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How Does Phosphatidyl Serine Improve Your Health?
April 17, 2012 07:22 AM
Health Benefits Of Phosphatidyl Serine
Phosphatidyl serine is phospholipid that is vital to your brain functioning. The phospholipid are molecules containing both fatty acids and amino acids found in every cell in the body. Phodphatidyl Serine supplements are plant extracts that has been proven safe and effective therapeutic substance in remedying memory disorders as well as in enhancing higher brain functions. Clinical trials have shown that this vitamin supplement do strengthen your memory, increase mental acuity, increase concentration, boosts learning, enhances attention and vigilance. In addition, Phodphatidyl serine relieves depression while improving your mood and inhibits increases in cortisol induced by exercise and stress.
The supplement works by enabling your brain cells to metabolize glucose and releases it to bind with neurotransmitters which hence support learning, memory and other cognitive functions. Phodphatidyl serine enhances the cells communication in the brain through increasing the number of membrane receptor sites. It is also important to note that this natural supplement modulates the fluidity of the cell membranes which are essential in supporting the ability of brain cells to send and receive chemical communications.
Another health benefit associated with Phodphatidyl serine is its ability to restore the supply and output of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is an essential transmitter to memory and is associated in reversing aging. Further, it increases the availability of endogenous chlorine used for de novo synthesis and production. Patients diagnosed with clinical depression that have ben put under the treatment of Phodphatidyl serine have registered a remarkable improvement with their symptoms. This follows from the fact that the supplement stimulates the production of dopamine by the brain. A deficit in dopamine in the brain has also been associated with attention deficit disorder and hence the natural supplement of Phodphatidyl serine has demonstrated to be an effective remedy for the disorder.
Research indicates that athletes involved in weight training, endurance running and cycling can reduce muscle soreness when they use Phodphatidyl serine. The athletes on this supplement have also been reported to undergo speed recovery during their rigorous training sessions. Other benefits of the supplement include; testicular function, formation of bone matrix, heart beat coordination, cell repair and removal by the immune system and secretion of hormones by the adrenal glands.
It is vital to note that phodphatidyl serine is present in almost every cell in our body and the membrane proteins it activates are important in all these cells. However, our bodies cannot produce enough amounts of it when under stress, when there is a deficit in necessary enzymes and metabolic cofactors, and when aged. Stress increases the demands for phospatidylserine thus depleting the available levels in the cells. On the other hand, aging not only increases the brain's requirement for phosphatidylserine but also leads to inefficiency in the digestive and metabolic functions of the body. This makes it difficult for aged people to acquire enough of it from the diet and thus it is recommended that aged people should use phosphatidyl serine supplements.
Modern diets with low fat and low cholesterol levels have been shown to be lacking in phodphotidyl serine to levels of up to 150 mg per day. A vegetarian diet on the other hand may have a deficit of up to 250 mg per day. This deficit in supply of Phodphatidyl serine in the diet leads to impairment of your brain's ability to form, store, process and even remember. It is vital hence to consider taking vitamin supplements with phosphatidyl serine to cater for the deficit which may be detrimental to your health.
What Herbs Help Vision and Eye Support
August 26, 2011 12:20 PM
“The eye is the window to your soul; it is the part that makes you whole” this old saying merely suggest how important our eyes are for our daily living. It is very difficult to live a life without our eyes and it is very hard to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings without having a glance of it. Because our eyes are the only part of the body that allow us to see and visualize things, we have to strive and do our best to keep it healthy because if we don’t, It will be a very big loss on our part to lose our ability to see the wonderful things around us.
Life would be definitely much easier if you have no problems with your vision. It is really best if you are able to see at close or from a far without causing any strain on your eyes. However, we could never achieve good eyesight if we will not take any measures or regimen that will help us grasp better eye health. Hence, to achieve better vision, let me introduce to you the following herbs that are already proven to be beneficial in maintaining the health of your eyes.
Mahonia Grape Extract
Extract from mahonia grape is very effectual in addressing eye problems brought about by sun exposure. The herb contains vital properties that can strengthen your retina thus improving the general condition of your eyes.
Although the herb bilberry is not a very popular herb, it can never be denied that this herb is very rich with potent antioxidants that can help shield your retina from injurious elements. Because of the herb’s capacity to protect your retina, clarity of your vision will be greatly improved.
Bilwa is an esteemed herb for conjunctivitis and sties. The herb is commonly used in treating eye pain due to the vital healing properties that it contains.
Gingko biloba is truly a wonder herb because of the array of health benefits it could offer the human body. Gingko biloba intake will facilitate better blood flow to your eyes hence supplying the cells of your eyes with enough supply of oxygen and nutrients needed for better vision.
Passion flower is another useful herb for the eyes. This herb can help you improve visual acuity hence will enable you to read without causing eyestrain even if the light is dim. Passion flower also helps in relaxing the blood vessels of your eyes thus enables you see things well.
Aspalathlus is one of the healing herbs for your eyes that contain liberal amounts of antioxidants that can greatly improve the general condition of your eyes.
The goldenseal is another important herb that can help you get rid of eye irritation and inflammation. By taking this herb, you will be able to grasp its healing and soothing properties that can help you address eye problems.
These seven herbs mentioned are truly nature’s gift for your eyes. If you want your eyes to be always healthy and able to function as it should then taking essential herbs would be of great help.
Antioxidants like Goji berry can improve your health
July 08, 2010 03:36 PM
Planetary Herbals formally known as Planetary Formulas is pleased to present Full Spectrum Goji Berry, a Valued tonifier in traditional Chinese herbalism – now available in conventient vegetarian capsules. Planetary Herbals was one of the first American companies to recognize the value of goji, also know as lycii, and for 25 years has included goji as a key ingredient in many of its clinically derived formulas.
Many of the legendary claims attributed to goji are substantiated by modern science and show that goji supports blood sugar metabolism, visual acuity, immune health, antioxidant defense and liver health.
Planetary Herbals full Spectrum Goji Berry capsules contain two important species of goji berry: Lycium barbarum and lyceum chinensis. The lyceum barbarum extract used in our formula is standardized to 40% polysaccharides, one of the most important class of constituents. Combining this standardized extract with goji fruit extract from lyceum chinensis, ensures a broad range of the important compounds the plant naturally has to offer.
Goji’s legendary benefits are also available in Planetary Herbals Goji berry Elixir, a specially formulated blend that combines goji berry concentrate with seven additional fruit concentrates, including cranberry and elderberry which are high in flavonoids and antioxidants. The result is an antioxidant-rich tonic.
Have you had your Goji Berries Today?
July 20, 2009 11:51 AM
Valerian was used by ancient Greeks for digestion, nausea, and urinary tract disorders. A famous Greek physician, Galen, was known for prescribing valerian to be used as a decongestant. Herbalist John Gerard recommended valerian for chest congestion, convulsions, and bruises in 1597. Additionally, Native Americans traditionally used valerian for healing wounds. It was also accepted as a tranquilizer from 1820 to 1942 and was listed this way until 1950.
One of the most valuable properties of valerian is its ability to produce a deep, satisfying sleep. This herb acts as a relaxant and is an effective remedy for fighting against insomnia. The active ingredients that are found in valerian root are also responsible for relaxing smooth muscle tissue and also depressing the central nervous system. It seems as if there is no single component of valerian that is entirely responsible for all of its sedative activity. Instead, several of the constituents of valerian are responsible for causing the sedative effect when combined together. Like other standard sleep aids that are often prescribed, valerian works in the same way. However, it possesses an advantage in the fact that it does not cause the morning grogginess that is often linked to prescription sleep medications.
There have been many different studies conducted which have all led to the belief that valerian possesses benefits for insomnia, anxiety, and stress. Valerian is also extremely useful for all kinds f sleep disorders, especially when those sleep disorders are related to anxiety, nervousness, headache pain, or even physical and mental exhaustion. Research has proven that valerian is not only effective in treating insomnia, but also in reducing sleep latency and night awakenings.
Valerian has been shown to be great for the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, and the nerves and the brain. It has also shown possibilities in helping with epilepsy, hysteria, migraines, and the elimination of worms. It does all of these things because it works to calm anxiety, muscle spasms, and nervous tension. In addition to the ability to relax and calm, valerian can help to improve mental acuity and coordination. One study even found that those individuals who were hyperactive were able to concentrate for longer periods of time with the assistance of valerian.
Valerian is rich in calcium, which gives it to the ability to strengthen the spine, nerves, and brain. This herb is also high in magnesium and manganese. Both of these minerals work with calcium in order to build healthy bones and nervous system. Valerian is high in selenium, which strengthens the body against immune related disorders. The niacin content that is found in valerian helps to prevent cholesterol build-up, irritability, depression, loss of memory, and weakness. This herb also contains potassium, iron, sodium, zinc, silicon, and vitamins A and C. There appear to be no contraindications to the use of valerian during pregnancy or lactation. Valerian is thought to be safe for almost everyone. Although safe, this herb is usually recommended for short-term use.
Great herbs like valerian are available in capsule, tablet, and liquid extract forms at your local or internet health food store. For more information about valerian and its benefits, contact your local health food retailer. Always purchase name brands to ensure quality and purity of the valerian product you purchase.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Natural 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.
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.
Lutein 20mg (FloraGlo)
September 26, 2008 03:49 PM
Maintains Healthy Visual Function*
It has been well established that lutein is present in high concentrations in the retinal tissue of the human eye. However, a study was conducted in human volunteers to determine whether taking lutein in supplement form actually increased the density of the carotenoid pigments present in the macula. In this study of eight individuals, researchers estimated the density of the macular pigments prior to having each individual take 10 mg of lutein daily in supplement form for 12 weeks. Plasma lutein concentrations were measured at 4-week intervals. During the first four weeks of the study, plasma levels increased five-fold from pre-supplement measures, and then remained at this level for the duration of the study. It was also shown that, due to increased deposition of lutein in optical tissues, macular pigment density increased by an average of 5.3% at the 4-week mark, and continued to increase until the duration of the study.1
A study was also conducted to investigate the possible role of specific nutrients in protecting the lens of the eye against aging, a risk factor for compromised visual function. The study was comprised of 376 individuals aged from 18 to 75. Of the nutrients measured, it was found that the lenses of individuals with higher concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin showed less of an effect from the aging process. The investigators concluded that these carotenoids might play a protective role in supporting the maintenance of healthy vision.2
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was a landmark study of the effects of diet and antioxidant supplementation on eye health. The study enrolled over 3500 subjects aged 55 to 80 years who were followed for approximately 6 years. Among the data collected in this multi-faceted study was a self-administered Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). The AREDS Report No. 22 examined the data from the FFQs and determined that, of the nutrients evaluated, only lutein and zeaxanthin were directly related to maintaining eye health with statistical significance3. These findings corroborated similar results of an earlier multi-center study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that also found that those with a higher intake of lutein and zeaxanthin maintained healthier eye function.4 These promising results have spurred the design of a second major clinical trial (AREDS2), which is currently enrolling participants to study the impact of supplemental xanthophylls (FloraGLO® Lutein and zeaxanthin) and other nutrients on age-related eye health.5
In addition, a double-blind placebo controlled trial was performed in ninety individuals who had signs of compromised visual function. Individuals were divided into three groups and received either 10 mg FloraGLO® lutein, 10 mg FloraGLO® lutein plus a multivitamin/multimineral formulation, or placebo for 12 months. In both the FloraGLO® lutein and FloraGLO® lutein plus other nutrients groups, improvements were seen in mean eye macular pigment optical density, visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. No improvements were noted in the placebo group.6 These results demonstrate FloraGLO® lutein’s beneficial effect on maintaining healthy visual function.
Newly published research has demonstrated that lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation may enhance visual performance under glare conditions. Forty healthy subjects took daily doses of 10 mg FloraGLO® Lutein plus 2 mg zeaxanthin for six months. They were evaluated for changes in macular pigment, glare disability and photostress recovery at the onset of the study, and at 1, 2, 4 and six months. After six months, subjects experienced an average increase in macular pigment optical density (MPOD) of 39% compared to baseline, and all but two participants experienced some increase in MPOD. This increase in MPOD was also directly related to measured improvements in visual performance after exposure to bright light, as well as photostress recovery.7 This study suggests another way in which lutein and zeaxanthin can help support optimal visual function in healthy individuals.
Potent Antioxidant Protection*
Most of the beneficial effects of lutein are ascribed to its potent free radical scavenging abilities. It is well-known that lutein is a carotenoid related to beta-carotene and possesses antioxidant activity against a number of reactive oxygen species.8
More direct evidence for the free radical scavenging activity of lutein is found in studies of its effects on human lens epithelial cells. Cell cultures were exposed to ultraviolet light after pretreatment with lutein or alpha-tocopherol. Both nutrients were found to reduce ultraviolet-induced damage to lens epithelial cells. However, lutein was shown to have significantly higher photoprotective activity than alpha-tocopherol9 demonstrating its potential as a high-powered antioxidant.
A further review of the mechanisms of lutein in conferring a protective role reveals evidence for its antioxidant activity in various body tissues. Lutein has been shown to be an effective antioxidant in vitro as well as in experimental models of a number of body systems.10
Supports Healthy Skin*
A recent randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study has demonstrated the positive effects of oral and topical administration of lutein on skin health parameters (surface lipids, hydration, photoprotective activity, skin elasticity and skin lipid peroxidation). Forty female subjects were divided into four treatment groups. Treatment options included oral administration of 5 mg of FloraGLO® Lutein twice daily or placebo and topical administration of 50 ppm FloraGLO® Lutein twice daily or placebo. Each treatment group received either an active oral treatment with a placebo topical treatment, a placebo oral treatment with an active topical treatment, both active treatments, or both placebo treatments. Statistically significant improvements were seen in all five parameters tested in all treatment groups compared to the group receiving only placebos. The greatest overall improvements were seen in the group receiving both active oral and topical treatments, while lesser but still significant improvement was seen in both the active oral only and the active topical only groups. Additionally, oral administration of lutein conferred superior photoprotective activity (as measured by skin surface redness after exposure to ultraviolet light) and prevention of lipid peroxidation (as indicated by levels of malondialdehyde in skin lipids after exposure to ultraviolet light) than either topical lutein or placebo.11
Diverse Cinical Benefits*
Evidence from various experimental trials suggests that lutein may play a protective role on the circulatory and cardiovascular systems. Its antioxidant activity may also extend to the heart, skin, lungs and blood vessels, making it a nutrient with diverse clinical benefits. Lutein possesses the ability to promote the health of many body tissues.12
Suggested Adult Use: One softgel daily with food, or as directed by a health care professional.
Does Not Contain: milk, egg, wheat, sugar, sweeteners, starch, salt, or preservatives.
1. Berendschot TT, et al. Influence of lutein supplementation on macular pigment, assessed with two objective techniques. Invest Opthalmol Vis Sci. 2000 Oct; 41(11): 3322-6.
2. Berendschot TT, et al. Lens aging in relation to nutritional determinants and possible risk factors for age-related cataract. Arch Opthalmol. 2002 Dec; 120(12): 1732-7.
3. Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. The relationship of dietary carotenoid and vitamin A, E, and C intake with age-related macular degeneration in a case-control study: AREDS Report No. 22. Arch Ophthalmol. 2007 Sep; 125(9): 1225-32.
4. Seddon JM, et al. Dietary Carotenoids, Vitamins A, C, and E, and Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. JAMA. 1994 Nov; 272(18):1413-1420.
5. www.nei.nih.gov/neitrials/viewStudyWeb.aspx?id=120. Clinical Studies Database. Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2). Last Updated 2/28/2008. Viewed 5/15/2008.
6. Richer S, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 2004 Apr; 75(4): 216-230.
7. Stringham JM and Hammond BR. Macular pigment and visual performance under glare conditions. Optom Vis Sci. 2008 Feb; 85(2):82-8.
8. “Lutein and Zeaxanthin”. PDR Health. www.gettingwell.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/lut_0164.shtml
9. Chitchumroonchokchai C, et al. Xanthophylls and alpha-tocopherol decrease UVB-induced lipid peroxidation and stress signaling in human lens epithelial cells. J Nutr. 2004 Dec; 134(12): 3225-32.
10. Krinsky NI. Possible biologic mechanisms for a protective role of xanthophylls. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 540S-542S.
11. Palombo P, et al. Beneficial Long-Term Effects of Combined Oral/Topical Antioxidant Treatment with the Carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin on Human Skin: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2007; 20: 199-210.
12. Mares-Perlman JA, et al. The body of evidence to support a protective role for lutein and zeaxanthin in delaying chronic disease. Overview. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 518S-524S.
September 05, 2008 09:02 AM
Bilberry has been used most commonly for centuries as a food, with the English traditionally eating bilberries with a rich cream. Large amounts of bilberries were imported annually from Holland, Germany and Scandinavia for use by pastry cooks and restaurant keepers to make jams, liqueurs, wines, and desserts up until World War II. Bilberry’s use is not only limited to food, as the juice of bilberry yields a clear, dark blue or purplish dye that has often been used to color wool in England.
Over the years, the bilberry fruit has gained recognition for its medicinal properties. Decoctions of the leaves and bark of the root have been used for a topical application to treat mouth and throat ulcers. Syrups have also been made from a mixture of the berries and honey to treat intestinal issues.
Additionally, the berries are very rich in vitamin C, with their astringent action explaining their historical use for diarrhea and dysentery. Many believe that the berries contain a pigment that can kill many strains of bacteria. Bilberry fruit and tea that are dried have been used to treat nausea as well as indigestion. Along with the above, other traditional applications of bilberry include inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat, eyestrain or fatigue, and as a circulatory tonic. The leaves and berries have also been used for a homeopathic treatment of diabetes.
One of the main reasons that bilberry’s medicinal value came to attention in the Western world was because of its legendary ability to improve the nighttime vision of the British Royal Air force pilots during World War II. After consuming bilberry, it was found that they experienced improved visual acuity, making it easier to carry our nighttime bombing raids. It was also found that their eyes could adjust to darkness quicker and their vision was able to better correct after the effects of prolonged glare.
In the proceeding years, scientific research found that bilberry offered a wide range of benefits for both vision and other vascular disorders. French studies found that bilberry supplementation significantly enhanced the ability to adjust for glare and darkness. Bilberry can help to prevent compromised vision for anyone who is susceptible to eyestrain. In the last few decades, more studies have confirmed the medicinal value of bilberry for a variety of eye disorders. Bilberry is routinely used by European medical practitioners for patients with cataracts, venous insufficiency, visual disorders, peptic ulcers, capillary fragility, and even dysmenorrheal.
Finally, bilberry has a great effect on the activity of many enzymes that participate in inflammatory responses. Those who bruise easily or have trouble with capillary weakness can benefit from the anthocyanidin content of bilberry. These anthocyanidins offer many actions including: stimulating the production of collagen; protecting existing collagen stores in the connective tissue; preventing the formation and release of inflammatory compounds including histamine, prostaglandins, and leukotrines; preventing certain enzyme reactions that occur as a result of inflammatory conditions; and scavenging for free radicals to reduce cellular damage from oxidizing agents.
May 30, 2008 02:43 PM
You're ready to leave the house, you're already running late and you can't remember where you put the keys. You try retracing your steps, check all of your coat pockets and start to panic. You can't remember where you put them or where you last saw them. Does this sound familiar? Do you have trouble focusing clearly? Our thinking process slows as we age. It is as if a cloud lingers over our brains, making it impossible to think clearly.
Improve Your Mind with Bacopa Extract
There is help for people who can't learn or think as fast as they once could. An all-natural product, bacopa extract, has been used for thousands of years as a "brain tonic" in India. It has been used to enhance memory, learning and concentration. This aquatic plant has strong antioxidant powers. It helps people retain new information by stimulating the brain's neurotransmitters.
Bacopa extract can be used for:
* Relieving anxiety
It also has antispasmodic and anti-allergic properties.
Clinical Study Proves Benefits of Bacopa Extract
A study reported in the August 2002 issue of Neuropsychopharmocolgy, "Chronic Effects of Brahmi (Bacopa) on Human Memory," stated positive results. The study found that "Brahmi decreased the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information."
This means you can learn faster and think more clearly when taking a bacopa extract. Consider, for example, a situation in which you are meeting people for the first time and being introduced to them by name. Will you be able to remember any of their names when you see them across the room in 10 minutes? How about if you run into them a few weeks later?
What if you couldn't remember their name, or worse, called them by the wrong name? That doesn't send a very good first impression. Or maybe you have been on the receiving end of this and have been repeatedly called the wrong name by someone. You know how irritating it can be. Bacopa extract can help in this type of situation. Taken daily over an extended period of time, you will see a difference in the amount of information you can retain. You won't have to struggle so much to recall where you left your keys or the name of the person you just met.
Studies have shown that bacopa extract is effective for mental acuity. It helps by smoothing neurotransmitters and relaxing the brain. It has no known side effects and is deemed safe for children, as well.
Pair Bacopa Extract with a Healthy Lifestyle for Best Results
As with any natural supplement, bacopa will not improve your mental health unless it is accompanies by healthy lifestyle choices. Make sure you get the proper rest your body needs, daily exercise and good nutrition. Furthermore, it is important to exercise your brain. Find ways to challenge your mental alertness on a daily basis. Combine this with a daily dose of bacopa extract and you will see improvement in the clarity of your thinking.
Omega-3 Fish Oil
May 02, 2008 03:07 PM
The benefits of fish oil come from two long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA primarily helps prevent behavioral and attention issues in children and adults. DHA is good for brain development starting as far back as when we are developing in the womb.
Scientists at Wayne State University in Detroit found that babies who had higher concentrations of DHA in their cord blood had greater visual, cognitive, and motor development when tested at the six month and twelfth month marks. Most pregnant women get less DHA then they need during those last few months of pregnancy. Supplementing with DHA can have profound benefits for baby as well as mother. DHA can extend gestation time which can reduce the rate of premature birthing. Some research suggests that DHA can help fight pre-eclampsia, a life threatening condition that happens to women that are pregnant. Omega-3 fish oil reduces platelet aggregation and vasoconstriction – both of which are symptoms of pre-eclampsia.
Eating fish is a good way to get the needed DHA in our diets but safety is always an issue with the fish that is being consumed. Cold water fish have been known to have potential toxins like mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, and dioxins. These toxins are not good for developing baby as well as the mother.
Brain power can be boosted in babies who are breast fed because of the high concentrations of DHA present in breast milk. Infants begin developing neuronal pathways associated with learning as soon as they are born and if they are not breast fed they should be supplementing their diet with DHA. Studies suggest that DHA plays a role in the production and regulation of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Numerous studies show that breast fed babies have greater cognitive development and visual acuity then those who are formula fed.
The importance of fish oil for infants in brain development is clearly seen, fish oil is also important for older children and adults who want a mental boost. It’s never too late to take fish oil to boost mental health; studies suggest that Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed with the consumption of omega-3 fish oil as well. Have you had your fish oil today?
If burping up fish oil is not your cup of tea, give vectomega a try. vectomega is a dry fish oil that provides the same health benefits you experience with regular oil pills minus the oil.
Fight Night Blindness, Boost Eye And Vascular Health With Bilberry
March 19, 2008 09:01 PM
Weakness of blood vessels is often seen during the aging process when blood vessels become fragile. Dark bilberry fruit has been shown to reduce blood vessel permeability, improve capillary resistance, and provide antioxidant properties, to scavenge free radicals. One way to fight the aging process of the body is to promote health in the vascular system by eating nourishing foods, exercising, and learning how to handle stress. Evidence shows that eating five servings or more a day of fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts, and some other disorders that related to blood vessel health. The dark pigment in fruits and vegetables has many health advantages.
A lot of people think that the only way to improve blood vessel health is to reduce blood cholesterol, minimizing the risk of a heart attack. That is an essential goal, but blood vessels should also have strength and integrity to maintain their health in order to carry nutrients and oxygen through the body to feed the tissues. As we age, eye function begins to diminish and causes a lot of people to fear that they are losing their eyesight.
The blood vessels decline in function, but there are other factors such as the reduction of arrestin and rhodopsin. Arrestin is a protein while rhodopsin is the light sensitive pigment that can be found in the retina. The dark pigment of fruits and vegetables is extremely important to blood vessels and the health of the structures and proteins of the eyes. Brilliant colored fruits and vegetables may prevent strokes, heart disease, and help long-term vision because they improve integrity of blood vessels.
Bilberry fruit has been studied for over 40 years for its supportive effects on blood vessel health, blood circulation, and lymph flow. Blood vessels in the brain, heart, eyes, stomach, veins in the legs, and actually anywhere in the body have the potential to leak. In many regions bilberry extract has been used to support individuals with microcirculatory disorders including varicose veins, atherosclerosis, and degenerative retinal conditions including macular degeneration and cataracts. Diabetes, atherosclerosis, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, excess alcohol and an inability to handle stress can all contribute to blood vessel disorders and cause the capillary’s membrane to thicken, therefore, increasing capillary permeability causing edema and leaking of fluid.
During the aging process, oxidative damage occurs by free radicals in the eyes, which then causes a loss in the transparency of the lens. Symptoms that occur because of this are blurred vision, increased sensitivity to glare, reduced visual acuity, color perception, and light sensitivity. When the eye structure begins to break down, vision impairment and cataract formation result. Bilberry extract has been shown to improve vision and twilight vision, helping the retina adapt to darkness and glare.
With aging, a gradual degenerative process is experienced which is caused by free radical damage to our body’s genetic material, cell membranes, and tissues. Free radicals attack blood vessel endothelial cells, and they begin to rupture. Antioxidants help to prevent AMD and reduce the damage of the retina’s photo receptors. In summary, blood vessel health is an important part of age management. By improving diet, managing stress, exercising, and supplementing with bilberry extract, one can promote the health of blood vessels throughout the body, and therefore, support the eyes.
Goji Berry Elixir Antioxidant Rich Tonic
January 26, 2008 08:25 AM
• Nutrient-rich goji extract
• Renowned longevity tonic from China
• Provides powerful antioxidant protection
• Helps maintain visual acuity
Goji is highly revered as a general health-promoting longevity tonic and has been used in Chinese herbalism for thousands of years. The antioxidants in Goji Berry Elixir support cholesterol wellness, healthy circulation and normal cellular metabolism. The addition of seven additional fruit concentrates enhances the many health benefits which goji provides. Planetary Herbals Goji Berry Elixir™ is a highly concentrated source of goji (Lycium barbarum) which is rich in polyphenols, carotenoids and other antioxidants.
1 fl oz contains:
Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) 60 mg
Proprietary Goji Fruit Blend: 15 g
Goji Berry Concentrate, Apple Concentrate, White Grape Concentrate, Pear Concentrate, Cranberry Concentrate, Elderberry Concentrate, Grape Seed Extract.
Suggested Use: 1 ounce twice daily.
Barlean’s Fish Oils
November 22, 2007 01:48 PM
It’s usually a common fact that what is best for your body is also what is best for the planet. Eating organic foods instead of processed foods; eating less food overall; and using natural medicine from herbs and nutrients to heal illnesses instead of hazardous pharmaceuticals: are god for the environment and also good for your health. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. At first glance, one exception is eating fish and taking fish oil supplements. Although these fish oils are a huge benefit to the human body, the toll that fishing is taking on marine ecosystems is far less beneficial to fish populations. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, almost three-quarters of the world’s fish species are gone to a point of no return.
Fish oils are the only abundant natural source of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Because most modern diets usually contain abundant omega-6 fatty acids these fatty acids are very low in most people’s diets. Omega-3s work as anti-inflammatory and promote good nerve transmission, heart function, and relaxed, open blood vessels, while omega-6s tend to do the opposite. By using fish oil supplements to raise levels of DHA and EPA, virtually every system of the body is benefited and protected against disease processes. These oils are currently being studied for their use in treatments against high cholesterol, depression, hypertension, and bipolar disorder. The growing popularity of these amazingly healthy foods, along with the ever-increasing pollution and habitat destruction are, together, creating a dangerous depletion of fish in our oceans.
So should we stop eating fish oil? If we do, we’ll be depriving ourselves of one of the world’s most beneficial foods, which helps our cardiovascular system, bones, joints, skin, energy levels, healthy pregnancy, visual acuity, hormone balance, psychological health, thinking ability, and sexual and emotional health. Fortunately, there is an alternative in getting your omega-3s. The answer is through buying your fish oil from a company that is dedicated to sustainable fish practices. Omega-3 is found in fish oil and flax seeds. Some fish oil suppliers use a reef netting to catch Puget Sound salmon, which has been practiced by native people of the northwest for centuries using boats and nets made from cedar. Reef netting has been declared the “best sustainable fishing method in practice today” by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Reef nets mimic natural barriers that salmon routinely navigate, where they are caught and taken to a holding tank on the deck of the boat within minutes. Any by catch is then quickly and easily returned to sea unharmed. Fish oils should be made from anchovy and sardines that have been harvested from the coast of Peru, while their Cod Liver Oil is sourced from Artic cod off the coast of Norway, all of which have very healthy populations. A reputable company will make sure to choose where they source their fish oils, picking only the cleanest, purest fish to provide to consumers. After the oil arrives at a company, it goes through at least five different purification processes which eliminate any toxins and prevent spoilage before distillation.
An Alternative to Oily fish oil
Europharma has come out with Vectomega, a fish oil supplement in tablet form that provides the same great DHA and EPA health benefits that regular fish oil softgels do with out the oil. you have no fear of burping up oil with Vectomega fish oil.
Pycnogenol: Heart, Blood Sugar and Cellular Health
November 03, 2006 12:16 PM
Pycnogenol (pronounced pic-nojen-all) is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France. Pycnogenol® consists of particularly bioactive flavonoid species and its purity is in strict accordance with the United States Pharmacopoeia. Pycnogenol® was initially developed 35 years ago in Europe. During the past years it evolved as one of the most thoroughly researched nutritional supplements, with over 200 studies published in peer-reviewed journals. Seventy of these studies were clinical with in total more than 4,000 patients. Pycnogenol® taken in dosages from 25mg to 300mg is well tolerated and Pycnogenol® was attributed “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the FDA.
Pycnogenol® supports healthy capillaries
The “Career” of Pycnogenol® began in Europe, where it was first used to maintain vein and capillary health. Pycnogenol® has been shown to strengthen blood vessel walls, with 15 clinical trials showing fast relief from ankle and foot discomfort. A recent study with 200 passengers on long-haul flights showed that Pycnogenol® taken before departure and again during the flight supports foot comfort and healthy circulation. Travelers typically comment that with Pycnogenol® it is much easier to put shoes on again upon arrival. Clinicians in Germany discovered that Pycnogenol® also supports healthy capillaries in the eyes. Retinal capillaries may be affected by imbalanced blood sugar levels. In a multi-center field study with 1169 subjects Pycnogenol® supported healthy capillaries in the retina and improved visual acuity to some extent.
Pycnogenol® benefits the cardiovascular system
More detailed investigation of the interaction of Pycnogenol® with blood vessel walls at the University of Florida, Tampa led to an amazing discovery. Pycnogenol® stimulates an enzyme in blood vessel walls that is responsible for generating the most important vascular mediator, known as “nitric oxide” (NO). NO triggers relaxation of the arteries and supports clear blood flow. Hence, NO is the body’s mediator for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and circulation. NO plays such an important function for cardiovascular health that Dr. Louis Ignarro (UCLA) and his co-workers received the Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1987.
A number of factors, including aging, can interfere with the body’s efficient production of NO. Supplementation with Pycnogenol® for four weeks was shown to restore NO production and improve blood supply to the fingertips of elderly people in a Japanese study. Microscopic evaluation of blood vessel diameter at the root of fingernails showed an increased diameter of capillaries allowing better blood perfusion. Specific sensors applied to the legs showed increased oxygen and decreased carbon dioxide presence. Better blood, nutrient and oxygen supply with Pycnogenol® benefits everybody. Italian researchers were able to show that regular intake of Pycnogenol® helps defy muscle cramps and minor pain in athletes.
The relaxation of arteries has a favorable effect on blood pressure. In two clinical studies Pycnogenol® taken for at least eight weeks was found to significantly support normal blood pressure.
Pycnogenol® stimulated NO generation directly translates into clear blood flow. This was first demonstrated at the University of Arizona, Tucson in smokers. Pycnogenol® dose-dependently, starting at a single dose of 25mg, countered the typical effects of cigarette smoking on the blood. Also, Italian vascular specialists found that Pycnogenol® supported the circulation of individuals on flights between New York and London.
Pycnogenol® supports healthy blood sugar levels
Pycnogenol® can support normal glucose levels when taken as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle plan. A clinical investigation has confirmed the significant glucose-lowering effect of Pycnogenol®. It was noted that Pycnogenol® did not affect insulin levels. Pycnogenol® appears to facilitate previously insulin-resistant cells to uptake sugar from the blood stream by yet unknown mechanisms.
Pycnogenol® limits cellular irritation
Two clinical studies carried out in Germany this year with student volunteers demonstrated that Pycnogenol® has a potent effect in preventing cellular irritation. Pycnogenol® inhibits a molecular “main-switch” in immune cells that triggers the onset of cellular irritation in any part of the body. Moreover, Pycnogenol® was found to inhibit so-called COX enzymes, which are involved with minor pain-sensation related to cellular irritation.
Pycnogenol® sooths menstrual pain
Japanese gynecologists discovered in 1999 that regular supplementation with Pycnogenol® soothes the normal discomfort of menstrual pain, particularly during cramping. Another clinical investigation of 47 women in year 2004 confirmed the effect of Pycnogenol® in addressing menstrual pain. This year a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center field study with 116 women again confirmed these results. Pycnogenol® is not suitable for on-demand relief during menstruation. The studies show that Pycnogenol® reached highest efficacy when taken regularly for months.
Pycnogenol® helps to support respiratory health
Challenges to normal respiratory function may result from incidents the immune system perceives as harmful. Pycnogenol® offers valuable help in supporting respiration due to its immune-modulating effect and its ability to limit cellular irritation. A study at the University of Arizona found that Pycnogenol® supports clear breathing and lowers mediators of cellular irritation in the blood stream. More recently, a placebo-controlled clinical study at the University of California, Loma Linda described how Pycnogenol® supported healthy respiration in 60 children aged 6-18 years. Pycnogenol® needs to be taken continuously for prolonged periods of time for maximum benefit to the respiratory system.
Pycnogenol® is investigated in clinical trials all over the world. New findings are posted on the website www.pycnogenol.com.
Frank Schonlau Ph.D. is a biochemist who has spent nine years in medical research at the University Clinic of Munster Germany. His area of expertise covers vascular disorders, inflammation and dermatology. He has published more than 20 studies and review articles in the medical literature. Since entering the dietary field in 1999 he was involved in numerous studies on Pycnogenol® and communication of new health discoveries.
Lutein to fight age-related macular degeneration!
February 27, 2006 05:53 PM
Lutein: The Antiordinary Antioxidant
Lutein belongs to a class of compounds known as carotenoids. Carotenoids in general are yellow, orange, or red pigments responsible for many of the colors of the foods we consume each day. To date, over 600 carotenoids have been identified in nature, but are only produced by plants, algae and bacteria leaving humans and animals to consume carotenoids in the diet. Forty to fifty carotenoids are consumed in the typical US diet, but only 14 have been detected in the blood, indicating a selective use of specific carotenoids by the body. Lutein is one of these carotenoids found in the blood and has been increasingly associated with eye health over the last decade.
Lutein’s role in eye health
In the human eye, lutein is concentrated in the center of the retina in an area known as the macula. Lutein is deposited in the macula through the lutein we consume in out diet or through supplements. This area is responsible for human central vision and is colored intensely yellow due to high concentrations of lutein. Lutein is thought to be beneficial for eye health by reducing damage in the eye in two ways: 1) by absorbing blue light (blue light is thought to increase free radical formation in the eye) and 2) by acting as an antioxidant, reducing damage in the eye caused by free radicals. Leading carotenoid researchers believe these functions may lead to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Age-related macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the USA in those over 65. twenty-five and thirty million people are afflicted worldwide and currently there are no effective treatments for the disease. The disease has two forms known as dry and wet AMD.
Ninety percent of AMD cases diagnosed are the dry form. In dry AMD, also referred to as early AMD, debris deposits under the center of the retina (known as the macula) interfering with its normal function. Parts of the macula atrophy, causing the central vision to slowly become dimmer or more blurry. Wet age-related macular degeneration, also known as late AMD, often develops in areas where dry AMD exists. Abnormal blood vessels grow and leak blood and fluid under the macula, causing scarring, which leads to rapid loss of central vision.
Dr. Joanna Seddon published one of the first studies demonstrating a link between lutein intake and AMD risk in 1994 (1). This epidemiological study compared the risk of developing AMD to nutrient intake and showed a significant reduction in risk for developing AMD as lutein intake reached 6mg per day (57% reduction in risk). Since the Seddon study, researchers have shown that increasing dietary lutein intake raises blood levels of lutein as well as levels of lutein in the eye (2). Bone et al. demonstrated that eyes with higher levels of lutein were less likely to be afflicted with AMD (3).
The latest clinical trial that investigated lutein’s role in AMD is known as the lutein antioxidant supplementation trial (L.A.S.T) (4). This study evaluated the effects of lutein supplementation for one year in 90 veterans diagnosed with dry AMD. Supplementation with lutein in these subjects significantly increased the concentration of lutein in the macula. Improvements in visual function were also detected with lutein supplementation. Glare recovery, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity were all improved. This study continues to build on clinical evidence that the dry form of AMD may be responsive to changes in nutrition.
A cataract is a natural clouding of the lens, the area of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. For most people, cataracts are a natural result of aging. Currently in the US, cataracts are the second leading cause of blindness in the elderly behind AMD.
Lutein is the major carotenoid that has been identified in the human lens asn is thought to provide similar benefits to the leans that are seen in the retina. Two large epidemiological studies consisting of >70,000 women (age 45-71) and >30,000 men (age 45-75) compared the risk of cataract extraction to nutrient intake (5,6). Similar to AMD, a significant reduction in risk of cataract extraction was associated with lutein intakes of 6mg per day (20% reduction in risk). Besides cataract extraction, higher levels of lutein consumption have been associated with a decreased risk of cataract development and improvements in visual acuity and glare sensitivity in people with age-related cataracts.
The richest source of free lutein in the typical US diet are dark green leafy vegetables, with the highest concentration found in kale followed by spinach.
The average daily lutein intake is low, average between 1-2 mg/day. Currently there is no recommendations of the dietary guidelines for Americans 2005 (9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day) you would consume between 4 and 8 mg of lutein a day (7). Epidemiological evidence, animal models, and clinical data have indicated levels of 6-10 mg a day may be necessary to realize the health benefits associated with lutein consumption. By continuing to increase our intake of lutein, we begin to ensure the optimal health of our eyes.
Seddon et al. (1994) dietary carotenoids, vitamin a, c, and e, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye disease case-control study group. JAMA. 272: 1413-20.
Bone et al. (2000) Lutein and zeaxanthin in the eyes, serum and diet of human subjects. Exp. Eye Res. 71: 239-45.
Bone et al. (2001) Macular pigment in donor eyes with and without AMD: a case-control study. Invest. Ophthalmal. Vis Sci. 42: 235-40.
Richer et al. (2004) Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-relaged macular degeneration: the veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 75: 216-30.
Brown et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid intake and risk of cataract extraction in the US men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 517-24.
Chasen-Taber et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid and vitamin A intakes and risk of cataract extraction in US women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 509-16
HHS/USDA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. //www.healthierus.Gov/dietaryguidelines/CDC. National health and nutrition examination survey data 2001-2002. //www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhanes/nhanes01-02.html
Brandon lewis, Ph.D. is the applied research and Technical services manager at kemin health, L.C. in des moines, iowa. His responsibilities include the initiation and management of laboratory projects pertaining to the inclusion and analysis of kemin ingredients in vitamins and dietary supplements, as well as developing new applications and prototypes that include kemin ingredients. Prior to joining kemin, Brandon was enrolled at the university of Florida where he received his Ph.D. in Nutritional Science from the department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Fuji Hosts Astaxanthin Symposium
November 28, 2005 12:41 PM
Mount Laurel, N.J.—Fuji Chemical Industry Co. Ltd. Hosted the inaugural symposium of the Japanese Society for Astaxanthin (JSA). The event featured recent research on astaxanthin, including a Hokkaido University study connecting astaxanthin supplementation to improvements in visual asthenopia (eye fatigue) and accommodation levels (switching focus between two fixed distances)l a University of Medicine mechanism-of-action study illustrating how astaxanthin may inhibit kidney damage and modulate blood sugar levels; and a University of juntendo study linking astaxanthin to improved visual acuity and reduced lactic acid levels in athletes. Other topics discussed at the symposium included astaxanthin’s safety profile and beneficial effects on blood pressure. Charles DePrince, president of Fuji Health Science said, “I see the new Japanese Society for Astaxanthin as an impetus to more science and an opportunity to globalize the awareness of this exceptional carotenoids. I would like to see the society expand to an international level. To further this idea and the awareness of astaxanthin, Fuji Health Science would like to sponsor a similar symposium next year in North America.”
Best Lutein Featuring Biolut Marigold Ext., 60 VC
July 27, 2005 11:54 AM
It has been well established that lutein is present in high concentrations in the retinal tissue of the human eye. However, a study was conducted in human volunteers to determine whether taking lutein in supplement form actually increased the density of the carotenoid pigments present in the macula. In this study of eight individuals, researchers estimated the density of the macular pigments prior to having each individual take 10 mg of lutein daily in supplement form for 12 weeks. Plasma lutein concentrations were measured at 4-week intervals. During the course of the study, plasma levels increased five-fold from pre-supplement measures. It was also shown that macular pigment density increased by an average of 5.3% after 4 weeks due to increased deposition of lutein in optical tissues.1
A second study compared the oral bioavailability of esterified lutein, the form in Best Lutein, versus non-esterified lutein in 18 human volunteers. Serum levels of lutein were measured at particular timepoints after consumption of a single dose of lutein. Researchers found that in these individuals, the lutein ester formulation was nearly 62% more bioavailable than non-esterified lutein, as determined by a higher mean area under the curve (AUC) and higher serum concentrations.2
A study was also conducted to investigate the possible role of specific nutrients in protecting the lens of the eye against aging, a risk factor for compromised visual function. The study was comprised of 376 individuals aged from 18 to 75. Of the nutrients measured, it was found that the lenses of individuals with higher concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin showed less of an effect from the aging process. The investigators concluded that these carotenoids may play a protective role in supporting the maintenance of healthy vision.3
In addition, a double-blind placebo controlled trial was performed in ninety individuals who had signs of compromised visual function. Individuals were divided into three groups and received either 10 mg lutein, 10 mg lutein plus a multivitamin/multimineral formulation, or placebo for 12 months. In both the lutein and lutein plus other nutrients groups, improvements were seen in mean eye macular pigment optical density, visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. No improvements were noted in the placebo group.4 These results demonstrate lutein’s beneficial effect on maintaining healthy visual function.
• Potent Antioxidant Protection*
Most of the beneficial effects of lutein are ascribed to its potent free radical scavenging abilities. It is well-known that lutein is a carotenoid related to beta-carotene and possesses antioxidant activity against a number of reactive oxygen species.5
More direct evidence for the free radical scavenging activity of lutein is found in studies of its effects on human lens epithelial cells. Cell cultures were exposed to ultraviolet light after pretreatment with lutein or alpha-tocopherol. Both nutrients were found to reduce ultraviolet-induced damage to lens epithelial cells. However, lutein was shown to have significantly higher photoprotective activity than alpha-tocopherol6, demonstrating its potential as a high-powered antioxidant.
A further review of the mechanisms of lutein in conferring a protective role reveals evidence for its antioxidant activity in various body tissues. Lutein has been shown to be an effective antioxidant in vitro as well as in experimental models of a number of body systems.7
• Diverse clinical benefits*
Evidence from various experimental trials suggests that lutein may play a protective role on the circulatory and cardiovascular systems. Its antioxidant activity may also extend to the heart, skin, lungs and blood vessels, making it a nutrient with diverse clinical benefits. Lutein possesses the ability to promote the health of many body tissues.8 Safety
Suggested Adult Use: One capsule daily, or as directed by a health care professional. Take with or without food.
2. Bowen PE, et al. Esterification does not impair lutein bioavailability in humans. J Nutr. 2002 December; 132: 3668-3673.
3. Berendschot TT, et al. Lens aging in relation to nutritional determinants and possible risk factors for age-related cataract. Arch Opthalmol. 2002 Dec; 120(12): 1732-7.
4. Richer S, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 2004 Apr; 75(4): 216-230.
5. "Lutein and Zeaxanthin". PDR Health.
6. Chitchumroonchokchai C, et al. Xanthophylls and alpha-tocopherol decrease UVB-induced lipid peroxidation and stress signaling in human lens epithelial cells. J Nutr. 2004 Dec; 134(12): 3225-32.
7. Krinsky NI. Possible biologic mechanisms for a protective role of xanthophylls. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 540S-542S.
8. Mares-Perlman JA, et al. The body of evidence to support a protective role for lutein and zeaxanthin in delaying chronic disease. Overview. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 518S-524S.
PYCNOGENOL - ITS REMARKABLE BENEFITS
July 13, 2005 12:26 PM
PYCNOGENOL - ITS REMARKABLE BENEFITS
New to North America but not to Europe, this natural product is considered safe and effective in the treatment of various diseases and for the maintenance of optimal health. This family of bioflavonoids is non-toxic, water soluble and highly bioavailable. Because proanthocyanidins scavenge free radicals so effectively, they have shown remarkable curative effects. Extensive research demonst rates that proanthocyanidins are such potent antioxidants, they find and neutralize free radicals with great rapidity, allowing cells to regenerate rather than deteriorate. Specific actions associated with Pycnogenol include:
PYCNOGENOL SPECIFICALLY TARGETS: SKIN AND ELASTICITY
Testing has suggested that Pycnogenol flavonoids exhibited an anti-enzyme effect which prevented the break down of collagen and elastin, the very compounds which keep skin firm and inhibit the formation of wrinkles.7
TUMOR RELATED DISEASES
Unquestionably, studies have shown that Pycnogenol has the ability to inhibit cellular mutations.8 The implications of this finding for anyone suffering from tumor related disease which originates from cellular malfunctions should not be underestimated.
The potential of Pycnogenol to pr e vent cellular deterioration or uncontrolled growth is profound to say the least. Several investigations have shown that if it is taken on a daily basis, Pycnogenol benefits people suffering from cardiovascular diseases and breast tumors.9 In addition, double blind placebo controlled studies have indicated that patients suffering from circulatory insufficiencies and diseases of the lymph system showed significant improvement in pain control and vessel elasticity after taking these flavonoids.10
Subsequent experiments concluded that the family of bioflavonoids contained in Pycnogenol is capable of improving night vision and initialing “a rapid and marked improvement of visual performances after glare in comparison with control group.”11
WATER RETENTION AND EDEMA
Pycnogenol is particularly valuable for anyone who suffers from water retention and edema. Studies at the Institute of Physiology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences confirm that this biofl avonoid compound stabilized capillary walls, which decreased fluid leakage into tissues which causes swelling and pressure.12
WHAT PATHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS RESPOND TO PYCNOGENOL?
The bioflavonoids found in Pycnogenol have been clinically indicated in the following pathological conditions:
PYCNOGENOL HAS THERAPEUTIC VALUE FOR THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
PYCNOGENOL CAN CROSS THE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER
One of the most significant advantages of this flavonoid compound is its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Consequently, it acts as an invaluable therapeutic agent in treating depression, chronic fatigue, insomnia or loss of memory.
ANTI-ULCER FORMING PROPERTIES
Other scientific tests have indicated that proanthocyanidins also posses anti-ulcer properties and may work to prevent the formation of undesirable chemicals in the stomach.13
Pep Up and Go!
June 14, 2005 05:45 PM
Pep Up and Go!
by Harris Parker Energy Times, February 2, 2000
Feel your energy flagging?
You've lost count of the number of phone calls you fielded all afternoon-the last was from your son, who missed the late bus home from school-and colleagues needing your decision are lined up outside your office. Your husband has invited clients home for dinner. You wilt like a new hairdo on a damp August day and pray for a miracle to jump-start your engine.
Your pep quotient depends on three essential ingredients: nutrients you consume through your diet and supplements, how much you exercise and your sleep schedule.(Of course, if you're troubled by any kind of disabling, ceaseless fatigue accompanied by mental fuzziness, joint pain, sore throat, swollen glands, headaches and other chronic distress, consult your health practitioner.)
Vitamins and Energy
Certain nutrients are called vitamins because scientists consider them to be crucial for vitality. They generally function as coenzymes, partnering with the enzymes that are catalysts for the chemical reactions constantly taking place in our bodies. Our need to replenish our store of vitamins, which may merge with cell, muscle, enzyme, hormone, blood and bone structure once they have been absorbed, depends on their rate of utilization, according to The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery) by Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning.
While a low-fat diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables helps supply important nutrients, a B complex supplement and a balanced multivitamin can guarantee daily vitamin levels.
Be Energetic with B Vitamins
Vitamins, especially the B vitamins, play extremely important roles in producing cellular energy. The chart on page 39 lists the key vitamins and describes their effects as well as the consequences of not getting enough of them. Their benefit is felt most profoundly in the energy producing process known as the Krebs cycle (which we'll explain in a moment).
Vitamins B2 and B3, for example, supply the major building blocks for substances that are called flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD and FADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD and NADH), which are critical elements of energy production in the Krebs cycle as well as a process called oxidative phosphorylation.
Hundreds of Reactions
Even though you may never have heard of NAD and NADH, these molecules are found in very many places throughout your body; they play a role in hundreds of biochemical reactions in all kinds of cells. B vitamins also combine with other materials to build coenzymes, chemicals which help form other chemicals necessary for cellular energy. B vitamins are crucial: miss out on one or more and you may break these metabolic chains necessary for peak energy.
Energy to Spend
The main energy currency of every cell single cell is ATP: a chemical called adenosine triphosphate. This material is used by cells for every imaginable task including reproduction, growth, movement and metabolism. Specialized metabolic cycles within the cell are designed to generate ATP.
Consequently, the more ATP our cells create, the more energy can be generated. The raw materials used to make cellular energy are glucose (blood sugar) and "free" fatty acids. The best way to supply your cells with the sugar they need is to consume complex carbohydrates which also supply fiber and other nutrients. When you eat carbohydrates, they are made into glucose which is stored as a starch called glycogen in muscles and the liver. Your body can rapidly turn glycogen into glucose for extra energy. (The process of making energy from glycogen yields carbon dioxide and water as well as ATP.)
The first step in making glucose into energy is called glycolysis. This complicated process requires nine different steps. During these steps, glucose is made into a substance called pyruvate. The process of glycolysis requires ATP, but yields twice as much ATP as is present when it starts.
From here, the process gets a little more complicated as pyruvate enters into a complex chain of events in tiny cellular structures called mitochondria. (Many metabolic events take place in the mitochondria.) The pyruvate molecules are converted to a molecule known as acetyl coenzyme A and eventually made into carbon dioxide, water and more ATP.
This process is known as the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle. It also involves a series of events known as oxidative phosphorylation in which NADH formed during the Krebs cycle is oxidized to form ATP.
Why is fat such a concentrated source of energy? Free fatty acids enter the Krebs cycle to help generate ATP much more efficiently than glucose - producing roughly six times more energy per gram than glucose.
And Don't Overlook. . . . . .other supplements that may aid energy production: • Alpha Lipoic Acid, an antioxidant that works in the fatty tissues of cell membranes and in cells' watery interiors • Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone as it exists everywhere in the body, acts like a vitamin because it stimulates some reactions. CoQ10 protects cell membranes, especially of the heart, against oxidation and toxins.
Ginsengs: Energy Generators
With their legendary and slightly mysterious characteristics, the ginsengs are greatly respected natural energy boosters. " Perhaps no herb has excited so much interest in medical circles as ginseng, and yet, strangely, it does not actually 'cure' any one particular ailment," reports Michael Hallowell, the author of Herbal Healing (Avery) and a frequent lecturer on botanic medicine. "Rather, its virtue lies in its tremendous power as a tonic and invigorator. Russian athletes are prescribed large amounts of ginseng because researchers in Moscow have shown that it not only improves stamina, but also increases the efficiency with which blood is pumped to the muscles."
What are the physiological mechanisms that allow ginseng to bolster your get up and go? In order to unravel the legend and lore of ginseng, the first step is understanding the intricacies of the three types: • Asian (Panax ginseng), which produces the strongest and most profound stimulation; • American (Panax quinquefolium), which soothes at a more subtle level; • Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus), a stamina booster embraced by a wide range of athletes. All three varieties are treasured for their ability to help people adjust to stress.
The ginsengs are adaptogens, "biologically active substances found in certain herbs and plants that help the body and mind adapt to the changes and stress of life," says Stephen Fulder, MD, author of The Book of Ginseng and Other Chinese Herbs for Vitality (Inner Traditions). "Stress is not an illness in itself. Stress is change, our ability to adapt to all the changes that occur in life, emotional or physical, from exercise, work, chemicals, drugs, food, radiation, bacteria, disease, temperature, or simply too many late nights or too much fun."
The body reacts to stress by producing the hormone adrenaline, which throws the whole body into a state of alert. Metabolism, blood pressure and circulation accelerate; immunity and resistance drastically decline; performance suffers.
Enter the ginsengs, with their varied, subtle tonic qualities. The Greek name for this herb, "panax," means "panacea" or cure-all. But the Chinese, who first referred to it 2,000 years ago, more literally called it "ren shen" or "person root," in reference to its physical resemblance to a miniature human form.
" Most exhibit medicinal properties, but each species has a different chemical makeup and has a unique application in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)," says Kim Derek Pritts, author of Ginseng: How to Find, Grow and Use America's Forest Gold (Stackpole). "In general, all true ginseng contains biologically active saponins (chemicals similar to human hormones), essential oils, carbohydrates, sugars, organic acids, nitrogenous substances, amino acids, peptides, vitamins and minerals."
Building Vital Energy
All the ginsengs strengthen, nourish and build Qi, the TCM concept describing basic vital energy circulating through our bodies. Every physical and mental function, from breathing, thinking, nutrition and circulation, is regulated by Qi. Although many of the Native American tribes used the abundant, indigenous Panax quinquefolium ginseng extensively, particularly to increase mental acuity and boost fertility, the herb never has been as popular in North America as it is in Asia. American ginseng traditionally has been a lucrative export crop to China, where the wild native variety suffers from overharvesting. Even today, according to Paul Bergner in The Healing Power of Ginseng & the Tonic Herbs (Prima), 95% of the American ginseng crop is exported to China, where XiYang Shen, or "western sea root," as it is called, is immensely valued and costs double what it does here.
Jacques MoraMarco, author of The Complete Ginseng Handbook: A Practical Guide for Energy, Health and Longevity (Contemporary), as well as a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Eastern medicine, suggests American ginseng for a slight energy boost. The moderate effect of American ginseng is considered a more appropriate tonic to the intensity of our pace and diet.
Variations on a Theme
In TCM terms, American ginseng cools and moistens, as well as lubricates and strengthens the body. It is reputed to reduce fevers and night sweats and alleviate hot, dry lung problems like smoker's cough. With its emollient qualities, American ginseng is considered to treat dry, wrinkled skin effectively.
The Bolder Energizer
Asian ginseng, which includes red Korean panax, is a bolder energizer taken by those who feel depleted from anemia, blood loss, cardiovascular weakness, injury, shock or trauma, as well as the disabling effects of age. In general, Asian ginseng is warming and stimulating, urging the body to run faster.
Siberian ginseng, though botanically not a true ginseng, still acts similarly to Asian ginseng in its reputed power to control stress, boost energy, support the immune system, enhance performance and increase longevity. Called Wu Cha Seng in Chinese, Siberian ginseng is perceived by natural practitioners as an ideal herb for the healthy who want to lift both stamina and endurance. Experts believe it counteracts the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to injury, pain or emotional turmoil.
Natural Energy Boosters
The herbal pharmacopeia includes several other natural energy boosters available in various forms-shakes and bars for those on the run-loaded with nutrition absent from commercial snacks. Some choices: • Ginkgo biloba-used in Chinese medicine to heat the body and increase sexual energy. Ginkgo enthusiasts take this herb to increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and generally increase circulation. • Gotu kola-may stimulate the central nervous system and help eliminate excess fluid, thereby reducing fatigue. • Astragalus-a Chinese herb that enhances energy and builds the immune system. It is credited with strengthening digestion, improving metabolism, increasing appetite, combating diarrhea and healing sores. • Schisandra-also a Chinese herb, treats respiratory illness, insomnia and irritability and rejuvenates sexual energy. Its mild adaptogens help the body to handle stress. • Licorice-is a favored endocrine toner in Chinese medicine. It is reputed to support the adrenals, the pair of small glands directly above the kidneys that secrete steroidal hormones, norepinephrine and epinephrine, the "fight or flight" hormones. People with high blood pressure or edema, or pregnant women, should avoid it. • Ashwagandha-an Ayurvedic herb used for thousands of years in the traditional healing of India as a potent strength builder for men and women.
Experienced herbal practitioners acquire an impressive and fascinating store of knowledge and experience-you'll find it helpful to visit one as you begin your course of ginseng or other energy-boosting herbs.
When you visit a TCM practitioner, you'll notice that she evaluates your body's condition through an extremely careful examination of all the different systems: Several pulse points are felt in order to ferret out and detect troubling abnormalities. The condition and color of the tongue is observed to decipher digestive disorders. In addition, your urine may be examined to determine other imbalances and specific health problems.
In many cases, your TCM practitioner will recommend ginseng as an adaptogen that can give you an overall boost. When taking ginseng, follow the directions on the package. Note: in some cases, you may want to consume a little bit less if you suffer headaches, insomnia or high blood pressure. Consult your health practitioner if you are afflicted with either acute inflammatory disease or bronchitis.
Then take comfort in the eternal soothing wisdom of Chinese Traditional Medicine. In the first century A.D., the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica) effusively described ginseng and the tonic herbs in this beguiling and intriguing manner: "The first class of drugs...are considered to perform the work of sovereigns. They support human life and they resemble heaven. They are not poisonous regardless of the quality and duration of administration."
Pycnogenol Complex - The Next Generation of Antioxidant Protection
June 04, 2005 02:14 PM
If there’s one factor that has the greatest negative impact on our health, it is the damage done to our cells by free radicals. These highly unstable molecules disrupt the biochemical processes that regulate life. Although a natural product of oxygen metabolism in the body, free radicals are also produced in vast quantities by modern technology. Our bodies’ natural defenses simply have not been able to keep up with the onslaught of these dangerous products of civilization. On the other hand, technology has offered help by identifying some of nature’s most powerful weapons against free radical attack. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX is an unprecedented combination of these extremely potent plantbased antioxidants, or Plantioxidants™. Consider them your antidote to the industrial revolution.
How free radicals are formed and their effect on the body
Oxygen both makes life, and takes life. The energy that animates us comes from the biochemical reactions that burn oxygen within our cells. And though carefully regulated by the body, this biological combustion, over time, inevitably leads to cellular damage. If oxidation is not carefully controlled, tissues are damaged faster than the body can repair them. This is caused by an excess of over-reactive, electron hungry molecules called oxidants or “free radicals,” which tend to disrupt normal cellular activity. Free radicals attack a cell’s membrane and can even damage its hereditary blueprint (DNA). Since free radicals are a natural result of certain metabolic reactions, the body synthesizes several types of antioxidant enzymes to neutralize them. In addition, we get essential antioxidants from the foods we eat. Vitamins C, E and beta carotene are the ones found most often in our diet. During this century, our environment has become a perpetual source of free radical contamination, primarily from radiation and the chemical pollution in our air, water and food. Today, we are literally overwhelmed with more free radicals than our bodies are accustomed to handling. Fortunately, science has found that certain plants contain special antioxidants that are far more powerful than the vitamins we typically get in our diet. With this knowledge, Source Naturals formulated PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX, the most advanced combination of Plantioxidants available today in one product. Pycnogenol® is the proprietary name of a natural plant product made from the bark of the European coastal pine, Pinus maritima.
Natural protection against free radicals
Pycnogenol® Complex – A Cornucopia of Health Our knowledge of pine bark goes back nearly 500 years, to when the French explorer, Jacques Cartier, reported that a tea made from pine tree bark by Native Americans saved the lives of his crew who were dying of scurvy. Nutrition scientists have since isolated the extraordinary antioxidant compounds of pine bark. They have also discovered many other unique antioxidants throughout the plant kingdom. Plants have evolved bioflavonoids to protect themselves from free radical damage. One of the most abundant compounds in the plant kingdom, bioflavonoids are found in the pigments of bark, rinds, seeds, leaves and flowers.
Natural antioxidants in Pycnogenol® Complex
The active ingredients of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX are derived from a diverse range of nature’s plenty: pine bark, green tea, turmeric spice, rosemary, grape seeds, milk thistle seeds, bilberries, hawthorn berries and ginkgo leaves. Each of these Plantioxidants is an exceptional free radical scavenger, and each has a tendency to concentrate in a different organ of the body, thus providing targeted protection. And since their primary function is to capture free radicals, these Plantioxidants free up vitamin C, so it can perform its many other vital functions.
Defense Plants The two headliners of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX are the pine bark extract, Pycnogenol®, and an extract from grape seeds, Proanthodyn™. Their unsurpassed antioxidant activity – up to 20 times that of Vitamin C and up to 50 times that of Vitamin E – comes from a high concentration of proanthocyanidins.
Why Pycnogenol® Complex is formulated with extracts of pine bark and grape seed
These highly bioavailable flavonoids are able to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier, and can stay in the bloodstream for up to 72 hours. Few other nutritional antioxidants cross this barrier, and none do it as well. Proanthocyanidins therefore offer the brain and central nervous system unparalleled antioxidant protection. In particular, proanthocyanidins may help reduce the formation of lipofuscin, a brown waste material made of free radical-damaged proteins and fats. Over time, lipofuscin deposits form in the brain, heart, and skin. The “age” or “liver” spots that develop on the backs of some elderly peoples’ hands are made of lipofuscin. Because they’re rich in unsaturated fatty acids, cell membranes are the primary site of free radical attack. Proanthocyanidins are able to protect against both water- and fat-soluble free radicals. Also, their chemical structure is incorporated within cell membranes, making proanthocyanidins very effective in preventing damage to the cell’s interior. This is vital, because if a cell’s DNA is disrupted, it could lead to the abnormal reproduction of that cell. For many years now, Europeans have used pine bark and grape seed extracts to maintain vein and capillary health. Proanthocyanidins support the circulatory system by helping to keep collagen and elastin, the essential constituents of vessel walls, from breaking down during times of imbalance. And most importantly, proanthocyanidins can help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Scientists now recognize that it’s not cholesterol itself, but the oxidation of cholesterol that can be problematic.
How Plantioxidants benefit different organs in the body
The Power of Diversity
In addition to the broad protection offered by Pycnogenol® and Proanthodyn, Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX offers an outstanding array of other Plantioxidants. Each has unique abilities to protect the body from oxidants. For several thousand years, Green Tea has been enjoyed in the Orient, not only for its taste, but also as a health tonic. Upon analysis, it contains several strong antioxidants, called Polyphenols, with exceptional free radical scavenging abilities. Polyphenols have been shown to be over 200 times more effective than vitamin E in preventing oxidative damage to brain cells. Source Naturals uses a potent extract of green tea that concentrates 2,000 pounds of fresh green tea leaves into one pound of finished product. This extract has been awarded 30 patents for its protective effects. The ancient Ginkgo Biloba tree has long been prized for its beneficial qualities. Like proanthocyanidins, ginkgo’s compounds are able to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier, and support cell membrane and capillary integrity. Its particular antioxidant constituents have been associated with superior oxygen transport to the brain. This is important because the brain uses 20% of all inhaled oxygen. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX uses a superior 50 to 1 extract, providing 24% Ginkgoflavoneglycosides and 6% Terpenoids. Bilberries were first studied for their capacity to heighten visual acuity in normal subjects under poor light conditions. In fact, to increase their night vision, RAF pilots ate bilberry jam during WW II. Its antioxidant compounds, Anthocyanosides, have an affinity for delicate eye tissues, where it quenches free radicals and supports capillary strength. Source Naturals utilizes a standardized bilberry extract with 25% anthocyanosides, 80 times more potent than regular bilberry.
The wide range of natural antioxidants in Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX
Milk Thistle Seed Extract has been researched and used for over 20 years in Europe. Its antioxidant compound, called Silymarin, has a special preference for the liver. It’s one of the few nutrients that can support the liver’s natural regenerative processes. By enhancing DNA activity, liver cells can regenerate up to five times faster. Turmeric Extract contains 95% Curcumin, the active ingredient of this traditional East Indian spice. Curcumin promotes the body’s own production of antioxidant enzymes, including glutathione peroxidase, an important protector of the liver. Curcumin also increases the production and secretion of bile, which is used to remove cholesterol from the body. Quercetin has been well-researched for its free radical scavenging activity. Because of its ability to stabilize cell membranes, quercetin helps prevent damage and discomfort from reactionary (histamine- and leukotriene-related) processes in the body. Source Naturals quercetin has been isolated from plant sources. Rosemary and Hawthorn Berries both contain bioflavonoid antioxidants that have the unique ability to neutralize the hydroxyl radical, a particularly dangerous type of free radical. Hydroxyls are produced by exposure to excessive radiation and pollution from burned fossil fuels. The body has no innate defense system against it. Vitamin C is one of the most active and abundant antioxidants in the body, so it must be frequently replenished. Since it works in conjunction with bioflavonoids, each tablet of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX contains 500 mg of vitamin C, bound to Magnesium for increased bioavailability.
A World of Help
As we better understand how free radicals affect our health and well being, it’s important that we take advantage of the wonderful protective qualities found in certain plants. These Plantioxidants provide the appropriate means to counteract the destructive effects of excessive free radicals, which have become part and parcel of modern life. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX brings the diverse and concentrated power of the plant world into your world of wellness.
Higher Mind - Smart Nutrients for the Performance of a Lifetime...
June 02, 2005 12:18 PM
Our adult years are the time to reap the fruit of an active, meaningful life – appreciated by family and friends who value our experience and knowledge. For some, however, their later years are clouded by a mental decline that erodes their capacity to enjoy life. More of us are becoming apprehensive about the future health of our minds. Will we still be able to communicate our needs as well as our wisdom? As science focuses its investigative might on the workings of the human brain, new findings suggest that it is possible to enjoy a vital, healthy brain and mind – well into old age. Based on compelling research, Source Naturals formulated HIGHER MIND. It contains the most important Neuroceuticals™ now recognized by nutrition scientists – including phosphatidyl serine, a natural nutrient that promotes cognitive function. The connection is clear: nourish your brain; enrich your life.
To have a healthy, well-functioning brain and nervous system, we need the correct nutrients. Our diets must provide the necessary raw materials for nerve cells to grow, for the synthesis of neurochemicals, and for the maintenance of nerve cell membranes. Nutritional deficiencies can alter the brain’s metabolism, which is expressed by changes in perception and thinking, behavior and mood.
Brain Cells – Issued at Birth
Before birth, neurons (nerve cells) are created at the amazing rate of 15 million per hour. As infants, we have over 100 billion neurons, but this is the most we will ever have because – unlike most other cells in our body – nerve cells do not reproduce. A different strategy is used to replace the neurons that are naturally lost throughout life: nerve cells repair themselves and grow by extending branches of nerve fibers called dendrites (from the Latin word for tree). These are the communication links with other neurons that form the circuitry of the brain. A single neuron may be in contact with up to a hundred thousand others! When the density of this fragile organic communication network decreases, we experience a corresponding decline in mental acuity.
Brain Cell Membranes
The membrane is the working surface of a cell. It needs to be strong yet flexible, so the cell can maintain its integrity and be able to move and change shape. The membrane regulates the flow of nutrients into the cell and the removal of waste, plus controls the passage of molecular messages from outside the cell to its interior. Membrane ion pumps use a third of the cell’s energy just to maintain the correct ratio of sodium to potassium. In neurons, a rapid exchange of sodium and potassium ions across the nerve membrane is responsible for their unique ability to generate the electrical impulses that are the basis of all communication in the nervous system. As cells age, their membranes become less fluid and more rigid. Key membrane molecules called phospholipids are crucial to the health of neuron membranes, allowing the brain to maintain its youthful quality. The phospholipids in HIGHER MIND – especially phosphatidyl serine and phosphatidyl choline – are essential nutritional supplements for the aging brain.
Phosphatidyl Serine – Key to Cognition
For the past decade, researchers have been investigating the role in brain health of a remarkable neuroceutical, phosphatidyl serine (PS). This key structural molecule is integral to the matrix of fats and proteins that compose cell membranes. Although PS is found in all the cells of the body, its highest concentration is in nerve cell membranes. PS is rarely found in the foods we eat, so the body has to synthesize it, but the process is energy- intensive and becomes less efficient with age. Consequently, our levels of PS tend to decline as we get older. PS taken as a dietary supplement is well-absorbed, readily reaching the brain, where it helps create more effective, well-structured nerve cell membranes. The positive effects of PS supplementation have been demonstrated by 23 clinical studies with over 1200 human subjects, ages 43 to 90. Consistent and statistically significant results have confirmed the value of PS in improving age-related cognitive decline, as well as in improving behavioral aspects such as apathy and withdrawal.1 A major study concluded that for one particular measurable parameter of higher mental functions, PS recipients achieved scores of persons roughly 12 years younger.2 Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) is one of the most important proteins the body makes. It enables neurons to extend dendrites out to other neurons, allowing the brain to maintain an effective communication network. In experiments, PS enhanced the production and reception of NGF, which tend to drop off radically with age.3 The effects of PS at the cellular level are manifest in the performance of the brain as a whole. Subjects taking PS showed increased levels of brain energy metabolism. This enhancement corresponded to higher performances on cognitive tests.4
The Chemistry of Thought
Science now understands the role of neurotransmitters in regulating the body’s complex network of behavior. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals used by neurons to communicate with each other. Activated by a neuron’s electrical impulse, neurotransmitters travel between nerve cells, where they excite or inhibit (in various degrees) the electrical impulse in neighboring cells. One of HIGHER MIND’S key strategies is to improve the brain’s ability to produce and use acetylcholine, a key excitatory neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine is essential for both the storage and recall of memory, and partly responsible for concentration and focus. It also plays a significant role in muscular coordination. Patients showing cognitive decline may exhibit reduced ability to synthesize and utilize acetylcholine.5 The chemical building blocks of acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters are called precursors. The most important one for acetylcholine is DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol). This natural substance is found in various fish, such as anchovies and sardines. Supplements of DMAE (and phosphatidyl choline) promote increased levels of choline in the brain. Acetylcholine is created when an acetyl group is attached to the choline molecule, with the help of choline acetyl transferase (CAT), a key brain enzyme. Acetyl L-carnitine is an amino acid that activates this enzyme. Acetyl L-carnitine may also help reduce lipofuscin deposits in the brain because of its involvement in the metabolism of fatty acids.6 Lipofuscin is composed of oxidized fats and proteins; the brown “age spots” on the back of an elderly person’s hand are made of lipofuscin. The amino acid L-pyroglutamic acid sensitizes the acetylcholine receptor sites on a neuron membrane. A given amount of acetylcholine will then have a larger, more powerful effect. Studies have shown that supplements of L-pyroglutamic acid seem to enhance the ability to focus, remember, and learn.
Total Nutrition for the Brain
The neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenalin are critical to motor coordination, motivation, concentration, and alertness. Like acetylcholine, their production tends to decline with age. The precursors and activators of dopamine and noradrenalin included in HIGHER MIND are the amino acids N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine and DL-phenylalanine (DLPA), plus folic acid, vitamins B-3, B-6, and C. DLPA is also a precursor to PEA, a neuroamine that has a stimulating effect on the brain. Glutamine is an amino acid precursor to glutamic acid, a major excitatory neurotransmitter involved in mental activity and learning. Glutamine acts as an alternative fuel source for the brain when blood sugar levels are low. It also helps the brain dispose of waste ammonia, which is a natural result of protein breakdown but is irritating to neurons even at low levels. GABA is a dietary amino acid which is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA works to calm and balance the mind, enhancing mental focus. Along with taurine, these two relaxing neurotransmitters provide a balancing influence to the other, excitatory neurotransmitters. Taurine is found in brain tissue more than anywhere else in the body. It has antioxidant properties and serves as a nerve cell membrane stabilizer, preventing excessive or erratic electrical activity in the brain.
The Importance of Magnesium
Magnesium must be present in adequate amounts in the synaptic gaps between neurons or the neurons become hyper-reactive: causing noises to sound excessively loud and emotional reactions to be extreme. Magnesium also activates a key enzyme responsible for maintaining cellular sodium- potassium balance, which is absolutely essential to the electrical activity of nerve cells, as well as to the existence of the cell itself. (Cells would burst if the sodium-potassium ratio were wrong.) Magnesium also helps relax cerebral blood vessels and is important to the manufacture of ATP, the chief energy molecule of the brain. A buildup of aluminum has been found in the brains of some elderly. In 1989, the British medical journal Lancet published a study showing that drinking water with aluminum can increase the risk of damage by up to 50%. An abundant natural element, aluminum is now a common feature in our culture. It’s found in tap water, cookware, deodorants, beverage containers, baked goods, and of course as aluminum foil. In the brain, aluminum breaks down the structure of neurons – causing them to starve – by displacing magnesium from tubulin, a glycoprotein responsible for making microtubules. These tiny pipe-like structures within a neuron provide needed rigidity, as well as transport nutrients from the nucleus down the dendrites to the ends of the nerve cell. Magnesium malate is an excellent form of magnesium that ensures neurons receive this vital mineral.
B is for Brain Vitamins
HIGHER MIND also contains a high profile of B vitamins and other key nutrients that are often N A T U R A L S S O U R C E Strategies for Wellness SM ¤ lacking in older individuals. A deficiency in any of the B vitamins can alter nerve function and psychological well-being. Thiamine (B-1), known as the “nerve vitamin,” was first recognized because its deficiency caused beriberi, a degenerative nerve disease. Thiamine is part of the structure of nerve cell membranes and is important to the reparative process that neurons need to offset the stress of continual firing of the electrical impulse. Low amounts of thiamine can cause cell malnutrition in the hypothalamus, the brain’s memory center. 7 NAD and NADH, two coenzyme forms of Niacin (B-3), are the most plentiful coenzymes in the brain. They are essential to hundreds of enzymatic reactions, including ones that produce energy. NADH can stimulate the synthesis of key mood-elevating neurotransmitters. It is also one of the body’s most potent antioxidants. Pantothenic acid (B-5), cyanocobalamin (B-12), and folic acid are required to form the myelin sheath – the insulating covering of nerve fibers. A diet low in pantothenic acid has been shown to make test subjects emotionally upset, irritable, and depressed.7 A lack of B-12 can result in poor concentration and, in severe deficiencies, hallucinations. Pyridoxine (B-6) is precursor to over 60 enzymatic reactions and is involved in the synthesis of several neurotransmitters.
Brain cells almost exclusively burn glucose for their energy (other cells can also burn fat), and typically require 50% of all the glucose in the blood. Two B-like vitamins help in the utilization of glucose: PAK (pyridoxine alpha-ketoglutarate) may potentiate the effects of insulin and improve glucose utilization to the cells;8 Biotin is important for the transformation of glucose into energy in the brain. Lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10 are metabolic energizers that help produce ATP, the primary energy molecule in the body. Since the brain uses 20% of the body’s total energy supply, efficient ATP production is vital. Lipoic acid and CoQ10 are also powerful antioxidants that help regenerate other antioxidants in the body. The blood vessels feeding the brain become less efficient as we pass middle age. Since the brain depends on the bloodstream to deliver nutrients and oxygen and to remove waste, the quality of this blood flow is paramount to proper brain nutrition. Ginkgo biloba leaf extract has been shown in scientific studies to increase blood flow to the brain by helping vessels to dilate. It also promotes the smoothness and healthy integrity of blood vessel linings.
For the Life of Your Mind Without proper nutrition, the brain will deteriorate; therefore strategies are needed to both enhance current brain function and protect it throughout life. Based on the latest scientific findings, Source Naturals HIGHER MIND is formulated with neuroceuticals that support the mental functions that tend to decline with age. They give your brain the nourishment it needs to integrate perception, memory, and learning into a more comprehensive awareness – so you can excel for a lifetime.
DHA Neuromins - Feed Your Brain!
June 01, 2005 11:59 AM
In today’s society, “fat” has become a bad word. Our quest for good health has influenced many of us to drastically reduce our intake of fatty foods. But this dietary change has brought unintended consequences. As we’ve cut back on unhealthy saturated fats, we’ve also reduced certain “good” fats essential to our well-being. Few people realize how important fats are to a healthy brain. In fact, our brains are primarily fat, 60% by dry weight! And DHA, the most plentiful fatty acid in the brain, is crucial to brain health, from infancy to old age. Now DHA is available in a vegetarian source compatible with today’s trimmed-down lifestyle. Introducing: Source Naturals NEUROMINS DHA.
The Building Block of the Brain
DHA is shorthand for docosahexaenoic acid. This omega-3 long chain fatty acid is the primary building block of the brain and retina of the eye. The brain is 60% fat, and DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain, comprising 25-35%. DHA is found in even greater concentrations - 50- 60% - in the retina. DHA is critical for infant development. Compelling research links DHA to the rapid cerebral and eye development that occurs during pregnancy and in the first few months after birth. DHA passes through the placenta to the fetus during pregnancy, and to the nursing baby through breast milk. Optimal levels of DHA in the bloodstream of pregnant women and the breast milk of nursing mothers are crucial to babies. In fact, DHA’s presence in breast milk may explain why breast-fed babies have demonstrable IQ advantages over babies fed formula without DHA. An emerging body of research led an expert committee of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization to recommend that DHA be included in infant formulas at levels comparable to those of mothers’ milk. Yet DHA levels in the breast milk of American women rank among the lowest in the world, and DHA is still not available in U.S. infant formulas.
Supporting a Healthy Nervous System
DHA’s benefits are not limited to infant development. Supplementation may be helpful to anyone with a low DHA intake, especially for supporting a healthy nervous system. DHA has been associated with optimal memory function, visual acuity, and maintaining a positive mental state. DHA is an integral component of all membranes with electrical activity. The cells in our brain, retina and other parts of the nervous system have a complex network of connecting arms that transport electrical messages throughout the body. DHA’s presence in nerve cell membranes is critical because this is where messages are transmitted. It is at the membrane that nerve cells generate the electrical impulses that are the basis of all communication in the nervous system. Without the necessary fatty acids, this communication system can break down or become less effective. DHA supplementation may be especially important as we grow older. The body’s ability to synthesize DHA, which is very limited in all human beings, may decline even further with age. Research suggests that aging interferes with the activity of delta-6-desaturase, the enzyme involved in the conversion of omega-3 fatty acids into DHA. Elderly people with inadequate or DHAdeficient diets may benefit from a supplementary source of DHA.
Insufficient in Today’s Diet
Because human beings cannot adequately synthesize DHA, most of it is obtained from our diets. The richest sources are red meats, animal organs and eggs - among the first foods to be eliminated by people concerned about fat intake. Today, the average American is getting less DHA from food, and vegetarians, vegans, and people on lowfat diets are especially at risk. Fish are a good dietary source, but must be eaten several times a week to provide enough DHA for optimal brain function. Fish obtain their DHA from microalgae – the nutritional basis of NEUROMINS.
Neuromins: a Pure, Safe Source Source Naturals DHA is obtained from NEUROMINS, a dietary supplement derived from algae in a base of sunflower oil. NEUROMINS DHA is a highly purified form of DHA, produced under tightly controlled manufacturing conditions. Unlike fish oil, which used to be the main supplemental source of DHA, NEUROMINS does not contain the fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is not recommended for infants or children. Source Naturals NEUROMINS DHA is available in bottles of 30, 60 and 120 softgels, in both 100 and 200 mg dosages. Pure, safe DHA in the 200 mg dosage may be especially beneficial for pregnant or nursing women.
Arcticpure EFA and EPA Fish Oil supplement ...
May 31, 2005 05:05 PM
Essential fatty acids are crucial for health—as much so as daily vitamins and minerals. And fish oil is one of the best sources of these nutrients. Now Source Naturals offers you three premium fish oil concentrates. ARCTICPURE DHA supplies the essential brain nutrient DHA. ARCTICPURE EPA is ideal for cardiovascular support and joint mobility. ARCTICPURE EFA contains a blend of healthful fatty acids. All ARCTICPURE products contain fish oils from the cleanest and coldest body of water, the Arctic Sea. A series of distillation processes concentrates and extracts beneficial fatty acids, while guaranteeing the absence of heavy metals and PCB’s.
EFA’s: Healthy Fats
Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) support an amazing variety of cellular processes. They maintain cell wall and membrane integrity, generate energy, produce hormones and support brain, nerve, and eye function. Yet too many people today eat diets that are high in saturated or hydrogenated fats, but low in healthy fats—essential fatty acids. ARCTICPURE softgels are an excellent source of EFA’s, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), gamma linolenic acid (GLA), and alpha linolenic acid (ALA). ArcticPure DHA™ DHA is an omega-3 long chain fatty acid that is the primary building block of the brain and retina of the eye. The brain is 60% fat, and DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain, comprising 25-35%. DHA is found in even greater concentrations—50-60%—in the retina. DHA is critical for infant development, especially the rapid cerebral and eye development that occurs during pregnancy and in the first few months after birth. It is therefore an important nutrient for pregnant women and nursing mothers. DHA also has been associated with optimal memory function, visual acuity, and maintaining a positive mental state. It is an integral component of all membranes with electrical activity, including the cells in our brain and nervous system. ARCTICPURE DHA contains 50% DHA, or 250 mg, in each softgel.
EPA is another omega-3 fatty acid, which has been associated with many potential health benefits. Epidemiological and animal studies have shown that EPA can support a healthy cardiovascular system. It is important for healthy skin and is a precursor of prostaglandins, thromboxanes and leukotrienes. These chemical mediators help regulate a variety of physiological processes, including blood pressure and blood clotting. ARCTICPURE EPA supplies 45% (450 mg) of EPA—one of the highest concentrations available.
ARCTICPURE EFA is a source of EPA, DHA, and also GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) from borage oil, and additional omega-3 fatty acids including ALA. GLA is an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid. It is used by most cells to produce the soothing, intracellular, hormonelike messengers known as series 1 prostaglandins (PGE1), which help maintain the balance of many functions in the body. GLA supports the immune system and helps maintain healthy skin and circulation. This essential nutrient is incorporated into our cell membranes, where it helps to maintain fluidity and permeability.
Stabilized for Freshness
ARCTICPURE oils are enhanced with antioxidants such as lecithin, ascorbyl palmitate, vitamin E and rosemary oil, for extended shelf life. They also contain natural fruit flavors, so there is no fishy taste! ARCTICPURE softgels are pleasing to both children and adults.