Search Term: " Abuse "
Can the Liver Be Repaired Once It Is Damaged?
April 29, 2022 11:33 AM
https://vitamins.vitanetonline.com/wp-content/uploads/liver-2934612_1920.png The liver is a vital organ in the body that performs many essential functions. It can be damaged by a variety of factors, including disease, alcohol Abuse, and exposure to toxic chemicals. Once the liver is damaged, can it be repaired? In this article, we will explore the answer to that question. We will also discuss the various ways that the liver can be damaged and how those damages can be repaired.
What is the liver and what does it do?
The liver is a large, multi-functional organ that plays a vital role in the body. Its primary function is to filter the blood and remove toxins, but it also helps to regulate metabolism, store nutrients, and produce bile. The liver is divided into two main lobes, the right lobe and the left lobe. The right lobe is slightly larger than the left lobe and includes the quadrate lobe and caudate lobe. The left lobe contains the left lateral section and the medial section. The hepatic veins drain blood from the liver and pass it through the inferior vena cava to be returned to the heart. The hepatic arteries supply oxygenated blood to the liver tissue, while the portal vein carries nutrient-rich blood from the digestive organs. The bile ducts transport bile produced by the liver cells to the gallbladder, where it is stored until needed for digestion.
The liver is a hardworking organ that performs many crucial functions in the body. By keeping it healthy, we can help to ensure that our entire body remains healthy and functioning properly.
What can damage the liver and how does that damage occur?
The liver is a vital organ that performs many important functions, such as filtering toxins from the blood and producing bile to help digest fats. However, the liver can be damaged by a number of different agents, including viruses, alcohol, and certain medications. Viruses such as hepatitis C and hepatitis B can cause inflammation of the liver, which can lead to scarring and eventually to liver failure. Alcohol Abuse is also a major cause of liver damage, as it can lead to fatty deposits, inflammation, and scarring. In addition, certain drugs (such as acetaminophen) can cause toxic damage to the liver cells. If the liver is not functioning properly, it can result in a build-up of toxins in the blood, which can lead to serious health problems.
Can the liver be repaired once it is damaged, and if so, how is that done?
The liver is a amazing organ. It is responsible for so many important functions in the body, from filtering toxins to producing bile to breaking down fats. When it is damaged, it can often repair itself. This is because the liver has a high regenerative capacity. hepatocytes, which are the main type of liver cell, can divide and grow back quickly when necessary. In fact, as long as about 25% of the liver remains healthy, it can regenerate itself completely over the course of a few weeks. There are a number of ways to damage the liver, such as through alcohol Abuse or viral infections, but fortunately there are also ways to help it repair itself. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and avoiding toxins, take liver supporting supplements like milk thistle and NAC can all support liver health and regeneration.
How can people prevent their livers from being damaged in the first place?
The liver is a vital organ that plays an important role in metabolism. However, the liver can also be easily damaged by alcohol, drugs, prescriptions, and environmental toxins, which are in the foods we eat. To help prevent liver damage, it is important to avoid excess alcohol consumption or avoid it all together, take medication as directed and if you are on medications that cause liver damage to discuss alternatives that do not harm the liver, and eat a healthy diet along with taking liver supporting supplements. Additionally, it is important to get regular exercise, as this helps to keep the liver healthy and functioning properly. By taking these steps, people can help to prevent liver damage and keep their organs healthy.
Are there any lifestyle changes or supplements that can help improve liver function even if it has been damaged already?
Liver damage is a serious concern for many people, as it can lead to a number of health problems. While there is no guaranteed way to reverse liver damage, there are some lifestyle changes and supplements that may help improve liver function. One potential change is to limit alcohol consumption, as alcohol is known to be damaging to the liver, mixing alchol and drugs can enhance the progress of liver damage. Additionally, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help improve overall liver function. There are also a number of herbal supplements that are thought to be beneficial for the liver, such as milk thistle and dandelion root. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, as some may interact with other medications.
What are the possible consequences of not repairing a damaged liver?
Liver damage can have serious consequences if left untreated. Depending on the cause, there may be a variety of negative effects that result from an injured liver. For example, if the damage is due to excessive alcohol consumption, then scarring and inflammation of the liver tissue can interfere with its ability to filter toxins out of the blood. This can lead to a host of potentially dangerous health problems, including nausea, chronic fatigue, jaundice, and cirrhosis. You must address the cause before change for the good can happen. In addition, unresolved inflammation can increase one's risk of developing more serious conditions such as cancer or heart disease. To prevent these possible consequences, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after suffering from liver damage. This will allow doctors to properly diagnose the issue and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Addressing the cause is always preferable over simply treating symptoms alone. Ultimately, taking action now can help you protect your health in the future.
How can people find out if their livers need repair and where they should go for help if that is the case?
When it comes to liver health, there are a number of ways to find out if your liver needs some repairs. One method is to get tested for elevated liver enzymes, which are indicative of problems with the organ. You can also watch out for certain symptoms, such as fatigue, bloating or skin discoloration. If you notice any of these markers, you may want to consult with your doctor or a specialist in liver disease, who can help determine the best course of action. Depending on the underlying cause of your liver problem, treatment options may include changes to your diet and exercise habits, medications or even surgery in extreme cases. Whatever route you choose, it is essential that you address any issues with your liver as soon as possible in order to protect your overall wellbeing.
Generally, symptoms only show when liver function has dropped significantly.
Liver damage can often go undetected until it has reached a advanced stage. This is because the liver has an incredible capacity for regeneration and can continue to function even when up to 75% of it has been damaged. As a result, symptoms of liver disease often only become apparent when the organ has been severely compromised. By that point, the damage may be irreversible and serious complications may have developed. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the early signs of liver damage so that treatment can be started as soon as possible. These include fatigue, weight loss, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.
Fortunately, Supplements like Milk thistle and NAC may help the body assist the liver in its repair.
The liver is a hardworking organ that is constantly exposed to toxins. As a result, it is susceptible to damage. Fortunately, supplements like milk thistle and NAC may help the body assist the liver in its repair. Milk thistle contains silymarin, a compound that helps to protect the liver from damage. NAC is an amino acid that helps to remove toxins from the liver. NAC also helps to replenish glutathione, a substance that plays a key role in liver detoxification. Together, these supplements can help to keep the liver healthy and functioning properly.
Whether you are looking for preventative measures to protect the liver or have an existing issue, it can never hurt to take either milk thistle, NAC, or both to support healthy liver function.
This is what happens with your lungs when you diffuse essentialoils
November 29, 2018 12:32 PM
Your lungs are the key to maintaining a positive breathing tunnel in your body. Making sure your body gets enough oxygen at every minute of the day is obviously very important. Some people Abuse their lungs to a point where it is very hard for them to be healthy from that point on. As a result, there are a ton of people who suffer from asthma. It is a disease that there is no cure for but there are some oils that can help treat it.
"Peppermint essential oil has decongestant and antihistamine properties that relieve asthma attacks. Exposure to allergens such as dust mites and pollen trigger your body to release histamines, which in turn trigger asthma attacks."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/this-is-what-happens-with-your-lungs-when-you-diffuse-essential-oils/
How A Powerful Type of Salt and An Ancient Spice Can End ChronicPain For Good
November 09, 2018 04:51 PM
Pain is of course a fact of life, as is the reasonable pursuit to end, or at least mitigate it. But, it's that ending of pain that can prove problematic. Last year Consumer Reports revealed that as many as 4 million plus U.S. citizens bought pharmaceutical interventions of some type in an attempt to deal with a pain. Unfortunately, most pharmaceutical interventions are not without side effects, some of them very serious. Moreover, although these types of interventions can help sufferers cope with symptoms, they can also mask other important symptoms. In general, pharmaceutical pain relievers block receptors that would allow the brain to acknowledge pain. They can also cause a mild euphoria. The most potent type of pharmaceutical pain killers, opioids are also highly addictive. Millions of people abuse prescription drugs and hundreds of thousands die due to overdose every year. There are other options. Alternative forms of holistic treatment have been around for thousands of years, long before many of today's modern interventions. Today, science is discovering that many of them have a right to be considered potent medicine in their own right. Two holistic alternatives to pharmaceutical pain relievers are turmeric and cayenne. Curmerin, the inflammation-fighting component of turmeric, has been proven to fight inflammation-caused pain as well as Ibuprofen. In the same way, the capsaicinoids, which are inherent in cayenne, also work to alleviate inflammation, thereby alleviating pain. Another holistic remedy, Epsom salts, also alleviates pain when users soak in it.
"Big Pharma seems to be working very hard at creating customers, rather than cures. When you take a drug, it often leads to more problems, and ultimately, more drugs."
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/powerful-type-salt-ancient-spice-end-chronic-pain/
Liver damage is a growing epidemic
August 30, 2018 09:53 AM
The damage that is being done to young people's livers is rising at an exponential rate. The amount of alcohol that these people drink is insane and their livers are starting to take some serious damage. It is sad because people learn about the negative effects of alcohol but they still decide to abuse it. The lasting effects that occur on their bodies are really bad and they are things that many people struggle with for many years.
"According to researchers, the rise in cirrhosis mortality is entirely driven by excess alcohol consumption by young adults."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/liver-damage-is-a-growing-epidemic/
Say Goodbye To Gingivitis With These Home Remedies That Will Help You Eradicate It!
January 22, 2018 10:59 AM
Home remedies to treat gingivitis. Gingivitis a form of periodontal disease that causes inflammation and infection that destroys the gums which support the teeth. Gingivitis is caused by the long term plaque build up on teeth. Some other contributing factors that can cause gingivitis are other bodily infections, systemic, crooked teeth, poor dental hygiene, uncontrolled diabetes and other factors. Aside from what the dentist can do to handle gingivitis you can try these five home remedies. First you can rinse and soak your mouth with 120 ml of warm water mixed with salt to kill microorganisms. Second you can mix lemon with warm water and rinse and soak your mouth with it. Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide mixed and then used to brush your teeth is another remedy that will help with odor and remove plaque. Be careful not to Abuse this remedy because it will negatively effect your teeth. The fourth remedy is to eat an at least a quarter apple in the morning or after eating a meal. The fifth remedy is to rub aloe vera on your gums several times a day to sooth and refresh. You should also brush your teeth twice a day and frequently visit your dentist.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgwYn7uoG4&rel=0
WHO to DEA: You Are Completely Wrong About Marijuana
December 20, 2017 03:59 PM
The article writes about how the DEA is still classifying marijuana as bad as heroin even tho that is clearly not the case. There have been several studies on cannabidiol that prove that it has a helpful effect in curing or helping with certain illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease while also having no toxic or addictive properties. The article tries to show the DEA that their are many medically valid reasons that marijuana should be reclassified.
"In a preliminary report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) last month, a non-psychoactive substance in marijuana, cannabidiol, which the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers to be a Schedule I drug that has no medical use and can be abused, is, in fact, not harmful, and has been shown to be a benefit to those who are ill."
Read more: https://sputniknews.com/society/201712171060065986-who-to-dea-wrong-about-marijuana/
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that shows promise in epilepsy and pain ...
December 18, 2017 03:59 PM
CBD is the non psychoactive part of marijuana that does not get you high. The purpose of CBD is to reduce pain and has been found to be very useful for epilepsy. The DEA wants to put CBD in the same classification as heroin. There is no danger of CBD becoming addictive but the DEA is trying to classify it as that. People are turning to dangerous narcotics for pain when they could be turning to CBD.
"The World Health Organization's new report on cannabidiol (CBD) found that the compound (which does not produce any kind of high -- and may actually counteract the psychoactive properties of THC) is not addictive, has no potential for abuse, and shows promise in a number of medical trials."
Read more: https://boingboing.net/2017/12/17/science-based-works.html
Health Matters: How Gut Microbes Influence Depression
August 29, 2017 12:14 PM
Your gut microbes can influence the depression you feel. There are many different things that contribute to depression in people. Substance abuse and chronic fatigue are two of these things. Microbiomes play a huge role in helping us maintain a very healthy immune system. But, many people might not be aware that they also have an ability to influence our brain chemistry. The microbial community in our gut communicates with our brain. It does this using many different mechanisms.
"our gut’s microbial community is actively communicating with and influencing our brain"
Read more: http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/article/health-matters-how-gut-microbes-influence-depression
More Evidence Of CBD's Potential In Addressing Opioid Abuse
August 28, 2017 12:14 PM
There is some good evidence showing CBD's potential in addressing opioid abuse. Researchers from the University of Mississippi have found a lot more evidence that cannabidiol can be a very powerful tool in addressing the scourge of opioid medicine abuse as well as addiction. The study involved morphine and CPP testing. Tests were done on mice and results showed that there is a real potential for cannabidiol to be used in fighting the opioid crisis, which has been deadly.
"University of Mississippi researchers have found more evidence that cannabidiol could be a powerful tool in addressing the scourge of opioid medicine abuse and addiction."
Read more: https://www.hempgazette.com/news/cannabidiol-solution-opioid-abuse-hg0394/
Is marijuana a secret weapon against the opioid epidemic?
July 13, 2017 09:14 AM
Addiction to opioids is a huge problem,. It often starts with pain meds. Doctors prescribe opioids for pain and then the patient becomes addicted and needs more and more. This can ruin families and lives. Some believe marijuana can help because that can be used for pain instead. It does help some with pain already. Medicinal marijuana is already allowed in some places and people are swearing by it for pain and other issues. Others say marijuana can be addictive as well, though, so that would create its own problems.
"The reality is that the literature right now suggests that if anyone is using an opioid — whether it be a prescription painkiller or something like heroin — a prescription painkiller is more likely [than marijuana] to lead to drug abuse, she says, because it’s more addictive and obviously can be more lethal."
Read more: http://wunc.org/post/marijuana-secret-weapon-against-opioid-epidemic
France is "decriminalizing" cannabis nationwide
June 11, 2017 11:14 AM
France appears poised to change the way it punishes cannabis users. While it seems France will continue levying fines against citizens found guilty of cannabis use, the prison elements will likely be removed soon. There are several reasons supporters of the change tout in their advocacy for the change. One, cannabis use is widespread among the populace. Two, many citizens feel the government should not mandate what they do or not do with their bodies. Three, cannabis has the potential to provide several medicinal benefits and research into these benefits would be aided by the move to destigmatize its use by removing the criminal aspect. Four, cannabis use has a low potential for abuse. And finally, it has been estimated a cannabis arrest consumed up to six hours of police office and magistrate time. By removing the criminal aspect of cannabis use, it would free the country's law enforcement to pursue other matters of greater risk to the populace.
Read more: France is "decriminalizing" cannabis nationwide
Famous MMA fighter Bas Rutten reveals how CBD oil helps professional fighters stay off addictive opioids
June 08, 2017 12:14 PM
Bad Rutten, a former MBA fighter opened up about how opiods used for dealing with pain can have adverse reactions and how his personal experience with CBD oil was much better and kept him off of the opiods. In 2006, Rutten admitted that he had a pain killer problem and found that CBD oil treated his pain in a non addictive way. Before trying CBD oil, he used Vicodin and was told that it would be bad for his liver. Next he tried oxycodin and it stopped working. Overall his experience with CBD was a positive one.
"Rutten also highlighted the fact that in states where medical cannabis and CBD oil is legal and accessible, the rates of opioid abuse have dropped significantly."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-06-06-famous-mma-fighter-bas-rutten-reveals-how-cbd-oil-helps-professional-fighters-stay-off-addictive-opioids.html
Steroid abuse a ticking health time bomb
June 05, 2017 07:14 PM
This article, titled, "Steroid abuse, a ticking health time bomb" is about the risk of heart attack associated with steroid abuse. There has recently been an increase in steroid abuse among young men who are willing to risk their health to look good. Steroids can cause cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks. The article also outlines the warning signs of an impending heart attack. People should be aware of symptoms such as feeling tired for no apparent reason, along with shortness of breath. If you are at risk for a heart attack, preventative measure should be taken immediately.
Read more: Steroid abuse a ticking health time bomb
Cops block Kansas farmers' hemp bonanza
March 12, 2017 02:59 PM
Since other states are allowed to use hemp for farming, Kansas farmers feel they should be allowed to as well but that is not the case. Since hemp is closely related to marijuana, the police officers in Kansas feel that should be illegal as well. Plus, who is to say they are only going to use it for agricultural reasons. However, if it can be allowed in one state for farming it should be allowed in the others and should only have repercussions if it is abused.
"You could smoke a bale of industrial hemp and never want a single Dorito."
Read more: https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ottawaherald.com%2Fopinion%2Fcolumns%2Fcops-block-kansas-farmers-hemp-bonanza%2Farticle_75e939ee-f22c-5d27-8513-faed41ff1ef6.html&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGmMzNTEwZjgyOWIxNGI2ODg6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNGfHWs52Qy4baEOPu-5dbxg-cH8EQ
Marijuana Compound Shows Some Potential for Treating Opioid Addiction
February 09, 2017 10:59 AM
A marijuana compound has shown some potential for treating Opioid addiction. it might help people who suffer from addiction to heroine by getting rid of some of the symptoms that come from withdrawing. More research needs to be done in this area so people can start getting help. It is a very important thing.
"This dearth of research in the field is particularly important considering the ongoing epidemic of opioid Abuse in the United States, according to the review author."
5 Reasons the DEA's Marijuana Ruling Is Absurd and Indefensible
December 31, 2016 11:59 AM
On December 14, 2016, in the Federal Register, DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg made cannabis a Schedule I controlled substance by making it illegal to use. People suffering from medical issues often use cannabis (CBD) and CBD oil in their treatment. Opponents to the new classification argue that cannabis should not be included in Schedule 1 drugs. For starters, they say it’s not psychoactive, addictive, or dangerous. Also, the US government has conducted research on the drug and concluded that it has medical benefits. In addition, it has been helpful in treating other coditions, like seizures and schizophrenia.
"While it’s possible to Abuse marijuana (along with anything else), dependence and addiction are rare."
A New Test of Pot's Potential to Replace Painkillers
December 14, 2016 07:59 AM
Hear a lot about marijuana in the news? Not sure of its purpose? Well a new study aims to anwser that. A new study is about to begin that would compare weeds affect as a painkiller, in the place of something stronger like opiods. More will be known as study moves ahead.
"The current status of medical marijuana research is rife with irony."
What Health Benefits Does Black Currant Seed Oil Posses?
April 18, 2014 06:10 AM
What is a black currant
Blackcurrant is a small nutritious berry grown in places that experience temperate climates such as north and central Europe. For years, this nutritious fruit has been used for both food and medicinal purposes and scientists have also discovered that it contains vitamin C, antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Other medicinal properties of the fruit include:
Black currant seed oil is believed to contain lots of gamma and alpha linolenic acids, these compounds are also found in fish oils and are useful in improving memory and eyesight. Fatty acids also help in boosting cellular development including formation of healthy cell-membranes. According to a study conducted by Maryland University, gamma linolenic is the only Omega-6 fatty acid that can reduce swelling. It can also improve nerve functioning for diabetics and increase bone density by enhancing calcium absorption. Other studies also show fatty acids can help prevent allergic reactions, those who react adversely to external stimuli typically have lower levels of this compound in their bloodstream.
Preliminary studies show that those suffering from arterial malfunction experience reduced pressure levels after taking omega-3 fatty acids. The anti-inflammatory aspects of this substance also help in cutting back cholesterol levels within the blood vessels and platelet aggregation.
The substance is very useful in preventing untimely aging as it blocks wrinkle formation and fastens the process of repairing damaged tissues. Moreover, some scientists believe that omega-6 fatty compounds can be beneficial in curing eczema, including liver toxicity and symptoms of withdrawal caused by too much alcohol Abuse. Black current seed oil can also lessen premenstrual syndromes by alleviating cramps, breast tenderness and depression while at the same time reducing nervous system stress. Though this product is beneficial in treating a myriad of conditions, it should be taken in moderation for the best results. You may also consult with a nutritionist for more information on how to consume it effectively.
The Differences and Benefits
December 27, 2012 10:23 AM
There are different sources of healthy foods and ingredients that people can consume to boost their health and performance. Honey is one substance that is considered natural and has great various health benefits to prevent serious ailments, increase stamina, and improve the health of the skin and the overall body system. When talking about natural products related to honey and bee activities, people can also enjoy great benefits from royal jelly, bee pollen, and Propolis.
Value of Royal Jelly:
Although they are made through the same bee activities, the source of their existence is different; thus, leading to different health benefits and usages.
For a starter, let's talk about royal jelly first. Royal jelly is a substance that is milky or white in trait. The substance is produced by worker bees' gland in order to feed the queen bee. Although the royal jelly is also given to the larvae, it is the staple food for the queen bee. Queen bee gets to consume the jelly for life, while the larvae can only consume it for three days. The jelly is believed to contain healthy substances that make the queen bee survive for about four to five years.
The reason for the health benefit of the royal jelly is the pantothenic acid and acetylcholine levels which are quite high. They are responsible in delivering nerve message between cells, in order to make sure that the body system works perfectly. The acetylcholine is believed to be responsible for Alzheimer disease. When the acetylcholine level is low, the possibility of suffering from Alzheimer is increasing. On the contrary, when the acetylcholine level is high, people can prevent the ailment.
The bee pollen is gained from plants' pollen. When the worker bees collect the pollen and they mix it up with their saliva and the nectar, they create small pellets that are then used to feed the male bees. The drones (the male bees) are usually residing within the beehive.
Nutritive value of bee pollen:
The bee pollen itself is believed to have great health benefits since it is rich in nutrition, vitamins, and minerals. Since the pollens are rich in antioxidants, protein, carbs, amino acids, and coenzymes, the benefits people can get from consuming the pollens are:
Propolis is another product from the bee. Known as the bee glue, the resinous and sticky substance is mainly used by bees to seal off the cracks in their hive. They collect it from tree buds, so the composition, colors, and odor are different - depending on the resin source.
When Propolis is produced as cream, it is said to treat minor burns, help opening the genital herpes lesions, and heal cervix inflammation. When used as nasal spray, it can treat running nose or throat infection. When used as mouthwash, it can reduce the plaque formation, help treating gum inflammation, and reduce the numbers of bacteria.
Basically, each of these products is beneficial for people as they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrition. People only need to choose which product suits their needs the most.
But to answer the question, royal jelly is believed to be the most beneficial!
What are the Health Benefits of Andrographis?
June 20, 2012 08:30 AM
Being highly cultivated in the Southern parts of Asia, Andrographis is a herb which is widely used in the treatment of a wide range of diseases and infections as well. It was what was used as an antibiotic before the real drugs were created. The main parts which are used are the leaves and roots. All parts of this plant taste bitter.
In ancient times, the herb was vastly used to treat the flu, common cold, upper respiratory infections and a number of diseases which were highly infectious. Traditionally, it is used to treat a number of ailments like diarrhoea, cholera, pneumonia, leprosy, sore throats, ear infections and even chicken pox among many others. Andrographis has also replaced quinine and is mostly used to treat malaria.
This herb has proved advantageous as it poses immunity fighting capabilities as it stimulates a person's immune system. Scientific research has recently shown that the herb has the ability to hinder the multiplication of cancerous cells in a person's body.
Apart from all those, this medicinal plant has more health benefits to the human body. First of all, its action is mainly based on the andrographolides contained in it which help in backing up the immune system. It does so in a number of ways including; production of the white blood cells which fight against disease causing organisms, it plays a big part in the release of interferon and it also enhances a healthy lymphatic system which functions to the maximum.
The herb is also believed to aid in the fight of HIV and Aids as it supports a person's immune system which is often weaken by the disease.
Andrographis has an anti-inflammatory quality and is therefore used in the treatment of associated symptoms as well as a pain reliever. Swollen lymph nodes, muscular pain and medical conditions like arthritis, rheumatism and many others which result to intense pain can be treated by this herb.
Treats Liver issues
With this herb, you can benefit from effective treatment of liver problems such as jaundice, hepatitis and also conditions caused as a result of drug Abuse by an individual. This is because it has been noted to act as silymarin which helps in the protection of the liver.
Currently, scientific studies have also shown that Andrographis helps to stop the formation of blood clots and thus it can be used to treat diseases like atherosclerosis and prevent heart attacks. It also helps in the prevention of conditions like re-clogging which could lead to the congestion of arteries after treatment.
Diabetic individuals may also benefit vastly from this herb as it poses antioxidant properties which aid in blood sugar regulation. It does this by reducing the concentration of a person's blood sugar.
There are supplements of this herb available in the market today. If you want to experience the benefits yourself, you can start by purchasing them and take them as directed. Andrographis is surely a good way to lead a healthy life free from a variety of common and complicated diseases.
What Herbs Cleanse The Liver?
March 14, 2012 08:21 AM
A liver cleanse is something everyone should do every now and then. Do not wait to be told by a doctor or worse wait for a diagnosis that something is wrong with your liver. You can do it as a prevention or simply because it is good for the body. A liver cleanse plus a lifestyle change can prevent irreversible liver damage.
Important Facts about Your Liver
1.The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body.
2. Its main purpose is to filter blood that comes from the digestive system before it is delivered to the rest of the body.
3. It is responsible for detoxifying chemicals and is the organ responsible for drug metabolism.
4. It produces substances that play an important role in blood clotting.
5. This organ is considered the biggest solid organ in the body. It consists of two sections, a right and a left lobe.
6. The liver along with organs that sit under it such as the gallbladder, parts of the intestines and pancreas work hand in hand in the digestion, absorption and processing of food.
7. It works in saturated fat breakdown.
In North America alone, liver cirrhosis is the 12th most common cause of death. What happens is that normal tissues are overtaken by scar tissues mainly due to alcoholism. This scarring in the liver may also be caused by conditions such as hepatitis, toxins, and fatty liver. Too much scarring will cause your liver to malfunction. A liver transplant may be required in severe cases.
A fatty liver is the result of fat overwhelming the organ. This causes inflammation and disturbs the proper functioning of the organ. If not treated immediately, a fatty liver may progress to cirrhosis and liver failure. Again alcoholism is a big contributing factor to this condition. Other contributing factors are obesity, metabolism problems, some medicines and gastric bypass surgery. A fatty liver also increases the risk of developing type II diabetes.
Protecting the liver
There are ways to keep your liver healthy and protect it from liver damage. Do not Abuse alcohol, eat a healthy diet, and stay within the range of your ideal weight. A liver cleanse on a regular basis is also a good way to take care of your liver.
These are some of the herbs that are said to be highly effective in a liver cleanse: Milk Thistle - it helps detoxify the liver and decrease the damage caused by alcohol Abuse and some medications. It contains silymarin which is a strong antioxidant. This antioxidant helps to restore liver cells. It protects the gallbladder and the liver from toxins and free radicals which may cause cancer.
Turmeric - it flushes out toxins and soothes digestive disorders. It contains curcumin which is also a strong antioxidant.
Dandelion Root - used to detoxify, cleanse, strengthen and tone the liver. It helps to promote the flow of bile and excess water removal. It contains high levels of potassium which is essential in regulating the water balance in the body.
Although these natural methods of liver cleanse are highly recommended, it is still important that you consult your physician before you start using them.
Can I Use Senna Leaves As A Laxative Daily?
September 27, 2011 12:52 PM
What Are Senna Leaves Good For?
Senna is a plant which belongs to the family of flowering plants known as Fabaceae. This plant can be abundantly found in tropical regions. This plant is considered to be a shrub. However, some seemingly looks like an herb or a small tree. Senna is one of the most commonly used herbal laxatives. Other names of Senna are Cassia Senna, Tinnevelly Senna, India Senna, Alexandrian Senna, and Khartoum Senna.
The active ingredients of Senna are called Anthraquinone and glycosides. As a laxative, the active chemical in Senna acts primarily on the large intestine, therefore, this herb has a promising effect in relieving constipation. Clinical studies have also reported that Senna can enhance peristaltic movement of the intestines. This is possible because of its irritating effect on the mucosal lining of the intestines.
To be specific, Senna is an effective laxative. It is categorized as a bowel stimulant or irritant. This type of laxative acts primarily on the mucosa of the intestines and stimulates the nerve plexus to influence water and nutrient absorption as well as reabsorption. This alteration will then lead to the stimulation of peristaltic activity of the bowel. Thus, digestive tract movement is increased and stool elimination is induced. However, this may not be safe under certain circumstances. For this reason, stimulant laxatives must be used cautiously and employed for a short period of time only. As a result, Senna can also be employed as one of the weight loss herbal agents.
Moreover, the leaf of Senna plant consists of essential oils which can potentially destroy harmful microorganisms that can cause skin irritations such as rashes, blisters and acne. In the traditional medicine, Senna leaves are prepared in the form of paste which is then applied on skin to treat ringworms and other skin infections.
In addition, another health benefit of Senna is its potent antioxidant property. According to chemical studies, Senna herb contains high amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants are important to the body because they help prevent diseases by way of eliminating harmful toxins from the body. One of these harmful chemicals is called free radicals. These kinds of substances occur naturally in the body as an end – product of biological reactions. Free radicals can cause interruption on cellular division by altering replication of DNA. Aside from that, it can also cause damage to healthy cells of the body, thus promoting illnesses and diseases.
With the several health benefits of Senna, it must not be employed as a substitute to prescribed medications. This herb is available in supplements. You can purchase this product in many health and drug stores or even Online. However, it must not be Abused. More importantly, medical consultation must be done first so that adverse effects and untoward drug interactions will be avoided. Use Senna herbal supplement as labeled or prescribed. Like any other laxative, do not use this in large amount and for a longer period of time. This may cause dependence in which you cannot have a bowel movement without the use of such supplement or laxative.
Fight Anxiety Disorders Naturally
December 14, 2010 04:27 PM
Do you suffer from an Anxiety Disorder?
Before considering how to test for anxiety disorders and discussing natural supplements that can help we should first discuss what anxiety disorders are - what the term means and if there are degrees of anxiety disorders as there are of depression and stress. First, what is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress and it is anxiety that makes you worry about the consequences of not studying for an exam - so you study. It focuses you on problems so that you will be more likely to solve them, and helps you to perform better whatever you are doing. However, it can get out of hand and these positive mental processes become negative anxiety disorders.
With some people, anxiety becomes a dread of situations that were once everyday occurrences and can make your life a misery. Here are some forms of anxiety disorder.
Typical Anxiety Disorders
General Anxiety Disorder
Its symptoms include excessive sweating, worry, headaches, irritability, difficulty in sleeping, tiredness and tension in your muscles. It can lead to substance Abuse and deep depression if left untreated.
These are three typical forms of anxiety, but how do you test for anxieties? Here are some tests that are used, beginning with the easiest - doing it yourself!
Testing for Anxiety Disorders
Many that believe they may have an anxiety disorder either tend to panic or go into a depression. It is far better to carry out a self-test. This anxiety test is very simple: simply tick which of the symptoms below you have experienced in the past six months:
I can't relax
I am always worried about something.
I get headaches for no apparent reason
I frequently sweat a lot and get hot flashes
I have no time for anybody and am easily annoyed
I find it hard to sleep and I often wake up during the night
My attention keeps wandering and I can't focus on anything
I sometimes get so worried I want to be sick or have a lump in my throat
If you have ticked more than three then perhaps you should pay your doctor a visit, or try some of the recommendations below.
b) Doctors' Tests
If you feel you might be suffering some form of anxiety disorder you should consult your doctor, particularly if you have tried the self test above and it indicates that you might be. Your doctor might carry out various tests for your general health, and if it is felt necessary you may be asked about your family history: is there any history of mental problems in the family, particularly with your mother or father.
Other questions may appertain to your own physical and mental background, such as have you been stressed for any reason lately, have you suffered anxiety or panic attacks in the past and what is your normal use of prescription and non-prescription medications and drugs. Do you smoke, drink or take any social drugs.
It is important that you are totally honest: the doctor is not judging you, simply trying to find the cause of your problem. Under the terms of their oath they cannot divulge anything you tell them to anyone else, so be honest and let them help you. Among the tests you will be given will be to declare all your history of anxiety-related symptoms. To achieve that, you will be asked a series of questions while the doctor assesses your mental condition.
Finally, you may be referred to a psychiatrist who will be able to help you more than your doctor. Psychiatrists have a good record in resolving anxiety disorders, but once you are diagnosed positively, what then? Chemical drugs? Or perhaps you would prefer something more natural such as herbal remedies.
Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat anxiety disorders. Here are the more commonly used of these:
Passion flower contains the active substances maltol and ethylmaltol that your body's biochemistry uses to increase the concentration of GABA (gamma-butyric acid) in your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms you and helps you to relax and forget anything that is making you anxious. It relieves muscle tension, can lower your blood pressure and some equate its effect to that of Valium: although it is totally different chemically it is similar in its effect. It offers a sedative effect and helps you sleep.
Kava Kava root
Kava kava. Generally just referred to as kava, comes from the Pacific and the kavalactones it contains increase the concentration of neurotransmitters in your vascular system, particularly serotonin, the feel-good substance. Its sedative effects have been likened to that of alcohol, and it can certainly give you a lift and certainly helps you worry less as it reduces the negative symptoms of stress and depression.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort is a well-known anti-depressant and it can also help reduce the symptom of anxiety. The hyperforin the plant contains helps to improve the brain's content of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine that make you feel good, and St. John's wort certainly washes away your anxiety. Not only that, but the napththodianthrone in another of its important components, hypericin, promotes a reduction in depression through the inhibition of monoamine oxidase, a pro-depressive enzyme.
An extract of valerian root can help you to relax and sleep well, and this can often be enough to prevent your anxiety attacks. A lot depends on their cause, but if the attacks are mild and don't require extensive medical or psychiatric intervention, then valerian can help, particularly in treating stress-related anxiety. Make sure you stick to the recommended dose because valerian can be dangerous if taken to excess.
The four herbal remedies above should between them be all you need to treat your anxiety. One major problem is that, just like any chemical drugs, they only treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause which is something you and your physician will have to work on yourselves.
However, until then, the above herbal remedies for anxiety disorders are generally safer to use than prescription drugs and each has a well proven effect, both on the symptoms of anxiety and on depression.
August 22, 2009 11:54 AM
Buckthorn is a bitter herb that is used for expelling impurities. It has been used in Europe for hundreds of years as a potent laxative for purging the body. The Cherokee Indians used this herb as a cathartic. It was also used for skin problems. Nicholas Culpeper, a seventeenth-century herbalist, recommended using bruised buckthorn leaves to stop bleeding when it was applied directly to the wound.
The buckthorn plant is a genus of about one hundred species of shrubs or small trees that range from one to ten meters tall. These plants are native throughout the temperate and subtropical Northern Hemisphere. They are also found more locally in the subtropical Southern Hemisphere in parts of Africa and South America. Some species of this plant are invasive outside of their natural ranges. This species has both deciduous and evergreen plants with simple leaves that are three to fifteen centimeters long. The plant bears fruits which are dark blue berries. The name for this plant comes from the woody spine on the end of each twig in many of the species.
The berries of the buckthorn plant are the part used medicinally. They are collected when ripe. From them, a nauseous, bitter juice is obtained. From this juice, with the addition of sugar and aromatics, buckthorn syrup is prepared. When they are freshly gathered in autumn, the berries are about one third of an inch in diameter. A series of rich but fugitive colors is obtained from the dried berries. The berries were originally sold under the name “French berries.” If they were gathered before they were ripe, the berries would create a yellow dye that was formerly used for staining maps or paper.
This herb is a well-known and extremely powerful laxative. It is also helpful for cleansing the liver and gallbladder. Buckhorn works by stimulating the flow of bile from both the liver and gallbladder. If one takes buckthorn hot, it will produce perspiration and also lower a fever. When made into an ointment, this herb will help relieve itching. Some evidence of antitumor effects of buckthorn has been found. However, there is no recent research to prove the information. Many believe that future studies will prove that it is beneficial.
This herb should not be Abuse. Be sure to follow directions in order to avoid gastrointestinal cramping. It is important to consult a health care professional before taking this, or any herb, in order to obtain optimum effects.
The bark, berries, and root of the buckthorn plant can be used to provide alterative, anthelmintic, antineoplastic, antirheumatic, bitter, blood purifier, diuretic, emetic, febrifuge, and mild purgative properties. The primary nutrient found in this herb is vitamin C. Primarily, buckthorn is extremely helpful in treating bleeding, chronic constipation, fevers, gallstone, gastric disorders, liver disorders, and lead poisoning.
Additionally, this herb is very beneficial in dealing with appendicitis, edema, gout, hemorrhoids, itching, parasites, rheumatism, skin diseases, and external warts. In order to obtain additional information on the many beneficial effects provided by buckthorn, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store.
April 05, 2009 01:40 PM
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the newest name that has been given to a group of disorders of the central nervous system. With the long list of names this disorder has been given over the years, it is often confusing as to which criteria are for a diagnosis of ADHD or ADD. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children in the United States have ADHD, meaning that at least one child in a classroom of twenty-five to thirty children will have ADHD. There are three times as many boys diagnosed with ADHD, but the condition is increasingly being diagnosed in girls as well.
Although ADHD was primarily thought of as a childhood disorder, it can be found in adults as well. Experts have estimated that as many as 8 million adults may be affected, but 80 percent of them do not realize it. Some studies show that there is significant decline in ADHD symptoms as a person ages, while others estimate that between 30 and 70 percent of children with ADHD will carry some symptoms into adulthood. ADHD is a more complex disorder in adults, but it manifests itself into a problem with self-regulation. Without this self-control, an adult’s ability to do tasks is impaired. This condition can lead to marital conflicts, substance Abuse, and financial problems. Infidelity is common because ADHD adults easily become bored with things, including spouses.
Factors that have been linked to the development of ADHD include heredity, anxiety, allergies, smoking during pregnancy, hyperinsulinemia, oxygen deprivation at birth, environmental stress or pollutants, artificial food additives, injury, infection, lead poisoning, and prenatal trauma. More emphasis has been placed on the role of diet in ADHD in recent years. Many people with these conditions react to certain preservatives, dyes, and salicylates in foods. These problems can cause the balance of chemistry in the brain to be thrown off, which produces undesirable changes in behavior. A low-protein diet may also be a contributing factor. Although a hotly debated topic for decades, studies have definitely shown that food additives do play a major role in hyperactivity.
Many researchers feel that ADHD is being over-diagnosed nowadays. It is difficult to accurately diagnose this condition because many of the symptoms appear in the normal, healthy children at many times during childhood. In fact, more than 60 percent of parents suspect that their child has ADHD at some point in their upbringing. What may merely be creativity or a high energy level can be diagnosed as ADHD. A diagnosis of ADHD should be made by a team of specialists who are experts in the disorder and it is wise to get a second opinion.
One should considered nutritional deficiencies and dietary measures for treating ADHD. The following nutrients are recommended: calcium, magnesium, GABA, a multivitamin and mineral complex, Omega-3 fish oil, Pycnogenol, Quercetin, SAMe, acetylcholine, DMAE, l-cysteine, phosphatidyl serine, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, and zinc. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: ginkgo biloba, ginseng, mullein oil, valerian root, catnip, chamomile, gotu kola, hops, kava kava, lemon balm, licorice, lobelia, oats, passionflower, skullcap, St. John’s wort, thyme, and wood betony.
Creating a nutritionally sound diet for children and adults can go a long way to controlling ADHD and ADD in general. Reducing sugar intake and adding good quality food that hasn’t been over processed which removes the needed vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients we all need to live healthy lives. The above vitamins, minerals and herbs are suggested to be helpful for those suffering as well as those who aren’t, but always consult your health care provider before adding dietary supplements to ones diet while on prescription drugs. Quality vitamins can be found at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
February 18, 2009 03:15 PM
Most of the time, halitosis is caused by poor dental hygiene. However, there may be other factors involved such as gum disease, tooth decay, heavy metal buildup, infection of the respiratory tract, improper diet, constipation, smoking, fever, diabetes, foreign bacteria in the mouth, indigestion, inadequate protein digestion, liver or kidney malfunction, postnasal drip, stress, and too much unfriendly bacteria in the colon.
Additionally, halitosis can be caused by a buildup of toxins in the gastrointestinal tract, salivary gland disorder, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, or diabetes. It is also true that dieting, alcohol Abuse, or fasting can also cause bad breath. “Morning breath” is the product of dehydration and the reduction in the amount of saliva. This saliva is necessary for washing away bacteria in the mouth.
Dieters and people who are fasting may often experience bad breath. This is because the lack of food causes the body to break down stored fat and protein for fuel. The metabolic wastes that are a result of this process have an unpleasant odor as they are exhaled from the lungs.
The following nutrients are beneficial for dealing with and preventing bad breath. One tablespoon of chlorophyll can be taken in juice twice daily, as green drinks are one of the best ways to combat bad breath. 2,000 to 6,000 mg of vitamin C with bioflavonoids should be taken daily. Vitamin C is important in healing mouth and gum disease and preventing bleeding gums. This nutrient also rids the body of excess mucus and toxins that cause bad breath. Acidophilus should be taken as directed on the label. It is needed to replenish the friendly bacteria in the colon. Insufficient friendly bacteria and an overabundance of harmful bacteria can often cause bad breath.
Garlic acts as a natural antibiotic by destroying foreign bacteria in both the mouth and the colon. It is recommended that you take 2 capsules of the odorless form 4 times daily, with meals and at bedtime. 30 mg of zinc should be taken three times daily as it has an antibacterial effect and neutralizes sulfur compounds. These sulfur compounds are a common cause of mouth odor. Bee propolis should be taken as directed on the label. It is helpful in healing the gums, aiding control of infection in the body, and also has an antibacterial effect. 15,000 IU of vitamin A should be taken daily; it is needed for control of infection and also in healing of the mouth. Additionally, 100 mg of vitamin B complex is needed for proper digestion.
The following herbs are also beneficial for dealing with halitosis. Alfalfa supplies chlorophyll, which cleanses the bloodstream and colon, where bad breath often begins. Gum disease, which is a major factor of bad breath, can be treated with goldenseal extract. This extract can heal the infected parts. Myrrh, peppermint, rosemary, and sage should be used to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth. Chewing a sprig of parsley after meals is an excellent treatment for bad breath. This nutrient is rich in chlorophyll, which happens to be a popular ingredient in breath mints. Other herbs that can be beneficial include anise, cloves, and fennel.
Whether you want to take it into your own hands to heal your gums from disease, a gum disease can be a sign of a more significant health problem that should be looked at by our health care provider. In either case, vitamins and herbs can be found at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Natural Toothpaste is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
October 31, 2008 04:28 PM
Contrary to popular belief, Attention deficit and hyper activity (ADHD) doesn’t always go away when children grow up. Many of the children affected by this disorder as children carry it on into adult hood. This complicated disease can cause all sorts of problems mostly lost of work.
One survey studying over seven thousand workers between the ages of eighteen and forty four discovered that three and one half percent of these workers studied had ADHD. The ability to concentrate cost these individuals over twenty days of work. Both women and men experience mood, anxiety and most likely Abuse drugs and alcohol. Fortunately there is an alternative, changing ones diet can help.
Dietary changes can help reduce the occurrence of ADHD in both children and adults. Have you ever noticed when you eat a meal high in carbohydrates you become sleepy where a meal higher in protein then carbohydrates does not make you sleepy but increase your mental acuity?
A high protein meal can reduce the amount of tryptophan that crosses the blood brain barrier in turn causes more phenylalanine and tyrosine to enter the brain. These two amino acids boost mental alertness. They are converted into neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine which are adrenaline like neurotransmitters. High carbohydrate meals cause an insulin spike in the blood which causes the body to absorb protein into the muscles and frees up tryptophan.
Tryptophan when not in competition with other amino acids will cross the blood brain barrier which then is converted to serotonin a sleep neurotransmitter. To help over come this, one should eat a meal high in protein at breakfast and moderate protein / carbohydrate meal at lunch, leaving the last big meal of the day rich in carbohydrates.
Some older individuals may notice that they have a hard time sleeping at night; this may largely be due to a high protein meal later in the evening which stimulates the brain. A over stimulated brain will hinder ones sleep and could cause insomnia.
Other things that can help with ADHD are omega-3 fish oil that is high in DHA, phosphatidyl serine, and DMEA. The later two convert to neurotransmitters that can help support healthy mental function and alertness.
DHA for Attention and Focus
September 29, 2008 05:33 PM
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder emerged in scientific research at the turn of the 20th century when Dr. George Still was introduced to a disobedient, troubled, nine year-old boy. Today, research still just touches the edge of this serious disorder, but our understanding has steadily grown throughout the 20th century. Dr. Still believed that ADHD is not just the result of bad parenting, but also of some sort of condition in the brain. The symptoms that comprised ADHD were considered minimal brain dysfunction or minimal brain damage in the 1940s or 1950s, while others called it hyperactivity. By 1987, scientists were referring to the condition as ADHD.
Today, no one has yet to pinpoint the exact cause of ADHD, but there has been some interesting research that has lead to the discovery of many different facts. Identical twins are much more likely than fraternal twins to both suffer from ADHD, as identical twins share genetic material, causing researchers to believe that ADHD may have a genetic component. A study of adults with ADHD showed that ADHD brain cells were less active by eight percent and used glucose less effectively in the areas of the brain that involved attention control. About seventy percent of ADHD children continue having ADHD when they become adults. Additionally, a study found that fifty-seven boys with ADHD suffered from a slight structural abnormality in the brain, with the prefrontal cortex, caudate, nucleus, and globus pallidus being slightly smaller on the right side than in fifty-five boys who didn’t suffer from this disease. All of these areas are parts of the brain that are believed to inhibit our actions.
The American Psychiatric Association says that children can have ADHD if they have six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention for six months or longer. Other possible symptoms include: frequently not paying close attention to details; frequently having trouble staying focused on tasks; frequently not following through on instructions; frequently having difficulty organizing duties and activities; frequently failing to listen when directly spoken to; frequently avoiding or hesitating to be involved in tasks requiring continued mental effort; frequently losing objects needed for duties or activities; frequently distracted by external stimuli; and frequently forgetting daily activities.
Other symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity would include: frequently fidgets with hands or feet; frequently squirming while sitting down; frequently leaves seat in places where remaining seated is the accepted norm; frequently running around or climbing in places that are inappropriate; frequently having difficult playing quietly; frequently appearing on the go; frequently speaking excessively; frequently blurting out answers before questions are completed; frequently having trouble waiting his turn; and frequently interrupting conversations or games with others.
The most commonly prescribed treatment for ADHD is medication, often being Ritalin, which is a stimulant that helps to enhance the effect of the brain chemicals that help nerve and brain cells to receive messages from each other. Ritalin can help ease the suffering of a child with ADHD, making them more attentive and less aggressive. However, there are many drawbacks to the use of Ritalin, which include it being a form of amphetamine, becoming a popular drug to Abuse, having many significant side affects, and being psychologically addictive. Natural alternatives are available such as Dha or essential fatty acids which are suppose to promote proper brain function.
May 17, 2008 10:17 AM
Recently, the Natural Products Association has experienced a flurry of activity on the legislative front. One month ago, Natural Products Association members went to Washington, D.C. to meet with their representatives and discuss legislation important to the association and the industry. Many who could not visit Washington in person were part of our "virtual march" on Washington that delivered e-mails, petitions, and videos to Congress on the importance of natural products. Natural Products Day was a great success, boasting higher than ever attendance at our evening Congressional reception, and resulting in additional co-sponsors for S. 771, the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act sponsored by Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The bill now boasts co-sponsorship of more than a quarter of the Senate. Its companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1363, sponsored by Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), has gained an additional five co-sponsors as the result of Natural Products Day meetings and now has 140 co-sponsors. These bills continue to build momentum, thanks to your support.
More recently, the Natural Products Association urged supporters to contact their legislators to include an amendment to the "Farm Bill" allowing food stamp recipients to purchase dietary supplements. This provision was similar to free-standing bills that have been introduced in the current and previous Congresses by Sens. Harkin and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and have earned the association's support. Although the amendment advanced further than other versions in previous sessions, it did not make the final Farm Bill, which was reported out of conference today. The good news is that the Farm Bill did contain significant increases in nutrition programs and increased funding for organic farming, another supported goal of the Natural Products Association. Because of the strong effort of our supporters on the amendment's behalf, the bill was placed on Congress's radar screens and has greatly improved the chances as stand-alone legislation, S. 770, the Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act, of seeing passage. We will continue to ask for support on this important bill as this legislative session progresses.
In addition, the Natural Products Association has been leading the fight to protect Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and to keep this important, safe, and effective supplement available to elderly consumers. The same players behind S. 762, which would wrongly classify DHEA as an anabolic steroid, proposed S. 2470 in late 2007 as a misplaced reaction the release of the Mitchell Report, which chronicled the Abuse of steroids by professional baseball players. Although DHEA has no performance enhancing attributes, this bill was proposed to limit the access of minors to DHEA. The Natural Products Association and its supporters have worked hard to inform Congress of the benefits of DHEA, and that it is not an anabolic steroid and should not be classified as one. We have been able so far to prevent any movement on the bill, but the association continues to monitor its progress and make sure that this supplement remains accessible to the seniors who need it most.
Thanks to your help, the Natural Products Association continues to have an active presence on Capitol Hill that is felt by legislators. We could not do it without the help of you, our supporters, who know how important it is to stand up for natural products. The impact of your messages to legislators continues to help the Natural Products Association to ensure all natural products - from natural and organic foods to dietary supplements and health and beauty aids - are accessible to Americans. With your continued support we will continue to be known as a vocal group with a wide base of support through the rest of this legislative session and beyond.
To get involved, please visit our action center at www.capwiz.com/nnfa/issues/
Depression and Vitamins
April 17, 2008 11:20 AM
Most men dealing with depression have stories that are very similar, waking with a heavy head even in the happiest of times. A bad day is described as one in which you can’t get out of bed and it feels as if there is a dark cloud hanging over your head. Today, as the NFL season moves towards playoffs, many athletes are living with depression related to multiple concussions. A study of over 2,500 retired NFL players concluded that three concussions triple the chance of experiencing depression. This is extremely important in a sport in which brain trauma is so often and easily dismissed.
Just like helmets cover the faces of men playing a violent game, the angry aggression that is so commonly associated with normal guy behavior may actually be a mask for depression and physical injury is not needed to suffer its effects. It has actually been discovered that depression is more common in men than anyone ever knew, as male depression has often been under-diagnosed because the standard diagnostic manual portrays the depression symptoms more commonly associated with women. About six million men will be diagnosed with depression in 2008, not counting the one million more that will go undiagnosed.
The sad weepiness that is commonly associated with depression is much more commonly found in women, while a man is more likely to be short-tempered, fatigued, and uninterested in sex, work, or hobbies. However, it is work that provides depressed men a distraction to their painful inner feelings. Men are more likely to try downing their pain in alcohol or drugs instead of getting treatment. Untreated depression explains why the male suicide rate is more than four times the rate of female suicide. Although there are hormonal differences in depression of the different genders, the common factor is stress.
Although some men are open to being told they are depressed, most only act out with more anger. An effective, but not exactly subtle approach to telling a man he may have depression is leaving and article or book around the house for him to pick up. Severe depression requires immediate attention by a trained practitioner, along with various medical interventions. Once the worst is over, it is important to try to maintain a depression-free lifestyle. This can be done by reduction stress and finding social support as well as dietary changes.
This is a difficult step for men who are used to conversations which revolve around scores and transactions, but good places to start are men’s groups at houses of worship (church) or those groups such as AA if substance Abuse is part of the problem. By fortifying the brain with depression-fighting nutrients, including a B vitamin complex, one can maintain and promote normal mental functioning. Many depressed people are extremely deficient in folic acid as well as dietary essential fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are needed to build healthy brain cells, along with phosphatidyl serine. Other herbs, including eleuthero, rhodiola, and ginseng, can help the body to adapt to stress, while St. John’s wort and SAMe work as natural antidepressants.
The most severe mistake that can be made is to play down depression, which applies to raging men just as much as it does to weeping women. Both genders need to seek help if feeling this way. If you feel you are experiencing depression, seek professional help as well as look into dietary changes, exercise, and the support of family can be a good start to a healthier outlook on life.
Artichoke Promotes Healthy Fat Digestion and Metabolism
January 30, 2008 10:37 PM
In discussing the health benefits of the artichoke, and the way it promotes healthy fat digestion and metabolism, we are talking here about the true artichoke: the globe artichoke. The alternative Jerusalem artichoke is not an artichoke at all, but a member of the sunflower family. The globe artichoke is a type of thistle.
It is in fact a perennial thistle that originated in the Mediterranean area and is now cultivated world wide. The edible portions are the lower parts of the bracts and the base of the buds, known as the heart while the inedible portion in the center of the bud is known as the ‘choke’. Globe artichokes were introduced to the USA in the 19th century by French and Spanish immigrants who settled in Louisiana and California respectively. Contrary to popular opinion its name did not come from the ‘heart’ and the ‘choke’, but from the Arabic for ground thorn: ‘ardi shauki’.
In today’s world of fast foods, a high consumption of fats and red meat and excessive alcohol consumption, your liver is put under a great strain. Its main function is as a chemical factory, to produce the chemicals, such as enzymes and other proteins, needed to maintain life and also to metabolise the nutrients we need from the food we eat. If you overtax your liver it will not work as it should, which results in poor digestion and assimilation of the nutrients in your food and an increase in the toxins in your blood.
You will feel tired and run down, with digestion problems and many other health complaints. Liver Abuse can result in malnutrition, which also results in cirrhosis which is not curable. You should seriously appraise your diet, and identify the eating and drinking habits that are causing the problem, and give your liver a rest. Artichoke extract is a great liver tonic, and your liver will respond well to a break from alcohol and fatty foods, and a course of artichoke leaves and extract.
The main active ingredient of the artichoke is cynarine (1,5-dicaffeylquinic acid), a substance that stimulates the production of bile, and hence renders the artichoke an excellent starter for any meal. This is yet another example of science finding a logical reason for people eating artichokes for centuries in order to promote the health of their liver and digestive system. It is not only for its cynarine content that the globe artichoke is useful, however, but also the luteolin and chlorogenic acids that it contains.
The stimulation of bile production by the cynarine is one the more important of the effects of artichoke on your well being. Bile emulsifies fats and renders them into an easily digested form. Most of the digestive chemicals are water soluble, and without this emulsification of the fat with water then most of the fats we consume would pass through the body unchanged. We would the vats majority of the fat soluble nutrients in our food, including vitamins A, D, E and K.
Bile enables us to digest fats and to absorb vitamins from our food, and also promotes the general health of our digestive system. It is biosynthesized in the liver from various enzymes and triglycerides and then stored in the gall bladder until needed. Its use is prompted by the presence of fats in the system, and this is stimulated by the cynarine in the artichoke leaves.
Its ability to improve bile flow has been recognized by scientist’s world wide, and artichoke juice has been used by the French for many years as a liver tonic. However, it is not just for the liver and the digestive system that artichokes are useful in maintaining good health. They also have an effect on the cholesterol levels in your blood. This is believed to be due to the inhibition of the activity of enzyme HMG CoA Reductase that helps the liver to generate cholesterol. Inhibiting the activity of this enzyme reduces the amount of cholesterol produced.
This can have the effect of reduced the possibility of you developing atherosclerosis, a condition caused by deposition of low density lipid (LDL) cholesterol through the effect of free radical oxidation of the lipid. The less cholesterol to be transported by your blood, then the lower levels of the low density lipid needed to do this. This effect is also possibly due to the fact that bile is formed from cholesterol and triglycerides, and so stimulated bile production would possibly leave less cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Artichoke also possesses antioxidant properties that would contribute even further to this effect by preventing the oxidation of the LDL by free radicals. These free radicals, formed in the body both naturally and by the effects of pollutants such as pesticides, cigarette smoke and traffic fumes, are destroyed by antioxidants. In atherosclerosis the LDL lipids are oxidised and deposited under the surface cells of the blood vessels, and are then digested by certain blood cells forming a hard fatty deposit that can eventually block the arteries affected.
The result can be a heart attack or a stroke, depending on where in the body the blood vessels are affected, and if the cholesterol levels in the body are decreased through it being used to produce bile, then the concentration of LDL lipids used to transport it will also be reduced and the condition will be less likely to occur..
Apart from the liver, the gall bladder is also given a boost by artichoke because that is where bile is stored, and a regular flow to and from the gall bladder maintains its health. The only thing you should be aware of if is that if you are prone to gallstones then the increase in bile flow could cause the stones to be stuck in the bile duct. You should therefore refer to your physician before embarking on a course of artichoke extract if you have a propensity to develop gallstones.
Apart from the phytonutrients already discussed, the globe artichoke also contains a good supply of fiber and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus, and also some trace elements that your body needs. It is therefore more than just a bile stimulant, but provides a wide range off essential nutrition to your body. It is know to aid conditions such as gout, high blood sugar, and digestive complaints such as flatulence, bloating and abdominal cramps.
Apart from cooking and eating the tender parts of the leaves, or bracts, you can make an infusion of the parts that you don’t eat. Chop up the tougher leaves and pour boiling water over them as if making tea. Leave it to infuse for a few minutes and then drink. Honey can be used to take away the bitter taste; honey rather than sugar due to its greater nutritional content.
Addiction Recovery With Chinese Herbs Like Kudzu
November 28, 2007 12:04 PM
Kudzu is Chinese herb that has been identified for the treatment of alcoholism. Anybody who has even had an addiction will tell you that addiction recovery is one of the most difficult of the tasks that life throws at us. Whether it is an addiction to tobacco or to heroin or anything in between is not easy, and those that join the ‘self-afflicted’ lobby do not help, but for the Grace of God...
Alcohol addiction is now potentially the most prevalent addiction in the world. There are now more that drink alcohol than smoke, and alcohol related problems are more than just a social problem, but cause the deaths of over 100,000 annually in the USA. One shudders at the thought of the world-wide death toll. It has been suggested that chemical addictions, as opposed to physical habits, can have chemical cures. Although the jury is still out on this one, there have been some positive results achieved in the treatment of addicts with natural remedies.
One of these natural remedies is the Chinese herb, kudzu. Kudzu is a climbing vine that can grow just about anywhere: in fields, lightly forested land and mountains. It is found throughout China, and also in the south eastern states of the USA. The reason for this strange distribution is that the plant was introduced to the USA by Japan at the 1876 Centennial Expo in Philadelphia.
The large blooms attracted gardeners who propagated them, and when it was discovered that the plant made good forage for animals, Florida nurserymen grew it as animal feed. Its effect in preventing ground erosion rendered it popular during the 1930s and 40s when farmers were paid up to $8 an acre for growing kudzu. Fodder and groundcover were the original uses of this vine in the USA irrespective of its medicinal uses on the other side of the Pacific.
Prior to it being recognized as a useful treatment for alcoholism, the vine had been used in China for generations for the treatment of such conditions as headaches, flu, high blood pressure symptoms, dysentery, muscular aches and pains and the common cold. It is still used to treat digestive complaints and allergies, and find use in modern medicine in the treatment of angina.
It is the root that is mainly used, which at up to six feet tall provides a plentiful supply of its active ingredients. These include isoflavones including daidzein and isoflavone glycosides, mainly puerarin and also daidzin. However, it is in its application in the treatment of alcohol addiction that the root is currently creating interest.
Studies in the 1960s on animals bred with an alcohol craving indicated that daidzein and daidzin reduced their consumption of alcohol when offered it, and further studies have indicated that the mechanism of this was by inhibition of enzymes necessary for metabolizing alcohols. This has not yet been successfully repeated in humans, but the effects on animals cannot be just coincidental. Or can it? That question can only be answered by those for whom kudzu has been found effective, although many laboratory studies have shown that it certainly reduces the alcohol consumption of those with a habitual heavy intake of the substance.
Of all the other substances that have been used in an attempt to reduce the extent of alcoholism in the Western world, none have been found truly effective. The three recognized treatments of Campral (Acamprosate Calcium), approved by the FDA in July, 2004, Naltrexone (Revia) and AntAbuse work in three different ways. Campral is useful only once you have stopped drinking and have detoxed, Naltrexone interferes with the pathway in the brain that ‘rewards’ the drinker and AntAbuse gives unpleasant side effects that are meant to put the drinker off drinking.
Although all have side effects of one type or another, they have been approved by the FDA, and must therefore be assumed safe if used as recommended. However, none are natural, and kudzu has been found to have no known side effects. It is a type of pea, and did you know that it grows about one foot a day? Luckily it only grows to about 20 feet!
It is kudzu’s lack of side effects that renders it so attractive as a treatment for alcoholism, although more tests are needed before the evidence for its effectiveness can be declared cast iron. Most of the tests to date have been carried out on heavy drinkers rather than true alcoholics, but they have all found the plant effective in reducing the amount that each member of the study drank, even though no limitations were placed on them.
Future studies should probably be designed to determine if the treatment is safe for such groups as pregnant women, young people and those with specific medical complaints such as liver problems. Naltrexone should not be used by anybody with serious liver problems, and even campral is only suitable if you have no more than a moderate liver problem. Since alcoholics can reasonable be expected to also suffer from liver disease, then a treatment that is safe for such people would be very welcome.
A 2002 meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in San Francisco named kudzu and St. John’s Wort as being the two most promising treatments for alcoholism. The mention of St. John’s Wort raises an interesting point, and one that must be discussed. That is the question of standardized doses, and what can happen if doses of natural products are not standardized with respect to the identified active constituent.
The reason for the importance of this is that not all sources of a particular herb are equally well endowed with active constituents. Although, for example, a dose of 2.5 grams daily of kudzu root might be recommended, how does the percent content of isoflavones in different roots vary. That variation will mean that the amount of active ingredient taken in one 2.5g dose will differ from that in another, unless there is standardization.
The reason St. John’s Wort brought this to mind is that with this herb, used for some psychological problems such as depression, the active ingredient content was standardized. It was standardized to 0.3% hypericin, a napthodianthrone that causes an increase in dopamine levels. However, standard doses of St. John’s Wort gave inconsistent results and the reason for this could not be identified. It now has been. The active ingredient is now known to be not hypericin, but hypeforin, what is known as a prenylated phloroglucinol. The herb is now standardized on this substance.
This is a demonstration of the importance of identifying the active ingredients in a herbal treatment accurately, and also of standardizing doses. Kudzu doses must be standardized if their effect is to be consistent. There is now little doubt that addiction recovery is possible with Chinese herbs like kudzu, and who knows what else the ancient civilizations such as the Chinese have to offer us.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the Abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
The Important Role of Nutritional Magnesium & Calcium Balance in Humans Living with Stress
August 23, 2006 03:14 PM
Part I. The Stress Response
The stress reaction is a host of responses necessary for any animal to live in the world. Commonly called the fight-or-flight reation, we as humans often experience it in rapid heartbeat and increased breathing rate. It comes when we exercise more vigorously than usual, or when we are suddenly and unexpectedly frightened.
We are all different. We show a range in how strongly we experience the stress response. Most of us are usually calm and experience the stress response when an unexpected noise frightens us to alertness, or we run to first base as fast as we can in a benefit baseball game that is not on our usual playtime schedule. We breathe harder for a while and notice our hearts beating faster and harder then usual, but after a while these responses all calm down, and we are again in our usual state—out or the stress response. Others of us are very low key, and it takes a lot to disturb our physiological calm. Still others of us are very sensitive to triggers of the stress response and go into it “at the drop of a hat” and to a greater degree than do calmer people. For some, parts of the stress response are almost always engaged—never really calming down all the way—giving one a hyper-vigilant or anxious demeanor.
When a stress trigger occurs, the body puts out stress hormones, magnesium and calcium, among other things, into the bloodstream. At the same time, nerve cells begin to “fire,” telling heart and muscles to “speed up. NOW!!!” These blood, nerve and organ changes make possible the instantaneous and collective rise in the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other necessities for the fight-or-flight reaction.
Much research has been done on the stress response, especially on the effects of stress hormones, such as adrenaline (also called epinephrine) on body, organ and cell. You can get an idea of how widespread the stress response is-affecting every aspect of physiology—by noting some of the reactions to adrenaline, one of the major stress hormones. See Table 1.
Much study as the cellular, biochemical and physiological levels has shown that the stress response vitally involves the influx of calcium into cells, resulting in a drastic change in the cells’ internal magnesium-to-calcium ratio (Mg:Ca).
In simple solutions, such as salt water, all ions are evenly dispersed. Not so in living cells. Ions are carefully and meticulously separated in living cells, and this ion “packaging” is vital to life processes and health. Calcium ions, for the most part, are kept outside cells while magnesium ions are kept mainly inside cells. The stress response changes this. During stress response, calcium ions rush inside the cell, and this alters the internal Mg:Ca ratio. This change in ratio exhibits wide effects because, while magnesium and calcium are very similar in their chemistry, biologically these two elements function and react very differently. Magnesium and calcium are two sides of a physiological coin: they are antagonistic to one another yet comes as a team. For example:
Scientific study shows more and more that the underlying cellular change enabling the stress response is a low Mg:Ca ratio caused by a large and sudden influx of calcium into cells. This stress response subsides when the cell’s magnesium returns to its dominant presence inside cells, moving extra calcium back outside cells to its “normal” Mg:Ca ratio. This underlying principle is present in studies of nerve cell-stress hormone response, organs such as hearts, the high blood pressure response to stress, and the blood-clotting reaction during stress, among many others. See Table 2.
In the normal healthy state, the stress response occurs when necessary, and subsides when the crisis or trigger is over. Since magnesium and calcium—two essential nutrients that must be obtained by the body from its dietary environment—are so essential to this important response, it is not surprising that nutritional magnesium and calcium status can affect the response.
Let’s see how.
In the normal unstressed state, cellular Mg:Ca ratio is high. If this cannot be maintained due to lack of adequate body magnesium or an overwhelming amount of body calcium, the ratio may not be able to maintain or return itself to its healthy nonstressed ratio. In such a case, the stress response, in the absence of an appropriate trigger, can occur. This can be seen when nutritional magnesium deficits cause high blood pressure or increase blood stickiness (platelet aggregation). Additionally, since a low Mg:Ca ratio can increase adrenaline secretion as well as cells’ response to adrenaline, a too low magnesium state can keep the stress response from subsiding in a timely way. Even worse, when body magnesium becomes drastically low, this becomes a stress trigger in itself, alarming the body into further stress response with out enough magnesium to back it up, resulting in a low magnesium-high stress crisis that can end in sudden death.
In the industrialized world, we live in a state of chronic, on-going stress. This environmental reality increases our daily need for magnesium in order to maintain a healthy stress response that can calm when not necessary.
Part II. Heart Disease Is Often a Magnesium Deficiency
Clearly, an adequate amount of nutritional magnesium—in proper balance with adequate nutritional calcium—is key to a healthy stress response. And yet today we have diets dangerously low in magnesium. Add the recent additions of nutritional calcium via supplements and food fortifications meant to stave off osteoporosis, and many of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium. This results in a large occurrence of heart disease.
Not all, but much of the heart disease in the industrialized world can be explained by the low magnesium state of these societies. People with heart disease—for the most part—are people who are in a state of magnesium that is borderline or deficient. Many studies on heart disease patients exist due to medicine’s effort to understand and treat this widespread malady. Although not intended as such, this body of research shows us what stress can do to a person in a magnesium deficient state.
Part III. Mental and Emotional Stress Deplete Magnesium
It is commonly accepted that certain traditional risk factors for heart disease exist. This include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of heart disease, and other factors, all of which can be linked to a shortage of nutritional magnesium. Recent studies tell us that stresses—both sudden and chronic—with their high magnesium requirements, are also strong risk factors for heart disease.
The sudden stress of the
Emotional stress and phobic anxiety cause heart problems in patients with heart disease—a population we know to be mostly low in their nutritional magnesium status. Chronic states of emotional stress, including a history of childhood Abuse, neglect or family dysfunction, depression, and panic disorder, must now be added to the list of traditional risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Depression can be a symptom of low magnesium status. So can anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, hyperactivity, and over-sensitivity to loud noises. Do these newly found risk factors cause heart disease, or are they risk factors because the, as well as heart disease, can all be aspects of low magnesium status? These chronic sources of stress can increase the human need for magnesium as well as be caused by its deficit.
Emotional stress triggers in susceptible people can even bring a sudden death due to heart attack, presumably by initiating a stress/low-magnesium crisis. Such emotional “triggers” include work stress, high-pressure deadlines, social isolation and loneliness, low socioeconomic status, anxiety, war, fear of war, anger and rage. Identical stress triggers cause more human heart attacks regardless of age, race, gender, or geographic location, including continent.
Mental stress, such as working out a math problem, can be shown to have impact upon the magnesium-stress response connection, since it can bring on heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Part IV. Stress, Magnesium and Aging
We are hearing a lot about stress in the health media, and rightly so as this constant companion to our lives brings on the fight-or-flight syndrome, a stress response that, when activated, has been shown to shorten lifespan. When we realize that the stress response is exacerbated when we are low in magnesium, that we are living on low-magnesium foods for the most part, and that our lifestyles are more and more filled with chronic stresses and stressful events, we are not surprised to see that several aspects of magnesium deficiency are remarkably like aspects of the aging process.
When faced with out stressful lifestyles, coupled with a society presenting a chronically low-magnesium/high-calcium diet, what is our best defense? For many of us, magnesium supplements can help to preserve or restore a healthy Mg:Ca balance, so important to our health in these stressful times.
Peter Gillham's Natural Calm
Dolce digestive - Digestion support tonic
May 06, 2006 01:28 PM
Dolce digestive - Digestion support tonic
Ingredients: Licorice (root), marshmallow (root), chamomile (flower), peppermint (leaf), star Abuse (seed), bitter fennel (fruit), lemon balm (leaf), juniper (bark), butter orange (flower), wild yam (leaf), calendula (flower), European goldenrod (grass), Echinacea angustifolia (root), meadowsweet (whole plant).
Vitamin B-1, C prove Worthy Complementary Therapies
March 31, 2006 06:30 PM
An increasing number of healthcare experts are calling for conventional and alternative treatments to be used together, an idea supported by a growing body of research. For example, British scientists found that taking one gram of supplemental vitamin C a day for 10 weeks helped 92 adults with asthma reduce the medication they needed for symptom control (respiratory Medicine 2006; 100:174-9). Inhaled asthma drugs have been associated with severe side effects, such as bone loss, cataracts and suppressed immunity. Increasing Vitamin Intake (in this case B-1) may also prove vital to people undergoing gastric bypass surgery, an increasingly common option for obesity. The December 27, 2005 issue of Neurology reported on a 35-year-old woman who suffered numerous difficulties after gastric bypass, including fatigue, confusion and an inability to coordinate eye movement. Her condition improved after she received 100mg of intravenous B-1 every eight hours.
Other supplement news:
Substance Abuse –and the problems it causes-may be amenable to supplementation. At a meeting of American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (12/5), researchers claimed that hospitalized cocaine addicts experienced reduced desire for the drug after taking the supplement NAC (N-acetylcysteine); they said more study is needed. In another investigation presented at the same meeting, fish oil helped reduce anger among male substance Abusers, possibly reducing the risk of aggressive behavior.
DO WE NEED EXTRA LIVER PROTECTION?
July 12, 2005 10:15 AM
DO WE NEED EXTRA LIVER PROTECTION?
Even if you don’t suffer from any liver disease or don’t Abuse alcohol, you may still require the therapeutic effects of Milk Thistle. Everything that enters the liver through the portal vein must be de-toxified and neutralized. Many of us eat diets that are too high in protein, take overthe- counter or prescription drugs, and routinely expose ourselves to radiation and other pollutants. Everything we breath, eat and absorb through our skin is purified and refined in the liver. Some of the more detrimental compounds we ingest that increase the liver’ s work load include:
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. author of Natural Health, Natural Medicine says, “High protein diets impose a considerable work load on the digestive system and may contribute to feelings of fatigue and lack of energy.” The problem with protein is that the liver has to work harder to detoxify the body from the nitrogen waste which results when it is metabolized. This compound called ure a has to eventually be eliminated from the body through the kidneys.
Most of us are routinely exposed to nicotine, toxins of various kinds and a whole host of synthetic drugs fro m ibuprofen to steroids. Most of us overeat the wrong things and pass up what’s really good for us. High fat, high sugar, high protein diets stress the liver. Overeating, especially overcooked, fatty foods puts added strain on the liver. In addition, lack of exercise has an indirect effect on the liver. When we don’t exercise, an excess of toxins can build up and has to be transformed by the liver.
Typically, when we are exposed to chemicals which can injure the liver, the amount of glutathione in the liver d e c reases. When this substance is reduced, the liver becomes susceptible to damage. The Silymarin content of Milk Thistle keeps concentrations of glutathione in the liver elevated by up to 35%.19 The ability of the liver to detoxify the system is largely dependent on the present of glutathione.
According to the American Liver Foundation, liver diseases are the fourth leading cause of death up to the age of 65. It is not commonly known that a significant incidence of liver disease exists in this country. In the past, liver disease was only associated with chronic alcoholics. Now, however, liver disease strikes obese people, social drinkers and people who eat poorly. Milk Thistle can help prevent the subtle kind of liver damage any of us may be susceptible to.
MILK THISTLE: A VITAL COMPONENT OF LIVER REHABILITATION
July 12, 2005 10:01 AM
MILK THISTLE: A VITAL COMPONENT OF LIVER REHABILITATION
In addition to the flavonoid-like components of Silymarin, Milk Thistle seeds also contain betaine, which has proven itself as a liver protectant. Additionally, essential fatty acids are found in Milk Thistle which help control chronic inflammation.7
Milk Thistle should be a vital part of any therapeutic program designed to treat liver disorders. It can provide liver protection after exposure to radiation, heavy metals or toxic chemicals. Anyone who has hepatitis or cirrhosis should be using this herb as part of their treatment regimen. Concerning Milk Thistle and the liver, Christopher Hobbs wrote:
“I first learned of Milk Thistle in early 1984, when I began harvesting seeds from wild plants growing in California and taking the liquid extract I made from them. I had sustained heavy damage to my liver as a result of having hepatitis twice, in 1963 and in 1967, and I was able to greatly restore my digestive power with the help of this herb. Since then, I have witnessed other surprising recoveries from severe liver ailments with the use of this herb.”8
There is no question that the Silymarin compounds of Milk Thistle have significant therapeutic value for liver diseases of various kinds including: hepatitis, fatty infiltration of the liver, cirrhosis, and inflammation of the bile duct.9
The tyramine and histamine content of Milk Thistle works to stimulate the production and flow of bile, which also benefits the liver. A whole host of laboratory tests from biopsies to clinical data confirm that Silymarin is particularly effective in treating and preventing liver damage from alcohol Abuse or chemical exposure. Extensive clinical trails have clearly shown that Milk Thistle can reverse the symptoms of many liver disorders.
In addition, Milk Thistle can exert a therapeutic effect on chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty infiltration of the liver, cholestasis of pregnancy, cholangitis and pericholangitis.10 While the liver has a great capacity for regeneration, when it is diseased or damaged by toxins like alcohol, it can cease to produce badly needed liver cells. Milk Thistle can stimulate this proliferation. The earlier it is taken, the quicker recovery will be.
MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING
June 25, 2005 08:02 PM
MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING
The exact way(s) that Chitosan prevents fat absorbtion is not fully understood but a number of experimental observations support two basic mechanisms. The first mechanism involves the attraction of opposite charges which can be compared to the attraction of opposite magnetic poles. The second entrapment mechanism can be compared to the effect of a net. In the first mechanism the positive charges on chitosan attract the negatively charged fatty acids and bile acids binding them to the indigestible chitosan fiber. This mechanism can explain why chitosan reduces LDL cholesterol levels.
Our bodies make bile acids in the liver using the cholesterol from LDL. When chitosan binds bile acids it increases the rate of LDL loss thus improving the LDL to HDL ratio. If enough bile acids are bound, the fats are not solublized, which prevents their digestion and absorption. The second mechanism (figure 2) describes a netting effect of chitosan fiber.
In this model the Chitosan wraps around fat droplets and prevents their being attacked and digested by lipid enzymes. Fats unprotected by Chitosan are digested and absorbed. The “netting” mechanism has been seen to operate in vivo. 108
Substances that Enhance the Action of Chitosan
Fibers can be likened to a tangled-up chain. Fibers must “unravel” in order for them to be of maximum benefit to us. “Unraveling” is especially critical for chitosan because each link has a hook on which to attach lipids. Chitosan can absorb an average of 4 to 5 times its weight in lipids. Reports of numbers above and below this range have also been reported and may well reflect the rate or extent of unraveling that had taken place. Fiber formulations can be prepared that unravel rapidly and swell quickly. These highly effective formulations are called superabsorbants. When certain substances are added to chitosan, its remarkable fat-binding ability can be significantly enhanced.
D-Ascorbic acid (erythorbic acid) and L-ascorbic acid are C-vitamins which enhance chitosan’s ability to bind lipids. Combining chitosan with ascorbic acid results in even less fat absorption and greater fecal fat losses.77,108 In one study the addition of ascorbic acid to a chitosan enriched diet increased fecal fat losses by 87 percent and decreased fat absorption by over 50 percent.77
Cholesterol oxides cause lesions in artery walls which predispose blood vessels to collect plaque. These dietary cholesterol oxides profoundly influence the initiation of heart disease.Free radicals can also contribute to the formation of cholesterol oxides which are even more likely to damage the heart. Cholesterol oxides have been found in deep-fried foods, powdered eggs, processed meats and in human blood itself. Consequently, taking antioxidants like ascorbic acid is vital to protect against the cellular damage this type of free radical causes.112
In feeding experiments with animals, adding citric acid to a chitosan enriched diet resulted in a decreased feed consumption.77 The most likely explanation for this effect is that the citric acid may be enhancing the swelling action of chitosan leading to a sense of fullness, producing satiety and appetite suppression.
Indoles are remarkable phytochemicals which have the ability to selectively activate certain Mixed Function Oxidases (MFOs).113 These MFO’s help balance estrogen metabolism and prepare dietary toxins for elimination before they are absorbed. The presence of fiber in the intestines provides a bulk agent to carry the metabolized toxins out of the body. Chelat ed Minerals The very best approach to weight loss is to nutritionally augment food choices with nutrient supplementation. Certain biochemical compounds are essential to promoting vigor during the process of thermogenesis. Chelated minerals act to bolster, support and protect the organ systems of the body.114,115
For example, when fat is burned, heat and energy are released. If a lack of certain minerals exists, energy levels will drop. Minerals help to transport needed nutrients to depleted areas of the body, thereby stemming off the fatigue we so often experience after eating a fatty meal. Even more importantly, free radicals are released whenever fat is consumed and burned and the presence of chelated minerals helps to expedite the removal of these metabolites and facilitate the availability of fuel for energy.
Essential Fatty Acids
Prostaglandins control and balance many body functions. The dietary building blocks for making prostaglandins are the essential fatty acids (EFAs). The role of prostaglandins in weight loss has been extensively discussed in a recent review.116 EFAs exert profound lipid-lowering effects.They reduce the synthesis of triglycerides and very low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) in the liver. EFA supplementation coupled with a low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat in diet produces a complementary effect in lowering serum lipid levels.117 Garcinia Cambogia ( Hydroxy Cit ric Acid) Garcinia Cambogia contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This form of citric acid inhibits the liver’s ability to make fats out of carbohydrates.118
Carbohydrates are converted to glycogen stores, not fat stores, giving the body a better energy reserve and an increase in stamina.119 Ephedra And Thermogenisis Thermogenesis means “creating heat.” This is one of the ways our bodies have of burning off excess calories and maintaining a constant weight.120 This is an area of weight management research that is being intensely studied. When we repeatedly yo-yo diet or Abuse ourselves by eating too much, our thermogenic ability may be reduced. Numerous animal and human studies have confirmed the benefits of ephedra and methylxanthines in inducing weight loss and restoring thermogenic responsiveness.43,44,121
Toxicity and Safety
June 25, 2005 01:09 PM
Toxicity and Safety
Side effects and toxicity related to ginseng use are rare. The FDA categorizes ginseng for use as a tea as “generally recognized as safe.” Some reports of toxicity have not been re c o g n i zed by reputable herbalists because of poor observations and data.4 3Many of the re p o rted tox i c effects do not even cite the particular species of ginseng. Most reputable studies re p o rt low risk and an absence of side effects even after prolonged or exc e s s i ve use.4 4 It is always important to buy ginseng and other natural health care products from reputable companies who test their products for purity. Quality control measures are a high priority with many companies. The ginseng market has been full of Abusers who may mix cornstarch or other ingredients with the ginseng and sell it as a pure product at the full price. Some ginseng products have been sold which do not contain any ginseng. Reputable companies follow strict guidelines to avoid such problems.
June 14, 2005 06:26 PM
by Catherine Heusel Energy Times, October 1, 1998
Quitting a bad habit presents quite a challenge. Just ask anyone who's ever tried to give up cigarettes. Or alcohol. Or even coffee. You start out with the best of intentions but cravings can push you off the straight and narrow. The result: giving up a nasty habit often means regenerating your resolve and trying again. And again. And again. While some blame an inability to give up a bad habit on poor will power, in actuality, the tenacious chains of these habits may derive from the body as well as the mind. "People don't seem to realize the effects these substances have on the body," says Joan Mathews-Larson, Ph.D., director of the Health Recovery Center, in Minneapolis, and author of Seven Weeks to Sobriety. Dr. Mathews-Larson is one of a growing number of addiction professionals who stress physical recovery when giving up a drug, whether it's caffeine or cocaine. "You can't disrupt your internal chemistry for months or years on end and then expect your body to automatically bounce back," she says. "You have to give it some help."
Breaking Off is Hard to Do
The substances we love to overdo all share a common characteristic: they mimic or enhance the body's chemical messengers. Opiate drugs such as heroin, for example, are virtually identical to substances called endorphins, neurochemicals that the body produces to mask feelings of pain. (When an injured Kerri Strug performed her final Olympic vault, her endorphins enabled her to push past her protesting nerve endings.) Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can provide a "rush" similar to that produced by adrenaline and noradrenaline, the neurochemicals that provide the quick and excited feeling that swells down your spine during frightened or thrilling moments. On the other hand, some drugs (notably alcohol and cocaine) boost the activity of several different neurochemicals, including those that control sensations of pleasure. From a biological perspective, then, none of the drugs that people take are totally unfamiliar to the body. Your body makes similar chemicals all the time, in response to specific events and needs. "The main advantage of drugs is that they act powerfully and immediately," explains Andrew Weil, M.D., in his book, From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind Altering Drugs. "Their main disadvantage is that they reinforce the notion that the state we desire comes from something outside us."
Another serious disadvantage of drugs resides in their impact on the body's everyday neurochemical balance. Under normal circumstances, the body maintains its internal chemical environment on a fairly even keel. It may pump out oodles of adrenaline in response to a specific threat, like a near miss on the highway, but for every such scary "high" a corresponding low sets in: that rubbery-kneed sense of relief you feel when things calm down.
Over time, the body mistakes the introduction of mind-altering, foreign chemicals as an excess of its own production of neurochemicals. As a result it slows down its own manufacture of these vital substances. So when you stop drinking caffeine or other stimulating drugs, the body finds its neurochemical receptors begging for relief: Cravings raise their ugly heads while so-called withdrawal symptoms raise your discomfort level. A general sense of ill health sets in until the body's natural production of neurotransmitter production reaches an acceptable level.
Breaking a bad habit may be complicated by a lack of regenerative health habits. "A proper diet is pretty low on an addict's list of priorities," says Mathews-Larson. "Most of the people we see live on fast food and junk food." Many people trying to give up bad habits are attacked by the chemical and physical problems resulting from eating fatty foods and not exercising: their bodies are chemically and physically challenged from a poor lifestyle.
Fortunately, recovery from a bad habit can be enhanced by balancing your diet, exercising and using nutritional supplements to straighten out your interior biochemical environment.
"We target substances that are essential for maintaining optimal brain chemistry," points out Mathews-Larson. Foremost among these substances are a variety of amino acids that the body needs to rebuild its supply of neurotransmitters. In addition, nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin C are often in short supply among those who indulge in addictive drugs and alcohol.
Exercise and meditation are equally important to recovery, since both activities naturally prompt production of mood-enhancing neurochemicals. (The so-called "runner's high" is believed to result from endorphins and other neurochemicals stimulated by jogging.) More importantly, natural stimulation that pushes the body to create its own, endogenous supply of feel-good chemicals produces a longer sense of well-being than the transitory high induced by drugs and alcohol. "The potential for highs is always there, and many techniques exist for eliciting them," declares Dr. Weil. "Drug highs differ from other highs only in superficial ways."
To experienced treatment professionals such as Mathews-Larson, kicking a long-standing habit depends on learning to appreciate the natural high of good health, through an overall healthy lifestyle. "It's not enough to just stop using the substance you Abused," she contends. "You have to build a high quality of life for yourself, so you can fully enjoy every day."
Recommended Reading: Seven Weeks to Sobriety, by Joan Mathews-Larson (Fawcett Books, 1997) Healing Anxiety With Herbs by Harold H. Bloomfield. (Harper Collins, 1998.)
Mane Attraction - lustrous Hair...
June 14, 2005 08:19 AM
Mane Attraction by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, February 12, 2004
Everyone wants thick, lustrous hair. Think of the allure attached to the locks of Samson and Lady Godiva and-fast-forward to the present-the full heads of Antonio Banderas and Julia Roberts.
" We're naturally attracted to hair as humans; it catches the light, it frames the face, we like the feel of it," says Catherine Jones, ND, LAc, a resident naturopathic physician at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle, Washington. "Fair or not, historically in many cultures, rich, thick hair has been a sign of fertility and strength."
Along with that allure, latching onto natural ways to have great-looking hair gives you the benefits of looks and health. Every hair starts with a shaft that grows from a root. "The root is contained deep within the hair follicle," says Dr. Jones. "Each one has a sebaceous or oil gland, which supplies the hair with necessary lubrication as it approaches the surface of the scalp." Each hair follicle has its own growth cycle, including a resting period, the telogen phase, when hair falls out. Because of these constant hair phases, each of us loses, on average, about 100 hairs a day.
" The number of hairs the average person loses in a day tends to increase in the fall as the leaves fall from the tree and tends to decrease in the spring as the bulbs emerge from the soil," Dr. Jones says. "We really are connected to nature." Stress-due to rapid weight loss, infection, anemia, prolonged illness, hormonal changes, hypoactive thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions, eczema or psoriasis-can influence hair growth and loss.
Hair consists of proteins, lipids (fats), carbohydrates and pigment (gray hair has reduced pigment; white, none at all). Each shaft's structure is divided into a medulla, a cortex and an outer cuticle. " The cuticle is coated with an outside lipid-like layer, which protects the hair," says Dr. Jones. "As the hair grows out of the follicle, the cortex and cuticle become keratinized and harden." Dry or damaged hair is more susceptible to breakage. "The condition of the cuticle affects how the light reflects off the hair, giving it highlights and luster," Dr. Jones says. "Luster is affected both by what occurs inside the body as the hair is developing and what happens to the hair after it has grown from the shaft."
Sun, heat, moisture, pollution and hair products, dyes and bleaches can all dull the hair. "Applying chemical solutions to the hair, color, permanent waves or curl relaxers, damage the protein molecules that wrap around the shaft, leaving hair brittle and dull," says Christina Pirello, author of Glow: A Prescription for Radiant Health and Beauty (HP Books).
Conditioners and oils can leave a residue or weigh hair down. Hair sprays and products that contain alcohol can dry and damage the hair, as can using blow dryers and curling irons.
To combat hair-raising havoc, feed your hair natural nutrients for health. Silica and plants that contain silica/silicon both strengthen hair and promote growth. "Silica is a good mineral for hair health," says Walter Siegordner, founder of The Aurora Group, a personal care company. "It helps in the keratinization process of the cells that produce hair."
" Silica is a mineral that is involved in the synthesis of bone and connective tissue," adds Dr. Jones. "The hair follicle contains connective tissue so silica may promote the health and function of the follicle itself." Silica-containing herbs include nettles (Urtica dioica), horsetail (Equisetum arvense), oatstraw (Avena sativa) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa).
Sea plants like seaweed and kelp also provide vital nutrients. "Sea plants are essential ingredients in many natural shampoos and can be used to fortify damaged hair," says Pirello. "They're rich in vitamin A that prevents the build-up of dead skin cells, which can clog the hair follicles, inhibiting the growth and health of the hair, and also contain vitamin B, linked to the prevention of oily hair, baldness and dandruff. Calcium found in sea plants is essential to the structure of the hair shaft."
Eaten on s daily basis, sea plants are rich in nutrients that help maintain healthy, shiny hair, free of split ends, Pirello says. Try wakame in soups and salads, kombu or kelp in bean and vegetable dishes, nori in sushi, and hiziki and arame as side dishes. Since hair health is affected by digestive health, the fiber found in whole grains also helps. "Fiber prevents accumulation in the intestines that can result in the formation of toxins," says Pirello.
Miso, she adds, is especially good hair food. It "is rich in living enzymes that ease digestion, fortify the quality of the blood nourishing the body and hair, and provide us with essential oils, vitamins and minerals."
Key nutritional support includes adequate protein and amino acids, essential fatty acids such as cold-pressed flax seed oil and fish oil, copper, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, biotin, iron and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). Zinc and selenium can help combat the effects of hyperthyroidism, which can result in thinning, lackluster hair.
Vitamin C can boost adrenal health. "When the adrenals are overtaxed and become fatigued, hair follicles will go into a resting phase," says Dr. Jones. (If you have a medical condition, she adds, check with your health care practitioner first before taking supplements.)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, hair is associated with the kidneys' qi, energy that originates in these organs, and with blood quality. " From the traditional Chinese perspective, excess amounts of fat, protein, dairy, sugar, alcohol and salt in the diet acidify the body, damage the Kidney qi and are not good for the hair," says Dr. Jones. A diet rich in vegetables and grains is a great way to support healthy hair. "Iron and mineral-rich foods are considered blood builders and hair tonics. Foods such as blackstrap molasses, seaweed, nettles, and the herb polygonum multiflorum (also known as He Shou Wu and Fo-Ti) have been used throughout the years. Fo-Ti has also been used to prevent graying of the hair and support the immune system."
" Hair is extremely strong but at the same time it's extremely delicate," says Barsoum Bouchar, a cosmetologist and owner of the Virtuoso Salon in Birmingham, Michigan. "Many products work against the hair texture, so the cuticle is always raised. This causes tangles and split ends. With blow dryers, chemicals, colors and styling elements, the hair is tremendously Abused." If you don't have to chemically treat the hair, he says, don't.
When replenishing the hair it's important to remember that it's composed of 97% protein and 3% moisture, says Bouchar. Shampoo cleanses the hair and removes buildup. "A moisturizer brings moisture back into the hair and smoothes the cuticle down, which is what makes hair shiny and gives it bounce. The one key ingredient in both shampoo and moisturizers is aloe vera. It heals the hair." " Avoid products with harsh surfactants like sodium laurel sulfate and propylene glycol," warns Siegordner. "These decrease the circulation in the scalp, reducing the pathway for nutrition to the hair bulb." Conditioners that aren't natural can also cause build-up. "When you apply heat to the hair through blow drying or styling, you end up 'burning' the hair," says Bouchar.
To stimulate hair growth, add a few drops of essential oils of rosemary, lavender and thyme to jojoba and almond oils, and rub into the scalp. Leave it overnight and then rinse it off. " Essential oils have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, stimulate the circulation to the hair follicles and combat dryness. They also smell good," says Dr. Jones.
For hair that's not chemically treated, "a vinegar rinse cleanses the hair, removes build-up and boosts shine," says Bouchar. Use one part vinegar to ten parts water, apply after a shampoo, comb though and rinse it off. To naturally lighten the hair, use the same ratio in a lemon rinse for five minutes for, say, four days in a row, and then stop.
If you want to color your hair, choose natural elements, too. "The best natural dye is henna," says Bouchar. "It's organic, just like hair is." Blonde hair becomes warmer with a coppery tone, brunette hair takes on a mahogany hue, gray hair looks like highlights.
To find a good natural hair stylist, Bouchar suggests asking which products they use and why. If your hair is chemically treated, it's especially important to work with a stylist you trust for the best care.
Keep your eye on the big picture when it comes to hair health. "Be proactive and treat the body holistically," urges Dr. Jones. "Nourish the glands, the organs and the vessels that are responsible for getting the necessary nutrients to the hair follicle. Pay attention to the physical, emotional and mental aspects of health. Once hair is lost it may come back but it will likely be thinner than it was before. It's important to take care of what you have."
Improove Memory ...
June 09, 2005 05:49 PM
Mesmerizing Memory by Cal Orey Energy Times, January 1, 1999
In the 60s, the same rock 'n' rollers who belted out "One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small," often espoused the belief that certain pills could expand the mind. While counter-culture pill purveyors were pilloried for their pill-popping claims, 90s nutritional research has uncovered a stash of supplements that may amplify mental improvement.
Like a blues singer bending a high note, researchers are now humming with dramatic assertions that certain nutritional supplements can sustain and enhance concentration and memory function. For instance, studies reveal possible benefits for cognitive powers from vitamin C, magnesium and Ginkgo biloba. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 278:1327-1332) said that an extract of Ginkgo biloba "can stabilize and, in some cases, improve the cognitive function and social behavior of demented patients."
A researcher in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences noted that a daily dose of vitamin E may "help protect the brain and its memories from the ravages of time." And the beat goes on: other evidence indicates that zinc, iron and boron may pump up short-term memory attention span and cut the time it takes to perform mental tasks.
Lester Packer, PhD, professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, told a joint 1996 United Nations-World Health Organization conference on Aging that "there is a growing body of evidence indicating that the free radical theory of aging and aging-related disease is valid," and that dietary and supplemental antioxidants can help fight illness and mental deterioration.
Vitamin E and other memory aids are believed to protect brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, "the ferrymen of the brain's communication system," that influence concentration and memory. Experts say that sustaining the level of these nerve chemicals in the brain can potentially improve all mental processes.
Too much alcohol, for example, commonly causes progressive mental decline, according to Secrets of the Superyoung (Villard) by David Weeks and Jamie James. The authors also point out that "the memory tends to worsen noticeably after 15 years of alcohol drinking, and much sooner in people who go on massive binges."
"The effects of cigarette smoke are subtler because the poisonous effects of carbon monoxide in each puff are temporarily offset by the alerting effects of the nicotine," they add. Can't remember the name of that singer cavorting in a music video? Tests have shown that smokers are worse at connecting peoples' names to their faces than nonsmokers.
n Learn something new: A second language, musical instrument, or unique puzzles and games keep neurons working like new.
n Turn off the TV: Read. Studies show that passively watching TV requires less concentration than eating cereal. Mental rejuvenation also requires physical activity. Exercise increases oxygen flow to the brain, which supports memory, concentration and cognition. One study has shown that exercise significantly brightened the moods of middle-aged and older women, regardless of whether they were pre- or post-menopausal, with or without hormone replacement therapy.
Supplemental Brain Help
Antioxidants, including the previously mentioned vitamin E (You haven't forgotten vitamin E already, have you?), provide crucial help for vigorous cerebral function. The free radicals created by tobacco smoke, air pollution, ultraviolet light and certain carcinogenic chemicals deconstruct cell membranes and may foster microscopic brain cell havoc. Antioxidant enzymes convert free radicals to more neutral, benign substances and nutritional antioxidants can neutralize free radicals by linking up with them.
Vitamin C, a brainy antioxidant all star, performs so well that, according to Dr. Khalsa, its levels in the brain are almost 15 times higher than in other parts of the body. This nutrient, he asserts, aids mental and physical longevity. In a UCLA study, people who ingested at least 300 mg of vitamin C daily lived more than six years longer than those who ingested less.
Added to this mix, magnesium also scavenges free-radicals, according to Dr. Khalsa. Plus, experts recommend grape seed extract (phytochemicals that protect a wide range of cellular structures) to safeguard nerve cells and mental capacity.
B Vitamins for the Mind
Boron plays a crucial part in mental function. Scientists at the USDA's Human Nutrition Research Center have linked boron deficiencies to chronic lethargy and fatigue. In brain studies, they found that the electrical activity of the gray matter in the boron deficient indicated increased drowsiness and mental sluggishness.
HupA basically protects the brain from free radical damage (due to low levels of antioxidant defenses) and maintains or enhances crucial neurotransmitter action. More specifically, HupA helps reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine, the vital neurotransmitter, and makes this substance more bioavailable. In addition, HupA helps make choline accessible to the brain for the synthesis of acetylcholine, according to a study in Neuropharmacology (30, 1991: 763-768).
Normally, the brain manufactures sufficient levels of the chemical phosphatidylserine, a lecithin-derivative that helps boost neurotransmitter release, but deficiencies of vitamin B12 and folic acid, or of essential fatty acids, may retard that production. Low levels of phosphatidylserine in the brain are related to impaired mental function and depression in the elderly. Scientists reporting in Aging (5, 1993; 123-33) describe "good results" using phosphatidylserine in the treatment of age-related cognitive ills.
Ginkgo Brain Power
Another ingredient in what seems like an alphabet-soup of brain nourishment is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fat essential for normal brain function. Researchers met recently at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center's Nutrition Information Center to discuss "Keeping Your Brain in Shape: New Insights into DHA." Their findings revealed links between low levels of DHA and Alzheimer's, depression, memory loss, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain behavioral traits including aggression and hostility.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health point out, however, that fish is an excellent dietary source of DHA. In their studies, they discovered that depression rates in Japan and Taiwan, where fish ranks a top spot on the menu, are significantly lower than in North America and Europe.
DHA also is crucial to the neurological development of children, according to findings published in Pediatrics (vol. 101, no. 1, January 1998). Researchers suggest that DHA-rich breast milk should be the model for infant formulas that enhance babies' neurological development. Scientists also have correlated some behavioral problems in children-ADHD, for example-to DHA deficiencies.
If you are a vegetarian, or have other cause for concern about a potential lack of DHA in your diet, you can rely on dietary supplementation of DHA. Bruce J. Holub, PhD, of the University of Guelph in Canada provided vegetarians in his research project with DHA supplements over a 42-day period and substantially increased their DHA blood levels.
The bottom line to enhanced mental performance is to take a balanced approach, says Robert Snider, MD, who specializes in preventive medicine in Massena, New York. "Maintaining brain power includes exercise, stress reduction and good nutrition." The message to keep in mind: Don't lose your nutritional balance or you could lose a piece of your peace of mind.
Recommended Reading: & Brain Builders (Reward Books, 1995), by Richard Leviton.
Brain Longevity (Warner Books, 1997), by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD.
Omega 3 Oils to Improve Mental Health, Fight Degenerative Diseases and Extend Life (Avery, 1996), by Donald Rudin, MD, and Clara Felix.
Successful Aging (Pantheon, 1998), by John W. Rowe, MD, and Robert L. Kahn, PhD.
KudZu, Treatment of alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse
May 19, 2005 09:29 AM
For millennia, folk medicines have been used to treat ‘‘alcohol addiction’’ in China. A thorough literature search of the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeias revealed a long list of traditional remedies, including the 16 ‘‘stop-drinking’’ formulae of Sun Simiao (ca. 600 AD) and the ‘‘anti-alcohol addiction’’ formula of Li Dongyuan (ca. 1200 AD), 2 of the most reputed ‘‘medical doctors’’ in the history of Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, like those discovered by the ancient Romans,11 most of the ancient Chinese remedies for ‘‘alcohol addiction’’ were based on psychological aversion: to deter patients from further drinking by associating alcohol drinking with an unpleasant experience. Interestingly, as time went by, treatments based solely on psychological aversion were gradually eliminated from the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeias, presumably because of their ineffectiveness and/or undesirable side effects. The only remedies that have survived this historical trial-anderror scrutiny are those consisting the root (Radix puerariae, RP) or flower (Flos puerariae, FP) of Pueraria lobata (a medicinal plant known to the West as kudzu). It was on the basis of this historical backdrop, we initiated the search of safe and efficacious anti-dipsotropic (alcohol intake suppressive) agents from RP. This approach has led to the discovery of daidzin,12 an isoflavone that has since been shown to reduce alcohol drinking in all alcohol preferring animal models tested to date.
Alcohol Abuse and alcohol dependence (i.e., alcoholism) are serious public health problems of modern society. In the United States alone, an estimated 13 million adults exhibit symptoms of alcohol dependence due to excessive alcohol intake, and an additional 7 million Abuse alcohol without showing symptoms of dependence according to U.S. Government projections from studies conducted in the mid-1980s. Alcohol dependence and Abuse are very expensive: in economic and medical terms, it will cost the U.S. well over $200 billion in 1991 with no prospect of falling or leveling off. The social and psychological damages inflicted on individuals as a consequence of alcohol Abuse, e.g., children born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and victims of alcohol-related accidental death, homicide, suicide, etc., are immense.
While it is generally accepted that alcoholism and alcohol Abuse are afflictions with staggering international economic, social, medical, and psychological repercussions, success in preventing or otherwise ameliorating the consequences of these problems has been an elusive goal. Only very recently the public view that alcoholism and alcohol Abuse are remediable solely by moral imperatives has been changed to include an awareness of alcoholism and alcohol Abuse as physiological aberrations whose etiology may be understood and for which therapy may be found through scientific pursuits. Both alcohol Abuse and dependence arise as a result of different, complex, and as yet incompletely understood processes. At present, alcohol research is in the mainstream of scientific efforts.
Our studies on alcohol (ethanol or ethyl alcohol) have been based on the hypothesis that its Abuse can ultimately be understood and dealt with at the molecular level. Such a molecular understanding, if achieved, would provide a basis for the identification and development of appropriate therapeutic agents. Our view hypothesizes that the clinical manifestations of alcoholism and alcohol Abuse are the consequence of aberrations or defects within one or more metabolic pathways, affected by the presence of ethyl alcohol. In order to test this hypothesis, our initial studies focused on physical, chemical, and enzymatic properties of human alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), the enzyme that catalyzes alcohol oxidation according to the following reaction formula:
CH.sub.3 CH.sub.2 OH+NAD.sup.+ .fwdarw.CH.sub.3 CHO+NADH
In addition, our studies more recently have focused on the aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH) which catalyze the subsequent step in the major pathway of ethanol metabolism according to the following reaction formula:
CH.sub.3 CHO+NAD.sup.+ .fwdarw.CH.sub.3 COOH+NADH
Prior to our research (for example, see Blair and Vallee, 1966, Biochemistry 5:2026-2034), ADH in man was thought to exist in but one or two forms, primarily in the liver, where it was considered the exclusive enzyme for the metabolism of ethanol. Currently, four different classes of ADH encompassing over twenty ADH isozymes have been identified and isolated from human tissues. There is no reason to believe that all of these ADH isozymes are necessary to catalyze the metabolism of a single molecule, ethanol, even though all of them can interact with it. We have proposed that the normal function of these isozymes is to metabolize other types of alcohols that participate in critical, physiologically important processes, and that ethanol interferes with their function (Vallee, 1966, Therapeutic Notes 14:71-74). Further, we predicted that individual differences in alcohol tolerance might well be based on both qualitative and quantitative differences in isozyme endowment (Vallee, 1966, supra).
Our research has established the structures, properties, tissue distribution, and developmental changes for most of the ADH isozymes, which while structurally quite similar, and presumed to have evolved from a common precursor, are functionally remarkably varied. Of the more than 120 publications from our laboratory that relate to the above subjects, the following, arranged in six categories, are especially useful for instruction in the prior art.
Kudzu Recovery 60ct
Kudzu Recovery 120ct
Kudzu Root Extract 50caps
Kudzu Root Extract from Solaray 60ct