Search Term: " Absorbing "
Feel Our CBDifference - Fast-Absorbing CBD Relief Gel
June 24, 2020 04:33 PM
Feel Our CBDifference - Fast-Absorbing Relief Gel
Your sking will thank you
New Leaf Therapeutics Fast-Absorbing Relief Gels combine the moisturizing effects of our all-natural, plant-based hydrogel with the beneficial effects of CBD, which help support the body's healthy inflammatory response, and may provide the right topical combination to help support healthy skin and active bodies. Our 4 Unique Topical Formulas are expertly blended with 375mg of broad spectrum CBD per tube to support the endocannabinoid receptors found on the skin.
Problems digesting fat? Here are 5 ways to get your gut moving
May 02, 2019 01:57 PM
There are nutrients which require fatty acids for absorption. It is possible that you are struggling with absorbing fat, which can be seen in problems including light colored and stinky stools, bloating, nausea, or fatigue. Liver congestion, poor quality bile, or lacking of pancreatic enzymes may be the problem. Beet greens, collard, and chicory are a few helpful bitter foods that may stimulate your enzymes to function more properly. Foods including lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, spinach, and celery may help your hydrochloric acid in breaking down foods. Add in honey, avocados, bananas, ginger, pineapples, or kiwi to boost digestive enzymes.You can also help your body with medium chain fatty acids like coconut oil for absorption of nutrients. Finally, consider a probiotic supplement or fermented foods to help with proper breakdown and digestion.
"These symptoms may also be an indication of other nutrient deficiencies as some nutrients need fatty acids to be absorbed."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-20-problems-digesting-fat-5-ways-to-get-your-gut-moving.html
Oil Of Oregano & 6 Other Health Supplements That Can Help TreatDigestive Issues
September 01, 2018 05:53 PM
In today's world, there are so many different options of foods and brands that claim to be healthier than the next. There are many supplements that people take and they all have different reasons for it. Now, the age of the bodybuilder has really increased and people are trying to achieve a certain look. Oil of oregano and other health supplements are more for the issues that involve being able to digest things more efficiently and safely.
"Leaky gut is the cause for many malabsorption issues, which means even if you are eating a healthy diet and taking care of yourself your body may not be absorbing these nourishing nutrients."
Read more: https://sporteluxe.com/oil-of-oregano-6-other-supplements-that-can-help-treat-your-digestive-issues/
6 Natural Remedies To Cleanse Your Congested Colon
February 10, 2018 03:59 PM
The colon is part of the digestive system whose function is to assimilate the nutrients of food, however, due to poor eating habits, this organ houses a large amount of toxic material that eventually wears it and generates health consequences; In this sense it is very important to consider healthy practices to improve the functioning and restore the health of this vital organ, such as drinking between 10 and 12 glasses of water and if it has a high level of alkalinity, excellent; the consumption of seeds of linanza provides a high content of fiber and omega3, the juice of lemon contributes with its detoxification and the consumption of plums helps its mobility. Finally these simple habits, can improve the health and life of your colon .
"It just so happens that one of the most effective ways to cleanse and detoxify your colon is also one of the easiest: drink more water!"
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/6-natural-remedies-cleanse-congested-colon/
Coffee warning: This important supplement is not absorbed if drunk with caffeine
August 05, 2017 12:14 PM
Taking vitamins can be one of many great ways to boost your health and nutrition. Its possible the beverages they are taken with can block many benefits. This informative article will give advice to taking many common vitamins and minerals to get the full benefits. The author explains which beverage is best for iron absorption and which supplements you may want to avoid taking together. Maybe it's not a good idea to take them with that morning cup of coffee.
"The HSIS also recommend not taking zinc and copper together, since they compete with each other for absorption pathways."
Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/836679/coffee-caffeine-calcium-supplements-tea-vitamins-minerals
5 Benefits Of Cannabis Tea
July 19, 2017 04:14 PM
Cannabis can be consumed in many different forms, one of which is tea. This is a popular way. People enjoy tea. This gives the benefits of drinking this. Many swear by cannabis. They want it to be legal because of the positive affects it has on certain health conditions. If you want to try this tea you should check this out to see what you can gain. It is a good idea to research before trying any herbs for improving your health.
"Put simply, cannabis appears to be an amazing compound with numerous health benefits."
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/benefits-of-cannabis-tea/
Is Your Digestive System On Fire?
July 15, 2017 07:14 PM
Many people have health problems that can be related to issues with the gut. One lady had issues with weight gain and feeling tired, it turned out that she had many food allergies and a leaky gut. She needed to help the leaky gut or she would continue having issues with absorbing nutrients. Many people take a lot of medications like antibiotics, which cause harm to the gut. Many people also have a low level of B12 because of the gut not absorbing it .
Read more: Is Your Digestive System On Fire?
Women, the key to urinary health starts with the gut
June 08, 2017 07:14 AM
Women, who appreciate the inherent discomfort of urinary tract infections and other conditions, falling into the same general area, should take heart in understanding that keeping the lowest regions of the body comfortable can have everything to do with keeping the mid-zone happy. It so happens that urinary tract health is highly dependent on gut health. The key is in eating and absorbing the nutrients from foods that will promote an array of good bacteria. This entails avoiding processed foods, using well-established probiotic formulas, and eating healthy, nourishing foods, such as organic greens and other veggies, like garlic and dandelions. and fermented foods, like yogurt.
Read more: Women, the key to urinary health starts with the gut
Researchers develop tiny, shining crystals that detect and clean heavy metals in water
December 16, 2016 12:59 PM
Researchers from Rutgers University crystals, aka luminescent metal-organic frameworks (LMOF), that detect and are able to bond with heavy metal contaminants in water. The LMOF are highly effective and it is hopeful that they will be a great tool to clean up contaminated drinking water. Researchers continue to try to develop the crystals so that they may be created less expensively and can be used several times.
"A team of researchers led by academics at Rutgers University has developed tiny, glowing crystals that are able to detect and then bind heavy-metal toxins in drinking water such as lead and mercury."
The Liver Is A Very Imprtant Organ
Positioning at the right side of the belly, The Liver, is the most significant internal organ of our body. Along with intestine and pancreas, it perform the function of digesting, Absorbing and processing the food.
The most important function of the liver is to purify the blood before advancing it to the rest of the body. It also removes harmful toxic gases from the blood and helps in production of hormones. In other words, Liver is " Blood Purifier" of our body !
But various diseases like the Hepatitis, Cirrhosis, Liver cancer, Ascites , Gallstones can reduce the smooth functioning of the liver. This is why we need an aid to the liver, "Milk Thistle",a flowering herb is used as a natural treatment.
It is one of the strongest detoxifiers which helps in regenerating the liver cells, and it reduces the harmful effects of alcohol consumption, presence of heavy metals in our water supply and pesticides in our food. It can even back-pedal the effect of pollution in the air we breathe!
Milk thistle has been recognized as a therapeutic treatment for above mentioned liver diseases. It can also be used for lowering the cholesterol level, or as an anti-aging treatment.
If you are experiencing liver function issues, consider taking milk thistle daily.
Importance of Phospholipids and Peptides found in Fish oil
The demand for fish in the world keeps on increasing as a result of health advantages associated with fish oil. Fish oil is the oil extracted from the tissues of the oily fish, and this oil is known to have some benefits and one of them being the reduction of inflammation in the body. Although fish oil doesn’t contain the omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil supplements contain these acids that are essential in the body.
Peptides found in fish oil are organic compounds that are groups of amino acids. The peptides have various medicinal benefits that include the following.
The fish peptides found in fish oil help reduce vasoconstriction that gets defined as the narrowing of one’s blood vessels as a result of contraction of the muscular wall. These fish peptides also help to reduce the thickness of the inner walls of the blood vessels that will affect blood circulation. Lastly, fish peptides found in fish oil always inhibit the aggregation of blood.
Fish peptides work in various ways. In their circulatory pressure function, the peptides inhibit the angiotensin converting enzyme. When the formation of angiotensin II gets inhibited, fish peptides help relax arteries and reduce fluid volume hence improving circulation.
When one combines fish oil together with fish peptides, it provides higher cardio-protective advantages than using pure fish oil.
The advantages of the fish oil supplement like krill oil revolve around their natural composition. It’s bioavailable as it has omega-3 fatty acids always attached to phospholipids. It, therefore, makes the supplement more effective and enables the body in Absorbing more omega-3. The krill oil that contain phospholipids has several advantages. It always promotes one’s cardiovascular health. The main omega-3 fats include EPA and DHA that help to combat inflammation mainly in the blood vessels. In a way, it also helps to lower blood pressure and to some extent prevent strokes and heart attacks.
When taken in large quantity during pregnancy, the omega-3 found in these supplements helps a lot in improving neurological development in the newborns. They will help in the child’s development of the eyes, central nervous system and the brain.
The phospholipids that contain omega-3 fatty acids are said to be water dispersible. As a result, this makes them gentler on one’s stomach, hence, the body absorbs them more easily. These phospholipids are also natural and important parts of the cells compared to other marine oil omega-3s.
They help in both the heart and brain health. As a result of proper blood circulation, it ensures that oxygen is also well supplied within the body. They also have the advantages of a healthy inflammation and play a major role in women’s health. Lastly, phospholipids are safe for taking into the body as they are natural supplements.
Phospholipids are absorbed into the body at a faster rate compared to triglycerides found in fish oil. They have a superior absorption rate, and they are more effective in the body. The other reason you should go for phospholipids is that they aren’t chemically altered and are therefore safe for consumption.
In conclusion, the benefits of peptides found in the fish oil and phospholipids include protection of one’s brain from oxidative damage, improve focus as well as mental agility and reduce any depression symptoms. They also strengthen the blood vessels and the arteries.
How Can I Tell If Im Lacking Silica In My Diet?
June 16, 2014 11:53 AM
Uses of silica
Our body requires the mineral silica for it to function normally. The body uses this mineral together with calcium for growing and maintaining of strong bones. Silica is also a very strong anti-aging mineral and plays a big role in the prevention of osteoporosis (a condition in which bones become very fragile and likely to fracture). It also contributes to the strength, flexibility and integrity of connective tissues such as the ones found in bones, skin, nails and blood vessels. It is also important for the growth of the skin, hairs and fingernails. It also helps in the healing process, as it is an integral part of the immune system. It is also a vital component of the teeth whereby it strengthens the enamel hence preventing problems such as gum recessions and bleeding gums. We therefore require silica daily due to its many important functions in the body.
There are some symptoms of silica deficiency that will indicate you are missing it in your diet. These include poor formation of bones, osteoporosis, formation of wrinkles, and aging of the skin, brittleness of both finger and toenails and thinness of hair. The main symptom of this deficiency is sensitive to cold, meaning that you will feel cold even in the hottest summer days.
Foods rich in silica
Fibrous foods are the richest in this important mineral. Such foods are peppers, celery, potatoes, carrots, cereals, beets and unrefined grains. Other sources of the mineral are apples, almonds, raw cabbage, pumpkins, peanuts, honey, fish, cucumber, cherries, cons and raisins. Absorbing silica from foods is always difficult and that why it is important to consume these foods in large quantities. Grains have been shown to consist the highest level of absorbable silica.
What Is Agar Powder Used For?
January 27, 2014 09:44 AM
What Is Agar Powder Used For?
Agar, also known as agar agar or kanten, is a gelling agent that comes from a South East Asian seaweed. This natural additive has excellent gelling properties. It is often used by vegetarians as a vegetable gelatin as the true gelatin comes from calf’s feet.
For instance, biologists use it as filler in paper sizing fabric. Biologists also use it as a clarifying compound in brewing. Additionally, agar can be used as a laxative, thanks to its high fiber concentration. Better yet, the product can be used as an appetite suppressant.
People who desire to lose weight fast may find agar useful. It has no calories, no fat, no carbs, and no sugar and is loaded with fiber. As a matter of fact, 80 percent of agar is comprised of nothing but fiber.
Few reason that explain why Curamin is a great supplemnt for fighting inflammation
December 08, 2013 11:40 PM
Inflammation and Curamin
We all know that most of the chronic pain in any part of body occurs because of inflammation and if you want to get rid of this pain, then you need to reduce the inflammation in your body. In order to reduce the inflammation you can take some over the counter medicine, but those medicines can have some serious side effects and that's why it is suggested that you should avoid these medicines and you should take some help from combination of natural herbs such as Curamin for reducing your inflammation.
What is Curamin
If we talk about Curamin it is a combination of two very powerful and highly effective herbs Boswellia and turmeric with required amino acids that increase the pain reliving ingredients Absorbing process in body and it quickly reduces the inflammation in a safer way. The best thing about Curamin is that it is complete safe and it produces no harmful side effects on your body that makes it a best anti inflammatory medicine.
Benefits of Curamin
Another great benefit of Curamin is that unlike many other pain killer medicines you don't have to take it in every four or six hour for pain reliving because its result last for a very longer time. Also, it absorbs very quickly into blood stream that makes it a very fast pain reliever and it gives very quick results as well and you can use it to reduce all kind of chronic pain including joint pain, back pain, bone pain, arthritis, and every other pain.
As said above it is complete safe that means you can use it any time and you don't have to worry about the liver damage, kidney damage, heart attacks or some other problems that you might experience with other over the counter pain killer medicines. So, in conclusion we can say that Curamin is a great supplement for fighting inflammation.
Detox your Body with Aloe Vera Juice
August 08, 2012 08:23 AM
Aloe Vera is popularly known as Miracle plant, a natural healer and is easily available in most gardens. This cactus type plant is native to North Africa. This short stemmed juicy plant grows around 80 cm tall. But, why is this plant so popular in recent times? The sap which comes out of its leaves when cut has numerous medicinal properties. This herbal plants medicinal benefit has been acknowledged hundreds of years ago. Aloe Vera is available commercially in the form of supplements, capsules, juice etc in various stores across the world.
Why is it so special?
Aloe Vera leaf is filled with 99% water and the remaining one percent is full of nutrients, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients. All these minerals and nutrients are very essential for a strong and healthy body.
Benefits of Aloe Vera
The most important part of the aloe vera plant is its gel which is a thick sticky liquid found in the interiors of the leaves. Twenty three peptide found in this gel improves the metabolism and helps purify the body from harmful toxins. Aloe Vera gel has a lot of antiseptic properties, as well as works as a good disinfectant. The juice of aloe Vera helps in digestion which is one of the most important steps towards Absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat. It also helps soothe heartburn and cure various digestive issues. Aloe Vera assists in reducing inflammation without causing any serious side effects. Drinking the juice of aloe Vera helps maintain a healthy skin. It also helps combat the effects of ageing. Antiseptic properties of aloe Vera help soothing burns, cuts and minor skin irritations.
Detox effects of Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a natural product which assists in detoxifying. Due to the heavy stress and increased pollution around us it has become very obligatory to cleanse our body frequently. Aloe Vera juice is a good supplement which provides our body with necessary minerals, and nutrients which are essential for our body to deal with day to day stress and improve energy levels. The beginning of most of ailments is due to improper digestion. A spoon full of Aloe Vera juice along with regular juice or water early mornings is a good start towards detoxification. This mixture solves the issues related to viruses, and parasites thereby improving the immune system.
Some of the other well known benefits of Aloe Vera are:It is a good anti-oxidant and helps fight cancer.Hydrates the skin cells and repairs the tissues.Heals digestion related issues like irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation.Improves overall metabolism of the body.Helps stabilize blood pressure levels.Used in cosmetics like face creams, anti-ageing lotions, and shampoos.Excellent natural skin moisturizer.Helps strengthen the immune system.A natural product with anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.Proven to help patients with type 2 diabetes by lowering their blood sugar.A natural laxative.
Aloe Vera plants can be found in any plant nurseries. It is not very difficult to grow them indoors or in gardens. It is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants. Growing your own aloe vera garden will ensure you of natural as well as organic plants free from chemical pesticides.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Taking Kelp?
June 25, 2012 08:24 AM
Common people came to know about kelp only after the nuclear war, which demolished two beautiful cities of Japan. How kelp is related to nuclear war? How it helped people after the nuclear bomb explosion?
The Co-relation between Kelp and the Nuclear War
After the nuclear explosion the radioactive iodine spread through the air. People, who were completely unaffected by the nuclear explosion, fell sick by Absorbing the radioactive iodine. The medical scientists come up with a fantastic idea to save people from the fatal iodine then. They advised people to take kelp pills. Kelp is highly rich in iodine. So, if a person is taking kelp pills, then he or she would require no more iodine, hence their would be no absorption. This miraculous idea saved millions of people from the harmful radioactive iodine after the Second World War. Now, whenever there is a need of iodine, physicians recommend to go for kelp. You would find kelp pills in the medicine boxes of most of homes.
Other Health Benefits of Kelp
Apart from the radiation poisoning, kelp pills could help a person's body in many other ways. Iodine is required for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Kelp pills could be used in case of thyroid malfunction.
The iodine content of kelp could be used for female hormone regulation.
The immune system requires iodine to function properly. If the immune system of any person is getting weaker or not functioning as it should be due to low iodine concentration in body, then the patient could avert the situation by taking iodine-rich kelp pills.
Kelp is probably the only natural product, which helps a person to fight against the most fatal disease, cancer. Fucoidan, which has the potency to induce cell death in cancerous cells, is found only in kelp.
Apart from the ability to start cell death, Fucoidan possess anti-inflammatory properties also, may reduce pain. In fact, Fucoidan is considered as one of the strongest natural anti-inflammatory agents.
Kelp is not only rich in iodine but it contains iron too. If any person is suffering from iron deficiency, then he should go for kelp instead of anything else, as it is a natural source of iron. Pregnant women could take the help of kelp pills to meet the extra requirement of iron in their bodies.
One could reduce the danger of suffering from estrogen cancer by regular taking of kelp, either in diet or by in taking kelp pills. Generally, the diet of Japanese people is rich in diet. If you look at the estrogen related cancer cases in Japan, then you would find it is one of the lowest in the world.
Kelp has pain killing properties. Kelp is used specially in case of endometriosis. Any woman suffering from endometriosis could get rid of pain by taking one 700 mg capsule of kelp.
Do you have kelp pills in your medicine box? If yes, it is well and good. If you are yet to keep kelp along with you, then don't waste any time. Go ahead and keep kelp pills in your home.
Raspberry ketone for weight loss
June 11, 2012 08:21 AM
Raspberry ketones are natural compounds that are found in raspberry plants and that are able to regulate metabolism in the same manner as synephrine and capsaicin since they are chemically similar. Ketones are also responsible for the pleasant smell of raspberries and they are also used as a flavoring ingredient for processed food. Various studies have shown that these ketones are also extremely potent fat burners and this is the main reason why they are highly marketed as being an effective solution for weight loss.
It was scientifically proven that people who choose to live a healthy lifestyle and who also watch their weight can have a significant benefit from using raspberry ketone supplements. Most people can lose a considerable amount of weight by using these supplements and it works with any type of diet. It also works extremely well and burns fat even more effective when it is combined with a high protein diet that is low on fat. This is basically one of the main reasons why this supplement is so high in demand nowadays.
Whenever raspberry ketone is used as a supplement the core temperature of the body is significantly raised. Therefore the metabolism rate will also be increased and it will cause the body to burn fat and calories much faster, making this compound very popular and effective when it comes to weight loss. In addition, these ketones will also make the overall fat that the body is Absorbing from a regular diet to be reduced. In fact, a study conducted on rats in Japan reveals that this compound is extremely effective in fat loss after it prevented fat from accumulating in their tissues. This is a strong evidence that proves how effective for boosting metabolism and burning fat this supplement really is. Although no study was documented on humans, there are various positive feedbacks from users that prove to be effective and free of any side effects as well.
Due to the raspberry ketone effectiveness, most nutritionists and dietitians are also recommending to eat a few raspberries along with meals. People who went for a healthy diet and also consumed raspberries on a regular basis have experienced positive weight loss results. This fruit is also very delicious and is rich in fiber so it is a good addition to any meal. Raspberry ketones are also known for several other health benefits such as maintain the level of fat and cholesterol in the body. Also, by consuming this compound you can also maintain your blood pressure levels in normal range, therefore these ketones are also good for maintaining the overall health for the cardiovascular system.
So basically all these healthy and beneficial properties make raspberries a very healthy fruit. They also contain anti-oxidants which are most needed for combating the harmful free-radicals present in the body. Since it would take many pounds of actual raspberries in order to get any significant results, supplements based on this compound are the perfect choice in order to get the recommended dosage (usually around 100-300mg).
What is the History and Health Benefits of Pycnogenol?
March 24, 2012 07:51 AM
What Are The Health Benefits Of Pycnogenol?
Pycnogenol is a name of a product which is prepared from a tree French Pine also known as French Maritime Pine. Pycnogenol is a trademark name sold as a nutritional supplement. This supplement is mainly used for asthma and a condition known as chronic venus insufficiency. It is a water extract of the bark of the French Pine found in the coastal south west of France. Pycnogenol contains unique flavonoid compounds in high concentration. These compounds at such high levels of concentration have proven to be useful and beneficial on inflammation, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, aging and healing of wounds.
History and Discovery of Pycnogenol:
Pycnogenol is a very powerful antioxidant made from a combination of natural antioxidants and phytonutrients. Since it is biologically made it is technically a bioflavonoid. A French scientist by the name Professor Masquelier gave the name Pycnogenol which is a scientific name for the oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) as well as other bioflavonoids. Pycnogenol is an extract from the French Maritime Pine and grape seed extract. Professor Masquelier along with a Swiss broker Horphag made attempts to commercialize Pycnogenol. Horphag without the consent of Masquelier registered the name Pycnogenol as a patent in the year 1990 which came under the ownership of Horphag in the United States. This caused severe legal disputes in the US. Horphag made huge profits from the intellectual property of Masquelier. This wonderful antioxidant was discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1953. In his books Cartier mentioned about the benefits of pine and how it cured and healed chronic diseases. Professor Masquelier discovered Cartier's book and recognized the benefits of these medicines which were rich in bioflavonoids.
Health Benefits of Pycnogenol:
Pycnogenol is a very powerful antioxidant which helps in regulating certain types of acids that gets absorbed in the human body through chemicals and free radicals. Antioxidants help in improving heart health and prevent cancer. Brain diseases like Alzheimer's can also be prevented with the use of Pycnogenol. It prevents the body from Absorbing the toxic elements which are responsible for the development of brain diseases. It works as a good preventive tool. Pycnogenol also helps people who suffer from heart disease, which is a very common disease worldwide. It reduces swelling due to heart disease and helps in regulating the blood pressure. Pycnogenol also assists in reducing blood sugar levels in type ll diabetes, administered along with the anti-diabetes drugs.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of Pycnogenol are beneficial in treating asthma. It also improved the tolerance to chemotherapy in cancer patients. Pycnogenol works well as an anti aging product along with Vitamin E, and reduces wrinkles.
Pycnogenol is available in the market in different supplement formulas containing about 20mg to 100mg of Pycnogenol. It is the most extensively researched product and has also passed a number of safety tests. Tests have proved that consuming Pycnogenol at higher dosage for longer periods is safe though there are a few minor side effects. These side effects are gastro intestinal discomfort, nausea, dizziness and headaches. If consumed with certain drugs it can cause major side effects due to drug interactions. Pycnogenol is a great antioxidant supplement which helps in protecting and healing the body from harmful chemicals. Before taking Pycnogenol daily as a supplement it is recommended to consult physicians who can advice on the ideal dosages.
How Does Additional Dietary Fiber Boost Colon Health?
October 05, 2011 04:34 PM
Properly functioning Colon Is A Healthy Body
Colon health and fiber is intertwined and inseparable. Fiber is very essential and necessary to keep your colon healthy and well functioning. Therefore, if you want your colon to work properly, adequate intake of fiber rich foods should be ensured all the time because if not, several problems specifically those that involves the digestive tract would occur.
The colon as most of us already know is one of the most vital organs for digestion. You could not live without your colon hence, it is truly necessary to maintain life. Through your colon, waste and toxins from the foods that you ate will be flushed out from your body because one of its chief functions is to get rid of the body’s waste products.
When your colon is sound and healthy, the evacuation of body waste and toxins would be on a regular basis. You can determine if your colon is functioning well if your bowel movement is one to two times per day. Through this bowel pattern, build up of waste and toxins in the gastro-intestinal tract would be prevented.
Regular bowel movement and elimination of waste is highly important to prevent the blood from Absorbing detrimental elements from the colon because ones these toxins are being absorbed by the blood, it will reach the liver and kidneys which will add up to their work load thus, would lead to exhaustion and organ damage.
For us to prevent vital organ damage, fiber rich foods should be constantly incorporated in your meals. Fiber prevents and relieves constipation and for you to grasp the health advantages that it offers; you have to consume enough fruits and vegetables. Because of fiber’s importance it is very essential to discuss the two categories of fiber:
This particular kind of fiber is mostly found in nuts, vegetables, and whole-wheat flour. Insoluble fiber is highly beneficial in retaining water therefore making it a very effectual laxative. Insoluble fiber also aids in the formation of waste or feces.
This specific fiber is most of the time broken down by bacteria. It resembles a gel like form that is very effective in the evacuation of waste in the colon. Soluble fiber also helps in keeping the walls of the colon healthy and well functioning. You can grasp the benefits of soluble fiber by eating apples, carrots, oats, and barley.
Because of the kind of lifestyle and diet that the people are engaging in right now, there is a great need to reiterate that fiber should always be included in your meals. Fiber increases the bulk and softens stools hence, it would be easier to evacuate. Another significant benefit of fiber is the promotion of colon health as well as preventing disease conditions such as hemorrhoids and diverticular disease (presence of small pouches in the colon). In addition, healthy colon could also facilitate safe weight loss thus you will feel hunger less often.
Can You Take fiber With Vitamins?
September 06, 2011 03:10 PM
Have you ever had a digestive problem, having hard time digesting food, feeling constipated or even constantly feeling bloated, if you have you probably have heard about fiber being possibly helpful to you, these days you are able to see lots of fiber enriched products in the market, it may be food in the grocery aisle or supplementation in the drug or health food store. Fiber has definitely reached a certain amount of popularity in mainstream natural remedies. It has shown great results in aiding in the relief of digestive tract problems through cleansing. And for many this is considered to be its main function, it allows in a way the purification of your digestive tract which leads to better health since toxins and harmful bacteria are flushed out from your system before it can make any damage. Now you may ask, what does this have to do with vitamin absorption?
Fiber and How it works
For us to understand what fiber’s relation is to vitamin absorption we need to look at first how it works. As mentioned above the key function of fiber is to cleanse the body and purify the digestive tract, in other words cleansing is the key when it comes to the relation of fiber to vitamin absorption. Looking into it with more detail, when fiber cleanses, it does take away toxins and harmful bacteria however with the same function or process it also may promote malabsorption as fiber does not have the ability to determine good from bad substances so in a way it will also flush out vitamins from the body before it can be absorbed. You see, the way fiber works is that it acts like a sponge Absorbing substances around it, with water it is able to create that cleansing effect as it absorbs water to help stool move along as it is softened by the liquid.
Blocking certain vitamin absorption
With how fiber works, if we are not careful the vitamins that we take in from the food we eat or from supplementation may not be absorbed by the body. So the answer to the question, if fiber can block vitamin absorption is yes it can. Fiber itself will not be the blockade, rather it is the characteristic it has and since it is not specifically a blockade we can work around that issue. We simply need to avoid taking too much fiber especially at times when we are also taking in either food that are high in vitamin content or vitamin supplementation itself that way the vitamins will stay long enough in our stomach for it to be absorbed by the body. Another thing to consider is, before allowing yourself to be scared of taking fiber is how much is too much fiber? Most researches have proven that 50 grams of fiber is more than should be consumed, however with that said most Americans does not reach that amount with their regular diet, in fact a regular American diet not infused with fiber rich foods only yields about 5 to 10g of fiber.
The real question is, are you getting enough fiber to improve colon health because to much is impossible with out a fiber supplement.
Hyaluronic acid and your cells, eyes, and skin
December 17, 2010 10:48 AM
Discovered in 1934, hyaluronic acid can be found anywhere there is the need for connective tissue in your body. Your joints, your eyes and your heart all contain hyaluronic acid, and a shortage can lead to a wide range of bodily defects, including the appearance of accelerated aging. It is a glycosaminoglycan, a form of polysaccharide that is not only found in connective tissue and epithelial and neural cells, but is also important in the growth and renewal of body cells.
We shall discuss here how hyaluronic acid affects specific areas of your body, and what the effect of a deficiency would mean, but also keeping in mind that an excess of this polysaccharide can also have a serious impact on your health although it offers few side effects worth noting.
Hyaluronic Acid and Your Joints
The highest concentrations of hyaluronic acid (HA) in your body is found in the synovial fluid, the fluid lubricating contained in your joints, and it is also plays an important role in maintaining the function of cartilage in keeping your joints flexible and well cushioned. It is chemically a glycosaminoglycan that is formed from glucosamine and glucuronic acid. Its production is boosted by chondroitin, which is why glucosamine and chondroitin are commonly used supplements for the treatment of arthritis.
Specifically, HA joins with collagen and elastin to produce cartilage, and also increases the supply of synovial fluid that maintains lubricity within the joints. Without the synovial fluid your cartilage would soon become worn away and your bones would grind together, eventually seizing up. By taking hyaluronic acid orally as a supplement, you can help to maintain healthy joints by maintaining the integrity of the cartilage and the quality of the synovial fluid.
Because the cartilage contains no blood vessels, it is reliant on the synovial fluid to keep it supplied with nutrients, and specifically with HA which is a large part of its structure. Without this important polysaccharide your body would not be able to function: no mobility, dry flaky skin and poor or no eyesight.
Hyaluronic Acid and Your Skin
Hyaluronic acid occurs in the lower layers of your skin where it helps to maintain a smooth and full appearance to your skin due to its hygroscopic nature in Absorbing up to a thousand times its weight of water. For this reason HA is frequently used in skin moisturizing treatments and lotions.
HA is not found inside body cells, but appears to be restricted to the extracellular regions between cells where its moisturizing properties are critical in maintaining suppleness. Elastin requires copious quantities of water to remain elastic or it would otherwise become brittle: that is why our skin looks dry and wrinkled when we age. It is due to a lack of moisture: the moisture that hyaluronic acid can bring to the table. The problem is that HA reduces with age and in order to maintain our youthful looks we have to take a supplement.
Hyaluronic acid doesn't last long in your skin: it has to be renewed constantly and each day about 50% of the HA content of your skin is lost. It takes about two weeks for the same degree of loss to occur in the synovial fluid of your joints. The look of your skin depends to a very large extent on the extracellular matrix, or what is contained between your skin cells. The more moisture there then the smoother and plumper your skin will appear.
As you age, your hyaluronic acid production drops and so your skin becomes increasingly more depleted of moisture. This causes it to dry up and wrinkle. Were there one substance that I would choose as the elixir of life it would be HA, because by taking a regular supplement your natural daily loss is replenished and your skin is given a hand to maintain its soft, moist plumpish look that helps you to keep you looking young.
Hyaluronic Acid and Your Eyes
The vitreous humor is the liquid inside your eyeball, and it contains a large amount of hyaluronic acid. It helps absorb shock and to maintain the shape of the eyeball. The HA is so important that your body has developed a special set of cells known as the hyalocytes of Balazs that are believed to promote the renewal of hyaluronic acid, and also possibly its breakdown.
There is still a lot of research going on into this but the importance of HA in the vitreous humor and other aqueous area of your body is not in question. It helps to retain water and give structure to the liquid media within your body, whether that is between the bones of your joints, in the dermal and epidermal regions of your skin to keep it supple, or in your eyeball. In fact, it is believed to take up 70% - 80% of your eye, and helps to keep the retina in place exactly where it has to be for your eyesight to work.
Because Hyaluronic acid is:
a) present between the cells in every tissues in your body, and
b) a consumable, in that it gets used up rapidly, and
c) your biochemistry's ability to regenerate it reduces with age,
a supplement is the ideal way in which to maintain its levels in your extracellular system. In some instances injections are given, particularly in expensive anti-wrinkling treatment, but studies have shown that hyaluronic acid baxyl taken as an oral supplement shows an improvement after an average of 3 months treatment.
It should be understood that the average person has around 15 grams hyaluronic acid in their body, of which 5 grams is continually degraded and synthesized daily. When you reach an age that your ability to generate HA is impaired, then an oral supplement will be less expensive than injections, the hyaluronic acid of which will also be degraded with time. It won't be long before you need more treatment, and oral supplements are less expensive than private hypodermic injections.
A Hyaluronic acid supplement baxyl can be taken to improve the suppleness and appearance of youthful skin, help maintain the integrity of your eyesight and help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis and many other conditions brought on by a reduction in the synovial fluid and hydration of the skeletal and connective tissues of your body. In other words, it helps to keep you looking younger for longer and to keep your joints and your eyesight in good health.
Have you had your daily dose of hyaluronic acid today?
Baxyl is a liquid form of hyaluronic acid that is easy to take and easily assimilated into the body because its a liquid.
Antioxidants and your health
May 17, 2010 10:44 AM
There is an impressive amount of scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of supplementing with a wide variety of antioxidants. Consequently, there are many health practitioners who have begun to recommend high dietary intakes of these crucial nutrients in order to prevent against oxidative stress. It was anticipated over two decades ago by leading researchers that high-dose supplementation with antioxidants is developing a significant role in the prevention and treatment of a lot of today’s common illnesses. It should be noted that antioxidants do not work in isolation. When an antioxidant neutralizes a free radical, it, itself, is oxidized and must be regenerated by another antioxidant before it can be used again. Because of this, it is crucial to supplement with a wide variety of antioxidants, in order to reflect what actually occurs in nature.
Vitamin C, an aqueous-phase antioxidant, is the main guard against oxidative attack in the extra-cellular matrix, as well as within the cytoplasm of the cell. Vitamin C happens to be a substrate for eight different enzyme systems that are involved in various cellular functions. Among these functions are collagen synthesis, ATP synthesis in the mitochondria, and hormone biosynthesis. Its main antioxidant partners are vitamin E and beta carotene, both of which help to regenerate vitamin C.
Of all the antioxidants, it seems as if vitamin E offers the greatest protection against heart disease because of its ability to protect the cardiovascular system from oxidative damage. It is lipid-soluble, making it an important component of the cell membrane, where it works to protect the cell against lipid peroxidation and control oxidation-induced inflammatory events. Recently, the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E has shown a great deal of promise in its ability to reduce the risk of several oxidative stress related disease.
Beta-carotene is a member of a diverse group of photosynthetic pigments. It plays a huge role in human nutrition. As an antioxidant, it possesses a double-bond structure that allows it to react effectively with single oxygen radicals, Absorbing and diffusing their energy. Beta-carotene also acts as a precursor for vitamin A by supplying a portion of the body’s requirement for the vitamin. This act alone plays a central role in the chemistry of vision. Beta-carotene and vitamin A both prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, reduce oxidative damage to DNA, and disable oxygen free radicals that are produced by exposure to sunlight and air pollution. These antioxidants are also involved in the activation of gene expression and the control of cell differentiation.
When combined together, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene produce and important antioxidant trio that plays a huge role in fighting oxidative and inflammatory events. There are several other antioxidants that should be noted due to their ability to work synergistically with the vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene trio. These include vitamin A, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and the antioxidant mineral, selenium. In order to determine whether a nutrient provides antioxidant support, scientists question whether the product contains vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, beta-carotene, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and selenium and to what strength these vitamins and minerals are per serving.
Lactase Enzymes and Acidophilus
February 10, 2010 11:16 AM
Lactose intolerance is what is known as the inability to digest lactose. It is cause by a lack or deficiency of lactase. Lactase is an enzyme that is manufactured in the small intestine. It is responsible for splitting lactose into glucose and galactose. When a person who has lactose intolerance consumes milk or other dairy products, some or all of the lactose they contain remains undigested, retains fluid, and ferments in the colon. This results in abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and gas. Symptoms of lactose intolerance usually result between thirty minutes and two hours after consumption of dairy foods.
The degree of lactose intolerance varies from person to person. For most adults, lactose intolerance is actually a normal condition. Only Caucasians of northern European origin generally retain the ability to digest lactose after childhood. In the United States, somewhere between 30 and 50 million people are lactose intolerance. Lactase deficiency can also occur due to gastrointestinal disorders, which damage the digestive tract like celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, regional enteritis, or ulcerative colitis. Lactase deficiency can even develop on its own, with no known way to prevent it.
Lactose intolerance can occur in children as well as adults, even though it is far less common. In infants, lactose intolerance can occur after a severe case of gastroenteritis, which damages the intestinal lining. Symptoms of lactose intolerance in an infant can include foamy diarrhea with diaper rash, slow weight gain and development, and vomiting. Lactose intolerance can cause discomfort and digestive disruption, although it is not a serious threat to health and it can be easily managed through dietary adjustments. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with lactose intolerance. The dosages specified are for adults unless otherwise specified. For a child between the ages of twelve and seventeen, the dose should be reduced to three-quarters of the recommended amount. A child between the ages of six and twelve should use half the recommended dosage.
One teaspoon of acidophilus in distilled water, taken twice daily on an empty stomach, can help to replace lost friendly bacteria and promote healthy digestion. It is recommended that a nondairy formula is used. Charcoal tablets are helpful in Absorbing toxins and relieving diarrhea. Four tablets taken every hour with water until symptoms subside can help combat an acute attack. 1,000 mg of magnesium should be taken daily, as it is need for calcium uptake and promotes pH balance.
A multivitamin and mineral complex should be taken as directed on the label because all nutrients are needed for optimal health. 400 IU of vitamin D3 is also needed for calcium uptake, while 200 IU of vitamin E daily protects the cell membranes that line the colon wall. It should be noted that the d-alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E should be taken. 30 mg of zinc should be taken three times daily. A total of 100 mg daily from all supplements should not be exceeded. This nutrient is needed to maintain immune system and proper mineral balance. For best absorption, zinc gluconate lozenges should be used. Additionally, 3 mg of copper is needed to balance with zinc.
Most of all, a good lactase enzyme supplement can help ease painful gas and bloating when taken before dairy products are consumed.
NOW Foods is the Leading Brand for Amino Acids in Health Food Stores
April 29, 2009 04:16 PM
-Michael Lelah, Ph.D. / Technical Director
It was recently announced that NOW Foods is now the leading brand for the amino acid segment in Health Food Stores. We sell over 100 different formulas of single and multiple amino acids in powder, capsule, tablet, and liquid forms. We cover the alphabet from L-Arginine to L-Tyrosine, with high potency products such as Acetyl L-Carnitine 750 mg, 1,000 mg L-Carnitine Tartrate, and our new 1000 mg L-Tryptophan Tabs coming in June. Most amino acids come in two optical forms – the L-form and the D-form. The L-form is the only true natural form, while the more common D- and DL-forms are synthetic. At NOW Foods, we only carry the natural L-form. This is the safest form, naturally found in foods and in the human body. Taurine and Glycine have no optical rotation, and therefore occur in only one natural form with no L- or D- designation.
Our L-amino acids are of the highest quality available, and our ingredient powders conform to USP standards. The USP standards cover identity, purity and potency testing. This means that each lot of amino acid ingredient is tested to ensure that (a) it really is the amino acid we say it is, and not something else, (b) it’s pure to the highest USP standards, and (c) it has the full potency that you require. At NOW Foods, we take our amino acids seriously, and we even go beyond the USP level of testing when we believe it is necessary. For example, every lot of our L-Tryptophan is tested to ensure that it is free of Peak E. This is the impurity which is believed to have been responsible for serious adverse events twenty years ago. We rigorously enforce this standard, and this goes beyond USP requirements. We have rejected a number of lots of L-Tryptophan because of the presence of Peak E. We will not sell you these rejected materials, and we hope that others do not as well. We can’t control what others do, but we can control what we do and we assure you of L-Tryptophan tested to be free of Peak E.
Our state-of-the-art analytical labs allow us to perform our own testing on our amino acids to doubly ensure their quality. We have 9 HPLCs that we use every day to test and retest our aminos to confirm their potency, purity and identity. We have very strong analytical, professional, and technical staff members who have many years of experience in testing amino acids. So much so that we are involved in developing industry validated methods for L-Carnitine and L-Arginine. NOW scientists are setting the standards for amino acid testing.
Most amino acids are quite stable and they can be packaged in standard containers. These amino acids will maintain their shelf life through their Best By date, and we test to make sure they do. SAMe however, is a uniquely unstable amino acid compound. Because of this, we provide triple protection – glass bottles, moisture control and oxygen control. SAMe is distinctly susceptible to oxygen degradation. We are the only major brand to offer our SAMe packaged with Ageless® oxygen Absorbing packets, which remove integrity-challenging oxygen from every bottle to reduce degradation. We go that one step further to protect our products! Finally, we’re the leading amino acid brand because our products work. As an example, in a published study2, our SAMe was directly compared against the leading drug – Celebrex®.
NOW Foods brand SAMe performance was the same as the drug supporting joint health, but without the pharmaceutical side effects. All in all, we are not the leading brand in this category just because of our great prices. We have significant science and quality behind all of our products, not just amino acids, and we hope that you consider our rigorous efforts in quality assurance, safety and efficacy when making a purchase.
1. SPINScan Natural Channel, 52 weeks ending 02.21.09. 2. Najim, W.I., et al, SAMe versus celecoxib…, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2004, 5:6.
Digestive Essentail Enzymes
January 04, 2009 10:29 AM
Years of researching various health-promoting herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements has led to the conclusion that enzyme therapy is one of the most valuable ways to maintain and promote good health. Not very many of us actually understand the enormous role that enzymes play in health maintenance, with many of us actually being enzyme depleted due to the over-consumption of cooked enzyme-less foods and the under-consumption of raw whole foods. The human digestive system was designed for a diet that is full of raw plants and fruits, but many foods today are processed, refined, heated, and fragmented.
By eating foods that have lost their own natural enzymes, the pancreas and other organs that supply digestive enzymes are over-worked. This results in enzymatic function in other areas of the body to become compromised, which leads to disastrous health implications. Replenishing enzymes through diet and supplementation is an easy way to make up for the typical diet that is full of mostly dead foods.
The human digestive system is one of the most perfectly designed systems in the body, typically functioning without problems. This means that if we are eating the right foods in the right way, then we should not have to rely on antacids, H2 antagonists, proton-pump inhibitors, and laxatives. Burping, belching, and bloating, no matter how often they occur, are actually not normal. It is ironic that the human body has a system that is far more impressive than any other machine built by humans, but we suffer from breakdowns all the time such as abdominal cramps after eating, inordinate amounts of gas, sluggish colons, and an overall lousy feeling after eating.
Statistics prove that we are not eating the right foods, and even if we were, many of us are not properly Absorbing all of their nutrients because we consume huge amounts of sugar, drugs, caffeine, alcohol, and highly processed refined foods that prevent normal digestive processes. Being under constant stress and eating on the run, along with our unhealthy food choices, creates an environment inside our body that causes common cases of heartburn and indigestion, possibly leading to ulcers and colon disease.
Enzymes are protein molecules that are responsible for thousands of physiological reactions that take place in the human body. They initiate and control almost every biochemical process that occurs in the body, with nearly three thousand individual enzymes being identified to date. Enzymes help our body to digest food, repair tissue, and eliminate dangerous toxins. Digestive enzymes break down food particles, which allows them to pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. The enzymes that are found in the blood transform nutrient particles into tissue that is found in muscles, nerves, organs, and glands.
Enzymes also contribute to the process that stores sugar in the liver and muscle tissue and preserves fatty tissue. Additionally, digestive enzymes are part of the chemical reaction that creates urea. Some enzymes even help to detoxify our blood and tissue by allowing our immune system to attack foreign material. Lastly, metabolic enzymes help create energy in our body on a cellular level by converting foot to energy, which then fuels nearly every mechanism in the body. Do you get enough enzymes on a daily basis?
November 12, 2008 09:51 AM
Gymnema sylvestre is found naturally in central and southern India, where it has been used in traditional Indian medicine for almost two thousand years. It is known as 'gurmar' in ancient Indian texts, a word meaning 'sugar destroyer', which gives an indication of its uses in medicine.
It is used to reduce the absorption of glucose into the body, and also reduce the sweetness of foods, both of which are desirable for those wishing to lose weight and to reduce the level of sugar in their blood. It was used for this purpose in Ayurvedic medicine, subjects being given the leaves to chew. As with many other ancient Ayurvedic remedies, this use of gymnema sylvestre has passed into modern times, and has sound scientific basis. First, however a bit more about the plant itself.
It is found predominantly in the Western Ghats, and also to the west of the mountains, around coastal Goa. It is a vinous plant that climbs on other bushes and trees, known in Sanskrit as Meshasringa, or ram's horn after the shape of the leaves from which the supplement is extracted. For what it's worth, the official name seems a mix of Greek and Latin (gymnos(Gr) - naked and Silva (L)- forest) for naked forest. That, however, is irrelevant to its uses, so let's have a look at the science involved and the active ingredients in the plant.
The main constituents are terpenoid saponins known as gymnemic acids, so one can assume that they were first found in this plant. They are glycosides, including hodulcine and ziziphin, which act as sweetness inhibitors so that there is no sweet taste in anything that is sweetened by sucrose. There are over 20 types of gymnemic acid in the leaves, of which the strongest, Gymnemic Acid 1, can suppress the sweetness even of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.
These are not irreversible effects, and last only about 10 minutes, after which normal sweetness is detectable by your tongue. During the active period, however, a solution of normal sugar will taste like ordinary unsweetened water. However, is this just a matter of taste, or does it affect the sugar itself?
Studies have shown that animals fed the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre develop hypoglycemia, probably because it stimulates the pancreas to generate insulin that reduces the level of sugar in the blood. Further studies have shown the presence in the leaves of a number of types of acylated derivatives of deacylgymnemic acid. There are well over a dozen types of saponins known to be contained within the leaves.
Other chemicals found include anthraquinones, flavanoids, chlorophylls, querticol, phytin, a number of glycosides and anthraquinones. The bush also contains alkaloids, although these are constituents in most plants used in ancient remedies. This is by no means all of the chemicals discovered, and many of the minor benefits of using it could be due to the minor constituents of this amazing little leaf.
A study of the above constituents will reveal a few antioxidants, and it is no surprise that the extract from Gymnema sylvestre also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Gymnemic acid is believed to have a similar chemical structure to saccharose, and the plant extracts can be used not only to reduce a craving for sugar, but also to treat digestive problems and high cholesterol levels. So what scientific evidence is there other than the obvious effects reported by those that use it?
A study in the UK in 2005 found that an aqueous extract of Gymnema sylvestre caused the secretion of calcium and insulin from mouse and human cells to be increased at a specific concentration without affecting the cellular function. This means that the supplement can be used to stimulate the secretion of insulin with people with Type 2 diabetes without otherwise affecting health. Its usefulness to diabetics is obvious, but there are other health benefits to those that are not diabetic.
Anything that modulates a sweet tooth must be of use to those seeking to lose weight, particularly if they feel the need for sweet foods. In fact Gymnema tends to reduce food cravings for carbohydrates and sweets, and can be used by those seeking a natural means of curbing their appetite for sweet and sugary foods. Because excess weight can lead to diabetes,
Although there have been many discussions about the biochemical mechanism of the gymnemic acids in this effect on taste, recent evidence suggests that the phytochemicals act on both your taste buds and on those parts of the intestine responsible for Absorbing nutrients from digested foods.
Not only that, but studies have also indicated that Gymnema sylvestre removes the bitterness of acerbic chemicals such as quinine in the same way that it removes the sweetness form cakes and candies, and if you drank tonic water it would taste just like water. On the other hand, if you ate an orange, you would taste the acidity but not the sweetness.
The way to use this remarkable supplement is to follow the instructions, and within about a week you will be able to control your appetite much better, and any cravings for carbohydrates you previously had will be much reduced. After a month or so, you will notice an accelerated rate of weight loss if you had been overweight, and diabetics will find a significant reduction on blood sugar between insulin shots.
Gymnema sylvestre can take care of any sugar or carbohydrate cravings, and is of significant use to the overweight, obese or to diabetics, and the mechanism by which it works has now been all but understood, although there are still some biochemical secrets that this amazing plant has yet to reveal. This amazing herb can be found at your local or internet vitamin store.
September 10, 2008 03:57 PM
A healthy colon is the basis for a healthy body, with most of not realizing exactly how important a healthy colon is for obtaining and maintaining optimal wellness. When searching for a healthy body, colon health should be a primary concern, as it is the source for a lot of diseases and health problems. A healthy body depends on the maintenance of a healthy digestive system and elimination. Since food is the primary source of fuel for the body, if the wrong foods are eaten, the body will not function as it should.
The nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids that are found in the foods we eat are what give us the energy and resources that keep us alive. Sadly, the foods we eat are also loaded with toxins and unnecessary substances that prevent our body from removing waste properly. A healthy colon means a healthy body, so learning natural methods to achieve colon health is extremely important. Nutritious eating habits, cleansing diets, fiber sources, herbal remedies, and nutritional substances can all contribute to the body’s well-being.
The food we eat ultimately determines how efficiently our entire body system works, with digestion being the body’s first line of defense against foreign invaders that cause disease. The digestive system is also responsible for supplying cells with the nutrients and compounds that they need. There are many factors that contribute to digestive disorder including overeating cooked food and not enough raw foods, constipation, wrong combination of food, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugar and sweets, white flour products, stress, any imbalance in the body, lack of hydrochloric acid and enzymes, Candida overgrowth, colon and liver congestion, allergies, hiatal hernia, gallbladder problems, ulcers, and heart problems.
Americans usually cause the most harm to themselves because of the types and amounts of food that they eat. In order to break down food, the body uses hydrochloric acid that is found in the stomach. This acid is actually strong enough to dissolve metal and is used in the stomach to neutralize the inappropriate substances, toxins, and bacteria that enter the body through the food that we eat daily. On occasion, the stomach and the acid inside breaks down and digestive malfunctions result.
There are many nutrients that are recommended to assist in proper digestion. Digestive enzymes are critical for digestion of any food, with acidophilus being important for proper bowel function. Hydrochloric acid is crucial for the assimilation of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C and calcium. B-complex vitamins promote a healthy digestive tract and assist enzymes in the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Sodium, which is stored in the stomach wall and joints, neutralizes the acidity in the body and is needed when there is a deficiency of hydrochloric acid.
With out hydrochloric acid in the stomach, calcium, an essential mineral can not break down and is not properly absorbed in the stomach. Fiber, essential for proper digestion and elimination of food, reduces the absorption of fat, inhibits bad estrogens from Absorbing into the bloodstream, and helps to maintain a healthy digestive tract.
Additionally herbal aids such as capsicum, garlic, gentian, ginger, goldenseal, licorice, papaya, and psyllium powder are great for assisting with digestion. Taking a good digestive enzyme is the first step to promoting a healthy digestive system and properly function colon. As we age, digestive functions will decline which causes disorders such as fatigue due to mal-absorption. Those over 50 should take a digestive aid on their heaviest meal to ensure that proper digestion is happening and good health will continued free form disease.
June 20, 2008 02:08 PM
That common yard or roadside plant you see during the growing season can be your ally against sickness and disease. The common dandelion has many essential vitamins and minerals inherent in it that can be part of your health regimen. Dandelions are an all-natural way to promote good health when used wisely.
The dandelion root and leaves contain vitamins A, C and D, as well as the B-complexes. They also contain iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, manganese, choline, boron, calcium and silicon. Choline has shown to improve memory function. Dandelion has found use as a treatment for breast illnesses, bloating (water retention), aching joints, skin problems and gastrointestinal disorders. It is also as a gentle diuretic and a purifier for the bloodstream and liver.
This plant contains luteolin, which is an antioxidant and beneficial as an immune system enhancer. Luteolin helps inhibit the degradation and wearing down of the body's cells. What's great about dandelion and its antioxidant properties is the fact that there is no toxic effect on cells associated with it.
Dandelions are also a medicinal herb. They increase waste elimination in the body through the urine. Like green tea's effects, this excretion of water and waste can lead to weight-loss. Dandelion is available naturally, as well as in pill, liquid, tablets and tea form. The Puritans used it strictly as a vegetable, although some who eat it as a prepared dish consider it to have a bitter taste.
This plant has ranked high in many categories. It is one of the top six herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest. It is one of the top four green vegetables rated for overall nutritional value according to the USDA Bulletin #8, "Composition of Foods" (Haytowitz and Matthews, 1984). It is food rich in fiber. This is important because fiber is an essential component of a complete weight-loss program. Fiber absorbs fat molecules and aids in their elimination from the body. This prevents fats from Absorbing into the body.
The dandelion is part of the sunflower family. It is prevalent in temperate regions in Europe, Asia and North America. This plant finds itself a big part of culinary recipes. Taking the dandelion in this form is good for health, as it is in its most natural, unprocessed state. Some use dandelion as a tea to help in the fight against fever, insomnia and jaundice. Dandelion tea can also aid those who have rheumatism, eczema, constipation and even skin diseases.
It aids digestion by stimulating stomach secretions. However, it does increase the flow of bile in one's system, so you should not take dandelion if you have obstruction of the bile ducts. While generally safe, like anything else, you should consult a doctor when trying something new in your diet. This is to make sure it doesn't have harmful side effects or interact negatively with other herbs and medications.
For women, dandelion helps because of its diuretic capabilities. This means it helps eliminate excess water from a woman's system, which causes bloating.
Those who experience premenstrual syndrome may find dandelion helps bring down their bloating and weight gain associated with water retention.
Another promising aspect of dandelion is the fact it contains lecithin. Lecithin is a lipid that contains choline primarily, along with inositol, phosphorous and linoleic acid. Lecithin elevates the brain's acetylcholine, which helps brain function. This, some researchers believe, may help slow down or stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Dandelion, again because of lecithin inherent in it, is beneficial for prevention of arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease too.
Sometimes we need to look only in our own backyards and surrounding environments to find plentiful foods that are healthy. Dandelions are one of earth's products that have found use for centuries. Whether as a recipe ingredient, a tea or a pill, dandelion is versatile. When used with care, it can help with weight-loss and be a health enhancer at the same time.
Fight Osteoporosis With Minerals To Build Bones And Improve Quality Of Life
April 02, 2008 11:06 AM
Bone consists predominantly of collagen and calcium phosphate. The collagen provides the connective framework for bone that is hardened by the calcium phosphate, and without healthy bones, your quality of life would be significantly reduced due to bone breakage. That is why it is essential to supplement this framework with the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a good bone density at those periods in your life when bone density is liable to deteriorate.
This begins to happen between the ages of 30 and 35 and in women and accelerates during the menopause, when your ovaries stop producing the hormone estrogen that is necessary for the maintenance of healthy bones. Through time, your bone mass drops creating first a condition known as osteopenia, or reduced bone mass, and then osteoporosis, when your bones become brittle, porous and very prone to fractures.
Before we look at what can be done to reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis, lets have a close look at how bone develop so that it will be easier to understand the remedial action that can be taken.
Calcium is the most common mineral in the body, and the vast majority is in the bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also essential for healthy bones because as stated earlier, the bone consists of collagen that is hardened by calcium phosphate. The two main uses of phosphorus are in bone structure and animal metabolism, since phosphates are also essential for the vast majority of the energy-production chemical reactions within your body.
Calcium has other functions within the body other than bone, however, including exchange of fluids within and between cells, the maintenance of your heartbeat and in blood clotting. Vitamin D is necessary to help calcium be absorbed from your diet, through the membranes of the duodenum. More calcium is absorbed there than in the small intestine, and the calcium is also most available to the body when it is in a water-soluble form.
In fact, the reason that stones form in your kidney for example, is that the calcium is rendered insoluble through the formation of calcium oxalate from the oxalic acid in foods such as rhubarb and soy. High fat diets can also slow down the absorption of calcium.
Estrogen plays a significant part in bone physiology, and is an important factor in the maintenance of bone density in women. Bone is living tissue, and is constantly being absorbed and remodeled throughout life. The part played by estrogen is to maintain a proper balance between the osteoclasts, the cells that reabsorb bone tissue, and osteoblasts, the cells that form new bone tissue.
When estrogen is deficient, this balance is lost and rather than bone formation and resorption occurring constantly, they take place in spurts so that first an area of new bone will be formed, then resorption will occur some weeks later, resulting in a structure where there are cavities between areas of bone. With time, these cavities will increase and weaken the integrity of the bone structure.
However, that is not the whole story. The effect of estrogen is to limit the active period of osteoclasts so that the areas of bone resorbed into the body are relatively small so that the removed bone cavity can easily fill up with new bone by the osteoblasts, which are invigorated by estrogen. When estrogen is deficient, not only is the activity of the bone-forming osteoblasts reduced, but the bone-Absorbing osteoclasts activity is not regulated, and they form deeper holes in the bone structure than the osteoblasts are able to fill.
The net result is bone loss, with more bone being reabsorbed than is being formed. The end result of all this is spongy bone tissue with many tiny hole and also with larger areas of missing bone. Eventually this passes a critical point and the bone fractures during normal use. A simple jump from one step to another can fracture a bone at its weakest point, such as at the hip joint where the neck of bone is thinner.
Not everybody is at the same risk, and there are certain risk factors that you should be aware of, each of which could increase the chances of you developing weak bones. The condition particular affects white or Asian women, and those who have a small frame. If you smoke and drink an excessive amount of alcohol, you will also be more prone to osteoporosis, although exercise can help you to avoid it. An inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D will also contribute, and magnesium is an essential part of strong bone development.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has carried out surveys that indicate American women to be taking only 50% of the calcium recommended to maintain a healthy bone density. However, it is not only dietary calcium that is needed for the formation of bone, but also magnesium and boron, and vitamin D also helps with the absorption of calcium in the gut.
If you are on steroids then they can render you more prone to brittle bone disease. Unfortunately the symptoms of osteoporosis do not become evident until there has been a significant amount of bone loss, which is why post menopausal women, and those over 65, should have a bone density scan (DXA test). It is important to understand that osteoporosis is not a disease as such: you cannot ‘catch’ it, but it develops as the result of a gradual reduction in the minerals that maintain the density of your bone structure.
Your diet is important in helping you prevent bone loss and osteoporosis later in life, and your lifestyle is also important. Reducing your daily alcohol intake will certainly help, and cigarette smoking further retards the activity of the bone-creating cells. Calcium and vitamin D supplements will help, but do not restrict yourself only to these.
If you want to maintain proper bone density through and beyond the menopause stage of life, you should take a balanced supplement that contains a combination of vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy balance between natural bone loss and regeneration. There is more to it that only calcium and vitamin D, and a balanced supplement takes this out of your hands. You can rest in the knowledge that you are doing the best for your body and its bone density.
Hyaluronic Acid Double Strength 100mg – w/ Proline, Alpha Lipoic Acid & GrapeSeed extract.
April 04, 2007 09:38 AM
Hyaluronic Acid has emerged as one of the most significant anti-aging supplements in the natural products industry. As a mucopolysaccharide that occurs naturally within the human body, the highest concentrations of Hyaluronic Acid are found in the skin, eyes, and articular cartilage. Hyaluronic acid works by Absorbing water within the body, which in turn supports the formation of effectiveness of the gel-like matrix that protects healthy cell structures from dehydration and free radical damage. Ongoing studies continue to suggest that it may help support some of the body’s most vital functions.*
Strong, Healthy Joints
At birth and well into our youth, the human body produces ample amounts of Hyaluronic acid. These levels decline, however, based on our physical activity levels, dietary habits, and other hereditary and environmental factors. Hyaluronic acid is a key component of synovial fluid and cartilage, and serves as one of the body’s most vital natural lubricants. Joint structures lack blood vessels, and there for relay on Hyaluronic acid to transport fluids and nutrients. Many structural and articular challenges have been traced back to insufficient Hyaluronic levels.
Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Healthy, wrinkle-free skin requires a constant supply of water. Without enough, dermal cells located deep below the skin’s surface can becomes deprived of the compounds they need, thus leaving the skin dry and dehydrated. Hyaluronic acid attracts and binds large amounts of water at the cellular level to ensure that the skin has everything it needs to remain smooth, elastic, and youthful-looking.
Some published reports suggest that a child’s ability to produce abundant amounts of Hyaluronic acid may explain why they heal so quickly, often without permanent scarring. Because of the many roles it plays within the body’s connective and epidermal tissues, Hyaluronic acid is becoming more and more accepted as a way to help encourage the body’s natural wound-healing processes.
Vision and Eye Health
In addition to cartilage and synovial fluid, the eyes contain some of the body’s highest concentrations of Hyaluronic acid. In fact, the vitreous humor (the Eye’s Core) is made up almost entirely of Hyaluronic acid. This gel-like structure absorbs shock, supports vision, and protects the retina from being damaged. It is believed that many common vision and ocular problems may be a result of poor Hyaluronic acid production during adulthood.*
Each Vcap contains 100mg of Hyaluronic acid, along with Alpha Lipoic Acid, standardized Grape Seed Extract, and pharmaceutical grade L-Proline for support. Compare Now’s 100mg formula to some 50mg formulas that do not include supporting antioxidants for the same price, and the choice is clear!
Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate
March 28, 2007 11:10 AM
Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis in the U.S., according to the Arthritis Foundation. One-third of all American adults have X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis of the hand, foot, knee, or hip. Osteoarthritis is responsible for more than 7 million physician visits per year and is second only to cardiovascular disease as the cause of chronic disability in adults. As Baby Boomers age, the number of people suffering from osteoarthritis is expected to rapidly increase in the next 10 years.
While osteoarthritis research ahs led to the development of promising new prescription and over-the-counter medications aimed at reducing pain, none has created the excitement of glucosamine sulfate (GS), which actually addresses the underlying joint destruction.
Q. What is osteoarthritis?
A. Osteoarthritis is a complex, metabolic disorder of the cartilage and bones of certain joints. However, to fully understand how osteoarthritis develops, we need to understand how joints work.
A joint is formed when two or more bones are brought together and held in place by muscles and tendons. Some joints have very little range of movement, such as the joints of the ribs, while others have much more range of movement. Hips, knees, elbows, writs, and thumbs are termed synovial joints, and have the greatest range of movement and mobility of human joints. To allow such mobility, synovial joints have a unique structure.
The bones that form synovial joints are covered with cartilage. Tough fibrous tissue encloses the area between the bone ends and is called the joint capsule. The joint cavity within the capsule is lined with an inner membrane, called synovial membrane. The membrane secretes synovial fluid, a thick, slippery fluid that fills the small space around and between the two bones. This fluid contains many substances that lubricate the joint and ease movement.
The cartilage of synovial joints serves two very important functions. First, it provides a remarkably smooth weight-bearing surface; synovial joints move easily. Secondly, synovial cartilage serves as a shock absorber, providing a soft, flexible foundation. Healthy cartilage absorbs the force of the energy, transmits the load to the bone, and distributes the mechanical stress created by joint movement.
Synovial joints function under almost continual mechanical stress. A joint’s ability to withstand or resist this stress is a reflection of its health. When the mechanical stress is too great or the joint’s ability to resist this stress is compromised, physical changes occur in the cartilage covering the bones.
Cartilage is a tough, elastic tissue, comprised mostly of water, collagen, and complex proteins called proteoglycans. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage starts to weaken, becomes frayed, and eventually breaks down. This exposes the bones of the joint, which then rub together. A gritty feeling and grinding sound may occur when an osteoarthritic joint is bent and flexed. As osteoarthritis progresses, bits of bone and cartilage often break off and float inside the joint space. The bones may enlarge, causing the joint to lose its normal shape. Tiny bone spurs may grow on the joints’ sides and edges. These physical changes in the diseased joint are responsible for progressive damage and continual pain.
People with osteoarthritis most frequently describe their pain as deep and aching. The pain not only is felt in the affected joint but may also be present in the surrounding and supporting muscles. Joint inflammation also may occur, increasing the already considerable discomfort. Joint stiffness is another unfortunate component of osteoarthritis. Exercising the joint most often results in increased pain; however, stiffness tends to follow periods of inactivity. Humid weather often makes all osteoarthritis symptoms worse. As the disease progresses, the pain may occur even when the joint is at rest, creating sleepless nights and miserable days.
Q. What causes osteoarthritis?
A. Osteoarthritis’ exact cause remains unknown. Researchers know aging doesn’t appear to cause osteoarthritis. Cartilage in people with the disease show many destructive changes not seen in older persons without the disease. However, certain conditions do seem to trigger osteoarthritis or make it worse.
Some families seem to have a lot of osteoarthritis, pointing to a genetic factor. This is most commonly seen in people who have osteoarthritis of the hands. Repeated trauma can contribute to osteoarthritis, too. Athletes, extremely active people, and individuals who have physically demanding jobs often develop the disease. Persons who have certain bone disorders are more prone to osteoarthritis due to the continuous, uneven stress in their hips and knees.
Obesity also is a risk factor for the disease. In overweight women, osteoarthritis of the knee is fairly common. Excess pounds also may have a direct metabolic effect on cartilage beyond the effects of increased joint stress. Obese people also often have m ore dense bones. Research has shown dense bones may provide less shock-Absorbing function than thinner bones, allowing more direct trauma to the cartilage.
Q. Can osteoarthritis be prevented?
A. While there is currently no sure way to prevent osteoarthritis or slow its progression, some lifestyle changes may reduce or delay symptoms. The Arthritis Foundation states that maintaining a healthy weight, losing weight if needed, and regular exercise are effective osteoarthritis prevention measures.
Optimal calcium intake in younger years is vital to ensure a healthy aging skeletal system. Vitamins A, C, D, and E have been studied for their role in osteoarthritis prevention. These vitamins also have shown benefit in individuals who have osteoarthritis.
Q. What treatments are available for osteoarthritis?
A. The goal of treatment is to reduce or relieve pain, maintain or improve movement, and minimize any potential permanent disability. Typically, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (pronounced “n-sayds”) such as aspirin and ibuprofen are used for pain and inflammation relief. These medications are effective in treating only the pain of osteoarthritis.
These medications have many side effects, some of which are serious. NSAID-induced gastrointestinal complications cause more than 100,000 hospitalizations and nearly 16,500 deaths annually in the U.S. Aspirin can cause an extremely annoying and continual ringing in the ears. NSAIDs frequently cause damage to the stomach lining, which can produce uncomfortable heartburn and abdominal pain. Continued NSAID use may lead to the development of stomach ulcers. NSAID-related ulcers can perforate the stomach lining and cause life-threatening bleeding. Most NSAIDs also interfere with blood clotting and may cause kidney damage. When older persons take NSAIDs, dizziness, drowsiness, memory loss, and decreased attention span may occur.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol and similar medications) is similar to aspirin and other NSAIDs in its pain-relief abilities. However, acetaminophen doesn’t reduce inflammation. And while acetaminophen doesn’t have the same side effects of aspirin and other NSAIDs, if large doses are taken, liver damage can occur.
Newer medications called COX-2 inhibitors provide both pain relief and reduce inflammation without the many side effects of acetaminophen, aspirin, and other NSAIDs. More recent research has indicated that, in certain situations. COX02 inhibitors also can cause stomach lining damage and bleeding. While aspirin, NSAIDs, and COX-2 inhibitors may reduce osteoarthritis pain, they do nothing to stop or slow down cartilage deterioration. In other words, these medications have no effect on the disease itself.
That is why many believe glucosamine sulfate (GS) and chondroitin sulfate (CS) are preferable to pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications in osteoarthritis treatment: they actually improve synovial joint health. And they do this without potentially life-threatening side effects.
Q. How do GS and CS work?
A. GS improves the health of joints affected by osteoarthritis. This supplement is so effective that even physicians who mostly rely on conventional medications routinely recommend it to their patients with osteoarthritis. In fact, GS is so good at treating osteoarthritis, many physicians use it for their own osteoarthritis joints.
There is even more good news. When glucosamine sulfate is combined with low-molecular weight CS, even greater benefits can be achieved. GS and CS are naturally occurring compounds found in human joints. The right GS/CS combination actually reverses damage in joints affected by osteoarthritis, in turn significantly reducing pain and stiffness.
Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body and is found in synovial fluid. Glucosamine is a basic building block for proteoglycans, is a basic building block for proteoglycans, one of the important compounds of synovial cartilage. It also is required for the formation of lubricants and protective agents for the joints.
In Europe, GS and CS have been used to treat osteoarthritis for more than 10 years. While persons with arthritis felt much better when they took GS and CS, no one really knew how these compounds worked. When European and American researchers first started to study glucosamine, they discovered GS can reduce synovial joint inflammation. This explains why people felt better after taking it.
Q. What has additional study of GS and CS revealed?
A. As the scientific study of GS progressed, researchers determined it can stimulate the growth of cartilage cells, inhibit proteoglycans breakdown, and rebuild cartilage damaged from osteoarthritis. In other words, GS does not simply make persons with osteoarthritis feel better; GS actually makes persons with osteoarthritis get better.
GS is the form of glucosamine used in research. It’s the sulfate salt of glucosamine and breaks down into glucosamine and sulfate ions in the body. The sulfate part of GS plays an important role in proteoglycans synthesis.
CS also provides cartilage strength and resilience. CS is an important component of the cartilage proteoglycans of synovial joints. Because CS helps the production of proteoglycans, researchers believe CS works in a similar nature to GS.
Q. Couldn’t GS and CS be taken on their own? Is there any benefit in taking them together?
A. Research has discovered GS and CS act synergistically (work well together) in improving joint health. Several studies have investigated this action and it’s recommended that GS and CD be taken together. However, there may be times when your healthcare practitioner may recommend using one or the other, but not both GS and CS together. Please follow their recommendations to obtain the best results for your own unique health concerns. Low-molecular weight chondroitin sulfate (CS) is the preferred CS form, and the form that has shown the most promise in studies.
Q. Why is it important to take low-molecular weight CS?
A. When CS was first studied, it was given to six healthy volunteers, six patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and six patients with osteoarthritis. Researchers then measured the levels of CS in all study subjects. They found no evidence of CS in any of the subjects. This single study led many physicians and scientists to believe CS can’t be absorbed, and was not an effective natural treatment.
However, several other studies in healthy volunteers have reported CS can be absorbed. The distinct difference for these findings is thought to be associated with the types of CS used in the studies. Some forms are much more absorbable that others. This was demonstrated in a recent study using CS with lower molecular weight. A higher absorption is observed for low-molecular weight CS.
This means CS products with a low molecular weight may be better absorbed, allowing the CS to get into the bloodstream and the synovial fluid of joints where it’s needed.
Q. Are there other supplements that can help osteoarthritis?
A. Several vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and natural supplements have benefits for individuals with osteoarthritis. Proteolytic enzymes effectively offer relief of the pain, stiffness, and swelling of osteoarthritis.
Folic acid and vitamin B can reduce the number of tender joints and increase joint mobility. Vitamins C, D, and E not only may prevent osteoarthritis, but inhibit the disease’s progression. Niacinamide improves joint function, range of motion, and muscle strength. Clinical studies using the herb Boswellia serrata have yielded good results in osteoarthritis.
Application of ointments on osteoarthritic joints may be helpful in reducing pain and stiffness. Menthol-based preparations can provide soothing relief to painful joints. Capsaicin ointments and gel made for cayenne pepper also are very beneficial. When applied to the skin, capsaicin first stimulates, then blocks, nerve fibers that transmit pain messages. Capsaicin depletes nerve fibers of a neurotransmitter called substance P. This neurotransmitter transmits pain messages and activates inflammation in osteoarthritis. Capsaicin ointment is very effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain in many individuals.
Q. Is there anything else I can do for joint pain and stiffness?
A. When osteoarthritis occurs in the hands, use of a paraffin dip can be very comforting. A licensed health care practitioner can provide information about how to safely use paraffin dips at home.
Exercise is an excellent way to keep joints mobile, decrease pain, and increase body strength, too. Water aerobics also can reduce the pressure and stress on joints.
The Arthritis Foundation strongly suggests making movement an integral part of your life. When you’re in less pain and have more energy, more range-of-motion, and a better outlook on life, you’ll reduce stress and be a much healthier person despite your osteoarthritis.
One important last thought
When we don’t feel well, we sometimes have a tendency to self-diagnose. If you haven’t been evaluated by a licensed health care practitioner for your joint pain and stiffness, you need to do so. These symptoms may be caused by other illnesses and may require much different treatment. Only licensed health care practitioner can provide a certain diagnosis of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis may be a part of life for many of us as we age; however, constant pain and stiffness need not be. GS combined with absorbable CS can actually improve damage in joints affected by osteoarthritis and significantly reduce pain and stiffness. And it can be an empowering way to improve your health.
Betaine HCI and Pepsin
January 28, 2007 08:41 PM
Betaine HCI and Pepsin
Betaine HCl is a form of HCl used as a nutrient to supplement the stomach’s own production of HCl, or stomach acid. While occasional indigestion may be a result of acid irritating tissue in the structure above the stomach known as the esophagus, a line of research suggests that the cause of this irritation may actually be less than optimal stomach acid production. Stomach acid is normally produced by the parietal cells of the stomach and the function of stomach acid is to break down food that enters the stomach into smaller fragments and nutrient components. These components move through the stomach into the small intestine where they are further broken down by digestive enzymes in the upper part of the small intestine. The individual nutrients that result from the digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates can then be absorbed and assimilated by the body and used for metabolism and growth. However, optimal stomach acid production is certainly a major step for the efficiency of the digestive process. Less than ideal stomach acid production prevents foods from being broken down properly and places an added burden on the remainder of the digestive process, including enzyme production from the pancreas.
As mentioned earlier, the presence of optimal stomach acid is necessary for the digestion and absorption of critical nutrients. Amino acids and other peptides from proteins, minerals, vitamin B12 and folic acid are examples of nutrients that require proper levels of stomach acid for their absorption and usage. The presence of adequate acid in the stomach is also required for the conversion of the digestive enzyme pepsin. Pepsin is produced in the stomach from its precursor pepsinogen, which is secreted by cells known as chief cells, and functions to help with the digestion of proteins. Pepsin breaks proteins down into their amino acid components. Since stomach acid is essential to the process of Absorbing our nutrients from food, lack of sufficient acid production may lead to decreased health and general well-being.
Ideal stomach acid production is also essential for maintaining a healthy bacterial balance in the intestines. Firstly, acid production in the stomach itself provides a protective barrier that keeps the stomach environment safe. Secondarily, low levels of stomach acid can lead to improperly, incompletely, or poorly-digested food fragments that may cause an imbalance in the growth of normal bacterial flora in the intestines. Achieving the correct balance of flora is a key to maintaining proper digestive function and overall health.
Research also suggests that the body’s capacity to produce stomach acid normally declines as we age. Moreover, stress and other factors may impact proper stomach acid production. Occasional heartburn, bloating, belching, discomfort, and a "sour stomach" may often result from this. Food that we eat enters the stomach through the esophagus, or food pipe. At the junction of the esophagus with the stomach is a muscular structure known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When food enters the stomach for digestion, the LES normally contracts, narrowing the passageway between the esophagus and the stomach and preventing the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. A major trigger for the process of tightening the sphincter is the presence of sufficient stomach acid.
When sufficient stomach acid is sensed, the LES will close. However, in conditions where there is a lack of stomach acid, the sphincter remains open, allowing stomach contents, including acid, to flow back through the opening, potentially creating a sense of irritation and discomfort. Adequate stomach acid production is an essential criterion for the sphincter to function properly and prevent the backflow of stomach contents.1
A recent study assessed the incidence and causes of low vitamin B12 levels in elderly patients. The researchers suggest that the incidence of decreased vitamin B12 in the elderly, based on results of some epidemiological studies, is as high as 30-40%. When they looked at the possible causes of low B12 levels in 200 individuals that they followed, they found that food-B12 malabsorption accounted for 60-70% of the cases.2 In other words dietary B12 is bound to foods, generally animal proteins. The protein is normally broken down in conjunction with acid and pepsin in the stomach. However, low production of stomach acid may decrease the efficiency of this process and vitamin B12 remains bound to the protein source, leaving it unavailable to be absorbed. The absorption of countless other nutrients may also be impacted by low stomach acid and pepsin levels.
Gentian is an herb that is native to parts of Europe and Asia. The root has been used extensively by traditional herbalists to support digestive function due in large part to its bitter constituents. Its present day use as a therapeutic herb dates back to the Romans and Greeks, and related species have even been used in the Indian Ayurvedic system. Various traditional texts classify gentian as a bitter tonic and digestive stimulant, due to its ability to promote the secretion of digestive enzymes. The German Commission E has approved the use of gentian for digestive support, which leads to an increased secretion of saliva and digestive juices.3
Supplementation with the combination of nutrients and cofactors present in Betaine HCl Pepsin & Gentian supports the normal digestive function of the stomach and helps to ensure that the body maintains the efficiency of nutrient absorption from the foods that we eat. Gentian serves to stimulate digestive secretions in the stomach, priming it to digest the food that we eat, while supplemental Betaine HCl and pepsin provide support to the body’s innate production of these digestive factors.
Take 1 capsule with each meal, or as recommended by a healthcare professional.
1. Wright, Jonathan V., MD and Lane Lenard, PhD. Why Stomach Acid is Good For You. New York: Evans, 2001. 2. Andres E, et al. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency in elderly patients. CMAJ 2004; 171(3): 251-259. 3. Blumenthal M, Goldberg A and J Brinckmann, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 2000.
Benefits - Supports joint function and tissue health*
December 11, 2006 03:46 PM
To understand glucosamine's role, it is important to understand joint structure and function. Cartilage in the joints acts as a shock absorber to cushion the blows of daily wear and tear. Joint cartilage is made of a unique connective tissue that consists of collagen and proteoglycans. Collagen is a strong, fibrous, insoluble protein. Proteoglycans are large, carbohydrate-rich protein chains made up of 95 percent polysaccharides and 5 percent protein called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). GAGs are composed of repeating two-sugar units (disaccharides) that contain glucosamine sulfate and other amino sugars. Surrounding the joint cartilage is synovial fluid, which contains many substances including its chief component, hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid forms the backbone of other proteoglycans and is responsible for the thickness of synovial fluid as well as its lubricating and shock-Absorbing properties. Synovial fluid also provides nutrients for the joint cartilage.
Glucosamine sulfate is a normal constituent of glycosaminoglycans in cartilage and synovial fluid. In essence, glucosamine sulfate provides important building blocks for cartilage production. Laboratory studies suggest that glucosamine may also function to stimulate production of cartilage-building proteins. It is also thought that the sulfate portion of the molecule contributes to the efficacy of glucosamine sulfate in the synovial fluid by providing the elemental sulfur needed for strengthening cartilage and aiding glycosaminoglycan synthesis. 1,2,3
Glucosamine sulfate has been the subject of research for over twenty years. Clinical trials as well as experimental studies have repeatedly supported the efficacy of oral glucosamine sulfate in supporting joint function. In one large open trial, over 1200 people took oral glucosamine sulfate for periods ranging from 36 to 64 days. In this multi-center trial, ninety-five percent of the subjects experienced greater joint comfort and increased mobility. The physicians reported "good" results in 59%, and "sufficient" results in 36%. Furthermore, the improvements in joint health lasted for up to three months after the glucosamine sulfate was discontinued. 3
Promotes optimal joint comfort, function and flexibility*
Boswellia serrata (Indian frankincense) has been used for centuries in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine to maintain healthy joints. Even today, this is one of the primary uses for this plant in Ayurvedic medicine. Boswellic acids have been shown to support healthy joint tissue, maintain circulation to joints, enhance joint mobility, and promote joint comfort in animal models without known side effects. 4
Boswellin® is an extract rich in boswellic acids. Boswellic acids are potent modulators of enzymes involved in leukotriene synthesis in vitro, promoting a healthy balanced production of these components of the immune system.5 Healthy leukotriene balance can lead to enhanced joint function. A human clinical study was conducted to assess the effects of supplementation with a formula containing Boswellia, Curcumin and other nutrients on joint function. In this double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial, participants were randomly assigned to receive the herbal formulation or a placebo for 3 months. Following this 3-month period, the treatments were reversed for an additional 3 months. The results showed that while each group was receiving the herbal formulation, they had superior joint function and a greater sense of joint comfort when compared to the placebo groups.6 Other trials lend further support to Boswellia’s ability to promote healthy joint function.4,6,7
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that has known free radical scavenging activity. This activity of Curcumin is thought to play a major part in its role as a joint protective nutrient. In fact, the numerous beneficial effects attributed of whole turmeric are thought to stem in large measure from the antioxidant properties of curcuminoids. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are highly unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures through abnormal oxidative reactions. Curcumin is not toxic to cells, even at high concentrations. Pure Curcumin was shown to be less protective than a mixture of curcuminoids, indicating a possible synergism among the curcuminoids.8
Curcumin demonstrates several other in vitro effects linked to free radical scavenging. Curcumin scavenges nitric oxide, a compound associated with the body’s inflammatory response.9 Curcumin also demonstrates in vitro inhibition of certain enzymes involved in promoting inflammatory reactions in the body. Together these results strongly suggest that Curcumin is a potent bioprotectant with a potentially wide range of therapeutic applications.9,10,11
Preliminary human trials have assessed the therapeutic potential of Curcumin, with results that verify the traditional use of turmeric as an herb to enhance joint health. In a short-term double-blind, cross-over, comparative study, eighteen people were randomized to receive Curcumin (1200 mg daily) or an alternative therapy for two-week periods. The participants in the Curcumin groups were shown to produce measurable enhancements in joint flexibility and walking time.12 Research suggests that Curcumin and Boswellia work extremely well in combination to benefit joint health and mobility, as trials combining both nutrients have yielded highly positive results.
Bioperine-Nature’s Absorption Enhancer Boosts Nutrient Absorption*
Traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulas often include black pepper or long pepper as synergistic herbs. The active ingredient in both black pepper and long pepper is the alkaloid, piperine. Experiments carried out to evaluate the scientific basis for the use of peppers have shown that piperine significantly enhances bioavailability when consumed with other substances.13 Several double-blind clinical studies have confirmed that Bioperine® increases absorption of nutrients.14
Curcumin is known to be poorly absorbed in the intestinal tract when used on its own, thereby limiting its therapeutic effectiveness. Oral doses are largely excreted in feces, and only trace amounts appear in the bloodstream. However, a study has shown that concomitant administration of 20 mg of piperine with 2 grams of Curcumin was able to enhance Curcumin bioavailability by an astounding 2000%. 15 These results speak to the wisdom of including a small amount of Bioperine® in the formulation to ensure nutrient bioavailability.
Sustained Release – For lasting joint comfort and convenient dosing
To ensure that the body can utilize all of the joint health-enhancing nutrients effectively, Best Joint Support featuring ArthriBlend-SR™ has been designed to have a sustained release delivery system. The nutrients are released over a longer period of time, maximizing absorption and providing the comfort-enhancing properties in a sustained manner. This unique delivery system allows the product to be taken just twice daily while maintaining its efficacy throughout the day.
Suggested Adult Use: Take two tablets every 12 hours. Take 4 tablets daily.
2. Tapadinhas M.J., Rivera, I.C. Bignamini, A.A. Oral glucosamine sulphate in the management of arthrosis: report on a multi-centre open investigation in Portugal. Pharmatherpeutica 1982; 3(3):157-68.
3. Vaz, A.L. Double-blind clinical evaluation of the relative efficacy of ibuprofen and glucosamine sulphate in the management of osteoarthrosis of the knee in out-patients. Current Medical Research and Opinion 1982; 8(3):145-149.
4. Kimmatkar N, Thawani V, Hingorani L, Khiyani R. Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee--a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2003 Jan;10(1):3-7.
5. Safayhi, H., Mack, T., Sabieraj, J., Anazodo, M.I., Subramanian, L.R., and Ammon, H.P.T. (1992) Boswellic acids: Novel, specific, nonredox inhibitors of 5-lipoxygenase. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 261(3), 1143-1146.
6. Boswellia serrata. Alternative Medicine Review Monographs – Volume One. 2002.
7. Kulkarni RR, Patki PS, Jog VP, Gandage SG, Patwardhan B. Treatment of osteoarthritis with a herbomineral formulation: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. J Ethnopharmacol. 1991 May-Jun;33(1-2):91-5.
8. Majeed, M., Badmaev, V., Shivakumar, U., Rajendran, R. Curcuminoids: Antioxidant Phytonutrients. 1995. Piscataway, NJ: NutriScience Publishers.
9. Snow, J.M. Herbal Monograph: Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae). The Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine, Autumn 1995:43-46.
10. Rao, S., Rao, M.N.A. Nitric oxide scavenging by curcuminoids. J Pharm. Pharmacol. 1997;49:105-7.
11. Ramsewak, R.S., DeWitt, D.L., Nair, M.G. Cytotoxicity, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities of Curcumins I-III from Curcuma longa. Phytomedicine 2000;7(4):303-308.
12. Deodhar, S.D., Sethi, R. Srimal. R.C. Preliminary study on antirheumatic activity of curcumin (diferoyl methane). Indian J Med Res 1980;71:632-34.
13. Atal, C., Zutshi, U., Rao, P. Scientific evidence on the role of Ayurvedic herbals on bioavailability of drugs. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1981;4:229-232.
14. Bioperine®–Nature's Bioavailability Enhancing Thermonutrient. Executive Summary. 1996; Sabinsa Corporation, Piscataway, N.J.
15. Shoba, G., et al. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Medica 1998;64(4):353-6.
How to deal with Stress and Cortisol...
August 30, 2006 09:36 AM
Beating the Aging Odds
All of us grow older, but aging is a choice. You have it in your power to retain much of the health, vitality and beauty of your youth. It boils down to a simple fact – retard oxidative stress and you’ll retard the aging process. The 70 million people who make up the “boomer” generation and are getting ready for an active retirement welcome this news.
Stress and Cortisol
The early twentieth century “stress doctor” Hans Selye, M.D. was renowned for his work on the human adaptive response and the effects of stress on aging. He taught that every stress leanves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older. That’s because stress raises levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol. It increases internal generation of free radicals, disrupts normal metabolism and leads to aging conditions. Because of this, cortisol has been dubbed the age-accelerating hormone.
The more stressful our lifestyle and the level of environmental hazards we are exposed to, the higher cortisol levels will climb in an effort to jump-start our adaptive response. Coupled with a poor diet, this is a recipe for pre-mature aging. At least eleven major aging factors are related to high cortisol levels:
So, there you have it. Now let’s see how to tame cortisol and reduce oxidative stress.
Reducing Cortisol and Oxidative Stress
Be in the moment – stress reducing techniques such as meditation, prayer, visualization, yoga, chi gong, and listening to inspirational tapes induce calmness and a sense of balance.
Eat right for your genes – as we get older, we don’t digest animal protein as efficiently as when younger. Shifting to plant source proteins that are easier to digest and contain the full complement of vitamins and minerals is most desirable. We are accustomed to thinking of dairy, meat, poultry, and fish as “protein.” All vegetables are good sources of protein. Along with legumes, whole grains, and nuts, daily protein needs are easily fulfilled. Meals that combine a variety of tastes from plant foods also require less salt for flavor enhancement and this helps keep hypertension at bay. So, explore just how good meals can be that either do not contain meat or use it as a condiment. If you do need some salt, try substituting table salt with NOW Vitamins Potassium Chloride crystals.
Enzymes Increase Digestion
Use digestive enzymes such as Optimal Digestive System to insure that you are Absorbing all the nutrients in your food. This product has been clinically tested for its digestive effectiveness helping to digest fats, carbs, proteins and even gas producing beans and cruciferous vegetables. Other enzymes, Serrazimes is a systemic enzyme that will help keep lymphatic’s clear of debris, support immune function, and boost your adaptive response to stress.
As many people reach middle age they have a tendency to gain weight around the navel. High stress amps up levels of cortisol that results in increased girth. Middle body fat is considered a significant risk factor for impaired glucose metabolism and cardiovascular disease. Check your waist to hip ratio by dividing your waist measurement in inches by your hip measurement. If you have a ratio of 0.85 or below, you have lower risk of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. This measurement is one of the best indicators of cortisol induced metabolic syndrome and weight gain.
Super cortisol support with Relora is an herbal, vitamin and mineral formula that’s designed to fight mid-body fat by taming cortisol. Its key ingredient is Relora which is a blend of the herbal extract of Phellodendron amurense and Magnolia officinalis. A small double blind clinical trial found that pre-menopausal obese women – half of whom took Relora – lost a significant amount of weight. These were women who eat in response to stress. Thus the researchers proposed that Relora appeared to reduce cortisol and perceived stress, resulting in weight loss. Super cortisol support also contains Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, herbs traditionally use for increasing adaptive response and reducing stress. You can read about these herbs and other nutritional products in the book 7-syndrome healing: supplement essentials for mind and body. Written by myself and coauthor Jayson Kroner. This book can be ordered from Now Foods.
Additionally, Chinese scientists found that the active components in Relora called honokiol and magnolol delayed gastric emptying, which would make you feel full longer. An additional anti-aging benefit was observed by another group of Chinese scientists. They reported that honokiol is a potent arterial thrombosis inhibitor because it inhibits prostacyclin release; a promoter of platelet adhesion. Platelet stickiness increases stroke risk. Phellodendron and Magnolia have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.
Quell Free Radicals
Health and longevity essentially rests on the body balance between free radical load and antioxidant reserves. Toxic exposure depletes some of your antioxidant reserves. Eating a diet rich in antioxidant fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains, helps you rebound. Continued toxic exposure will challenge your antioxidant status and may overwhelm your reserves. VitaBerry Plus+ is a powerful antioxidant formula that contains a range of high ORAC fruits that naturally augment the diet. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity. It is a measure of the ability of a food to quell oxygen free radicals, the most dangerous kind. VitaBerry Plus+ is a product after my own heart. In my book The Anti-Aging Solution, I wrote about how different color foods protect DNA and prevent aging. VitaBerry Plus+ contains the important colors described in my bood. You can order your copy from Now Vitamins.
True-E Bio Complex rounds out the antioxidant colors. It contains all eight tocopherols and eight tocotrienols in the natural ratio found in “tan” foods such as whole grains and legumes. It is the only natural vitamin E that is produced from soy that has not been genetically modified.
The best anti-aging advice I can pass on is from my friend and food columnist Joan Jackson. “Take Pleasure in Your Life TODAY and Enjoy What You Eat”
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. //www.healthierus.Gov/dietaryguidelines/CDC. National health and nutrition examination survey data 2001-2002. //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.
January 05, 2006 10:29 AM
Fact: Millions of Americans trying to lose weight are horrified to see their bathroom scales inching uncontrollably upwards.
And these numbers increase every single year. Making matters worse, many of these same people are shocked to find their energy levels slipping inexorably downwards. I guess I’ve just got a slow metabolism…” “You can’t get as much done when you start getting older…” “Why am I always so cold?” Sound a little too familiar? What if there was a safe and natural way to energize your metabolism and keep it operating at its youthful, maximum efficiency? While it is true that metabolism slows somewhat with age, its not inevitable that every one of us is destined to end up with more weight to move around and less energy to get there. There are people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond with all the vibrant energy they need. There are people who end every day with a list of important accomplishments completed. So what’s their secret? It may well be a healthy, fully functioning thyroid.The human thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck that wraps around the trachea. It has but one job - to produce the two critical thyroid hormones we need to keep our metabolism efficient. In fact, these hormones are indispensable for our bodies to convert calories into energy – and that’s the crux of metabolism. These two hormones, triiodothyronine and thyroxine, or T3 and T4 respectively, are produced in the thyroid when the iodine in our system teams up with the amino acid L-tyrosine. Sounds simple, right?
Think again. Human metabolism is a highly intricate process that can be adversely affected by a wealth of variables. One important variable that we can control, is the nutrient mix our thyroid keeps on hand to operate. In order for metabolism to occur with any respectable level of effectiveness, the body must have a full supply of thyroid supporting nutrients on hand at all times. If you aren’t willing to deliver the nutrients it needs to function properly, chances are, it won’t be able to do what it’s supposed to (which is to keep your metabolism fired up and your energy resources fully charged).Don’t despair. There is good news. Encouraging and maintaining healthy thyroid function may be easier than you might imagine. This master gland of metabolism is often very responsive to the right combination of thyroid supporting nutrients.
Yes, a healthy diet will promote a healthy thyroid, but some of the nutrients that are especially helpful in supporting healthy thyroid function are not likely to be found in your local market. That is, unless you happen to be shopping in India or Ireland. So just what are the critical nutrients for a healthy, energized thyroid? L-Tyrosine. This amino acid plays an essential role in the production of thyroid hormones, in addition to hormones that affect mood including epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. And while our body can naturally produce some Tyrosine from other amino acids, as we age, our bodies may not be able to keep up with the needs of a demanding thyroid. During metabolism, tyrosine joins forces with iodine in order to produce the thyroid hormones needed to efficiently convert (metabolize) the calories from our diet into expendable energy. A weak reserve of tyrosine can leave us feeling sluggish. As a result, our body reacts by storing more calories as fat for energy.
Iodine. Another key player in the metabolism game. Without it, metabolism simply can not take place. The thyroid is the only gland in the human body capable of Absorbing this trace element. Typically found in shellfish and iodized salts, iodine is stored in the thyroid gland until needed for the production of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine and thyroxine. When combined with L-tyrosine and other nutrients these two work synergistically to produce T3 and T4 thyroid hormone. Moreover, iodine deficiencies have been linked to the formation of goiters, decreased energy and lack of concentration.
Irish Moss. A natural vegetarian source of many thyroid-supporting nutrients, including Iodine, a key component in healthy metabolism. Irish moss has been consumed for thousands of years, and many herbalists encourage its use to contribute to sound glandular health.
Selenium. This naturally occuring trace mineral is well known for its strong antioxidant properties and natural synergism with other vitamins. Supplementing with selenium is essential for anyone concerned with sluggish thyroid performance.
Guggul. Technically known as Guggulsterone, the Gug¬gul tree is native to India, and emits a resinous sap that has been used for centuries as part of India’s traditional medicine known as Ayurveda. Studies have shown that the purified plant sterol extract from Guggulsterone can promote healthy thyroid function, and assist the body in maintaining normal production of thyroxine and triiodo¬thyronine.
Simply put, the thyroid gland relies heavily on a host supporting nutrients to produce the hormones needed to ensure that metabolism goes off without a hitch. Without these vital nutrients, our ability to metabolize food may slow down. Here’s an easy way to remember how this process works. The less thyroid supporting nutrients we have, the less thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) we produce.
The less thyroid hormone we produce, the less efficient our metabolic process becomes. The less effective our metabolic process becomes, the less energy we produce. The less energy we produce, the more prone we are to weight gain and fatigue.
NOW® Thyroid Energy was scientifically formulated to help maintain healthy thyroid function by incorporating a powerful blend of thyroid sup¬porting nutrients. With a full gram of L-Tyrosine (the direct precursor to thyroid hormone production) in addition to Iodine from Kelp, Selenium, Guggul, Zinc, Copper and a perfectly balanced blend of B vitamins, NOW® Thyroid energy just may be the boost you’ve been looking for.
December 22, 2005 09:37 AM
Glucosamine & Chondroitin - JOINT HEALTH
Everyone old enough to walk appreciates the value of fl exibility and ease of movement. Unfortunately many of us take such good things for granted. A famous folksinger sang, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” That’s certainly true for millions of Americans who live with stiff and uncomfortable joints.
Fortunately there are a number of nutrients available that provide the vital components of healthy joint structure and function and ease of mobility. These nutrients are referred to as “chondroprotective agents,” and include glucosamine and chondroitin, which supply the raw material necessary to produce new cartilage, and may even help rebuild worn cartilage. Other chondroprotective nutrients and herbs, like Cetyl Myristoleate, MSM, and Boswellin, work synergistically with glucosamine and chondroitin and further support normal joint function To understand how chondroprotective agents work, one must fi rst understand how joints work. The key element in human joints is articular cartilage, the shock-Absorbing tissue that connects two bones together and allows pain-free movement. Articular cartilage is comprised of two different molecules, collagen and proteoglycans, with the remainder composed primarily of water (65-85%). Collagen, a protein that binds tissue together, provides elasticity. Proteoglycans, composed of sugars and protein, absorb water, which provides lubrication and resiliency, nature’s shock absorber for your joints. Both compounds are produced by chondrocytes, caretaker cells responsible for the formation and maintenance of cartilage. A defi ciency in any one of the above constituents will increase the likelihood of wear and tear on articular cartilage, which can eventually lead to compromised joint function.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are safe, natural and effective nutrients that support healthy joint function by supplying the materials needed to produce collagen and proteoglycans.
Glucosamine is composed of glucose (a sugar) and glutamine (an amino acid). It is utilized by chondrocytes to form glycosaminoglycans (GSG) and proteoglycans (PG). Both of these constituents attract and bind water into cartilage, increasing resiliency. Research indicates that glucosamine may actually help your body repair damaged or eroded cartilage. A number of studies have been conducted on glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride, with a preponderance of positive results. Glucosamine sulfate is considered the more effective of the two. One study from the University of Liege in Liege, Belgium studied the effects of glucosamine sulfate on 212 patients with knee osteoarthritis. Participants took either 1,500 mg glucosamine or a placebo once daily for three years. The study compared joint-space width at enrollment, one year, and at the study’s conclusion.
The 106 patients on placebo had a progressive jointspace narrowing, while participants taking glucosamine experienced no significant joint-space loss, indicating glucosamine may benefi cially modify cartilage structure.3 A study published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage in 1998 investigated the in vitro effects of glucosamine sulfate on proteoglycan and collagen production by chondrocytes taken from osteoarthritic articular cartilage. The results showed “a statistically signifi cant stimulation of PG production by chondrocytes from human osteoarthritic cartilage cultured for up to 12 days in 3-dimensional cultures.” 4 Another study from Italy enrolled eighty inpatients with established OA. They received either 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate or placebo daily for 30 days. The patients treated with glucosamine sulfate experienced a reduction in symptoms almost twice as large and twice as fast as those receiving placebo. Researchers also used electron microscopy of patient’s articular cartilage to support this hypothesis. Patients who received glucosamine sulfate showed a picture more similar to healthy cartilage. The researchers concluded that glucosamine sulfate tends to rebuild damaged articular cartilage and restore articular function.5
Chondroitin is classifi ed as a glycosaminoglycan. It bonds with collagen to form the basis of connective tissue. Chondroitin helps attract fl uid into proteoglycans, thereby bringing nutrients into cartilage and providing shock absorption. While glucosamine helps manufacture and maintain cartilage, chondroitin keeps cartilage from becoming malnourished. Chondroitin works synergistically with glucosamine, and these two nutrients form the basis of most joint health supplements on the market today. A 6-month randomized, multi-center, double-blind, doubledummy study published in 1996 compared the effectiveness of chondroitin versus a popular non-steroidal anti-infl ammatory drug (NSAID) in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). One hundred and forty-six patients with knee OA were recruited and separated into two groups; an NSAID group and a chondroitin sulfate (CS) group. The NSAID group was given the NSAID and a placebo for the fi rst month, then placebo alone for months 2-3. The CS group was given the NSAID and CS for the fi rst month, and then CS alone for months 2-3. Both groups were then given 1200mg of CS for months 4-6. “Patients treated with the NSAID showed prompt and plain reduction of clinical symptoms, which, however, reappeared after the end of treatment; in the CS group, the therapeutic response appeared later in time but lasted for up to 3 months after the end of treatment. CS seems to have slow but gradually increasing clinical activity in OA; these benefi ts last for a long period after the end of treatment.”6
NOW® Foods is your source for natural joint support products. Our Extra Strength Glucosamine & Chondroitin is one of our best-selling products, and we also have combination supplements that include MSM, Concentrace® minerals, and more. We also carry both glucosamine and chondroitin as separate products, as well as in powder and lotion forms.
VitaBerry Plus+ Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 05:38 PM
VitaBerry Plus+ Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 3/18/05
LIKELY USERS: Antioxidant users who want the best food source formula; People seeking polyphenols or ellagic acid supplements; Those who don’t eat fruit and want some of their benefits
KEY INGREDIENTS: VitaBerry extract, Hi-Active Orange Extract, Pomegranate Extract (420 mg) (400 mg) (100 mg)
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: This is a high antioxidant (high ORAC: 2,500 units per serving of oxygen radical Absorbing capacity), proprietary blend of fruit extracts & concentrated powders containing Wild Blueberry extract, Grape & Grape seed extract, Raspberry & Raspberry seed extract, Cranberry, Prune, Tart Cherry, Wild Bilberry extract & Strawberry powder. Fortified with Hi-Active Orange Extract (Freeze-dried Orange (Citrus sinensis) powder with minimum of 40% vitamin C) and Pomegranate Extract (80% Polyphenols and 40% Ellagic Acid).
Provides a broad-spectrum antioxidant blend with phytochemicals such as anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, ellagic acid, quinic acid, resveratrol etc. in a single “0” size vegetarian capsule. There is a synergistic effect of mixing fruit antioxidants that provides antioxidant protection greater than is predicted by measuring each fruit source used in the mix individually.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: There will be some natural variation in color, taste and odor from these fruit sources. A special freeze drying technique preserves the antioxidant value of whole fruits in a concentrated form.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: Serving is 2 Vcaps. Take one or more servings per day as an antioxidant supplement. May be taken with food or on an empty stomach (this is food).
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: All antioxidants.
CAUTIONS: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. This information has not been reviewed by the FDA or the company posting it. Information given here may vary from what is given on the product label because this page represents my understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. When taking any new formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Bagchi D, Sen CK, Bagchi M, Atalay M. Anti-angiogenic, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic properties of a novel anthocyanin-rich berry extract formula. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2004 Jan;69(1):75-80, 1 p preceding 75. Review. PMID: 14972022
Gemma C, Mesches MH, Sepesi B, Choo K, Holmes DB, Bickford PC. Diets enriched in foods with high antioxidant activity reverse age-induced decreases in cerebellar beta-adrenergic function and increases in proinflammatory cytokines. J Neurosci. 2002 Jul 15;22(14):6114-20. PMID: 12122072
Huang D, Ou B, Prior RL. The Chemistry behind Antioxidant Capacity Assays. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 23;53(6):1841-1856. PMID: 15769103
Kay CD, Holub BJ. The effect of wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) consumption on postprandial serum antioxidant status in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2002 Oct;88(4):389-98. PMID: 12323088
Mazza G, Kay CD, Cottrell T, Holub BJ. Absorption of anthocyanins from blueberries and serum antioxidant status in human subjects. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Dec 18;50(26):7731-7. PMID: 12475297
Prior RL, Cao G. Analysis of botanicals and dietary supplements for antioxidant capacity: a review. J AOAC Int. 2000 Jul-Aug;83(4):950-6. Review. PMID: 10995120
Prior RL, Cao G. In vivo total antioxidant capacity: comparison of different analytical methods. Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Dec;27(11-12):1173-81. Review. PMID: 10641708
Prior RL, Hoang H, Gu L, Wu X, Bacchiocca M, Howard L, Hampsch-Woodill M, Huang D, Ou B, Jacob R. Assays for hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidant capacity (oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC(FL))) of plasma and other biological and food samples. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 May 21;51(11):3273-9. PMID: 12744654
Proteggente AR, Pannala AS, Paganga G, Van Buren L, Wagner E, Wiseman S, Van De Put F, Dacombe C, Rice-Evans CA. The antioxidant activity of regularly consumed fruit and vegetables reflects their phenolic and vitamin C composition. Free Radic Res. 2002 Feb;36(2):217-33. PMID: 11999391
Roy S, Khanna S, Alessio HM, Vider J, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Sen CK. Anti-angiogenic property of edible berries. Free Radic Res. 2002 Sep;36(9):1023-31. PMID: 12448828
Sofic E, Rustembegovic A, Kroyer G, Cao G. Serum antioxidant capacity in neurological, psychiatric, renal diseases and cardiomyopathy. J Neural Transm. 2002 May;109(5-6):711-9. PMID: 12111462
Stintzing FC, Stintzing AS, Carle R, Frei B, Wrolstad RE. Color and antioxidant properties of cyanidin-based anthocyanin pigments. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Oct 9;50(21):6172-81. PMID: 12358498
Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM, Haytowitz DB, Gebhardt SE, Prior RL. Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the United States. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jun 16;52(12):4026-37. PMID: 15186133
Digestion - Keeping The Digestive System Balanced
June 30, 2005 09:23 AM
Digestion By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt Digestion is the foundation for the health and balance of the whole body system. In a very real sense our physical body is formed by the molecules we eat and absorb. As the old adage says, “we are what we eat.” Our eating habits, lifestyle choices and state of mind as well as the foods we choose to consume all directly influence the effectiveness of our digestion. Ideally, a diet of good whole organically grown foods eaten at regular intervals in a stress-free environment would be wonderful. The reality is that few of us actually ever attain this ideal. Herbs have been used traditionally by civilizations around the world to aid the digestive system in several different ways. Herbs may act as digestive tonics, bitters, carminatives, vermifuges (killer of parasites), laxatives and astringents, which all benefit the digestive system in different ways.
Digestive tonics can help to balance stomach acidity. Their tonic actions may be in part due to their ability to protect and soothe the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. Nature’s Answer® has many digestive tonic herbs available in the form of fast-Absorbing liquid extracts. Nettle Leaf (alcohol-free, organic alcohol) is a mild digestive tonic that is highly nourishing. It tones the walls of the intestinal lining as well as the veins that supply nutrients to the digestive system. Cat’s Claw (alcohol-free, organic alcohol), often called Una del Gato in the Amazon rainforest where it is harvested, is a tonic herb for the entire system. Scientists believe that its overall positive influence on the body is directly related to its healing effect on the digestive system.
Bitters act to stimulate digestion through the increased production of digestive juices, from saliva to the release of bile. The Standard American Diet is sorely lacking in foods that taste “bitter”. There is actually a message sent via the nerves in the tongue to the digestive system to release enzymes and other digestive fluids when bitters are consumed. Herbal bitters can help, such as Nature’s Answer®’s Gentian Root(organic alcohol), Barberry Root (organic alcohol) and Oregon Graperoot (organic alcohol) liquid extracts. Bitters with Ginger (alcohol-free) is a combination “bitters” formula that blends several herbs together for ease of use and extra “bitters” benefits.
Carminatives are a classification of herbs that contain certain volatile oils well-known for their calming and relaxing actions to the stomach (leading to gas relief). Nature’s Answer® offers a variety of carminative herbs in liquid form, rich in the herbs’ roots, seeds, leaves and flowers: Ginger Root (alcohol-free, organic alcohol) is a common spice used throughout the world. It has outstanding medicinal properties that help to relieve conditions such as nausea, “morning sickness” (due to pregnancy), motion sickness (due to traveling in cars and boats) and other digestive complaints. Fennel Seed (organic alcohol) has a licorice like flavor. It is always available when leaving Indian Restaurants because it is a popular digestive aid. Peppermint leaf (alcohol-free,organic alcohol) is one of the most highly recognized and effective herbal treatments for bloating, gas, and “tummy-aches” in adults and children alike. Chamomile Flowers (alcohol-free, organic alcohol) is a popular herb in the United States. In Germany, the name for Chamomile translates to “Mother of the Stomach” because of its usefulness for many digestive complaints. Finally, Di-Jest™ (alcohol-free) is an example of an outstanding combination formula for digestion, featuring a synergistic blend of both carminative and bitter herbs for optimum support.
Vermifuges, also referred to as anthelmintics, are herbs that help rid the body rid itself of worms and other parasites. The presence of these “pests” was a well-known health concern until recent times, when advances in modern medicine essentially relegated these ailments to “the back burner.” It is an erroneous assumption to disregard the presence of parasites, especially in those who suffer from chronic digestive disorders. Nature’s Answer® provides several liquid herbal extracts which are quite effective vermifuges. Black Walnut Hulls (alcohol-free, organic alcohol) has been used historically to help get rid of worms. The combination formula, Black Walnut & Wormwood, combines Black Walnut with the appropriately named Wormwood and other herbs that are useful to help rid the body of parasites.
Laxatives aid with the common problem of constipation. Sufferers of this chronic ailment should examine their diets to be sure it includes a predominance of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. For occasional use, Nature’s Answer®’s Cascara Sagrada (organic alcohol) serves as an excellent laxative that not only stimulates peristalsis (movement of the intestines), but also tones the muscles of the digestive system.
Astringents are useful for diarrhea. They help by firming the tissue in the digestive system. One noteworthy herb in this category offered by Nature’s Answer® in a convenient liquid herbal extract form is Bayberry Bark (organic alcohol).
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
CHITOSAN: The Fiber that Binds Fat
June 25, 2005 07:55 PM
Chitosan is a natural product that inhibits fat absorption. It has the potential to revolutionize the process of losing weight and by so doing, reduce the incidence of some of the most devastating Western diseases we face today. Chitosan is indigestable and non-absorbable. Fats bound to chitosan become nonabsorbable thereby negating their caloric value. Chitosan-bound fat leaves the intestinal tract having never entered the bloodstream. Chitosan is remarkable in that it has the abilty to absorb an average of 4 to 5 times its weight in fat.60
The same features that allow chitosan to bind fats endow it with many other valuable properties that work to promote health and prevent disease. Chitosan is a remarkable substance whose time has come.
Chitin, the precursor to Chitosan, was first discovered in mushrooms by the French professor Henri Braconnot in 1811.61 In the 1820’s chitin was also isolated from insects.62 Chitin is an extremely long chain of N-acetyl-D-glucoseamine
glucoseamine units. Chitin is the most abundant natural fiber next to cellulose and is similar to cellulose in many respects. The most abundant source of chitin is in the shells of shellfish such as crab and shrimp. The worldwide shellfish harvest is estimated to be able to supply 50,000 tons of chitin annually.63 The harvest in the United States alone could produce over 15,000 tons of chitin each year.64
Chitin has a wide range of uses but that is the subject of another book. Chitosan was discovered in 1859 by Professor C. Rouget.65 It is made by cooking chitin in alkali, much like the process for making natural soaps. After it
is cooked the links of the chitosan chain are made up of glucosamine units. Each glucosamine unit contains a free amino group. These groups can take on a positive charge which gives chitosan its amazing properties. The stucture of chitosan is represented schematically in Figure 2. Research on the uses of chitin and Chitosan flourished in the 1930s and early 1940s but the rise of synthetic fibers, like the rise of synthetic medicines, overshadowed the interest in natural products. Interest in natural products, including chitin and chitosan, gained a resurgence in the 1970s and has continued to expand ever since. Uses of Chit osan Some of Chitosan's major uses—both Industrial and Health and Nutritional—are listed in Tables 5 and 6.
Chitosan has been used for about three decades in water purification processes. 67 When chitosan is spread over oil spills it holds the oil mass together making it easier to clean up the spill. Water purification plants throughout the world use chitosan to remove oils, grease, heavy metals, and fine particulate matter that cause turbidity in waste water streams.
Fat Binding/ Weight Loss
Like some plant fibers, chitosan is not digestible; therefore it has no caloric value. No matter how much chitosan you ingest, its calorie count remains at
fibers, chitosan’s unique properties give it the ability to significantly bind fat, acting like a “fat sponge” in the digestive tract. Table 7 shows a comparison of chitosan and other natural fibers and their ability to inhibit fat absorption. Under optimal conditions, Chitosan can bind an average of 4 to 5 times its weight with all the lipid aggregates tested.60 (NOTE: This assessment was made without the addition of ascorbic acid which potentiates this action even further.77 Studies in Helsinki have shown that individuals taking chitosan lost an average of 8 percent of their body weight in a 4-week period.76 Chitosan has increased oil-holding capacity over other fibers.108 Among the abundant natural fibers, chitosan is unique. This uniqueness is a result of chitosan’s amino groups which make it an acid Absorbing (basic) fiber. Most natural fibers are neutral or acidic. Table 7 summarizes the in vivo effects in animals of various fibers on fecal lipid excretion. As can be seen from the results listed, ingestion of chitosan resulted in 5-10 times more fat excretion than any other fiber tested. D-Glucosamine, the building block of chitosan, is not able to increase fecal fat excretion. This is due to the fact that glucosamine is about 97 percent absorbed while chitosan is nonabsorbable. Fats bound to glucosamine would likely be readily absorbed along with the glucosamine. Chitosan, on the other hand, is not absorbed and therefore fats bound to chitosan can not be absorbed.
Chitosan has the very unique ability to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while boosting HDL cholesterol (the good kind).78 Laboratory tests performed on rats showed that “chitosan depresses serum and liver cholesterol levels in cholesterol- fed rats without affecting performance, organ weight or the nature of the feces.”79 Japanese researchers have concluded that Chitosan “appears to be an effective hypocholesterolemic agent.”80 In other words, it can effectively lower blood serum cholesterol levels with no apparent side effects. A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that Chitosan is as effective in mammals as cholestryramine (a cholesterol lowering drug) in controlling blood serum cholesterol without the deleterious side effects typical of cholestryramine. 81 Chitosan decreased blood cholesterol levels by 66.2 percent.82 It effectively lowered cholesterol absorption more than guar gum or cellulose.83 Laboratory test results indicated that a 7.5% chitosan formula maintained adequate cholesterol levels in rats, despite a dramatic increase in the intake of cholesterol. 84
HDL and LDL Cholesterol
June 25, 2005 07:42 PM
HDL and LDL Cholesterol
There are both “good” and “bad” forms of cholesterol. The “good” form of cholesterol is found in the form of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs). The ‘bad” forms of cholesterol are the low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). The types of fats we eat influence how much and what type of cholesterol we make. Saturated fats are particularly good at raising low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol. The more of this type of cholesterol we have floating around in our bloodstream, the greater our risk of developing atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. The more HDL cholesterol we have (high-density lipoproteins) the lower our risk of coronary heart disease.
The liver is constantly trying to clear out the bad cholesterol by dumping it into the intestines. If we have sufficient amounts of the right kinds of fiber in our diet, our bodies dispose of cholesterol waste rather than reAbsorbing it back into the blood stream. If we don’t eat sufficient amounts of the right kinds of fiber, the cholesterol waste is reabsorbed and adds to the toxic stress on the body—especially the liver.
The obesity factor is emerging as much more important than previously thought.23, 24 New findings strongly suggest that even a relatively small amount of excess weight (between 10 and 20 pounds) can predispose one to the development of heart disease.25
How Much CLA is the Right
June 22, 2005 09:53 PM
How Much CLA is the Right Amount?
That is one question for researchers to answer with detailed human studies, but if you extrapolate from university studies on animals, it could be between two and six grams a day. (Some animal studies were actually at higher levels, to one half of one percent in weight of a day’s calories.)
Some other things to consider:
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem Absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.
Energize Your Life!
June 14, 2005 05:06 PM
Energize Your Life!
by Laura Weiss Energy Times, December 1, 2003
If every fatigued day leaves you wondering where your energy went, you need a personal energy makeover.
"Energy, some special kind of energy, just leaks out and I am left lacking the confidence even to cross the street," Diane Arbus, the photographer, once complained. And while Ms. Arbus tried to overcome her energetic and spiritual ups and downs with her art, you can use lifestyle changes as well as self-expression to revive your vigor.
To Sleep, Perchance to Energize
When you're looking for a boost in personal energy, you've got to get enough sleep, insists Jacob Tietelbaum, MD, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery). Dr. Teitelbaum emphasizes that unless you "give your body eight to nine hours of sleep per night," your personal energy will never be adequate.
Studies show that getting less than six hours sleep a night hurts your mental performance and drains your energy (Sleep 3/15/03). As your sleep debt builds up, your energy drops down.
"[Our studies show] the importance of sleep as a necessity for health and well-being. Even relatively moderate sleep restriction, if it is sustained night after night, can seriously impair our neurobiological functioning," says Hans P.A. Van Dongen, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sleep and Chronobiology at Penn State.
A recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that Americans, on average, are getting less than seven hours of shuteye a night. That sleep deficit drains energy.
Watered Down Energy
Added to that sleep requirement, Dr. Teitelbaum stressed in an interview with Energy Times, a lack of water can deplete your personal energy.
"The number one problem is often dehydration," he says. "Make sure you stay hydrated. Although I think it's a bad idea to [obsessively] count glasses of water, you should carry a bottle of water with you, check your lips and if they feel dry drink more water." Overall, your body is about 60% water and 70% of your muscles consist of water. If you let your water levels dip too low, your muscles suffer and your energy levels dip as well. Research shows that as your body dries out, your mental processes can slow down. And the hotter the temperature, the more fluid you may lose (AIHAJ 2002; 63(2):190-8).
B Vitamins for Energy
Also important for keeping your energy up "is getting enough of the B vitamins and magnesium." And even though Dr. Teitelbaum advocates the necessity of a well-rounded multiple vitamin and mineral supplement plus an adequate diet and amino acids to get all the nutrients you need, he recommends "taking a high-level B complex. The RDAs (the government's Recommended Daily Amounts) are inadequate."
In the body, B vitamins are used for the production of energy on a cellular level. For instance, vitamin B1 (thiamine) is crucial for burning carbohydrates effectively. And vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is necessary for the body's ability to properly use B1. At the same time, vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is required for proper nerve function. The need for B12 may necessitate a supplement: Up to 30% of everyone over the age of 50 may have trouble Absorbing B12 from their food (Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci 1996; 33:247). Plus, since vegetables contain very little absorbable B12, vegetarians of all ages may also require B12 supplements.
Dr. Teitelbaum also believes that taking malic acid, a nutrient derived from apples, can help. Along with the B vitamins, malic acid is used by the body in the production of energy. When taken with magnesium, malic acid has been shown to ease the pain of fibromyalgia (J Rheum 1995; 22(5):953-7), a condition characterized by fatigue and lack of energy accompanied by painful muscles and joints.
Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) represents a potential tool for controlling blood sugar and improving stamina.
According to Dr. Teitelbaum, "...Asian ginseng enhances energy, raises blood pressure and improves adrenal function...Asian ginseng has such a wide mix of health benefits that its name, Panax, comes from the Greek roots of pan (meaning 'all') and akos (meaning 'cure')-that is, 'cure all.'"
Research on people with diabetes shows that this herb may help control blood sugar levels. People who suffer what is called type 2 diabetes often eat small meals to keep their blood sugar from varying too much. (Rising and falling blood sugar can drain you of energy as well as make diabetic problems worse.)
An investigation of how another form of ginseng, American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), affects blood sugar after eating found that it tempered changes by up to 20% (Arch of Internal Med 4/00). These scientists found that folks with diabetes did best when they took the herb within two hours of a meal.
Ready to re-energize? Time to stop skimping on sleep and rushing through inadequate meals. For all of us, slowing down and giving our bodies a chance to regenerate its zip can make the big energy difference.
June 11, 2005 05:24 PM
Better Bones by Deborah Daniels Energy Times, March 13, 2004
As America ages, osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones, grows into an ever-expanding problem. Currently, it affects more than 44 million Americans.
Women are in special danger; of those who suffer weak bones, about 35 million are women. This problem causes a huge amount of damage-physical, emotional and financial. The national bill for hospital and nursing care for osteoporosis victims tops $17 billion a year, about $47 million a day.
Odds are, your bones need help. According to the National Institutes of Health, the bones of more than half of all Americans over age 50 are weak enough to put them at risk of osteoporosis. Weak bones linked to osteoporosis continue to present a serious risk to health. A study published in the British Medical Journal shows that fractures in older people are just as life-threatening today as they were two decades ago (2003; 327:771-5).
When researchers looked at broken legs among more than 30,000 people over the age of 65, they found that just as many people die today after these kinds of bone breaks as they did during the 1980s.
Their findings emphasize how important strong bones are to survival. This study showed that breaking your leg at age 65 or older increases your risk of death more than 12 times. And these high death rates, according to the researchers, reinforce the fact that preventing osteoporosis saves lives.
Blowing Smoke Through Bones
While many bone experts blame the high rate of osteoporosis on sedentary lifestyles and foods low in calcium, Australian research has turned up another bone-weakening villain: smoking. According to these scientists, smoking may be the most destructive lifestyle habit that destroys bone in older women. While other studies have pointed to smoking as a factor in bone loss, this most recent study purports to show that smoking may be one of the most important influences on weak bones (J Bone Min Res 9/03). " This will be an important step forward in the management of osteoporosis, since the results of this study can be used to improve current approaches to preventing bone loss," says researcher John Wark, PhD.
Dr. Wark's study found that older smokers are particularly prone to weak bones. While smoking is always bad for bone strength, after menopause tobacco smoke seems to exert an even deadlier affect on your skeletal support.
" [T]he damaging effects of cigarette smoking may well have been underestimated in the past," says Dr. Wark. When you inhale cigarette smoke, your lungs are exposed to about 500 harmful gases, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, benzene, hydrogen cyanide and ammonia. The infusion of these gases cuts back on the available oxygen used for building bone and other tissues.
Along with these gases, small particles containing chemicals like anatabine, anabase, nicotine, monicotine and other carcinogens also filter into the lungs. Studies (Acad Ortho Surg 2001; 9:9) indicate that bathing the body in these chemicals results in:
While it's never too late to build more bone, the best time for laying down a dependable musculoskeletal foundation is before age 30. That way, as you get older, your strong bones can better resist the weakening effects of aging. Ipriflavone is a natural chemical that has been found to help protect bone. Researchers believe that this supplement can help bones strengthen by Absorbing more calcium (Calc Tissue Int 2000; 67:225)
Other ways to make bones stronger include:
Weak bones can put a severe crimp in your lifestyle and put your life at risk. How can you tell what shape your bones are in? Health practitioners can help you get the appropriate bone density test. But the tone of your muscles are also a good indicator: Exercise to tone those muscles and chances are you're building your bones, too. All you have to do is get moving!
Bone Power - Natures Plus
June 11, 2005 04:41 PM
Bone Power by no author Energy Times, May 1, 1997
Patricia Q. stopped smoking 20 years ago. At 61, she is active, tries to exercise regularly, eats properly and takes a multivitamin. Most would consider Patricia's lifestyle a sufficient safeguard against the diseases of aging. But one debilitating possibility still concerns her: Osteoporosis-bone thinning. She worries that her bones may have begun weakening almost a decade ago. Although her good health habits can slow the demineralization of her bones, osteoporosis may still take its toll. And as her neck and back begin to obviously round, a possible sign of bone weakness, Patricia frets about her future.
The weakening of bones brought on by age makes them more prone to fracture. One of every two women older than age 50 suffers an osteoporosis-related fracture during her lifetime. Osteoporosis literally means "porous bones," bones that deteriorate and particularly increase the risk of damage to the hip, spine and wrist. In extreme cases, everyday activities assume danger: fractures can result from simply lifting a bag of groceries or from what would otherwise be a minor fall. Some women, fearful of fractures, eliminate many seemingly innocuous activities from their daily lives. Their fear is well founded. Complications from these fractures are a major killer of women.
As women grow older, the risk grows, too. Ten million individuals already have the disease, and 18 million have low bone mass, placing them at risk for osteoporosis.
But research shows that osteoporosis may be preventable and controllable. Regardless of age, eating right, getting enough calcium and performing weight-bearing exercises, can lower your risk for this disease.
Understanding Your Bones
Bones are not static structures but living tissue constantly reformed in a process called remodeling. Every day old bone is removed and replaced with new bone tissue. When more bone is broken down than is replaced (demineralization), bones weaken. When the structure loses sufficient density, you face eminent danger of a fracture.
Generally speaking, bones continue to increase their density and calcium content until you reach your 30s, at which point you probably have attained your peak bone mass. Afterward you may either maintain this mass or begin to lose calcium yearly, but you rarely can increase bone density. The loss of bone density can increase at menopause, when your body ceases producing estrogen, a hormone required to improve bone strength. In addition, some medications, used for a long period, compromise bone density.
Stop Calcium Loss
Eating a diet rich in nutrients that help your bones stay strong should be the first step in stopping or slowing the process of osteoporosis. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, phosphorus, soy-based foods and fluoride compose the major nutrients that strengthen bone.
At this moment, 98 percent of your body's calcium resides in your bones, the rest circulates in the blood, taking part in metabolic functions. Because the body cannot manufacture calcium, you must eat calcium in your daily diet to replace the amounts that are constantly lost. When the diet lacks sufficient calcium to replace the amount that is excreted, the body begins to break down bone for the calcium necessary for life-preserving metabolic processes.
Calcium in the diet can generally slow calcium loss from bones, but it usually doesn't seem to replace calcium already gone. The National Institutes of Health recommend 1000-1200 milligrams of dietary calcium per day for premenopausal women and 1200-1500 milligrams for menopausal and postmenopausal women
Good sources of calcium include milk and milk products, yogurt, ricotta, cheese, oysters, salmon, collard greens, spinach, ice cream, cottage cheese, kale, broccoli and oranges.
If you cannot tolerate dairy products, calcium supplements are an easy way to consume calcium. Take supplements with a meal to aid absorption of calcium from the stomach.
In Total Health for Women, Dr. Kendra Kale, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, urges women to read supplement labels. Scrutinize the fine print to see how many grams are considered "elemental"or "bioavailable"-the form of calcium your body will absorb. If you're taking a 750 milligram supplement, chances are only 300 milligrams are elemental. You should also check that the pill will dissolve within 30 minutes and meets the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) standards. If tablets do not break down within 30 minutes, they may pass through you unabsorbed and you won't digest the calcium from them that you need.
Absorbing calcium from your digestive tract also requires the presence of vitamin D. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure daily usually satisfies vitamin D requirements since most people's bodies can use sunlight to manufacture this substance. So walking to work, or going outside for lunch should supply sufficient ultraviolet light to facilitate calcium absorption.
As we age, however, our body's ability to produce vitamin D gradually diminishes. Our diets can make up the difference: Good dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, liver and fish or nutritional supplements. Many foods, like milk, are supplemented with vitamin D.
Magnesium is another mineral that helps to build bones. Found in leafy, green vegetables, nuts, soybeans, seeds and whole grains, your daily requirement of magnesium should be about half of your calcium intake.
Absorbing calcium for bone health also requires phosphorus, but be careful not to get too much of a good thing: excess phosphorus can actually increase your body's need for calcium. This can present a problem for people who drink bottle after bottle of cola soft drinks or who eat an abundance of processed foods which are often high in phosphorus.
New Soy Research
New research suggests that soy foods, like tofu or soy milk may be vital for preserving bones. A study of more than 60 postmenopausal women who consumed either diets rich in soy's isoflavones or milk protein found that eating soy restored calcium to some of the women's bones. Even though the researchers didn't think such a replacement due to soy was even possible!
The researchers at the University of Illinois believe that isoflavones behave in the body in some of the same ways that estrogen does. The study measured bone density at the lumbar spine, a part of the body at the small of the back that is liable to fractures due to osteoporosis.
Fluoride: Not Just For Teeth
Although most people associate the mineral fluoride with strong teeth, fluoride is just as important for bone strength. Surveys report that osteoporosis is reportedly less common in communities that drink fluoridated water. Fluoride combines with calcium in the bones to slow mineral loss after mid-life. Good sources of this mineral include fish, tea and most animal foods.
Cut Back on Alcohol and Coffee
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, consuming lots of caffeine is thought to increase the calcium excreted in your urine. In addition, high levels of protein and sodium in your diet are also believed to increase calcium excretion. And although more studies of protein and sodium are needed to precisely determine how these substances influence calcium loss you should limit the caffeine, protein and salt you take in.
On top of those findings, researchers say that the diuretic action of alcohol and caffeine speed skeletal calcium loss. They believe alcohol may interfere with intestinal absorption of calcium.
Along with a bone-friendly diet, your exercise program should also be designed to preserve bone. Weight-bearing exercise-exercise that places stress on the bones-strengthens bone density and wards off osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises include weight lifting, walking, jogging and jumping rope.
Exercise possesses many benefits for preserving bone, according to Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., author of Strong Women Stay Young. Among them: exercise can help you retain the balance necessary to resist falls and strengthen the muscles that keep you erect. Studies performed on women of all ages found that by doing strength training exercises two times a week for a year, without use of estrogen or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), women, on average, added three pounds of muscle and lost three pounds of fat. They were also 75 percent stronger with improved balance and bone density.
Although strength training can be performed by anyone at any age, Nelson recommends that if you have an unstable medical condition or if you have recently undergone surgery, wait until you recover and speak with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you have not exercised in a long time, consult a health practitioner knowledgeable in sports medicine before beginning an exercise program.
Drug therapies are now available to combat osteoporosis. One of the most popular is HRT, which supplies estrogen to women undergoing menopause. However, medical experts are still arguing over HRT 's possible role in increasing your risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer.
According to Jan Rattner-Heilman, co-author of Estrogen, the Facts Can Change Your Life, the conflicting studies that balance the benefits and risk of HRT are bound to confuse the average consumer. Estrogen is recommended to prevent bone loss and forestall heart disease and possibly Alzheimer's disease. Most women take estrogen to ease the discomforts of menopause such as hot flashes, and many experts do not believe that it unduly increases the risk of breast cancer for those at low risk.
Heilman warns, however, that estrogen probably should not be taken by women especially at risk for breast cancer risk or those who are already suffer the disease.
Patricia Q. is reluctant to try HRT. "I'm at risk for breast cancer-my mother had it-so I won't take estrogen. I'd rather do what I can without medications. My preference is to watch my diet and exercise as much as I can. That gives me my best chance to avoid osteoporosis."
Doctor Nelson agrees with this perspective She believes that exercise possesses enough benefits to make it the treatment of choice. "The difference between estrogen and strength training is that strength training has a huge spillover effect; you aren't just decreasing one type of disease. You become stronger with more muscles and less fat, and you become more fit. This decreases your chances for many types of diseases, not just osteoporosis. It can decrease risks for heart disease, diabetes, sleep disturbances, hypertension and more."
If you believe you are at risk for osteoporosis, ask your doctor about the benefits of bone mineral density screening. DEXA scan (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) measures the bone density in a 15-minute test. But the test is expensive: the cost of this test ranges from $75-200 or more and may not be covered by your health insurance. But financial help may be on the way. A Bone Mass Standardization Act has been introduced in Congress to ensure that the cost of bone mass measurement is covered under Medicare and that standards for coverage are clear and consistent for anyone with medical insurance.
Fighting Osteoporosis at Different Ages
Childbearing years (30-40): These years are particularly important for preserving bone through exercise and good nutrition. Eat plenty of low-fat dairy products, vegetables and soy. Perform weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging and weight lifting to attain the greatest amount of bone and muscle possible. Being active reduces risk of injury and makes you stronger. If you smoke, now's the time to stop.
Menopausal years (late 40s-50s): During this time, muscle, bone and estrogen decreases. Minimize loss through diet, walking and weight lifting. Your exercise intensity may have to be decreased but you should not stop being physically active.
Post Menopause (over 60): Focus on reducing your risk of falling. Minimize balance problems and increase muscle strength through exercise.
Iron: The Body's LifeBlood
June 10, 2005 10:29 PM
Iron: The Body's LifeBlood by Carl Lowe Energy Times, October 16, 2004
Two billion people, including one in 10 American women, are lacking iron. Here's how veggies and other foods can supply you with enough of this vital mineral.
Back in the days of black and white television, a popular commercial cautioned viewers about the dangers of iron-poor blood. While those ads trumpeting the debilitating fatigue of iron deficiency have disappeared from our colorized video world, medical researchers now recognize that many of us, in fact, are hampered by an iron shortage. What those old ads missed: a lack of iron can slow you down mentally and physically even before it shows up in your blood.
A Woman's Dilemma: Hidden Deficiencies Experts estimate that one in 10 American women are low in iron but many haven't become so deficient that they are aware of their shortage. In other countries, up to eight in 10 women run short on iron. While researchers once believed that iron deficiency was only serious if it was drastic enough to cause anemia (what used to be called "tired blood"), studies now show that even mild deficiencies can compromise health.
Worldwide, public health experts believe that the lives of about 2 billion people are affected by iron deficiency. Most of these people are women, who lose blood on a monthly basis during their childbearing years. Men are generally not low in iron. Iron is necessary for the formation of red blood cells-particularly the creation of hemoglobin, the reddish pigment in these cells that enables them to deliver oxygen to muscles and other bodily tissues. If you are very low in iron, the resulting anemia leaves you feeling fatigued.
Your body stashes iron not only in your blood cells, but in your liver and other tissues as well. When you don't consume enough iron, first your liver stores decrease, then your tissue supplies disappear and, finally, your blood runs low and you develop anemia. Early on in the iron-depletion process, a low iron count won't make your daily activities more difficult. Cornell University researchers found, in experiments on women who were mildly depleted, that taking or not taking iron supplements had no effect on how these women felt while exercising.
" Supplementation makes no difference in exercise-training improvements in women with low iron storage who are not yet tissue-iron deficient or anemic," says Thomas Brownlie, one of the Cornell researchers.
Supplementing Your Supply
Even in the beginning stages of iron deficiency, however, experts still believe you should take supplements: an uncorrected iron shortage can mean serious problems lurk ahead (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 5/04). For that reason, the next time you visit your healthcare practitioner you should request a serum transferrin receptor concentration test, which can detect an early iron shortage. (Don't start taking iron supplements without consulting a knowledgeable medical professional.)
" It would be useful for women who test low for iron but who are not yet anemic to have this test," notes Cornell's Brownlie. "Women found to be tissue-iron deficient will find exercise exceedingly difficult without improving their iron status-which could be achieved by increasing consumption of iron-rich foods or iron supplementation."
If you let your iron levels run down so low that it shows up as anemia, not only will you be tired but your thinking may be fogged as well. " Millions of women who are mildly iron deficient must work harder than necessary when exercising or working physically, and they can't reap the benefits of endurance training very easily," says Jere Haas, PhD, one of the researchers involved in these studies and a nutrition professor at Cornell. "As a result, exercise is more difficult so these women are more apt to lose their motivation to exercise."
Meanwhile, researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina report that, as you age, anemia can make you more vulnerable to disabilities while weakening your muscles and draining your strength (Journal of the American Geriatric Society 5/04). That type of anemia may be linked to shortages of both iron and vitamin B12.
" Our results suggest that anemia is a risk factor for disability, poor physical function and low muscle strength-all which can threaten the independence of older adults," says Brenda Penninx, PhD, lead researcher. If you are a woman who exercises frequently, cuts calories to lose weight or eats a mostly vegetarian diet, watch out-you may be at high risk for iron depletion.
To steer clear of iron shortages, the Cornell researchers recommend eating lean red meat. If you are a vegetarian, taking vitamin C with meals improves your iron absorption from iron-rich foods like peanuts, whole wheat, brown rice and leafy green vegetables, as does using iron cookware.
When it comes to Absorbing supplemental minerals like iron, not all minerals may be created equal. In particular, minerals that are in chelated form are generally believed to be absorbed more efficiently in your digestive system. The word "chelate" comes from the Greek word for claw. Chelated minerals are chemically implanted into proteins known as peptides. This bound molecular structure mirrors the way minerals are contained in natural whole foods, which have been found to contain their own natural chelates.
Chelated minerals are more well-suited to your digestive tract. A key advantage of chelated formulations is their stability after you swallow them. Many other forms of supplemental minerals-which are often combined with inorganic salts or organic acids-may be broken down prematurely in the digestive tract, leading to poor absorption and a stomachache.
Chelates, however, maintain their structure sufficiently to reach the spot in the digestive tract where they are most efficiently taken into the bloodstream. Once there, the body's digestive enzymes dismember the proteins and convert the minerals into absorbable form.
Getting enough iron and other minerals is not that difficult a task-it's just one that is too often overlooked. But if you pride yourself on your iron will or iron constitution, or just seek to iron out a few of the kinks in your health, you may need to significantly pump up your iron.
You Are What You Digest
June 10, 2005 04:50 PM
You Are What You Digest
by Anthony J. Cichoke, DC Energy Times, September 2, 1999
Does your dinner creep back to haunt you in the ghostly morning hours? Does a mere glance in the direction of the local Mexican cafe or barbecue palace fill you with dread (to say nothing of internal discomfort)?
We tend to ignore our digestive systems-the ever-ready, always reliable iron-clad stomachs of our youth, into which we stuffed pizza, peppers and beer-until diarrhea, gas, heartburn, bloating, constipation, stomach pain or other, much more serious, problems develop.
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 62 million Americans experience some type of digestive distress. More than 10 million people suffer from hemorrhoids, nearly 3 million from gastritis and duodenitis, 2.3 million from inflammatory bowel disease, almost 4.5 million from constipation and 1.4 million from irritable colon. (Statistics from Digestive Diseases in the United States: Epidemiology and Impact, edited by James E. Everhart and published in 1994 in Washington, DC, by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.)
Many conditions such as hemorrhoids or constipation are relatively benign, while others, notably chronic liver disease, malignancies and ulcers, can be life-threatening.
In my long career as a chiropractor with an intense interest in nutrition, I have studied and written about the powers of enzyme therapy to prevent and treat the common and related problems of indigestion, heartburn, gas, lactose intolerance and constipation.
Poor Digestion: The Costs
Impaired digestion takes a dangerously high toll in causing nutrient deficiencies. For example, the stomach needs sufficient hydrochloric acid to activate the digestive enzyme pepsin, a substance which helps break down the proteins you eat into the short chains of amino acids (protein building blocks) that go into strong muscles, fight disease and produce a healthy supply of blood.
Poor digestion can also impair your absorption of carbohydrates and fats as well as many vitamins and minerals. Vitamin E, for example, is fat soluble, that is, stored for long periods in the body's fat cells, rather than rapidly excreted like the water soluble vitamin C.
Impaired pancreatic function, or insufficient lipase or bile production, will inhibit fat digestion, possibly causing insufficient absorption of vitamin E, according to the book Present Knowledge in Nutrition (International Life Sciences Institute, Nutrition Foundation, Washington, DC), which is edited by Myrtle L. Brown.
Thus, any difficulty in digesting and Absorbing dietary fat can appreciably decrease vitamin E digestion and absorption. In fact, insufficient fat intake coupled with troubled digestion and absorption can affect the body's use of all the fat soluble vitamins-A, D, E and K.
The Enzyme-Digestion Team
Enzymes are molecules naturally produced by the body. These dynamos are involved in all physiological functions but are probably best known for the many jobs they perform during the process of digestion.
Digestive enzymes break the food you eat down into smaller particles so the body can better absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Unfortunately, in many cases, we may become deficient in digestive enzymes. Or, on the other hand, the enzymes we do produce may be inadequate for proper digestion. Luckily, supplemental enzymes can compensate for nature's shortfalls.
Supplemental enzymes, available in tablets, capsules, powders and pills, can help enhance the digestive process. The most popular enzymes for this use include:
Proteases help the body digest proteins by breaking them down into their component amino acids.
Lipases break down fat molecules into smaller pieces for better digestion.
Amylases break down carbohydrates.
Digestive enzymes also function in a wide variety of ways:
They detoxify and cleanse the colon and stimulate the beneficial bacteria in the gut, thereby helping relieve a number of digestion-related disorders.
They help mobilize and remove toxic products from the body.
Supplemental enzymes can be used in basically three ways: as digestive aids, taken with or just prior to meals to help break down foods, freeing their nutrients for absorption and use by the body; as systemic enzyme therapy taken between meals and intended to be absorbed into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body to work intensively and thoroughly at the cellular level. They are consumed between meals to avoid mixing them with food as it is consumed.
Enzymes used systemically can energize the digestive, immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems. In addition, they can also help fight viruses, bacteria, toxins and inflammation, a common symptom with many digestive disorders including diverticulitis and gastritis.
The third way to take supplemental enzymes is in a form I call Enzyme Absorption System Enhancers (EASE), commercially produced enzymes combined with herbs, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients designed to improve their activity, absorption and bioavailability (readiness and ease with which the body can take them up).
Enzymes for Common Conditions From my extensive research and experience, enzymes as digestive aids, in systemic enzyme therapy as as EASE, can treat more than 150 common health conditions.
Choose your enzyme supplements carefully, scrutinizing the label thoroughly for:
directions for use formulation (coated or uncoated) the enzymes in the formulation and their sources; a vegetarian would want to avoid enzymes from animal sources and those with allergies should ensure that the formulation is free of potential allergens. However pervasive digestive problems are, there's no reason why they have to get you down, ruin your digestion or inflate you. These are very useful substances: Enzymes can set your digestive system - and most of your body's functions - back on track.
Remember, enzymes are essential keys to the smooth, efficient function of that wonderful machine, the human body. Because enzyme production and activity decrease with age, trauma and illness, make a firm commitment to daily enzyme supplementation for a healthier, happier, longer life.
June 10, 2005 03:24 PM
by Henry Wolfe Energy Times, July 11, 2003
Nutrients do you no good if you don't absorb them. Eating the right stuff and taking the right nutrients can still be wrong if they never make it out of your digestive tract and into your bloodstream.
For instance, dietary supplements usually should be taken along with food. The presence of food in the digestive tract aids the absorption of nutrients. As a general rule, if you take dietary supplements on an empty stomach, most of their contents will probably pass through you and never escape your intestinal tract before they are eventually eliminated. This is particularly true for the fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D and E. By consuming fatty foods when you take these supplements, you enable your body to absorb a large amount of these valuable substances.
But there is at least one exception to this rule: Amino acid supplements (protein building blocks) should usually be taken on an empty stomach. Otherwise the other amino acids present in your meal may interfere with your use of these nutrients and counteract the benefits of the supplements.
The Standardization of Herbs
Taking herbs presents different challenges than consuming dietary supplements. While the chemical structures of nutrients in supplements are usually precisely identified, the active ingredients in herbs is usually a mixture of chemicals. Often, too, researchers disagree on exactly which active ingredients in herbs produce the health benefits linked to these botanicals.
But in an effort to derive the most from these substances, many experts recommend what are called standardized forms.
Standardized herbal supplements are formulas that have been created to insure they contain consistent and reliable amounts of certain beneficial chemicals that scientists have identified in these plants.
In the creation of these supplements, experts determine the standardized chemicals that are most likely the basis of the herbs' effectiveness.
By standardizing certain of the supplements' ingredients, therefore, standardized herbs limit the variation among batches of the product. You can rely on the fact that every purchase will contain the same amount of ingredients taken from the original plant. According to Michael Janson, MD, author of Dr. Janson's New Vitamin Revolution (Penguin/Avery), "Although herbs have a long history of use for medicinal purposes, it is only recently that they have been analyzed to reveal their most active components. These active chemicals are commonly present in very variable amounts in herbs, depending on where and how they are grown, soil quality, when they are harvested, the amount of rain and sun, and other factors.
"Standardized herbs have guaranteed specific amounts of the known, active herbal components, as well as the other factors that might be of help but are not as well studied" (www.drjanson.com).
Herbalists who specialize in using entire plants in their practices can recommend non-standardized preparations that you can often use.
In general, that kind of herbal use is more effective when you secure expert advice. If you lack access to an experienced herbalist and you're choosing botanicals on your own, standardized preparations are easier to take.
Absorption From the Gut
Most of the nutrients you take in are absorbed through the walls of your digestive tract. This most often takes place in the small intestine.
What to watch out for: Fast food, fast living and long work hours afflicts our digestion and can disrupt proper absorption. You have to be relaxed to properly absorb the nutrients in your food and supplements.
Consequently, the occasions for meals should be relaxed and enjoyable moments. Set aside enough time to appreciate, taste and thoroughly chew your food. Adequate digestion and absorption begin in your mouth.
Another way to increase nutrient absorption is with the use of digestive enzymes. Since the digestive tract depends on the enzymatic breakdown of food that reduces nutrients to absorbable form, taking enzymes can help your intestines make better use of nutrients as they pass through the digestive tract. Normally, enzymes are present in raw food, like uncooked fruits and vegetables. Since most of our food is eaten after it is heated, a process that breaks down enzymes, not many enzymes are present in today's diet. Therefore, taking supplemental enzymes may increase absorption.
Beyond everyday stress, a variety of problems can make absorption go astray, allowing important nutrients to escape and permitting unwanted substances to enter the body. For instance, a significant digestive malfunction that many experts have focused on in recent years is a condition that has come to be called "leaky gut."
As Anil Minocha, MD, director of digestive diseases at the Mississippi Medical Center and author of Natural Stomach Care (Avery), points out, "In a healthy individual, the wall of the intestinal tract is designed to absorb food molecules and prevent harmful microorganisms and toxic materials from passing out through the bowel wall and into the bloodstream. "In today's heavily polluted environment, the gastrointestinal tract of even the healthiest individual is called on to process an overwhelmingly large flow of septic and infectious materials."
Because of these digestion destroyers, as we take in a startlingly large amount of viruses, bacteria, toxic chemicals, fungi and processed foods, our digestive systems are often overwhelmed and are rendered unable to perform their tasks correctly. This constant assault on the stomach and intestines takes a serious toll. A frequent product of this process is the digestive walls' loss of their crucial ability to keep out unwanted toxins and organisms as they become, in Dr. Minocha's words, "loosened and inflamed." As a result, instead of keeping out harmful substances and Absorbing helpful nutrients, spaces open up that begin to allow in "bulky, partially digested food particles, toxic substances and infectious microbes."
According to Dr. Minocha, the first signs of this absorption problem can include complaints such as allergic reactions, skin problems, joint pain, digestive difficulties, nausea, fatigue and lack of energy.
To improve your digestive absorption, Dr. Minocha recommends a six-part program that includes these steps:
* Detoxification by means of fasting and avoiding harmful items like sugar, over-processed foods, coffee and alcohol
* Taking herbs that can help the digestive tract heal, recover and repair itself; these include garlic, ginger and milk thistle
* Replenishing the beneficial bacteria of the digestive tract by eating yogurt
* Keeping track of your daily diet and eliminating foods that cause allergies and other reactions
* Consuming more fruits and vegetables while eating a high-fiber, mostly vegetarian diet
* Developing consistent, healthy lifestyle habits; these include not smoking, cutting the size of your meals and eating in moderation, exercising several times a week and controlling stress
Young and Old Digestion
The nutrients in your diet can also beneficially influence the state of your digestive system and its ability to distinguish among substances that are supposed to gain entrance to your body and those that should be kept out. Since aging can further compromise the discriminatory ability of your gut, Dr. Minocha also recommends a steady diet of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables plus supplements to keep your digestive tract functioning at full capacity as you grow older.
Among the nutrients he recommends:
* Coenzyme Q10: By middle age, your body makes less of this powerful antioxidant that helps cells generate energy in the mitochondria (structures within cells that may decrease with age).
Dr. Minocha notes that research demonstrates CoQ10 may be able to help people with diabetes control harmful metabolic byproducts that appear in their bloodstreams.
* Natural Lycopene: This antioxidant, responsible for the red of both tomatoes and watermelon, has been shown to lower the risk of both heart disease and prostate cancer. As an antioxidant, natural lycopene also helps protect the digestive tract.
Absorption of the proper nutrients may be the key to health for many people. By paying closer attention to the well-being of your digestive tract and practicing lifestyle habits that promote maximum absorption, you may be able to substantially improve your nutrition and your health.
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.