestion of the lungs. It was also suggested for arthritis. In 1772, feverfew was suggested to be used to treat painful headaches. Many people believe that feverfew obtained its name from its use as a remedy for bringing down fevers, but this has been determined to be incorrect. Instead, the name came from the traditional Old English name for feverfew, featherfew. Featherfew came from the feather-shaped leaves of the feverfew plant.
Feverfew has been used for a long time as a natural remedy for pain relief, as it is considered an excellent remedy for migraines. This herb was used to treat any kind of pain and helped with chills and fever. Additionally, it helps in relieving colds, dizziness, tinnitus, and inflammation from arthritis. The herb works gradually and with a gentle action that allows the body to heal itself.
The most popular use of feverfew is in the prevention and relief of migraine headaches. In a study, those given the placebo had an increase in frequency and severity of headaches, nausea, and vomiting. On the other hand, those given the feverfew capsules had no increase in frequency or severity of migraines. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study was done on seventy-two volunteers. One group received capsule dried feverfew leaves, while the other received a placebo. The group taking feverfew showed less severity of attacks and a reduction in symptoms that were associated with migraines, including vomiting. There was a definite improvement in the group using feverfew and no serious side effects resulted. Because some forms of migraines are believed to be associated with abnormal platelet behavior, feverfew may be beneficial as it has been found to help restrain the release of serotonin from platelets. This prevents a migraine from occurring.
It is thought that feverfew may also be a useful treatment in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. This is because of its ability to inhibit the formation of inflammation-promoting compounds like prostaglandins and leukotriene. This herb seems to have similar properties to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), like aspirin. Feverfew may actually be even more effective with a lot fewer potential complications. Some of the studies involving feverfew and migraines have shown that feverfew may also lower blood pressure.
The leaves and flowers of the feverfew plant are used to provide alterative, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, aromatic, bitter, carminative, emmenagogue, febrifuge, nervine, parasiticide, mild purgative, stimulant, and vasodilator properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are iron, niacin, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, vitamins A and C, and zinc. Primarily, feverfew is extremely helpful in dealing with chills, colds, fever, headaches, sinus headaches, and inflammation.
Additionally, this herb is very beneficial in treating aches, ague, allergies, anxiety, arthritis, insect bites, poor circulation, dizziness, gastric disorders, nervous headaches, hot flashes, indigestion, and menopausal symptoms, absent menstruation, nervousness, tinnitus, and vertigo. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by feverfew, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
Glaucoma (loose your eye sight)
February 16, 2009 01:18 PM
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that affect the optic nerve and can lead to irreversible vision loss. It is usually associated with elevated fluid pressure within the eye. All forms of glaucoma can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to vision loss, even blindness, if left untreated. About 2.2 million Americans have been diagnosed with glaucoma and as many as 2 million more could have it and not yet know. It is one of the lading causes of blindness and is expected to become more prevalent in years to come due to the growing population of older adults.
Those people who are at greatest risk for developing glaucoma are people over the age of sixty, people of African ancestry, and people with diabetes, high blood pressure, severe myopia, or a family history of glaucoma. Smokers also have an elevated risk, as do those who have sustained eye injuries or who have used steroids for an extended period of time.
About 3 percent of Americans are believed to have open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common form of this disease. Because this disorder causes no symptoms until it is quite advanced, only about half of those who have it are actually aware of it. In open-angle glaucoma, there is no physical blockage and the structure of the eye appear to be normal. However, the drainage of fluid is inadequate to keep the intraocular pressure at a normal level.
The most pronounced symptoms of open-angle glaucoma are the gradual loss or darkening of peripheral vision and a marked decrease in night vision or the ability of the eye to adjust to darkness. Other possible symptoms include chronic low-grade headaches, the need for frequent changes in eyeglass prescription, and/or seeing halos around electric lights.
A far less common, yet more serious, form of glaucoma is closed-angle glaucoma. Closed-angle glaucoma is much more dangerous than open-angle forms because it almost never manifests any symptoms until very late in the condition. By that time, vision may be irreversibly damaged.
Glaucoma probably has many causes, with many scientists believing it may be closely linked to stress and nutritional problems or disorders like diabetes and high blood pressure. Some think that excessive amounts of glutamic acid, which is a nonessential amino acid, may be involved. Glaucoma has also been linked to deficiency in nitric oxide, which is a molecule that is critical for healthy blood vessels. Problems with collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body, have been linked to glaucoma as well. Collagen increases the strength and elasticity of tissues in the body, especially those of the eye. Collagen and tissue abnormalities at the back of the eye contribute to the clogging of the tissues through which the intraocular fluid normally drains. This results in elevated inner eye pressure, leading to glaucoma and related vision loss.
The following nutrients are considered to be very important when dealing with and preventing glaucoma: choline, essential fatty acids, glutathione, rutin, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, magnesium, a multivitamin and mineral complex, and zinc. Additionally, the following herbs are helpful: bilberry, chickweed, eyebright, coleus forskohli, fennel tea, chamomile, ginkgo biloba, zinc sulfate, jaborandi, and rose hips.
To resolve issues with the eyes, one must change their diet, exercise, and take supplements and herbs like what are listed above. Medical doctors are at a loss as to how glaucoma happens but they can help stop the progression of this disease if detected early on. Always consult your doctor before adding vitamins and herbs to your diet, vitamins and herbs are available 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.
December 10, 2008 10:48 AM
Hoodia Gordonii is a South African succulent plant of the family Apocynaceae. They are remarkable similar in appearance to cacti, although they are totally unrelated to them and grow predominantly in the region of Central Namibia in the south west of Africa, up to the southern regions of Angola. They are most commonly found in rocky ground and on the plains.
There are several species of hoodia, some of them grown domestically, and it is Hoodia gordonii that is used as an appetite suppressant in hoodia weight loss pills. Although the plant has historically found use in the treatment of infections and gastric problems, most interest is displayed in its use by the bushmen of the Kalahari Desert to suppress their appetite during long hunting trips when food and water are scarce.
The active ingredient was isolated in 1977, and given the name P57: the product is therefore often referred to as Hoodia P57. It was patented by its discoverers, the CSIR (South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) and a license granted to UK company Phytopram, who worked together with Pfizer to isolate the active ingredients and manufacture them synthetically. This was found to be very difficult, if not impossible, since any synthetic form of the extract failed to display any hunger-suppressant properties.
Finally, the rights to the main ingredient were released by Pfizer in 2002, thus indicating that it was of no commercial benefit to them. The main problem they admitted with synthesizing P57 was not only the difficulty in doing so, but also that there were side effects of the extract on the liver caused by other components that could not be removed. No synthetic form of hoodia is therefore available, and only the natural plant is used in current Hoodia 57 preparations.
The rights of the San Bushmen to the plant were recognized by the CSIR in 2002, and not only do they receive a proportion of the profits of marketing hoodia, but also the plant is protected with wild-harvesting licenses provided to only certain individuals and companies. Due to the rising popularity of the hoodia weight loss industry, the plant has been named as an endangered species in the wild.
It is believed that the active ingredients are steroidal saponins that can fool the body into believing it is full. This theory is based upon the effect on appetite of glucose concentrations in the blood. Your appetite is controlled by the amount of unconverted glucose in your blood, and glycogen in the liver. When you eat carbohydrates, they are digested and converted into glucose which is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Under normal conditions your blood glucose levels increase to a level where a signal from hypothalamus stops you feeling hungry. Insulin is then secreted from the pancreas to prepare your cells to use that glucose in the mitochondria to create energy by means of the Kreb's Cycle, or Citric Acid Cycle as it is also known. This reduces the concentration of glucose in the blood, and once it reaches a certain level the body begins to use its emergency energy supply, glycogen, that is stored in the liver.
A signal then informs the brain that more glucose is needed. You then feel hungry again, and this cycle is repeated several times a day in a normally healthy person. This cycle is controlled by certain hormones in the brain, specifically in the ventromedial center of the hypothalamus, where it is believed that the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) availability controls the release of the hormones involved.
ATP is the molecule of energy, and as the concentration of blood glucose and of glycogen drop, then the amount of ATP produced also drops and this is detected in the hypothalamus, which reacts by releasing ghrelin. Increased leptin increases the feeling of satiety and ghrelin increases the feeling of hunger. Serotonin acts on the brain to increase the effect of leptin in the hypothalamus, and therefore make us feel less hungry, or more satiated.
It is believed that hoodia gordonii, or the Hoodia P57 component of it, fools the brain into believing that your blood glucose or glycogen levels have reached the point at which it should trigger a satiated response, so that you stop eating even though your ATP levels might be low. The steroidal saponins that it contains is believed to be ten thousand times more effective than glucose in stimulated the secretion of serotonin.
Hoodia has also been found to contain a number of glycosides, including pregnane glycosides that some studies have indicated to help control appetite of the subjects tested. Most of these tests have been carried out on animals, although Hoodia weight loss preparations are offered in a form standardized on both steroidal saponins and pregnane glycosides.
Hoodia gordonii is becoming so popular as a weight loss product that its export is being monitored by the South African government. It has become so endangered that, since 2005, only hoodia grown on commercial farms is permitted an export license, and exporters must obtain a license from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Importers also require a permit from the US department of Agriculture, and a CITES certificate is also needed to re-export the finished product.
Because of this, more hoodia weight loss pills are being sold than there is hoodia gordonii to produce them. It is not uncommon for cacti such as the prickly pear cactus from Mexico, to be used, or for low concentrations of hoodia to be bulked up with fillers. Neither of these is of any use as an appetite suppressant, the former having no active ingredients whatsoever and the latter containing only traces.
If you are purchasing hoodia, therefore, be aware of this. Request sight of the CITES certificate and USDA permit, and also the analysis results by an authorized laboratory to confirm that the product is what it purports to be. Otherwise, there is some evidence that Hoodia gordonii can help you reduce weight, although to date there are only four recognized analytical laboratories registered to analyze the active content of hoodia weight loss products.
Finally, check for the analysis certificates. All Hoodia weight loss products should be analyzed by each of three methods: Microscopy, High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC) and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) - all there are needed. The four authorized laboratories are: the University of Mississippi, Chromadex labs in Irvine California, Alkemist Pharmaceuticals and Advanced Laboratories, Smithfield, NC.
No others will do, so if your Hoodia weight loss preparation has not been analyzed using the three methods by one of these laboratories, don't buy it, even if it can show the CITES and USDA documentation.
Grape Fruit Pectin Fiber
October 21, 2008 12:56 PM
Grapefruit pectin fiber is a source of soluble fiber that can bind to cholesterol and inhibit the formation of atherosclerosis. It is also effective in maintaining good blood sugar levels, and promoting a healthy colon. However, before discussing how grapefruit pectin fiber works in these ways, it is first necessary to explain how they occur in the first place.
First cholesterol. This is a steroid lipid, most of which is biosynthesized by your body rather than being present in your diet. Although it has a bad name health wise, cholesterol is actually essential to good health because it helps your digestive system break down fast, it strengthens cell walls and is a major ingredient in the manufacture of vitamin D by your liver. It is also essential for the formation of several hormones, including cortisone, cortisol and aldosterone by the adrenal glands, and also of estrogen and testosterone. A bloodstream without cholesterol is therefore not good for you.
Given that cholesterol is essential for good health, then why does it have such a bad press? The root cause of that is that cholesterol is not water soluble, and to be carried round the bloodstream to where it is needed it needs some transport. For that, it uses low density lipoproteins (LDLs). However, it’s not a return journey, and to get back they must use another form of lipid known as a high density lipoprotein (HDL). The protein part is water soluble, wile the lipid part can attach to the cholesterol and carry it around the bloodstream.
The problem arises with free radicals, which are oxygenated molecules that are generated by the body’s metabolism, and also created from pollutants, such as pesticides and cigarette smoke, and the UV portion of daylight. These can oxidize the low density lipoproteins so that they can be attacked by phagocytes (while blood cells) deposited as plaques in the artery walls. This hardens and thickens the arteries, reducing the heart’s blood supply which in turn can cause strokes and heart attacks.
This can be prevented in a number ways, the major of which are by consuming plenty antioxidants in your food, mostly contained in phytochemicals (plant chemicals), reducing your LDL cholesterol levels to the minimum needed by your body, and also by increasing the HDL levels in your bloodstream by as much as possible.
Grapefruit pectin fiber can bind to cholesterol, and prevent it from being deposited in the artery walls by the oxidized LDL. A sixteen week double blind study (neither the subjects nor those carrying out the test and analyzing the results knew who were given the placebo) found that grapefruit pectin successful reduced the low density cholesterol level of 27 subjects by 10.8% and overall plasma cholesterol by 7.6%. These volunteers were at a medium to high risk of atherosclerosis due to a high LDL cholesterol concentration in their blood.
Animal studies have also been carried out, whereby animals were fed a high cholesterol diet, and those fed a high fat diet were found to have an average of 45% narrowing of their arteries, and those fed the same diet, but with added grapefruit pectin fiber, were found to have only 25% narrowing, thus corresponding with the results of the human volunteers.
It is essential that you maintain a stable level of sugar in your blood since the body reacts to low blood glucose by making you feel hungry, and thereby forcing you eat. If you are trying to lose weight you will find it very difficult if your blood sugar levels fluctuate. Grapefruit pectin can reduce the rate at which carbohydrates enter your bloodstream, and therefore the rate at which sugars are absorbed.
Studies have also indicated that pectin can even out your blood sugar concentration, so that you experience fewer fluctuations or sudden spikes that can make you feel either very hungry, and so binge on carbohydrates, or very satisfied so that you eat nothing at all. The maintenance of a stable level of glucose in the blood is necessary for a normal life since it is that that determine your need to eat food. If your blood sugar is low, the desire to eat high calorie carbohydrate food is uncontrollable.
This is the theory behind the so-called ‘grapefruit diet’. You eat a grapefruit prior to a meal, and allow it to be digested. The grapefruit pectin will make you feel full and so eat less, so that you can eat normal foods, but still lose weight. Many people take the grapefruit pectin in supplement form for its ease and economy of use. It is also more convenient since you don’t have to carry grapefruit around with you everywhere you go.
A Healthy Colon
Like any other soluble fiber, grapefruit pectin fiber is a dietary fiber that can help to maintain the health of your colon. In fact it is the only one of the basic four fibers of lignin, cellulose, hemicelluloses and pectin that is soluble. Although referred to as soluble, pectin softens and expands and provides substance and added weight to faeces in order to allow it to pass easier through your colon.
Other than ensuring the easy passage of your stool through your colon, and avoiding constipation, grapefruit pectin fiber can help to prevent excessive growth of bad bacteria in the intestine, and because it accelerates the passage of substances through the colon, there is less time for toxic or cancerous substances to be in contact with your bowel lining. It is that which causes bowel cancer, and grapefruit pectin fiber can help to prevent it.
Fiber can also help to prevent diverticulosis, where the intestinal wall develops small sacs and becomes weakened. It also prevents hemorrhoids, eases the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). In short, it offers many benefits for the health of your colon, and can help to cure many bowel conditions.
However, it is important that you don't just rush into using any form of dietary fiber, but take it gradually. You start with a small intake, and then increase it slowly; since it is not absorbed through the intestine too much can lie in your colon and ferment, causing any number of intestinal problems. When used properly it can ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, but if used to excess, or too quickly, can actually cause the same symptoms, in addition to blocking the absorption of essential minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium.
Grapefruit pectin fiber can do a great deal for health, including maintaining good blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and helping to keep your colon healthy. It is available in convenient supplement form, but make sure that you drink sufficient liquid each day in order to prevent the fiber blocking your intestine rather than allowing free passage of waste product into, through, and out of your colon.
October 02, 2008 09:36 AM
Cartilage has several roles to play in your body, an example of which is to form curved body parts that would otherwise be unsupported, such as the external contours of your ears or a large part of your nose. Without cartilage you ears and nose would flop around a lot, and it is also contained in the spine, to prevent your discs from grinding against each other.
However, the part that we are interested in is as a shock absorber between the bones of your joints. It allows bones to slide over one another without damage, either through friction or shock, and is also nature’s shock absorber, helping to support your weight while you are active. Thus, your cartilage protects from impact damage when you are running or jumping down from a height. This type of cartilage, known as articular cartilage, is bathed in a lubricating fluid known as synovial fluid, which introduces its own problems when your cartilage becomes damaged.
This damage can occur in several ways: as the result of a fall, for example, or direct contact with the joint when playing a physical contact sport such as football or soccer. It can also become damaged through wear and tear over a period of time, such with long distance runners or soccer players (again), and is also associated with age. Many years of continual use, especially amongst those with active rather than sedentary occupations, eventually lead to wear and damage.
Problems with the joint structure itself, known as osteoarthritis, can also damage the cartilage, as can being overweight for a lengthy period. You can also experience cartilage damage if you are bedridden or other wise immobile for long periods, because the cartilage needs regular movement to function correctly. This is connected with the blood supply, which will be discussed shortly.
Cartilage is constructed of cells known as chondrocytes that generate a fibrous matrix known as collagen, a mixture of amino acids known as elastin that allows the cartilage to return to its original shape after deformation, and non-collagenous matrix tissue containing proteins, water and proteoglycans that contain sulfated glycosaminoglycan chains. That last mixture is often referred to as ‘ground substance.’
One of the problems with cartilage is its lack of a direct blood supply, and it relies on the compression and decompression of the articular cartilage, or on the flexing of elastic cartilage, to create a pumping action that drives blood to the chondrocytes. This is why inactivity can cause cartilage damage, due to a lack of blood supply, and why it is repaired more slowly than other body components.
Once an injury or wear and tear damages a joint, the body’s natural defense, the immune system, is activated, and the major part of that involved in cartilage damage is the inflammatory response. The joint becomes inflamed, the quantity of synovial fluid is increased to provide more protection and swells the joint, and enzymes (hyaluronidase) are produced which, although part of the natural defense system, actually degrade the synovial fluid and the cartilage.
This increases the amount of inflammation and the process becomes self-perpetuating, leading to the condition known as degenerative joint disease (DJD) because the body is unable to produce enough glucosamine to generate the proteoglycan needed for repair.
This is where glucosamine sulfate enters the scene. Glucosamine is a precursor for glycosaminoglycans (GAG), which as mentioned as above are components of proteoglycans in the cartilage matrix ground tissue. It has been shown to stimulate the biosynthesis of proteoglycan, and analysis has shown its presence within articular cartilage after administering it orally to patients with cartilage disease. It therefore makes its way to the right place.
Glucosamine is administered in the form of glucosamine sulfate, the highly electrically charged sulfate groups believed to aid in the compression properties of cartilage. It is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, although only about a quarter of the oral dose is eventually available to the body, and high concentrations accumulate in the liver, kidneys and in articular cartilage where it is used in the biosynthesis of GAG.
When in solution, glucosamine sulfate separates into ions: sulfate and glucosamine. Glucosamine ions are involved in the synthesis of GAG, that then combine with proteins to form proteoglycans, a component of the non-collagenous matrix of the cartilage. Although glucosamine is the major active component, there is evidence that the sulfate group contributes the stability of the matrix of the connective tissue since the uptake of sulfate ions increases with the amount of glucosamine sulfate used.
Another consideration here is that sulfate is an important part of proteoglycans, and glucosamine sulfate promotes not only the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans, but also of proteoglycans in general. Glucosamine is also active in regenerating the lubricating properties of the synovial fluid, and in hindering the activity of hyaluronidase, the enzyme that breaks down the hyaluronic acid in the synovial fluid.
Some people find that glucosamine, taken either alone or in conjunction with chondroitin sulfate and/or methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM), is more effective than the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to reduce inflammation (e.g. Aspirin and Ibuprofen) and without the side effects of these substances. MSM contains dietary sulfur, which is necessary for cell structure and healthy cell repair. Methyl sulfone methane is know to be beneficial for painful conditions such as arthritis, and also improves the blood circulation. It might also play a part in helping glucosamine sulfate get to the site of the cartilage damage.
Glucosamine is a large molecule, however, and finds it difficult to make its way to the area around the joint due to the lack of a direct blood supply. It is therefore taken in relatively large doses to ensure that sufficient amounts get to where it is needed. Many people insist that glucosamine sulfate is very effective in reducing, or even eliminating, their pain, and it is finding increasing popularity in the treatment of arthritis and other conditions involving cartilage damage.
Hoodia Extract And Appetite
September 26, 2008 11:36 AM
Hoodia is a plant that belongs to the milkweed family and consists of about twenty different species. It is a leafless, spiny plant, with fleshy finger-like stems. Along the stems, there are rows of thorns, while the plant bears flesh-colored flowers. Flies are attracted to the flowers by the strong smell of decaying meat, causing the flies to lay their eggs and pollinate the flowers. Sometimes spelled hootia, hodia, hoodie, and hudia, hoodia has recently gained a great amount of attention in the United Kingdom and America after being featured on BCC and CBS. Often growing in summer rainfall areas in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, along with winter rainfall areas in Nambia, hoodia gordonii is the only species that contains the chemical component that suppresses appetite.
Hoodia has been used for thousands of years by San Bushmen, as it populates the arid territories of South Africa and Namibia. Because San Bushmen needed to remain active in order to survive, they had little need for dieting, but this plant provided them with stamina and a curbed appetite during long periods without food. Along with reducing or eliminating the desire for food, many people believe that hoodia also increases energy and can act as an aphrodisiac on the user.
The appetite-suppressing ingredient found in hoodia is a molecule that is similar to, but stronger than glucose. The active compound that was isolated to be responsible for appetite suppression is P57, which works by sending a signal to the hypothalamus of the brain, tricking the body into thinking that it is no longer hungry, and resulting in a complete lack of appetite. P57 is a steroid like molecule that is chemically bonded to a chain of three sugar molecules. The appetite-suppressing and mood-enhancing properties of P57 go directly to the mid-brain, where it causes neuron cells to fire as if you were full.
The hypothalamus is the region of the brain that contains several important centers which control body temperature, thirst, hunger, water balance, and sexual function. Additionally, the hypothalamus is closely connected with emotional activity and sleep and also functions as a center for the integration of hormonal and autonomic nervous activity through the control of pituitary secretions. In short, the hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system. The pituitary gland is often thought of as the mater gland in our bodies, as the anterior and posterior pituitary secrete a variety of hormones that influence all cells and affect almost all physiological processes.
The pituitary gland is powered by the hypothalamus, as some of the neurons in the hypothalamus secrete the hormones that are responsible for controlling the secretion of hormones from the anterior pituitary. The inhibiting and releasing hormones of the hypothalamus are carried directly to the anterior pituitary where hypothalamic hormones bind to receptors on anterior pituitary cells.
The P57 hormone that is found in hoodia works by increasing the amount of ATP in nerve cells found in the hypothalamus. ATP is an energy-producing molecule that is formed from glucose. When there are increased levels of ATP in hypothalamic nerve cells, those nerve cells fire as if you had just eaten, even when you haven’t. Hoodia is a safe herb taken for hundreds of years, have you tried Hoodia lately?
Phytoestrogen - Plant Estrogen
September 25, 2008 05:57 PM
Phytoestrogens mainly belong to a group of phenolic compounds known as flavonoids: the coumestans, prenylated and isoflavones are three of the most active in estrogenic effects. Phytoestrogens are not considered as nutrients because the lack of in the diet will not produce any characteristic deficiency syndromes nor do they participate in any essential biological function. Phytoestrogens are considered archi-estrogens (naturally occurring) and as dietary phytochemicals they are considered as safe and effective in its estrogenic activity.
Phytoestrogen content varies in different foods, and may vary significantly within the same group of foods due to the way these foods are grown such as soil content. Phytoestrogen when consumed as a treatment for menopause was well tolerated and caused no changes in liver enzymes, creatinine levels, body mass index, or blood pressure. Phytoestrogen is found in a wide variety of edible plants and generally display both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic properties.
Canadian researchers examined the content of nine common phytoestrogens foods in a Western diet, foods with the highest relative phytoestrogen content were nuts and oilseeds, followed by soy products, cereals and breads, legumes, meat products, and processed foods that may contain soy, vegetables, fruits, alcoholic, and nonalcoholic beverages. Researchers are also studying if phytoestrogens can prevent prostate cancer, preliminary results are promising. Researchers focused primarily on the compound isoflavones because of its greater abundance in soy plus it exhibit estrogenic properties in the same strength as the other phytoestrogens compounds..
Isoflavones are structurally similar to the estrogen in human body’s, and thus have been shown to possess both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activity. Isoflavones may directly inhibit bone re-sorption and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. The weak estrogenic effects of isoflavones have been postulated as being protective against various forms of cancer as well. Being that isoflavones are chemically similar to estrogen, one can take isoflavones as an estrogenic replacement with little to no side effects.
Two other clinical trials suggest that over the short term, soy isoflavones may reduce lumbar spine bone loss in peri- and postmenopausal women. Red Clover contains all four estrogenic isoflavones: biochanin formonoetin daidzein Genistein. Much research has been performed on soy and red clover based phytoestrogens sources. We do not eat much red clover and so we will focus more on soy sources.
Soybeans contain large amounts of isoflavones or phytoestrogens such as genistein, daidzein, glycitein, and isoflavones. Soybeans display a biological effect when ingested by humans and animals. Soybean oil is the most commonly used vegetable oil in the United States and Europe. Soybean oil contains approximately 61 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids making it a healthy alternative to other oils currently available on the market for cooking.
Soybeans contain high levels of phytoestrogens and are the most widely used oil in the United States, and is sold as either pure soybean oil or as a main ingredient in vegetable oil. Most of the supplements on the natural foods market contain isoflavones derived from soybeans or red clover and some contain botanicals such as black cohosh.
Phytoestrogen flavonoids and lignan exhibit significant antioxidant activity which is great for those anti-aging minded individuals. The antioxidant activity in flavonoid and lignan helps support breast, heart and bone health. Antioxidants can reduce free radical damage in the body as well as reduce oxidative stress which causes aging. We all know that over time we age, phytoestrogens might help one age more gracefully.
Finally, phytoestrogens, sometimes called "natural estrogens", are a diverse group of naturally occurring non steroidal plant compounds that, because of their structural similarity with estradiol (estrogen), have the ability to cause estrogenic or/and anti-estrogenic effects in the body. Isoflavones are found in high concentration in soy bean and soy bean products changing ones diet to more soy based foods or taking a phytoestrogens supplement can help reduce estrogen related cancers and maybe even prostate cancer.
September 22, 2008 09:48 AM
Panax is a type of perennial plant with fleshy roots, and grows in Eastern Asia. Ginsengs contain ginsenosides that are triterpene saponins, steroidal compounds that are found only in Panax ginseng. The effects of these saponins are difficult to establish, but they are believed to be behind the properties of ginseng.
Panax ginseng is found predominantly in Korea, China and Siberia, although a genus has also been found in Vietnam. Panax are adaptogenic herbs that help promote resistance to anxiety, fatigue and stress, and are said to adapt the body to resist a number of different stressors. It has been proposed that adaptogenic herbs can balance the endocrine hormones of the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis.
They also normalize the immune system, and increase the activity of phagocytes, the killer cells. Additionally, they not only help to maintain homeostasis, but are believed to go further and act as allostatic agents, adapting response to maintain system stability in a more dynamic fashion, by changing interactive functions as opposed to the individual adaption’s made in homeostasis.
Not all ginsengs are the same, and although Siberian ginseng is an adaptogen, it is not a true ginseng. Its roots are woody rather than fleshy, and it contains eleutherosides as opposed to ginsenosides. These also are triterpenoid saponins, but of a different adaptogen. The herb is actually Eleutherococcus senticosus as opposed to Panax ginseng and P. quinquefolius, both true ginsengs. Siberian ginseng was misnamed as a marketing ploy.
American ginseng is Panax quinquefolius, sometimes referred to by the Chinese as Huaqishen. It, too, is an adaptogen and a true ginseng, containing ginsenosides. However, it contains much less ginsenonide Rg1 than panax. This ginsenonide appears to possess estrogen-like activity and improves spatial learning. The other forms of ginesonide found in panax ginseng are:
Ginsenoside Rb1: This appears in greatest concentration in American ginseng, and appears to have an effect on the reproductive system. It not only has an effect on the testicles, but is believed to increase testosterone production through its stimulating effect on luteinizing hormone. It also helps to rdeduce the incidence of angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels from old, and also a stage in the development of malignant tumors from dormant ones.
Ginsenoside Rc: this possesses sedative properties, and in a study on breast cancer was found to have an effect in inhibiting the growth of these particular cancer cells. Ginsenoside Rc might therefore have use in the treatment or prevention of breast cancer. Studies have also suggested that this ginsenoside could increase the motility of sperm: the motiliy of sperm was found to increase significantly in a solution of ginsenoside Rc.
Ginsenoside Rf: this is present only in panax ginseng, and studies have indicate that it has an inhibitory effect on the Ca2+ neural channels in the brain, and so cokld have an analgesic effect. Studies have as yet failed to explain this effect that is seen in animal tests, but are continuing on this ginsenoside.
Ginsenoside Re: this ginsenoside has strong antioxidant effects and has a significant antidiabetic effect in that is reduces insulin resistance, which is likely why ginseng is taken to treat Type 2 diabetes. Studies are ongoing into the properties of this ginsenoside, and also on the other 10 or more that are known to be present in Panax ginseng. The effects of ginseng are difficult to establish with certainity because they work through so many different pathways and it is difficult to isolate one. More than one ginsenoside, for example, affects the calcium channels in the brain, and it is difficult to determine which does what.
There are fewer ginsenosides in Panax quinquefoilius, and in the USA it is only the panax version that can be traded as simply ‘ginseng’. One of the main problems with all ginsengs is that although it is one of the most studied plants, the majority of the studies have been on animals, and due to this, and the difficulties caused by the multiple pathways described earlier, many of the postulations have not been proved in humans.
However, if the theory as it is know today is taken into consideration along with the traditional uses of ginseng in traditional Indian (ayurvedic), Chinese and Native American medicine, it would be fairly accurate to say that ginseng is useful in helping your body to recover after illness or surgery, and to help you to deal with stress. It has also been proved to lower your blood glucose (sugar) levels, and help in the treatment of Type II diabetes, as already mentioned. There is evidence that it helps to boost your mental performance, memory and might help to slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ginseng can also give a boost to your energy levels, and it is genarally accepted that panax ginseng is more effective than the American version. In traditional medicine, Asian ginseng is said to be warming, and the American variery cooling. Thus Panax ginseng is useful for people recovering from illness and trying to recover their strength, acts as a tonic, stimulant and supports the immune system. In other words it helps the body to get whole again after being depleted.
It should not be used if you get very hot and red, such as with heat stroke, unless you use it in combination with the American version, because these are conditions of high yang and this type of ginseng will increase the yang even further.
American ginseng, on the other hand, is good for those with fevers, hypertension (high blood pressure), and suffereing the effcts of heat. It helps build the yin and reduce the yang, so if you always feel flushed and hot or are hyperactive then go for the American, and if you easily get chilled or find your hands and feet get cold very easily, reach for the Asian ginseng to increase your yang.
You often find ginseng as an ingredient in soft drinks, but the concentration is so low that it has no metabolic or pharmacological effect. The dose to be taken should be as stated on the pack, since there is no specific standardization. It has been noted that the effects can be lost if an excess of ginseng is taken, but generally the herb is safe and if you feel a bit down or lacking in energy, ginseng can work wonders for you.
Calcium D Glucarate
July 25, 2008 10:57 AM
Studies have found that D-glucarate has therapeutic actions; among these are cancer prevention and serum cholesterol reduction. However, its most impressive property could be its ability to quickly detoxify the body of both artificial and natural toxins which can be potentially harmful. These toxins can be neutralized in many ways, with glucuronidation being one those ways. The process of glucuronidation involves using the liver to neutralize chemical carcinogens and steroidal hormones including estrogen. Once a toxin has been glucuronidated in the liver, it goes to the bile and is eventually eliminated from the body in the stool.
Beta-glucuronidase is an enzyme that is produced in the gut by unfriendly bacteria which can actually inhibit this process by chemically splitting a glucuronidated toxin before it is able to be eliminated in the stool. This unbound toxin can come into contact with the bowel lining where it can be reabsorbed and the whole process will be repeated. When a situation like this happens, cells are exposed, once again, to the chemical and the liver can become overworked. Thankfully, if D-glucarate is present, beta-glucuronidase is inhibited, resulting in a flawless glucuronidation in the body.
These findings suggest that taking D-glucarate orally as a supplement can provide us with the increased ability to efficiently and rapidly rid our bodies of toxins through problem-free glucuronidation. Additionally, D-glucarate does not work like an antioxidant, which neutralizes free radicals, but instead actually forms a type of bond with harmful compounds to enhance their rapid removal from the body. Some of the organs that can be especially toxin-sensitive are the breast, prostate, liver, lung, and kidney, therefore, they can greatly benefit from this process. These organs can be most damaged by the continued exposure to poisons and carcinogens.
Because our generation, more than that of any other, is exposure to a great number of potentially harmful environmental pollutants, our contact with carcinogens increased exponentially. Just some of the cancer-causing agents include cigarette smoke, pesticides, radon, hormonally-fattened meats, diagnostic and therapeutic x-rays, gamma radiation, trans-fatty acids, alcohol, poor diets, xeno-estrogen, herbicides, smog, car exhaust, certain prescription drugs, ultra-violet light, rancid foods, saturated / hydrogenated fats, some food/water supplies, and food preservatives. Although a lot of us have taken necessary measures to protect ourselves from exposure to the substances listed, it is inevitable that we will consistently take chemicals that can prompt the growth of cancer into our bodies.
Additionally, our own hormones can be a threat if they are not efficiently metabolized and excreted from our body. One study found that Glucarate supplementation amplifies the process by which carcinogens and hormones are removed from the body, while D-glucarate can exert a positive effect on different stages of the carcinogenic process. It has been found that lower cancer rates in some populations could be attributed to their consumptions of foods that are rich in D-glucaric acid, self-medicated with D-glucarate, or combine D-glucarate supplementation with other chemopreventive agents.
Either way, the protective function of glucarate in the body’s natural cancer prevention mechanisms has been established for long periods of time, while other recent studies have indicated that the use of glucarate could potentially present a fifty percent decrease in tumor incidence.
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 28, 2008 11:46 AM
Phytosterols are the group of naturally occurring plant compounds which have two significant health benefits. First of all, phytosterols reduce blood levels of total cholesterol and the “bad” LDL cholesterol. Second, which is particularly good for men, phytosterols can reduce symptoms of benign enlarged prostate. These naturally occurring plant compounds are added to many common cholesterol-reducing foods, but can also be taken as capsules. Even though the word phytosterol may sound a little like steroid, phytosterols do not have any hormonal activity. Phytosterols are known by a large variety of names such as plant sterols, free sterols, and sterol esters. A related group of compounds, which are called stanols, are gathered from trees, not from plants.
Phytosterols chemically consist of beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. The structure of phytosterols is similar to that of cholesterol, but is poorly absorbed. Because of these traits, phytosterols function as cholesterol blockers by reducing the absorption of cholesterol from food and re-absorption of cholesterol from the intestine, which ultimately leads to lower levels of blood fats. Actually, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now allows companies to claim that phytosterols-containing products are able to lower the risk of heart disease. Phytosterols can also be found in a large variety of plant foods, which includes fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, grains, and cooking oils. Additionally, saw palmetto, which is an herb that is commonly used to treat benign prostate enlargement, is rich in phytosterols, especially beta-sitosterol.
Many studies have been done that show the abilities of phytosterols supplements to reduce cholesterol levels significantly. One study conducted at East Tennessee State University, researched both sterol esters and placebos on the same group of sixteen people. The results showed a five percent decrease in total cholesterol and four percent decrease in LDL cholesterol after taking a modest dose of sterol esters for four weeks. Additionally, triglyceride levels decreased by nine percent while HDL cholesterol increased by four percent. Another study in which 2.6 grams of phytosterols were taken daily for 12 weeks resulted in a decrease of 3.5 percent in total cholesterol and 5 percent in LDL cholesterol. Due to this, it is suggested that those wishing to supplement in order to improve cholesterol levels should take 1.3 to 3 grams of sterol esters daily.
Several other studies have found that supplements of beta-sitosterol can significantly reduce urinary symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, which commonly affects men ages 50 and older. The benefits can be long term to those men who continue taking supplements of about 200 mg of beta-sitosterol three times daily.
For those people with moderately elevated cholesterol, phytosterols can be an ideal natural alternative to drugs. Even those people who are already taking cholesterol-lowering drugs can benefit by phytosterols ability to further enhance the benefits of medications. In order to lower cholesterol, it also helps to reduce the intake of hydrogenated vegetable oils and refined sugars and starches, along with increasing physical activity. Dosages between 1.3 and 3 grams daily are likely to reduce cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. The higher dosage is linked to greater reductions in cholesterol. Take phytosterols capsules along with food, for best results.
B Vitamin Complex
June 23, 2008 03:19 PM
The vitamin B supplement you take is a mixture of nutrients that, although they share the same vitamin letter, are in fact distinctly different chemical entities. The reason that they share the same reference letter of the alphabet is that they are all essential water soluble vitamins (Vitamin C being the only other), they frequently work in synergy with each other and they often come from common sources and have similar properties in the body. They were therefore at one time believed to be just the one chemical entity.
They are essential in that they must form part of our diet because our bodies cannot manufacture these substances from others, and although most share common biochemical and health functions, there is no health function that requires all of them, and none of them can be totally replaced by another.
The B-Vitamin complex that you take can consist of as many as eight different B vitamins, each of which is essential for a healthy body and at one time it was believed that this mixture was only one single vitamin. That is why they are collectively known as vitamin B and were subsequently allocated numbers: it was only later that the individual components were discovered.
These eight are vitamin B-1 (thiamine), vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), vitamin B-3 (niacin), vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B-12 (cobalamins), biotin and folic acid (folate). They are found in yeast, liver, tuna, bananas and rice among other sources, and, as with all vitamins, without them life would not be possible. Not all vitamins are found in each of these food sources, and vitamin B-12, for example, is available in nutritional quantities only from animal sources.
Knowing what they are is all very well, but what does your body do with the B vitamin supplement that you take? Before considering that, the reason that a regular supply is important is because of their water solubility. This is a useful property for a vitamin to possess, because it means that they can easily be transported by the body fluids to the tissues where they are needed. The downside, however, is that they are consequently also easily flushed from the body, and your body cannot store any of the B vitamins.
You therefore must have a regular dietary source that can be augmented through supplementation. This is particularly desirable in alcoholics, those on diets to lose weight and vegans who are advised to take a regular vitamin B-12 supplement.
A lack of vitamin B will make you feel tired and lack energy because they play a big part in your body’s metabolism of blood glucose into energy. They also help to maintain a healthy immune system, keep your nervous system in tip-top condition and maintain good healthy skin, hair and muscles. The B complex is also very important in maintaining healthy blood and liver, and each and every component of the mixture has a specific part to play, both on individually and by interaction with others in the B complex.
Rather than examining what your body does with the supplement as a whole, let’s have a look at each component, and what your body does with that. Taking them one at a time, thiamine (B1) helps you to burn carbohydrates to generate energy. It is highly water soluble and must be taken daily. In the form of thiamine pyrophosphate it plays a key part in the metabolism of carbohydrates to energy, and also in the metabolism of certain amino acids. If you rely heavily on a high carbohydrate diet, you will need a good regular supplement of thiamine to be able to convert them to energy.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) also plays a part in fat and carbohydrate metabolism and the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule of energy. It plays a significant part in the health of your skin and a deficiency is associated with mouth ulcers, cracked lips, flaky skin and bloodshot watery eyes. It also activates vitamin B6 and folic acid, one of the cases where the B vitamins work together synergistically.
Vitamin B3, or niacin, is well known to women as a component of some shampoos, and helps to promote health hair. However, this vitamin also takes part in the process of energy creation within your body, and helps to maintain a good muscle tone within the digestive tract. It is also used as a supplement for the treatment of diseases related to high levels of LDL cholesterol and is useful for the treatment of atherosclerosis.
Pantothenic acid is also found as a component of shampoos, so no prizes for guessing one of its functions. Vitamin B-5 plays a significant part in the energy-producing Krebs Cycle, or Citric Acid Cycle, that is used by every cell in your body to generate energy just where it is needed. It is also needed to synthesize acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter needed for good brain function and it helps to reduce stress. Pantothenic acid is also closely involved in the production of cholesterol in your liver: cholesterol is not all bad, and is needed by your body to produce some of the steroid hormones and also vitamin D.
Amino acids are the small units that are used to biosynthesize proteins and ultimately the genes and DNA that determine who you are. The major factor involved in processing these amino acids is Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), one of the lesser known of the vitamin B complex. It synthesizes and breaks up different amino acids to produce a variety of other compounds, such as the hormones serotonin, melatonin and dopamine.
Deficiencies in these hormones can be very serious, Parkinson’s disease believed to be connected with a dopamine deficiency for example, and other disorders include kidney stones, anemia and many skin complaints. Although deficiency of vitamin B6 is rare, it can occur in alcoholics and those with chronic kidney problems. It is believed that many diets are deficient, however, and a good vitamin B supplement would ensure that this did not occur.
Vitamin B-12 is one where deficiency can occur, particularly in alcoholics and vegans. It is available in sufficient quantities only from meat sources, and a supplement is indicated in anyone with a low meat intake in their diet. It is used by your body for the replication of DNA and to allow the normal activity of your body cells. It also helps to control homocysteine levels in conjunction with vitamin B6 and folic acid: homocysteine is a high-risk amino acid associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, heart attacks and strokes.
The seventh, biotin (sometimes referred to as vitamin B7) also takes part in the metabolism of energy, but deficiencies have not been known, and the final known member of the B vitamin complex is folic acid. This is essential for cell growth and the synthesis of RNA and DNA in the body. RNA (Ribonucleic acid) is responsible for the synthesis of proteins in your body, and the well known Deoxy-ribonucleic acid (DNA) holds the genetic information of your body. Folic acid is therefore essential in the growing fetus, and any other cellular system that rapidly regenerates such as blood cells and the various cells of the immune system.
Without folic acid your body would be more susceptible to bacterial and viral attack, and less able to protect you from foreign invaders into your body tissues. Although deficiency is not common, folic acid is present in fresh food only and degrades when stored at room temperature and when cooked. A supplement is therefore advisable during pregnancy to help to prevent neural tube defects.
It is evident that the Vitamin B complex plays many parts in the chemistry of your body, and that a supplement can be of benefit in assuring that there are no deficiencies. A good B complex can be found at your local or internet health food store.
May 28, 2008 01:36 PM
Eleutherococcus, better known as Siberian Ginseng, is best known for increasing endurance and stamina in people who use it on a regular basis. It is also known for its properties that aid the body in fighting fatigue and stress. Keeping both of these physical stressors under control will improve the body’s ability to optimize physical and mental performance.
Eleutherococcus is an adaptogen. This means that it will help the body maintain a normal adrenal function in order to reduce stress and combat disease. This species of ginseng is generally used for boosting and maintaining the immune system. It plays a major role in increasing resistance to mild infections and colds.
How to Use Eleutherococcus
This herbal product should be taken by mouth. The dosage will depend on the source of the herb and the purpose of its use. As with any species of ginseng, Eleutherococcus may cause sleep difficulties. It is; therefore, wise to avoid taking the product near your usual bedtime. It is also recommended that you do not take Eleutherococcus for more than three weeks at a time continual use will reduce its effectiveness.
What Does it Work for?
* Fatigue (physical and psychological). Fatigue is one of the most common complaints of people in the general population. It often poses a problem for the patient, as well as the physician trying to treat them. It is usually caused by endocrine dysfunction of the thyroid and/or adrenal glands.
* Hypothyroidism. This is caused when there is low thyroid hormone function. The result is less energy production at the cellular level. This causes the metabolic rate of the body to plummet. The thyroid also controls growth, transcription of genes, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, heart rate, blood volume heartbeat, muscle contraction, digestion, gastrointestinal function and endocrine hormones.
* Low adrenal function. The adrenal glands secrete steroid hormones including cortisol, aldosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). An imbalance in these hormones can cause a wealth of other health problems. It can also activate a regular stress response in the body, which takes its toll on overall healthy function of the body and mind.
Common side effects of using Siberian Ginseng may include agitation, headache, nervousness and trouble sleeping. If you experience diarrhea, fast or irregular heartbeat, skin rash or unusual vaginal bleeding, discontinue use and contact your pharmacist or physician immediately.
Who Should Not Use Eleutherococcus
If you suffer from any of the following health problems, you should consult a physician before using Eleutherococcus:
* Cancer * Fever * High blood pressure * Low blood pressure * Diabetes * Heart problems * Allergies
If you have allergy issues with any species of ginseng, you should avoid all of them. Ginseng may lower blood sugar levels. Diabetic patients should carefully monitor their blood levels while taking this product. Liquid forms of this product may contain sugar and/or alcohol. If you suffer from diabetes, alcoholism or liver disease, use extreme caution. This product is not recommended for use by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
It is important to consult your pharmacist or someone you know is trained and educated in the use of Eleutherococcus. Some products have been found to contain additives and impurities that may be harmful to the consumer. Only use the purest forms of Siberian Ginseng that are available to you.
Aside from the specific conditions listed, Eleutherococcus can play an important role in the overall health of the mind and body. Every aspect of our physical health relies on the health and normal function of all of our internal systems. Our psychological health also relies on these systems all working in unison with each other. A healthy and balanced mental state requires an ever-present inner harmony.
May 17, 2008 10:17 AM
Recently, the Natural Products Association has experienced a flurry of activity on the legislative front. One month ago, Natural Products Association members went to Washington, D.C. to meet with their representatives and discuss legislation important to the association and the industry. Many who could not visit Washington in person were part of our "virtual march" on Washington that delivered e-mails, petitions, and videos to Congress on the importance of natural products. Natural Products Day was a great success, boasting higher than ever attendance at our evening Congressional reception, and resulting in additional co-sponsors for S. 771, the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act sponsored by Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The bill now boasts co-sponsorship of more than a quarter of the Senate. Its companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1363, sponsored by Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), has gained an additional five co-sponsors as the result of Natural Products Day meetings and now has 140 co-sponsors. These bills continue to build momentum, thanks to your support.
More recently, the Natural Products Association urged supporters to contact their legislators to include an amendment to the "Farm Bill" allowing food stamp recipients to purchase dietary supplements. This provision was similar to free-standing bills that have been introduced in the current and previous Congresses by Sens. Harkin and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and have earned the association's support. Although the amendment advanced further than other versions in previous sessions, it did not make the final Farm Bill, which was reported out of conference today. The good news is that the Farm Bill did contain significant increases in nutrition programs and increased funding for organic farming, another supported goal of the Natural Products Association. Because of the strong effort of our supporters on the amendment's behalf, the bill was placed on Congress's radar screens and has greatly improved the chances as stand-alone legislation, S. 770, the Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act, of seeing passage. We will continue to ask for support on this important bill as this legislative session progresses.
In addition, the Natural Products Association has been leading the fight to protect Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and to keep this important, safe, and effective supplement available to elderly consumers. The same players behind S. 762, which would wrongly classify DHEA as an anabolic steroid, proposed S. 2470 in late 2007 as a misplaced reaction the release of the Mitchell Report, which chronicled the abuse of steroids by professional baseball players. Although DHEA has no performance enhancing attributes, this bill was proposed to limit the access of minors to DHEA. The Natural Products Association and its supporters have worked hard to inform Congress of the benefits of DHEA, and that it is not an anabolic steroid and should not be classified as one. We have been able so far to prevent any movement on the bill, but the association continues to monitor its progress and make sure that this supplement remains accessible to the seniors who need it most.
Thanks to your help, the Natural Products Association continues to have an active presence on Capitol Hill that is felt by legislators. We could not do it without the help of you, our supporters, who know how important it is to stand up for natural products. The impact of your messages to legislators continues to help the Natural Products Association to ensure all natural products - from natural and organic foods to dietary supplements and health and beauty aids - are accessible to Americans. With your continued support we will continue to be known as a vocal group with a wide base of support through the rest of this legislative session and beyond.
To get involved, please visit our action center at www.capwiz.com/nnfa/issues/
May 08, 2008 03:47 PM
Cetyl myristoleate is a fatty acid ester used largely as a dietary supplement to support joint mobility and the immune system. Chemically it is a natural hexadecyl ester of cis-9-tetradecanoic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid commonly known as myristoleic acid.
The acid is found naturally in fish and whale oils, and also in butter and kombo butter from the kombo nut. The ester is of a buttery consistency at normal room temperatures, and turns waxy when cooled, and it has no known uses other than as a health supplement, particularly for the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory and immune system problems.
The substances appear to have similar therapeutic characteristics to unsaturated essential fatty acids, but with a stronger and more long lasting effect. It also appears to work in three distinctly different ways in that it acts as a joint lubricant, supports the immune system and functions in the same way as essential fatty acids.
Arthritis is a disease that has reached epidemic proportions worldwide, and it is estimated that more than 50 million Americans are affected by it. Until recently it was believed to be a disease of the aged, or associated with physical injury, but is now known to be more complex than that, with many manifestations and causes. Because of this, no single treatment is effective with all forms of arthritis, but cetyl myristoleate is the new kid on the block that is believe to make a significant contribution to the treatment of non-infective forms of the disease.
However, it was not always known, and a search in the textbooks for cetyl myristoleate prior to 1977 would have yielded nothing. Why 1977? It started with Harry W Diehl, a sugar chemist with an interest in the treatment of arthritis. While carrying out research on arthritis in mice, he was working on thin layer chromatographic analysis of a methylene chloride extract of macerated mice. He noticed a separation that was unknown to him, which was subsequently identified as cetyl myristoleate.
He had been unable to induce arthritis in mice, and believed that if he found out how to do that, then he should also be able to establish what made the mice immune to the disease, and so establish a cure. He soon established that it was this cetyl myristoleate circulating in the blood that protected the mice, and then found a way of synthesizing it in the lab by esterifying myristoleic acid.
Since the compound was unknown at that time Diehl patented it in 1977, hence the date. Apart from in mice, it has subsequently been found only in whale oil and in one of the glands of the male beaver, with no other known sources at the time of writing. There have been several studies that have supported the effect of cetyl myristoleate on arthritis, the first human study being in 1995 when 46 out of 48 arthritis patients showed significant improvement in articular mobility and reduction in pain. Others since have demonstrated similar results.
So how does it work? What is the mechanism by which this hitherto unknown substance helps to relieve the symptoms of osteo and rheumatoid arthritis? Being a fatty acid ester, cetyl myristoleate possesses lubricant properties, and one of its properties is to supplement the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints and tendons. This helps to keep the joints moving freely, and reduces their tendency to grind when the connective tissue wears. It also lubricates entire muscle groups, allowing them to slide over each other more freely, and also over bones allowing a smoother movement of the joints.
The second way, in which it operates, by supporting the immune system, is particularly appropriate to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis which is caused by the immune system attacking the body’s own joint and connective tissue. In this respect, cetyl myristoleate has also been found effective in treating other immune system conditions such as multiple sclerosis and lupus erythematosus.
Finally, it also possesses the mediation effect on the inflammatory reaction possessed by other essential fatty acids. This helps to reduce the effect of inflammation that causes much of the swelling and pain of arthritic conditions, although it occurs much faster than with other fatty acids. When taken together, all of these effects have a powerful effect in reducing the unpleasant symptoms of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Swelling is reduced, mobility is improved and pain is alleviated. Improvements have been reported by sufferers of both types of arthritis, and in fact it is reported that Harry Diehl successfully treated his own arthritis with the substance before any other human tests had been carried out.
Cetyl Myristoleate is now used word-wide in significant quantities, and there have as yet been no confirmed reports of adverse side effects. However, as with many otherwise safe supplements, it is recommended not to be taken by pregnant or lactating women until it has been proved to definitely have no side effects on the fetus or young babies.
Although there is no definitive scientific evidence of the effectiveness of the substance in relieving the symptoms of arthritis, there is an overwhelming body of evidence from those that have used it world wide. The accepted treatment is by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and with over 16,0000 NSAID-related deaths in the USA alone each year, cetyl myristoleate is certainly worth considering as an alternative for arthritis sufferers. Not only that but there is a very significant price differential, with NSAIDs costing 5 – 10 times that of cetyl myristoleate.
Among the other benefits that people using the substance have reported are beneficial effects on psoriasis, hepatitis, high blood pressure, eczema, allergies, headaches and many more. Although many of these might be coincidence or psychosomatic, it cannot just be coincidence that many of them, such as psoriasis and allergies, are related to the immune system.
However, anybody with asthma or a history of severe allergic reactions should consult their physician before using the substance. That aside, there is more than enough popular evidence to indicate that cetyl myristoleate is effective in the treatment of arthritis in all its forms, and also good for your general state of health and wellness.
Fight Osteoporosis With Minerals To Build Bones And Improve Quality Of Life
April 02, 2008 11:06 AM
Bone consists predominantly of collagen and calcium phosphate. The collagen provides the connective framework for bone that is hardened by the calcium phosphate, and without healthy bones, your quality of life would be significantly reduced due to bone breakage. That is why it is essential to supplement this framework with the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a good bone density at those periods in your life when bone density is liable to deteriorate.
This begins to happen between the ages of 30 and 35 and in women and accelerates during the menopause, when your ovaries stop producing the hormone estrogen that is necessary for the maintenance of healthy bones. Through time, your bone mass drops creating first a condition known as osteopenia, or reduced bone mass, and then osteoporosis, when your bones become brittle, porous and very prone to fractures.
Before we look at what can be done to reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis, lets have a close look at how bone develop so that it will be easier to understand the remedial action that can be taken.
Calcium is the most common mineral in the body, and the vast majority is in the bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also essential for healthy bones because as stated earlier, the bone consists of collagen that is hardened by calcium phosphate. The two main uses of phosphorus are in bone structure and animal metabolism, since phosphates are also essential for the vast majority of the energy-production chemical reactions within your body.
Calcium has other functions within the body other than bone, however, including exchange of fluids within and between cells, the maintenance of your heartbeat and in blood clotting. Vitamin D is necessary to help calcium be absorbed from your diet, through the membranes of the duodenum. More calcium is absorbed there than in the small intestine, and the calcium is also most available to the body when it is in a water-soluble form.
In fact, the reason that stones form in your kidney for example, is that the calcium is rendered insoluble through the formation of calcium oxalate from the oxalic acid in foods such as rhubarb and soy. High fat diets can also slow down the absorption of calcium.
Estrogen plays a significant part in bone physiology, and is an important factor in the maintenance of bone density in women. Bone is living tissue, and is constantly being absorbed and remodeled throughout life. The part played by estrogen is to maintain a proper balance between the osteoclasts, the cells that reabsorb bone tissue, and osteoblasts, the cells that form new bone tissue.
When estrogen is deficient, this balance is lost and rather than bone formation and resorption occurring constantly, they take place in spurts so that first an area of new bone will be formed, then resorption will occur some weeks later, resulting in a structure where there are cavities between areas of bone. With time, these cavities will increase and weaken the integrity of the bone structure.
However, that is not the whole story. The effect of estrogen is to limit the active period of osteoclasts so that the areas of bone resorbed into the body are relatively small so that the removed bone cavity can easily fill up with new bone by the osteoblasts, which are invigorated by estrogen. When estrogen is deficient, not only is the activity of the bone-forming osteoblasts reduced, but the bone-absorbing osteoclasts activity is not regulated, and they form deeper holes in the bone structure than the osteoblasts are able to fill.
The net result is bone loss, with more bone being reabsorbed than is being formed. The end result of all this is spongy bone tissue with many tiny hole and also with larger areas of missing bone. Eventually this passes a critical point and the bone fractures during normal use. A simple jump from one step to another can fracture a bone at its weakest point, such as at the hip joint where the neck of bone is thinner.
Not everybody is at the same risk, and there are certain risk factors that you should be aware of, each of which could increase the chances of you developing weak bones. The condition particular affects white or Asian women, and those who have a small frame. If you smoke and drink an excessive amount of alcohol, you will also be more prone to osteoporosis, although exercise can help you to avoid it. An inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D will also contribute, and magnesium is an essential part of strong bone development.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has carried out surveys that indicate American women to be taking only 50% of the calcium recommended to maintain a healthy bone density. However, it is not only dietary calcium that is needed for the formation of bone, but also magnesium and boron, and vitamin D also helps with the absorption of calcium in the gut.
If you are on steroids then they can render you more prone to brittle bone disease. Unfortunately the symptoms of osteoporosis do not become evident until there has been a significant amount of bone loss, which is why post menopausal women, and those over 65, should have a bone density scan (DXA test). It is important to understand that osteoporosis is not a disease as such: you cannot ‘catch’ it, but it develops as the result of a gradual reduction in the minerals that maintain the density of your bone structure.
Your diet is important in helping you prevent bone loss and osteoporosis later in life, and your lifestyle is also important. Reducing your daily alcohol intake will certainly help, and cigarette smoking further retards the activity of the bone-creating cells. Calcium and vitamin D supplements will help, but do not restrict yourself only to these.
If you want to maintain proper bone density through and beyond the menopause stage of life, you should take a balanced supplement that contains a combination of vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy balance between natural bone loss and regeneration. There is more to it that only calcium and vitamin D, and a balanced supplement takes this out of your hands. You can rest in the knowledge that you are doing the best for your body and its bone density.
B Complex to Restore the Adrenal Glands from Stress
February 07, 2008 05:18 PM
The B vitamins comprise a range of water soluble vitamins that frequently work together to impart a number of general benefits to your body’s health. In general they support and maintain the metabolic rate, maintain the function of the nervous system, support the immune system, maintain healthy skin and muscles and help to promote cell growth and division. They work together to suppress the causes and symptoms of cardiovascular disease and stress and they are dispersed throughout the whole of the body by means of the circulation system of the blood.
In very general terms they collectively ensure that the body is provided with energy from the metabolism of carbohydrates and glucose. They are also needed for the metabolism of fats and proteins, and also the maintenance and health of the nervous system in general.
There are many natural sources, including lentils, potatoes, liver, turkey, brewer’s yeast, and also, of course, dietary supplements.
Vitamin B Complex can help to restore the adrenal glands from stress, but to understand how it does so, it is first necessary to understand what these glands are, and the part that they can play in stress.
The adrenal glands are situated just above each kidney, and take the form of two small pieces of tissue in the shape of a pyramid that generate specific hormones and chemical messengers. You have likely heard of adrenaline, the hormone that make you respond to certain types of stress either through flight or by fighting: what is known as the fight or flight reaction. Well, in fact there are two of them, noredrenaline being the other. They are also known as epinephrine and norepinephrine respectively.
Both the adrenal glands are controlled by what is known as the HPA axis, short for the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis which is the stress center of the body. The adrenals are the main steroid-producing plants in the body, responsible not only for the adrenaline hormones, but also for cortisone and hydrocortisone, testosterone, estrogen, cholesterol, progesterone and a number of others. These are produced in the outer cortex of the adrenal glands, whereas adrenaline and noradrenaline are produced and secreted by the medulla.
Adrenaline and cortisol are responsible along with others for the balance of your body fluids, blood sugar and blood pressure and many of the other main metabolic functions of the body, and if the adrenaline is not working properly, it can disrupt the metabolism of your blood glucose into energy, giving you a weak run-down and listless feeling. This is not surprising since your energy is failing at the cellular level.
The main reason for adrenal fatigue is stress. Either emotional or physical stress or even poor nutrition can be responsible for reducing the functioning of the glands to such an extent that they no longer provide the steroid hormones in the proper balanced quantities needed to maintain the proper functioning of your metabolic processes. Unlike Addison’s disease, which a complete stoppage of the functioning of the adrenal glands, in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome the glands still function, but at a reduced capacity and the various products they are responsible for generating are secreted in reduced and imbalanced quantities.
However, fatigue is not normally the first reaction of the body to stress. As normal stress levels increase the bodies response is generally to secrete higher levels of adrenaline, and the cortex produces extra cortisol and other hormones. As stress continues beyond the intermittent stage and becomes more constant, the adrenals produce a more sustained high level of hormones, that generally raise blood pressure and also increase the level of sugar in the blood in order allow a sustained increase in energy levels. Corticosteroids are produced to maintain this higher level reaction to stress.
Finally, when the adrenals can sustain this high level of activity no longer, adrenal fatigue sets in which is when the worst symptoms of the stress are evident: exhaustion, both physically and mentally, excessive fear, guilt and worry, and under-activity of the HPA axis leads to depression, hopelessness and severe illness, often due to a weakened immune system.
So where does the B vitamin complex come into this? Vitamin B complex includes niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and vitamins B6 and B12. As already stated, the complex is useful in supporting many of the critical functions of the body from healthy bones to healthy blood cells, and nervous systems. It also helps to maintain your reproductive system and can be used in cases of nerve-related conditions such as sciatica and neurological conditions.
Pantothenic acid, vitamin B5, is particularly useful in dealing with stress in that it enhances the activity of the adrenal glands. It also increases your energy levels due to its effect on the Krebs Cycle through its action as a precursor of acetyl Coenzyme A and acetylcholine which is a primary neurotransmitter. This helps to reduce fatigue and the pain of headaches caused by excessive stress and consequent reduction in adrenal output. Pantothenic acid is also essential during the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and is important in the maintenance of healthy nerves, skin and glands.
In fact the whole of the vitamin B family work together to make sure that your whole nervous system and metabolism remain healthy. People with high stress jobs often take the vitamin B complex to help reduce that stress and also anger. Excessive stress and anger can lead to anxiety and overwork the adrenal glands, and B complex can help to restore these to their normal function.
If you are concerned about your adrenal health, you can have a simple test carried out on your saliva, blood or urine by a trained medical practitioner. Many doctors do not know to carry out this test since it is not a normal test as would be used to detect Addison’s Disease, or complete adrenal failure, but only adrenal fatigue, so ask specifically for an adrenal fatigue check.
A quick self-test is to shine a light into an eye using a flashlight while looking in a mirror. They pupil should contract and return to normal after about 30 seconds. If it fails to do so, or even dilates, then that is a sign of adrenal fatigue. However, you must have it confirmed by a proper test.
All in all, a B complex supplement is a good way to restore adrenal glands from stress, and it also helps your nervous system in general, in addition to aiding the metabolic processes of your body. However, make sure that your symptoms are what you think they are by seeking professional medical advice.
Boost Skin And Joint Health With Natural Supplements
January 19, 2008 10:37 AM
A lot of health conscious adults are now attempting to keep a youthful appearance for as long as possible by exercising, taking growth hormone enhances, and using expensive cosmetics. However, studies have proven that the major signs of aging in the skin, joints, and eyes occur due to a progressive collagen and hyaluronic acid degradation in our tissues. Researchers believe that supplementation of these key nutrients can actually reverse sings of aging.
Normal functioning of the skin requires that there be normal physiological substances in and around the skin cells. Of the many substances that are required for normal functioning, collagen is one of the most important. Collagen provides structural support to skin, which helps to maintain skin tone, subtleness and elasticity. All of these give the skin its amazing beauty. Without enough collagen, our body would actually lose any connective properties and its ability to hold together, causing the sagging and wrinkles that are associated with age.
Hyaluronic acid is also a vital component of the skin's structure. HA is a big part of the space between living cells and is also present in both the dermis and epidermis, where it allows skin to retain moisture and acts as a lubricant between the collagen matrix of the skin. Younger looking skin typically has higher levels of HA, but it has been observed that hyaluronic acid content declines as we age, most dramatically after the age of 50. Most people after the age of 40 have already lost a lot of HA and may require supplementation. High concentrations of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate are able to reach the corium layers of the epidermis and provide cellar level nourishment to the skin. This then reveals a more vibrant and younger looking complexion.
Doctors believe that osteoarthritis affects more than 20 million Americans, with that number reaching 40 million by the year 2020. Some doctors believe we're headed for an epidemic of degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition marked by the erosion of the cartilage at the ends of the bones. Cartilage is the shock absorber of the joint, with regular wear and tear on the joints eventually softening, fraying, and thinning the substance. Other things that can cause cartilage degradation and osteoarthritis have recently been identified by scientists, including: weak quadriceps muscles, eroding cartilage, and changes in bone structure. Certain genes also play a role in predetermining cartilage status, and left untreated and unchecked, this can become extremely debilitating.
Since normal joint function requires healthy cartilage and bones, one of the most important substances required for the normal functioning of joints is collagen. As we age, it has been observed that there is a decrease in the production and concentration of collagen in the joints. The lack of this vital structure leads to joint pain and inflammation. Common treatments today include the prolonged use of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors which temporarily relieve pain and cover up the symptoms while the disease moves further. More often, these treatments worsen the condition instead of helping it due to their harmful side effects. A natural supplement containing Collagen II can not only halt the progression of arthritis but can also improve the condition and provide relief to sufferers.
How to Manage Migraines Naturally: Magnesium - Feverfew - Butterbur - Ginger
December 21, 2007 10:41 AM
Before you can understand how to manage migraines naturally, it is necessary to understand exactly what they are and how certain treatments could work. It is not generally known that the word ‘migraine’ means ‘half the head’ because it frequently hurts only on the right or the left of the head of sufferer. Some people with migraines do feel pain on both sides at once, although this is not generally the case.
A migraine occurs in stages which are activated by fluctuations in the hormone content of the blood. The ‘aura’, when you see spots and flashing lights in front of your eyes, is the first stage of a migraine attack, and during this time the blood vessels in your neck and head are contracting. You could also find it difficult to concentrate and your fingers could feel cold. At this point they do not have the headache that starts when the blood vessels begin to dilate.
Rather than the contracted blood vessels slowly returning to normal, your hormones have an excessively strong reaction, and cause them to dilate rapidly and become much wider than they should be leading to a severe headache due to pressure on the nerves. Different hormones can be involves with each attack, and the range of effective natural treatments reflect this fact. During this period, your brain could swell slightly, your muscles can tense up and other things can happen to the chemical and hormonal balance of your body. That is why some herbal treatments work for some but not for others, and different people find different treatments effective for them. What works for you might not work for somebody else if their migraine has a different cause. Basically, though, migraines occur in two phases, one being associated with an excess of hormones and the other with a shortage.
It is not easy to live with a migraine since it can be completely debilitating. Some just have a severe headache, while others are affected for days at a time. The headache can become before and after the onset of the shimmering lights and other optical effects that are generated by the brain. It would certainly be useful if those prone to migraines had one or more of the possible natural remedies to hand since there is rarely time to seek to seek professional medical help once the migraine begins, and through the use of natural remedies a potentially bad attack could be nipped in the bud, and at least its effect on you reduced.
Magnesium is common in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It is an essential mineral for human biochemistry, and is also needed with calcium for healthy bone development and maintenance.
Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, and relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels helping them to relax their dilatancy that cause the migraine pain. It is also useful to help the immune function, reduces blood pressure (by the same blood vessel relaxing mechanism) and also the rhythm of your heart. Magnesium therefore provides you with many health benefits, and though the western diet is not generally deficient in magnesium, some areas can be and a magnesium-containing supplement will not do you harm.
However, particularly high dose of magnesium can lead to nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure and many other unpleasant side effects, so do not take more than the RDA (recommended daily allowance) in your supplement. Many studies have confirmed its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of migraine, but not all studies have been successful. However, the condition is so debilitating to so many people, that it should be tried although not in excess. Make sure, however, that your doctor is informed since it could interfere with other medication you are taking for your migraine.
Riboflavin, vitamin B-2, is also believed to useful in reducing the duration and frequency of migraine attacks, working in much the same way as magnesium. It is known that there are many cases of people who suffer from vitamin B-2 deficiency also suffering from migraines, and a riboflavin supplement is also worth trying if you are a consistent victim of this condition.
Feverfew is the best known of the herbal remedies for migraine, and has been used for centuries in the treatment of fevers, headache, migraine and other painful conditions such as arthritis. The active ingredient is parthenolide, an anti-inflammatory that is also an anti-hyperalgesic, and that would explain its effect on reducing the pain. It also blocks lipolysaccharide-induced osteolysis by suppressing the activity of a eukaryotic transcription factor protein known as NF-kappaB that can cause a number of immune response problems, including inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, hence its use to relieve that condition.
Its effect on migraines could be explained by this activity in repressing the inflammatory response to certain stimuli that could be brought about by hormonal activity. Because it must be taken for a few weeks before the actual problem arises in order to be effective against it, feverfew is not effective to treat an existing attack, but to prevent future attacks. Double blind studies have proved its effectiveness in many tests, but not in all. However, if you take feverfew as a regular supplement in you diet, you might never have to try magnesium or vitamin B-2 supplements.
Some people swear by the leaves of feverfew, eating one per day which is easy way to take it. It is important, however, that you do so regularly, since it can take for up to 6 – 8 weeks for you to notice a reduction in your attacks. Don’t give up after 5 or 6 weeks, but continue, since the results will be well worth it. If you stop for a week or two you will have to start all over again. You might get a sore mouth and perhaps mouth ulcers to start with, but these will eventually go once your body is used to it.
You are probably best not to take if you are pregnant since it could cause you to abort. Otherwise, however, it has been shown to be effective in many severe cases. Feverfew is bitter, and can be used as a tea with other herbs, such as rosemary, lavender and sage. If you are taking warfarin, aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs, see your doctor first, and the same is true of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). If you are taking these for arthritis, the feverfew itself might be more effective!
If you are taking feverfew as a supplement using commercially available dried leaf then the recommended dosage is around 125mg of the dried leaf. It should contain at least 0.2% of parthenolide (0.25mg/daily), although other studies have indicated that a total of 0.7 mg parthenolide a day should be taken (100mg at 0.7%). Parthenolide is unstable so don’t take it after its sell by or best by date.
Butterbur is also useful in the treatment of migraines. The active ingredient here is petasin, a sesquiterpene ester that also has anti-inflammatory properties, all though it works in a different manner to feverfew. Here, it inhibits the activities of leukotriene generation in neutrophils and eosinophils, which indicates that it also possesses anti-allergenic properties that could help asthmatics that also suffer from migraines. It does not prevent the release of histamine, but does appear to reduce smooth muscle spasm.
You should never take the raw herb, only the extract, because it contains alkaloids that can harm you. The butterbur extract, however, is a perfectly safe supplement and found effective by many people in the treatment of migraine.
If your migraine is at the front of the head, then you should try ginger. Unlike feverfew, ginger works on a migraine as it is occurring, and improvement can be achieved for a bad migraine within half an hour. In fact if, like many people, you can feel a migraine coming on, half a teaspoon of freshly ground ginger can stop the pain before it starts.
Many herbal treatments for migraine include a combination of some of the above remedies, and many people swear by them. However, migraine treatment is very personal, and you should use what works best for you. If you are also taking other medical treatments however, please make sure that you refer to your physician before using any others, and that includes herbal remedies or supplements.
Is Wild Yam Natures Progesterone?
November 15, 2007 07:20 AM
Dioscorea villosa, commonly known as wild yam, is a tuberous vine native to North America and parts of Central America. It was used by the Mayan and Aztec civilizations for pain relief and birth control and has also been given the names colic root and rheumatism root, demonstrating this early use of the plant. However, whether it is nature’s progesterone or not is another question that requires close analysis.
These Central American civilizations, of course, did not understand the reason why they were effective. Some of the symptoms treated can be caused by the menopause, and the wild yam is believed to contain natural forms of progesterone that can alleviate some of the adverse effects of the menopause on the body. Like most plants, they also likely act as anti-inflammatories, so relieving the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Like any natural remedy, wild yam had its adherents and its detractors, though in recent years the plant has been used as the raw material for the production of cortisone and a form of progesterone: or at least so it is claimed, so let’s have a closer look at these claims and determine whether or not wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.
The human body uses organic compounds called hormones to regulate many of the chemical activities of the body. The hormones catalyze the chemical reactions and changes needed for the proper functioning of our bodies. Hormones are produced in small chemical factories dotted throughout our body called glands. Each gland is devoted to producing a specific hormone, or a range of them, and each hormone is designed for a specific purpose.
Each has an associated hormone ‘receptor’ at their targeted destination that fits the hormone like a jigsaw piece. When it turns up, the hormone attaches to the receptor and the reaction proceeds. That might be the initiation of energy production in cells, the activation of certain genes or even the stimulation of hair growth by the follicles or of the libido and the natural desire to procreate.
Hormones are manufactured from only three constituents: proteins, amino acids and cholesterol, and the steroidal sex hormones are created from cholesterol. Therefore, don’t reduce your cholesterol level too much!
Prior to puberty, all of the sex hormones are manufactured by the adrenal glands, and after puberty by the ovaries in women and the testes in men. Progesterone is produced initially, and is then used as the building block for all the other sex hormones (hence the prefix ‘pro’). In women these are the estrogens and in males the androgens. Progesterone is made from the start of the menstrual cycle, and after day 12 they have reached a high enough level to halt ovulation. Progesterone levels continue to rise for about 8 days, and then if fertilization has not occurred, the progesterone levels trigger menstruation, and the lining of the womb is detached and expelled.
During certain phases of the menstrual cycle, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone drop off, although the exact reason for the many and varied symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) are still unknown to a large extend. There appear to be several contributing factors, though estrogen and progesterone certainly appear to be two of the major ones. We shall concentrate here on the progesterone factor because that is what wild yam is claimed to address.
Although the main function of progesterone is to generate estrogen and testosterone, to restore the libido after menstruation, and maintain the integrity of the lining of the uterus and aid in gestation, it has many other purposes such as in thermogenesis (burning of body fats), protection against osteoporosis and is also believed to have a natural anti-depressant action. These are all supported by the symptoms that appear when the body is low in progesterone levels: depression, sudden increase in body fat, mood swings, loss of sex drive and a susceptibility to weak bones if the deficiency is long-term.
In other words, women that usually suffer from PMS, also generally suffer low progesterone levels. It is believed in some quarters that a progesterone deficiency causes an excess of estrogen that leads to these symptoms in addition to heart disease. No one really knows for sure, but a deficiency of progesterone seems to be the determining factor.
Women with menstrual problems continue to be issued with prescribed synthetic progesterone even though they do not have the same effect as natural progesterone. They can also lead to some unpleasant side effects such as fluid retention, strokes, jaundice, blood clots and depression: some of the symptoms it is intended to alleviate. Some take borage or evening primrose oil for the GLA that helps some of the effects, but this is taken to counter the over-production of the hormone prolactin in some women prior to menstruation, not a deficiency of progesterone.
Wild yam does not cause these symptoms, and is claimed by many to be very effective in alleviating the symptoms of PMS. The problem with the artificial forms of progesterone is that the liver’s job is to destroy foreign hormones, and send them to the digestive tract for expulsion. Natural hormones are not affected in this way, even if they come from a non-human source.
The chemical diosgenin in wild yam is very similar in structure to progesterone, and is believed to be the active principle. It is claimed that it can be used to produce not only progesterone but also other related hormones. However, some medical authorities and practitioners dispute this claim, and there is still a question as to how wild yam works. Because it does work, many people swear by it and claim that they could not live without it.
This is especially true of those that suffer from the more severe effects of PMS, and since wild yam does not work for everybody, it could be connected with the severity of the condition and the symptoms. Whichever is true, there appears to be little doubt in the eyes of those that use it as a cream that wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.