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Overcoming adrenal fatigue naturally
July 22, 2018 11:53 AM
The human body has a well-developed system it uses to aid us when we experience stress. Firstly, the brain identifies the threat. Then the body releases hormones designed to do two things, rush blood to the muscles and heart to assist in fighting off the aggressive agent and dampening body processes that are not needed in the attack, such as digestive ones.
Were one fighting of a saber-tooth tiger, this would be of benefit. Today's stresses are far more nuanced, insidious and long-lasting. And when constant stress overworks the adrenals, which are the rabble-rousers in charge of turning off immunity and digestion until the tiger has turned tail, well then they get tired. This condition is called, aptly, adrenal fatigue. It can last for a short while, or a long time. It induces fatigue and it can lead to "brain fog." Other symptoms can include disturbances in mood, or sleep, food cravings and muscle and bone loss. To recuperate, it's necessary to convince the body the tiger has gone. Eat healthy, sleep healthy. Take vitamins and nourish yourself physically and psychically.
"One of the most important parts of restoring adrenal function is listening to your body and minding your stress levels."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/overcoming-adrenal-fatigue-naturally/
10 foods to boost male fertility
December 11, 2016 12:59 PM
Male fertility has been under scrutiny in recent years, and much research has been done to improve sperm quality in men. There is no agreement on the cause of the decline in male fertility, but many specialists have suggestions on simple changes that can have a positive impact. The diet is the first thing that many are encouraged to alter in an effort to increase sperm function. Zinc and fructose are essential to the production of sperm. Therefore, men should make sure their diet includes these supplements. Alcohol, diet, and soft drinks should be avoided, as well as Adrenaline.
"Women also need zinc at this time for many regulatory processes to happen. Zinc is involved in blood glucose control and keeping a healthy insulin response."
What Is Adrenal Burnout?
Your adrenal glands are responsible for producing Adrenaline and cortisol. These help you to manage all kinds of stressful situations as they help you to survive any difficult condition.
Over time your adrenal glands will stop working as well as they should. This will result in adrenal burnout, a condition where your glands keep you from feeling energetic and healthy.
Adrenal burnout occurs in that you will feel worn out rather quickly. You might struggle to get up in the morning regardless of how much sleep you get.
You may also develop naturally high cortisol and Adrenaline levels. This causes your body to become stressed out all the time. It will be hard for you to feel relaxed in this case, thus depleting your energy levels. Over time, the levels of those compounds in your body will decline due to them wearing out and your glands being unable to produce new forms. This may cause you to use more stimulants like caffeine than what your body really needs.
After a while, your immune system will start to weaken. This is due to your body not getting cortisol over time. Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory agent that should protect your body but you may have little to no cortisol to help. Also, an excess amount of cortisol at the start of adrenal burnout will keep your immune system working too hard to the point where it starts to become fatigued and fails to work properly.
You will need to work hard to keep adrenal burnout from being a real threat. You will have to create a consistent sleep schedule while creating a comfortable space to sleep in. meditation and deep breathing exercises may help as well. Vitamin C can also help to produce cortisol while vitamins B5 and B6 will help create new hormones.
Adrenal burnout can be a real threat to your life. Be sure to watch for how you control your life if you start to feel excess fatigue and stress.
Adaptogens: Herbs That Can Help In Fighting Stress
It has been proven through various researches that cortisol hormone in your body can cause stress by effecting its physiological system like adrenal glands or thyroid, etc. The anxiety and irritation caused by the elevation of cortisol can cause a number of health problems including diabetes, weight gain, depletion of energy level and risk of heart problems etc. Most researchers have found adaptogenic herbs as the best and effective natural source of fighting stress caused by the elevation of cortisol in the body.
A group of plants that can be used for fighting stress caused by the increase of cortisol hormone in the body are known as Adaptogens. They can help in protecting and restoring the body by balancing its hormonal growth. Some of the popular herbs used for this purpose may include Ashwagandha, American Ginseng, Astragalus, Asian Ginseng, Eleuthero, Cordyceps, Maca, Holy Basil, Schisandra and Rhodiola.
Here's a brief description about these herbs:
Ashwaganda: It is also known as Indian ginseng as Ayurvedic medicine science uses it since thousands of years not only for fighting stress but also for regulating your immune system by lowering the level of cortisol hormone.
American Ginseng: This adaptogenic herb is also known as Panax Ginseng as it belongs to the botanical family of Panax. Normally two types of Ginseng are used for relieving stress including American and Asian ginseng.
Asian Ginseng: Researches have proved it to be one of the most popular adaptogens that can help in improving your ability to handle stress along with your mental performance due to its antidepressant and antioxidant properties which can lower the levels of your blood sugar and blood pressure. Though American and Asian ginsengs belong to the same medicinal group, their healing properties are different from each other.
Astragalus: The root of this herb is used in various Chinese medicine to reduce the effect of stress along with boosting your immunity level. It can reduce the receptor binding ability of cortisol, a stress causing hormone.
Eleuthero: It reduces the symptoms of adrenal fatigue due to its Panax Ginseng like properties. It soothes the stimulated adrenal glands producing stress causing hormones cortisol and Adrenaline.
Cordycep: It is a kind of fungus which has antioxidant properties to help you in fighting stress along with boosting your immune system.
Maca: It is a root vegetable that is used to reduce the risk of various health problems like arthritis and diabetes etc. caused due to increased stress along with increasing your libido. Along with wide variety of nutrients, it also provides healthy fiber to your body.
Holy basil: Tulsi is another popular name of this adaptogenic herb. Along with boosting your immune system it also helps you in fighting stress and regulating blood pressure.
Schizandra: The berries of this adaptogenic herb are used for making various stress relieving medicines and general tonics in China.
Rhodiola: According to various health experts it helps in reducing physical fatigue along with stress related problems like mental stress etc. due to its antioxidant properties.
Vitamin B-complex can help you to restore adrenal function
January 03, 2014 05:46 PM
We all know that proper functioning of adrenal is highly important for complete health and do not work properly then your body or mind may not function properly. We also know that adrenalin gland create and release a number of required hormones such as Adrenaline, cartisol, estrogen, testosterone, and aldosterone that help in normal functioning of body.
What is the Role Vitamin B
This hormone creation process is commonly known as hormone cascade and most of us do not know that Vitamin b-Complex is the most essential material for synthesizing of all these hormones. In this process most of the b-complex vitamins works as coenzymes that means they help the adrenal to form the required hormone by working as catalyst. Other than this, vitamin b-complex helps your body in energy creation and DNA synthesis as well that is essential for proper functioning of adrenal.
If we talk about the role of each vitamin out of all the 8 Vitamin B-complex in proper functioning of adrenal, then we all 8 have some visible effect on it. However, Vitamin B3 also known as niacin, Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid and Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine are the most important b-complex vitamins that help the adrenal in its acute functioning.
Niacin or vitamin B3 is essential for formation of molecular structure of various co-enzymes and it is required for almost every step of hormone cascade process. Similarly vitamin B5 is also equally important because this particular b-complex vitamin is required for transformation of glucose into energy and it fulfills all the requirement of energy for adrenal hormones. Other than this B6 is another important b-complex vitamin that helps your body to control the adrenal activity and gives proper stress response for proper functioning of your adrenal system. Other than this, other b vitamins work as energy source so if your adrenal is not functioning properly then have complete vitamin B-complex for proper functioning and restoration of your adrenal system.
Magnesium Is An Important Mineral For The Cardiovascular System
November 25, 2013 06:32 PM
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is an earth metal that is alkaline. It is the 8th most abundant mineral on the earth’s crust. Magnesium is soluble in water thus it’s commonly found in sea water. In human body it is the 11th most abundant element by mass. Most of the magnesium contained in our bodies resides in the teeth and skeleton - about sixty to sixty five percent. Almost all the remaining amount is found in muscle cells and tissues and only 1 percent is found in the human blood.
Magnesium is a very important mineral in human body and is needed for more than three hundred biochemical reactions. Some of its health benefits include formation of healthy teeth and bones, body temperature regulation, energy production and nerve impulses transmission.
Magnesium acts as a calcium channel blocker and it’s responsible for relaxation. Magnesium is very essential to the smooth functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system. A human body operates well in a relaxed and calm parasympathetic state as opposed to the heart pounding and Adrenaline driven state of sympathetic nervous system.
Physical and mental stress related to the flow of Adrenaline, consumes large quantities of magnesium. This is because Adrenaline affects blood pressure, muscle contraction, vascular contraction and heart rate - actions that all require continuous supply of magnesium for healthy functioning. The nervous system relies on adequate magnesium for the calming effects including a restful sleep.
Magnesium lowers the risk of suffering from coronary heart diseases. Many dietary surveys have found out that sufficient intake of magnesium may lower the risk of a stroke. Magnesium deficiency increases the chance of experiencing abnormal heart rhythms that increases the chance of having complications after heart attack.Thus,taking the correct amount of magnesium is beneficial to cardiovascular system.
Bitter Orange Extract
November 22, 2012 10:46 AM
Indigenous to the Meditteranean region today, but brought to their shores by Arab tradesmen in 1200 , bitter orange or citrus aurantium was highly popular among herbalists all over the southern parts of Europe is mainly France, Greece, Spain and Italy. A botanical species commonly termed as seville orange and bigarade orange, this bitter citrus fruit is known for its oil extract, flavoring and use in the perfume industry.
However , the ancient Chinese used it for treating dyspepsia , abdominal distention and diarrhea. These uses also drew from its roots in ancient Greek experiments in aromatherapy, phyto-therapy and cosmetology. Its arrival in America can be credited to the Spaniards and the Portuguese who for very long had been using the fruit for its medical component. Bitter orange trees grew in abundance in the states of Florida, Louisiana and California way back in the middle of the nineteenth century.There have been numerous pharmacological indicators in the study of C aurantium actions and it has been termed as an anti spasmodic, anti fungal , anti bacterial, anti-inflammatory, sedative, tranquilizer and also a vascular stimulant.
Recent studies about its effect on cancer cells is underway. A Closer Look At Its Health Benefits Bitter orange peel, flower and seed are known to have varying effects on the human body and its studies date back centuries. Quite simply it has the ability to squeeze blood vessels, affect the heart rate and also change the level of metabolism. A closer look at its components would help focus on their particular impact on health.
It results in faster metabolism, increase in heart rate by affecting the Adrenaline system, and in turn aid in weight loss. What needs to be seen is whether this metabolism booster is in any way a retardant with any other medication that you may be taking.
Many have reverted to bitter orange extracts to tackle their weight problem after the ban on ephedra by the US drug administration . what is needed is prudence as most consider bitter orange as a health supplement forgetting its rather potent effect on the body .
What Are herbs For Hypoglycemia?
December 21, 2011 07:38 AM
Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)
As people, as human beings we are built for action not for sitting down and be a couch potato all day long. We were created or our body is created with activity in mind and not luxury and laziness. Our body is able to adjust to almost any environment or any change in the environment for that matter if given enough time however the changes that is happening in the world today may be too fast for our body to cope with.
If you notice all these advancements are supposed to make things easier but it seems like it made thing harder and in turn we try to balance, we are obligated to do more work so we try to keep up by exercising a little bit more and by watching our weight and what we eat a little bit more. But in all this time one thing remains the same, our body needs sugar to burn for us to be able to do all those things, even the simplest of brain functions needs sugar or glucose to have it functioning right. Any imbalance between the body’s requirement and the blood sugar supply will cause health problems and one of them is Hypoglycemia.
This is a condition in which the imbalance of the blood glucose levels in the body is pointing more towards on the lower side. Meaning this a condition caused by unusually low sugar levels in the blood. Commonly this is caused by not eating enough as the body requires or maybe too much insulin is taken as why “insulin shock” is a term commonly used for cases of severe hypoglycaemia. Some of the symptoms that are associated with this condition are paleness and sweatiness of the skin, shakiness, heart palpitations and anxiety as commonly caused by high Adrenaline levels in the blood as this is the body’s way of counteracting low blood sugar levels.
Other symptoms include weakness, fatigue, double vision, extreme hunger and headaches and these sets of symptoms are caused by brain function impairment which is caused by low glucose levels in the blood. In fact the brain is the organ that suffers the most when it is not able to get the glucose it needs.
Herbs that can help against Hypoglycemia just to name a few…
Ginseng – this wonder herb which has long been used and has been noted to have been effective in Chinese natural medicine is able to aid in sugar absorption in the body. If taken for longer periods of time the logic behind it is that it will be able to regulate blood sugar levels which will help with symptoms like fatigue.
Holy Basil – will be helpful for people with hypoglycaemia through aiding in the management of stress which has been known to worsen the conditions of hypoglycemic individuals.
Gentian – is a bitter tasting herb that has antiseptic and appetite stimulating properties. Its main function though is to be able to stimulate Adrenaline production from the adrenal gland which will help in the regulating blood sugar levels.
Gymnema Sylvestre is an ayruvedic herb that has also been shown to help maintain good blood sugar levels.
Chromium picolinate, although not an herb but a mineral can also help maintain good blood sugar levels.
Support the Adrenal Glands with Natural Vitamins and Feel the Difference
October 05, 2011 03:50 PM
Your Adrenal Glands, Energy Levels, And How You feel
Our body is a very complex system that needs to be well taken care of through adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals. Living healthy and right will allow you to reap and experience a better and more comfortable life in the future.
The adrenal glands are one of the most important glands in the body. It can be found on top of your kidneys; however, these two glands that you have in your body are actually different from one another. The center of the gland also known as the Adrenaline manufactures epinephrine and is governed by the autonomic nervous system. These vital glands perform special functions that are very essential for life and health. Any alteration in condition would surely have corresponding effects in the body.
For us to keep our adrenal glands healthy, it is very necessary to consume foods that are rich with the following:
B vitamins can help restore the adrenal glands when they are over worked from the stresses of life.
It is inevitable that vitamin C is one of the most useful vitamins for the body because of its capacity to strengthen the immune system hence, keeping you away from the threats of diseases and body disequilibrium. To be more specific, vitamin C is very crucial for adrenal function. The highest concentrations of vitamin C can be found in the brain tissues and in the adrenal glands because the secretion of the vitamin is at its peak during stress. To help your immune function, it is advisable that you will take 500 to 1000 mg of the said vitamin per day.
For optimal adrenal function, it is advisable to take about 100 to 150 mg of pantothenic acid daily because this vitamin B is noted to support and enhance adrenal function as well as correct adrenal deficiency.
Has the innate capacity to prevent adrenal hormones breakdown therefore maintaining optimal levels. Another vital function of licorice is its power to cure indigestion.
If you want to lessen the discomforts that you will feel during low blood sugar episodes, it is advisable for you to consume and take natural remedies and supplementation that are rich with chromium. The Adrenal Stress End has enough chromium content which is highly beneficial for the success of an enzymatic therapy. Experts would recommend taking one to two capsules per day for you to grasp its full effects.
To sum up everything, it is very important to take and engage in measures that could help us achieve optimum level of wellness because if not we will surely suffer from the consequences of being sick brought about by a disequilibrium in the body. Since we all know how important our adrenal glands are and the distinct function that it do for the body, we should do our very best to keep it healthy and well functioning. Vitamin C, licorice, Pantothenic acid, and chromium are just few of the important elements that you should provide your adrenal glands. Taking these would make you feel better and secured.
Does Stress Deplete The Body Of Minerals?
September 24, 2011 04:06 PM
Heavy traffic after a long day’s work, trying to sleep and your neighbour’s dog keeps barking and when you wake up in the morning your kids show you their report cards and they failed a couple of subjects then you’re late in getting to work because you had to have that discussion with your kids, you get called off into the boss’ office and he tells you that what you’re doing and the reasons behind it are unacceptable. That’s stress, in the modern world many people believe although there are no conclusive studies about it yet, stress is the number one silent killer in the world.
I mean think about it, aside from the health implications, how many violent acts have been caused by stressed People? Every day in the news you see stressed out people doing things they probably will not do otherwise had they controlled there stress factors. Stress and its health effects though in a more minor scale has been proven to exist like stress induced ulcers or allergies induced by stress so having more detrimental effects to the health is not that far fetch. So in the question of whether the body can be depleted by stress of minerals I would say yes however more than that lets find out how.
Stress and Minerals
Commonly stress is triggered by environmental circumstances which in turn if left unattended can lead to depression however recent studies have come across more evidence that the true culprit maybe a chemical imbalance in the brain. This is where we see that initial relationship between stress and minerals as certain mineral depletion in the body can lead to inefficient functioning of vital organs and one of them is the brain which is where stress just like any other emotion we have originates. In the US, modernisation has depleted our soil of its mineral contents which in turn also affects the food we eat. Aside from food intake, mineral deficiency can also be caused by an underlying heath issue that an individual may have.
From diarrhea to malnutrition the possibilities are wide. Another way that stress has been proven to be related to minerals is in the way it is absorbed. Many studies have shown that some minerals are affected by stress due to inhibiting its absorption in some way. The key for this inhibition property of stress for proper mineral absorption is in the chemicals and hormones it initiates the body to release. When the body is stressed, the normal response for it is to release hormones and chemicals such as Adrenaline, norAdrenaline and cortisol.
These substances counteract the efficient absorption process that our body otherwise will have if they were in absence. Different minerals maybe affected in different ways but nonetheless affected. Calcium for example will not be absorbed well by the bones in the presence of cortisol and with high Adrenaline levels magnesium may be lost through urine and potassium is another mineral that does not react well with cortisol and has marked stress as an inhibitor for its absorption because of this.
What are the Essential Amino Acids we must get from our Diet to Survive?
August 17, 2011 12:13 PM
Amino acids or the building blocks of protein are very important in overall functioning of the body. Proteins, to mention, are responsible for the build up of most of our body parts specifically our muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, tissues, glands, nails and hair. Moreover, the repair and preservation of those parts still rely on proteins. Amino acids can be of two different forms which are the non-essential and essential. On this selection, we will be focusing more on the latter.
Essential amino acids are those which cannot be produced by the body therefore it has to be supplied through our diet. This category of amino acids includes tryptophan, lysine, methionine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, threonine and phenylalanine.
Tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, can be acquired from peanuts, meat, turkey, fish, milk, dried dates, cottage cheese, banana, oats and chocolates. A deficiency of this can bring up serious neurological problems, depression, anxiety and sleeping difficulties.
Another essential amino acid is methionine. The production of sulfur and other compound needed for a healthy growth and metabolism depends on the presence of this amino acid. Fish, whole grains and dairy are its sources.
Lysine, which is effective in the treatment and prevention of herpes, is present in soybeans, green beans, lentils, spinach and amaranth. Low levels of lysine can also compromise the levels of niacin and this leads to pellagra.
Tissue healing, muscle metabolism and keeping the equilibrium of nitrogen levels in our body are the functions of valine. It has proven to be efficient in the treatment of liver and gallbladder disorders. Deficiencies that results from drug addiction are can also be reversed by this amino acid. Its sources are peanuts, soy proteins, dietary products, grains, meat and mushrooms.
Leucine can be obtained from chicken, fish, cottage cheese, lentils, peanuts and sesame seeds. It functions in muscle protein build up and is the main medium in tissue building process. Inability to acquire such makes a person prone to protein wasting since leucine, together with valine and isoleucine, serves as energy and protein reservoirs.
In boosting energy levels, blood sugar regulation, muscle build - up and repair as well as hemoglobin development, isoleucine has shown its relevance. Its dietary sources are fish, poultry, beef, dairy, eggs, lentils, seeds, soy, almonds and wheat. Isoleucine deficiencies may result into neurological disturbances such as confusion, depression, irritability, fatigue, headache and dizziness.
Threonine is significant in synthesis of antibodies. Beans, nuts, seeds, dairy, poultry, eggs and beef are rich in threonine. A low level of this amino acid causes disorders of the skin and weakness.
Adrenaline and noradrenalin which are stimulates the central and peripheral nervous system requires phenylalanine to perform their function. Phenylalanine can be acquired from peanuts, seeds, almonds, lima beans and dairy. Liver damage, weakness, skin lesions, lethargy and slowed growth are results of its deficiencies.
In summary, our body needs networks of essential amino acids for its proper functioning. Eating healthy foods and living a healthy lifestyle is the secret towards maintaining your optimum general health.
Why Is The Amino Acid Tyrosine So Good for the Brain?
June 18, 2011 12:20 PM
Tyrosine is an amino acid that serves as an immediate precursor to several organic compounds found in the brain and the central nervous system. It is one of the 20 amino acids utilized by cells in protein synthesis. As such, it is an important component of the human diet, albeit not classified as an essential nutrient. Mental infirmities not related to age has been linked to tyrosine deficiency.
There is no daily value for tyrosine, but it is an integral part of proteins obtained from both animals and plants. Also, supplementation of tyrosine has not shown any adverse effects. That being said, deficiency in tyrosine is not unheard of. In fact, there is a rare autosomal recessive disorder called phenylketonuria that interferes with the synthesis of tyrosine and leads to brain damage and seizures.
Prevents Brain Damage
Tyrosine is one of the amino acids necessary for the manufacture of neurotransmitters and proteins that display vital functions in the nervous system. In phenylketonuria, the synthesis of tyrosine from phenylalanine is impaired, causing the build-up of the latter. High concentrations of phenylalanine deprive the brain of other amino acids, such as tyrosine. This results in progressive mental retardation.
The presence of tyrosine in the central nervous system is very important in mental development. It works as nutrient for nerve cells that powers neuronal activities. Not surprisingly, regular intake of tyrosine has been observed to display cerebroprotective properties. It has also been linked to the prevention of headaches following an intense physical activity.
Improves Stress Tolerance
It has long been suggested that supplementation of tyrosine may improve stress tolerance, but studies that support this claim have surfaced only recently. High levels of tyrosine in the brain appear to improve physiological responses to stress in both animal and human studies. Many researchers believe that depleting levels of tyrosine in times of stress contribute to mental fatigue.
Tyrosine is a precursor to catecholamines, organic compounds that function as neurotransmitters and hormones. It is converted to epinephrine, or Adrenaline, which is responsible for the activities in the peripheral nervous system during stress. It is also converted to norepinephrine, which sends signals to both sides of the brain and forms a neurotransmitter system within the brain and the spinal cord.
Promotes Mental Clarity
Tyrosine plays a role in sustaining mental clarity, the reason why it is thought to produce nootropic effects. For one, the availability of tyrosine in the brain improves mental function, especially under psychological stress. It is utilized by the brain in the manufacture of brain chemicals involved in cognitive function and even motor skills.
More importantly, tyrosine provides a ready pool of levodopa, which increases dopamine levels. Both tyrosine and dopamine levels have been observed to be low in individuals suffering from clinical depression, suggesting that tyrosine may provide mood-altering effects. Since there is no harm in regular intake of tyrosine, it has been promoted as an alternative to other mood enhancers.
Natural Anxiety Remedies
November 11, 2010 05:44 PM
Anxiety disorder is a much more common problem than what was once thought. It often affects people in their teenage years through middle age and later. Anxiety disorder appears to affect twice as many women as men. However, there may not be that wide of a disparity between the sexes. Psychologists simply believe that men are far less prone to report or even acknowledge that they have a problem of this nature. Anxiety disorders can either be acute or chronic. Acute anxiety disorder manifests itself in episodes that are commonly known as panic attacks. A panic attack occurs when the body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction occurs at the wrong time. This is a complex response in which the body prepares itself to deal with an emergency situation. Stress can often cause the body to produce more adrenal hormones, especially Adrenaline. The increased production of Adrenaline causes the body to step up its metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to quickly produce energy for the body to use. Additionally, the muscles tense up and the heartbeat and breathing become more rapid.
When faced with an assault, accident, or a natural disaster, this type of reaction is perfectly normal. However, the symptoms that are caused by the surge in Adrenaline can be distressing and frightening when they occur at the wrong time. A person having a panic attack is often overwhelmed by a sense of impending disaster or death, which makes it impossible to think clearly. Other feelings that can accompany a panic attack include shortness of breath, a smothering, claustrophobic sensation, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, hot flashes or chills, trembling, numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities, sweating, nausea, a feeling of unreality, and a distorted perception of the passage of time. This disorder can eventually have other cumulative effects such as generalized aches and pains, muscular twitching and stiffness, depression, insomnia, nightmares and early waking, decreased libido, and abnormal feelings of tension with an accompanying inability to relax.
Panic attacks are usually abrupt and intense, occurring at any time of the day or night, and lasting from several seconds up to half an hour. To the panic sufferer, it often feels as though they are much longer. A person having a panic attack sometimes believes that he or she is experiencing a heart attack or stroke. The attacks themselves are very unpredictable, with some people experiencing one every few weeks, and others having several each day. Panic attacks are often triggered by stress or certain emotions, but they can also be a response to certain foods, drugs, or illness.
Many people with acute anxiety disorder become afraid of being alone and visiting public places because they fear having a panic attack. This only adds to the level of anxiety and leads to abnormally restricted lives. Psychologists often believe that at least in some cases, panic attacks are self-induced, meaning that the fear of the panic attack is the very thing that brings it on. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with anxiety disorders: calcium, magnesium, B1, B12, multivitamin and mineral complex, SAMe, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, chromium picolinate, DLPA, L-glutamine, coenzyme A, essential fatty acids, GABA, melatonin, bilberry, ginkgo biloba, milk thistle, catnip, chamomile, cramp bark, kava kava, hops, linden flower, motherwort, passionflower, skullcap, fennel, lemon balm, willow bark, feverfew, St. John’s wort, skullcap, valerian root, and mandarin oil.
Natural vitamins and herbs can be found at VitaNet ®, LLC Vitamin Store.
DHEA and Your Health
March 16, 2010 12:27 PM
DHEA is a naturally occurring hormone that is produced within the adrenal glands. The most abundant hormone found in the body, it is sometimes referred to as the “mother hormone.” When hormone levels are too low or out of sync, the body is unable to function as intended. DHEA levels reach their peak in the body around age twenty-one. After that, the levels tend to decline over the years. This substance is a precursor hormone that can be metabolized into other adrenal hormones and act with other hormones.
When DHEA levels are normal, it aids the immune system in maintaining balance and fighting diseases and infection. This, in turn, protects the body form a variety of serious problems that can occur, including cancer. Although the full extent of DHEA's benefits is not entirely known, there is a great deal of evidence that links low levels of DHEA to conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, fertility problems, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, allergies, PMS, and even weight problems. Many people even believe that this hormone is the single most important factor in maintaining health.
Scientific studies have determined that individuals with cancer seem to have lower levels of DHEA than those individuals who are healthy. It has been found that DHEA has the ability to inhibit one of the most important enzymes that is responsible for the feeding of cancer cells. Research has also concluded that DHEA can help in a variety of types of cancer, including colon, lung, skin, breast, lymphatic, gastric, prostate, and ovarian. It is believed that DHEA aids in slowing the growth of cancer. This hormone also blocks some of the enzymes that are responsible for cancer proliferation, which helps to prevent the activity of cancer and stops damage from occurring.
Alzheimer's condition is extremely frightening, as it deals with the loss of memory and senility. It has been found that levels of DHEA in Alzheimer's patients are forty-eight percent lower than the normal, healthy level established by the control group. DHEA is responsible for protecting the brain cells from damage and deterioration. Also, it is useful with other degenerative conditions that deal with senility. In healthy individuals, DHEA can be found abundantly in brain tissue, which protects against aging and damage.
DHEA is a precursor for cortisol and Adrenaline, both of which are stress hormones. DHEA can become depleted when the body is under stress due to the effect on the adrenal glands. Because of this, chronic stress can lead to lower levels of DHEA, which can be detrimental to one's health. It has been found the prolonged stress can lead to cases of depression, with depression being helped by the addition of DHEA. Individuals with depression have found favorable results when using DHEA.
It has been shown that DHEA therapy is free of side effects when taken in proper amounts. Some problems that occur when excess amounts of DHEA are supplemented include acne, rapid heartbeat, irritability, and headaches. The majority of people solve these problems by lowering the amount they are taking. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by DHEA, please feel free to contact a representative from your local or internet health food store.
Dhea is a hormone naturally found in the body now available over the counter at your local health food store.
Fight Hypoglycemia With Fiber
July 17, 2009 03:46 PM
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can be very subtle and difficult to recognize. Many people with hypoglycemia have become so used to their symptoms that often, they don’t even recognize their own abnormality. This is especially true when it comes to behavioral changes.
There is a whole variety of symptoms that can be caused when the body cells are deprived of sugar or when blood sugar drops too quickly. The most common symptom of hypoglycemia is fatigue. When referring to fatigue, the normal kind of fatigue that occurs after hard work or exercise is not what is being discussed. Hypoglycemic fatigue affects the muscles and nerves and usually can’t be relieved with rest or sleep. The brain is extremely dependent on glucose for its energy source. Once blood sugar levels have dropped, hormones kick into action. The release of Adrenaline can cause sweating, tremors, hunger, and weakness. It should also be kept in mind that if your blood sugar levels drop at a more gradual pace, the patient may not even recognize the symptoms as those of hypoglycemia. Those experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia may feel dizzy, confused, clouded, and emotionally unstable without any visible tremors. Symptoms such as anxiety or panic attacks can become a part of hypoglycemic mood swings.
Other mental symptoms of hypoglycemia include melancholy, irritability, hostility, confusion, and paranoia.
Along with the above, there are many other symptoms that can result from hypoglycemia. These symptoms include amnesia, anxiety, antisocial behavior, breathing difficulties, confusion, constant worry, crying jags, depression, digestive disorders, drowsiness, emotional instability, exhaustion, headaches, heart palpitations, impatience, inability to cope, insomnia, intense hunger, internal trembling, irritability, lack of concentration, nervousness, dizziness, seizures, severe sweating, fainting, tingling, and tremors.
Nocturnal hypoglycemia is when blood sugar levels are low at night time, causing insomnia. Eating a whole grain snack or small piece of cheese 30 minutes before going to bed can help to reduce occurrences of this scenario.
There are, unfortunately, hundreds of people that struggle with low-blood sugar symptoms and are unaware as to why. By simply switching for a diet that is high in refined carbohydrates to one that is comprised of protein and complex carbohydrates, one can bridge the gap between a dysfunctional life and a rich one. In order to determine whether you have hypoglycemia, you must first examine your eating habits. Simple facts like what and when you eat can directly affect how you feel. Anyone who has unexplained fatigue, depression, crying spells, anxiety, or apprehension should investigate low blood sugar levels as a potential culprit. You should also look into your family history, as hypoglycemia tends to run within families.
Those people who are chronically stressed and often find themselves on a roller coaster of blood sugar going up and down are especially prone to dips in energy at certain times of the day. These people have adrenals that are not functioning optimally, causing them to want sugar when they hit a real low point. Usually, in the mid-afternoon, adrenal glands are at their lowest level of functioning. If you do, in fact, suffer from hypoglycemia, you will feel good right after you eat and then your mood and physical status will deteriorate from two to six hours after eating.
Keeping your glucose levels stable is important to maintaining good health. Snacking on complex carbohydrate foods can help regulate the amount of sugar that is released into your blood system. Consuming large quantities of fiber can also slow down the absorption of sugar in the digestive tract and level out blood sugar.
Look for great advice and fiber supplements at your local or internet health food store. When purchasing products, always buy name brands to ensure quality and purity of the supplements you buy. Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Lycopene is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
July 16, 2009 01:39 PM
It is critical for one to known that an excess amount of sugar can deplete our vitamin and mineral stores. To make things worse, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can predispose us to both hypoglycemia and diabetes. Significant amounts of B vitamins are necessary in order to metabolize and detoxify sugar after it has entered our bodies. The assimilation of nutrients from other foods is inhibited when the body is overloaded with sugar. To state it simply, our bodies were not designed to cope with the amounts of sugar that we routinely consume.
Vitamin A helps the body to maintain normal glandular function. Energy transfers in the body depend upon the presence of vitamin A, which helps to assimilate the mineral efficiently when it is used in conjunction with vitamins D and E.
Vitamin B-complex is essential in order to help control the highs and lows associated with hypoglycemia. They boost the adrenal glands and work to calm the nerves and promote mental health. Vitamin B1 is necessary for metabolizing carbohydrates and also improves appetite, digestion, assimilation, and elimination. This vitamin works to protect the nervous system and improve nerve function. Vitamin B2 works in conjunction with niacin and thiamine to protect the nerves and boost the immune system. Additionally, this vitamin helps to facilitate proper digestion, which is essential to healthily metabolize carbohydrates. Vitamin B3 plays a vital role in energy production and carbohydrate metabolism. Also, it is involved in the production of several biochemical’s, among them is Adrenaline. Niacin boosts the body’s ability to take in sugar from the blood into the cells. Supplementing the diet of diabetics with niacin is also strongly recommended.
A lack of vitamin B5 in the body can cause a drop in blood sugar. This B vitamin is involved in the production of natural cortisone from the adrenal glands and can help to protect the body against the averse affects of stress. It is crucial for the maintenance of a healthy endocrine system. Vitamin B6 is vital in helping to maintain hormonal functions and endocrine balance. Vitamin B6 strengthens the adrenal glands and helps to protect the pancreas. It is essential for the metabolism of proteins and for the production of hormones and antibodies. Additionally, vitamin B6 may also help to prevent complications that may occur from diabetes. Vitamin B9, B12, D, E, C, K, PABA, Biotin, Lecithin, Inositol, and Bioflavonoids are also essential for assisting the body against hypoglycemia.
There are also minerals, amino acids, and herbs that helps the body fight against hypoglycemia. These minerals include calcium, chromium, iodine, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and zinc. Amino acids that assist in hypoglycemia are alanine, carnitine, glutamic acid, and phenylalanine and tyrosine. Herbs for hypoglycemia include alfalfa, bilberry, bitter melon, black cohosh, buchu, cedar berries, damiana, dandelion, dulse, fenugreek, garlic and onions, ginseng, gentian, golden seal, gymnema sylvestre, ho-sho-wu, kelp, licorice, mullein, parsley, pterocarpus, red raspberry, saffron, saltbush, sarsaparilla, saw palmetto, suma, and uva ursi. Alfalfa nourishes all the glands, especially the pituitary, while bilberry is valuable for anyone who suffers from glucose impaired diseases. Suma is used by both men and women to restore body function and are also good for poor circulation, heart disease, and arthritis. Uva Ursi helps to regulate glucose transfer to the nerve fivers which feed the brain.
Many of the above listed vitamins, minerals, and herbs are available in combinations directly formulated to help with high blood sugar. Look for these great vitamins and more at your local or internet health food store. Remember to always choose name brands to ensure you purchase a high quality and pure product.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Horny Goat Weed
December 06, 2008 10:05 AM
Horny Goat weed, correctly named Epimedium, or Yin Yang Huo in Chinese, is one of over 60 herbaceous plants of the Berberdaceae family. It grows naturally in Southern China, and also in Korea, Southeast Asia and some parts of Europe. Other names given to include Fairy Wings and Bishop's Hat.
Horny goat weed has been viewed as a natural alternative to Viagra, and many species of Epimedium are said to possess aphrodisiac properties, and is said to have got its name from a Chinese goat herder who notice that his goats became more 'frisky' with the lady goats after eating the plant. In fact studies have indicated to increase vitality, particularly the libido and male sexual vitality, although it also possesses some other health benefits in its effect on dementia and osteoporosis.
The term 'horny' is used in the colloquial sense, and has nothing to do with the shape of the plant, the flowers of which are star-shaped. In fact the Chinese name for it means 'licentious goat weed', making the English translation quite clear.
The main ingredient in horney goat weed is icariin, a flavonoid glycoside that acts as a PDE5 inhibitor. Others include the similarly named, but totally different chemical, icaritin, and also many other that will be discussed later. It is icariin on which we shall focus for the time being. Since this is central to its effect on erectile dysfunction, some time will be spent on explaining what PDE5 inhibitors do.
cGMP (Cyclic guanosine monophosphate) is a chemical that relaxes smooth muscle tissue, including the vascular smooth muscles in blood vessels. This can lead to the dilation, or increase in size, of blood vessels and increased blood flow. The corpus cavernosum of the penis is a spongy area that runs the full length of the penis, and contains many blood vessels that can be dilated through the action of cGMP and allow the increased blood flow to create an erection.
PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5) is an enzyme that can degrade cGMP and prevent the relaxation of these blood vessels, and so prevent them from dilating. A PDE5 inhibitor, such as icariin, prevents the PDE5 from degrading cGMP, and so allow a normal erection. Sidenafil, commonly known as Viagra, is a similar PDE5 inhibitor and works in the same way as icariin. Hence, the effect of Viagra is not to create an unnatural erection, but in fact to allow the cGMP to do its natural work by preventing the phosphodiesterase from stopping it doing so.
This is just one of the effects of horny goat weed: it is a more natural PDE5 inhibitor than Viagra is. It is also more specific than Sidenfil, and does not interfere with any of the other phosphodiesterases that are essential for other purposes. However, its effects do not stop there, because icariin possesses other properties, and is also only one of the many components of epimedium that can increase vitality.
Among these are a number of flavonoids in addition to icariin, sterols and the isoquinoline alkaloid magnaflorine, that possesses antioxidant properties and reduces LDL cholesterol. The exact mechanism by which horny goat weed works to increase sexual desire is unknown, but it is believed that it inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinetsrase (AChE). Cholinergic synapses are the spaces between brain cells that allow electrical impulses to be transmitted, and are an essential component of neuromuscular system response to stimulation.
AChE can stop these from working properly, and prevent neurotransmitters from effectively allowing sexual arousal. Horny goat weed can inhibit the activity of this enzyme and allow the neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine to do their proper job in allowing sexual arousal to occur. This, again, is a natural and not a chemical solution. It has also been found to reduce cortisol levels that cause stress which also reduces sexual desire.
The effect of Epimedium on smooth muscles can also aid those suffering from pulmonary hypertension, in which the small blood vessels in the lungs become too narrow to be effective in allowing the transfer between oxygen and carbon dioxide. PDE5 inhibitors can help these blood vessels to relax and so be more easily dilated in the same way as those in the corpus cavernosum. Once dilated, they are able to carry more blood to and from the lungs and allow the reoxygenation process to continue smoothly.
Research has also discovered the possibility of horny goat weed possessing monoamine-oxidase inhibition properties. Monoamine oxidase enzymes can deaminate hormones such as dopamine, and can significantly reduce the production of testosterone. The inhibitor prevents this happening, and leads to elevated levels of dopamine, and also of serotonin and norAdrenaline. Dopamine encourages the pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone that in turn promotes the production of testosterone by the testes.
Another property of horny goat weed is that it can protect against the toxin beta-Amyloid, a protein that damages DNA in the brain, causing the death of brain cells and the accumulation of dead cells in your brain. This in turn leads to dementia and potentially Alzheimer's disease. The use of Horny goat weed is being studied closely in relation to this property. The active ingredient here is icaritin (not to be confused with icariin)
Epimedium also has implications in the treatment of the cartilage and bone damage that occurs with arthritis and osteoporosis. It is possible that this is connected with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of magnaflorine, and icariin has been found to have bone-healing properties. It is known that damaged cartilage treated with horney goat weed displayed signs of growth and regeneration when compared to a placebo.
However, the most popular use of horny goat weed is in its effect on the libido and erectile dysfunction. The effect on the libido and sexual desire works equally well for men and women, and it is a preferred natural remedy to synthetic equivalents such as Viagra, Levitra and Cialis. The added benefits of the natural product render epimedium the preferred and safest solution for many people.
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.
May 15, 2008 01:21 PM
Copper is an essential trace mineral necessary for life, and it is necessary for the proper function of certain enzymes that allow certain biochemical functions of the body to take place. Without copper neither plant nor animal life would be possible.
Dietary sources include nuts, grains, seeds, beans and other vegetable protein sources. Although it is also obtained from animal sources, these tend to be rich in zinc, and for reasons that will be discussed shortly, the presence of zinc can deplete copper absorption. Other common sources are copper cooking utensils and drinking water from copper pipes. After digestion, copper is absorbed into the body through the stomach and the small intestine. It is also possible for copper to be absorbed through the skin from copper bracelets.
Once absorbed, copper is bound to albumin and taken by the blood to the liver, where it is bound to a plasma protein known as ceruloplasmin. Among the enzymes with which copper is associated as a ‘helper’ are Cytochrome C oxidase, used in the conversion of glucose to energy, Dopamine hydroxylase, an essential component in the biochemical production of Adrenaline, and superoxidase dismutase, that protects against the oxidative damage of cell tissue. Of particular benefit are its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and its role in energy production. Because of its antioxidant effect, copper could well play a very important role in protecting against atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease, the ravaging effects of free radicals on body cells and also certain forms of cancer.
Copper is also important in electron transport, and is responsible for the blue coloration of the blood of most molluscs and many arthropods. This is because rather than hemoglobin, these animals use the copper-based hemocyanin for oxygen transport in the blood. Rather than the iron-containing hemoglobin making the blood of these creatures red as it is with mammals, theirs is blue due to the hemocyanin. Copper salts are generally green and blue, as are the blue copper proteins plastocyanin and azurin.
So how is copper used by the body? It is, after all, fairly toxic, as little as 30 grams being fatal to humans, bringing on similar symptoms to those of arsenic poisoning. It is in fact the reason for its toxicity that also renders it so useful to the body. The toxicity is largely due to the ability of copper to accept and donate electrons as it changes between oxidation states. This results in the generation of very reactive radicals that can cause severe oxidative stress. The complete reason for its toxicity has yet to be determined, but the stress caused to body cells by free radical oxidation is a very serious condition.
It is this rapid change in its oxidation state that is valuable to the enzymes with which it is associated. The ceruloplasmin is responsible for most of the transport of bivalent copper around the body, in the tissues of which it helps to form the bivalent copper enzymes previously mentioned, such as Cytochrome C oxidase and Lysyl oxidase. In doing so the copper is converted to the monovalent state.
It also helps to aid in the production of the strong antioxidant Superoxide dismutase (SOD). What this enzyme does is to catalyze the formation of oxygen and hydrogen peroxide by the dismutation of superoxide, a negative ion consisting of two oxygen atoms and a free electron, and hence a very powerful free radical. Dismutation is the simultaneous oxidation and reduction of the species, rendering the free radical relatively harmless. This type of action on free radicals is a very powerful one, and essential in the body’s fight against such free radical species that are so dangerous to animal cells.
SOD exists in more than one form, and can also contain zinc, manganese and nickel in addition to copper. The internal fluid (cytosol) of practically all eukaryotic cells (cells containing a nucleus) contain a form of Superoxide dismutase dependent on copper and zinc, while most mitochondria contain an SOD with manganese.
Another of the important uses that your body can find for copper lies in the production of hemoglobin. This is because copper is needed for the storage and release of iron to produce hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells. It is believed that ceruloplasmin is involved in the catalytic formation of ferric iron by the oxidation of ferrous iron, so allowing the iron to be attached to a protein that transfers it round the body to enable its use in the biosynthesis of various ferrous compounds, especially of hemoglobin.
Copper bracelets are commonly worn by arthritis sufferers, and there is a scientific explanation for that. As previously inferred, it is believed to be possible to absorb copper through the skin and copper is known to be involved in the formation of collagen and is a commonly used treatment for arthritis and osteoporosis. Part of its effect on arthritis is likely due to the antioxidant effect of the SOD that helps to reduce the inflammation at arthritis sites.
Although a deficiency in copper can lead to serious health problems, an excess is also harmful. Potential conditions include neurological problems, liver damage and bone abnormalities, although deficiency is far more common because of the competition between copper and zinc. Zinc is a copper antagonist, as is iron and manganese, and copper imbalances can be moderated by the use of these as supplements.
The symptoms of a copper deficiency include fatigue, hair loss, stunted growth, anorexia and a host of other conditions. Luckily, however, a deficiency is rare and most people receive a sufficient amount of copper in their diet. Supplements are available to ensure an adequate intake.
There is still much to be learned about the interaction between copper and enzymes, and there is also a great deal still to be learned of its role in human metabolism and biochemistry than is currently known. However, sufficient is known already for us to be certain that copper is a very important trace element and that we should be certain that our intake is sufficient, given that zinc iron and manganese compete to prevent copper being absorbed by the body.
B Complex to Restore the Adrenal Glands from Stress
February 07, 2008 05:18 PM
The B vitamins comprise a range of water soluble vitamins that frequently work together to impart a number of general benefits to your body’s health. In general they support and maintain the metabolic rate, maintain the function of the nervous system, support the immune system, maintain healthy skin and muscles and help to promote cell growth and division. They work together to suppress the causes and symptoms of cardiovascular disease and stress and they are dispersed throughout the whole of the body by means of the circulation system of the blood.
In very general terms they collectively ensure that the body is provided with energy from the metabolism of carbohydrates and glucose. They are also needed for the metabolism of fats and proteins, and also the maintenance and health of the nervous system in general.
There are many natural sources, including lentils, potatoes, liver, turkey, brewer’s yeast, and also, of course, dietary supplements.
Vitamin B Complex can help to restore the adrenal glands from stress, but to understand how it does so, it is first necessary to understand what these glands are, and the part that they can play in stress.
The adrenal glands are situated just above each kidney, and take the form of two small pieces of tissue in the shape of a pyramid that generate specific hormones and chemical messengers. You have likely heard of Adrenaline, the hormone that make you respond to certain types of stress either through flight or by fighting: what is known as the fight or flight reaction. Well, in fact there are two of them, noredrenaline being the other. They are also known as epinephrine and norepinephrine respectively.
Both the adrenal glands are controlled by what is known as the HPA axis, short for the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis which is the stress center of the body. The adrenals are the main steroid-producing plants in the body, responsible not only for the Adrenaline hormones, but also for cortisone and hydrocortisone, testosterone, estrogen, cholesterol, progesterone and a number of others. These are produced in the outer cortex of the adrenal glands, whereas Adrenaline and norAdrenaline are produced and secreted by the medulla.
Adrenaline and cortisol are responsible along with others for the balance of your body fluids, blood sugar and blood pressure and many of the other main metabolic functions of the body, and if the Adrenaline is not working properly, it can disrupt the metabolism of your blood glucose into energy, giving you a weak run-down and listless feeling. This is not surprising since your energy is failing at the cellular level.
The main reason for adrenal fatigue is stress. Either emotional or physical stress or even poor nutrition can be responsible for reducing the functioning of the glands to such an extent that they no longer provide the steroid hormones in the proper balanced quantities needed to maintain the proper functioning of your metabolic processes. Unlike Addison’s disease, which a complete stoppage of the functioning of the adrenal glands, in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome the glands still function, but at a reduced capacity and the various products they are responsible for generating are secreted in reduced and imbalanced quantities.
However, fatigue is not normally the first reaction of the body to stress. As normal stress levels increase the bodies response is generally to secrete higher levels of Adrenaline, and the cortex produces extra cortisol and other hormones. As stress continues beyond the intermittent stage and becomes more constant, the adrenals produce a more sustained high level of hormones, that generally raise blood pressure and also increase the level of sugar in the blood in order allow a sustained increase in energy levels. Corticosteroids are produced to maintain this higher level reaction to stress.
Finally, when the adrenals can sustain this high level of activity no longer, adrenal fatigue sets in which is when the worst symptoms of the stress are evident: exhaustion, both physically and mentally, excessive fear, guilt and worry, and under-activity of the HPA axis leads to depression, hopelessness and severe illness, often due to a weakened immune system.
So where does the B vitamin complex come into this? Vitamin B complex includes niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and vitamins B6 and B12. As already stated, the complex is useful in supporting many of the critical functions of the body from healthy bones to healthy blood cells, and nervous systems. It also helps to maintain your reproductive system and can be used in cases of nerve-related conditions such as sciatica and neurological conditions.
Pantothenic acid, vitamin B5, is particularly useful in dealing with stress in that it enhances the activity of the adrenal glands. It also increases your energy levels due to its effect on the Krebs Cycle through its action as a precursor of acetyl Coenzyme A and acetylcholine which is a primary neurotransmitter. This helps to reduce fatigue and the pain of headaches caused by excessive stress and consequent reduction in adrenal output. Pantothenic acid is also essential during the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and is important in the maintenance of healthy nerves, skin and glands.
In fact the whole of the vitamin B family work together to make sure that your whole nervous system and metabolism remain healthy. People with high stress jobs often take the vitamin B complex to help reduce that stress and also anger. Excessive stress and anger can lead to anxiety and overwork the adrenal glands, and B complex can help to restore these to their normal function.
If you are concerned about your adrenal health, you can have a simple test carried out on your saliva, blood or urine by a trained medical practitioner. Many doctors do not know to carry out this test since it is not a normal test as would be used to detect Addison’s Disease, or complete adrenal failure, but only adrenal fatigue, so ask specifically for an adrenal fatigue check.
A quick self-test is to shine a light into an eye using a flashlight while looking in a mirror. They pupil should contract and return to normal after about 30 seconds. If it fails to do so, or even dilates, then that is a sign of adrenal fatigue. However, you must have it confirmed by a proper test.
All in all, a B complex supplement is a good way to restore adrenal glands from stress, and it also helps your nervous system in general, in addition to aiding the metabolic processes of your body. However, make sure that your symptoms are what you think they are by seeking professional medical advice.
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and Adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
The Important Role of Nutritional Magnesium & Calcium Balance in Humans Living with Stress
August 23, 2006 03:14 PM
Part I. The Stress Response
The stress reaction is a host of responses necessary for any animal to live in the world. Commonly called the fight-or-flight reation, we as humans often experience it in rapid heartbeat and increased breathing rate. It comes when we exercise more vigorously than usual, or when we are suddenly and unexpectedly frightened.
We are all different. We show a range in how strongly we experience the stress response. Most of us are usually calm and experience the stress response when an unexpected noise frightens us to alertness, or we run to first base as fast as we can in a benefit baseball game that is not on our usual playtime schedule. We breathe harder for a while and notice our hearts beating faster and harder then usual, but after a while these responses all calm down, and we are again in our usual state—out or the stress response. Others of us are very low key, and it takes a lot to disturb our physiological calm. Still others of us are very sensitive to triggers of the stress response and go into it “at the drop of a hat” and to a greater degree than do calmer people. For some, parts of the stress response are almost always engaged—never really calming down all the way—giving one a hyper-vigilant or anxious demeanor.
When a stress trigger occurs, the body puts out stress hormones, magnesium and calcium, among other things, into the bloodstream. At the same time, nerve cells begin to “fire,” telling heart and muscles to “speed up. NOW!!!” These blood, nerve and organ changes make possible the instantaneous and collective rise in the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other necessities for the fight-or-flight reaction.
Much research has been done on the stress response, especially on the effects of stress hormones, such as Adrenaline (also called epinephrine) on body, organ and cell. You can get an idea of how widespread the stress response is-affecting every aspect of physiology—by noting some of the reactions to Adrenaline, one of the major stress hormones. See Table 1.
Much study as the cellular, biochemical and physiological levels has shown that the stress response vitally involves the influx of calcium into cells, resulting in a drastic change in the cells’ internal magnesium-to-calcium ratio (Mg:Ca).
In simple solutions, such as salt water, all ions are evenly dispersed. Not so in living cells. Ions are carefully and meticulously separated in living cells, and this ion “packaging” is vital to life processes and health. Calcium ions, for the most part, are kept outside cells while magnesium ions are kept mainly inside cells. The stress response changes this. During stress response, calcium ions rush inside the cell, and this alters the internal Mg:Ca ratio. This change in ratio exhibits wide effects because, while magnesium and calcium are very similar in their chemistry, biologically these two elements function and react very differently. Magnesium and calcium are two sides of a physiological coin: they are antagonistic to one another yet comes as a team. For example:
Scientific study shows more and more that the underlying cellular change enabling the stress response is a low Mg:Ca ratio caused by a large and sudden influx of calcium into cells. This stress response subsides when the cell’s magnesium returns to its dominant presence inside cells, moving extra calcium back outside cells to its “normal” Mg:Ca ratio. This underlying principle is present in studies of nerve cell-stress hormone response, organs such as hearts, the high blood pressure response to stress, and the blood-clotting reaction during stress, among many others. See Table 2.
In the normal healthy state, the stress response occurs when necessary, and subsides when the crisis or trigger is over. Since magnesium and calcium—two essential nutrients that must be obtained by the body from its dietary environment—are so essential to this important response, it is not surprising that nutritional magnesium and calcium status can affect the response.
Let’s see how.
In the normal unstressed state, cellular Mg:Ca ratio is high. If this cannot be maintained due to lack of adequate body magnesium or an overwhelming amount of body calcium, the ratio may not be able to maintain or return itself to its healthy nonstressed ratio. In such a case, the stress response, in the absence of an appropriate trigger, can occur. This can be seen when nutritional magnesium deficits cause high blood pressure or increase blood stickiness (platelet aggregation). Additionally, since a low Mg:Ca ratio can increase Adrenaline secretion as well as cells’ response to Adrenaline, a too low magnesium state can keep the stress response from subsiding in a timely way. Even worse, when body magnesium becomes drastically low, this becomes a stress trigger in itself, alarming the body into further stress response with out enough magnesium to back it up, resulting in a low magnesium-high stress crisis that can end in sudden death.
In the industrialized world, we live in a state of chronic, on-going stress. This environmental reality increases our daily need for magnesium in order to maintain a healthy stress response that can calm when not necessary.
Part II. Heart Disease Is Often a Magnesium Deficiency
Clearly, an adequate amount of nutritional magnesium—in proper balance with adequate nutritional calcium—is key to a healthy stress response. And yet today we have diets dangerously low in magnesium. Add the recent additions of nutritional calcium via supplements and food fortifications meant to stave off osteoporosis, and many of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium. This results in a large occurrence of heart disease.
Not all, but much of the heart disease in the industrialized world can be explained by the low magnesium state of these societies. People with heart disease—for the most part—are people who are in a state of magnesium that is borderline or deficient. Many studies on heart disease patients exist due to medicine’s effort to understand and treat this widespread malady. Although not intended as such, this body of research shows us what stress can do to a person in a magnesium deficient state.
Part III. Mental and Emotional Stress Deplete Magnesium
It is commonly accepted that certain traditional risk factors for heart disease exist. This include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of heart disease, and other factors, all of which can be linked to a shortage of nutritional magnesium. Recent studies tell us that stresses—both sudden and chronic—with their high magnesium requirements, are also strong risk factors for heart disease.
The sudden stress of the
Emotional stress and phobic anxiety cause heart problems in patients with heart disease—a population we know to be mostly low in their nutritional magnesium status. Chronic states of emotional stress, including a history of childhood abuse, neglect or family dysfunction, depression, and panic disorder, must now be added to the list of traditional risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Depression can be a symptom of low magnesium status. So can anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, hyperactivity, and over-sensitivity to loud noises. Do these newly found risk factors cause heart disease, or are they risk factors because the, as well as heart disease, can all be aspects of low magnesium status? These chronic sources of stress can increase the human need for magnesium as well as be caused by its deficit.
Emotional stress triggers in susceptible people can even bring a sudden death due to heart attack, presumably by initiating a stress/low-magnesium crisis. Such emotional “triggers” include work stress, high-pressure deadlines, social isolation and loneliness, low socioeconomic status, anxiety, war, fear of war, anger and rage. Identical stress triggers cause more human heart attacks regardless of age, race, gender, or geographic location, including continent.
Mental stress, such as working out a math problem, can be shown to have impact upon the magnesium-stress response connection, since it can bring on heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Part IV. Stress, Magnesium and Aging
We are hearing a lot about stress in the health media, and rightly so as this constant companion to our lives brings on the fight-or-flight syndrome, a stress response that, when activated, has been shown to shorten lifespan. When we realize that the stress response is exacerbated when we are low in magnesium, that we are living on low-magnesium foods for the most part, and that our lifestyles are more and more filled with chronic stresses and stressful events, we are not surprised to see that several aspects of magnesium deficiency are remarkably like aspects of the aging process.
When faced with out stressful lifestyles, coupled with a society presenting a chronically low-magnesium/high-calcium diet, what is our best defense? For many of us, magnesium supplements can help to preserve or restore a healthy Mg:Ca balance, so important to our health in these stressful times.
Peter Gillham's Natural Calm
December 30, 2005 08:53 AM
Every human being is at the mercy of their diet to provide them with a solid foundation of nutrients. This is especially true in the case of endurance athletes, bodybuilders and other Adrenaline-seeking competitors. During intense physical training, the body calls upon its reserve of electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium to provide the spark needed for increased respiration, muscle contractions, nerve impulses and countless other functions.
A well-stocked cellular arsenal of these nutrients can ultimately lead to greater levels of sustained endurance, muscular strength and mental clarity. Deprivation, on the other hand, is an invitation for disaster. When the body is pushed to extremes, but unable to locate what it needs, it becomes prone to fatigue, cramping, nausea and headaches. Not to mention, last place. Products such as Carbo Gain and ZMA can provide a solid base of nutrients. (See reverse for detailed specifi cations).
December 17, 2005 09:42 AM
Supports Healthy Nervous System and Joint Function Vital For Over 35 Biochemical Reactions Necessary For Optimum Health Promotes a Healthy Mood
As the building blocks of protein, amino acids are vital to health. Next to water, amino acids in the form of proteins make up the greatest portion of our body weight. They comprise tendons, muscles and ligaments; organs and glands; hair and nails; important bodily fluids, and are a necessary part of every cell in the body.
There are over 20 amino acids, separated into two categories – essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be manufactured by your body, hence, it is essential that you obtain them from your diet. Non-essential amino acids can be manufactured by your body, however, your body must have the right combination of essential amino acids and supporting nutrients to optimize healthy protein maintenance, so supplementation may be desirable.
Amino acids are not only absolutely integral to life, they can have a profound impact upon how clearly we think and how well we feel.
SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally occurring combination of the amino acid methionine and ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the body’s primary energy molecule. In this form it is sometimes referred to as “active methionine”. Research indicates that SAMe plays a vital role in nervous system health and normal cognitive function.*
SAMe may support nervous system function by increasing the synthesis and recycling of certain neurotransmitters and enhancing the sensitivity of nerve receptors. SAMe is believed to positively affect a number of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, norAdrenaline and norepinephrine. Although the mechanism for SAMe’s impact upon neural function is not fully understood, there is no doubt that SAMe’s capacity as a methyl donor is of critical importance.
As a methyl donor SAMe assists the body in the creation of complex organic compounds necessary for normal healthy function. Your body uses these new compounds for numerous purposes, including brain function and detoxification. This process, known as methylation or transmethylation, is vital to your body’s maintenance. SAMe may be the most effective of all methyl donors discovered to date. Research has shown that SAMe is the only methyl donor with the potential to increase transmethylation in the brain, which helps to protect it from homocysteine damage as well as increasing production of glutathione, one of the body’s most effective antioxidants.
Research into the biosynthesis of SAMe has established a clear link between SAMe and folic acid, or folate. Folic Acid has been proven to provide support for healthy nervous system function and a healthy mood, and researchers believe these two nutrients work together to beneficially affect monoamine systems, which directly affect mood and cognitive function.* SAMe has also been shown to improve the synthesis of phospholipids for use in the brain, probably one of the most beneficial effects SAMe has on brain health. The benefits of SAMe extend beyond the brain and throughout the human body. For example, it may also aid in the repair of myelin, the sheath of fatty material that surrounds nerves and nerve cells everywhere in our nervous system. It’s found in all human tissue and organs and is available for use by your body in over 35 different biochemical reactions necessary for optimal health.
SAMe may support joint health through transulfuration, a process that takes a certain amount of sulfur from SAMe to create glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates. This enhances proteoglycan synthesis, the molecule responsible for keeping articular (joint) cartilage lubricated. As mentioned earlier, SAMe is also important for the production of glutathione, a powerful free radical scavenger that defends your body from toxic agents and is necessary for liver detoxification.
SAMe was first isolated in 1952 by G.L. Cantoni at the Laboratory of Cellular Pharmacology at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Four years later, Cantoni and a co-worker found that SAMe synthesis involves methionine and ATP. They also found that it exists in the human body only temporarily, making production in a supplemental form difficult. It took nearly ten years until improvements in technology permitted SAMe research to advance. With the discovery of a method to stabilize SAMe that overcame these manufacturing problems, U.S. patents were granted to allow the production of SAMe in a stabilized form.
SAMe in its ion form, as found in human cells, has a very short life span and is rapidly metabolized into other necessary compounds as needed. Therefore, it must be manufactured in a stabilized form to prevent rapid degradation as a supplement. Once tableted, it must be enteric coated to preserve stability.
This technology was not readily available until the 1990’s, hence SAMe’s long road to mainstream popularity. Dr. Joseph Zhou, Director of Laboratory Methods here at NOW, is credited with significantly improving the analytical methodology used to assure potency levels in supplemental SAMe. His work is one of the reasons SAMe is available as a supplemental with stable, guaranteed
Natural Health for a Healthy Heart
July 13, 2005 09:17 AM
Natural Health for a Healthy Heart
Cardiovascular disease is on the rise. Heart disease, stroke, and related disorders kill more Americans than any other ailments combined. In 1990 approximately one million Americans died form cardiovascular disease. Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. Fat and cholesterol accumulate around the heart and inner walls of the arteries. This causes blood flow to slow and blood pressure to rise. Blood clotting is also a problem when the arteries are clogged which, if a clot breaks loose, can cause strokes or heart attacks according to where they end up. Heart disease is usually advanced before a problem arises. Prevention should be the first goal.
Heart disease is much less common in “primitive” societies. This is due in part to the lifestyle and diet choices of Americans. Diet is viewed as the most important factor in heart related disorders. An increased intake of sugar, refined flour and simple carbohydrates may also be contributing factors. Other risk factors include a family history of heart disease, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, type A personality, stress, diabetes, obesity, high blood cholesterol levels, physical inactivity and coronary artery disease. Changes must be made in diet and life-style in order to prevent heart disease.
Following a diet low in animal fat and refined sugars but high in fiber is highly recommended. Whole grains, almonds, fresh fruits and vegetables, a variety of legumes, skinless turkey, chicken and fish should be the main dietary elements. Brown rice, garlic, onions, olive oil, raw fruits and vegetables, sprouts, asparagus, apples, bananas, beans, buckwheat, seeds, whey powder, and yogurt are especially good for the heart. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, red meat, refined carbohydrates, and white flour. Limit intake of dairy products which contain high amounts of fat. Homogenized dairy products contain an enzyme called xanthine oxidase which is believed to cause artery damage and could lead to arteriosclerosis. Use olive oil and canola oil when using fat. Avoid palm oil, coconut oil, peanut oil and cottonseed oil.
Choline, inositol and lecithin: These act as fat emulsifiers in the bloodstream and can help prevent plaque buildup.
Chromium: Chromium is known for recent studies linking it to a reduced risk of heart disease. It may help prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. Low levels of chromium are thought to be a risk factor for developing heart disease. It also may help increase the beneficial HDL cholesterol and aid in lowering the LDL cholesterol.
Coenzyme Q10: This can help oxygenate the heart muscle helping to prevent additional heart damage. Coenzyme Q10 can help the body break down fatty acids converting them to energy. This is often lacking in individuals with heart problems. Essential Fatty Acids: These can help prevent hardening of the arteries by preventing the blood cells from clumping together and forming clots. They also help with the assimilation of fat soluble vitamins.
Germanium: Germanium has been found to lower high blood pressure and improve circulation in the body. Calcium and Magnesium: Both of these minerals contribute to the muscular contraction and relaxation of the heart. They are essential for the proper function of the heart muscle and maintaining normal heart rhythm and blood pressure. Low levels of calcium have been linked to high blood pressure.
L-Carnitine: This is an amino acid that can help the heart by reducing fat levels in the blood. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: Vitamin C helps prevent blood clots and strengthens the capillary and blood vessel walls. It may help prevent high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, lower cholesterol, repair arterial walls, and contribute to reversing heart disease.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is well known for its beneficial effect on the heart. Selenium: Low levels of selenium have been associated with heart disease.
Hawthorn: This herb is great for cardiovascular health. Garlic: Garlic is one of the most studied herbs for cardiovascular health. Several recent studies link garlic to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Cayenne: This is also known as capsicum and is beneficial on circulation and cleaning and nourishing the blood vessels.
Ginkgo: Ginkgo relaxes the blood vessels and improves the flow of blood even in constricted arteries. Rosemary Tea: This is a traditional heart tonic that helps to promote circulation and lower blood pressure. Chinese Mushroom (auricularia polytricha): This is a natural blood thinner.
It is important to include exercise in the daily routine. Aerobic exercise is known to help improve the heart1s pumping ability, reduce serum cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of heart disease, and reduce the risk of high blood pressure as well as many other ailments. Exercising an average of three to five days a week for thirty minutes will benefit the body. Actually any amount of exercise is beneficial for the body, so try and do something each day.
Include relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Stress can increase the risk of heart disease. Stress releases Adrenaline which causes the heart to work harder. If you feel resentment, fear or anger, find ways to deal with these in a positive way. Pursuit serenity and peace in life. Exercise, self hypnosis, biofeedback, meditation, yoga and prayer can all help develop inner peace.
June 14, 2005 06:26 PM
by Catherine Heusel Energy Times, October 1, 1998
Quitting a bad habit presents quite a challenge. Just ask anyone who's ever tried to give up cigarettes. Or alcohol. Or even coffee. You start out with the best of intentions but cravings can push you off the straight and narrow. The result: giving up a nasty habit often means regenerating your resolve and trying again. And again. And again. While some blame an inability to give up a bad habit on poor will power, in actuality, the tenacious chains of these habits may derive from the body as well as the mind. "People don't seem to realize the effects these substances have on the body," says Joan Mathews-Larson, Ph.D., director of the Health Recovery Center, in Minneapolis, and author of Seven Weeks to Sobriety. Dr. Mathews-Larson is one of a growing number of addiction professionals who stress physical recovery when giving up a drug, whether it's caffeine or cocaine. "You can't disrupt your internal chemistry for months or years on end and then expect your body to automatically bounce back," she says. "You have to give it some help."
Breaking Off is Hard to Do
The substances we love to overdo all share a common characteristic: they mimic or enhance the body's chemical messengers. Opiate drugs such as heroin, for example, are virtually identical to substances called endorphins, neurochemicals that the body produces to mask feelings of pain. (When an injured Kerri Strug performed her final Olympic vault, her endorphins enabled her to push past her protesting nerve endings.) Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can provide a "rush" similar to that produced by Adrenaline and norAdrenaline, the neurochemicals that provide the quick and excited feeling that swells down your spine during frightened or thrilling moments. On the other hand, some drugs (notably alcohol and cocaine) boost the activity of several different neurochemicals, including those that control sensations of pleasure. From a biological perspective, then, none of the drugs that people take are totally unfamiliar to the body. Your body makes similar chemicals all the time, in response to specific events and needs. "The main advantage of drugs is that they act powerfully and immediately," explains Andrew Weil, M.D., in his book, From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind Altering Drugs. "Their main disadvantage is that they reinforce the notion that the state we desire comes from something outside us."
Another serious disadvantage of drugs resides in their impact on the body's everyday neurochemical balance. Under normal circumstances, the body maintains its internal chemical environment on a fairly even keel. It may pump out oodles of Adrenaline in response to a specific threat, like a near miss on the highway, but for every such scary "high" a corresponding low sets in: that rubbery-kneed sense of relief you feel when things calm down.
Over time, the body mistakes the introduction of mind-altering, foreign chemicals as an excess of its own production of neurochemicals. As a result it slows down its own manufacture of these vital substances. So when you stop drinking caffeine or other stimulating drugs, the body finds its neurochemical receptors begging for relief: Cravings raise their ugly heads while so-called withdrawal symptoms raise your discomfort level. A general sense of ill health sets in until the body's natural production of neurotransmitter production reaches an acceptable level.
Breaking a bad habit may be complicated by a lack of regenerative health habits. "A proper diet is pretty low on an addict's list of priorities," says Mathews-Larson. "Most of the people we see live on fast food and junk food." Many people trying to give up bad habits are attacked by the chemical and physical problems resulting from eating fatty foods and not exercising: their bodies are chemically and physically challenged from a poor lifestyle.
Fortunately, recovery from a bad habit can be enhanced by balancing your diet, exercising and using nutritional supplements to straighten out your interior biochemical environment.
"We target substances that are essential for maintaining optimal brain chemistry," points out Mathews-Larson. Foremost among these substances are a variety of amino acids that the body needs to rebuild its supply of neurotransmitters. In addition, nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin C are often in short supply among those who indulge in addictive drugs and alcohol.
Exercise and meditation are equally important to recovery, since both activities naturally prompt production of mood-enhancing neurochemicals. (The so-called "runner's high" is believed to result from endorphins and other neurochemicals stimulated by jogging.) More importantly, natural stimulation that pushes the body to create its own, endogenous supply of feel-good chemicals produces a longer sense of well-being than the transitory high induced by drugs and alcohol. "The potential for highs is always there, and many techniques exist for eliciting them," declares Dr. Weil. "Drug highs differ from other highs only in superficial ways."
To experienced treatment professionals such as Mathews-Larson, kicking a long-standing habit depends on learning to appreciate the natural high of good health, through an overall healthy lifestyle. "It's not enough to just stop using the substance you abused," she contends. "You have to build a high quality of life for yourself, so you can fully enjoy every day."
Recommended Reading: Seven Weeks to Sobriety, by Joan Mathews-Larson (Fawcett Books, 1997) Healing Anxiety With Herbs by Harold H. Bloomfield. (Harper Collins, 1998.)
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."
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, norAdrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters Adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make Adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness.
June 10, 2005 10:06 PM
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness. by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, December 6, 1999
Most folks wouldn't seek the distressing distinction of suffering chronic fatigue syndrome. Aside from a dizzying array of discomforts associated with the malady, the lack of a definitive cause, and few remedies offered by the medical establishment, scornful skeptics lob accusations of laziness or boredom or just plain moodiness. "Snap out of it!" they say, with little sympathy or understanding. "Just get moving!"
But if you're one of more than 3 million Americans affected by chronic fatigue, you know your problem is not all in your head. Your symptoms are real and they extend far beyond mere tiredness. In addition to a debilitating sense of fatigue that can make everyday existence feel like an overwhelming struggle, you may suffer from impaired concentration and memory, recurrent sore throats, nagging headaches, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and fitful sleep. The persistence of any one of these effects alone could be debilitating, but the overall diminished capabilities of the chronic fatigue sufferer can become the most discouraging aspect of the disease.
But before you give up hope on kicking this energy-sucking ailment, look to natural ways to boost your immune system and regain your stamina for a more healthy and productive life. New research points to powerful, energy enhancing supplements which, combined with a nutritious diet and stress reducing techniques, can help you reclaim your body from a swamp of sluggishness.
Part of the public's misconceptions about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may stem from vague definitions of exactly what it is and its causes.
In the '80s, CFS was often mentioned in the same breath as the Epstein-Barr virus, which garnered much notoriety as the "yuppie flu": a state of chronic exhaustion that often plagued young, overworked professionals, as the media trumpeted. CFS was initially thought to be the result of the Epstein-Barr virus, and the two were often considered to be the same thing. Since the Epstein-Barr virus causes mononucleosis, the term "chronic mono" was also thrown around to refer to long-lasting states of fatigue.
Today, CFS is defined as a separate disorder from the Epstein-Barr syndrome. Researchers have found that CFS is not caused exclusively by the Epstein-Barr virus or any other single infectious disease agent. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, CFS may have multiple causes, in which viruses or other infectious agents might have a contributory role. Some of these additional possible culprits include herpes simplex viruses, candida albicans (yeast organisms), or parasites.
According to the CDC, a person can be definitively diagnosed with CFS when she or he experiences severe chronic fatigue for six months or longer that is not caused by other medical conditions, and must have four or more of the following problems recurrently for six consecutive months: tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, multi-joint pain without swelling or redness, substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat, headaches, unrefreshing sleep and postexertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.
Even if you are not diagnosed with CFS, you could still probably use some help in fending off fatigue. You may suffer from another poorly understood condition like fibromyalgia, which causes similar symptoms of exhaustion and pain with additional stomach discomfort. You may cope with another ailment like hypoglycemia or low thyroid function that zaps your energy. Or you could be like almost every stressed-out American adult trying to do it all at the expense of your well-being. Though researchers still search for a definitive cause for CFS, one thing is certain: Constant stress and poor nutritional habits weaken the immune system's ability to ward off a host of debilitating viruses and organisms. So before you run yourself down and succumb to a chronic condition, learn how you can build up your defenses now.
Some of the most exciting new research in CFS treatments focuses on NADH or Coenzyme 1, an energy-enhancing nutritional supplement. This naturally-occurring substance is present in all living cells including food, although cooking destroys most of it. Coenzymes help enzymes convert food and water into energy and NADH helps provide cellular fuel for energy production. It also plays a key role in cell regulation and DNA repair, acts as a potent antioxidant, and can reportedly improve mental focus and concentration by stimulating cellular production of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norAdrenaline and serotonin.
A recent study conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, and reported in the February 1999 issue of The Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, showed that chronic fatigue sufferers improved their condition significantly by taking Enada, the stabilized, absorbable, oral form of NADH. The researchers found that 31% of those who took the supplement achieved significant improvement in relief of their symptoms, and a follow up study showed that 72% achieved positive results over a longer period of time.
Coenzyme-A and Coenzyme Q-10 (Co-Q10) are related coenzymes also necessary for energy production.
According to Erika Schwartz, M.D., and Carol Colman, authors of Natural Energy: From Tired to Terrific in 10 Days (G.P. Putnam's Sons) CoQ10 in combination with the nutrient carnitine enhances cellular energy production, thereby boosting energy levels. Coenzyme-A is required to initiate the chemical reactions that involve the utilization of CoQ10 and NADH for the production of energy at the cellular level.
Another important energy-enhancing nutrient is D-ribose, a simple sugar that is crucial to many processes in your body. D-ribose stimulates the body's production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, an energy-rich chemical compound that provides the fuel for all body functions. D-ribose is essential to the manufacture of ATP and maintaining high levels of energy in the heart and skeletal muscles.
In addition to these new nutrients, a host of more familiar vitamins and minerals can help banish fatigue. According to Susan M. Lark, M.D., author of the Chronic Fatigue Self Help Book (Celestial Arts) nutritional supplements help stimulate your immune system, glands and digestive tract, promote proper circulation of blood and oxygen, and provide a calming effect. Some of Lark's recommended nutrients for building and regaining strength include:
Vitamin A: Helps protect the body against invasion by viruses that could trigger CFS, as well as bacteria, fungi and allergies. Supports the production and maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes, the body's first line of defense against invaders. Also supports the immune system by boosting T-cell activity and contributing to the health of the thymus, the immune-regulating gland.
Vitamin B Complex: Depression and fatigue can result from the body's depletion of B vitamins, which can occur from stress or drinking too many caffeinated beverages. Studies have provided preliminary evidence that CFS patients have reduced functional B vitamin status (J R Soc Med 92 , Apr. 1999: 183-5). The 11 factors of B complex are crucial to glucose metabolism, stabilization of brain chemistry and inactivation of estrogen, which regulate the body's levels of energy and vitality. n Vitamin C: Helps prevent fatigue linked to infections by stimulating the production of interferon, a chemical that can limit the spread of viruses. Helps fight bacterial and fungal infections by maintaining healthy antibody production and white blood cells. Also necessary for production of adrenal gland hormones which help prevent exhaustion in those under stress.
Bioflavonoids: Help guard against fatigue caused by allergic reactions; their anti-inflammatory properties prevent the production of histamine and leukotrienes that promote inflammation. Bioflavonoids like quercetin are powerfully antiviral.
Vitamin E: Has a significant immune stimulation effect and, at high levels, can enhance immune antibody response.
Zinc: Immune stimulant; improves muscle strength and endurance. Constituent of many enzymes involved in metabolism and digestion. n Magnesium and Malic Acid: Important for the production of ATP, the body's energy source. Magnesium is also important for women who may develop a deficiency from chronic yeast infections.
Potassium: Enhances energy and vitality; deficiency leads to fatigue and muscle weakness.
Calcium: Combats stress, nervous tension and anxiety.
Iodine: Necessary to prevent fatigue caused by low thyroid function, as it is crucial for the production of the thyroid hormone thyroxin.
In addition to nutrients to bolster your immunity, herbal remedies can also help suppress viral and candida infections. Garlic is a powerful, natural antibiotic, while echinacea and goldenseal have strong anti-infective abilities. Other botanicals help combat tiredness and depression: stimulating herbs such as ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root and Siberian ginseng can improve vitality and energy. For anxiety, moodiness and insomnia try passionflower or valerian root, which both have a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Eating For Energy
Supplements can only do their best if you eat a nutritious diet. Start by cutting out large quantities of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy products, red meat and fat.
But what are the best foods when trying to restore energy or recover from illness? "High nutrient content foods with a good balance of proteins and carbohydrates," answers Jennifer Brett, ND, interim clinic director and chair of botanical medicine at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine.
"You want foods with high nutritional value-that's where vegetables end up looking better than fruit."
Brett enthusiastically pushes that "universal food," as she calls it: chicken soup.
"In China," she says, laughing, "they do make chicken soup, and they do think of it as healing, because they add astragalus and shiitake mushrooms. Vegetable soups with chicken or fish have high nutritional value and are easy to digest."
The same principle applies to juices, Brett says. Juices are a good way to tastefully get more phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables into your diet. Toss in protein powder, and you can make a complete meal in your blender.
"You get more energy from juicing," she explains, "more accessible nutrients and carbohydrates that are not bound up in fiber." Brett's additional recommendation: oatmeal.
"It's got protein and carbohydrates combined with a lot of minerals, which you may not get from a sugary cereal," she says. "Sure, they spray some vitamins on them, but if you don't drink the milk in the bottom of the bowl, you'll miss out on them. You might as well take a multivitamin."
Look to fiber for superior energy enhancement. Natural Energy author Schwartz calls it downright "miraculous": "In terms of conserving precious energy, fiber-rich foods are your cells' best friends," she writes. "It takes smaller quantities of them to give you a full, satisfied feeling. They release all their benefits slowly, which allows the cells to extract nutrients with much less effort. Then these fiber-rich foods graciously leave the body with ease and efficiency." Among these "slow burn" foods that Schwartz says raise blood sugar slowly and steadily and maintain energy evenly:
Alfalfa sprouts-high in fiber and low in cholesterol.
Apples-one medium unpeeled provides 10% of the recommended daily fiber dose; unlike sweeter fruits, which are rich in healthful fiber, they help regulate blood sugar.
Broccoli-along with such greens as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens and broccoli rabe, it's packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals n Brown rice, wild rice, other whole grains-fiber treasure troves, including barley, quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
Corn-excellent fiber source.
Lentils and other legumes-high in fiber, delicious beans are rich in culinary possibilities.
Oat bran and wheat bran-mix into yogurt or add to cereal for the best available access to fiber.
Popcorn-an excellent snack.
Citrus for More Energy
If constant colds and infections are draining your energy, healthy helpings of citrus fruit may be the pickup you need. According to Robert Heinerman, in Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices (Parker), citrus fruit have been used for more than a thousand years as natural remedies for a wide variety of ailments:
Kumquat juice is supposed to help clear up bronchitis. Lemon juice with a pinch of table salt eases a sore throat. Lime juice in warm water soothes aches and cramps from the flu. Tangerine juice can break up mucous congestion in the lungs. Along with citrus' vitamin C, these fruits also supply carotenoids, antioxidants that provide disease-preventing benefits. Citrus also often contain calcium, potassium, folate (a B vitamin that fights against heart disease), iron and fiber.
Fruits are loaded with phytochemicals, naturally occurring chemicals that give fruit their vibrant colors. Yellow, red and orange fruits are also high in flavonoids, like quercetin, a substance which fights cancer. Quercetin also aids in prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration, according to author Stephanie Beling, MD, in her book Power Foods (Harper Collins).
Even the US Department of Agriculture agrees on this flavonoid's benefits, noting in its phytochemical database that quercetin is an "antitumor promoter, antiasthmatic, anticarcinogenic, antiplaque, cancer-preventive, capillariprotective." (Quercetin is also available as a supplement.)
Don't Avoid Avocados
For a vitamin rich food, few items beat the avocado which holds vitamins E and C as well as some B vitamins (B6, niacin, riboflavin). A significant source of beta carotene, though not nearly as much as carrots or sweet potatoes, avocados also contain high amounts of the minerals potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc.
Just 15 grams of avocado delivers about 81 international units of vitamin A as beta carotene. Beta carotene, a carotenoid in fruits and vegetables, is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin, aside from providing antioxidant protection from damaging free radicals, is necessary for good eyesight, healthy skin and healing.
In addition, the avocado, like all of these healthy foods, tastes great. Which means that you can pep up and not have to sacrifice taste for zest.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
Remember that the path to wellness begins in your mind. Stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation and massage and aromatherapy can have a great rejuvenating effect on your body. If you can learn to handle stress effectively instead of letting it control you-and strengthen your system with the right nutrients and diet-you'll find that fatigue can be a sporadic visitor rather than a chronic companion.
Stevia, Xylitol Sugar alternatives ...
June 09, 2005 06:15 PM
Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels Energy Times, January 4, 2002
Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels
Low blood sugar-a blood sugar recession-can make the good times recede. While you can't live without blood sugar, too much or too little wreaks havoc on your body and mind. And when blood sugar dips low enough to cause hypoglycemia you may feel like your emotions have been shredded. Knowing how the body regulates blood sugar allows you a measure of control in keeping blood sugar in the proper groove, and makes life a little sweeter. Hypoglycemia occurs when you feel dragged out because of low blood sugar. Ironically, this low blood sugar syndrome may be caused by an overabundance of sugar in your meals and snacks. Those who point to hypoglycemia as a widespread problem claim that up to two of three women in America suffer from hypoglycemia. That would make it an epidemic of monstrous proportions. In a survey of 1000 folks complaining of hypoglycemia, published in the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation's winter 2000 edition, researchers found that low blood sugar sufferers complained of hypoglycemic discomforts in several main categories: 94% of the people in the study reported nervousness, 89% mentioned irritability, exhaustion affected 87%, depression struck 86% and drowsiness hit 73%. Other miseries included fatigue, cold sweats, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), rapid heart rate, blurry or double vision, confusion, sudden hunger, convulsions, sweating, sleeping problems, paleness, muscle pain, memory loss, crying jags, fainting and dizziness.
Body of Evidence
Diary of a Maddening Condition