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Benefits Of Zeaxanthin
February 07, 2012 08:14 AM
With aging, our eyes and the associated muscles weaken. They can degenerate and lose our ability to see properly. Eyes enable us with vision to see the world, and losing the eyesight will halt affect our daily activities and movements. People are frequently worried about losing their sight, and try to find supplements that can prevent the loss of vision. However, this debility can be prevented.
Supplements should be ideally be all natural, healthy, and with no side effects. Zeaxanthin is an important nutrient for eye health. This is found in found in green leafy vegetables, and also in other foods like eggs. Zeaxanthin fulfills most of the requirements that most people look in a supplement.
WHAT IS Zeaxanthin
Zeaxanthin and lutein are carotenoids that filter out the harmful high-energy wavelengths of light, and also act as antioxidants in the eye. This helps to maintain and protect healthy eye cells. Out of the six hundred carotenoids found in nature, only these two, Zeaxanthin and Lutein are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye. Unfortunately, our body does not synthesize the Zeaxanthin and lutein it requires.
This is the reason why green vegetables, eggs and other sources of these carotenoids are essential to proper nutrition. Daily intake of Zeaxanthin and lutein through diet, beverages, fortified foods or nutritional supplements and is very important for the protection and continuation of good eye health.
Studies have indicated that Zeaxanthin and lutein can help to lessen the chance of chronic eye illnesses, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Zeaxanthin, is also a bioflavonoid, that besides its benefits to ocular health, has been linked to providing many health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory property. Because of Zeaxanthin being a carotenoid category bioflavonoid, its main action is over the blood vessels; it works by supporting the blood vessels around the retina area with their proper function.
Zeaxanthin is both an anti-inflammatory phytochemical and an antioxidant; hence this has been used as a preventative measure for macular degeneration and cataracts. Its antioxidant properties keep eyes from being damaged from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sunlight. Overall, Zeaxanthin keeps the eye healthier, and looking younger.
Zeaxanthin AGAINST CATARACT: Our natural eye collects and focuses light on the retina, and to properly provide this function continuously, the lens must remain clear throughout life. A major cause of cataracts is oxidation of the lens, which clouds it. Antioxidant nutrients, like Zeaxanthin and lutein neutralize the free radicals or the unstable molecules associated with this oxidative stress associated with retinal damage. Thus, these phytochemicals play a role in cataract prevention. Higher dietary intakes of vitamin E, Zeaxanthin and lutein can considerably reduce the risk of cataract formation.
Zeaxanthin AGAINST AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD): Zeaxanthin and lutein reduces the risk of AMD. In fact, studies like AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) are being conducted with supplements containing ten mg lutein along with two mg Zeaxanthin each day, how it affects or lowers the chance of developing this degeneration.
FOOD SOURCES OF Zeaxanthin
Zeaxanthin is naturally found in some green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. Other sources of Zeaxanthin include egg yolk, yellow squash and bell-peppers. This makes Zeaxanthin available as a completely natural nutrient, with no side effects.
How Does Lycopene Help Improve Prostate Health?
August 18, 2011 10:16 AM
Lycopene is a bright red carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and veggies, like red carrots, watermelons and papayas however not strawberries. Although most chemical carotenes has vitamin A activity, lycopene does not. Lycopene is an essential intermediate in the biosynthesis of many carotenoids and in algae, plants, and other photosynthetic organisms.
A term that describes a large range of more about 600 pigments which give plants their red, orange or yellow colouring is carotenoid. Some of the most commonly known in a regular Western region diets are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, Zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
Attention has been paid most to alpha-carotene and beta-carotene since these are the ones that can be synthesized by our body to form vitamin A, one of the body’s very powerful antioxidants.
Lycopene, in particular, is has even been credited with some of the many anti-oxidant functions previously credited to beta-carotene.
Prostate cancer is most common among men over the age of 50. The cause of this type of cancer, like almost all other cancers, is unknown, but some studies indicate alteration in testosterone metabolism possibly plays a role in its development. Prostate cancer generally grows slowly and can be undetected until late in the stage of the decease since it does not show any symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms can include painful urination, a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder, or blood showing with the urine. According to some studies prostate cancer patients that supplement with lycopene in addition to surgical procedures to remove the testicles may experience, less bone pain, and live longer than those who does not supplement.
It has also shown that groups of patient that were tested with lycopene supplementation has a higher survival rate after a time frame of two years and no adverse side effects were observed in these men as well. This is achieved through lycopenes proven role in keeping the pathways open between cells which is vital in allowing the immune system to hold off cancer cells in its early stages. Although more research is still required to iron out what exact amount of lycopene will be most effective, the current results are already encouraging. However eating a moderately sized tomato a day can approximately provide 4 mg of lycopene and other tomato products, like an 8-ounce tomato juice or tomato paste provides up to 15 mg of lycopene just to give all the men out there an estimate. These are small portions of the diet that could easily be added without any major adverse effect to weight or health and seems too small to ignore given the possible benefits and minimal negative effects if any.
Additional Lycopene Benefits
It also has been found that lycopene can possibly as important as beta-carotene in protecting against the process of oxidation of Low Density Lipids (LDLs), also known as the “bad cholesterol”, which is now held to be the main cause of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries which leads to cardio-vascular diseases like stroke or heart attack.
Grab Some Lycopene today and experience the benefits for yourself!
NPA Loby Day
April 29, 2009 04:12 PM
NOW Takes Top Honors in 3 Distinct Categories On March 24th, 2009 a large contingent of individuals from the Natural Products Association (NPA) visited Capitol Hill during Natural Products Day to lobby Congress on behalf of our industry. Among this contingent were seventeen individuals from the state of Illinois, including three from NOW Foods – President Al Powers, Mike Richard, and Truth Advocate Neil Levin. NOW had two goals during Lobby Day; to meet and lobby Illinois legislators and their staffers on important industry matters, and to obtain contact information for House and Senate lawmakers and their staff for the purpose of extending an invitation to visit and tour our Bloomingdale, Illinois headquarters.
During the day Illinois representatives visited the offices of Illinois senator Richard Durbin and Illinois congressman Bill Foster, and visited with a representative of newly appointed Illinois senator Roland Burris. In regard to legislation, members of the Illinois contingent supported an update to the national school lunch program, which was last revised in 1979, and renewed their support for the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act (DSHEA), the main body of laws regulating our industry. They also warned Illinois lawmakers that the possible dissolution of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into separate Food and Drug agencies could potentially lump natural products regulation together with drug regulation, despite the vastly superior safety record of natural products and dietary supplements.
They also presented information on a number of studies that showed the potential for over $20 billion in healthcare savings over a five year period if consumers were to take certain supplements, including calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone health, lutein and Zeaxanthin to support visual function, folic acid to protect from birth defects, and more. Lastly, representatives from NOW Foods opposed new regulations that could hurt businesses that, like NOW Foods, are responble for increasing American exports and creating new jobs for Americans during a protracted economic downturn.
Even though there was no immediate commitment from our representatives in Washington on the key issues discussed, we feel that this Lobby Day was successful in building more personal relationships with our elected officials, and in helping them to understand our industry’spassion and commitment to promoting optimal health for all Americans through the use of safe, high quality natural products.
Interested in learning more about important legislative issues affecting the natural products industry? Visit www.saveoursupplements.organd make sure your voice is heard in the fight to protect American’s access to safe, affordable dietary supplements and natural products.
Lutein 20mg (FloraGlo)
September 26, 2008 03:49 PM
Maintains Healthy Visual Function*
It has been well established that lutein is present in high concentrations in the retinal tissue of the human eye. However, a study was conducted in human volunteers to determine whether taking lutein in supplement form actually increased the density of the carotenoid pigments present in the macula. In this study of eight individuals, researchers estimated the density of the macular pigments prior to having each individual take 10 mg of lutein daily in supplement form for 12 weeks. Plasma lutein concentrations were measured at 4-week intervals. During the first four weeks of the study, plasma levels increased five-fold from pre-supplement measures, and then remained at this level for the duration of the study. It was also shown that, due to increased deposition of lutein in optical tissues, macular pigment density increased by an average of 5.3% at the 4-week mark, and continued to increase until the duration of the study.1
A study was also conducted to investigate the possible role of specific nutrients in protecting the lens of the eye against aging, a risk factor for compromised visual function. The study was comprised of 376 individuals aged from 18 to 75. Of the nutrients measured, it was found that the lenses of individuals with higher concentrations of lutein and Zeaxanthin showed less of an effect from the aging process. The investigators concluded that these carotenoids might play a protective role in supporting the maintenance of healthy vision.2
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was a landmark study of the effects of diet and antioxidant supplementation on eye health. The study enrolled over 3500 subjects aged 55 to 80 years who were followed for approximately 6 years. Among the data collected in this multi-faceted study was a self-administered Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). The AREDS Report No. 22 examined the data from the FFQs and determined that, of the nutrients evaluated, only lutein and Zeaxanthin were directly related to maintaining eye health with statistical significance3. These findings corroborated similar results of an earlier multi-center study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that also found that those with a higher intake of lutein and Zeaxanthin maintained healthier eye function.4 These promising results have spurred the design of a second major clinical trial (AREDS2), which is currently enrolling participants to study the impact of supplemental xanthophylls (FloraGLO® Lutein and Zeaxanthin) and other nutrients on age-related eye health.5
In addition, a double-blind placebo controlled trial was performed in ninety individuals who had signs of compromised visual function. Individuals were divided into three groups and received either 10 mg FloraGLO® lutein, 10 mg FloraGLO® lutein plus a multivitamin/multimineral formulation, or placebo for 12 months. In both the FloraGLO® lutein and FloraGLO® lutein plus other nutrients groups, improvements were seen in mean eye macular pigment optical density, visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. No improvements were noted in the placebo group.6 These results demonstrate FloraGLO® lutein’s beneficial effect on maintaining healthy visual function.
Newly published research has demonstrated that lutein and Zeaxanthin supplementation may enhance visual performance under glare conditions. Forty healthy subjects took daily doses of 10 mg FloraGLO® Lutein plus 2 mg Zeaxanthin for six months. They were evaluated for changes in macular pigment, glare disability and photostress recovery at the onset of the study, and at 1, 2, 4 and six months. After six months, subjects experienced an average increase in macular pigment optical density (MPOD) of 39% compared to baseline, and all but two participants experienced some increase in MPOD. This increase in MPOD was also directly related to measured improvements in visual performance after exposure to bright light, as well as photostress recovery.7 This study suggests another way in which lutein and Zeaxanthin can help support optimal visual function in healthy individuals.
Potent Antioxidant Protection*
Most of the beneficial effects of lutein are ascribed to its potent free radical scavenging abilities. It is well-known that lutein is a carotenoid related to beta-carotene and possesses antioxidant activity against a number of reactive oxygen species.8
More direct evidence for the free radical scavenging activity of lutein is found in studies of its effects on human lens epithelial cells. Cell cultures were exposed to ultraviolet light after pretreatment with lutein or alpha-tocopherol. Both nutrients were found to reduce ultraviolet-induced damage to lens epithelial cells. However, lutein was shown to have significantly higher photoprotective activity than alpha-tocopherol9 demonstrating its potential as a high-powered antioxidant.
A further review of the mechanisms of lutein in conferring a protective role reveals evidence for its antioxidant activity in various body tissues. Lutein has been shown to be an effective antioxidant in vitro as well as in experimental models of a number of body systems.10
Supports Healthy Skin*
A recent randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study has demonstrated the positive effects of oral and topical administration of lutein on skin health parameters (surface lipids, hydration, photoprotective activity, skin elasticity and skin lipid peroxidation). Forty female subjects were divided into four treatment groups. Treatment options included oral administration of 5 mg of FloraGLO® Lutein twice daily or placebo and topical administration of 50 ppm FloraGLO® Lutein twice daily or placebo. Each treatment group received either an active oral treatment with a placebo topical treatment, a placebo oral treatment with an active topical treatment, both active treatments, or both placebo treatments. Statistically significant improvements were seen in all five parameters tested in all treatment groups compared to the group receiving only placebos. The greatest overall improvements were seen in the group receiving both active oral and topical treatments, while lesser but still significant improvement was seen in both the active oral only and the active topical only groups. Additionally, oral administration of lutein conferred superior photoprotective activity (as measured by skin surface redness after exposure to ultraviolet light) and prevention of lipid peroxidation (as indicated by levels of malondialdehyde in skin lipids after exposure to ultraviolet light) than either topical lutein or placebo.11
Diverse Cinical Benefits*
Evidence from various experimental trials suggests that lutein may play a protective role on the circulatory and cardiovascular systems. Its antioxidant activity may also extend to the heart, skin, lungs and blood vessels, making it a nutrient with diverse clinical benefits. Lutein possesses the ability to promote the health of many body tissues.12
Suggested Adult Use: One softgel daily with food, or as directed by a health care professional.
Does Not Contain: milk, egg, wheat, sugar, sweeteners, starch, salt, or preservatives.
1. Berendschot TT, et al. Influence of lutein supplementation on macular pigment, assessed with two objective techniques. Invest Opthalmol Vis Sci. 2000 Oct; 41(11): 3322-6.
2. Berendschot TT, et al. Lens aging in relation to nutritional determinants and possible risk factors for age-related cataract. Arch Opthalmol. 2002 Dec; 120(12): 1732-7.
3. Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. The relationship of dietary carotenoid and vitamin A, E, and C intake with age-related macular degeneration in a case-control study: AREDS Report No. 22. Arch Ophthalmol. 2007 Sep; 125(9): 1225-32.
4. Seddon JM, et al. Dietary Carotenoids, Vitamins A, C, and E, and Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. JAMA. 1994 Nov; 272(18):1413-1420.
5. www.nei.nih.gov/neitrials/viewStudyWeb.aspx?id=120. Clinical Studies Database. Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2). Last Updated 2/28/2008. Viewed 5/15/2008.
6. Richer S, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 2004 Apr; 75(4): 216-230.
7. Stringham JM and Hammond BR. Macular pigment and visual performance under glare conditions. Optom Vis Sci. 2008 Feb; 85(2):82-8.
8. “Lutein and Zeaxanthin”. PDR Health. www.gettingwell.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/lut_0164.shtml
9. Chitchumroonchokchai C, et al. Xanthophylls and alpha-tocopherol decrease UVB-induced lipid peroxidation and stress signaling in human lens epithelial cells. J Nutr. 2004 Dec; 134(12): 3225-32.
10. Krinsky NI. Possible biologic mechanisms for a protective role of xanthophylls. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 540S-542S.
11. Palombo P, et al. Beneficial Long-Term Effects of Combined Oral/Topical Antioxidant Treatment with the Carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin on Human Skin: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2007; 20: 199-210.
12. Mares-Perlman JA, et al. The body of evidence to support a protective role for lutein and Zeaxanthin in delaying chronic disease. Overview. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 518S-524S.
June 11, 2008 04:51 PM
Multiple vitamins should be designed with one purpose in mind. They should provide you the ability to properly balance your regular diet with the additional vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants needed to make your diet nutritionally complete.
It is rare that people follow the recommended daily allowances in their regular diets. For this reason, multi-vitamins were developed to provide the missing nutrients to your daily diet. Vitamins designed with this purpose will automatically provide you with the essential additional nutrition you need to boost your health and wellness.
The Correct Multi-vitamin Make-Up:
A good multivitamin supplement will contain all of the following ingredients. It is designed to balance an average diet and boost health and wellness.
* Major vitamins * Minerals * Amino acids * Carotenoids * Tocopherols * Tocotrienols * Antioxidants
Antioxidants are an important part of any diet because they attack and neutralize free radicals. These fragments of chemicals are caused by:
* Normal metabolism * Pollution * Ultraviolet radiation * Rancid oil * Other toxins
Scientists believe that free radicals are one of the elements responsible for aging and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, arthritis and cancer. It is because of the nutrient deficiencies in our regular diets that we have become more susceptible to degenerative diseases.
Mixed Tocopherols and Tocotrienols:
Vitamin E is a series of related compounds. The four main forms are alpha, beta, delta and gamma. Most multi-vitamin supplements only contain large amounts of alpha tocopherol. A healthy diet needs a mixture of them all.
When too much alpha tocopherol is induced, gamma tocopherol is depleted. This causes deficiencies because gamma tocopherol is crucial to good health as well. For this reason, it is important that your tocopherol intake is balanced. A mixed intake of all tocopherols is more effective in preventing cardiovascular disease.
Tocotrienols are potent antioxidants that complement the alpha tocopherol. The combined nutrients are much more effective at preventing oxidation. This is why you must have a balanced combination of tocopherols and tocotrienols to maintain a healthy diet and a healthy body. To accomplish this you must have a balance of all of the compounds that make up vitamin E.
These are the red, orange and yellow plant pigments that are found in all of our fruits and vegetables. All of these contain different amounts of carotenoids, but the colors are often hidden by the plant's chlorophyll content. Examples of foods containing large amounts of carotenoids include:
* Kale * Collard greens * Swiss chard * Broccoli
Tomatoes contain Lycopene, which is a red carotenoid found in tomatoes. It is a potent antioxidant that reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Unfortunately, carotenoids are better absorbed through the ingestion of supplements than from foods. Multi-vitamins usually only contain beta carotene. It is important to find one that contains beta carotene, alpha carotene, lycopene, lutein and Zeaxanthin.
The Bottom Line:
A complete multiple vitamin supplement is necessary as a part of a daily health and wellness regimen. The best multi-vitamin contains a healthy balance of everything listed above in the correct dosages. It is important to do your homework and be sure the multi-vitamin you choose will do its job correctly.
Learn as much as you can about your own body's individual nutritional needs. By giving your body proper nutrition, you help it to fight off illness and diseases much more efficiently. A complete multi-vitamin will:
* Strengthen your immune system * Decrease your risk of cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis * Increase your level of energy * Elevate your moods * Help you to enjoy a healthier, more productive life
Choose a multi-vitamin that has been developed based on the latest science and technology. You will be taking a well-rounded supplement that was designed to properly complement a typical daily diet.
Consume Bright Colored Foods for Better Health
October 22, 2007 10:06 AM
A plate of colored food is not only very pleasing to our eyes, but also very healthy. What looks good to eat is also very healthy for us and if you are finding it difficult to persuade your children to eat those boring old tired looking vegetables, then try brightening up their plates with some nice bright colors.
Kids love brightly colored pop and candy so it should not be a difficult thing to persuade them to eat some brightly colored vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, quashes and even thinly sliced carrots with a nice dip. The more intense the color the better for you they appear to be. Colored foods are normally packed full of anti-oxidants that help to prevent diseases of the cardiovascular system and to mop up free radicals present in our bodies. These antioxidants are all chemicals, and many of the naturally occurring antioxidants are highly colored. They are very good at destroying free radicals.
Free radicals are a form of chemical that destroy body cells, and not only accelerate the effects of aging, but also harm our heart. A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron. Electrons like to go around in pairs. Every atom has pairs of electrons, and one atom has an odd number then it pairs up with another atom with an odd number, so the two form a compound with an even number of electrons.
However, now and again, the body’s metabolism throws up a molecule with an unpaired electron. That electron’s first thought is to find a partner, and it does so by stealing one from a cell in your body. The result is the disruption and destruction of the cell. Free radicals can also be formed by environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticides and so on.
Anti-oxidants destroy free radicals, and generally keep us healthier for longer. They do so by mopping up the extra electron, and there are many different types of antioxidant that form part of our normal diet. Among them are vitamins A, C and E, but there are others that are complex highly colored organic compounds. Among these are the anthocyanins, known to paint and ink manufacturers as strong red pigments.
Anthocyanins are the pigments or dyes that color red grapes, egg plant, plums and blueberries and they are very powerful antioxidants. However, it is not only for antioxidants that we should eat colorful foods. Some dark green foods, such as spinach, green peppers, peas, celery and dark leafy vegetables, contain what are known as lutein. Lutein works in combination with Zeaxanthin to protect our eyes from cataracts and a condition known as macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness. Zeaxanthin is available from red peppers, oranges, egg yolk and corn.
Many people take folic acid supplements help maintain a healthy heart, and especially women to help prevent birth defects. However, the natural form of folic acid, folate is available from green foods such as lettuce, green beans, broccoli, peas, green grapes, and many other green foods. Broccoli and cabbage also contain indoles also known as indol-3-carbinol are believed to protect your from some cancers. So green is good!
Yellow is also good, and foods such as grapefruit, pineapple and melon help to boost the immune system and keep infections at bay, and also to provide energy and help maintain healthy eyes. Many antioxidants are yellow, although yellow might not a color that you would associate as being attractive to children, unless very bright. However, the yellow foods tend to be fruits rather than vegetables, and it is much easier to persuade a child to eat a pineapple than a squash.
Lycopene is another very powerful antioxidant that prevents the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that can damage the cardiovascular system through atherosclerosis. Lycopene is a red pigment very common in tomatoes, and is fat soluble. It is a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants that are common in brightly colored foods such as carrots, red peppers and many yellow fruits and vegetables as described above. Lutein is also a carotenoid.
A diet rich in carotenoids is very good for keeping the effects of aging at bay and protecting you from heart problems. Lycopene is contained in the liver, colon, skin and prostate gland, and can occur at higher concentrations than most other carotenoids. People that suffer from HIV infections, high cholesterol diseases and inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, are generally found to have low levels of lycopene in their blood.
Many of the so-called ‘superfoods’ are also brightly colored, and useful not just for their antioxidant properties. Take cranberries for example. These bright red berries contain proanthocyanadins that prevent some bacteria such as e-coli from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract and cause urinary tract infections such as cystitis, and also from adhering to the gums. Cranberries can therefore be used in the treatment of some gum diseases. However, they also possess strong antioxidant properties that help to protect the body against some cancers and also heart disease.
Blueberries are high in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Pomegranates have exceptionally high antioxidant content and are excellent for a healthy cardiovascular system while strong green broccoli contains not only vitamin C and antioxidants but also folate (the natural form of folic acid) and the phytochemical sulforafane that is believed to protect against certain cancers.
The color of your food, therefore, not only makes it look pretty on your plate and attractive to children, but also indicates the presence of strong antioxidants and other chemicals that help to protect you from specific medical conditions. It is no coincidence that the vast majority of the so-called superfoods is vegetable in origin rather than animal, and also tastes good. You should eat as many of them as you can, and certainly at least five portions every day.
Some can also be used as a remedy for specific conditions in addition to being used for their preventative properties, such as cranberries are used in the treatment of diseases of the urinary tract, and specific diets can help to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. Eating with your eyes is not always a bad thing. Some may find it hard to consume enough colorful fruits and vegetables to be beneficial so what is a person to do? Your local health food store has available powdered vegetable and fruit concentrates that supply all the needed nutrients in one simple drink.
Pumpkin Seed Oil is good for your health
October 14, 2007 05:34 PM
Pumpkin seed oil, as the name suggests, is obtained from pumpkin seeds, which can also be eaten roasted in the same way that people eat sunflower seeds. When roasted, they are coated in a sauce such as Worcester sauce and then heated in low oven for a long period of time. The secret of roasting them to maintain their nutritional value is to keep the temperature low and the cooking time high.
The seeds are regarded as a ‘superfood’ that is rich in vitamins A and E, the essential fatty acids known as Omega 3 and Omega 6, zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium. The seed is known as a pepita in North and South America.
The oil is reddish green and many people find it delicious. It is best when used raw, and can be drunk in the form of smoothies or shakes, or used as a salad dressing. Some also enjoy drinking it raw, and using it as a spread instead of butter or margarine. The benefits it provides to the human body are a healthy brain function, increased energy and it has a special use in maintaining a healthy prostate gland.
The vitamin E content is high, especially gamma-tocopherol, and it has a high antioxidant effect with consequent anti-inflammatory properties. Its effect on arthritis, and inflammatory disease, has been investigated and the inclusion of pumpkin seeds in the diet has been found to reduce the inflammatory symptoms of the condition with a consequent reduction in pain. In fact, in a comparison test with indomethacin, a common arthritis treatment, pumpkin seeds compared very well and in fact had a more positive effect on the damage to the fats in the joint linings than did indomethacin, which tends to increase the concentration of lipid peroxides rather than reduce them.
Its effect on the prostate gland is partially due to its high zinc content that is present in a higher concentration in the prostate than in any other gland in the body, and also to its effect on the hormones that cause the gland to grow and swell to the extent that it constricts or completely blocks the urethra, the tube connecting the bladder to the outside of the body. This is caused by an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT causes the over-proliferation of the prostate cells.
The reason for the effect of pumpkin seed oil on DHT is still under discussion, but some believe that it is connected with the zinc content and others with the high level of delta-7-sterine in the seed. The sterine appears to neutralize the effect of the DHt on the growth of prostate cells.
In addition to prostate enlargement, Osteoporosis is another problem associated with aging in men. It has been estimated that men over 50 have a 12.5% chance of suffering a fracture due to brittle bones, and it is though that this is connected with a deficiency of zinc. In fact a clear correlation has been established between osteoporosis in older men and low levels of zinc and the diet and in the blood. Pumpkins seeds, as already mentioned, are rich in zinc, and the benefits of their use as a supplement to avoid an enlarged prostate is reinforced by their effect in protecting against osteoporosis.
Pumpkin seeds contain a high concentration of the antioxidants lutein and Zeaxanthin. These are specifically useful in protecting the cardiovascular system and prevent atherosclerosis. They also contain plant sterols known as phytosterols that are believed to help reduce the blood concentration of cholesterol. This types of sterols are the basis of the ‘cholesterol busting’ drinks that are sold in supermarkets. They also help to strengthen the immune system and are believe to help reduce the risk of contracting some types of cancer.
Pumpkin seed oil is a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid, an important unsaturated fatty acid that some studies have indicated can be used to prevent metastaes (the spread of the disease) development in patients with breast cancer. The most prized type of oil is that from Syrian oil, from the province of Steiermark in Austria. Such pumpkins are also grown in parts of North America, and the best oil is said to come from the first pressing, the so-called ‘virgin’ oil. If used in cooking, the temperature must be kept low, since many of the nutrients are destroyed much over 100 Celsius.
A little known use for pumpkin seed oil is in eradicating intestinal parasites. Many people are embarrassed at requesting professional help for worms, and pumpkin seeds are the ideal home remedy. The act almost immediately, and two or three hours after taking them, or the oil, then you should take a laxative. You should the parasites being removed with the bowel motions.
The worms are not actually killed, but are paralyzed, and cannot prevent themselves being removed with the bowel movement. If a laxative is not taken, however, they will recover and there will be no effect. As with any remedy for a health condition, therefore, it is necessary to understand how the seeds or oil work to help to remove the horrible parasites from your body. They are very common, and any self-help or natural remedy that actually works will undoubtedly be very popular, but if it is not understood that these creatures must be expelled from your body while paralyzed, then pumpkin seeds or oil will not work.
Those that failed to understand the process would then complain that the treatment does not work. In fact, it does work, and if the worms are expelled when they are unable to remain in your intestines then they will be removed. You must “read the instructions on the bottle” for the contents to work.
Pumpkin seed oil is a very potent mixture of chemicals that can cure or control a large number of conditions, and it is essential that you understand why you are using them. They can be used as a supplement to your diet, though it is easy to wonder why you should take this antioxidant rather than another.
Find out what pumpkin seed oil can do for you, and if it applies to you then use it. There are stronger antioxidants, and better foods to take in an attempt to protect from certain conditions. However, there are certain circumstances when pumpkin seeds will do the job better than most other supplements, and if you can fit them into your regular diet then they will not only do you ‘no harm’, as they say, but will do you a great deal of good. Look for organic pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed oil at your local health food store.
Lutein - A plant pigment provides sun protection from the inside out.
July 09, 2007 01:21 PM
A plant pigment provides sun protection from the inside out.
Energy on earth begins with the sun’s rays, which spark the photosynthesis in plants that ultimately powers all life. (Petroleum is the residue of prehistoric plants crushed over eons into liquid form.) But the sun’s energy is not totally benign for us humans; excess exposure can cause skin to wrinkle and eyesight to dim.
Enter lutein. This plant chemical, reddish-orange like the setting sun, has become a hot commodity over the past several years because of its ability to protect both eyes and skin against sun damage. A member of the carotenoid family of nutrients, lutein is generally paired with its partner, Zeaxanthin, in a wide variety of foods, including egg yolks, fruits, corn and leafy greens such as spinach (where its bright color is masked by the green of chlorophyll). That’s a good thing, since your body can’t make lutein and so needs to obtain it from your diet.
The sun produces a whole spectrum of light rays, from the visible (red through violet) to the invisible or ultraviolet (UV). UV rays—both ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB)—are troublemakers. They attack collagen, the protein that gives skin its shape, which leads to wrinkles and other signs of aging. What’s worse, UV is also capable of damaging skin cell DNA, a process that can promote cancer development. And UV isn’t the only culprit: The sun’s visible blue rays are believed to help create harmful molecules called free radicals within the skin.
The clue to lutein’s importance in fending off skin damage lies in the fact that it is found throughout both the outer (epidermis) and inner (dermis) skin layers, where as an antioxidant it fights free radicals and as an orange pigment it soaks up blue light. In one study, using lutein both orally and topically produced improvements in skin hydration and suppleness (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 4/19/07). Lutein has also shown an ability to counter the inflammation and immune system suppression associated with excess UV exposure (Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2/04).
What is it? A red orange carotenoid found in a number of fruits and vegetables, generally with a similar compound called Zeaxanthin.
What does it do? This powerful antioxidant helps protect the eyes against both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD); it also appears to defend the skin against sun damage and has been associated with reduced arterial wall thickness, a measure of cardiovascular health.
The Eyes Have It
Your eyes, like your skin, are directly exposed to the sun’s UV rays. Such exposure can cloud the eye’s lens to create cataracts. It can also disrupt the retina at the back of the eye particularly the macula, the part of the retina responsible for clear central vision—which can result in age-related macular degeneration.
Not surprisingly, the eye is yet another one of the body’s lutein hot spots. This pigment is especially concentrated in the macula; in fact, of the 600 or so carotenoids that exist in nature, only lutein and Zeaxanthin are found within this all important structure. So it also isn’t surprising to learn that they Eye Disease Case Control Study, one of the first large-scale investigations into carotenoids and eye health, found a link between reduced AMD risk and high levels of lutein and Zeaxanthin. Current research has focused on the use of supplemental lutein in AMD patients, with promising results.
It isn’t only the outside of your body that may benefit from lutein. When oxidized by free radicals, LDL cholesterol settles into arterial walls. Lutein may help slow this process; in one study, people with the most lutein in their blood had 80% less vessel-wall thickening than those with the least (circulation 6/19/01).
So enjoy some fun in the sun. But respect the power of those golden rays, and let lutein help make playtime a safe time. –Lisa James.
Possible Billions in Health Care Costs, why hasn’t the government stepped in?
June 26, 2007 02:58 PM
With the ever growing and aging population in the United States, dietary supplements could save the nation $24 billion in Health care cost.
Calcium with Vitamin D – approximately 776,000 hospitalized for hip fractures over 5 years.
Folic acid – could prevent 600 babies a year from neural tube defects saving $344.7 million in 5 years. Over the child’s life time 1.4 billion saved.
Omega-3 fatty acids – reducing the occurrence of coronary heart disease (CHD) with only 1800mg each day consumed. Saving $3.2 billion. Approximately 374,301 hospitalizations and associated physician fees due to CHD possibly avoided.
Lutein with Zeaxanthin – by supplementing 6 – 10 mgs of lutein with Zeaxanthin we could save over $3.6 billion over 5 years. Approximately 190,927 individuals could avoid dependency because of loss of vision.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling Zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, Zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
Lutein to fight age-related macular degeneration!
February 27, 2006 05:53 PM
Lutein: The Antiordinary Antioxidant
Lutein belongs to a class of compounds known as carotenoids. Carotenoids in general are yellow, orange, or red pigments responsible for many of the colors of the foods we consume each day. To date, over 600 carotenoids have been identified in nature, but are only produced by plants, algae and bacteria leaving humans and animals to consume carotenoids in the diet. Forty to fifty carotenoids are consumed in the typical US diet, but only 14 have been detected in the blood, indicating a selective use of specific carotenoids by the body. Lutein is one of these carotenoids found in the blood and has been increasingly associated with eye health over the last decade.
Lutein’s role in eye health
In the human eye, lutein is concentrated in the center of the retina in an area known as the macula. Lutein is deposited in the macula through the lutein we consume in out diet or through supplements. This area is responsible for human central vision and is colored intensely yellow due to high concentrations of lutein. Lutein is thought to be beneficial for eye health by reducing damage in the eye in two ways: 1) by absorbing blue light (blue light is thought to increase free radical formation in the eye) and 2) by acting as an antioxidant, reducing damage in the eye caused by free radicals. Leading carotenoid researchers believe these functions may lead to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Age-related macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the USA in those over 65. twenty-five and thirty million people are afflicted worldwide and currently there are no effective treatments for the disease. The disease has two forms known as dry and wet AMD.
Ninety percent of AMD cases diagnosed are the dry form. In dry AMD, also referred to as early AMD, debris deposits under the center of the retina (known as the macula) interfering with its normal function. Parts of the macula atrophy, causing the central vision to slowly become dimmer or more blurry. Wet age-related macular degeneration, also known as late AMD, often develops in areas where dry AMD exists. Abnormal blood vessels grow and leak blood and fluid under the macula, causing scarring, which leads to rapid loss of central vision.
Dr. Joanna Seddon published one of the first studies demonstrating a link between lutein intake and AMD risk in 1994 (1). This epidemiological study compared the risk of developing AMD to nutrient intake and showed a significant reduction in risk for developing AMD as lutein intake reached 6mg per day (57% reduction in risk). Since the Seddon study, researchers have shown that increasing dietary lutein intake raises blood levels of lutein as well as levels of lutein in the eye (2). Bone et al. demonstrated that eyes with higher levels of lutein were less likely to be afflicted with AMD (3).
The latest clinical trial that investigated lutein’s role in AMD is known as the lutein antioxidant supplementation trial (L.A.S.T) (4). This study evaluated the effects of lutein supplementation for one year in 90 veterans diagnosed with dry AMD. Supplementation with lutein in these subjects significantly increased the concentration of lutein in the macula. Improvements in visual function were also detected with lutein supplementation. Glare recovery, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity were all improved. This study continues to build on clinical evidence that the dry form of AMD may be responsive to changes in nutrition.
A cataract is a natural clouding of the lens, the area of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. For most people, cataracts are a natural result of aging. Currently in the US, cataracts are the second leading cause of blindness in the elderly behind AMD.
Lutein is the major carotenoid that has been identified in the human lens asn is thought to provide similar benefits to the leans that are seen in the retina. Two large epidemiological studies consisting of >70,000 women (age 45-71) and >30,000 men (age 45-75) compared the risk of cataract extraction to nutrient intake (5,6). Similar to AMD, a significant reduction in risk of cataract extraction was associated with lutein intakes of 6mg per day (20% reduction in risk). Besides cataract extraction, higher levels of lutein consumption have been associated with a decreased risk of cataract development and improvements in visual acuity and glare sensitivity in people with age-related cataracts.
The richest source of free lutein in the typical US diet are dark green leafy vegetables, with the highest concentration found in kale followed by spinach.
The average daily lutein intake is low, average between 1-2 mg/day. Currently there is no recommendations of the dietary guidelines for Americans 2005 (9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day) you would consume between 4 and 8 mg of lutein a day (7). Epidemiological evidence, animal models, and clinical data have indicated levels of 6-10 mg a day may be necessary to realize the health benefits associated with lutein consumption. By continuing to increase our intake of lutein, we begin to ensure the optimal health of our eyes.
Seddon et al. (1994) dietary carotenoids, vitamin a, c, and e, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye disease case-control study group. JAMA. 272: 1413-20.
Bone et al. (2000) Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the eyes, serum and diet of human subjects. Exp. Eye Res. 71: 239-45.
Bone et al. (2001) Macular pigment in donor eyes with and without AMD: a case-control study. Invest. Ophthalmal. Vis Sci. 42: 235-40.
Richer et al. (2004) Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-relaged macular degeneration: the veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 75: 216-30.
Brown et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid intake and risk of cataract extraction in the US men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 517-24.
Chasen-Taber et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid and vitamin A intakes and risk of cataract extraction in US women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 509-16
HHS/USDA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. http://www.healthierus.Gov/dietaryguidelines/CDC. National health and nutrition examination survey data 2001-2002. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhanes/nhanes01-02.html
Brandon lewis, Ph.D. is the applied research and Technical services manager at kemin health, L.C. in des moines, iowa. His responsibilities include the initiation and management of laboratory projects pertaining to the inclusion and analysis of kemin ingredients in vitamins and dietary supplements, as well as developing new applications and prototypes that include kemin ingredients. Prior to joining kemin, Brandon was enrolled at the university of Florida where he received his Ph.D. in Nutritional Science from the department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Goji Berry Extract
February 13, 2006 04:34 PM
February 11, 2006 09:30 AM
Scientific References 1. Toyoda-Ono Y, Maeda M, Nakao M, Yoshimura M, Sugiura-Tomimori N, Fukami H. 2-O-(beta-D-Glucopyranosyl)ascorbic acid, a novel ascorbic acid analogue isolated from Lycium fruit. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Apr 7;52(7):2092-6.
2. Breithaupt DE, Weller P, Wolters M, Hahn A. Comparison of plasma responses in human subjects after the ingestion of 3R,3R'-Zeaxanthin dipalmitate from wolfberry (Lycium barbarum) and non-esterified 3R,3R'-Zeaxanthin using chiral high-performance liquid chromatography. Br J Nutr. 2004 May;91(5):707-13.
3. Cheng CY, Chung WY, Szeto YT, Benzie IF. Fasting plasma Zeaxanthin response to Fructus barbarum L. (wolfberry; Kei Tze) in a food-based human supplementation trial. Br J Nutr. 2005 Jan;93(1):123-30.
4. Wu SJ, Ng LT, Lin CC. Antioxidant activities of some common ingredients of traditional chinese medicine, Angelica sinensis, Lycium barbarum and Poria cocos. Phytother Res. 2004 Dec;18(12):1008-12.
5. Zhao H, Alexeev A, Chang E, Greenburg G, Bojanowski K. Lycium barbarum glycoconjugates: effect on human skin and cultured dermal fibroblasts. Phytomedicine. 2005 Jan;12(1-2):131-7.
6. Gan L, Zhang SH, Liu Q, Xu HB. A polysaccharide-protein complex from Lycium barbarum upregulates cytokine expression in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Eur J Pharmacol. 2003 Jun 27;471(3):217-22.
7. Gan L, Hua Zhang S, Liang Yang X, Bi Xu H. Immunomodulation and antitumor activity by a polysaccharide-protein complex from Lycium barbarum. Int Immunopharmacol. 2004 Apr;4(4):563-9.
Potent Antioxidant Protection *
February 11, 2006 09:28 AM
Goji berry possesses a unique combination of flavonoids, vitamins, minerals and polysaccharides that are thought to be responsible for the antioxidant and anti-aging properties attributed to Goji. Studies have been conducted which characterize some of these antioxidant nutrients and show possible beneficial effects of the berry and its extracts on various systems and organs.
In a study published in 2004, scientists undertook an experiment to assess whether Goji berries contained compounds that would be known to exert potential beneficial effects on skin complexion and anti-aging properties. After analyzing the berry, leaf and roots of the Goji plant, they found that the Goji berry contained a unique analog of vitamin C known as 2-O-(beta-D-glucopyranosyl) ascorbic acid. They determined that this compound was unique to the berry and not found in the other parts of the plant. Furthermore, the vitamin C compound was present in levels equivalent to those found in citrus fruits such as lemons. However, the question remained as to whether this vitamin C analog served as a precursor to vitamin C when ingested in the body. A further experiment in rats was performed to determine the intestinal absorption and tissue uptake of this vitamin C analog. The results showed that some of the compound was indeed metabolized into vitamin C in the blood, while the rest was absorbed intact. These studies suggested that the compound was easily transported from the blood into cells and tissues, where it is activated to active vitamin C. Therefore, the vitamin C from Goji berries seems to be highly absorbable and targeted for delivery to the cells that utilize it.1
Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid that is widely distributed in fruits and vegetables and, along with lutein, is present in significant amounts in the macula of the human eye. Studies suggest that the presence of Zeaxanthin is highly desirable for healthy visual function. Goji berries are used in traditional Chinese herbalism to support eye health and are also known to contain a high level of Zeaxanthin dipalmitate. Researchers compared the bioavailability of this naturally esterified Zeaxanthin to that of an unesterified form in 12 individuals who underwent a 23-day study in which they received one form or the other, and then switched. Administration was done on day one followed by a three-week washout period. The individuals were then crossed over to get the other form on day 23 in a single administration. Analysis revealed that the esterified Zeaxanthin from Goji berry caused a higher increase in plasma levels than the non-esterified form, indicating higher bioavailability.2
A second study confirmed these findings. In this study, fourteen individuals consumed 15 grams of whole Goji berries daily for 28 days. These individuals were compared to thirteen age and sex-matched controls who did not consume the berries. Fasting blood samples were taken for all individuals before and after the 28-day period. Results indicated that Zeaxanthin plasma levels increased 2.5-fold in the group who consumed the berries daily, suggesting the high bioavailability of Zeaxanthin from the berries.3
Goji berry was also studied on various measures of antioxidant activity. Researchers subjected three Chinese herbs, one of which was Goji berry, to various assays of reactive oxygen scavenging potential. The results indicated that all of the herbs had significant free radical scavenging properties; however, Goji berries showed the most potent scavenging effect in the assays. Goji berry was especially strong at inhibiting the formation of superoxide anion and scavenging free radicals. The researchers concluded that among these herbs, Goji could be considered the best antioxidant to promote healthy aging.4
An interesting study was performed in human skin cultures to determine the mechanism of the potentially protective effect of Goji berry extracts. Researchers found that bathing human skin cultures with an extract from Goji berry impacted the function of several enzymes that promote skin aging. This provides evidence of an anti-aging and antioxidant effect of Goji berry extract in these human skin cultures. Researchers also noted that when these skin cultures were subjected to suboptimal growth conditions (lack of adequate nutrients), supplementing the medium with this Goji berry extract allowed the skin to maintain normal metabolic functions.5 Goji berry extract contains numerous compounds that confer potent antioxidant protection to various tissues.*
Clinical Strength Eye Support FAQ's
January 11, 2006 10:34 AM
Clinical Strength Eye Support FAQ's
What makes Clinical Strength Eye Support an effective supplement?
Though there are many biologically active ingredients in the formula the pair that have the greatest body of research to support their inclusion in Clinical Strength Eye Support is Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
According to a study published in the April 2004 edition of Optometry: The Journal of the American Optometric Association, the lutein antioxidant supplementation trial (LAST) concluded that visual function of study participants with symptoms of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) improved with the intake of lutein alone or lutein together with other nutrients, such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are fat soluble, yellow colored carotenoids found naturally in green leafy vegetables like spinach, egg yolks, corn, peaches and marigolds. Though these carotenoids are found in fatty tissues throughout the body, by far the highest concentration is found in the macula and retina of the eye. These fat-soluble antioxidants have been found to stop free radical reactions specifically the photo-reactive oxygen species that are particularly damaging to eye and skin tissues.
What role do some of the other key ingredients play? Beta-Carotene is another antioxidant carotenoid found naturally in dark green and orange-yellow vegetables and fruit. Unlike Lutein however Beta-carotene can be converted to Vitamin A as needed by the body. Vitamin A is necessary for proper eye function and may reduce cataract formation. Bilberry, Green Tea, Ginkgo Biloba and Grapeseed extracts contribute compounds called Polyphenols and Anthocyanidins. These antioxidant compounds protect blood vessels that supply needed blood flow to the eyes and peripheral tissues. Rutin and the other Bioflavonoids stabilize the collagen matrix and maintain the integrity of the vital blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the eyes. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that inhibit free radical damage and are used by the body to prevent some of the degenerative patterns related to the aging process. Vitamin C may protect the eye from UV rays that can damage the lens and cause cataracts.
Taurine is a sulfur containing amino acid that is the most abundant amino acid in the retina of the eye and plays a role in healthy vision.
Selenium and Zinc are minerals that help the body to produce the important cellular antioxidants Glutathione and SOD that protect eye tissue from oxidative damage.
Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.
January 07, 2006 12:26 PM
Health Care Crisis Bankrupting U.S. Budget
Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.
You probably never heard about it on the radio, nor saw its actions reported on CNN. Others can’t guess what its acronym stands for. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an investigative arm of Congress examining the receipt and payment of public funds. This government office exists for the sole purpose of communicating to Congress those facts and figures which we, as a society, can’t afford to overlook.
And they are saying that the healthcare system is going to bankrupt us. The agency recently issued a special report called 21st Century Challenges, which concludes that current U.S. fiscal policies are unsustainable and, unless radical changes are initiated relatively soon, will “result in large, escalating, and persistent deficits.
The Money Pit
According to the GAO report, the United States spends more than 15% of our gross domestic product on health care, and that figures growing fast. We spend a larger percentage than is spent by any other industrialized country. What’s even more suprising is how little we get for the money. An estimated 45million Americans are uninsured. The United States continues to compare abysmally to the other industrialized nations in critical areas like infant mortality, life expectancy, and premature and preventable deaths.
Medicare and Medicaid together devour 20% of the federal budget. With the baby boomers—individuals born between the end of WWII 1960—hitting retirement age this year, those figures will only grow larger with each passing year. Unless, as the GAO report says, something is done quickly.
A report released just weeks ago by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) demonstrates that the government can save at least 6.5 billion in health care cost reductions if nutritional supplements are integerated into the healthcare system.
The Lewin Group, a market research firm, developed a report, entitled: Increasing Quality of Life While Minimizing Costs. It focused in on just two supplements, both of which concern reduction in disease prevention for people over age 65. Omega-3 oil, popular for its reduction in coronary heart disease, is projected to save 3.1 billion dollars. Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which supports healthy vision, will save 2.5 billion dollars if this supplement is added to health care plans, according to the study. Savings would come from reduced hospitalizations and doctor’s fees, as well as reduced nursing home use for those who in good health, could remain independent rather than needing to transfer to live-in care facilities.
Early last month, a bipartisan caucus on dietary supplements kicked off. It will be co-chaired by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), and Rep. Fran Pallone (D-N.J.), and its goal will be to examine the manner in which nutritional supplements may become a component of healthcare reform, such as part of an individual flexible Spending Account or health Saving account. As the GAO report indicates, the government interest is reaching critical mass and nutritional supplements are on the verge of entering a new era. As Congressman Cannon said during a November 2nd press conference, government needs to develop a sound policy supporting nutritional supplements “As more and more Americans start taking responsibility for their own health.”
Sources/Links for Further Reading:
Visit the website of the United States Government Accountability Office. http://www.gao.gov/
House Government Reform Subcommittee on Human Rights Wellness. http://reform.house.gov/
For more information about the Lewin Group’s Health Impact Study, please visit: http://www.supplementinfo.org/
Astaxanthin - PHYTONUTRIENT ANTIOXIDANT
December 28, 2005 10:20 AM
"PHYTONUTRIENT ANTIOXIDANT" Astaxanthin
Carotenoids are a class of lipid-soluble natural pigments found in plants, as well as in phytoplankton and certain fungi and bacteria. The red, orange and yellow colors seen in fruits and vegetables are from carotenoids. When various aquatic animals such as salmon and shrimp eat plants containing some of the over 700 compounds that make up the carotenoid class, those animals are also decorated with the same brilliant colors. However, carotenoids do more than provide color - they’re powerful phytonutrient antioxidants. Beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene are some of the more well-known carotenoids, but the most powerful found to date is astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is a fat-soluble carotenoid with a unique molecular structure that makes it an extremely effective antioxidant. The PDR® Medical Dictionary 2nd Edition defines an antioxidant as, “An agent that inhibits oxidation; any of numerous chemical substances, including certain natural body products and nutrients, that can neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.” Not only is astaxanthin a potent free radical scavenger, but it also can protect against oxidation, which limits the number of free radicals produced. Additionally, it’s very effective at quenching a molecule called singlet oxygen, a harmful reactive oxygen species formed through normal biological processes. Singlet oxygen possesses a high amount of excess energy that must be released to keep it from damaging other cells. Astaxanthin absorbs this energy and dissipates it as heat, and in the process returns the singlet oxygen to a grounded state.
A growing body of research is showing that astaxanthin is the creme de la creme of phytonutrient antioxidants. Studies comparing astaxanthin to other carotenoids have shown it to possess antioxidant activity up to 10 times stronger than that of beta carotene, canthaxanthin, lutein and Zeaxanthin.4 A study published in 1990 conducted by Kurashige and associates compared the effectiveness of vitamin E and astaxanthin for the prevention of lipid peroxidation. The results showed that astaxanthin is 100-500 times more effective in preventing lipid peroxidation in vivo than vitamin E.5
Astaxanthin in algae provides protection against the effects of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, and studies are showing that this protective effect is also imparted with dietary astaxanthin. Scientists believe that astaxanthin effectively scavenges the oxygen radicals produced through photo-oxidation caused by UV exposure. A 1995 study by Savoure and associates studied the protective effects of astaxanthin, beta carotene and retinol against UVinduced photo-oxidative stress. The results showed that astaxanthin is extremely effective in preventing increases of certain polyamines created through photo-oxidation, which damages skin. A particular polyamine was found to increase only 1.5-fold in subjects fed astaxanthin, whereas subjects in the control group experienced a significant 4.1- fold increase. It was concluded that astaxanthin works through a particular enzyme, increasing this enzyme’s consumption of polyamines in response to irradiation.
Research has shown that astaxanthin also offers cardioprotective effects through its ability to decrease oxidation of HDL (“good” cholesterol), which is a cholesterol transporter in the blood. It‘s well established that high levels of HDL and low levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) are desirable for healthy cardiovascular function, so protecting HDL from oxidation means there’s more circulating in the bloodstream. In a 1992 study by Murillo, subjects were fed dietary astaxanthin for 30 days. HDL cholesterol increased 57mg/dL, compared to the control diet (42.4 mg/dL). LDL cholesterol decreased from 12.5 mg/dL to 9.6 mg/dL. Clearly, astaxanthin exhibited an influence on the ratio of these two lipoproteins.
We can thank the lobster for the discovery of astaxanthin. Researchers working with an extract of the lobster Homarus astacus first characterized astaxanthin in 1938. It was soon discovered that astaxanthin is abundant in nature, although mostly in very low concentrations. The greatest source found is in green algae called Haematococcus pluvialis, which also contains other carotenoids such as beta carotene and lutein. NOW® Foods Astaxanthin supplies 4mg of this effective phytonutrient antioxidant and is an excellent source of this outstanding member of the carotenoid family. The astaxanthin used for our product is BioAstin® supplied by the Cyanotech Corporation, one of the premier suppliers of highquality astaxanthin taken from Haematococcus pluvialis, the richest natural source discovered. In addition to Astaxanthin, NOW® offers other carotenoids, including Lutein, Beta Carotene and Lycopene. Research continues to support the inclusion of carotenoids in the diet to support overall health. This is even truer for those with less than perfect diets and for those who smoke or spend any time with someone who does.
Vitaberry Plus + Super Fruit Antioxidant
December 07, 2005 05:43 PM
Vitaberry Plus +™ Super Fruit AntioxidantBy Nilesh Patel, NOW Quality Assurance, April 20, 2005 Why are FRUITS AND VEGETABLES important? “Diets rich in FRUITS AND VEGETABLES may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases.”- National Cancer Institute. OXYGEN AND ANTIOXIDANTS As we all know, “Oxygen is critical to life,” but is itself a double-edged sword. While oxygen is necessary to sustain life and for natural defense against microbes, too much oxygen in our cells can lead to the production of “free radicals” (mitochondrial respiratory chain) or ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species). Free radicals come in many forms - singlet oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, superoxideperoxynitrite, to name a few - but all have one commonality. Each has an unpaired (unbalanced) electron, a situation it remedies by stealing an electron from a stable molecule. This sets off a domino effect of oxidation, a chain reaction that usually ends up damaging cellular integrity and compromising overall health. Nature has a defense system in place to protect these processes in the form of antioxidants. Whether endogenous (produced by the body, such as liver enzymes, SOD, coenzymes and sulfur-containing compounds) or exogenous (obtained through the diet, such as vitamins C & E, bioflavonoids, carotenes, etc.), antioxidants “quench” free radicals by donating an electron to stabilize a molecule, thus controling the chain reaction and stopping the oxidation “domino effect”. ANTIOXIDANT-RICH FOODS Research suggests that eating plenty of foods high in antioxidants helps to slow the processes associated with aging and protect against many chronic diseases. Maximizing one’s antioxidant power will enhance overall health. Fruit and vegetables contain both nutritive and non-nutritive factors that can affect oxidative damage and enzymatic defense and might contribute to redox (antioxidant and prooxidant) actions. A new “6-a-day” study looked into the effects of fruits and vegetables on markers of oxidative stress and antioxidative defense in healthy nonsmokers by The Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research in Denmark. The study found that fruits and vegetables increase erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity and resistance of plasma lipoproteins to oxidation more efficiently than do the nutritive factors (vitamins and minerals) that the fruits and vegetables are also known to contain. Certain berries, such as blackberries, also contain salicylates, which are also linked to heart health and prevention of atherosclerosis. The protective effects of fruits and vegetables intake on both heart disease death and deaths in general have previously been demonstrated but researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston. Quercetin is an anti-oxidizing flavonoid found in many berries (such as cranberries, bilberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.) and can prevent CVDs (coronary vascular diseases), according to a recent Finnish study. All these natural plant polyphenols are responsible for the colors of many red and purple berries, fruits, vegetables and flowers. GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES The new federal guidelines released earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommend eating more fruits and vegetables, combined, than any other food group -- five cups or about 10 servings a day for most adults. The amount of fruits and vegetables recommended has increased for men and women of every age. “Fruits and vegetables are the "good news" story of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans for food-loving consumers, the industry and America's public health”, stated the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH). Eating a variety of colorful phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables has been associated with lower risk of some chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Many authoritative organizations such as the National Cancer Institute and The American Heart Association recommend getting phytochemicals from whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than from individual component supplements. The Scottish government is promoting healthy eating through a scheme designed to increase purchasing of fruit and nutritional foods. Scottish health minister Andy Kerr said, "This initiative shows that healthy eating can be good for customers and good for business." Scottish women are said to have the highest rates of death from lung cancer in the world as well as the highest rates in Europe for coronary heart disease. They also have low consumption of fruits and vegetables, shown in studies to help protect against some cancers and benefit heart health. ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) Free radicals and oxygen free radicals play an important role in the development and progression of many brain disorders such as brain injury, neurodegenerative disease, and Down syndrome. Oxidative stress is an important factor in the etiology and pathogenesis of diabetes & is also linked to other host of degenerative health conditions. Fortunately, antioxidants are available to support the body’s defense and fight disease and aging. Examples of “Fast acting antioxidants” in the body (serum) are: uric acid (polyphenols), ascorbate, bilirubin, vitamin E (the later two are lipid soluble). Examples of “Slow acting antioxidants” are glucose, urea nitrogen etc. In short, free radicals, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are generated as by-products of normal cellular metabolism. Their deleterious effects are minimized in vivo (in the body) by the presence of antioxidant systems. How do Antioxidants work? Antioxidants are substances in plants that help maintain health. Antioxidants protect against damage to cells caused by too many “free oxygen radicals,” which form because of the effects of oxidation. Smoking, sunlight, heavy exercise, and pollution all increase oxidation in the body. Most people would benefit by eating more (five to nine or more servings) fruits and vegetables & colorful plant foods, such as purple, dark green, yellow, orange, blue, and red ones, each day. These have healthful pigments along with antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C, carotenoids, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, Zeaxanthin, vitamin E, selenium, flavonoids, and other beneficial substances. There are numerous ways in which these antioxidants affect, but can be explained in two groups: Alpha (a) Effects: This refers to the scavenging or neutralizing of free radicals. These effects do not change the way humans (or animals) feel. There are also no noticeable health, psychological or emotional benefits. While there are no obvious changes, increased total antioxidant intakes are associated with decreased tumor rates, prevention of heart attacks and increased longevity. Beta (ß) Effects: These are the changes on health, psychological or emotional state that you or others will notice. In this case, the antioxidant is affecting metabolic processes (enzymes) with consequent changes in the physical (improvement in joint movements, improved skin condition, tissue damage recovery), emotional (better ability to cope with stress) or psychological state (increased alertness). The ORAC value Because most of the active nutritional components in fruits and vegetables are antioxidants, accurate measurement of antioxidant activity serves as a good indicator of potential health benefit. Scientific opinion runs high that ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) will eventually become a government standard of reference for overall daily fruits and vegetables intake. ORAC units are a measurement of the ability of food to stop oxidation. It is most generally expressed in terms of Trolox equivalent per gram (µmole Trolox equivalents (TE)/g). POPULATION DATA A survey done by the National Research Council indicates that only 10% of the US population consumes the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The equivalent to eating 5 mixed servings of fruits and vegetables per day is about 1,670 ORAC units. Based on scientific evidence it is suggested that daily antioxidant intake should be increased to between 3,000 and 5,000 ORAC units per day, per human subject, in order to reach a significant antioxidant capacity in blood plasma and other tissues. WHAT IS NOW DOING TO HELP? In accord with our mission, “To provide value in products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives,” NOW® Foods is introducing an ALL-FRUIT-DERIVED antioxidant product called VitaBerry Plus +™ Super Fruit Antioxidant Vcaps (vegetarian capsules) (product number #3336). At time of manufacture this product provides an ORAC value of at least 2,500 units per serving from a full-spectrum antioxidant blend of fruits containing phytochemicals and phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins, proanthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, ellagic acid, quinic acid, resveratrol , many organic acids, resveratrol and vitamin C. VitaBerry Plus +™ is formulated with VitaBerry™ Hi-ORAC Fruit Blend [a proprietary blend of fruit extracts & concentrated powders containing Wild Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) extract, Grape (Vitis vinifera) & Grape seed extract, Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) & Raspberry seed extract, Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), Prune (Prunus domestica), Tart Cherry (Prunus cerasus), Wild Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) extract & Strawberry (Fragaria virginia)], Hi-Active™ Orange (Citrus sinensis) and Pomegranate (Punica granatum) min. 40% ellagic acid fruit extract. One gram of VitaBerry™ Hi-ORAC Fruit Blend provides at least 6,000 ORAC units (i.e., µmole Trolox equivalents (TE)/g). (Also watch for an upcoming antioxidant product from NOW called Enzogenol® (Pinus radiata bark extract from New Zealand) with Rutin (a flavonoid from South American fruit of Dimorphandra mollis) and Grapeseed extract. IS IT EFFECTIVE? Total ORAC value includes both lipophilic and hydrophilic components. VitaBerry Plus +™ contains only water/hydroethanol based extracts and concentrated (100:1 to 125:1) freeze-dried fresh fruit blends, so the lipophilic ORAC value is mere 2-4% of the total ORAC value. Glutathione peroxidase is a selenium-containing enzyme that decreases cell death from brain injuries. It also acts as a critical first-line antioxidant defense on the airway (respiratory) epithelial surface against ROS and RNS (reactive nitrogen species. Genetics research has found that the glutathione S-transferase gene controls the onset of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease etc. Taking glutathione (GSH) itself as a supplement does not boost cellular glutathione levels, since it breaks down in the digestive tract before it reaches the cells. So glutathione precursor dietary supplements (such as NAC and GliSODin), along with fruits and vegetables, are effective in boosting intracellular levels of GSH. The lungs have a defense system against the ROS oxidants consisting of low molecular weight antioxidants such as GSH and intracellular enzymes such as SOD, catalase and glutathione peroxidase to protect against the toxic effects of oxidants generated within the cells. Some of the primary effects of VitaBerry Plus +™ against the common reactive free-radical species or ROS are as follows: - Superoxide dismutase-SOD (destroys Superoxide radicals),
- Catalase (neutralizes peroxides),
- Functions similar to reduced Glutathione (GSH),
- Glutathione peroxidase enzyme (detoxifies peroxides, using GSH as a reducing agent),
- Functions similar to Glutathione S-transferase (GST),
- Nullifies Superoxide-generating NADH/NADPH oxidase system In conclusion More concentrated than fresh berries, with over 6000 ORAC units per gram, VitaBerry Plus +™ provides consumers with the antioxidant power of almost 15 servings per day of FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ina convenient vegetarian capsule form! VitaBerry™ PLUS +™ (# 3336) provides a powerful, convenient way to supplement diets that do not include sufficient fruit and vegetable antioxidants Selected References: USDA/HHS guidelines report at: etaryguidelines/dga2005/document/
ls.com/proprietary/pdf/VitaberryBrochure.pdf g Kaplan M., Hayek T. , Raz A., Coleman R. and Aviram M. Pomegranate juice supplementation to apolipoprotein E deficient mice with extensive atherosclerosis reduces macrophages lipid peroxidation, cellular cholesterol accumulation and development of atherosclerosis. J. Nutr. 131: 2082-2089 (2001) Lars O Dragsted et. al., The 6-a-day study:effects if fruit and vegetables on markers of oxidative stress and antioxidative defense in healthy nonsmokers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 79, No. 6, 1060-1072, June 2004 Fuhrman B. and Aviram M. Polyphenols and flavaonoids protects LDL against atherogenic modifications.In: Handbook of Antioxidants Biochemical, Nutritional and Clinical Aspects, 2nd Edition. Cadenas E & Packer L (Eds.) Marcel Dekker, NY(Pub.). 16:303-336 (2001) Wood, Jacqueline, et al. Antioxidant activity of procyanidin-containing plant extracts at different pHs. Food Chemistry 77 (2002) 155-161 Aviram M. Pomegranate juice as a major source for polyphenolic flavonoids and it is most potent antioxidant against LDL oxidation and atherosclerosis. Free Radical Research 36 (Supplement 1): 71-72 (2002) Jennifer Schraag, Antioxidants: Nature’s Way of Balancing Life. HSR Health Supplement Retailer, Vol. 11, No. 2, 24-27, February 2005 com/news/printNewsBis.asp?id=58665 com/news/printNewsBis.asp?id=58697
Ideal Vision from Thompson Nutritional
November 18, 2005 01:30 PM
Ideal Vision Dietary Supplement is a powerful blend of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and herbs formulated to provide nutritive support for healthy eyesite. Recent research suggests that supplementing with antioxidants such as zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and betaCarotene may have potential beneficial effects on eye health in certain population groups.
- 15mg Lutein
Benefits of Total Daily Formula
October 13, 2005 04:45 PM
Benefits of Total Daily Formula
All fruits and vegetables contain carotenes, the plant pigments responsible for the rich variety of colors we enjoy in the natural world. Beta carotene is the most familiar member of the carotene family. But beta carotene never exists by itself; it is always found with other carotenes in foods. We need more than just beta carotene alone. Carotenes are powerful antioxidants, which means they help reduce the body's free radical burden. Research suggests that carotenes work as a team to keep us healthy.5 Total Daily Formula provides beta carotene, alpha carotene, lutein, lycopene, Zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin from natural sources such as algal extracts, carrot oil, marigold and tomatoes (Caromix®).
Total Daily Formula uses only corn-free vitamin C (ascorbic acid). The full daily intake of 6 tablets provides an exceptionally generous 800 mg of vitamin C.
Total Daily Formula supplies ample amounts of all essential B vitamins. Vitamin B3 is given as niacin plus an extra helping of niacinamide, the non-flush form of this important vitamin. The body uses pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) to deal with stress, so the formula provides 150 mg, which is 15 times the RDA. Vitamin B6 is another B vitamin people may run short of, so 60 mg -- 30 times the RDA -- is supplied. The formula contains 800 mcg of folic acid, the vitamin now recognized by the FDA as essential for prevention of neural tube defects in unborn babies. Folic acid also helps prevent accumulation in the body of homocysteine, a metabolite of the amino acid methionine.6 A high blood homocysteine level is now considered to be a risk factor for heart disease.7
Flavonoids, also known as "bioflavonoids." are plant pigments widely distributed throughout the plant kingdom.8 Previously known as "Vitamin P," because they help reduce capillary permeability (leakiness) flavonoids are now regarded as "semi-essential" non-vitamin nutrients that benefit health in a variety of ways.9 In addition to maintaining the structure of blood vessels, flavonoids function as versatile antioxidants. Flavonoids protect vitamin C from destruction by free-radicals, helping to preserve the body's vitamin C supply.10 Total Daily Formula provides 100 mg of pure flavonoids from 112 mg of citrus extract.
Three superior sources of Calcium
Total Daily Formula contains three of the best absorbed and most effective forms of calcium available. MCHC (microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate) is a naturally-derived compound composed of calcium, plus all the minerals and organic factors in living bone tissue. MCHC has been clinically shown to benefit bone health.11 Calcium citrate malate is a very well-absorbed form of supplemental calcium shown in recent research to be helpful for postmenopausal women.12,13 Calcium glycinate is chelated with the amino acid glycine, one of the most efficient mineral carriers for effective absorption.14,15
Magnesium is essential for strong bones and healthy hearts. This versatile mineral also regulates nerve function, keeps muscles relaxed and coordinates activity of over 300 enzymes in the body.16 Total Daily Formula contains 100 percent magnesium glycinate for exceptional absorption and gentleness on the intestinal tract.17 Magnesium glycinate has been clinically tested on people with severe malabsorption with excellent results.18
Total Daily Formula provides - in addition to zinc, chromium, selenium and iodine - vanadium and molybdenum. Vanadium helps maintain normal blood sugar.19 Molybdenum works as a co-factor for enzymes that help detoxify and eliminate foreign substances from the body.20
Bioperine® for Enhanced Absorption
Bioperine® is a natural extract derived from black pepper that enhances nutrient absorption. Preliminary trials on humans have shown significant increases in the absorption of nutrients consumed along with Bioperine®. 21 Betaine HCL - supplies HCL (hydrochloric acid) to assist digestion. All natural tablet coating made of vegetable concentrate and beta carotene.
2. Morgan, K.J. et. al. Magnesium and calcium dietary intakes of the U.S. population. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 1985;4:195-206.
3. Lakschmanan, F.L., Rao, R.B., Kim, W.W., Kelsay, J.L. Magnesium intakes, balances and blood levels of adults consuming self-selected diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1984;40:1380-89.
4. Mertz, W. The Essential Trace Elements. Fed. Proc. 1970;29:1482.
5. Perry, G. Byers, T. Dietary carotenes, vitamin C and vitamin E as protective antioxidants in human cancers. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 1992;12:139-59.
6. Landgren, F., et. al. Plasma homocysteine in acute myocardial infarction: Homocysteine-lowering effect of folic acid. J Int Med 1995;237:381-88.
7. Clarke, R., et. al. Hyperhomocysteinemia: an independent risk factor for vascular disease. New Eng J Med 1991;324:1149-55. 8. Havsteen, B. Flavonoids, a class of natural compounds of high pharmacological potency. Biochemical Pharmacology 32(7):1141-48.
9. Middleton, E. The flavonoids. TIPS 1984; 5:335-38.
10. Roger, C.R. The nutritional incidence of flavonoids: some physiological and metabolic considerations. Experientia 44(9):725-804.
11. Dixon, A. St. J. Non-hormonal treatment of osteoporosis. British Medical Journal 1983;286(6370):999-1000.
12. Smith, K.T. et. al. Calcium Absorption from a new calcium delivery system (CCM). Calcif Tissue Int 1987;41:351-352.
13. Dawson-Hughes, B. et. al. A controlled trial of the effect of calcium supplementation on bone density in postmenopausal women. New England Journal of Medicine 1990 Sep 27;323(13):878-883.
14. Albion Research Notes Vol. 4, No. 1, ©Albion Laboratories Jan,1995.
15. Ashmead, H.D. Intestinal Absorption of Metal Ions and Chelate, Springfield: Charles C Thomas, ©1985.
16. Wester, P.O., Dyckner, T. The importance of the magnesium ion. Magnesium deficiency-symptomatology and occurrence. Acta Med Scand 1992; (Suppl) 661:3-4.
17. Albion Research Notes Vol. 3, No. 1, ©Albion Laboratories, Feb 1994.
18. Schutte, S., et. al. Bioavailability of Mg diglycinate vs MgO in patients with ileal resections. Abstract 115, AJCN 1992;56(4).
19. Cohen, N. et. al. Oral vanadyl sulfate improves hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J. Clin Invest 1995; 95:2501-09.
20. Sardesi, V.M. Molybdenum: An essential trace mineral element. Nutr Clin Pract 1993; 8:277-81.
21. Bioperine® - Nature's Bioavailability Enhancing Thermo-nutrient. Executive Summary' 1996; Sabinsa Corporation, Piscataway, N.J.
Zeaxanthin with Lutein - The clearly-seen benefits of advanced eye protection
August 03, 2005 06:27 PM
Zeaxanthin with Lutein
The clearly-seen benefits of advanced eye protection
In the U.S. and other developed nations, the worst enemy of eyesight is not disease, it is the natural aging process. But even if the advance of years is unstoppable, new research shows that eyesight can be protected as we age. Two little-known carotenoids have been found to protect eyesight and combat the effects of aging upon the retina. Zeaxanthin and lutein, naturally found in many fruits and vegetables, form a natural filter on the retina, protecting the delicate photoreceptor cells from the damaging effects of blue-wave light and the UV radiation of sunlight. The two nutrients have also been found to be a natural antioxidant, further protecting the retina from the oxidation that arises from normal body functions as well as exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollutants, radiation, and environmental toxins.
Source Naturals unites the benefits of both of these nutrients in Zeaxanthin WITH LUTEIN, offering one of the most advanced approaches to eye protection available.
Key to Healthy Vision
A Harvard-led study found that eating lutein-rich foods five days per week meant subjects were eight times more likely to have healthy macular pigment density than those who consumed the same foods just once a month. Another study at the University of Florida found that diets rich in lutein and Zeaxanthin could substantially (82%) protect the macula. A number of companies offer either lutein or Zeaxanthin, Source Naturals combines the benefits of both, just as both are used in the eye.
Part of Your Wellness Program
Bone, RA, et al. (2003). Journal of Nutrition. 133:992-998. Gail, C, et al. (2003).Investigative Opthalmology & Vis. Sci. 44:2461-246. Krinsky N, et al (2003). Annual Review of Nutrition. 23:171-201.
Source Naturals Strategies for Wellness sm
The above information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Best Lutein Featuring Biolut Marigold Ext., 60 VC
July 27, 2005 11:54 AM
It has been well established that lutein is present in high concentrations in the retinal tissue of the human eye. However, a study was conducted in human volunteers to determine whether taking lutein in supplement form actually increased the density of the carotenoid pigments present in the macula. In this study of eight individuals, researchers estimated the density of the macular pigments prior to having each individual take 10 mg of lutein daily in supplement form for 12 weeks. Plasma lutein concentrations were measured at 4-week intervals. During the course of the study, plasma levels increased five-fold from pre-supplement measures. It was also shown that macular pigment density increased by an average of 5.3% after 4 weeks due to increased deposition of lutein in optical tissues.1
A second study compared the oral bioavailability of esterified lutein, the form in Best Lutein, versus non-esterified lutein in 18 human volunteers. Serum levels of lutein were measured at particular timepoints after consumption of a single dose of lutein. Researchers found that in these individuals, the lutein ester formulation was nearly 62% more bioavailable than non-esterified lutein, as determined by a higher mean area under the curve (AUC) and higher serum concentrations.2
A study was also conducted to investigate the possible role of specific nutrients in protecting the lens of the eye against aging, a risk factor for compromised visual function. The study was comprised of 376 individuals aged from 18 to 75. Of the nutrients measured, it was found that the lenses of individuals with higher concentrations of lutein and Zeaxanthin showed less of an effect from the aging process. The investigators concluded that these carotenoids may play a protective role in supporting the maintenance of healthy vision.3
In addition, a double-blind placebo controlled trial was performed in ninety individuals who had signs of compromised visual function. Individuals were divided into three groups and received either 10 mg lutein, 10 mg lutein plus a multivitamin/multimineral formulation, or placebo for 12 months. In both the lutein and lutein plus other nutrients groups, improvements were seen in mean eye macular pigment optical density, visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. No improvements were noted in the placebo group.4 These results demonstrate lutein’s beneficial effect on maintaining healthy visual function.
• Potent Antioxidant Protection*
Most of the beneficial effects of lutein are ascribed to its potent free radical scavenging abilities. It is well-known that lutein is a carotenoid related to beta-carotene and possesses antioxidant activity against a number of reactive oxygen species.5
More direct evidence for the free radical scavenging activity of lutein is found in studies of its effects on human lens epithelial cells. Cell cultures were exposed to ultraviolet light after pretreatment with lutein or alpha-tocopherol. Both nutrients were found to reduce ultraviolet-induced damage to lens epithelial cells. However, lutein was shown to have significantly higher photoprotective activity than alpha-tocopherol6, demonstrating its potential as a high-powered antioxidant.
A further review of the mechanisms of lutein in conferring a protective role reveals evidence for its antioxidant activity in various body tissues. Lutein has been shown to be an effective antioxidant in vitro as well as in experimental models of a number of body systems.7
• Diverse clinical benefits*
Evidence from various experimental trials suggests that lutein may play a protective role on the circulatory and cardiovascular systems. Its antioxidant activity may also extend to the heart, skin, lungs and blood vessels, making it a nutrient with diverse clinical benefits. Lutein possesses the ability to promote the health of many body tissues.8 Safety
Suggested Adult Use: One capsule daily, or as directed by a health care professional. Take with or without food.
2. Bowen PE, et al. Esterification does not impair lutein bioavailability in humans. J Nutr. 2002 December; 132: 3668-3673.
3. Berendschot TT, et al. Lens aging in relation to nutritional determinants and possible risk factors for age-related cataract. Arch Opthalmol. 2002 Dec; 120(12): 1732-7.
4. Richer S, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 2004 Apr; 75(4): 216-230.
5. "Lutein and Zeaxanthin". PDR Health.
6. Chitchumroonchokchai C, et al. Xanthophylls and alpha-tocopherol decrease UVB-induced lipid peroxidation and stress signaling in human lens epithelial cells. J Nutr. 2004 Dec; 134(12): 3225-32.
7. Krinsky NI. Possible biologic mechanisms for a protective role of xanthophylls. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 540S-542S.
8. Mares-Perlman JA, et al. The body of evidence to support a protective role for lutein and Zeaxanthin in delaying chronic disease. Overview. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 518S-524S.
RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS - The Most Comprehensive Antioxidant Formula Available
June 24, 2005 05:34 PM
The average American’s life expectancy has risen dramatically over the last 100 years. Ideally those extra years will be quality ones. High levels of stress and exposure to environmental and dietary toxins can deplete our antioxidant stores, leaving us more susceptible to chronic health challenges. When we are young and healthy the body unleashes its own antioxidants, but as we age this internal antioxidant producing system declines and the body needs help. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which is a major cause of accelerated aging. Source Naturals presents the science of RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS. This Bio-Aligned Formula™ is a significant advancement over other products currently available. No other formula provides the broad range of high potency, established and newly discovered water and fat-soluble antioxidants that RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS delivers.
Bio-Aligned Antioxidant Support
RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS™ supports multiple body systems with a balanced spectrum of plantioxidants™ (botanical extracts with unparalleled ability to combat free radicals), vitamins and specialty nutrients that have powerful antioxidant properties. Research suggests dietary antioxidants help balance and modulate free radical activity and help maintain structure and function of important components of cells such as lipids, proteins, and DNA.
Oxygen is required by your cells to generate energy, but it also contributes to oxidative stress or free radical damage, which is one of the primary causes of age-related damage to cells and tissues. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that can damage cells and compromise the function of tissues and organs. Antioxidants make free radicals stable by providing them with an additional electron. Unfortunately, now the antioxidant is missing an electron so, ironically, it becomes a free radical, which requires another antioxidant to donate an electron. Because this process starts a cascade of free radicals, scientists strongly recommend a broad range of lipid and water soluble antioxidants to minimize this negative effect. No other antioxidant formula follows the science better than RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS to defend against the widest spectrum of destructive free radicals, including peroxyl, hydroxyl, and superoxide radicals, and singlet oxygen.
Antioxidants neutralize destructive free radicals and support cardiovascular health by halting the oxidation of cholesterol. Cholesterol is only harmful to us if it becomes oxidized. Oxidized cholesterol is an unstable molecule that damages arteries. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS contains hearthealthy antioxidants including gamma E and tocotrienols, which are major lipid-soluble antioxidants that help maintain the integrity of cell membranes by preventing lipid oxidation. The formula includes hawthorn berry and grape seed, CoQ10, lycopene and other powerful antioxidants for heart support.
Nourishing the Brain
Antioxidants are critical for brain and nerve tissue because the brain is mostly composed of fats, which are very sensitive to free radical damage. Research has shown that stress can directly set in motion mechanisms that promote aging, which affects brain and nerve tissue. Ginkgo has been shown to increase memory performance and learning capacity as well as improve blood flow. It is also a free radical scavenger. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS also contains DMAE, bilberry, CoQ10, grape seed, lipoic acid, vitamin B-2 and lutein for broad spectrum support.
Powerful antioxidants help minimize stress damage to liver cells and tissues, thereby supporting detoxification. N-acetyl cysteine is a powerful antioxidant. It is also a precursor to glutathione, a critical antioxidant and detoxifying substance produced in the liver. Silymarin is known for supporting the regeneration of the liver. Since the liver is prone to fat incursion, which makes it vulnerable to oxidative damage, the following fat soluble antioxidants provide critical protection: CoQ10, lipoic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, and gamma E.
The immune system is unlike other body systems in that it is not a group of physical structures but a system of complex interactions involving many different organs. White blood cells generate enormous amounts of destructive free radicals in order to kill invading organisms. Vitamin C, a free radical scavenger, is concentrated in these white blood cells at a much higher level than in surrounding fluid. This extends their life and effectiveness by providing them with a built in defense mechanism against their own free radicals. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides water and fat-soluble vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate and ascorbic acid) along with vitamin A, beta carotene, CoQ10, lipoic acid, quercetin, selenium, gamma vitamin E, tocotrienols, zinc and turmeric, for added immune defense.
Skin & Connective Tissue
Skin is rich in lipids, proteins, and DNA, which are extremely sensitive to oxidation. Age-related changes due to oxidation, loss of elastic fibers and thickening of collagen fibers, cause skin to become fragile and less supple. A broad array of antioxidants protects skin and helps maintain its structure and tone. These include beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, grape seed, zinc, amla (Phylanthus emblica), quercetin, DMAE, manganese and myricetin. Amla is a very effective herbal tonic. It is rich in polyphenols and vitamin C.
Eye tissue is particularly prone to the effect of free radicals. Vision involves light being focused through the lens onto the retina. The macula, or center of the retina, receives the most light. However, sunlight is a powerful free radical generator. Lutein, a potent, fatsoluble antioxidant concentrated in the macula, helps maintain the integrity of the macula and the blood vessels that supply the macular region. The eye also has aqueous tissue that is better protected by water-soluble antioxidants, such as bilberry and grape seed. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides these ingredients, along with lycopene, Zeaxanthin, lipoic acid, vitamin A, beta carotene and ascorbyl palmitate to support healthy eyes.
Mitochondria, the tiny energy factories within the cells, are the major source of free radicals produced by our own bodies. These components of cells produce ATP (the energy molecule) and provide energy for all cellular activity; therefore, antioxidants are crucial to keep the levels of oxidants they produce in check. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides the antioxidant power of green tea, lipoic acid, zinc, vitamin B-2, CoQ10 and Mega H-, a source of electron rich hydrogen ions. Coenzyme Q10 is fat-soluble and its primary functions include activity as an antioxidant and as a cofactor in many metabolic pathways, particularly in the production of ATP in oxidative respiration.
DNA, the blueprint for all molecules in the body, can be altered or damaged by oxidation. Protecting DNA is important for optimal health of all cells and tissues. According to invitro research, certain compounds, such as curcumin (from turmeric) and quercetin, can directly protect against strand-breakage and base oxidation. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS contains these ingredients along with rosemary, pomegranate, raspberry, blueberry leaf, and carnosine. In in-vitro studies, L-carnosine reduced glycation, a process in which DNA and protein are damaged by glucose.
Living Longer, Living Better Strategies for Wellness
Taking personal responsibility for your health and exploring safe alternatives to support prevention is the basis for the wellness revolution. Your health food outlet is leading the way with education and quality products to help you take control of your well-being. Source Naturals is pleased to partner with these outlets to bring you the cutting edge nutritional science of RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS. Antioxidant protection is a fundamental part of the holistic healing system. Make this profound formula the cornerstone of your anti-aging program today.
Clement, M., Bourre, J. Graded dietary levels of RRR-y-tocopherol induce a marked increase in the concentrations of a- and y-tocopherol in nervous tissues, heart, liver, and muscle of vitamin E-deficient rats. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1334 (1991) 173-181. Borgstrom, L. Pharmacokinetics of N-acetylcysteine in Man. Eur J Clin Pharmacol (1986) 31:217-222. Hipkiss, A.R., et al. Carnosine, a protective, antiaging peptide? Int J Biochem & Cell Biol. 30, May 1998, 863-868.
Heart and Blood Vessels Resveratrol, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Vit C, Hawthorn Berry, Grapeseed, Myricetin, CoQ10, Ginkgo, Beta & Alpha Carotene, Zeaxanthin, Lycopene, Lutein, Astazanthin, Lipoic acid, Green Tea, Bilberry, Ginger, Turmeric, Blueberry Leaf
Brain and Nervous System DMAE, Ginkgo, Carnosine, Bilberry, CoQ10, Grapeseed, Lipoic Acid, Vit B-2, Lutein
Liver Lipoic Acid, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Vit A, B-2,and C, Beta Carotene, Silymarin, CoQ10, Selenium, Zinc, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Turmeric, Ginger Glutathione, Wheat Sprouts
Immune System Vit A & C, Beta Carotene, CoQ10, Lipoic Acid, Quercetin, Selenium, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Zinc, Turmeric
Skin & Connective Tissue Beta Carotene, Vit B-2, C & E, Grapeseed, Lutein, Lycopene, Zeaxanthin, Zinc, Amla, Quercetin, Manganese, DMAE
Eyes and Vision Lutein, Beta Carotene, Vit A & C, Bilberry, Lycopene, Zeaxanthin, Lipoic Acid, Quercetin, Gamma E, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Selenium, Zinc
Energy Production and Metabolism Green Tea, Ginger, Mega H-, Ginkgo, CoQ10, Lipoic Acid, Zinc, Vit B-2, Carnosine DNA Protection Turmeric, Quercetin, Rosemary, Grapeseed , Resveratrol, Lycopene, Lutein, Tocotrienols, GliSODin®, Carnosine, Zinc, Manganese, Amla, Pomegranate, Raspberry leaf, Blueberry leaf
Vision Quest - help fight eye problems.
June 18, 2005 08:34 AM
Vision Quest by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, February 11, 2004
Since your eyes are in constant use every day, exposed to the damaging energy of sunlight and pollutants that waft through the air, these delicate orbs are often in danger of wearing out.
To keep this vital part of your anatomy functioning as you age, you have to feed and care for your eyes properly. Otherwise, you are in real danger of losing your vision and independence.
Your vision may be in danger. Experts estimate that 8 million Americans over the age of 55 are at serious risk of blindness linked to a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD can wipe out your central vision and is the primary cause of blindness in Western society.
While AMD causes no pain, it blurs the sharp, central vision necessary for driving, reading and other activities where you need to see either up close or straight ahead. During AMD, the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to pick out fine detail, is destroyed. The macula sits at the center of your retina, the nerve center at the back of your eye that senses light and sends optic signals to the brain.
Age is not the only risk factor for AMD. Scientists have isolated a genetic defect that can lead to some forms of macular degeneration (Nature Genetics 2001; 27:89-93). Smoking and excessive exposure to sunlight are other hazards best avoided if you want to save your sight.
In many cases, AMD progresses so slowly that victims of this condition don't even notice that their vision is deteriorating until much of it is irrevocably gone.
Dry and Wet AMD
Wet AMD occurs when blood vessels in back of the retina start to overgrow and leak blood. As this occurs, blood and other fluids push on the macula and quickly damage its sensitive nerve endings. When wet AMD occurs, you lose your central vision rapidly. If straight lines appear wavy to you, you may be suffering from wet AMD. If you notice this or other unusual vision changes, contact an eye care specialist as soon as possible. You need what is called a comprehensive dilated eye exam that can uncover signs of AMD.
Dry AMD strikes the eye when light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly deteriorate, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD progresses, a blurry spot in the center of your vision may appear. Eventually, as more of the macula becomes dysfunctional, the central vision in the eye can gradually disappear.
The most common sign of dry AMD is slightly blurry vision. This can make it hard to recognize faces and also make it harder to read without very bright light. Dry AMD generally attacks both eyes, but vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye stays normal. In the early stages of dry AMD, drusen, yellow deposits that gather under the retina, may form. Dry AMD progresses in three stages:
Vitamins and Minerals for AMD
Fortunately, scientists have found ways to combat AMD: An analysis of a study called the national Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) shows that more than 300,000 Americans could avoid losing their sight to AMD if they took daily supplements of antioxidant nutrients and zinc.
This conclusion, reached by scientists at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute, is based on research involving more than 4,500 adults suffering various stages of AMD. The study demonstrated that people who already had some AMD could lower their risk of the more advanced form of this condition by 25% when they took vitamin C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene along with zinc. Those suffering from advanced AMD lowered their chances of losing vision by about 19%. (Supplements did not affect the risk of cataracts or the chances of some vision loss for people in the early stages of AMD.)
" Without treatment to reduce their risk, we estimate that 1.3 million adults would develop the advanced stage of AMD," says Neil M. Bressler, MD, professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins and author of the current study, published in Archives of Ophthalmology (11/03).
According to Dr. Bressler and the other researchers, people who now have intermediate AMD (some vision loss) in one eye have about a 1 in 16 chance of having their vision deteriorate until they have advanced AMD. They also calculate that about 1 in 4 of those with intermediate AMD in both eyes and 43% of those with advanced AMD in one eye will develop advanced AMD in five years without treatment.
In their view, older people at risk of AMD blindness should take daily supplements of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 milligrams of natural vitamin E, 15 milligrams of beta carotene, 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide and 2 milligrams of copper as cupric oxide. Evidence also exists that a diet which is high in fat can cause AMD to progress to an advanced stage. The exceptions: The healthy fats found in fish and nuts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2003; 121:1728-37).
Oddly enough, some of the same pigments that color vegetables and other foods also color your eyes. And scientists believe that those pigments, which are classified as carotenoids, help protect the eyes by helping them fight off the negative effects of caustic molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are formed when the energy from sunlight strikes the eyes and disrupts the composition of natural chemicals found there.
When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of lutein and Zeaxanthin, carotenoid pigments contained in egg yolk, spinach, broccoli and other dark green vegetables (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
" This research is a major step toward large-scale clinical studies to prove the extent to which lutein and Zeaxanthin protect against age-related macular degeneration," says Paul S. Bernstein, MD, PhD, at the University of Utah School of Medicine at Salt Lake. "We know that these carotenoids are specifically concentrated in the macula of the human eye."
Dr. Bernstein adds that, as you age, taking supplements containing lutein and other antioxidants may lower your AMD risk. In his investigation, people with AMD who did not take lutein had one-third less lutein in their eyes than older people whose vision was normal.
Another eyesight hazard is cataracts, in which the eye's lens-the part that focuses incoming light onto the retina-becomes cloudy. Cataracts form when the proteins found in the normally clear lens become damaged; signs include progressively blurred vision (especially outdoors), focusing problems, seeing streaks of light from headlights and stoplights, and colors that look faded.
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. One of every six Americans 40 and older suffers from some degree of cataract; it affects half of all Americans who reach age 80. Nuclear cataracts, the most common form of this disorder, develop in the center of the lens and tend to grow slowly. Cataracts may also develop at the back of the lens; this form is linked to eye trauma and long-term use of certain medications, including steroids.
Like AMD, cataracts become more common as people age. Up to 40% of individuals between the ages of 75 and 85 have them, compared with only 5% to 10% of those folks under the age of 65. And like AMD, sunlight exposure and smoking increase the risk of developing cataracts, as does the presence of diabetes.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin, the carotenoids that are so plentiful in the macula, are also found in the lens (although in lower concentrations), leading many researchers to believe that these nutrients may help drop your risk of cataract development. Early studies indicate that an increased intake of lutein and Zeaxanthin reduces one's chances of needing cataract surgery, the most common surgery in the United States (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999; 70(4):509-16; 517-24).
Antioxidants and the Lens
Scientists believe that free-radical damage is a leading cause of cataracts, and so it isn't surprising that antioxidants have proved useful in preventing this problem.
Almost 500 women filled out diet questionnaires as part of a very large research effort called the Nurses' Health Study; those who had taken vitamin C supplements for 10 years or longer enjoyed the lowest rates of nuclear cataracts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2001; 119:1009-19).
So the answer to lowering your risk of eye problems is clear, whether you are already in your mature years or plan to be someday: Lead a healthy, eye-friendly lifestyle, eating a diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables. Take frequent walks and jogs around the block.
And yes, when you kick back and take your just-as-frequent doses of antioxidant supplements, you're allowed to take your sunglasses off and see the world clearly.
The A Team
June 14, 2005 06:04 PM
The A Team
by Gregory Meade Energy Times, October 11, 2004
Want the A Team playing to improve your health? When you accumulate enough antioxidants to help you attack the molecular marauders out to mar your well-being, you improve your chances of avoiding illness.
Nowadays you hear plenty of talk about the benefits of antioxidant nutrients. Antioxidants are the ammunition the body uses to fight off internal damage. They offer the body the means to fight against disease but, at the same time, your body must be in the position to use them optimally. That means getting enough sleep, consistently exercising and avoiding overly processed foods. Those lifestyle habits allow your body to garner its resources and effectively implement antioxidants in its quest for well-being.
Your body has a love-hate relationship with oxidation: Can't live without it, often has trouble living with it. For instance, the production of energy in your cells requires oxidation. But the byproducts of that process, problematic molecules called free radicals, have to be chemically changed or eliminated to avoid the damage that results when they interact with other parts of the cell. Left unchecked, these molecular troublemakers can wreak havoc, oxidizing and punching holes in cell membranes and damaging other structures they contact. Antioxidant nutrients are used to defend against oxidation, quell these harmful destroyers and limit the potential harm they can cause.
For a quick glimpse of one of your basic antioxidant defenses, look in the mirror. The color in your eyes represents antioxidant protection against oxidative injury from the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Sunlight's energy sets loose free radicals every time it enters the lenses in your eyes. Pigments absorb this radiation and, in most cases, render it harmless.
As part of your vision's defenses, two of the antioxidant pigments in your food, lutein and Zeaxanthin, are deposited by your body in certain areas of your eyes-in a section called the macula as well as the lens (BJ Opthalmol 1998; 82:907-10).
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are classified as carotenoids, chemical relatives of beta carotene, the antioxidant pigment that makes carrots orange, and lycopene, the anticancer red coloring found in tomatoes. These fat-soluble nutrients are also present in algae. In both your eyes and plants, these nutrients absorb the destructive ultraviolet rays that give birth to free radicals.
Studies show that consuming large amounts of these pigments lowers your risk of a common form of blindness called age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and drops your chances of age-related cataracts. (More than 30 million people worldwide suffer from ARMD, and cataracts is the leading cause of blindness across the globe.)
When the sun's rays enter the eye, lutein and Zeaxanthin absorb and filter out dangerous radiation before it can injure the macula. The macula is the central part of the retina that allows us to see very fine detail. Otherwise, over time, as the macula deteriorates, our vision worsens. In addition, some researchers believe these nutrients help lower your chances of cancer.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are found in spinach, Brussels sprouts, corn, collard greens, green beans, egg yolks, broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, kiwi and honeydew melons. The petals of yellow flowers like marigolds and nettles are also rich in these antioxidant nutrients.
You can also increase your chances of better sight as you age by consuming sulphoraphane, an antioxidant found in broccoli. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found that sulphoraphane takes part in the body's efforts to shield eye cells from free radicals generated by ultraviolet light (Proc Natl Acad Sci 2004; 101(28):10446-51).
The researchers who performed this study believe that unlike the antioxidant nutrients vitamin C and natural vitamin E, sulphoraphane acts as an "indirect" antioxidant. That means that while those two vitamins are used by the body to directly defuse the harmful oxidative force of free radicals (and then must be replaced or regenerated in the cells), sulphoraphane acts indirectly, boosting the body's immunity defenses. Because of that indirect action, researchers point out, sulphoraphane lasts longer in the body and may produce a more profound, long-term antioxidant effect.
In other laboratory tests, researchers have discovered that sulphoraphane can kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium recognized 20 years ago as the cause of debilitating stomach ulcers and often-fatal stomach cancers (Proc Natl Acad of Sci 5/28/02). This research shows that sulphoraphane is even effective against antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter. Adding to its benefits, sulphoraphane can help kill bacteria both inside and outside stomach cells; when this bacteria hides inside of cells it is particularly difficult to fight.
" We've known for some time that sulforaphane had modest antibiotic activity," says Jed Fahey, a plant physiologist at Hopkins. "However, its potency against Helicobacter, even those strains resistant to conventional antibiotics, was a pleasant surprise."
Looking for Mr. Good Diet
For the biggest bang for your antioxidant buck, combine antioxidants with good lifestyle habits. A laboratory study of the heart-healthy effects of taking supplements of the antioxidant vitamins C and natural E along with L-arginine (an amino acid) found that exercise magnifies benefits (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 5/24/04, online). The scientists who performed this study recommend exercise along with antioxidants to boost your nutritional advantage.
The box score shows that when playing with the A Team you've got the best chance of hitting an antioxidant home run.
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and Zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS - What are they good for?
June 09, 2005 09:27 AM
In 1912, Casimir Funk coined the term 'vitamine' to refer to a 'vital factor' he proposed was an essential component present in foods. His conjecture dovetailed with other research, leading to the isolation in the 1930's and 40's of the compounds we now call vitamins.
Vitamins are chemical substances which play a variety of roles in the human body. They are core components of any nutritional supplementation program.
While many people are aware of vitamins as necessary substances for good nutrition, few have a grasp of the extraordinary complexity of the roles they play in our bodies. As you'll see below, vitamins are involved in trillions of biochemical interactions every minute to keep us alive and functioning. For example, B-vitamins are converted into coenzymes which are directly necessary for the production of ATP energy from food, a process that goes on continuously in every cell in the body and which in turn fuels myriad physiological events such as muscle contraction, brain activity or tissue repair.
Source Naturals offers a full line of vitamins in bioactive forms, allowing you to tailor a nutritional supplementation plan to your individual needs.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS
Vitamin A is a generic term for a class of fat-soluble substances called retinoids, which can either be consumed preformed or synthesized by the liver from plant pigments called carotenoids (see 'Carotenoids', below). An essential nutrient, vitamin A is perhaps best known for its role in vision.
The outer segments of the rods, a type of light-sensitive cell in the retina of the eye, contain a pigment called rhodopsin (or 'visual purple') that mediates vision in dim light. Cone cells mediate color vision via three additional pigments. Both rods and cones are surrounded by pigmented epithelial cells that store vitamin A. Rhodopsin is formed from a protein called opsin and a vitamin A-dependent compound called 11-cis retinal. As light strikes the rods and cones it is absorbed by the pigment molecules, and retinal is split off from opsin. This chemical change allows an electrical impulse to be sent to the optic nerve and thus to the brain. The pigment must then be regenerated from opsin and retinal. Repeated small losses of retinal during this process require a constant replenishment of vitamin A to the eyes.
Vitamin A also plays an extremely important role in epithelial cell differentiation. Cell differentiation is the process by which a cell undergoes a change to a specialized cell type, allowing it to perform particular functions in the body. It is not yet understood precisely how vitamin A is involved in this process. One hypothesis is that it directly affects gene expression through its interaction with chromatin, a complex of DNA, RNA and protein in the cell nucleus. These interactions affect the process of transcription of DNA to messenger RNA, leading to synthesis of a specific group of cellular proteins.
Each one of us carries in our DNA a unique genetic blueprint. This genetic material is the same in every cell of our bodies. It is only because of this mysterious and magical process of differentiation that we have specialized cell types - and therefore eyes, ears, lungs and hearts.
Vitamin A is necessary, either directly or indirectly, for the healthy growth and functioning of many of our tissues and organ systems, including the eyes, the skin, the bones, the reproductive system, and the natural defenses. It is not yet known whether this requirement is due to the role of vitamin A in cell differentiation or whether there are other physiological processes for which vitamin A is essential.
Vitamin A is related to a class of nutrients called carotenoids, including alpha and beta carotene, lycopene and lutein. Carotenoids are botanical pigments whose colors range from red to orange to yellow. Some carotenoids, particularly beta carotene, can be converted into vitamin A predominantly in the intestinal mucosa and to some extent in the liver. Carotenoids are completely non-toxic; their conversion into vitamin A is well-regulated by the body, making them extremely safe sources of this essential nutrient.
In addition to their role as safe sources of vitamin A, carotenoids are powerful nutrients in their own right. Their primary claim to fame is their powerful antioxidant action, particularly against singlet oxygen. Singlet oxygen is an 'excited' ion of oxygen which, while not technically a free radical, is nonetheless highly reactive. It causes 'oxidative' reactions which can impair or destroy membranes, enzymes and DNA. It can also lead to the formation of free radicals which can cause additional damage.
Certain carotenoids such as beta carotene, because of their chemical structure, can neutralize singlet oxygen by absorbing its extra energy and dissipating it throughout the carotenoid molecule, releasing the energy as heat and converting the singlet oxygen back to 'normal' oxygen. One molecule of beta carotene can quench up to 1000 molecules of singlet oxygen.
In addition to their role as singlet oxygen quenchers, carotenes provide antioxidant protection against free radicals as well. In nature, they protect plants from photo-oxidative reactions; in humans, certain carotenoids, notably beta carotene, may help protect the skin from such reactions. Other carotenoids may provide more localized protection to particular organs. Lutein and Zeaxanthin, for example, are selectively concentrated in the retina of the eye. Along with vitamins C and E, carotenes are among the most important nutrient antioxidants in the human body.
Lutein 6mg, 20mg, help stop macular degeneration ...
June 02, 2005 01:39 PM
One of the more surprising discoveries of modern nutritional science is that the very pigments which give brilliant color to our fruits and vegetables are powerful nutrients which can protect us from the rigors of time and environment. Lutein is one of the most recent discoveries in this field. In our diets, it’s found most abundantly in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collards and kale. Like beta-carotene, lutein is a powerful antioxidant which studies show can contribute to the protection of cells. But the most promising application of lutein may be its beneficial influence on the eyes, particularly in regard to macular degeneration. Source Naturals LUTEIN is a concentrated source of this important natural nutrient.
Like the beta-carotene that makes carrots orange and the lycopene that makes tomatoes red, lutein is a carotenoid. It is the pigment that makes corn yellow, and gives marigolds their brilliant golden color. One of the most interesting aspects of the way carotenoids interact with the human body – beyond their broad spectrum antioxidant activity – is their tendency to be “organ specific.” Different carotenoids have an affinity for different organs in the body. In the case of lutein, it is found concentrated in the structure of our eyes.
Vision and Macular Health
The process of vision involves light being focused through the lens and onto the retina, the paper-thin tissue lining the back of the eyeball. The central portion of the retina, called the macula, receives the most light. Its millions of cells produce the sharp vision needed to read and see objects clearly. With age, tiny blood vessels grow over this area, causing a gradual distortion and loss of vision. This degeneration of the macular region of the retina is the leading cause of irreversible visual impairment in the USA today. It affects almost 20% of people past the age of 65. Research has shown that these people have lower than normal amounts of macular pigment, which suggests the protective role played by these pigments. In fact, the latest research suggests that low levels of macular pigment is a cause, rather than a result, of macular deterioration.
Lutein – The Eyes Have It
Lutein and another carotenoid called Zeaxanthin are the most dominant pigments in the macular region of the retina. (Source Naturals LUTEIN contains 5-7% Zeaxanthin.) Their antioxidant properties help maintain the integrity of the blood vessels that supply the macular region of the retina: providing protection from photo-oxidation, the result of light striking the fatty acids in the retina. It seems that lutein is particularly active against the blue part of the spectrum, which can be the most damaging to our eyes. One study using lutein supplements resulted in a 15% increase in macular pigment levels after 72 days. In another study, people who consumed the equivalent of 6 mg of lutein per day were 40% less likely to experience macular problems. Another study using sets of identical twins demonstrated that macular lutein concentrations were related to dietary lutein. After consumption, lutein is found in significant quantities in blood serum, suggesting high bioavailability.
Our Connection with Plants
In this era of biochemistry, we’re rediscovering our vital connection with plant life. Although research into phytonutrients is relatively new, many plant compounds are being found in significant concentrations in the human body. Their presence in our blood serum, organs, and mothers’ milk suggests they play an important role in our body chemistry, and perhaps explains why we’ve appreciated them as foods throughout history. Like many carotenoids, lutein has evolved as an integral part of human biochemistry, with many benefits to our well-being. Since mammals cannot synthesize it, lutein must be obtained from the diet. Source Naturals LUTEIN is extracted from specially grown marigold flowers high in Lutein, and purified by an exclusive patented process. So the next time you bathe your eyes in a golden bouquet of marigolds, remember their beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.