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How to Manage Migraines Naturally: Magnesium - Feverfew - Butterbur - Ginger Darrell Miller 12/21/07
What are you really Getting? Darrell Miller 8/21/06
Powerful New Formula Supports Immune System Response... Darrell Miller 8/29/05



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How to Manage Migraines Naturally: Magnesium - Feverfew - Butterbur - Ginger
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Date: December 21, 2007 10:41 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: How to Manage Migraines Naturally: Magnesium - Feverfew - Butterbur - Ginger

Before you can understand how to manage migraines naturally, it is necessary to understand exactly what they are and how certain treatments could work. It is not generally known that the word ‘migraine’ means ‘half the head’ because it frequently hurts only on the right or the left of the head of sufferer. Some people with migraines do feel pain on both sides at once, although this is not generally the case.

A migraine occurs in stages which are activated by fluctuations in the hormone content of the blood. The ‘aura’, when you see spots and flashing lights in front of your eyes, is the first stage of a migraine attack, and during this time the blood vessels in your neck and head are contracting. You could also find it difficult to concentrate and your fingers could feel cold. At this point they do not have the headache that starts when the blood vessels begin to dilate.

Rather than the contracted blood vessels slowly returning to normal, your hormones have an excessively strong reaction, and cause them to dilate rapidly and become much wider than they should be leading to a severe headache due to pressure on the nerves. Different hormones can be involves with each attack, and the range of effective natural treatments reflect this fact. During this period, your brain could swell slightly, your muscles can tense up and other things can happen to the chemical and hormonal balance of your body. That is why some herbal treatments work for some but not for others, and different people find different treatments effective for them. What works for you might not work for somebody else if their migraine has a different cause. Basically, though, migraines occur in two phases, one being associated with an excess of hormones and the other with a shortage.

It is not easy to live with a migraine since it can be completely debilitating. Some just have a severe headache, while others are affected for days at a time. The headache can become before and after the onset of the shimmering lights and other optical effects that are generated by the brain. It would certainly be useful if those prone to migraines had one or more of the possible natural remedies to hand since there is rarely time to seek to seek professional medical help once the migraine begins, and through the use of natural remedies a potentially bad attack could be nipped in the bud, and at least its effect on you reduced.

MAGNESIUM

Magnesium is common in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It is an essential mineral for human biochemistry, and is also needed with calcium for healthy bone development and maintenance.

Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, and relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels helping them to relax their dilatancy that cause the migraine pain. It is also useful to help the immune function, reduces blood pressure (by the same blood vessel relaxing mechanism) and also the rhythm of your heart. Magnesium therefore provides you with many health benefits, and though the western diet is not generally deficient in magnesium, some areas can be and a magnesium-containing supplement will not do you harm.

However, particularly high dose of magnesium can lead to nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure and many other unpleasant side effects, so do not take more than the RDA (recommended daily allowance) in your supplement. Many studies have confirmed its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of migraine, but not all studies have been successful. However, the condition is so debilitating to so many people, that it should be tried although not in excess. Make sure, however, that your doctor is informed since it could interfere with other medication you are taking for your migraine.

Riboflavin, vitamin B-2, is also believed to useful in reducing the duration and frequency of migraine attacks, working in much the same way as magnesium. It is known that there are many cases of people who suffer from vitamin B-2 deficiency also suffering from migraines, and a riboflavin supplement is also worth trying if you are a consistent victim of this condition.

FEVERFEW

Feverfew is the best known of the herbal remedies for migraine, and has been used for centuries in the treatment of fevers, headache, migraine and other painful conditions such as arthritis. The active ingredient is parthenolide, an anti-inflammatory that is also an anti-hyperalgesic, and that would explain its effect on reducing the pain. It also blocks lipolysaccharide-induced osteolysis by suppressing the activity of a eukaryotic transcription factor protein known as NF-kappaB that can cause a number of immune response problems, including inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, hence its use to relieve that condition.

Its effect on migraines could be explained by this activity in repressing the inflammatory response to certain stimuli that could be brought about by hormonal activity. Because it must be taken for a few weeks before the actual problem arises in order to be effective against it, feverfew is not effective to treat an existing attack, but to prevent future attacks. Double blind studies have proved its effectiveness in many tests, but not in all. However, if you take feverfew as a regular supplement in you diet, you might never have to try magnesium or vitamin B-2 supplements.

Some people swear by the leaves of feverfew, eating one per day which is easy way to take it. It is important, however, that you do so regularly, since it can take for up to 6 – 8 weeks for you to notice a reduction in your attacks. Don’t give up after 5 or 6 weeks, but continue, since the results will be well worth it. If you stop for a week or two you will have to start all over again. You might get a sore mouth and perhaps mouth ulcers to start with, but these will eventually go once your body is used to it.

You are probably best not to take if you are pregnant since it could cause you to abort. Otherwise, however, it has been shown to be effective in many severe cases. Feverfew is bitter, and can be used as a tea with other herbs, such as rosemary, lavender and sage. If you are taking warfarin, aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs, see your doctor first, and the same is true of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). If you are taking these for arthritis, the feverfew itself might be more effective!

If you are taking feverfew as a supplement using commercially available dried leaf then the recommended dosage is around 125mg of the dried leaf. It should contain at least 0.2% of parthenolide (0.25mg/daily), although other studies have indicated that a total of 0.7 mg parthenolide a day should be taken (100mg at 0.7%). Parthenolide is unstable so don’t take it after its sell by or best by date.

BUTTERBUR

Butterbur is also useful in the treatment of migraines. The active ingredient here is petasin, a sesquiterpene ester that also has anti-inflammatory properties, all though it works in a different manner to feverfew. Here, it inhibits the activities of leukotriene generation in neutrophils and eosinophils, which indicates that it also possesses anti-allergenic properties that could help asthmatics that also suffer from migraines. It does not prevent the release of histamine, but does appear to reduce smooth muscle spasm.

You should never take the raw herb, only the extract, because it contains alkaloids that can harm you. The butterbur extract, however, is a perfectly safe supplement and found effective by many people in the treatment of migraine.

GINGER

If your migraine is at the front of the head, then you should try ginger. Unlike feverfew, ginger works on a migraine as it is occurring, and improvement can be achieved for a bad migraine within half an hour. In fact if, like many people, you can feel a migraine coming on, half a teaspoon of freshly ground ginger can stop the pain before it starts.

Many herbal treatments for migraine include a combination of some of the above remedies, and many people swear by them. However, migraine treatment is very personal, and you should use what works best for you. If you are also taking other medical treatments however, please make sure that you refer to your physician before using any others, and that includes herbal remedies or supplements.



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What are you really Getting?
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Date: August 21, 2006 05:20 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: What are you really Getting?

 

Supplement labels can be confusing!

 

The list of ingredients on some supplement labels can tax the mind of even a Ph.D. in nutrition!  What’s worse, although labeling laws exist to counter misleading and non-uniform labeling, confusing and deceptive labeling, confusing and deceptive labeling practices continue to abound.  Here’s some help to aid you in making better sense of supplement labels.

 

1.Begin at the Bottom

 

The supplement facts panel on the label of every nutitional supplement sold in the U.S. tells you about active ingredients in a product. Before analyzing this information, look beneath the panel, where the OTHER INGREDIENTS are listed.  Here, at a glance you can begin to spot a questionable product.  Synthetic colors, flavors, preservatives, or the absence of certain information, are early warning signals. 

 

Poor Label

 

 

Good Label

1.other ingredients: Cellulose, stearic acid, sucrose, sodium, silicoaluminate, talc, titanium dioxide, mineral oil, FD&C red #40, FD&C yellow, aluminum lake, polysorbate 80.

  1. other ingredients: Cellulose(capsule), vegetable magnesium state, silica.
  2. this product contains no gluten, wheat, yeast, eggs or dairy, no synthetic colors or flavors , and no toxic levels of lead or other heavy metals.
  3. Lot# 123456

Expires: 01/08 or use by: 01/08

 

 

  1. Other Ingredients: supplements can be natural only by degree, since their manufacture often requires the use of binders, flowing agents and other items.  Such materials may come from natural and artificial sources. They must be listed in descending order by quantity.
  2. Contains No / May Contain:  Sometimes, supplements are derived from sources that could cause reactions in allergic individuals (eg. Soy, shellfish).  Better labels tell you which allergens are absent, as well as those which may be present.
  3. Expiration date & lot Number: shelf life varies fro different supplements, but most will diminish in potency and quality over time.  Better labels provide a USE BYE or EXPIRATION date.  They also note a LOT NUMBER for identifying product origin (for tracking any product related problems).

 

2.Directions, Dose & Value

 

Poor Label

 

Good Label

 

DIRECTIONS: Take 6 tablents daily, two with each meal.

 

Directions: Though not required on labels, directions tell how and when to take supplements.  This is important because timing your doses can affect absorption. In general:

 

·        Vitamins are best absorbed when taken with food, and in divided doses throughout the day.

·        Fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) require dietary fat for absorption, so are best taken with meals.

·        Many minerals can be absorbed effectively at any time.

·        Most herbs, probiotics, amino acids & proteolytic enzymes (not digestive enzymes, which should be taken with meals) are best taken on an empty stomach.

 

Poor Label

Good Label

Supplement facts

    1. serving size 3 tablets
    2. servings per container 20
    3. % DV (Daily Value)

Supplement facts

1. Serving Size 2 Tablets

2. Servings per container 30

3. % DV (Daily Value)

 

1. Serving size: SERVING SIZE is required on labels. It recommends the number of tablets, capsules, spoonfuls, ect. Taken at one time.  Be ware that a serving is not necessarily the total recommended daily amount.

 

2.      Cost-Effectiveness: To determine, first find the SERVING SIZE.  Then read the directions to see how much servings are suggested daily.  Finally, divide the number of servings needed into the number of SERVINGS PER CONTAINER.

 

Example: Assuming the two bottles above have the same ingredients and cost. The product on right offers more servings, and is a better buy. Product on left just has less nutritive ingredients, or more filler, in each pill.

 

3.      % DV (Daily Value): The daily value of a nutrient represents the amount expected to meet the daily needs of an “average” healthy person.  On labels, % DV indicates provided by one serving.  DVs have not been established for herbs, essential fatty acids and other nutrients.

 

Note: Many experts in nutrition think that suggested DV levels for some nutrients are far too low to optimize health.  This is why certain ingredients may be present at greater than 100% DV levels.

 

3.Games Labels Play

 

There is no free lunch in the world of supplements.  A bottle that costs less probably contains less – either fewer nutrients, or less effective forms of nutrients.  Educate yourself; compare ingredient amounts, forms and sources, and watch out for labeling tricks such as these.

 

“Padding” the label

 

padding” the label is a common way for supplement marketers to make their ingredients list look more complete and beneficial than it really is.  Padding methods include:

 

Poor Label  amount per serv.

Good Label  amount per serv.

1.CoQ10……….1000mcg

2.Oat Bran………20mg

   Oat fiber……….1mg

3. Oat flavonoids…25mcg

1. CoQ10………….50mg

 

  1. Pixie Dust:  Adding useful ingredients in therapeutically useless amounts. Some brands use tiny amounts of nutrients just to get the ingredient on the label.  Learn how much nutrient is required, and be watchful of inappropriate measurement sizes. (See Weights & Measures below.)

 

Example: CoQ10 useful range is 30mg to 400mg (milligrams.)  product on left provides 1000mcg  (microgram) of CoQ10, the equivalent of just one mg!  product on right provides a beneficial 50mg.

 

  1. Sounds Good:  Adding impressive but irrelevant ingredients, often in useless amounts, that are of no benefit to the formula.

Example: Whole grains such as oats are part of a heart healthy diet, but the product on left provides less than a pinch 20mg of oat bran.  Product on right includes no irrelevant ingredients in useless amounts.

 

  1. Expanding Assets:  Separately listing the parts of a single ingredient to give the illusion of additional ingredients. 

Example: Fiber and flavonoids are part of oats, not more ingredients.

 

The “Name’s the Same” Game

 

A common trick is to provide unproven, weak or useless forms of familiar, good ingredients.  Buyer beware!

 

Poor Label  .

Good Label   .

Pygeum Bark Powder

Pygeum Africanum…..100mg

Pygeum Bark Extract

Pygeum Africanum (Standardized to 13% total sterols……….100mg

 

Example: Studies suggest that Pygeum bark standardized extract helps support prostate health.  Product on left uses unresearched powdered bark.

 

 

Proprietary Blend = “It’s a Secret”

 

Some companies may hide the quantity and quality of their ingredients by calling their formula  a “Proprietary Blend.”  This term may allow manufacturers to use a lot of nutrient from a cheap source and very little from a good source without disclosing how much of each you are actually getting. 

 

This deceptive practice is legal—as long as the secret blend:

·        Is labeled “Proprietary Blend” (or fanciful trademark name)

·        Lists individual nutrients in descending order by weight

·        Lists the total weight per serving

 

When you see the word “Proprietary,” ask: “how relevant is the first or second ingredient?”  Sometimes, the most abundant ingredients are either fillers, or inexpensive, less effective forms.

 

Poor Label              amount per serv.

 

Good Label             amount per serv.

Special Proprietary Women’s Blend

Alfalfa herb, Black Cohosh root, Chaste Tree berry, Dong Quai root, Licorice root………….350mg

Black Cohosh root

Cimicifuga Racemonsa (2.5% total triterpene glycosides)…….125mg

Chast Tree berry

Vitex agnus-castus (0.5% agnusides)………………..100mg

Dong Quai root

Angelica sinensis (5:1 extract)..75mg

Licorice root

Glycyrrhiza glabra……………50mg

Example: Legally, product on left could contain 99% alfalfa filler and only 1% of all the other herbs together! The Good Label tells all.

 

Hiding Outside the Box

 

Another clever way to hide the quality of ingredients is by listing them outside the Supplement Facts box, in the Other Ingredients section located beneath the box.  This section is usually intended for listing agents used in the tableting or encapsulation process.

 

 

Poor Label

 

Good Label

Other Ingredients: Cellulose, stearic acid, spirulina, lycopene, grape seeds.

Other Ingredients: Cellulose, vegetable magnesium stearate.

Example: Agents used in supplement manufacture (i.e. cellulose and stearates) should be listed under Other Ingredients.  Product on left also uses this section to list catchy sounding spirulina, lycopene, and grape seeds.  With no amounts listed, assume these ingredients are present in low levels that provide little value.  A supplement maker who is proud of a product’s nutritive ingredients will fully disclose amounts within the Supplement Facts box not list these ingredients along with manufacturing agents in the Other Ingredient section.

 

4.Understanding Herbs

 

 

Herb Forms: Powders, Tinctures, Extracts

 

The form, preparation and concentration of an herb affects its potency and influences the herb’s potential for therapeutic effectiveness.  the potency of all herb forms except standardized extracts are uncertain and depends on factors invisible to the consumer (i.e. soil quality, rainfall, seasonal climate, harvesting methods, storage methods and age).

 

            Know Your Plant Parts: Medicinal plants often have specific parts that are most effective therapeutically, such as the root for goldenseal, the leaf for raspberry, and the blossom for clover.  Products using irrelevant plant parts may cost less, but offer little or no benefit!

 

Powdered Herb

 

Often encapsulated or used as tea, powdered herbs are more likely than other forms to lose potency when exposed to air.  Fresh, high quality powdered herb may add therapeutic or nutritional value to a supplement.  Low quality powders may provide little benefit.  Look for expiration or “use by” dates.

 

Poor Label

 

Good Label

Saw Palmetto………..320mg

Saw Palmetto berry

Serenoa repens……320mg

Example: If the label doesn’t say otherwise, assume the form of herb is powdered.  Better labels specify plant part and latin name (genus and species).  Sometimes a less effective species of a plant is used to save money.  Check to see if other related species may be equally effective.

 

Tinctures and Fluid Extracts

 

Tinctures contain the soluble parts of dried or fresh herbs, often extracted in a mixture of alcohol and water, vinegar or glycerin.  Tinctures are usually dispensed by drops. This form is more stable and thus has longer shelf life than powdered herb.

 

Poor Label

 

Good Label

Saw Palmetto berry

Tincture…………..320mg

Saw Palmetto berry

Serenoa repens 1:5 tincture, 40% alcohol………………..320mg

Example: Better labels specify tincture strength as a ratio.  Regular tinctures are made using 1 or 2 parts herb to 10 parts solvent, yielding strength ratio of 1:10 or 1:5.  higher potency tinctures (also known as fluid extracts) use more herb in less solvent, yielding stronger 1:3, 1:2, or even high strength 1:1 ratios.

 

Concentrated and standardized extracts

 

Concentrated or standardized extracts (solid, powdered, liquid) are generally prepared from evaporated herbal tinctures or teas.

 

Poor Label

 

Good Label

  1. Saw Palmetto Berry Extract..……..320mg
  2. Saw Palmetto berry standardized extract………..320mg
  1. Saw Palmetto berry

Serenoa repens extract 5:1…………320mg

  1. Saw Palmetto berry

Serenoa repens (standardized to 85%-95% fatty acids and sterals)………320mg

 

  1. Concentrated extracts commonly use 4 to 8 parts of plant matter to make 1 part extract (4:1 to 8:1).  Some may use up to 200 pounds of herb to make 1 pound of finished product (200:1)!

Example: A better label tells you the concentration strength by noting the ratio of herb to extract.  This is often appears after the plant name.

 

  1. Standardized Extracts are lab-analyzed to provide a verified amount of one or more nutritive ingredients.  In many cases, proportional amounts of other constituents are also present, retaining the natural “fingerprint” of the whole herb.  Standardized extracts are the most consistent, and often the most potent, form of an herb.  They are used in the majority of studies demonstrating therapeutic effectiveness.

Example: Standardized extracts provide a set percentage of an herb’s researched nutritive ingredient.  Useless this percentage is noted on the label, the term “Standardized” is meaningless.

 

5.Beware of False Claims

 

Is it science of is it marketing?  To avoid being misled, question all claims on supplement labels as well as in advertisements.  Although government guidelines restrict the types of claims that manufacturers can legally use to promote their products, not all companies comply.  Many promises mount to little more than marketing hype.

 

Use common sense to decide if a claim seems realistic.  Be aware of emotionally charged, misleading language in advertising.

 

When doubt, contact the company and request information to support a claim.  Unbiased research and human studies are most relevant.  If the science seems legitimate, verify that the form and dose used in product match form and dose showing benefit in studies.

 

Weights & Measures

1 kilogram (kg) = 1000grams (g)

1 gram (gm) = 1000 milligrams (mg)

1 milligram (mg) = 1000 micrograms (mcg)

1 liter = 1000 milliliters (ml)

946 milliliters (ml) = 1 quart

30 ml = 1 fluid once

1 teaspoon, medical = 5 milliliters (ml)

1 tablespoon = 15ml = ½ fluid ounce

28.35 grams (gm) = 1ounce

1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds

Vitamin E

Measured in mg alpha-tocopherol equivalents 1 mg alpha tocopherol = 1.49 IU

Beta Carotene 1mg = 1667 IU

Vitamin A

1 RE (retinol equivalent) = 5 IU

1 RE = 6mcg of beta carotene

1 RE = 1mcg of retinol

Vitamin D

Measured in mcg cholecalciferol

1 mcg cholecalciferol = 40 IU

 

 

 



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Powerful New Formula Supports Immune System Response...
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Date: August 29, 2005 02:09 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Powerful New Formula Supports Immune System Response...

Wellness Transfer Factor 12.5mg

Powerful New Formula Supports Immune System Response!

  • • A technologically advanced approach to immune system integrity—now available in higher 12.5mg potency!
  • • Transfer factor is a highly purified constituent of bovine colostrums.
  • • Transfer factors are chemical messengers that enhance immune system response. This ability to respond can be transferred from one organism to another, and from one species to another.

    One Capsule Containes:
    Polyvalent Transfer Factor 12.5mg
    From 125mg of fractionated colostrums

    Suggested used: 1 capsule per day with water for general well-being. During times of physiological stress up to 2 capsules per day may be taken, or take as directed by your health care professional. Take on an empty stomach and wait 30 minutes before eating.



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    Vitanet ®

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