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Biotin's Role in Nail and Hair Growth
July 25, 2012 08:32 AM
Many people want to improve the health of their nails and hair, but knowing the best solution can be difficult. Scientists have discovered that biotin works to promote increased growth of the nails and hair.
Biotin is a member of the B-vitamins and is a water-soluble vitamin. Also known as the H vitamin, it has an important role in the metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. One of the major benefits of this vitamin is that it works to strengthen hair and nails. It is recommended that anyone who wants to increase hair and nail growth should include biotin in their diet.
Since biotin is important for normal functioning, a deficiency is uncommon. This vitamin is found in many foods including meat, dairy, and vegetables. Any food that is high in protein will also contain biotin. Those at risk for a biotin deficiency are vegetarians and Vegans, although it is possible in individuals who do not eat meat or dairy often. The most common sign of a biotin deficiency is hair loss. While uncommon, this is the best indicator that biotin intake is not sufficient. If worried about not getting adequate intake, it is possible to take a supplement. Usually biotin supplements are available as a B-complex supplement, and can be found at most vitamin and health stores.
Hair Growth And Biotin
The recommended amount of biotin for adults is 300 - 5000 mcg per day. However, if interested in increasing hair and nail growth, individuals should try to take 1000 mcg or more. This amount is a safe level of biotin but will also promote increased growth. Before taking a multivitamin, it is recommended to talk to a doctor. Some of the supplements available may have high levels of biotin never take more than 5000mcg per day. Be sure to take the right amount without overdosing on this vitamin.
So, can biotin improve my hair and nail growth? Yes, it can, but there are many products available today that promise to promote hair and nail growth, but don't actually work. Shampoo and conditioner that contain biotin are poor sources of the vitamin since it is not absorbed easily through the skin. Biotin works inside the body at the follicles and nail beds to increase growth. It must be taken internally to work. Other supplements that claim to increase nail and hair growth should be studied carefully as they may not be effective. The only way to increase growth is to maintain an adequate intake of this essential B-vitamin.
The best way to increase hair and nail growth is to eat biotin-rich foods. By eating dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and eggs, it's easy to get the needed amount. If vegetarian or Vegan, green peas, legumes, soybeans, and cruciferous vegetables are also rich in Biotin. Other good sources are whole grains such as rice, oats, and bulgar. Eating a whole-grain cereal is a great way to easily get Biotin. Biotin is one of the known vitamins that increases nail and hair growth and eating foods rich in this vitamin will ensure fast-growing and healthy hair and nails.
What is Vitamin Methylcobalamin B-12?
February 10, 2012 11:52 AM
Among the vitamin supplements presently available in the market, Vitamin B12 supplements are ones that a majority of people tend to excessively overlook. However, people do not know that this particular B vitamin is essentially need by their body to ensure that the nervous system continues functioning healthily, good DNA is produced and energy levels are maintained.
What is Vitamin Methylcobalamin B-12?
Vitamin B12 actually exists in four different forms namely Adenosylcobalamin, Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxycobalamin and Methylcobalamin. Among these forms of vitamin B12, the one that is most highly absorbed by the body is Methylcobalamin. This coenzyme form of vitamin B12 is considered biologically active. Since the deficiency of vitamin B12 can result of vitamin B12 can cause many problematic symptoms. The deficiency of B12, however, can be avoided with the consumption of Methylcobalamin B12 since it is absorbed by the body at a maximal rate.
The body does not need to excesively metabolize this form of vitamin B12 in order to make it safe to be absorbed; therefore, it is almost instantly used up by the body. Typically the foods that Vegans eat does not supply them with enough vitamin B12 from their diet, therefore, taking this coenzyme, biologically active form of vitamin B12 can help them cover up its deficiency.
Why is Vitamin Methylcobalamin B-12 So Necessary?
As mentioned earlier, the overall health of the body somewhat depends on the consumption of vitamin B12 as well. Similarly, anemia, nausea, lethargy, etc. are some health problems that can be caused because of the deficiency of vitamin B12. There are many other uses of vitamin B12, which can be more effectively fulfilled by Methylcobalamin.
Carbohydrates, protein and sugar are effectively converted into energy with the help of this particular vitamin. This helps people avoid getting easily tired and worn out during the day.Red blood cells are formed with the help of this vitamin.This vitamin is needed by white blood cells so that they can ensure the immune system is functions efficiently.The vitamin is used by nerve cells so that they can keep their fatty layer preserved.Cellular regeneration is promoted by this vitamin.
People will also get easily fatigued, experience shortness of breath and feel numbness in their feet and hands if their body is deficient of vitamin B12. People can even suffer from pernicious anemia if their body becomes significantly deficient of this vitamin. The level of this vitamin in the body can also be lowered if people have undergone some digestive-related surgery or have used some drugs to combat gastric conditions. Typically, B12 injections containing methylcobalamin are recommended by doctors to patients whose bodies are in need of this vitamin. However, this particular form of the vitamin is also available in the form of supplementary tablets that are placed under the tongue until they dissolve up completely and are absorbed by the body.
Vitamin B12 is therefore considered among the nutrients that the body essentially needs and it can be far more beneficial if people consume Methylcobalamin instead of the regular vitamin B12.
What is Fenugreek Seed and How Does It Boost Your Health?
July 07, 2011 11:16 AM
Fenugreek seed and your health
Fenugreek seed is a spice often added to curries and other Indian dishes. It is a good source of protein and nutrients. In folk medicine, it has been used in the treatment of pain and irritation characteristic of inflammation. It is historically utilized to promote lactation. More recent studies have shown that it displays antiviral properties. In particular, it has been tested in allaying symptoms of cold infections.
Trigonella foenum-graecum is a plant species that belongs to the legume family. As such, it has been cultivated as a vegetable even before the ancient times. It is believed to be an indigenous species of the Fertile Crescent, a historic region that comprises the modern countries Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria. To this day, it remains an important crop, herb, and food source in these countries.
Combats Diabetes Mellitus
Fenugreek seed has been the subject of scientific research in the past few years. Drawing on its use in traditional medicine, it has been employed in the management of blood sugar. It improves the effect of the hormone insulin in regulating glucose levels. In fact, it has shown great potential in treating both type I insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and type II noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus.
Alters Blood Lipid Profile
The phytochemical content of fenugreek seed enables it to effectively lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Clinical trials have recorded changes in lipids present in the systemic circulation after intake of fenugreek seed products. It is now postulated that it blocks the metabolic pathway for the synthesis of low density lipoproteins or bad cholesterol. Some sources say that it raises good cholesterol levels.
Increases Milk Production
Fenugreek seed is rich in organic compounds that promote the secretion of milk products within the mammary glands of lactating women by as much as 900 per cent. Traditionally, the seeds are ground into powder and consumed in large quantities by pregnant women. Today they are made into capsules, which have been reported to display the same benefits and remain popular in the Indian subcontinent.
Relieves Viral Infections
There is a growing body of literature devoted to the putative antiviral properties of fenugreek seed. A number of researchers have attested that the seed displays biochemical activity that interferes with the replication of viruses. For instance, topical applications of fenugreek extracts have shown desirable results in removing viral skin conditions, and oral intake has been effective in easing the common cold.
Promotes Skin Health
Fenugreek seed is a natural conditioner and moisturizer. It promotes retention of moisture in the skin and protects the outer layer of the skin from irritants. It has been used as salves to wounds, rashes, boils, bruises, allergies, and insect bites. It is made into a syrupy mixture that is directly applied to the hair. It regulates the production of sebum in the hair follicles and helps control dandruff.
Grab some fenugreek seed and feel the difference!
I Am a Vegetarian, Should I be Taking a B-12 Vitamin Supplement?
February 28, 2011 12:52 PM
Vitamin B12 And Your Health
Vegetarians are especially in risk of deficiency in vitamin B12 in that there are no plant sources known to contain significant levels of this essential nutrient. While the body is capable of storing this vitamin in the liver enough to meet the daily needs for several years, those who are following a strict Vegan diet for long periods of time are in danger of developing many different medical conditions, including heart diseases, neural impairment, and anemia. Most vegetarians do not realize the seriousness of vitamin B12 deficiency as its symptoms often materialize in later life when the damage may no longer be reversible. Fortunately, total vegetarians do have options without renouncing their beliefs, inasmuch as Vitamin B12 supplements have shown to meet the nutritional needs of the body.
Removes Neurological Problems
One of the mishaps of long-term vegetarianism is the incidence of neural tube defects in babies, inasmuch as developments in the nervous system in the first periods of pregnancy is compromised in women who have very low levels of vitamin B12 does not have enough even with excessive quantities of folate. Nerve cells in particular are very sensitive to the absence of this vitamin. Many vegetarians are under the impression that plants contain every nutrient that the human body needs, which is completely misleading. Only bacteria have the enzymes required to manufacture vitamin B12, and these bacteria are present in the gut of animals. The good news is that vitamin B12 supplements that are available in the market today are good source of the active forms of this vitamin, and has stood the test of time in reversing the deficiencies brought on by malnutrition.
Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
High levels of homocysteine are another consequence of low levels of vitamin B12 in the blood. A rise in homocysteine concentrations in the blood serum is a very important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, and may come to an extent that is no longer reversible. Atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease are among the disorders tied to elevated homocysteine in the bloodstream, the reason why supplementation vitamin B12 has been used to treat certain medical conditions involving the heart and the blood vessels. The availability of vitamin B12 is in fact inversely proportional to the quantities of homocysteine produced by the body, and supplementation starting in the early years has shown to remove all the dangers related to homocysteine.
Supplies the Body with Energy
It is a known fact that vitamin B12 supplements affect chemical processes implicated in the production of energy. They are now widely accepted to be good for individuals involved in endurance sports and for the regular guy who usually relies on caffeine. Vitamin B12 stimulates the conversion of fatty acids into cellular energy, and influences the production of red blood cells, producing the vitality we need minus the jittery effects of coffee. For athletes, it does not only provide energy but also ensures cardiovascular health as homocysteine levels are directly proportional to exercise duration.
If you do not eat much red meat and do not take a supplement, you might be deficient or boarder line at best in vitamin B12. Taking a supplement is the easy way to boost B12 and improve your health.
Vitamin D And Calcium - Phosphorus Absorption
January 14, 2011 12:21 PM
The human body is indeed a very complex system that needs various vitamins and minerals to sustain its vigor and life. One of the essential vitamins that is a must for our body to have is Vitamin D. The function of the said vitamin would sound very simple but if you ponder it deeper you will realize that beyond the simplicity lies its true essence and use.
The most vital function of vitamin D is for calcium and phosphorous absorption for bone and teeth growth. Not only that, it also aids in regulating the use and consumption of both minerals. To simply elaborate the vitamin’s mechanism of action, here goes the explanation. Adequate intake of Vitamin D could help your body decipher whether phosphorous and calcium will be deposited into your bones or would be discarded out of your system. Hence, for individuals who do not have sufficient intake of vitamin D, they would find it difficult to maintain homeostasis of the two essential minerals- calcium and phosphorous.
As early as now, we have to do our best and engage in different ways and means on how we can ensure that our body is getting enough vitamin D. It has been stated in several medical literatures that with adequate exposure to morning sunlight for approximately twenty to thirty minutes or an hour depending on the person’s skin tone, the body could generate its own vitamin D. the explanation for the difference in the required exposure is based on the fact that individuals who have dark colored skin has undeniably more skin pigments that could filter ultraviolet rays.
Because vitamin D is responsible in maintaining the health of your bones and teeth, a deficiency with the said vitamin would lead to a condition known as rickets. Rickets is characterized by bone fragility caused by depletion of calcium and protein deposits in your bones. However, as the golden rule dictates, too much of everything is bad. So if you consume too much of vitamin D, there would be a high probability that it will cause you a problem in your kidneys, heart and other vital organs brought about by calcium deposits.
Vitamin D can be found on the array of foods that we eat. Some food groups that contain high and liberal amounts of vitamin D includes: butter, milk, cod liver oil, cream, yogurt, tuna and egg yolks. However, despite of their high content of vitamin D, extra caution must be employed in eating such foods for it contains high level of bad cholesterol that is very detrimental to one’s body which in the long run would bring you to an undesirable state of health. Another wonder that vitamin D brings is the capacity of slowing down the growing number of cancer cells and in preventing grave illness such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis diabetes mellitus and arthritis.
Good Colon Health Is Essential To Feeling Good
July 21, 2010 02:55 PM
There was once a case of a young man who had felt sick for years. Although it was nothing intense, it was just enough to make him feel listless, tired, and depressed. His medical doctors prescribed him a list of medications, but nothing seemed to help. Eventually, he went to a chiropractor who was also trained in nutrition. After a few urine tests and an examination of his diet, the chiropractor was able to diagnose the man’s problem as auto-intoxication. This meant that his body was actually being poisoned by his intestinal tract.
Auto-intoxication, also known as intestinal toxemia, is a condition that is brought on by eating the wrong types and amounts of food that certain bacteria can thrive upon and produce toxins from. These toxins permeate into the bloodstream and are carried into the rest of the body. Symptoms of auto-intoxication include fatigue, nervousness, gastrointestinal conditions, skin diseases, headaches, endocrine and circulatory disturbances, and others.
The chiropractor placed the young man on a regime of low-protein, high complex-carbohydrate, low-fat foods, with the main emphasis being on raw fruits and vegetables. The young man felt great within a month. His symptoms had gradually disappeared. He states that it was frustrating to suffer for so long when the answer to his problem was a change in diet. The diet changes were not hard for him. After so long being sick, he was willing to try almost anything. He claims that the relief he feels today has made the diet changes worthwhile. The toxins which are formed and sent into the bloodstream are sent to the liver first, where some, but not all, of them are filtered out. They are then sent back into the bloodstream where they poison various cells. Finally, they are excreted by the kidneys into urine, making their presence able to be detected through a urinalysis.
A lot of medical literature has been published that supports the link between illness and intestinal toxemia. The following are just a few examples of this literature. One doctor studied 472 cases of allergies, with allergies clearing up when intestinal toxemia was eliminated. After 23 years of observation, another doctor stated that toxemia is the underlying cause of asthma. About 50% of all cases of inflammatory arthritis can be greatly helped by removing the toxins that are formed in the intestine. Similarly, about 25% of all cases of irregular heartbeats seem to respond well to the elimination of toxemia. Several hundred cases of ear, nose, and throat diseases were from auto-intoxications. A high protein diet that is combined with intestinal stagnation has been shown to cause toxemia of pregnancy.
It was found that many cases of eye disease respond well when the intestinal toxins are eliminated from the picture. Both mental and physical nervous system diseases may result form auto-intoxication. One paper reported that 517 cases of mental symptoms that ranged from mental sluggishness to hallucinations were relieved by eliminating intestinal toxemia. Recent research has actually found that toxemia is related to schizophrenia.
The process of aging is even sped up by toxins in the body. Low back pain and sciatica can be caused by nerves that are irritated by intestinal toxins. One doctor reported that intestinal toxemia is an important causative factor in the production of a variety of skin diseases. Breast diseases have self-healed when auto-intoxication has been removed from the picture. It seems that the answer to many health problems is building up the immune system with a healthy diet that is high in complex-carbohydrates, low in fats, and contains an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
Increasing fiber in the diet can help colon function and eliminate the compounds that cause auto-intoxication. Acidophilus can help restore the intestinal balance once the colon has been cleansed boosting digestion and immune health. Look to your local or internet health food store for quality colon support supplements.
Natural Remedies To Control Blood Sugar
June 17, 2010 01:32 PM
Diabetes has now been found to be the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and Canada. It is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. The disease starts off as a variety of metabolic changes that are associated with hyperinsulinemenia and hyperglycemia. When this happens, Insulin Resistance Syndrome results, which is a precursor to actual, full-blown, diabetes. If left untreated, insulin resistance will develop into full-blown diabetes, which includes greatly magnified risks of heart disease, stroke, eye and kidney disease, and loss of nerve function. It should be noted that diabetes is the principal cause of adult blindness and limb amputation.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is crucial for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. The body breaks down all of the sugars and starches that you consume into glucose, while insulin takes the glucose from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into the cells, the cells may be starved for energy immediately, and high blood sugar glucose levels over time can cause damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart. Diabetes occurs in people of all ages and races, with some groups having a higher risk for developing it than others. Diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, as well as the older aged population.
Non-insulin-dependent diabetes, also known as type 2 diabetes, is a disease that is strongly associated with a sedentary lifestyle and the modern western diet. Inadequate physical activity, along with a diet that is high in refined sugars, saturated fats, and proteins, and simultaneously low in dietary fiber has resulted in an obesity epidemic throughout the United States and Canada. With this epidemic has risen the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. In fact, obesity is a main factor in type 2 diabetes, with almost 90% of those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes being obese at the time of diagnosis. Although there is still a disagreement as to whether obesity actually causes type 2 diabetes or whether diabetes causes obesity, there is one thing that is clear: the disease involves a huge disturbance to the metabolic balance of the body and weight is a major factor in blood sugar management. This disturbance leads to dramatic consequences for the individual.
In order to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, it is crucial that one prevents the onset of insulin resistance. Unfortunately, millions of North Americans unknowingly suffer from this syndrome. This places them at an increased risk for cardiovascular and neurological dysfunctions. Research has shown that complications that are associated with the development of insulin resistance may be mitigated effectively by conscientious dietary and lifestyle changes along with weight loss.
Vitamins B3, B6, B12, C, E, biotin, coenzyme Q10, and the trace elements chromium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc are all crucial for proper blood sugar defense and metabolic support, as well as the regulation of glucose metabolism. Supplementation with these nutrients at levels that are determined to be suitable for optimal nutritional health by cited nutritional authorities is an important part of product-rating criteria. Nutritional experts ask themselves whether the product in question contains vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, biotin, coenzyme Q10, chromium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc at potencies that are up to 100% of the potencies for these nutrients in the Blended Standard.
Excess weight seems to be a key factor in type 2 diabetes so it seems to reason that reducing body fat can help one improve insulin sensitivity. Losing weight is no easy task but is possible with consistent work. Fortunately, heath food stores have vitamin formulas that may help improve insulin sensitivity, but this is no substitute for good clean eating and exercise. For additional information on these supplements, please contact your local health food retailer.
Antioxidants and your health
May 17, 2010 10:44 AM
There is an impressive amount of scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of supplementing with a wide variety of antioxidants. Consequently, there are many health practitioners who have begun to recommend high dietary intakes of these crucial nutrients in order to prevent against oxidative stress. It was anticipated over two decades ago by leading researchers that high-dose supplementation with antioxidants is developing a significant role in the prevention and treatment of a lot of today’s common illnesses. It should be noted that antioxidants do not work in isolation. When an antioxidant neutralizes a free radical, it, itself, is oxidized and must be regenerated by another antioxidant before it can be used again. Because of this, it is crucial to supplement with a wide variety of antioxidants, in order to reflect what actually occurs in nature.
Vitamin C, an aqueous-phase antioxidant, is the main guard against oxidative attack in the extra-cellular matrix, as well as within the cytoplasm of the cell. Vitamin C happens to be a substrate for eight different enzyme systems that are involved in various cellular functions. Among these functions are collagen synthesis, ATP synthesis in the mitochondria, and hormone biosynthesis. Its main antioxidant partners are vitamin E and beta carotene, both of which help to regenerate vitamin C.
Of all the antioxidants, it seems as if vitamin E offers the greatest protection against heart disease because of its ability to protect the cardiovascular system from oxidative damage. It is lipid-soluble, making it an important component of the cell membrane, where it works to protect the cell against lipid peroxidation and control oxidation-induced inflammatory events. Recently, the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E has shown a great deal of promise in its ability to reduce the risk of several oxidative stress related disease.
Beta-carotene is a member of a diverse group of photosynthetic pigments. It plays a huge role in human nutrition. As an antioxidant, it possesses a double-bond structure that allows it to react effectively with single oxygen radicals, absorbing and diffusing their energy. Beta-carotene also acts as a precursor for vitamin A by supplying a portion of the body’s requirement for the vitamin. This act alone plays a central role in the chemistry of vision. Beta-carotene and vitamin A both prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, reduce oxidative damage to DNA, and disable oxygen free radicals that are produced by exposure to sunlight and air pollution. These antioxidants are also involved in the activation of gene expression and the control of cell differentiation.
When combined together, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene produce and important antioxidant trio that plays a huge role in fighting oxidative and inflammatory events. There are several other antioxidants that should be noted due to their ability to work synergistically with the vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene trio. These include vitamin A, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and the antioxidant mineral, selenium. In order to determine whether a nutrient provides antioxidant support, scientists question whether the product contains vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, beta-carotene, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and selenium and to what strength these vitamins and minerals are per serving.
Pea Protein Powder And Your Health
January 19, 2010 03:42 PM
Combining proteins from plant sources can be difficult, especially for people who are stressed for time and for those who avoid not only meats but dairy products, soy and eggs. Vegans and vegetarians often struggle to consume optimum levels of protein. And many other people search for ways to include the right amounts and types of protein in their diets.
Source Naturals Pea Protein Powder is a natural vegetable protein powder made from yellow peas (Pisum sativum), the peas used in split pea soup. This highly digestible, highly bioavailable protein source is a great way to supplement a vegetarian diet for those who have problems eating beans and soy. Suitable for children and adults, it increases carbohydrate metabolism for heart health, weight management and healthy glucose levels.
Pea Protein Powder is a non-GMO, hypo-allergic protein source that is 100% gluten and cholesterol free. The concentrated powder is 84% protein, and compliments that content of other protein sources. Its protein profile includes a high content of lysine, and essential amino acid that is often limited in other vegetable proteins.
Pea Protein Powder is easily incorporated into drinks, smoothies, shakes, crackers, chips, snacks, soups, and other dishes. It can be added to soups or stews or sprinkled on past dishes instead of parmesan cheese. It has a neutral taste and good solubility. Source Naturals Pea Protein Powder is a great way for your to boost the protein in your diet. Available in both 16 oz and 32 oz powder cans.
Probiotic 10 - 25 and 50 Billion
September 28, 2009 02:35 PM
Probiotics play an important role in human health. Aside from their support of the digestive system, friendly flora are involved in countless biological actions that significantly affect the quality of life.
Unfortunately, the industry has been without a line of truly “allergen-free” probiotics; a void that has proven problematic for allergen-sensitive individuals wishing to complete their supplement regimen with probiotics. Additionally, many probiotic formulas claiming to be allergen-free are not 100% vegetarian/Vegan. Trace amounts of dairy media from which they were cultured is often retained, while others may be encapsulated using beef gelatin or other animal-derived ingredients. We don’t think something of such great importance should come with such limitations. NOW® Probiotic-10™ is a unique blend of ten probiotic strains delivering either 25 or 50 billion beneficial organisms, respectfully, providing nutritional support for the maintenance of a healthy digestive system.*
Today’s probiotics are grown mainly in dairy media. And while some manufacturers assure dairy-free status, third-party testing often proves otherwise.
The bacteria strains in NOW® Probiotic-10 are grown on a vegetarian media. This ensures the absence of dairy and other allergens, while providing a high digestive tolerance.
Superior Potency & Quality
Extreme care is taken throughout each manufacturing phase of NOW® Probiotic-10™. Its probiotic strains are cultured with non-GMO media, and packed in amber glass bottles for superior protection. NOW guarantees full potency (25 or 50 billion live organism) through each product’s “Best By” date.
From initial fermentation to final encapsulation, NOW guarantees that Probiotic-10™ is 100% vegetarian/Vegan.
August 22, 2009 11:54 AM
Buckthorn is a bitter herb that is used for expelling impurities. It has been used in Europe for hundreds of years as a potent laxative for purging the body. The Cherokee Indians used this herb as a cathartic. It was also used for skin problems. Nicholas Culpeper, a seventeenth-century herbalist, recommended using bruised buckthorn leaves to stop bleeding when it was applied directly to the wound.
The buckthorn plant is a genus of about one hundred species of shrubs or small trees that range from one to ten meters tall. These plants are native throughout the temperate and subtropical Northern Hemisphere. They are also found more locally in the subtropical Southern Hemisphere in parts of Africa and South America. Some species of this plant are invasive outside of their natural ranges. This species has both deciduous and evergreen plants with simple leaves that are three to fifteen centimeters long. The plant bears fruits which are dark blue berries. The name for this plant comes from the woody spine on the end of each twig in many of the species.
The berries of the buckthorn plant are the part used medicinally. They are collected when ripe. From them, a nauseous, bitter juice is obtained. From this juice, with the addition of sugar and aromatics, buckthorn syrup is prepared. When they are freshly gathered in autumn, the berries are about one third of an inch in diameter. A series of rich but fugitive colors is obtained from the dried berries. The berries were originally sold under the name “French berries.” If they were gathered before they were ripe, the berries would create a yellow dye that was formerly used for staining maps or paper.
This herb is a well-known and extremely powerful laxative. It is also helpful for cleansing the liver and gallbladder. Buckhorn works by stimulating the flow of bile from both the liver and gallbladder. If one takes buckthorn hot, it will produce perspiration and also lower a fever. When made into an ointment, this herb will help relieve itching. Some evidence of antitumor effects of buckthorn has been found. However, there is no recent research to prove the information. Many believe that future studies will prove that it is beneficial.
This herb should not be abuse. Be sure to follow directions in order to avoid gastrointestinal cramping. It is important to consult a health care professional before taking this, or any herb, in order to obtain optimum effects.
The bark, berries, and root of the buckthorn plant can be used to provide alterative, anthelmintic, antineoplastic, antirheumatic, bitter, blood purifier, diuretic, emetic, febrifuge, and mild purgative properties. The primary nutrient found in this herb is vitamin C. Primarily, buckthorn is extremely helpful in treating bleeding, chronic constipation, fevers, gallstone, gastric disorders, liver disorders, and lead poisoning.
Additionally, this herb is very beneficial in dealing with appendicitis, edema, gout, hemorrhoids, itching, parasites, rheumatism, skin diseases, and external warts. In order to obtain additional information on the many beneficial effects provided by buckthorn, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store.
Vitamin B Complex
November 24, 2008 04:45 PM
The connection between B vitamin complex and stress is well known; although why a good B vitamin complex can reduce stress is less well known. Before discussing the reason why a Vitamin B formula can reduce stress, we shall first have a look at stress and what causes it. The term means different things to different people, and a stressful situation to one person might not be such to another.
The biochemistry of stress is fairly complex, although involves the production and release of hormones into your bloodstream. When an event occurs that causes stress, the hypothalamus portion of your brain becomes involved. It releases cotocotropin releasing factor (CRF), a hormone that protects you from stress by raising your spirits. CRF sends signals to the pituitary gland causing the release of ACHT (Adrenocorticotropic hormone corticotropin) that causes cortisol to be released into the bloodstream by the adrenal glands. Cortisol speeds up the metabolism.
Coincidentally, the cells of the brain stem and spinal cord send a message that stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete epinephrine that increases the heart rate, breathing and alertness, ready for fight or flight. Both of these mechanisms then lead back to the pituitary gland and your new stress level can repeat the process or stop it, should your stress be reduced. If this cycle continues over an extended period of time it can have serious repercussions on your mental and physical health.
The B vitamins can help to regulate this biochemical function, and in doing so can reduce stress, and with it the associated anxiety and depression. In fact many of the symptoms of vitamin B deficiency are those that are also associated with stress: anxiety, nervousness, depression irritability and so on. There is no one specific form of Vitamin B that helps with stress, and there are eight in total. However, in saying that, the three members of the B vitamin complex that have most effect on stress are vitamins B 3, 6 and 12.
Every one of the B vitamins is involved in cell metabolism. Because they are soluble in water, they are quickly leached from the body so have to be replaced on a regular basis. The various B vitamins are needed by your body for specific purposes, such as Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is essential for the correct function of your nerves, brain and muscles. Although others have their own particular areas of responsibility, they are generally lumped together, not only because they are all soluble in water, but also because they each have a profound effect on the metabolism of your body.
Those mostly connected with the nervous system are Vitamins B3, B6 and B12. Vitamin B3 (Niacin) helps to maintain the proper health of your digestive system, skin and nerves, and B12 (cobalamin) is also needed for a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) along with vitamin B12 are the two principal members of the B complex that have an effect on stress, and a deficiency of these can make you more prone to this frequently debilitating condition. In fact many people that are suffering from a general Vitamin B deficiency have various forms of mental problems.
Because Vitamin B12 is available only from animal sources, deficiencies are common in vegetarians, and even more common in Vegans who are advised to take a Vitamin B12 supplement. However, in general you are best to take a Vitamin B complex as opposed to a supplement of any specific member of the B family. This is because a surplus of any one could lead to a depletion of others.
It is thought that much of today's stress is caused by an inadequate diet, and a diet deficient in various forms of Vitamin B is believed to render the subject particularly prone to stress and anxiety. People that have been suffering undue levels of stress over a protracted period of time can be helped by a regular treatment of B vitamins. In taking such supplements, however, you should also be aware of the various possible effects on your body that the causes of your stress can have. These are frequently neither understood nor recognized when they occur.
For example, if you are under stress due to a poor diet, or conversely, are eating a poor diet due to your high stress levels, you might be building up fatty deposits in your liver. Because of this your general health could be at serious risk in addition to your mental health. It is important, therefore, that you don't just restrict yourself to a B vitamin complex, but also take a supplement containing inositol and choline bitartrate.
These can reduce the fatty deposit that a poor diet can cause to build up in your liver with consequent risk to life. Such deposits affect the ability of your liver to destroy the environmental toxins to which become exposed as part of your daily life, and which can be directly related to your ability to counter high stress levels.
In general, however, if you are prone to stress and get nervous and worried about the slightest thing that doesn't go to plan, a B vitamin complex can help: vitamin B can reduce stress, although if your stress is sever you would be better advised consulting a physician than a health store.
Stress is a serious condition, and not one that should be treated lightly. It is possible to treat some stress conditions by using a good B vitamin complex, although should the stress be serious then you should consult your physician. Frequently the stress is not diet related, but due to personal circumstances that cannot be cured by any form of supplement.
However, there are few doubts that a course of Vitamin B supplements can help to overcome many of the metabolic causes of stress, and make up for any deficiency in these vitamins that leave your body almost as quickly as they enter it. Vitamin B can reduce stress, but only if your stress is due to a deficiency: and this is more common that most people are aware.
Vitamins Herbs And Antioxidants
October 17, 2008 09:48 AM
Grilling meat over an open fire is something our ancestors have been doing for thousands of years. But people today who are indulging in chicken and cheeseburgers face a lot of concerns that our ancestors never even dreamed of. These include air pollutants and cancer-causing compounds. Research has proven that grilling meats creates two types of compounds that can lead to cancer. More so, both briquettes and lump charcoal spew hydrocarbons and soot particles as they burn, which encourage global warming contribute to many health problems. However, the majority of us cannot resist barbeque. So instead of dodging barbequed food, learn to grill without the guilt and fewer health risks.
Barbeque emissions are well below those from motor vehicles and the industry in rank, but its environmental effects are just as harmful given that burning charcoal contributes to smog and global warming. Lump charcoal is actually made from charred wood, which is a factor in deforestation. It can be compared to fuels that we use in furnaces and water heaters, such as oil, gas, and wood. Like these other fuels, charcoal produces soot when it is burned. These particles in soot are air pollutants and microscopic solids which are inhaled and deposited in the lungs. Particle pollution is associated with asthma, strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer, and reduced life expectancy. Once animal fat drips onto the flame of a charcoal or gas grill, carcinogenic compounds rise with the smoke and are deposited on the meat. Other harmful chemicals are then formed on the food as it continues to char. The more time the meat spends on the grill, the more harmful chemicals that are created. These compounds do not form on vegetables, as it is a reaction with animal-based foods that generates the harmful effects. However, any food that is over-charred contains other types of cancer-causing substances.
Grilling is a method of cooking that adds to the formation and deposit of cancer-causing substances on meat, as both substances deposited are undesirable and carcinogenic. The high heat of grill cooking produces more harmful chemicals than oven roasting or baking a lower temperature, but beef and chicken must both be cooked at temperatures high enough to destroy E. coli and other harmful bugs.
Because cancer risk is influenced much more by long-term patterns than occasional patterns, the goal is to have a diet that balances calories you take in with calories you put out, and to eat a diet containing many fruits and vegetables. Grilling less meat and more vegetables can reduce pollution on many levels. Also, vegetarian sources of protein, such as veggie burgers, contain few or no harmful chemicals when grilled. So for those summer days when a barbecue is irresistible, be sure to use natural charcoal, which is made from environmentally friendly wood sources and low-emission plant wastes.
Thankfully, all natural charcoals are chemical-free. In order to minimize cancerous compounds on the grill, cook at lower temperatures and flip meat every one to two minutes. Marinating meat or precooking it in a microwave for two minutes will also reduce hazardous compounds and carcinogenic compounds can be reduced by grilling lower-fat meats with fewer fat drippings.
By simply limiting the animal protein portion and making vegetables and grains a larger part of the meal, you can minimize the carcinogens and maximize your intake of cancer-protective vitamins and natural compounds. For most eliminating meat is undesirable, so supplementing with herbs and vitamins that help boost the immune system and act as antioxidants such as grape seed extract, vitamin c, and bioflavonoids can help the body fight off those nasty carcinogens produced from grilling.
August 19, 2008 08:38 PM
Folic acid is an important vitamin to the developing fetus in that it aids cell development, particularly those cells involved in the development of the baby's spine. A deficiency can result in neural tube defects, in which the neural tube, down through which the central nervous system passes, fails to close properly.
However, let's first discuss the substance itself so that its function in that process can be more easily understood. Neither should we ignore the other benefits that folic acid gives us, or the problems we can have in the event of a deficiency.
Folic acid is a form of Vitamin B9, sometimes referred to as Vitamin M. Its anionic form is known as folate, which is the form in which it is frequently offered in supplements. Incidentally, it gets its name from the Latin for leaf, so is from the same root as foliage. It is water soluble, and like Vitamin C can be leached through the body if not immediately used.
It is available naturally from leafy and green vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach and peas, but is also available in fortified breakfast cereals, sunflower seeds and some fruits. You would not normally suffer a deficiency, but if you are taking anticonvulsants, have liver problems or undergoing kidney dialysis, then you might need a supplement. Pregnancy, of course, is the important case in which a supplement should be taken, although, surprisingly, many mothers-to-be are unaware of this.
New body cells need folate for their production, particularly when they are dividing and growing rapidly such as during pregnancy and in infancy. The formation of DNA depends on many chemical entities, among them four nitrogenous bases, of which three, thymine and the two purine bases, adenine and guanine, depend on folate for their synthesis. If the growing fetus is lacking folate then DNA synthesis will be hindered. This retards cell division and growth.
Among the conditions this can cause are a form of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia, and neural tube deficiencies, where the sheath that surrounds the main nerve canal up the spine fails to close properly. The best known of such neural tube defects is spina bifida, though any condition caused by a lack of cell division can also occur. Anemia can be contracted by both adults and children, since production of red blood cells takes place constantly throughout your lifetime. These are the reasons why folic acid or folate is used in breakfast cereals.
The biochemistry is fairly simple to understand, and is important because it explains the importance of two other B vitamins, B3 and B12, in DNA synthesis. The initial stages are a six step reaction that forms methyl tetrahydrofolate from folate, starting with the reduction of folate to dihydrofolate, and then a further reduction to the tetrahydrofolate (THF). Vitamin B3 (in the form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) is an essential cofactor for these reductions. Vitamin B12 is necessary as an acceptor for the methyl-THF so that it can continue along the biochemical pathway - now that is too complex to discuss here!
However, the inference you can rightly draw from this is that a deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause what is known as a 'methyl trap', whereby the methy-THF cannot be used, and so a deficiency in Vitamin B12 can lead to the same symptoms as a folic acid or folate deficiency.
The implications of that are that vitamin B12 is also an essential component of a pregnant woman's diet. The problem here is that this vitamin is available only from animal sources, including dairy products. Its presence in vegetable organisms such as certain algae and fungi has been proposed, but it is believed that the cobalamin (chemical term for the vitamin) from these sources is not bioavailable to humans.
Vegans, therefore, who do not eat dairy products, will need a Vitamin B12 supplement in addition to folic acid or folate, particularly when they are pregnant and with young growing children. In this respect, a Vegan diet is unsuitable for young children until their rapid growth period has stabilized.
For those of you wondering why the biochemistry above was discussed: that is your answer. Such discussions can frequently explain why certain supplements are necessary, or certain diets should be reconsidered under particular circumstances. Such things are easier to understand and accept when the logic behind them are explained. A folic acid supplement taken from the onset of pregnancy up to 12 weeks at least, and also a Vitamin B12 supplement in the case of those with a low meat intake, should prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
A daily supplement of 0.4 mg should be sufficient, along with a diet rich in green vegetables, fortified cereals and breads and oranges. Your greens are best steamed since prolonged boiling destroys folic acid - as it destroys Vitamin C. One source of folic acid that you might read about is liver, and its additional iron content might lead you to believe this to be a good component of your diet when pregnant. However, although normally a very nutritious food, liver should be avoided during pregnancy due to its high Vitamin A content. This can be harmful to your baby.
Finally, there are some circumstances under which the dose during pregnancy should be greater. If you have previously had a child with a neural tube defect, or have an NTD yourself (or your partner), if you are diabetic, if you have celiac disease (a gluten allergy) or are taking anti-epileptic medication, you should increase your dose to 5 mg (milligrams) for which you will likely need a prescription from your physician.
NTD is rare, so don't over-worry much about it, but take the above precautions to put your mind at rest since pregnancy is not a time during which you should be nervous but to enjoy. That will pass on to your growing baby, which will then itself be happy.
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.
Blue Green Algae a Super Food that is Foods Packed With Nutrients. Vegetarian Friendly
April 11, 2008 11:24 AM
In the USA it is harvested in Oregon, in the upper regions of the Upper Klamath Lake, although it is also available in many other parts of the world. Blue green algae are about the best source of vegetable protein and amino acids available to the human diet, although are now generally used as a supplement rather than as a primary food source.
However, in spite of its name, it is not an alga at all: it is a bacterium: Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), known as cyanobacteria, after the Greek for blue. Nevertheless, bacteria or not, blue green algae offer exceptional nutritional benefits and also health benefits to people suffering from certain conditions. Here are the best of its benefits:
1. It is natural and therefore easily assimilated and digested. You get a very high useful yield from its nutrient content, unlike other foods where a large proportion can be passed through the gut unchanged. In fact a large proportion of the food you eat passes through your body unchanged, although that is mainly due to a lack of chewing!
2. It is very high in protein, and helps to maintain healthy hair, nails and skin. If you are on a vegetation diet this is an ideal source of non-animal protein (unless you class bacteria as animals!). If you want numbers, at least 60% of the solid content of this material is vegetable protein human-ready for use.
3. It is packed full of enzymes that aid digestion, and so ensures that not only is it itself fully digested, but also that you get the most nutritional benefit from any other foods you eat. A lack of enzymes is very common in the western diet, especially the North American diet, and if you take a regular supply of blue green algae, then you need not also take enzyme capsules.
4. It possesses cleansing and detoxifying properties, and so helps to reduce the incidence of headaches and allow you better and more restful sleep. Toxins can act on your body to cause pain, and is associated with the free radicals discussed below.
5. It is very high in antioxidants that destroy the free radicals in your blood and tissues. Free radicals destroy body cells and can seriously damage your health. Among the health benefits that blue green algae provide due to its antioxidant properties are:
a) It supports the immune system and helps to prevent inflammation in your joints. It also enables you to fight off bacterial and viral infections quicker. b) It maintains the integrity of your body and skin cells, and reduces cell damage by free radicals. This has an anti-aging effect and preserves the youthful appearance of your skin, resisting wrinkling and maintaining its firmness. c) Blue green algae help to prevent the free radical oxidation of the LDL lipids that transport cholesterol that cause the atherosclerosis that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
6. It provides you with energy through its effect on your body’s metabolic conversion of blood glucose to energy within the mitochondria. This is partially due to its antioxidant effect and partially to the nutritional content of the bacteria. The bacteria are also a rich source of glycogen that is your body’s store of emergency energy. Your liver can use the bacteria to biosynthesize its own store of glycogen that your body can use if called upon for a sudden burst of energy.
7. The amino acids it contains are of low molecular size, and can cross the blood-brain barrier. It provides nutrition to the brain, and its high chlorophyll content helps to purify the blood. Its high content of trace minerals and naturally chelated minerals renders them extremely bioavailable, and able to provide a high degree of nutrition to the brain and other organs of the body. Blue green algae contain rhamnose that helps nutrients to cross from the blood to the brain, and then to the brain cells that need it.
8. Blue green algae have been shown to help memory and mood. This is likely due at least in part to its fatty acid content, and its effect on serotonin levels.
These eight benefits are more than any other individual food source can provide, and in themselves justify the claim that blue green algae is the best individual food source there is. However, when we have a look at the active ingredients, and nutritional content of the bacteria, then it seems even more impressive. There is more to blue green algae than just a few vitamins and minerals. You can get these in any multivitamin supplement: this stuff is completely natural and all of its ingredients are completely compatible with the human digestive system.
Many of the synthetic vitamins you find in boxes and tubs are only partially absorbed due to the form they are in. Either that or they need the presence of other substances before they can be assimilated. An example is calcium, which is next to useless without magnesium and vitamin C also being present to allow it to be incorporated in the structure of the bones and teeth. With blue green algae, every combination of substances that nature needs for them to work properly is there. Everything gets used and everything has a role to play.
The amino acids and proteins have already been mentioned, and these unusual bacteria contain all of the trace minerals that are necessary for the amino acids and proteins to be properly used. It also contains a large quantity of beta-carotene (a natural Vitamin A precursor and strong anti-oxidant), and is also rich in Vitamin B-12 that most vegetarians are deficient in. It is therefore the perfect food for vegetarians and Vegans.
If you understand the health benefits of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which blue green algae are also rich in, then you will understand how a foodstuff containing these fatty acids and all of the other nutritional substances listed above could be regarded as a ‘Superfood’.
Blue green algae is probably the richest food available commercially to humans, but before you use it you should ensure that the content of blue algae in the supplement you purchase is clear and that you are purchasing a standardized amount in what you are purchasing.
Otherwise, it is difficult to see how anybody could go wrong with blue green algae, since it is indisputably an excellent source of protein, amino acids, vitamins and much, much more.
Vitamin K2 - Description by Now Foods
April 02, 2008 03:29 PM
Product Description: NOW ® Vitamin K-2 contains 100 mcg of vitamin K-2 (as Menaquinone) per Vcap®. Vitamin K2 is the most biologically active form of vitamin K. Additionally, it is also the most beneficial for bone integrity, as well as for the support of arterial health.* To enhance its cardiovascular support properties, we’ve added 300 mg of Alfalfa, a plant that is well known for its rich stores of naturally-occurring vitamin K. NOW® Vitamin K-2 is vegetarian/Vegan friendly, and free of many common allergens, including sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, shellfish or preservatives.
You Should Say: Please Pass the Broccoli, Not I’ll Pass
January 22, 2008 04:38 PM
'Please pass the broccoli': not something that many mothers hear from their children. In fact, not many children appear to like any green vegetables let alone broccoli. This is not important at such a young age, but there comes a time when the health benefits that broccoli brings become almost essential to your good health and well being. Parents are right, but your children won’t believe you.
Some say that the nutritional punch of broccoli is stronger than that of any other vegetable. Is this claim justified? Let’s have a look at the evidence and the facts and you can judge for yourself. First the ‘ordinary’ nutrients of broccoli: vitamin C (more than oranges) and A, folic acid and calcium and also lots and lots of fiber. However, this wonderful vegetable contains not only high levels of calcium, but is also the one of the richest vegetable sources of magnesium. Calcium needs magnesium in order to be properly incorporated into your bone structure, and so broccoli is a very important calcium/magnesium source for Vegans that do not drink milk or eat any other dairy products.
It is also rich in protein, containing 3% by weight and is also rich in iron. It is therefore an important part of the diet of women during menstruation when iron is important to enable the blood to maintain its proper erythrocyte levels. A deficiency of iron in the diet of women can lead to anemia and render them more susceptible to infection. However, it is more than just iron that renders this vegetable an important part of the female diet. Broccoli has been established to be of major importance in preventing cancer.
It is likely the most potent anti-cancer vegetable in your diet, and it has been established over 20 years of study that broccoli can help to prevent cancers of the breast and the cervix. The indoles that it contains prevent estrogens from promoting tumor growth, and it also contains beta-carotene, a strong antioxidant that destroys the free radicals that can also cause cancer. However, there is more to broccoli than just that.
Broccoli contains the highest concentration of sulforaphane of all the cruciferous vegetables that include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, rocket and turnip, amongst many others. When you chew broccoli, the glucosinolate glucoraphan is converted to sulforaphane, not by the enzymes in your saliva, but by the actual physical damage done to the plant by the act of chewing. It could likely also be generated by hitting it with a hammer! It is glucosinolates that provide the slightly bitter taste many people experience when they eat vegetables such as brussels sprouts and broccoli, and that likely renders them somewhat unattractive to children!
Sulforaphane is an isothiocyanate containing the NCS functional group, and is actually bound loosely to the sugar as sulforaphane glucosinolate. It is the loose binding that allows it be released on chewing. Broccoli sprouts are its richest source, and it is a strong antioxidant which is why it is so effective in reducing the possibility of certain cancers.
When fighting cancers, your body produces phase-II enzymes, and since sulforaphane induces these enzymes, it stops the carcinogens before they can damage your DNA. This is achieved through the enhancement of the transcription of the proteins that suppress the tumors. In layman’s terms, it is the generation of tumor suppressant proteins from DNA that kills off the tumors before they can destroy the DNA.
There is even more however. Indoles have already been mentioned, and those in question are predominantly indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3,3-diindolylmethane (DIM). The latter is generated from the digestion of the former and possesses very potent anti-cancer properties. However, this indole can affect your health in ways other than just as an anti-cancer agent. It can modulate the immune system in a way that renders it suitable for the treatment of a number of viral infections, and is also believed to be a possible answer to the problem of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. It appears to operate synergistically with Interferon-Gamma, a cytokine that helps to prevent viruses from replicating within the cells of the body, to strengthen the MHC-I Complex, a part of the human genome that supports the immune response to viral attacks.
To put it plainly, broccoli can aid your resistance not only to certain cancers, but also to attack by viruses and some bacteria. It is not only cancers of the cervix and breast that broccoli can help to prevent, but also of the lung, prostate, larynx and bladder. I3C also helps to support the function of your liver in detoxifying your blood as well as supporting the cellular reproduction without which your body could not maintain itself after damage.
Broccoli is therefore an important vegetable to men as well as to women, not only for its anti-cancer properties, but also as a general antioxidant and consequent free radical scavenging properties. Its high fiber content is equally split between soluble and insoluble vegetable fiber, and so meets your dietary needs of both types.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli have been singled out by health organizations the world over as essential to your diet, and you should eat them regularly. Once daily would be good, but more is recommended if possible. As stated at the start, strong tasting vegetables containing glucosinolates might not be attractive to children and younger people, but their phytochemical content (the foresaid indoles and isothiocyanates) render them very potent antioxidants and anti-cancer foods.
Taken in relation to other foods, an ounce of broccoli contains as much calcium as a glass of milk, more vitamin C than a similar weight of orange, and a medium floret has more fiber than one slice of bran bread. It is rich in vitamin A and of course there are the other antioxidants and anti-cancer phytochemicals already detailed.
There are many ways of cooking broccoli to maintain its nutritional content, but if you do not like broccoli, then there are supplements available. You can purchase pure broccoli extract or an extract from a mixture of cruciferous vegetables. The choice is yours, but of one thing there can be no doubt. Broccoli is the king of green vegetables, and the nutrients it contains are not available in any other vegetable in such a concentrated and easy to assimilate form.
Your mom was right: it's not just 'eat your veg', but 'eat your broccoli'. No nutritional advice could be better than that. “Pass the broccoli please mom!”
Beyond Bran Fiber
December 25, 2007 08:35 AM
At one point in time, when you went to the health food store you usually only had choice of wheat bran, which is a good source of the insoluble fiber that helps your digestive system stay on track, or oat bran, which contains the soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol. Although both of these bran’s are still popular, as they have good reason to be, remaining excellent sources of dietary fiber, these days store shelves are gathering more and more fiber supplements ranging from encapsulated forms to powders and specialized to deal with a variety of health concerns.
Insoluble fiber has the ability to draw water into the intestines, preventing constipation and keeping waste matter from decaying within the body. However, it is the many types of soluble fiber that science has recently started investigating for health benefits. Part of soluble fiber’s value is closely related to its mechanical action, as it forms a thick gel within the digestive track that moves slowly to stop sugar from entering the body too quickly, therefore, helping to keep glucose levels down and carrying some fat and sugar out of the body completely. Additionally, when soluble fibers gel up it helps to reduce blood level cholesterol by trapping bile preventing the bile from doing its action (breaking down fats in the digestive tract so the body can absorb it). Unlike insoluble fiber, soluble fiber undergoes fermentation inside the colon to produce fatty acids that do a little bit of everything, including: helping the body digest food, protecting against polyps, stimulating immunity, increasing mineral absorption, and helping to keep cholesterol and glucose levels in check.
Soluble fiber is getting large amounts of research reviews. One study concluded that people who ate the least fiber are 63% more likely to have high levels of CRP (C-reactive protein). CRP is an inflammation marker that is associated with cardiovascular risk. Another study proved that flax seed improved glucose control. Another fiber source, psyllium, has been shown to bring relief to people with Chron’s disease, an inflammatory intestinal disorder.
Flax seed and psyllium are two of the best known types of soluble fiber available, but there are other types that aren’t as well known. Others including arabinogalactan (AG) have been shown to have a special affinity for natural killer cells. Beta-glucans are another form of fiber that can help boost immunity. Lignans, which are found in flax, have been shown to cause lower breast-cancer rates. Fenugreek is a spice that is rich in galactomannan, a heart-healthy fiber. Some fiber formulations pair up different kinds of fiber with complementary herbs. An example of this is Garcinia cambogia and Gymnema sylvestre, which can be used for glucose control; or astragalus, Echinacea, olive leaf, and shiitake to assist the immune system. Some supplements even provide natural enzymes which help prevent bloating.
It is, of course, important to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. However, thanks to supplementation that is designed specifically for certain health concerns, it has become much easier to find the additional fiber that is needed by your body, no matter what kind of fiber that is. A large selection of fiber bran supplements can be found at your local or internet health food store.
Loose Weight By Cutting Dietary Fat Absorption
December 08, 2007 06:24 PM
You can lose weight by cutting dietary fat absorption, although in order to understand the need for this you have to appreciate the effect that fat has on your weight. Not only fat, but any form of calories.
The word ‘calorie’ appears to have a bad press, and there have been a lot of ill informed comments made about calories and whether calorie controlled diets are effective or not. Quite frankly, it is all said in ignorance. Whether you agree or not, the calorie is a measurement of energy and the calorie content of foods is what is calculated to be the energy value of these foods.
Once inside your body, that energy is either used up or converted to body mass. It is not necessarily converted to fat, since that extra weight could be in the form of muscle tissue. However, it is converted to body mass and so you can put on weight. The basic equation is that if you take in more energy than you use, then you add weight, and if you use more energy than you take in, then you lose weight. It is slightly more complex than that, but it is basically true.
That does not mean that if you eat a pound of dripping (the fat that drips off cooking meat) you will add a pound of weight. It is the calorific value of the dripping in terms of energy, whether measured in calories or in joules, that is the relevant factor, and if that is 4000 calories, which is about average for various types of dripping, then if you use up 4001 calories in exercise, you can safely spread your pound of lard on toast and eat it without putting on weight (you will have also to use up the calories in the toast).
It is the calorie equation that is important, and if this is negative then you will lose weight. You have to: it is a law of science! Whether your calories are in the form of cookies, candies, avocados (loads of them) or dripping, it is all the same. A meat calorie is the same as a vegetarian or Vegan calorie. If you eat more than you use you put on weight.
Different foods contain different quantities of energy, or calories. If you buy a Big Mac you eat 570 calories, and 5 from your Super Pepsi. If the guy next to you has an English Muffin, he will have 140 calories. However, if he then goes home and slouches on the sofa watching TV and you go to the gym for a serious workout, he is liable to put on weight and you lose it. It’s all in the equation!
However, you don’t just use calories in exercise. Your metabolism is also important. In fact 65% - 75% of the calories you use in a day are used up by the body at rest: the metabolism that takes place 24/7 to keep you alive. The heartbeat, breathing and brain activity for example, all use up energy. So not all is doom and gloom, and you can burn up these calories even while you are sleeping.
However, there is another way to prevent the fat you eat from turning into weight. (Incidentally, if you exercise a lot, that weight will likely be in muscle mass, but if not then it will certainly be fat). You have a clue to the way that can be done in the first sentence of this article: ‘dietary fat absorption’.
If the fat is not absorbed into the body, then it is not available to be metabolized into body fat. It will pass through the body unchanged. It is not the fat you consume that makes you gain weight, but the amount of that fat absorbed through your intestines. But how is it possible to selectively prevent the fat in your diet from being emulsified by the bile and absorbed through the intestinal wall?
By means of chitosan. This is a fiber that absorbs part of the fat from the food you have eaten and hides it away from your digestive system. It cannot be broken down into sugars and then into fat to add to your unwanted weight. However, because it works after your meal, you get to eat what you want – that ‘finger lickin’ good’ stuff you love, but don’t suffer the consequences of failing to exercise to work it off. It’s like you just ate lettuce without the fried chicken with the crispy fatty skin.
So what is this miracle substance, chitosan? Biologists would recognize the name as being associated with chitin, the acetyl-glucosamine polymer that forms the carapaces, or shells, of crabs, lobsters and other marine shellfish. Chitosan is formed by deacetylating the chitin and is mainly used to enhance the growth of plants, and also as a filtration aid. So what does it do to help to remove some of the fat from your diet after you have eaten it?
The mechanism by which it does this is not fully understood, and in fact is still disputed in some quarters. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it appears to act according to the claims. There are two possible mechanisms, one of which is connected with the deacetylation of the chitin molecule. Because of this, the resultant chitosan molecule has cationic groups on the polymer chain. Cations are positively charged, and can react with acids, not the least of which are the bile acids that break down lipids (fats) to render them into a form suitable for absorption.
It is possible for the chitosan to react with the bile acids and prevent them from breaking down the fats into a condition that enables them to be passed through the intestinal wall. However, it has also been proposed that dietary fibers work by increasing the thickness of the boundary layer of the intestine through which the fats would have to pass. This would have the effect of reducing the lipid uptake.
It is also possible that since chitosan is a fibrous substance, it attracts the fats through its charge and absorbs them into a swelling ball of fats and fiber that is not only impermeable by the bile acids, but also passes through the intestinal tract unchanged and eventually excreted. In fact, there is not proof for any of these projected mechanisms, and all are theoretically possible. The fact is that it appears to work, but must be taken for several weeks for the effects to be noticeable.
It is possible to lose weight by dietary fat absorption, and whatever mechanism is used by chitosan, it is well worth trying if you like your fatty foods but also want to lose weight. Combine chitosan with a good exercise regime and you might find that you can control your weight whatever you eat. Chitosan is available over the counter at any health food store.
Are Vegan Supplements Good For Strict Vegetarians?
December 05, 2007 11:20 PM
The question as to whether or not Vegan supplements are good for strict vegetarians cannot be answered or understood without a complete understanding of the meaning of the terms ‘Vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’.
Where eating meat is concerned, there are several different types of diet, one extreme being the Atkins Diet where devouring animal flesh and fats is positively encouraged. However, it is not that extreme we are concerned with here, but the opposite, where no meat is eaten. Is there anything in a Vegan diet that there is not in a vegetarian diet, or are Vegan supplements harmful to strict vegetarians? These are questions that we shall now look at from a scientific viewpoint, since emotions are not involved in the answer to the question.
It is certainly true that for many people, emotions are very much involved in the distinction between an omnivore and vegetarian, and also between a vegetarian and a Vegan. Some of these have to do with the concept of eating ‘friendly furry animals’ and others to do with the ethics of breeding animal life for the sole purpose of eating it. While these concepts have nothing whatsoever to do with the scientific arguments, they have a lot to do with the various types of eating habit used throughout the world.
Some reasons for a vegetarian diet are imposed by local agricultural and husbandry conditions, where meat is simply not available to most people, others due to religious beliefs and yet others to personal feelings of disgust at the moral arguments involved in eating animals that have been bred specifically for that reason. If we take carnivores and omnivores out of the equation, including those that do not eat red meats, but eat chicken and fish, what do we have?
Vegetarians that eat dairy products and eggs are referred to officially as lacto-ovo-vegetarians. The reasons for the name are obvious. They eat eggs, cheese and yoghurt and also drink milk. The strict vegetarians, on the other hand, who are part of the subject of this article, eat vegetables and dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese, but omit eggs. Then, finally, we have the Vegans that eat only vegetable matter and no dairy products or animal based food at all. Each of these, you would think, would have a decreasing intake of nutrients essential for healthy and healthy growth.
A vegetarian diet, as opposed to that of a Vegan, contains many nutritious foods that omnivores also eat, such as pulses (lentils, peas, beans), grains (wheat, oats), nuts, seeds and vegetable and fruits of any form. It can also include protein in the form of soy protein and tofu that can be formed into sausages, burgers and other meat-like products. Why vegetarians should want to make their foods look like meat is unknown, but that seems to what they prefer. The likely reason is that the majority of vegetarians and Vegans became so after eating meat, and it helps them to stick to their diet by eating food in familiar forms.
Many have started their diets with what they know, and have substituted soy for minced beef in their spaghetti sauce, for example, and quorn for beef in their burgers. Together with a good piquant tomato sauce it is hard to tell the difference. Other than truly meaty dishes such as steaks, then, most meat dishes can be substituted for vegetarian alternatives or substitutes.
However, what does this do to the vegetarian’s nutrition? How does the vegetarian maintain a sufficient intake of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients by eliminating meat from their diet? Let’s have a look at some of the nutritional content of fish and meat that vegetarians are apparently not getting.
The first is protein, the main source for most people being from the flesh of meat and fish. Protein is essential for the maintenance of healthy muscles, vital organs, skin, and believe it or not, bones. A vegetarian eating eggs has no problems with protein, since eggs and cheese are full of it. There is also the protein in soy based foods and in quorn, a mycoprotein derivative of fungi. Nuts, peas, beans, cereal grains and seeds are all rich in proteins and the vegetarian does not have a problem in consuming an adequate supply of protein.
If we come to minerals, the most important for the health of your blood is iron. Green vegetables and whole grains are good sources of iron, as are pulses and some fruits. However, it is animal sources of iron that the body most easily absorbs, and in order for it to make use of vegetable sources, you should consume a good intake of vitamin C by eating plenty of fruits and green vegetables. You must take these at the same time as the vegetables that contain iron, or the iron will not be absorbed into the body. Otherwise, the vegetarian has a sufficient iron intake to maintain the health of their red blood cells.
The other critical mineral is calcium, essential for healthy bones and teeth. Many dark green vegetables are good sources of calcium, as are turnips, swedes and fortified soy milk. Zinc, too, is essential and without it many enzymes could not be synthesized by your biochemistry, and it is also necessary in the male reproductive system. Zinc, too, has many vegetarian sources, such as nuts, wheat germ and whole grains, and is also contained in soy.
So far in this evaluation neither vegetarians nor Vegans have been seriously compromised by their diet, although there are arguments that a vegetarian diet can harm young children since there is insufficient protein available to allow normal growth and development. This is currently under debate, and it is a matter for parents to consider whether or not their children should be raised on a purely vegetarian diet.
However, when it comes to a vital vitamin that is necessary for the production of red blood cells and the prevention of anemia, Vegans become unstuck. Vitamin B-12 is found predominantly in dairy products and other animal products. It is claimed that cereals enriched with B-12 and fortified soy products provide this vitamin to Vegans, but what are the sources of the vitamin that is used as a supplement?
It is generally accepted that Vegans require vitamin B-12 supplements, and also others such as calcium that they might be deficient in due to their diet. It is possible that the only real supplement needed is vitamin B-12, although many nutritionists claim that both vegetarians and Vegans should take supplements to boost intake of those nutrients of which the normal route to the body is through eating foods of animal origin.
There are many nutrients obtainable from animal sources that are classed as neither vitamins nor minerals, and for which there are adequate supplements to suit the needs of Vegans and vegetarians alike. Further evidence is needed, however, that Vegans are deficient in these since many of them have alternatives of vegetable origin that might annul their necessity.
One thing, however, is absolutely certain, and that is the answer to the original question. It is absolutely true that Vegan supplements are good for strict vegetarians. The reason for this is that Vegan supplements are designed to replace not only nutrients that the body might be deficient in due to a strict vegetarian diet, but also those missing by the absence of dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt.
Vegetarians will also benefit from such supplements, and it could be important to their health that both vegetarians and Vegans take them.
Omnivore Vs Vegan Who Is Right?
October 21, 2007 07:02 PM
The omnivore vs Vegan argument as to who is right and who is wrong can be argued from a number of different platforms. There is the ethical issue of whether we should eat other animal life, and also the argument as which is ‘better for you’, based on arguments such as vitamin B12 is not available from a Vegan diet. There is even the ‘lifestyle’ argument: does our lifestyle define our diet?
However, strictly, the only argument for or against either diet should only be made upon human biochemistry. Do both meet the needs of our biochemistry, or does one or the other lack something essential in our biochemical pathways? Obviously omnivores will lack nothing except by choice, since all foods are available for their consumption. If Vegans do lack a specific chemical need, then is that available as a supplement in a form that can be effectively used in the chemistry of our bodies.
The one argument accepted by both sides is that it is essential for all animals to consume living things in order to stay alive themselves. These living thinks need not be alive at the time of consumption, but it is necessary that they eat the flesh of plant or animal life that at one time was alive and contained DNA. What that infers is that it is only vegetables that can survive on non-living tissue and this appears to be borne out in practice. No living animal known can live on inorganic matter only, but most plants can and do. Not all though, the Venus fly trap being an example.
It is easy to extend the moral problem of eating living tissue to living vegetable tissue that also contains DNA, and the argument must lie between animal and the derivatives of animals, and non-animal tissue. It has not yet been found that any organism has yet crossed the animal-vegetable divide, so the division is a valid one. That might seem obvious, but it is necessary to establish that for the argument between Vegan and omnivore diets to be valid.
The consumption of protein derived from meat is not a prerequisite for size and muscle bulk, since the largest dinosaurs in the world were all herbivores, the largest being a member of the sauropod family at more than 175 tons, eclipsing the largest meat eater, the gigantosaurus at 8 tons. Thus, meat does not mean bulk. However, what has been proved is that the fastest creatures are carnivores. Hence if you want to be a top class sprinter, eat meat!
Carnivores, with their lean muscle mass and highly efficient quick use of available energy, have very short digestive tracts which are not good for digesting vegetable matter, but make best use of animal proteins and expel unnecessary mass from the body quicker. The argument in favor of the Vegans is that the human digestive tract is not that of a carnivore.
In herbivores, the food takes longer to digest, and hence it remains in the digestive system longer. This means a longer alimentary canal, longer than humans have. Herbivores also move slowly, and a good example is the comparison of speed between the omnivorous chimpanzees and other small monkeys and the herbivorous gorillas and orangutans. On the one hand you have lean fast moving machines, while on the other you have large bellies and slow moving larger animals. Check out cows and sheep and compare their body fat with ours. Nor are we like herbivores.
So what are humans? Omnivores! Our teeth and intestines are those of omnivores, the teeth designed for ripping and tearing meat, and stripping leaves from trees, but also for grinding grains, and our intestines are something between the long and the short. People are able to eat and live on every type of food imaginable from brains to intestines to leaves to roots to ants and grubs.
The argument is therefore futile to consider historically. Let’s then study the advantages and disadvantages of each type of diet. Human beings are capable of life through consuming either animals or plants, or both. The argument seems, therefore, to be one of morality rather than biochemistry. However, is that really so? The Vegan refusal to eat dairy products should not be taken as extremism, since the human being is the only animal species to drink milk of another species, or to use it to make other products. It is a practice born long after cattle were husbanded by humans for food. The problem with eating animal products lies not in the meat itself, but in the fat. Animal fat is saturated, which means that the fat molecule has no active double bonds in the chemical structure that can be used to break the fat down.
Animal fat also contains cholesterol, yet we cannot survive without cholesterol. It is the human band aid, used by the body to patch up damage to the cardiovascular system. Only, sometimes, too much is laid down and the arteries get blocked. However, many vegetable products have more saturated fats and cholesterol than many animal products, so a balance is called for. The unsaturated fats and oils for humans are said to be derived from seeds, such as flax seed and fish, especially oily fish. These are the Omega-3 oils. Although they can be obtained from some seeds and nuts, it has been proved that the best come from oily fish, such as wild salmon, mackerel and sardines.
The B vitamins are essential for life. The best sources are animal sources, though you get them from some vegetable sources such as brewers years (who eats lost of that?) and others, but animal sources are the best.
Also, there is no evidence to suggest that Vegans live longer than omnivores. In fact all of the evidence indicates that a middle road is the best. For human beings the healthiest diet includes both meat and vegetable tissue. The best solution to good health is neither Vegan nor carnivore. Nor is it traditional vegetarian, since it is the dairy products that cause many of our dietary products.
Studies of the biochemical pathways have demonstrated that all chemicals need to sustain healthy human growth and life are not available from a classic Vegan diet. Some animal protein and B vitamins are essential that cannot be obtained form a normal Vegan diet. It is possible, however, to maintain life by means of supplements.
However, for the healthiest form of human life, our biochemistry, history and physiology indicate that there is a balance somewhere between the extremes of both views that is right for us, and that either diet can be sustained with appropriate supplementation based upon what is missing from one diet or the other.
So, omnivore vs Vegan. Who is right: both are right if they also supplement any nutritional deficiencies in their diet with vitamins and minerals that may be lacking from one diet or the other.
Supreme Court Refused Ephedra Appeal…
May 17, 2007 01:39 PM
Supreme Court Refused Ephedra Appeal…The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider an appeal by Nutraceutical International Corporation, which sought to overturn a federal ban on the dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids. The court’s decision, issued without comment, lets stand a 2005 ruling by a federal appeals court that upheld the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2004 ban. David Seckman, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association commented on the refusal. “Obviously we were concerned about the consequences of the circuit court’s ruling on the risk benefit standard the FDA used in removing ephedra from the market, which is why we filed our amicus brief. As we clearly stated in the brief, we believe congress did not intend for such a standard to be used. But, since the Supreme Court decides to take up only between five and ten percent of cases brought to it, it is not a shock that they’ve decided not to hear it. We should note, however, that the denial of the Nutraceutical petition is not an affirmation by the Supreme Court that they agree with the lower court’s decision,” Seckman said. In April, the Natural Products Association had filed a “friend of the court” or amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that challenged the lower court ruling on the standard used by the FDA to impose a 2004 ban on ephedrine alkaloids in dietary supplements.
Solaray - Ultimate Nutrition - Actipet Pet supplements - Action Labs - Sunny Greens - Thompson nutritional - Natural Sport - Veg Life Vegan Line - Premier One - NaturalMax - Kal
The sunshine vitamin can impart an all-over healthy glow.
September 18, 2006 03:42 PM
When papers like the Los Angeles Times write articles with titles like “wonder Pill-really” about a seemingly ho-hum nutrient like vitamin D, attention must be paid. The attention is now forthcoming from researchers who are exploring this humble vitamin’s connection to an astonishingly wide spectrum of health issues. And these scientist are concerned that, dispite fortification of such common foods as milk, many people aren’t getting the D they need for optimal well-being.
Vitamin D generally recognized as calcium’s indispensable little helper, which makes it vital to maintaining bone health. But we now know that D’s benefits extend far beyond calcium control; it plays crucial roles in immunity, blood cell formation and hormone regulation.
Scientists believe that vitamin D helps cells differentiate, or mature into specialized roles each is meant to play. That’s important in cancer defense because malignant cells tend to be undifferentiated, primitive types given to reproducing uncontrollably. Cells, both malignant and healthy, have vitamin D receptors on their surface; when d binds to cancer cells, they stop growing.
This may help explain why men with low levels of vitamin D are particularly prone to dying of cancer and why higher rates of prostate cancer occur in climates where exposure to the sun-which powers D creation within the skin—is low. On a more positive note, investigators at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center of San Diego report that taking 1,000IU of vitamin D daily appears to drop the risk of developing breast, colon and ovarian cancer by up to 50% (American Assn for Cancer Research, Ninth Meeting). Other studies suggest that even after cancer develops, D may help hinder disease progression and enhance survival.
Vitamin D does a body good in a number of other ways. For example, the sunshine vitamin lights up both the immune system and production of insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. In one study women who took the amount of vitamin D generally found in multivitamins (400 IU) and had a 31% reduced fisk of dying from heart disease; in another, D from multivitamins dropped the risk of multiple sclerosis development by 40%. Supplements have also helped stroke victims avoid the muscular wasting that leaks to falls and fractures (Cerebrovascular Disease 7/05). Conversely, low D levels have been linked to poor lung function, unexplained muscle pain and increased obesity risk.
Currently, the federal government recommends daily vitamin D intakes of 200IU for people under age 51, 400IU for those 51 – 70 and 600 IU for ages 71 and up. But many prominent scientists believe those levels are two low, especially since so many folks avoid sun exposure to cut skin cancer risk. “I’m 99% sure that vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common,” Harvard nutrition expert Dr. Walter Willett told the LA Times (06/12/06). Deficiencies are more likely among dark-colored individuals (whose skins do not make D effectively), Vegans (who avoid dairy) and people with disorders that reduce intestinal absorption, such as Crohn’s disease. Higher dosages should always be taken under practitioner’s watchful eye, especially if a medical condition already exists.
No matter what health hazard you’re trying to illuminate, don’t hesitate to bask in the sunshine vitamin’s warm radiance. –Lisa James.
Peaceful Planet Vegan Protein Line... Veglife
December 24, 2005 01:24 PM
Co-Enzyme B-Complex Fact Sheet
December 08, 2005 04:40 PM
Co-Enzyme B-Complex Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 8/1/05
LIKELY USERS: People with poor digestion or low stomach acid, People needing ENERGY, People desiring metabolism support.
KEY INGREDIENTS: CoEnzyme B-Vitamins plus synergists
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: B Complex Vitamins are needed by the body for energy production, synthesis of hormones and blood cells, healthy nervous system function, and numerous other metabolic processes. The forms of the B Vitamins found in foods and most supplements, however, are not readily utilized by the body. They require conversion into their active forms before they can perform their functions as cofactors in biochemical reactions. NOWR Co-Enzyme B-Complex contains B Vitamins already in their active or "Coenzyme" forms. This enables the body to use them more quickly and efficiently because, once absorbed, they are transported directly to their site of action, requiring no conversion. 1
B Complex Vitamins are needed by the body for energy production, synthesis of hormones and blood cells, healthy nervous system function, and numerous other metabolic processes 1, 2. The forms of the B Vitamins found in foods and most supplements, however, are not readily utilized by the body. They require conversion into their active forms before they can perform their functions as coenzymes in biochemical reactions 1, 2.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: NOWR Co-Enzyme B-Complex tablets are enteric coated to enhance bioavailability by allowing delivery to intestinal absorption sites intact, unharmed by stomach acids.2 Our Quality department had to qualify several new ingredients for this formula.
This formula is enhanced with added Coenzyme C10 (CoQ10), Alpha Lipoic Acid, Betaine (TMG), Vitamin C, and both coenzyme forms of B-12 (Methylcobalamin and Dibencoside) and is suitable for vegetarians and Vegans.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: Two tablets daily, preferably in divided doses. This enteric-coated tablet is best to take between meals (one or more hours before a meal or hours after a meal), as it has an acid-resistant coating that dissolves beyond the stomach and needs to transit quickly past the stomach.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Vitamin C, TMG (Betaine), Lecithin (Choline, Inositol)
SPECIFIC: Please discuss your use of B-Vitamins with your physician, especially if you are using any medications.
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. Information given here may vary from what is shown on the product label because this represents my own professional experience and understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. When taking any new formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M (eds.) (1994) Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, Eighth Edition. Chapters 20-26, 28, 30. Lea & Febiger Philadelphia.
Psyllium Husk Fiber Fact Sheet
December 08, 2005 04:28 PM
Psyllium Husk Fiber Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 8/1/05
LIKELY USERS: People with cholesterol or cardiovascular concerns.1-2 People wanting to increase fiber in their diet3-9
KEY INGREDIENTS: Psyllium Husk Powder, natural flavor
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: Psyllium is a true dietary fiber, even though it is classified by some as a laxative or mucilaginous fiber, and is a convenient way to increase intake of dietary fiber because of its high mucilage content. This bulking agent swells considerably when added to liquid, which can help to increase gastrointestinal transit time. This bulking action and increased transit time can play an important role in maintaining healthy gastrointestinal function.3-9 The FDA allows a health claim for products like psyllium husk that provide significant amounts of soluble fiber: Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 1.7 grams of soluble fiber per day from psyllium husk may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of NOW Psyllium Husk Fiber - Orange Flavored provides 2 grams of this soluble fiber.1-2
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: This product has been tested by an independent laboratory to assay the fiber content. This is a vegetarian/Vegan product.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: As a dietary supplement, mix 1 heaping teaspoon into at least 12 oz. of water or juice and consume immediately. Be sure to drink plenty of additional fluids throughout the day. Start with smaller amounts and gradually increase over several weeks.
For GI tract: Triphala, Detox Support, Probiotics, FOS, and healthy oils (fish, flax, olive, virgin coconut, virgin macadamia)
For cardiovascular health: Hawthorn extract, Tru-E Bio Complex (new September 2005), Heart Support, Heart Renew, Cholesterol Support, Cholestatin, Policosanol. Red Yeast Rice CAUTIONS: None.
SPECIFIC: Do not use if you have a bowel obstruction or an ulcer. If you have chronic constipation, diabetes or are obese a physician should monitor the use of this dietary supplement. Side effects are possible with any dietary supplement. This dietary supplement may cause gastrointestinal pain, flatulence and abdominal pain. Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.
NOTICE: This food should be eaten with at least a full glass of liquid. Eating this product without enough liquid may cause choking. Do not eat this product if your have difficulty in swallowing.
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. Information given here may vary from what is shown on the product label because this represents my own professional experience and understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. When taking any new formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. [Code of Federal Regulations] [Title 21, Volume 2] [Revised as of April 1, 2002]
What is cat’s claw?
November 11, 2005 05:30 PM
Q. What is cat’s claw?
A. Cat’s claw might be one of the most confusing (and most effective!) nutritional supplements available in health food stores today-with some fairly good reasons.
First, its mere name can be bewildering. Currently, there are at least 16 plants in the world that are called cat’s claw. Sometimes these plants are referred to as “Una de Gato”, Spanish for cat’s claw. While Uncaria tomentosa is the Latin name of the plant most frequently sold as cat’s claw supplements, these products vary vastly. Some cat’s claw nutritional supplements contain cat’s claw bark, some contain cat’s claw stems, and others contain compounds from the leaves of cat’s claw. All of these claim to help the immune system.
However, it is the root of Uncaria tomentosa that actually contains the true cat’s claw health benefits. Scientists, who have extensively studied every part of the plant, discovered that only extracts made from cat’s claw root possess the healing power to treat and prevent disease. While it would seem that this vital understanding might help clear up some cat’s claw confusion, not all Uncaria tomentosa roots actually contain healing properties.
To determine which cat’s claw roots do have healing properties, we have to go to the rainforests of Peru. This is where Uncaria tomentosa thrives. It’s a woody vine that’s found at the base of tall trees in the rainforests. As the plant grows, it winds up and around the tree, attaching itself to the trunk with curved cat-like claws found at the junctions of its leaves. The Ashaninka Indians, who make these rainforests their home, have used the roots of the cat’s claw plant for thousands of years to cure illness and maintain health in the tribe.
Healers in the Ashaninka tribe attribute the healing properties in cat’s claw to the “good sprits” that live in the plant’s roots. In order to obtain these healing properties, the correct cat’s claw root must first be harvested. The Ashaninka healers know which cat’s claw to use; they can actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root of the plant before they collect them. Some cat’s claw plant roots have the good spirits. Some cat’s claw plant roots don’t. If the cat’s claw root with good spirits is mixed with any cat’s claw root without good spirits, the healing power is lost. While there are no visible differences in the plants or the roots, only certain cat’s claw roots possess the power to heal. And, only the Ashaninka tribal healers seem to be able to see them.
Amazingly, however, scientists who were given cat’s claw roots by the Ashaninka to study in the laboratory discovered that they were able to “see” the good spirits, too! Using high performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, a laboratory process that identifies various chemical compounds, the good spirits of cat’s claw roots were revealed to actually be important medicinal compounds, called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (or POAs).
At the same time, the scientists studying cat’s claw found they could “see” the non-healing properties as well. Again, using HPLC, they also discovered the presence of tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids (or TOAs) in certain cat’s claw roots. While the POAs have very powerful effects in the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none of which help the immune system cells at all.
And, if the TOAs and POAs are mixed together (as, so often happens in the vast majority of cat’s claw products), the resulting product is useless to healing and health. The TOAs cancel out the action of the POAs, making the cat’s claw root extract ineffective. Even as little as 1% TOA content can cause POAs to lose their ability to beneficially modulate the immune system.
This means that cat’s claw supplements that contain only POAs (in other words, cat’s claw that is 100% TOA-free) from the root of the plant will provide powerful effects in the immune system.
Skin Eternal #1 Skin Care Line – Source Naturals
November 04, 2005 09:16 AM
Skin Eternal #1 Skin Care Line – Source Naturals
November is National Skin Health Month! It’s also a time of year when exposure to stormy winter weather and overheated rooms can play havoc with skin. Source Naturals #1 Skin Eternal line can help nourish and recondition dry, chapped and irritated skin.
Source Naturals Skin Eternal skin care products in Whole Foods magazines annual Natural Choice Awards for two years in a row!
Skin Eternal products enhance skin tissue with breakthrough ingredients that go deep to the cellular level to recharge and revitalize delicate skin. These include alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, vitamin C ester, DMAE, plus a wide variety of nutrients and plant extracts. This premier line includes luxurious cosmetic products as well as supplements that support healthy skin from the inside out.
All SAM-e supplements are not created equal
October 26, 2005 12:41 PM
All SAM-e supplements are not created equal
During the manufacture of SAM-e, two forms are produced known as the S,S and the R,S isomers. The S,S isomer is the biologically active form in the human body, whereas the R,S form is considered to be inactive. Double Strength SAMe 400 utilizes Italian SAM-e to yield the highest available percentage of the active pure S,S form on the market. Double Strength SAMe 400 contains an average of nearly 80% of the active S,S form. Other SAM-e products contain as little as only 50% of the active form. A higher content of the active form yields a more potent product.
The molecule SAM-e itself is highly unstable. It will degrade quickly in conditions of heat, light and moisture. To increase its stability, it must be formed into a salt. It is important to note that SAM-e used for dietary supplements exists in a number of salt forms. Double Strength SAMe 400 utilizes the SAM-e tosylate disulfate salt form. This salt has been the most extensively utilized form in clinical trials of SAM-e.
Because of the unstable nature of pure SAM-e it is also highly susceptible to degradation in an acidic environment like the stomach. To be utilized effectively, it must pass through the stomach for absorption in the small intestine. For this reason, only enteric-coated formulas should be used. Double Strength SAMe 400 tablets are enteric-coated to maximize the utilization and benefit of the SAM-e by the body.
Enhances Mood and Neural Function*
SAM-e has been studied for decades now for its potential role in enhancing mood and supporting healthy neural metabolism. In a double-blind placebo trial published in 1976, 30 individuals were given either SAM-e intramuscular injections (15 mg three times daily) or placebo. Individuals were assessed for improved mood and affect. It was found that 100% of patients in the SAMe group showed significant improvements in mood, while only 30% of the placebo group showed any improvement.1 The improvement seen with SAM-e in this trial was rapid, with a response time of between 4 and 7 days.
A second Italian double-blind placebo controlled study was published in 1987. Again, individuals showing signs of decreased affect and mood were administered 200 mg SAM-e as daily intramuscular injections, or a placebo, for four weeks. Each group consisted of 20 patients, with all medial and laboratory results being normal. Rating scales were used to monitor changes and the authors found that the treatment with SAM-e was significantly superior to placebo and was very well tolerated.2
Researchers had known that SAM-e injections showed benefit in mood enhancement based on the results of multiple clinical trials. However, with injections, chronic administration is always challenging. For this reason, oral doses are superior in terms of ease of administration. Studies were conducted to assess the efficacy of oral SAM-e preparations. One such study was published in 1990.
In this double-blind placebo-controlled trial, individuals were given increasing doses of SAM-e from 200 mg to 800 mg twice daily, or placebo, over the 21 day period of the trial. In the placebo group, one of the six individuals showed an enhancement of mood of 50% according to the rating scales, whereas 6 of the 9 individuals given the oral SAM-e showed a 50% or greater improvement in mood and affect.3 It was concluded that oral SAM-e, like SAM-e injections, can significantly enhance mood without significant side effects.
Another double-blind placebo controlled trial looked at the effects of administering 1600 mg of SAM-e, or placebo, daily to 80 women aged between 45 and 59. The administration took place for 30 days, after which the women were assessed for improvements. Rating scales were administered at 10 and 30 days. SAM-e supplementation significantly enhanced mood and affect in the women compared to placebo administration.4 SAM-e was also seen to be well tolerated, as three women in the placebo group and two women in the SAM-e group complained of minor side effects which did not interfere with continuation of treatment.